Magnificent Manyara

Ernest Hemingway once said, “it is the loveliest lake in Africa.”

The Manyara region is the epitome of picturesque. It’s home to a diverse set of landscapes and an unbelievable amount of wildlife.

Our wonderful team member Julia Fryer was lucky enough to visit and explore this lake shore region recently and has shared with us her exquisite pictures below.

A big thank you to Julia for sharing these wonderful pictures! Please keep them coming.

 

Property of the Month – Alex Walker’s Serian

The name of the game is wildlife…

This month’s property of the month is more of a…migrating African hideaway.

Alex Walker’s Serian is the perfect choice for classicists wanting to escape to an intimate, authentic and traditional bush camp. This captivating collection of exclusive sites has all the trademarks of a charming alfresco space. Located in the prime wilderness of Kenya and Tanzania – this seasonal camp offers guests true intimacy and familiarity with both wildlife and landscapes.

Emulating the behaviour of the wildebeest, the camp moves between the northern point (June to November) and southern grasslands (December to May) of the Serengeti in-sync with the Great Migration. Its location is always sheltered away from man-made interferences and allows for animals to naturally wonder through the encampments.

Alex founded these camps on the idea that a safari should be more than ticking game off a list from the back of a vehicle. Offering guests VIP access to the magic of the bush from great East African locations, these camps are best suited to those with an adventurous spirit and an intrinsic need to seek the untamed Africa and all its splendour!

These prime locations are celebrated for the sense of calm. The word ‘serian’ comes from the Masai language, meaning ‘peaceful’… a natural element of the bush. Alex ensures that guests experience this through the silence you will find only in these remote parts – roars and grunts of wildlife that competes with the sound of your own beating heart. The camp allows you to experience clean and pure sights, sounds and smells with clear skies and air.

The remoteness of this camp is significant – not only are guests deliberately choosing to disconnect from the rest of the world, they are rebooting and restoring by connecting with an unimaginable purity. This goes beyond the clean air, untainted land and free wildlife… it’s about a different way of living – even if it’s just for a short while. Before you return to the ordinary, the beauty of the great outdoors will have transcended your being.

And if you think that you have to give up comfort for solitude, you’re mistaken! Each tent is amongst the flowering shrubs and savannah grasslands, far enough apart to feel alone and close enough to create a sense of community. Spend your days being intimate with your surroundings and your evenings dining and reclining around the communal camp fire. The luxury tents have en-suite facilities and personalised with a certain amount of care and deliberation.

Get to know the bush in a variety of ways – for the daring and the less adventurous guests. Have the day at leisure in a safari vehicle or on a walking adventure. And for those looking for an adrenaline rush, there’s always fly-camping, night game drives, and hot air ballooning.

Alex Walker’s Serian has a unique spirit and is certainly how we would opt to spend our time in the bush. Let’s show you a combination of untamed African beauty and a traditional camping experience. Here the attention is on showing you the ultimate game and giving you the best African safari experience!

For more on this absolute wonder of an African safari destination click here.

 

A Luxury East African Adventure

Not everyone can decide between island living or a classic safari; mountain views or the ocean breeze – and coming to Africa you will surely want to see it all. Why pick one country; one city; one town when you can tailor a grand tour of Africa and experience different places, cultures and foods in a single trip! The luxury East African adventure tour and safari does exactly this – offering you the very best in hospitality, safari experiences, luxury and unimaginable wildlife encounters in just two weeks.

From the colonial opulence of Hemingways Nairobi to the breath-taking views and exceptional service at Angama Mara; the ultimate safari at Singita Faru Faru and the pearly white sands of andBeyond’s Mnemba Island Lodge in Zanzibar.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris 2

These six unparalleled boutique and unique hospitality experiences have authentic East African charm and culture:

Hemingways Nairobi

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world, Hemingways is an elegant boutique hotel situated in Nairobi’s residential area with magnificent views of the nearby Ngong hills. Sensitively designed for the discerning business and leisure traveller, Hemingways Nairobi offers the full facilities expected in a modern day luxury boutique hotel.

Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel, set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in Nairobi. As one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings, Giraffe Manorhas extraordinary appeal that extends back to the 1930s when European visitors first flocked to East Africa. With its stately façade, elegant interior, verdant green gardens and sunny terraces, guests often remark that it’s like walking into the film Out of Africa. Not to mention the herd of resident Rothschild giraffe who may visit morning and evening.

