Endangered African Wild Dogs now starting life in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park
Apr21

Endangered African Wild Dogs now starting life in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park

We are living in a time where conservation organisations, safari operators, wildlife protection agencies, law enforcement, and national parks and reserves have made considerable progress towards rescuing, rebuilding, and rehabilitating Africa’s greatest wildlife areas. Most recently, we have been following the progress of an iconic African wild dog relocation from South Africa’s Kwazulu Natal to Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. This landmark move is the result of the professional collaboration between the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Gorongosa National Park, and has employed the expertise, teamwork, and support of WildlifeACT, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the KZN state veterinary department, Maremani Game Reserve, LEDET, and The Bateleurs. On Monday 16 April, 15 African wild dogs were transferred by air from Kwazulu Natal to Gorongosa National Park, which will be there new home. This is the first ever translocation of wild dogs to anywhere in Mozambique, and as a result it is a moment in history and a clear signal of how successful the effort of these conservation groups really is. Of the 15 dogs, nine are male and were earmarked for relocation from Mkhuze Game Reserve by the KZN Wild Dog Advisory Group (KZNWAG), and five are free-roaming female dogs from the same region. Gorongosa National Park is recognised as one of Africa’s last truly wild places and it has recovered from decades of poaching and demolition, which much of Mozambique was subject to during the years of civil war, which surged on for almost 20 years before finally ending in 1992. Today, this national park is celebrated for its unique biodiversity and becoming the first home to a pack of African wild dogs is a moment in history both for Mozambique and Gorongosa. Once the dogs had landed safely, they were transferred to their boma, which was ready and waiting for them. They will spend six to eight weeks in the boma getting to know their new environment and the other members of their new pack, and after the initiation period, they will be released into the greater wilderness to establish their new range. “It took weeks of preparation here in Gorongosa before we received our Wild Dogs… here is the team that designed and built the 0.5ha enclosure where the dogs will live for the next few weeks prior to their release. The Park’s Operations team did an outstanding job supporting us every step of the way. Our Sanctuary team – led by Zembe, whose family has been part of the Park’s restoration for 3 generations – included young men from neighboring communities who were trained in construction and electrics by Louis Van Wyk. Spirits were high every day and together...

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Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.
Apr15

Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.

If you’re a first time safari-goer it’s understandable that you might have a number of questions pertaining to finance, etiquette, meals and game viewing before you depart for your safari holiday. Given that you are travelling miles to a foreign country and have no idea what to expect, it’s understandable that you’d have a few questions in mind. Here we answer 7 commonly asked safari FAQs. Hopefully our answers will clarify a few things before you begin your intrepid journey into the Kruger bushveld. Why is a safari holiday so expensive? When you book a safari holiday in a private Kruger reserve you aren’t just paying for the price of the accommodation. Many people, when booking at a lodge, might balk at the price – whether it’s 3 star or a premier lodge. The price of a safari includes meals, accommodation and activities. Because you are in a wild, remote and private reserve; you cannot drive to the shops or use your own vehicle. There are also no restaurants nearby. All you have is the lodge and its facilities. A standard rate would include bush walks, morning and evening game drives, high tea, tea and coffee all day, game drive snacks and accommodation. There are rates at certain lodges that include all drinks in the cost. What is the difference between a Kruger private reserve and the Kruger National Park? Both the Kruger National Park and the private reserves form part of the Greater Kruger. The national park is owned by the parks board, and the private reserves are merely sections of the Kruger that are privately owned. These privately owned parts of the Kruger cannot be accessed by the general public unless they have a booking in a lodge within the reserve. There are normally gates and entrance/conservation fees before entering the private reserve. While day trippers can’t visit the private reserves, wildlife can wander across. Many of the private reserves share unfenced borders with the national park – this means that wildlife can roam across. Private reserves and concessions are also uncrowded and game drives are guided by a tracker and ranger. The rangers can normally go off road to get up close to sightings, which isn’t possible in the national park. Is it customary to leave a tip? You don’t have to leave a tip, but you really should. Your guide looks after you for the duration of your stay so it’s customary to tip your guide. Coupled with their tip you are also welcome to tip the housekeeping. Certain lodges might have a tip box in the main section, but most lodges will supply you...

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We’re nominated for the World Travel Awards 2018!
Apr12

We’re nominated for the World Travel Awards 2018!

