Looking for High-end Exclusivity? Try The Royal Portfolio Hotels
Jul12

Looking for High-end Exclusivity? Try The Royal Portfolio Hotels

The Royal Portfolio is a handpicked selection of high-end hotels offering a sense of exquisite exclusivity. Catering for an international market seeking hotels and lodges of a superior standard, the Royal Portfolio certainly sets the benchmark in terms of elite destinations. This intimate collection is a portfolio of private residences, hotels and safari lodges located in sought-after tourist destinations. For those with an extended budget, and want the best-of-the-best, the Royal Portfolio is a must. The Royal Portfolio is a family-run business, and although its properties are upmarket, the ethos of familiar comfort is a primary focus. Royal Portfolio is about the luxury, the familiar and the experience. Each destination is in a must-visit area in South Africa. One of our consultants will happily combine an itinerary with a stay at the below properties, offering you a quintessential “South African” experience exploring the Cape winelands, whale watching town of Hermanus, Kruger bushveld experience and the buzzing Cape Town. Let’s take a peek inside their staggeringly elite hideaways. Royal Malewane in the Kruger’s Thornybush Private Game Reserve The Thornybush Private Game Reserve is a big 5 reserve forming part of the Greater Kruger region. Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge in the heart of the reserve, and was recently nominated as one of the best 50 resorts in the world by Condé Nast  Traveler. This classic safari lodge exudes a traditional safari feel combined with a modern take on decor. It’s understated and classy; and provides that much needed slice of luxury combined with the adventurous safari lifestyle. Game drives are led by highly qualified guides and trackers; and take place twice a day during the periods of time when predators are most active. During your down time between game drives, we encourage you to indulge in a spa treatment or simply soak up the bushveld atmosphere. In terms of accommodation, there are six luxury suites, two “Royal” suites that come complete with two bedrooms. Then there is the Africa House, which is an exclusive use villa. Birkenhead House in the Whale Watching Town of Hermanus The Birkenhead House is a stately coastal home overlooking expansive sea and cascading cliffs of Walker Bay in Hermanus. Hermanus is a bustling seaside village that enjoys hordes of visitors during “whale season”, which is the time of year when the southern right whales return to ancient breeding areas. Walker Bay is one of these destinations, and is a short drive from Cape Town, making it a popular add-on to a holiday in Cape Town. The Birkenhead sets the standard in terms of luxury destinations in Hermanus. Decor is contemporary coupled with tasteful beach-house...

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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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4 Wildlife and Environment Awareness Days to Mark on the Calendar
Jul11

4 Wildlife and Environment Awareness Days to Mark on the Calendar

Throughout the year we take time to create awareness about the various critically endangered species that once roamed our planet in abundance. These are the animals that now face extinction due to habitat loss, poaching, misguided belief systems, population increase and natural causes. There are specific dates of the year designed to celebrate individual species.  The more awareness we create, both online and offline, the more educated the masses become towards making a shift in their mindset and their actions. There are 4 wildlife and environment awareness days that resonate with us, which we’ve listed below. There are a number of ways of helping to conserve the planet and its natural wild inhabitants. Legitimate organisations have been set-up to help conserve wildlife. You can help by making a financial donation or offering up your time for volunteer purposes. There are even options to create your own event, and ample opportunity to start online petitions. Social media campaigns also have a key role to play in ensuring global consciousness. The below dates are 4 wildlife and environment awareness days to mark on your calendar. World Lion Day Lions have a regal nature and certainly exude a sense of power. They portray all that is powerful, brave and strong. The males are our kings and our females the fearless warriors. They are the kings of the jungle and the guardians of the universe, and are one of the world’s most iconic species. The lion is part of our heritage, and Global Lion Day is a reason to celebrate the presence of the lion worldwide. Lions happen to be one of the big five animals in Africa, and they’re commonly spotted throughout reserves and concessions. Despite being spotted on a regular basis, their numbers are on the decline, and it’s estimated that fewer than 20, 000 lions remain free in the wild. Date: 10 August Information: World Lion Day How to Help : Organise a fundraising event, show your support for lions on Facebook and Twitter, or donate to dedicated organisations. For more information on ways and means of helping, click here. World Pangolin Day The pangolin (scaly anteater) is one of the most critically endangered species in the world. This prehistoric looking creature is immensely shy and is rarely seen. Their body is covered in scales made from keratin, which gives the impression of being covered in protective armour. When under threat, the pangolin tends to curl up into a defensive ball position. The pangolin’s main threat is humans. There is a demand from China for scales which are used in all sorts of mythical medicine, and pangolin flesh is also considered a...

