Tag Archive: safari


Our second “Tucked Away Places” feature is Malindi, a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. Access is via a scheduled flight from Nairobi direct to Malindi on Kenya Airways, or via Mombasa.

Our top hotel in the area is without a doubt Hemingways Watamu.

Map Kenya Coast

Maybe it’s the location – right in the middle of the pristine white sand beach of Watamu; perhaps it’s the big game fishing – one of the top destinations in the world for this sport, or maybe it is the nine miles of alabaster sand which extends in front of the 76 bedrooms – every one with a view of the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

This sophisticated beach resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The outdoor restaurant is the ultimate setting for savouring the freshest seafood.

There’s plenty to do here – relax at the poolside bar of the resort working your way through the extensive cocktail menu; play a round of golf on the nearby world class course, Vipingo Ridge; learn to kite-surf; get your PADI certificate or take a sunset dhow cruise on Mida Creek. We often get asked for a beach & bush combination and this area combines ideally with a safari in Tsavo East Game Reserve, just two hour’s drive away.

Hemingways Watamu

Our operations team paid a recent visit to Madikwe Private Game Reserve to get a good understanding of the area.  Madikwe is situated in the North Western Province, along the Botswana border. It is 750 km square (75,000 hectare) of reclaimed farmland, established in 1991. It is the country’s 5th largest game reserve and specialises in wild dog, but has all the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo). Madikwe encroaches on the Kalahari Desert, and is very dry. Access is by road; it is a four hour drive from Johannesburg and 2 hours from Sun City, or air, with Federal Air offering scheduled charters. Our team flew up with Federal Air departing from Johannesburg at 12h00 to Madikwe, with the return flight being at 13h30 every day. It is a mere one hour flight from Johannesburg. There are two airstrips. The Western Airstrip is basic and can accommodate maximum a 12-seater Caravan, the other being the Eastern Airstrip, which is tarred and has a building for arrivals, with toilet facilities. It can also take a maximum 12-seater Caravan.  There are over 20 lodges in the area, some are privately owned by corporates or for personal use only.

Madikwe map

Most of the group-friendly lodges are located in the East, with the furthest lodge being 35 minutes transfer from the airstrip. In fact combining Madikwe Safari Lodge (20 suites), Makanyane Safari Lodge (8 suites), Madikwe Hills Safari Lodge (10 suites), Mateya Safari Lodge (5 suites), Jamala Royal Safari Lodge (8 bedrooms), and Molori Safari Lodge (5 suites) one could get a total of 56 rooms in close proximity to each other.  Etali Game Lodge (8 rooms) and Jaci’s Camp (16 rooms) could be used for overflow.

This is a non-malaria area, a definite plus! The team were very impressed with the quality of the lodges, most of which are luxury 5* properties. More importantly the quality of the game viewing has improved considerably. Madikwe Game Reserve is without doubt establishing itself as a renowned safari region, to rival the Sabi Sands and other Kruger National Park lodges.

It is possible to do joint dinners if the group is spread over more than one lodge, but this is dependent on final numbers, lodges chosen and weather conditions

Mahali Mzuri gets ready to open in the Masai Mara

Sir Richard Branson’s Kenyan Safari Camp is open for bookings from 1 August 2013. This 12 tented luxury camp is located within Kenya’s Masai Mara ecosystem.

Mahali Mzuri is located in the Motorogi Conservancy, just north of the Masai Mara National Reserve, and is right in the path of the annual migration. There is also an abundance of resident game all year round both near the camp and also a short distance away by vehicle. The best way to access the camp is by plane from the city’s Wilson Airport which serves domestic destinations within Kenya. A number of domestic airlines are based at Wilson Airport and most provide scheduled flights to the region which take about 1 hour. From the public airstrip the journey by vehicle to the camp is roughly one hour’s drive. Special charter flights can also be arranged on request if the scheduled times don’t suit you and these flights can land at the private airstrip in the conservancy, roughly 20 minutes’ drive from camp.

They do have some opening specials so please enquire with us if you are interested.

