A Whirlwind Adventure

Deborah and Jim Mills have just settled back in New Zealand after an unforgettable trip to Africa. They went on a whirlwind adventure from North Eastern Tanzania to the award-winning Londolozi. They certainly had a magical trip and plan to return in 2021. Deb and Jim have very kindly shared some of their experiences from their trip and a few tips for those visiting soon:

What was/were the highlight(s) of your trip?

“There were so many highlights! The trip to Arusha National Park was a very nice surprise. We were able to photograph the Colobus Monkeys, which was exactly what we wanted, and the birthday dinner at the Arusha Coffee Plantation was a pure delight.

The Mara River Tented Camp was wonderful. They have come very close to providing that family feeling that you get at Londolozi. It is different, being a tented experience, but the people there are special. Herman, our waiter, was a pure delight, teaching us phrases in Swahili and treating us like a member of the family. Benson was incredible and got us into the perfect position for each of the crossings. 

Seeing the crossings was probably one of the most amazing experiences. We felt like we were in a National Geographic moment. Another highlight was seeing a herd of elephants crossing the Mara River. After watching the frenzied crossing of the wildebeest, the elephants were majestic and graceful, a sight that I will never forget. When we left Mara River, we took a “team photo” and commented that the staff there is truly the dream team.

Faru Faru is delightful. We would definitely like to stay there longer next time. There were two special sightings at Faru Faru, the tree-climbing lions and the zebra migration at the water hole.

Tswalu is so different. The trip on the Oppenheimer Air is a very special start – it really gives you a feeling for how the famous live. The lodge is gorgeous and the property is so different, with the rocky mountains and the red sand everywhere. Game viewing can be challenging because the density of wildlife is lower, but the chance to see pangolin, aardvark, bat-eared foxes and meerkats is unbelievable. They let you get out of the range rover and follow the pangolin and aardvark on foot. For the meerkats, you get there just as they are beginning to come out of the dens and again, get out of the range rover to wander around and photograph them. It is better to go there in winter because the nocturnal animals are out earlier and easier to find. They also have a number of wild dogs that are easy to locate because many have collars. It is not the sort of place that people should go on their first safari, but for those that want to see a pangolin or aardvark, it is fabulous.

Finally, there was Londolozi, which never disappoints. Reconnecting with Trevor, our butler was delightful. There were leopards everywhere, as usual. Pioneer Camp was amazing. It still is the best, overall wildlife viewing that we have ever experienced.”


Do you have any suggestions on safari guides for first-time safari-goers?

Benson Mboya at the Mara River Camp is phenomenal in getting you to the right place for the crossing. He drives fast and it can be a bit nerve-racking if you get nervous in the landrover, but we loved it.

Alex Jordan at Londolozi was excellent as well. His photography skills are very strong so he is a good guide for those who want to improve their skills.

Antony Kivuko was our andBeyond guide who took us into Arusha National Park. He is delightful. When he heard that our focus was the Monkeys, he ensured that we had the best opportunity to photograph them.

Herman, our waiter at Mara River is an absolute gem.” 

And lastly…

Bev, thank you so much for all of your help. The trip was truly awesome. We are so thankful for your patience and expertise. We could not have had a better experience.” Deb & Jim 

A big thank you to Deb and Jim – we look forward to having you back on African soil in 2021…

The Lions are coming to SA in 2021!

Iconic Africa is very excited at the recent announcement made by the British and Irish Lions who are planning a 2021 South African tour. This is very thrilling news for sports fanatics out there as the British and Irish Lions are set to play in front of the largest-ever crowd for a Lions Test in the professional era on their eight-match tour of South Africa in July/August 2021. It’s rugby’s ultimate adventure, the greatest tour of all. Every four years the very best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales unite as one to undertake a truly remarkable journey. 

If you plan on being one of the 88,000 fans at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg or plan on making it to the second Test at the Cape Town Stadium where the first Lions Test will happen since 1997 – why not throw in a once-in-a-lifetime safari into the mix and make your South African trip even more memorable! 

We have put together three very special tours for you to choose from that include the spectacular Cape Town, romantic town of Franschhoek and Phinda Private Game Reserve. Join Iconic Africa on this phenomenal tour where we can customize the perfect itinerary for you to see this beautiful country and watch two of the greatest rugby teams compete! Iconic Africa creates exclusive safari and holiday experiences. Our gorgeous destinations are hand-picked and we offer personalized and boutique experiences.

BRITISH LIONS TOUR – GOLD

16 Nights – Johannesburg, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal Battlefields, Cape Town and Franschhoek (23 July – 6 August 2021). 

Johannesburg is one of Africa’s biggest and most vibrant cities. It is the economic capital of Africa and the gateway to Southern Africa. Although not as famous as other South African destinations, there is plenty to do in Johannesburg and nearby Pretoria.

Accommodation:  The Michelangelo Hotel

Described as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder’, &Beyond Phinda encompasses an impressive 28 555 hectares (70 560 acres) of prime Big Five wilderness in KwaZulu-Natal. This Reserve comprises seven distinct habitats – from dry sand forest to wetland systems and mountain ranges.

