FAQs — 10 Things To Know Before You Go On Safari

Organising a safari is always exciting, however, it can be a little bit daunting if it’s your first time. It’s even daunting for people who have gone on safari before because things change and different places require different things. In order to put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten most frequently asked questions when preparing for a safari.

  1. Are all safaris the same?

Definitely not. There is an incredibly wide variety of safaris to choose from. Most people think of the traditional African safari trips—you know, the Big Five sightings, the African savannah, the vast plains … But, you can also go on boat (mokoro) safaris in Botswana or even ocean safaris in Mozambique! This is a great way to see hippos, elephants, and even crocs up close. Another thing to remember is that there are different types of game drives at different times of the day.

  1. Will I definitely see the Big Five?

This is something that really can’t be guaranteed. Unfortunately, nature is unpredictable, so it really is just all about luck. Don’t get obsessed with seeing the Big Five—just sit back, relax, and enjoy the things that you do see – you will no doubt be blown away by the experience!

  1. Do I need a visa to travel to Africa?

This truly depends on which country in Africa you are visiting, and which country you are coming from. If you are visiting Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, or South Africa, and you are from either the UK or the US, you will not need a visa if your visit will be less than 90 days. If you’re visiting Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, and you’re from the UK or the US, then you will need a visa, but you can obtain one when you arrive in the country for approximately $50.00 per person. If you’re visiting Mozambique or Uganda, and you’re from the US or the UK, then you need to obtain a visa before you travel to these countries.

  1. Do I need to get any vaccines?

Yes. You need to book an appointment with your doctor to make sure that they can recommend the most up-to-date vaccine advice. You need to let them know where you’re going and for how long. Also inform them about any stop-overs that you might be having because if you stop over in Kenya at all, you will need to get vaccinated against Yellow Fever. Other African countries will not allow you to enter from Kenya if you have not had this vaccine. Most game parks in Africa are malaria areas so it is important to take malaria medication. The vaccines that are generally prescribed are for Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and diphtheria, but your doctor will be able to advise you on this.

  1. Which currency will I need to take with me?

It’s best to use US dollars in Africa. However, South Africa does not accept US dollars, and so you will need to take the South African Rand if you will be staying in South Africa. You can use your credit cards as well, although the surcharge might be quite large.

  1. Is it safe to visit Africa?

Of course. We make sure that the countries where we operate our trips are safe, and we are kept up to date with regular updates about each country so we would be the first to know if there were any issues or safety concerns to worry about.

  1. Is there a specific dress code for a safari?

No. It’s important to dress comfortably and casually while you’re on safari. You should, however, take some smart casual clothes to the top lodges for the evenings. You should wear khaki for game drives, and you should bring along a polar fleece jacket for early morning game drives. Pack in a few cardigans or sweaters just to be safe because the evenings are sometimes quite cold. Here are a few more tips on what to pack when going on safari.

  1. Will I be able to charge my electronic devices?

Yes. Most of the lodges have an electricity supply of 240 volts and most use the UK-style plugs. South Africa is the exception because its sockets are either 2 prong or three prong with the larger, round pins. But, you will definitely be able to charge you camera batteries at all of the lodges.

  1. Will food and drinks be included in my accommodation fee?

Most safari lodges include your food and drinks in your accommodation fee but there are exceptions. You need to find out from your safari specialist whether or not your food and drinks will be covered by your specific lodge.

  1. Is it okay to drink the local water?

It’s best to be safe and to limit yourself to bottled water for your time spent in Africa. The safety of the water depends on the area so you can ask the camp manager whether or not the water is safe to drink.

For any other queries or questions you might have please contact us and we will be sure to help you out.

Safari Pricing Explained

We are often asked how much safaris cost. This is because it is extremely hard to find prices for safaris online, and because there is an incredibly vast range of safari tours available—each type of safari tour obviously has its own associated costs, depending on the travel agent that you use.

