Cape Town Uncovered

Cape Town has something which will appeal to all travellers – from honeymooners and romantics to big families. The multifaceted city caters for the more adventurous, as well as the leisurely who prefer beaches and spas. Without question, Cape Town is one of the world’s most spectacular cities resting against the iconic “New 7 natural wonders of the world” member, Table Mountain.

Here are a few interesting things you might not know about the Mother City:

Affectionately known as the Mother City by locals and travellers, this city’s nickname derives from theGreek word ‘metros’ meaning mother – as it was the first metropolitan city in South Africa according to Selwyn Davidowitz, a recognised Cape Town tour guide.

Another nickname you may have come across while planning your vacation to Cape Town is Cape of Storms. This name was given b the famous explorer Bartholomew Dias because of the unpredictable weather of the Atlantic Ocean that used to render ships and sailors forsaken just off our coast.

Did you know that Cape Town’s 2011 census survey indicated that 43.2% of the Western Cape’s population is 25 years or younger… This city is a hotspot for young solo travellers.

The celebrated and legendary Table Mountain which began forming around 280 million years ago witnesses at least two nuptial services a month! What better way to begin a romantic life with your beloved than overlooking candyfloss-clouds cascading down the mountain side.Did you know that the plateau of Table Mountaispans almost 22 000 hectares and claims more flora than the entire British Isles or New Zealand?

The Cape Floral Kingdom – a UNESCO world heritage site – is home to nearly 7000 indigenous plants such as the peninsula snapdragon.

Cape Town boasts the only tobogganing track in Africa…If you enjoy the thrill of downhill sledging then head 25km out of the city centre for a day of adventure at Cool Runnings.

Cape Town has been named one of this year’s top 10 cities in the world for surfing.

Meeting certain safety, security and cleanliness standards, eight Cape Town beaches have been given Blue Flag awards by the Blue Flag Campaign. These beaches include Clifton, Camps Bay, and Llandudno, as well as Muizenberg and False Bay.

 

Lion’s Head wasn’t name after wild felines roaming the mountain. In fact, around 300 years ago, Dutch settlers named the peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) and what’s known as Signal Hill today as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail) because the two peaks formed what resembled a crouching lion.

The Castle of Good Hope was actually built using stone extracted from Signal Hill.

With an abundance of vineyards, it is undeniable that Cape Town is famous for its beautiful farms and wines – our key export!

For more on where to stay in our exquisite Mother City click here.

 

Millennial Travel

2018 sees a continuation of last year’s trend – millennials setting their sights on African travel. Over the years, there has been a shift in the age demographic of travellers coming to Southern Africa – an incentivised travel destination. According to David Frost – CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, younger generations are becoming an increasingly large market for the tourism industry with 46% of international arrivals to South Africa in 2017 between the ages of 18 and 35.

Apart from the search for ‘authentic experiences’, adventure activities, good weather and local hospitality – millennials are taking a break from the latest technology, moving away from typical ‘tourist’ destinations and choosing instead to venture in to unknown territories; deeper in to the wilderness.

Marataba Trails Lodge Luxury Safari Africa Waterberg

That being said, more establishments are catering for and accommodating tech-savvy millennials. Wi-Fi remains a priority for lodges catering to this market. Millennial travellers are interested in following and being connected to the cities and lodges they will be visiting both during and after their trip. Another incentive for millennial travellers is how ‘Instagrammable’ the holiday is. Youth see the world through pixels and filters. Having every breath-taking experience littering the feeds of envious friends and family, Africa – filtered or not – makes for a picturesque experience.

Here are our top ten millennial travel incentives to Africa:

*There is a huge gap in the industry for youth safaris. For a long time, African safaris have been recognised as a luxury experience, out of reach to the young traveller. More young hearts and minds are seeking out a night under the expansive starlit sky while wildlife roam nearby – close enough for you to hear them.

*More than half of our “foodies” are millennials – becoming increasingly conscious of what they put into their bodies, and where it comes from. Mozambique is the place to be for an experience that will satisfy taste buds, with fresh “farm-to-fork” cuisine brought to you from local markets and roadside stalls. Tuck into Tiger prawns, fresh fish and steaming hot Portuguese rolls with stunning views.

