You Really Should Pay a Visit to Enchanting Malawi. Here’s Why.
May31

You Really Should Pay a Visit to Enchanting Malawi. Here’s Why.

Malawi is the land of smiles, a warm and welcoming culture that invites you to visit its enchanting land. Home to the emerald jewel Lake Malawi, (one of the great lakes of Africa), the rolling hills of the Shire Valley and the big five Majete Game Reserve; Malawi truly is one of Africa’s most understated countries worthy of an expedition. A natural world of wonder with a humble and happy culture. So, just what is there to do for visitors to Malawi and how do you plan your trip? There are three main things set Malawi apart from Malawi as a safari destination. There’s the historical Shire highlands, home to rolling hills dotted with established tea and coffee plantations; the Majete Game Reserve which is the only big five reserve in the area; and lastly, the significant inland body of freshwater called Lake Malawi, which is ideal for diving and other water sports. This landlocked African country is most certainly the land of contrasts, which is why you really should pay a visit to enchanting Malawi. LAKE MALAWI Why Visit Lake Malawi? Imagine a beach holiday, a tropical paradise of sorts, where the days are hot and the stress minimal. This is what a holiday to the shores of Lake Malawi is about – the only difference? It’s a massive inland lake, making it one of the world’s geographical marvels. Lake Malawi is often referred to as the inland sea of Africa – and rightly so! Forming part of the Great rift Valley, Lake Malawi sits calmly on top of this natural fault line that rises steeply in some areas and gently in others. As a result, there are areas of the lake that boast extraordinary depths and life beneath the surface is equally as mysterious. Divers and snorkelers love nothing more than to spot freshwater fish like catfish and other species swimming around the reef. Sunsets are spectacular and are best viewed from the golden beaches on shore or from the elite position of a yacht. Pina colada at the end of the jetty perhaps? Our Top Choice of Accommodation : Kaya Mawa Lodge Kaya Mawa Lodge on shores of Lake Malawi is one of the most romantic destinations in Africa. Cosy thatch cottages overlook the massive expansive of water that laps at the shores of each cottage. This is an idyllic retreat, perfect for honeymooners or those seeking a private safari experience. Sun seekers and water lovers will love Kaya Mawa Lodge ! From sailing to kayaking and waterskiing, there is plenty to do. If you’re a fan of observing water sports from a distance, then there are also plenty of land based...

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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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Namibia Self Drive Adventure! Client Feedback
Jan05

Namibia Self Drive Adventure! Client Feedback

We received such a wonderful report from Mary and Andrew from their Namibia self drive adventure! Here is their full report with some very helpful guidelines to self drive through Namibia! OUR NAMIBIA SELF-DRIVE TRIP We have just returned from our long anticipated holiday to Namibia.  We wanted to see as much of the country as possible and opted to self-drive.  Having used Sun Safaris in the past for trips to South Africa, we asked them to help us plan and book this trip.  We were put in contact with Jako and so started the experience. Jako was up-front with us when he said that he was used to helping people with fly-drive holidays but a completely self-drive holiday was a new experience for him.  He would need to get a good understanding of what we wanted from the trip and would rely on his ground contacts in Namibia to help him satisfy our aspirations. We prefer to stay in places where we can meet local people and use their knowledge when finding out what to do and see rather than staying in luxury accommodation.  Jako took this on board and we experienced different standards from basic to very luxurious but in every case, it was clean and comfortable.  Some places were right off the beaten track which is what we wanted and really appreciated.  We met some great people and the Namibians themselves were friendly and welcoming. Very important was the choice of vehicle.  Most of the roads are gravel or sand and it is easy to underestimate the distances involved and the time required to cover them.  We drove 4,200km or 2600 miles during the 25 days we were there and for the last 10 days we were joined by our daughter and a friend so we needed something which would be robust and take four people and their luggage in comfort.  Jako helped us with this and we hired a Toyota Fortuner which packed a 3 litre engine but was remarkably fuel efficient averaging 9.8km/l.  Bearing in mind some of the roads are sand, four-wheel drive would have been preferable but not essential.  All that driving and no backache!! We were met at the airport and after picking up the car were given a pack of information, maps and vouchers for our accommodation and transfers.  Our itinerary was a bound document which contained information about what to do at each place as well as details of the accommodation and directions to it. We started the trip with a stay at Na’ankuse which is 40km from Windhoek International Airport.  It was the perfect start being a game...

