Your Consultant Natasha Has Just Visited Botswana
Oct30

Your Consultant Natasha Has Just Visited Botswana

You can’t sell without seeing. That’s why we send on team of sales consultants on regular site inspections and educationals to sought-after safari destinations in southern Africa and East Africa. When they stay at lodges, they observe things that the lay person might not notice. They’re constantly on alert, taking notes as they go and slotting moments into their memory bank. When guests approach our consultants, we want to make sure they’re armed with an arsenal of knowledge about the guest’s chosen destination. They have to make informed decisions and sew together itineraries that cater for individual needs and budgets; which varies from guest to guest. Natasha is no stranger to Botswana, but it’s vital that she keeps up to date with what’s happening, so off she jetted one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations. We had a quick chat to her about her Botswana safari, which is outlined below. Ps : While there she actually conquered her fear of flying in helicopters! We believe you enjoyed a safari to Botswana to check out a few of the lodges that you recommend to guests. Which lodges did you visit, and where were they located?  This was our itinerary – it really did offer the best of Botswana ! 2 nights at a luxury mobile camp in the Moremi 2 nights at Tuludi Camp in the Khwai Private Reserve 1 night at Nokanyana Camp in the Moremi (Mababe area) 1 night at Setari in the Okavango Delta and 2 nights at a luxury mobile camp in Habu As a consultant, why is it important to visit the lodges you recommend? I think it’s important to visit the lodges that I recommend so that I get a personal feel of each lodge and what they have to offer. For example, if a guest wants 5 star luxury and I know for a fact I didn’t really get the 5 star luxury experience there; then I would make an alternative recommendation. List your favourite thing about EACH of the lodges you visited. The luxury mobile camps offered 5 star luxury mobile tents. There were AMAZING staff, flushing loos and great “5 star bucket showers with a turning tap” . The tents were very spacious for a mobile camp. And the food was 5 star – and not to forget the BEST homemade iced tea I have ever had. I was lucky enough to get the recipe! Tuludi Camp in the Khwai Private reserve – the rooms were AMAZING – everything your heart desired was in that room, very spacious with private plunge pool and outdoor bath and shower. Nokanyana Camp in the...

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Safari Splendour at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand
Jan11

Safari Splendour at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is world-renown big five safari destination in the Greater Kruger, and is a major drawcard  for a host of international guests seeking a discerning safari experience with a focus on luxury accommodation and wild, wild surrounds. Sabi Sand is famed for its leopard sightings and has an abundance of drainage lines, access to water and is rich with food sources. The Sabi Sand is the perfect place for viewing big cats. The Londolozi Private Game Reserve offers guests a choice of five safari accommodation options, all with the same access to  34,000 acres of untamed landscape. The format of a private safari experience is standard, but may vary from lodge to lodge. Morning wake-up happens at sunrise and a guided game drive takes place in an open-topped game viewer. Late afternoon drives combined with sundowner sessions take place at roughly 15:30 – 16:00 and evenings are spent dining under the stars and around the campfire in the boma area. Londolozi employs only the top guides and rangers that excel at tracking and sharing their wildlife knowledge with guests. Camps at Londolozi vary in price according to quality and size. The Londolozi Private Granite Suites are fit for royalty – and the thing that most delights and enthrals us is the outdoor bath perched on the private wooden viewing deck. Each suite has its very own heated swimming pool and is cocooned by tumbling granite boulders. Sounds like heaven? It is ! Londolozi Pioneer Camp and Tree Camp are the next level in luxury compared to the contemporary villa style granite suites. The 6 suites at Tree Camp are hugged by a canopy of leadwood trees and provide an idyllic escape with designer flair. While the outside provides the rustic, the interior provides a splash of Hollywood with its Ralph Lauren wallpaper and private swimming pools. Pioneer Camp is on par with the Tree Camp but offers a completely different atmosphere and is one for the die-hard romantics. It’s classic safari style with elegance shrouded in history – think bygone era meets modern grace. * Children under the age of 6 aren’t allowed at these elite camps unless booked on an exclusive only basis. Londolozi Varty Camp and Founders Camp are the largest camps and ideal for families. These two child-friendly camps have a unique covered skywalk that interlinks rooms without any danger from the elements outside. Camps accommodate children 6 years and older, and families will delight in the knowledge that elephants can be viewed in the riverine below. Founders Camp has an elevated wooden deck where yoga classes are held – the perfect place for...

