Month on Instagram

Does your soul yearn for fiery sunsets, untouched open spaces and dreamy star-lit evenings? Do you dream of hearing lions roar, cicadas chirp and fish eagles call? Say no more…let us bring Africa to you.

Heart-stopping wildlife photographs, on-safari footage, Africa’s most exquisite creatures and unforgettable experiences captured right here… in this Month on Instagram. #Africa #bigfive #luxury #safari

 

Samara – A Safari for the Soul

“The Karoo is not as much a place as a feeling, it enters through your bloodstream – taking its time to unfold before it’s time to leave. Then you realise it’s taken a hold of your soul.” Unknown.

Set in the heart of the Karoo, this award-winning, 5-star luxury game reserve is one of South Africa’s most iconic destinations, promising a safari for the soul – like no other. If you need to feel relaxed, revitalised and refreshed then this is the spot for you.

Samara Supports Tracker Academy Fundraiser

Before we say more… we’d like to thank Samara for their very generous support of our Tracker Academy Fundraiser taking place in Atlanta on the 3rd of October. One lucky couple will be taking home two free life-changing nights at Samara.

More on Samara:

Award-winning Samara Private Game Reserve sits on 70,000 acres of breathtaking wilderness south-east of Graaff-Reinet. Best described as ‘heart-stoppingly beautiful’, Samara uniquely encompasses four vegetation biomes offering a diversity of landscapes and wildlife. Endangered cheetah, black rhino and springbok roam the extensive plains framed by dramatic purple mountains, whilst herds of Cape mountain zebra, wildebeest and eland cavort on the unique ‘Samara Mara’ – thousands of acres of plateau grasslands resembling the East African Serengeti.

Samara boasts just two intimate five-star lodges, sleeping a maximum of 26 guests, so it will feel like you have this timeless landscape all to yself when you gaze out for miles from the lookout points and dine under a canopy of stars. As well as providing a magical and romantic setting, Samara has a greater social and environmental purpose. The Samara project, started in 1997, seeks to recreate a sustainable Great Karoo ecosystem, and forms part of a greater vision to promote landscape-scale conservation in the region – a protected area system of 1.3 million acres in size.

Accommodation includes:

Karoo Lodge, a lovingly renovated 1800s farmhouse encircled by a natural amphitheatre of mountains. Combining colonial comforts and modern day luxuries with a rustic and welcoming feel, Karoo Lodge is the perfect place to relax and allow the tranquility of the Karoo to envelop you – on the wide verandah in summer or by the cosy fire in winter. With nine double rooms of varying sizes, Karoo Lodge caters for individual travellers, couples and families.

The luxurious Manor House, an exclusive-use villa ideal for families and groups looking for privacy, indulgence and complete relaxation, sleeps 8 in four luxury suites. The Manor is unique in its warm design, which reflects the local landscape and traditions with a light, modern twist, interpreted through the eyes of talented South African interior designer John Jacob Zwiegelaar. Upon arrival your eye is drawn through the glass double doors flanked by beaded African artwork and traditional Karoo antiques to the breathtaking views beyond. Unwind as you watch the Karoo mountain landscape unfold over a 21m infinity pool.

Food at Samara is served from the Karoo Kitchen, delivering lovingly-prepared fare rustled up by the local chefs. Expect mouthwatering meals using the freshest produce and recipes handed down from generation to generation, evoking that famous Karoo hospitality. Friendly yet unobtrusive service is a Samara hallmark, and the team will welcome you as part of the extended Samara family.

Activities include game drives, guided walks, wilderness picnics, cheetah tracking on foot, aardvark spotting (winter is best), birding, hiking, mountain biking and the luxury star bed (open October to April). Samara is malaria-free and welcomes children of all ages with a dedicated children’s programme.

For more on Samara and the magic that awaits please contact us.

