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!

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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.

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!

Traveller Review – Jim & Deb Mills

Recent travellers Jim and Deb Mills have just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime East African safari  and have been kind enough to share some of their experiences with us. Here’s what they had to say:

Was the Masai Mara everything you’d ever dreamed of? 

It was everything, and more. I had no idea that the river was so big, or that the wildebeest were so confused and that they go back and forth, and often in circles! The size of the herds was mind boggling and to see so many zebras in one place was spectacular. We saw two small river crossings and would love to return to see a larger crossing. We love cheetahs and we saw them almost every day! The people at the camps, both the Mara River Tented Camp and Faru Faru, were delightful. They were kind, interesting, helpful and fun.

The Serengeti Plains are absolutely gorgeous! We had seen photos and documentaries, but to see the vast grasslands is spectacular…and then to see a cheetah gracefully walking through the grass is even more amazing.

 

What was your most unforgettable moment? 

It is hard to choose the most unforgettable…there were so many. As we go through the photos, the memories keep coming back. I guess the viewing of the dogs at Londolozi was among the most unforgettable. It was amazing to watch the dogs around the kill, and to have the hyena come in and attack, and then call in other hyenas added to the frenzy. We couldn’t catch our breath because it happened so fast, and we were not sure that we would get any good photos because it was so chaotic.

Which was your favourite camp in East Africa and why? 

I am hard pressed to choose between the Mara River Tented Camp and Faru Faru. They were both different, and delightful. At Mara River, the tents were very comfortable, with king size beds and furnishings that were perfect for the décor and environment. The location was fabulous and we could see the river from our tent and from the lodge. It was amazing to watch the wildebeest wander beside the river while we ate breakfast. In fact, one morning there was a huge crossing just down river that we could see in the distance. The people at the Mara River Camp were delightful. It is a small camp and everyone was very helpful and friendly. Our ranger Benson Mboya, was absolutely incredible. He went to endless lengths to be sure that we had the experience of a lifetime.

At Faru Faru, the accommodation was a hybrid, with walls like a building and a roof like a tent. The windows were the full length of the room and it was easy to watch the elephants stroll by and the monkeys peek in the windows. There was also a beautiful waterhole in front of the lodge where you could watch the zebras swimming in the morning, and the elephants in the afternoon. At Faru Faru, they also had the practice of having a camp fire each evening where you could chat with other guests and discuss the sightings of the day. They like to provide surprises there as well, and one morning we had a wonderful breakfast in the bush. Our guide at Faru Faru, Peterlis Kibwana, was very interested in birds, which was great for us since Jim is a zoologist with a specialty in birds. He had a great time photographing a pearl spotted owlet, which is seldom seen since it is so small, on one occasion and a secretary bird on another.

Were you lucky enough to see the migration? If so what did you think of it? 

We were blown away by the migration. It is unbelievable to see such large herds of wildebeest and zebras. The little Thompson gazelles are gorgeous as well. It is so different than the way they depict it on TV. All of the programs we have seen seemed to indicate that the wildebeest and zebras form giant herds, and they follow each other across the river into Kenya, and then later in the year they come back. It is not nearly that straightforward or organized. A herd will start to approach the river and then they will turn around and go back. They will run around in circles, and then they may try again. They may charge toward the water, only to turn around at the last minute. They may wander around the river for hours on end. Sometimes part of the herd crosses, and then they return, and sometimes they are going in both directions at once! They don’t seem to pick the easy places to cross either. Often it is a place with fast current or high banks, rather than a shallower place. We have never seen so many vultures! In fact, we didn’t think that many vultures existed. Finally, we were surprised that the crocodiles were not an issue while we were there. They had eaten so much in the previous weeks that they did not pay any attention to the wildebeest.

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

Magical!

What did you see on your 12 hour game drive? 

The 12 hour drive was fantastic! Being out for a full day allowed us to cover a lot of territory. There had been a report of a black rhino with a year old calf about 1.5 hours from the camp. Our ranger, Benson, tracked the rhino and we were able to spend a good half hour photographing the rhino and calf without anyone else in the vicinity. It was absolutely beautiful. We also saw lions mating, a leopard with a kill in the tree, huge herds of wildebeest and zebras in the plains, and klipspringers on the rocks! The two other highlights were cheetah brothers and a serval cat. The two male cheetahs were lying in the long grass and we were able to watch them interact. We had only seen lone cheetahs before so it was lovely to see the brothers together. Similarly, we only had a fleeting glance at a serval cat in the past. This time we were able to follow the serval through the high grass for twenty minutes, watching it look for and stalk prey. What a gorgeous, elegant cat!