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South African country stays you should know about
Jul10

South African country stays you should know about

A cottage in the country, simple and cosy, inviting and nurturing; this is what we seek to break away from a hurried life between places you need to be and things you have to do. We’ve officially reached July and are more than half way through the year, and we think we could all do with a little mid-year getaway to revitalise and realign for the rest of the year. Country cottages are the perfect place to unwind and escape, and South Africa has such fantastic diversity in terms of landscapes that cottage retreats can be found all over the country. Karoo cottages in the middle of wide open spaces, forest cabins tucked between the trees in the woods, seaside cottages that smell of sea salt and sun screen, mountainside chalets, or perhaps a barn in the vineyards. We’re loving the variety! First up is this endearing stone structure, complete with chimney and wooden window frames, and a ‘stoep’ for quiet afternoons watching nature go by. Fossil Hills Cottage is a working wine farm in the Breede Valley between Robertson and McGregor and it’s utterly adorable. Bring your bicycles and fishing rods and relax! Views of valleys and ridges, black eagles soaring among the cliffs, the Kloof River flowing below, and misty prairies with low, swinging farm gates covered in moss. Cottage life is peaceful yet powerfully invigorating and at Porcupine Hills in the Western Cape’s Overberg mountains, there is little to keep you from delving right in to the beautiful natural surroundings. Whether that be from your scenic stone patio, or your steaming outdoor shower, or from beneath the ancient oak trees. We’re in search of South Africa’s most irresistible cottage retreats, and we’ve just found one in the form of Porcupine Hills’ Eyrie House. The best of both worlds in the Western Cape has to include a) the winelands, and b) the mountains. Well, there are also the beaches and the valleys and the forests, so there is a lot to choose from, but if we’re looking for somewhere to switch off and indulge in nature’s bounty, we won’t be offended if we’re equipped with some of the Cape’s best wine! In the Franschhoek mountains, Chamonix Cottages offer a variety of places with some of the most desirable views in the Winelands. This 50-hectare game farm is home to wandering antelope, dense woodlands, reflective lakes, and sublime peace and quiet. Well isn’t this romantic wine estate cottage just everything? Situated in a long valley below the Bainskloof Pass, Doolhof Estate offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking and mountain biking, but it’s also totally...

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Client Feedback : Exceptional Okavango Delta Safari
Jul09

