The Wonder of Wild Dogs

If you had to ask any traveller heading to Africa on safari which animal they desire most to see – I bet you African wild dogs wouldn’t be in the top three. Lions are usually right number one on the list, even though they are spectacularly lazy animals.

Selinda Camp Botswana Wild Dogs

But ask any game ranger, safari guide or conservationists – the African wild dog should be on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list and is probably their favourite animal to observe in the bush. The African wild dog, also known as the painted wolf, has immeasurable amounts of energy and are extremely social animals. Both adults and pups enjoy playing and even their relaxation time is exciting to watch and involves some sort of frolicking. They cover great expanses every day and are the most frequent hunters.

African wild dogs may not be as well-known as the regal lion or the majestic elephant among tourists and may even be misunderstood. But they are certainly appreciated and adored for their unique characteristics and nature. Sighting aLycaon pictus is rare outside of certain areas and should be considered a highlight for every visitor. Here’s why:

Firstly, there are approximately only 5 000 African wild dogs left making them critically endangered. This is despite the fact that they are Africa’s most successful hunters attaining 50% more preys than lions.

These amazing statistics can be directly attributed to their individual and pack coordination. They are some of the best communicators and constantly let one another know their location and that of the prey, allowing them to quickly adapt while hunting.

They are rarely sighted because they are most active in the early morning and evening or when the moon is at its brightest.

African wild dogs are constant wonderers and their home or territories can range up to 1,500 km2. 

On your next game drive, if you are lucky enough to spot an African wild dog, impress your fellow travellers with some of the reasons why we love the painted wolf:

Their mottled fur is like their very own finger print. No two dogs have the same coat and the unique pattern makes it easy to spot individual dogs.

African wild dogs have large ears that resemble rounded satellite dishes. The ears have numerous muscles that allow the dogs to swivel them to pick up the faintest sounds.

Their long legs, slender build and rapid muscle recovery ensures their successful hunt rate.

But it’s not only their physical build that ensures they are formidable hunters.

The act of hunting is the most spectacular activity of the wild dog. Here you will not only see their sociable nature but the importance of the pack. Pups that can eat solid food will be given priority to hunt, even over the alphas. But before they can hunt, the pups have a playful ceremony that bonds them and initiates the hunt. They circle the pack, vocalise and touch until the excitement overcomes them.

Wild dogs are not only emotionally competent and intelligent, they are extremely cooperative. While some dogs run ahead and keep close proximity to the prey, others will follow behind and tag team when the lead dogs are exhausted. Once securing the prey, it is shared among the pack, even with those who never helped hunt.

They say it takes a village to raise a kid, and it does – even in the animal kingdom. Pups take preference over even the Alphas and all pack members take responsibility for and help raise the pups.

We are all equals, and this extends to the wild dogs pack. Below the alpha male and female, there is no significant hierarchy.

Unlike other social mammals, the females move from one pack to another when they reach sexual maturity at around 14 – 30 months of age. They will leave the male dogs behind to look after the rest of the pack and form the core of the social group.

Another way African wild dogs communicate besides vocalisation is through body movements. If their tail is tucked between the legs it signals fear and submissiveness. But if the dog has an upright posture with its tail curled over its back it means it is sociable and friendly. Hardly an aggressive animal, this can be gestured by a rigidly upright posture.

If we’ve managed to persuade you that seeing wild dogs should be on your bucket-list – let us know and we will help you make this dream come true!

 

Top 5 Reviews of 2018

“To travel is to live!” Hans Christen Anderson

A big thank you to all our travellers who’ve reviewed us this year!

We do everything in our power to make your dreams come true and there’s nothing better than when they do…

Here are our top five reviews from 2018:

Iconic Africa produced and delivered the ultimate Africa experience. Nobody knows Africa better and can genuinely offer expert comments from their own experiences with accommodation and transport. Our travel consultant Bev was truly exceptional. She leaves nothing to chance and I am so lucky to have had her organise my trip last year and again this year. I would highly recommend Iconic Africa to all who consider a trip to Africa.

-Di Lewis

European Roller Walking Safaris Birds Iconic Africa

Wow!!! From help with the booking to the actual holiday- Even checking we had got back to England safely! Had a fabulous time.

