Blue Train Safari for Golfers and Non-Golfers to the Eastern Cape
Jul24

Blue Train Safari for Golfers and Non-Golfers to the Eastern Cape

The Blue Train provides luxury train journeys across coastal and inland regions within South Africa, and offers passengers a glimpse into a safari sojourn from eons ago before air travel entered into the mix. The classic and sophisticated Blue Train needs no introduction. Since its inception in 1923, when it was a passenger train taking people from Johannesburg to Cape Town to board ships, it has undergone a number of changes. During this period of time the Union Express decided to add much-needed luxuries to the carriages, which included a dining saloon and even air-conditioning. And so the journey to creating a luxury train began. Fast forward a few decades, and we now have ourselves a moving five star hotel with hints of a bygone era still left in tact. This exclusive Blue Train golf safari holiday has 3 classic elements that combine to offer an exclusive experience. Combine the classic African train journey with a quintessential safari in the wild, and throw in a few rounds of golf; and you have yourself an exclusive holiday offering three “vintage” elements with their roots deeply entrenched in history. There is also the Blue Train safari holiday for non-golfers – same amount fun, minus the golf! This particular holiday is a package with set dates that run 4 times a year, and leading experts in their field have worked together to create the itinerary. The golfing package includes 7 days of golfing bliss (5 rounds) combined with a big five safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape’s Shamwari Game Reserve. The non-golfing holiday weaves and winds it way on the same route as the golfing package, but when the golfers hit the green, the non-golfers will enjoy a few pre-arranged activities and tours. There are only 24 suites aboard the train for this itinerary, and 2018 is already fully-booked.  Departure dates are : Feb 07, Mar 22, Oct 11 and Nov 08.  Below are the details of the golfing and non-golfing itinerary:  4 x nights accommodation on The Blue Train Three meals daily and all alcoholic and/or other beverages while on board Suite orientation by Personal Butler, 24-hour full Room Service, Bar Facilities and Portage 2 x nights accommodation at 5-Star Shamwari Game Reserve on Full-Board basis All safari activities at Shamwari (excluding the spa) GOLFERS : 5 x 18 holes golf on Fancourt Montagu, Belmont, Humewood, Pinnacle Point and Pearl Valley. All carts/caddies, halfway house lunch and private coach transfers to golf courses. Daily fun contests with fantastic prizes. NON-GOLFERS : Guided tours including Outeniqua Power Van, Jakkalsvlei Wines, Algoa Bay Boat Cruise, Port Elizabeth City Tour, Point of Human Origins, Diaz...

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Celebrating Singita Sweni’s Design and Architecture
Jul12

Celebrating Singita Sweni’s Design and Architecture

The exclusive Singita properties ooze style and sophistication, and every single one of their properties  manages to remain classically authentic without being ostentatious. Singita Sweni is a lodge resting on the banks of the Sweni River in the heart of the big 5 Kruger National Park, allowing guests to enjoy ample wildlife sightings from the comfort of the lodge. Singita Sweni is tasteful, bold and classy. This exclusive retreat was furnished by award-winning interior designers that successfully managed to combine the essence of the simple safari life with new trends in design principles. All of the Singita lodges are built with the idea in mind that they’re an extension of the environment, rather than an intrusion. Sweni has utilised the colours of the bushveld in its decor. From the soft furnishings to the furniture and artwork, the colours from outside world have been used cleverly throughout. The lodge was completely re-invented during the course of last year, and we absolutely love Singita’s phenomenal take on modern safari living! The Sweni hideaway is home to 7 suites which are eye-level with the surrounding riverine trees. Each of the suites are open-plan and flow through to private game viewing decks. The outdoor showers are yet another added sense of wild luxury that creates a feeling of being completely connected to the bushveld. The showers overlook the river – be sure to lookout for elephants at the river’s edge – and provide yet another game viewing opportunity from the comfort of the lodge. Singita Sweni lodge also has a pool suite which is home to a private swimming pool and expansive riverfront viewing deck. This suite has two bedrooms, making it ideal for families. In terms of activities, there’s plenty on the go. There are game drives, guided walks, archery, a spa and gym, swimming pool, stargazing, shopping at the boutique shop and gallery ; and community visits. There are also plenty of family activities available, which includes baking with with the lodge chefs, swimming and even a mini rangers’ course. For the adults, there’s also wine tasting. The Singita wine list has received an accolade from the “Top Diners Club Wine List”. And as for the wildlife? Well, it goes without saying that game viewing is unsurpassed. The big 5, birdlife, mammals, plains game, predators, and reptiles all call this section of the bushveld “home”.    ...

