Londolozi: Unveiling the NEW Founders Camp

Over the years the ripple effect created by Londolozi’s alumni has spread their ethos far and wide across the African continent, and beyond.
Some are heading up their own portfolio of lodges. Others have been put in charge of the full scope of Kruger National Park anti-poaching units. World-authorities on the Okavango Delta, internationally lauded motivational speakers, heads of lodge design in some of the largest groups on the continent… you name it.
Londolozi Alumni have done it and are still doing it.

Founders Camp honours these wild, early characters – past staff and guests who have contributed to building Londolozi. It is their efforts that have distilled the legacy of the past 50 years into the creation of the essence of safari spirit.

At Founders Camp, classic meets modern. This Londolozi signature camp is clean and uncomplicated and really comfortable, leaving nothing forgotten. You will get the feeling of all the comforts of a stylish African home that is ideally situated to provide an insider’s view of the secrets of river life. Classy, grounded and timeless – Londolozi’s Founders Camp represents a safari style that is inviting and restful.

Reminiscent of the ancient ‘wattle and daub’ methodology of building, this earthy design celebrates the natural raw elements of nature. Rock, fire, wood and earth.

Ten bespoke and varied superior chalets repose in the shade of ancient Ebony and Matumi trees along the banks of the Sand River. Spacious and light, they flow seamlessly from interior to beautiful wooded deck space…

Founders Camp is about simple sophistication with clean lines. The simplicity of layered textures creates depth and a sensory experience wherever you go. This fusion of elemental design is completely soothing to the nervous system, allowing for deep rest and relaxation.

Muted and calming within yet vibrant and alive, with connection to the wilderness, without.
Those who have sat around the boma fire at night and listened to the call of the hyenas out there beyond the fire’s glow, or gazed down in awe at a herd of elephants feeding below the deck, barely more than an arm’s length away, will understand.

Founders has always been one of our favourite camps, and with its latest refurbishment, it just got a whole lot better.

Get in touch with us through info@iconicafrica.com to start planning your Londolozi safari…

Bush Legends Dinner for Endangered Wildlife Trust

July 20th saw an incredible fund-raising event take place at Katy’s Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In honour of their tenth anniversary, the Jocks of the Bushveld – a bush-loving group of friends – hosted a dinner in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust – who were celebrating their 50th anniversary – to raise money for the EWT and the work that they do.

The dinner featured a number of Bush Legends, for once dressed up in black tie instead of khaki, who shared their stories and strategies for protecting Africa’s natural history and wildlife heritage.

180 people attended, with tickets sales contributing significantly towards the money being raised, as well as an auction of prizes donated by various lodges, travel companies (including Iconic Africa) and wildlife photographers.

A total of R800 000 (around $43 000) was raised over the course of the evening.

The real power of evenings like this however, lies in their ability to connect people. Those from outside the conservation circles have the power to affect massive change by donating their expertise and experience to a rapidly-changing world in which technology, education and leadership are what will be saving Africa’s wild spaces. It is no longer enough to simply be passionate about the preservation of wilderness areas; if one does not have the financial clout and the links to those who can see the bigger picture from a different perspective, the same problems will refuse to be solved.

Brett Horley, Founder of Brett Horley Safaris and the safari guide who has hosted the Jocks of the Bushveld on many a sojourn into Africa’s wildernesses – had this to say at the end of his speech:

“We need solutions, we need to support those on the frontline who do the actual protecting in the middle of the day and the middle of the night. The field rangers putting their lives on the frontline; the regional and section rangers; the organisations helping and assisting; EWT, GKEPF, SAWC – we need collaboration, we need passion, and we need leadership. We need evenings like this to help, to inspire, to remind, and to instil in us the desire to take action. That is how we got here, and that is why we are here.”

A huge thank you to all those who helped organise and host the event, and especially to those who contributed so generously towards the funds being raised.

Iconic Africa is incredibly proud to have been involved in such an initiative, and to have played our own small role in making the evening the success it was.

If anyone would like to donate to the EWT and further their cause in Africa, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us through info@iconicafrica.com…

A Rising Tide: Extraordinary Zambia

As Zambia continues to rise swiftly to prominence in the African safari scene, boasting some stunning beautiful and game-filled safari destinations, one group of lodges keeps emerging as a centre of consistent excellence across their portfolio of camps.

Time & Tide’s conservation heritage dates back to 1950, when Norman Carr set up Zambia’s first game viewing camp in cooperation with Paramount Chief Nsefu of the Kunda Tribes.
Today, the company maintains his legacy, working with local communities to protect and share rare and unique places in all their natural beauty.
Aside from Miavana – a simply mind-blowing destination on Madagascar, which we will be featuring soon – Time & Tide’s lodges are essentially focused in Zambia, and more specifically in three areas; the Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa and Liuwa Plains National Parks.

With a broad spectrum of destinations on offer, there are too many to fit into one short post, so we thought we’d give a brief summary of each area with their T&T options, and go into a bit more detail at a later date.

South Luangwa

Very few places in Africa can offer the unique combination of South Luangwa National Park’s open, grassy plains and mature, mesmerizing woodlands, crowned with the pristine, impressive Luangwa River. This area’s reputation for abundant wildlife and unspoiled vegetation is well earned, so whether driving around or walking through, the intense beauty calls to you from every corner.

