Instagram Takeover – Clyde Thomas

Our very own @clydeothomas has spent the last ten days exploring the Kruger National Park from the comfort of @andbeyondkirkmanskamp and @andbeyondngala. He was kind enough to share the highlights of his trip in an awesome #IATakeover. Just in case you missed it on Instagram, scroll down here, for a sneak peek at some of the wonderful encounters he’s had over the last couple of days. #southafrica #bigfive #safari

 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Kruger National Park

Getting ready for an exciting trip to the Kruger National Park? We’ve done your research for you so there’s one less thing you have to do! Here’s 5 interesting things that you didn’t know about the park.

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  1. It’s massive!

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest nature conservation parks in the world. In fact, the park is larger than three US states (Rhode Island, Conneticut, and Delware). It stretches over both Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and it also borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Because the park is so vast, it has more than one ecosystem. The ecosystems include acacia thicket, baobab sandveld, and riverine forest.

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  1. It’s historical.

The Kruger National Park was opened in 1898 by President Paul Kruger and yes, you guessed it, the park is named after him, too. The park was originally opened to preserve wildlife and to minimise hunting. It was opened to the public in 1927 and the original entrance fee was only £1.00. The park is home to the two key Masorini and Thulamela archaeologiccal sites and it boasts ancient rock paintings. There is also evidence to suggest that Stone Age Humans once lived in the area.

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  1. It’s a haven for all things natural.

Of course, everyone knows that the park is famous for being home to the Big Five but what most people don’t know is that it is also accommodates plenty of antelope species, warthogs, ostriches, zebra, wildebeest, and hyenas, to name a few. The park is also one of the only places in Africa that the critically endangered wild dog still roam.

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  1. There’s something for everyone.

The park offers 17 luxury safari lodges. This means that guests can choose from simple chalets and cabins or beautifully opulent safari tents. Although most visitors go to the park to see the vast array of animals, the park also caters to avid golfers. The 9-hole Skukuza Golf Course offers a unique experience to guests. The course is special because it is not fenced in and golfers are often joined by wandering wildlife. There’s also good news for dedicated bird-watchers. The park has over 500 bird species and is also known for its ‘Big Six’ birds which include the ground hornbill, the lappet-faced vulture, the martial eagle, the saddle-billed stork, Pel’s fishing owl, and the kori bustard.

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  1. It’s committed to protecting rhinos.

Rhino poaching is possibly the park’s biggest challenge. Its anti-poaching unit is made up of 650 specially trained anti-poaching game rangers who are assisted by the South African Police Services, the South African National Defence Force, and the South African Air Force.

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If a trip to the Kruger is something you simply can’t resist, let us know and we will make sure we find the perfect luxury safari lodge for you and your family/friends.

Month on Instagram

It’s hard to believe… but the 31st of December is upon us. We hope that you’ve got some exciting New Year’s plans for today!

December has been a busy but incredible month for us. We’ve explored some lovely new properties, tried our hands at some new recipes, been on some wonderful safaris and welcomed the talented Gavin Rosenbaum to do an Instagram takeover for us.

Scroll down here for a two-minute taster of our December adventures. #luxury #safari #travel #africa

 

Instagram Takeover – Gavin Rosenbaum

Just in case you missed it, here’s our December #IAtakeover featuring brilliant images by great photographer and old friend, Gavin Rosenbaum. Take a minute to scroll through these and immerse yourself in the true beauty of Africa!

A big thank you to Gavin – for capturing and sharing these epic moments with us.

 

Presenting the Stunning New Ivory Lodge

For over 15 years the More Properties have been leading the way in unforgettable African safari experiences. With an exquisite boutique collection of luxury private hotels and lodges around South Africa;  this family run business has become well renowned in global travel circles.

