8 Safari Themed Books to Read Before Going to Africa
Jan04

8 Safari Themed Books to Read Before Going to Africa

It’s pretty standard behaviour to pour over a few novels and guidebooks prior to arriving at your holiday destination. And there’s nothing more inspiring than reading something that transports you straight to your dream destination. There are numerous folklore tales, non-fiction books, autobiographies, and novels written about Africa. Africa inspires – it’s a raw, wild, tumultuous and mind-blowingly beautiful continent. A continent that has inspired many classics and inspiration for movies. If you’re coming on safari to Africa, then we urge you to dust off your bookmark and get your nose stuck into these 8 safari themed books. We’ve also suggested lodges to stay in close proximity of where the novel There are so many novels out there that we haven’t mentioned – we’ve just focussed on safari novels for today. But if you’d like to add a few more to the list we suggest : No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Long Walk to Freedom, Cry, the Beloved Country, Jock of the Bushveld, Heart of Darkness, Ghost and the Darkness, Power of One, Disgrace, Things Fall Apart, Circles in a Forest, Dark Star Safaris and I Dreamed of Africa. Out of Africa : Karen Blixen Out of Africa is probably one of the most popular memoirs of time spent in Africa. Written by Danish author Karen Blixen under the pseudonym Isak Dineson, Out of Africa is a real-life romance of Karen’s adventurous time on her 4 ooo acre coffee plantation in the foothills on the outskirts of Nairobi. The novel tributes those who impacted her life during her stay in East Africa and chronicles her time in Kenya, in a flamboyant and colourful manner. A true classic and window into colonial life during the reign of the British Empire. Out of Africa hit the big movie screens in the early 80s, making it one of the most recognised titles in the world. Karen Blixen’s original home is now a museum and is located 10 km outside of the centre of Nairobi. Stay : The Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages. This is a former farmhouse belonging to the Blixen family, a stone’s throw away from the museum and the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant and Rhino Orphanage. The Elephant Whisperer : Lawrence Anthony The novel – The Elephant Whisperer – is set in the heart of South Africa’s safari kingdom, and became a bestseller within a short space of time. It’s an endearing novel of loyalty, love, conservation and mutual respect between man and pachyderm. Conservationist Lawrence Anthony accepted a herd of “rogue” elephants onto his private game reserve in Zululand (Thula Thula). This herd were destined for the bullet, and Lawrence...

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Where the African Wild Dogs Roam
Nov07

Where the African Wild Dogs Roam

African wild dogs are an endangered species of dog considered rare to see in the wild. The reason for this is two-fold: they’re notoriously nomadic and they cover a wide range with expansive territories. The best time of year to spot our twittering mottled dogs is for 3 months between May – Aug, during their denning period. And why is that? Wild dogs run as a pack, and for 3 months of the year, the pups will be reared by these co-operative breeders. Wild dogs hunt together, hang out together and each dog has a role to play in helping to rear the pups. This means that when it comes time for the alpha female to produce her brood, she will need a secure den site. The pups are helpless and need to remain sedentary until they have grown. So this why, for 3 months, sightings of wild dogs increase. There are local packs of dogs in various reserves, and when these dogs aren’t traversing far and wide, they may return to their previous denning ground to rear the new pups. Wild dogs act as a single unit, and individual dogs fall into a particular role when it comes to looking after the pups. Some will select the fierce den guarding role (sentry duty) which requires a warrior attitude, others will conduct expertly crafted hunts and bring the food back to the den. Pups will call out for food while practising their high-pitched twittering which is the sound of a wild dog greeting ceremony. The hunting unit will regurgitate chunks of meat for the young pups, and if a kill is made close to the den site strips of meat will be taken back to the pack. The sentry roles are interchangeable with the hunting roles – wild dogs have such a sense of community! The pup-rearing period is perfectly timed with the end of the impala rut (isn’t nature fascinating?). At the end of the impala rutting season, the rams are tired and make for easy prey. Packs might be at the top of the food chain in terms of predatory activity, but there are threats to the dogs’ safety in terms of other predators. This is why dogs will often move den sites during the denning period. In the Kruger’s Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, the dogs have been spotted during the predicted denning period and outside the denning period. Local photographer, Rogan Kerr, managed to take a few pictures of the dogs while he was on assignment at Africa on Foot....

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Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.
Apr15

Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.

