Instagram Takeover – Jaco le Roux

Brilliant photographer and friend of Iconic Africa @jacofotos has recently done an awesome #IATakeover for us. Just in case you missed it – scroll down here for his incredible shots of some unique African landscapes.

For more of these unbelievable photographs follow @jacofotos on Instagram.

Top Videos of 2016

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  Soren Kierkegaard.

They say reflection is great for the soul… so let’s take a take a trip down memory lane and revisit our top 7 videos from 2016! So many #iconicmoments… to be remembered.

The Great Crossing

The Leopard Hoist

Our Magical East African Safari

A Taste of Africa

 

Lions in the Crater

The Cheetah Chase

Our Serengeti Balloon Safari

Botswana – Africa’s Best Kept Secret

Botswana is without a doubt one of Africa’s best kept secrets. Its two big rivers, the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River serve as a boundary to an abundance of wildlife. It is most definitely the place to go if you want to see The Big Five and if you don’t feel like fighting with lots of other tourists! Here are just a few of the many reasons why beautiful Botswana should have a spot on your bucket-list.

Exquisite Landscapes
Botswana boasts breath-taking landscapes and untouched wilderness.

The Okavango Delta
The Okavango delta also known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari” is the world’s largest inland Delta (approximately 15000 square kilometres.)This tranquil haven is home to a magnitude of lush plants and a staggering array of wildlife and birds.

Chobe
Chobe is truly a magical place and home to Africa’s largest Elephant population. Cruise down the river at sunset and marvel at the lavish vegetation, vibrant birdlife and infinite animals.

Migrations
Yearly Zebra and Antelope migrations are a real spectacle to witness. An encounter you will never forget and definitely something for the bucket list.

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Off the Regular Tourist Map
Few safari lodges and a low impact tourist policy mean that the country has not been overrun by tourists. Most of the safari lodges are small (and often) luxurious providing a very intimate, authentic experience.

Desert
Botswana has a unique semi-desert of approximately 50 000 square kilometres. Stark and arid, its beauty is certainly is one of a kind.

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Game Boating
Botswana Is one of the few places left in Africa that you can go on safari and get up close and personal with wildlife in an old-fashioned houseboat, speedboat or canoe.

Committed to Conservation
Botswana is a true pioneer in ecotourism and is wholly committed to wildlife and nature conservation.

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Lovely People
The locals are amazing and their kindness and warmth is contageous. They are respectful, gentle, considerate and passionate about their country. You feel instantly at home amongst them!

Don’t waste any time! Contact us now and let us plan the perfect luxury Botswana safari for you.

Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe vs Zambia

Victoria Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world and one that should most definitely be on that bucket list of yours. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime destination that will stay with you for the rest of your days!

Elephant Camp Vic Falls Safari

The Falls or as the locals call it “Mosi oa Tunya” (The smoke that thunders) is situated on the Zambezi River which is also the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia and so it is often difficult to decide which side to visit or to stay on. Here are a few pointers on the pros and cons of each side:

Zimbabwe

• The Zimbabwean side definitely offers the most iconic view of the falls with 75% of the incredible “world wonder” visible. (This is quite a view as the mighty Zambezi River plunges 93m down a rock face)
• There are 16 different viewpoints within a beautiful tropical rainforest
• There is an exquisite rainforest where true to its name it rains 24hrs, 365 days of the year, from the falling spray created by the powerful Falls
• The water flows all year round
• There are loads of fun exciting and extreme activities on offer for the adrenalin junkies out there
• The Hotels are relatively cheaper than the Zambian side due to lower government levies and taxes.
• Most hotels are easily accessible and within walking distance of the Falls
• Victoria Falls is much smaller than Livingstone (on the Zambian side)
• There is exceptional game viewing in the Victoria Falls National Park, Hwange and Mana Pools
• For almost 80 kilometres the banks of the river remain natural and are overflowing with wildlife as development upstream of the Falls has been carefully controlled.