Their latest project has been the revamp of Ivory Lodge and what an incredible job they have done!  We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big WELL DONE to the team on creating a place of real beauty…the ultimate romantic safari destination!il1

The new look Ivory Lodge has taken this special experience onto a new level, with incredible spaces designed for those seeking something ‘other-wordly’ – whether that be a for a honeymoon retreat, a special proposal or simply for quality time together to reconnect.

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Each of the Villas offers complete privacy. It’s just you, the view, Mother Nature and the many animals that call this place home too. And although you may not see them, working behind the scenes is a team of people who love nothing better than pleasing their guests.

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The pictures certainly speak for themselves but here are 5 other reasons why the new Ivory Lodge is the ultimate romantic safari getaway:

  1. Getting cosy at the fireplace: Each Ivory Lodge Villa has a wood burning fire place, perfect for a chilly winter’s evening where you can cuddle up after dinner.

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2. Private pool with a view. After you’ve poured a glass of bubbly from your maxi-bar, immerse yourself in your private pool, and soak up the magnificent views. We guarantee you – you’ll find you have the best ‘seats’ in the house!

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3. A private dinner for two. The Villas are lavish and spacious, and there is ample opportunity for different settings for intimate private dinners. Beside your infinity pool, overlooking the Sabie River or next to your fire – to name just a few.

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4. The Sabie River makes for a very pretty (and active) backdrop.  With the perennial river running right past Ivory Lodge, you’ll enjoy frequent sightings of game right from your deck. But fear not, you won’t miss out even when you are inside. We’ve made sure that your view is uninterrupted, through the floor-to-roof windows.

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5. And lastly, your own private safari. We’ve kept the number of guests on a game vehicle to 6 – here everyone has a ‘window seat’. You also have the option of upgrading to a private landrover.

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Thank you More Properties for creating such a masterpiece and so many life-changing memories for your guests of the future!

Traveller Review: Lily & Belinda Steele

Recent travellers Belinda and Lily Steele have been kind enough to share with us their recent, wonderful experience @Londolozi. Here’s what they got up to:

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What did you think of South Africa as a whole?

Lily: “South Africa was a really amazing country. Just the whole atmosphere about it was really welcoming and inviting. It exceeded all expectations, which were pretty high… since I’ve been wanting to go there since I was young.”

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What did you think of Londolozi?

Lily: “Londolozi was a really enjoyable place to stay. For such a big and professional place, it felt really personal, and you could tell that the people there enjoyed and had a lot of passion for their jobs, and wanted to share all of that with you. The rooms were stunning, the staff and other guests were kind and amiable, and it was a place you could really settle into, despite all the 5 am starts!”

What was your favourite thing about Londolozi?

Lily: “My favourite part about Londolozi was just the game drives in general. Every element of the game drives worked really well together and made for some really amazing moments, such as sticking with the one ranger and set of other guests for the time you were there, the camera lens renting they had available, and how close you could get to all the animals whilst not disrupting their natural behaviour.”

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What was your most unforgettable moment?

Lily: “It’s really hard to narrow down to just one unforgettable moment, as the experience as a whole was so impacting. It would probably have been the time we were eating dinner outside in the boma at Londolozi with all the other guests and staff, having a barbecue, and a hyena darted right through before scampering out again. It was a bit of a shock at first and got everyone’s hearts racing, and then lead to almost half an hour’s worth of laughter.”

What was your favourite animal and why?

Lily: “All of the big five were amazing, being up close and personal with such powerful creatures in their own habitat and feeling so connected was such an overwhelming feeling. But I also personally really liked the Kudu, just how graceful and beautiful they seemed, even with their surprising size.”

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 What was the most surprising thing about your trip?

Lily: “Probably the nature of the people themselves. A lot of media still shows Africa to be this really dangerous place, but the majority of people there were so kind hearted and spirited and happy that it was almost infectious.”

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

Lily: “It felt like Home!”

