Get to Know Your 5 Kruger Vultures
Jan30

Get to Know Your 5 Kruger Vultures

When you approach the site of a recent predator kill, and the cat activity has subsided somewhat, the scavengers descend upon the area to clean-up and help the eco-system of the Kruger. A wake of vultures surround the feeding zone, and then the chaos begins. The vulture restaurant has a pecking order, and a species hierarchy when it comes to feasting. Each species has a specific role to play in at the site of the carcass, which we discuss below.  Get to Know Your 5 Kruger Vultures  : Lappet-faced Vulture This tough beast of a vulture has a meat-shredding beak that can rip apart a carcass in an instant. The old-world, prehistoric looking bird is Africa’s largest vulture and has a rather imposing presence. It’s an endangered raptor that is illegally poached for its parts which are used in traditional medicine. The role of a lappet-faced at a kill site is one of vital importance. They perform tasks that other others are incapable of doing because of their anatomy. If other species of vulture cannot access the flesh on a carcass because the hide is too substantial, in swoops the Lappet-faced SWAT team! That meat-hook of a beak can easily penetrate the most sinewy and rugged meat. Although not the first to arrive at a kill, and by no means the most comical, they are certainly the Kings of the carcass. White-backed Vultures These are our most entertaining and comical vultures. They catch wind of an abandoned kill and swoop into the kill site, providing a canopy of confusion hovering over the carrion. The bounce from foot-to-foot, flapping about and jostle around the carcass. They need the lappets to tear apart the flesh and cleave the hide before they can access the smaller fleshy bits, their favourite part of the carcass. The white-backed vulture is a typical vulture – one of the most commonly spotted scavenging raptors in the Kruger. White-headed Vultures The coy white-headed vultures are finicky scavengers. while the white-backs are indulging in the fleshy meat section of the carcass, the white-headed vultures are happy to eat any part of the animal. The trouble is, they cannot access their favourite bits without the help of the Kingpins. These introverted vultures are referred to as “clean feeders” and enjoy keeping their plumage clean. They wait until the mania of the massive wakes have subsided, and then move in to pick away quietly at the dry bones and other neglected parts of the carrion. Hooded vulture The hooded vulture is another small vulture – and like the white-headed vulture – is also a shy raptor. Their favourite cut of meat?...

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Hotels in South America’s best locations you won’t want to miss
Jan30

Hotels in South America’s best locations you won’t want to miss

Latin America is a place of cultural wealth, untamed wilderness, and ancient history that is preserved in the geological magnificence of the Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, the Patagonian steppe, and the Amazon Forest. At the top of travellers’ bucket lists and sought after by Instagrammers and spiritual souls alike, the most naturally beautiful, culturally popular, and all-round unforgettable landscapes of Chile, Peru, and Brazil are not to be missed. World-class hotel groups and leaders in terms of adventurous experiences, fine dining, accommodation comfort, these select luxury hotels in the South American outback come with our stamp of approval. Peru Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu This mindful retreat is all about consciousness in the shade of the Machu Picchu citadel. A zen garden in the tranquil greenery of the Inca Empire, a testament to the peaceful nature of the ancient people. There are blessing ceremonies, coca leaf readings, orchid gardens, and rejuvenating spa treatments to soothe the soul and provide some much needed relaxation from the general pace of life. Access to Machu Picchu is second to none, as Sanctuary Lodge is the only establishment adjacent to the ancient citadel, so guests have the freedom to arrive earlier and stay later than the day visitors who arrive to pay tribute to Pachamama. The gardens are brimming with the phenomenal birdlife and the botanical beauty of this cherished place, and every inch of the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge celebrates the old Peruvian life that has been encased in history at the one and only Machu Picchu. Las Casitas, Colca Canyon Celebrating one of the deepest – if not the deepest – canyons in the Americas, Colca Canyon, this remote hideaway makes the most of the astounding views, mountainsides, rock-work, and chasms of the great Andes Mountains. Las Casitas is a representation of the local Peruvian art and culture, and has produced some of the most blissfully luxurious casitas that cherish the surroundings you find yourself in. The captivating flight of the condor can be seen out in the deep, open crevasses of the Andes, while traditional activities like horse riding through the Colca valley, and learning how to make the perfect Pisco cocktail add incredible Peruvian value to this hotel stay. Painting in the great outdoors, trekking and bird watching, cycling, and taking tea in the orchards are among the many activities to keep you busy in between spectacular meals, luxurious nights of comfort, and rejuvenating spa treatments. Chile Awasi Patagonia Patagonia’s wild and hostile landscapes are irresistible to adventurers who flock to the Andean peaks to hike with backpacks and leg warmers in the terrain ruled by mountain lions. The Deep South...