Zambia
• From the Zambian side you can only properly see a quarter of the Falls (also known as the Eastern Cataract)
• There are some activities that you can only do on the Zambian side such as Devil’s Pool. (a section right at the top of the Falls that has pools you can swim in) This is only for the adrenalin junkies, who like to live on the edge (so to speak) and only in the dry season. Other activities that you can only do from the Zambian side are Micro-light flights and Livingstone Island Tours.
• There is no rainforest
• In the height of the dry season the eastern cataract has been known to dry up completely.
• Prices on the Zambian side are slightly higher but there are some incredible spots right on the river.
• Game viewing in Mosi-Oa-Tunya, South Luangwa or the Lower Zambezi National Parks is fantastic.
• The town of Livingstone is approximately 10kms from the Falls

Remember you can cross over the border very easily (just don’t forget your passport) so if you have time you can still see both sides. It is definitely worth a trek over the bridge!

Whichever side you decide to stay click here for more on the leading luxury destinations the Mighty Zambezi has to offer. Let us tailor you the perfect visit to this incredible natural wonder, a visit you most definitely won’t ever forget!

To learn more about when is the best time to visit Victoria Falls click here. 

Month on Instagram

We can’t believe October is done and dusted. As the saying goes – time flies when you are having fun! So… just in case you missed out – here’s our month on Instagram. Scroll down for just a minute and witness some incredible wildlife photographs, sensational safari moments and awesome African adventures.

 

Property of the Month – Mombo

Proudly presenting Mombo, a Wilderness Safaris masterpiece and October’s Property of the Month!

Mombo boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa, it’s set on its very own island in the middle of the Okavango Delta and its a real home away from home…

Here are a few more reasons to visit Mombo… and what it is that makes this property a real Botswanan gem!

Mombo is the flagship of Wilderness Safaris’ already impressive fleet. Set on a private concession on Chief’s Island in the middle of the Okavango Delta, Mombo arguably offers the best big game viewing in all of Africa. All of the big cats, spotted hyaena, black and white rhino, herds of elephant and abundant general game roam the concession in astonishing numbers. You could of course see all of this from capacious comfort and sophisticated style of the glorious Mombo suites – suites that will rival your own home for creature comforts and a sense of belonging.

Eco-friendly luxury

Mombo Camp is exclusive, extravagant and simply stunning. At the same time, much of the camp’s power is provided by a solar farm in keeping with Wilderness Safaris’ genuine commitment to conservation.

The main lounge and dining areas boast an atmosphere of inviting and contemporary African style that is unashamedly opulent while the expansive decks leading out from the thatched living area provide unimpeded views of the Delta. The two raised plunge pools offer the best possible respite from the Okavango heat while you sip your favourite cocktail.

There are just nine luxurious tented suites at Mombo Camp. Each is raised two metres from the ground and linked by raised walkways so you will always feel like you are floating above the delta while the wildlife is completely unimpeded by your presence. Each suite vaunts extensive private decking where you can rest in seclusion or enjoy an exquisite spa treatment from the comfort of your own thatched Sala – suspended over the flood plains of the Okavango.

 

Inside, whether it’s from the king-size bed, cosy lounge or generous bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, you will luxuriate in ultimately tasteful African luxury – always with a panorama of the wilderness beyond.
Mombo’s cuisine is an abundant collection of uncomplicated but delicious fare that can be enjoyed in the privacy of your deck, in the eerie but delightful boma or even out in the wild.

Fame in the wild

One of National Geographic’s most famous films – Eye of the Leopard – was shot at Mombo. The famous leopardess, Legadima is still a constant and confiding feature of this concession as is the legendary Maporota Pride.

Dawn and afternoon game drives are likely to offer you the chance to spend time photographing or simply being astonished by the beauty of Legadima and her cubs. The dynamics of the awesome lion prides offer constant excitement while the huge herds of impala, tsesebe and lechwe frolicking in the delta shallows epitomise the abundance of the Mombo concession.

In the quiet of the midday, you might visit the exquisite hide where you can photograph the plethora of bird life that the Okavango has on offer all year round.

Authentic commitment

Wilderness Safaris has been a huge supporter of the re-introduction of rhino (both black and white) to Chief’s Island and you might spend time tracking down these ancient remnants as they seek sanctuary in the Mombo wilderness.

