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:

 

 

 

 

Iconic Moments at Madikwe

The Iconic Africa team was treated to 2 magical days at Madikwe Safari Lodge earlier this month. Here’s just a little snapshot of our trip:

From the moment we arrived on the warm red soils of Madikwe we knew we were in for a treat but…somehow… it still managed to far exceed our expectations. Madikwe Game Reserve is not only astoundingly large (75000 hectares to be precise) but it is filled with an absolute abundance of wildlife. With over 10 000 head of game including all of Africa’s iconic species – lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, wild dog and cheetah – Madikwe really is both a regular safari traveller or first time visitor to Africa’s – heaven.

A big African welcome

The staff at Madikwe were there waiting as we pulled into the car-port, dressed impeccably, refreshments in hand and warm African smiles blazing! They led us into Kopano lodge with a pride that was so tangible… we were made to feel immediately like it was our home too. Tucked delicately into the hillside, Kopano is at complete peace with its surroundings… no mess, no fuss, no commercial anything – just an exquisite hidden gem of a bush lodge.

So much deliciousness

We’d sit down to lunch, dinner or breakfast and Helen would arrive with her delightful demeanour, endless list of culinary delights and of course a dazzling white smile. Every meal was a feast of its own, with 3 mouth-watering courses to it… in fact there really is a point when you just have to say no to something, anything, even though… it is virtually impossible!

Private and spacious suites

You really do feel as though you own your own little section of the beautiful African bushveld in these suites. Each suite is totally private and complete with a little plunge pool, sun deck, outside shower and expansive interior. In fact, you could have a perfect day without even stepping outside your room.

Incredible wildlife encounters

In just two days we had some awesome experiences with the game, so much so, that it felt like we were there for an eternity. I’ve listed only a few of the best below:

Chilling with the pride

We sat with a pride of lion for ages while they lazed in the sun and the cubs frolicked amongst them.

A tea-break with some buffalo

We ran into a sizeable herd of buffalo in the open plains who very nonchalantly carried on with their grazing… almost unfased by our presence.

A visit to the hyena den

We stumbled upon a hyena den and watched as mother and cubs frisked and romped around in front of us. Some of the cubs were particularly taken with the mud-flaps on our vehicle and would not leave them alone… this became somewhat of a game and they were relentless to say the least!

The elephant fight

We watched two elephant bulls going head to head… a magnificent sight to witness. You could hear the crashing of their tusks as they charged at each other kicking up the red soil and taking out any bushes in their way.

Hunting with wild dogs

We were lucky enough to come across a large pack of wild dog that we hunted with and followed for almost an hour. We drove slowly after them as they ran down the boundary line looking for their evening meal… one duiker was taken out and then a great deal of havoc caused when the dogs interrupted some zebra and giraffe from their sunset grazing.

Magical bush dinner

On our last night we were driving along, the sun had just gone down and the stars were out in full display when we heard the most melodic African singing. Next minute we drove around a corner and into a magical bush dinner that the camp staff had set up for us. The staff were singing traditional African songs and dancing around the fire… it was only a matter of time until we all joined in. Yet another delicious meal was served but this time to the accompaniment of the exquisite African sky overhead, fires burning, sounds of the bush and the red soil of Madikwe Game Reserve at our feet. To say it was enchanting would be an under-statement… it was an evening one cannot express with words or with film… one that can only be recorded by memory. Kudu steaks,  mealie pap, lovely fresh salads, malva pudding, red wine and Amarula… so much to enjoy and to savour. A night of happy hearts, fresh air, great food, excellent company and of course the most special of all – lots of beautiful African people!

I feel like these few words can’t quite do our 2 days at Madikwe justice but I hope that they instil in you – a wish to go there… one day, as you most certainly won’t be disappointed. A big thank you to Alan, Johan, Gerhard, Helen and the rest of the team for making our stay at Kopano an unforgettable one! We will be back… hopefully soon.

 

A Magical Babymoon at Marataba

We all know the term “honeymoon” and what that entails… but this isn’t the only “moon” that one can look forward to. Now becoming an increasing popular activity amongst expectant parents is what has been termed a “babymoon.” And from my experience… this is definitely something worth investigating especially if you can do a once-in-a-lifetime African safari, and head off into the sunset… a last adventure as two! There really is nothing better.

