The Outpost: Perched on the Rim of the World

The northern corner of the world-famous Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most breathtaking areas. Elephant herds wander through ageless fever tree forests, hundreds of buffalo spread like oil across the Limpopo floodplain, and through it all runs the Luvhuvu River, the lifeblood of the region.

Perched on a hill high above the Luvhuvu riverbed, with indescribable views of the African bushveld, sits The Outpost, your gateway into one of the most biodiverse regions in Southern Africa.

The Outpost operates within the 26 500ha Makuleke concession, a unique partnership in the Kruger Park in that the land is owned by the Makuleke people, and the lodges within the concession are staffed almost exclusively by the tribe.
Warm smiles greet visitors to this spectacular corner of Africa (which boasts over 80% of the Kruger National Park’s biodiversity), and guests can explore the bush through guided drives conducted by experienced rangers, or – even better – through immersive bush walks. This is truly the best way to experience the magic of the African wild, as one can get a far greater appreciation for the minutiae of the wilderness by fully grounding oneself on foot.

The Outpost accommodates 24 guests in 12 open plan, en-suite luxury spaces cantilevered on a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River. The private, free standing spaces are inter-connected to each other and the central lodge area by 500 metres of Zimbabwean teak walkway. Contemporary architecture makes use of concrete and steel with state-of the-art retractable, remote-controlled screens offering 180º of uninterrupted views.

Ultimately, at The Outpost you are looking at the top lodge in the most spectacular region of South Africa’s most famous national park. The combination is ideal for almost anyone and everyone, from the adventurous to the birders, the walkers or the romantic honeymooners.

There is no one who won’t feel utterly enchanted both with this unique section of South Africa’s greatest wilderness, and this stunning hilltop lodge within it.

Get hold of us through info@iconicafrica.com to start planning your safari…

The Wildest of Wild Dogs

We recently ran a post on one of the best offerings in the Zambezi River Valley; Zambezi Grande on the Zambian side. This luxury lodge provides amazing access to the Lower Zambezi National Park and its incredible wildlife.

Safari Guide Robbie Ball was recently on a trip to Zambezi Grande, and tells us here of one of the wildest things he’s ever seen in the bush:

We’d heard stories of the huge pack of African Wild Dogs that were resident in the Lower Zambezi Park and asked our guide if we could try and find them one morning.

Zambezi Grande is literally on the water’s edge, and water activities form a huge part of the offering here, so in true Zambezi River style, we set off downstream before dawn in one of the lodge’s boats whilst our ranger drove the vehicle round to meet us in the area the dogs had been seen the day before.
We enjoyed a spectacular sunrise from the boat, passing fish eagles, pods of hippos and elephants ambling along the bank.

It was about a 45 minute boat ride to where we disembarked, and shortly after linking up with the vehicle, we were guided to where the pack of wild dogs were sleeping by the tell-tale signs of vultures in the trees nearby.

The pack numbered 46 at the time, which must surely make them one of the largest packs in Africa!

After sitting with them for 30 minutes or so, we noticed a large dust cloud billowing up from the winterthorn forest nearby, which signalled the approach of a herd of buffalo. We could hear their bellowing from a long way off, which meant the dogs could hear them too, but they pack stayed snoozing.


The buffalo came into view and still the dogs did nothing, when suddenly, with the herd only about 200 metres away, the dogs leapt up and raced towards them. There had been no signal that we could see, not greeting ritual that usually precedes a hunt, no sign whatsoever; they were just up and racing in as a pack.

We tried to keep up with them but the bush was too thick where they led us and the herd had fled to. By the time we caught up a few minutes later the pack had already grabbed hold of a buffalo cow and were in the process of bringing her down.

The rest of the herd was still bellowing nearby but they didn’t come to the aid of the old female.
Wild dog kills tend to be quite gory, but are usually mercifully quick when they involve small game. With a large buffalo cow, despite the number of dogs involved, things were drawn out and difficult to watch.

Eventually the buffalo cow had died from a combination of shock and bloodloss, and whilst the pack gorged themselves, one of the adults trotted back to where they had been resting, to call the pups – who don’t get involved in the hunt – to come and feed.

We were there for maybe an hour and a half, and it was certainly one of the craziest wildlife sightings I will probably ever have in my lifetime!

Visit our Facebook or instagram pages (@iconicafrica) to see some video footage of this sighting…

The Zambezi Grande offers fantastic access – both by river and land – to the wildlife of the Zambezi Valley and Lower Zambezi National Park. Although sightings like the one Robbie witnessed are certainly not the norm, this particular pack has become renowned for taking down adult buffalo.