If you’re a first-time safari-goer it’s understandable that you might have a number of questions pertaining to finance, etiquette, meals and game viewing before you depart for your safari holiday. Given that you are travelling miles to a foreign country and have no idea what to expect, it’s understandable that you’d have a few questions in mind. Here we answer 7 commonly asked safari FAQs. Hopefully, our answers will clarify a few things before you begin your intrepid journey into the Kruger bushveld. Why is a safari holiday so expensive? When you book a safari holiday in a private Kruger reserve you aren’t just paying for the price of the accommodation. Many people, when looking at a lodge, might baulk at the price – whether it’s 3 stars or a premier lodge. The price of a safari includes meals, accommodation and activities. Because you are in a wild, remote and private reserve; you cannot drive to the shops or use your own vehicle. There are also no restaurants nearby. All you have is the lodge and its facilities. A standard rate would include bush walks, morning and evening game drives, high tea, tea and coffee all day, game drive snacks and accommodation. There are rates at certain lodges that include all drinks in the cost. What is the difference between a Kruger private reserve and the Kruger National Park? Both the Kruger National Park and the private reserves form part of the Greater Kruger. The national park is owned by the parks board, and the private reserves are merely sections of the Kruger that are privately owned. These privately owned parts of the Kruger cannot be accessed by the general public unless they have a booking in a lodge within the reserve. There are normally gates and entrance/conservation fees before entering the private reserve. While day-trippers can’t visit the private reserves, wildlife can wander across. Many of the private reserves share unfenced borders with the national park – this means that wildlife can roam across. Private reserves and concessions are also uncrowded and game drives are guided by a tracker and ranger. The rangers can normally go off road to get up close to sightings, which isn’t possible in the national park. Is it customary to leave a tip? You don’t have to leave a tip, but you really should. Your guide looks after you for the duration of your stay so it’s customary to tip your guide. Coupled with their tip you are also welcome to tip the housekeeping. Certain lodges might have a tip box in the main section, but most lodges will supply you with envelopes...

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Packing for a Safari : Clothes, Gear and Gadgets
May17

Packing for a Safari : Clothes, Gear and Gadgets

We’ve seen plenty of first-time khaki clad travellers disembarking from vehicles wearing pith helmets, hiking boots and heavy-duty clothing to protect them from Africa’s harshest elements. Many travellers come from the bustling lights of the city with a notion that they must be protected from the wild – and being fully outfitted in khaki will surely do the trick.  We do understand that going on safari is an excuse to adorn your wardrobe with a splattering of camo, khaki and green. But there does need to a balance – the idea is not to dress like a Marula tree. Although this is the wild, you are not deserted in the midst of deep, dark and wild Africa. Even the low-budget safari lodges will have slow wifi connections in the midst of the Okavango Delta. Expect rustic Africa with slivers of unexpected extreme luxury and hints of the city life. There is nothing more beautiful and strange than being surrounded by the waterways of the Delta in an untouched paradise, while simultaneously connecting to Instagram. Lodges and camps are well-equipped and will provide and tend to most of your needs, but here’s some advice. Here’s our expert advice on packing for a safari. Digital Gear and Gadgets 1. Pack your best DSLR and a zoom lens. There will be times when the vehicle cannot get close enough to a sighting and your finest zoom will come handy. Most of the time you’re in the game viewer, so it’s the perfect time to bring your heavy camera equipment that is normally a pain to lug around. 2. Tripods are cumbersome and you will be on the vehicle, mekoro or boat while searching for wildlife. To keep your camera steady, think of packing one of those nifty “Gorillagrips” which is a bendable grip that can clip onto one of the bars on a game viewer. It’s also very light and easy to take in your luggage. 3. Your Fitbit is not needed – you will be eating, enjoying sundowners, relaxing at the pool and out on game drive most of the time. Your results will embarrassing. 4. Bring your tablet, camera WiFi connector and laptop if you need it. Most camps have WiFi and you will have plenty of down time during the day to download your photos, edit them and connect to social media. However, we do urge you to step away from the digital world and absorb the world around you. 5. Lodges and camps will have plug-points, but may not supply the correct adaptor and type of plug suited to your country. 6. Bring a headlamp or torch. There may be times when you are...

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The Lowdown of the Serengeti Migration
Feb15

The Lowdown of the Serengeti Migration

The Serengeti migration is one of the world’s most spectacular mass movements of wildlife. The migration comprises thousands of wildebeest moving in a circular pattern on an annual basis. The wildebeest are accompanied by herds of zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, eland, impala and other smaller groups of plains game. Wide open plains are literally littered with wildebeest, and waiting in the wings during the breeding season, are a splattering of powerful predators. The timing of the migration is dependent on rainfall patterns, but annually, wildlife movements and timings are semi-predictable. So why do wildebeest and other game migrate? We speculate it is because plains game seek fresh grazing grounds and access to pristine water. The migration takes place over Tanzania’s Serengeti plains in the south and the Maasai Mara up north in Kenya. While there are hundreds of thousands of wildlife on the move, there are periods of time when they are sedentary, which means a variety of sightings in different regions. The most photographed and iconic images of the migration happen when the herds attempt to cross the Mara River, which sees huge beasts struggling on the banks and jostling to get across the flowing waters. There are times of the year when the herds give birth and times when the herds splinter. If you’re planning a safari to the Serengeti for the migration, you might want to make use of the below timeline and do plenty of other research before you travel to ensure you’re in the right place at the right time. Here is a rough timeline of the Serengeti Migration:  Nov – Dec: This is the beginning and end of the migration route. November sees the start of the rains and the herds are all in the northern part of the Serengeti region. December is when the herds become twitchy. There is still rain but less of it, so herds begin to migrate southwards towards the open plains. Jan – March : This is the time when the herds are sedentary and have settled somewhat in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and spill into the Serengeti National Park. This time of year, the grass and grazing conditions are ideal and there’s an abundance of water. It’s not only wildebeest dotted across the open plains, but also dazzles of zebra and other game. Because herds are sedentary and there’s a wealth of food resources, it’s the ideal time for the females to give birth. Birthing normally happens during February, which means there are plenty of predators about. As heartbreaking as it is, this is the perfect time to see predator action. Accommodation options in this area : Positioned on the lower slopes...