For the sixth year in a row, Sun Safaris is nominated in the category of World’s Leading Safari Company for the prestigious annual World Travel Awards. We are so pleased to have received a nod alongside only five other companies leading the pack in African safari travel planning. It is an honour to be recognised in the field as one of the best, especially as we consider our job our passion, and we are delighted to know that our guests and colleagues are receiving some of the best service in Africa. Thank you World Travel Awards for the nomination. Now, we call upon our supporters to take us to the win! We would be humbled and honoured to take the cup this year and receive the title of World’s Leading Safari Company, and to get there we need those votes. The process is simple and hassle-free, so we’d like to invite you to tick the box and cast your vote for Sun Safaris to win the category! Here’s the link that will take you to the voting page where you will be asked to login in with your email address and password if you are already registered. If you are not registered, the steps to register are seamless and take no time at all. Simply click ‘register’ and enter your name your name, email address, and a password, and then check your email for the verification mail. Once you have verified your email address you can enter your newly acquired login details (email and password), which will give you access to the voting page. Here, you select the Region you want to vote in – click on Africa – and then scroll down to the category titled Africa’s Leading Safari Company (number 54 if this is the first category you are voting in). Simply click on the category and it will take you to a page with the six nominees, where you can wave your magic wand (cursor) and tick the box next to our name! Every year when we announce our nomination, we take the opportunity to say a word of thanks to our guests, our friends, and colleagues in tourism. We are all working in a field that promotes responsible tourism in Africa, helping to share her greatest assets with people who love and appreciate the unique beauty she offers. To our repeat guests: thank you for choosing us over and over again; to our first time guests: thank you for choosing us now and may we give you the experience that will keep you coming back; and to our suppliers and partners: thank you for providing...

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The Buffalo is the Most Dangerous of the Big Five. Here’s Why.
Apr08

The Buffalo is the Most Dangerous of the Big Five. Here’s Why.

You’d be forgiven that buffalo are merely large bovids resembling cows with irregular battle-scarred helmets. These giant herbivores give the appearance of being unassuming, placid and rather sedentary cow like creatures. They certainly don’t have the big cat carnivorous menacing streak that alerts us to danger. Buffalo bulk graze their way through the bushveld with ease, with their designated pathfinder leading them to pristine waters for lengthy drinking sessions. They’re just herd herbivores casually hoofing it through the ‘veld.  Hardly looking like warriors and fearless fighters, buffaloes are often overlooked in favour of finding dangerous predators. Do not be fooled by the above. And do not think that the buffalo is placid. They play a dangerous game, one that ensured their place in Africa’s big five, a term coined years ago to categorise the most dangerous game to hunt on foot. Nowadays the big five is is simply a marketing descriptor for the big game and elusive cats that safari-goers eagerly seek to find.  Buffalo Never Forgive. They will Find you.  Just like Liam Neeson’s favourite line from “Wanted”, buffalo “Will find you and will kill you”. Okay, that’s possibly a bit extreme, but you get the drift. Back in the bygone era when hunting the big five was a “thing” it was said that the buffalo killed more hunters in Africa than any other animal. When wounded, they become aggressive and angry. They would seek revenge on the hunter and even remember the encounter  the following day. If wounded they would circle around their enemy and counter-attack, instead of fleeing. Do not anger a buffalo if you cross their path, they will charge instead of fleeing ! A mother protecting her calf can be dangerous, a wounded buffalo can be lethal and an old bull past its prime is nothing short of insecure and grumpy.   Buffalo Give No Indication of Emotion. Prior to a lion charging they might give a warning roar and will stalk their prey. The pride might begin to circle prior to ambush. An elephant mock charges, flays its ears and makes a noise. Even rhino will give an indication of charging, with black rhino being particularly territorial and aggressive. With buffalo, they remain statue like before suddenly charging and trampling everything in its wake. There is simply no indication or behavioural changes before a buffalo charges. Buffalo are Bulky and Charge at Speeds of Up to 50 km. The Cape buffalo charges at an average 50 km per hour. They will target you and charge immediately once they’ve locked their eyes upon you. At the last minute he will drop his head, and by then it’s too...

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MORE Safari Treehouse Experiences in the Wilderness
Apr04

MORE Safari Treehouse Experiences in the Wilderness

MORE is a portfolio of lodges and camps scattered throughout sought after safari destinations within Africa. It’s a family-run group with a focus on offering sublime safaris and unique experiences combined with journeys into the wild. MORE definitely knows how to cater for a variety of first-time safari goers to Africa; and they will wholeheartedly pull out all the stops when it comes to offering authentic experiences that give insight into the safari lifestyle. Dedication to the wild, passionate about service excellence and crafting unforgettable bush and coastal experiences is the name of the game with MORE. Their safari lodges are located in reserves heaving with wildlife and popular with international tourists. There’s the premier Sabi Sand boasting an abundance of leopards, the Malaria free Madikwe Game Reserve , the popular Kruger National Park and the accessible big five reserve called Marakele National Park. What we love about MORE is their night under the stars experience offered at their big five lodges in Kruger, Madikwe and Marakele. This is a way of immersing yourself in the untamed wild while cocooning your senses in blissful luxury, and is booked in conjunction with standard accommodation at the lodge. What better way to experience nature than to be completely out in the open in a remote treehouse far from the maddening crowds? You could create a pure treehouse safari itinerary with combination stay at all of the above reserves, allowing you to journey into a variety of safari destinations. First up we have the Chalkley Treehouse and Kingston Treehouse, both located in Lions Sands within the premier Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Chalkley is ideal for die-hard romantics who want to indulge their wild side. It’s an open-air treehouse constructed from natural woods and offers a complete sense of luxury and sophistication. Fall asleep to the echoing whoop of the hyena and wake-up to lions contact calling. Drown yourself in the finest linen and immerse yourself in bushveld surrounds. The 40m2 treehouse deck is ideal for couples seeking something completely exclusive! The Kingston treehouse differs somewhat. The entire area is enclosed in glass with a contemporary feel. It differs from Chalkley in that it has shower and bathroom facilities. Kingston is set to cater for 4 people, children are allowed and it’s closer to the lodge than Chalkley. Tinyeleti Treehouse in the Kruger National Park is another treehouse experience bought to us by MORE. Simplistic in its architecture, Tinyeleti offers a breathtaking experience with a romantic feel. Located on the banks of the Sabie River, the Tinyeleti is most certainly located in a prime position. A winding wooden pathway snakes its way towards the main...