South Luangwa National Park is the highlight of eastern Zambia. Known to locals as simply ‘the South Park,’ it was initially founded as the Luangwa Game Park in 1904, and converted to one of three game reserves in 1938. The impressive park covers an area of about 9050 square kilometers of the Luangwa Valley floor, and lies anywhere from 500 meter to 800 meter above sea level. With its western and northwestern edge bounded by the Muchinga Escarpment, and the southern border lined with the meandering Luangwa River, there’s no shortage of dramatic and fascinating topography in this stunning game-rich park.

Time & Tide boast 5 different camps in the South Luangwa National Park: Chinzombo, Mchenja, Kakuli, Nsolo and Luwi.

The latter two are more centrally located in the park, carefully secreted along the ephemeral Luwi River system – a hotbed of elephant activity, particularly in the dry season.
Mchenja, Kakuli and Chinzombo all front onto the Luangwa River itself, and the night air is filled with the sounds of hippo grunts as a result.

South Luangwa boasts one of the densest leopard populations in Africa. Its wild dog population is particularly healthy, and epecially in winter, when animals congregate around the remaining water sources, game viewing is almost unrivalled on the continent.

This is truly a special corner of this ancient land in which to safari

Lower Zambezi:

While this park is developing rapidly and gaining in popularity as the game bounces back, its beauty still lies in its unchanged wilderness state. The diversity of animals may not be quite as wide as the other big parks (there are famously no giraffes as the hilly terrain that protects the Zambezi River doesn’t suit them) but the opportunities to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular. It lies opposite the famous Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, so the whole area on both sides of the Zambezi River is a massive wildlife sanctuary.

The river’s edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe, including ebony and fig trees. Further inland is a floodplain fringed with mopane forest and interspersed with winterthorn trees and huge acacias. The rolling hills, which form the backdrop to the park, are covered in broadleaf woodland.

Even though the Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4 092km² / 2 542mi², most of the game is concentrated along the valley floor. There is an escarpment along the northern end that acts as a physical barrier to most of the park’s animal species. Enormous herds of elephant, some up to a hundred strong, are often seen at the river’s edge. ‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are common. The park also hosts good populations of lion and leopard, and listen too for the ubiquitous cry of the fish eagle.

Despite its size, this section of the Zambezi is considered fairly calm and predictable, unlike the mercurial Luangwa River. For this reason, seasonal fishing, boating and canoeing are popular activities, especially guided kayaking through the channels. Look out for shy elephant along the way and magnificent flourishes of scarlet carmine bee-eaters at work on their nests in the riverbanks.

Tims & Tides lodges consist of Chongwe Camp (the main camp of eight suites), Chongwe House (a two-storey, four-bedroom, four-bathroom private house which operates exclusively), and the Cassia and Albida suites – perfect for honeymooners and couples.
All are located on the Chongwe River which forms the park’s western boundary.
Game Drives and boat cruises make up the mainstay of the wildlife viewing activities, but simply spending time at the lodge is almost guaranteed to give you your fill of wildlife – in particular elephants.

Liuwa Plains:

Liuwa Plain in western Zambia has one of the longest conservation histories in Africa, dating back to the late 19th century when the King of Barotseland appointed his people as the custodians of the reserve.

In 2008, African Parks began a series of lion reintroductions. Over a similar period, eland and buffalo were reintroduced to the park and plains game began to increase, providing a healthy prey base for the predators: lion, cheetah and hyaena.

Today, with over 10,000 people legally living within the park, Liuwa is a prime example of how people and wildlife can coexist and benefit in a shared landscape. Helping protect the land for the benefit of local people to continue accessing its natural resources sustainably is enhanced through ongoing community engagement and integration. In addition, communities are supported through socio-economic initiatives, employment and tourism revenue that is generated as Liuwa becomes a major tourist attraction. Now that the landscape is once again a source of stability and abundance, the people of Liuwa have renewed their commitment and sense of custodianship to their land.

Time + Tide King Lewanika is the only permanent camp in Liuwa Plain National Park, its six open-front luxury safari tents (including a two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury family tent) are the essence of pure and simple luxury. Built using local techniques and sustainable materials, they run on solar power and are furnished using vintage leather, cotton and canvas—a nod to old-world safari days. Designed to completely immerse you in the vast landscape, each has an indoor and outdoor shower, a comfortable lounge and a verandah, all with stunning views over the plains.

We will be showcasing a bit more of the various camps in more detail over the next few months, but in the meantime, if you would like more information on rates and availability, and which camp would be best suited to your needs, get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your Zambian Safari…

LuxLife Travel Awards: Five in a Row

We like the concept of Small Giants. Companies that choose to be great instead of big. That’s how we feel about our boutique travel company.

For a decade now, Iconic Africa has steadily been doing what we do best; deliver outstanding trips and experiences to our guests in the luxury African travel space.
What started as an idea between a ranger and his guest has blossomed into a business that helps people’s safari dreams come true.

In 2010, while still working as a safari guide at the world-famous Londolozi Game Reserve, John Holley guided guest Terri Abadi, and the two struck up an immediate rapport.
Both had an immense passion for Africa and her wild spaces, and in chats around the campfire, John and Terri decided to start a travel business together, so in 2013 Iconic Africa was born.

Since then it has been one wild ride after another; crazy sales trips to East Africa, bouncing around after aardvarks late at night in the South African Lowveld, and becoming as well-versed as one can be with an industry that is ultimately in the business of making people happy.

The LuxLife Travel Awards –  now in their seventh year – pay homage to the experts within the industry and welcome nominations from businesses and individuals across the globe. From travel agencies, guided tour experts, food and beverage service providers, sustainable travel specialists and everything in between, the Travel and Tourism Awards recognise these prestigious companies by revealing their dedication and hard work.

