Stanley & Livingstone Reveals New Suites

“It’s beauty that captures your attention – personality that captures your heart” – Oscar Wilde

A great family destination that welcomes you to make yourselves at home, this beautifully reinvented boutique hotel aims to be a pause on your Southern African itinerary.

The existing family-run accommodation is merely 10 minutes away from the majestic Victoria Falls, making it the ideal quiet retreat and base from which to explore and seek adventure. The property is currently undergoing some exciting refurbishments with the aim to relaunch the property as the area’s first boutique hotel by spring 2018.

Quintessentially, Stanley & Livingstone will be ‘intrinsically historic’ with interior finishings taking inspiration from colonial style combined with a contemporary classic feel. The boutique hotel aims to still give guests that sense of adventure while honouring the hotel and area’s heritage and natural landscapes. They have exploited the magnificent natural light and created engaging and inspiring spaces.

In the meantime they will be revealing their new suites! The updated design is fresh and easy-going while maintaining that colonial feel. It is simultaneously elegant and approachable – especially for guests with younger kids. The character and atmosphere of these living spaces encourages guests to settle in and feel at home.

Travel back with us to the time of Stanley and Livingstone with an entirely modern colonial interior. Ingeniously marrying old and new influences, you can relive a by-gone era in opulence with modern amenities.

Rest on a king-sized bed fit for a queen on one of the 16 luxury suites with an elegant en-suite bathroom fitted with a romantic Victorian bathtub and a modern power shower.

Or opt for one of two interleading suites suitable for families who want their own space. You can still find the romance here with the serene experience of game viewing from your own suite as the nearby waterhole attracts a constant flow of wildlife.

Although the hotel provides complimentary Wi-Fi access, you will want to stay disconnected…

 

 

The Wonder of Wild Dogs

If you had to ask any traveller heading to Africa on safari which animal they desire most to see – I bet you African wild dogs wouldn’t be in the top three. Lions are usually right number one on the list, even though they are spectacularly lazy animals.

Selinda Camp Botswana Wild Dogs

But ask any game ranger, safari guide or conservationists – the African wild dog should be on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list and is probably their favourite animal to observe in the bush. The African wild dog, also known as the painted wolf, has immeasurable amounts of energy and are extremely social animals. Both adults and pups enjoy playing and even their relaxation time is exciting to watch and involves some sort of frolicking. They cover great expanses every day and are the most frequent hunters.

African wild dogs may not be as well-known as the regal lion or the majestic elephant among tourists and may even be misunderstood. But they are certainly appreciated and adored for their unique characteristics and nature. Sighting aLycaon pictus is rare outside of certain areas and should be considered a highlight for every visitor. Here’s why:

Firstly, there are approximately only 5 000 African wild dogs left making them critically endangered. This is despite the fact that they are Africa’s most successful hunters attaining 50% more preys than lions.

These amazing statistics can be directly attributed to their individual and pack coordination. They are some of the best communicators and constantly let one another know their location and that of the prey, allowing them to quickly adapt while hunting.

They are rarely sighted because they are most active in the early morning and evening or when the moon is at its brightest.

African wild dogs are constant wonderers and their home or territories can range up to 1,500 km2. 

On your next game drive, if you are lucky enough to spot an African wild dog, impress your fellow travellers with some of the reasons why we love the painted wolf:

Their mottled fur is like their very own finger print. No two dogs have the same coat and the unique pattern makes it easy to spot individual dogs.

African wild dogs have large ears that resemble rounded satellite dishes. The ears have numerous muscles that allow the dogs to swivel them to pick up the faintest sounds.

Their long legs, slender build and rapid muscle recovery ensures their successful hunt rate.

But it’s not only their physical build that ensures they are formidable hunters.

The act of hunting is the most spectacular activity of the wild dog. Here you will not only see their sociable nature but the importance of the pack. Pups that can eat solid food will be given priority to hunt, even over the alphas. But before they can hunt, the pups have a playful ceremony that bonds them and initiates the hunt. They circle the pack, vocalise and touch until the excitement overcomes them.