If a wildlife adventure like this is something you would be interested in, get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com

 

Zambezi Grande: The Perfect River Escape

Different wildlife areas in Africa come into their own seasons of popularity over the years. There always seems to be “the hottest new destination around”, and it is difficult for a single lodge to remain in the forefront of people’s minds for year after year.

Well the star of the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounds in Zambia seems to be shining brighter and brighter each and every year. It has been on the rise for a while now, and set right on the banks of this amazing wilderness area, in a prime location to take full advantage of what the unique landscape has to offer, one finds Zambezi Grande.

Opened in October 2017, Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience is situated on a prime sector of the Zambezi River front, offering visitors an unforgettable personal retreat, with all the sumptuous indulgences a discerning guest would appreciate. The honk of the local hippo pod will be your wake-up call in the morning, the call of the African Fish Eagle high above will sound throughout the day, and the roar of a lion will add to the nighttime symphony as you sit around the campfire, watching the glow of the fading light reflecting off the gently flowing Zambezi River in front of you.

Bringing the heart and soul of the magical Zambezi into one place, the décor of the lodge is a mix of contemporary design and truly authentic African feel. Reflecting the serenity of its surrounds with neutral colours representing life, renewal, nature, and energy, there is an almost seamless transition between the wilds and the lodge itself. With a seamless open-plan, guests can enjoy the majestic views of the river from all areas of the lodge, and as such be exposed to all the activities by of the local wildlife, be it river-borne or strolling past on the bank.

Since welcoming their first guests in October 2017, the lodge has truly encapsulated the vivid environment they call home. Whether relaxing on the pool deck, enjoying a sundowner cruise on the river, or unwinding on the terrace watching the wildlife passing by, there are so many ways to soak in this enchanted corner of Africa.

Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience neighbours the Lower Zambezi National Park, a bountiful 4,092 square kilometres of rich birdlife, indigenous flora and untamed wildlife. Packs of the rare African Wild Dog roam the winterthorn forests, leopards slink from grove to grove, and the elephants are particularly plentiful, flocking down to the river in great numbers at the end of the dry season to feast on Ana tree pods and quench their thirst from the waters of the Zambezi.

The game viewing along this section of the Zambezi Valley is simply out of this world, and the local guides of Zambezi Grande are well-trained to both find and interpret the high-profile sightings that guests seek,

A variety of habitats ranging from forest to open plains, thick bush to palm groves, complement the safari experience here, and guests will never feel like they are on the same excursion twice, be it a fishing trip, a game drive or a bush walk.

Zambezi Grande features five Superior Suites, each with an exclusive veranda on the banks of the Zambezi River. King size beds allow one to wallow in unspeakably comfortable opulence during the hours of slumber, and the river-facing outdoor shower allows you to refresh yourself whilst feeling completely in tune with the African wilds.

Five Luxury rooms offer their own intimate Zambezi Grande experience, being only slightly smaller than the Superior Suites, but being perfect for a family option, having inter-connecting rooms available.

Zambezi Grande offers guests the perfect way to immerse themselves in this unique corner of the world. Ultimate comfort, a superior game viewing experience, and a prime position that lets you switch off from all the trappings of the fast-paced modern world, make this lodge a must-do if Zambia’s safari scene is something on your bucket list.

Serondella: at Home in the African Bush

It’s rare to find a lodge where every luxurious comfort is available to you, yet you feel as completely at ease as though it were your own home. That is the overwhelming feeling you get when staying at Serondella Lodge in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve.
It’s the heart of Big 5 country – which is probably completely unlike home – but warm smiles greet you whichever way you turn, all your needs are more than met, and the relaxed atmosphere of the place somehow makes it feel as though you’ve been there for years.

And the game-viewing!

The Thornybush Reserve in which Serondella is situated borders on the world-famous Kruger Park, so there is no shortage of wildlife. Elephants rumble past the lodge at all hours of the day, the roar of a lion is an almost constant serenade from dusk until dawn, and all manner of other creatures abound in this diverse landscape of over 14000 ha.

Open-topped safari vehicles offer visitors an almost unrivalled wildlife-experience, as the animals in the reserve have become completely accustomed to their presence, and go about their business as if the vehicles were not even there.

Serondella is an intimate lodge, providing two private suites and two family suites with lounges, viewing decks & plunge pools. Each suite is air-conditioned and has WiFi, and a convenient Nespresso machine in each will provide you with that early morning caffeine boost needed when the alarm goes off for the dawn game drive.