For more on this incredible safari destination – please contact us here. 

Instagram Takeover – Clyde Thomas

Our very own @clydeothomas has just had a lovely time @londolozi. Scroll down here for some of the awesome pictures he captured on his trip. Thank you @clydeothomas for sharing! 

 

Em’s Cape Town Highlights

Iconic Africa Traveller Emily Gardiner went on wonderful safari to Madikwe Safari Lodge followed by a visit to Cape Town. Earlier this year we showcased her magical trip to Madikwe. Em has now shared with us this awesome video that she put together of her time in the fair Cape. Thanks so much Em for sharing – it certainly looks like you had a fabulous time in South Africa! We hope to have you back again soon.

 

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #19

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #19 “The Migration Retreats” filmed by James Hendry of Safarilive.
It’s time to say goodbye to the herds. Watch as the elephants trudge through the grazing wildebeests, the lions laze about and share a meal, the zebras cross riverbeds and so much more. It’s the calm after the storm of the migration… as peace is restored to the Mara.

Just in case you missed last month’s episode, #18  “Mara, August” also filmed by @jamesrahendry of #safarilive click here to view.

May these brief encounters with Africa transport you away from your desk or your couch for even just a few magical minutes. Enough time to remind you of the wonders, the adventures, the wildlife and the beauty that awaits you… on this exquisite continent. #Africa #bigfive #luxury #wildlife #safari

Click here to learn more about James Hendry, the safari guide in our interview with him.

Tanzania—A Safari and Beach Heaven

Africa is known as the ultimate safari destination in the world. But Africa isn’t only a safari destination, it is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you’re planning a safari adventure in Africa, why not consider combining it with a beach holiday so that you get the best of both worlds? What’s not to love? Gorgeously white sandy beaches combined with exquisite out-of-Africa wilderness make Tanzania one of Africa’s most epic destinations to visit.

Tanzania truly has something for everyone. It boasts diverse wildlife—it is the stamping ground of the spectacular Great Migration after all. Everyone knows that the Serengeti is the place to be for a true African safari experience, and Tanzania lets its guests experience the epitome of an African safari. Not only is Tanzania home to the Serengeti, but it is also home to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Tanzania is the realm of superb game viewing. You can choose to stay in the Serengeti National Park which is known as Tanzania’s oldest game reserve. If you manage to stay in the National Park at the right time of the year, you might be lucky enough to witness the magnificent spectacle that is the Great Migration—a phenomenon that holds a place on many people’s bucket lists. And, can you imagine drifting above the endless plains of the Serengeti in a hot air balloon? An epic bird’s eye view of all that the Serengeti has to offer. The Park is also home to some of the most luxurious camps in the world—guests are treated to the ultimate African hospitality and can expect only the finest in African opulence. Places like Singita Sasakwa and Singita Faru Faru will win your heart over with their sheer dedication to everything lavish, and their spectacular views over the Serengeti. There’s a reason that the Serengeti is everyone’s idea of what Africa should be with its endless golden plains, unparalleled game viewing, and its exciting wildness—of course it’s the Africa of your dreams.

If untouched, pristine Africa is what you’re after, Tarangire National Park is the perfect place for you. It’s situated in Northern Tanzania and its famous for its elephants, its spectacular birding opportunities, and its vast and stunning baobab trees. It’s an underrated safari area but it has the largest concentration of elephants in the world! It is abundant in wildlife and is therefore perfect for an exclusive, precious safari adventure—especially if you’re crazy about elephants! If this sounds like your idea of perfection, consider staying at Chem Chem. It’s the ideal place for winding down—the ultimate ‘Slow Safari’.