Wild dogs are not only emotionally competent and intelligent, they are extremely cooperative. While some dogs run ahead and keep close proximity to the prey, others will follow behind and tag team when the lead dogs are exhausted. Once securing the prey, it is shared among the pack, even with those who never helped hunt.

They say it takes a village to raise a kid, and it does – even in the animal kingdom. Pups take preference over even the Alphas and all pack members take responsibility for and help raise the pups.

We are all equals, and this extends to the wild dogs pack. Below the alpha male and female, there is no significant hierarchy.

Unlike other social mammals, the females move from one pack to another when they reach sexual maturity at around 14 – 30 months of age. They will leave the male dogs behind to look after the rest of the pack and form the core of the social group.

Another way African wild dogs communicate besides vocalisation is through body movements. If their tail is tucked between the legs it signals fear and submissiveness. But if the dog has an upright posture with its tail curled over its back it means it is sociable and friendly. Hardly an aggressive animal, this can be gestured by a rigidly upright posture.

If we’ve managed to persuade you that seeing wild dogs should be on your bucket-list – let us know and we will help you make this dream come true!

 

Top 5 Reviews of 2018

“To travel is to live!” Hans Christen Anderson

A big thank you to all our travellers who’ve reviewed us this year!

We do everything in our power to make your dreams come true and there’s nothing better than when they do…

Here are our top five reviews from 2018:

Iconic Africa produced and delivered the ultimate Africa experience. Nobody knows Africa better and can genuinely offer expert comments from their own experiences with accommodation and transport. Our travel consultant Bev was truly exceptional. She leaves nothing to chance and I am so lucky to have had her organise my trip last year and again this year. I would highly recommend Iconic Africa to all who consider a trip to Africa.

-Di Lewis

European Roller Walking Safaris Birds Iconic Africa

Wow!!! From help with the booking to the actual holiday- Even checking we had got back to England safely! Had a fabulous time.

Thank you Lauren and Julia Fryer.

Everything planned and delivered by Iconic Africa was excellent and exceeded our expectations by far. Bev van Schoor was wonderful and just so easy to work with in every respect.

-Geoff

A big thank you to Terri and team for an unforgettable Safari. We will most definitely be back!

-Se

From the second Iconic Africa contacted us and helped us put this trip together it has been seamless, easy, uncomplicated and beyond our expectations of what to expect from our first trip to Africa. The people who met us, cared for us and guided us were the most courteous, hospitable and professional people I have ever met. That includes every person that touched us at Iconic Africa. They responded to every query, email and phone call promptly and with the information and help we needed. The pace of our trip was well thought out and helped us see everything and do everything we wanted to do.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect trip. I can’t thank Iconic Africa, Julia and Lauren Fryer for making it happen! I will shout from the rooftops their praises and will definitely call them for our next trip back to Africa…because that is going to happen!

-Wendy

Wow !!! From help with the booking to the actual holiday- Even checking we had got back to England safely! Had a fabulous time. Thank you Lauren and Julia Fryer .

-Kate

To Kate, Wendy, Se, Geoff, Di and all our other travellers – thank you for taking the time to share your experience and trusting in us to make your African adventure an iconic one. It has been a pleasure attending to you and your familes and sharing in the experience. We look forward to meeting you again in the future!

 

 

Getting to know the Kalahari

Travelling to the Kalahari is like traversing into a parallel universe. It’s a surreal location – not far from major city centres – that makes you experience a supernatural feeling as everything around you looms larger than life making you feel so small in comparison. The Kalahari is an eternal destination where time stands still and the retiring expanse of land sees no end. The infinite space reflects the blanket sky and the beauty of it all deflects the desert heat.

Many believe that the harsh desert heat means an absolute harsh environment. The name Kalahari does comes from the Tswana word ‘Kgala’ which means ‘the great thirst’ after all.

But while the origin of Kalahari may suggest a waterless place, further south receives great rainfall lending it to be referred to as the “Green Kalahari”. A slight change in location and a drastic change in climate conditions, southern Kalahari discredits the perception that the Kalahari is a sparse and desolate place.