*Experience is everything and young travellers want complete cultural immersion. South Africa has a wonderful mix of boutique hotels and apartment rentals in its inner-city districts. Here travellers can unpack everything from street art to street food. A little beyond the city, cuisine and culture remain equally important in the winelands. Wine-tasting tours have become increasingly popular among the millennial travellers as well as an interest in “Instagrammable” agro-tourism in the countryside.

*We do not realise the extent of community work and international volunteers in South Africa, with almost half of the youth travellers coming here partaking in some sort of community initiative or volunteer work.

*Education is also another incentive for youth trips with guests showing interest in astronomy, ecology and interactive dynamics. There will always be a dichotomy between luxury travel, conservation issues and cultural diversity.

*Older travellers have confirmed that they are more likely to choose accommodation that is eco-friendly. Millennial travellers have caught on to this trend of sustainable travel, where a conscious effort is made to avoid contributing to the decline of natural environments (Link to top five eco-lodges post).

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Luxury Safari Kruger Park

*Youth are choosing to spend their money on experiences rather than material things. Africa, especially Southern Africa, offers experiences that are culturally rich and forcing them to step out of their comfort zones to embrace authentic destinations culturally-relevant sightseeing and diverse cuisines. It is found that millennials are constantly trying to integrate themselves into as many aspects of local life hoping to become a more culturally enriched human.

* Wanting to take everything in; cramming as many places and activities in to their experience as possible, Africa is a millennials travel-sanctuary – offering them opportunities to see a variety of different sights.

Iconic Africa Kalahari Desert Balloon Safari

*One of the biggest trends in millennial travel is the desire to visit off-the-beaten-track locations. They no longer want to sit back and relax on their vacation or visit typically popular attractions that have become overcrowded and ‘over-touristic’.

*For your next millennial adventure trip, head to Zimbabwe. The natural wonder of Victoria Falls will be sure to activate their adventure-seeking nature. The country offers active adventures and unique experiences, which is exactly what the millennial traveller is looking for.

Millennial travel creates memories and invites individuals to reach further in to their own life, changing mind-sets forever. Experience tastes, sights, smells and ambience of authentic African luxury with Iconic Africa. Find out more here. 

 

African Travel Myths Demystified

“The only thing dark about Africa is our ignorance of it.” – George Kimble

Many people have preconceived ideas about Africa – often based on opinions or myths. Some of these myths have been circulating for so long that they now are in fact considered as truth or fact. Misconceptions are awful things, managing to dissuade many from visiting Africa – which is very sad! Here are our top five African safari myths debunked to convince you to finally book that unforgettable African trip.

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Africa is not safe:

Safety can be an issue in some African cities as it can be anywhere in the world now, but when it comes to national parks and game reserves, they are some of the safest places in the world.

Africa is all bush:

Africa is a vast continent with diverse landscapes, environments and climates in a single area. Countries have savannahs, rainforests, mountains, beaches and deserts to accommodate different travel wishes – making it easy to find whatever it is that your heart desires!

You always need a guide:

While it would be recommended that first-time traveller’s view game with a guide – once you’ve been on enough safaris you can go on self-drive safaris. Many travellers have seen the super-seven (the Big Five, cheetahs and wild dogs) on their self-drives.

To truly experience Africa, you have to “rough it”:

There is always the option of “roughing it” in the wilderness – sleeping bag and all. But there is the more popular preference and opportunity, to experience all Africa has to offer in comfort and opulence. South Africa boasts some of the most luxurious game lodges offering unrestricted access to some of Africa’s prestigious wildlife. Most game lodges offer gourmet meals and private bungalows – kitted out with all your modern amenities – that overlook the vast plains and Africa’s vibrant wildlife. Not to mention it offers some of the world’s most affordable luxury travel!

 

It will be too hot:

Yes, Africa’s climate is warm, but not all the time. Some countries have a cold, wet winter and others have a rainy summer. Throughout the year, most game reserves can actually get quite chilly in the morning and at night, and you will need to layer to stay warm. This’s a nice balance between the heat of the day and the cool of the night.