Slow Cooked Beef Brisket with Harissa

“Brisket is an often overlooked cut of meat, but cooked slowly with enough love and care it can be coaxed to greatness. Here, I’ve paired it with a fiery, full of flavour North African chilli paste called Harissa that I think you’ll love.” Sarah Graham

Ingredients

Cooks in:        Serves:6

2.5kg piece of brisketHarissa Recipe

  • ¼ cup dried chillies (preferably smoked, and I prefer not too hot)
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (or alternative of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato purée

What to do

1. Soak the chillies and sundried tomatoes in hot water for 5 minutes or until softened.

2. Meanwhile, toast the spices in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant.

3. Add the soaked chillies and tomatoes to your pestle and mortar, along with the spices and remaining ingredients and grind into a rough paste.

For the Brisket
Pre-heat your oven to 150C and take a 2.5kg piece of brisket (bone in) and coat it well with the Harissa paste.
Cook for 4 hours, covered, or until the meat is tender.

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

Click here for more of Sarah’s delicious recipes.

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.

Photography

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.

Instagram Takeover – Lucien Beaumont

Our great friend @lucienbeaumont is back for his second #IATakeover. Just in case you missed these on Instagram click here and scroll down for his best shots of 2017 so far. Thank you Lucien!

Month on Instagram

Award-winning wildlife photographs, the ultimate in African luxury, unforgettable experiences… and so much more!

Property of the Month – Singita Lebombo

Iconic Africa’s relationship with Singita dates back decades and we certainly have a significant soft spot for their lodges – they really and truly are magical places. This month we’d like to congratulate Singita Lebombo as July’s Property of the Month.

Singita, means “place of miracles,” which truly embodies everything for which this incredible brand has become famous. Astonishing game viewing, amplified by exquisite accommodation and outstanding home-grown cuisine – all with a touch of genuine, warm African hospitality. For many avid African travellers, Singita represents the summit of luxury African safari. This world class experience has been recognised globally with endless awards in numerous travel publications! At last count Singita had in fact won “Top Hotel in the World” awards an implausible 16 times!

For a quick taste of the magic that awaits you there click on the video below:

Singita Lebombo perches ceremoniously along ancient cliff tops overlooking vast African plains and the magnificent Nwanetsi River. Set on the 33 000 acre private concession within the world famous Kruger National Park, this is a lodge that embodies African sophistication and an extravagant panache which only the Singita collection could have created. It is little wonder Singita Lebombo is consistently voted amongst the top hotels and lodges in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller and many others. Here are a few reasons why we love this lodge:

African extravagance

Singita Lebombo’s fifteen ultra-luxurious suites are an incredible combination of steel, wood and gentle African materials wrapped by a wall to wall glass casing and sweeping deck which boast exquisite African views.

Fine dining

Singita Lebombo has become renowned for its fine dining and its private wine collection. Each meal is expertly tailored by the Lebombo chefs to your tastes and preferences; paired by your Sommelier to ensure an enchanting African cuisine and wine experience.

Unmatched African discoveries

Singita Lebombo is however not just celebrated for its luxury. The 33 000 acre private concession covers 4 different eco-zones and offers a diverse selection of fauna and flora. This in turn supports a diverse and high density of wildlife. Early morning and late afternoon game drives venture into the Lebombo Mountains and expansive African plains. Skilled rangers and Shangaan trackers work tirelessly to ensure you are all but guaranteed your view of the mysterious Big 5.

Singita activities

In between game drives relax peacefully at the Lebombo swimming pool or treat yourself to an African Spa treatment. If you fancy something a little more energetic then wander across to the Lebombo gym, head into the African wilderness for a guided walk or hop onto a mountain bike and explore the Lebombo Mountains in the company of your game ranger.

Ideal holidays

An African luxury safari is the ultimate family vacation. Singita Lebombo welcomes children over the age of ten years and has a tailored kid’s programme to ensure your children are stimulated and entertained – while you relax! A family safari vacation is a time to bond with your loved ones, experiencing the wonders of Africa’s wilderness together, away from life’s many disruptions.
Whether you choose to unwind or partake in the many stirring Singita Lebombo activities; Iconic Africa is certain your stay at this luxurious lodge will exceed your wildest dreams, creating a lifespan of memories and awakening your passions to quintessential Africa.