My husband, our ever-growing baby bump and I set off to Marataba for this very reason, in excited anticipation – but with no idea of the incredible experience that awaited us there.

Marataba is located 4 hours North-West of Johannesburg in a malaria-free zone, very important if you are pregnant. It’s only a short/drive or flight away so perfect for even just a couple of nights or as part of a greater South African holiday.

We arrived at the lodge, to be greeted by heart-warming African, smiles, enchanting staff and refreshing beverages. From the moment you step foot into the lodge the view and the vista of the exquisite Waterberg Mountains in the distance transfix you. It is at this point that Africa starts, refilling, rejuvenating and inspiring your soul!

The tented suites are all completely private, perfectly appointed and expertly designed to make you feel like you have your very own piece of African paradise to yourselves. The lavish bath, breath-taking outside shower and over-sized bed fitted with only the finest linen, makes you feel like King and Queen.

Every meal is prepared with the utmost care and attention. Whether it’s the kudu loin, the butternut soup, the steamy oxtail or the delicious teatime brownies… you can’t help but ask for more! The service is absolutely outstanding and cannot be faulted. Each member of staff, whether it’s a waiter, game guide or your very own butler acts as your host and does everything possible to make your stay more enjoyable. They really do take “going above and beyond” to a whole other level. From special romantic turn-downs, to hot bubble baths, to complimentary massages, to surprise lantern-lit boma dinners, to non-alcoholic champagne on the sunset boat cruise and so much more. The staff at Marataba surprised and delighted us, every moment of our stay there. Having only been there 2 days – we left feeling as if we were leaving family behind.

The bushveld at Marataba was lush and green and the game abundant. In only 2 days we had some incredible encounters with Africa’s most iconic wildlife. Here’s just a brief snapshot of what we came across: a leopard hunting at dusk, lions feeding on a kudu, white rhinos grazing, elephants drinking at the waterhole, hippos lazing in the river, buffalo feeding in the riverbed… and so much more. Not to mention the smaller wonders, the birds… from red and yellow-billed hornbills, to grey go away birds, to crimson breasted shrikes, to woodland and malachite kingfishers, to paradise flycatchers and whydahs… the list is endless.

Whether it was watching the sun turn the Waterberg Mountain range pink at sunset, enjoying a lantern-lit meal under the stars, a rock shandy by the pool or a steamy hot amarula coffee at the waterhole… our two days at Marataba were filled with epic and memorable moments. So much so, that if felt like we’d been there for at least a week!

We left feeling inspired, overjoyed, overflowing with a love for the African bush and the incredible intricacies with which our world is made, an appreciation for our beautiful country and it’s people and lastly an excitement for what the future holds for us. Now we just can’t wait until we can come back as three and show our little one what an exceptional continent we live on and to teach him/her all that there is to know about nature, wildlife and how everything has it’s place in the world.

A massive thank you to the More Group and specifically to Clive, Ralf, Nadea, Kabelo and the rest of the team for spoiling us so. More hospitality – really is on another level… you really and truly do create to inspire! We can’t wait to return and will be back soon.

 

 

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. 

Top SA FAQs

Planning a trip to South Africa can be daunting, especially if you haven’t visited before. Not to worry, to make things easier for you we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about South Africa to help you prepare for your South African adventure.

  1. When is the best time to visit South Africa?

The best time to visit really depends on the type of experience you’re looking for. You can visit South Africa at any time of the year but certain seasons are better for certain activities. If you’re planning to go on safari, August to October is a great time. June to October is the best time to whale watch, and if you love diving and surfing, April until September is the ideal time to visit. November to February is the prime time to come to South Africa if you want to visit the beaches and enjoy warm temperatures and sunny skies!

  1. Where can I stay once I’m in South Africa?

South Africa offers a wide variety of accommodation. You can choose anything from ‘bed and breakfasts,’ safari camps and game lodges, to five-star hotels and guest houses. Here are a few of our top recommendations at some of South Africa’s most exquisite destinations: Kruger, Madikwe, Cape Town, and the Cape Winelands. 

 

  1. What is South Africa’s time zone?

South Africa is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and it is eight hours behind Australian Eastern Standard Time. It is one hour ahead of Central European Winter Time, and it is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time. South Africa doesn’t have daylight saving and there is no difference in time between South Africa and its neighbouring countries. There is also no time difference between any of the provinces of South Africa.

