Property of the Month: Chief’s Camp Botswana 

Nestled on Chief’s Island – renowned for some of the best big game viewing in all of Africa – These twelve thatched pavilions, all with panoramic views of the Piajio floodplain, overlook the abundant herds of animals, and the prolific delta birdlife.   

This month’s property of the month is an understated, yet multi-award-winning luxury accommodation that boasts a delicious bush cuisine. 

Chief’s Camp is nestled on Chief’s Island – a verdant spit of land floating in the Okavango Delta. The island is renowned for some of the best big game viewing in all of Africa while the camp is a refined and polished tribute to the magnificent wilderness that is the Okavango. 

With just twelve generous thatched pavilions, all with panoramas of the Piajio floodplain, the abundant herds of animals, their stalking predators and the prolific delta birdlife is never more than a few steps away.

Palatial pavilions

The twelve gorgeous thatch and gauze pavilions at Chief’s Camp are airy islands of serenity. Each vaunts an ample king-size bedroom that leads to a separate lounge area. The bathrooms have both inside and outside showers and the private decks afford beautiful vistas from the shade of giant sausage trees where you might while away the midday from the comfort of an inviting armchair – a herd of elephants browsing below.

The main dining, sitting, pool and boma areas are set in the shade of giant trees and raised on expansive decking that extends onto the Piajio floodplain. From the comfort of the leather sofas, wicker chairs and dark wood chaise longue next to the pool, you can sip your favourite cocktail or read a tome of Africa, looking up every-so-often to watch the miracle of life unfolding in the floodplain below.

Chief’s Camp takes pride in creating gastronomic delights to compliment the scenic wonder of the venue you choose. You might opt for private dining on your deck to the symphony of a million frogs or you perhaps dine out on the floodplain under a billion African stars.

The Piajio Floodplain

In summer (November to April), the Piajio is dryer and there will be huge herds of plains game like lechwe, impala and zebra grazing as they watch for predators. In winter (May to August), the floodplain is inundated, and you will delight in the antics of the frogs, birds and fish while elephant bulls feed on the fringes or cross from one side to the other.

Exploring Chief’s Island

Perhaps the current highlight of Chief’s Island is the rhino re-introduction programme. Seeing one of these prehistoric giants returned to this phenomenal area is tear-jerking experience. If you are not looking for rhino, you might be watching cheetah stalking one of the many herds of red lechwe on the fringes of the plain. 

In the misty morning, you could follow large pride of lions on the fresh tracks of a herd of buffalo and in the dimming gold of the afternoon, you could be fortunate enough to encounter one of the many leopards of the island – completely unfazed by your presence.

When the floodwaters are up, discovering the wonders of the channels from a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) is another-worldly experience as you float among the reeds, the frogs and the inexhaustible birdlife while a surfeit of mammals feed at the water’s edge.

One jewel in a treasure trove

Whether you are a family on an adventure or a couple looking for romance, southern Africa has some incredible destinations. Iconic Africa recommends that you begin your African holiday in the Cape – either in Cape Town where the beaches, bars, mountain and restaurants will enthral you, or in the gorgeous wine lands of the Franschhoek Valley. From the Cape, Chief’s Island is the next destination and then it’s on to the majesty, mystery and adventure of the Victoria Falls in Zambia or Zimbabwe. A luxury Kruger Park safari in the world-famous Sabi Sands is the perfect ending to the African adventure of a lifetime.

Chiefs Camp is an unassuming luxury in one of the Okavango Delta’s most revered locations! Over the years Chiefs Camp has received world acclaim for its world-class luxury safari experience. Finding availability is thus not easy so do not hesitate in contacting one of our African travel experts and begin your journey to Africa with us now!

In Pictures – Vumbura Plains 

This property has an Idyllic Okavango setting where guests can enjoy Africa’s evenings of romance and splendour next to a spellbinding fire. Picture floating down a crystal-clear Okavango waterway on a mokoro or enjoying a couples massage out on your beautiful pool deck. Perhaps you would prefer a boat safari through the Delta channels, watching wildlife move through the water and reeds.

Vumbura Plains is a remote location on a stunning and exclusive concession in the northern Okavango Delta. The camp is a sanctuary of contemporary design that blends effortlessly into the trees that shade it from the Botswana sun. Vumbura Plains offers year-round water and land-based explorations into the Okavango where several prides of lion, leopard, cheetah and packs of endangered wild dog prey on vast herds of impala, lechwe, tsesebe and the magnificent sable antelope. Vumbura is a destination of luxury and adventure for couples and families alike.

A deck overlooking the panoramic delta

Vumbura Plains consists of two separate seven-roomed satellite camps. Vumbura north boasts two family rooms and is ideal for groups travelling together while the southern satellite is perfect for romance and honeymoon luxury.

The main lounge, dining and bar areas are airy and spacious tributes to contemporary African luxury with extensive decking and open sides offering spectacular vistas of the Okavango and the wilderness dramas unfolding there. There are both indoor and outdoor lounge areas of sumptuous comfort while the star deck – extending out into the waters of the delta where an astonishing abundance of bird, mammal and invertebrate life thrives – is a highlight for African fireside contemplation.

