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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SafariLive : A Virtual Safari in Masai Mara and Kruger
Nov12

SafariLive : A Virtual Safari in Masai Mara and Kruger

safariLIVE gives viewers from around the world an opportunity to go on safari and ask questions – from the comfort of their living room or from behind their computer screen. Let’s unwrap that sentence and explain ourselves. safariLIVE broadcasts live from the Greater Kruger in the pristine Sabi Sand Reserve and from the Masai Mara’s great migration. Footage is live, unedited and thus provides both an exciting and authentic safari experience. safariLIVE is the brainchild of WildEarth who have really provided viewers with reality TV. Script? No script – it’s the African wild and nothing can be predicted. The sightings provide the fodder for the ad lib scripts. Then, there’s also the opportunity to interact LIVE, while rangers are out on drive and in a sighting. Instead of sitting on the back of an open-topped game viewer, asking questions, you can tweet #SafariLive and they will interact live with their virtual guests! The live feed happens twice a day for 10 minutes (typically game drives happen at dawn and dusk) during the morning game drive and evening game drive. There are two game vehicles, drones and a guide on foot all seeking the same thing – wildlife ! Every day, over 53 million viewers across multiple National Geographic Facebook accounts are transported to South Africa daily for interactive, guided Facebook Live safaris. Join a virtual drive in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in south-western Kenya or in the Sabi Sand in the Greater Kruger. If you can’t join the live safari drive, then be sure to observe the footage from the live feed at the Djuma waterhole in the Sabi Sand. If you sit and watch the footage, you never know what you might see! If you’d like to stay at the lodges involved in this interactive safari experience, then we can always arrange a stay at two of our favourite lodges, Chitwa Chitwa and Arathusa Safari Lodge in the heart of the Sabi Sand...

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Did you know that not all animals are born male or female? 
Nov11

Did you know that not all animals are born male or female? 

The primitive behaviour of wildlife can be quite brutal to witness, and it’s normally a far cry from what is considered ethical and the norm for us emotionally charged humanoids. The wildlife kingdom has no labels – their behaviour is based on instinct and survival of their species. What we consider cruel in our brain-dwelling world, to them is innate to their species. Male lions commit infanticide with cubs sired by other males, female snakes engage in sexual cannibalism, and ageing buffalo bulls past their prime are ousted from the herd. Cruel, yet necessary. Primordial for us, yet natural for them. The rules of the wild are fascinating, with each species thriving and conducting behaviours based on instincts specific to their genetic make-up and family. When comes to the subject of sexing an animal, it can be, surprisingly tricky. Did you know that not all animals are born male or female? Crocodiles, female hyena and snails all have an unusual story when it comes to genitalia and sexual identification. Crocodile’s Sex is Determined by Incubation Conditions Crocodiles are ectothermic creatures and prehistoric reptiles. They will sun themselves on the banks of rivers to control their body thermostat, and seek out shade when they become too hot. These eerie looking reptiles are one of the most notorious killers of the safari world. They aren’t fussy in their pursuit of quarry. Anything that dare approaches the banks of their domain, be it a river or waterhole, the crocodile will silently approach and conduct a thrashing kill. So, just how are these water dinosaurs born? Being reptiles means that the female lays a clutch of eggs, normally ranging from 20 – 80 eggs in one clutch. Most of these eggs are eaten by predators, but the ones that survive – their sex is ultimately determined by their incubation conditions! Temperature of the nest determines the gender of the baby. Males need a temperature of 31.6 degrees Celsius to develop, and females will develop anything below or above those temperatures. Female Spotted Hyena Have a Pseudo Penis It is quite easy to misidentify the sex of a hyena when spotting one while out on game drive. Females have an external protrusion that resembles a male’s penis, but instead is actually a result of a heavy dose of male hormones emitted during pregnancy. This causes the clitoris and external areas to enlarge, and paves the way for a birth canal to develop. The canal is tiny, so there is normally a high mortality rate with first born cubs. They tend to stretch the canal for the second born, which generally survives. The next time you...