The Kalahari is in actual fact a semi-arid grassland that is home to a diversity of plants and wildlife. The paradox is that the Kalahari may appear to be a desert, but in fact is not one. For starters, it gets much more rain than the average desert.

Secondly – especially in southern Kalahari – the area consists of too many different landscapes such as savannahs, sand dunes and mountainous terrains in a relatively close proximity. Though this guarantees an increase in biodiversity (and spectacular photo backdrops). The different landscapes and climatic conditions from north to central and southern Kalahari supports more vegetation than the typical desert such as the shady camelthorn tree, shepherd’s tree, silver cluster-leaf, the Hoodia cactus and embraces approximately 80 different mammal species and 240 bird species, making for excellent game viewing.

Alongside the typical big game, you can expect to encounter rare antelope such as roan and sable antelope, gemsbok, eland, springbok and red hartebeest that are unique to the Kalahari.  There are also opportunities to sight tsessebe, Hartmann mountain zebra and the desert black rhino. If you’re wanting to see more traditional game, there is excellent cheetah viewing and brown hyenas are fairly common. The lions are also illustrious for their size and luscious manes.

There is something that draws visitors the Kalahari in all four seasons.

Even though spring is the approach to the rainy season, September and October sees warmer days and cool evenings. The meerkat pups emerge and the barking geckos start calling for mates.

Summer is hot but November to March receives occasional afternoon thunderstorms to cool down. For avid birders, migrant birds start to arrive and many of the antelope calve early in summer. The abundance of insect life during the wet season entices the jackals and foxes above ground with their pups. This is the longest season lasting up to six months.

Some late season rain still lingers on in autumn. April to May has milder weather and is the greenest time of the year! Animals which hibernate during winter are active during this time the antelope are in their best physical condition trying to establish territories and seek mates.

Winter may be cold and dry but June to August offers rare sightings of smaller mammals and clear night skies offer amazing star-gazing opportunities…

Whatever the season, the Kalahari will enchant long after you depart with its portrait of colour from the crimson sunsets and golden sands to the greenery and clear blue skies.

For our MOST favourite Kalahari destination click here. 

Dulini River Lodge Reborn

The splendour of Dulini Game Reserve lies in the exclusivity of its luxurious lodges. Hugged by a leafy canopy of Ebony and Leadwood trees, and gracing the banks of the seasonal Mabrak and Sand River, Dulini River Lodge re-opened its doors in early May 2018 after the long awaited completion of its major upgrade and refurbishment.

The Dulini River Lodge has been born-again with a new look and feel, but remains a sanctuary of comfort and mindful restoration.

A river runs through it

Embraced by the grandeur of tall ancient trees, Dulini River Lodge enjoys an unsurpassable location in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Creatively designed to emphasize the wonder of the magnificent riverine setting, the allure of the new-look lodge is that it surprises on arrival, from the unexpected entrance through the trees to its cantilevered deck – where it’s not uncommon to secretly witness an elusive leopard pass by.

Six luxurious suites offer inspiring views of the Sand River

With only six blissfully cocooning suites, guests enjoy absolute seclusion and privacy. Inspired by the constantly changing beauty of the river, the new interiors are tactile and textured with cool, neutral linens complementing the washed wood and organic lines. Every luxurious element takes its cue from life on the river, capturing its rippled reflections and the ever-changing palette of subtle hues to create a calming and utterly relaxing haven.

Each suite boasts a private heated plunge pool overlooking the river that inevitably lures guests after an exhilarating game drive. No two game drives are ever the same in this pristine 10 000 hectare wilderness, where skilled Shangaan trackers and professional rangers tailor their drives around guests’ interests and share their wealth of knowledge. While the rich biodiversity of the reserve guarantees a rewarding Big Five game experience, the chorus of the bushveld birds, insects and riverine frogs at the lodge completes this African orchestra.

Become part of the family

Genuine warmth and thoughtful touches enhance every stay at Dulini River Lodge. The passionate team welcomes everyone with open arms, so much so that people arrive as guests and leave as family of Dulini. Many guests come as honeymooners and return time and again with family and friends. This time, our contemporary new look awaits new and returning guests!