Iconic Africa is proud to have scooped the top spot in a number of categories in these LuxLife awards over the last few years.

For three years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021) we were awarded the title World’s Best Custom Luxury Safari Operator.

In 2022 we were awarded Best Exclusive Luxury African Safari Experience Provider, and finally this year we were proclaimed as Best African Family Getaway Specialists.

We could not be prouder to be doing what we do. From desert to mountaintop and everywhere in between, Iconic Africa will continue to seek out the best destinations for their guests, making sure that once-in-a-lifetime trip exceeds even the wildest expectations…

Get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com to start planning your award-winning safari…

&Beyond Bateleur Camp: Front Row to the Masai Mara

The Masai Mara – in particular the Mara Triangle between the Mara River and the Oloololo Escarpment – is most famous for the Great Migration that passes through each year, around July/August, yet what many don’t realise is that the game viewing is spectacular no matter what month you visit.
The lions, elephants, buffalo and cheetahs that call the area home don’t move with the migration; they are resident, and can be found whatever the season.

Nestled in indigenous forest at the base of the escarpment sits &Beyond Bateleur Camp.


It is situated in the Kichwa Tembo private concession, contiguous with the Masai Mara. Meaning ‘head of the elephant’ in Kiswahili, Kichwa Tembo consists of private land leased from Maasai landlords and situated in the remote western Mara, almost exclusively explored by &Beyond guests. In addition to its the excellent year-round concentration of wildlife, Kichwa Tembo lies directly in the path of Africa’s spectacular Great Migration, and perfectly positioned to maximise the viewing of the reserve’s wildlife.

Guests can almost exclusively explore this area on a game drive or on foot, as well as enjoying access to pristine outdoor dining locations.

Comprised of just two intimate camps of nine Luxury Tents each and a Luxury Family Tent, Bateleur Camp retains a wonderful sense of intimacy; each with its own private butler and housekeeper reflecting the ambiance and glamour of Kenyan explorers of old.
Slip into a world of hardwood floors, polished silver and copper bathtubs juxtaposed against the romance of the open Mara plains, with their abundant herds of game. Beautifully handcrafted artefacts, fine antiques, leather buttoned Chesterfield sofas, books, and crystal and candlelight adorn the comfortable sitting and dining areas, making you feel like you have slipped straight into a 19th century safari.

Cooling pools in each camp provide comfort in between stimulating game drives that can be so varied in their offerings. Grasslands, riverfront or the escarpment itself all offer something different in terms of setting and species.
On the culinary side, delectable cuisine is served in memorable settings – often beneath the stars – and bush breakfasts and romantic sundowners offer an unforgettable African experience. Adventures at Bateleur Camp include twice-daily game drives, including spot-lit night drives on which some of the more elusive nocturnal creatures might be encountered. The camp also offers a range of additional activities such as bush walks, hot air balloon safaris and community excursions, and for the fitness-minded a well-equipped gym and wellness treatment centre await.

The Masai Mara is unforgettable due to the abundance of wildlife and spectacular landscapes. This is the quintessential African safari experience, where travellers can expect to encounter the Big Five and observe thrilling predator interaction.

With the Kitchwa Tembo airstrip only a few minutes drive from camp, and flights from Wilson Airport in Nairobi only taking an hour, Bateleur Camp is supremely accessible, allowing guests an easy trip to the greatest wildlife show on earth.

Get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com to find out more about &Beyond Bateleur Camp, and other East African safari offerings…

When to See the Great Migration

A million wildebeest moving as one extended carpet of biomass is quite something to behold.

Throw in a quarter of a million zebras, thousands of Thompson’s gazelles, elephants moving through the throng and attending predators dotting the surrounding termite mounds, just waiting for an opportunity to strike, and you truly do have one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.

Yet as the name suggests, this is a migration. The herds migrate. They travel long distances, following the rains and resultant good grazing. After giving birth in the southern Serengeti near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, they journey on a clockwise loop through up the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya, before heading back south again and repeating the process.

Although there might be yearly variations in exactly what weeks the herds move in because of what rain has fallen, for the most part the migration is fairly predictable, and knowing where the wildebeest will be and when is obviously quite important if your safari is meant to be timed to see them. Arriving in the Ndutu Plains area in July will only get you a view of a couple of resident wildebeest bulls, while one million of them are fording the Mara River 150km to the north. Timing, it seems, is everything.

Here then, is where to expect the herds at what time of year…

January – March

At the start of each year, the migration will be ending its southward journey, moving along the Serengeti’s eastern edge and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The grazing here is rich, providing the herds with the best conditions for raising their newborn calves.

Although the migration is essentially one continuous circuit, it seems reasonable to refer to the wildebeests’ birthing season as the start of the journey. Around late January or February, the herds occupy the short-grass plains that spread over the lower northern slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater highlands and around Olduvai Gorge. Almost half a million calves are born here within a period of two to three weeks, or nearly 8,000 each day.

The abundance of vulnerable calves provides a glut for the predators, so the action is non-stop as lions, cheetahs and hyenas all feast on the bounty.

April – May

After birthing their young, around April the wildebeest herds start to move north-west toward the newer grasses of the central Serengeti, accompanied by thousands of zebras and other antelope. By May, long columns of wildebeest stretch for several kilometres as the animals start to congregate near the Moru Koppies, a scenically stunning area of the park. Mating season begins toward the end of May and wildebeest bulls compete for rights to the females, all the while as the herds continue to drift northwards.

