Hire Out the Ultra-luxurious Kubili House in Thornybush
Feb26

Hire Out the Ultra-luxurious Kubili House in Thornybush

The exclusive use, immaculately designed Kubili House in Thornybush Nature Reserve is safari sophistication at its best. This relatively undiscovered safari treasure is a uniquely designed villa enveloped by rugged bushveld teeming with general wildlife and marauding predators. Resting comfortably on 26900 ft, this private residence sets a new standard of safari experience. Architecturally, Kubili fascinates on all levels. A complete mix of Arabian decor, Moroccan finishes mixed together with a classic bushveld feel. Throw in a New York trained chef, and you have yourself quite the global safari experience that’s overwhelming at times. A boma area designed to look like a slice of Marrakesh with its bold colours and ambient lanterns, offers a contrast in design to the main building which is a flat-roofed stone masterpiece complete with grass spears protruding from the rooftop. The natural wood used throughout the interior offers a sense of clean lines, mimicking the order that’s apparent in the natural world. The house sleeps 10 people in 5 rooms, and the shared spaces are plenty. 3 swimming pools, a spa, steam-room and private game viewer is a clear indication that the team have really covered all facets of luxury. Wooden viewing decks are scattered around, ensuring there’s always an opportunity to break-away from your group and enjoy some alone time. Conveniently located on the banks of a large dam within the reserve that sees scores of wildlife visiting its clear waters, Kubili House is perfectly positioned. The selling point? That’s the camping experience ! Not only are you cocooned in absolute luxury, but you also have the option of an adventurous outdoor camping experience. In keeping in with the traditions of explorers, old Land Rovers with rooftop tents are set-up in a clearing. The Land Rovers circle a boma area with campfire, creating the perfect outdoor advert kind of scene. There are 3 fully-equipped camping vehicles available for the rugged at heart. Activity wise, there’s simply no end to what’s on offer Kubili House in Thornybush. Game drives are a given while on safari in the Thornybush Reserve, and there are also guided bush walks, Segway safaris, archery, and Yoga. You also have your own qualified field guide and tracker who will use their skills to seek out big game and predators. An exceptionally luxury experience in a world-renown big five nature...

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Best safari lodges in Botswana 2020 #SunSafarisSays
Feb18

Best safari lodges in Botswana 2020 #SunSafarisSays

Our choices for the best safari lodges in Botswana for the year 2020 – like any of our recommendations, suggestions, and pieces of advice – are shaped by personal experience. Our holiday experts build itineraries based on confidence and relationships based on trust. Each one of our four safari planners has at least a decade’s experience in the industry and they know what they are looking for in a destination experience. Botswana is a particular area of expertise for our team. It is a country we not only love for its sublime natural areas, but for its conservation ethic and integrity. It is a destination for the mindful traveller and it supports a tourism framework worth celebrating. It is as good to explore as a fly-in safari guest, or as a source of adventure for self-drivers. Tourists are embraced while natural heritage is preserved. This unique combination in Africa makes Botswana one of our best destinations for 2020. We asked our in-house Botswana experts to highlights five safari lodges they are recommending for this new year. We’ve got one for each prime safari region in the country. These well-loved lodges all went through a change in the last year that excites us. They have something new to offer. Without further ado, here are our choices for the best safari lodges in Botswana for the year 2020! Region: Chobe River Lodge: Ngoma Safari Lodge The view of Chobe River is probably the biggest drawcard for Ngoma Safari Lodge. Overlooking the lifeblood that divides Botswana and Namibia, this safari spot is perfectly elevated  to make guests feel like they are dining on top of the world. It’s physical located in the private Chobe Forest Reserve, so night drives and walking safaris are permitted (and encouraged!) The national park is just three kilometres away, so daily game drives are part and parcel of the experience. Last year, Ngoma transitioned to new ownership and partnered with some of our other favourites in Botswana (Gomoti Plains and Machaba Camp) , which really got our attention. Pairing a trusted safari operation with a location like this is what makes a place truly special. For the hours in between your safari activities, you’ll be eating (dining room view: check), swimming (pool with a view: check), and relaxing in your suite (room with a view: check). So, Ngoma Safari Lodge emerged as one of our new favourites, and we’ll put our stamp of approval on that. #SunSafarisSays Region: Okavango Delta Lodge: Kanana Kanana Camp makes our list of best lodges in Botswana for obvious reasons. It was refurbished in 2019 and received a whole new look that...