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I’ve Just Visited Xobega Island Camp in Botswana
Nov02

I’ve Just Visited Xobega Island Camp in Botswana

Xobega Island camp is a new camp located on a sparsely populated, wildly untouched sliver of paradise in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta is a World Heritage site and comprises a myriad of waterways teeming with birdlife and game. Xobega Island Camp lies on a remote island, only accessible via boat. The adventure to camp is made up of a series of twists, turns and cruising along the calm waterways are part of the journey to your tropical safari paradise. En route to the boat station to catch your “taxi” to the island, you will encounter the splendour of the Moremi Game Reserve. With a combination of the Moremi and the weaving channels of the Delta, you’ll get the best of both a land and water safari. I had the pleasure of experiencing the ultimate Robinson Crusoe adventure at Xobega Island Camp. In short, I was blown away by this exploring this rugged landscape unmarred by civilisation and an untouched by tourism. The focus here is on simplicity, while never comprising on comfort. Here are a few questions I was asked about the newly built and rustically stylish Xobega Island Camp. 1. Xobega Island Camp seems to be located in the middle of the wild Okavango Delta. How on earth did you get there? We actually stayed at Tuskers Bush Camp, which makes a great part of the trails of Botswana route. From there, we were transferred to Mboma Boat Station, on the edge of the Delta’s waterways. It was about an 8 hour drive in total, but felt like 3. We traversed across acacia bushveld, went into the Moremi Game Reserve and even stopped for lunch at a pan. We had crocodiles, hippo, birds, red lechwe and zebra dining with us! The Tuskers team made a packed lunch for us. The journey was so epic. When we arrived at Mboma we did a quick mekoro trip and while weaving through the narrow channels we spotted African fish eagles, eagles and plenty of other birdlife. The boat journey to the camp was about 1.5 hours. 2. What did you love about the camp? It was so remote! The tents were very comfortable and I loved the huge sausage trees hanging over the pathways in between the tents. Also loved the arrival greeting – the boat pulls up into a small gap in the middle of a jungle and there were smiling faces ready to show you paradise. There is nothing like sitting around a huge fire while being served glasses of wine and listening to hippos honking in the background. 3. What is the overall atmosphere at the camp? Adventure, romantic or...

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Your Consultant Michelle Just Visited Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Oct06

Your Consultant Michelle Just Visited Ulusaba Rock Lodge

Michelle Astbury, our Product Manager and jack-of-all-trades at Sun Safaris, has been on plenty of safaris in Kruger. It is appears that Ulusaba Rock Lodge is one of her favourite destinations and our curiosity got the better of us, so we decided to ask her why Ulusaba has her mind spinning with fond memories. Ulusaba Rock Lodge is one of Richard Branson’s five star safari lodges located in the premier Sabi Sand. Sabi Sand has a high concentration of game and is a world renowned destination for big cats and the big five. There are also over 500 species of birds fluttering about in the reserve, making it a hotspot for avid ornithologists.  Without further ado, let’s delve into the depths of Michelle’s mind and find out why Ulusaba Rock Lodge is her favourite Kruger safari lodge. 1. Why is this your favourite lodge? The attention to detail was amazing. We were blown away by everything – people, views, food and even our suite. Every single person was kind and friendly. And also, everyone knew our names! Seriously, one of the maintenance team greeted us by name and we hadn’t been introduced to him! 2. Describe an average day on safari while staying at Ulusaba.  We arrived at lunchtime and checked in at reception. After being driven up the koppie to Rock Lodge we were settled into our room with a view! Lunch was relaxed with no set time – they make your meal to order. After lunch we got ready for our evening game drive. Heading out with a dynamic guide and ranger is a highlight, they work together so well. We had a sundowner drink in the middle of the game drive. We then headed back to the lodge for dinner, or so we thought! We were dropped in the middle of the bush where the staff had set up a massive bonfire, full bar and fairy lights in the trees. Snacks were presented followed by traditional dancing by the staff of both Rock and Safari Lodge. From here we walked about 5 minutes in the dark to Ulusaba’s private observatory. A huge telescope was wheeled out and we set about spotting constellations. Our guide was as knowledgeable about the stars as he was about the wildlife. After our stargazing we returned to the lodge where the general manager doubled as a sommelier. He poured us a glass of champagne and went through the menu for dinner. All four courses were paired with a different glass of wine. We enjoyed dinner on the balcony. After the 5am wakeup call we met in the lounge with the first rays of sun on the horizon....