Accommodation: andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge or andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve

KwaZulu Natal, also known as KZN, is steeped in history and littered with battlefields from the struggles of the Zulu Civil Wars, to their clashes with the Boers and the British. This picturesque area features sweeping views of rolling hills scattered with rugged rock formations.

Accommodation: Fugitives’ Drift Lodge, KwaZulu Natal Battlefields

Without question one of the world’s most spectacular cities, Cape Town sits on the southwestern edge of Africa and nestles beautifully between the two national heritage sites of the infamous Robben Island and the iconic “New 7 natural wonders of the world” member, Table Mountain. Cape Town, which is three times the size of New York, set about remodelling and restyling itself post the end of apartheid in 1994. It is thus not surprising that it has begun to receive international acclaim and was voted 2014, World Design Capital.

Accommodation: Clarendon Bantry Bay, Cape Town

A mere 40-minute drive from Cape Town, the Cape Winelands are without doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Leave the coastline of Cape Town and wander towards the culinary capital of South Africa – Franschhoek. 

Accommodation: Leeu Estates, Franschhoek 

Return to The Michelangelo Hotel for 2 nights. 

 

BRITISH LIONS TOUR – BRONZE

16 Nights – Johannesburg, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal Battlefields, Cape Town and Franschhoek (23 July – 6 August 2021). 

 

DAVINCI Hotel & Suites Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg

andBeyond Phinda Mountain or Forest Lodge, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve 

Fugitives’ Drift Guest House, KwaZulu Natal Battlefields

Clarendon Fresnaye, Cape Town

Leeu House, Franschhoek

DAVINCI Hotel & Suites Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg

BRITISH LIONS TOUR – BUSH & BEACH 

16 Nights – Johannesburg, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, Umhlanga, Cape Town and Franschhoek (23 July – 6 August 2021). 

 

DAVINCI Hotel & Suites Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg

andBeyond Phinda Mountain or Forest Lodge, andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve 

The Oyster Box, Umhlanga

Clarendon Fresnaye, Cape Town

Leeu House, Franschhoek

DAVINCI Hotel & Suites Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg

Includes:

  •  Transfer from OR Tambo Airport to your hotel
  •  2 nights accommodation in Johannesburg 
  •  Transfer to OR Tambo Airport
  •  Scheduled flight to Phinda via Nelspruit
  •  3 nights accommodation at Phinda Private Game Reserve 
  •  Transfer to Fugitives Drift Lodge/The Oyster Box
  •  2 nights at Fugitives Lodge/The Oyster Box
  •  Tours to Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. (Not included in the Bush & Beach Tour)
  •  Transfer to King Shaka International Airport/ Durban
  •  Scheduled flight Durban – Cape Town
  •  Transfer to Bantry Bay Hotel/Clarendon Fresnaye Hotel 
  •  5 nights accommodation Bantry Bay Hotel/Clarendon Fresnaye Hotel 
  •  Transfer to Leeu Estate
  •  2 nights accommodation at Leeu Estate (B&B)
  •  Transfer to Cape Town International Airport
  •  Scheduled flight to OR Tambo Airport
  •  Transfer to hotel
  •  2 nights accommodation in Johannesburg
  •  Transfer to OR Tambo International Airport

Excludes:

  • Meals, drinks and laundry not specified in the itinerary or as outlined in the Includes
  • Premium brand drinks, champagne, cognacs, cellar wines, cigars and cigarettes
  • Gratuities and any items of a personal nature
  • Sightseeing and excursions not specified in the itinerary
  • Flights and transfers not specified in the itinerary
  • National parks and concession fees not specified in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees (please be sure to check if visas are required)
  • International flights
  • Rugby tickets for all matches

 

Take this time to relax and take in the scenery, cuisine and wildlife before the real performance starts as the Lions return to Johannesburg to face the newly-crowned Rugby World Cup champions in the final Test. 

 

 

 

Property of the month – Tinga Lodge, Lion Sands 

Iconic Africa loves Tinga for its authentic commitment to conservation and sublime safari experiences. Four generations of the More family have dedicated themselves to the superb legacy that is Lion Sands and Tinga Lodge. If you want a luxury family safari in iconic Kruger or the romantic adventure of a lifetime – look no further.

Tinga is a rare treasure – a private lodge and concession in the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The diverse 5000ha concession in this conservation icon is one of South Africa’s most game-rich regions and is a refuge to the highest concentration of endangered black rhino in Africa. Tinga is a luxurious celebration of Kruger heritage with nine spacious and secluded private suites nestled on the banks of the magnificent Sabie River.

The double volume cathedral-like main area opens out onto an expansive deck overlooking the Sabie River. When you return famished from morning game drive, you can devour a delectable breakfast array on the deck while the elephants wander past in the lazy heat. In the evening, put your feet up next to the lounge fire with an excellent glass of South African wine as you contemplate the wonders you experienced on the drive.