Iconic Africa enjoys a long standing relationship with the Singita team which allows us swift and simple access to fantastic rates and availability. Simply contact one of our African safari experts and begin your journey to Africa with us.

 

Experience of the Month – Great Migration

There is no natural phenomenon quite like The Great Migration which takes place in East Africa every year. The wildebeest migration is rated as one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles, and an experience that should have its place on every safari-lover’s bucket list – this month, it’s our Experience of the Month! For a very quick sneak peek of what awaits you in East Africa have a look at the video below and for more on the actual migration…. keep reading!

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.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

We were fortunate enough to witness the world’s greatest wildlife show in the Serengeti last year. Here’s a little taste of what you have to look forward to:

“We were overwhelmed with disbelief as we watched 5000 wildebeest scramble down the steep cliff and launch themselves into the muddy water with absolute faith that they would make it to the other side. They swam in hoards, tenaciously fighting the current, and then climbing up the far bank to join their teammates in tangible jubilation. The noise was deafening; the panic was palpable. It was literally survival of the fittest. They just kept coming… and they just kept swimming… we couldn’t believe how many there were and how determined they were to get to the other side.”

“We had done it! We had witnessed the wonder of the great crossing and, my goodness, was it worth every second we had waited. From the first day of our trip there had been unspoken anticipation and excitement about whether or not we would be lucky enough to see the great migration. You can never truly know if you will be fortunate—that is nature’s unpredictability and, as a result, the prize is an even sweeter gift that no one can ever take away from you. It’s Africa at its best, it’s nature showing off, and it’s certainly something every human should witness.”

Crocodile Attack Great Migration Angama Mara Tanzanaia Masaai Mara

The trouble with the wildebeest migration is that it can be so unpredictable and, if you get your timing wrong, you could miss the whole event. Therefore, it is imperative to do your homework first and to work out where and when to go before you even book your flights!

There are typical movement patterns but they can, and do, vary from month-to-month, and year-to-year, as the herds follow the rains and the new grass. Being amongst the migration is an experience like no other; it truly is something you will never forget. The herds stretch for as far as the eye can see, there’s endless mooing, and an awe-inspiring sense of knowing that this community of wildebeest works together towards the common goal of survival.

There are certain times of the year where you have a better chance of experiencing the magic of the migration. Click here for some pointers on when to go to East Africa.

iconic-africa-east-africa-migration-african-luxury-safaris

We wish you all the best on your mission to see Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle! For more information on the absolute abundance that awaits you in East Africa, click here! For more advice on booking an epic Great Migration safari, click here.

Instagram Takeover – Lucien Beaumont

Specialist safari guide, wildlife photographer and friend of Iconic Africa, Lucien Beaumont has been kind enough to share some of his best shots of 2017 so far. Just in case you missed these on Instagram click here and scroll down. Thank you Lucien!

 

Property of the Month – Royal Malewane

This month we’d like to congratulate our friends and colleagues at the Royal Portfolio for a real shining star in a world-class collection of properties.

Presenting our Property of the Month – the Royal Portfolio’s, Royal Malewane.

This video says it all – but just in case you need more reason to visit this sensational property… read on for more.

On a private game reserve bordering the Kruger National Park lies the conquering queen of African luxury experiences. This Royal majesty is set against the silhouetted back drop of the towering Drakensberg Mountains. Yet despite this awe inspiring setting it is the Royal Malewane’s lavish attention to detail in every aspect which belies belief and which has earned this regal property its plethora of “World’s Best” awards over the past decade.

Luxury beyond compare

The Royal Malewane reserve is set in the Mpumulanga lowveld and is well-known for its consistently incredible game viewing. Royal Malewane is the undoubted icon of extravagant safari destinations and offers its guests every modern-day comfort and convenience while at the same time embracing the wild heart of Africa. Royal Malewane prides itself in sharing an exclusive safari experience beyond compare with its heightened attentiveness to ultimate privacy, personalised hospitality and incredible wildlife sightings. The inclusion of the Royal Malewane Bush Spa, world-renowned for its striking setting and oasis of treatments, crowns the safari and all round experience with sheer indulgent pleasure.