Like the main areas, the rooms are open, spacious and delightfully modern. The extensive outside deck with private plunge pool lies dappled by the shade of ancient African giants while the private spa, suspended over the flooded grasslands is the perfect place to luxuriate in a relaxing treatment. The deck leads to the polished wooden floors of the enormous double bedroom and lounge. The latter is a lower level refuge of delightful comfort offering endless vistas over the Okavango.

The highlight of the capacious bathroom is a huge glass-walled shower which allows you to watch the procession of delta wildlife on the plains below.

We could go on describing the crystal water and Kalahari sand or the fantastic food and wildlife sightings, but we would rather show you! 

Scroll down for some of our hand-picked images of Vumbura Plains.

5 Fun Activities in Botswana 

Botswana has an incredible reputation as a premier wildlife destination yet remains an untouched wilderness of unbelievable diversity. Botswana is an immense country, from the Kalahari Desert with its famed black-mane lions; to the impossible vastness of the Makgadikgadi salt pans; to Chobe in the east. If you’re visiting this beautiful country and want to do a little more than game drives, we have put together our top five activities for you:

Botswana Safaris Okavango Safaris Okavango Delta

1. Shops of Maun 

Traditional Botswana baskets are known for their tight weaving and patterns, fashioned from the mokolwane palm. One basket can take weeks to complete. Take home your very own woven basket that can be found in the craft shops of Maun, a safari hub.

2. Fishing in September 

September is a great time to visit the Okavango Delta if you’re a fishing enthusiast. The waters of the Okavango Delta recede at this time of year, making it the ideal time for fly fishing. Giant catfish gather in papyrus reeds, attracting tiger fish and offering an exciting catch-and-release experience.

3. Star Gazing 

The Botswana sky is free from light pollution and lights up at night with a thousand stars! If you’re staying near the salt flats of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, you will be treated to the Milky Way splashed across the sky. You can even join a night game drive to stargaze and search for nocturnal animals.

4. Chapman’s Baobab

Another iconic site is Chapman’s Baobab – a predecessor of the modern GPS. This monumental tree was used as a landmark by 19th-century travellers crossing the Kalahari Desert. It also served as a postal service: Travelers tucked letters into its hollows for other explorers to find and relay to family and friends back home.

5. Prime Elephant Viewing

If you’re visiting Chobe National Park, you will find one of Africa’s largest concentrations of elephants. They migrate seasonally between the park’s floodplains and salt pans. For optimal elephant-viewing, visit the Chobe River area in October. 

For more information on what Botswana has to offer, click here

 

The Difference Between the White and Black Rhino

Even the avid safari-goer has asked the difference between the white and black rhino. It is a common question and for some, a rhino is a rhino. But there are in fact five different species of rhino left in the world and we can see two of them in Africa; namely the black and white rhinos. 

The reason that so many people ask this question is that their respective names don’t make identifying them any easier. Both species are in fact grey, but there are many other distinctive features and characteristics that distinguish the two. Some of these include appearance and diet, habitat, and behaviour. 

Appearance:

The white rhino is substantially larger in size than the black rhino and has a long barrel-shaped body while the black rhino is more compactly built. 

The white rhino has a broad, flat and muscular square-lip for grazing and the black rhino has a pointed hook-lip used to feed on leaves, shoots and branches. 

The white rhino has a long face, small eyes and a small neck because it doesn’t need to lift its large head to feed. 

From the side profile, you notice that the white rhino has a relatively flat back with a small hump at the end of its back whereas the black rhino has a deep arch in its back. 

They also have distinguishable ears. Because the white rhino has poor eyesight and its head is always towards the ground, its hearing is heightened and important to its overall awareness and safety. The white rhino has very long, tubular ears that funnel sound into them and which it swivels independently like little satellites even when it is resting. 

The black rhino has its head raised most of the time meaning it is less dependent on just one of its senses. As a result, its ears are much smaller and rounder in shape.

If you look closely, you will see that their horn-size differs slightly too. The white rhino has a longer front horn with a much shorter second horn. The black rhino tends to have a slightly shorter front horn and longer second horn, meaning that its two horns are more similar in length.

Habitat:

Sometimes the habitats of the black and white rhino can have proximity, but usually, they have their distinct areas where they can be found more commonly. For example, a white rhino will usually be found in open areas where it is easy for them to graze and the black rhino will be found in areas with high thicket density where he can feed off trees and bushes.

Behaviour:

Due to different habitats and diets, the white rhino is more likely to keep its head towards the ground and the black rhino will usually have its head facing upwards as it spends most of the time feeding off branches. 

The black rhino is often described as more aggressive and inquisitive than the white rhino. With heightened senses than the white rhino, if the black rhino picks up the scent of a threat it will swivel its body and keep its head held high to pinpoint danger. 

The white rhino is more likely to keep its head low and rather swivel its ears to keep safe and often run from a threat. However, do not underestimate them as they are still potentially dangerous.

Let’s appreciate our wonderful rhinos and help protect them for future generations to witness their grandeur. General estimates suggest that there are only around 15 000 white and 3 000 black rhinos left in the wild. The IUCN lists the white rhino as Near Threatened and the black rhino as Critically Endangered. This is one of the crucial reasons that conservation areas such as Londolozi Game Reserve and the Greater Kruger National Park are in place today.