Thank you Dulini Collection for the information and wonderful pictures of Dulini River Lodge. To see more images of the other Dulini lodges, click here. Or feel free to contact us for enquiries and reservations.

James Tyrrell – Safari Guide of the Year

Ask any traveller who has returned from a safari…. it is the guide and his tracker who truly defines and provides a memorable experience. Africa acknowledges this and is proud to have some excellent guides in our midst.

We are thrilled to celebrate James Tyrrell, winner of the 2018 Safari Guide of the Year competition who continues to demonstrate passion before duty! Join in our little fanfare for this great friend of ours and fabulous private guide who has shown great ability, but more so adoration and respect for the great African bush. This competition is a brilliant way to inspire guides to excel and recognises and rewards those who have set themselves apart from the rest. This isn’t the first time a Londolozi guide has won this incredible award and definitely not the last…

Unlike the insurmountable subjective “best of” lists, it is nice to know who is judging and based on what criteria. Through a process of elimination, Africa Direct in association with FGASA have assessed guides on numerous aspects such as tracking, game drives, guided walks, shooting, birding, story-telling and one of James’ finest achievements – photography.

There is much more to an African safari than sitting in the back of a vehicle and passively watching the scenery and wildlife pass you by. The quality of your guide can be a determining factor and it takes a passionate and dedicated one to be able to tailor experiences to suit different guests. Tyrrell not only shows but teaches too – about safety, animal spotting, birds, knowledge of the wilderness and people. He shares his passions and invokes them in others, transforming a typical safari into an extra-ordinary one.

While Tyrrell is fuelled simply by his love for what he does, let us boast about some of his accolades for him!

Evolved game guide turned photographer and filmmaker, Tyrrell is one of the most grounded and well-rounded guys out there. Besides his accumulated years of experience and repeated emphasis on his passion, we can truly say he is living his dream!

At an age where most kids are trying to correctly name colours and objects, Tyrrell was watching the documentary film ‘The Silent Hunter’ by co-founder of Londolozi, John Varty. Tyrrell’s film review was that Londolozi was the only place he would want to work at as a ranger. All kids have childhood dreams, Tyrrell saw his through!

James of all trades, master of quite a few.

Arriving at Londolozi, Tyrrell had minimal experience behind the lens of a camera. But with persistence, effort and a creative eye he now documents and shares stories of Londolozi and takes audiences on a visual journey from the comfort of their couch so that they may live vicariously through his South African perspective of the wilderness. Now everyone can share in and connect with the wonders of the bush!

James has been interested in photography for years, but it was only after he moved to the bush that he began pursuing it professionally. These environments rich with photographic opportunities allowed him to develop his skillsand he now works as a specialist photographic guide as well.

While most of us agree that Tyrrell should be in front of the camera once in a while, with that crooked smile and rugged beard under his brimmed hat, his passion and skill (not forgetting his natural ability to write) beckons him to be behind screens.

Good luck James with all future endeavours. We know you will make a success of whatever you pursue and look forward to many more wonderful photos and articles from you. To get in touch with James Tyrrell or view more of his awesome photographs, visit his Instagram account.

 

White Pearl in Pictures

If heaven on earth was adorned with fresh white, blue and light earth tone décor, it would be White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli. This private resort is set on two kilometres of uninterrupted shore on the southern coast of Mozambique. The seamless spectacle of crystal clear waters and sparkling white sand will leave you breathless. The natural beauty is unlike any other and the warmth guests feel can’t be conveyed with words. Here’s a short video of this  exquisite seaside gem.

This exclusive and intimate resort offers world class luxury seaside-living on a strip of pristine Mozambican beach that becomes one with the healing waters of the Indian Ocean. We can describe the delightful cuisine and distinctive hospitality, perhaps even the opulent accommodation that overlooks the cobalt waters… but only images can show you a place so beautiful that you find inner peace and tranquillity.

Imagine a beach paradise fit for Greek gods galloping across pearly-white sand, leaving hoof prints behind them. Except it’s you on horseback at the only resort in the area with a licence for horses. While your hair blows in the wind, the sea crashes besides you and you have to decide whether you want to explore the land that seems to rise seamlessly out of the earth or the marine life out ahead. White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli offers the ultimate luxury beach holiday, but for those of you having a hard time trying to picture this rare outpost, here are our handpicked images of this idyllic romantic retreat. Quench your wanderlust by scrolling down… until you can experience the purity of this paradise for yourself and see why this destination has earned the reputation for being a true ocean jewel.

