5 secrets about Brazil that you should know before you go
Oct20

5 secrets about Brazil that you should know before you go

Scintillating Brazil is a popular country to visit because of its lively atmosphere, exceptional game viewing, pristine coastline and all round sunny disposition. There are the well-known regions within beautiful Brazil that hold great appeal for most people. These areas include Rio, the Amazon, the Pantanal and the coast. Many of you might have scoured the shelves for books about Brazil, or armchair travelled your way through the top destinations in each region. But it should be known that there are a few pockets of paradise that aren’t well-documented. Perhaps they detract from the major areas (that are worth visiting), or perhaps people just don’t know about them. But one thing’s for certain, the deeper you dig, the more you realise just what a remarkable country Brazil actually is. We’ve only listed 5 secrets about Brazil that you should know about before you go, but there are plenty more unique things in this sizzling country – you just have to dig a little deeper. The Amazon has beaches You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Amazon is only a jungle-laden, heavily rain forested region with the mighty Amazon River at its epicentre. Truth is, it’s more than just a jungle paradise home to caymen, capybaras, poison dart frogs and piranhas. It’s actually a fantastic beach destination! And the beaches are slightly different to the turquoise salty oceans lapping on the shores of sugar-white sand. One of the most remarkable river beach towns is the alluring Alter do Chão, one of the Amazon’s jungle beaches. Surrounded by impenetrable forests of green trees, and flanked by soft river sand, Alter do Chão is possibly to most chilled place to hang out. It’s paradise. There’s also the Green Lagoon region that makes for a perfect place to paddle board and hike the surrounds. Along the river coast there are also a number of little beach bars with a few locals strumming guitars to the vibe of the Amazonian sunset. Ilha do Amor, an island surrounded by pristine beaches located in front of the town. The island only appears for 6 months of the year when the water levels are right. Life in the Amazon isn’t just about chasing the predators and critters of the jungle! Wait – there’s more. You’ll be pleased to know that Alter do Chão is not the only beach destination in the Amazon. There are other freshwater beaches in the area, which include the busy Ponta de Negra beach in Manaus, and the laid-back picturesque jungle vibe beach of Praia da Tope. We do recommend that you visit at least one of the Amazon’s beaches, preferably in the...

Read More
3 Dog-friendly Hotels in Cape Town. Bring Mitzy, but Leave Beast.
Oct19

3 Dog-friendly Hotels in Cape Town. Bring Mitzy, but Leave Beast.

Planning a holiday is exciting, but leaving darling Mitzy at home is gut wrenching. Going away without your pets requires careful planning and organisation; and there is always an associated level of anxiety that accompanies a holiday away from pets. When you leave your pets in the trusted hands of family members or house sitters it’s comforting, but it’s not quite the same when you’re without the four-legged furbuckets. In an ideal world, we’d lock up the house, put Mitzy in our handbag and toddle off to our destination, but this isn’t possible when we’re hightailing it to a place that doesn’t accept pets. Luckily for us, more and more hotels are adopting a dog-friendly attitude, which is good news for frequent travellers that simply don’t want to leave Mitzy moo at home. Hotels in Cape Town have jumped on the bandwagon, and there are now numerous hotels with a fantastic four-legged policy. 3 of our favourite luxury hotels along Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard offer dog-friendly rooms, which we’re quite happy to hear about. As a general rule of thumb (or paw), most hotels only accept small dogs or dogs under a certain weight limit. Unfortunately, this means that Beast the Bull Mastiff, Max the Boerbul and Phoebe the friendly Rotti will need to stay at home. Smaller dogs – although more opinionated – tend to be easier to control, and less intimidating towards other guests. Great Danes should also probably stay at home – no one wants a horse in a hotel. It goes without saying that all inoculations need to be up to date, and dogs must also be housetrained. No hotel wants to see their antique plush ottoman destroyed by Bogart’s bowel issues and inability to digest the night-before’s lamb meal. If you’re an international traveller flying to Cape Town, you’d need to find out what the protocol is when it comes to flying with dogs. Without further ado, here are our top 3 luxury dog-friendly hotels on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, designed to make you go barking mad.  Of course, this only scrapes the surface of all the doggone terrific hotels out there! The Radisson Red Hotel at the VA Waterfront The Radisson Red Hotel is located in the hub of Cape Town – the VA Waterfront. The Waterfront is centred around a yacht basin and is dotted with designer shops, bustling cafes, award winning restaurants and elite five star hotels. The arty and bold Radisson Red is located – specifically – in the hip and happening Silo district, a stone’s throw away from the Zeitz MOCAA gallery. The Red Hotel slots in perfectly into...