The Ngorongoro Crater is another gorgeous part of Tanzania which you should consider exploring. It is known as the world’s largest intact caldera volcano and it was formed over 2 million years ago. It is such a special place because it is a paradise for game … and a paradise for game-lovers. If the Big Five is something that you’ve always dreamed of seeing, the Ngorongoro Crater is the place for you. Because it is such a unique setting, it is home to 30 000 animals, which means that it is not uncommon to see the Big Five in just one day. It’s the perfect place to see a lot of wildlife in a short space of time. Where could be better to stay at than the Nogorongoro Crater Lodge? This lodge looks like it has jumped out of the pages of a fairy-tale book—its ornate design, its stunning 360 degree views of the crater, and its opulent finishes will leave you feeling like an absolute king or queen. With Colonial, European, Maasai, and Baroque influences, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is so unique—it’s certainly something you could never have dreamt of.

Wherever you choose to go on safari in Tanzania, you have to end your African safari with a special island beach holiday. Just 35km from the Tanzanian coastline lies Zanzibar with its rich culture, beauty, and history. Historical it certainly is—it was once the home of the opulent Sultans and it is one of the most historically fascinating places you will ever experience. Aside from the exquisite history, Zanzibar is the paragon of beach and island getaways. White sandy beaches, brilliant blue waters, and gently swaying palm trees ensure an epic beach stay. Perfect for post-safari relaxation! Although there is so much to do in Zanzibar—snorkelling, diving, spice island tours, and historical tours—it is super important to take some time out to relax and lounge on its captivating beaches. If its luxury you’re looking for, you have to stay at Essque Zalu. It is arguably one of the most lavish hotels on the island—all guests are given their own private, sumptuous suite with phenomenal views, private balconies, and direct access to the beach. The perfect place to end your African adventure.

For more information about Tanzania, Zanzibar, and their exquisite accommodation, visit our site here.

Londolozi – FAQs

Londolozi is more than just a place, it is a feeling—a feeling that simply cannot be described in words. Londolozi has a special place in our hearts as we’ve all worked there, spent many holidays there, or are even part of the family. Our Director Terri even got engaged there many moons ago!

Home to some of the most amazing wildlife in Africa (particularly famous for its leopards), Londolozi manages to earn a place in every visitor’s heart. Luxury accommodation, divine cuisine, and the ultimate African hospitality ensure that Londolozi is the ultimate African escape. We’ve got a list of the most frequently asked questions about Londolozi which we have put together so that you can find information about this spectacular destination with ease.

Londolozi Tree Camp Deck Iconic Africa Safaris

  1. What is Londolozi?

Londolozi is a luxury lodge situated in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. Londolozi effortlessly combines luxury, hospitality, and the wilderness—not a typically easy feat. The word ‘Londolozi’ is a Zulu word meaning ‘to protect’. John, Dave, and Shan Varty (the founders of Londolozi) chose the name to depict the aim of the lodge—to be a sanctuary for all living things.

  1. Where exactly is Londolozi located?

Londolozi is situated in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which is possibly the most famous Private Game Reserve in the Southern Hemisphere. This game reserve adjoins the Kruger National Park which is located in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

  1. How do you get to Londolozi?

There are two ways to get to Londolozi namely, by road or by air. Londolozi is located 500km away from Johannesburg which translates to a six-hour drive. Londolozi offers transfers from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport on request. You also have the option to take a scheduled flight to Londolozi. Federal Air offers daily flights from O.R. Thambo International Airport to the Londolozi Airstrip. Airlink also offers daily flights to Londolozi from Johannesburg and Cape Town to the Nelspruit KMIA and the Skukuza Airport. From there, a short transfer in a small aircraft will take you through to the Londolozi Airstrip.

  1. What is Londolozi’s policy with regard to children?

Londolozi emphasises the importance of family and therefore, children over six are always welcome. If you have children between the ages of six and 16, the Varty and the Founders camps are perfect for you. Children over six are certainly welcome on game drives, too! You can enrol your young children into the Londolozi Cubs Programme which will make sure that every day is filled with fun, and your children will learn the importance of conserving the biodiversity in Africa. Londolozi has a special Cubs Den for children which is specifically designed with children in mind. There are beautiful fishponds to splash in, tents to camp out in, and even Land Rovers for children to ‘drive’. The Cub Coach (an expert naturalist) takes children on educational, fun-filled bushveld excursions. Your children will learn how to identify different types of spoor, they will learn how to catch bugs, to do an African dance, and to make beads!