A big thank you again Belinda and Lily – we can’t wait to see you back on Africa soil again soon. Just in case you missed it we featured Lily’s awesome pictures here. For more of her stunning photographs be sure you check out her Facebook page: @LASphotography

Top 10 things to do in Cape Town

Cape Town, also known as “The Mother City” is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and Iconic Africa’s most favourite African city! Last week Cape Town was awarded second place in the world-renowned Lonely Planet’s , Top 10 Cities, with Bordeaux, France in first place.

With our offices in the heart of The Mother City we know exactly how much there is to see and do here!

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With December and January lots of travellers will be arriving on our shores as the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the beaches are incredible and the nightlife is vibrant. We know how overwhelming  it can be for travellers, especially when time is limited. So, we have drawn up a list of our top 10 tips, should you be lucky enough to have some time in this beautiful city!

  1. Hike up Table Mountain

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  1. Learn to surf at Muizenberg
  1. Walk up Lions head at Sunrise or with a full moon
  1. Drive Chapman’s Peak – one of the world’s most breathtaking drives

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  1. Go for a walk in the exquisite Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  2. Have a special sunset cocktail on the dazzling Camps Bay stripcape-view-clifton-26
  1. Visit the Penguins at Simonstown
  1. Have a picnic on the grass at Cape Point Vineyardswetu-capecadogan-02
  1. Meander along the breath-taking Fraschhoek Wine Route

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  1. Go for an icy but refreshing swim at Clifton Beach or watch the whales breaching beyond the waves.

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We hope these tips help you for your next visit to Cape Town. Please do let us know if you have any other questions or need any more advice for your visit.

Instagram Takeover – Graham Wood

 

Iconic Africa Bush Diaries Episode #8

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #8: “Mara Triangle Magic” filmed by our incredible and intrepid filmmaker, James Hendry on his recent Kenyan adventure.

This episode features the absolute abundance of East Africa, the open, endless savannahs, the nail-biting suspense of the Great Migration, crocodiles lying in wait and lions on the prowl.

We hope that this provides you with a little piece of Africa to make you smile, a little break from your day and a tiny spark of hope that someday (hopefully soon) you will return to the beauty of the African continent.

Just in case you missed it, click here for Episode #7: “August 2016, the end of winter.”

For more up close and personal wildlife adventures be sure to keep an eye out for Safarilive’s exciting daily episodes here.

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

Traveller Review – Graham Wood

Recent Iconic Africa traveller Graham Wood has just returned from an unforgettable trip to Shumba Camp in Zambia. An old friend and expert photographer, Graham has been kind enough to chat to us about his trip as well as to share some of his outstanding pictures with us. Be sure to follow us: @iconicafrica on Instagram for our @grazwoodphoto takeover this week – lots of unbelievable photos coming your way!

In the meantime here’s what Graham had to say about his safari:

What was the highlight of your trip?

Graham Wood: “The diversity of game and the incredible landscape. It’s hard to describe but it’s Wetlands meets plains, so you almost have a cross between the delta and Serengeti. It’s also incredibly private – we saw very few vehicles in the time we were there, so when you do find something, there are no time limits, and you typically have the sighting all to yourself. It has all 3 big cats, and a variety of other animals, aardvark, clawless otter, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, roan antelope, sable, lechwe, puku… the list goes on.  It’s not the numbers of let’s say a Serengeti, or Mara, but you don’t have 10 cars in a sighting. You have 1, 2 at most… and there are plenty animals to see.”

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Would you recommend this camp to fellow travellers?

Graham Wood: “If you’re into photography and a mixture of game viewing/birding, I would highly recommend this place.  The sunset and sunrise light last for hours due to the marsh grass.”

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What was the food like?

Graham Wood: “Food was excellent given how remote the property was and the staff really went out of their way to make the experience enjoyable. 3 course dinner, big brunch and very good tea.”

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What was your accommodation like?

Graham Wood: “Rooms were large, very well built, and you couldn’t ask for more given the remoteness. Great hot water showers run by solar. Magnificent views over the plains. Central Camp area was excellent, nice pool to cool off on and the views across the plains are superb.”