Animals are likely to attack you:

Animals attacking is probably the last thing you need to worry about on your safari! The wildlife, in general, prefer to avoid the company of humans, so they won’t be hunting you down any time soon…

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Sabi Sands Lions

Only expensive cameras can take good wildlife photographs:

If you own a long lens it is of course advantageous, however it is not a necessity. Many people have photographed animals within meters of the safari vehicle with a 300mm lens. What works well – if you already have one – is the Nikon D7000 with 18 megapixels. The resolution is decent and you could crop the far-away shots.

Zarafa Camp Leopard Iconic Africa

 

Our suggestion is that when you embark on your trip to Africa, you leave behind all myths and legends. Once you hit the tarmac, your adventure begins and you will never look back!

Top Travel Trends for 2018

From remote luxury accommodations to achievement-based travel, 2018 is set to be a year of long vacations, slowing down and learning to appreciate the world around us. Here’s what the experts have to say about the trends for the year ahead:

Booking trends:

79% of travel research is being done on mobile phones and an increase in online bookings has begun trending with 49% of these direct online bookings being made on mobile devices.

Duliini Lodge River Bridge

Solo Travel:

Ever since Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ was published, solo travel – especially among female travellers – has gained popularity. 2018 welcome’s our solo visitors to our safe safari destinations, where the world is at your fingertips. Our private guides and luxury transfers ensure your safety at all times.

 

Remote Luxury:

Luxury travel is increasingly being associated with remoteness and disconnectivity. This year, people are projected to dedicate more time towards travel – willing to travel farther and into destinations often difficult to get to in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world (nearly) entirely to themselves!

‘Off the beaten track’ is one of this year’s travel themes allowing visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience nature at its fullest. An example is Tswalu Kalahari – a hidden gem set literally in the middle of nowhere!

Zimbabwe and Zambia – The two hot safari destinations for 2018:

South Africa is typically considered a favourite go-to for African safaris with Zimbabwe and Zambia as add-on destinations. On the contrary, 2017 saw an increase in demand for trips to Zimbabwe and Zambia as primary destinations. This is a trend most experts believe to continue in to 2018. These two countries have luxury accommodations and crowd-free safaris – perfect for those looking towards that remote luxury vacation. Investments in both countries from infrastructure and airports to national parks has contributed to this new destination-trend. Not to mention the fact that Zambia was recently voted “safest destination in the world by skyscanner.”

Glamping:

For those travellers who really want to be one with nature – but really can’t, there are endless possibilities for you to be outdoorsy without sacrificing comforts and luxuries. 2018 sees an increase in bookings at luxury tented properties for the less nature-inclined to slow down, unwind and enjoy nature without actually having to “be in nature”.

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

Achievement-based travel:

2017 was the year for experiential national and international travel; connecting the traveller closely with their country or destination. This year, we will see this taken a step further with travellers pushing themselves to achieve a lifelong goals or using travel to “find themselves.”

The goal of the year is to achieve something – whether it is climbing a certain mountain or hiking a difficult trek – built into a traveller’s trip. This trend is a reflection in the travel industry of visitors wanting more from their trips than just a standard sightseeing tour.

Extended trips

The last six months has seen an increase in travellers booking trips for longer than two weeks – clients often pushing for around-the-country trips. According to Jacada Travel, 50% of the trips already booked are for longer than two weeks.

Travellers not tourists:

Increasingly encouraged over the years and recently trending – visitors to foreign countries prefer immersing themselves in experiences that cannot be found in guidebooks and brochures. Meeting locals and wondering through neighbourhoods has been the best way to experience cultures, from wine tasting to learning a new crafts or languages.

 

For all of us getting on a bus, plane or train to somewhere new… 2018 is going to be an exciting year!

Responsible Travel 101

Ecotourism, Green travel and Sustainable travel are all terms frequently used by tour operators when planning trips to Africa. Last year, the UN declared it the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development — an entire year dedicated to reminding us that tourism just isn’t about seeing the sites.

But what exactly does responsible travel entail? Responsible travel allows local communities to earn a fair income from tourism; it supports conservation, local community initiatives; and limits the environmental impact of the vacation itself.

Ecotourism started the green travel trend where the focus was on protecting and preserving the physical environment, fauna and flora. Tourists ensured that their visit did not disrupt or damage the local surroundings. Of late, the focus has shifted to responsible travel that brings the wellbeing of people in to focus.

