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.”


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!

Our Top Eco-Friendly Lodges

“The future will either be green or not at all” – Bob Brown.

‘Going green’ has recently become a buzz phrase within the travel industry. More and more African luxury destinations are making efforts to preserve and protect both natural environments and communities within them. Owners are trying to reduce carbon footprints and human impact on the earth in order to safeguard its future. Eco-friendly accommodation does not necessarily mean that you have to compromise on luxury travel. Eco-lodges are becoming increasingly fashionable with their ability to integrate their role in conservation and luxury comfort.

Here are our top four eco-accommodations utilising and promoting green practices for those eco-conscious guests who seek a luxury African experience. Whether you are looking at Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa or Kenya we’ve got you covered.


Situated near Volcanoes National Park in the Republic of Rwanda offering unique gorilla sightings.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Resting in nature’s amphitheatre, the Bisate lodge reopened in June 2017. Formerly renowned for their gorilla conservation experience and dramatic landscape views, the lodge is now celebrated for its progress in pioneering a largescale reforestation program. 5000 indigenous trees have already been planted to date, contributing to conservation and community empowerment. Bisate’s organic yet modern architecture reflects Rwandan building traditions a seen at the Royal Palace of the traditional Monarch.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms


An exquisite tented camp located on the on the private Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors.


Zarafa recognises the importance of sustainable tourism in South Africa and is 100% eco-wise. It is located in some of Africa’s most beautiful surroundings nature has to offer and they don’t plan on spoiling it! Opening in 2008, and considered a newer property, regulations discourage permanent structures. As a result, the camp is awash in beautiful and luxurious canvas and timber homes so that should the entire site seize to remain, the land would return to its natural state within months. Not forgetting the Zarafa ‘oil field’ – a solar farm that supplies the camp with all its power.

Zarafa Camp Banner Deck


On the private Mbirikani Group Ranch in south-eastern Kenya, between Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks, the rippling Chyulu Hills give way to Ol Donyo.

Its location is unparalleled, with full views of savannah and Mount Kilimanjaro, crossing paths with traditional wildlife migration routes. People and animals crossing paths with this migration route has led to the death of many feral lions, leaving them at risk. The lodge is currently negotiating with cattle breeding villagers to develop a wilderness zone which will be ‘people-free’. Ol Donyo also manages community projects that ensure the sustainability and success of compensation for cattle loss, mobile health clinics, schools and employment.


The Lodge is located close to the border of Botswana and lies within an easy driving distance of South Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Tswalu has won a number of international awards. Their primary focus is conservation and socio-economic development in the region. The architectural designs minimise water and energy usage while extensive use of solar energy and everyday waste recycling substantially reduce the impact on the environment.

Tswalu is committed to restoring and preserving the natural environment and ecological processes that are unique to the Kalahari ecosystems, thereby providing a sanctuary for endangered species such as the African wild dog that is red listed. Some of Tswalu’s projects include the assurance of the density of the black rhino that is be sustained by vegetation in Tswalu and the development of a Tswalu spider database.

We hope our fine travellers of the earth will return home knowing that their holiday contributed to … and preserving the world’s natural environment.

Our Favourite Family Friendly Lodges

Nothing could ever be more special than going on an out-of-Africa, safari, adventure with the entire family. Sharing and making unforgettable memories with children is what parents dream of and taking them on safari is one sure way of doing this. There really is nothing better than seeing your child’s face light up at the sight of their first elephant; or watching the wind in their hair as the game vehicle races through the bushveld in pursuit of a pack of wild dogs; or simply the smile that results as the sun sets over the horizon turning the sky pink, purple and blue. Africa has so much to offer for all souls – young and old.

That’s why we recommend staying at one of our favourite family friendly lodges. Have a look at the lodges below to get inspired. You won’t be disappointed.

