Safari Pricing Explained

We are often asked how much safaris cost. This is because it is extremely hard to find prices for safaris online, and because there is an incredibly vast range of safari tours available—each type of safari tour obviously has its own associated costs, depending on the travel agent that you use.

Iconic Africa showcases the African destinations which best represent our values of the utmost luxury, world-beating African hospitality, delectable contemporary cuisine and most importantly an authentic commitment to wilderness conservation.

We aim to give you the most comprehensive quotations by detailing all of the expenses that you will incur during your safari adventure. We pride ourselves on the fact that our quotations have no hidden costs and no hidden surprises. Here’s what you need to know about safari costs.

Good safaris are expensive, however, you truly get what you pay for. We cater for mid- to high-end, boutique safaris which means our focus is on luxury, excellent service, and unforgettable safari experiences. It is important to remember that Africa is a huge continent. Great distances need to be covered by either cars, airplanes, or both. Therefore travel costs often make up a large portion of your safari expenses.

Because we cater for mid- to high-end safaris, the lodges that we choose are only the best of the best. Guests can expect a large staff complement at all lodges—in fact, the staff-to-guest ratio at most of the lodges that we recommend is a 3:1 ratio. This is to ensure that our clients are treated like absolute royalty. Of course, excellent accommodation and gourmet meals are world-class too. The lodges that we have on offer pride themselves on exclusivity and, of course, fewer visitors means fewer vehicles, which ultimately means a more exceptional and much more intimate wildlife experience for you.

We specialise in tailor-made safaris which ensures that our clients are not limited to pre-set itineraries or specific dates. Our clients can choose their own accommodation and they can indicate which activities they would like to experience on their safari. Our clients tell us what they want the focus to be on (for example, game viewing, birds, cats, relaxation, romance etc.), and we make sure that their expectations are not only met but exceeded. Read more in our Iconic Africa Promise

Our itineraries are perfectly planned out and drafted with each, individual client in mind. They are highly intricate and specific, so you will never be met with nasty shocks or unpleasant surprises. They contain comprehensive information about where, when, and with whom you should meet, and we set up the itineraries in such a way so that they are easy to read and the important information is easy to find. The itineraries also indicate where any costs are not covered by travel agency costs or accommodation costs.

So, what do we include in your quotation? Our quotations include all of your internal flights with specific details about each flight—such as when and where to meet, and who will pick you up to take you to and from the various airports. We also include details about all of your transfers, and all of your vehicles costs will be included. The quotation includes your day tours with specific details, and rental costs for rental cars and accommodation costs are also included in the quote.

For any other queries on costing please do let us know.

Month on Instagram

“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up & was not happy.” Ernest Hemingway.

To say that a visit to Africa is enchanting is an understatement… it’s something that cannot be fully expressed with words or with film but that can only truly be recorded by memory.  Just in case you missed them on Instagram, here are just a few of our most recent memories in our #monthonInstagram:

 

 

 

 

Experience of the Month – Balloon Safaris

A balloon safari is very definitely an adventure that belongs at the top of your bucket list. Africa shows off beneath you as you float gently through the beautiful blue sky! Need we say more…

To give you a sneak peek of the magic that awaits you – click on the video below!

The feeling of weightlessness, the sense of space and freedom, and the incredible perspective that the height provides will render you speechless. With the sun peeking up over the horizon beyond, with the darkness turning to light, and with the shimmer of gold on the savannah below, the beauty is more than overwhelming.

Drifting over the endless plains of the Serengeti, or floating above the absolute abundance of the Masai Mara, you will be carried over game path after game path. This crisscross maze of winding routes will lead you to herds of wildebeest, zebra, elephants, lions, and even tiny scrub hares. This completely unique panorama gives way to an exciting new level of appreciation. The bush tells a much more complete story from the sky… if only we could stop time and suspend ourselves there for the entire day. Oh the things we would see!

Up and down you go… dropping in to check on the hippos and the crocodiles in the rivers. A few big, wide-mouthed, hippo yawns will welcome you, the Fish Eagle’s morning calls will greet you, and the gurgling of the rapids below will relax you. With photo opportunities aplenty, the trip always seems to go by far too quickly and you will wish that you could be up there, in paradise, forever.

After your magic carpet ride over the exquisite African bushveld, you will be treated to a delicious 5-star Champagne Breakfast fit for a king, laid out impeccably, and set up in the middle of nowhere. Absolute bliss!