Ocean Safaris Scuba Dive 2 Mozambique Zanzibar White Pearl

 

Property of the Month – The Silo Hotel

The newly opened Zeitz MOCAA gallery facilitates and represents local talent and emerging African, South African and African-heritage artists. The museum collects, preserves, researches and exhibits art pieces from the 54 states in Africa and artists who live elsewhere with African heritage such as African-American, Afro-Brazilian, and many others. The institution has nine floors, seven that is open to public. Above here, with magnificent panoramic views of Africa’s most beautiful city rests this month’s property of the month – The Silo Hotel.

The Silo Cape Town Hotel The Willaston Bar Restaurant

The significance of this outstanding hotel lies in its history and transformation. For some it may seem like yesterday, and others a lifetime ago that this futuristic hotel was once a grain silo. The grain silo was erected in 1924 and at that time, it was the tallest building in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2001, the grain silo was no longer operational and closed its doors.Architect, Thomas Heatherwick had a dream to transform the old silo into the grandiose hotel that it is today.The actual silos have been converted into the contemporary art gallery – Zeitz MOCAA and the elevator tower has been reconstructed into The Silo Hotel. Heatherwick has made minimal structural changes to the building except for the change to the exterior windows. The existing building pays tribute to its historical and cultural significance but the addition of spectacularly extraordinary glass windows which have been designed to protrude outwards. At night, this outstanding design transforms the hotel into an eye-catching beacon that radiates warm light over the exquisite harbour below.

The Silo Cape Town Hotel Rooftop Dinning

The Silo Cape Town Hotel Granary Cafe

The-Silo-Cape-Town-Hotel-Exterior

Stay in one of Cape Town, South Africa and the world’s most unique hotels. From its exterior lure to the cutting edge interior design and extravagant luxury, this gorgeous converted hotel has all the qualities and characteristics of cinematic opulence. Liz Biden, owner of The Royal portfolio has once again added exquisite pieces of furniture to the accommodation. Playing around with wood colours and fabric textures, this hotel emanates sophistication, elegance and architectural grandeur. This hotel is part of the family owned and run iconic collection of private hotels and residences where guests can once again admire Cape Town’s beauty – this time from a great height while still feeling as though they are a part of the hustle and bustle of the city that lies below. The hotel is remarkable in every sense, offering iconic views to accompany outstanding cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner – for more on this iconic property click here. 

 

Heads, Kruger; Tails, Serengeti

Where is Africa’s most iconic safari destination? The question most first-timers ask when planning their trip to the bush. This depends on who is asking and while there isn’t a definitive answer, the Kruger National Parkand the Serengeti come head-to head when trying to claim the title.  Let us compare two of Africa’s most popular wildlife epicentres and help you decide:

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

 

East and Southern Africa has so much to offer the nature enthusiast, but the Great Kruger and Serengeti stand out among contenders. The two destinations offer very different experiences and each reflects the priorities of different travellers. The Kruger National Park in South Africa is set in a bush environment while the Serengeti in Tanzania occupies a large open plain. Depending on personal taste, you could love either… or both!

The fact is that both the Kruger and the Serengeti are equally iconic, offering different ecological environments that determine them both esteemed choices. Whichever you decide to visit, the truth is that you will never tire of it, dreaming of returning again and again – each time creating new memories.

Both parks – easily the size of a small country – are full of big and small game and equally demonstrates the emblematic predator-prey dynamic.  They border legendary private reserves such as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Masai Mara in Kenya; and Sabi Sands and Timbavati Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

Both offer sightings of mystical wildlife and picturesque landscapes, family experiences, unprecedented sunsets, a touch of romance and luxury comforts in exquisite colonial-setting accommodations. In Tanzania or South Africa you can sleep in tented accommodationsbut rest assured, it is not considered camping! Your safari will include four-poster king beds and en-suites with modern amenities.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Kruger Park Safaris

Both the Kruger and Serengeti are the perfect place to begin your African adventure, especially for those who have never been on a safari before. As a rite of passage, both parks rank among the best in the world to see the rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. If you’re a gentle giant enthusiast, head to the Kruger that supports a dense elephant population or to the Serengeti if you’re more of a cat person.