The lodge is all about families, and the family suites emphasise comfort and convenience for both parents and children. Two bedrooms, a shared living area, a private kitchen, an outside deck, and a plunge pool offer a place for loved ones to feel at home together.

A rim-flow pool sunk into the main viewing deck provides the perfect place from which to view the wildlife drinking at the busy waterhole below camp, whilst a boma and fire pit with their attending bar allow one to enjoy dinner and drinks under the stars, weather-permitting of course…

Willem’s Den is another accommodation option; a self-contained suite for larger families offering space, privacy, and comfort with three bedrooms and bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge, private garden, verandah, boma and plunge pool. This is the perfect place to accommodate different generations in a home-like environment.

Serondella is the perfect lodge for smaller groups or a family on safari.

Get in touch through justin@iconicafrica.com or terri@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your safari…

Saseka: Jewel in the Thornybush Crown

Saseka Tented Camp is currently running a flash SADC sale not to be missed! 

Location, location, location!

The go-to phrase of any knowledgable real-estate developer. Where something is built is just as important as the building itself.
Fortunately, in the case of the Thornybush collection of lodges, they have Location taken care of!

The Thornybush Private Game Reserve is set in Big 5 Heaven in South Africa’s Lowveld, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The northern reaches of the Drakensberg mountains lie to the west and are silhouetted at sunset each evening, and all around you the bush is teeming with wildlife.
Saseka Tented Camp – which the Thornybush Collection themselves feel is like the jewel in their crown – is perched overlooking a picturesque riverbed, underneath the shade of ancient riparian trees that for decades have provided refuge for an untold number of animals from the hot African sun for decades.

Saseka is the local word for “beautiful”, and a more appropriate name could not have been chose for this elegantly laid out camp that merges perfectly with the contours of the surrounding bush and the dappled light cast upon it.
Nine luxurious tented suites with stylish interiors, sweeping decks, private pools and uninterrupted views of the seasonal Monwana riverbed provide luxurious oases where guests can savour the joys of the wilderness in comfort.

The wildlife experience of the Thornybush Reserve is one of the best in Africa. Multiple lion prides call this part of the world their home, the resident leopards slink through the undergrowth and are encountered regularly. Elephants march sedately along the riverbed below the camp and birdsong is a constant ambience during the day, whether you are lounging on deck or out on safari.

With the unbeatable SADC special running until mid-December, this is the time to be getting there.

Get in touch with justin@iconicafrica.com or terri@iconicafrica.com for rates and availability, and let’s start planning your safari…

Kanga Camp: the Home of the Armchair Safari

Most safari lodges have you feeling like you should be out and about, exploring the area, wondering what might be going on around the next bend in the road.
But Kanga Camp, set on a private concession in Mana Pools National Park of Zimbabwe, offers such prolific wildlife viewing from the comfort of an armchair on the camp deck, the only place you’ll feel you need to go is to the charging station to replace your camera battery.

Kanga is a seasonal camp, open between the months of April and November. The wet season when it is closed features surface water everywhere, which means animals aren’t drawn to the Kanga Pan itself, which during the dry months is essentially the only standing water for miles in any direction.
Elephants in particular are an almost constant procession to the valuable drinking water of the pan (the Zambezi River itself is almost 20 kilometres away), and there are few places on earth that you will be able to get as close to these magnificent creatures, at eye level.

Kanga Pan is a photographer’s paradise in particular. The unique, close-up angles you can get of all manner of wildlife coming down to drink at all hours of the day means that both that long lens and wide-angle will get their fair share of use. Meal-times are regularly punctuated by the rumble of breeding elephant herds only a few feet away, and the nocturnal roar of the local lion coalitions forms the most authentic African serenade you can have.

In line with African Bush Camp’s sustainability approach, the camp is solar-powered. It comprises six tents all raised on individual wooden platforms for an elevated view over the Pan and surrounding bush. The Meru-styled tents are elegantly styled, featuring floor-to-ceiling mesh windows that allow for refreshing air flow and make you feel completely immersed in nature, whilst keeping out any bugs that may be buzzing around (although there are very few to be found during the dry season).

All tents are replete with fans, en-suite bathroom, flushing toilet, outdoor shower, hot running water and a secluded veranda. Kanga also has a family tent which boasts a wraparound terrace facing the pan with private seating and dining areas. Children over seven years old are welcome at the camp, although waling safaris are restricted to kids over the age of 16. The camp plunge pool offers respite from the heat during the warm days at the beginning and end of the season.