Thank you Lauren and Julia Fryer.

Everything planned and delivered by Iconic Africa was excellent and exceeded our expectations by far. Bev van Schoor was wonderful and just so easy to work with in every respect.

-Geoff

A big thank you to Terri and team for an unforgettable Safari. We will most definitely be back!

-Se

From the second Iconic Africa contacted us and helped us put this trip together it has been seamless, easy, uncomplicated and beyond our expectations of what to expect from our first trip to Africa. The people who met us, cared for us and guided us were the most courteous, hospitable and professional people I have ever met. That includes every person that touched us at Iconic Africa. They responded to every query, email and phone call promptly and with the information and help we needed. The pace of our trip was well thought out and helped us see everything and do everything we wanted to do.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect trip. I can’t thank Iconic Africa, Julia and Lauren Fryer for making it happen! I will shout from the rooftops their praises and will definitely call them for our next trip back to Africa…because that is going to happen!

-Wendy

Wow !!! From help with the booking to the actual holiday- Even checking we had got back to England safely! Had a fabulous time. Thank you Lauren and Julia Fryer .

-Kate

To Kate, Wendy, Se, Geoff, Di and all our other travellers – thank you for taking the time to share your experience and trusting in us to make your African adventure an iconic one. It has been a pleasure attending to you and your familes and sharing in the experience. We look forward to meeting you again in the future!

 

 

Property of the Month – The Silo Hotel

The newly opened Zeitz MOCAA gallery facilitates and represents local talent and emerging African, South African and African-heritage artists. The museum collects, preserves, researches and exhibits art pieces from the 54 states in Africa and artists who live elsewhere with African heritage such as African-American, Afro-Brazilian, and many others. The institution has nine floors, seven that is open to public. Above here, with magnificent panoramic views of Africa’s most beautiful city rests this month’s property of the month – The Silo Hotel.

The Silo Cape Town Hotel The Willaston Bar Restaurant

The significance of this outstanding hotel lies in its history and transformation. For some it may seem like yesterday, and others a lifetime ago that this futuristic hotel was once a grain silo. The grain silo was erected in 1924 and at that time, it was the tallest building in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2001, the grain silo was no longer operational and closed its doors.Architect, Thomas Heatherwick had a dream to transform the old silo into the grandiose hotel that it is today.The actual silos have been converted into the contemporary art gallery – Zeitz MOCAA and the elevator tower has been reconstructed into The Silo Hotel. Heatherwick has made minimal structural changes to the building except for the change to the exterior windows. The existing building pays tribute to its historical and cultural significance but the addition of spectacularly extraordinary glass windows which have been designed to protrude outwards. At night, this outstanding design transforms the hotel into an eye-catching beacon that radiates warm light over the exquisite harbour below.

The Silo Cape Town Hotel Rooftop Dinning

The Silo Cape Town Hotel Granary Cafe

The-Silo-Cape-Town-Hotel-Exterior

Stay in one of Cape Town, South Africa and the world’s most unique hotels. From its exterior lure to the cutting edge interior design and extravagant luxury, this gorgeous converted hotel has all the qualities and characteristics of cinematic opulence. Liz Biden, owner of The Royal portfolio has once again added exquisite pieces of furniture to the accommodation. Playing around with wood colours and fabric textures, this hotel emanates sophistication, elegance and architectural grandeur. This hotel is part of the family owned and run iconic collection of private hotels and residences where guests can once again admire Cape Town’s beauty – this time from a great height while still feeling as though they are a part of the hustle and bustle of the city that lies below. The hotel is remarkable in every sense, offering iconic views to accompany outstanding cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner – for more on this iconic property click here. 