Gradually, the movement gathers momentum and the wildebeest start to mass in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor. A number of seasonal camps operate in this area, which open only at this time of year to take advantage of the great migration’s passing. The herds form in huge numbers along the pools and channels of the Grumeti River, which they have to cross in order to continue on their journey.

The Grumeti is much shallower than the Mara River so does not deliver quite the same spectacle, but the crossings are dramatic nevertheless. This can be a great time to visit the region as it is still deemed to be low-season, so generally offers excellent value for money.

June – July

As June moves into July, the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra continue to head north along the western edge of the park toward an even riskier barrier then the Grumeti: the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti. These river crossings are arguably one of the most exciting wildlife events on Earth. They usually begin at the onset of high season in July, but timing all depends on rainfall and when the herds arrive in the area. It can vary by a few weeks either way but in general, late July is prime.

The herds will typically be found in the Northern Serengeti and over the border into Kenya’s Masai Mara.

At this time of year, daily river crossings can be seen at both the Mara and Talek rivers,

August – October

Once the herds have negotiated the river crossings they are generally spread throughout the Masai Mara’s northern region, with plenty of them remaining in the northern Serengeti. Years with heavy rains that result in fast flowing rivers take their toll on wildebeest numbers, but even in years of relatively gently flowing water, the crocs have an impact, as well as the resident lion prides. There is no single crossing: at some spots, there are just a few individuals fording the river, while others see thousands of animals moving without break for hours.

By September to October, the main chaos has ended and the migrating columns have moved eastward.

November – December

After the East African short rains in late October and early November, the wildebeest head south from Kenya and into the eastern edge of the Serengeti past Namiri Plains, an area renowned for incredible cheetah sightings. By December, the herds are spread throughout the eastern and southern reaches of the Serengeti, back down towards the Ngornogoro area (although they don’t actually enter the crater itself).

In the early months of the new year, the grasses in the deep south of the Serengeti are lush after the rains. This attracts the wildebeest as well as countless other plains game. The cycle commences as the calving season starts once more.

That is the great migration in a nutshell. Although witnessing the crossings in the dry season is the spectacle it is renowned for, the truth is any time of year can be spectacular.

With multiple accommodation options to choose from – both permanent and mobile – there is something for everyone.

Don’t wait to start your enquiry. Get hold of us through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your migration safari…

Monwana Game Lodge: Experience Exceptional

The More Family Collection has long been associated with outstanding safari experiences.

Their lodges, boutique hotels and private residences are found in Southern Africa’s best leisure destinations, and combine to offer you the classic Southern African experience, with the More Family Collection’s signature ‘golden thread’ running through them.

Monwana Game Lodge in Thornybush Nature Reserve embodies the spirit of homecoming, and encourages a deep connection to nature.

Thornybush is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, and is unfenced from the 20 000 square kilometre wilderness.

The 14 000ha although concession upon which the lodge is found is literally teeming with wildlife. Elephants parade past the lodge’s waterhole, leopards rasp from the riverbed at night, and from the deck of your suite or the comfort of the main lodge area, you can watch the best of Africa passing by throughout the day.

Four spacious suites accommodate two guests each, and all offer beautiful views from their private shaded decks. Birdwatch from the comfort of a lounger whilst the sun is high, or cool off in your plunge pool (which is heated to beat the coldest months of winter).
Underfloor heating within the rooms themselves and heated towel rails take the edge of the crispness of winter, and the high quality of linen, dressing gowns and towels will leave you feeling exquisitely pampered.

In addition to the four suites, two family suites which can accommodate up to five guests are available. These are ideal for families with older children (reserve policy stipulates a minimum age of ten), as the secondary bedroom features twin beds, and an extra one can easily be added.

The Private safari vehicle that comes with each family suite ensures that your bush adventures flow with your own rhythm. Come back later if needs be or head out earlier in the afternoon to maximise your bush time…
It’ll just be you on board, so spend as long as you want admiring all of nature’s aspects, without the pressure of fitting in with the needs of others.

In an industry already flush with exceptional safari experiences, Monwana is truly special. You will instantly feel at home there, and there are few places that will have you getting that in touch with nature that quickly.

Email us on info@iconicafrica.com to find out more about this wonderful destination, and let’s start planning YOUR safari…

South Africa: World’s Best Country to Visit

It’s pretty difficult to choose one thing that stands out as brilliant about South Africa, simply because the list of things that make it exceptional is so long.

But now that the country has been crowned “Favourite Country in the World” by readers of The Telegraph we should really delve into a few things that make the Rainbow Nation a must-visit for foreigners…


As far as value-for-money goes, South Africa is right up there. The local currency, the Rand, isn’t as strong as it was historically, so Pounds, Euros and the US Dollar go a long way here. Dinner and wine at one of the country’s top restaurants might only set you back $75, and the spectrum of accommodation options is as wide as the imagination. There’s literally something for everybody.


Obviously our favourite part of the equation.
South Africa is one of the world’s top game-viewing destinations, but it is by no means limited to just the Big 5. Its diversity of habitats mean a stunning array of wild creatures, so all you have to decide is what you want to see, and go there. The Kruger Park and surrounds tend to steal the show, but they are just the tip of the iceberg…


Along its more than 2550 kilometres of coastline, South Africa has some truly stunning beaches, many, many miles of them remote and without a building in sight. From the harsh Atlantic coastline near the Namibian border round to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, there are wild experiences to be had, from watching turtles laying their eggs to surfing some of the best waves on the planet.