Luxurious Bush Living 

Tinga’s nine intimate, air-conditioned suites are opulent havens of seclusion and total solace. The generous bathrooms invite you to enjoy the indoor and outdoor showers. The spacious bedrooms and separate lounges face the verdant banks of the river and you can laze on your impossibly comfortable bed and look out into Kruger or contemplate a refreshing swim in your private plunge pool from the extravagance of the lounge sofa.

Tinga welcomes families with children over the age of six – there are specialised activities for children with staff dedicated to filling the enquiring young minds of budding naturalists.

Iconic Wildlife 

The 5000ha Tinga concession offers a number of rarities not found anywhere else. It is the only concession that boasts river frontage on two of the Lowveld’s iconic rivers – the Sabie and the Sand. The highest concentration of endangered black rhino in Africa is complemented by the excellent lion, elephant and leopard viewing. Buffalo herds drinking at the water’s edge are common and large packs of Africa’s painted wolves are regular visitors to the southern Kruger.

The indescribable treehouse experience

Tinyeleti treehouse is a bedroom without walls, high off the ground. It is the ultimate way to spend a wild night out suspended from the Milky Way in complete safety and seclusion. Your ranger will drop you off at sunset with a picnic basket full of delicacies to enjoy as the African night surrounds you with sound – crickets, frogs, cicadas, hyaenas, owls and, of course, regal lion roars. When tiredness overcomes, you can freshen up in the simple open-air bathroom and then allow sleep to gently take you while staring up at the stars from the comfort of your sumptuous four-poster bed.

One of our passionate consultants is standing by to connect you with this exceptional legacy in the heart of the Kruger National Park.

In Pictures – River Lodge, Lion Sands 

Lion Sands is a quintessential African safari icon and River Lodge is its most welcoming gem. It is the ultimate source of rejuvenating wilderness energy and sublime personal service in a setting that defines South African safari. The More family has owned this wilderness haven in the world-renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve for four generations. They are committed to family values, authentic conservation and are constantly pushing the envelope of what a luxury safari means.

On the banks of two great rivers is one of the most game-rich regions of the greater Kruger National Park. River Lodge is in the heart of the action – without leaving the comfort of your opulent suite, you can watch elephant bulls, tossing cool mud over their flanks, or wizened old buffalo lying in muddy pools, their scars and expressions bearing testimony to the trials of a life well-lived in the wild. Not only is this wonderful property famed for its remarkable leopard viewing, but is considered a sumptuous home away from home. 

The main lounge and bar offer you a friendly haven of relaxation on cosy sofas with some excellent books. Out on the main deck, you can drift with the gentle breeze on the sumptuous sofas and indulge in gastronomical delights. 

But the ultimate night time experience at River Lodge is an evening in one of the simplistically sophisticated tree houses. The treehouses are havens under the stars set high above the ground in amongst the trees – completely safe from the animals of the night. You’ll sleep in four-poster luxury and freshen up in the seclusion of a suspended, open-air bathroom. 

But don’t take our word for it – take a look at our hand-picked images of this breath-taking property below…

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Tour 

Before you know it, the much anticipated Valentine’s Day will be here and many of you will need some great ideas for some extra-special quality time with your loved one… Luckily, Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventurous escapades infused into an unmistakable romantic destination. We’ve put together a special tour for you so that you have to worry about one less thing – Iconic Africa’s Royal Romance is the perfect gift or gesture for your special partner this Valentine’s Day… Don’t waste time planning the perfect escape for two – we’ve done it for you! 

It combines the beauty, wilderness, adventure and pioneering excitement of Africa with four destinations that define supreme luxury permeated with complete privacy and opulent romance. Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. La Residence is the jewel of Franschoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion. View the full interactive itinerary below: 

  • DAY 1-4: EDWARDIAN PASSION, LUXURIOUS EXTRAVAGANCE

Ellerman House is a sumptuous Edwardian mansion resting on Lion’s Head Mountain, above the ultramarine waters of the Atlantic stretching to the meet the depthless African sky.

No expense has been spared, it truly is a Relais&Chateaux haven of unparalleled luxury.

Ellerman House boasts arguably Africa’s greatest art collection as well as a world-class wine selection and cellar.

Cape Town’s endless sights, activities and beauty will keep you enthralled for months on end.
Accommodation: Ellerman House

  • DAY 4-6: AFRICA’S MAJESTIC WINELANDS

Nestled in the vineyards and plum orchards of Franschhoek, La Residence is the most gorgeous boutique hotel in the most picturesque valley in South Africa.

A benchmark to luxury and comfort and created with exquisite detail and love.

The hotel is infused with colour, fabulous antiques, luxurious finishes and vaulted ceilings from which Indian chandeliers twinkle.

The little village of Franschhoek is the undisputed culinary capital of South Africa and boasts great exceptional wine and delicious food.
Accommodation: La Residence

Premier Golf and Safari Tour La residence

  • DAY 6-9: AFRICA’S WILD ROMANCE

At Royal Malewane, a private concession bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park the Biden’s Royal Portfolio has achieved perfection again.

