Michelle’s amazing Uganda Safari experience.
Mar05

Michelle’s amazing Uganda Safari experience.

Our Product Manager Michelle headed off to Uganda for a gorilla and chimpanzee safari. This epic experience took her from the capital to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where she went gorilla trekking. From there she enjoyed a boat safari in the Queen Elizabeth National Park before ending her trip on a chimpanzee trek in the Kibale National Park. We have a tour based on Michelle’s trip, you can view it here. Michelle’s wrote about her amazing Uganda Safari experience: With my bag packed and boots on, I took off from Cape Town with 2 colleagues to Entebbe to start my Uganda Safari! Entebbe is the main airport about 40 minutes from the capital Kampala. A quick overnight stop and we were back at the airport and on an Aerolink Uganda flight south, towards the Kisoro Airstrip. One of the gateways into the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kisoro is a 2h30 drive to the Rushaga sector of Bwindi. Our guide and driver for the week met us there and we set off to Bwindi. The roads are poor and a 4×4 is imperative, but the scenery is breathtaking and excitement grows as we start climbing towards the Bwindi forests and towering mountain range. We arrived at Gorilla Safari Lodge, our home for 2 nights. Our cabins were tucked into the rainforest, spacious with a large tub to soak in and the staff brought in charcoal burners at night which warmed the room up nicely. It is chilly in Bwindi, due to the high altitude. We visited the local community and the Batwa Tribe. The Batwa(Pygmy Tribe) live on the outskirts of the forest they once called home and provide a glimpse into their traditional way of living. Early the next morning we were up and enjoying a fortifying breakfast before setting off for the main event: Gorilla Trekking! On arrival in the Rushaga sector briefing area, the warden goes through the do’s and don’ts of trekking with gorillas and assigns us the gorilla family we will trek to find. We meet our head guide and her 2 trackers, hire a porter, grab a walking stick and head off on the trail. Why hire a porter? Uganda is a very poor country; many people are without work. The porters can travel for up to 3 hours to get to Bwindi in the hope of earning for their family. It costs around $20 and your porter is by your side for the day. They will carry your day pack which has your water, your lunch and your camera and they will give you a strong hand to pull or push you if...

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Insider info: Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya
Feb06

Insider info: Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya

We frequently revisit well trodden paths to make sure that they are still the paths we want our clients to travel. We want to ensure that the places and products we align with are indeed delivering what we promise our guests. We love to investigate new places, visit never-before-seen destinations, and get a first-hand experience before we package it up and present it to guests who put their trust in us. With that in mind, our holiday planners get to gallivant all over the globe, testing and trialling new experiences. African safari expert and Product Manager, Michelle, recently departed for a whirlwind Kenyan adventure and then settled in Botswana to attend the annual Travel & Tourism Expo. We interrogated her once she got back and now we’re excited to share her findings with you! This is Michelle’s take on her safari in Kenya.  She checked in and overnighted at Elephant Bedroom Camp, Saruni Samburu Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill, Porini Mara Camp, Porini Lion Camp, Elephant Pepper Camp, Serian ‘The Original’, Governor’s Camp, Nairobi Tented Camp, Elewana Tortilis Camp, and Porini Amboseli Camp. She visited and inspected Larsen’s Tented Camp, Ol Pejeta Cottages, Sweetwaters Tented Camp, Porini Rhino Camp, The Cliff, Porini Cheetah Camp, Ol Seki Mara Hemingways, Olare Mara Kempinski, Mahali Mzuri Camp, Mara Plains Camp, Karen Blixen Camp, Kicheche Mara Camp, Serian Camps in Mara North, Sanctuary Olonana, Kichwa Tembo, Governor’s Camp properties, Ol Tukai, and Tamarind Tree Hotel. SS: Have you been to Kenya before? What was new to you? Michelle: All of Kenya was new! I visited some of the main safari areas: Samburu National Reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara – both the National Reserve and various private conservancies. I loved everything about the country. The people were great, scenery was lovely and there was a diversity of wildlife across the various reserves. I was super lucky to see a few black rhino, which I had not seen for over 20 years. SS: What was your favourite moment overall? Michelle: I had the best lion sighting ever on my last game drive in the Masai Mara, towards the end of the day. It had been raining quite a bit during the day and the night before and the sun had finally come out. We sat watching this huge pride of lions – the Ridge Pride – for about 90 minutes, with our sundowner drink in hand. The Ridge Pride had a few adult females with cubs of different ages. The lions were happy the sun came out as they were all frisky and playing with each other and the moms and...

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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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