Bonito in Brazil is best. Why we love this eco-tourism town.
Oct30

Bonito in Brazil is best. Why we love this eco-tourism town.

Enchanting and alluring Bonito is a fascinating small town sitting comfortably on the edge of the Patanal, the world’s largest wetlands. Bonito is a bit off-the-beaten track in terms of accessibility – it’s not located en route to the Pantanal, and therefore requires planning to get there. Known as the eco-tourism capital, Bonito is a town that simply should not be missed. And for what reason? The town is centred around the headway of crystalline rivers teeming with colourful fish – it’s a snorkelling paradise. It’s also home to the world’s largest sinkhole that is of great ecological significance – there are 100s of nesting macaws. Of course, if that’s not enough there are lakes inside caves dripping with stalactites.    Bonito in Brazil is a water-based adventure capital, and there are so many tours on offer. Most of these tours (discussed below) start from a central meeting point and normally the transport to and from your hotel is not included. This can get expensive if you’re not staying in the town, or haven’t hired your own car. In terms of accommodation, we recommend the Zagaia eco-resort hotel located in a large park in the centre of Bonito town. The hotel was nominated as the “Best Ecotourism Destination of Brazil” and all tours to surrounding areas can be arranged while at the hotel. Not only is it the perfect place to base yourself for adventure activities, but it’s also the perfect place to unwind and spend time with your family – it really caters for all types of travellers!  Snorkelling is a highlight in Bonito. Hailed as being home to the cleanest and purest water on the continent, the Prata River certainly provides endless snorkelling opportunities.  There is a high limestone concentration in the area, which is why the waters are so clear (limestone acts as nature’s filter). And there are actually two spring-fed rivers which means the water is warm. It’s an aquatic playground beneath the surface, and the crystalline waters ensure 100% visibility of the underwater world. There is also another pristine place to snorkel, which is Lagoa Misteriosa – also known as the “mysterious lagoon” because of its sky-blue waters. This lagoon has 60m visibility and is one of the deepest “flooded” caves in Brazil – no filter needed when you take photographs!  Hiking paths will take you up into the hills overlooking the rivers, where there is a 156 m high waterfall tumbling into the Mimoso River. When you’re done exploring underground lakes and ogling over flocks pf macaws nesting; head into the town to sample local cuisine at Casa do Joao – a restaurant known for its freshwater...

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Your Consultant Natasha Has Just Visited Botswana
Oct30

Your Consultant Natasha Has Just Visited Botswana

You can’t sell without seeing. That’s why we send on team of sales consultants on regular site inspections and educationals to sought-after safari destinations in southern Africa and East Africa. When they stay at lodges, they observe things that the lay person might not notice. They’re constantly on alert, taking notes as they go and slotting moments into their memory bank. When guests approach our consultants, we want to make sure they’re armed with an arsenal of knowledge about the guest’s chosen destination. They have to make informed decisions and sew together itineraries that cater for individual needs and budgets; which varies from guest to guest. Natasha is no stranger to Botswana, but it’s vital that she keeps up to date with what’s happening, so off she jetted one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations. We had a quick chat to her about her Botswana safari, which is outlined below. Ps : While there she actually conquered her fear of flying in helicopters! We believe you enjoyed a safari to Botswana to check out a few of the lodges that you recommend to guests. Which lodges did you visit, and where were they located?  This was our itinerary – it really did offer the best of Botswana ! 2 nights at a luxury mobile camp in the Moremi 2 nights at Tuludi Camp in the Khwai Private Reserve 1 night at Nokanyana Camp in the Moremi (Mababe area) 1 night at Setari in the Okavango Delta and 2 nights at a luxury mobile camp in Habu As a consultant, why is it important to visit the lodges you recommend? I think it’s important to visit the lodges that I recommend so that I get a personal feel of each lodge and what they have to offer. For example, if a guest wants 5 star luxury and I know for a fact I didn’t really get the 5 star luxury experience there; then I would make an alternative recommendation. List your favourite thing about EACH of the lodges you visited. The luxury mobile camps offered 5 star luxury mobile tents. There were AMAZING staff, flushing loos and great “5 star bucket showers with a turning tap” . The tents were very spacious for a mobile camp. And the food was 5 star – and not to forget the BEST homemade iced tea I have ever had. I was lucky enough to get the recipe! Tuludi Camp in the Khwai Private reserve – the rooms were AMAZING – everything your heart desired was in that room, very spacious with private plunge pool and outdoor bath and shower. Nokanyana Camp in the...