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What was the safari experience like?

Graham Wood: “Guide was very good – knew his stuff, and did his best to deliver a great experience.”

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Any additional tips for fellow travellers?

Graham Wood: “If your guests want the water experience – Mkhoro, boating safari – I would certainly recommend June or early July.  It’s the best time to see swimming lions and also huge amounts of birds. I imagine less game at the time except for lechwe/puku.

Thanks @grazwoodphoto for sharing – we are honoured to be able to share your awesome images!

 

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?

“The highlight for me is the swimming with dolphins and whales which really is exceptional! This is really is Africa’s greatest Ocean Safari,” says John Holley commenting on a recent trip 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 over sees your every move. And it’s even more accessible now as there is a direct flight from the Kruger.”

For just a quick taste on the wonders that await at White Pearl click here.

Set on two kilometres of magnificent, pristine Mozambican coastline, White Pearl is an intimate resort for the discerning traveller. Couples or families will revel in the luxury, hospitality, delightful cuisine and natural wonder of this beach paradise. Whether you want to adventure on or under the cobalt Indian Ocean, lounge on the beach, sip cocktails in the pool or simply soak up the soothing peace of the sea, White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli offers the ultimate luxury beach holiday. However should you seek boutique natural marine experiences there can be no match for this rare outpost.

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Rising from the dunes

The main areas at White Pearl seem to rise seamlessly out of the earth. The décor is fresh, white, blue and light earth tones. You could read in the sumptuous comfort of the Beach Bar while you sip on a delicious cocktail, the sea crashing outside. For solar therapy, you could lie on one of the over-sized day beds that line the expansive decking next to the huge infinity pool. When you need to cool down you can simply roll into the crystal pool or wander down the healing waters of the Indian Ocean.

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When the weather closes in or the heat becomes a little too much, you might like to retire to the gentle comfort of the lounge where coffee table books, soft sofas and panoramic views of the ocean await.

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Panoramas of cobalt blue

There are 21 beautiful, private and simplistically opulent suites at White Pearl. Six of these open seamlessly onto private beaches while the others are raised above on stilts offering astonishing panoramas of the ocean and the glorious Mozambican sunrise and sunset.

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Each suite boasts generous decking with a view, private plunge pools and enormous bedrooms looking out through glass doors to the ocean. The large bathrooms have double vanities and outdoor showers. Soaking in the bath while looking out over the ocean as the moon lifts from the eastern sea must rank as one of the most profoundly inspirational experiences imaginable.

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You should also treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment in the privacy and comfort of your suite.

Boutique marine experiences

Ponta Mamoli 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.

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You can step straight off the beach under the waves and snorkel above the reefs of sealife 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 life swimming in amongst the coral. If you are not a diver yet, highly skilled dive instructors will introduce you to wonders of the deep.

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Otherwise you might like to kayak in the open ocean or explore the remote coastline. If it is your bent, 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.

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As the day draws to a close, you might like to jog along the limitless coastline before a late afternoon swim – Ponta Mamoli offers you a 99 percent chance that an afternoon or morning swim will be in the company of a pod of dolphins – surfing in the waves next to you. There is also an excellent chance to see migrating humpback whales from July to October – either as you stroll the beach or recline on your deck.

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Back on land, you can explore the verdant coastal bush and beach sands on horseback – galloping through the dune forest paths and up onto the epic ocean view points. Your ride might end with a gallop through the low-tide surf. White Pearl is the only resort in the area with a licence for horses.

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

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Fresh friendly service and food

When you wake up, wander over to the White Pearl restaurant where platters of tropical fruits and fresh pastries will fuel you for a day of fun and adventure. After a refreshing snifter at the pool bar savour a light lunch of just-picked salads and light tapas. After an afternoon of exertion or doing nothing at all, your dinner will be a scrumptious Indian Ocean seafood affair, either candlelit on the beach or in the privacy of your suite.