It’s not all about out the Pan itself though. Experienced rangers take insightful game drives to explore the wider park, including trips down to the Zambezi River itself, which offers a completely different experience to the inland terrain around Kanga. The Ana tree forests of the Zambezi floodplain and the multitude of wildlife it attracts will leave you speechless.

All in all, Kanga offers the same dedication to hospitality that we’ve come to expect from the African Bush Camps portfolio. It is as comfortable as you could wish, the experience is unique, and in the context of a wildlife destination, especially in an area like Mana Pools, there isn’t a much higher accolade than that.

Little Chem Chem: Quintessential Safari in East Africa

On the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Burunge, set amongst the acacia and baobab trees with the lip of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment sitting as a backdrop, lies Little Chem Chem; a camp where understated luxury is woven into every experience.

Little Chem Chem is the “sunrise camp” of the three Chem Chem lodges – the other two are Chem Chem Lodge itself and Forst Chem Chem – being the furthest east, and as such being situated the closest to Tarangire National Park, with which the concession on which the lodges are found share a contiguous border. With no fences around the park allowing the free movement of wildlife, the entire area shows an abundance of game for the wildlife enthusiast. Lions and elephants are regular visitors and during the migration season the fringes of the great wildebeest herds pass through, providing a glut for the predators.

The bird life is sensational, and the combination of savanna and lake shore habitats will keep the avid bird watcher enthralled for hours with its myriad of species.

The lodge itself is elegance in the true classic safari style.

Six luxury safari tents (including one family tent), each boasting indoor and outdoor showers, overlook an open gladed area that attracts an abundance of wildlife. Stately giraffes stroll by as you sit outside in the shade of your canvas awning, and superb starlings hop about looking for morsels amongst the grasses. The main lodge is spacious and cool (WiFi is available in both the rooms and the main area) and allows for fantastic views into the surrounding bush and open spaces. Being small in size, it retains a completely intimate feel, and is also readily available for exclusive occupancy…

Martial eagles soar above, and the bush sings to you constantly with its soft chirp of cicadas in summer, von der Decken’s hornbills in winter, and at night time the ambient sound is provided by the roar of the lion and the guttural rasp of the leopard slinking in the shadows.

Little Chem Chem has paced itself to the natural rhythm of Africa herself, and you will too upon arrival.

Walk with wildlife, marvel at ancient baobabs, embrace serenity and wellness, sip sundowners overlooking the Rift Valley, and discover the ancient culture of the Maasai people. Chem Chem is where you go to feel something with this ancient continent; belonging.

 

Tanda Tula Plains Camp: True Magic in the Timbavati

“Tanda Tula” means to enjoy the quiet, and if there is a place where serenity lives, Tanda Tula Plains Camp is it.

With spectacular views of the northern reaches of the Drakensberg Mountains to the west, a spectacular open grassland in front of the camp, and wildlife in constant attendance, this is a place where you can disconnect from the rush of modern living and reconnect with yourself and loved ones.

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is one of a contiguous series of wildlife areas that lie up against the western border of the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s – and indeed one of the world’s – most iconic. The lack of fences between the reserves allows for the free movement of wildlife, and the extended protected area is roughly 6 million hectares in size – larger than some small European countries!

Tanda Tula Safari Camp was previously the centrepiece of the Tanda Tula experience, but with an upgrade in progress to create a more ecologically sensitive camp with a lighter footprint in the wake of 2020 and 2021, Plains Camp has now arisen as the new hottest camp in the area.
With 6 luxury suites for up to 12 guests and 2 family suites which sleep 4 each, air-conditioners and fans in each room, as well as private plunge pools, the camp is well equipped to handle any weather conditions in any season.

Some of the Timbavati’s most experienced guides are based here, who are well versed in the natural history of the area, its cultural significance, wildlife photography, and pretty much anything related to the bush.

The best safari camps have a family feel to them, and Tanda Tula Plains Camp falls firmly into this category. As soon as you arrive you feel as if you are returning to a place that is completely familiar, whether you’ve actually been here or not. The welcoming smiles and warm demeanour of all who work here will make you incredibly sad to leave when that time eventually rolls around.

The Tanda Tula family has a passion for wildlife conservation, for the community of which they are a part, and for creating magical experiences. And a magical experience is what Tanda Tula is.

Game Drives are filled with some of the best wildlife in Southern Africa, and close encounters with the Big 5 almost come standard.

Plains Camp is about so much more than just the wildlife. It’s a true example of a lodge that has got it right. It is a place that understands that safari is about people – both guests and staff -just as much as it is about wildlife.