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Client Feedback : Klaserie River Safari Lodge
Feb16

Client Feedback : Klaserie River Safari Lodge

Natasha’s client, Tim, booked a coastal city break to cosmopolitan Cape Town and decided to add on a safari holiday to Kruger. Natasha booked her client a stay at Klaserie River Safari Lodge, located in the Greater Kruger. Klaserie River Safari Lodge offers day trips into the Kruger National Park, boat cruises and other wildlife based activities. Here is their feedback : Hi Natasha, I had a great trip! Cape Town has changed a lot since I was last there in 1995; it is much more cosmopolitan now, whereas before it seemed like an English city. Safari was a memorable experience. I enjoyed talking to the rangers/guides, particularly Evans, and the manager, whose name has slipped my mind. (Less so some of the guests whose sense of entitlement and ignorance about animals and the bush was a low point.) I was lucky enough to hear that lions had killed a buffalo on the evening I arrived, and decided to the Kruger the next day.  There were seven cubs, four females, and one male in the shade of a bush where they had dragged the buffalo carcass. (Also saw a second male who was limping badly.) Most were trying to rest in the blazing heat. Periodically,  they would move down to the creek for water. I took a lot of photos I was pleased with, but haven’t had time to load any onto my computer. Later, I saw another smaller pride about 50 meters from the road, so that was a truly amazing day! I also went to the Kruger on the last full day and saw the same pride, but on this occasion they were fast asleep and weren’t aware of the truck pulling up-we were very close. Amazing as that was, the next evening Evans tracked a young female leopard after dusk and she was totally unconcerned by our presence and the flashlight shining on her. I couldn’t believe my eyes; in 25 years of safari trips, I have never experienced a clear sighting of a leopard. Then the next morning, I saw another! Further off and skittishly moving around a tree! The sheer volume of animals we saw was reassuring, given fears of poaching. I saw an huge herd of elephants ! There must have been nearly 100! Sadly, no sightings of rhino, and I was concerned to hear that the guides had never seen the solitary rhino either. (This might be a good thing because it might also be hard to track for poachers.) The only downside was the distance from the Kruger, but I am not complaining. It made up for the scarcity of sightings...

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#TravelTuesday : “Machaba Magic”- 9 Night Botswana Safari
Feb11

#TravelTuesday : “Machaba Magic”- 9 Night Botswana Safari

Machaba camps are simple, sophisticated and elegant. There’s a certain excellence one associates with the Machaba brand, which means we’re quite excited to deliver our latest #TravelTuesday offering ! This itinerary is an ALL inclusive 9 night Botswana safari, journeying through the most remote and wildlife-rich regions of Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta and Gomoti River. Game Drives, Mokoro and walking trails are part of the experience. This is proper, classic safari luxury !  Ngoma Safari Lodge is your destination in Chobe and offers vistas over the Chobe River and floodplains; and each luxurious room has its own plunge pool. Game viewing is unsurpassed in this area. Spend 3 nights at Ngomi before flying to the private Khwai Concession, where you will stay at the original Machaba Camp. This classic tented safari camp offers safaris in open 4×4’s, walking and by mokoro. Gomoti Plains Camp is situated on the banks of the Gomoto River and is home to a number of water based activities like boating and mokoro excursions.  Price from: US$6700 in low season to US$10800 in peak season per person sharing. Click on this link to view the 9 night Botswana safari itinerary.  Day 1 – 4: Ngoma Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park When you arrive at Kasane International Airport, the team from Ngoma will meet you and transfer you – by road – to the charming Ngoma Safari Lodge. Ngoma is located in the Chobe Forest Reserve on the edge of plateau, and overlooks the seasonal Chobe floodplain. Views from the lodge extend across the savannah, floodplains and Chobe River to the horizon beyond. Sunsets from the lodge are remarkable! Chobe is fondly referred to as the “Land of Giants” because of its high concentrations of elephants that congregate on the banks of the Chobe River. There is plenty of opportunity to view game from the comfort of your deck, and each chalet enjoys an elevated view of the river. Chalets have indoor and outdoor living areas, indoor and outdoor showers AND their own exclusive plunge pool. Your activities include breakfast and lunch cruises on the Chobe River, full day game drives in Chobe National Park and night drives in the mysterious Chobe Forest Reserve. Day 4-7: Machaba Camp, Khwai Private Concession After breakfast and your morning activity, you will be transferred by road back to Kasane Airport for a light aircraft flight into the Okavango Delta area. The flight will land on a remote, private bushveld airstrip in the Khwai Concession. Charter flights offer an amazing opportunity for aerial views of Botswana’s waterways. It’s not uncommon to spot big game from the air !  The...