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Upgrades to Governors’ Camp Collection in East Africa
Jan29

Upgrades to Governors’ Camp Collection in East Africa

Governors’ II  Moran Camp and Loldia House are two of the most spectacular properties in the Governors’ portfolio of exceptional destinations. Governors is the pioneer of classic safaris in East Africa, and they certainly set the benchmark in terms of offering the quintessential safari experience. The latest upgrade to Governors’ Camp collection in East Africa is worthy of documenting!  Moran Camp is located in the Masai Mara, and Loldia is in the Great Rift Valley – both areas renown for their game viewing. Needless to say, the locations of both these camp are in the most sought after destinations in the world. Governors recognises the need to keep up to date with the latest trends in decor and design; and constantly strives to improve functional elements within each of their camps. These classic camps don’t intrude on their natural surrounds, and prefer the untamed wild to be their focal point, rather than being ostentatious. Tasteful furnishings and well-appointed furniture provide an exceptional level of luxury, but not a luxury that detracts from your surrounds. Governors encapsulates the art of being sophistically understated. So, let’s give a quick run down of the recent changes at both camps, bearing in mind that the tents were refurbed during the phase 1 development at the beginning of the year: Governors’ II Moran Camp in Masai Mara The entire mess tent was revamped and reconstructed. Mess tent is now located on the edge of the Mara River, with sweeping views of the landscape below. New platform area leading out from mess tent, with large comfy couches and mood lighting that creates atmosphere. Fire-pit on the deck – perfect place for large bonfires and creates a space to swap stories about your time in the bushveld. There’s been a change in decor, which includes a warmer and more bold colour palette. Reds, royal blues and brass ornaments define the look and feel of the main area. Brand new fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers – and Governors only ever allocates 4 people per 1 game viewer. Loldia House in the Great Rift Valley Loldia House is designed to reflect an atmosphere from a bygone era. The house was always an old family farm, that provides exquisite accommodation in a popular safari region. After a two month revamp, the new Loldia House was revealed – with the following changes : New dining room with high ceilings Swanky bar area in the original dining room Soft furnishings complementing that classic feel of the house, with a focus on minimalism and pops of colour throughout. Bathrooms have also been reworked to incorporate a more crisp and fresh look. The original manager’s house...

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All you need to know about visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina
Jan28