Scenic Splendour

South Africa really is many worlds in one. Expect stunning coastlines, dramatic mountainscapes, huge areas of untamed bushveld, starkly beautiful semi-deserts, lakes, waterfalls, spectacular canyons, forests and wide plains, plus Cape Town, undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Friendly People

The ‘Rainbow Nation’ has 11 official languages. People from all races make up a wonderful array of cultures, and visitors can expect a friendly welcome wherever they go. The hospitality of South Africans is unrivalled, whatever culture they are from.

Excellent Infrastructure

South Africa has excellent major transport networks, good tourist facilities, some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, a great banking system with numerous ATMs countrywide, good accommodation for all pockets, and mouth-watering eating options. Whether you’re a back-packer or coming in on your own private jet, there is something for you

Though South Africa sits at the far end of the continent, it is one of the most accessible of the other African countries featured in the top 20; you can fly to two South African cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town) directly from the UK and from the US, and those coming from Europe arrive free of jet-lag due to a near-identical time-zone.
Your reward for 12 hours in the air is a place of true beauty – Cape Town a supermodel at the foot of Table Mountain, the Garden Route a ribbon of road-trip nirvana, the wineries of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch crafting fine vintages, the landscape thrilling to the peaks and troughs of the Drakensberg range and Motlatse Canyon, Kruger National Park a roaring wildlife zone.

This coronation has been coming.  South Africa was third in this poll in 2017, second in 2018, and now it’s top of the pops.

With Namibia, Botswana and Kenya all featuring in the top 20 Favourite Countries in the World (16th, 10th and 7th respectively), it’s clear that the readers of The Telegraph love the rest of Africa too.

All those countries feature on bespoke itineraries we have created for our guests, so if African Travel is what you’re after get in touch with one of our sales representatives through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your trip of a lifetime…



4 Reasons to Get Off the Beaten Track

Africa’s photographic safari scene is by now well-established.

Areas like Kenya’s Maasai Mara or South Africa’s Sabi Sands have over 60 years of experience in crafting the ideal safari for their guests, making subtle tweaks depending on their visitors’ nationality, ages, preferences, safari history etc., and you are bound to get an absolutely mind-blowing, world-class nature immersion as a result. 

Yet over the last decade or so, a few off-the-beaten track gems have started popping up on our radar (read about a few of them here), and knowing what we do about how much incredibly positive feedback some of our travellers have sent us about their stays in such lodges, we thought we’d fill you in on a few reasons why it’s sometimes the smaller, hidden-away places that really set your soul on fire.

Here then, are four very good reasons why the lesser known spots should sit high on your next-want-to-visit lists:

  1. Lower Vehicle Density

The established places are where everyone wants to go. Sure, there’s a reason – usually that the game viewing is exceptional – but hand in hand with that you will sometimes find things like vehicle pressure, blaring radios and evidence of man starting to intrude into what should essentially be a wilderness experience. 

By looking slightly further afield to the lesser well known areas, you stand a much greater chance of enjoying sightings to yourself, enjoying them for far longer, and getting a sense of exclusivity that you didn’t pay a premium for.

Which brings us to Point #2:

 2. Lower Costs

Safari can be expensive, there’s no denying it, particularly in the luxury lodges in the high-impact game-viewing areas. 

Yet if one chooses carefully, you can often see just as much without breaking the bank to have to do so.
There are plenty of game reserves in Africa – like Ruaha National Park in Tanzania or Nxai Pan in Botswana – that can provide world-class wildlife sightings, yet because they have tended to fly under the radar, don’t charge as much as their better known cousins nearby.

 3. Variety

One will often find that the more established wildlife destinations have a formula that works. And this is all to the well and good. However, by going further afield, you are likely to encounter experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. The truly nuanced safari and adventure destinations differentiate themselves in a myriad of ways; by involving you in the uniqueness of the local culture; by giving a completely different take on what sundowner drinks should involve; boat cruises on a lake where you can cast a line to try out tiger fishing… anything is possible when you try somewhere unique…

4. Thrill of Discovery

You will likely have a fair idea of what to expect in the more documented wildlife areas of Africa. You will likely have seen pictures or seen a documentary feature or two.

Yet the secret parks feel like just that a lot of the time; well-kept secrets. Dry river beds fringed with palm trees and endless baobab forests covering rolling hills as far as the eye can see… you can find these and so much more just when you least expect them, by venturing a bit more into the unknown… You won’t have friends or family telling you exactly what it will be like based on their own experiences, instead you get to be the explorer, to break the new ground of all your contemporaries.

Don’t just book somewhere random, that’s definitely not what we’re saying.

But if you do want to truly feel that adventurous spirit, almost as if you are the first person to venture into a place, then do a bit of research (or ask us), see where the reviews say is brilliant but not a lot of people know about, and go…

Get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com to start planning YOUR adventurous safari…

Glorious Wallowing in Victoria Falls

The Wallow Lodge is found in a private game reserve, peacefully nestled in the heart of the Victoria Falls National Park.

The tented camp is set along the banks of the Masuwe River, surrounded by 4,500 acres of wilderness that stretch into the horizon, where a cloud of mist from Mosi-oa-Tunya (the local name for the Victoria Falls, meaning The Smoke That Thunders) commands the skyline.

The falls themselves are a short twenty-minute transfer from the lodge, giving guests the freedom to tailor-make their experience and find a balance between the exclusivity of the bush and the excitement of Africa’s Adventure Capital.

