A ‘Workation’ in Africa

Vacations are synonymous with relaxation, unwinding and ‘switching off’. Many travellers, couples and families head to destinations where they have no access to WI-FI, cell service, or contact with the outside world. It is a time for rejuvenation, healing and time spent with loved ones. There’s probably a link between increased endorphins and setting up your out-of-office reply, but not everyone has the advantage of a Monday to Friday work-week or enough leave days to actually vacate reality and escape.

In this day and age – many of us take our work with us, everywhere, even on vacation. This has progressed the mobile office space to a new level, and has recently been referred to as a ‘workation’.  Sometimes a change of environment is enough to catch a break. The watercolour sunsets and mirages may even bring inspiration. This new way of working has seen many travel-hungry businessmen successfully accomplish tasks while seeing the world.

But internet connectivity in some parts of the world can be sporadic at best and remote areas often have poor signal, let alone bandwith. Unreliable connections makes checking-in and social engagement a frustrating experience.

We have put together our top five ‘workation’ destinaions for those who need to retreat back into the wild but can’t leave their e-mails behind:

  1. Madikwe, South Africa

The possibility is that you would rather want to take in Madikwe’s panoramic views instead of hear your message notifications come in, but this luxury safari lodge offers guests excellent complimentary WI-FI throughout the lodge, laptop loans and business facilities for those who like to travel light.

  1. White Pearl, Mozambique

Here’s an opportunity to work hard and play hard. It is almost certain that you will have the chance to swim amongst dolphins or view migrating humpback whales while you’re strolling on the beach or reclining on your private deck. This ultimate African experience may inspire some creativity or give you the motivation to finish that task! While the guest areas have been designed for relaxation and romance, stretch out on your bed or day lounger and keep updated or simply post those magnificent pictures of the crystal blue water using the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi.

  1. Mara Plains Camp, Kenya

Kenya is unparalleled in sceneries and adventure and Mara Plains Camp rolls both into one at one of the most iconic destinations in Africa. It’s not only millennials that will have a hard time not sharing these magical moments with the world as it happens. Luckily, Safaricom provides a decent 3G network in most parts of Kenya, and Mara Plains Camp offers mobile network to guests.

  1. Tongabezi, Zambia

Most travellers head to Tongabezi for a romantic stay. But posting those dreamy pictures to your Instagram may be more important than work e-mails. Catch up with loved ones and post those pictures that will have all your friends envious using the area around Victoria Falls and Livingstone’s mobile connectivity or Tongabezi’s uncapped Wi-Fi.

  1. All our properties in the Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park

There’s no need to put off spending time in the bush. You can have it all – rest in a sanctuary for both humans and wildlife, and work at the same time while enjoying five star accommodation and fine dining opportunities. The Wi-Fi signal is strong in the one place you wish you could switch off…

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Lounge Interior 2 Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

May your travels take you where the signal is strong, but don’t forget to take the time to stop, switch off, submerge yourself in the amazing surroundings and let the magic of Africa wash over you.

White Pearl in Pictures

If heaven on earth was adorned with fresh white, blue and light earth tone décor, it would be White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli. This private resort is set on two kilometres of uninterrupted shore on the southern coast of Mozambique. The seamless spectacle of crystal clear waters and sparkling white sand will leave you breathless. The natural beauty is unlike any other and the warmth guests feel can’t be conveyed with words. Here’s a short video of this  exquisite seaside gem.

This exclusive and intimate resort offers world class luxury seaside-living on a strip of pristine Mozambican beach that becomes one with the healing waters of the Indian Ocean. We can describe the delightful cuisine and distinctive hospitality, perhaps even the opulent accommodation that overlooks the cobalt waters… but only images can show you a place so beautiful that you find inner peace and tranquillity.

Imagine a beach paradise fit for Greek gods galloping across pearly-white sand, leaving hoof prints behind them. Except it’s you on horseback at the only resort in the area with a licence for horses. While your hair blows in the wind, the sea crashes besides you and you have to decide whether you want to explore the land that seems to rise seamlessly out of the earth or the marine life out ahead. White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli offers the ultimate luxury beach holiday, but for those of you having a hard time trying to picture this rare outpost, here are our handpicked images of this idyllic romantic retreat. Quench your wanderlust by scrolling down… until you can experience the purity of this paradise for yourself and see why this destination has earned the reputation for being a true ocean jewel.

Ocean Safaris Scuba Dive 2 Mozambique Zanzibar White Pearl

 

Getting to know Mozambique:

Mozambique is a unique African country offering isolated island living, tropical luxury, wilderness and romance. Most travellers head straight to the unblemished African beaches for diving escapes, swimming with dolphins and relaxing on long, palm-fringed beaches with turquoise waters.