Read More
Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa
Oct18

Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa

Pack for a Purpose is a charity initiative encouraging people to pack specific supplies for struggling communities in the countries that they are visiting. The Pack for a Purpose website provides a list of supplies needed in each region, making it quite easy to source country-specific items.  Numerous hotels, camps and lodges within various countries across the globe have joined this highly successful and much needed initiative. You simply check the website to see if your hotel/lodge is part of the program, click on the link to see the projects that they’re involved in, and then build up a package containing their list of items needed. Pack for a Purpose bridges the gap between people wanting to donate material items to communities, and what is actually needed by those communities. If you follow the guidelines laid out by the charity, there won’t be a surplus of unnecessary items – and communities in dire straits will receive exactly what they need to survive and thrive within the educational, conservation and medical sectors.  Africa is a large continent with contrasting countries, unique cultures and mixed economies. This is vibrant continent and melting pot so rich in resources and natural beauty, but poor in monetary wealth. It’s not uncommon for pockets of rural communities to live without water, electricity and food. Communities urgently need donations from first world countries, but their list of items often differs from what we think they might need. The on-the-ground teams in each country keep inventory of what surrounding communities need, and constantly update the Pack for a Purpose website. Pack for a Purpose guides visitors towards the information needed to contribute effectively to communities – and don’t forget, a small contribution can have a massive impact. Below are a few of the items needed in popular safari destinations, with a handful of the lodges that Sun Safaris books on a regular basis. Each of the listed lodges has specific projects that they are involved in, which you can read about when you click on specific links. Pack for a Purpose in Botswana  Botswana is focussed on improving education and providing basic classroom supplies to the underprivileged. You are encouraged to donate school supplies, writing utensils, knitting utensils and notebooks.  3 lodges in Botswana involved in Pack for a Purpose. Click on the links to read the list of what is needed at each camp’s delivery point, and what projects are currently underway. Jao Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta Duba Plains Camp is part of Great Plains Conservation and is located in the Okavango Delta. Vumbura Plains on the edge of the floodplains in...

Read More
Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?
Oct15

Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?

Perplexed potential guests often ask our consultants which destination in Africa is best for a once-in-a-lifetime safari. It’s the most complex question to unpack. And there really is no clear cut answer. I’m afraid there is no linear answer for the flummoxing question of “Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?“. Each destination offers something unique to its visitors, and each place is wildly remarkable in terms of wildlife and landscape. To help answer this question, the most we can do is look at your options. This requires an understanding of your budget, time of year that you want to travel, length of time on safari, accessibility in terms of flights, and wildlife that you’d like to see. It’s a process to find the perfect safari region and destination for our guests, but one that we’re pretty good at doing. In this blog post, we’ve examined a few popular safari destinations to shed a bit of insight about each area – hopefully this will make your decision easier! Uganda and Rwanda Primate Central. Home of the jungles, gorillas and chimpanzee.  Uganda and Rwanda are unchartered, exceptional destinations ideal for the adventurous at heart. There are exquisite luxury lodges sitting on the edge of tropical rainforest carpeting dormant volcanoes. Locals are welcoming and friendly; and it goes without saying that the coffee is heavenly. Getting around requires the services of a local driver, who is at ease with navigating winding dusty roads criss crossing past coffee plantations. The verdant rainforests are home to the only wild mountain gorillas in the world, and the forests provide a perfect habitat for gangs of chimpanzee. It goes without saying that tracking and trekking with the primates of the area is a must. In these jungle regions there also dwells the rare forest elephants, golden monkeys and colobus monkeys. Both Uganda and Rwanda also offer exquisite birding opportunities – look out for the great blue turaco and shoebill. Sightings of which are always celebrated. Of course, both regions are peppered with national parks home to abundant predator and big game activity. We recommend you look out for the ever famous tree climbing lions in Uganda’s premier safari destination, Queen Elizabeth National Park. If primates and birding are your thing, then these jungle destinations are for you. Both countries are accessible and have international airports. You don’t need a long period of time to trek with the primates, but you will need quite a high budget. Because the regions are so remote, lodgings can be pricey, as can the permits to trek with gorillas. Good news is that the...