Iconic Africa showcases the African destinations which best represent our values of the utmost luxury, world-beating African hospitality, delectable contemporary cuisine and most importantly an authentic commitment to wilderness conservation.

We aim to give you the most comprehensive quotations by detailing all of the expenses that you will incur during your safari adventure. We pride ourselves on the fact that our quotations have no hidden costs and no hidden surprises. Here’s what you need to know about safari costs.

Good safaris are expensive, however, you truly get what you pay for. We cater for mid- to high-end, boutique safaris which means our focus is on luxury, excellent service, and unforgettable safari experiences. It is important to remember that Africa is a huge continent. Great distances need to be covered by either cars, airplanes, or both. Therefore travel costs often make up a large portion of your safari expenses.

Because we cater for mid- to high-end safaris, the lodges that we choose are only the best of the best. Guests can expect a large staff complement at all lodges—in fact, the staff-to-guest ratio at most of the lodges that we recommend is a 3:1 ratio. This is to ensure that our clients are treated like absolute royalty. Of course, excellent accommodation and gourmet meals are world-class too. The lodges that we have on offer pride themselves on exclusivity and, of course, fewer visitors means fewer vehicles, which ultimately means a more exceptional and much more intimate wildlife experience for you.

We specialise in tailor-made safaris which ensures that our clients are not limited to pre-set itineraries or specific dates. Our clients can choose their own accommodation and they can indicate which activities they would like to experience on their safari. Our clients tell us what they want the focus to be on (for example, game viewing, birds, cats, relaxation, romance etc.), and we make sure that their expectations are not only met but exceeded. Read more in our Iconic Africa Promise

Our itineraries are perfectly planned out and drafted with each, individual client in mind. They are highly intricate and specific, so you will never be met with nasty shocks or unpleasant surprises. They contain comprehensive information about where, when, and with whom you should meet, and we set up the itineraries in such a way so that they are easy to read and the important information is easy to find. The itineraries also indicate where any costs are not covered by travel agency costs or accommodation costs.

So, what do we include in your quotation? Our quotations include all of your internal flights with specific details about each flight—such as when and where to meet, and who will pick you up to take you to and from the various airports. We also include details about all of your transfers, and all of your vehicles costs will be included. The quotation includes your day tours with specific details, and rental costs for rental cars and accommodation costs are also included in the quote.

For any other queries on costing please do let us know.

Property of the Month – Royal Chundu

A massive congratulations to Royal Chundu who has recently been Voted No.10 in the Top Resorts in Africa 2016 and who we’d like to recognise as our property of the month for May.

For a sneak peek on why Royal Chundu is so incredible – have a look at the video below or read on for why this Zambian gem is definitely worth a visit!

Royal Chundu, the first Relaix 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.

Activities at Royal Chundu

There is a wealth of excitement to be had at Royal Chundu both on the property and in the wider magnificence of the Zambezi.

If you are looking to unwind and rejuvenate your soul, then a treatment from one of Royal Chundu’s world-beating therapists, either in the tranquillity of the spa or in the seclusion and of your suite deck, will fill you with a sense of relaxation, gratitude and joy.

Expeditions onto the grand Zambezi include canoeing adventures with highly-skilled guides and tiger fishing trips with knowledgeable locals who delight in helping you master the art of this unique fishing discipline.

Away from the river, Royal Chundu is proud to offer tours to two of the local villages that the lodge supports through conservation and ecotourism initiatives.

No matter what adventure and sights you have experienced during the day, a gentle sunset cruise onto the river from Royal Chundu will allow you time for reflection. The soothing waters laps against the boat, you sip your favourite sundowner, the water birds make their languid way to roost, an elephant bull squirts mud onto his back and the sun, which is somehow bigger here, disappears in a blaze of gold and red.

