The best of South America: top traveller attractions, by region
Jun28

The best of South America: top traveller attractions, by region

South America is a continent simultaneously erupting with ancient history and vibrant, modern culture. It flows from the frosty peaks of the Andes Mountains, to desert landscapes that look like the surface of the moon. It has a vast tropical jungle basin, Caribbean shores, wine country, bohemian port towns, and exotic wildlife. With so much to offer, the biggest question of all is where to begin? It is easiest to break South America down into its four portions, each offering something iconic and different. There’s SO much to choose from and we recommend getting in touch with Liselle, our South America expert, to ask questions about the continent and what will best suit you. Below are some of our top traveller attractions, by region. The North Coast On the Caribbean coastline is the North Coast and the northernmost reaches of the rainforest, where you’ll find Colombia and Venezuela, palm-fringed beaches, the hard evidence of European colonisation and residual African settlements that stem back to the days of slavery. Lifestyles seem lackadaisical, colours are vibrant, history is everywhere, and nature is close by.   Museo del Oro, Bogotá, Colombia: The home of Colombia’s gold heritage. The museum is a testament to the country’s metalwork expertise of the old days when gold was extracted from the earth, reworked into figurines and jewellery and then buried as a gift to the Earth. While much of the south was plundered for gold treasure, Colombia was overlooked for many years and managed to retain its treasures for longer. Today, what remains – some 36 000 pieces – is on display in Museo del Oro where it is guarded by the bank. A truly exquisite exhibition. The Caribbean Coast, Santa Marta, Colombia: This city is the gateway to the northern attractions, including the tropical, sensual coast and El Rodadero beach. Stroll the popular promenade, sit at pavement restaurants and watch the comings and goings of locals and tourists alike. Salsa dancing is present everywhere you look – a part of the culture. Visit the Cathedral Basilicá, which is built on the ground where the oldest Catholic cathedral in Colombia used to stand after it was founded in 1951. Tairona National Park is easily accessed from Santa Marta and is popular because of its sparsely populated, white, sandy beaches and tropical jungle, which spans out below the jagged Sierra Nevada mountains. The Southern Cone The Southern Cone is the name given to the part of South America that has the most European influence and is most frequently travelled. This is where you’ll find Patagonia and its mountainous hiking routes and windswept shores. Chile – wedged between the Pacific Ocean...

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Light and luxurious new look for affordable Zambia safari lodge
Jun19

Light and luxurious new look for affordable Zambia safari lodge

Kafunta River Lodge, one of our most loved South Luangwa safari accommodations, recently received a fresh lick of paint and opened up its living spaces to invite even more of the view right in. The new image is all we look for in a comfortable, soothing safari environment, and given its prime position overlooking the open floodplains, you won’t miss a thing in terms of lodge-based wildlife viewing opportunities! Pick a place to relax, whether it be on your private deck or with friends around the pool, and absorb the wilderness around you. Location South Luangwa is Zambia’s flagship national park, famous for hippos basking on the banks of the Luangwa River, leopards stalking through the dappled shade of riverine trees, begrudgingly sharing their territory with lions – the true kings of the jungle –  while every member of the wild kingdom gives way to the elephants, which naturally dominate the landscape. The park draws visitors from far and wide, and offers up-close encounters with wildlife in the form of game drives and walking safaris, and during the peak season, it can get very busy. Kafunta River Lodge enjoys its own piece of heavenly shade on the floodplain of the Luangwa River away from the bustling Mfuwe area of the park, and has a private pontoon which offers unrivalled access across the river and into national park territory where game drives are conducted. Rooms It is intimate with only 10 rooms – 8 standard safari chalets and 2 luxury suites – all with sublime positioning along the floodplain and enjoying private viewing decks, comfort, and quiet solitude. The chalets have king or twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, private verandah, minibar fridge, and a ceiling fan. They have new floors and new furnishings, and the bathrooms were upgraded as part of the soft make-over. The two suites can be made up to accommodate four people by converting the upstairs alcove (which would ordinarily serve as an exclusive lounge with a view for suite occupants) into a loft bedroom for two additional beds. The thatched suites enjoy added privacy as they are set further away from the main lodge area; plus, they each have a stand-alone bath tub and both an upstairs and ground-level viewing deck. Lodge The spacious main guest area is sprawled out under the dappled shade and a large deck area accommodates space for various lounges, both out in the open and under thatch. There is an extended deck that perches out over the floodplain, which makes for the perfect starlit dining experiences; there is a circular sunken lounge that surrounds a convivial fire place; and there is...