Read More
Client Feedback : Namibia and Victoria Falls
Oct12

Client Feedback : Namibia and Victoria Falls

Liselle has a knack for arranging the ultimate African safari experience. Carefully she crafts the perfect luxury itineraries, ensuring her guests return time and again. She advised her clients to stay at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge in the remarkable Soussusvlei area in Namibia, and the family-run Bayete Guest Lodge in the world-renown Victoria Falls. Liselle combined their Namibia and Victoria Falls with a brief stay at the Belvedere Boutique Hotel in Windhoek. Here is their feedback :  Dear Liselle, Thank you very much for your email and for following up after our journey. We will begin by thanking you for all your hard work and suggestions. We had a wonderful experience in Namibia and Zimbabwe. We are so glad we listened to you and stayed at Wolwedans. The staff was very nice, professional, and paid attention to detail. In the restaurant special thanks go to Beatriz and Tabea for making our evenings pleasant. We would recommend Wolwedans to friends. As a matter of fact, I need to get in touch with Virginia Esposito as she wants to hear about our trip and possibly plan a trip to Namibia. Getting the car rental and driving from Windhoek to the Wolwedans proved that our sense of direction (with the help of GPS) is not that bad. Furthermore, wherever we stopped for refueling and stretch our legs, we found out that locals were very friendly and helpful. The hot air balloon and the view from it was spectacular and well worth getting up early in the morning to see the sunrise We managed to book a Sossusvlei and Deadvlei drive from the Wolwedans, and have to say that the drive and visit to both “valleys” were very impressive Overall, the lodge, with a suitable setting to relaxing and the while life around it (mostly oryks and zebras) made the trip extra special. While in Windhoek, our stay at the Belvedere Boutique Hotel was also pleasant. We liked that it was a small and laid back place but very professional at the same time. Toward the end of our trip, we found out that the Naankuse Lodge which is located between Windhoek and the airport offers day gaming activities. This lodge could also be an alternative to travelers before they begin their 4×4 trip to the dunes As for Zimbabwe, our plain ride was smooth, a representative from Wild Horizons was waiting for us, who transported us to Bayette Lodge. The setting of the Lodge is very pleasant. The rooms were simple but clean. We found out that Victoria Falls was more than the falls, we took a sunset boat ride of the Zambesi river and visited a...

Read More
South Africa joins Brazil and Indonesia as world’s most biodiverse nations
Oct10