Client Feedback : Exceptional Okavango Delta Safari

Natasha’s clients enjoyed both a water and land safari in the Okavango Delta, a prime game viewing destination home to high concentrations of wildlife. Her guests stayed at Mapula Lodge, and Linyanti Bush Camp which provided them with the ultimate Okavango Delta experience. All of the below photos were taken by Mark Spond, Natasha’s client. Here is their feedback : Hi Natasha! We are home after an amazing trip to Botswana! Thank you for all your planning and booking support — everything went flawlessly! Saskia and I absolutely loved both lodges we visited. If we were not so excited to get home to see our son, we would have never wanted to leave Botswana! Mapula Lodge offered a quintessential “Delta Experience” that was exactly what we hoped for. The food was superb and the lodge/accommodation were very nice.We were spoiled as the only guests at the lodge during our stay, leaving the wonderful staff and entire 100,000-hectare concession all to us. We saw lots of game (lechwe, sable, wild dogs, lion, leopard …) and were amazed by the sunsets/sunrises, stars, and smells (Okavango sage). Mapula is in a stunning location, particularly during the early dry season when the western Delta is experiencing the height of the annual flood. Further, Mapula was recently acquired by “Uncharted Africa,” which operates several famous and very up-market lodges in Botswana. They have significantly updated the lodge and staffed it with excellent people (e.g., Costa, Eric, Slender). It’s only a matter of time before the reputation of Mapula rivals their other camps. Thank you for helping us to stay at this camp before booking availability becomes a challenge and they are no longer offering introductory rates. Linyanti Bush Camp was also wonderful. The Linyanti Marshes offered a nice complement to our time in the Delta. The game viewing was excellent (wild dogs, leopard, hippos, buffalo ….), particularly the hundreds and hundreds of elephants! I would not be surprised if we saw 1,000 individual elephants during our stay. The food was very good and the guest “tents” were extremely comfortable. We were also very impressed by the staff — our guide (Stanley) and our host (Cassie) were excellent. The braai under the stars in the boma was also very memorable, especially the staff singing for the guests. We also loved the scenic helicopter flight over the surrounding area! All these wonderful experiences were made even more special knowing that the camp is operated by African Bush Camps, a company that does great philanthropic work within the surrounding communities. Thank you again, Natasha! Between this trip to Botswana and our previous trip to South Africa, you...

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Client Feedback : Ngala Safari Lodge and Africa on Foot Wilderness Trails
Jul08

Client Feedback : Ngala Safari Lodge and Africa on Foot Wilderness Trails

Janelle’s clients stayed at the five star andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and enjoyed an adventurous walking safari with Africa on Foot Wilderness Trails. Their honeymoon proved to be so successful and enjoyable, that they’ve requested that Janelle books their future safari.  Here is Kieran’s feedback: Hi Janelle, I trust you are well. Laverne and I had an amazing time on our honeymoon which you arranged for us. Ngala is on a level of its own. Thanks. Thanks Kieran...

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Our Top 5 Strangely Cute Animals to Spot on Safari
Jul04

Our Top 5 Strangely Cute Animals to Spot on Safari

There is nothing more endearing than spotting a bumbling ball of lion cub fluff stumbling over tiny obstacles. The pups, cubs and calves of the safari world almost always evoke a “aaah cute” response. It’s a natural reaction to spotting one of the youngsters belonging to the big five. First time safari-goers will no doubt have a list of wildlife they’d like to see while out in the wild, but there are probably numerous species that haven’t made the list, and they’re the “smaller” things that bring an added dimension to game viewing. In this blog post, we chat about our top 5 strangely cute animals to spot on safari – the ones that play second fiddle to the more popular wildlife. Dwarf Mongoose The dwarf mongoose is the smallest carnivore in the bushveld, and are diurnal creatures which make them easy to spot while out on drive.  These creatures are gregarious and highly social animals that live in communities in homes comprising a network of underground burrows. Mongoose tend to dart back and forth in the low-lying shrubbery in search of scorpions, spiders and insects, which make up the bulk of their diet. The dwarf mongoose has a strong hierarchal social structure between same sexes, with a dominant pair heading up the group. Dwarf mongoose are strong in spirit and character, and are actually extremely territorial! Honey Badger The honey badger is a ferocious and industrious animal that has an adorable appearance, but should actually be feared. It looks adorable, but it has a menacing streak. A honey badger has the ability to sleep off a massive dose of cobra venom and simply becomes vaguely drowsy when injected with the potential poison. Honey badgers don’t fear much and will quite happily waltz straight into the grounds of a lodge in search of food. Their blade-like claws are used to dig up termite mounds in search of prey, break locks off doors and for stripping bark off trees to access a supply of protein-filled grubs and insects. A honey badger has a leathery and loose skin which actually protects its body. If gripped by the jaws of a predator, a honey badger can twist and turn freely within its skin, avoiding damage to major organs. Moral of the story? Don’t ever mess with a honey badger! Bushbaby The bushbaby is an adorable little creature with human-like extremities. Its fingernails are rounded like a humans and the feet resemble that of a baby. It’s a nocturnal primate that spends most of its time clinging to branches, and they’re quite hard to spot given their minute size. It has disc shaped...

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