 

South Africa’s “Small Five”

Travellers flock from all over the world to witness South Africa’s magnificent Big Five, often waiting hours to catch a glimpse and photograph the fierce lion or the gentle elephant. The lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard are held in high esteem and even celebrated on our currency.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Lion Kruger Park Safari

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

These big game have the ability to conjure up magical memories for families, especially when travellers are fortunate to see all five on a safari! While the Big Five are extraordinary and charming in physique and manner, there are lots more adored wildlife including the giraffe, zebra, impala and many more that are heartily pursued. Sadly there are some that are forgotten too, but we are here to show you that there’s so much more to South Africa’s animal kingdom.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-game-drive-impala

South Africa has a multiplicity of ecosystems that include remarkable birdlife, small game and insects.Included is South Africa’s Small Five animals that are no less fascinating and should make an addition to everyone’s “must-see” list. The Small Five are elusive creatures and so spotting them is somewhat of an accomplishment. In complete contrast to the size of the Big Five, they maintain a part of their counterpart’s English name. They are the elephant shrew, ant lionrhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise.

ELEPHANT SHREW

Found all over South Africa, the Elephantulus Myurus– getting its name from its long elephant-like snout – reaches an arrested size of 25cm and weigh approximately 60 grams. While they feed on insects, fruit, seeds and nuts, they in turn become food for our slithering reptiles and birds of prey. Because of this, they become extremely scarce and spotting this small insectivore can deem your game drive a success!

ANT LION

The Myrmeleontidae is a peculiar creature with familiar ways. Like the king of the jungle, this insect traps its prey by digging indents into soft sand and pouncing on the ants. Hence the name ant lion. During the adult stage, the pupa develops wings and starts resembling a dragonfly. Although the ant lion is as scarce as the elephant shrew, you will recognise its funnel-shaped death traps that collect ants stumbling into it.

RHINOCEROS BEETLE

The Scarabaeinae dynastinae is one of the largest beetles in southern Africa. Getting its name from the horns on its head much like that of the Rhinoceros. Dynamite comes in small packages as the male rhino beetles are known to be an aggressive creature, fighting off rivals with their horns. The horns are also used to dig, climb and mate. Adult rhino beetles should be applauded. The larval stage can last 12 to 18 months.

BUFFALO WEAVER

The Bubarlornis Niger is found in parks and reserves all over South Africa and is the easiest of the Small Five to spot. And if you can’t seem to find them, you’ll hear them or find their nests. The buffalo weavers are noisy and busy birds that build their woven nests up in the branches of tall trees. They interlace coarse grass and twigs to form large nest structures.

LEOPARD TORTOISE

The Geochelone pardalis is definitely not as fast and agile as the leopard, but definitely poses a striking resemblance.Named for its black and yellow spotted shell, the leopard tortoise is one of the largest breeds in the southern hemisphere with an adult weighing up to 23 kilograms and a shell circumference of up to one metre.

Tag us in your candid images of South Africa’s Small Five on our Instagram account @iconicafrica!

 

Ivory Lodge in Pictures

Ivory Lodge promises unprecedented exclusivity and complete privacy. As one of only two luxury lodges to embrace the majestic Sabi River, Lion Sands Ivory Lodge holds a high esteem as a luxurious accommodation that offers riveting privilege to guests who can explore every recess of the surrounding beautiful landscape without disturbance.

Such solitude makes Lion Sands Game Reserve and Ivory Lodge an exceptional choice and uniquely relevant in the luxury safari industry. Winning recurring international awards, this exquisite property is an obvious choice for remedying a tired soul with its healing ambiance.

Even those who have visited and experienced Ivory Lodge’s restorative character or known its landscapes for generations cannot get accustomed to its splendour or capture its overwhelming beauty in words. The precise memory of an unforgettable experience will forever remain in hearts, not in photographs.

Even pictures cannot do justice to its enriching effects, but we have hand-selected a few of our favourite to paint a picture for you here:

Safari Do’s & Don’ts

Embarking on your first safari can be thrilling and yet overwhelming at the same time. No need to worry, we have put together some guidelines on what to do and not to do for you here:

While wearing traditional ‘safari gear’ is not necessary, we do recommend wearing neutral colours. Did you know that insects are attracted to the colour blue? For more on what to pack for your safari click here.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-game-drive-lions

Before you begin your guided game drive or walking tour, always remember that you are a guest in the animals’ territory and respecting them and their space is imperative.

If you are in a park or reserve that allows walking safaris, preferably have a guide accompany you. They know and understand both the area and the animals.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-game-drive-elephants

Africa’s wildlife is known to be charming, but never attempt to attract an animal’s attention – no matter how adorable they are!