  1. What type of currency do I need for a South African holiday?

You will need the South African Rand. Because the Rand is weaker than the Pound and Dollar, South Africa is the perfect destination for an affordable holiday for international visitors. International travellers can enjoy great value for money when it comes to accommodation, eating out at restaurants, and shopping.

  1. How much should I tip?

It is customary to tip for good service in South Africa. You should tip your porter R5.00 for every item, taxis should be given 10% of the bill, and you should tip your waiters and waitresses 10-15% of the bill depending on the service you receive. If official and unofficial parking guards assist you with parking your car, or if they look after it while you’re shopping, you should give them a tip too—any small change will be greatly appreciated.

  1. Can I use my cell phone in South Africa?

There are four mobile phone service providers in South Africa, namely Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Virgin Mobile. You can purchase pay-as-you-go airtime and a sim card easily and cheaply.

  1. Can I use my credit card in South Africa?

Yes, all major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, shops, and restaurants. However, you need to make sure that you carry your passport with you because it may be requested.

  1. Where can I change currency?

You can exchange your foreign currency at most of the local banks or through a Bureaux de Change. There are plenty of banks and ATMs all over South Africa.

Please do let us know if there are any other questions or worries that we can help you with?

Month on Instagram

It’s as if we blinked and February was gone!

Although it might have been short it certainly was sweet.  From team visits to the Kruger, to exploring some new lodges, investigating Africa’s rare creatures and welcoming award-winning photographers to our Instagram feed… we’ve had a busy month.

Scroll down here for a quick catch up on what’s been happening. #luxury #safari #travel #africa

 

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!

Property of the Month – Madikwe Safari Lodge

Iconic Africa has developed an excellent rapport with and respect for the More family who have been at the forefront of ecotourism for four generations. For the second month, we would like to congratulate them on another outstanding property – Madikwe Safari Lodge, a real favourite amongst our families travelling.

Watch the video below to get a feel for what Madikwe Safari Lodge is all about.

Here are a few reasons why this property stands out for us this month:

Malaria free and abundant wildlife

Iconic Africa is constantly awed by malaria free Madikwe. The reserve unfailingly delivers breath-taking animal sightings while the changing beauty of the landscape is a constant inspiration. The More family have harnessed the essence of this African wilderness with the luxury and splendour of Madikwe Safari Lodge and tailored the experiences to ensure the perfect get away for honeymooners and families alike.

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Three camps of excellence and opulence

Madikwe Safari Lodge is owned by the More family. They have conceived and created three extravagant camps spread between two picturesque and boulder-strewn hills on the eastern side of the magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve. The three camps offer exquisite privacy and romance, the premier family safari experience and the perfect place for small groups and celebrations.

Lelapa is a sumptuous 12-suite camp that offers the premier family-orientated safari with specialised rangers and facilities for budding young naturalists.

Kopano, with just four suites, boasts exceptional privacy and indulgent luxury. It is perfect for romantic African getaways and honeymoons.

Dithaba, higher up the mountain and boasting awe-inspiring panoramas , consists of four lavish suites and is ideal for small groups or families that want to book the whole camp and turn it into a luxury safari home away from home.

The three charming camps are situated within walking distance of each other. This means that Madikwe Safari Lodge can cater for large group safaris, weddings or other celebrations where all 20 suites are required.

Madikwe Safari Lodge’s highly-trained rangers are equipped to show you all the wonders of the reserve – as a family, as a couple in love or as a group of friends. There are specially designed wilderness activities for children of all ages. For couples looking for the ancient romance of Africa, there is exceptional seclusion and peace on safari.

The Wonders of the Madikwe wilderness

Madikwe Game Reserve, proclaimed in 1991 is a South African conservation gem. It is 75 000ha of land consisting of state owned and some private land. What was unproductive and damaged farmland has been restored to a haven for 10 000 head of game including all of Africa’s iconic species – lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo, wild dog and cheetah. There are teeming herds of general game including wildebeest, zebra and springbok.

Madikwe rests on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. It is semi-arid, receiving just 350mm of rain annually but despite this supports an astonishing variety of fauna and flora. More than 60 species of mammal have been recorded at Madikwe and the bird list is now topping 350 species.