Lelapa Lodge at Madikwe Safari Lodge

Lelapa Lodge is the quintessential safari adventure for the whole family, and it specifically caters for families with children. The idea is for parents to be absolutely pampered while kids are kept completely entertained by the specialised rangers and facilities. Lelapa Lodge even has a special bush orientation programme for kids. Meals are kept decadent for parents and simple for children. Kids can even help the chefs make pizzas for lunch and cookies for tea! It’s an absolutely spell-binding experience for children. Each suite has its own private plunge pool, and spectacular views over the African bushveld. Set against the backdrop of the savannah, and simply teeming with wildlife, Lelapa Lodge is the ideal family escape.

Tswalu Lodge in the Kalahari

Tswalu is southern Africa’s biggest private game reserve, and is perfect for anyone wanting to experience true Kalahari wilderness. The views from the lodge are utterly magical and ensure awesome game-viewing opportunities. Tswalu has three luxurious bungalows that have been specifically designed to cater for families, and the warm staff know just how to make your enchanting family escape one to remember. From de-stressing massage treatments to exciting morning game drives, this is a place where memories are made. Treat yourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime horse safari or relax on the private sundeck while taking in the awe-inspiring views of the waterhole.

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

Londolozi in Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands is possibly the most famous private game reserve in the southern hemisphere. For high quality game-viewing, Sabi Sands is the place to be because of the incredible number of predators in the area. Londolozi proudly boasts the title of ‘best hotel in the world’ which it was given by the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014. For the ultimate family safari, families should be sure to stay at Varty Camp. What makes Varty Camp so special is the fact that it is so committed to bringing families the very best in luxury and entertainment that it even has a special itinerary just for children. Varty Camp puts family first and children are always warmly welcomed.

For more information about our family friendly safaris, please visit our site here.

Property of the Month – Tswalu

Proudly presenting Tswalu, the ultimate luxury safari destination and September’s Property of the Month! Situated in the heart of the Kalahari this lodge has recently been ranked 6th in the Best Hotels in the World. We’ve been lucky enough to visit Tswalu recently and it really is a truly magical destination and one that has a special place in our hearts. 

Tswalu is 100 000ha (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. Motse Lodge sleeps just 24 people in ultimate comfort while Tarkuni is a stunning ten bed villa.

Tswalu Supports Tracker Academy Fundraiser

Before we say more we’d like to thank Tswalu for supporting our Tracker Academy Fundraiser taking place in Atlanta on the 3rd of October. One lucky couple will be taking home a once-in-a-lifetime Tswalu experience.

Tarkuni Special

There is currently an incredible special on Tarkuni: Stay for 4, Pay for 3 nights. Valid 30th June – 31 December 2017.

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.

The Tarkuni Experience

This sumptuous villa is the personal home of the Oppenheimer family when they are in residence. Tarkuni lies in a secluded valley for ultimate seclusion in this vast wilderness. The home boasts five magnificent, individually decorated suites and stunning lounge and dining areas with cosy fires for cold nights – this is the ideal retreat for large families or groups. The shaded pool and sala are perfect spaces from which to appreciate the magic of the Kalahari.

Tarkuni comes with a personalised and exclusive butler, chef, guide and tracker – you can tailor your safari experience according to the whims of your group. It really is built for pure family bliss.

Promotion includes:

Luxury full board accommodation
Private guide, vehicle, and tracker
Walking safaris
Horse rides
All beverages and full selection from our award winning winelist
In-suite honour bar & gourmet pantry
Laundry and valet service
Wireless internet access
Children’s Junior Ranger programme and babysitting
National telephone calls

Other highlights of this sensational property include:

Award-winning Spa

The award-winning Tswalu Kalahari Spa boasts a tranquil indigenous garden, a yoga sala and a gym for the more energetic. Exercise or enjoy a relaxing treatment under the gentle hands of one of Tswalu’s remarkable therapists.