 

5 Iconic Destinations – Luxury Londolozi African Adventure Tour

Discover everything Africa has to offer with this month’s tour of the month. Visit a land of unchartered beauty and experiences, from Londolozi – a place consistently voted amongst the world’s best to an awe-inspiring natural wonder of the world! 

The Luxury Londolozi African Adventure Tour takes you to five Iconic destinations including Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls and Botswana. 

Iconic Africa has crafted the perfect mix. You’ll begin your trip in the Cape of South Africa at the Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city and then visit La Residence perched on the slopes of the Franschhoek Valley on the world’s most beautiful wine-lands. From there you will travel to the magnificent Londolozi Founders Camp in the exquisite Sabi Sands and then on to Zambia where you will experience the majesty of Victoria Falls from The Royal Livingstone and lastly to Jao Camp in the midst the wilderness wonderland of the Okavango Delta. See the full itinerary below.

THE CAPE GRACE

Cape Town

  • Cape Grace is in the ideal position for you to enjoy all the enchantments of the Mother City including the harbour, yacht basin and Table Mountain.
  • The Cape Grace offers various choices of expansive, luxurious suites and rooms to suit all needs.
  • You are guaranteed to the ultimate opulence.
  • The African Spa offers a full suite of beauty and massage treatments, a gym and a hair salon.
  • Boasting endless panoramic views of the marina, mountain and the Atlantic Ocean

FRANSCHHOEK – LA RESIDENCE

Cape Winelands

  • La Residence is part of the world-beating Royal Portfolio.
  • It brings with it all the luxury, service excellence, scrumptious cuisine and tasteful décor that have become synonymous with this great brand.
  • The hotel is set on an exclusive 30-acre estate surrounded by vineyards and plum orchards with the breath-taking views of the Franschhoek valley beyond.
  • Each suite is an individual masterpiece of sophistication and opulence and filled with original art, antiques and freshly cut flowers.
  • From this spectacular boutique hotel, you can explore the valley, the surrounding farms or cosmopolitan Cape Town further afield.

Accommodation: La Residence

LONDOLOZI FOUNDERS CAMP

Sabi Sands

  • In Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2014, Londolozi was named the best hotel in the world!
  • It effortlessly exceeds all expectations on a luxury, hospitality, wilderness and experiential front
  • Londolozi is a feeling, you simply must visit to experience it for yourself.
  • Londolozi Founders Camp is one of Londolozi’s five intimate camps, set under a lush riverine canopy of Jackalberry trees and dotted along the banks of the Sand River.
  • Nestled at the heart of the Sabi Sand Reserve lies Londolozi whose pristine river frontage positioning affords it an abundance of wildlife which has made Londolozi infamous for its incredible game viewing.

VICTORIA FALLS – ROYAL LIVINGSTONE HOTEL, ZAMBIA

Victoria Falls

  • The Royal Livingstone is situated in the heart of the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls.
  • It radiates Victorian elegance and local charm.
  • The luxurious Afro-chic rooms are generous spaces each with their own secluded terrace and view over the Zambezi.
  • Endless adventures and activities to explore.
  • One of the best sundowner spots as dusk turns the fall’s mist a golden pin

THE OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA – WILDERNESS SAFARIS

Botswana

  • The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena which supports an intimidating diversity of iconic African wildlife.
  • Wilderness Safaris pioneered luxury safaris in this patchwork water wonderland with either water or land-based camps.
  • At Jao you might spend a full day out on a mokoro (dugout canoe) enjoying a picnic on an island in the shade of an ancient fig tree.
  • All the way through your Okavango escapade, you will enjoy delicious cuisine prepared by the dedicated staff at Wilderness Safaris.

Accommodation: Jao Camp

Why Choose Africa 

“I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same” – Suzanne Evans.

Africa receives millions of travellers each year – most of whom come to visit the variety of beaches, mountainside escapes and safari lodges and camps.  Experience everything from cultural immersion, history and enjoy a variety of wildlife at your fingertips. Let us share with you – why we have come to love the continent as much as we do. 

Africa has a special safari destination for every occasion, family size and travel needs. The continent is selected for the exceptional Big Five game viewing, year-round good weather, spectacular birding opportunities, family-friendly and malaria-free safari accommodations, romantic retreats, award-winning chefs, breath-taking sunsets, and unprecedented sceneries. Find luxury, opulence and extravagance in the great outdoors. 

Africa’s expanse and extremely diverse terrains, climate and wildlife can make deciding on a country a tedious task. You may want a view of Mount Kilimanjaro from your lodge or to climb the famous Table Mountain. The continent has been blessed with so many cultures, community projects and great service that contribute to truly wholesome travel – from the Maasai people in Kenya and Tanzania to the San and Shona in the Kalahari and Zimbabwe. Experience modernity and rustic authenticity simultaneously in Africa’s pristine wilderness whilst returning to your luxury suites each night. Whether it is in the Kruger National Park, South Luangwa National Park or the Serengeti – you will stay mesmerised.