What was your best sighting?

I am hard pressed to choose a best sighting. We had a number of amazing experiences. One thing that stood out this time was the number of young that we saw. Watching the lions interact with the cubs was delightful. The dynamics between the mothers and cubs were almost human. Watching the leopard cubs frolic in the tree while their mother was consuming the kill was amazing as well. Another day we watched a baby elephant that was just learning how to manage his trunk! Tracking the serval was truly a memorable experience too…

What did you think of the staff at the camps?

The staff at all three camps, Mara River, Faru Faru and Londo were delightful. We loved them all.

What is it that made Londolozi your favourite camp overall?

Somehow Londolozi has developed the approach that each time we visit, it is like we have come home. This time we were met at the airport by Garrett and Life, who had been our ranger and tracker the last time we visited. Trevor, who had been butler the last few times greeted us at the camp, even though he was not going to be the butler this time. We had the same room we have had on the last four trips and we absolutely love Pioneer. It is so nice to have a kitchen right on the deck so that you can interact with the chef and the staff, and with only three suites, it is very private and personal. Two years ago we were able to take over the whole camp with family and friends which was spectacular. The staff at Londo is fabulous at creating memorable moments, ranging from dinner in the bush, to wine tasting by the hippo pool, to a private dinner in your room. Tayla Smith, our camp manager, arranged a wonderful barbecue in the bush, catered to all of the individual needs, and in fact cooked it all herself!

In addition, Londolozi has the best overall game viewing in our experience. You can’t talk about Londolozi without starting with the leopards. The leopards are incredible, and to learn the history of each leopard is fascinating. We find that when we get home we follow the blog to find out what has happened with the latest cubs. This time when we saw the Mashaba female we knew that it was John Holley of Iconic Africa’s favorite, so even though he is no longer at Londolozi, we were able to share the experience with him. However, it is not just the leopards. The property is large enough and so varied in topography, that each day is a completely new experience. It is not unusual to see the big five in one day, but there is so much more, and we get great joy in seeing what each day brings. Seeing four rhinos in the river bed, or a group of giraffes ambling across the landscape, or a hippo making its way back to the water, or a pride of lions laying on the sand by the river, or a bull elephant blocking your way back to camp, is all magical.

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

We are already booking our next adventure. We are planning a return to the Mara River Tented Camp, Faru Faru and Londolozi, and will add a stay at Tswalu Kalahari. Iconic Africa did such a magnificent job when creating the last itinerary, we can’t wait to see what they will suggest this time!

Thank you Jim and Deb for taking the time to give us this awesome feedback and for your exceptional photos. We hope to have you visit us again soon.

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #18

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #18 “Mara, August 2017” filmed by James Hendry of Safarilive.

Watch as James shares with us his incredible photographs, some bright and full of colour and others in simply stunning in black and white. He’s captured the big blue skies, the wide open spaces, the absolute abundance and the pure magic of the Mara in every single shot.  Watch as the wildebeest make the great trek, the zebras join in, the giraffes stroll through the savannah, the elephants amble along, the vultures scramble over a kill and so much more…. here:

Just in case you missed last month’s episode, #17  “The Bountiful Herds,” also filmed by @jamesrahendry of #safarilive click here to view.

We hope that these exquisite images of Africa and its wildlife instil in you a wish and a desire visit this exquisite continent once again. The land where time stands still, where antelope roam free, where sunsets set the sky on fire… is right here, waiting for you.  #Africa #bigfive #luxury #wildlife #safari

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

FAQs — 10 Things To Know Before You Go On Safari

Organising a safari is always exciting, however, it can be a little bit daunting if it’s your first time. It’s even daunting for people who have gone on safari before because things change and different places require different things. In order to put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten most frequently asked questions when preparing for a safari.

  1. Are all safaris the same?

Definitely not. There is an incredibly wide variety of safaris to choose from. Most people think of the traditional African safari trips—you know, the Big Five sightings, the African savannah, the vast plains … But, you can also go on boat (mokoro) safaris in Botswana or even ocean safaris in Mozambique! This is a great way to see hippos, elephants, and even crocs up close. Another thing to remember is that there are different types of game drives at different times of the day.

  1. Will I definitely see the Big Five?

This is something that really can’t be guaranteed. Unfortunately, nature is unpredictable, so it really is just all about luck. Don’t get obsessed with seeing the Big Five—just sit back, relax, and enjoy the things that you do see – you will no doubt be blown away by the experience!