TINTSWALO SAFARI LODGE

Gemma, from our Travel Division, recently paid a visited to Tintswalo Safari Lodge

Location:

Situated within the 27 000ha Manyeleti Game Reserve – on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park – between the Sabi Sands and Timbavati. Tintswalo has a 6000ha private concession within the Manyeleti.

The Safari Lodge has 6 “Explorer Suites” and a Presidential Suite which comprises of 2 “Explorer Suites”joined by a central lounge and kitchen area. So in total 8 “Suites”. The Manor House has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and therefore ideal for a group of friends or a family.

She said: “All 6 Explorer Suites are spread quiet far apart from each other out along a seasonal river bed, they really are very private so you can enjoy your private deck and plunge pool however you see fit.  There is no menu at Tintswalo. Your butler discusses the day’s menu with you. Breakfast starts with a choice of the standard cereals, yoghurts pastries etc, followed with a full English or the ‘special of the day’, the special changes on a daily basis. Dinner is a set menu, with the choice of 2 mains, but again they are very flexible and all requests sent to your butler who will do his utmost to accommodate if possible! The food was all DELICIOUS and the portions generous!

If you compare  the rack rate with that of other lodges in the area,  you will see it is incredibly affordable, offers fantastic value for money, 5 star accommodation and service and extremely friendly staff. I would highly recommend the lodge to any of my clients wanting an alternative to the  Sabi Sands experience. STUNNING!

The Manor House on the other hand is a simple, subtle 4 star property which is very comfortable and offers excellent value for money. The House accommodates a minimum of 6 guests and a maximum of 10 guests and is quoted on a per person sharing rate and not a per house rate. For a family or group of friends travelling together I don’t think they will get this experience anywhere else! It’s fantastic! I wouldn’t suggest the property for high end clients; I would rather accommodate these guests in the Presidential Suite. For people looking for a great family holiday in a relaxed environment this is the place to be. The House is fenced with electric fence and so is safe for the children to run around in the garden and enjoy themselves. The really nice thing about Manor House is the staff again is so flexible and will do their utmost to assist with any requests where possible. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!”

You tempted yet?

One of the newest 5* lodges on the circuit is Shepherd Tree Game Lodge.

Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge is a lodge concession awarded by the North West Parks and Tourism Board within the existing Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The entire lodge lies in an exclusive use zone in the south-western portion of the 57,250ha, “Big 5” and malaria free Reserve. Guests will enjoy both private traversing and access to all the Reserve’s public roads. The lodge offers commanding views of the distant bushveld amphitheatre and is superbly positioned adjacent to the Wilderness Area, thus offering the opportunity of walking trails in this untouched environment.

The design feature accommodates 13 family suites (136m²) and 4 spacious executive suites (86m²) situated adjacent a magnificent main lodge.

The family suites offer two en-suite master bedrooms with a shared lounge and patio. The family suites can also be configured in such a way as to offer a luxury suite option as well as a standard room option.

The executive suites offer one en-suite master bedroom with a lounge and patio. In addition, guests can savour an indoor steam shower and double outdoor shower. The placement and design of each suite ensures privacy and uninterrupted views. Each suite offers the highest quality equipment with plasma screen TV, Satellite Television and a mini-business centre.

In addition the lodge features the Amani Spa. A banquet for the soul and senses using the unique Spa product brand, Africology, made from the purest of ingredients, free from artificial preservatives, colouring & fragrances. You are guaranteed to walk out glowing from the inside out!

Numerous incentive style activities are on offer from quad biking and interactive drumming to tribal shows at the bush dinner.

This lodge is being managed by the same team as Ivory Tree, but offers more exclusive accommodation. For smaller groups it is a wonderful option.

DAY ONE:

Access to Livingstone, located at the Victoria Falls, on the Zambian side is most easy through Johannesburg. There are numerous domestic airlines which fly daily. Our suggestion is South African Airways, which departs Johannesburg at 10h40 and arrives in Livingstone at 12h30.

