5 Small Animals to Spot on Safari in the Kruger
Dec05

5 Small Animals to Spot on Safari in the Kruger

It was hard selection and quite tough to narrow down our top 5 small animals to spot on safari in the Kruger, but we managed to filter through the forgotten bundles of fluffs to deliver a small assortment of animals. The big five are most certainly the most sought after animals to spot in the bushveld, but it’s always rewarding when you find the Kruger’s smallest carnivore flushing out grubs and grooming their coarse hair to impress a potential mate. The ‘veld is alive with activity from the smaller creatures that are sidelined in favour of big game. Seek out your primary list of wildlife to see, but think about adding these small animals to your safari tick list.   Dwarf Mongoose The somewhat petite dwarf mongoose is a fascinating species. Typically, they live in disused termite mounds in communities of up to 30 individuals. The community is led by a rather dominant and bossy alpha female that generally has a male sidekick. The duo is responsible for the well-being and success of the community. There are various duties to perform within the cohesive community, with the sentry duty being of great importance. Sentry duty involves one or more mongooses occasionally bolting up from the ground to scan their surrounds for imminent danger. They keep guard while others forage.  They are the smallest carnivore in Africa and thrive on a diet of grubs, insects, snakes and rodents. They forage in the low lying shrubbery and between fallen trees, and are often seen together with southern yellow-billed hornbills. Dwarf mongoose are constantly in search of food during the day, which makes them fairly easy to spot. They do tend to scurry around at a lightning pace, so if there’s an opportunity to take a photo then please do!  Lesser Bushbaby The lesser bushbaby is a minuscule nocturnal critter with alarmingly large eyes. It’s disc shaped eyes are a dead giveaway to its species. These tree-dwelling primates actually have tiny hands resembling miniature human hands. They’re loners with a nervous disposition; and if startled they will leap a whopping 3m between branches. Their diet comprises mainly gum and small insects; and they have an incredible ability to catch insects mid-air. Look out for this small acrobat during your night game drive.  Genet This tiny mammal hides away deep within hollow trees and dense thickets, and is nocturnal. It’s a solitary creature belonging to the civet family and they certainly aren’t afraid of encroaching on areas where there are humans. Genets have tiny pointy faces and slender bodies scattered with black dots – look up to the trees and you’ll spot them hiding...

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Marine Life to Spot While on an Ocean Safari in Mozambique
Dec05

Marine Life to Spot While on an Ocean Safari in Mozambique

The Mozambique coastline is an unspoilt and wild destination in Africa offering a wealth of beach and ocean activities. The warm Indian ocean provides the perfect habitat for abundant marine life and the shoreline offers pristine surfing waves for all level of surfer. The Mozambique coast and its archipelagos provide the perfect conditions for a tropical island getaway, while still maintaining that African rustic feel. Ideal for fishing, diving, surfing, snorkelling and swimming, Mozambique is certainly a worthwhile destination. While you’re out in the deep blue, you’ll find that there’s ample marine life to spot while on an ocean safari in Mozambique. Below we’ve listed the most popular marine life to spot along Mozambique’s coast.  Humpback Whales and  Southern Right Whales Both the humpback and southern right whales are found in abundance throughout the warm waters of Mozambique. The whales migrate to the warm open waters of Mozambique to mate and calve, and favour the colder waters of the northern regions of the globe to feed. The most popular time of year to spot whales is from June – December, a window of time that gives onlookers an opportunity to whale watch from the shore – or even your lodge. The humpback whales do love to entertain, and can often be seen bolting up out of the water and slapping their hefty bodies back on the surface of the ocean. It’s name is derived from the way it contorts its frame when it readies itself for a dive. For the underwater adventurers, try to listen out for the haunting song and sounds of the humpback whales. The southern right whales name is derived from ancient times when hunters believed the species to be the “right” whale to hunt because of its blubber and slow-moving ways. Where to see whales in Mozambique : July – October is the time of year to see humpback whales in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos. October – December in the open waters of Mozambique is the time spot Humpbacks. The southern right whales appear to be more congregated around the southern regions of Mozambique. Dugongs The dugong is a rare, almost mythical sea creature that looks like a hybrid of an elephant and mermaid. The endangered dugong is not only rare, but by nature an excessively shy creature. Dugongs are drawn to areas with forests of sea grasses (northern parts of Mozambique coastline), and they’re actually one of two vegetarian marine mammals. Dugongs certainly aren’t loners and travel in flings of two or more. They feed in the shallows which means they are generally out of the way of marauding deep sea predators. Because dugongs are elusive,...