  1. Do I need a visa to travel to Africa?

This truly depends on which country in Africa you are visiting, and which country you are coming from. If you are visiting Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, or South Africa, and you are from either the UK or the US, you will not need a visa if your visit will be less than 90 days. If you’re visiting Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, and you’re from the UK or the US, then you will need a visa, but you can obtain one when you arrive in the country for approximately $50.00 per person. If you’re visiting Mozambique or Uganda, and you’re from the US or the UK, then you need to obtain a visa before you travel to these countries.

  1. Do I need to get any vaccines?

Yes. You need to book an appointment with your doctor to make sure that they can recommend the most up-to-date vaccine advice. You need to let them know where you’re going and for how long. Also inform them about any stop-overs that you might be having because if you stop over in Kenya at all, you will need to get vaccinated against Yellow Fever. Other African countries will not allow you to enter from Kenya if you have not had this vaccine. Most game parks in Africa are malaria areas so it is important to take malaria medication. The vaccines that are generally prescribed are for Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and diphtheria, but your doctor will be able to advise you on this.

  1. Which currency will I need to take with me?

It’s best to use US dollars in Africa. However, South Africa does not accept US dollars, and so you will need to take the South African Rand if you will be staying in South Africa. You can use your credit cards as well, although the surcharge might be quite large.

  1. Is it safe to visit Africa?

Of course. We make sure that the countries where we operate our trips are safe, and we are kept up to date with regular updates about each country so we would be the first to know if there were any issues or safety concerns to worry about.

  1. Is there a specific dress code for a safari?

No. It’s important to dress comfortably and casually while you’re on safari. You should, however, take some smart casual clothes to the top lodges for the evenings. You should wear khaki for game drives, and you should bring along a polar fleece jacket for early morning game drives. Pack in a few cardigans or sweaters just to be safe because the evenings are sometimes quite cold. Here are a few more tips on what to pack when going on safari.

  1. Will I be able to charge my electronic devices?

Yes. Most of the lodges have an electricity supply of 240 volts and most use the UK-style plugs. South Africa is the exception because its sockets are either 2 prong or three prong with the larger, round pins. But, you will definitely be able to charge you camera batteries at all of the lodges.

  1. Will food and drinks be included in my accommodation fee?

Most safari lodges include your food and drinks in your accommodation fee but there are exceptions. You need to find out from your safari specialist whether or not your food and drinks will be covered by your specific lodge.

  1. Is it okay to drink the local water?

It’s best to be safe and to limit yourself to bottled water for your time spent in Africa. The safety of the water depends on the area so you can ask the camp manager whether or not the water is safe to drink.

For any other queries or questions you might have please contact us and we will be sure to help you out.

Where to See Leopards in Africa

The leopard is without a doubt the most beautiful and most elusive member of the Big Five. It’s the most sought after sighting amongst tourists and one that safari guides across Africa spend their days in search of. If you are lucky enough to see a leopard in your life… that moment will be one that you remember and treasure forever.

Leopards are solitary and stealthy predators whose mastery of camouflage makes them very difficult to spot. To increase your chance of seeing them you need to find their prime habitats where concentrations are greatest. It also really helps if guides are able to take you on night drives as well as drive off road in the reserve to follow these magnificent predators. A leopard sighting is truly a sight to behold but unfortunately seeing them really is down to luck. However, if you go to one of the 5 places listed below you will most definitely have better odds of witnessing this definitive wildlife experience.

Sabi Sands, South Africa

The Sabi Sands situated on the Kruger National Park’s western boundary has an incredibly high concentration of leopard. Within the Sabi Sands your best bet is most definitely Londolozi as this pinnacle safari destination prides itself in its incredible relationship with its leopards. The reserve contains hoards of the perfect leopard prey, its lush habitat and expanse of dense trees makes is perfect for leopards and guides are allowed to drive off road and at night in search of them.

iconic-africa-kruger-national-park-leopard

Click here to read our five favorite stories from the famous Londolozi blog.

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Moremi is a truly special place as it surrounds much of the Okavango Delta, Botswana’s wildlife hotspot. With herds of small antelope, monkeys, warthogs and the like the grassy floodplains and tall forest are prime leopard country. Most of the camps allow night and off-road driving which helps considerably too. Chiefs Camp in particular sits on the Delta’s largest island and is renowned for some of the best big game viewing in all of Africa and most notably leopard viewing.

leopard-cubs

Samburu & Masai Mara Reserves, Kenya

The Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves both have great reputations for excellent leopard sightings. Samburu a dry woodland area and the Mara an open rolling grassland are both prime leopard habitats. Leopards lie especially along the rivers, in the trees and in amongst the kopjes awaiting the arrival of their prey often which consist of the great herds that move annually into the areas.

