Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?
Nov14

Planning a Coastal and Safari Holiday to South Africa?

South Africa is a confident vibrant country with a myriad of cultures, unsurpassed contrasting scenery and endless gourmet restaurants displaying a sense of creative flair. South Africans don’t follow a mould, and most certainly aren’t afraid of experimenting and trying out new things. Whether it’s food, new hotels, sports, and cultural endeavours, South Africans are always pushing the boundaries. The country is dotted with small towns, from inland farm country estates to coastal villas, bohemian city hotels and bush camps in the wild; there’s so much waiting to be explored. It has been said that South Africa is the world in one. We have vast safari landscapes, deep lakes, forests, rocky coastlines, golden beaches, mountains, buzzing cities, deserts and an array of local cultures and traditions waiting to be discovered. So, how do you encapsulate the best of this country in one short holiday? You don’t! Unless you have 3 months to explore this mysterious land of wonder, we suggest you select a few prime not-to-missed destinations that can easily be covered in a 3 week holiday. Here are a few ideas for destinations if you are planning a safari and coastal holiday to South Africa. A Safari to Kruger The Greater Kruger is an interesting biome covering kilometres of acacia woodland, rocky terrain, sandy savannah, undulating landscapes and a myriad of river systems. The national park itself spans across 19,485 square kilometres. The big five roam wild and free in the Kruger, and there are plenty of predators such as wild dog, cheetah and other carnivores. There are also over 500 species of bird fluttering about in this wild area of South Africa. There are numerous lodges and campsites inside the park for a more self-catering safari holiday for those on a budget. Within the private reserves there are safari camps, mobile walking safaris and lodges offering daily guided safaris in open-topped game viewers with game rangers. A set 3 day safari for first time safari-goers is recommended – you will learn about both the wildlife, vegetation and natural landscape. Cape Town Cape Town is the coastal destination to visit when coming to South Africa. There are two oceans – the Atlantic Seaboard and the Indian Ocean, one has sandy beaches with cold turquoise waters and the other warmer waters. Bohemian coastal villages, trendy town centres, vineyards, museums, art galleries and a rich cultural heritage all bind together to create an eccentric and remarkably good-looking holiday destination. A few highlights that should not missed include a trip to Cape Point, a drive over Chapman’s Peak, a walking tour of the historical Bo Kaap and District Six regions, dinner...

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Lion Sands Tinga Lodge has a new Family Suite: Hi’Nkweni Villa
Nov10

Lion Sands Tinga Lodge has a new Family Suite: Hi’Nkweni Villa

It’s music to our ears when we hear there is MORE from MORE! We get to be excited about something we know is going to add so much value to our clients’ safari experiences, and with this recent addition to the already established Lion Sands family, it is nothing less than newsworthy. The beautiful Tinga Lodge, located in private Kruger National Park, has added a family suite to their existing 9 luxury suites. Hi’Nkweni Villa opened in August this year with the intention of accommodating families with young children in an exclusive and entirely comfortable way, without compromising on the luxury we have come to expect from the More properties. The Hi’Nkweni Family Villa is located along the boardwalk that leads from Tinga’s spacious and stylish main lodge area to each of the, now, 10 suites, which line the Sabie River. Beautiful riverine trees provide year-round shade and greenery, bringing dappled sunlight into every area of the lodge. The dining space, living area, bar, curio shop, reception, and mesmerising deck overlooking the river, are all strewn with rays of sunlight pouring through the trees. Hi’Nkweni is situated close to the main lodge, offering convenience and ease to parents travelling with young children who might want to explore between meal times and safari activities. The villa itself can sleep a maximum of 6 guests in 2 bedrooms (4 adults and 2 children); and is perfect for families with children as young as 6. There is unobtrusive yet secure fencing surrounding the villa, which offers safety and peace of mind for parents. Each of the two master bedrooms have private covered patios and lead onto courtyard gardens, while the villa is also designed to facilitate family and group interaction with a beautiful and spacious entertainment area, where you will find a swimming pool, garden, wooden deck, and covered patio. There is an indoor lounge with a fireplace, air-conditioning, a fridge and pantry area offering drinks and snacks on hand. Each of the bedrooms has an indoor and outdoor shower, a bath tub, separate WC, an open plan vanity station, and views into the garden. The setup of Hi’Nkweni Villa is ideal for families; additionally because it comes with a private guide and game viewer. Each of the Tinga game viewers seats 6 people spaciously, and the family suite gets its own to cater for the group exclusively. It is an incredibly family-friendly operation with generous rates for children between the ages of 6 and 15 (50% of the adult rate), and specialised activities that bring families together in...