The Wallow Lodge embodies the authentic essence of tented accommodation, reimagined from a luxury safari perspective. Panoramic views of the Masuwe River form the backdrop of the main area, seamlessly incorporating the gentle rhythm of nature into large, open-space interiors. The furniture is earthy and sophisticated, brought to life with splashes of colour. The effect is captivating yet calming and epitomises the inherent unpredictability of Africa.

Sixteen suites are thoughtfully placed to capture the best views of the riverbed below and its surrounding wilderness. The imaginative use of canvas evokes a classic safari atmosphere, accentuated by all the modern creature comforts. Each room is raised beneath the shade of ancient riverine trees, and from this elevated vantage point, guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of the river from their private balcony. The décor and attention to detail strike a perfect balance between contemporary, homely touches without detracting from the surrounding bush.

The imaginative use of canvas preserves the romance of yesteryear with a classic safari atmosphere, accentuated luxurious finishing touches. Each room has an ensuite bedroom, private sitting room and viewing deck with an outdoor shower overlooking the untouched woodland savannah, creating the perfect sanctuary for guests during their stay.

There is a touch of ‘bush bohemia’ in the vibrant chitenge cushion covers, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture in the decorative theme. The attention to detail strikes a perfect balance between contemporary, homely touches without detracting from the surrounding wilderness.

The Wallow Lodge is a retreat to the simplicity and authenticity of safari life with a modern freshness about it. The beautiful open space and wild surroundings will capture a piece of you and never let go.

The Victoria Falls themselves are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On your guided walking tour of the falls, you will have the opportunity to discover the many facets of the magnificent Victoria Falls. Explore the rainforest while learning about the history of the Falls, its geological significance and its flora and fauna.

You’ll have the opportunity to soak up the beautiful vistas, lush surroundings, impressive gorge, and the spray of the Falls.

The Wallow Lodge is owned and operated by Wild Horizons, the largest eco-tourism operator in Victoria Falls. Behind every Wild Horizons venture is a purpose aimed at creating an enriching travel experience for their guests while conserving Africa’s wildernesses and wildlife for the local communities and future generations. Their team works tirelessly to preserve and protect the environment in every dimension of their business, sharing ecotourism’s benefits with the communities that they work alongside.

All Wild Horizons lodges are uniquely and thoughtfully designed to have their own character, but the golden thread tying them together can be seen in the signature style that emphasizes sustainability and space.

The Wild Horizons Environmental Officer monitors soil erosion and vegetation at all our properties, rehabilitating areas with indigenous trees from our nursery and eradicating harmful alien plant species. Annually, the company bring over 1000 children to the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust where the kids learn about conservation, wildlife and sustainability. With the revenue generated from tourism, Wild Horizons invests in conservation and provide support for organisations like Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit and the Wildlife Trust.

When you travel with Wild Horizons, know that a portion of the profits pays the school fees for local children, support Old Age homes, clinics and initiatives that empower the local people.

For more information about The Wallow, Victoria Falls or Zimbabwe in general, get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning YOUR Africa trip…

Simbambili: The Heart of Leopard Country

Simbambili Game Lodge is found right up in the northern part of the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a wilderness area renowned for its intense game viewing and prolific leopard sightings.

Set amongst the old Knobthorn and Jackalberry trees, Simbambili offers sophisticated safari accommodation that reflects its unspoilt landscape. The lodge overlooks a waterhole which attracts a plethora of wildlife; game drives are often delayed as guests are so unwilling to remove themselves from the spectacle in front of them.

The Simbambili lodge team are loved for their warm, friendly approach and personal attention to detail. Many have worked there for years, and one gets a real family feel upon arrival.

The lodge has seven stylish suites and each one has a private deck, plunge pool and shaded Sala bed. The large thatched suites have been elegantly designed to blend in with the environment and carefully positioned to enhance privacy.
While the shower, free-standing bath, his and her sinks and modern finishings are impressive, it’s the outside deck our guests love most.
The Honeymoon and Waterhole suites are located on the far sides of the camp’s main area and are more spacious and private for couples and newlyweds.

These romantic suites are slightly larger and come with added amenities. They have a shower, free-standing bath, his and her sinks and modern finishings as the other suites, but come with an added lounge area for more space.
The outside deck, however, is still what our honeymooners love most. The extensive bush-facing deck, with a plunge pool and shaded sala bed, is the perfect place to spend a hot afternoon in the sun.

Each suite has its own spacious riverbed-facing deck with a plunge pool and sala bed under shade to laze away a perfect afternoon. All nine spacious suites face the riverbed and woodlands and each one comes with its own private deck and plunge pool, sala bed and a free-standing bath. The Waterhole Suite overlooks the lodge’s active waterhole.

The food is fresh and delicious, and made with fresh ingredients from the Thornybush Community Garden and our local suppliers. Menus vary from à la carte dining to boma barbecues, and the staff will treat you to a leisurely bush breakfast and dinner.

At Simbambili, the highly skilled guides and trackers have an incredible wealth of bush knowledge that leaves lasting impressions on all our guests around, whether on game drives, guided bush walks or chatting round the fire at night.

This truly is wildlife viewing at its finest, and only a short flight from Johannesburg and then a lodge transfer through the reserve gets you to Simbabmbili in time for lunch.

If you want to find our more about rates and availability, get in touch with us through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your safari…

Singita Faru Faru: Serengeti Delight

Set in front of a busy waterhole alongside the Grumeti River in the heart of Tanzania’s Serengeti, Singita Faru Faru Lodge invites continuous connections with its breathtaking surrounds.