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The best places to view rock art in South Africa
Oct30

The best places to view rock art in South Africa

The best places to view rock art in South Africa are in the Drakensberg mountains on the border of KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho, in the Cape Cederberg area, and in the Karoo. There are places scattered across the country that are renowned for either paintings or engravings left by the San (Bushman) or the Khoekhoen (Herders), and if you’re travelling in more remote parts of South Africa and have a cultural interest in the country, it would be worth your while to check out the details for some of these sites. In this article, we’re highlighting three rock art sites that are more or less on the popular tourist route, making them easy to access if you’re hitting the safari destinations of the Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, or heading up on a cross-border road trip to Botswana or Zimbabwe. South Africa has a large amount of paintings and engravings, some of which date back thousands of years, but most significant are the etchings in ochre that were discovered in a limestone cave on the southern Cape coast. These discoveries in Blombos Cave are known to be some of the oldest prehistoric art in the world, dating back well over 70 000 years! These are some of the best places to view rock art in South Africa Western Cape: Cederberg, Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Area Bushman’s Kloof is in custody of an incredible piece of heritage; over 130 different rock art sites have been identified here, some of which have been dated to as far back as 10 000 years. The reserve is a Grade 1 South African National Heritage Site and fortunately for us ancient art seekers, we can go and see these protected and conserved paintings that were made by staining rocks with oxide pigments. The paintings here depict elements of the Bushman culture, lifestyle, and spiritual beliefs that were all a part of their lives in these ancestral mountains. Bushman’s Kloof is a destination in itself, and viewing the sites is a privilege of the guests who stay at the lodge. It isn’t open to the public and is protected under the responsibility of the reserve, so to see the ancient sites, guests of the luxury lodge will go on a guided excursion into the mountains and benefit from an interpretive guide. Afterwards, you’ll sit down to a delicious breakfast in the bush and hear more stories about the fascinating, ancient surroundings. KwaZulu Natal: Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park and World Heritage Site Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg National Park is the country’s capital of Stone Age art. It has some of the most beautiful rock paintings in the world on its ancient,...

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11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin
Oct28

11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin

This 11 night professionally guided conservation adventure in the Congo Basin offers a unique way of exploring one of Africa’s forgotten places. Designed to appeal to those seeking a deeper and somewhat more intellectual safari experience, this adventure is ideal for conservationists, ornithologists, primatologists and those with knowledge of the area. It’s a hands-on, insightful journey into the depths of Africa’s ancient jungles under the guidance of two visionaries : Paul Telfer and Rod Cassidy. In the 90s Paul Telfer worked as a primate specialist in the relatively unchartered regions of Sierra Leone and Gabon. Paul spent a large portion of his time researching and investigating the link between HIV and primates; and other primate related viruses. He is currently the CEO of the the Congo Conservation Company that drives low-impact tourism in the Congo Basin through research, community and conservation. Renowned ornithologist, Rod Cassidy, hails from South Africa. His first visit to the rainforests was back in 1999, and nearly ten years later he purchased Sangha Lodge. In Sep 2009 the first guests were welcomed. The lodge is now home to a rehabilitation centre for wildlife and is part of many research projects in the area. To date, Rod and his team have successfully rehabilitated over 70 pangolins. This adventure experience is the brainchild of the Congo Conservation Company, who have adopted an innovative approach to low-impact and conservation friendly tourism. This perfectly laid out itinerary introduces eager primatologists and environmentalist to an untouched, unexplored environment in one of the most exceptional parts of the world. The Congo Basin is equatorial middle Africa, a region dripping with jungles and rich with primate activity. It’s completely remote, untouched and untravelled. A rather significant area in terms of wildlife. Did you know that the rare okapi is one of 1,500 animal species endemic to the Congo Basin? The Congo is not only famed for its plethora of wildlife, but also for its exceptional music scene. To best way to understand the Congo, is to visit the area. Should you decide to join this 11 night intrepid journey, you will be accommodated at Sangha Lodge, Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp, and Mboko Camp. Ngaga is gorilla central, and is located outside the park boundary in the Ndzehe concession overlooking an ancient jungle forest. There are several groups of western lowland gorillas in the area. Sangha Lodge is the perfect place for conservation and rehabilitation activities, and the grounds of the lodge comprise a main area with bar and a total of 7 well appointed bungalows. Lango Camp offers driving, walking and boating activities in the midst of pristine surrounds. Lango’s 6 guest...

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Add Mozambique to your South African safari
Oct28