Giraffe Manor herd

andBeyond Bateleur

On the edge of the Mara Triangle, beneath the Olooloolo Escarpment, lies a lush, magical oasis of giant fig and wild ebony trees that is home to an intimate, colonial, Kenyan escape. Bateleuris a sanctuary of comfort, shade, coolness and luxury, a welcome retreat from the heat and wide-open spaces of the surrounding savannah.

Angama Mara

This is a place where everything is just as it ought to be. On the rim of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, overlooking the Mara Triangle it’s regarded by many as Africa’s finest safari destination. The Mara is also home to the annual Great Wildebeest Migration – and Angama Maraoverlooks all of this.

The sky – ‘anga’ in Swahili – melts into the horizon, and it is hard to define where it ends and the earth begins. The lovely Swahili word ‘angama’, meaning ‘suspended in mid-air’, inspired the name Angama Mara. The site completely speaks to this, as each tented suite and guest area hangs on the edge of the Rift Valley, with views that quite simply take your breath away.

Singita Faru Faru

Singita Faru Faruis built on a gently sloping hill above a beautiful waterhole and the Grumeti River. In the dry season, after the great herds have departed for greener pastures in the north, the Grumeti draws in large concentrations of resident wildlife. Elephant, Cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, gazelle, impala and topi all seek life-sustaining water from the river. Even in places where the river runs dry, water flows just beneath the sand and many species dig to find it. Faru Faru offers a constantly changing and completely private wildlife spectacle.

andBeyond Mnemba Island

Exclusive yet unpretentious, andBeyond Mnemba Island is an award-winning private beach paradise just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar. Ten beachside bandas overlook a pristine coral reef at this romantic, private hideaway. From snorkelling, swimming and kayaking to massages on the beach and simply doing nothing at all, andBeyond Mnemba has something for everyone.

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For more information on your next grand tour, enquirenow!

Top 5 Foodie Destinations

Africa boasts 54 beautiful countries, each contributing to the hundreds of different cultures and ethnic groups. Unique views and landscapes are merely a windfall in comparison to the world-class service, chefs and cuisines. For all the self-proclaimed foodies, Africa offers you a variety of cherry-picked destinations and accommodations whose connoisseurs fuse together tastes and flavours that will blow you away. Gone are the days of having to step away from your luxurious suite to experience great food!

Every country has something special and unique to offer – the kind of experience that requires only one meal before spending every other rehashing the details to all your friends. From conservative dinners and 5-course menus to laid back log-fire grills, Africa is renowned for food as fascinating as its history, cultures and traditions.

Sample our top foodie accommodations and destinations that will tell you a sensory story as you taste some of Africa’s finest creations. If you set foot in any of these hotels or cities, don’t leave without indulging…

Angama Mara in Kenya will show you a whole new food vocabulary…  Sit around the boma and enjoy ‘bitings’ (snacks) and ‘kuku’ (chicken) grilled right in front of you, a Tusker beer in hand. The chefs marry luxury travel comforts such as Pinotage and Chenin Blanc with classic safari cuisine, providing you the best of both worlds – rugged authenticity that is uncomplicated and deeply tasty. Choose between sophisticated cucumber sandwiches and buttery scones or succulent roasts. All dishes at Angama Mara are served in 5-star fashion and come from local produce and the juicy prawns and seafood straight from the Indian Ocean waters.

If there’s a place that feeds your taste-buds with a silver spoon, it’s Singita Sasakwa in Tanzania. Relive scenes from Out of Africain authentic style from the damask to the decanters. And while you bask in the filmy setting and breath-taking views, be assured the food matches up. Enjoy out-of-this-world sweet and savoury treats from sweet crepes to gourmet macarons. Everything from pre-dinner drinks to main course platings is romanticised and enlivened with unique flavours and pairings. Make sure you try ‘mtori’ – traditional beef and green bananas.

Locked by mountain and sea is Cape Town’s Cape Grace. Here the chefs play with South African flavours such as rooibos and Cape-Malay spices in a new way. Try rooibos-infused salmon fish cakes or springbok bobotie. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask your waitress for kudu or ostrich dishes. Using Cape Town’s history as a source of culinary inspiration, try the delicious layer cake that is topped with sugar crystals and sweet lemony syrup.