Bateleur Camp Masaai Mara Kenya Safari Tour

Travellers going on safari have widened their gaze beyond the majestic lion hunt. They are visiting local schools, expending the skills of local warriors as guides and taking local cooking classes to truly enjoy the culture and appreciating the people as much as the physical environment. And while responsible travel aims to promote community involvement in tourists’ experiences – it is not limited to this. Ecotourism and responsible travel are not mutually exclusive and often occur simultaneously – protecting the environment whilst promoting local communities. It is not about high-profile gestures, rather a long-term support.

Many ask if luxury vacations can still be ‘’Responsible”, and the short answer is yes! Here is a quick guide on how to be a responsible traveller in Africa:

When planning your trip, focus on low-impact routes of travel around the country, aiming for direct flights. The single largest impact of most leisure trips is the international flights to the destination and back home. So consider alternatives to reduce your carbon emissions or offset the environmental consequences of the extra flights.

Plan to stay at eco-friendly lodges and camps. Support accommodations that do good work in terms of reducing their environmental impact, promoting conservation and contributing to social betterment.

Attempt to use environmentally friendly bathroom products and use them sparingly to minimise pollution of the local water supply. Many lodges provide their own complimentary environmentally friendly products.

The most exciting part of any luxury safari vacation is seeing the wildlife and taking part in fun activities! The most responsible travel choice is to select reserves or lodges that specialise in non-motorised activities like walking, horseback, canoe and cycling safaris. These “green” options are less fuel intensive and energy consuming, as well as being less physically intrusive or damaging to the natural habitats that you visit.

Botswana-Safari-Okavango-Safari-Banner-Mokoro

Support local community based projects and small-scale businesses and try to ensure that they secure a fair share of the benefits.

Employ the services of local guides who can pass on local information and provide an insight into the destination in a culturally sensitive manner.

With regard to your own social behaviour, it is important to be aware of the local community’s culture and traditions and to respect local etiquette:

Ask before you take photographs of local people and please respect their privacy.

Try to learn simple words or phrases from the local language to reflect your interest – greetings are vital.

iconic-luxury-africa-safaris-jacana-botswana-safaris

Purchase local goods rather than imported products. Be adventurous and dine in local restaurants and cafés. This helps to support the local economy. Visit and support local conservation and community projects where possible. This provides valuable funding for projects and enables the local community to improve their standard of living. Seek out local, small-scale souvenir shops and purchase from these rather than city/hotel tourist shops.

Protect the environment! Keep all litter in your possession until you find a suitable disposal facility. Do not carelessly discard cigarette stubs as much of southern Africa is very arid and grasslands can catch light quickly with devastating effects.

Do not purchase products that may endanger the survival of an animal by encouraging the destruction of a species for souvenirs such as ivory, skins or other wildlife products.

If you plan on driving yourself, then stick to known roads, tracks and trails. This helps minimise damage to vegetation and distress to wildlife. Similarly, when approaching animals in your vehicle or on foot, keep a respectful distance. Do not attempt to feed or touch any wildlife.

In some areas of southern Africa, water shortage is a serious problem. In Namibia in particular, the severity of this increases during the winter period. Recently, Cape Town has entered Level 6b water restrictions. And although Day Zero been pushed back to the 4th June 2018, we continue to urge residents and travellers to please conserve water where possible. However, it is important to keep oneself hydrated at all times.

 

Key facts about Cape Town’s drought for travellers:

  • There is enough water for your daily essentials, bottled water is plentiful and available for purchase.
  • Level 6b restrictions means no more than 50 litres per day, it applies to you whether you live at a hotel or a guest house.
  • Showers should be kept to a maximum of 90 seconds – no more than twice a week
  • Help us by saving as much as you can.

There has always been a difference between a “tourist” and a “traveller”. A traveller learns about his/her destination and immerses themselves in the place and culture. Be a traveller: learn about where you are going and brace yourself for the difference between the place and your home. Don’t just see, learn.

5 Unforgettable Activities to Add to Your African Safari

When we think of a “vacation in Africa” the chances are that the bushveld and the Big Five come to mind. No doubt, Africa’s wildlife are pretty impressive. There surely is no other continent relentlessly defined by its world-class safari destinations and tours. There is an allure to African safaris – with our majestic landscapes and unforgettable wildlife interaction.