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New Tanzania Luxury at Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park
Nov07

New Tanzania Luxury at Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park

We are always excited about a new offering from the world of luxury safaris, so the arrival of Asilia Africa’s newest, Jabali Ridge, has got us ogling. This is architecturally unique, alluring, and utterly luxurious, from its magnificent location on a boulder-strewn koppie, to its dramatic infinity pool with baobab views, and its seamlessly blended 8 suites, which are made of natural materials and camouflage perfectly against the granite landscape. In addition to 8 luxury suites (each sleeping 2 people), Jabali Ridge Private House offers exclusive accommodation to groups and families in 2 master bedrooms and a twin room. The lodge opened its doors in September this year, inviting guests to this mountaintop retreat overlooking the vastness of Ruaha National Park. The intelligent design of Jabali Ridge makes it almost invisible on the landscape, surrounded by granite boulders, and among the baobab trees that make this region so special. The bedrooms are built of natural timber, woven textiles, and dynamic Louvered shutters, which slide open or closed to suit guest preference during different times of day. The shuttered walls are features themselves, acting as cool ventilation passages on warm days, and sealing to enclose the rooms at night. King size beds offer indulgence for afternoon siestas and spacious comfort at night, while ensuite bathrooms are equipped with rainshowers from which a view of the surroundings can be enjoyed. Private decks with loungers enhance the space in which guests can relax and admire the Ruaha scenery, while a Spa offers even more in terms of safari pampering. And did we mention the rim-flow pool that spills out between the boulders and onto the endless plains below? Well, there’s that too. In terms of safari experience, Tanzania is world renowned. Ruaha National Park is vast, and it is where 10% of the world’s wild lion population resides. Mega prides of about 20 lions are known to patrol these lands, while the landscape is also perfect cheetah territory. Elephants dominate Ruaha, while buffalo, giraffe, sable and roan are among the abundant wildlife populations scattered throughout the area, and around the Mwabusi River, which is a hotspot nearby. Game drives, walking safaris, and night drives are conducted by expert guides who bring invaluable quality to the Jabali experience. Beginning at the break of dawn, morning game drives kickstart the day of game viewing, and can include a picnic breakfast if this is what guests would prefer. Alternatively, a cooked breakfast can be enjoyed upon return to the lodge. All ingredients and recipes are locally crafted and perfected, while all meals – from bread and biscuits to ice-cream – are homemade by the talented...

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Stories from the Masai Mara: Leopard Kill in Action
Oct25