But most guests forget that the countryside and city centre is brimming with fresh markets, rich historical architecture and cultural experiences that include spice trading and home-grown nuts and cotton; not forgetting the kind local people waiting to make you feel welcome.

Mozambique is primarily a savanna plateau exhausted by the mighty Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers. The warm tropical climate is conducive to plenty of rain and makes it a year-round holiday destination.

One of the many incentives of this magical country is its proximity to South Africa, a short hour or two’s flight from Johannesburg.

To visit the Quirimbas or Bazaruto Archipelago’s, you’ll sometimes need to overnight in Maputo. The capital of Mozambique is a vibrant and colourful city. The streets are lined with makeshift stalls and impromptu markets. Contrasting colonial buildings and modern office blocks are unsystematically arranged along the busy roads. Travellers are immersed in the hustle and bustle of vendors serving fresh crab curry or piri piri chicken.

The official language is Portuguese and spoken by 50.3% of the population. The two main religions of the region is Christianity and Islam. The customary greeting is to shake hands and not accepting a food or beverage offering is considered offensive.

The most revered element of Mozambique tourism is the marine life.

Iconic Africa Swim With Dolphins Mozambique

On most of the islands the marine life is untouched, producing superb scuba-diving expeditions on the coasts. Shallow reefs house a kaleidoscope of neon-bright fish and further out, guests can encounter rays, sharks and three species of turtles. If you have time, venture down the rich waters of the Mozambique Channel to find the harmless whale sharks, game-fish, dolphins and a population of rare sea-cows.

Ocean Safaris Mozambique Zanzibar Turtle Iconic Africa

The marine life around Mozambique’s more secluded islands is unmatched; both the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos are outlined with beautiful reefs. Most lodges have dive centres and offer short ‘resort courses’. Swimming with dolphins and deep-sea diving are adventures you can experience at some of our exquisite Mozambique destinations.

Iconic Africa Swim With Dolphins Mozambique

If the wanderlust bug has begun to make its presence into your thoughts, allow Mozambique to fill that adventurous void. Mozambique displays an incomparable beauty and affords the most spectacular and unique activities. Here are some of our favourite magical Mozambican destinations.

Share your Mozambique pictures with us on Instagram @iconicafrica.

 

 

African Travel Myths Demystified

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

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

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Africa is not safe:

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

Africa is all bush:

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

You always need a guide:

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

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

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

 

It will be too hot:

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

Animals are likely to attack you:

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

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Sabi Sands Lions

Only expensive cameras can take good wildlife photographs:

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

Zarafa Camp Leopard Iconic Africa

 

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

Top Travel Trends for 2018

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

Booking trends:

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

Duliini Lodge River Bridge

Solo Travel:

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

 

Remote Luxury:

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

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

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

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

Glamping:

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

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

Achievement-based travel:

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

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

Extended trips

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

Travellers not tourists:

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

 

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

Africa’s Top Five Romantic Getaways

Planning a romantic getaway with your loved one? We’re here to help you find only the very best destinations in Africa for that couples getaway you’ve been meaning to plan forever! After all, what could be more romantic than surprising your sweetheart with a trip to exciting and majestic Africa? Safaris, wildlife, adventures, spectacular views and delicious food awaits … Here’s our list of the top five romantic escapes—each one is the epitome of supreme luxury, perfectly combined with lavish romance.

  1. Royal Malewane

Positively the paragon of class and refined grandeur, the Royal Malewane is one of our top picks for a great romantic escape. Surrounded by the majestic African wilderness, couples can enjoy the seclusion and romance that can only come from being immersed in Africa’s beauty. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains, the Royal Malewane is truly the queen of African luxury. If a safari is your idea of the perfect romantic escape—and it certainly should be—then this is absolutely the place for you. The Royal Malewane prides itself on the fact that it treats its guests to the ultimate in exclusivity and privacy—perfect for an intimate escapade for you and your darling.

  1. La Residence

Described as the crown jewel of Franschoek, La Residence is a place of abundant opulence ensconced in the middle of the impossible beauty that is the valley of the vineyards. La Residence has been described as one of the best hotels in the whole world, and why wouldn’t it be? It is an absolutely stunning boutique hotel situated in South Africa’s most picturesque valley. A stay at La Residence is definitely something that should be on your bucket-list—the perfect opportunity to treat yourself and your love. La Residence is entirely and unapologetically opulent—luxury that is unrivalled. Each room is extraordinary in its own way—no two rooms look alike, and each one is overwhelming in its beauty. You cannot go wrong at La Residence; its rooms are stunning, the setting is unmatched, and the food is to die for.