We are currently running specials to this wonderful little corner of Africa, so get in touch to find out more…

 

Khwai Bush Camp: Finest Botswana Authenticity

The Okavango Delta ecosystem is far broader than many realise, stretching its tendrils way out to the east and south, before they eventually dry up in the sands of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert.

Although it has long been the more centrally-placed concessions in the heart of the Delta that have hogged the limelight, of late those around the periphery have been developing a stellar reputation for game-viewing, but with a lower vehicle density than the more established spots.

Khwai Bush Camp is one such destination, situated to the east of the main Okavango Delta yet delivering just as much of a punch when it comes to its wildlife.

Majestic sable antelopes roam the woodlands here, the distinctive sawing of a leopard is heard far more often than not on evening game drives, and the ubiquitous elephant herds of northern Botswana are in almost constant attendance, particularly during the dry winter months when the Delta’s water levels are up and the game congregates around the river systems and permanent water sources.

Khwai Bush Camp comprises four standard chalets (with fireplace) and two family chalets, all en-suite. Watch the magic of Africa unfold from the sanctuary of your chalet’s cool, thatched interior or the veranda that overlooks the famed Moremi Game Reserve. Battery-charging facilities are available in each guest room as well as fans. The main lodge area also has charging points for your convenience. Enjoy languid afternoons at the sparkling poolside drinking in the serene floodplain surrounds. Share an aperitif around our lively fire circle before tucking into hearty, homespun fare at our family-style feasts. Activities include guided walking safaris, bird watching, river activities, and game drives spotting Africa’s iconic wildlife species – lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, buffalo, hippo and giraffe.

If it’s starry skies you are after, with the sound of a lion roaring in the distance (or close at hand), with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon at hand and a roaring fire close by, Khwai Bush Camp ticks all the boxes.
A true safari experience in the style now associated with African Bush Camps (of whose portfolio KBC is a part), this is one not to be missed, and with the specials we are currently running to some of the African Bush Camps’ portfolio, there’s no better time.

Get in touch to find out about rates and availability…

 

 

Azura Benguerra: Paradise Found

Off the coast of Mozambique lies an archipelago that was surely designed in some make-the-perfect-tropical-getaway kit.

Crystal clear, still waters and extensive white sandbanks fringe the islands on their landward side, while from their eastern edges the warm Indian Ocean stretches away to the horizon. 

The Bazaruto archipelago has long been a place of romance and adventure, and on one of its larger islands, Benguerra, sits a lodge that is perfectly designed to wring every last bit of delight out of this special corner of the world.

Azura Benguerra is appropriately named – we doubt you will ever see a sea as blue as the one you will encounter here.

The days start early; as the sun rises above the ocean to the east, the gently lapping water is too tempting not to walk down into to wake you up in the most refreshing way possible.

Sheltered reefs brimming with tropical fish life wait for you to explore their nooks and crannies by snorkel, while for those looking for a proper underwater experience, the scuba diving in this part of the roof is second to none. Manta rays are often encountered and during the humpback whale migration over the second half of the year, these leviathans’ songs are a constant accompaniment underwater.

Days are spent lounging by the pool or exploring the islands interior, and for those who want to play a part in providing dinner, offshore fishing excursions are offered. Tuna, mackerel and dorado feature regularly on the menu, and fresh-caught sashimi may well be the order of the day.

Evening cocktails on the white sand beach (made up of millions of years of coral erosion) will have you watching a sunset so vividly exquisite, no photograph will do it justice.

Just 20 villas are nestled along a totally unspoilt stretch of beach. Open plan rooms flow so seamlessly with their exteriors that it can be hard to work out where the beach begins and your chalet ends.
This is the enchanting island escape you always imagined. Azura Benguerra, the first eco-friendly resort in Mozambique, was hand-built by the local community and is operated in partnership with it.

Although to some international visitors Mozambique may seem like a little off the beaten track, the opposite is the case. Luxury island resorts are well-established on the coast here, and Benguerra in particular is readily accessible; a short flight from Johannesburg to Vilankulos and then a brief helicopter flip across the lagoon will have you there in the space of a morning. From the air you will gaze down over crystal clear waters with the local dhows plying their fishing trade, and if you are really lucky you might catch sight of the rare dugong – a marine mammal that has a stronghold in the Bazaruto archipelago.

Azura Benguerra is perfect for families looking for an exciting coastal adventure as well as couples who want a romantic escape. Its proximity to the prime safari areas of South Africa and its accessibility from the Kruger National Park airport make it an ideal option to tag on to the end of a bush getaway.