Stories from the Masai Mara: Leopard Kill in Action

Another day, another story from the Masai Mara, where Nik Simpson spent a very productive few days on safari at Ilkeliani Camp and Porini Lion Camp before heading off to the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. We’ve made the most of his fantastic photos, sharing them in various stories on our blog and social media platforms, and today brings yet another outstanding moment in the wild to life. A big male leopard – spotted enjoying the after effects of good meal while he relaxed in a tree – was brought to attention when he spotted a good opportunity to feast once again! A lone wildebeest was spotted nearby and this male leopard wasn’t going to let an easy meal pass him by. This is Nik’s story of the event: “We were on our way to see if we could see a wildebeest crossing on the Talek River when we came across this large leopard in a tree. He had obviously fed well as you can see the remains of his last kill hanging from the tree behind him. Almost immediately he spotted a lone wildebeest from his tree, 50-100 yards away, and he showed immediate interest despite his obviously full belly. His interest piqued by the wildebeest, he started to come down from the tree. A quick descent from the tree and he was ready to get his breakfast. The wildebeest seemed to be completely oblivious. I imagine he was wondering why all the safari trucks were around him, thinking “they like me, they like me”! It was over in seconds: the leopard pounced and quickly got a grip of the wildebeest’s throat. Less than a minute later, it was all over. The leopard obviously wanted to eat his breakfast in peace, so he started dragging his kill off into the bush. He was a large, powerful leopard; and the wildebeest barely had a chance to put up a fight. This was the last we saw of him as he dragged his kill out of...

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Stories from the Masai Mara: Bird Nerds Unite!
Oct24

Stories from the Masai Mara: Bird Nerds Unite!

You know who you are: If the mysterious sound of an unknown bird call rings out from the bush and stops you dead in your tracks, or a flutter of feathers you don’t recognise rustles in the thicket, making you sweat with excitement; or a flight pattern that is not familiar to you takes shape overhead and sends you running for your binoculars; you’re one of us. A Bird Nerd is a self-proclaimed title for those of us who are passionate about birdwatching on safari, or just in our own back gardens (or on the street, at a coffee shop, watching TV, family lunches, sitting in traffic, etc.), and we are dead set on identifying birds we don’t know. It starts with the urgency to state the ID of a bird or its call if we are sure we know it, otherwise it becomes somewhat of an obsession to note its specific shape, colour, behaviour, and sound, and (best case scenario) get a photo of the unidentified flying object before meticulously anlaysing the pages of the LBJs (little brown jobs) and hopefully landing a positive ID. If you are not a Bird Nerd, you won’t understand the level of unwelcome torment brought on by the inability to positively identify a new bird… When our recent guest, Nik Simpson, returned from his East Africa safari, he produced albums upon albums of fantastic wildlife photos, proving just what a fantastic safari he had, and in among his big cat photos was an album of birds! Delighted, we are sharing those photos here in this blog, coupled with a fun fact or two about each of these superb and fascinating creatures! Take a look at Nik’s Flickr account for his complete reel of safari photos, here. The white-browed coucal captured here in a totally fluffed up state has some remarkable patterns on its face. In addition to its unmistakable ‘eyebrows’, this coucal is covered in streaky feathers around its neck, and a deep chestnut body with almost black tail feathers. The coucals have a beautiful liquid-sounding call, which rings out like an echo before rain is expected to fall, This, according to South African lore, has given these birds the name “rain bird”. If you see a white-browed calling (tricky, as they are often hidden in long grass or reeds), you’ll notice it hugs its bill to its chest and its move in and out rapidly, feathers vibrating. It’s a full body workout! The white-bellied bustard. This fantastic photo was captured as a male was calling loudly, which gives us a nice look at his “beard” of dark feathers under his beak....

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Magical Coastline Destinations in Tropical Mozambique
Oct20