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South Luangwa, Zambia

The exquisite South Luangwa Valley in central Zambia boasts one of the highest concentrations of leopard in Africa due to its high concentrations of prey. A wide and fertile alluvial plain nourished by the Luangwa River, the park’s wildlife ranges from aardvark to zebra and it has long been known for its dense concentrations of predators, especially lions and leopards. South Luangwa camps also offer some of Africa’s best walking safaris, which enable you to prowl this big predator country on foot!

Leopar-Angama-Mara

Kalahari Desert, Namibia and South Africa

The Kalahari Desert is a large “waterless” desert covering most of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It is hot and rainfall is minimal but it is also home to a large collection of leopard, which graze and cool off by the few rivers in amongst the sandy plains, mostly up North towards Namibia.

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A leopard sighting is one of life’s true wonders, an experience you will never forget and one that will leave you speechless and covered (head to toe) in goosebumps! We wish you all the best on your quest to get up close and personal with Africa’s most magnificent predator.

Month on Instagram

Just in case you are missing the land where sunsets turn the sky pink, where impalas roam free, where hyenas call at night and where G and T’s taste their finest. Let us bring Africa to you.

Breath-taking wildlife photographs, exciting video footage, Africa’s most beautiful destinations and exciting adventures captured right here… in this Month on Instagram. #Africa #bigfive #luxury #safari

 

Property of the Month – Angama Mara

It is with great pride that we announce August’s Property of the Month – the magical, the outstanding… Agama Mara. Having visited this spectacular property a year ago we cannot sing its praises enough.

Have a look at the video below or read on for why this is a destination… that should be at the very top of every safari-lover’s bucket list!

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

Best views in the Mara

At the very spot where the iconic Sydney Pollock film “Out of Africa” was filmed 30 years ago sits this world-class lodge. The view extends across the Masai Mara; “spotted land” as far as the eye can see, and you can even see the big five from standing on the deck. Sit back and relax with that ice cold G & T and let the game come to you. Watch hot air balloons take off at sunrise, wildebeest swarm over the land, clouds roll over into the valley and elephants drinking at the waterhole. “When I go home I miss this view – I can’t wait to go back to work,” says John one of Angama’s brilliant guides.

The gentlest, kindest and happiest staff

“I love the staff they are very friendly but the owners too, they are very nice. I have the best employers. We live like family here and everyone is always smiling,” says Josephat Mwateri, Camp Manager. This feeling is completely palpable and you are made to feel entirely at home in the very instant you arrive. Impeccably dressed, polite, bursting with pride and representing the very pinnacle of African hospitality, the staff and their contagious smiles will melt your heart and make you never want to leave.

The ultimate luxury at the greatest of heights

Designed to replicate a traditional Maasai village the décor is tasteful, welcoming and unobtrusive. It’s absolute indulgence with the utmost integrity and discretion. With two totally separate camps of just 15 tents each, there is nothing that detracts from the main feature of the space, which is very definitely the 180 degree view. Sit in opulent comfort, in amongst the woods, coppers, warm hues and contemporary pieces while looking out your very own window to the world. Unfaltering service, impeccable presentation and mouth-watering food craft every mealtime.

The spacious canvas suites are the perfect fusion of classic and comtemporary design with every detail exquisitely considered, leaving you wanting for nothing. From the oversize bed, the luxury stand alone bath, the rocking chairs on your deck, the crystal gin and whisky carafes, the postcards, kikois, old school-coffee table books, to the delicious macadamia nuts and Kenyan teas and coffees – you could have the most wonderful time without even leaving the privacy of your room. Each camp has two sets of interconnecting suites perfect for families adventuring in the Mara.

Why not relax by the pool after a quick run in the fitness room overlooking the endless plains and then go for a gentle wander through the safari shop or the exquisitely planted local “shamba,” Swahili for garden. Game drives are action-packed, informative and soulful. You are always entirely comfortable in the new, state-of-the-art vehicles which are stocked with everything you could possibly need on a drive. Again the Fitzgeralds really have thought of everything.

Wild mint, drop seed, red grass and desert thorns cover the ground and the greens, blues and browns of the horizon make the perfect contrast to the reds, oranges and purples of the sun sinking below the horizon. Drive home through a flutter of fireflies, to the sounds of the hyena calling, the giant eagle owl hooting and the Scops owl purring.