But there is so much more to Africa than safaris. South Africa is fast becoming one of the adventure capitals of the world. When it comes to the best safaris and activities, whether you’re doing an Adventure, Luxury, Family or Honeymoon Safari, travellers are spoilt for choice with awesome expeditions and adventures.

It is near impossible to compile a list of things to do – but we have chosen the most iconic options for you in the beautiful Cape. From diamond safaris and wine tasting to bungee jumping and swimming with seals, you will surely have many a story for your friends on your return!

Diamond Safaris with Ellerman House

Our property of the month – Ellerman House, in partnership with Benguela Diamonds has curated a luxury experience for their guests. Investing in a diamond is not an everyday purchase, making this unique trip an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Head to the west-coast and follow the journey of an ocean diamond. After a day out at sea, you can select your rough diamond to be cut, polished and set into a piece of jewellery at the design studio in Stellenbosch.

Wine Tasting and Culinary Tours

A foodie and a wine enthusiast? Explore the fantastic wine regions of Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch on a tasting tour. Visit South African vineyards to learn about locally produced wines amidst the beautiful rolling mountains of the countryside. Sample the flavours of Cape Town’s Boland with top quality, locally produced gourmet food during a guided tour. Stroll from one tasting stop to another under the oak trees.

Bungee Jumping

Take the Garden Route – a paradise all on its own that deserves to be a “must-see” on everyone’s to-do list. Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Sedgefield and George are among the greenest places in the Western Cape and offer the best hiking trails and indigenous forests. On your way, make sure to visit Bloukrans Bridge – the highest commercial bungee jump in the world at 216 m high! The walkway and jump point offer breath-taking views and an inspiring once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Swimming with Seals

For an unforgettable marine wildlife experience, swimming with seals is a must-do Cape Town activity. Gaze into the eyes of a Cape Fur seal at Duiker Island in Hout Bay and come nose-to-mask with these cute creatures. Have an intimate encounter with these playful and inquisitive aqua-babies in their natural habitat.

Helicopter Tour

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and there is no better way to admire this beauty than from a panoramic view. Take a private helicopter tour for up to one hour flying from the V & A Waterfront all the way to Cape Point. Fly over dreamy sceneries and experience what sets our coastlines apart from others.

For more awesome fun-filled activities to add to your African safari contact us now.

Traveller Review – Birkenhead House

Our very own director John Holley has just returned from a magical stay at Birkenhead House. Here’s what he had to say:

What did you think of Birkenhead House? 

“Birkenhead House is without doubt one of the most incredible boutique hotels I have ever visited. Whilst the setting is absolutely spectacular, in the end it was the attention to detail and genuinely friendly and attentive staff who blew us away.”

If you could describe your trip in one word what would it be? 

“Spectacular / picturesque / breath-taking.”

 

What activities did you get up to on your stay?

“The wine tasting in the Hemel & Aarde Valley is some of the best in South Africa, especially if you enjoy your Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Newton Johnson, Hamilton Russel and Creation Wine Farms are all equally impressive and a must visit!

I equally cannot recommend the jog from Birkenhead House along the sea side cliffs towards Hermanus town highly enough. In my mind this along with the Robberg Peninsula and Chapmans Peak runs is most likely one of the most scenic sea side runs in South Africa.”

What was your favourite thing about the hotel?

“The wine list and food was fantastic but it was the care and general energy shown by every staff member that we came in touch with that will be our lasting memory.”

 

Did you have some delicious wine and food?

“Being in the Hemel & Aarde Valley we tasted some phenomenal wines, perfectly complimented by the fresh and delicious seafood!”

What was your most unforgettable moment?

“An exquisite sunset on the Birkenhead House deck with a glass of Champagne in hand is a moment which any traveller will never forget!”

What was the most surprising thing about your trip? 

“The temperature of the Atlantic Sea took our breath away! Luckily it was a blissful summers day so we negotiated our way through an exhilarating swim.”

Parting words for future travellers? 

“The best boutique luxury hotel in Hermanus is a must visit for so many reasons. Do not make the same mistake we did! Give yourself at least 2 to 3 days to soak up as much time as possible in this special place.”

What would you like to say to the staff at Birkenhead?

