Welcome to Qorokwe Camp, a late 2017 addition to Wilderness Okavango Collection
Jan17

Welcome to Qorokwe Camp, a late 2017 addition to Wilderness Okavango Collection

The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s most popularly visited areas. It is not likely that we’ll arrange your tour of Southern Africa without suggesting (or insisting) that this iconic and unique region of Botswana is featured on your itinerary! We love the mokoro experience, which offers a glimpse into the age-old means of travel between islands, and the tranquility of the waterside lodge locations are perfect for balmy African evenings, and the game viewing goes without saying! We are overly excited to sink our teeth into the Delta’s newest offering, which was launched late last year by the renowned Wilderness Safaris. Welcome to Qorokwe Camp! Located in the southeastern region of the Okavango Delta bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Qorokwe Camp is situated on an enormous private concession measuring over 26 000 hectares, which has not been utilised in 4 years. This element of untouched wilderness is even more exciting because it gives us a look into how the vegetation and the animal and bird life has moulded itself without any human input over years. There is plentiful game in the area and water all year round, keeping the wildlife fed and watered through all seasons and offering Qorokwe guests front row seats to some epic Delta safari experiences. Qorokwe means “the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water”, which describes the activity of large buffalo herds in the camp’s immediate location. The vast floodplains are home to these great, formidable beasts, and to the lions that stalk them endlessly, while the interspersed acacia woodlands feed herds of giraffe and zebra, and brings biodiversity to the area. The local lion pride is presently numbered at about 15, and is spectacularly impressive to watch while sitting silently in the embrace of a kitted out game viewer. The lodge itself is a testament to environmental sustainability, as all Wilderness Safaris projects are. As such, the camp is solar-powered, and you can be prepared to put down your mobile phone because Qorokwe is blissfully Wi-Fi-free! There are 8 elegant tented suites with indoor and outdoor showers (a real safari treat), and a very spacious family suite with a private splash pool to cater for parents travelling with children. The main lodge area is also equipped with a swimming pool, surrounded by wooden decking and loungers that overlook the view of the lagoon and floodplains. There is also a library, lounge, dining area and bar, which all make the most of the abundant views and sense of solitude in this very special place. Qorokwe Camp is now open and welcoming guests who are in search of ultimate quietude...

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Where are you going in 2018? We have some suggestions…
Jan17

Where are you going in 2018? We have some suggestions…

Bucket list destinations for 2018! If you’re looking for some inspiration on your first day back in the office, planning your adventures for the 2018 holidays might be a good place to start – to remind yourself why you work in the first place! This week we’re sharing our list of wild and wonderful places we have put on our travel bucket lists this year. These are some of the most awe-inspiring spots on the African continent and in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and they are bound to enchant you and set your soul on fire. First up: Fish River Canyon, Namibia. This is the largest canyon in Africa and the longest inland river in Namibia, stretching for 160km in total. Today it is a string of pools located in the vast ravine and is one of southern Africa’s most astonishing hiking trails. Entirely unique, heart-stoppingly beautiful, and certainly unmissable. Visit Fish River Canyon Lodge for views like this! Next up on our 2018 travel bucket list is Zambia’s tremendous Kafue National Park, where the eerily misty Busanga floodplains draw a blanket of rising fog over the bright light of the rising sun, illuminating the sky and rose-tinting the entire scene. This safari secret burns brightly on our 2018 calendars, and we can already feel the excitement and hint of unease spreading through our veins as we explore this wild animal kingdom shrouded in a disorienting haze. What a sight to behold on safari in this majestic place with Busanga Bush Camp. On our journey to discover 2018’s top spots, we’ve chosen this secluded island of smooth boulders and leafy trees in the waters of Lake Malawi National Park. Mumbo Island Camp is remote bliss, 10km across the water from Cape Maclear, which is this island’s nearest road access and the reception for the camp. The isolation of Mumbo Island is reason enough to spend at least a few days swinging in your hammock overlooking the clear, fresh water, but it offers so much more than just peace and quiet. The scuba diving, snorkelling, and kayaking activities are sublime ways to enjoy the unique biodiversity of this great lake, and Mumbo Island’s tented or thatched chalets are the perfect places to spend silent nights and in between days of sun-filled fun. Breezing through our bucket list items brings us to a celebrated World Heritage Site; a place we have bestowed with a title that represents the natural integrity of an area, enhancing its value and protecting its precious existence. This elephant paradise is Mana Pools National Park on the banks of Zimbabwe’s historic Lake Kariba. The...