Further up country you’ll find Delaire Graff– home to olive groves and bespoke oils.  Some may call its setting ‘bistro chic’ but it is more of a rustic paradise. You cannot leave this green estate without having the home-baked breads, crafted from stoneground flour. The chefs create dishes using sophisticated gastronomical techniques and best produce. Try unique whiskey jelly after indulging in some fresh oysters or tender lamb. And if you think Delaire Graff is renowned for its olive groves only, you’ll need to have a glass of their wines!

If you’re heading on a Mozambican island getaway, find your way to Maputo. Mozambique is surely a seaside paradise, but many forget a foodie destination too. The cuisine accentuates African and Portuguese flavours that will leave you wanting more. A must-have is the ginormous Tiger prawns or the classic piri-piri chicken – marinated in lemon juice, garlic, coconut milk, and spicy sauce.

If we’ve gotten your mouth watering and stomach rumbling, start planning your next foodcation! Africa’s story can be found in its array of tastes and spices; always surrounded by beautiful sceneries, unforgettable sunrises and majestic wildlife. From safari lodges to city hotels – all our chefs are preparing luxurious tastes of local culture for you. Read more about our especially crafted Food Safari here.

 

Cross-country Travel with Ellerman House

Africa is so diverse – from landlocked countries to seaside cities and island living. The landscape, cuisine, wildlife and culture can change within a few hundred kilometres making it impossible to say that you’ve seen it all. But with new connecting flights, air travel has made it easier to see that much more in a single trip, spending less time traveling long distances! Experience the very best Africa has to offer with a cross-country schedule. Ellerman House has created a magical 11-night itinerary escaping you to the vibrance of South Africa, action-packed Kenya and the tranquil Seychelles.

Each country has something to offer that will contribute to a well-rounded trip. Ellerman House begins with a city escape in Cape Town, followed by the indescribable Masai Mara and winds down after a fast-paced adventure with the ultimate relaxation destination at the world’s most exclusive private island, North Island. This distinctive itinerary brings together adventure, wildlife and relaxation and marries it with privacy and exclusivity.

An itinerary tailor-made to provide you a luxury experience; encouraging you to immerse yourself in the exquisite natural beauty of your surroundings:

You begin your journey in Cape Town, South Africa at Ellerman House. This property is the epitome of first-class hospitality and an urban retreat for the luxury traveller. Located in Bantry Bay, the small, privately-owned hotel offers breath-taking views of the shimmering ocean against the dramatic backdrop of Lion’s Head. The property is a short distance from local attractions, including the V & A Waterfront, making exploring the Mother City so much easier! Read more about this property here. You can fly directly to Nairobi and then catch a private charter to Angama Mara.

The Masai Mara rests high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, a sight to behold from Angama Mara. Kenya’s Masai Mara is considered by many as the loveliest game reserve in Africa. The Mara Triangle is home to some of Africa’s most magnificent wildlife. Kenya can be as exhilarating or as relaxing as you see fit – from hot air ballooning, walking safaris, cultural visits to neighbouring Maasai villages to simply doing nothing at all. Read more about Angama Mara here. You can fly directly from Nairobi to Mahé, Seychelles. A short flight will leave Zil Air Lounge to North Island’s private helipad.

Balloon Safari Iconic Africa Tanzania Desert

Giving new meaning to ‘private-island sanctuary’, this remote and peaceful island will make you feel like you’re the only inhabitants there. Sharing it only with endangered species, you can enjoy North Island’s luminous white beaches, lush tropical environment, filigree reefs and azure Indian Ocean. Spend your days on land or at sea and forget about yesterday and tomorrow. There are direct flights from Mahé International Airport to London Heathrow with British Airways.
For more on this exciting offer contact us here. 

 

 

Hand-picked images of Essque Zalu

An hour drive from Zanzibar airport and a short distance away from the village of Nungwi lies Essque Zalu – marking the northern tip of Zanzibar. One of four Indian Ocean islands, Zanzibar boasts sparkling turquoise waters on one side of the coastline and lush green forests to the other.

Essque Zalu is an intimate boutique accommodation nestled in a natural cove. This destination is unmatched in beauty and is dreamlike in its character. Unless you are standing on the other side of that giant Baobab tree in person, it is difficult to imagine an ocean and sky that’s colour blends so perfectly it becomes one or sounds so calming it can lull you to sleep.