“Undoubtedly the best staff I have ever had the pleasure of being hosted by! Thank you once again!”

For more on Birkenhead House and what you can get up to to there, click here. 

Property of the Month – Ellerman House

This month’s property of the month is our most favourite and beautiful boutique hotel, Ellerman House. Perched atop one of Bantry Bay’s cliffs, this palatial residence claims sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. An urban retreat in one of Cape Town’s most exclusive suburbs, visitors have immeasurable relaxation and sight-seeing options as they are in walking distance of both Camps Bay and Clifton beaches and a 10 minute drive from the V & A Waterfront and other local attractions. This property is perfect for those wanting complete exclusivity and privacy in the Mother City. Nothing comes close to its location with the dramatic backdrop of Lion’s Head behind it and the twinkling of the ocean that stretches out in front.

Ellerman House not only offers the ultimate in Cape luxury but it is an endless heaven to wine lovers and art fanatics alike. It is the incredible art collection at Ellerman House that truly sets this exemplary hotel apart from the many others on the Cape’s shores. On entrance, you are welcomed by a host of portrait shots, by illustrious local artists such as Irma Stern and Pieter van de Westhuizen. But there’s more… the more modern art is to be found in the hotel’s very own Contemporary Art Gallery.

The second but by no means the lesser of Paul Harris’s loves is showcased in his out-of-this-world Wine Gallery. Have a seat and behold the incredible Terroir Wall. A wall built of copper boxes filled with specific soils from innumerate Cape wine farms, assembled to form an educated map of the Cape Wineland’s Terroir.

The hotel itself is the pinnacle of indulgence. The beautiful rolling grass terraces of which there are 3 will provide the best position to relax with a cocktail and take in the breath-taking African sun set over the sea or watch the whales coming into the bay.

 

Whether it’s a light lunch by the sky-blue pool, an afternoon snack from the pantry packed with treats or a 3 course culinary extravagance you will no doubt be blown away. The hotel has a synchronicity and seamlessness like no other as it enables guests to walk into the kitchen and chat to the staff about their meals, enabling only the best hospitality.

Last but certainly not least the rooms themselves guarantee luxury at its highest and with eleven rooms, two suites and two 3-bedroom villas there is something for everyone.

Traveller Review – Dahm Family

The Dahm family have just returned home from a lovely African adventure and have been kind enough to share their experience with us here:

“The vacation was the best we’ve ever taken. My family said so many times, “Mom, you planned a perfect vacation. And I said well thank you to Iconic Africa! I would never have found these properties on my own.” Lauren, we absolutely LOVED both the Cape Grace Hotel and &Beyond Ngala. I truly don’t think it would be possible to have a better experience.

Cape Grace was so beautiful and it was a delight to stay in a unique property like that versus the big international hotels. The service was exemplary and every square inch of the hotel was gorgeous. Our suite was even better than expected and the photos on the website couldn’t capture how lovely and spacious it was. Of course we had a big terrace with beautiful views as well. Just perfect.

While we did love Cape Town and all the tours and sights, the safari was the highlight. What a magical experience. We had a fantastic guide with almost 20 years of experience – and saw the big Five every day – and so much more! Ngala was gorgeous, natural, comfortable, and the service was stellar. We did not expect gourmet food and elegant dinners! It was just perfect. I would highly recommend Ngala to anyone contemplating a safari. Not just the property but the reserve itself is so large, you never feel like you are surrounded by tourists, and SO MANY animals.

We also really enjoyed a couple of days in Camp’s Bay at the Bay Atlantic Guest House, which was a lovely and comfortable spot (gorgeous view of the beach and mountains and walkable to town – just perfect).

Also, the connections and flights, etc all worked out perfectly so appreciate the details you handled as well.

 

We have hundreds of pictures! I am making an album for our family.

We cannot thank you and Julia enough. Joe and I were a bit concerned about the cost of one vacation being so high but it was worth it. It will be a memory of a lifetime for us and for our children. The only concern is another vacation will never measure up! ”

A big thank you to Joanne for these wonderful words. We hope to see you on African soil again soon, soon!

 

The Best African Safari Tours for 2018

“If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.” Karen Blixen.

It’s a new year… so why not make 2018 the year that you finally go on that safari you’ve been meaning to go on for so long!