You can experience the best of everything, from nature’s wonders; getting up close and personal with some of Africa’s fiercest game accompanied by world-class guides; adventure activities; photography opportunities; artwork and museums and shopping!

We have put together a list of African safari destinations with the highlights from each to help you with your complex travel choices:

  1.     South Africa
  • Explore the beautiful Winelands of the Western Cape where you will find luxurious chateaux, local wines and exceptional views. 
  • Enjoy the beaches, mountains and city-life of Cape Town. The Mother City boasts beautiful architecture with a thriving night-life and an abundance of activities. 
  • Escape to the quiet of the Kruger National Park and enjoy some quality time with the Big Five.
  • Visit the rugged terrains of the Kalahari

  1.     Botswan
  • An untouched wilderness with incredible wildlife sightings. 
  • Cruise along the Chobe River and come face-to-face with the largest concentration of elephant and other predators. 
  • Diverse landscape from the Kalahari to the Okavango Delta. 
  • Selinda Game Reserve is an opportunity to awaken all your senses with the sceneries and wildlife. 
  • Spend some time in the Kalahari where time stands still 

  1.     Kenya
  • The place where safari originated. 
  • An abundance of wildlife. 
  • Visit the Masai Mara and experience a Maasai village. 
  • Experience the Great Wildebeest Migration. 

  1.     Tanzania
  • Explore the unfathomable magic of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater 
  • Bordering Kenya, Tanzania has a plethora of wildlife 
  • The Serengeti is one of the world’s most famous wilderness areas. 
  • Wonder off the beaten track to a more quiet safari location such as Tarangire National Park 
  • A high density of wildlife throughout the year
  • Choose between a variety of locations from forests to savannahs, beaches or volcanic areas such as Ngorongoro Crater. Even the weather can alter drastically, from snow-capped peaks to lush tropical mountainsides. 

  1.     Zambia
  • Birthplace of the walking safari. 
  • Experience the thrill and views of sitting in Devil’s Pools
  • An alternate and exceptional view of Victoria Falls
  • Great fauna and flora in 20 national parks, our favourites being Liuwa Plain, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa for its dense leopard population. 

  1.     Rwanda 
  • The beautiful forests are magical and encompass a fairytale setting for outstanding wildlife with exceptional surrounding accommodations. It is the ultimate jungle escape – see Silverback Gorillas and trek through the dense mountainside.
  • Rwanda is home to numerous monkey species.
  • Explore the hilly landscapes and see volcanoes for the first time.   

                                    

  1.     Zimbabwe
  • The most tranquil setting for luxury and adventure. 
  • Explore the Zambezi River by boat cruise and watch a masterpiece sunset. 
  • Stand before the most breath-taking Natural Wonder – Mose-oa-Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders 
  • Thrill-seeking activities such as white river rafting, bungee jumping and many more.

  1.     Mozambique
  • The perfect beach escape for couples and families. 
  • Luxury hideaways that exude romance
  • Pristine beaches with silky white sand 
  • Enjoy snorkelling, diving, fishing or simply relaxing with a book
  • Find an amalgamation of flavours and cultures 
  • Find amazing marine life at Azura Benguerra and Azura Quilalea such as turtles, tropical fish, eels, dolphins and rays, maybe even a pod of Southern Right whales.  

Need we say any more? 

 

         

 

Why Tailor-made Luxury African Safaris are the Way to Go

Iconic Africa specialises in bespoke African safaris, custom designed for the discerning traveller. We love  what we do; have loads of knowledge, and have been lucky enough to visit and experience most of our destinations themselves, and… have long standing relationships with many of the lodge owners.

Here’s why we think that choosing a tailor-made safari is definitely the best choice for your African adventure.

  1. Discover Africa’s Most Sought-After Destinations

Browse our destinations to explore everything Africa has to offer. There are countless amazing experiences to enjoy, so take your time.

We are here to help. Once you have an idea of what you would like to experience in Africa let one of our African travel experts guide you according to your preferences and budget. It is never too soon to contact us.

2. Relax & Let Us Do The Rest

Our team will design a luxury itinerary specifically for you, complete with accommodation, activities and travel designed specifically around your very own needs.  We will make sure you have a trip you will remember forever.

So relax, take a deep breath and imagine yourself basking in the hot African sun, sipping a cold cocktail and marvelling at the majestic wildlife we are so privileged to enjoy on the extraordinary continent we call Africa. We will take care of the rest!

Here are just a few more benefits of tailor-made safari…

3. Experience unique and luxurious safari moments.

4. Celebrate the incredible cultures, hospitality, food and wine.

5. Explore uncharted territories with private guides.

6. Choose and plan around specific activities you are interested in

7. See Africa’s breath-taking Natural Wonders of the World in luxury

Giraffe Manor Colonial Luxury Courtyard Aerial

8. Choose between fast-paced adventure destinations and slow safaris

9. Enjoy personalised tours and trips that gets you face-to-face with all the action.

Tailor-made safaris can/may include all flights, transfers and private guides, accommodation, breakfast, all meals on a full board basis, complimentary transfers, wireless internet access, morning tea and coffee with wake up calls, use of spa areas and fitness studio, game drives, walking safaris, private tours and many additional complimentary experiences.