A marvel of wilderness romance and seclusion that blends seamlessly into this ancient land.

Gourmet, starlit dinners under the giant Leadwood trees.

The Royal Malewane Spa is world-renowned and the ideal way to unwind with a unique healing African treatment.

Royal Malewane’s guides and trackers are some of the most highly qualified in Southern Africa.
Accommodation: Kruger National Park Private Concessions

  • DAY 9-11: THE ROYAL VICTORIAN FALLS RETREAT

Royal Chundu is Zambia’s first Relais & Chateaux property – defined by the sumptuous luxury that blends seamlessly into the private stretch of the Zambezi River Bank.

Island Lodge is set on its own private island in the languid waters of the Zambezi, offering just four exclusive and indulgent villas.

Each palatial haven boasts a private deck suspended over the river.

The outdoor bath is a fantastic space to soak up the night sky while on cooler nights, keeping cosy in the plush lounge before retiring to your extravagant bed.

A little downriver from Royal Chundu, the Zambezi falls over the Victoria Falls to create one of the greatest demonstrations of nature’s power on planet earth.
Accommodation: Royal Chundu. 

Click here for the full tour. 

Zambia’s Adrenalin Factor 

If you’re looking for those specific activities that will add that wow-element to your next trip to Victoria Falls – there’s no better combo than a helicopter flight, swimming in Devil’s Pool and taking a Livingstone Island tour to experience the ultimate rush, see the endless landscape from the sky and truly appreciate one of the worlds 7 natural wonders.

Choose between a 12-minute Flight of Angels or a 25-minute Zambezi Spectacular. The Flight of Angels was coined by David Livingstone when he first wrote about the surrounding area. Experience exactly what he felt when he wrote “a sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight”. Head towards Victoria Falls and fly in both directions as you find your perfect angle to film and photograph. Both air-tours provide the best viewing and photography opportunities that cannot be compared. Fly up the Zambezi River and over the Zambezi National Park as you head back towards the helipad. 

But 15-minutes might not be enough time in the sky – continue downstream over the Batoka Gorge, along the Zambezi River and navigate your way between steep cliffs and over Long Island before your Zambezi Spectacular flight comes to an end. Long Island is home to a great deal of big game and you will be able to see them clearly in the national park. 

If skimming just above turbulent water is not thrilling enough – try something more daring like swimming in Devil’s Pool. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is well-managed with safety being the top priority. 

Your guide will take you on a 5-minute boat ride along the Zambezi River – an exhilarating experience on its own, as you slipstream through rocky channels. Once you arrive on the island you are then led to the west of the island where you can jump into Devil’s Pool if you wish. The route directs you to swim slightly upstream in a very slow current. A safety rope is also in place as an added precaution. You then climb out on another rocky outcrop close to the edge of the Falls and the Devils Pool.

The Devils Pool itself is a deep natural pool that has been created by thousands of years of erosion, but what is unique about it is that there is a rock ledge on the lip of the Falls, where the water is only a few centimetres deep. You can now lie on this rock lip at the edge of the Devils Pool. 

The Devil’s Pool is available only when the water level is really low to allow for safe swimming. This is normally from late August to early January.

Once you return to Livingstone Island, you can take the season tour if the water level of the Zambezi River is low enough to allow safe access to Livingstone Island. The best time is from approximately late June to early March. 

For more on our favourite Victoria Falls destinations click here

 

Rwanda or Uganda for your gorilla safari?

“Spending time with these gorillas changed my life.” – Ellen Degeneres.

 

Global tourism has been mesmerised by this spell-bounding experience and we are already taking 2022 bookings! Availability is going fast! No wildlife adventure can compare with coming face-to-face with a wild gorilla – truly the ultimate wildlife experience. 

There are less than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the wild – with infants born only every 4 years. Half of these gorilla families are found deep in the forests of Rwanda and Uganda. Getting up close to these majestic giants can be physically challenging, expensive and daunting… but completely worth it! This awe-inspiring experience should be bumped to the top of your travel bucket list before it’s too late. 

So that leaves the question, where do you go to see these great silverback gorillas – Rwanda or Uganda?

Well, wherever you go, you will need to trek – up slippery paths, down narrow pathways, through muddy hills and thick vegetation. But as soon as you catch a glimpse of the first infant or family of gorillas, any exacerbation will fall void and you will feel nothing but joy as you see them groom each other and amble around. 

Safari trips to Rwanda and Uganda are becoming increasingly popular, especially among U.S. travellers, but the available numbers remain limited and are planned and booked almost 18 months in advance. Here are our top reasons to visit both Rwanda and Uganda for your ultimate gorilla safari:

Rwanda:

The vegetation is less dense in the Rwandan forests making sightings easier. 

Travel distances between places are short making road travel more pleasant and convenient. 

You have panoramic views of the volcanoes which are a sight to behold. 

The treks are shorter, despite the higher altitudes. 

You can visit the Dian Fossey Foundation. 

Travellers looking for the ultimate luxury accommodation nestled in the heart of the forest can look to book at Bisate Lodge or Singita Kwitonda. 

Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit with magnificent views and lush forests. 

Nyungwe Forest has over 100kms of trails and home to 13 different primates. 

Golden Monkey trekking adds an additional experience to your visit. 

Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation that benefits local communities in Rwanda. 

Rwanda has better infrastructure. 

The permits required for trekking and luxury accommodation contribute to the sustainability of wildlife operations and communities. 

A mother and child, Titus Group, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda

Freshly baked goods and Rwandan coffee make breakfast heartwarming, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda
Traditional Dancers stir the mood, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda

Mountain gorillas, Virunga Mountains, Rwanda

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Uganda

Uganda is significantly more affordable than Rwanda – both with permits and accommodation.

There is a wider variety of accommodation from entry-level to luxury lodges.  

Trekking in Uganda can be challenging due to the frequent downpours, steep slopes and thick vegetation, but there are amazing chimp-trekking programs that make this adventure worthwhile. 

Experience interactions with the indigenous Batwa people in the Bwindi region. 

Gorilla trekking is a sustainable operation in Uganda as the public/private partnerships are designed to save endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda and benefit communities. 

Gorilla tracking permits bring in more than $1 million dollars a year. 

Expeditions have also contributed more than $1.18 million to transform Bwindi Community Hospital, reducing infant mortality by 50%.

Both Rwanda and Uganda offer great opportunities for gorilla trekking, and the choice often lies at the availability of permits – especially if you’re booking last minute. 

Both countries allow only 8 guests to visit a gorilla family per day and require guests to know their fitness level before deciding. If you’re looking for ultimate luxury accommodation, Rwanda would be the ideal destination. However, if you’re looking to experience the wonders of the mighty Silverback gorillas and other outdoor adventures on a smaller budget, Uganda is preferable as it has over half of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas. 

Due to the huge demand for a safari & gorilla combo prices have increased and we have thus carefully crafted an incredible 7-night tour at a combination of our selected Sanctuary Retreats giving you a MASSIVE 33% saving! Read more here. 

2020 Top Travel Trends 

A lot can happen in a year – this is certainly true in travel trends across the world. Most of them for the better – such as more family vacations, reducing carbon footprints and taking things down a notch with the concept of ‘slow travel’. We bring you the 8 latest travel trends expected for the coming year as people transcend their comfort zone and prioritise international vacations…

 

Sustainable Travel in 2020 

This is the year where travellers and operators become increasingly conscious of their impact on the earth. With the growing concern of climate change, decreasing numbers of wildlife and community sustainability, Africa not only offers some of the world’s most pristine, untouched areas, but is active in the initiative to preserve these. This year the focus continues on conserving the land, the wildlife and local communities. This is the new standard within the safari industry without compromising luxury as seen at Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Almost a year old, Singita Kwitonda Lodge was designed in response to this purpose and its remarkable location offering environmentally-conscious luxury. 

Multiple Countries 

More travellers are spending less time in one country and coupling it with two additional countries to explore. They are looking at more cross-country tours that have short connecting flights and different experiences. 

andbeyond-chobe-under-canvas-game_drive-sunset

Culinary Adventures

While most travellers have previously considered accommodation, tourist attractions and transport; food and wine have become the deciding factor in many recent travel choices. Tasty local food and house wines are essential to planning a trip and more cooking classes, local dining and fresh produce markets will be booked and visited as part of the experience. This year travellers will go beyond 5-star restaurants and instead pre-book more authentic foodie tours. If you’re heading to Cape Town – Franschhoek should definitely be on your to-see list as this culinary capital surely knows how to tantalise tastebuds. 

Group Travel 

Taking heed from the solo travel trend, travellers are looking for people with the same interests to experience a country in a group. This offers the opportunity to meet new people who want to connect with like-minded individuals in a safe environment. Because of this, there is an increase in female-only travel groups and buddymoons and group bookings for friend-adventures. 

Slow Travel 

More of an antidote to the craze of every day, an increasing number of tourists are getting away to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul rather than tick off an action-packed itinerary that leaves little time for reflection. Some of the top activities being booked are bicycle trips through mountains and vineyards, visiting local markets and spending time in small towns such as Franschhoek. Others will opt for horseback rides or village tours that will keep them occupied and relaxed while escaping the reality they have momentarily left behind. 

Milestone Celebrations

More families and friends are booking out entire accommodations for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions. This is particularly the case with luxury safari destinations such as the Kruger National Park and Botswana. 

All about Aesthetic

When you step into an architectural masterpiece, you know it and it leaves you speechless for your entire stay. Increased bookings are based on the sensory overload of the accommodation such as Baraza, Tanzania where you will spend your free time taking in every little detail from the oriental-inspired pool courtyard to the carefully-chosen interior and decor. 

Zimbabwean Travel Back on the Maps 

Travellers are flocking to Zimbabwe as it has re-emerged as a top safari destination attracting even more tourists in 2020. Best known for its plethora of adrenalin activities and the majestic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe has so much to offer – from romance to world-class game viewing and superb service.

Seize the day in 2020 and book your African adventure here and now!