Planning the perfect African Safari can be intimidating when you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve carefully selected our Top 3 African Safari Tours which offer only the most luxurious, authentic, and unparalleled experiences just for you!

The optimal safari tour for first-time African adventurers. Be astounded by the magnificent Cape Grace Hotel, located in South Africa’s Mother City. Enjoy luscious cocktails on the deck, tranquil spa treatments, and divine gourmet meals.

Be whisked to the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in world-renowned Kruger National Park, and revel in complete exclusivity while sharing an intimate connection with the African bushveld. Take delight in spotting the Big 5 and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Africa.

End your adventure in Zambia at the Royal Livingstone—Africa’s most graceful Victorian hotel. Enjoy the healing spray of Victoria Falls and unwind to the sound of its roar. With your G&T in hand, gazing out over golden mist at sundown, get a true taste of Africa’s bygone era.

  1. The Royal Romance

The ultimate romantic getaway for couples with a love for Africa. The safari begins in Cape Town at Ellerman House—an absolutely gorgeous Edwardian Mansion resting on Lion’s Head. Take in spectacular views, delectable food, and Africa’s greatest art collection.

Head off to idyllic La Residence—a captivating boutique hotel set in picturesque Franschhoek. Not only is it the most alluring hotel in Franschhoek, it is also home to exceptional wine and unrivalled cuisine.

Escape to Royal Chundu in Zambia where opulence meets tranquillity. It’s the perfect place for you and your special someone to revel in all things ‘Africa’.

  1. Africa’s Family Getaway

An extravagant safari adventure for the whole family. Your African escapade starts at the One&Only Cape Town—centrally located and an ideal home base for the whole family. Admire the sweeping views over Cape Town while indulging in all the mod-cons, what more could you ask for?

Journey to Madkiwe Safari Lodge an African safari that caters for everyone. Located in a malaria free area makes it ideal for families. Madikwe blends five star comfort and pure African indulgence.

End your adventure at Tongabezi which lies on the banks of the Zambezi River. With plenty of exciting activities for the entire family—parents can relax at the peaceful plunge pools while kids can enjoy the delights of the play area.

For more information on tours that are available please visit our site here.

Top 10 Luxury Destinations for 2018

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” — Author Unknown.

Everyone deserves to feel spoilt, pampered and relaxed. Especially in the aftermath of the festive season, there’s even more of a need to escape from the madness. South Africa is not short of luxury destinations to escape to, put your feet up and bask under Africa’s sun. Iconic Africa ticks all the boxes for those who are accustomed to only the best and prefer the finer things in life. Do pristine wilderness, private pavilions, silver service and contemporary interiors excite you? Indulge in our finest selection of luxurious locations and let us enable you to travel in guilt-free style and be in complete harmony with nature. Wherever you choose to go, we have only the very best in true African   hospitality for you and your family.

Four of our top ten luxury destinations for 2018 featured on Travel and Leisure’s ‘Top 100 Luxury Hotels in the World’ in 2017. Our collection of accommodation has a traditional African character preserving pieces of our land with qualities of sophistication, charm and natural beauty. Iconic Africa ensures that guests have a comfortable and relaxing stay in private and exclusive settings which inspire wanderlust and acts as a salve for the soul.

  1. Tswalu – Kalahari

Tswalu is 240 000 acres of pristine Kalahari wilderness. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, this is the largest private game reserve in southern Africa and bares testament to the family’s commitment to authentic conservation and opulent luxury. Out in the wild, the game viewing is breathtaking be it from the back of a 4 X 4 safari vehicle, the saddle of an impeccably behaved horse or on foot. Tswalu is the ultimate luxury safari destination in the heart of the magical Kalahari.

Tswalu Game Reserve. Southern Kalahari. Northern Cape. South Africa.
  1. Londolozi – Sabi Sands

In Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2014, Londolozi was named the best hotel in the world! A global honour of colossal proportions. Londolozi effortlessly exceeds all expectations on a luxury, hospitality, wilderness and experiential front – however when anyone who knows Londolozi well, is tasked with describing this African wonder they are immediately confronted by the difficulty of portraying the intangible. It is this indiscernible x factor which sets Londolozi aside from the rest!