Our consultants will be sure to explain this all to you depending on the trip they have planned for you but these are many of the additional services that are provided. For more info on planning your ultimate tailor-made safari getaway click here. 

 

 

6 Different Ways to Experience the Bush

Most people list an African safari as a top bucket-list activity. For those of you who have already been, you’ll know how addictive it is. For our first-timers, here are a few secrets to seeing some amazing wildlife and getting the most fun out of your trip…

While some travellers are privileged to see almost everything on their first safari – from the Big Five to wild dogs, birds and marine life, others may only spot a handful of wildlife. But that’s okay! A safari can be more than sitting at the back of an open 4×4 vehicle, walking alongside a guide or looking down from a hot air balloon.

Here are six incredible activities to add to your itinerary to maximize your time in the bush. Take your time, enjoy the excursion and take in the scenery for an experience of a lifetime.

  1. Horse riding

This is an incredible opportunity to experience nature and a very unique way of going on safari! Some lodges in Africa let you ride in the wild even if you are a complete novice. The more seasoned rider can choose from further options, like riding alongside an elegant giraffe or carefully walking with an elephant.

  1. Stargazing

Far away from any light pollution, the stargazing in Africa is phenomenal! It is as if the sky was made for the sole purpose of displaying the stars’ beauty. While you lie back and focus on absorbing all the sounds and calls of the animals and birds; your guide will take you on an astrological journey through the universe.

  1. Camel safari

A camel safari is almost like being on horseback, but you have a slightly more elevated view and the ride is a bit quieter thanks to the extra padding in camels’ feet. Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya all offer camel safaris, as an additional activity or solely as your mode of transport on a mobile safari. Kenya is by far the best place to do this!

  1. Canoeing

Canoeing can be done as a single activity or as part of a trail where you canoe between campsites for 3–7 days. Among the more popular canoe trails is the 4-day Selinda Canoe Trail in Botswana. You can expect to see an array of birdlife, as well as larger animals like hippos and elephants.

  1. Hides

Zimbabwe has some of the best hides in Africa and a large elephant population that is reliant on the pumped waterholes making this an incredible experience. There is nothing quite like being at arm’s length from a herd of elephants simply going about their routine, drinking and splashing in the waterhole. If this is on your bucket-list, check with your safari specialist whether the lodges you are going to stay at offer this activity.

Lions Sands Sabi Sands Luxury Safari Leopard

  1. Fishing

Africa plays host to some of the most fearsome freshwater fish species in the world such as the tigerfish. The waterways of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana offer your best chance of coming face to face with it. The coasts of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique also offer some of the most productive saltwater fishing in the world!

We hope you return to tick off more wildlife sightings and safari experiences. Keep notes of everything you see, so that you can keep track of which animals you have seen and properly identify them in your pictures. It will also help you with you ‘must-see’ list for your next trip.

 

A Boat Cruise Down the Chobe River

While you’re planning your travel to-do list for the year ahead, be sure to add a touch of adventure with a trip down the Chobe River. If you’re serious about safaris but want to do it at a leisurely pace while combining the exhilaration of a game drive and the relaxation of a boat cruise, then Botswana has the perfect activity for you!

Take a boat cruise down the Chobe River, a magnificent natural body of water that offers guests unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife in their natural environments. The Chobe National Park is home to the densest elephant population in Africa. You will often see them roaming onto the islands to snack on the sweet grass after they’ve a drink at the river. ‘A crossing’ is definitely a sight you will never forget!

Watch in awe as herds of hippos, buffalo, lion and zebra come to the water’s edge to quench their thirst. Seeing all these magnificent mammals while sipping on a cool beer or a chilled G&T to the sound of the fish eagle calling… will make you feel as if you’re in a dream. You don’t need to go out in search of game; sit back and relax as the wildlife come to you – the true beauty of a river safari. View herds and herds of game at your leisure as you sail past them congregating at the river bank, or feel the thrill of coming close to crocodiles basking in the late afternoon sun.

The best time to visit is during the dry winter months from June to October. This way you can make sure you will experience the best of Chobe National Park.  Wildlife come from near and far to reach the water during the dry winter. And if you want to experience a more private water-based safari, you can always book a thrilling mokoro boat ride and get up even closer to the Big Five.

We highlyrecommend seeing this beautiful part of Botswana by boat – the true highlight of your trip. You will find some of the best photograph opportunities in the late afternoon and early evening when the light creates magnificent back-lighting and contrasting shadows. You will never be able to find another sunset quite like one that sets over the Chobe River.

Here are our top recommendations for accommodation in Chobe.

Best Places to See Elephants

When heading out on safari, many travellers anticipate up-close and personal encounters with the King of the Jungle. But watching the mighty elephant in his natural surrounding is just as thrilling, especially for those who consider this friendly giant the true King of Beasts. As the largest and one of the most undefeated, yet gentle of the Big 5 – wildlife and safari enthusiasts have this majestic animal right on top of their must-see list. You can look forward to seeing elephants in most parks and reserves in Africa, but some places are definitely better than others. We have put together a list of our top 8 places to discover and interact with elephants in a natural way:

  1. The Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta sees year-round vegetation and water making it the perfect destination to see elephants at any given time. There are so many different safari options that lets you experience these beautiful creatures, from game drives to mokoro boat trips.