Get in touch to find out about the specials we are currently running for South African residents…

Safari in Summer: 5 Things to Know

A major consideration about going on safari is what time of year to go. Is one season better than another? Is there a best time to visit?

The reality is that things simply change. There is no “best” time to visit the African Bush. It is simply a matter of what you want to see and the type of experience you want to have that should determine you visiting month.
Given that the Southern African summer is almost upon us, we thought we’d discuss five elements of the coming season that will help you prepare better, both in your mind from an expectation level, and in your packing so you don’t bring the wrong things.

Here then, are five key points to know:

It’s Probably Going to Be Warm

This may sound obvious, given that summer equals higher temperatures, but some parts of Africa can get very warm. This isn’t a problem when on safari; lodges shift their game drive and activity times to allow for the changing times of sunrise and rapidly climbing temperatures. The general approach is simply to do what the animals do; get active early while it’s still cool, rest up for the day in the shade (read: in the pool at the lodge with and ice cold G&T in hand) and then get active again in the late afternoon when things get comfortable once more.

Clothing-wise be sure to pack light clothes and most definitely a sun-hat. The sun is high by 8am and you’ll already be wanting to apply the suncream. And remember to drink lots of water.

It May Rain

Despite the heat (it’s not always hot, so don’t worry), summer is also the rainy season. For the most part rain in the Southern African bush falls as spectacular showers that build up in the afternoon, unleash briefly, ands then subside again into a spectacular sunset punctuated with a rainbow and everything looking washed clean and revitalised.
A rain jacket is most certainly a good idea when visiting the bush between October and March. Most lodges will provide ponchos for game drives but bring your own rainwear just in case. It’s usually warm rain at this time of year but you may get a day or two with some extended clouds and showers, so have a warm under-layer just in case.
And remember to take any rainstorm or adverse weather in your stride and treat it with a sense of humour; the bush can be at its most spectacular when the challenging conditions arrive.

It’ll be Green

Water is life, and the plants reflect this, flushing into the most beautiful verdant foliage over the summer. Photographs are vibrant and life seems to be everywhere. Many birds nest during this time of year, migrant species come south to take advantage of the plentiful food, and one can fill an entire game drive of four overs covering only four hundred metres of road, so much is there to see. Impala lambs and wildebeest calves are being born, as well as warthog piglets and monkey infants around the camps, and everywhere you look you feel the sense of reawakening that the rains bring.
The bush is a bit thicker during this time of year though so predators can be harder to spot, but the landscape is at its most beautiful.

Days are Significantly Longer

Bring a book. Or at least be prepared for some downtime. A mentioned in point 1 above, summer days mean an earlier return to camp in order to avoid the heat, as well as a later departure in the afternoon, so you will be able to spend some lovely relaxing time back in camp, swimming in the pool or lounging on your deck or catching up on some of the sleep you missed having woken at 05:00 to be on game drive. Summer in the bush is when you really feel like your on holiday, as that three hour nap which is so hard to come by is just begging you to take it between game drives.

The Bugs aren’t Bad

Many people fear the insect life in summer (a lot of the smaller things come out with the rain), but truth be told, there aren’t that many to worry about. Occasionally a combination of heat and rainfall brings about a termite emergence and there may be quite a few of them buzzing around, but in actual fact this is one of the bush’s most spectacular events. Everything benefits from the termites swarming; eagles, frogs, jackals, leopards… you name it. The feast of protein on offer doesn’t go to waste, and spending time at a colony pouring out its dispersers is a sight to behold.

For many die-hard safari-goers, summer is the time to visit the bush. It is less predictable than winter, but that is the appeal. The lucky dip of life and conditions gives this time of year its own unique X-factor, and we at Iconic can’t recommend a summer visit highly enough.

Get in touch to find out more…

Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge

Named after a nineteenth century chieftaness of the local Shangaan tribe, Shalati was one of the most anticipated lodges coming out of the Kruger Park region. Comprised of a series of train carriages permanently situated on an old railway bridge of the Selati railway line, the lodge’s concept is itself more than enough to pique the visitor’s interest. Combine this with some of the most spectacular opulence to be found in the Kruger National Park, a dining experience to compare to any of the country’s top restaurants, and a superb game viewing offering tailor-made by seasoned guides, and you have a recipe for enormous success.

Perched high above the Sabi River just downstream from Skukuza Restcamp, Shalati offers uninterrupted views over the splendour of the African bush. Leopards slink through the riparian vegetation and hippos snort from their pools in the river below, whilst you sip a cool gin and tonic from your vantage point amongst the swallows, fish eagles, and other avian species that flit or soar above the majesty of the river.