But before you have the chance to lose track of time, Essque Zulu’s anterior makes a striking first impression. Before you approach the hotel building you will find the extravagant front gate with cut-out artwork inspired by the French painter Matisse. And if the two abstract nude figures didn’t catch your attention then maybe the enormous all-encompassing roof will! The reception building has the highest Makuti-styled roof in Zanzibar created from braided palm leaves. It towers over the front court yard that receives guests and is the first sign of island living and gives you the feeling that you have reached and become a part of a true Tanzanian village.

Enter through the beautifully carved white-washed door frame and experience an Alice-in-wonderland moment as you pass in to a communal area so massive it will take you a moment to take it all in. After entering the double doorway, you are greeted by modern, minimalist décor with an African touch that makes the far-reaching reception feel less immense and more homely.

The expansive lobby covered in beautiful sandstone tiles displays unconventional architecture that draws on the theme of the ocean. The curved walls lead to a seating area with minimal furniture to emphasise the sheer enormity of the space and cues the interleading pool area with magnificent views of the endless blue ocean. A theme that reoccurs here is the infiniteness of nature, space and architecture and how they work together to create a sense of calm, comfort and ease. With all lines flowing and colours blending, all that jars is the giant baobab tree that stands tall and gracefully between the guests and the crystal waters.

Imagine walking past the Baobab tree to the scenic jetty that stretches out over the water of 50 different shades of blue depending from which direction you look at it. At the oceans extremities you can lay back and listen to the sound of the waves below.

Or resting in the master bedroom on the handcrafted four-poster bed with crisp white linens and drapes with the faint sound of moving water while you look over at the luscious garden…

Daydream no more… let us make this a reality for you right now!

 

Heads, Kruger; Tails, Serengeti

Where is Africa’s most iconic safari destination? The question most first-timers ask when planning their trip to the bush. This depends on who is asking and while there isn’t a definitive answer, the Kruger National Parkand the Serengeti come head-to head when trying to claim the title.  Let us compare two of Africa’s most popular wildlife epicentres and help you decide:

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

 

East and Southern Africa has so much to offer the nature enthusiast, but the Great Kruger and Serengeti stand out among contenders. The two destinations offer very different experiences and each reflects the priorities of different travellers. The Kruger National Park in South Africa is set in a bush environment while the Serengeti in Tanzania occupies a large open plain. Depending on personal taste, you could love either… or both!

The fact is that both the Kruger and the Serengeti are equally iconic, offering different ecological environments that determine them both esteemed choices. Whichever you decide to visit, the truth is that you will never tire of it, dreaming of returning again and again – each time creating new memories.

Both parks – easily the size of a small country – are full of big and small game and equally demonstrates the emblematic predator-prey dynamic.  They border legendary private reserves such as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Masai Mara in Kenya; and Sabi Sands and Timbavati Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

Both offer sightings of mystical wildlife and picturesque landscapes, family experiences, unprecedented sunsets, a touch of romance and luxury comforts in exquisite colonial-setting accommodations. In Tanzania or South Africa you can sleep in tented accommodationsbut rest assured, it is not considered camping! Your safari will include four-poster king beds and en-suites with modern amenities.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Kruger Park Safaris

Both the Kruger and Serengeti are the perfect place to begin your African adventure, especially for those who have never been on a safari before. As a rite of passage, both parks rank among the best in the world to see the rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. If you’re a gentle giant enthusiast, head to the Kruger that supports a dense elephant population or to the Serengeti if you’re more of a cat person.

Both the Kruger and Serengeti are considered year-round destinations as it’s always a good time to go! Although, both countries have two distinct seasons and you can expect similar weather and animal patters in both countries during these times of year.

 

The summer months bring occasional thunderstorms and higher temperatures. The landscape and vegetation is green and lush and the beauty of the landscape will overwhelm you. While large game are not as active during this period, sightings are still sensational as there are lots of young animals around and the bird watching is incredible.

They each have dry winter months which are considered the best time of year for wildlife viewing. This is when the bush is less dense and animals are much easier to spot as they generally congregate near waterholes. There isn’t much rain at this time of year and the skies are blue. What sets the Serengeti apart from the Kruger during winter is the incredible wonder that is the great wildebeest migration.

For most first-timers, just getting to tick off the Big Five from their bucket-list is commendable. Yet Tanzania offers travellers something greater, the annual migration of over 2 million wildebeest. And if you catch yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, there remains an abundance of wildlife to see.