  1. White Pearl

Mozambique is the perfect place to spend with your sweetheart. Spectacular, pristine beaches, and outstanding accommodation—like the accommodation offered at the White Pearl—make Mozambique the ultimate romantic getaway destination for couples seeking luxury and perfection. At White Pearl, guests can soak up the summer sun, sip cocktails at the poolside, or venture into or under the turquoise Indian Ocean. Choose from suites that open out onto their very own private beach or suites that are raised up on stilts to showcase the captivating panoramic views of the ocean. Couples can even treat themselves to relaxing spa treatments—all in the comfort of their own suites.

  1. Royal Livingstone

Victorian elegance set in the heart of Africa, the Royal Livingstone is the epitome of old-world charm. Take a stroll in the lush gardens with your loved one and feel the cool Zambezi mist embrace you. Treat yourselves to a luxurious spa treatment in the private gazebo that overlooks the gentle flowing river. And, after a day full of relaxation, you can catch the gorgeous African sunset—with sundecks suspended out over the river you can look out and take in its delightful splendour. To complete each romantic day, you will be able to indulge in a sublime meal under the candle-lit boughs of the Monkey Tree. This is truly a romantic escape to remember.

  1. Ellerman House

Certainly the pinnacle of modern sophistication, and settled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Ellerman House is the ultimate destination for old-world romance. The charming Edwardian mansion rests upon Lion’s Head Mountain and overlooks the crystal blue ocean that lies beyond. Not only does Ellerman House boast Africa’s greatest art collection, but it also prides itself on its world-class wine selection. The rooms are light and airy, and absolutely spacious; the food is entirely exquisite; and its prime location makes Ellerman House the ideal place to be if you wish to explore the romantic city of Cape Town.

To find out more about these stunning places, click  here or why not take a look at our Royal Romance Tour which combines the beauty, wilderness, adventure, and excitement of Africa by taking you to four different destinations that define luxury and privacy? We promise it will be a tour to remember!

Experience of the Month – Ocean Safaris

Have you always dreamt of swimming alongside whales and dolphins and exploring the depths of the Indian Ocean? Don’t you wish you could relax on your very own stretch of pristine beach and let the breath-taking sunsets transport you into another world.

Presenting our experience of the month – the once in a lifetime – Ocean Safari, jam-packed with what we like to call #iconicmoments

Let’s be honest, 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?

“The highlight for me was swimming with the dolphins and whales which really was exceptional! This really is Africa’s greatest Ocean Safari,” says Director, John Holley, who was commenting on a recent trip he took to White Pearl. “White Pearl is definitely the best value island retreat we have available. The rooms are designed in a Singita Sweni style and have amazing sea views. A personal butler oversees your every move. And it’s even more accessible now than it was previously because there is a direct flight from the Kruger Park.”

White Pearl offers an array of exciting marine activities, many of which are not available anywhere else! The whole beach is part of an enormous marine reserve and offers some unique opportunities.

You can step straight off the beach and jump into the waves. You can snorkel above the reefs of sea life that abounds in the rock pools and shallows. You might prefer to dive down to the reefs and to enjoy the plethora of gorgeous fish swimming amongst the coral. If you are not a diver yet, never fear! Highly skilled dive instructors will introduce you to wonders of the deep.

Alternatively, you might like to kayak in the open ocean or explore the remote coastline. If you’re an adventurous thrill-seeker, you could jump on a deep sea boat and head out for some of the most spectacular game fishing that this coast has to offer.

Ocean Safaris Scuba Dive Mozambique Zanzibar White Pearl

For those of you who really want to explore what the Indian Ocean has to offer, you can swim alongside dolphins and whales as they frolic amongst the waves. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you most certainly will never forget!

Ocean Safaris Scuba Dive 2 Mozambique Zanzibar White Pearl

Back on land, you can explore the verdant coastal bush and sandy beaches on horseback—galloping through the dune forest paths and up to the epic ocean view points. Your ride might end with a canter through the low-tide surf.

At night you might be lucky enough to see loggerhead and leatherback turtles nesting (December to February)—an experience of primal humility.

If Africa’s Greatest Ocean Safari sounds like something you’d like to add to your bucket list, please let us know and we will do our very best to make it happen for you. For just a quick taste of the wonders that await at White Pearl, click here.

 

 

 

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.

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

Zanzibar Tanzania Beaches Safari East Africa

  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 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.

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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.

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

Top 5 African Safari Tours for 2017

“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.” Richard Mullin

With 2016 drawing to a close it’s time to start preparing your 2017 adventures! We’ve hand-picked our Top 5 African Safari’s for 2017 to help you out. Whether you are looking for the perfect family safari, a romantic getaway or an East African adventure… we’ve got just the thing for you!