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Patagonia Hiking Guide: Day Hikes in Torres del Paine
Jun10

Patagonia Hiking Guide: Day Hikes in Torres del Paine

Patagonia is one of the world’s most renowned hiking and trekking destinations. A place for adventurers and nature lovers where the elements can be challenging, but the scenery and landscape majestic… staggeringly so. Torres del Paine is Patagonia’s most famous trekking hotspot and it is where you will find a variety of different day-hikes and multi-day trekking excursions among a host of other outdoor activities, such as boat cruises, kayaking, horse-riding, glacier trekking, etc. We’ve got an article dedicated to the experience of puma trekking in Torres del Paine, and in this article we’re highlighting two of the region’s best hikes for day-packing – one easy and one not so easy! First things first: Weather First, it is important to know that Patagonia is almost as famous for its weather as it is for its rugged landscape. The wind can be very gusty and icy cold, and from about May to October, the winter season takes hold and everything turns white – this is not the time to hike! We recommend hiking in the seasons in between, when the cold is manageable, and in summer when the days are long and pleasantly warm. There is always a chance of rainfall, even during the summer months from December to February, and the wind pumps regularly, so there is no avoiding that altogether, but that’s all part and parcel of a visit to Patagonia! The Autumn months of March and April are also a very pleasant time to be in Patagonia and it is less busy with tourist traffic, so that’s a bonus if you are looking for more privacy and exclusivity. Summer is very busy in terms of visitors and your hiking trails are going to be bustling with other hikers. March and April are better for quieter visits and the wind blows less vigourously, which is nice for campers, but it is a bit colder and the closer to winter you go, the higher the chance of rainfall, so April-May is risky. Spring in October and November is also a favourable time of year, but it still packs that winter chill, so make sure to bundle up and keep warm. Rainfall is less likely to put a damper on things at this time of year, and there are no crowds comparable with summer, so, bonus! Gear Patagonia is an incredibly social place and it is very popular with young couples and groups of friends, as well as solo travellers who are on a soulful mission to realign with nature. Backpackers and hitchhikers are seen all over the quaint little towns in southern Chile, and especially in Puerto Natales, which...

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3 Interesting Facts About Cheetahs
Jun05

3 Interesting Facts About Cheetahs

The streamlined and sleek cheetah is one of the elusive cats to spot while on an African safari. According to their genus, they’re not actually part of the Panthera genus, and are technically NOT big cats. Interestingly enough, they are actually the last remaining species of the genus Acinonyx. An interesting fact given that we lump them together with other cats in the big cat family category. The Panthera genus is a category assigned to big cats that emit a guttural and throaty roaring/barking sound. A cheetah doesn’t roar, it emits a high-pitched chirp and thus isn’t a Panthera. However, they are still part of the Felidae family and still very much a cat! These delicate, elite cats are wonderful to watch when they’re at full speed. Found throughout southern Africa, cheetah have a wide distribution but do favour open savannahs with little obstacles. If you found the above information interesting, then we’re pretty sure you’ll find these further facts about our aerodynamic cats rather enlightening.  3 Interesting Facts About Cheetahs They are diurnal hunters because they have poor night vision. Cheetah have excellent vision and can see clarity on an object for up to 5 km. Coupled with their ability to assimilate detail on an object kilometres away, they also have a 210 degree peripheral vision. During the day a cheetah’s eyesight is equivalent to a powerfully expensive zoom lens! The black hairs absorb light from the sun and allow cheetahs to run straight towards the sun and still be able to see. Unfortunately this precision eyesight doesn’t fare well during the nocturnal hours. Cheetah hunt at dawn and dusk, when it’s still light outside and the air cool enough to hunt. Big cats generally prowl under the cover of darkness, which means cheetah have naturally eliminated the competition for prey by hunting outside of predator rush hour. Speed is their secret weapon, not strength. Cheetah are the fastest terrestrial animals and can easily reach speeds of up to 120 km per hour. Their twisty elongated tail acts like a rudder and helps them balance when reaching top speeds. The cheetah’s body is so finely tuned for speed, that it lacks other skills to protect itself in the wild. These cats don’t have much strength and cannot afford to fight off any form of predatory competition. This is why, when they take down prey, they will eat  quickly and with finesse. They cannot afford to come face-to-face with bone crushing scavengers. Their kill tactics are swift and little blood is shed. Cheetah are solitary animals, but males and females are seen together when its time to mate. Cheetah...