Serengeti is recognised for its variety and volume of wildlife in comparison to almost every other African park.  Besides the Great Migration being a manifestation of dreamlike wonder, cheetahs are frequently sighted in the south – more so than in central Kruger, and is better for locating the world’s largest antelope, the eland. Common sightings of the striking serval is best experienced (and possibly only) in the Serengeti, making it one of Africa’s top wildlife areas.

Not undermining the Kruger, the park holds the world’s most important monopoly over the endangered black rhino! Contrary to the Serengeti’s eland, travellers can anticipate seeing diverse antelope on game drives such as kudu, sable, nyala and bushbuck. They also maintain one of the last endangered African wild dog populations. And while some flock to the Serengeti for the Great Migration, ecologists might be interested in the Kruger’s organised night drives to look at some of the smaller nocturnal predators.

The two parks are not only located in different countries, but host different ecosystems, landscapes and wildlife. Yet they have more things in common than that which sets them apart, making it difficult to decide which to visit first. The elusive leopard can be spotted along the Seronera River and Sabi River and both parks guarantee sightings of one or all of the following: the spotted hyena, jackal, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippos, crocodile and endless other wildlife.And while the black rhino is most commonly found in the Kruger, they can also be seen along the buffalo’s migration route in Tanzania. The open plains of the Serengeti promise sightings of large herds of grazers, but Kruger National Park has also recorded sightings of magnificent numbers of buffalo.

Both the Kruger and Serengeti offer incredible wilderness opportunities. If you have been to the Kruger National Park or the Serengeti, which one would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments on our Instagram page @iconicafrica and tag us in your wonderful photographs of the Kruger National Park or the Serengeti with the hashtag #KrugervsSerengeti.

 

 

Introducing Giraffe Manor

Iconic Africa would like to introduce the latest addition to our portfolio, the splendid Giraffe Manor!

This intimate home away from home is perfectly located in the Lang’ata suburb on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Giraffe Manor is a relaxing haven neighbouring a wonderful giraffe sanctuary on the flourishing 140 acre land. A wonderfully dreamlike refuge among tall trees and animals alike to start or end a family vacation. This East African gem has become one of Nairobi’s iconic natural sites.

This exclusive boutique hotel owned by The Safari Collection is set on 12 acres of private land within the abundant 140 acres of forest home to the Rothschild Giraffes. The manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings and takes guests back to the wonderful 1930’s with its extraordinary appeal. Reminiscent of the first European travellers that visited Nairobi, Giraffe Manor channels this history through their stately front, elegant choice of interiors, garden-facing terraces, plentiful tea spots and luscious greens. Giraffe Manor has even named one of the twelve rooms after the author Karen Blixen who so beautifully writes of Africa.

The manor’s rooms reflect a certain colonial regency that include both elaborate and ornate features. The twelve rooms are beautifully furnished with romantic décor such as four-poster beds and neoclassical amenities in the en-suite bathrooms in a building that dates back decades. While the furnishings are quite charming and the attention to detail magnificent – right down to the chess set – what sets this accommodation apart from the rest is not where you’re staying, but rather what you see!

What makes this property a justifiable bucket-list splurge is the main attraction – the resident herd of Rothschild giraffe that casually wander around outside your bedroom window and make their morning visits during breakfast. Breakfast has never been more fun and interactive than at Giraffe Manor. Not only is the food fantastic, you are likely to be interrupted by one of the sociable giraffes poking its head through the window. With only 1671 Rothschild giraffes estimated in the wild, being in such close proximity to these friendly, towering animals is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The giraffes are wild but are well aware that they are adored by guests and that grass pellets are available during breakfast and afternoon tea. Each with its own discernible character, these elegant creatures are always keen to be hand fed by guests, creating long-lasting memories for them!

The fun doesn’t end with the resident giraffes… Guests can relax or take the kids on plenty of adventures.

Truly a family destination, Giraffe Manor has a variety of games to keep both old and young minds occupied. Stay indoors snuggled up next to the fire whilst sitting down for a game of chess or enjoy Kenya’s great weather with a game of boules and croquet in the garden.

Have access to the AFEW Giraffe Centre and learn some interesting information about your temporary neighbours or take the nature trail for a stroll and get some fresh air. Giraffe Manor also offers guided walks through the nearby forests and hear all about the traditional uses of the local flora. You might even meet a warthog or bushbuck on your way.

