Ongava Private Game Reserve – Your Exclusive Etosha Experience
Oct16

Ongava Private Game Reserve – Your Exclusive Etosha Experience

There’s only one place in the world where stone deserts meet ancient sand dunes, which meet the Atlantic Ocean, providing a vast, wild home to a diversity of specialised wildlife, including the critically endangered black rhino. Namibia and its famous Etosha National Park offer some of the most unique safari experiences in Africa, and Ongava Private Game Reserve is an exclusive, wild sanctuary, born from a dedication to conservation. Sharing a common border with Etosha, Ongava is a 30 000-hectare stretch of land made up of adjacent farms, which were bought and reinvented as a vast safe haven for Namibia’s precious wildlife. It is now one of the country’s luxury destinations for sublime safari offerings. From the most endangered large mammals, like black and white rhino, to the equally as cherished cheetah, Ongava has worked actively to protect and conserve some of Africa’s most threatened species. Here, 4 safari lodges are an inviting presence to travellers from all over the world looking to explore this unique desert habitat: Ongava Lodge, Ongava Tented Camp, Little Ongava, and Andersson’s Camp. With private access to Etosha National Park itself, the opportunities to experience incredible wildlife is endless. Private game drives in Ongava offer unbeatable quality, while day trips into Etosha open one of Southern Africa’s most famous parks up for exploration. Either way, a safari experience at Ongava is second to none. Little Ongava is an intimate, private, luxury getaway in the heart of it all. This private game reserve on the border of Etosha is a protected Eden of species diversity where hours spent watching the waterholes might look a little something like this… That morning chill catching one’s breath out in the fresh African air, the air permeated by the bellowing call of a king patrolling his kingdom. A fairytale start to the day at Ongava Private Game Reserve on the border of Etosha National Park – Namibia’s celebrated wilderness. This exclusive reserve is far from falling into the shadow of its famous neighbour, as its sublime population of wildlife flock to the waterholes and put on one alluring display for guests. Springbok, ostrich, and oryx gathered at a waterhole, painting one of Namibia’s most iconic wildlife pictures. These beautiful, desert-adapted animals are common features of an Etosha safari, creating a vision which is so unique to Namibia. We are celebrating the desolate beauty of Etosha this week, and as this image by Olwen Evans for Ongava Lodge shows just how full of life this desert really is… A stunning portrait of Namaqua sandgrouse and their reflections, as they fill their breast feathers with water at the edge of a pan...

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Explore the World’s Best Luxury Water Villa in the Maldives
Oct08

Explore the World’s Best Luxury Water Villa in the Maldives

Exclusive wooden villas jutting out into the perfect crystal clear warm Indian ocean, complete with private pools and viewing decks that provide the perfect diving board to plunge into the turquoise depths below. This is paradise found. This looks like a pearl that has risen straight out of the middle of the ocean and wowed its onlookers with its peaceful presence. If you have the budget, this place is tropical paradise in the Maldives is worth the experience. Located on Lankanfushi Island, North Malé the Gili Lankanfushi Water Villas boasts a whopping  45 over-water villas. There are 24 villa suites, each with an open-air living room and dining area, daybeds and a rooftop terrace. Of course, there’s a sundeck over the water complete with sun loungers. The bathrooms are open air with glass walled shower areas, but are private. If the villa suites don’t suit your needs, then you have a choice of 5 lagoon suites which are similar to the villa suites but are 210 sqm in size complete with rooftop terraces, a dining area and overwater sundecks. 6 luxury villas are suspended over the Indian Ocean, and they’re slightly bigger than the other villas, by 40 sqm. The difference in these villas is the presence of mini-wine cellars The exquisite lagoon residence is located at the end of the jetty and comes complete with all the amenities of the above villas, and also has its own hammock suspended over pristine ocean. There are 7 stand alone villas called the Crusoe Residence. To access the island, you will be escorted there by motorized boat or pontoon. Each villa has large daybeds, rooftop terraces, air-conditioning, private over water hammocks and even wi-fi is available upon request, but with such exquisite surrounds – will you ever need it? The 2 bedroom family villa is spacious and ideal for a large family. Boasting a space of 350 sqm, the villa comprises a master bedroom with outdoor shower, two living rooms with sofa bed (one of which converts into a second bedroom), kitchenette, rooftop terrace, steam room, mini wine cellar, television with satellite, jacuzzi and spa beds for private massages. The Private Reserve gives you the opportunity to hire out the largest over-water villa in the world. The azure ocean hugs this decadent palace that is nothing short of grand. There’s even an infinity pool on one of the viewing decks, a private sauna and steam room and a 2 person bathtub built over a coral reef. There’s plenty to do in this paradise, and activities include : Spa treatments with a view Yoga sessions Organic gardens on the “mainland” that provide the produce for exquisite meals. Snorkelling outside your...