  1. Is Londolozi a suitable place for a honeymoon?

Yes! Londolozi offers a special Honeymoon Safari for newlyweds. Londolozi combines unsurpassed opulence with the African wilderness to create the ultimate honeymoon for you and your loved one. A honeymoon at Londolozi is an unforgettable experience—one that will live in your hearts forever. Londolozi even has its own dedicated Honeymoon Vehicle and private guide for game viewing, ensuring that newlyweds only experience the best game viewing that Africa has to offer.

  1. What activities are on offer?

Game drives are the highlight of the days that you spend at Londolozi, and you will be able to enjoy two game drives per day—one sunrise game drive and one sunset game drive. Londolozi also offers its guests the opportunity to go on bush walks, to go fishing, to experience the village and so much more. Guests can also opt to unwind with a professional massage or do a spot of yoga.

  1. What types of safaris does Londolozi offer?

Safaris at Londolozi are tailored to suit each individual’s needs; however all safaris at Londolozi emphasis game drives. Depending on when you choose to visit Londolozi, you will either follow the Summer Schedule or the Winter Schedule. Both schedules make certain that guests have the ultimate game viewing experiences throughout the day—so not to worry! The Londolozi rangers also specialise in photographic safaris and therefore Londolozi safaris are ideal for photographers. Londolozi is known for its breath-taking scenery which makes it perfect canvas for wildlife photography. It is the ideal place to take awesome photos of the big cats. Londolozi is so dedicated to photographic safaris that it even has its own photographic studio that allows guests to edit and print their very best safari shots. Guests can even book a private Land Rover with their very own photographic tutor!

  1. What does a typical day at Londolozi look like?

Each day differs from day to day because each safari experience is tailored to suit every guest’s specific needs. If you visit Londolozi in the summer, your day will begin with a gorgeous sunrise game drive at 5.30. After the thrilling adventure of an early game drive, you will be treated to a superb breakfast to fill you up. You can then choose to go on a lovely bush walk, do a spot of yoga, lounge around in your lodge, or you could even visit the wellness spa for a quick treat. Lunch is served at 1.30 and you will be able to indulge in only the best cuisine. Londolozi understands the importance of treating its guests to only the best food available. Cuisine at Londolozi pays tribute to its commitment to sustainability and its respect of the environment. Home grown, organic produce, free range game, and fresh herbs are the stars of Londolozi’s delightful menu. Many of Londolozi’s recipes have been handed down through the Varty family, but all of the recipes featured were brought to life in Londolozi’s bustling kitchen. At 16.00 guests are treated to a lavish high tea, after which they can hop onto the sunset game drive. Dinner is then served at 19.30. Winter follows a similar schedule with the day starting with a sunrise game drive at 6.00, and ending with the sunset game drive at 15.30, and dinner served at 19.00.

  1. Why Londolozi?

Londolozi epitomises everything luxurious and hospitable about Africa. In 2014, Londolozi was named the best hotel in the entire world by Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards—an absolute global honour! Londolozi is also world-renowned for its gorgeous leopards. To spot a leopard is an absolutely exhilarating experience, but Londolozi manages to take the idea of ‘spotting’ leopards to a whole new level. Londolozi’s intimate leopard sightings are truly phenomenal and an experience that is not to be missed. Londolozi is an out-of-Africa adventure that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

 

  1. What’s on offer at the Londolozi Wellness Centre?

The Londolozi Wellness Centre is committed to promoting healing. Guests can enjoy specialised yoga classes that are suitable for anyone—beginners and intermediate yogis alike. What could bring you closer to nature than doing yoga on the Yoga Deck which is suspended high up in a 500 year old ebony tree? Equally healing and relaxing, why not treat yourself to some massage therapy? Londolozi offers Swedish massages, aromatherapy massages, and reiki. You can even opt to have your massage in the privacy of your own room or deck! And, of course, Londolozi would never neglect its fitness fanatics. Its fully equipped gym offers running, cycling, and rowing machines, and it is open 24 hours a day!

Please do let us know if you have any more questions on Londolozi and the magic that awaits you there.