Our older guests can enjoy a light lunch on the terrace or quiet afternoon tea on the front lawn both with breath-taking views of the Ngong Hills. Start you evening with around a crackling fire sipping on house cocktails and have a romantic dinner in the warm dining room or the splendid-smelling orchid house.

The orchid house is also open to the more creative for painting.

Don’t forget to take a trip to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi where you and your partner can adopt a baby elephant. The best time to visit is at 5 PM so that you can see your little one put to bed.

 

Why visit the Masai Mara

Wherever you go in the Mara, the one certain thing is that you’ll see an astonishing amount of game, often in one place at one time. A visit to the Masai Mara is guaranteed the safari of a lifetime. From the mating habits of lions, to the displaying characteristics of the crowned cranes, to the quirky behaviour of the male wildebeest, to the idiosyncrasies of the local Maasai people… there are so many wonders to take in.

Tanzania Great Migration Experience East Africa Masaai Mara

The area is watered by the luscious tree-lined Mara River and one of its tributaries, the Talek. On the western border is the gracious Oloololo Escarpment, which towers over the reserves highest magnificent concentrations of plains game.Still wondering why you should visit?

Here’s why we think you should add the Masai Mara to your itinerary:
Now more than ever, it has become very accessible with daily flights to various parts of the Mara.
The Maasai Mara is an extremely safe area, especially when travelling alone or with small children. Every few kilometres you will encounter the The Kenya Wildlife Service officers on patrol who protect both wildlife and people.

Witness one of the world’s most spellbinding wildlife movements – the Great Migration. This largest annual movement of over 1.5 million animals is an awe-inspiring spectacle that is incomprehensible unless in person. See video here.

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Hop in a hot air balloon with your significant other and watch over the rolling landscapes and the Mara River. If the views on the ground is breath-taking, imaging seeing the open plains from above. Click here for a sneak peek of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Like all African gems, the Masai Mara offers travellers the opportunity to spot any of the Big Five along with hundreds of other wildlife, birds and insects. A haven of fauna and flora, you can sight all of this in one place. This exquisite ecosystem boasts one of the highest densities of animals in the world with 95 mammal species.


The Masai Mara is a sanctuary for bird-lovers with 570 bird species recorded. Take the time to spot the immeasurable amounts of varying colours, types and sizes.


Take a cultural journey and explore the rugged terrains marked by millions of wildlife with the Masai herdsmen. Watch then graze their cattle alongside the Mara’s predators and prey.


While there are so many life changing things to do and see, the Masai Mara isn’t short of world-class accommodations either! Live in opulence while holding on to that Mara culture that always comes through at one of our exclusive luxury properties. More on which you will find here.

Millennial Travel

2018 sees a continuation of last year’s trend – millennials setting their sights on African travel. Over the years, there has been a shift in the age demographic of travellers coming to Southern Africa – an incentivised travel destination. According to David Frost – CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, younger generations are becoming an increasingly large market for the tourism industry with 46% of international arrivals to South Africa in 2017 between the ages of 18 and 35.

Apart from the search for ‘authentic experiences’, adventure activities, good weather and local hospitality – millennials are taking a break from the latest technology, moving away from typical ‘tourist’ destinations and choosing instead to venture in to unknown territories; deeper in to the wilderness.

Marataba Trails Lodge Luxury Safari Africa Waterberg

That being said, more establishments are catering for and accommodating tech-savvy millennials. Wi-Fi remains a priority for lodges catering to this market. Millennial travellers are interested in following and being connected to the cities and lodges they will be visiting both during and after their trip. Another incentive for millennial travellers is how ‘Instagrammable’ the holiday is. Youth see the world through pixels and filters. Having every breath-taking experience littering the feeds of envious friends and family, Africa – filtered or not – makes for a picturesque experience.

Here are our top ten millennial travel incentives to Africa:

*There is a huge gap in the industry for youth safaris. For a long time, African safaris have been recognised as a luxury experience, out of reach to the young traveller. More young hearts and minds are seeking out a night under the expansive starlit sky while wildlife roam nearby – close enough for you to hear them.

*More than half of our “foodies” are millennials – becoming increasingly conscious of what they put into their bodies, and where it comes from. Mozambique is the place to be for an experience that will satisfy taste buds, with fresh “farm-to-fork” cuisine brought to you from local markets and roadside stalls. Tuck into Tiger prawns, fresh fish and steaming hot Portuguese rolls with stunning views.