 

 

 

Traveller Review – Giorgio De Luca

Iconic Africa Traveller Giorgio De Luca has just returned home after a wonderful time in the Okavango and Victoria Falls. Giorgio was kind enough to chat to us about his trip and share some of his awesome photographs with us. Here’s what he had to say:
What did you think of the Okavango as a safari destination?
It remains my best destination in Africa for safari though I do have the impression that the numbers of animals as drastically reduced in the last 20 years.
What was your favourite thing about Victoria Falls?
We were unlucky with the weather and the falls with too much water (as expected for the season). The walking tour along the falls is my favourite experience, even better that the heli flight, because you feel the impressive power of the water! I’d also like to mention the good dinner and friendly ambiance created by the crew on board of the Sunset Cruise.
What was your most unforgettable moment?
Probably the photo shooting of the leopard. I looked like a staged scene for National Geographic but it was real i.e. the leopard, a magnificent sun-set, the leopard jumping on the branch perfectly exposed…
If you could describe your trip in one word what would it be?
Rewarding
What was the best sighting of your trip?
See above plus the sunset on the pond with the hippos in the background.
Where in Africa would you like to go next?
Never done Ethiopia and Rwanda (Gorillas)
Thank you Giorgio for sharing your incredible pictures and stories – we hope to see you back on African soil again soon!

Victoria Falls – When is the best time to visit Victoria Falls

When David Livingstone first saw the miracle that is the Victoria Falls he wrote that upon this incredible sight “angels in their flight must have gazed.” This natural wonder is a sight to be seen… and one for every traveller’s bucket-list. Here are a few tips on when is the best time to visit Victoria Falls:

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When is the best time to go Victoria Falls: Quick facts

Best time to go to Vic Falls: July to October (Good water levels over the falls & great adventure activities)
Busy Season: July to October (Victoria Falls can get crowded)
Quiet Season: November to April (A quieter time at Victoria Falls but spectacular for adventure activities)
Best Weather: April, May and September (Pleasant temperatures; afternoon rains are rare and seldom interfere with your safari)
Worst Weather: October to February (Very hot; December to February are the wet weather months)

Read on more more information on the best time to visit Victoria Falls

May to June – High Flow

The Victoria Falls or what the locals call “the smoke that thunders” is at their fullest and most impressive between May to June. This high flow season most definitely gives the most awe-inspiring view. The full curtain of water stretches the whole width of the Zambezi. The sheer volume of water is jaw-stopping and thunderous roar and fine mist reaches for miles. Do be careful with your cameras in the mist of the rainforest… you may need to purchase a poncho to keep it dry.

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October and November – Low Flow

Flow is at its lowest in the dry season resulting in narrower streams of water flowing over the rock wall. Although the actual falls may not be as remarkable, tourists are able to get closer to the edge and visibility is improved. As a result you are likely to get much better photos than during high flow. If you are an adrenalin junkie… this is a great time to live on the edge and take a refreshing yet heart-stopping swim in Devil’s Pool. The sparse vegetation also makes wildlife spotting much easier and game drives far more thrilling.

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July to September – The Interim

This transitional flow can also be an incredible time to visit Victoria Falls. The lower water volume and less mist allows for breathtaking views and incredible rafting conditions. White-water rafting, definitely something for the adventurers bucket-list! Whether you are bravely paddling through a rapid, holding on to the rope for dear life or bouncing around in the white water this is an experience to remember!

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For more information on this natural phenomenon and the most magical places to stay click here  and we will be sure to tailor the perfect breathtaking adventure for you.

Iconic Africa’s 2017 Bucket List

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” Paulo Coelho

Having a bucket list is a great way of making sure we see, do and experience as much as we possibly can. To help you with yours we’ve handpicked the most, breath-taking, unforgettable and unbelievable experiences that Africa has to offer. All of which come very highly recommended!