Magical Mozambican Moments

Mozambique is a sensory overload of beauty, wilderness, culture and flavour flanked by 2400kms of silky white beaches. Dotted along the astonishing coastline, little pieces of African paradise that literally are some of the last tropical, wild, island sanctuaries in the world. 

Mozambique is a one-of-kind holiday and one that everyone deserves to experience. In case you are not so sure what awaits you, here are 10 magical Mozambican moments you can look forward to:

Swimming full perimeters of idyllic islands if you are lucky with dolphins

Sunbathing under lazy palms on pristine white sandy beaches that go on for days

Snorkelling through hundreds and colours of beautiful sea life

Indulging in a refreshingly ice-cold Tipo Tintos (Rum and Raspberry cola)

Delighting in a spicy peri-peri chicken 

A big welcome from the lovely, smiley locals

Unprecedented luxury and an overwhelming sense of space 

Magnificent, seafood, juicy mangoes and crunchy cashew nuts

Night swims in warm water with luminous, glittering phytoplankton 

Tranquillity, serenity and romance like nowhere else in the world

Mozambique is a symbol of hope, beauty and possibility. Benguerra and Quilalea present the most luxurious and secluded ways to relish the legendary islands drifting off the ancient coast. Click here to experience the splendour of a once-in-a-lifetime Mozambique island holiday.

Ocean Safaris Mozambique Zanzibar Iconic Africa

An African Romance at Londolozi

Londolozi was voted Best Resort In South Africa: Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2019. No wonder Carmen Shui chose to spend her honeymoon there – in absolute luxury amongst Africa’s most sought-after wildlife and wilderness. This magnificent property exceeds all expectations, but often cannot be described adequately with just words. Carmen has very kindly shared with us some of the breathtaking wildlife photographs that she captured whilst on her romantic stay in the bush. Scroll down here for her full photo story…

Enlivened by Africa

As we conclude a very busy and fulfilling year, we would like to take some time to stop and reflect on what Africa means to us and how this beautiful continent has influenced, inspired and moved us. A memorable trip that immediately comes to mind is an action-packed adventure in East Africa that served as incredible food for the soul. It reminded me of just how powerful and magical Africa is and what it can do for you both inside and out.

Ngornongor Crater Lodge-38

So much of the first world and what we believe is normal life is left behind when you go to Africa.

Time becomes irrelevant, phones and communication impossible, consumerism no longer and worries a distant thing of the past.

Kitchwa-15

Embraced entirely in the present, you are able to fully appreciate everything about that very moment. Sights become brighter, sounds louder, smells more intense, and feelings more honest and accessible.

Life as you know it begins to fade away. Your heart slows down to the beat of the bushveld; your shoulders feel light and your laughter unbridled.

Ngornongor Crater Lodge-2

A transformation is happening as you slowly unravel and join the peace and the pace of the exquisite creatures we share this earth with.

You rise and fall with the sun, beginning and ending each day with awe and appreciation.

IMG_0629

In between this, you are entirely enamoured by nature, its wonders, intricacies and surprises. From the habits of a herd of elephants to the quirky determination of the wildebeest, to the focus and agility of the pied kingfisher, to the mating habits of the crowned cranes…there is so much to take in.

IMG_0269

You breathe out, your eyes are open and focussed on the landscape around you, your ears listening intently and your mind free.

It is impossible to take it all in but you make a concerted effort to be fully present; to be fully available to enjoy every minute of what Africa has in store for you.

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There is so much the bush can teach you, so much goodness, so many life lessons and behaviours that you can take home with you.

Let it fill your heart and soul. Let it complete you, one sighting, one story and one sundowner at a time.

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Stop thinking I should go to Africa one day or I’d love to go back. It’s more than just an item on your bucket list it’s a life-changing experience and you won’t ever regret it.

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Africa is here waiting for you and it will make you feel more alive than you ever thought possible.

Graham Wood Returns to Londolozi 

What better way to end the year than with another remarkable collection of videos taken by our very own, great friend and photographer, @grahamwoodphoto. His wildlife images are always worth a thousand words and his videos inspire the wanderlust in us all. Let these 3 short videos subdue your safari cravings until you make your next trip to Africa to see the wild dogs, leopards and the rest of our exquisite wildlife.

Introducing Cheetah Plains, Sabi Sands

A bold departure from its humble safari lodge beginnings, Cheetah Plains has undergone a complete metamorphosis. Today, it is a beacon to the eco-luxe safari set and a collaborative expression of South Africa’s rich heritage. Proud owner, Japie van Niekerk’s vision for the property is finally realised. By harnessing the power of eco-tourism, we are working hard to secure a rich legacy of posterity.

Cheetah Plains shares a fenceless border to the east with the vast, world-famous Kruger National Park and its southern border with the esteemed Mala Mala Game Reserve.  Cheetah Plains’ prime location within the inimitable Sabi Sands delivers a prolific, sustainable safari experience facilitated by the natural movement of wildlife over this vast land, fiercely protected under conservation.