  1. Kruger National Park, South Africa

A world-renowned park for its sheer size, the Kruger has wildlife roaming freely in large numbers, including the elephant. The Kruger is perfect for family safaris and first time visitors wanting to view elephants up-close.

  1. Chobe National Park, Botswana

You can’t visit Chobe National Park without seeing a single elephant. With the largest elephant population in Africa, guests can watch the elephants going about their routines all day long – from drinking at the water’s edge, to bathing and swimming across the river.

  1. Elephant Camp, Zimbabwe

The Elephant Camp offers you the humbling and inspirational chance to feed, touch and interact with elephants.

  1. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park one of Zambia’s hidden gems with an abundance of elephants. The best time to visit is, July to November, when elephants congregate the dwindling bodies of water.

  1. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

If you’re on your way to the Serengetior the Ngorongoro Crater, stop at the Tarangire National Park during the dry season when its large population of African elephant make their way to the Tarangire River.

  1. Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Most accommodations along the Zambezi River overlook the high concentration of elephant that congregate around the meandering bends. Relax in your room perched among the trees and watch the elephants drink and play.

  1. Mombo Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Mombo Camp is nicknamed “The Place of Plenty”, suggesting the large herds of wild elephants that can be encountered at close range.

We would love to hear from you where you have seen the mighty elephant and which was your favourite experience.

Our Pick of the Best Tented Camps in Africa

If you feel that you’re too old to pitch a tent but want to live your dream of camping in the great outdoors, luxury safari tented camps offer guests the comfort and service of five-star lodging while allowing you to spend your nights sleeping under the stars. Enjoy walking in nature, going on game drives and spotting wildlife or simply immerse yourself in a good book on your private deck; and spend your nights under canvas, in a furnished private tent amongst the trees. Staying on the bend of

Here are our favourite six luxury tented camps located in beautiful sceneries, each featuring luxurious amenities such as romantic claw-foot baths, outdoor showers, and private swimming pools.

Ngala Tented Camp– Timbavati Private Game Reserve

Ngala’s tented camp evokes the romance and spirit of the African wild. It combines the extravagant appointments of a five-star lodge with the wilderness immersion that a canvas tent allows. Each of the nine tents are raised on decks allowing for unfettered views over the lawns and onto the dry Timbavati River where elephant, bush buck and buffalo bulls are frequent visitors.

Elephant Camp– Zimbabwe

The 12 tented suites blend into the Zimbabwean wild, conjuring an era of Victorian frontier camping – crystal glasses, white canvas, leather luggage and wooden trunks – but with an unsurpassed level of modern luxury. The airy and spacious, lounge, bedroom and bathroom all look out north over the Masuwe River and east to the cliffs of the Zambezi gorge.

Bateleur Camp– Kenya

Recently refurbished with all the latest deluxe comforts, Bateleur Camp is even more inviting than it’s ever been before. The two camps of nine suites each, boast polished wooden floors, vintage carpets and exquisite furniture ensuring a stately yet welcoming feel. A cosy central fireplace sits at the heart of the twenties style sitting room, scattered with delicate ivory lamps, substantial tree trunk stools, lanterns, old English portraits, classic suitcases, tartan throw pillows and soft delicate mohair blankets.

Alex Walker’s Serian– Tanzania

Stepping into the main tent is like walking into your lounge at home. It’s laid back, relaxed and down to earth, slowing you down to the pace of the natural world around you. With no more than six tents in each camp, it is intimate, quiet and peaceful. Sit in the lounge, put your feet up and investigate some of the old classic coffee table books, have a game of solitaire or try your hand at some sketching.

Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp– Tanzania

The ten en-suite tents are tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest on the banks of a tributary of the famous Grumeti River. From buffalos, to lions, to hyenas, to baboons you are fully immersed in the sounds and goings on of the animals surrounding you. From your own private patio watch the game drinking, the colubus monkeys playing or the sunbirds, kingfishers and starlings darting around in their daily routines.

Zarafa Dhow Suites Villa

Zarafa Dhow Suites – Botswana

The Zarafa Dhow Suites offer a lavish experience in the Okavango Delta. At this remote location you are able to ‘unplug’ and reconnect with nature, while still feeling totally at ease and luxuriated.

Immerse yourself in nature and have an authentic wilderness experience without compromising the comforts of luxury accommodations. Wherever you decide to visit, you are promised extraordinary views with stylish but classical décor and impeccable service. Don’t hesitate to tick off another bucket-list experience, enquire about one of our tented camps here.

Where to Safari – East or Southern Africa?