Traveller Review – Alyson & Dave

Recent travellers Alyson and Dave have just returned home from an unbelievable East African Safari! They were kind enough to chat to us about their experience and to share some of their awesome photos with us here:

How was East Africa different to South Africa?

We have previously enjoyed some wonderful game experiences in Southern Africa, however East Africa was a completely different ball game.  It is the sheer number of animals which is just staggering and awe inspiring.  Never have we been so immersed in the wildlife and able to see so many different animals and on so many different occasions.

Was witnessing the migration as you had imagined it would be?

The migration was truly a bucket list item for us and we weren’t disappointed.  With the expert knowledge and understanding of our guides, we were able to witness several crossings, at different parts of the river and each with their own unique characteristics – the first had stampeding wildebeest once crossed, the second we witnessed the cruelty of nature as the crocs took their share, the third was super special as we were only one of two trucks, the dust clouds swirled, the zebra made the first tentative steps and then thousands of wildebeest ran from kilometres away to cross, the fourth as some of the confused animals ended up heading back the way they came.  The noise, the commotion, the waiting, the desperation, the winners, the losers – truly amazing!

 

Which was your favourite camp in East Africa and why?

It’s really tough to pick just one, but if pushed, we’d have to say KazKas Mara in the Serengeti.  Set atop the hill, amongst the trees, this semi-permanent camp looks down over the plains to a small river frequented by lion, wildebeest and topi.  The staff were incredible – they made us feel so welcome and every day surprised us with something special like a lunch in the bush, our own personalised fire and sundowners, champagne popping – wonderful hosts.

What did you think of the staff at the camps you stayed at?

At every place we stayed, from Rivertrees in Arusha, to Plantation Lodge in Ngorongoro, KazKas Mara Camp in the Serengeti and finally Naibor Camp in the Masai Mara, and then all the drivers and guides in between, everyone was on point.  The service was fantastic – polite, well informed, courteous, helpful – we were warmly received at every turn and really enjoyed getting to know and sharing stories with the various characters.

What was your best sighting?

A coalition of five male cheetahs in the Masai Mara – peacefully and calmly surveying the great African plains in the early morning sunlight.  Then taking a stroll through the long grass to a favourite tree for some territory marking before catching 40 winks.

If there was anything about your trip that you would change what would it be?

Having to go home!

If you could go back to just one moment of your trip which one would it be?

The early morning balloon ride was pretty spectacular – whilst it can be hit and miss with the weather, sunrise and wind direction, there’s something very special about the whole experience.  A creakingly early morning start with a cup of coffee held against the cold and barely open eyes – a bit of night time safari action including bat-eared foxes, two very large and pretty grumpy hippos in the middle of the road, spring hares and darting rabbits – to arrive at the innocuous balloon site where the team of men are hard at work getting everything set up – and as the balloon starts to take hold, it’s a dash of one out one in to load the passengers before setting sail, just as the sun breaks the horizon.

What did you think of the accommodation?

We really enjoyed having such a diverse mix of accommodation from the lodges in Arusha and Ngorongoro to the camps in the Serengeti and Masai Mara.  Each was very well appointed, beautifully maintained, clean, secure and sympathetically designed to the location.  Service across the board was faultless.

What about East Africa do you miss the most having now left it?

The big skies, the endless horizons and the warm and friendly people.  The Rift Valley and the resulting natural phenomena of the topography creates a unique environment for the flora and fauna.  By comparison with some other parts of Africa, East Africa delivers an unprecedented volume and richness of game such that you can enjoy seeing the same types of animals but in different settings and exhibiting different behaviours – for example, we enjoyed seeing lion almost every day with particular highlights being tree-climbing, all ages of cubs, seeking reprieve from the sun in the shade of our bakkie, being chased by a hippo, hunting training for the adolescents, two males on the prowl…and so on.  Same with rock climbing elephants, rhino watching giraffe and bath time hyenas.

If you could choose any camp in Africa to go next – where would it be?

Uganda/Rwanda/Congo to see the gorillas….

Thank you so much Aly and Dave – we so loved having you and your family and we hope to see you back on African soil again soon!