The site of the lodge marks the spot at which the first visitors to the Kruger Park would spend the night. Pulling the train onto the bridge, they would carouse around a fire on the riverbank before retreating to the safety of the train to sleep, and then continue with their journey the next day.

The bridge stood practically unused for many years after the railway line through the park was dismantled, and it wasn’t until 2016 that a tender process was announced for interested parties to bid their proposals for tourism use of the Selati Bridge and Station.

Finally in 2020 Kruger Shalati reignited the experiencing of sleeping in a train on this bridge filled with a wealth of history.

Each room is a refitted carriage which makes the most brilliant use of the space available to it. From the outside the carriages appear limited in size, but upon entering you will be greeted by the most surprisingly large panorama out over the African bush; swallows swoop out from under the bridge and the chances are high that an elephant herd will be slaking their thirst somewhere down below.

Shalati offers 31 rooms – 24 Train Carriage Suites and 7 Bridge House Suites – all of which are tailored for immersive comfort. The utterly unique positioning of the train places the visitor on a constant plane of awe.

Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, an enthralling break or to simply unwind while surrounded by earth’s finest creations, Kruger Shalati looks forward to welcoming you on a journey of discovery with nature in the most extraordinary way imaginable.

Get in touch to find out about pricing and availability, and let us help you plan the safari of a lifetime…

 

Duke’s Camp: Remote Okavango Tranquility

We are currently running unbeatable specials to Duke’s Camp in northern Botswana, one of the most exciting new offerings on our itineraries.

One of the newest camps in the Okavango Delta, Duke’s Camp is part of the Natural Selection portfolio, and is modelled on the style of its well known cousin, Jack’s Camp, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi salt pans.

But whilst Jack’s has its unique desert feel, Duke’s reflects its water-based location. Crystal clear channels wind like serpents around the camp’s location, providing a stunning aquatic habitat for the best of what the Okavango has to offer. Kgao island – where the camp is situated – lies in a stunning concession next to the famous Vumbura Plains and Duba Plains camps, and those familiar with these latter two will know just how wildlife-rich the area is.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to watch an elephant herd wade chest-deep across a water course at eye-level only metres away from the your boat. Or to have a leopard wander past the deck of your safari tent whilst the monkeys chatter at it from the boughs of the stately ebony trees above.
The Okavango is a place in which the safari element is not reserved for the times when you are out on the game drive vehicle; it literally follows you back to your camp. Hippos honk from the permanent lagoon in front of the lodge, hyenas whoop as the sun begins to set, and the roar of a lion is a constant background accompaniment during dinner.

Only open since June of this year, the camp opened with eight rooms, with a further four due to be added in March of 2023.
The safari tents are plush and full of character. Hand-carved four poster beds, brass fittings and beautiful African and natural history memorabilia complement the Persian rugs and wooden floors to create a nostalgic feel, a throwback to yesteryear in which you feel you are participating in a dramatic exploration of sorts. But in infinitely superior comfort to anything David Livingstone had to endure.

The exclusivity of Duke’s leads to its flexibility as well. Game Drive times are not set in stone; bush walks can be woven into the day whenever your heart desires, and the location of the concession means that Duke’s is one of the only camps in the area with access to a hot air balloon site, an incredible way to experience the Delta.

Our specials are only running until the 15th of December 2022, so be sure not to miss out.

Get in touch now to start planning your safari…

White Pearl: an Idyllic Mozambique Beach Getaway

While it’s the more famous Indian Ocean islands like the Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius that have traditionally stolen the limelight, it is the white sand beaches along Mozambique’s southern coast that are shooting to prominence in the international travel space.
Long revered by South African vacationers as the perfect beach getaway, Mozambique has caught the attention of the overseas market, and offers a bit of something for everyone craving a getaway by the sea.
Whether it’s surfing, scuba diving or simply lounging on the white sand that you’re after, there is something for you, and White Pearl at Ponta Mamoli offers the perfect space in which to immerse yourself into the best of what this magical country has to offer.

Built in 2011, White Pearl is best described as laid-back beachside chic.
Set on stilts and nestled in the lush vegetation of the coastal dunes, the resort is tucked away in a sheltered bay, mere metres from the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
The beaches here are untouched, and the waters offshore abound with life. Coral reefs play host to a stunning array of tropical marine life, and dolphins are regularly viewed from the deck of the lodge. During the Humpback whale migration from July to November, it is almost impossible to look seawards without seeing at least one of these behemoths of the deep breaching in a spectacular display.