In the east, Madikwe is bounded by the Marico River – a perennial stream. To the west lies the Kalahari and the northern border is the national boundary with Botswana. The south is bounded by the purple and red Dwarsberg Hills. Undulating woodlands stretch north from the hills eventually falling over the Tweedepoort escarpment onto the low-lying savannahs and grassland. The plains are dotted with inselbergs where baboons, hyrax and klipspringer keep a watchful eye for the attentions of Africa’s elusive leopard.

While providing a refuge for South Africa’s natural heritage, Madikwe has created an entire economy which supports the local people living around the reserve – predominantly through employment. This support for local people is crucial if conservation and ecotourism are to achieve grass-roots support.

For more on magical Madikwe please feel free to contact us here.

Top 10 Blogs of 2016

January is a time for planning and looking to the future… but it it is also a time for reflection. A time to look back at the year gone by and remember all the great times had, magic moments experienced and adventures encountered! 2016 certainly was an eventful year for us with so many epic memories made. To give it its due we have handpicked our top 10 blogs of the year for you here:

The Great Crossing

‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’ African Proverb.

One lone wildebeest wanders around snorting, cavorting and indulging in the odd blade of red grass. He’s skittish yet surprisingly feisty and fearless. He approaches the vehicle with a confident and somewhat rambunctious attitude. He’s the first, in fact, he’s winning the race. Perhaps not a race that you want to win though, when the closer you are to the front, the hungrier the crocodiles and other predators are!

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #1

Iconic Africa is proud to present the Iconic Africa Bush Diaries!

We would like to give a warm welcome to James Hendry an old friend and expert safari guide who will be sharing monthly bush diary videos from the heart of the Kruger National Park.  James is incredibly talented with a camera and his understanding of and passion for the African bushveld is unparalleled. Thank you James, we are excited to have you on board!

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

What is a “Big Five” Safari?

On first hearing about the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant – you may presume that the select few were chosen due to their impressive size. You wouldn’t be the first person to make that mistake. After all, the adjective – big – certainly points to that conclusion. Right about now, those who are familiar with Africa’s fauna might question why hippos –weighing in at several tons – did not shove their way onto the list? The answer becomes clear when you delve into a little research about the origins of the term. To save you the trouble, I’ve done it for you; the Big Five was coined by Africa’s early hunters to identify the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.  Click here for more.

Lion-Chobe-Botswana-Safari

So much to take in, so little time

You may think you’ve seen it all and that you know a lot about the bush, but I can guarantee you that a visit to the Masai Mara is the learning safari of a lifetime. From the mating habits of lions, to the displaying characteristics of the crowned cranes, to the Latin and common names of the trees, to the quirky behaviour of the male wildebeest, to the idiosyncrasies of the local Maasai people… there is so much to take in. Kenyan guides are incredible storytellers; they are knowledgeable and passionate and ensure that with each game drive so much is learnt, not only about the bush and its wildlife but also about life in general too! For more on the pure magic that is the Masai Mara click here. 

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Top 5 Places 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. 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. 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.

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A weekend at the lovely Leeu House

From the minute we pulled up outside the exquisite Leeu House we were overwhelmed with the unbelievable 5 star service. The valet, Andy opened the door and welcomed us with the biggest of African smiles, stretching from ear to ear. His warmth was all encompassing and before we knew it he had unpacked the car, taken our luggage inside and taken the car off to park! Second to greet you are the two awe-inspiring sculptures of Mandela and Ghandi, history’s most iconic leaders. These are the first indication of the grandeur and the consideration of the space that awaits you. Not to mention, the seamless integration of African and Asian influence that runs throughout the property. Click here for more on our wonderful weekend at Leeu House.

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The Absolute Abundance of East Africa

In amongst whistling thorns, white thorns, fever trees and wild olives the great plains of the Masai Mara are home to many of Africa’s most majestic animals. The red grass savannahs, interminable vistas and distinct horizons combine to ensure the most quintessential African panorama. The density and variety of wildlife is unreal, with often more than ten different species of mammals in one spot, an anomaly that is unheard of elsewhere. The Mara boasts hoards of unique antelope such as the graceful Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle as well as the colourful topis making it the ultimate predator’s paradise. Everything, in absolute abundance… and so much more here. 