South Africa joins Brazil and Indonesia as world’s most biodiverse nations

South Africans, indulge in a moment of national pride: ZA is ranked as the third most biodiverse country in the world! It comes in after Indonesia in second place, and Brazil, which takes the gold medal in the category. The land of biltong, Ouma rusks, the Vuvuzela, and Walkie-Talkies (not the two-way radio kind) is also one of the planet’s megadiverse countries, meaning it has at least 5000 species of endemic plants and borders marine ecosystems. Not only is South Africa considered megadiverse, it is ranked third in the world. Our biologically diverse country is surrounded by two oceans – Atlantic and Indian – and occupies only about 2% of the world’s land area, while it hosts an impressive 10% of the world’s plants, 7% of the reptiles, birds and mammals, and 15% of coastal marine species. While we’re talking numbers, wrap your head around 850 species of birds, and 300 species of mammals occurring across our landscape. We can also boast about our nine different biomes, three of which have been declared global biodiversity hotspots: the Cape Floristic Region, Succulent Karoo, and parts of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany. The Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of the world’s top 10 coral reef hotspots, while the Cape Fold Belt is an important freshwater ecoregion. What animals are endemic to South Africa? A few famous examples of animals endemic to South Africa include the Cape grysbok, bontebok, and riverine rabbit in the mammals category; the Cape sugarbird, Cape parrot and Cape rockjumper for birds; the geometric tortoise and Knysna dwarf chameleon as endemic reptiles; and the Table Mountain ghost frog as one of our endemic amphibians. The list goes on with plenty of insects, invertebrates, fish, and of course endemic plants. Take a look at a more in depth list of unique species and genera in South Africa here. Urgency to protect this unique biodiversity This climb in the ranking to third place comes after the declaration of 20 new Marine Protected Areas in South Africa, which will now protect 90% of the country’s marine habitat species. This, of course, is good news as it is an indication of the steps being taken by government to keep these sensitive and globally significant ecosystems safe from unsustainable overfishing, unethical recreation, and poaching among other things. The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy said: “In terms of government priorities, these ocean parks will not only protect our rich marine biodiversity but will also contribute to the sustainability of our fisheries and our fishing industry – a perfect example of sustainable development, evidence-based policy-making, and a valuable outcome of the Operation Phakisa: Oceans...

Read More
4 Good Reasons to Spend Christmas & New Year on Safari
Oct06

4 Good Reasons to Spend Christmas & New Year on Safari

It’s the time of year when half the population turns to Pinterest for their Christmas decor inspiration and menu planning, while the other half makes a quick U-turn out of the tinsel-strewn shopping mall and scans the web for any last minute flight specials to somewhere remote! We aren’t all cut from the same cloth, and while the bustling shops and festive music might give some people the warm and fuzzies, others start to dream of wide open spaces and silence instead. Sure, family time is the best time, but so are midday gin and tonics by the pool with absolutely nothing being asked of you for at least four hours. We get it; you’re torn between spending a week in near-pyjamas tripping over Christmas lights, and absorbing the African warmth under a big sun hat and a view of elephants parading across the savanna. Here are four good reasons to spend Christmas and New Year on safari. You’re welcome.     All the feasting without the cooking or cleaning Safaris are synonymous with overeating, in the best possible way. There is so much good food going around at every time of year and over the festive season, safari chefs really start churning out the special treatment. From early morning homemade rusks and shortbread, to fluffy frittatas, fresh fruit and mince pies, charcuterie platters and big, hearty flavours across the board, you’re definitely not going hungry. Food is so much a part of feeling nurtured and satisfied, and when you’re on safari – over Christmas time or not – you’re eating home-cooked meals that not only deliver in terms of comfort and flavour, you’re 100% on the receiving end and 0% on the prep! A safari Christmas means you have no kitchen duties assigned to you whatsoever, so forget the devilled eggs and the stewed fruit pudding you’re responsible for this year, and put those feet up! Where? Chinzombo Camp A rather appealing absence of (human) crowds We generally love our own humans, and the festive season allows absent aunts, uncles, and cousins to spend quality time together and lighten the load on parents of tots! But with long overdue family catch ups comes the exponential growth in general human traffic. A quick run for an emergency litre of milk on Boxing Day morning could turn into an hour-long affair with a few thousand people in the same predicament. Long queues of people in dire need of coffee with overtired kids in tow isn’t our idea of morning fun, but what we DO kind of like the sound of is birds. The deep, resonating drum of the ground hornbill enters...

Read More