*Experience is everything and young travellers want complete cultural immersion. South Africa has a wonderful mix of boutique hotels and apartment rentals in its inner-city districts. Here travellers can unpack everything from street art to street food. A little beyond the city, cuisine and culture remain equally important in the winelands. Wine-tasting tours have become increasingly popular among the millennial travellers as well as an interest in “Instagrammable” agro-tourism in the countryside.

*We do not realise the extent of community work and international volunteers in South Africa, with almost half of the youth travellers coming here partaking in some sort of community initiative or volunteer work.

*Education is also another incentive for youth trips with guests showing interest in astronomy, ecology and interactive dynamics. There will always be a dichotomy between luxury travel, conservation issues and cultural diversity.

*Older travellers have confirmed that they are more likely to choose accommodation that is eco-friendly. Millennial travellers have caught on to this trend of sustainable travel, where a conscious effort is made to avoid contributing to the decline of natural environments (Link to top five eco-lodges post).

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Luxury Safari Kruger Park

*Youth are choosing to spend their money on experiences rather than material things. Africa, especially Southern Africa, offers experiences that are culturally rich and forcing them to step out of their comfort zones to embrace authentic destinations culturally-relevant sightseeing and diverse cuisines. It is found that millennials are constantly trying to integrate themselves into as many aspects of local life hoping to become a more culturally enriched human.

* Wanting to take everything in; cramming as many places and activities in to their experience as possible, Africa is a millennials travel-sanctuary – offering them opportunities to see a variety of different sights.

Iconic Africa Kalahari Desert Balloon Safari

*One of the biggest trends in millennial travel is the desire to visit off-the-beaten-track locations. They no longer want to sit back and relax on their vacation or visit typically popular attractions that have become overcrowded and ‘over-touristic’.

*For your next millennial adventure trip, head to Zimbabwe. The natural wonder of Victoria Falls will be sure to activate their adventure-seeking nature. The country offers active adventures and unique experiences, which is exactly what the millennial traveller is looking for.

Millennial travel creates memories and invites individuals to reach further in to their own life, changing mind-sets forever. Experience tastes, sights, smells and ambience of authentic African luxury with Iconic Africa. Find out more here. 

 

The Great African Migration

The great wildebeest migration is Africa’s largest annual single movement of wildlife, where over two million wildebeests – accompanied by a large number of zebras, gazelles, eland and impala – pour across the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya driven by instinct to find fresh grazing and better quality water. The wildebeest act as one entity out of necessity – to mate, survive or die on this journey of endurance.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

For a quick video of the migration click here:

The short rains begin in early November, signifying the arrival of the herds of wildebeest on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. Reaching as far as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, these plains are home to adult wildebeest and calves until April, when their travels North begin.

Here are some interesting facts and statistics about Africa’s wildebeest and the Great Migration:

All wildebeest are native to Africa and the species that partakes in the Great Migration is the Western-bearded wildebeests. The Eastern white-bearded wildebeests can also be found in Tanzania and Kenya.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris 2

The Great Migration is the largest overland migration in the world.

The wildlife move in a clockwise direction over 2900 kilometres annually. Their pattern of movement is usually easy to predict – allowing travellers to plan ahead on where to go and when to witness the Great Migration.

Wildebeest have ‘swarm intelligence’ – the ability to systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one unit.

While occupying the short-grass areas of the Southern plains of the Serengeti, pregnant wildebeest stay here until late-January, early-February when the calving season starts. Over 600 000 calves are born here. Born in such large numbers, it is easier for the calves to survive predators.

The Serengeti National Park is home to the oldest eco-system on the planet. It claims a diversity of indigenous plants and animals only to this area.

The end of March brings heavy rainfall in Tanzania, making this period an off-season for observing wildebeest.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara

At the beginning of May, the grass is reduced and the wildebeest begin migrating in search of more grass. They move North to areas that have enough water and where the grass is already much longer.

By early June, the wild animals start moving West in search of more food. Their travel pattern puts them at the River Grumeti populated by hippos and starving crocodiles that are ready to eat the wildebeests that come to drink from the River.

Crocodile Attack Great Migration Angama Mara Tanzanaia Masaai Mara

Between July and October, the wildebeest divide themselves into smaller herds in the North of Serengeti and the Masai Mara. During this time, the herds gather around bodies of water, particularly the Masai River – also home to hungry crocodiles.