Balloon Safaris are on offer in both the Serengeti and the Masai Mara so please do let us know if you’d be keen to go on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Instagram Takeover – Graham Wood

One of our favourite photographers has just returned from an incredible trip to the Masai Mara and he was kind enough to share some of his best shots with us. Just in case you missed our latest @grazwoodphoto #IATakeover on Instagram scroll down here. Thank you Graham.

 

Month on Instagram

Just in case you need some inspiration to pack your bags for another unforgettable African adventure, we’ve put together some of our top pics from this month here. From encounters with Gorillas, to hot air balloon rides, to migration river crossings, to magical Marataba visits and so much more… April has certainly been full of adventures! #luxury #bigfive #Africa #safari

 

 

 

 

Introducing Iconic Experiences

For decades the Iconic Africa team has been living, exploring and experiencing every adventure that this incredible continent has to offer. We are all eternally grateful for these opportunities and we cherish the memories they have left us with. Now the time has come that we share them with you with the launch of Iconic Experiences!

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

Whether it’s sailing in a hot air balloon high above the Serengeti, coming face-to-face with a gorilla in the depths of the Rwandan rainforest or swimming with Dolphins in the big blue we’ve got just the thing for you. Below is a brief introduction to the iconic experiences we’ve handpicked just for you.

 The Great Wildebeest Migration

The wildebeest migration is rated as one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles, and a phenomenon that should have its place on every safari-lover’s bucket list. Every year, over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra, and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem. They travel up to 3000 kilometers each year in search of rain-ripened grass. It is a natural phenomenon like no other, a spectacle not to be missed and, most definitely, an event that belongs on your bucket list.

Read more. 

Walking Safaris

There is no better way to get up-close-and-personal with the African bush, and its wildlife, than to go on a walking safari. It is, without a doubt, the best way to fully experience and appreciate the magical intricacies that make up a regular day out in the bush.

Even if you’ve had many safari experiences in the past, this iconic adventure will, no doubt, knock your socks off. Read more. 

Gorilla Trekking

No wildlife adventure can compete with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla. This is an endangered species that will certainly take your breath away. Their sheer size and human-like characteristics will leave you feeling astounded.

Because their numbers are diminishing and because the treks are a highly-restricted activity, encountering wild gorillas is considered to be an unforgettable and essential travel experience. Visiting these gentle, mystical primates in their natural habitat really is one of earth’s ultimate wildlife experiences. Read more. 

Balloon Safaris

A balloon safari is very definitely an adventure that belongs at the top of your bucket list. Africa shows off beneath you as you float gently through the beautiful blue sky.

The feeling of weightlessness, the sense of space and freedom, and the incredible perspective that the height provides will render you speechless. With the sun peeking up over the horizon beyond, with the darkness turning to light, and with the shimmer of gold on the savannah below, the beauty is more than overwhelming. Read more. 

Ocean Safaris

When you hear the word “safari” you immediately think of the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, or the Kruger National Park. However, the official dictionary definition of the word “safari” is “an expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat.” So why not explore the offshore wonders of the Indian Ocean from White Pearl, Mozambique, where a somewhat different, but equally magical, adventure awaits? Read more. 

Sarah Graham’s Food Safaris

“Africa is all your safari dreams come true, and I want to share it with you. I’ve teamed with the amazing people at Iconic Africa so that they can turn your dreams into memories – they love Africa like I do, and are as passionate about making travellers feel at home here as you’d want them to be. I’ve worked with them to hand-pick the very best gourmet destinations in Southern Africa, and we’ve crafted three Iconic Africa Food Safaris just for you” – Sarah Graham

Iconic Africa specialises in tailor making boutique African experiences at market beating rates. In proud association with Sarah Graham, an old friend, celebrated South African cook, food writer and sensational TV show host, we have hand-picked the very best gourmet destinations in Southern Africa and carefully crafted 3 decadent Iconic Africa Food Safari’s that promise to inspire and delight foodies from around the globe. Read more. 

If any of the above experiences get you even a little excited please contact us and we will do our best to make your wildest dreams come true.

Game Reserves and National Parks—what’s the difference?

If you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime African safari, it is important to keep in mind the differences between game reserves and National Parks so that you can get the exact adventure that you have been dreaming of. Many travellers to Africa don’t realise that there is a huge difference between game reserves and National Parks, and this can often lead to disappointment because guests were hoping for a distinct type of experience.