  1. Witness the Great Migration

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  1. Visit the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls

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  1. Explore the old town and beaches of Zanzibar

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  1. Experience the wonder of the Kalahari

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  1. Sample the Cape Winelands

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  1. Ride a hot air balloon over the Serengeti

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  1. Swim with dolphins in Mozambique

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  1. Go on a walking safari

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  1. See the leopards of Londolozi

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  1. Witness the absolute abundance of the Masai Mara

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  1. Raft the Zambezi River

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  1. Visit the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater

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  1. Go whale-watching in Hermanus

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  1. Ride a Mokoro through the Okavango Delta

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We wish for all our friends and fellow travellers that you get to experience as many of these as possible in your lifetime. For after all…

“…in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln.

Please do let us know if we can help in making any or all of the above dreams a reality for you!

What to Pack for Your Upcoming Safari?

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

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

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

ICONIC AFRICA’S EXTRA SPECIAL SAFARI PACKING LIST

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THE BASICS

Trousers (neutral colours)

Shorts (neutral colours)

T-shirts (neutral colours)

Long sleeved t-shirt or turtleneck (neutral colours)

Short sleeved shirts or blouses (neutral colours)

Long sleeved shirt or blouse (neutral colours)

Cardigan/pullover

Scarf/Pashmina

Shoes (closed walking and sandals)

One outfit of “smart casual” evening attire

Swimsuit

Underwear

Socks

Sleepwear

Flip flops (optional) for pool or shower

Personal toiletries

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

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THE EXTRAS

Sun block

Sunglasses

Wide brimmed hat

Lip balm

Binoculars and a camera are a must

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

Batteries for small electronics and cameras

Flashlight

First aid kit

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

Credit and ATM cards

Driver’s licence

Health-insurance card

Local guidebooks

Bird and animal guidebooks

Passport and photocopies of passport

Printouts of reservations

Travel journal

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

 

 

Our Month on Instagram

September has certainly been an adventure for us. We’ve been on a luxurious diamond safari,  seen the Big Five, headed off on an intrepid walking safari and even featured in the Huffington Post!

Just in case you’ve been busy and feel like you’ve missed out… we’ve got the perfect thing to ignite that African spark, that we know is inside of you. Click here to see our latest Bush Diary video and go on your very own mini safari right now! Or simply scroll down for a brief minute to see our September in #instamoments! We hope that these pictures, stories and videos transport you, even for just a moment, to the beauty of our exquisite continent. #luxury #safari #travel #africa

Happy Friday!

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #7: 'August 2016, the end of winter' filmed by @jamesrahendry our very talented, Kruger based filmmaker. Watch the adorable lion cubs frolicking, the wild dogs feeding, the vultures squabbling, the leopards loving, the wildebeest migrating and the golden sun setting in a fiery red sky over an endless African horizon. Let us take you on a mini safari right now… For the full video click on the link in our bio and to plan a real one go to www.iconicafrica.com to see what other magical adventures await! #iconicafrica #bushdiary #safarilive #safarivideo #kruger #krugerpark #bigfive #safari #wildlife #wildlifephotography #luxuryafricansafari #travel #bucketlist #lions #elephants #wilddog #leopard #africa #epicmoments #bush #vacation

A video posted by Iconic Africa (@iconicafrica) on

Happy #WorldRhinoDay everyone! #iconicafrica #saveourrhino #rhino #africa #conservation #rhinoswithoutborders

A photo posted by Iconic Africa (@iconicafrica) on

 

 

Wanderlust… it’s a thing

“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” Anthony Bourdain

Wanderlust. Defined in the dictionary as: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about… is a thing many of us battle with. But why? It should be a positive thing. Here’s a little something that will help feed that wanderlust inside of you… and perhaps get you dreaming a little more too! Presenting the best #luxurymoments that #Mozambique #Botswana #Zambia and of course #South Africa have to offer.

In just 9 shots… this is what a luxury African safari looks like:

So many magical moments await you… please contact us if you’d like to treat yourself or your loved one to a once-in-a-lifetime, luxury African safari.