All you need to know about visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park near the popular town of El Calafate in Patagonia, Argentina. It is the region’s most famous glacier, standing out as one of the most impressive and easily accessible sights of its kind. An enormous expanse of jagged, blue-white ice rising 80 metres up from the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino and damming it up with a statement of rock solid freeze between the mountain rises on either side. Part of the Andean ice fields, which spread throughout areas of Patagonia and create the dozens of glaciers in the region. It’s staggering to see up close and it is easy to get to, plus visitors can choose to take a walking tour themselves, or book a spot on a boat cruise, or with an adventure guide to go ice trekking. In this piece, we’re talking facts, activities, how to get there, and when to go. This one is not to be missed! Facts about Perito Moreno Glacier Named after explorer Franciso Moreno, this glacier shares it’s name with the town of Perito Moreno, which is (confusingly) a full day’s drive north of Los Glaciares National Park, in which this world famous glacier is located. It is part of the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water – the southern ice fields of Patagonia – and it is exceptional in that it is one of the world’s only glaciers that is not retreating, and is in fact, advancing. It is said to have started forming during the last ice age 2.6 million years ago, making it alluringly ancient and full of history. The size of Perito Moreno Glacier is estimated to be about 250 square kilometres in size, 170 metres deep, and 30 kilometres in length. At its terminus, where visitors can view part of the wall of the glacier, the ice rises about 80km above the lake’s surface and is 5km wide. Every couple of years the glacier ruptures and enormous chunks break and fall off into the lake due to the immense pressure, but the calving of the ice on a much smaller scale can be seen often if visitors wait long enough during their visit. Sometimes, pieces of ice break off every 20 minutes. How to get there Certainly, the most popular way to get to the glacier is by road from El Calafate, which is a bustling yet quaint and very pleasant town about 80 kilometres away. There are bus rides that depart from El Calafate and take visitors right to the park’s entrance where visitors pay a fee of about US$30. It is not for...

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Coming soon: Mozambique’s flagship park opens luxury lodge
Jan23

Coming soon: Mozambique’s flagship park opens luxury lodge

Mozambique has a history potholed with civil war which led to wildlife crime, like many other African countries that are today, custodians of the continent’s precious resources and cherished wildlife. Gorongosa National Park has made one of the greatest comebacks in history, from a natural area persecuted by poaching and neglected during a time of struggle, to what is today Mozambique’s flagship wildlife reserve. The Royal Portfolio – one of South Africa’s leading luxury hotel groups – has now announced the opening of their latest addition: Royal Gorongosa. Nestled in the heart of Mozambique, Gorongosa has been named “the place where Noah left his ark”, and documented by National Geographic in “Africa’s Lost Eden”. The park has been brought back from the brink, and its wild places have been restored to their former glory. Limestone cliffs tower from the depths of indigenous forests, and rivers cascade through rocky beds, churning and flowing at pace before fanning out and drenching the plains in calm, life-giving water. Hippos and crocodiles jostle in the shallows and elephants submerge themselves in the depths as they cross the channels from one grassy bank to another. Over 500 species of birds occupy the skies and the tree canopies, and linger at the water’s edge where they keep a keen eye on the fish and insects moving fleetingly beneath the surface. The open plains and wetlands are bustling with waterbuck, sable, impala, tsessebe, kudu, bushbuck, and nyala. Giraffe, zebra, buffalo, and hyena, lion, leopard, and African wild dog. These populations of Africa’s most sought after wildlife species have regenerated in Gorongosa, thanks to the admirable work by the conservation leaders who have guided it back to its original glory. This has been called the “rebirth of paradise” – a deserving and hard earned title that is a testament to the iconic nature of Mozambique’s Gorongosa. Royal Gorongosa promises to celebrate the area’s rich biodiversity from its location at the southern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. “Royal Gorongosa will be an exclusive tented camp situated in the eastern part of Gorongosa National Park and have just eight immaculately styled luxury tents (including one two-bedroom family tent). Each tent will be 86 square metres excluding a vast deck with a private plunge pool and a gazebo. Each will be uniquely decorated by Liz Biden with luxurious fabrics and missanda wood echoing the halcyon days of the 1970s when Gorongosa was a premier destination for celebrities such as John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Gregory Peck.” The great Pungwe River is the place of peaceful boat cruises, which are completed by picnics on the banks and afternoon fishing excursions. Lake...