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Introducing Chobe’s Remote Nogatsaa Pans Lodge
Nov11

Introducing Chobe’s Remote Nogatsaa Pans Lodge

Nogatsaa Pans Lodge is a relatively unknown lodge located in a less-explored region of the Chobe National Park, a game-rich area teeming with an abundance of game. The major drawcard of staying at this safari lodge in Botswana? The design, position and variety of species. Nogatsaa could not have been designed better, and architects have certainly taken advantage of the surrounds and cleverly constructed hides, viewing points and lounges in prime game viewing positions. This eco-aware lodge is an extension of its natural environment, and not an intrusion into its remote and raw surrounds. Situated 80 km south of the Chobe River front area, Nogatsaa region has a unique cluster of clay-bottom pans which fill up during the rainy season and supplemented during the dry season. The pans draw a wealth of wildlife to the area, which can be viewed from the comfort of one of the many hides dotted around the area. This eco-aware lodge epitomises safari sophistication and its superior design elements and attention to detail, make it a sought after destination. This is the latest brainchild of Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge, an exquisite luxury lodge in an unusual position of top of a hill in the Savuti region. It goes without saying that Nogatsaa will be as successful as its sister lodge. Nogatsaa’s 12 exquisite luxuriously tented rooms with private balconies overlook the Kwikamba Pan, the largest pan in the area. There are luxury tented rooms and family rooms, each with a flexible bed configuration, comprising 3/4 beds and king size beds. Expect exquisite en suite bathrooms, white percale linen, oversized pillows and towels for extra comfort, and even extra touches such as gowns and slippers. Your tented palatial safari suite has a lounge, chairs, and even a desk to catch up on some writing or work you’ve neglected. In short, Nogatsaa’s rooms epitomise the ultimate in safari style. We’ll let the images do the talking with this...

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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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Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape
Nov08

Top 5 Road Trip Farm Stalls in the Western Cape

South Africa is the perfect place for a road trip, and one blog article certainly won’t do the varying landscapes, bushveld and coastal regions justice. The beauty encountered while self-driving this country remains unsurpassed, and travellers from around the world have remarked that our country is a “world-in-one”. Farm stalls and coffee shops pop-up in the middle of nowhere, on the roadside of meandering jeep tracks and winding tar roads. We’ve selected a few of the most popular road trip farm stalls to stop at for those self-driving from the Western Cape towards inland and coastal destinations. Peregrine : Modern Flair  Peregrine farm stall is a hub of activity and is a much-loved destination for Cape Town locals heading towards the whale watching town of Hermanus. Located in the Elgin valley, and hugged by the fruit orchards of the area, Peregrine is certainly one of the most scenic farm stalls in the Cape. Famed for its locally sourced artisanal products, this is not a farm stall to be missed. Peregrine farm stall has grown from strength to strength in recent years, and what was once was a small low key farm stall now has a bustling restaurant, and store with just about every locally made product, a cider tasting pop-up stand showcasing ciders from the surrounding Elgin Valley, and a unique play area for children. You will need plenty of time to browse around this delightful farm stall, and if you choose not to stay for lunch, then buy a mouthwatering homemade pie, gourmet quiche or bag of biltong. Peregrine is permanently busy, but there’s ample parking and free flow of traffic. Expect to see families, class cars and motorbikes stopping in convey, and a mix of genuinely happy road trippers grabbing their skinny lattes. It’s modern, but still has its original charm. Kardoesie Farm Stall : Rustic Simplicity and Delectable Homebaked Goods Located on the N7 in Citrusdal, this traditional farm stall is the perfect stop over for road trippers en route to the popular mountainous region of the Cederberg. Find homemade jams, dried fruits, rusks and more. There’s a restaurant serving simple foods and daily the menu alternates. The best part of Kardoesie is the panoramic view of undulating farmlands and mountains. It’s a great little spot to stop and stretch your weary legs. Die Pampoenstalletjie : A Fun and Delightful Place Die Pampoenstalletjie is more than a farm stall, it’s an attraction and it really is located in the middle of no man’s land. While you’re ambling along singing “I’m on the Road to Nowhere” you’ll stumble across this unusual looking house littered with pumpkins. Located 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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