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Top 5 Most Exquisite Lodges in Namibia
Jul25

Top 5 Most Exquisite Lodges in Namibia

The gun-metal grey sky dotted with iridescent stars hover close over the endless deserts, dunes and wild coast of Namibia. Before night falls, the sunsets over a barren and frontier looking land engulf every part of your being. The wild Skeleton Coast, with its smashing waves and prehistoric coastline will beckon you to its ghost like shores. The endless parched Kalahari shoves it’s eerie presence into your existence. The breathtaking landscape of the Fish River Canyon reminds you that survival is paramount. The Caprivi Strip offers the best game viewing and prides itself on the Okavango Delta waters running through its arid landscape. The Etosha National Park will leave you startled with its mirage like setting and big cat predators sprinting through the open plains. Damaraland, with its basalt rock like intrusions and unforgiving rocky landscape will leave you clambering for more of Namibia. The best way to explore Namibia is to try and experience a fraction of each area mentioned above. If you don’t have the time and you’re bound by a ridiculous non-African time schedule, then pick and choose a few destinations from the list below. Without further ado, here are our top 5 most exquisite lodges in Namibia. Etosha National Park Congregations of wildlife flock to the national park, which is a hotspot for big game, cats, plains game and a plethora of birdlife. The vegetation is diverse, providing an array of habitats ideal for a variety of game. There is a huge dried up waterhole in the park, which seems to be a central location point for animals. Floodlit waterholes are dotted throughout Etosha’s white sandy areas and open plains. Animals covered in fine white sand approaching glimmering waterholes create quite the mirage. Expect to be startled by the sheer drama of this pristine landscape. We Chose: Mushara Outpost Mushara Outpost accommodates 16 guests in custom-made tent-like wood and canvas structures which are nestled on the banks of an ancient dry riverbed. Mushara Outpost is all about old-fashioned hospitality with warm, friendly and personalised service. The lodge’s main house is styled like an old farm house with high walls, corrugated iron roof and a large wrap-around veranda. Caprivi Strip The Caprivi Strip is a narrow protrusion of Namibian landscape which appears to jut into Botswana, Angola and Zambia. This narrow strip is prolific with wildlife and offers the best of land and water based game viewing. The Okavango Delta’s panhandle is in the Caprivi strip and the area is surrounded by the Kwando, Chobe, Okavango and Zambezi rivers. It’s an unspoilt paradise offering a complete mix of Kalahari Sands and tropical waterways. We Chose: Divava Okavango Lodge and Spa Located on the banks of...

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Botswana Safari at the Charming Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge
Jul03

Botswana Safari at the Charming Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge

Neatly perched high up on a hill in the Chobe National Park lies a luxurious eco-friendly lodge with panoramic views over sparse acacia scrub and messy mopane woodlands. Deep in the heart of the rugged Botswana wilderness dwells a wonder of wildlife. Roaming the landscapes below the lodge, huge herds and lone cats can be viewed from the balcony of your suite or the comfort of the sophisticated lounge area. The view of the horizon is never ending and the “end” of the bushveld seems like a mirage against the stark blue Botswana blue skies which swallow the forgotten treasures of the land. A small waterhole sits in front of the lodge and graceful impala, weather beaten buffalo bulls and protective breeding herds of elephant often pay the clean waters a visit. This is the place where time sits still, your heart becomes alive and your senses overwhelmed.  Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge is the idyllic hideaway for a Botswana safari. What makes Ghoha different? Aside from a wealth of game viewing, the unassuming atmosphere of the lodge, the natural camaraderie between staff, rangers and lodge management; the absolute peaceful luxury of the lodge is yet another reason to stay at Ghoha. Atmosphere is a hard thing to create, but Nanette and Abraham are quite the duo. If you’re after a Botswana safari with all the amenities of home, a relaxed atmosphere and unobtrusive yet welcoming hosts, Ghoha is the perfect place for a Botswana safari. From the Savuti airstrip it’s about a 40 minute drive to the lodge. Depending on arrival time, you’ll generally head out in the evening to enjoy sundowners at the large baobab tree which sits at the base of the hill and proudly watches out over the land. Evenings are spent dining on simple, yet gourmet food and swapping stories around the campfire. On one of the evenings, the in-house choir will provide a bit of entertainment, which is a delightful combination of traditional song and dance. This resonant sound and joyous singing will pull you into the African spirit of things – it’s not something you’re likely to forget. When you’re not enjoying the spoils of African song, you have the option of star gazing through a powerful modern telescope. Here’s where you’ll see the rings of Jupiter, the Southern Cross and Scorpio, among other constellations. In terms of game viewing, there are drives out the hide on the property which overlooks the expansive waterhole. There are also drives out the hide which overlook an expansive waterhole. Buffalo, elephant and a myriad of wildlife flock to the crusty muddy shores of the waterhole where they indulge in swimming and...