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New Tengile River Lodge is exclusive Sabi Sand royalty
Jan23

New Tengile River Lodge is exclusive Sabi Sand royalty

A tribute to nature’s most beautiful phases and a celebration of local art, Tengile River Lodge has opened its doors in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve to industry applause. Situated on the bend of the Sand River, the gloriousness begins with the ample river views and the presence of wildlife all around. The organic mossy, autumn colour scheme makes it feel like every breath taken, indoors and outdoors, is enriched with oxygen, and every corner of bedroom, bathroom, dining, bar, or lounge is a depiction of natural life. The greatest asset throughout Tengile, which means “tranquil” in Tsonga, is the use of space, and the luxurious layout of the lodge ensures that each guest’s experience is private and personalised. There are nine suites, which all have views of the winding river. Every thatched suite is air-conditioned and equipped with WiFi, and each has a private lap pool, outdoor lounge, full en suite bathroom and an outdoor shower. There is a pair of interleading suites, which is ideal for families (children 12 years of age and up), while others are individually positioned under riverine trees on the elevated bank of the river. The views from each suite’s poolside sun loungers offer an almost bird’s eye view of the rocky river and its residents and visitors. The sustainable use of wood not only keeps Tengile’s promise of environmental consciousness, but decorates the ceilings of each room in the guest suites and in the main lodge areas with a naturally streaked timber. Layers of slate stone create feature walls that draw the eye, and speckled screed floors are a sleek yet pleasingly non-uniform foundation of the nature-inspired structures. The extensive use of wood, glass, and organic materials in the build is complemented by rich emerald and khaki greens, copper, brass, brown, and gold. The combination of textiles both whacky and contemporary gather and settle into an artistic victory. And speaking of art, have you seen the chandeliers? We’re talking about the softened green sea glass twirling and chiming above the dining table. The chair covers, light fittings, kitchen counter, and coffee table all add unique elements of the same theme to generate the overall appeal of Tengile’s living environments. There is a boma outside, which is created in celebration of the traditional “kraal” but embodies modernity with its uniformly logged wall, rising upwards in an even gradient to embrace the traditional fire-side dining experience. Evenings spent eating and drinking under the stars while a central fire crackles away are accompanied by the owls and night jars singing into the atmosphere. Also outdoors is the ultimate viewing point at Tengile: a sunken lounge...

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Lions and Hyenas : The Ultimate Frenemies
Jan10

Lions and Hyenas : The Ultimate Frenemies

It is believed that hyenas steal up to 20% of kills from lions. A heartbreaking statistic for our rather robust and proficient predators! When you’ve identified your prey, made eye contact with your pride members, assumed your position in the takedown formation, stalked, pounced and put in the hard graft; it’s bound to raise your hackles when your meal is stolen. The hyena is the lion’s arch enemy, but lions actually need these loping scavengers to clean up after them. Lions and hyenas are most certainly the ultimate frenemies! The hyenas sneaky scavenging ways aggravate our menacing cats, and their brazen bravado knows no bounds. When a pride or coalition has completed the take down and the prey is ready to be devoured, you will hear the hyenas vocalising. The clans catch a whiff of blood in the air and summon the clan members to the area where the prey has fallen. The bone-crushing scavengers, although proficient and methodical hunters, will stop at nothing to steal a fresh kill. This makes them one of the most successful carnivores in the animal kingdom. Hyena will awkwardly gallop towards the lions, hoping for a gap to access the prey. Their shrill calls exhibit signs of anxiety and excitement. Hyena are quite successful at stealing parts of a kill and often walk away with a femur or two! Lions will defend their hard-earned meal and around the carcass site is where you’ll see the majority of lion vs hyena scuffles. Lions are messy eaters and leave a trail of meaty mess after gorging themselves. Hyenas are the janitors of the bushveld and hang out on the periphery of a kill site, just waiting for the an opportunity to help. Hyena remove bone fragments, entrails, hide and decaying flesh from a kill site. They are champions in thwarting the spread of disease within a reserve.  It’s been scientifically proven that hyena outperform chimps in problem solving tasks. Silently a friend to lions, but outwardly an enemy.  ...

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