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Beach Wedding Venues in Cape Town
Oct07

Beach Wedding Venues in Cape Town

You’ve said “yes” and now it’s time to start planning the wedding of the year. While many excited couples opt for wine farm wedding venues in Cape Town – of which there are many; there is also the option to enjoy a coastal or beach wedding venue. The Cape offers one of the most spectacular coastlines with rocky outcrops, sandy beaches and sweeping views of endless ocean and mountain. The perfect vistas and romantic setting of the Cape’s beaches is ideal for couples looking to tie the knot. Here are a few of our favourite beach wedding venues in Cape Town : Tintswalo Atlantic This elite boutique hotel is located on the bottom of Chapman’s Peak, in a hidden location that requires you traverse a winding road down to the shoreline to access this absolute exquisite beach paradise. To say it’s in a desirable location is an understatement. You probably won’t need much decor given that the surrounds are just naturally romantic. This award-winning 5 star hideaway is perfect for intimate ceremonies and receptions. Surrounded by the azure Atlantic Ocean and hugged by the proud mountains of the Table Mountain National Park, Tintswalo is effortlessly exceptional when it comes to beauty. Tintswalo provides that fairytale beach wedding, and certainly casts in stone what was once only a dream. Caters for : 80 people max Catering : Catering is provided by the venue, no outside catering is allowed Accommodation : 16 luxury suites , sleeping 32 in total Location : Atlantic Seaboard, Hout Bay at bottom of Chapman’s Peak Blue Horizon  Blue Horizon offers a luxurious wedding experience and the entire estate is set up to cater for weddings. Located in the less touristy area of Simon’s Town, and overlooking the whole of False Bay, Blue Horizon provides the ultimate wedding venue for those seeking a sense of luxury, but nothing ostentatious. There are outdoor and indoor venues, and nothing beats these sweeping views of this remote, untouched part of Cape Town. Blue Horizon will give you the option of a garden or beach ceremony, and arrange the entire thing for you. They only host one function a day, which means the wedding and bridal party can enjoy a sense of exclusivity from the venue. Caters for : The hall can take up to 120 people seated with a dance floor, 140 without a dance floor, and 250+ for a cocktail set-up. Catering : The venue allows self-catering, upon request. Accommodation : Please enquire – there is accommodation for the newlyweds and a dressing area. Harbour House in Kalk Bay Harbour House in Kalk Bay is perched on the rocks overlooking the working harbour. Kalk Bay is an artistic...

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Giraffe Manor in Kenya : Eat Breakfast with Giraffe Herds
Oct03