Beautiful Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

Just because you’re in the bush it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a beautiful, healthy breakfast. And one of my favourite ways to make sure that happens is to plan ahead, and then take food out on the road in pretty little cups or glass jars, just like with these endlessly creamy and delicious Quinoa Breakfast Cups. Also, the recipe works just as well with a few favourite African grain varieties to replace the quinoa. Sorghum and millet are two of my favourite gluten-free options, both giving lots of light fluffiness, and making a perfect blank canvas for the coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Top with mixed roasted nuts or your favourite granola and you’ll have a shiny start to the day indeed.

Beautiful Quinoa Breakfast Bowls
Serves 4 | Preparation time 10 minutes | Cooking time 15–20 minutes

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 cup quinoa (or millet or oats)
1 cup water
1 cup milk, almond milk or coconut milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, sliced length ways
1 cup natural yoghurt or coconut cream
2-3 fresh plums, sliced (or any stone fruit)
½ cup mixed roasted nuts
4 tsp honey or alternative healthy sugar, for serving
Coconut shavings, for serving
Fresh strawberries, for serving

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WHAT TO DO
1. Cook the quinoa with the water, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until cooked. Add a little hot water as it cooks if you find that it becomes too thick, although you are looking for a porridgy consistency.

  1. Lightly toast the coconut shavings in a dry pan over medium heat.
  2. When the quinoa is cooked, layer your breakfast into small glass jars or bowls, dividing and layering the above remaining ingredients between them.

For more of Sarah’s delicious and innovate Food Safari recipes click here.

For for Quinoa’s health benefits click here. 

Traveller Review – David du Bois

Recent traveller David du Bois had an unforgettable time in Victoria Falls and Nkaya lodge. We caught up with him after he returned home to touch base. He took some incredible pictures of what the locals call ‘Mosi oa Tunya,’ The Smoke that Thunders, and was kind enough to share them with us.

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How did you go about planning your trip?

David: “Along with SAA vacations, I found Iconic Africa on the internet.  I usually plan my own trips, but thought I’d be a bit out of my league trying to plan logistics around Africa.  I just didn’t want to deal with it. I took a massive leap of faith in contacting Iconic Africa -since I’d never heard of you before- and having your team plan the trip.  Once the trip was planned, it was hard telling how good or bad it might be based on the pictures of the properties.”

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What did you think of the safari experience?

David: “We were absolutely blown away by how awesome the entire experience was.  Our lodging, guides, transfers, everything went very smoothly and exceeded our expectations.  We were extraordinary happy with the accommodations at N’kaya.  Only 8 guests stay at a time, and we had the place to ourselves for the first two nights.  The staff spoiled us. On the subsequent days, the owners showed up with corporate guests.  They were all delightful, I think we made some lifelong local South African friends.”

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What did you enjoy the most about your trip?

David: “We really enjoyed how Bev would check us into our flights, it was comforting to know that we were on her radar. Bev even alerted N’kaya that it was Brenda’s birthday, and we had a most memorable celebration as a result.”

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Any parting words?

David: “Thanks Again.  We will certainly highly recommend Iconic Africa to our friends, who now have a great interest in going to Africa because of our social media posts!”

Thank you David for taking the time to chat to us – we hope to welcome you back to African soil again soon.

Traveller Photo Journal

Recent travellers Hayley and Mark Haber have just returned home from an unforgettable African trip. They had the pleasure of visiting Londolozi in the Sabi Sands, the Royal Livingstone in Victoria Falls and the One & Only in Cape Town. Hayley and Mark are incredibly talented with a camera and have captured some unbelievable moments from their trip. From hyenas feeding, to lions grooming, to elephants wading, to rainbows over the falls… they saw it all! Here is their experience in pictures. These definitely “speak louder than words.”

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Thank you Hayley and Mark for sharing these with us – we hope to have you back on African soil again soon.