A relaxed approach to luxury forms a golden thread throughout this contemporary African lodge and allows guests to experience the deeply restorative power of nature. Décor & design includes airy bedroom suites, where every creature comfort is catered for with intuitive ease and oversized windows welcome the wilderness inside.

Expansive outdoor decks and multiple airy enclaves allow for intimate dining and drinks, while the café-style bar at the heart of the lodge hums with a subtle sparkle – spilling over to the pool area and firepit, and making for magical evenings under starlit skies, with satellites skimming by miles overhead.

Faru Faru is a mix of contemporary, organic style and the quirky practicality of a traditional botanist’s camp. With seven one-bedroom suites, one family suite, and one two-bedroom suite with a private pool, Faru Faru is able to cater to couples as well as large groups and families. Unlimited natural light and the rich, layered colours of the landscape flow into the living spaces and suites, captured in a pale-on-pale palette offset by hues of winter grasses and pink river clay.

Catering for every creature comfort, the relaxed luxury of Faru Faru’s large bedroom suites is subtly emphasised with cool, clean aesthetics and wide, oversized windows that open up to welcome the restorative natural surrounds inside. You’re going to love the outdoor showers and privacy offered by the thoughtful design of each accommodation. The outdoor seating area connected to each suite is also a huge bonus; it makes for the perfect space to read in between game drives.

The Singita wellness philosophy creates an environment for their urban-weary guests to reconnect to nature, revive their senses, restore their bodies and minds, and explore their African culture. The spa journey can be performed in the tranquility of the spa, out on a private deck or in the comfort of guest suites. The products used are carefully selected for the positive impact that they have on the guests and the environment

Set within Singita’s 350,000-acre private reserve in northern Tanzania, Faru Faru embodies a fresh take on African bush appeal and ushers in a new era of luxury wilderness safaris.

Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration.

The reserve was created by the Tanzanian government in 1994 in order to protect the path of the annual wildebeest migration and the indigenous biodiversity of this vast and important ecosystem.

In 2002, the Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund (now known as the Grumeti Fund), a not-for-profit organisation, was granted the right to manage and conserve these 350,000 acres, for the benefit of Tanzania, Africa and the world. Four years later, Singita took over the management of the property to enhance low impact, luxury tourism, at the request of the concessionaire.

  • Guests have the opportunity to visit the Anti-Poaching Observation Post that situated atop a hill with an incredible sunset view over the vast grassy plains below. The experience for Singita guests includes meeting the Singita Grumeti Fund game scouts and seeing how they live and work.
  • If you’re eager to get in a run, chat with the team to see if game scouts are available to accompany you on a jog in the bush…it’s truly an epic way to exercise in the Serengeti and something the Singita team is uniquely trained to execute.


Whilst the great migration steals the limelight in the Serengeti ecosystem, the game viewing is phenomenal year round, with prides of lions roaming the plains, leopards skulking through woodlands, and the ever-present elephant herds constantly delighting visitors with their antics.

Faru Faru is yet another amazing lodge in the Singita portfolio that we simply love sending our guests to, so readily do we trust their brand and service levels.

If you want to enquire more about availability and pricing, get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your safari…

Low Light Photography

This is probably one of the trickiest areas of wildlife photography to get right.
Photography is all about light, and the less there is, the harder it is to take a sharp photograph. After sunset or before sunrise, cloudy days, or even shooting with a spotlight; all present their challenges, some of which can be overcome and others not so much. But with a couple of trips and tricks, you should be able to get some very memorable photos even when conditions are poor.

1. Know Your Equipment

A good workman never blames his tools, so they say, but the simple reality here is that some camera equipment is significantly better than others. Certain lenses let in more light, some bodies can cope with almost complete darkness, and having this more advanced (but unfortunately more expensive) equipment will go a long way towards getting better photos when the light is poor.
The two things to look for are lens that has a wide aperture (f2.8 or below) and a camera body with high ISO capability (ISO is a measure of the camera’s sensitivity to light). If you have those two you can probably keep snapping away for awhile when the sun has gone down.

If on the other hand you don’t have the advanced gear that the serious amateurs or professional photographers will make use of, it is important to recognise when you are barking up the wrong tree. You will probably hear a very slow shutter speed coming into play (your ranger will identify it for you), resulting in blurry photos.

Simply put your camera down, forget about taking photos, and enjoy watching whatever’s in front of you.

2. Try Something Different

Low light can be an excellent time to experiment.
If a leopard isn’t bathed in golden light but is instead moving slowly along  on a cold grey morning, it’s time to think outside the box.
Your camera will detect that there isn’t enough light around and use a slow shutter speed to compensate, but you can use this to your advantage.

By panning along with your subject, be it elephant, lion or leopard, and using a slow shutter speed, the background should blur out a bit whilst the animal (hopefully) stays sharp. This panning effect implies motion, and is a very effective way of conveying story, which is ultimately what wildlife photography is all about.

Understand Metering and Exposure

You are smarter than your camera. At least hopefully. Whilst you can clearly see that the world in front of you is veiled in darkness and the leopard illuminated in the spotlight is the only thing to concentrate on, and clearly the subject of your desired photo, your camera doesn’t know better. It will just see the darkness and try to compensate for it. It will open the shutter for longer to let more light in, thus massively overexposing the leopard and probably blurring it as well.

In a case like this, you need to tell the camera to keep things dark. You do this by adjusting the exposure. Have a read of a previous post of ours here to understand the concept a bit better.

Knowing how your camera reacts to different levels of light is crucial. The more advanced your photography becomes, the more control you will likely take away from it and put into your own hands (ie. you will be deciding all the settings for yourself).