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Please let us know if you have any questions at all about booking a once-in-a-lifetime, African Ocean Safari.

A Kruger Walking Safari

The Iconic Africa Team was just treated to a once-in-a-lifetime Kruger walking safari. It really is the best and most authentic way to get up close and personal to the African bush and it’s wildlife… and an iconic expedition it was!

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We arrived at Olifants Camp for our Meet and Greet with our Guides, Mo and Absalom, both very friendly, professional and with a passion for the bush like I’ve never seen before. We knew immediately that we were in good hands and couldn’t wait to get going.

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We drove approximately 45kms from the camp and then were literally dropped off in the middle of nowhere. Not a car, building, human or even tracks to be seen. It was just us… the dense Mopani woodland, the Olifants river by our side and the bright blue African sky above.

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Having had many safari experiences before it was hard to know what to expect from this slightly alternative adventure. Clad with backpack, tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils and so much more we set off… literally into the sunset.

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Walking in silence, we felt at one with nature, in line with nature’s rhythm and completely at peace with the world. The landscape was exquisite and ever-changing; from Marula trees to Jackal berries, to Syringas, to Leadwood trees, to dry riverbeds, to grassy plains, to rocky granite outcrops there was just so much to take in.

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The guides lead us expertly every step of the way and never once did we feel nervous or scared. Their love for the bush and incredible anecdotes about the animals and how and why, they do what they do, made the experience even more authentic and valuable. From how to judge how big an elephant is from his prints, to how to tell how fast a lion is walking, to how to tell the difference between the red billed and yellow-billed hornbill’s calls – we learnt so much! It’s most definitely the best way to learn about the bush. It certainly makes you think… why do we spend days, months and years learning about accounting, marketing, law etc. Instead of taking the time to stop and just simply appreciate and fully understand the world around us. There is just so much that nature can teach us… we just need to let it.

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A walking safari is such an adventure and it really is one way to get to know your friends/colleagues better too. Whether its washing together in the Olifants River, fighting a buffeting tent in the wind or managing a teetering pot of boiling water over a tiny gas canister just to make your morning coffee… there’s never a dull moment!

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The early mornings are always my favourite time in the bush. You wake to the sounds of the birds waking, the river running gently, the lions locating each other, hyenas reporting on the night’s events, the fish eagle calling and so much more… but yet it all still seems so quiet and peaceful. Sitting on the banks of the river with a hot coffee, a wholesome rusk we sat in anticipation of the sun peeking over the canopy of Mopanis or rising up above the river. It really is a spiritual experience like no other.

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We saw lots of game on our walk; from buffalo, to kudu, to impala, waterbuck, giraffe, hippos, elephants, crocodiles, hyena, lion and so much more. There is a common and gentle respect between human and animal that is so tangible and so comforting. If you respect them, they will respect you. It’s how it always has been and should always be… if only.

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For the birders among us, the trip was out of this world! So many birds of prey were spotted; from bateleurs, to fish eagles, to African hawk eagles and many more. Hornbills, barbets, rollers, sunbirds, bee-eaters, kingfishers, vultures… you name it we saw it and with many of them we managed to get much better sightings than you would from a vehicle. The best of all, which is, definitely worth leaving until last…was that we were lucky enough to see not one, not two… but two pairs of the elusive and exquisite Pel’s fishing owls! Hands down one of the top ten moments in my life… as sadly there are only about 30 breeding pairs left in South Africa. We were extremely fortunate and this really was the cherry on top of what was already a pretty outstanding trip!

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We got to the end of day four and although we were hot, a little dirty and rather tired… I could have gone on for another week. Our hearts had slowed to the pace of the African bush, we had gone to bed and risen with the sun, and been a part of something so much bigger… a world that exists out there every day, as we race around obviously, caught up in our corporate lives. I’d move to live in the bush tomorrow if I could…

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If you have any questions at all on the possible walking safaris on offer – please contact us. We can design the perfect combination of luxury and adventure for you in a heartbeat.