Be especially cautious of young children while on safari and never leave them unattended.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-river-game-drive-elephants

Refrain from imitating animal sounds, clapping your hands, smacking the vehicle or throwing objects. We don’t want to hinder a hunt or cause an animal to abandon or lose a hard-earned meal. Your guide will brief you on the importance of proximity to predators and large animals.

When you are out on a game drive, stay inside the vehicle and observe the animals quietly and with minimal disturbance to their natural activities. Talking loudly, standing upright on game drive vehicles and sudden erratic movements can frighten or scare animals away. Although wild animals in protected areas have become accustomed to vehicles and are unlikely to attack, we do not want to encourage them to recognise you as prey.

andbeyond-chobe-under-canvas-game_drive-sunset

Never attempt to feed or approach any wildlife on foot. The wild animals face the consequences as they become accustomed to humans and their food. They become dependent on these distributions and will over time become a nuisance and a danger to campers and safari-goers.

Do not litter during your game drive. Recyclable and non-recyclable items tossed on the ground is not only unsightly, but can choke or poison animals and birds.

Remember the saying dynamite comes in small packages? The mosquito is one of the most pesky animals in Africa. Always check whether you need to take malaria profilactics for your desired destination.

Lastly, if you have a camera, use it to take fantastic wildlife photographs. Leave your phone at the lodge or in your bag as it can become a distraction and you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to see a rare bird or animal pass by – just because you are reading your messages or emails.

 

 

Preserving Our Elephants

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing”. – John Donne.

For centuries, elephants have covered the expanse of Africa… until recent years. Large elephant populations can be found in South Africa in the Addo Elephant Park and the Kruger National Park – both who have made assertive efforts to protect and house large herds of the African Bush Elephant.

Botswana-Safari-Okavango-Safari-Banner-Elephants

The Kruger National Park’s Elephant Management Plan was fashioned and is overseen on a daily basis by the Kruger Park Management team of SANParks. This management plan outlines the key strategic engagement of elephant conservation within SANParks in accordance with the attributes of tourism objectives.

The conservation programme’s aim is to ensure that natural processes determine elephant population growth, mortality and movement patterns. Distinctively different from the previous elephant management strategies – which focussed on attempting to reduce number of elephants through contraception, culling and live animal removal, controlled fires and fence erection– the existing project manages the elephant population found in the Kruger National Park by restoring and mimicking natural features of the natural environment that impacts on the elephant’s use of the land.

The Kruger National Park’s conservation strategy has five key objectives:

  1. Restoring spacial limitations on the landscape;
  2. Addressing the consequences of historic management actions on the current situation;
  3. Engaging local communities, landowners and ecotourism operations concerns and issues about elephants and act on the issues raised;
  4. The aligning of SANParks and Trans Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) elephant management policies through consensual approaches;
  5. Ongoing adaption of this conservation strategy through research and internal and external review of management actions.

Seeing an elephant in the wild is certainly one of life’s most wondrous encounters. We hope that through conservation efforts such as these that our children, our children’s children and many more generations to come… get to see Africa’s largest land mammal in its natural habitat.

Cape Town Uncovered

Cape Town has something which will appeal to all travellers – from honeymooners and romantics to big families. The multifaceted city caters for the more adventurous, as well as the leisurely who prefer beaches and spas. Without question, Cape Town is one of the world’s most spectacular cities resting against the iconic “New 7 natural wonders of the world” member, Table Mountain.

Here are a few interesting things you might not know about the Mother City:

Affectionately known as the Mother City by locals and travellers, this city’s nickname derives from theGreek word ‘metros’ meaning mother – as it was the first metropolitan city in South Africa according to Selwyn Davidowitz, a recognised Cape Town tour guide.

Another nickname you may have come across while planning your vacation to Cape Town is Cape of Storms. This name was given b the famous explorer Bartholomew Dias because of the unpredictable weather of the Atlantic Ocean that used to render ships and sailors forsaken just off our coast.

Did you know that Cape Town’s 2011 census survey indicated that 43.2% of the Western Cape’s population is 25 years or younger… This city is a hotspot for young solo travellers.