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Romantic Tropical Break in Mozambique: Liselle’s Interview
Sep17

Romantic Tropical Break in Mozambique: Liselle’s Interview

Our consultants love to travel. Be it a luxury tropical island holiday or bundu bashing through the Kruger; the Sun Safaris consultants have experienced it all. And rightly so. How can a consultant that hasn’t seen, felt and absorbed our countless destinations sell a holiday? We encourage travel so that we can tailor-make safaris and holidays to suit your personality and budget. We’ve just recently interviewed Liselle about her child friendly safari to Madikwe and this time we tackle the more romantic themed holiday. We love Liselle’s first-hand information about her romantic tropical break in Mozambique at the Azura Benguerra Lodge with her husband. Marti and Liselle do things in style. They arrived at the lodge via private helicopter, which was a 15 minute ride from Vilanculos, a small coastal area that is the gateway to the spectacular Bazaruto Archipelagos. 1.  What did you enjoy most about your stay at the Azura Benguerra Lodge?  The surprise private picnic on a remote island. We went snorkelling from a boat and afterwards they dropped us off on a remote island where a full picnic was set up for us! They came to fetch us 3 hours later on a private yacht. We then got back to the resort and decided to go stand up paddle boarding while the sun was setting. Our personal butler brought us virgin cocktails to drink while we were in the ocean! How’s that for service?  Another highlight was eating in different places each day. Our favourite spot was eating on the beach with our feet in the sand.  Our personal butler arranged anything for us we wanted to do, nothing was too much trouble for her. 2.  What did you get up to while you were there?  We did so much !  We swam, snorkelled, had private dinners, massages, drives in a Land Rover on the island, sunbathed and indulged in plenty of private island picnics. We also enjoyed yacht trips, SUPing and sunset cruises.  3.  What did you eat and drink? Anything we wanted!  There was plenty of fresh seafood (lobster, crab paella, calamari and fish) and a wide variety of other choices. We had virgin cocktails – the cocktails are very popular in Mozambique!  4.  Would you class your Mozambique holiday as luxury or affordable?   The holiday was on the pricy side, but you will be treated like royalty from start to end! It’s worth the price you pay. 5.   Is this more a family/adventure or romantic place to visit?   Absolutely both!  Azura Benguerra Lodge has romantic suites for 2 people and villas for families – so there is something for the entire family to do. But it is also very romantic! 6.      Did...

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Liselle Takes Tiny Toddlers on Safari to Madikwe
Jun01

