Our Year in Pictures

Walter Benjamin understood that photographs could “meet the beholder halfway”. For those who cannot make it to Africa’s bush right now, we can deliver masterpieces straight to your screens! Carefully packaged in digestible form to examine over a morning coffee or in between dreary meetings – we’ve put together a select list of some of this year’s best captured wildlife, adventure and luxury moments. This is Africa for you – it’s the stuff dreams are made of!

Feel intoxicated with wildlife images so perfect it appears almost staged; or travel the world in a lunch break through the eyes of our talented photographers! These raw, candid pictures transport us every time to a different place.

This year provided us with jaw-dropping sunsets, meaningful wildlife moments and classic African landscape views. The power of these images can storm our consciousness and start transporting us to open savannahs, sparkling oceans and mountain tops. What starts off as an iridescent distraction soon remoulds our thought processes and invokes wanderlust in us.

Capturing some of 2018’s most iconic moments, we have seen a fantastic collection of photographs these past few months. Here are a few of our favourites selected just for you:

 

 

 

The Highlands in Pictures

Winner of The Luxury Safari Co Award for the most unique Ngorongoro property, The Highlands redefines the Masai experience.

The spectacularly designed moon domes that resemble tiny Richat structures from above rests within the lush mountain forest just next to the Olmoti volcano, 45 minutes from the Ngorongoro Crater. Here, you will find the perfect balance between the great outdoors and an exclusive luxury escape.

These cutting-edge dome-suites resemble a Mazarin cut diamond. With sharp edges and a crystal clear panoramic view laid out before you, this open design with an intimate setting and wood-burning fire places will leave you feeling captivated.

This futuristic, yet traditional accommodation is both contemporary-chic and true to its African roots. The striking design of the suites is complemented with an authentic atmosphere.  With only eight canvas and glass domed suites, the architect has gracefully mirrored the Masai bomas that mark the landscape.

Guests can expect warm and contemporary interiors that offer the perfect atmosphere to unwind after a successful day of game viewing.

To top-off the jaw-dropping suites is a beautiful Ngorongoro Crater safari. The highland is home to the leopard, buffalo and elephant among others. Walk in the footsteps of the Masai people on ancient trails to the top of the Olmoti crater and experience true East African culture.

Here are some of our favourite pictures of this property that give glamping a new meaning! Suspended 2700 meters atop the slope with spectacular views of the of Ngorongoro area that rolls out before you, you can relax on your spacious bed and take in these breath-taking sights behind the glass face of your geometric tent.  This area holds unmatched beauty and overlooking the plains from your tent makes you feel like you are the only people up there. You are wild and free and so remote that the solitude will take your breath away! Scroll down for a visual journey to the Highlands:

Ngornongoro Highlands Crater

For more on this exquisite property – click here. 

 

10 Things to Consider When Planning A Safari

As you may already know, planning a safari adventure isn’t without its complications. It’s difficult to know what to expect and there are a number of things that you need to organise in order for your trip to be a success. Because planning a safari can be a daunting task, we have compiled a list of the top ten things that you should consider while you are in the planning stages of your African adventure.

Lions Sands Ultimate Luxury Safari

1. Plan your trip way in advance
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is a huge demand for safaris. Depending on where you are planning to go on safari, you will need to book your stay in advance. Some camps require you to book at least six months in advance, whereas others might require you to even book a whole year in advance. So, if your dates aren’t flexible, you need to keep this in mind.

2. Do your own research
Part of planning your trip is doing your research. It is important to do your own research so that you know what you can expect. Luckily, there is a vast amount of information on the internet for you to look at. It can be daunting, and you may have more questions than answers after doing your research, but at least you’ll know what you want to ask your safari specialist.

3. Consider visiting Africa in the shoulder season
This is a really great time to visit the parks because there are fewer vehicles and visitors and the prices are often much less. Because there are fewer vehicles, you will also be able to spot wildlife more easily – you might even have the whole park all to yourself.

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

4. Manage your expectations
Seeing the Big Five is never guaranteed, but that’s part of the appeal of going on a safari. Who wants a boring and predictable trip anyway? However, what is guaranteed is that you will definitely see wildlife wherever you choose to go in Africa. So don’t get too hung up about what you see or don’t see while you’re in Africa. You’ll have a splendid time sighting all kinds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

5. Remember that you will get what you pay for
In most cases, the more you pay, the better your experience. Usually the more expensive places have better game viewing or better guides, and they certainly have better service. If you’re unsure of a place to choose, you can always contact us for advice and we’ll recommend the best place to suit your needs.

Rock Fig Safari Lodge Timbervati Pool

6. Make sure that you have the right malaria tablets or vaccines
This is very important! Nothing will rescind the joy of your safari more than contracting malaria. Most of the parks in Africa are malaria areas, with the exception of South Africa. Visit a travel clinic for advice about the best malaria medication for you, and ensure that you have enough time to start your medication a few weeks before your trip to allow time for it to work.