Luxury eco-accommodation

A sophisticated, innovative eco-luxe safari experience for the modern age, the private Plains Houses provide a sensual backdrop to your private safari experience. The imaginative, honest architecture is complemented by restful interiors that invite the outside in.  The muted palette of the interior design imbued with warm, natural elements is enhanced with handpicked decor pieces by notable African artisans.

Perfect for an exclusive family safari or a party of friends the luxurious, private Plains Houses accommodateminimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 guests per house.

The location and unique appointment of each Plains House is a beautiful rendering of its environment.

Each house essentially takes the same form comprising two parts: the shared space and the accommodation.  Your exclusive safari hideaway provides you and your party a private bush retreat unlike any other.

The shared space boasts a formal lounge, living room, dining area, expansive sun deck, heated swimming pool, wine gallery, chef’s kitchen and sumptuous Private Suites. 

The accommodation comprises four graciously appointed free-standing Private Suites, two of which inter-lead.

Each of the three exclusive-use Plains Houses at Cheetah Plains accommodates a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 guests per house, offering you and your safari companions the ultimate private safari experience in the splendid Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

A dedicated hospitality team consists of your host, private chef, field guide and tracker. They are allocated to your Plains House for the duration of your stay. Together, they deliver a safari experience tailored to you and your party’s individual preferences. 

Delicious meals and snacks made to exacting standards are prepared by your talented private chef.

Personal wellness is in the hands of your dedicated wellness therapist.

An immersive connection with nature is facilitated by the expert field guide and tracker team at your service.

Wine & Dine 

Each Plains House hosts a fine wine gallery comprising a purely South African wine selection curated to reflect Japie’s favourite estates and varietals.  

Your host will readily recommend a wine to pair with your beautiful meal. Explore the wonders of new world wines by embarking on a wine tasting hosted by the on-property Sommelier (available upon request).

The accomplished culinary team delivers imaginative, soulful meals that, when paired with characteristic wines, resulting in an elevated dining experience you will savour. Your dining expectations and requirements are an important element of your stay.

Cheetah Plains has an ‘open kitchen’ policy; you’re always welcome to pop in and see what is cooking!  If you like, join in the culinary action or just observe while having a relaxed chat with your chef.  Dining al fresco, preferably out in the bush, is always a highlight.  Fresh, locally sourced produce is our preference and supports the farm-to-table vision at Cheetah Plains.

We know you’ll love this new addition to our portfolio as much as we do and hope to see you back in Africa soon!

The Western Cape – A guide to good food and wine

The Cape is known for its magnificent mountains, amazing scenery, gorgeous blue oceans, rich history, and, of course, its first-class wines and delicious food. We’ve compiled a list of our four favourite restaurants in the Cape that combine delectable food and award-winning wine.

Franschhoek Kitchen

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, it is essential to visit the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is our absolute favourite wine district. We recommend visiting the Franschhoek kitchen at the Holden Manz winery. It has been rated as one of the leading restaurants in Franschhoek and it is regarded as one of South Africa’s culinary hotspots. 

The restaurant is the perfect place to relax and enjoy bistro-style food made from delicious, locally sourced ingredients. Because they are a sustainability farm, they emphasise seasonal ingredients which means that their menu changes regularly. Franschhoek Kitchen also provides beautifully presented picnic baskets filled with absolutely delicious and fresh treats, so that you can enjoy a long summer afternoon resting by the picturesque Franschhoek River. You will also have a chance to try their beautifully fragrant Rosé, their barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and their decadent port-style wines.

Fyndraai Restaurant

At the 320-year-old Solms-Delta estate, you will discover the Fyndraai Restaurant—a restaurant that offers traditional Cape cuisine with a contemporary twist. The dishes aim to promote the assorted culinary heritage of the Cape, and you will therefore find that the dishes showcase European, Asian, and African flavours. Many of the rare and indigenous herbs are grown on the farm. You can opt for the tasty, four-course heritage menu, or you can choose to have a wine pairing menu that lets guests sample six glasses of the estate’s wines and six tasty tapas. The estate also allows guests to picnic on its grounds, and the Fyndraai Restaurant creates delicious picnic hampers for its guests.

Greenhouse (Constantia)

If classic elegance is what you’re after, we suggest visiting the Greenhouse. The cuisine is created by the famous Peter Tempelhoff who emphasises the importance of complementary tastes and aromas. For these chefs, ingredients must have meaning and purpose, and they aim to showcase the beauty of South Africa through their cooking. The menu also features some of the best wines from Constantia, and the restaurant pairs its wines beautifully. Greenhouse welcomes new Head Chef, Farrel Hirsch to its kitchen as of November 2018, and can look forward to Hirsch’s flair for innovation and fresh flavours. 

La Colombe

La Colombe is certainly worth a visit if you want to treat yourself to the ultimate fine dining experience. This spectacular restaurant earned its place among the top 100 restaurants in the world in 2016. The restaurant is situated at the Silvermist wine estate on top of Constantia Nek and it has magnificent views of Constantia Valley and Hout Bay. The chefs use ingredients that are sourced from the restaurant’s own organic gardens and therefore, the menu is also a seasonal one. Each dish is perfectly and beautifully presented, and the vibrant colours and flavours of the dishes combine together to create a unique cuisine adventure. The menu pays tribute to deliciously fresh seafood which is an absolute treat when you’re dining in the Cape.