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Part 2 of African Parks’ Unknown Wildlife Conservation Areas
Jan12

Part 2 of African Parks’ Unknown Wildlife Conservation Areas

In a previous post we celebrated the news that Prince Harry had been appointed as President of African Parks and introduced the first 4 of 12 conservation areas under the organisations management. For many nature lovers and adventure seekers, the wildlife reserves and national parks protected by African Parks are unheard of. These places were decimated by civil war, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and neglect, and through agreements between local authorities and African Parks, conservation has become a priority, and work is being done to enforce law, provide employment, and nurture both the natural environment and the people who rely on it. In this 3-part series, we are introducing the 12 lesser known destinations that are being rehabilitated rebuilt into the magnificent, ecologically unique wilderness that it once was. Garamba National Park Northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bordering South Sudan DRC’s only population of Kordofan giraffe Largest and last stronghold for elephants in all of DRC UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and one of Africa’s oldest National Parks Part of 12500 sq. km Garamba Complex African Parks, and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) entered into a partnership in 2005 to manage the park. Then and Now Northern DRC and South Sudan are notoriously war torn, and the wildlife of Garamba has suffered significantly as a result of uncontrolled poaching for bushmeat and ivory over the decades. In the 1970s, there were estimated to be as many as 22 000 elephants in the 4900 sq. km national park, and today elephants number only 1300. Hostile conditions across the country during years of war and intense pressure from the Lord’s Resistance Army left Garamba as a shadow of its former self, while surrounding local communities suffered under the same conditions. Now, under African Parks renewed management, Garamba National Park is responsible for the employment of over 1000 people, while strict law enforcement is in place to protect the park’s assets. Highly trained anti-poaching units are in place to protect wildlife, while schools, a hospital, mobile healthcare facilities, and environmental programmes are providing much needed support to communities. Just last year, the number of collared elephants grew to 47 and a number of rare Kordofan giraffe were born, while improved protection has been provided to Garambas rangers and endangered species, signalling the success and committment to conservation. Liuwa Plain National Park Western Zambia Location of the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa 19th Century conservation story of King bestowing the land to his people  Home of the famous lioness, Lady Liuwa In 2003, African Parks entered into a partnership with the Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW)...

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New Franschhoek Winelands Lodge on the Exclusive La Clé Des Montagnes
Jan10

New Franschhoek Winelands Lodge on the Exclusive La Clé Des Montagnes

La Clé Country Lodge opened just in time for Christmas last year and is now welcoming the new year in gorgeous, chic Cape country style. This is the newest offering in the La Clé Des Montagnes portfolio, which already boasts the supreme La Clé Villas sprawled on the working wine farm’s staggering location. The Country Lodge is a 5-bedroom house with grand country kitchen equipped with genius chefs and housekeeping staff, ample living spaces, and spacious grounds and swimming pool. It is ideal for individual bookings or as an exclusive sole-use booking hugging the edge of South Africa’s ‘French corner’, Franschhoek. The monumental mountains rise up from rolling vineyards and flowering plum orchards and create the most magnificent backdrop to this finely crafted Cape country retreat. Disguised by great, old trees, yet entirely exposed to a view of the vineyards, La Clé Country Lodge is embraced by neatly pruned hedges, and classically adorned with thatch and green shutters. The swimming pool ripples cooly under deep blue skies, offset by the emerald garden lawn that surrounds it. The terracotta tiles lead from the verandah, through the large French doors, and into the dining room and living spaces. Antique ornaments adorn the walls and classic old furniture dress the rooms and complete the character assigned to this warm and nostalgic retreat. Franschhoek charm Franschhoek is a wealth of ancient French Huguenot influence; from the famous 3-arched monument, classic architecture, delicate corner pâtisseries and chocolatiers, refined cheese and wine farms, which a distinctive air of elegance. Modern Franschhoek is represented in the fun surrounding the Bastille Festival, adventure activities, such as bicycle trails, horse riding, canoeing, and village strolls. These days, the village of Franschhoek is a trendy hub of artisanal and hipster establishments, while a short walk (or bike ride) from the village will take visitors to the quiet suburbs and the thriving wine farms beyond. Book out exclusively or reserve a room The beauty of the Country Lodge is that it is fit for families who would like an exclusive house to call their home, only an hour’s drive from Cape Town and 30 minutes’ from the airport. Children can spend their days splashing in the swimming pool, and enjoying garden entertainment, while 5 bedrooms with en suites offer enough space for all. Outdoor activities and plenty of food offerings both in the village and prepared in the lodge’s own interactive kitchen by highly trained chefs. Alternatively, La Clé Country Lodge’s 5 bedrooms can be booked out separately and the house shared by independent couples or singles (no children under 12 on independent bookings). The spacious grounds, equipped country kitchen...