Londolozi Tree Camp Deck Iconic Africa Safaris

  1. Angama Mara – Masai Mara

Perched on the edge of Africa’s Great Rift Valley is a lodge that comes as close to heaven on earth, as possible. Angama Mara, Swahili for “suspended in mid-air” boasts the best views in the Masai Mara. A place that constantly takes your breath away, where happiness reigns and peace is all encompassing, where you literally stand on the edge of the world. Owner managed and run by the reputable Fitzgerald family, Angama Mara is the ultimate African safari destination.

Angama Kenya Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

  1. Royal Chundu – Victoria Falls

Royal Chundu, the first Relaix Chateaux property in Zambia, is nestled on the Zambian bank of the immense Zambezi River. Here, upstream of the Victoria Falls, the river is a wide and tranquil elixir that supports a myriad of bird, fish, mammal and plant life. Elephants graze the banks and islands while tiger fish dart through the water after prey. Royal Chundu represents a commitment to unbridled luxury in the wild of Africa and the constant support of local communities.

  1. Zarafa – Okavango Delta

Zarafa, from the Arabic word for beloved, is a jewel set in the treasure trove of the Zibadianja lagoon – itself a paradise in the Selinda Game Reserve. Conceived by world-renowned wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert in the shadows of a giant ebony tree, Zarafa is earth-friendly, exclusive Relais & Chateaux luxury in one of the last great wilderness areas on earth. There are just four sumptuous and spacious suites set on the banks of the awesome lagoon where the exuberance of the African wild will speak to your soul.

  1. Singita Sasakwa – Serengeti

Perched atop the rocky Sasakwa Hill looking out over the Serengeti’s Western corridor and endless golden plains is the elegant Sasakwa House. Resembling a deluxe ranch house in the midst of the African bushveld this is one Africa’s most exquisite destinations and another Singita – ‘place of miracles’. Exquisite views extend in every direction as the ever-changing landscape teems with Africa’s most majestic wildlife and the clouds waft over the plains.

  1. Lion Sands – Sabi Sands

By protecting and harnessing the roots of both the More and Chalkley families, Lion Sands has certainly found its wings within the luxury safari industry. In 2014 Lion Sands was awarded third place in Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Resort in Africa, and in 2010 the extraordinarily luxurious Ivory Lodge was named third best hotel in the world by Tatler.

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Lounge Interior 2 Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

  1. La Residence – Winelands

Perched amongst the vineyards, on the slopes of the beautiful Franschhoek Mountains is the pinnacle of luxury and unrivalled piece of heaven – La Residence. Voted Conde Nast’s No 1 Hotel in the World in 2013 amongst a myriad of other awards, La Residence is a must for any bucket list. The sprawling green lawns speckled with majestic springbok, the private dam complete with island, rowboat and soft flowing willow trees, instil an awe-inspiring sense of peace.

  1. White Pearl – Mozambique

Set on two kilometres of magnificent, pristine Mozambican coastline, White Pearl is an intimate resort for the discerning traveller. Couples or families will revel in the luxury, hospitality, delightful cuisine and natural wonder of this beach paradise. Whether you want to adventure on or under the cobalt Indian Ocean, lounge on the beach, sip cocktails in the pool or simply soak up the soothing peace of the sea, White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli offers the ultimate luxury beach holiday.

  1. Ellerman House – Cape Town

Nestled into the side of Signal Hill and boasting some of Cape Town’s most spectacular views lies a magnificent Cape Edwardian mansion that will welcome you with both arms and capture your heart forever. Ellerman House not only offers the ultimate in Cape luxury but it is an endless heaven to wine lovers and art fanatics alike.

Please do let us know if you have any questions on the above properties or if there are any more you’d like to hear more about.

Our Year in Pictures

2017 has been a fun and incredible year for us. From the magic of the Mara, to the endless Kalahari, to the abundance of Kruger and the beauty of the Cape – we’ve seen, explored and revelled in so much that Africa has to offer. Just in case you have missed out – scroll down here… for Our Year in Pictures.

game reserve and national park river sunset

We hope that in just a few #iconicmoments – these photographs will transport you to the wonder that awaits! Perhaps you will pay us a visit in 2018? We’d love to show you around!

Month on Instagram

 

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