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Exploring Malaria Free Safari Options in South Africa
Oct30

Exploring Malaria Free Safari Options in South Africa

Malaria is the dreaded safari disease, prevalent in many areas throughout Africa and is transmitted through the bite from the Anopheles mosquito. It’s a life-threatening blood disease that destroys red blood cells and is easily preventable by use of prophylactics and being aware. Malaria is a huge concern for visitors to South Africa and while most areas in South Africa are low risk, there’s still a need for visitors to be cautious. Malaria is of particular concern to the elderly and families travelling with small children. Rather to be safe than sorry, we’re going to explore the completely Malaria free safari options in South Africa.  Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape The Eastern Cape is the perfect option for visitors who are spending time in Cape Town and don’t wish to travel to further afield. The Cape coastline is rugged with cascading cliffs and beaches. Inland, there are reserves and plenty of open spaces, making this part of the country an exciting adventure capital and picturesque. While there are plenty of Malaria free safari lodges in the Eastern Cape, we hand selected the Shamwari Game Reserve for your Eastern Cape safari. The reserve stretches over five of South Africa’s seven biomes in the Eastern Cape.  It is actually one of the world’s leading wildlife conservation and safari destinations. At Shamwari, there are six luxury lodges, all of which are five star and cater for a range of guests. Eagle’s Crag Lodge is tucked between mountain cliffs and has a romantic ambience. Villa Lobengula is an exclusive villa in the heart of the bushveld, ideal for guests seeking exclusivity and a tailor-made safari experience. For a more laid-back experience, try the Bayethe Tented Lodge – designer canvas safari tents surrounded by lush vegetation. Long Lee Manor overlooks the plains teeming with wildlife and is quite an elegant lodge. The two lodges catering for large families, groups and friends is the Riverdene Family Lodge (complete with a ‘Kids on Safari’ programme) and the Sarili Family Lodge; which overlooks the Bushman’s River. Rhulani Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve in the North-West Province Rhulani Safari Lodge is located in one of South Africa’s largest reserve, Madikwe in the North-West province. A mere 3 hour drive from Johannesburg, this reserve is ideal for visitors seeking a safari experience up north.  Boasting an abundance of wildlife enjoying the perennial Marico River and roaming the open plains in conjunction with rugged landscapes, Madikwe is the ideal option for game viewing.  Rhulani is located in a peaceful and tranquil setting in the middle of the Madikwe Game Reserve. The private chalets have plunge pools and spacious areas for relaxing. There are seven chalets and...

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Mobile Safari, Luxury Safari or Walking Safari in Africa?
Sep06

Mobile Safari, Luxury Safari or Walking Safari in Africa?

Safari is Swahili for journey. A journey in to the heart of Africa’s safari countries, where high concentrations of game congregate and untouched raw Africa awaits your presence. A sojourn to Africa is a fantastic idea, but everybody’s journey to Africa is different, as it is in life. After narrowing down the country/countries to visit, the next step is work out the type of safari you’d like to go on. Will it be a mobile safari, luxury safari or walking safari in Africa? You might not know what’s involved in each type of safari, but we’re here to help. Here’s the lowdown. Mobile Safari in Africa Mobile safaris are for the adventurous. It’s a great way of exploring a variety of different areas, which are normally inaccessible to those who aren’t camping. You pay a once off rate and select one of the set routes/itinerary. There are levels of mobile safaris – some are more luxurious than others, but there’s a similar thread running through all of them. What to Expect: You spend a specific amount of time in one area before relocating to another pristine sect of land. For the duration of your trip you stay in a combination of fully-equipped tents and, on occasion, lodge accommodation. For the camping section of your safari, tents are set-up prior to your arrival. One can expect a lounge, bar and relaxation area. Expect walking safaris, daily activities and an adventurous experience in a range of pristine areas. Meals are prepared for you while you’re waited on hand and foot by the rest of the team! The best place to do a mobile safari in Africa is Botswana because of its rough terrain, untouched areas and diverse landscape. A mobile safari? Well, that’s just glamping at its finest.  Try Afrika Ecco Mobile Safaris for an authentic, affordable glamping experience that really takes you back to wild living at its finest. Luxury Safari in Africa Private charters, gourmet food, gyms, spa treatments and superb game viewing in the middle of Africa’s bushveld. That pretty much sums up an elite, luxury safari experience. There are a plethora of luxury lodges peppered throughout southern Africa, all offering something unique and their own twist on decor. Lodges require you to remain in a confined area where daily game drives and walks form part of a set daily schedule. When you enjoy a luxury safari in a private reserve, the only thing you’re required to do is relax. Everything else is done for you! What to Expect: Daily game drives, bush walks and sundowners are the standard activities for lodges in private reserves. The more luxurious lodges may have added value activities such as boat...

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