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Trail Running in Cape Town
Dec04

Trail Running in Cape Town

Cape Town is a mecca for adventure activities. The city’s contrasting coastlines, mountainous regions, forests, lakes, and abundant vineyards create the perfect natural landscape for an array of outdoor pursuits. Avid mountain bikers and runners flock to the mother City to explore her rugged terrain, and  many international visitors find the huge sports races and events a major drawcard to the city.  The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (fondly referred to as the World’s most beautiful marathon), the Cape Town Cycle Tour  and the trail runner’s favourite – the Three Peaks Challenge – are just a few examples of the many major races that Cape Town hosts. Over the past few years Cape Town’s trail community has grown from strength-to-strength. The sport has become popular across the globe, with runners always seeking a new high (literally). Cape Town’s golden boy, Ryan Sandes, has really put the Mother City on the map in terms of trail running. He’s scooping up awards for stage races and ultra desert marathons, making Cape Town proud with each stride.The peninsula is the perfect training ground for trail running in Cape Town. Unfortunately running alone on the mountains and forested areas in Cape Town is not safe. There are numerous trail running groups and events that head out on marked routes meandering across peaks, through the vineyards and across tough sandy terrain of beaches. We highly suggest finding a formalised trail group such as the Trail and Tar group runs, or click here to check the trail running calendar for a more fun organised race. If you’re interested in running up Table Mountain, then we suggest tackling Platteklip Gorge, a popular hiking route. It’s a tough uphill run but well worth the effort. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is another place to enjoy a challenging trail run.  The 9,800 hectare reserve has plenty of routes, some of which have waterfalls, and others that head deep into the mountain gorge. Jonkershoek is located in the Stellenbosch winelands, so timing it with a wine tasting at a neighbouring farm is advisable. The Constantia region is carpeted with vineyards and makes for great trails for the more relaxed trail runner. But the best trail run? Well that would have to be the Ultra-trail Cape Town ! Last year one of the world’s most popular ultra trail running events  (Ultra-trail) added Cape Town to its world tour. There are 4 trail races traversing the mountains of the spectacular Cape peninsula, and routes include 100 km, 65 km, 35 km and 21 km of technical terrain. Expect rocky coastlines, mountains and spectacular vistas of the peninsula. This is one of the toughest but most rewarding...

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Puma Tracking at Torres del Paine in Patagonia
Nov30