The idea of a safari was conceived in East Africa, but soon reached Southern Africa where luxury safaris became popular. Today both parts of the continent offer state-of-the-art designed lodges and camps, unparalleled game viewing and bucket-list worthy activities. But with so many countries to choose from, it’s not surprising that one would find it difficult deciding where to go – especially if it’s your first safari. Here’s what makes each region a unique and memorable safari destination:

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

East Africa is synonymous with the incomparable Mara-Serengeti triangle and the indigenous ecosystems that fall part of these areas. If you want to experience the seasonal Great Migration between Kenya and Tanzania, then an East Africa safari should be right on top of your travel-list! The seasonal rain patterns are nothing short of awe-inspiring, supporting over a million wildebeest and other game. East Africa, like other parts of the continent, boasts diverse habitats from lush, green forests to aquatic bodies that see large flocks of flamingos, baobab forests, and gorilla families. Not forgetting Mount Kilimanjaro and the famous Ngorongoro Crater where you will find incredible lodges that offer panoramic views. East Africa has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with vehicle trails, ensuring exceptional game viewing at a close range. Unlike Southern Africa’s reserves and parks, off-road and night-drives are less likely unless you are visiting a private concession. However, you can look forward to life-changing bush walks with Maasai locals who will show you the area on foot.

 

What you can expect from a safari in East Africa:

  • Massive herds of wildebeest and zebra
  • Two dry seasons: January to March and June to October
  • Great for family safaris as most accommodations allow young children; there are fewer internal flights and the interactive game drives keep kids interested
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles with English-speaking guides
  • Hot air balloon safaris over the Mara plains
  • Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
  • Fun walking safaris in some private reserves
  • Numerous cultural encounters with local tribes

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Click on the links below to see our top accommodation in East Africa:

Kenya– Great Migration, Maasai warriors, pink flamingos, Giraffe Manor, hot air balloon safaris.

Mozambique– Snorkelling, diving and untouched coral reefs.

Tanzania– Great Migration, Mt Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Tarangire National Park, hot air balloon safaris.

Rwanda– Gorilla trekking, golden monkeys, chimpanzees and canopy walks.

Gorilla Treks Rwanda Uganda Iconic Africa

Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Southern Africa has an array of different geographical features and weather conditions. You can tailor-make your safari to include the Kruger’s savannah grasslands, Zambia’ s woodlands, Zimbabwe’s thundering Victoria Falls, the dry desert of the Kalahari or the Okavango Delta’s heavy rains. Or combine the rugged mountains and luscious winelands with beautiful golden beaches and the bustling city life of Cape Town. You can have it all in one Southern Africa trip!

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

Guests look forward to low -volumes of people and smaller camps or lodges that often only accommodate up to a dozen people at a time. With the abundance of private concessions, you can create a more exclusive and personalised safari.

Contrary to East Africa’s vast open landscapes found in the Serengeti or Mara region and high concentration of wildlife, Southern Africa focuses more on personal encounters and walking safaris which can be done in Botswana and Zambia. You will also have the chance for exciting night game drives to spot elusive nocturnal animals, charming water safaris and nights out under the stars. While cultural experiences are limited unlike the many found in East Africa, you can plan a visit to the San Bushman of the Kalahari which is equally as rewarding.

What you can expect from a safari in Southern Africa:

  • Varied topography and habitats
  • Smaller concentration of herds in private concessions
  • One dry season: May to October
  • South Africa is great for family safaris with some lodges and camps located in malaria-free areas
  • Many camps outside of South Africa require minimum age of eight years old, unless you reserve the entire camp
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles
  • Choose from many small, remote and exclusive private camps with limited guests of 8-12
  • Guides usually share meals with guests at small lodges/camps developing close relations
  • More private concessions with fewer tourists which makes for great wildlife viewing
  • Wider variety of safaris activities such as walking safaris, mokoro tours, night drives, hot air ballooning, kayaking and food safaris

Click on the links below to see our top accommodations in Southern Africa:

Botswana–, Madikwe Game Reserve, Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta, Big 5 safaris, hot air balloon safaris, boating trips.

South AfricaKruger National Park, Table Mountain, Cape Winelands, Big Five safaris, marine safaris, hot air balloon safaris, Garden Route.

Zambia– Trekking, Lake Malawi, adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Devils Pool, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, village tours, safaris in South Luangwa.

Zimbabwe– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Batoka Gorge.

Both East and Southern Africa offer amazing opportunities to spot the Big 5 wildlife, amongst other game and indigenous fauna and flora. Each region has its own unique wildlife and landscape attractions, but East Africa definitely has a higher density of animals in one area – especially considering the Great Migration and gorillas. Needless to say you will see plenty of cool animals in both parts of the continent and Southern Africa will entice you with its diverse topography in a single city such as Cape Town. So which is better for safari? Whether you’re interested in seeing tens of lions on your first day or basking in opulence at small, private lodges with low visitor concentration, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Why Go for a Private Guide?

A private guided safari is without a doubt the best way to experience Africa’s bush and wildlife. Guests can enjoy a holistic experience with our lodges and camps’ excellent teams of specialist guides who will assist you with not only planning your dream game drives but also guiding you throughout the journey to ensure that your wildlife experience is everything you ever dreamed of!

Most camps and lodges organise game drives with between 4 and 6 guests to a vehicle. While sharing your experiences with other guests is a great way to meet fellow travellers and often great fun, it is also possible to request the ‘exclusive-use’ of a vehicle and a private guide for all or part of your stay.  This can be very appealing to guests who have very specific interests or simply wish to prioritise the flexibility and exclusivity of their day.