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Grumeti, Serengeti, Tanzania. Agency HKLM. Art Director: Paul Henriques. Stylist/Producer: Janine Fourie. Photographer: Mark Williams. 16/02/12.

Africa’s Greatest Ocean Safari

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?wetu-white-pearl-24-36Up, Up and Away

Since the very first time I went to the Serengeti when I was 12, I have dreamt about going on a Balloon Safari. It literally has sat at the very top spot on my bucketlist for the last (almost) 20 years. Little did I know that a few weeks ago, I would get to live out this dream and it would blow me away more than I could ever have imagined…

Londolozi: A Photo Essay

This past weekend we ran our first official Instagram takeover by the unbelievably talented @lara.jess during her trip to Londolozi. We hope you have enjoyed her photos and if not follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on more #IAtakeovers like this.

Londolozi-Leopards-Lara

Click here to read about our five favourite Londolozi blog posts.

A Magical Madikwe Wedding

We recently partnered with New York based Shawn Rabideau Events & Design to organise a magical Madikwe wedding for Nikita Finger and Jake Sayles. The wedding went off wonderfully and when the team had got back to the US, we chatted to them to find out how they enjoyed planning a wedding in Africa.

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Did the couple always want to get married in Africa?

“The Bride is originally from South Africa and lived for a period of time in the US. She and the Groom met in Florida while in college. The Groom is originally from Texas but moved to South Africa to be with the Bride. It was always her dream to have a wedding in the African Bush Country.”

What made you decide on Madikwe?

“With the help of John at Iconic Africa we researched numerous game lodges. The Bride and Groom visited Jaci as one of the options and loved it. As a result we chose this lodge and reserve.”

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What was the theme/style of the wedding?

“The ceremony was a combination of Jewish, American Indian and Yogi traditions. It was very spiritual and embraced the feel of the bush. The reception also incorporated traditional South African elements with vibrant colors and the use of shweshwe fabric and designs.”

What were the challenges of organising a wedding in Africa?

“The biggest challenge was logistics and transportation. We had guests traveling from all parts of the world so transportation had to be arranged from Johannesburg accommodating different flight schedules. Even within the reserve we had to move guests between lodges and wedding sites. There was certainly the communication challenge of our being in the states and planning the wedding in South Africa. Given technology we were able to overcome this quite easily.”

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What about the venue made the wedding particularly unique?

“Certainly, just that face of being in a game reserve was unique. Most of the guests had never been to South Africa so it was a completely new experience for them.”

What was the food like?

“Jaci’s lodge coordinated all of the food and did an amazing job. We had some suggestions from our original site visited and it is clear they paid attention to our recommendations and made the extra effort to insure all food was perfect.”

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What music did the couple have?

“The music was a combination of traditional African singers and performances for ceremony and cocktails followed by a DJ for the reception. “

What was your favourite thing about the wedding?

“This was a very personal wedding for us to plan as we have a history with the family beginning with the planning of their older daughter’s wedding in New York City. As a result, we were able to incorporate many personal touches throughout the wedding weekend that made it a truly special experience for guests.”

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What do you think the guests enjoyed most about the wedding?

“I think this was such a unique experience for guests that they were really wowed. It really was a once in a lifetime wedding experience that all guests will carry with them.”

Do you think that a lot of couples are now choosing destination weddings? And why?

“We are seeing a huge surge in destination weddings. Rather than a traditional wedding, couples are looking for an experience. As a result, they look to destinations wedding to create a unique experience for their guests.”

What do you think makes a wedding in Africa so special and unique?

“Until people travel to Africa they do not realize what a unique and special place it is. No other place offers the spirit and feel of the African bush and its people. Guests at this wedding got to experience that and I hope they will relay this experience.”

For over sixteen years Shawn Rabideau has worked in all aspects of the wedding planning and design industry and is the founder and President of Shawn Rabideau Events & Design; a full-service wedding planning and destination wedding planning company that produces and designs intimate to large-scale weddings. Shawn caters to clients looking to get married in New York City and the Tri-State area, Charleston, South Carolina, the Finger Lakes region of New York State, across the United States and Worldwide. For more on Shawn Rabideau click here.