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Lamu Islands in Kenya For Barefoot Luxury Combined with Authentic Swahili Life
Jun25

Lamu Islands in Kenya For Barefoot Luxury Combined with Authentic Swahili Life

The Lamu Archipelago is a group of tropical islands lying parallel to the coast of Kenya. It’s not quite on the “must-see” bucket list of island vibe holidays for most people, but it most certainly deserves a place. Most people don’t know about the remote archipelago. Kenya is synonymous with safaris, and it’s a world-class destination favoured by eager safari-goers wanting to see the Masai Marai and the famous migration route. But what you might not know is that Lamu is also an exceptional place to enjoy a relaxing island holiday. Lamu is the quintessential Kenyan coast life and remains a rustic, and remote destination with a signature donkey-and-cart way of life. The area hasn’t quite been overrun and marred by tourism, which is a good thing. Lamu is actually a UNESCO world-heritage site offering visitors the opportunity to explore the most original Swahili town in East Africa. A safari to the Masai Mara coupled with an island holiday to Lamu is a perfect itinerary  filled with wildlife, history, culture and barefoot luxury.  Let’s talk about Lamu. This exquisite archipelago is easily accessible via Lamu Airport, which is located on Manda Island. Flying is the safest and most reliable way of getting to the island. Manda island is not a high tourist area, and is linked to the mainland via a small channel. In terms of sought after destinations, most people head to the scenic Shela region of Lamu Island, which is a short boat ride across the channel from Manda.  In terms of culture and traditions, Lamu is conservative and is a largely Islamic Island with Arab and Portuguese influences. Lamu Town is Swahili and its roots date back to the 7th century, making it a uniquely historical destination to visit. The Swahili culture is complex in its origins and comprises a melting pot of cultures.  The Portuguese colonised the East Coast and heavily influenced the area. The Middle East slave trade route (Arabic) also influenced the culture of the area. Swahili was born from centuries worth of contact between locals and the visiting traders, mainly Arabic in origin. Roughly 20 years ago, Lamu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it even more worthwhile to explore. Narrow, cobbled streets crisscross and meander their way through significant buildings. The town centre buzzes with activity from locals selling spices and traditional fare. Find yourself transported back in time while you absorb the constant flurry of colour and the heady mix of spices wafting across the local markets. In Lamu Town you’ll find restaurants, food markets and cafes. It’s authentic and rustic, and worth a visit.  The Shela area is popular and...

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Eastern Cape : Combine Safari, Coast and Golf in Charming Chintsa
Feb14

Eastern Cape : Combine Safari, Coast and Golf in Charming Chintsa

The Eastern Cape is a picturesque destination ideal for a malaria-free safari, and provides the perfect alternative to the Kruger.  This province is an eden boasting landscapes dotted with sweeping cliffs, hidden bays, tidal estuaries, mighty rivers eagerly cutting through lush regions, indigenous forests carpeting undulating landscapes, hilly grasslands and arid inland areas home to a wealth of wildlife. The Eastern Cape offers a destination that is offers the best of beach and bush, making it a must see destination. Many second time visitors to South Africa self-drive the Garden Route and head north to the Eastern Cape to explore the delicate biome of this unique area. The Eastern Cape is known mainly for its malaria-free big five game reserves, but has so much more to offer its visitors.  The Eastern Cape really is a world in one. Eastern Cape is home to some of the friendliest people that welcome you with open arms to their provincial paradise. There’s nothing more charming and heartwarming than a true Eastern Cape welcome. Beneath the surface of the Eastern Cape’s unsurpassed scenery, there dwells a myriad of cultures and interesting history worth exploring. We have many favourite destinations deep within this province, areas that international visitors might not even know about, but our favourite hideaway is untainted coastal region of Chintsa. Chintsa forms part of the revered Wild Coast route, and is located a mere 45 km north of the relaxed coastal town of East London. Rugged coastlines with estuaries, rivers and long stretches of sugar-white beaches define the area. Looming cliffs with coastline vistas, grass covered sand dunes and an ocean ideal for surfing, fishing and watersports; Chintsa has warmed the hearts of many a visitor. To us the Eastern Cape represents outdoor pursuits, coastal splendour and safaris. So we’ve selected 3 places in and around charming Chintsa that can all be neatly packaged into one itinerary. We recommend a stay at Prana for the best of Chintsa, a stay at Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve and a round of golf at Olivewood. Charming Chintsa never disappoints! Here’s a quick introduction to our top choices :  Olivewood Golf Estate  Olivewood is a mere 1 km away from the Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve, making it the ideal destination for the avid golfer who wants to combine an intrepid safari experience with time on the greens. Olivewood certainly takes advantage of its pristine yet wild surrounds. Players can enjoy unsurpassed views of Chintsa, the surrounding thickets of forest and the completely wild environment that hugs Olivewood. Chintsa Valley is a spectacular, unexplored region of the Eastern Cape and even parts of the Chintsa River courses through a section of the estate, providing...