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3 Unique Tropical Beach Lodges in Mozambique for Barefoot Luxury
Jun05

3 Unique Tropical Beach Lodges in Mozambique for Barefoot Luxury

The Mozambique coast is a rugged tropical paradise fringed by warm turquoise waters and landscapes laden with coconut groves. It’s remove, edgy, authentically African and offers secluded pockets of paradise on exclusive islands. Colourful village markets, bustling beach towns, crisp coconuts and freshly caught seafood is the order of the day in Africa’s beach paradise. The best way to enjoy the coast? To cocoon yourself in luxury and surround yourself with the wild beachy wonder of Mozambique. We’ve selected 3 tropical beach lodges in Mozambique for your barefoot luxury. Sava Dunes along the Inhambane Coastline Tofo is a world-renown diving region in Mozambique and offers abundant opportunities to spot whale-sharks and mantra rays, along with an array of colourful fish and corals. Located along the Inhambane Coastline in Mozambique, Tofo is a popular village with visitors to Mozambique. During the height of the summer holidays it can get quite busy, but still manages to keep its quaint rustic African seaside charm. Sava Dunes Beach Lodge is a pocket of luxury perfectly placed along this wild, raw and rugged coastline. Set a mere 5 – 7km outside of Tofo, it has its own private and remote beach location. The lodge is perched upon the sand dunes, and overlooks the emerald and sometimes turquoise Mozambican seas. It’s an eco-friendly lodge offering an authentic, off-the-grid experience. Sava comprises just 5 seaside beach cottages, constructed from wood. Balconies with endless views of the horizon provide the perfect place to kick back and soak up the tropics of Africa. The main area of the lodge houses a relaxing lounge that opens out onto a pool and decking area. Our favourite part? The swim-up bar of course. Take a swim to the bar and order yourself a Pina Colada – that’s an order! The beach is a few metres from your doorstep, and offers warm waters with a peeling surfable wave ideal for bodyboarding. In season, humpback whales are commonly spotted from the lodge. The surrounding area is world-renowned for its ocean safaris, which can all be arranged from the lodge. Distance from Maputo :  White Pearl : Ponta Mamoli, southern Mozambique With a name like “White Pearl” you can only imagine what’s in store for you. Located in southern Mozambique, the elegant White Pearl Resort is perfectly placed in a picturesque destination on the shores of the Ponto coastline. Decor is chic with a light Mediterranean beach club feel – not over the top, but rather a sublime and sophisticated take on coastal furnishings. Just the right combination of blues and crisp whites to complement the champagne sands in front of the rest. Certainly...

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What is the Best Safari Lodge in South Africa?
Jun05

What is the Best Safari Lodge in South Africa?