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Prince Harry’s African Parks is Protecting these Unknown Wildlife Areas
Dec31

Prince Harry’s African Parks is Protecting these Unknown Wildlife Areas

News of Prince Harry’s new job as President of African Parks was recently announced and has received enormous support from the conservation world. The Royal involvement in protecting wildlife and natural resources speaks volumes to the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking and trade, while placing huge emphasis on the promotion of human-wildlife harmony. African Parks has a large number (12) of wildlife areas under their management, and most of those areas are unheard of to most of us. Some of the deepest, most enigmatic wild territories of Africa, where little to no tourism has ever taken place, have suffered in silence as the fight for natural resources and poaching has decimated the landscapes that house some of the continents rarest species. In this 3-part series, we’re introducing African Parks’ 12 parks, revealing the important work that is being done through collaboration with local authorities to save wildlife. Here are 4 of those 12 conservation areas…   Bangweulu Wetlands North-eastern Zambia “Where the water meets the sky” 433 Different bird species, including the rare shoebill (Shoebill Guard Programme) Community-owned and protected Co-managed by African Parks, Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), and 6 Community Resource Boards (CRBs) since 2008 Then and Now: Pre-African Parks, Bangweulu was decimated by poaching and overfishing, which had depleted the precious wetland resources and habitats. The black lechwe antelope, which is listed as endangered and is only found in Bangweulu, was nearing a dangerous stage of existence as illegal hunting threatened to eliminate the species. Since partnering with African Parks in 2008, the turnaround in the health and wellbeing of this extraordinary wetland, its incredible diversity of species, and the welfare of the local communities has been astonishing. Now, Bangweulu is one of the largest employers in the region, providing opportunities and direct benefits to local people, who are now the protectors of this cherished, wild area. This growth and achievement can be attested to carefully implemented law enforcement, co-governance and community-fuelled conservation practices, sustainable harvesting and the effective use and protection of natural resources. Akagera National Park North-eastern Rwanda Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and last remaining refuge for savannah adapted species 482 Different species of bird, and protected habitat for the shoebill Rwanda’s only Big 5 Park Co-managed by African Parks and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) since 2010 Then and Now: During the Rwandan Civil War of the 1990s, the size of Akagera National Park was reduced from 2500 sq. km to 1122 sq. km when more than half of the park’s land was converted to farmland for returning refugees. The war and devastating economic state of the country led...

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Private Beach Villas for a 2018 Seaside Getaway
Dec28