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Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience
Apr02

Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience

The Cape’s famous Route 62 has been named as one of the must-do road trips while visiting the Western Cape. It’s an iconic drive that winds its way through numerous country towns hugged by vineyards and fruit orchards, and offers visitors an opportunity to explore the more remote and historical country-style part of the Cape. Looming mountain ranges and cliffs offer sweeping views of carpets of countryside and endless farm lands. Route 62 most certainly is a journey into the heart of the Cape, and it’s an unexpected delight. This country route is also a prime destination for food, wine and friendly people. You don’t have to travel far to discover off-the-beaten track gin distilleries (Six Dogs in Robertson), and stand alone craft beer brewery’s with rustic and delectable food. The plethora of farm stalls, art galleries and fresh country fare attracts many visitors, with each small town offering something different to its neighbour. The vast areas of this country part of the Cape certainly don’t only cater for foodies. There’s plenty of wilderness and adventure activities on offer, especially close to the Breede River which is ideal for canoeing and water sports. There are even expansive nature reserves just waiting for eager visitors to discover the archeological and historical significance of the Karoo region. A recent discovery of ours is the Roam Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo. A stay at the reserve ties in perfectly with a Route 62 trip and a Garden Route exploratory trip. Staying at Roam will allow you to immerse yourself in the semi-arid desert surrounds of the Karoo. Roam offers its visitors a choice of three accommodation options, and their primary focus is to offer its visitors insight into conservation efforts of the area. You will have the opportunity to observe cheetah that have been rehabilitated and introduced into the area, and there are also opportunities to watch buffalo herds roaming the reserve. Coupled with observing these current conservation projects at Roam, you will also be able to spot a wealth of plains game such as giraffe, Kalahari gemsbok, hartebeest and even a colony of meerkats. In terms of the immediate environment, the Great Karoo is the place where time began. Flanked by the Swartberg mountains and hugged by endless arid savannah with craters and canyons; the Great Karoo is quite the biome. Palaeontologists delight in the fact that remnants and fragments of dinosaur bones have been found scattered throughout the expansive reserve. Dry riverbeds also have evidence of ancient civilisations and more recently, tools used by the original inhabitants of the area – the San people. The three accommodation options include the...

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Walking Safari Magic at Mwamba Bush Camp
Mar18

Walking Safari Magic at Mwamba Bush Camp

Walking safaris were born in Zambia where pioneers trekked and tracked through the Luangwa Valley encountering leopard and hippo, wild dog, and giraffe, elephant, lion, and buffalo on foot. Imagine the thrill of meeting these wild African residents on foot and watching them from your position on the ground; senses standing to attention, adrenalin pumping through the veins, every smell and sound a pungent trigger to remind you of this primitive activity. In the greater scheme of things, the vehicle is a modern invention, and before safari game drives, hunter-gatherers and explorers would traverse these wild territories on foot. Plenty of our guests request the walking safari experience, and we know that there is no better place in Africa to send them than Zambia. Right now, Mwamba Bush Camp is all the magic we need, and these photos are proof of that. Mwamba is a little slice of serenity in South Luangwa National Park, on the banks of the Mwamba River. It is blissfully exclusive and simple with only 3 chalets built simply from reeds under the shade of large tree canopies. Each chalet has a spacious en suite bathroom, which is open to the sky and perfectly equipped with hot bucket showers and flushing toilets. Above each bed, a skylight is shaped out of the reed ceiling and covered with mosquito netting, offering unique bedtime star gazing without pesky bugs. The rest of this relaxed and informal camp fits the mould with a wonderfully rustic, yet properly stocked, bar area, which is built underneath large trees and always accompanied by birdsong. The beauty of this remote and wild little camp is its perfect blend of modern comfort and wildness. And we haven’t even started on the safari activities… There is a little sleep-out platform, which overlooks a waterhole and the incredible horizon that lights up at sunset and stains the sky all shades of tangerine and watermelon. Romantically draped in a mosquito net and raised high off the ground, this place makes for one memorable honeymoon destination! Mwamba has a well camouflaged hide, which is built from natural reeds and is positioned along the riverbank, offering a secret spot to sit in silence and watch as some of the roaming wild animals stop by for a drink, none the wiser of your presence. Each day, there are three optional activities to take part in: walking safaris, game drives, and sessions in the hides. Morning, midday, and evening offer something different, so that you will have no reason for fomo! Setting off on foot at first light might be the best way to start the day, drinking in the...

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