The resort itself features 22 luxurious suites which have been sensitively designed to take advantage of their beautiful natural setting. Subtly blending into their bush surroundings, the chalets all feature magnificent views of the ocean, whose lapping waves serve as a constant background accompaniment.
Your very own plunge cool provides a wonderful place to cool off and rinse the salt of the ocean away before heading down to a sumptuous dinner, much of it delicious seafood, sustainably sourced of course.
Your personal butler will take care of your every need, and if you need to feel even more relaxed than you are pretty much guaranteed to be at White Pearl, massage therapists are standing by to offer massages as well as a variety of other spa treatments.

For those looking for an eco-adventure, the Maputo Special Reserve is only a short distance away, and morning excursions to this magnificent park will give one a broader exposure to and understanding of the unique bush-beach habitat merging to be found in the area. The elephants that populate the park may also put in an appearance, as experienced rangers know the spots they frequent at different times of the year.

Mozambique offers a superb beach holiday option, particularly for those who want to add it to the tail end of a safari. With major safari destinations being so close in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, the beach-bush combo is the perfect getaway for a family, and more particularly a honeymoon couple.

Get in touch to find out more about White Pearl, or other amazing beach holiday getaways…

Lolebezi: Wild, Remote, Luxurious

The Zambezi is one of Africa’s largest and most iconic rivers.

Originating in the highlands of Zambia, it sweeps out to the west into Angola, then back south through Zambia before forming the border between Namibia as it turns to the east, then the border with Zimbabwe, and eventually crossing into Mozambique where it continues its path to the Indian Ocean.

Wildlife is to be found all along its almost 3000km length, but one section in particular is a verdant paradise; the 150km downstream from the Chirundu border post between Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is part of the Lower Zambezi Valley, and it is here that you will find some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing in one of the most spectacular areas in Africa.
It is here that you find Lolebezi Camp, in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

Lolebezi is the latest offering in the African Bush Camps portfolio, and is one of the most special. An exclusive kilometre of Zambezi River frontage has guests waking up to one of the continent’s great waterways within a few metres of the deck of their rooms, more often than not with an elephant or two in attendance, and at the very least the local pod of hippos. The river teems with life here, especially in the dry season (July – October), when the inland pans evaporate and animals have to flock to the riverbank to drink.

Elephant herds congregate under the Ana trees to eat the fallen pods, impalas and baboons feed together, both acting as sentries for each other, and where there is a multitude of herbivores, the predators are never far away.
Leopards and lions abound here, and the openness in of the area towards the end of the dry season in particular makes the sightings of these big cats more common.

Large packs of the endangered African Wild Dog have made their home in the park, one of the few areas that provides the space that these enigmatic animals require to operate effectively in the huge home ranges they need, whilst simultaneously allowing for a large enough population to establish itself that ensures healthy genetic flow.

The camp itself is paradise.

Sunsets like no other as the sky and the river itself are bathed in golden, red and purple hues. Fish eagles calling from the trees above and the chatter of monkeys from the tree tops serves as constant reminders that you are not separated from nature here; you are immersed in it.

The contemporary design of Lolebezi seamlessly blends modest elegance with a simplicity that can only be found in the African bush. Designed for both family and romantic escapes, Lolebezi has four superior suites and two double family units. The lodge is fully airconditioned, with a private plunge pool and thatched Sala on the river.

The eco-conscious traveller should look no further, as the camp is powered by an off-the-grid solar farm, and the water supply and wastewater are managed to ensure that no pollution enters the river. Everything is done to minimise the human footprint on the land.

 

Lolebezi is a family friendly lodge, welcoming children of all ages (with the restriction of children over the age of 16 being able to join walking safaris and canoeing).
The small number of suites assures an intimate experience, whether you are travelling as a couple or in a slightly larger group.

The main dining area of Lolebezi is designed out of old railway sleepers, harking back to the long-forgotten days of exploration and giving it a distinctly adventurous atmosphere. The all-day café and pizza bar ensure that you won’t be going hungry whilst on safari here. If you’d rather opt for a more secluded dining experience, you can eat in your own dining room or take advantage of the river-pods for picnics.

Lolebezi is truly a special place. The combination of its immersion in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife areas as well as its superb accommodation and attention to detail make it one of the best offerings in the region.
A short flight from Lusaka (Zambia’s capital) will set you down at the airstrip just two kilometres from camp, and only a short game drive down the road you will be on the banks of the Zambezi, sipping a G&T while taking in the river and its accompanying escarpment in all their glory.

Get in touch to find out more…