The celebrated and legendary Table Mountain which began forming around 280 million years ago witnesses at least two nuptial services a month! What better way to begin a romantic life with your beloved than overlooking candyfloss-clouds cascading down the mountain side.Did you know that the plateau of Table Mountaispans almost 22 000 hectares and claims more flora than the entire British Isles or New Zealand?

The Cape Floral Kingdom – a UNESCO world heritage site – is home to nearly 7000 indigenous plants such as the peninsula snapdragon.

Cape Town boasts the only tobogganing track in Africa…If you enjoy the thrill of downhill sledging then head 25km out of the city centre for a day of adventure at Cool Runnings.

Cape Town has been named one of this year’s top 10 cities in the world for surfing.

Meeting certain safety, security and cleanliness standards, eight Cape Town beaches have been given Blue Flag awards by the Blue Flag Campaign. These beaches include Clifton, Camps Bay, and Llandudno, as well as Muizenberg and False Bay.

 

Lion’s Head wasn’t name after wild felines roaming the mountain. In fact, around 300 years ago, Dutch settlers named the peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) and what’s known as Signal Hill today as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail) because the two peaks formed what resembled a crouching lion.

The Castle of Good Hope was actually built using stone extracted from Signal Hill.

With an abundance of vineyards, it is undeniable that Cape Town is famous for its beautiful farms and wines – our key export!

For more on where to stay in our exquisite Mother City click here.

 

Getting to know Zambia

Zambia – recently recognised as one of the safest countries in the world – is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Famously sharing the Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe, the Zambian side offers travellers the magnificent Devil’s Pool. Just north of the capital Lusaka, is some of Africa’s finest safari experiences that offer sightings of the Big Five as well as lechwe antelope, impalas, giraffes, zebras, hippos and various birdlife.

Balloon Safaris Zebra Iconic Africa

Besides being celebrated for its Victoria Falls border, Zambia is the land of walking safaris, the Zambezi River, an abundance of wildlife areas, rugged terrains and picturesque wilderness. Truly a country for multigenerational travel, Zambia has unprecedented natural wonders for the adrenaline-seekers and leisurely pastimes for the more timid.

Known for its copious water bodies, Zambia has seventeen Instagram-worthy waterfalls in addition to the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. The more daring can venture in to vast open spaces and remote rural areas in search of an adventure.

Here are our top five spots to add to your Zambian itinerary for a memorable vacation:

Victoria Falls

It is the largest cascade of falling water in the world! Get up close to the rushing water at the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and take your pick from plenty of fun activities nearby or take a walk across the Knife-Edge Bridge.

Lake Tanganyika

It is the second largest lake in eastern Africa, the longest freshwater lake and the second deepest in the world. It also forms part of the border between Tanzania and Zambia.

Zambezi

Feeding life into a diverse set of flora, the ‘Great River’ is the fourth-longest river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. Voted one of the best white water rivers, thrill seekers can experience white water rafting and canoe safaris here.

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

Kalambo Falls

This world-class 235 metre single sheet drop is located on the border of Zambia and Tanzania at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika. This canopy of water is one of the tallest uninterrupted falls in Africa.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake. Head here for mesmerising views of the landscape and sunset or a day of fun outdoor activities such as fishing, boat safaris, water sports and so much more!

Share your spectacular photos of your Zambian adventures with us on Instagram @iconicafrica!

Multigenerational Travel – The Who, What, Where & How

“Family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” George Santayana

Multigenerational travel – a frequent choice among travellers – has grown in popularity over the years. Families no longer focus on collecting things, but prefer accumulating authentic and memorable experiences with three or more generations ranging from infants to great-grandparents. Although traveling with such a diversely-aged group can be daunting, it has become a trend.

With more time and distance between loved ones, families are taking advantage of free time to travel and maximise family time. Each age group instigates a new travel trend – be it adventure, some R&R or personal enrichment. Fortunately, multigenerational travel can accommodate everyone’s travel needs. Appealing to all age groups, each generation can create their own memories while having an authentic experience with the entire family.