Add Mozambique to your South African safari

The top reason people add Mozambique to their South African safari is to achieve that all-too-amazing recipe of “beach meets bush”. Often, the perfect holiday entails a certain amount of actively experiencing, and a certain amount of doing as little as possible. Beaches are great for the latter. The shores of Mozambique area pearly and the ocean is azure, and there are grass-thatched beach huts stocking cold 2Ms and freshly baked pão. You’ll pair that with chargrilled peri-peri chicken or garlicky tiger prawns in no time! Mozambique is a fusion of relaxed, sandy-toed beach vibes and colourful, bustling local culture. It can be serene and chaotic all at once; you’ve just got to know where to go to find which side of the scale you’re looking for. (We’ve got you covered). Bottom line is, combining the Kruger National Park and Mozambique is 100% a good idea. We’ll give you some good reasons to add this Afro-Portuguese paradise to your next South African safari itinerary. Read on. Scuba diving And snorkelling, and sea kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding, and boat cruises… the list goes on! This is a sea-lovers dream with incredibly biodiverse marine protected areas, like the Bazaruto Archipelago, that support and sustain sea-life. In particular, these coastal waters are known to have whale sharks in residence during certain times of the year. October to April is the best time to swim with these giants of the sea in Bazaruto, and it will go down as one of the single-most majestic experiences of your life. Huge (±14 metres) pyjama-clad ocean beings with wide, toothless mouths move slowly and serenely through the water, often tailed by a number of feeder fish, and they are entirely unaggressive. Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the sea and they eat small schooling fish close to the surface of the sea. You don’t have to scuba dive to get to these creatures because they stay shallow, so often you’ll just need to jump off the boat wearing your mask and snorkel to bank this bucket list experience. Where to stay? Azura Benguerra Island hopping in the Quirimbas Archipelago Up north where the regular tourist routes fizzle out, island life gets a little more pristine. This is an off-the-beaten-track part of Mozambique that deserves to be explored for those who are looking for something a bit less diluted. The water is crystal clear, the beaches are vast, snow-white stretches of turtle-nesting territory, and mangrove forests bring birdlife and species diversity to both marine and land life. There are 32 islands in Quirimbas, strewn across the sea and creating this network of biodiversity. There is...

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Client Feedback : Land, Water and Jungle Safari !
Oct28

Client Feedback : Land, Water and Jungle Safari !

Liselle’s clients certainly enjoyed a varied safari experience across contrasting regions. Her clients experienced the best that Kruger, Botswana and Uganda has to offer. They were introduced to gorilla trekking in Rwanda, game drives in Kruger and water safaris in the Okavango Delta. Land, water and jungle – what more could you ask for from an African safari experience? Liselle carefully selected camps and lodges within her clients’ budget and time frame. Her choice of lodges was : Oddballs Enclave -on the Okavango Delta on the edge of Chief’s Island , Camp Moremi in the community run Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Nottens in the Kruger’s famous leopard-rich Sabi Sand, and Mountain Gorilla View Lodge on the slopes of Mount Sabinyo in Rwanda. Overnight stays at the Intercontinental and Kigali Serena were also part of their journey. Here is their feedback :  Liselle, A great big thank you for another fantastic vacation!!! Rwanda was wonderful, lots of gorillas and no rain while we were trekking.  Seeing our “family” at Oddballs was so much fun, we really enjoyed the dryness as we were able to do a lot of walking. Mike and Diana really enjoyed the trip, we were so happy that the animal viewing was spectacular.  Of course Nottens did a bang up job with our trip to Krueger proper and we were so impressed with Camp Moremi.  We are already starting to plan our 2021 trip….mobil safari?! Our anniversary in Rwanda was so special and our guide, Amiable, could not have been better.  Here is a photo of us with the flowers delivered on our day! Thank you so much for everything you have done… Kären & Chris Kelley xxxxx...

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4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration
Oct27

4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration

The annual migration is Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle, and one of the main reasons why nature lovers and photographers descend upon East Africa. The migration happens year-round, and sees thousands strong herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope  following a continuous loop snaking its way through the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The herds are at the mercy of the weather, and tend to follow the rains. The rains replenish landscape and provide nutritious laden grazing grounds, and ample supplies of water which is much needed in the otherwise brutally dry savannah. Because of the high concentration of plains game, big cats wait in the wings – especially during Spring time when the ungulates calve. Not only do visitors descend upon the area for spectacular migration sightings, but also for the prolific big cat kill.  Wildebeest are notoriously erratic and often veer off course, making it impossible to predict where herds will congregate at a particular moment in time. For migration timelines, we tend to look at upcoming weather patterns, birthing season and previous years movements. It gives good insight and allows us to create a rough route of where wildlife is located at any given point.  The river crossings are the most sought after periods of time during the migration, and they tend to happen on the banks of the Mara River. There are points along the river where the herds are able to cross without too much difficulty. The organised chaos at the river crossings tends to happen between July and August; which is also the most productive time of year to watch predators flush out prey. It’s important to note that the bustling Mara River is hugged by the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve, which are open to the public and day visitors. If you want a sense of exclusivity then it’s advisable to stay in a private conservancy. We’ve selected our top 4 perfectly placed Masai Mara Lodges ideal for the Migration in Kenya. Sala’s Camp Sala’s Camp brings a sparkle of elegance to the bushveld. This luxury tented safari camp is ideally located on the convergence of two mighty rivers inside the Masai Mara National Park. Each of the 7 safari tents are located in the thick of the riparian vegetation on the banks of the river. In total, the camp can accommodation 18 guests, and there’s even a spacious honeymoon tent available. This is exclusivity personified. Rooms have sitting areas, and views of the Kenya’s untouched savanna. Deep set copper baths, plunge pools and power showers are just a few of the added value extras...

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