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Kruger and Cape Town Safari exceeded expectations! Client Feedback
Jun28

Kruger and Cape Town Safari exceeded expectations! Client Feedback

Kruger and Cape Town Safari exceeded expectations! We had this lovely feedback from Chad who went on his first safari with returning guests Rich and Mark (Read their feedback) . Chad’s Kruger and Cape Town safari started with a visit to the Klaserie Private Game Reserve in the greater Kruger Park staying at two of our favourite camps nThambo Tree Camp and Africa on Foot. After his Kruger Safari Chad flew to the Mother City, Cape Town where he stayed in the Cape Town Hollow . They had a good time, despite the middle of winter wind!  Here is Chad’s feedback: Hi Natasha:   It was a lovely trip. It actually exceeded my expectations!  The lodges were excellent and the food everywhere was amazing!  I’m sure I put on at least 5 pounds! The hotel in Johannesburg upgraded me to the Mondior, so that was nice.  It was great to meet Michelle, we had a great chat. I was very lucky on safari, getting to see a leopard my first night out as well as a pack of wild dogs later in the week!  I really enjoyed Africa on Foot – everyone was so friendly there and loved my outdoor shower.  🙂   And the lodging at Nthambo was amazing – it was so neat to be up there.  Although the drinks were not expensive, it was nice that at Nthambo the alcohol was included and we were not billed separately for that like at the other places.  Everyone at all three lodges were very friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed my week on safari.   I had a little less luck in Cape Town as it was quite windy and I didn’t get to go over to Robben Island or go up on the Table Mountain cable car because of the wind, but very much enjoyed Cape Town as well.  Our Guide took us to the castle and down to the Cape of Good Hope, which I particularly enjoyed.  He knew everything there is to know about Cape Town and South Africa I think!  He was very informative and planned our visit well, including an amazing trip out to Stellenbosch.   I think we are looking to come back to Africa around the same time in 2017.  Rich will plan it, but I will tag along for part of their trip again. 🙂   We might be looking at Tanzania.   I attached a picture with a sleeping lion.  I’ll try to send more later.   Thanks so much again! Chad...

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A Game Census at The Ant Collection in the Waterberg
Aug04

A Game Census at The Ant Collection in the Waterberg

An annual game census takes place at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill in the Waterberg. Visitors are welcome but will need to get on horseback to help with the count! Here is a wonderful report posted by Hillary Gaertner of The Ant Collection on the Africa Geographic Blog.  You can also read all about What a Game Census is!   Written by: Hillary Gaertner For those who are hooked on Africa, there comes a time when you want a totally different safari experience. Ant Collection’s annual game census safari is just that! This is a time in the bush when wildlife conservation prevails and guests have the opportunity to be part of it for an entire week. From game counting and darting, to capturing and relocating wildlife, the activities all have a unique purpose: to keep the private reserve and its animal residents thriving.   The reserve is home to several leaf-eating grazers and it’s important to have an accurate count of them so as to not over-utilise the environment, which has the potential to cause permanent damage of the vegetation.   All of this good, hard work is done on horseback which is quite a unique and intriguing tactic because game censuses are traditionally done by helicopter. However, Ant’s capitalises on what they do best and performs the operation on horseback for several reasons. Firstly, it remains more accurate and less expensive than a helicopter and secondly, it causes much less disturbance to the surrounding wildlife.   The hard work has its pay offs though because the active days in the saddle are accompanied by luxury accommodation and meals, around which both new and returning guests from all over the world can bond over horses and the African bush.   It’s also a week that requires focus and perseverance. Lodge owner, Ant Baber, puts these incredible game census tasks into perspective, “It is always very tricky darting and capturing wild animals, and having to coordinate over 40 riders spread out in very thick bush. This year went incredibly smoothly though and every one worked as a team with zero injuries to either man or beast. The horses sensed the excitement of each moment and, despite the long hours in the saddle (sometimes up to five hours at a time), they were always willing and responsive.”   So many variables are at play when the vet darts the animal from horseback in thick bush. The drugs used take up to six minutes for full effect, and in this short time the animal can cover a large distance at a high speed.   Ant’s top 3 highlights:   1. Sable antelope bull capture The sable captures were performed in order to reintroduce five roan antelope to the reserve....

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