What matters is the people you are with; but so does where you go and what you do… so we have put together some multigenerational travel tips for you here:

Before choosing where to go, you need to decide who will be paying. Family vacations include the young and old, immediate family and sometimes close friends. Never assume that you are or aren’t paying. Rather discuss who’s footing what bill before planning the vacation – that way there are no surprises and you can begin to budget.

Determine a budget before you begin putting together an itinerary. Once you’ve established who’s paying for what, you can then decide where you want to go, how much you want to spend and what you would like to do.

One of the main concerns for large families is visiting a destination that works for a diverse group. This is why so many people choose Africa as their top multigenerational travel destination! It can be exhausting trying to appeal to so many age groups on different levels, but it is important that you have a balance of and enough activities – something Africa is not short of. You can accommodate those who prefer scenic game drives and luxurious pampering, adrenaline seekers and young first-timers.

The great thing about Africa is that there doesn’t have to be the debate of visiting an ‘old favourite’ or trying something new. Some families believe that returning to a place they have already been to and enjoyed is the safe choice. However, each country will evoke that special meaning or sentimental value – one of Africa’s great gifts.

Perhaps choose the same time to visit Africa, plan an itinerary that will give you the same experience and choose a new destination.

Decide on which time of the year is most suitable for the age demographics on your trip (as the weather can often determine which activities you can do) and what type of accommodation you are looking for. For larger families, it is ideal to book an entire suite or villa instead of single rooms – especially with young children.

Planning ahead and knowing what each traveller wants out of the trip is the easiest way to put together a vacation that everyone enjoys. By knowing what they hope to see and do is a good way to decide on a location. Africa can often accommodate multiple travel requirements at the same destination. Most countries have an array of landscapes and activities including mountain escapes and seaside living.

Every African country offers the wonders of nature – but southern Africa in particular is home to magnificent wildlife including the Big Five, birdlife and marine life if your family’s ideal holiday includes game drives and safari walks.

Ocean Safaris White Pearl Mozambique

Or come down to Cape Town for the best of both – the mountain and sea. This way you can please everyone with the beach and the bush. This city is ideal for both indoor and outdoor leisure activities such as visiting Table Mountain, sea kayaking or shopping!

Africa is the ideal place to begin a tradition of multigenerational travel – especially with young children. Introduce them to the natural wonders of the world here and give them a new-found love and respect for wildlife, fauna and flora.

Ocean Safaris Mozambique Zanzibar Turtle Iconic Africa

If child friendly accommodation is what you’re worried about, do not fret. Most lodges, reserves and parks host exciting activities and programmes for children under 12. For more on our top family friendly safari destinations click here.

Do not let multigenerational travel frighten you. Planning a family vacation of such magnitude is easy if you plan ahead. Africa offers travellers an overwhelming variety of destinations – each with its own unique culture, cuisine, landscapes and activities. In Africa, you can be amongst the mountains, in rugged terrains or near the ocean at one destination, so tailor your vacation to fulfil everyone’s travel desires!

 

Londolozi’s Lovely Revamp

Londolozi effortlessly exceeds all expectations of a luxurious, hospitable, wilderness getaway and as you all know – it has a very special place in our hearts! Therefore we are incredibly proud to share with you the most recent updates including the new Varty Camp which reopened its doors to visitors on the 24 March 2018, the introduction of a completely new addition to the Londolozi family – the Londolozi Healing House, which was unveiled in April and the rejuvenation of the famous Private Granite Suites.

Our director John Holley recently returned from Londolozi, and he says“…the new Varty Rooms are exceptional! Light years ahead of the previous rooms and now a greater experience and great value for money.” “They have also made amazing little touches to the Granite Suite and really completed the whole experience.”

With elevated chalets thoughtfully merged into the beautiful riverine forest alongside the Sand River, Varty camp has refurbished the living spaces of each chalet without producing any unnecessary construction. The architectural vision remains conscious of the importance of creating simple, elegant rooms that could be havens for stillness – crafted as spaces for contemplation and where one could find time to enjoy an intangible connection to nature.

Each accommodation emulates Londolozi’s mantra of simplicity, tranquillity, peace, harmony – where guests can create quiet and deep connections with the 6 million acres of wilderness that the camp remain subordinate to.