Royal Malewane hosts a maximum of 20 guests insuring a continuously intimate experience. There is an option of either one of six luxury suites for couples, or for even more privacy and seclusion, one of two four-sleeper Royal Suites.

The air-conditioned luxury suites are an opulent hideaway from the heat of the bushveld yet display unparalleled views of wild spaces beyond. Each suite is generously spacious with a private outside wooden deck and rim-flow pool.   If you are in luck, a small herd of elephant might drink even from the pool waters as you take an afternoon plunge. Classic mahogany furnishings compliment the refined extravaganza of Persian carpets and canopied king-size bed while indoor and outdoor showers leave you rejuvenated and refreshed.

The Royal suites exemplify the definition of style and splendour. An enormous outside deck and sparkling pool give even four guests the freedom to cherish their solitude, and the inside living areas tell stories of colonial times gone by through treasured antiques and over-sized chandeliers.

Both the Luxury suites and the Royal suites speak to guests seeking a high-end luxury retreat.

The Royal assault on our senses

World beating game viewing

Royal Malewane holds the secret ingredients for enchanting all your senses. The spectacular close encounters with unbelievable wildlife on dawn and dusk game drives create unforgettable memories and countless photographs to look back on. Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino, to name but a few, are enthusiastically pursued by the passionate guide and tracker team. What’s more if viewing the highly endangered Black Rhino is on your wish list then there is no better place than Royal Malewane to get a glimpse of this exceptionally rare animal.

Homely indulgent cuisine

The dining experience at Royal Malewane is a signatory feature. Let your imagination run wild while savouring delectable dishes under the stars in the boma or by candle-light in the Bedouin tent. Service is of a premium standard and you are lovingly serenaded whether it is by the night’s natural chorus or the hum of traditional song and dance.

Royal Malewane

Africa’s crystal clean ambiance

Inhale the gentle tannins and rich forest-floor aromas wafting out of a goblet of Merlot or take a relaxing amble along the elevated walkways in search of a commonly-found Mopane Tree. The kidney-shaped pods release a fragrance of rich raw honey and the butterly leaves make for unusual bookmarks.

Royal Malewane’s activities

Royal Malewane offers an exciting assortment of additional luxurious activities from helicopter flights and hot air balloon rides to a round of golf on the exclusive Leopard Creek Championship Golf Estate. But for those in need of relaxation and tranquillity, Royal Malewane’s Bush Spa is dedicated to timeless languor.

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.

 

 

Apple and Buckwheat Bircher Muesli

“There’s a lot to love about this humble jar of soaked overnight oats – not only is it full of nourishing goodness, but it’s also a brilliant blank canvas for so many different fruits and flavours, and it’s your best friend for when you’re dashing out the door for a busy day ahead, or just simply heading out for a picnic to enjoy the great outdoors.” Sarah Graham. 

Ingredients

Add the following to a large mixing bowl

  • 1 cup buckwheat, rinsed
  • 1 heaped cup whole oats
  • 2 apples (or pears or even carrots or beetroot) finely chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped blanched almonds or pecan nuts (or a mix of both)
  • ½ cup mixed seeds
  • ½ cup cranberries (without added sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds, or 1 Tbsp hemp seed powder
  • 2 Tbsp baobab powder
  • ½ cup fresh orange or apple juice (or clementine)
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1-2 cups cooled rooibos tea (mixed with 1 tsp honey if you like) or nut milk
  • ½ – 1 cup maas (or buttermilk)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbsp of cacao powder for chocolate variation

Toppings, to serve

  • Greek Yoghurt or coconut cream
  • Extra nuts and seeds (chia seeds, mixed seeds)
  • Honey or maple syrup (just a small drizzle)
  • Fresh or frozen berries (blueberries)

What to do

Mix everything together, transfer to a large glass jar with a lid, and store in the fridge overnight or until serving.

Notes

If you are gluten intolerant make sure you buy certified gluten free oats.
One batch lasts in the fridge for up to 7 days.

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