Vast, untrammelled wilderness

100 000ha is a vast swathe of magnificent wilderness and, unless you are staying for more than a month, you will experience just a fraction of what this incredible piece of the Kalahari has to offer. Traditional safari vehicles offer the chance to explore large areas of the reserve and a full day out in the winter, with a delicious picnic, is an excellent way to travel to some of the further flung regions. The stables house horses for every level of rider and game viewing on horseback is a unique opportunity for the adventurous. Possibly the ultimate wilderness activity at Tswalu is tracking a black rhino on foot – the Kalahari vegetation facilitates a safe and awe-inspiring experience with your highly-trained guide.

Unique Fauna

The Kalahari boasts many unique species of animals and in fact has large populations of some that sadly in other areas have been almost eradicated. Endangered desert black rhino, roan, sable, tsesebe, mountain zebra, aardvark, and pangolin are among these and another 70 species of mammals can be seen. Predators include the world-famous Kalahari lions and their huge black manes. Cheetah sightings are excellent and it is possible to see leopard, wild dog and both spotted and brown hyena. You don’t go more than a few minutes on a game-drive here withouth seeing something incredible and lots of it – the quantity of game is unfathomable.

Ancient history

If you are interested in our origins as human beings, Tswalu is home to some of the oldest artefacts and engravings from the San Bushman.


The endless panoramas and unique suites of animals, the plains, the mountains, the rocks, the sun, the moon and the stars offer photographers an endless palate of delightful opportunities. The colours of the Kalahari are completely unique and make for incredible photos . With the deep reds of the sand, the yellows and greens of the savanna and the cobalt blue skies you can’t go wrong!

For more on Tswalu, the Tracker Academy Event or the Tarkuni special please be sure to contact us.

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.


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.


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.



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!


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.



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.

Samp and Gem Squash Risotto

“This Risotto features Samp as the hero ingredient – replacing risotto rice with an African staple that has a lovely al dente crunch and creaminess. I’ve also added in one of my favourite vegetables – gem squash, for a delicious gentle nuttiness. It’s perfect for our chilly African winter at this time of year, but just as delicious in warmer weather with a chilled glass of white wine. Oh, and yes it tastes even better if you cook it in a traditional South African ‘potjie’ pot :).” Sarah Graham.


  • 3-4 gem squash, halved
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Willow Creek Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or use thyme or oregano)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup samp, rinsed and soaked for at least 2 hours
  • ½ cup Durbanville Hills White wine (optional, otherwise use extra stock)
  • 2 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (or hard cheese of your choice)
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to serve (or oregano)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

What to do

1. Add your gem squash halves to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and the flesh can be easily pierced with a knife. Remove, drain and set aside to cool before removing the seeds.

2. Meanwhile, add your butter and olive oil to a large heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add in your chopped onion and herbs and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and are translucent.

3. Add in your garlic and samp and stir well until the samp is well coated in any remaining oil and butter. Add in your wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.

4. Add in your stock gradually, ladle by ladle, and leave to simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed. Then add the milk until and the samp is cooked through and creamy. Add a little extra water or stock along the way if necessary. It should be creamy and not too dry.

5. Scoop out the flesh of the gem squash and add it to the risotto. Stir until everything is well mixed together. Add in your Parmesan, check for seasoning and serve immediately in warmed bowls with a little extra grated Parmesan and fresh parsley to garnish.

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 Top 5 Bucket-list Experiences

If travelling to Africa isn’t on your bucket list yet, we’re here to tell you why it should most definitely be. We have compiled a list of the top five African experiences that we think definitely deserve a place on your bucket list. We even have great links to spectacular, first-class places for you to stay at while you cross off your African bucket list items. These are the types of experiences that will remain entrenched in your memory… forever!

  1. Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration.

Known as the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth,’ the Great Migration is a mind-blowing phenomenon that should not be missed by anyone who loves Africa. For a sneak peak of this incredible spectacle watch our video here. Over a million wildebeest make their way through the vast plains of the Serengeti to find better grazing areas. It is the most exquisite mass movement of land animals that takes place in the entire world. Escape to the Serengeti and spend some time in the National Park. If exclusive, and incredible game viewing is what you love, why not stay at Sasakwa House in Singita Sasakwa? It has exquisite views of the infinite Serengeti plains, and it gives one the feeling of going back in time to the colonial era. Singita Faru Faru is another gorgeous option, with its very own beach, and its classic safari lodge feel.