The refurbishment of the existing chalets has placed the emphasis on outdoor living – still boasting its own private plunge pool and expansive wooden deck, looking out into the riverine bush and the abundant wildlife that roams the riverbed below.

In addition, an outdoor lounge area, outdoor shower and outdoor dining sala have been added to complement the existing symphony between man and nature. The room interiors are dressed in shades of white, grey and oak, whilst wall-to-wall mirrors reflect the riverine forest that surrounds. The footprint of the buildings, the meandering paths and old dolerite stone walls remain unchanged since their original construction, and the authentic look and feel of Varty Camp has not only been maintained but enhanced.

The brand new Healing House at Varty Camp has crafted specific treatments with the combination of bodywork and alternative wellness which offer guests the opportunity for true relaxation that will restore and transform mind, body and soul. The resident Wellness Practitioners and Therapists are trained to facilitate an unprecedented, integrated holistic nature-based experience which is unparalleled in Southern Africa.

And not forgetting Londolozi’s Private Granite Suite that pulsates romance and moulds seamlessly into the surrounding environment. The granite surfaces jutting out in front of your private deck are playgrounds for herds of elephants – so close you could almost touch them.

Set as a refuge in the inner temple of Londolozi’s five camps, the accommodation has been further enhanced by the addition of a sunset river bar and sunken cocktail lounge suspended high above ground. The Private Granite Suites themselves have been refurbished to Londolozi’s highest standards and the décor continues to honour the rooms’ proximity to the river and the daily visits by elephants in front of the camp.

For more on this – one of our most exceptional camps click here.

Sarah’s Review of Marataba

Sarah Evans has recently returned from a wonderful family trip at Marataba – an amazing destination with a backdrop of the exquisite Waterberg Mountains. “Magical” is how she described her trip in one word… here’s more on what she had to say as well as some of her exquisite photos:

If you could describe Marataba to someone who’s never been there what would you say?

“Imagine a classic, high end safari against the majestic backdrop of the Waterberg Mountains, with the added benefit of a river safari, making it reminiscent of being in the Okavango Delta!”

What was your most unforgettable moment?

“Undoubtedly, seeing a mother and daughter lioness pair, with their cubs – the mother had a 6 week old cub, who was very sweet and inquisitive, and the daughter had 3 three month old cubs. We were one of the first guests to see the new cub and it was very special – made all the more special by the fact that it was only ours and one other vehicle at the viewing.

Also, the sundown cruise on Miss Mara was unique and thoroughly enjoyable! The children wouldn’t hesitate to add the few river crossings we did in the vehicle, especially if the water made its way into the foot wells!”

What did you think of the staff at Marataba?

“Fantastic!! Our guide, Darryn, was the perfect guide for a family trip! He was very knowledgeable about the fauna and flora, engaging the children with wonderful stories of his experiences. He was also well suited to dealing with children – he was fun, kind and let them each have a turn as his “assistant” upfront in the passenger seat!

At the camp, we were looked after by Gladys who was wonderful! Always smiling, with a “welcome, thank you”, she attended to our every need.

On the whole, each and every member of staff we had interaction with were friendly and warm, we were made to feel very at home and spoilt.”

What did you love most about the safari experience?

“Being in the bush – it gets me every time! Having grown up in South Africa, with countless visits to camps in and around Kruger, Zimbabwe and Botswana, it feels special every time. Seeing nature as it should be seen – and now, on this particular occasion, introducing our children to that same experience, was very memorable for me.”

What is your favourite animal to see in the wild and why?

“It is hard to choose just one! Honestly, I have enjoyed so many sightings, which haven’t been about the Big Five, and they have been equally special.

If you twisted my arm, I would say seeing lion is always thrilling!”

What would you rate Marataba out of 10 in terms of luxury accommodation?

“9/10.”

If you could describe your trip in one word what would it be?

“Magical!”

Where in Africa would you like to go next?

“I would love to go back to Botswana with the kids, as well as Namibia.”

Thank you so much Sarah for sharing – we hope to be a part of your next African adventure!
If you have visited Marataba, share with us your favourite memory or tag us in your wonderful pictures on Instagram @iconicafrica