Perhaps the most striking difference between the two lies in the exclusivity and freedom that guests will encounter. If you are looking for a unique safari adventure, it is essential to book in a private game reserve. Because there are fewer safari tours that take place in private game reserves, guests are allowed to freely explore the African wilderness. Private game reserves offer guests the opportunity to escape from the crowds that are associated with the larger National Parks. This means that guests can experience the true African bushveld all to themselves, and they won’t have to share their wildlife sightings with an enormous crowd of other vehicles.

The number of visitors to National Parks is not restricted so the safari experience is open to everyone. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that you will have to share your sightings with quite a large number of other people. ‘Traffic jams’ are a real thing in National Parks as visitors scramble about to view animals that have been sighted. Visiting a National Park will also mean having to share your bucket-list safari experience with all sorts of other visitors. At private game reserves, the number of vehicles that can be present at a game sighting is restricted to two or three cars which means that you are ensured the ultimate game viewing experience.

Private game reserves only allow game viewing vehicles from the lodges to be used, and the rules about where you can drive are very different from the rules at National Parks. In private game reserves, game viewing vehicles are allowed to drive off-road to allow guests to search for big cats or to track specific animals. Private game reserves don’t have hours of operation like National Parks so guests are given an exclusive opportunity to experience an exhilarating night drive. This means that visitors to a private game reserve enjoy a more ‘full’ experience than visitors to a National Park.

It is essential to have the option of going on night drive if you would like to search for nocturnal animals which won’t be visible during the day. Unfortunately, visitors to a National Park have to abide by the rules that are set by the Park. This means that game drives are restricted to certain times and to certain roads. Guests cannot enjoy night drives in National Parks. Bush walks are another popular activity that private game reserves offer that cannot be enjoyed by guests of National Parks.

Although it might seem that private game reserves are the way to go, it is important to remember that National Parks do offer some of the best game viewing in Africa and it is an experience that is not to be missed. Ultimately, your choice has to be based on the kind of experience you are looking for. If you are looking for exclusivity and freedom, private game reserves are your best option.

Please do let us know if you have any more questions on the above as we’d be more than happy to help.

Lime, Cardamom and Blueberry Gin Fizz

“One of my very favourite things to keep me company on peaceful evenings in the bush, when the sun is setting, the dust is settling and the night-time creatures are starting to come alive is a Gin and Tonic. The added notes of cardamom and lime make this one extra special, and the pretty pinkness from the blueberry skins is hard not to love.” Sarah Graham.

Ingredients

  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 4 tots gin
  • 600ml tonic
  • Lots of ice

What to do

1. Add lime zest, cardamom pod, sugar and blueberries to your pestle and mortar. Crush the cardamom pod to release the seeds and mix everything together into a rough paste.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large glass jug, adding lime juice, gin and tonic water to taste, and lots of ice.

Photo from ‘Sarah Graham’s Food Safari Season 2’ by Ricardo de Leça.

For more of Sarah’s delicious food safari recipes click here. 

Africa’s Rare Finds

Are you wondering what animals should be at the top of your wish list for your upcoming safari? Here are 5 of Africa’s rare finds that you should most definitely keep your eyes peeled for. A sighting of any one of these incredible creatures is undoubtedly be an experience you will never forget!

  1. African Wild Dog

With only 6600 Wild Dogs left on earth, the African Wild Dog is one of the most endangered animals in the world. You can still find Wild Dogs in southern Africa, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique. Wild Dogs are also known as “painted wolves” because of their attractive and characteristic patchy markings. Every Wild Dog has its own unique markings, making each Wild Dog an individual. Wild Dogs hunt in packs and they are intelligent and harmonious hunters—they have a distinct hunting style that allows them to work together to bring down prey. The entire pack takes turns looking after the pups.

  1. White Rhino

White Rhinos were on the edge of becoming extinct but, because of hugely successful conservation efforts, the White Rhino is currently the least endangered species of living rhino. White Rhinos are the second largest land mammal on the planet. You can tell the difference between black rhinos and white rhinos by looking at their upper lips. A white rhino will have a square lip, which is why they are also known as ‘the square-lipped rhino’. A black rhino boasts a pointed (triangular) upper lip. If you’re hoping to spot one of these beauties, you are more likely to find them in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening.