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Birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there
Feb11

Birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there

There are over a thousand different bird species to be found in Uganda. Of course, a number of these is so rare or endangered or seldom seen that the average binocular-clad bird-watcher might never catch a glimpse. Like the elusive Shelley’s crimson-wing, of which there are no known photographs captured in the wild! Unless you’re incredibly lucky and unnervingly dedicated, you’re not likely to tick this lifer off your bird bucket list; but, Uganda’s value as a birding destination in Africa tops the charts. Its hugely varying altitude and combination of habitats make it the ideal home to so many species. We’ve scoured the rim of the crater lakes, trekked through the dense jungle, cruised along the Nile River, and traversed the savannah grasslands in search of birds (among other things, like gorillas, chimpanzees, and tree-climbing lions!) These are some of the best birding destinations in Uganda & the birds you’ll find there. Murchison Falls National Park Where the Victoria Nile carves its way through a narrow seven-metre-wide gap in the rock face and thunders violently through the famous Murchison Falls. The grassland territory alongside the river is one of the best game viewing locations in Uganda and it is also one of its most prestigious birding destinations. About 450 bird species have been recorded here, and a number of them can be easily spotted while out on a game drive or a Nile River boat cruise. Each habitat offering a different variety of birds altogether. Among the hundreds of species, be sure to look out for the Abyssinian ground hornbill, Rüppell’s vulture, northern red bishop, palm nut vulture, African quail finch, giant and pied kingfisher, rock pratincole, yellow-billed stork, white-faced whistling duck, and the country’s national bird, the grey-crowned crane. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Home of the mountain gorillas, majestic territory of forest dwelling Batwa people, and habitat to so many birds, Bwindi is a playground to any nature lover. The dense forest is so alive that the pathways carved by gorillas and gorilla trackers each day just about close up again each night. The tangled vines and broad-leafed trees glow green and cast dappled shadows on the forest floor. These jungle thickets are also home to about 350 species of birds – some frequently seen and heard, and others that might remain secrets of the forest forever. Some Bwindi specials include the great blue turaco, African green broadbill, Chapin’s flycatcher, Fraser’s eagle owl, handsome francolin, black-collared apalis, and white-bellied robin chat. Queen Elizabeth National Park With over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the best spots for birding enthusiasts to encounter a huge variety...

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Insider info: Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya
Feb06