Giraffe Manor in Kenya : Eat Breakfast with Giraffe Herds

Set on 12 acres of private land within indigenous forest on the outskirts of Nairobi, lies the much-talked about Giraffe Manor. This exclusive boutique hotel should be at the top of everyone’s safari bucket list, if not for its remarkable historical significance then for its defining feature – the giraffe herds that come to your window at breakfast to feed. Ever heard of dogs begging for food? This time it’s the Rothschild giraffes that do the begging! So why do the giraffe occupy the grounds of Giraffe Manor?  The picturesque manor is actually situated on the grounds of a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. The sanctuary comprises 150 acres of land split by a road. This boutique manor house is located at a quiet end of the sanctuary, and the sanctuary is operated and owned by the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). There is a residential road that cuts through the sanctuary, and the giraffe cross this road to roam back and forth in search of nutritious vegetation from the surrounding indigenous canopy of trees in the forest. The same rules apply at Giraffe Manor that do when you’re on a safari – sightings and interactions cannot be guaranteed because essentially the giraffe are wild animals.  The giraffe have become creatures of habit and enjoy requesting food from delighted guests at the breakfast table. You’ll often find them sticking their long necks through the large bay windows in the hopes receiving a titbit. And who can say no to those long eyelashes and woeful eyes? Apart from the giraffe spectacle and exquisite gourmet meals, the accommodation is also a highlight of giraffe manor. There are 12 rooms at the manor house, decorated throughout with careful attention to the exquisite finishings and art deco features. The manor house was established in the 1930’s and its arguably one of the most regal and stately manor houses in the area. Guests have a choice of staying in their choice of three superior rooms, one of which has its own terrace and another one with its own fireplace. There are two humble and perfectly adequate standard rooms at the back of the manor house. The graceful Karen Blixen suite is the most delightful room of all and can be accessed from the courtyard garden and has a large room with a mezzanine level. Add the Giraffe Manor to your travel list if you haven’t done it already! Where else can you eat breakfast with giraffe...

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Top 5 Big Five Safari Options in the Eastern Cape
Oct01

Top 5 Big Five Safari Options in the Eastern Cape

The Greater Kruger is not the only option for a safari in South Africa, despite it being the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa and prime destination for game viewing. There are plenty of other private big five game reserves dotted throughout South Africa, many of which can be found extending across the coast and inland of the Eastern Cape. A safari to the Eastern Cape is the perfect option for holidaymakers that simply don’t have the time to fly to the Kruger if they’re living it up in Cape Town and the Garden Route region.  The Kruger is wild and expansive with a different biome to the Eastern Cape. The Kruger is quite arid with plenty of mopane and an abundance of species, while the Eastern Cape reserves have a combination of Karoo scrub and coastal vegetation. One of the major draw-cards of the Eastern Cape is that it is declared a malaria-free zone, making it an ideal safari destination for families. The reserves are more confined and don’t share unfenced borders with neighbouring reserves, which means game doesn’t migrate.  Apart from the Addo Elephant Park that offers self-catering options for the more budget conscious safari, the reserves scattered in the Eastern Cape region provide a more exclusive, luxury experience. This caters for those wanting the idyllic safari experience with daily game drives, boma dinners, sundowners, bush walks and knowledge from guides.  Here are our top five big 5 safari options in the Eastern Cape :  Shamwari Game Reserve Shamwari is steeped in safari history and offers its visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in complete luxury, while learning about the various conservation initiatives undertaken by the group. Shamwari offers a variety of different styles of safari, catering for all types of safari-goer. There is the Explorer Tented Camp which offers guests the chance to enjoy a 3 day guided walking safari between October – April. This is ideal for the more adventurous guest that enjoys the creature comforts of home.  Sarili Lodge is perfect for families and has sweeping views of the Bushmans River, while Riverdene Lodge also caters for families but is designed to look more like a homestead; and the Lobengula Lodge is a tranquil retreat hiding deep within the thickets of the lush bushveld. The lodge has been designed to resemble an African kraal, and is ideal for couples. The Longlee Manor is an Edwardian style manor house ideal for both business and leisure travellers, and is neatly perched on perfectly manicured lawns. Eagles Crag is Shamwari’s premier lodge and offers an exclusive sense of privacy combined with a unique location. The standard daily game drives, with sundowners, boma dinners...