On arrival at Livingstone International Airport, you will be met by professional staff who will assist you with luggage and escort you to the awaiting air-conditioned vehicles. From there it is a short ride, through the bustling town of Livingstone. This is your first sight of “real Africa” with dusty, pot-holed roads, street vendors selling anything from curios to dried fish, locals carrying large water containers on their heads, and local taxis darting in and out of the traffic. After a 15minute transfer you will arrive at the Royal Landing, your first sight of the mighty Zambezi, and where the adventure really begins. Dependent on water levels, you will board the water taxi for your ride down to The Royal Livingstone or Zambezi Sun. Your luggage will proceed direct to the hotel. Take in the sights and sounds of the river, and, if you are really lucky, see elephants grazing on the river banks, hippos wallowing in the shallow pools, and most spectacular, the majestic call of the Fish Eagle, all in a 15 minute transfer.

Your motorized taxi arrives at the landing of your first nights accommodation, the impressive Royal Livingstone Hotel. Part of the Sun International Group, this hotel is perfectly situated along the banks of the Zambezi River, with all the rooms being river facing. Check-in in the cool of the lounge, where you can freshen-up with cool scented towels and a relaxing hand massage. With the SAA flight you arrive just in time for a light lunch at the restaurant.

The rest of the afternoon is time to relax at the hotel, take a well deserved nap in the air-conditioned room, relax at the pool, or enjoy a massage in the gazebos, well located at the river frontage.

Around 4pm you gather in the foyer for the short walk to view the spectacular Falls. The advantage of staying at the Sun International properties is that the entrance to the Falls is included in the room rate. It is literally a 10 minute stroll and immediately, looming in front of you, is one of the seven wonders of the world…. The Victoria Falls. The first sight will literally take your breath away as the incredible volume of water cascades over the edge creating a natural rain forest. There are numerous vantage point to view the Falls, depending on water levels (best viewing is March – May, when water levels are at their peak).  For the more adventurous there is Bungi jumping & bridge swing available.

Around 6pm its time to gather on the deck for sundowners. Sip cocktails whilst the sun dips on the horizon, the sun’s rays shining through the mist created by the falls. Magical, mystical and spiritual! Dinner is best served under the Monkey Tree, al fresco dining at its best. Lanterns in the trees and on the ground light up the lawns of the hotel, whilst white-gloved waiters serve the “Tastes of Zambia” (e.g. crocodile curry, kapenta salad and and local fish) or ala carte menu .

If you wish, enjoy a night-cap in the bar, or head straight to bed for a well earned rest.

DAY TWO:

Day two starts early with a wake up call at 07h00. Head down to the landing for the short motorized boat ride to Livingstone Island, located in the middle of the Zambezi River, touching the lip of the Victoria Falls, where the water thunders down the 103m drop.

Livingstone Island was opened in 1995 to provide exclusive and unique picnics on the edge of the Victoria Falls. This is without doubt one of the best places to witness this immense mass of water, the place where Dr David Livingstone first glimpsed Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders). For the strong-hearted enjoy a swim in Devil’s Pool, a natural pool located right on the edge of the Falls. Your local guide will explain the history of the island as well as accompany you to the pool. After this exhilarating experience enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the island.

At 09h00 head back to the hotel, navigating the currents and waterways, where you will have time to freshen-up and check-out of the hotel.

After breakfast head out to Batoka Sky’s landing site, where you will enjoy “The Flight of Angels”. Undoubtedly one of the best ways to truly understand the magnitude of the Falls, is to view by air, and what more exhilarating way to do this than by helicopter. The most popular ride is 15 minutes, which is more than enough time to take in the whole area. If you really want an adrenalin rush you could also view the Falls by microlight.

Whilst your luggage gets taken direct to Tongabezi, you will head for Natural Mystic, one of the sites from where you can launch canoes. Embark on a privately guided canoe safari which takes you through narrow channels on the mighty Zambezi River. Paddle past crossing Elephants and hippo pools and spot abundant birdlife and game as you drift past the Zambezi Game Park. Truly one of the most exciting and adventurous activities in Africa.

Your canoes will stop directly in front of Tongabezi. Enjoy a light lunch at the lodge before heading out to Sindabezi Island, by boat, your base for the last night.

Sindabezi Island is unique. An idyllic, exclusive camp on our very own private isle on the Zambezi River it is the only luxury bush camp in the Victoria Falls region and in 2008 was selected by The Sunday Times in London as one of the best remote places to stay in the world.