Insider info: Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya

We frequently revisit well trodden paths to make sure that they are still the paths we want our clients to travel. We want to ensure that the places and products we align with are indeed delivering what we promise our guests. We love to investigate new places, visit never-before-seen destinations, and get a first-hand experience before we package it up and present it to guests who put their trust in us. With that in mind, our holiday planners get to gallivant all over the globe, testing and trialling new experiences. African safari expert and Product Manager, Michelle, recently departed for a whirlwind Kenyan adventure and then settled in Botswana to attend the annual Travel & Tourism Expo. We interrogated her once she got back and now we’re excited to share her findings with you! This is Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya.  She checked in and overnighted at Elephant Bedroom Camp, Saruni Samburu Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill, Porini Mara Camp, Porini Lion Camp, Elephant Pepper Camp, Serian ‘The Original’, Governor’s Camp, Nairobi Tented Camp, Elewana Tortilis Camp, and Porini Amboseli Camp. She visited and inspected Larsen’s Tented Camp, Ol Pejeta Cottages, Sweetwaters Tented Camp, Porini Rhino Camp, The Cliff, Porini Cheetah Camp, Ol Seki Mara Hemingways, Olare Mara Kempinski, Mahali Mzuri Camp, Mara Plains Camp, Karen Blixen Camp, Kicheche Mara Camp, Serian Camps in Mara North, Sanctuary Olonana, Kichwa Tembo, Governor’s Camp properties, Ol Tukai, and Tamarind Tree Hotel. SS: Have you been to Kenya before? What was new to you? Michelle: All of Kenya was new! I visited some of the main safari areas: Samburu National Reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara – both the National Reserve and various private conservancies. I loved everything about the country. The people were great, scenery was lovely and there was a diversity of wildlife across the various reserves. I was super lucky to see a few black rhino, which I had not seen for over 20 years. SS: What was your favourite moment overall? Michelle: I had the best lion sighting ever on my last game drive in the Masai Mara, towards the end of the day. It had been raining quite a bit during the day and the night before and the sun had finally come out. We sat watching this huge pride of lions – the Ridge Pride – for about 90 minutes, with our sundowner drink in hand. The Ridge Pride had a few adult females with cubs of different ages. The lions were happy the sun came out as they were all frisky and playing with each other and the moms and...

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Client Feedback : Dream Honeymoon Adventure
Feb05

Client Feedback : Dream Honeymoon Adventure

Belin and Rachel had such a memorable honeymoon thanks to Natasha. They decided to book their own Cape Town accommodation, and left the rest to safari expert Natasha. Always great to hear that loved-up couples have an experience of a lifetime. Tashy’s clients stayed at Rissington Inn in Hazyview, Ulusaba Rock Lodge in the premier Sabi Sand, Victoria Falls River Lodge, and Mont Rochelle. In short, they experienced the best of the Kruger, Victoria Falls and the Cape Winelands.  Here is their feedback :  Hi Natasha, Lovely to hear from you. We are safely back in chilly London. We had a FANTASTIC time in SA – it was truly the dream honeymoon we wanted. Thank you so much for helping us plan it! Our hotels and lodges were all amazing, but the winning ticket surely goes to Ulusaba 🤩 It was worth the expensive price tag! It’s just a fabulous lodge full of lovely people. We saw every animal there was to see! All the cats, the dogs, the big 5, the ugly 5 and then some. It was léopards galore, we saw leopards pretty much every day! Will send some pictures Whilst we were at Ulusaba, Rachel had a small accident and unfortunately broke her foot. We are so grateful that we were staying at Ulusaba because they took care of everything for us. They brought paramedics to our room who suggested getting an x-ray. Ulusaba called the doctors in Hazyview and made an appointment for us. They had one of the rangers drive us to Hazyview. He spent hours with us between the doctors clinic, the X-ray lab and the pharmacy. They even packed lunch and drinks for us! Rachel was sorted out with a boot and crutches and painkillers, and we were back in time for the afternoon game drive. We would have thought a health problem on holiday would be problematic, but Ulusaba made it easier for us. Victoria falls river lodge was a fabulous lodge as well. Very friendly staff and excellent service, and they really hit the nail on the head with the food. We had a delicious lunch and dinner menu each night. The staff were very attentive to us and tried to help as much as possible with Rachel’s foot. For example they sent an additional staff member with us to the falls to help with Rachel’s walking. Having the transfers provided was also extremely helpful as the border crossing was quite complicated 🙂 Overall we had a lovely time at the falls, however we felt the lodge could have been priced a bit lower than where it was. Mont Rochelle was...

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