  1. Africa’s Family Getaway

Africa’s Family Getaway is the ultimate luxury bespoke family holiday. It is full of excitement, adventure and fun while maintaining an indulgent level of sumptuous luxury. It is also completely safe for young children. The One&Only Cape Town is perfectly placed and appointed to accommodate your family in luxury while being an excellent launch pad to the delights of the Cape. Lelapa is malaria free and by far the premier luxury safari camp for families with a quite exceptional children’s programme amidst gorgeous wilderness and opulent accommodation. Likewise Tongabezi is specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance. Click here for full itinerary

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  1. Luxury East African Adventure

This tour as its name suggest is a grand tour of East Africa. From the colonial opulence of Hemingways Nairobi to the breathtaking views and exceptional service at Angama Mara, to the ultimate safari at Singita Faru Faru, to the pearly whites sands of andBeyond’s Mnemba Island Lodge in Zanzibar. Only the very best in East African hospitality, classic safari experiences, sumptuous luxury and unbelievable wildlife encounters await you. Click here for full itinerary. 

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  1. The Royal Romance

Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventurous escapades but infused into all of this is an unmistakable and ancient romance. Iconic Africa’s Royal Romance combines the beauty, wilderness, adventure and pioneering excitement of Africa with four destinations that define supreme luxury permeated with complete privacy and opulent romance. Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. La Residence is the jewel of Franschoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion. Click here for full itinerary

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  1. Safari and Island Retreat

Southern Africa offers some of the most spectacular coastlines the world-over. Iconic Africa has picked boutique luxury on the shores of the raw wild Atlantic and floating in the tropical serenity of the Indian Ocean. Cape Cadogan nestled on the northern slopes of Table Mountain, offers relaxed, family-owned style and luxury – a perfect base from which to explore the awesome beaches, gastronomy and viticulture of the Cape. Azura Benguerra, in the cobalt warm waters of the Indian Ocean offers a new level of fresh sophistication, seclusion and serenity on pristine beaches and unspoilt reefs. In between these, Londolozi Private Granite Suites offer you discerning and opulent hospitality combined with the world’s best leopard viewing. Click here for full interactive itinerary

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  1. Luxury Londolozi African Safari

 Iconic Africa has crafted the perfect mix of the ultimate in African luxury destinations to bring you the Luxury Londolozi African Adventure.  You’ll begin your trip in the Cape of South Africa at the Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city and then visit La Residence perched on the slopes of  the Franschhoek Valley on the world’s most beautiful wine-lands. From there you will travel to the magnificent Londolozi Founders Camp in the exquisite Sabi Sands and then on to  Zambia where you will experience the majesty of Victoria Falls from The Royal Livingstone and lastly to Jao Camp in the midst the wilderness wonderland of the Okavango Delta. Click here for full interactive itinerary.

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Just in case none of these sound right click here for some other wonderful options or contact us to tailor the perfect African Safari for you and your loved ones.

What to Pack for Your Upcoming Safari?

The end of the year is upon us and for those of us going on holiday it’s time to start planning and organising. If you are lucky enough to be going on an African safari we’ve put together the perfect packing list to help you out.

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“There is something about a safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen

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Every person has a right to this feeling and should go on safari at least once… Here’s what you should pack:

ICONIC AFRICA’S EXTRA SPECIAL SAFARI PACKING LIST

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THE BASICS

Trousers (neutral colours)

Shorts (neutral colours)

T-shirts (neutral colours)

Long sleeved t-shirt or turtleneck (neutral colours)

Short sleeved shirts or blouses (neutral colours)

Long sleeved shirt or blouse (neutral colours)

Cardigan/pullover

Scarf/Pashmina

Shoes (closed walking and sandals)

One outfit of “smart casual” evening attire

Swimsuit

Underwear

Socks

Sleepwear

Flip flops (optional) for pool or shower

Personal toiletries

If you are travelling in winter i.e. between April and October ( fleece, warm gloves, scarf and beanie are recommended)

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THE EXTRAS

Sun block

Sunglasses

Wide brimmed hat

Lip balm

Binoculars and a camera are a must

Chargers for your cell phone, camera, video camera, etc.

Batteries for small electronics and cameras

Flashlight

First aid kit

Insect repellent and malaria tablets, depending on where you’re going

Credit and ATM cards

Driver’s licence

Health-insurance card

Local guidebooks

Bird and animal guidebooks

Passport and photocopies of passport

Printouts of reservations

Travel journal

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If you have any questions or think that we have left something out please let us know and be sure to follow our Instagram feed to get you excited for your upcoming safari. And last but not least – enjoy every minute of it. We can assure you that Africa is the most beautiful place you will ever visit… and once you’ve been… you will never stop wanting to go back.