  1. Climb Table Mountain.

If you’re planning a trip to the Cape, be sure to add hiking up Table Mountain to your bucket list. Once you’re at the top, you can admire the breath-taking view of Cape Town and you will realize the immense scale of the steep mountain slopes and the vast reach of the sparkling blue ocean. There are plenty of places to stay in Cape Town, from the grandiose Cape Grace Hotel to the Victorian beauty that is the Cape Cadogan which dates back to the 1800s, there is truly something for everyone.

  1. Soak in the beauty of Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls is an astounding natural wonder and it is the largest curtain of water in the world. The magic that is Victoria Falls deserves a place on anyone’s bucket list. We recommend staying at the Royal Livingstone Hotel if Victorian elegance is what you’re after. The Victoria Falls Hotel is another delightful place to stay with its tranquil gardens and its Edwardian grandeur. Wherever you stay, we guarantee that you will fall in love with the enchanting Victoria Falls.


  1. Taste award-winning wine in the Cape Winelands.

Without a doubt, touring the Cape Winelands should certainly be on your bucket list. The Winelands boast spectacular views of captivating mountains and century old vineyards. If you’re looking for a place to stay, we suggest the idyllic valley of Franschhoek. Le Quartier Francais is one of our most favourite establishments. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to truly experience all that this incredible village has to offer. It has an uncanny ability to remind one of a time gone by.

  1. Visit the Kalahari Desert and walk with the Bushmen.

The Bushmen of the Kalahari are the nomads that have lived in the Kalahari Desert for thousands of years. They are remarkable hunters and experts at finding underwater springs. They make their own medicine by using plants from the Kalahari. No one would want to miss out on such an informative and interesting experience. You can stay in Tswalu at the Motse Lodge which is in the heart of the spellbinding Kalahari Desert. It is a place of ultimate peace and is the epitome of a luxury safari destination.

For more ideas on what incredible African experiences to add to your bucket list click here. 

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

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





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.

What can be even more confusing is that private game reserves often exist within the target National Parks. For instance Singita Lebombo operates on a private concession within the Kruger National Park. Read on to learn more.

difference between national park and game reserve sunset

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.

National Park vs Game Reserve Lion Road

National Parks are open to everyone, so sightings are often fleeting and crowded with other visitors and tourists. Often the best photos you can get will have a car or two in the picture.

National Parks often have many tar roads that allow visitors to enjoy them in any rental car available from the airport where you arrive. Even most of the dirt roads have been well maintained and will allow you to drive on them in a regular sedan or hatchback. This makes them National Parks very accessible to visitors. Most game reserves use purpose built 4X4s in order to traverse through the wild African terrain and get you into the best possible position to view the animals.

Private game reserves are just that, private. They allow you to experience Africa’s wilderness in a more authentic fashion, where you see Africa’s animals in their natural environment, undisturbed by the vehicles around them.

Game Reserve Vs National Park Vehicle Lion

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.

Game reserve vs National park Lion Sighting Hyena

This means that at private game reserves you get to see amazing animal interactions that often occur out of sight of main roads and would definitely be missed at most National Parks.

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 many National Parks. Bush walks are another popular activity that private game reserves offer that cannot be enjoyed by guests of most National Parks.

difference between national park and game reserve sunset

National Park vs Game reserve RondavelsMost National Parks generally offer self catering options like these quaint rondavels or “huts”, where luxury private game reserves are usually an all included experience, with beautifully made up rooms and sumptuous feasts waiting for you after your daily activities.

There are positives to both types of African safari, but for the ultimate luxury African safari experience we would always recommend a private game reserve.


Game Reserve Vs National Park Luxury Rooms

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.

Game Reserve vs National Park Whats The Difference Duiker

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.


  • 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.