Sindabezi has only five open-sided thatched cottages, allowing guests to soak up the sights and sounds of the African bush in the perfect, pristine setting. Views across the flood plains of the Zambezi and into the nearby National Park complete the experience.

The main camp area is set on the sand and is a perfect place to relax, unwind and simply enjoy the peace and tranquility of this tiny isle. This area boasts two decks: the secluded mokoro deck is tucked away at the end of island; whilst the star gazing deck is a wonderful spot for dining and game watching. The new main dining area is set on an elevated deck up in the trees.

At night, the camp truly weaves its spell as you dine under a canopy of stars, with the river meandering past and the unmistakable sounds of hippos wallowing nearby: an experience never to be forgotten.

Sindabezi Island Camp now also boasts state-of-the-art solar panelling set amidst the thatch. This means that all chalets now enjoy hot water and bedside lighting, without forsaking traditional camp atmosphere.

DAY THREE:

After a relaxing morning it is time to head back to the Main Camp, Tongabezi. From here you will transfer direct to Livingstone Airport, and your flight home.

Rhino Poaching Dream Team Launched

Poaching ‘dream team’ plans to hunt down poachers

A ‘dream team’ has been set up to track and shut down syndicates involved in illegal poaching. The team includes vehicle tracking company, Tracker, with one of its best field operatives, former Soweto Dog Unit member and Tracker law enforcement officer, Stroppie Grobbelaar, at the helm.

Grobbelaar’s back-up team will include intelligence agents as well as the eBlockwatch community network. Existing eBlockwatch members  can join the team by logging on to the eBlockwatch website, or new members can sign up and register at www.eblockwatch.co.za.
In particular, owners of game farms and those involved in conservation are being asked to sign up. Helicopter pilots, farm watch groups and game rangers are also needed, as eBlockwatch believes these people will be most instrumental in providing information that with help Stroppie and his team at Tracker hunt down the poachers.

Every email received with information will be captured and fed into eBlockwatch’s Memex software belonging to the Specialised Services Group. This will then be fed through to Stroppie and the ‘dream team’. Once poachers have been located, eBlockwatch members closest to them will receive an sms, asking them to help mobilise their security companies and networks to assist.

Lets hope this will go a long way to stopping this atrocity!!

Post World Cup specials

We have some wonderful opportunities to experience the Big Five in style. The following properties are offering great specials, so please contact us for further details and rates if you are interested:

Tanda Tula :Stay for 3 nights, pay only for 2

Tanda Tula Safari Camp in the heart of the Timbavati Nature Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park, offers an extraordinary wilderness experience in ultimate luxury. Offering every comfort, the thatched en-suite tents are imbued with the romance of Africa. Wide wooden decks and spacious bathrooms with Victorian baths and outside showers are reminiscent of a bygone era. Valid from 01 October 2010 until 30 April 2011

We also have a special with Thanda Tula and Cybele Forest Lodge & Spa for a unique experience.

www.tandathula.co.za

Shumbalala in the Thornybush Reserve is offering exceptional rates.

Shumbalala Lodge has been described by many who have visited it as a feast for the senses and a journey for the soul. A place where the setting was designed by nature, the spirit supplied by the hosts and the comfort derived from the soft linen and fabrics.

Valid from 01 August 2010 until 30 September 2011, minimum 2 nights and conditions apply.

www.shumbalala.co.za

Stay for 6 nights and only pay for 4 – you get 50% more.

This offer is available at the following lodges: &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge,&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge, &Beyond Savute Under Canvas, &Beyond Moremi Under Canvas, &Beyond Chobe Under Canvas and &Beyond Matetsi Water Lodge.

Valid until 31 December 2010

Contact us for further information.

Stay for 6 nights and only pay for 4 – you get 50% more.

This offer is available at the following lodges: &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge,&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge, &Beyond Savute Under Canvas, &Beyond Moremi Under Canvas, &Beyond Chobe Under Canvas and &Beyond Matetsi Water Lodge.

Valid until 31 December 2010

Contact us for further information.

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