Puma Tracking at Torres del Paine in Patagonia

Patagonia is the southernmost point of the world, after Antarctica, and it is one of the adventure capitals of the planet, housing some of the most magnificent, scenic hiking trails, alpine forests, glacier lakes, icy peaks, and possessing a fascinating human history. This southern tip of South America sprawls over Chile and Argentina with the Andes mountains along its western boundary and rugged, arid steppe of Argentina in the east. Patagonia, with its hostile climate, icy rain and winds, is the home of the puma, or mountain lion, and this is where tourists flock to see them on foot. Puma tracking is a speciality activity in Chilean Patagonia where the mighty Torres del Paine National Park covers an area of mighty granite peaks capped in snow, turquoise lakes, and rocky hillsides with rugged underbrush – pumas’ perfect territory! These are the largest cats of Patagonia and the regions greatest predators, and they thrive in this chilly climate because there is an abundance of guanaco, the cats’ favoured prey species. The shrill sound of a guanaco whistling its alarm call carries through the wind and has become an iconic sound associated with the presence of the silent, stalking puma. To see a puma in Patagonia is one, big bucket-list check, and specialised guided trek is the only way to go to guarantee your puma tracking experience. Torres del Paine has a network of hiking trails that wander along the lower slopes of the Andes, where rugged rocks and narrow caves create the perfect habitat for pumas. While these cats can be spotted on independent hiking trails if you’re lucky, this is not a guaranteed and professional puma tracking activity. Tracking these cats on foot, armed with binoculars and led by an experienced guide who knows how to follow and find these mountain lions is the only way to go if you’re looking for the authentic experience and quality sightings. Off-road puma tracking gives hikers the best chances of seeing the cats, as you are led off the beaten track into can follow tracks that lead further off the road. This advantage is only permitted on private land that borders Torres del Paine, so your best chances of getting great results from your tracking experience is on these private reserves where special tracking activities are conducted, and the most luxurious accommodation is there to welcome you upon your return from the chilly mountain air. Awasi Patagonia is located in one such private reserve, overlooking the monumental Torres del Paine, and housing guests in 14 unique villas, each equipped with its own private guide with the experience to conduct hiking, cycling, and 4×4...

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Botswana “Best in Show” Safari Destination 2018
Nov20

Botswana “Best in Show” Safari Destination 2018

Safari Bookings has just named Botswana the number one safari destination in Africa! Through an analysis of reviews, ratings, and statistics, it is revealed that 2018’s best overall safari spot is the beautiful Botswana. Tanzania was a hair’s breadth away from first place, and it remains the best destination for wildlife viewing, but Botswana’s diverse landscape, variety of habitats, incredible birding, and wealth of unique wildlife are what gave it this prestigious title. And we are behind the decision one hundred percent! In celebration of this amazing country, we want to show off some of her most beautiful and unique assets, so that there is no wondering why Botswana is recognised as this year’s most superior spot for African wildlife and nature-based travel.  The Kalahari Starting with the great big semi-arid desert that takes up the majority of the country: the Kalahari is a seasonal desert that transforms from a waterless hinterland to a thriving, green oasis in the summer rain. It gets bitterly cold at night in winter, and blisteringly hot in summer. The stars are nothing short of magical, and the wildlife is abundant, especially in summer when the baby antelope are born. Here is where you can see black-maned lion, gemsbok, cheetah, springbok, ostrich, bat-eared fox, pale-chanting goshawk, sociable weavers, brown hyena, and weird and wonderful plant life. One of our top choices for a Kalahari stay is Tau Pan in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The transformation from silver grassland to green oasis is astounding, and the views from the lodge are purely spectacular. Star gazing, guided walks with the Bushman, predator-filled game drives, and total relaxation in wide open wilderness. The Kalahari gives us an unapologetic show of just how contrasting the seasons can be, demonstrating the dehydration of winter, cracked clay pans, dried skeletal remains of animals that couldn’t withstand the drought. Then it bursts into life and sprinkles dew drops of fresh blossoms, feeding every creature with renewed goodness presented by the rain. Perhaps most fascinating of all is the fact this is where Africa’s first people lived and thrived for thousands of years until very recently, following in their ancestors’ resilient footsteps. The San Bushman know the Kalahari as well as every indigenous animal, and the beauty of a desert safari here is the opportunity to walk with the San and learn how they survived in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Okavango Delta The Okavango Delta, life blood of the Kalahari, panning out into the northern reaches of the desert and feeding it with nutrients and sustaining great populations of wetland and savannah species alike. Long acknowledged as one of...