By this time, the best place to view the Great Migration is Kenya (link to Serengeti/Masai accomodation) as the short October rains drive the wildebeest south of the Masai Mara.

The rains continue and motivates the wild animals to continue moving south and east. By December, the herds begin their return back to southern Serengeti which marks the end of that migration cycle.

Tanzania Great Migration Experience East Africa Masaai Mara

Sadly, over 250 000 wildebeest die during the migration from Serengeti. The distance covered on this journey is so enormous that many lose their lives due to exhaustion, hunger, thirst and others are eaten by predators.

The crocodiles awaiting the wildebeest in the Mara River can lunge more than half of its body length out of the water to grab and drown their prey. They also use their tail as a secondary weapon. Adding to their threat list – more than 3000 lions living in the Serengeti follow the wildebeest across the reserve.

Witnessing the Great Migration is among the most iconic experiences you will encounter. Watch immeasurable amount of wildebeest and other wildlife travel up and down the African plains, crossing perilous rivers and returning via death-defying paths coursed with predators lying in ambush. Book with us now and see Africa’s most spectacular wildlife event.

What is a Game Drive?

A game drive is the highlight of and one of the main activities on any African safari, especially for first-timers. Most travellers to Africa still get confused between a safari and a game drive.

You’re sitting in your outdoor bathtub at Singita Sabi Sands in the Kruger National Park, overlooking the luxury camp’s grassy plains. You’ll have one of the best views of elephants bathing in the Sand River. Sipping on a bottle of imported bubbles resting in an ice bucket, you think to yourself – “this is by far the best safari I have been on,” as you reach for that Egyptian cotton bath towel.

On this grand safari vacation, the camp will have planned many spectacular game drives for you. Far from the luxurious comforts of the camp you will set off on an adventure that entails viewing Africa’s prestigious wildlife ‘up close and personal’ from the comfort of an open 4×4 which can accommodate you and your family. This is a sure way to give you that classic safari feeling. A game drive is one of the most popular ways to see the rolling landscapes, big game, indigenous flora and infinite horizons.

Whether you find yourself in South Africa’s Kruger Park, Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, you will witness the natural beauty of Africa up close! On your game drive you may be afforded opportunities to see local wildlife such as the lion, rhino, elephant and so much more! Especially in the Serengeti that is renowned for endless open savannahs.

A game drive can vary in length and distance, depending on individual preferences and the animals you hope to encounter. Most camps and lodges conduct two game drives a day. Most rangers and guides recommend early morning, late afternoon or evening drives, since these are the coolest times of the day when the wildlife are most active. During the drive, knowledgeable guides will introduce you to the wildlife, trees and plants. Don’t forget that you are on vacation, and it’s okay to want to sleep in. Not every game drive is the same – during the evening drive you may see nocturnal animals that are not noticeable during the day!

Here is a quick list of essentials to bring with on your game drive:

SUN PROTECTION

When you’re out in the bush, always protect yourself from the sun – even if it’s not visibly hot. Pack in a pair of sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat, sunscreen and stay hydrated!

CLOTHING

Part of the pleasure of going on safari is that you won’t get stopped by the fashion police. As you’re putting together your movie-made safari outfit there a few practical elements to keep in mind. First, avoid bright colours that make you stand out. You should dress according to the climate and time of year. Dress in layers on early morning and evening game drives. During the summer months, pack some light rain gear and if you’re traveling during the winter months, be sure to dress warm to keep the cold at bay.

SHOES

Whether you stay in the vehicle, or get out to examine smaller animals, insects and plants, a reliable pair of walking shoes or hiking boots will allow you to get the most out of your experience. If your footwear is comfortable, you’ll be able to get up close while feeling safe and secure.

SMALL MEDICAL KIT

It’s invigorating being so intimate with Africa’s fauna and flora, but you will be in a remote location in order to achieve that. We recommend you pack a light medical kit that includes essentials such as aspirin, plasters, anti-histamine medication/cream and insect repellent —this way you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT

You’ll be taking a lot of photos when you’re out on safari, but the key is to pack light. A quality DSLR camera with an optical lens is recommended if you want the best photos possible. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memory cards

BINOCULARS

On drives, you’ll be able to see most big game. You might even get up close to many animals. But other wildlife such as birds are frequently viewed from a distance. For those moments, you’ll need a great pair of binoculars – often on loan by your lodge or camp.