Know What Your Subject Is

Is it the scene or is it the animal?

Do you want to accentuate the clouds or do you want detail in the wildlife?

A lot of the time in wildlife photography, you have to compromise. Make sacrifices. It’s like a relationship. Know what you have to give up on one side to gain something on the other.
Take a look at the photograph below, of wildebeest in the Maasai Mara.
Had the shot been exposed for the wildebeest, the dramatic colours in the evening sky would have been lost (the shutter would have necessarily been slower). Instead, the sky’s colours were prioritised and the wildebeest and lone tree were left as mere silhouettes. Which in turn tells its own story.
It would be very difficult (without the use of a flash or spotlight) to capture detail in both the sky and the wildebeest.

Ultimately, understanding exactly what shot you’re after, what settings you need to capture it, and what the limits of your equipment actually are, all combine to define how you can photograph in low light. But it’s certainly not a case of putting your camera away when the light fades.
Quite the contrary.

Feel free to drop any questions down below about all things wildlife photography related.

Lion Sands River Lodge

It’s hard to say enough good things about Lion Sands.
For years one of our favourite lodges in the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Lion Sands has been wowing guests from all over the world with their incredible wildlife sightings and close attention to detail on the guest service front. The sheer amount of repeat business speaks for itself.

Lion Sands River Lodge is, as the name suggests, situated on beautiful river frontage. The Sabi River separates the reserve from the Kruger National Park, but being unfenced, still allows for free movement of wildlife. Elephants wade across the current, leopards leap between the rocks, and in the winter months the water levels are generally low enough to allow most creatures to cross without too much trouble.
The life-giving water attracts creatures great and small during the winter months in particular, when surface water is scarce across the reserve, and the density of game along the river banks is as high as could be wished for.

And then there’s the lodge itself…

The lodge’s style has a wonderful sense of brightness and space, yet remains understated. Wooden walkways lead off to a spa, gym and pool, and back to the main lodge, where the deck’s connected water features give the impression of floating on the river. Whether you enjoy your time together socially or quietly, the running theme here is simple and natural luxury living.

The lodge’s eight Luxury Rooms, six Superior Luxury Rooms and four River Suites are spaced along a path to reveal splendid river views and make for a very personal stay while on a luxury African safari stay. This is where couples, families and friends come together to reconnect with one another and Mother Nature.

The River Suites, each fronted by a plunge pool and set further away from the main lodge, are the most spacious and private – and also include a Family Suite for a relaxed family safari. It’s for you to choose which accommodation best suits you – but the extraordinary view comes standard. Relax at the guest pool or in the spa, get active in the gym, or browse the MORE Gallery. Turn your wildlife photography into artful souvenirs in the Creative Lab.

Bright, airy and contemporary are the three words that immediately hit you as you arrive at the lodge, and the feeling of deep well-being remains with you as you head out on safari to track down a leopard or to sit with a magnificent herd of elephants.

Lion Sands is in high demand amongst our guests from both Africa and overseas, so if you are interested in a stay, don’t wait to get in touch.

Mail us on info@iconicafrica.com to start planning your safari…

Mala Mala Winter Madness

Winter is almost upon the South African Lowveld, which encompasses the Kruger National Park and its adjacent private reserves like the Timbavati, the Sabi Sands, and more relevant to this particular post, Mala Mala.

One of the original photographic safari lodges in the country, Mala Mala has had its doors open to wildlife aficionados since the late 60s, and although the camps have been upgraded since then, the menu has been refined and the experience developed somewhat, the thing that has remained unchanged over all those years is what makes the place part of the epicentre of Big 5 viewing in the region; the wildlife.

Attracted by the perennial Sand River (along which Mala Mala enjoys 20km of frontage), the wildlife flocks in in droves during the winter months – the dry season in this region – when surface water is scarce but the river remains constant.
Lions lounge on the high banks, waiting for the buffalo herds to descend down the dead-end sandy culverts. Leopards slink through the Phragmites reeds, sneaking up on unsuspecting bushbuck, and the ever-present elephant herds march between their feeding grounds and the steady trickle of water that sustains life throughout these cold harsh months of the middle of the year.

And above it all, ever-present and inviting, lies Mala Mala Camp (formerly known as Main Camp).
A haven of understated luxury, combining warm comfort and superb service with unrivalled views of the Sand River and surrounding bushveld, it is truly a place of legends, where rare photographs, old maps and extraordinary mementos rub shoulders with the works of renowned contemporary wildlife artists.The camp is an unfenced oasis in the middle of the bush.

Ten luxury suites, eight luxury rooms and one luxury single suite comprise this unique slice of Africa that is sure to fill up your memory cards faster than the

The spacious and unbelievably comfortable rooms all feature the following:

  • Private decks or verandah with a view over the Sand River or a waterhole
  • En-suite bathroom with private toilet – the suites have both a bath and a shower whilst the luxury rooms only have a shower
  • 24-hour temperature control – air-conditioning, heating and overhead fan
  • Direct dial telephones
  • A mini-bar
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • A mini-safe
  • Bathroom amenities, insect repellent and hairdryers

It’a good all year, but winter is the time when Mala Mala truly comes alive.

Thankfully there are a number of different accommodation options available, as competition is fierce to get a booking during the peak of the game viewing months. Rattray’s and Sable Camps offer just as – if not more – luxurious stays, whilst still providing access to just as incredible game viewing experiences.

Get in touch NOW (info@iconicafrica.com) to start planning your Mala Mala safari. This is one you don’t want to miss…