Private Beach Villas for a 2018 Seaside Getaway

Quite unbelievably, we’re planning our travels for the year 2018! Join us as we scour the planet for some of the best, most secretive, blissfully luxurious, charmingly rustic, superbly remote, and utterly private spots to unwind and experience parts of the world we didn’t know existed. During this busy time of the year, we feel drawn to the therapeutic presence of the ocean and are very happily plotting our first seaside holiday. To start: Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, which is located near the quaint South African town of Port Alfred, and is surrounded by protected terrestrial and marine reserve. This place oozes timeless elegance while embracing the salty presence of the Indian Ocean in the air, and celebrates the richness of the country’s natural assets. There is a private villa consisting of 3 ensuite double rooms to cater for exclusive groups, adding even more privacy to this oceanside retreat. There is no denying the level of opulence at Oceana, where everything including the ocean is at your fingertips. South African heritage is celebrated in the art and decor of this palatial sanctuary, while the natural abundance of the coastal reserve is protected and cherished with passion. A long stretch of private beach is perfect for picnics, swimming, running, strolling, dining, and sunset watching. The rolling hills of the reserve are home to a host of special bird species and plenty of indigenous animals, all of which can be explored on bumbling game drives or long walks. Dining is an experience to be enjoyed, and the service is perfect, leaving Oceana’s guests wanting for nothing. Zanzibar Grand Beach Villa and Boutique Tanzania’s coastline is famously decorated with magnificent underwater gardens and colourful coral reefs where shimmering shoals of fish dart through the clear water among turtles, dolphins, whale sharks, starfish – unending marine beauty! On the historic island of Zanzibar, just off Tanzania’s coast, white beaches abound and tall palm trees sway in the wind. This is one place we definitely want to be. Just a few minutes’ from the island’s ancient Stone Town, and on a private stretch of beach, the Zanzibar Grand Beach Villa & Boutique offers that sublime blend of modern freshness and an ambience of old world charm. The private pool is lined with loungers, shaded by umbrellas, while the shaded verandah offers a rustic place to enjoy a summer lunch on driftwood furniture only a step or two from the swimming pool. A mere 10-minute walk from the bustling culture of Stone Town, rich with spicy aromas and noisy chatter of locals; this seaside resort is a peaceful retreat for an exclusive group with...

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Swazi Gold: 5 Best Things to do in the Kingdom of Swaziland
Dec19

Swazi Gold: 5 Best Things to do in the Kingdom of Swaziland

One of Africa’s smallest countries, ruled by a king, and landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique; the Kingdom of Swaziland holds enigmatic beauty within its diminutive borders. It lies on the fault line that carved the Drakensberg Mountains and the Great Rift Valley, and it supports a diversity of wildlife, including endemic residents, which can only be seen in some of Swaziland’s celebrated parks and reserves. Think over 500 species of birds, including a number of globally threatened individuals, and the South-central black rhino, to whet your safari appetite; while ancient human history lies in relics throughout the country, and wild botany is cherished in protected areas. Swaziland is rich in culture, unusual wildlife, and natural splendour, and it is easily incorporated into a southern African travel itinerary. This is our idea of Swazi Gold: 5 Best Things to do in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Horse Riding in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary Horseback safaris are one way to dissolve into nature and survey the wild terrain as a part of it all. Without the sound of a rumbling vehicle to drown out the softer sounds of nature, and without the vulnerability of being on foot to hinder the game viewing potential; a horseback safari opens every sense and makes you one of the crowd. Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places in Swaziland to ride into the distance and trot along mountain trails among herds of zebra and wildebeest without raising the alarm. This wildlife sanctuary is situated in Ezulwini Valley, which means ‘the valley of Heaven’, and its name – Mlilwane – means ‘little fire’, which tells the story of the many fires that once burned here due to lightening strikes. It is a mysterious and scenically magnificent area, best explored on the back of a horse. There is a variety of accommodation offered at afforable prices, making this a superb stop in a well travelled area of Swaziland. Our favourite rooms might be the beehive huts, which are unique and basic, perfectly blended with the environment. Safari in Hlane Royal National Park  Hlane Royal National Park is Swaziland’s flagship, home to large herds of game and 4 of the Big 5 (no buffalo). Hlane means ‘wilderness’ in siSwati, which perfectly describes this 22 000-hectare conservation area, which is a vision of mountainous ridges and green, shimmering valleys, housing Africa’s largest breeding population of endangered white-backed vultures. The beauty of Hlane is that you can enjoy it as a self-catering, self-driving family adventure, or check in and book activities with trained guides to take you around in an open-air game viewer. If you’re out to cruise around...

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