Both the Kruger and Serengeti are considered year-round destinations as it’s always a good time to go! Although, both countries have two distinct seasons and you can expect similar weather and animal patters in both countries during these times of year.

 

The summer months bring occasional thunderstorms and higher temperatures. The landscape and vegetation is green and lush and the beauty of the landscape will overwhelm you. While large game are not as active during this period, sightings are still sensational as there are lots of young animals around and the bird watching is incredible.

They each have dry winter months which are considered the best time of year for wildlife viewing. This is when the bush is less dense and animals are much easier to spot as they generally congregate near waterholes. There isn’t much rain at this time of year and the skies are blue. What sets the Serengeti apart from the Kruger during winter is the incredible wonder that is the great wildebeest migration.

For most first-timers, just getting to tick off the Big Five from their bucket-list is commendable. Yet Tanzania offers travellers something greater, the annual migration of over 2 million wildebeest. And if you catch yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, there remains an abundance of wildlife to see.

Serengeti is recognised for its variety and volume of wildlife in comparison to almost every other African park.  Besides the Great Migration being a manifestation of dreamlike wonder, cheetahs are frequently sighted in the south – more so than in central Kruger, and is better for locating the world’s largest antelope, the eland. Common sightings of the striking serval is best experienced (and possibly only) in the Serengeti, making it one of Africa’s top wildlife areas.

Not undermining the Kruger, the park holds the world’s most important monopoly over the endangered black rhino! Contrary to the Serengeti’s eland, travellers can anticipate seeing diverse antelope on game drives such as kudu, sable, nyala and bushbuck. They also maintain one of the last endangered African wild dog populations. And while some flock to the Serengeti for the Great Migration, ecologists might be interested in the Kruger’s organised night drives to look at some of the smaller nocturnal predators.

The two parks are not only located in different countries, but host different ecosystems, landscapes and wildlife. Yet they have more things in common than that which sets them apart, making it difficult to decide which to visit first. The elusive leopard can be spotted along the Seronera River and Sabi River and both parks guarantee sightings of one or all of the following: the spotted hyena, jackal, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippos, crocodile and endless other wildlife.And while the black rhino is most commonly found in the Kruger, they can also be seen along the buffalo’s migration route in Tanzania. The open plains of the Serengeti promise sightings of large herds of grazers, but Kruger National Park has also recorded sightings of magnificent numbers of buffalo.

Both the Kruger and Serengeti offer incredible wilderness opportunities. If you have been to the Kruger National Park or the Serengeti, which one would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments on our Instagram page @iconicafrica and tag us in your wonderful photographs of the Kruger National Park or the Serengeti with the hashtag #KrugervsSerengeti.

 

 

South Africa’s “Small Five”

Travellers flock from all over the world to witness South Africa’s magnificent Big Five, often waiting hours to catch a glimpse and photograph the fierce lion or the gentle elephant. The lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard are held in high esteem and even celebrated on our currency.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Lion Kruger Park Safari

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

These big game have the ability to conjure up magical memories for families, especially when travellers are fortunate to see all five on a safari! While the Big Five are extraordinary and charming in physique and manner, there are lots more adored wildlife including the giraffe, zebra, impala and many more that are heartily pursued. Sadly there are some that are forgotten too, but we are here to show you that there’s so much more to South Africa’s animal kingdom.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-game-drive-impala

South Africa has a multiplicity of ecosystems that include remarkable birdlife, small game and insects.Included is South Africa’s Small Five animals that are no less fascinating and should make an addition to everyone’s “must-see” list. The Small Five are elusive creatures and so spotting them is somewhat of an accomplishment. In complete contrast to the size of the Big Five, they maintain a part of their counterpart’s English name. They are the elephant shrew, ant lionrhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise.