  1. Aardvark

The name ‘aardvark’ is an Afrikaans word which means ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig’. Aardvarks are also known as Cape anteaters. They use their strong feet and claws to dig into huge termite mounds so that they can treat themselves to their favourite food! Their tongues can be up to 30.5 centimetres long which means that they can catch approximately 50 000 termites in one go. African folklore reveres Aarvarks because of the way they search for food and because they are not afraid of soldier ants.

  1. Pangolin

The Pangolin is the most trafficked and hunted animal in the world because their scales, which are very valuable, are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The animal is called a Pangolin because the Malay word ‘pengguling’ means ‘rolling up’. Pangolins roll up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. Interestingly, there is no record of how long pangolins can live for in the wild. Speculation suggests that they can live for up to 20 years because the oldest pangolin in captivity lived for 19 years. Mothers carry their babies on their tails for the first three months of their lives.

  1. Pel’s Fishing Owl

Pel’s Fishing Owl is the largest fishing owl that can be found in Africa and it is also known as the African fishing-owl. This owl is distinct because its legs and toes don’t have any feathers. Instead, the toes are covered in spiky scales that allow the owl to hold on to wriggling fish. Pel’s Fishing Owl is also different from other owls because it doesn’t have a concave facial disk. This is because it uses its sight to hunt instead of its hearing. This type of owl is not a threatened species but it is listed as vulnerable because the rivers and streams that it relies on for food are heavily polluted.

Please do let us know if you have been lucky enough to spot one, two or even all of these 5 beautiful creatures. If not and you’d like to… let us know and we will do our very best to help you!

East Africa – When to go?

Are you planning the East African safari of a lifetime but not quite sure when to go?

Or first things first… do you need some inspiration as to why this really is the trip of a lifetime and one that every adventurous traveller, wildlife fanatic or lover of Africa needs to do – then watch the clip below for a sneak peek of the wonders that await!

Kenya is without a doubt the absolute ultimate in classic “Out of Africa” safaris. In amongst whistling thorns, white thorns, fever trees and wild olives the great plains of the Masai Mara and many other well-renowned parks are home to many of Africa’s most majestic animals. The red grass savannahs, brightly coloured Maasai villages, interminable vistas and distinct horizons combine to ensure the most quintessential African panorama.

Bordering Kenya, Tanzania offers a wide diversity of wildlife, culture immersion and a land of continual contrasts. East Africa’s biggest country by a long way, home to the famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s highest mountain and Africa’s largest lake it really does have it all.

East Africa offers a diversity of wildlife like no other, culture immersion and a land of continual contrasts. Home to the famous Serengeti, Masai Mara Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s highest mountain and Africa’s largest lake it really is a must for the safari-lovers bucket list!

Here’s what to expect in the different seasons so that you can plan when is best to go.

June to October is the winter/dry season. 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, the skies are blue and there are a lot less mosquitoes than in the summer months. It is also the best time to see the incredible wonder that is the great wildebeest migration, although parks are generally busier at this time, as a result.

November to May is East Africa’s wet season. It is also the low season, so the reserves are less crowded and rates are lower. The landscape is lush and green and many newborn animals can be seen. The plains are alive and many migratory birds are visiting. Although rain is heavier during this time it is only between March and May that it can sometimes be cloudy and continuous.

 

 

 

 

Iconic Africa’s 2017 Bucket List

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” Paulo Coelho

Having a bucket list is a great way of making sure we see, do and experience as much as we possibly can. To help you with yours we’ve handpicked the most, breath-taking, unforgettable and unbelievable experiences that Africa has to offer. All of which come very highly recommended!

  1. Witness the Great Migration

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  1. Visit the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls

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  1. Explore the old town and beaches of Zanzibar

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  1. Experience the wonder of the Kalahari

Tswalu Game Reserve. Southern Kalahari. Northern Cape. South Africa.

  1. Sample the Cape Winelands

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  1. Ride a hot air balloon over the Serengeti

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  1. Swim with dolphins in Mozambique

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  1. Go on a walking safari

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  1. See the leopards of Londolozi

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  1. Witness the absolute abundance of the Masai Mara

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  1. Raft the Zambezi River

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  1. Visit the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater

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  1. Go whale-watching in Hermanus

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  1. Ride a Mokoro through the Okavango Delta

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We wish for all our friends and fellow travellers that you get to experience as many of these as possible in your lifetime. For after all…

“…in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln.

Please do let us know if we can help in making any or all of the above dreams a reality for you!

Top 5 Spots 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.