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Mfuwe Lodge: Elephants Walk Through Reception During October
Sep29

Mfuwe Lodge: Elephants Walk Through Reception During October

The unusual sequence of events that happens every October at Mfuwe Lodge in south Luangwa National Park, is well-documented.  Every year, a huge herd of elephants trundles their way through the reception area of the lodge. The reason for this is simple  – the lodge is built around an ancient Wild Mango tree that fruits from late October to mid-December. The elephants enjoy a huge binging session on the fallen fruits, and the only way to access the tree is to walk through the reception area. This fascinating event has been happening for many years – a clear indiction that elephants are a creature of habit and routine! Mfuwe is actually an award winning lodge constructed out of thatch and stone situated in an enviable location around the banks of two lagoons teeming with wildlife. A canopy of ebony and mahogany trees hovers over the lodge, providing it with the much needed shade during the searing heat of summer. Accommodation is strategically arranged around the banks of the lagoons, to ensure sweeping views and access to prime game viewing positions. The 18 suites come complete with their own verandah, en-suite bathtub and shower. When you’re not enjoying the stream of wildlife filtering through to the natural lagoons, you can enjoy daily game drives or opt for a pre-arranged walk through the bushveld. Other activities include cultural visits to school, textiles and visits to markets with handcrafted items carefully made by locals. During your down time, there is a swimming pool that is perfectly positioned on a broad timber deck overlooking the main lagoon. There is also an outdoor gym, WiFi in the quiet library area and a bush spa with a view of the hippo lagoon below. But, of course, the main attraction of Mfuwe lodge is the heavy presence of elephants. They literally litter the area underneath the mango trees and gorge themselves on the delectable fruit until they cannot move. You’ll witness jostling, clambering over things, and plenty of trumpeting. It’s quite a spectacle – staying here during the elephant period and watching the matriarch lead the herds is highly...

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Great Places to Take Your Kids on Safari
Sep22

Great Places to Take Your Kids on Safari

We’ve shared our favourite safari spots for an unforgettable honeymoon, but we are equal advocates for fantastic family orientated travel in the wild. Experiencing the living world of the African bush and spending time with your children and loved ones in nature are certain ways to create memories and even lifelong passion for this special continent and its inhabitants. In celebration of family travel, we have selected our best family bush camps and safari lodges, which offer interactive kids’ activities, exclusive accommodation for parents and children, and supreme wildlife sightings. Here, Somalisa Acacia in Hwange NP has provided one remarkable family safari experience that ticks every single box, making it number 1 on our list! Kids on safari, being exposed to the great nature we are surrounded by. Many families treasure these times, watching their children learn about the wildlife, birds, plants, and insects. It is a field of study that many South African kids undertake as careers – becoming field guides and rangers who then bestow their knowledge into others. Families at Kwandwe Melton Manor are treated to the most inspiring interactive activities, which bring children and parents together in nature, in the kitchen, doing arts and crafts, and enjoying some time out together at this beautiful Eastern Cape game reserve. Kids’ Travel made blissfully easy with the Londolozi Cubs activities, which not only keep the youngsters entertained for hours, but really engages their sense of imagination with fascinating bush tips and tricks. Parenting on safari can be the most rewarding experience when children are stimulated by their surroundings, learning about and loving the wild world we live in. Londolozi Varty Camp for the win! Lessons in nature are the best lessons! Engaging our minds and discovering the details of the bush give us a renewed perception of our world, and sharing that with family is priceless. Tintswalo Safari Lodge places an emphasis on the value of safari, wildlife, and nature, giving parents and kids the opportunity to add experiences like this to their holiday break. An experience to remember in Kenya’s most coveted eco-system, where vivid colours depict ancient and rich culture, sprawling grasslands paint the vast landscapes, and Topi House provides a heart and home to a family on an exclusive safari. With unrivalled access to the eastern Masai Mara, a host of expert staff running the household and safari activities, this fantastic 3-bedroom house is one way to spend some quality time together as a family on holiday. Experience, unwind, be inspired, and allow yourself and your family to be looked after. Top spot, Topi House. Speaking of family safari adventures, this is a winner and...

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