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Expect the Extraordinary: 11 Night Safari by Private Jet
Dec06

Expect the Extraordinary: 11 Night Safari by Private Jet

Journey through Africa by private jet, and embark on one extraordinary adventure. Ignite Your Inspiration Changing the game of luxury travel, this 12-day journey masterpiece is centred on flexibility, originality, and paramount exclusivity. A unique expedition designed for intimate groups, offering unprecedented comfort and customisation to an unsurpassable safari experience. In September 2019, a limited two departures will signify the beginning of historic travel exploits through the continent’s most revered countries. Between 4 and 12 guests take to the skies, destined for the Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater, Victoria Falls, the Kruger National Park, and Cape Town. Let your mind wander, as you contemplate the possibilities of this aerial voyage across the land home to some of the world’s most archetypal species, natural monuments, human history, and natural finery. See the full itinerary, meet your private guides, and discover the state of the art jets you’ll travel in, here.  At a Glance September 2019 4-12 Guests 11 Nights/12 days of supreme travel in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania Flexible itinerary which can extend to include Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda or Uganda Exclusive experiences and complimentary extras Your Exquisite Travel Experiences Choose one of two itineraries combining the carefully selected and seamlessly luxurious properties to customise your travel plans. Choose to travel from the South of Africa to the East, or vice versa, to determine which experience you’ll indulge in first, and which you save for last. Itinerary #1: Cape Town – Kruger National Park – Victoria Falls – Ngorongoro Crater – Masai Mara – Nairobi  Itinerary #2: Nairobi – Masai Mara – Ngorongoro Crater – Victoria Falls – Kruger National Park – Cape Town  From Cape Town to Kenya, or Kenya to the Cape; your choose the direction of your journey. Where You’ll Stay on this Prestigious Journey 2 x Nights at One&Only Cape Town, South Africa Cape Town’s illustrious shores are strewn with world class eateries, cosy beaches with white surf on turquoise waters, internationally recognised mountains hosting unique biodiversity, adventure trails, and scenic views in a metropolitan bowl of culture and style. One&Only is the City’s greatest offering for pampered accommodation, seamless service, and a faultless reputation for luxury, located right in the historic palm of the V&A Waterfront. 3 x Nights at &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa The esteemed Ngala Private Game Reserve shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park, providing an exclusive take on this famed South African wildlife experience. With access to the reserve limited to guests at Ngala guests, the safari experience is pristine, uninterrupted, personalised, and immaculately carried out. An experience of a lifetime awaits at this...

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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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Stories from the Masai Mara: Lion Pride Kills Wildebeest
Oct19

Stories from the Masai Mara: Lion Pride Kills Wildebeest

Another day, another Mara tale from our repeat guest, Nik Simpson! During August and September, the famous wildebeest migration is taking place in northern Serengeti, making those dangerous river crossings at the Mara and Talek Rivers in order to follow their age-old migration routes in pursuit of good grasses. Of course, the lions (and leopards, cheetahs, crocs, and hyenas) have learned over many years that this is where they stand a chance of an easy meal, and sure enough, plenty of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and other migrating antelope fall victim to the predating jaws of the hunters. Nik spent this year’s safari in the thick of it all in Kenya and Tanzania, and it paid off with plenty of breathtaking wildlife encounters associated with the magnetic migration. In recent blog posts, we’ve shared Nik’s photos and accompanying stories from a Talek River crossing, to a cheetah kill, a leopard and her cub, and now a superb safari experience while staying at Ilkeliani Camp: Lions taking down a wildebeest.  To see a kill in action is an occasion you’ll never forget. It takes your breath away and wreaks havoc with your emotions – the lions need to eat, but you want to wildebeest to survive. The circle of life is not always an easy pill to swallow. Something that is important to remember is that lion cubs only have a 50% chance of survival in the wild, and male lions in particular face plenty of difficulties from birth all the way until death. In addition, the wild lion population of the world has decreased from hundreds of thousands to only about 20 000, so to see a pride of lions thriving in their natural habitat is becoming more of a rarity every year. This astonishing moment in the Masai Mara went from thrilling to phenomenal when two lionesses successfully hunted a wildebeest, and then called their cubs out to join in the feast. With no male lions in the area, this little pride was free to eat in peace. Nik’s great images show about 6 cubs bounding over to their mother/s (it is likely that both females gave birth at a similar time given the size of the cubs and the litter), and after an enthusiastic greeting, the little ones tucked into the wildebeest kill alongside the lionesses, and Nik got to enjoy yet another magnificent moment on safari in East Africa....

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