Here are our top reasons to choose a private guided safari:

All of our destinations offer the finest qualified and experienced private guides in the industry, adding immeasurable value to your safari. Most countries in Africa have a formal qualification requirement which is extremely rigorous, and ensures top quality guiding.

From the moment you arrive, your private guide will be there to make sure you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying your time in Africa’s great outdoors. You can customise your game drives to specific areas you wish to visit and your guide will help you to maximise the sighting and photographic possibilities.

You’ll build up a wonderful relationship with your private guide, as they share the incredible knowledge, stories and experiences with you. Your private guide will become familiar with your interests, what you’ve already seen and what you want to see, maximising your time in the bush.

On a private guided safari, you won’t have to share your guide’s knowledge and passion – special attributes that add a unique touch to your experience.  This one-on-one time accompanied by your guide’s deep understanding will open your eyes to a world you never knew existed. You will learn more than on any other type of holiday – that’s for sure!

Your private guide is also available to you throughout the day for any questions or to help with editing the day’s photographs. Whatever your level of photography is, you can be assured of leaving your safari with new skills, techniques and inspiration.

Whether your focus is on wildlife photography or an interpretive game drive, your private guide will make your days more relaxed, memorable and informative, but leave you wanting more. You will also no doubt make a life-long friend in your guide.

Rebuild of Jao Camp, Botswana

From waterways to unbroken grasslands, Jao Camp is located perfectly on a remote island in one of the most picturesque concessions in the Delta that provides guests with both land and aquatic experiences. Here, all your dreams become possible at this luxurious property intelligently designed to showcase Botswana’s exquisite beauty and show off the surrounding channels of incredible water, landscape and wildlife.

And because this property is so special to us, we are delighted to announce that the rebuild and complete transformation of this gem set in the heart of the Okavango will be completed later this year and due to open 1 June 2019.

The new Jao Camp will remain raised on the existing wooden decking built into the tree canopy. Guests can still completely disconnect from the world below and immerse in this magical wildernesswith more private areas created in amongst the trees.

The spa at Jao will be tucked in amongst the balmy leaves for privacy, and is surrounded by water to provide a calming and tranquil atmosphere. The gym will be thoughtfully placed on the edge of the island, offering breath-taking views over the lush water, while the main pool shaded by a canopy will project out into the floodplain with 270-degree views of the Delta.

Jao camp will introduce two new villas, each accommodating up to four people, and will feature a private vehicle, guide, chef and butler. The other five twin accommodations will boast private plunge pools, lounge and dining areas, kitchen facilities, and exquisite indoor and outdoor showers. A colour palette will reflect and incorporate a unique botanical theme throughout with special emphasis placed on the water lily.

Cathy Kays, co-owner of the Jao Reserve shows the camps commitment to be as eco-sensitive as possible with the introduction of Climate Wizard, self-igniting Calore stoves and great use of natural lighting.

The lead architects Lead architects, Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, who designed the original Jao in 1999 have approached the rebuild 18 years later with an approach to keep Jao Camp’s sense of adventure, element of surprise and delight. Until June 2019 – watch this space!

Southern Africa’s ‘Green’ Season

If you’ve set out on safari before, you’ll know that Africa’s traditional safari season begins in the southern hemisphere’s winter months, – just when European and North American holiday-makers are on their summer breaks.

This means that Africa’s peak season runs from July to September, which is ideal for most travellers. But this also means that Africa’s ‘green’ season is often overlooked. Between November and April, traditional ‘safari hotspots’ experience a rainy summer. With luscious landscapes and quiet accommodations, this could actually be the perfect time for that luxury trip to the bush. During this ‘green’ season, the chances of having uninterrupted views and endless sightings of wildlife all to yourself are good. By March most of the summer ‘safari hotspots’ move towards the end of the heavy rain period making it a pleasant time for travel.

Summer rain also brings about an abundance of migratory birds visiting from the North and resident birds preparing to breed making it perfect for avid bird-watchers; there’s copious flora; thriving bugs and the short rainstorms make way for clear skies and cloud formations that present beautiful sunsets. Summer brings about new life from impala to elephants which also mean the bush is filled with predatory activity.

Some of our top southern safari hotspots that experience refreshing summer rains are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania.  Here is our list of seven summer safari destinations that will definitely add significant value to your experience:

Victoria Falls remains a top bucket-list destination perfect for year-round travel with heaps of local activities.

Chobe is an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and offers spectacular elephant sightings.

The Central Kalahari is at its finest from December to April.

The Okavango Delta is excellent year-round.

Cape Town’s peak season is during the warm and clear summer months and is easily combined with other safari hotspots.

Tanzania’s Serengeti is at its peak once the rains have fallen. The new-born wildlife is thriving and the area is carpeted in luscious grass.

From October to April, Uganda is set apart from any other African safari destination with its diverse bird habitats.

Book your next safari trip in March when there is little rain and there is an increase in game sightings. It’s a quiet time of the year in the bush and you will hopefully miss the crowds. For more on the exquisite destinations we recommend in the above destinations contact us here.