Liselle Takes Tiny Toddlers on Safari to Madikwe

A few years ago you started a family and now your angelic toddlers are mobile – they’re teetering on the edge of becoming a preschooler and need to learn about their colourful surrounds. It’s probably been a couple of years since you’ve enjoyed a holiday and now that the kids are bumbling around, it’s time to take them on their first safari. The wild inspires, enthrals and delights all who encounter its beauty. It’s the perfect holiday option for families to reconnect while being pampered and cocooned in the raw power of nature. And, it’s never to early for children to learn how to respect and love the wild! The problem is – where do you go on safari with tiny toddlers? Major concerns include babysitting issues, malaria, game drives with youngsters who can’t sit still and staying in child-friendly accommodation. We sent one of our travel consultants, Liselle Raath and her burgeoning family on an expedition to the malaria -free Madikwe Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger to explore two luxurious, family-friendly lodges. And she was only too happy to give us feedback! The Madikwe Game Reserve is based in the Kruger’s North-West province and is home to the big five, over 300 species of bird and a wealth of big game. Their choice of lodges included Tuningi Safari Lodge and Madikwe Safari Lodge, both of which have exceptional programmes geared towards children and plenty of outlets for adults to pamper themselves. Here’s our travel consultant chat with Liselle about her experience with tiny toddlers on safari in Madikwe. 1. Is there a structured kids programme to keep the tiny tots entertained? Yes! And there’s loads to keep the little ones entertained. 2. Are children allowed to go on game drives? Yes, kids over 6 are allowed on game drives.  Kids under 6 can do a bumble game drive for an hour after breakfast with their parents. 3. Is there an in-house babysitting service?  Yes. Normally they charge approx. R75 an hour/per child. 4. Is there a high concentration of wildlife in the area?  We had  a great wildlife experience overall and saw lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, rhino and plains game. In South Africa, it was our second best game viewing after Kruger, but overall the best malaria-free safari experience in South Africa! 5. Are the rooms/suites child-friendly? Very, yes.  We had a 2-bedroom villa at Madikwe Safari Lodge and at Tuningi they have baby cots with mosquito nets and a sleeper couch for kids in the rooms. 6. Do the lodges have menu for kid’s? Yes – one can expect spaghetti, sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, pizzas and chicken schnitzels. And there was lots of fruit and cereal for breakfast...

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Our Team Travels: Ulusaba Rock Lodge, SabiSand – Michelle Astbury
May18

Our Team Travels: Ulusaba Rock Lodge, SabiSand – Michelle Astbury

Ulusaba Rock Lodge Sun Safaris’ Product and Reservations Manager, Michelle, travelled to Sabi Sand recently to explore some of the lodges on offer by Sun Safaris. She travelled with her sister Kathryn and together they saw amazing wildlife and stayed at some beautiful lodges. Here is Michelle’s review of Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Sir Richard Branson’s home in Sabi! Ulusaba has 3 lodges, the first is Ulusaba Safari Lodge, built under large trees along a riverbed, and the other two are Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Ulusaba Cliff Lodge. Cliff Lodge is perfect for small groups or families as it has its own team and facilities. Just next door on the same koppie (hill) is Rock Lodge. Ulusaba; what a treat   We drove in from Newington Gate, winding our way through the western Sabi Sand Game Reserve towards Ulusaba.  We arrived at Ulusaba’s reception, which is located away from both Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Ulusaba Safari Lodge, at their private landing strip. We were met by our ranger Brandon, hot refreshing towels in hand, followed a short briefing accompanied by cool champagne. After we checked in we met Jack our tracker and were driven up to Ulusaba Rock Lodge in the Landrover safari vehicle, the 4×4 engaged to get us up the steep hill! Vikkus, the General Manager met us on arrival and swept us into the main lodge. You enter the main lodge lounge from upstairs, showcasing the beautiful décor and breath-taking views, before ascending the wide staircase taking us into the dining area, housing one of the lounges, the bar and the outside deck. Sitting in plush leather couches with the whole of the Sabi Sand bush stretching out below us whilst Vikkus animatedly discussed the lodge and our itinerary, we understood immediately why this spectacular place was special enough to be included in the Branson Virgin portfolio.  Our luxury Makwela Suite sported a beautiful lounge opening onto a private viewing deck, plunge pool and outdoor shower under the stars before walking 2 steps down into the serene bedroom and deck lounge. The en suite bathroom was opulent, with dual basins, large ball and claw bath, walk in shower and heavenly scented aromatherapy bath products. The view just took my breath away, with the Sabi Sand bush stretching as far as the eye could see, with the pool sparkling and inviting. We headed up to lunch on the deck where we were greeted by name by every staff member we saw, which made us feel so welcome. Sitting down we could see a large herd of elephant roaming the plains below us and another at a distant waterhole. Lunch was a...

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