ELEPHANT SHREW

Found all over South Africa, the Elephantulus Myurus– getting its name from its long elephant-like snout – reaches an arrested size of 25cm and weigh approximately 60 grams. While they feed on insects, fruit, seeds and nuts, they in turn become food for our slithering reptiles and birds of prey. Because of this, they become extremely scarce and spotting this small insectivore can deem your game drive a success!

ANT LION

The Myrmeleontidae is a peculiar creature with familiar ways. Like the king of the jungle, this insect traps its prey by digging indents into soft sand and pouncing on the ants. Hence the name ant lion. During the adult stage, the pupa develops wings and starts resembling a dragonfly. Although the ant lion is as scarce as the elephant shrew, you will recognise its funnel-shaped death traps that collect ants stumbling into it.

RHINOCEROS BEETLE

The Scarabaeinae dynastinae is one of the largest beetles in southern Africa. Getting its name from the horns on its head much like that of the Rhinoceros. Dynamite comes in small packages as the male rhino beetles are known to be an aggressive creature, fighting off rivals with their horns. The horns are also used to dig, climb and mate. Adult rhino beetles should be applauded. The larval stage can last 12 to 18 months.

BUFFALO WEAVER

The Bubarlornis Niger is found in parks and reserves all over South Africa and is the easiest of the Small Five to spot. And if you can’t seem to find them, you’ll hear them or find their nests. The buffalo weavers are noisy and busy birds that build their woven nests up in the branches of tall trees. They interlace coarse grass and twigs to form large nest structures.

LEOPARD TORTOISE

The Geochelone pardalis is definitely not as fast and agile as the leopard, but definitely poses a striking resemblance.Named for its black and yellow spotted shell, the leopard tortoise is one of the largest breeds in the southern hemisphere with an adult weighing up to 23 kilograms and a shell circumference of up to one metre.

Tag us in your candid images of South Africa’s Small Five on our Instagram account @iconicafrica!

 

Getting to know Rwanda

Many travellers don’t know much about land-locked Rwanda – the fourth smallest country in Africa – and popular perception of what this luscious country is all about usually starts with gorillas and ends with Paul Kagame. This is understandable as Rwanda is one of only two countries that safeguards the last of the enigmatic gorillas that can still be tracked by tourists. BUT there is so much more to this mountainous terrain than these beautiful creatures. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills – having literally more than one thousand hills –  this picturesque jade haven has recently become directly linked to the United Kingdom via RwandAir making the national capital of Kigali more accessible than ever before.

Appealing to all the adventurous and daring, Rwanda has an abundance of hills, valleys and dense jungles to explore and hike.  Tented by slopes, the valley below looks up at some of the world’s most dramatic views with lush green thickets in every direction. It is hard to comprehend, compare or not be impressed.

It is an African country known for its fabulous endemic endangered primates and a definite bucket-list destination for physical, off-the-beaten-track activities. With large parts of Rwanda being remote and untouched, travellers can truly experience freedom from all that occupies their minds.

Not necessarily regarded as a typical African safari destination, Rwanda still has room for many wildlife and adventure.In addition to the gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys, Rwanda has more than 300 bird species and access to the Big Five.

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

Rwanda may be landlocked by the endless mountains and hills, but still has its own beach. For those less interested in hiking and extensive tracks of forest or looking for a change of scenery, visit Lake Kivu for some time by the water.

Rwanda Misty Hills Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

But there is more…

Bean there, done that!

Rwanda is famous for its delicious coffee beans and tea leaves and is their biggest export. Rwandan tea is not bitter and can be enjoyed for its full, rich flavour without adding any milk. Rwandan speciality coffee is not only award-winning, but expensive and is exported to big name coffee houses such as Starbucks.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Adding to the grandeur of this area enveloped by mountains is the number of majestic volcanoes.

Kigali is arguably one of the cleanest city in Africa. The country has placed a ban on plastic bags and has minimal litter on the streets. Paul Kagame has also issued compulsory monthly community service for all citizens helping keep communities clean and safe.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda may be small, but it is safe and can be explored with confidence. For more on the exquisite properties that Rwanda offers click here.