Property of the Month – Royal Chundu

The natural excitement of being in the African bush is amplified by the romance and adventure of this magnificent lodge bordering both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Camouflaged between the untouched and untamed natural beauty of the surrounding lush vegetation, Royal Chundu heightens the senses with the sights and sounds this ‘paradise on earth’ has to offer. Coupled with the colonial décor and African charm, the River and Island lodge offers guests peace, quiet and serenity. Either overlooking the bushveld or relaxing alongside the bank of the Zambezi River, the spirit of Zambia is evident, especially in the staff from neighbouring villages. Scroll down for more details about the two lodges and why Royal Chundu has captured our hearts this month.

Royal Chundu, the first Relais & Chateaux property in Zambia, is 14 suites of majestic and secluded opulence nestled on the Zambian bank of the immense Zambezi River. Here, upstream of the Victoria Falls, the river is a wide and tranquil elixir that supports a myriad of bird, fish, mammal and plant life. Elephants graze the banks and islands while tiger fish dart through the water after prey. Royal Chundu represents a commitment to unbridled luxury in the wild of Africa and the constant support of local communities.

River Lodge

River Lodge is the majestic hub of Royal Chundu. The double volume thatch main area looks out across the main Zambezi channel onto the distant banks of Zimbabwe. It feels as if nature birthed this Zambian gem, so seamlessly does it fit into the vegetation around it. The sumptuous sitting rooms are softly lit by crystal yellow glowing chandeliers. The acres of wooden decking, deep cool pool and serene atmosphere offer endless delightful spaces for rest and reflection. The fabulously stocked wine cellar and library full of leather-bound volumes offer sophisticated retreats at night or when the weather closes in.

The ten superbly decorated and sublimely comfortable suites are spacious tributes to the Zambezi and the warmth of the local people. They offer complete privacy indoors and outside on the generous private decks. The river meanders on its timeless journey while hippos surface in the shallows, bushbuck browse in the verdant vegetation and, if you are lucky, an elephant swims across the main channel as you lie on a chaise longue in astonishment at the engulfing splendour.

Island Lodge

Island lodge is Royal Chundu’s premier camp with just four superb suites secluded on a private island, surrounded by easy channels and shaded by ancient baobabs. Each suite is a testament to the romance of Africa. The highlight of your private deck is the open-air bath. The acme of rejuvenation is to lie in the tub suspended over the river while inhaling the soft, sweet scent of the river.

If you are not watching the action in the water from the extra length king size bed, then you might be sipping a gin and tonic from the shaded basket chair on the deck or lazing in a tender lounge armchair. The entire front of the suite is fronted with glass concertina doors which means you are constantly thrilled by the wildness of the Zambezi while recharging in the lap of profound luxury.

The main area boasts two opulent lounges, a dining deck slung out under the star-sprayed African sky, an intimate boma and an infinity pool to quench the heat of the day and help you empathise with the hippo grunting with satisfaction in the river below.

Families

Children of all ages are welcome at Royal Chundu and there is an excellent children’s programme where budding young naturalists can have wilderness fun in complete safety under the watchful gaze of the high-skilled Royal Chundu Staff. While your spirit is being recharged with a spa treatment or a snooze on the deck, your kids will be treasure hunting, catching fish, cooking, cruising on the river and visiting local villages.

For more on this exceptional property click here.

 

 

 

 

Our Favourite Family Friendly Lodges

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

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

Lelapa Lodge at Madikwe Safari Lodge

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

Tswalu Lodge in the Kalahari

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

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

Londolozi in Sabi Sands

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

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

Month on Instagram

What a month it’s been. We’ve visited beautiful Botswana,  popped by one of the world’s 7 wonders and gone on a magical East African safari. We’ve toured Africa’s exquisite landscapes through the expert lens of @jacofotos and so much more. Just in case you missed out… click here for our month on Instagram.

Not your average sundowner spot… @Maratabasouthafrica

A post shared by Iconic Africa (@iconicafrica) on

#BeKindToElephants 📷 @grazwoodphoto

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How to Safari in Style

Here’s the latest on travelling through Africa the way it should be travelled – comfortably and fashionably.

Africa, especially South Africa has an array of climates in a single day. September to November in Southern Africa sees temperatures climbing as the weeks go by. Many safari destinations across Southern Africa approach their peak season and winter’s unsympathetic wind and rain is replaced by crisp morning sun.

game reserve and national park river sunset

Summer (November to March, sometimes April) in the Northern provinces such as the Kruger, is extremely hot and humid with temperatures reaching 40°C. Dusk and dawn embrace variations of ‘cold’ with temperatures reaching a low of 5°C.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Lion Kruger Park Safari

 

And so you might ask “What safari clothes are right for Africa in summer?” There is no definitive answer on where the best place to go on safari is, but when you have acquired a taste for the bush and the scent of the first rain after a scorching day, you will have a definitive answer on what to wear, what to pack, what to say.

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-sundowners-river-drinks-stop

Our variable weather requires guests to bring along both lightweight cotton or linen garments for the day as well as a warm rain jacket for those cooler nights. Or, if you’re feeling like rococo is alive and well in your heart – a pashmina works well too. Late afternoon or evening thunderstorms are inevitable but welcomed. Of the variety of clothing needed, an umbrella may seem pertinent too. Depending on the laundry service at your bush camp, crease-proof clothing and technical gear are ideal. Click here for a full list on what to pack.

Many first timers wonder whether the need for neutral colours is a myth or fact. Well, if you do not own any neutral colour clothing, it is not necessary to go out and buy, unless you intend to do a walking safari. Most wildlife perceive the vehicle and passengers as one large animal or unit. Wearing bright colours will not necessarily trigger any associations of a threat but if you are walking, ‘bush colours’ are advisable (no white or bright colours). Many visitors consider the classic safari colours of khaki and green cargo pants, but this is a personal preference. If you intend on walking, make sure you pack in a pair of comfortable walking shoes, preferably hiking boots. For pleasant game drives under Africa’s sweltering sun, you’ll need to remember your planter’s hat and retro square sunglasses. Stay protected (sunscreen) and hydrated (bottled water) throughout the day.

Selinda Explorers Camp Botswana Safari

Most of your day will be spent wrapping up the Big 5 safari or combing through South African fauna and flora; touring the vast plains in Tanzania or encountering timeless ethnic tribal culture in Kenya. You’ll want to avoid one-shoulder straps and opt for slings or backpacks with your essentials: wet wipes, band aids, tissues, mosquito repellent and Panado. Summer Safaris are great opportunities to observe and photograph new young wildlife trying to navigate environments and facing life for the first time. If you have binoculars, pack them. Otherwise, photograph the moments you are afraid to forget.

Marataba Safari Lodge River Cruise

In addition to your cotton or linen pants and shirts, mix up your outfits with shorts, tank tops and thick-sole sandals. If you’d like to dress up your outfits from daywear to evening wear for dinners or trips to the dorp (small town), include long dresses with summer knits and a neck scarf or two. Pack in long sleeves and trousers for the evening to guard against mosquitos.

sayari-swimming-pool-watching-elephants-landscape
And last of all don’t forget to pack in a swimming costume for those hot summer days in the bush.
We hope this post has helped you somewhat and that you have a lekker (great) time in Africa. Please let us know if you have any other questions at all.

Instagram Takeover – Clyde Thomas

Our very own @clydeothomas has just had a lovely time @londolozi. Scroll down here for some of the awesome pictures he captured on his trip. Thank you @clydeothomas for sharing! 

 

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 Game Reserve – 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 Game Reserve 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.