Last but certainly not least, the lodge is serviced by its very own private airstrip just a 5-minute drive away so you can get there effortlessly and refreshed.

Finding the best Serengeti Safari for you

The Serengeti—the ultimate location for an African safari, and one of the world’s most famous wilderness areas. In the Maasai language, the word ‘Serengeti’ literally means ‘endless plains’. The Serengeti is renowned for its spectacular wildlife—it has immense concentrations of predators and it is the home of the Great Migration. You are guaranteed to have an exceptional experience in the Serengeti, and it is often said that the Serengeti is the most impressive park in the whole of Africa. So, it’s all up to you to decide what you expect from a Serengeti Safari—is it to be a witness to the Great Migration? Is it to see as much wildlife as possible or as much predator action as possible? Do you want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, or spend some quality time with your loved one? Whatever it is that you’re looking for, the Serengeti has something for everyone. But, how do you find a good Serengeti Safari? We’re here to help you with that!

  1. Decide on what you want from your safari

Many people go to the Serengeti to see the Great Migration and they would feel dissatisfied if they miss it. However, other people aren’t too phased about seeing the Great Migration; they just want to get out into the Serengeti and enjoy the feeling of being out in wild Africa. Some people expect a full-on nature programme to happen right before their very eyes when the reality of being in Africa is actually something entirely different (most of the time). However, the Great Migration will provide some awesome entertainment in this sense, and you might even be lucky enough to spot a kill. Some visitors to the Serengeti just want to escape other people and screaming children, but other people want to socialise and meet their fellow intrepid African explorers. Decide on whether you want to ‘rough it’ (tents, self-catering, no spa days) or if you’d prefer a luxury safari experience (Wi-Fi for Instagram, fine-dining, opulent spas).

 

  1. Do your own research

How much do you know about the Serengeti, or about safaris for that matter? Make sure that a safari is actually what you’re looking for. Once you’ve established that a safari is definitely for you, you need to do some research on which African country you should visit. The Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest game reserve, and if you get there at the right time of the year, you will definitely be able to witness the Great Migration. Research what you can do in the Serengeti—game drives, hot air balloon adventures, and game viewing are just a few things you can do. Decide on exactly what you want to do and what type of accommodation you would like to treat yourself to.

  1. Get some advice

Once you’ve done your research, the next step is to get some expert advice i.e. from an agency or tour operator. If you’ve done your research properly, you will be able to tell your agency exactly what you’re expecting and hoping for, and the agency, if it is a good one, will be able to create an itinerary that matches your heart’s desires. Here at Iconic Africa, we specialise in luxury safaris, and we offer tailor-made safari packages to suit you. We have even made some of our own Serengeti tours and safaris (like our Treasures of Tanzania safari) that you can look at to get some inspiration from. Our Treasures of Tanzania safari takes you through all the most lavish treasures of Tanzania—experience the coffee and culture in Arusha, slow down in the Serengeti at Chem Chem, travel to the Northern Serengeti for an action-packed adventure. You never know, it might be exactly what you’re looking for, and all the flights, transfers, and private guides are already included! If it’s luxury accommodation you’re looking for, we’ve certainly got you covered! If you are looking for the pinnacle of African hospitality and colonial luxury, Singita Sasakwa is the place for you. If exclusivity is what you’re after, Singita Faru Faru will be perfect—it’s the smallest camp in the whole of Tanzania and it boasts only eight rooms! If being at one with nature is important to you, we suggest Serengeti Under Canvas—enjoy the beauty of the natural world without compromising on luxury.

So, why choose Iconic Africa? Well, we have dedicated teams that are based in South Africa, Kenya, and the USA so we’re always available to help you. We also have plenty of experience and we only sell properties that we have physically been to—this is because our clients are important to us and therefore, we have fostered very special, personal relationships with the most luxurious and exclusive destinations in Africa so that we can offer our clients only the very best in all things Safari-related. For more on the Iconic Africa Promise click here. 

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #17 “The Bountiful Herds”

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #17 “The Bountiful Herds” filmed by James Hendry of Safarilive.

Watch as herds of elephant, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest congregate in the heart of the exquisite Masai Mara.

Just in case you missed last month’s episode, #16 “Into the Mara,” also filmed by @jamesrahendry of #safarilive click here to view.

We hope that these clips fill you with a little bit of Africa, enough to make you dream of it’s sensational sunsets, endless grasslands and wonderful wildlife.  #Africa #bigfive #luxury #wildlife #safari

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