Complete your safari with tasty food, plated beautifully, overlooking breath-taking views the next time you’re in Cape Town.

Treasures of Tanzania

This once-in-a-lifetime tour offers travellers only the very best in Tanzanian hospitality. Experience heart-stopping sightings of Africa’s rare wildlife; see some of the world’s most beautiful sunset spots and take in all the exquisite scenery and landscapes. 

From the volcanically rich soil to the lush forests, interminable golden savannahs, pearly white sands, snow-capped peaks, baobab clusters, lush swamps, fields of sunflowers and a constantly overwhelming sense of space, there is so much to explore.

This tour is a journey through all of Tanzania’s most luxurious treasures. From the heart of Tanzanian coffee and culture in Arusha, to the slow safari wonders of Chem Chem to the endless plains of the Serengeti and finally up to the Northern Serengeti where all the action happens. This tour offers the ultimate in colonial and opulent Tanzanian hospitality, unforgettable safari encounters, sumptuous luxury and endless breath-taking landscapes.

See the full itinerary below:

 

DAY 1: ONLY THE VERY BEST TANZANIAN COFFEE AND CULTURE

Arusha Coffee Lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge is a delightful sanctuary of aromas, gourmet food and vibrant gardens located on the expansive grounds of a verdant coffee plantation. Take residence in one of 30 luxury rooms – 12 Plantation Suites and 18 Plantation Rooms – all to be found within the 15 wooden chalets nestled amongst the surrounding gardens.

Both boast menus to satisfy the most discerning of palates, successfully fusing international culinary prowess with locally-sourced ingredients. The café bistro also has a wood-fired pizza oven. Other culinary delights include a 4-course alfresco buffet hosted daily in the garden.

Visitors are also welcome to enjoy convenient gift shopping at the Traders Walk Boutiques, located on-site. Browse through a collection of five boutiques offering arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing, gourmet coffee and cakes and Swahili food.

DAY 2 – 3: THE ULTIMATE SLOW SAFARI

Little Chem Chem

Known as the sunrise camp, Little Chem Chem is situated on the edge of an acacia forest. The camp is surrounded by the characteristic landscape of the Tarangire River with its impressive Baobab trees and overlooks the freshwater lake, Lake Burunge. The Babati mountain range offers a magnificent backdrop to the south-west, with the distant hills of Tarangire visible to the north-east. The atmosphere at Little Chem Chem is welcoming, elegant and oozing authenticity of a bygone era. The luxury of sharing 16’000ha with only 10 guests sets the ideal stage where you can perfectly blend into the wilderness. Lions roam the camp and call each other at night; stately elephants march down to Lake Burunge to get a sprinkling of freshwater; cheetahs hunt on the plains facing the lake; leopards, eland and lesser kudu can be seen in the more dense woods in the inner part of the concession. 

Accommodation: Chem Chem

DAY 4 – 5: ENDLESS SAVANNAHS AND INCREDIBLE GAME ENCOUNTERS

andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp

Famed for its endless grasslands and excellent wildlife sightings, the open plains of the magnificent Serengeti National Park are home to 35 species of plains-dwelling games, as well as prolific birdlife. andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp is set in the remote western reaches of the park, on a by-water of the Grumeti River, known for its dramatic wildebeest crossings and enormous Nile crocodiles. Tucked into a strip of riverine forest, guests thrill to the antics of the hippo resident in the tranquil lagoon in front of the camp and the spectacular pied colobus monkeys, found nowhere else in the Serengeti.

Accommodation: Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp

DAY 6 – 8: A PEACEFUL HILL-TOP HAVEN OVERLOOKING THE EXQUISITE SERENGETI

Sayari

The award-winning Sayari Camp is renowned for extraordinary wildlife sightings and supreme comfort. Set on the unspoilt plains of the Northern Serengeti, close to the famous Lamai Wedge, Sayari gives you easy access to the Mara River and multiple river crossing points.

Sayari Camp offers some of the world’s finest game viewing – and it does so in remarkable style. Relax in your extra-comfortable hillside suite after a day on safari, or take a dip in the glorious rim-flow swimming pool with dramatic views over the northern plains. Intimate, contemporary and elegant, it is no surprise that this permanent camp is regularly voted one of the top safari escapes on the planet.

Accommodation: Sayari

Don’t waste time and miss out! Now is your chance to experience four unparalleled boutique and unique hospitality experiences. Fully immerse yourself into Tanzanian culture and experience in its entirety the wonder of the Serengeti.

*All flights, transfers and private guide included.

The Treasures of Tanzania is the ultimate way to experience three very unique and luxurious safari destinations, to enjoy and celebrate the incredible Tanzania culture and hospitality and to explore the endless savannahs of the world-renowned Serengeti.