7. Think about combining your safari adventure with a beach holiday
Safaris can be quite tiring so it’s always a good idea to plan a little beach trip for while you’re in Africa. There’s no better way to unwind after a spectacular safari than on some of the best beaches in the world, so it’s definitely worth considering. Visiting the seaside also extends your African holiday a bit, and it isn’t excessively expensive.

8. Don’t make your safari too long
This is something that we can’t stress enough! Safaris soon lose their appeal when you start to feel tired, so we like to suggest that the best amount of time to spend on safari is three to seven days. Remember, time slows down in the bush, so although three to seven days may seem too short, we can guarantee that it isn’t.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

9. Start your safari the day after you arrive in Africa
This is one of the best tips we can give our clients. Long flights can be so exhausting. It’s a good idea to spend your first night in a nice hotel to recover from any jetlag or exhaustion that you may have from travelling. After all, you need to be wide awake to spot all of those animals on safari!

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

The right safari specialist is key. Contact us to answer any of your questions, and we will guide you on when to go, where to go and what to do on your next adventure. In fact we can plan every step for you!

What exactly is a safari?

Great… You’ve finally decided to book that once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Africa. But you’re still not sure what exactly a safari is? Fear not! It’s as you’d expect – amazing wildlife sightings, great company and even better food.

A typical African safari is a journey or an expedition to observe wild animals in their natural habitat.

The Swahili word ‘safari’ which comes from the Arabic origin (safar) has always described an overland journey, usually taken by tourists. ‘To travel’ in Swahili is kusafiri which would include any type of journey, from bus to ferry. Thanks to Richard Burton, the explorer, the word safari entered the English language in the1850’s.  In the past, a safari was often a trip taken to hunt big game, but now it is to observe and photograph majestic animals and landscapes and even hike surrounding trails and sightsee.

Now that you know what a safari is, you’re probably wondering what you can expect while on a safari? Here are a few highlights to get you excited about your next trip:

Your day-to-day itinerary will differ depending on the destination and accommodation you have chosen. Even visiting a private reserve compared to a national park will offer a contrasting experience. Each country, reserve and lodge has its own character and many will offer various activities and unique sightings such as the silverback gorillas in Rwanda or the white lions in the Sabi Sands. This is just one of the reasons why going on safari is so addictive!

Iconic-Africa-Rwanda-Gorillas

A luxury safari at one of our leading accommodations is all-inclusive covering tours, food, drinks and expeditions. Our carefully curated luxury packages offer travellers the comforts of home whilst in Africa’s bush. You will feel all the authenticity of a traditional safari and bush camp – the camp-style tents, evening fire pits and cultural immersion with the comforts of air-conditioned suites to rich linens, exquisite décor and world-class service.

Now that you know what you can expect, be prepared to start your day early each morning to catch Africa’s breath-taking sunrises and animal sightings. You’ll have 360 degree uninterrupted views of the beauty all around you – which makes rolling out of bed before the crack of dawn so much easier! Don’t forget your sunblock, sun hat and to have your camera charged and ready.
You may be thinking that sitting in the back of a game vehicle can be boring. But you’re constantly on the lookout for wildlife and everything else the exquisite African bush can treat and teach you about. Most accommodations have spa facilities, great adventure activities, outdoor meals and private viewing decks from your suite.

There will always be something new to see, do and experience. And while it’s impossible to guess or predict what wildlife you will see, most days on safari follow a ‘routine’. This is what a standard day might look like:

You will want to leave the sanctuary of your bed to see the active animals begin their daily routines. The best time for game viewing is before the sun is overhead.

Selinda Explorers Camp WIldlife

Don’t worry, you’ll have some scrumptious rusks and coffee before you leave and be back in time for a hearty breakfast or brunch. Perhaps you will stop for a morning picnic along the way if you have a full day’s game viewing planned.

You can return for a long and relaxing lunchtime when the animals are most inactive. Use this time to unwind with a book and some bubbly or enjoy a refreshing swim. If you haven’t had enough of the wildlife, you can do some game viewing from your private deck.

Most guests head out for another game drive late afternoon when it starts to cool off. Have some snacks and tea before you start looking for animals on the move. By this time, some predators will be grocery shopping for their dinner.

As you make your way back to the camp, the night drive will show you some of nature’s most elusive and nocturnal animals.

Just in time for a delectable and romantic dinner – most probably enjoyed outside under the starlit sky – reminisce the day’s spectacular sightings and end off another wonderful day in Africa around the campfire.

Don’t let routine scare you! As with nature, expect the unexpected. Each day will be unique and no two game drives will be the same. Not forgetting the amazing sunsets that are as distinctive as a fingerprint.

Visit our destinations page for all your safari options, including Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and more.

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 Manor has 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. Bateleur is 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 Mara overlooks 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 Faru is 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.

mnemba_luxury safari

For more information on your next grand tour, enquire now!

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.