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Safari Sophistication at RockFig luxury lodge in the Timbavati
Nov17

Safari Sophistication at RockFig luxury lodge in the Timbavati

A long-adored family getaway in the bush that merged lovingly into one of the finest safari offerings in the Timbavati, RockFig Safari Lodge is something very special. Only six luxury suites makes this an exclusive retreat for a family or a small group, and promises to provide all the the service and style you’ll need to completely relax and unwind surrounded by the wild. RockFig’s 2018 relaunch received a full round of applause, and it has certainly earned its place on the radar of this highly sought after part of the Greater Kruger. Named after a resident leopardess who likes to hangout in trees, RockFig has retained its family values and the essence of togetherness that made it so special to begin with. The luxurious additions have taken it into a new league of style and sophistication, but it still proves to be a place the whole family can enjoy. The interactive kitchen is a favourite feature of the main living area where the open-plan setup invites an audience while excellent, fresh produce is cooked up and served in creative and delicious meals. Kids will love this element of design, and it adds a real homely feel to the whole place. When it’s time to eat, there is a gorgeously made up dining table under a crafty rectangular chandelier indoors, and another long table under thatch outside, plus, there are spectacularly stellar bush dining experiences sure to impress. The work of the architect and the interior design team has truly created the ambience of sophistication in nature, with natural textiles and materials being used to build the structure of the lodge and bedroom units, and to decorate and furnish every area with suitably nurturing style. A colour wheel of greens that speak to all seasons of the Timbavati bush weave in and out of the ivory sand base palette, while the thatched roof controls brings the sweet scent of the grass into the bedroom. The en suite bathrooms are worthy of long baths in the tub, which enjoys a view of the wilderness, or a shower under the open skies with the invigorating presence of nature. There is an inside shower which is gloriously steamy on chilly nights, and a matching pair of cotton robes to slip into afterwards. If you’re looking to socialise, or for a new place to relax and absorb the abundant surrounds, the heart of RockFig is where you would expect: at its centre. Where the large wooden dining tables and beautiful open-plan kitchen are housed, there is a large outdoor lounge sprawled under a thatched roof and furnished with a variety of comfortable sofas...

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Expert’s Choice: Top 10 Safari Accommodations in Zimbabwe
Nov12

Expert’s Choice: Top 10 Safari Accommodations in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is the diamond in the rough; a world of contrasting destinations that are treated with both mesmerisation and trepidation. Victoria Falls is perhaps the busiest tourist hub in southern Africa and is a well established, age-old, and trusted destination on the northern boundary of the country; and then there is the long forgotten Gonarezhou National Park in the south which is a place for rugged travellers looking for quiet contemplation in nature. Hwange, Mana Pools, and Lake Kariba are Zimbabwe’s top wildlife spots and they certainly deserve a look. The country’s tricky political status that has left its currency in turmoil was a deterrent for many safari goers, but take it from us: Zimbabwe’s wild areas are not to be missed! We work with some of the best in the business to create and conduct safaris in these beautiful, uncrowded national parks and reserves, where serious resources are being put into supporting and sustaining the wealth of natural beauty they hold. In celebration of this most magnificent country, our expert Natasha put her list of top 10 safari accommodations as a guide to potential guests and visitors. These places will knock your socks off! The Hide Safari Camp, Hwange. Tucked up in the northern corner of expansive Zimbabwe is Hwange National Park where waterhole action leads to some of the most exciting lion activity in southern Africa. A short drive from Victoria Falls takes guests right into the exciting surroundings that host an incredible big cat population and huge concentration of elephants. At The Hide Safari Camp – which is one of our agent Natasha’s top accommodations in the country – the opportunity to see the action play out is taken to the next level via the use of hides which are positioned ideally alongside these busy waterholes. Daily game drives are nothing short of impressive with some unbelievable sightings presenting themselves around every corner. Back at camp it’s luxury and relaxation all the way. Swipe to see what we mean. Dreamy! Somalisa Expeditions, Hwange. Somalisa Expeditions is set in the heart of Hwange, land of the giants. Identical to the original Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Expeditions offers one of the most authentic ways to experience this exceptional elephant territory. Nestled under a grove of acacia trees, along the edge of a seasonal flood plain, Somalisa Expeditions looks onto a resident waterhole which becomes a popular mud bath and meeting place of the gathering elephants. The up-close encounters and photographic opportunities with these majestic animals is endless. There are only six tented suites which have a contemporary nostalgia about them and are supremely comfortable and stylish. This is exclusivity...

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