Magical Coastline Destinations in Tropical Mozambique

Dreaming of a palm-strewn, tropical beach vacay? Same here. Our travel day dreams took us to to the sandy shores of Mozambique where this little wooden bungalow is shaded by thatched roofs and cooled by the ocean breeze. Nyati Beach Lodge is quite simply the beach getaway we’ve been yearning for. It is located near the popular town of Vilanculos, on a private stretch of beach front, and perfectly equipped to see to every beach bungalow desire. We’re going to the beach this week – join us here as we post our favourite Mozambique destinations! Santorini Mozambique is drenched in the liquid glow of the sunrise, as it faces the broad horizon and welcomes the sun each morning. Stretching from one end of the earth to the other, the views on display from your private villa patio are seemingly endless. This seaside paradise is one for the books. There is something for families, honeymooners, and couples travelling together, and it is only a 20-minute drive from Vilanculos airport. This week is all about Mozambique – the perfect place to include in a beach and bush safari adventure – and Santorini Mozambique is one of our favourites. Words that come to mind when we think of Azura Quilalea: warm, tranquil, romantic, earthy, remote. What a place to be, relaxing at the seaside, soaking up the Northern Mozambique sunrises and sunsets from the comfort of a rustic wooden verandah only steps from the gently lapping waves. This piece of paradise is one of 9 private villas on a private island in these glorious Indian Ocean waters, and we want to be there. Mozambique’s coral pink skies bloom overhead as guests settle down on the private shores of andBeyond Benguerra Island. It’s sunset, and the world has blossomed into delicate floral colours while the wash of the water on the sand gently lulls us into an even further state of relaxation. This sublime setting is what makes a seaside sanctuary so alluring, and andBeyond’s revered reputation in the safari world translates flawlessly to their phenomenal beach locations. Luxury, privacy, serenity in nature… Take us back! That island life: palm trees, blue seas, traditional cabanas, the golden sunset glow, and fine, soft sand beneath your feet. It’s no wonder the seaside beckons when we’re in need of rejuvenation and revitalisation. The Big Blue moves in tides, entirely in tune with nature, and its warm, gentle Mozambican Current invites us right in. This private island is Azura Benguerra; it is a seaside villa paradise, with locally built beach suites right on the sand, lulling us into that dreamy state of natural relaxation. Forget blue...

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Guest Photos from a Greater Kruger Safari Experience
Oct20

Guest Photos from a Greater Kruger Safari Experience

Over the years, we have got to know some interesting, passionate, and wonderful people who have contacted us to arrange the adventures of a lifetime. Some guests have come to know our consultants, and return time after time to sew together some of the most fantastic safari itineraries. Kim Richardson and Geraint Isitt are a couple who have consistently travelled with us, and most recently they returned from a Greater Kruger Park, where they visited three private reserves: Klaserie, Timbavati, and Sabi Sand. Following their safari, they shared their images with us, which we have included here to illustrate what an all-rounded, wildlife-rich experience this part of South Africa offers. Thank you, Kim and Geraint, for sharing your photos and feedback with us! Lodges visited: nThambo Tree Camp, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve Shindzela Tented Safari Camp, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Notten’s Bush Camp, Sabi Sand Wildtuin The Sabi Sand showing off for Kim and Geraint on their recent trip to the Greater Kruger during a safari arranged by our agent, Natasha. This was only one of many phenomenal big cat sightings, and among numerous leopard encounters. Those icy blue eyes make this tom quite an unforgettable cat! The incredible 180° jaw stretch reminding us why we keep our distance from these enormous river mammals! Kim and Geraint captured some brilliant shots during their time in the Greater Kruger, and were ready at the right time when this hippo put on its territorial display in the middle of his dam. This big “yawn” is the perfect way to let other male hippos know to keep their distance. Battle wounds of a warrior, perfectly captured by Kim while on safari with us at Notten’s Bush Camp. This Sabi Sand king is one of the Charleston males – a powerful coalition of lions dominant in the area – and he is as strong as ever even after a couple of years donning this dislodged canine! All part of an incredible safari in the Greater Kruger. These humbling giants emerge ever so quietly from the bush, ambling silently towards us, making far less noise than would be expected from an animal of this size. Elephants possess the incredible ability to step elegantly over obstacles and remain quiet as a mouse, while they have the equal power to wreak havoc when the need arises. Trees are entirely uprooted and bark is stripped from ancient trunks with ease. These powerful members of the wild are extremely clever, emotional, and feeling animals, and it is a privilege to share their space with them. Thanks once again to Kim for sharing this beautiful capture taken while on safari with us...

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