What is the best safari lodge in South Africa? A simple question with a complex answer! This answer is also dependent on personal taste and what you expect from your safari experience. The top mobile walking safari lodge might be too active a place for that honeymoon couple chasing spa treatments and a sedentary stay. What one couple might label the best safari lodge in South Africa, could be bottom of the list for another couple. Pushing personal taste and safari desires aside, we’re going to list 4 of the top safari lodges in South Africa that are our favourite premier destinations. What you should know is that Some of the best game viewing areas of the Greater Kruger Park are in the private concessions that share unfenced borders with the park, so wildlife flows freely between them. In these concessions, guests are taken on exciting off-road game drives and guided walks in the bush. The most well-known reserves are the Timbavati and Sabi Sand, popular destinations with foreign visitors. However, most of the private reserves within the Greater Kruger offer fantastic game viewing, on par with the more well-documented lodges. In short, these are the creme-de-la-creme of safari lodges within the Greater Kruger. Singita Lodges in Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Singita Sweni, Singita Castleton, Singita Ebony, Singita Boulders (Kruger National Park) and Singita Lebombo (Kruger National Park) all offer a variety of premier lodge options in the exclusive Sabi Sand and private concessions in the national park. Lebombo comes complete with a roof terrace, wine studio, espresso bar and help-yourself deli. There’s even a 25 metre pool sitting in front of 13 contemporary suites on the banks of a river. Boulders Lodge has a somewhat different atmosphere and is an extension of the African wild, an inviting piece of paradise furnished with light colours and gentle textures. Boulders overlooks the Sand River and is named after the smooth boulders taking pride of place at the lodge. Castleton is an exclusive use lodge ideal for families or small groups wanting a private safari experience. There are 6 individual cottages sprawled across manicured lawns, and a main area housing a haven of luxury for those safari downtimes. Sweni seems to almost form part of the banks of the Sweni River, a soothing and relaxing wild region in a private concession in the Kruger National Park. The lodge is bold in its design and sits under a canopy of riverine trees. A perfectly secluded location. Ebony Lodge is located on the banks of the Sand River and cleverly combines classic safari style with modern architecture. Ebony is a delightful mix...

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Safari Trifecta: Etosha, Akagera, and Okavango Delta
Jun04

Safari Trifecta: Etosha, Akagera, and Okavango Delta

The emergence of new and refurbished safari properties is always something that entices us. The possibility of discovering somewhere new, or seeing something through different eyes means that we get to continue developing and evolving our expertise and our product knowledge so that our itineraries include not only the trusted greats we work with over and over again, but that we can give our veteran clients something spectacular and new. When some of our favourite suppliers reveal their newest ventures with us, we’re all ears! We’ve picked three new properties to share with you that are turning out sublime safari memories for our adventurous guests. Sun Safaris secrets revealed! This is one safari trifecta you don’t want to miss. NAMIBIA: Etosha Heights Safarihoek Lodge Most of our Namibia-bound guests are keen self-drivers and lovers of unending wilderness, landscapes, and stars. That is not to say they don’t head to Namibia for the wildlife – they do! Etosha is world class and world renowned – but it’s the other contributing aspects to the wildlife experience that really sets this vast, coastal-desert country apart. Take a look at our Distinctive Namibia luxury itinerary for an idea of what we’re talking about. There is so much space to roam, a low human population for the surface area of the country, and there are lions that live on the Skeleton Coast! From the stars to the relic sand dunes to the desert elephants and black rhinos, Namibia is pure magic, and this is somewhere new we’re excited to be able to offer to our guests headed for Etosha: Safarihoek. Afrikaans for “safari corner”, this modern-comfort lodge is in a private nature reserve bordering the national park’s southwestern boundary, where it makes the most of the staggering views. Etosha Heights is a 60 000 hectare stretch of savannah with thorny thickets, riverine forest pockets, and mopane woodland – a diverse terrain hosting a huge variation in species. Rhino, both black and white, find a stronghold here where they are protected, and what’s more is you can contribute a cash donation of N$50 towards anti-poaching teams when you opt to log on to the unlimited WiFi! The lodge is sprawled out on top of a hill and so the views are indescribable. Wandering elephant, oryx, eland, springbok, zebra, giraffe, lion, and many others cross the plains and can be found in shady spots throughout the reserve. At night, the beauty of being in a private reserve means you can bundle up and head out on a game drive after dark when you stand a chance of seeing aardvark, leopard, and other nocturnal creatures. While you’re...

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