Fun facts about the Indian Ocean 

When you hear the word “safari” you immediately think of the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, or the Kruger National Park. However, the official dictionary definition of the word “safari” is “an expedition to observe animals in their natural habitat.” So why not explore the offshore wonders of the Indian Ocean from White Pearl, Mozambique, where a somewhat different, but equally magical, adventure awaits?

Benguerra Island – Mozambique

Explore the offshore wonders of the Indian Ocean, swim with dolphins and whales in the big blue and discover the colourful marine life beneath the waves. Here are 10 fun facts about the Indian Ocean and what makes it special:

iconic-africa-swim-with-dolphins-mozambique

This small, secluded and beautiful ocean is known as the “Zone of Peace”. 

The Indian Ocean is named after India, taken from the word “Ratnaka” meaning “the mine of gems” in Ancient Sanskrit Literature.

Speaking of gems, Indian Ocean sands are renowned for their mineral-rich sands – this ocean has hidden some of the world’s rarest minerals, such as the moissanite found in sand bodies, ilmenite and chromite. Being on the ocean might make you the rare gem itself!

Not only is the Indian Ocean a breeding ground for beautiful and well-defined beaches, dunes and estuaries but it also offers a beautiful chance for sight-seeing with its majestic Humpback Whales.

The Indian Ocean is categorized as a closed ocean, this is because it is land-locked to its north by the continent of Asia.

Want to know of the depth of the ocean? Well, the highest level is the sea level itself, with a maximum depth of 8047 metres!

The “Zone of Peace” easily lives up to its name. This ocean is the warmest of all three oceans, this means golden tans and more fun in the sun!

The Indian Ocean holds the world’s most important ports that all belong to different continents, the most infamous in South Africa being Richards Bay and Durban.

This ocean also holds vital sea lanes that contribute largely to Asia’s economies.

The Indian Ocean is the largest body of water in the world, despite the fact that it is the smallest ocean.

 

Tips to consider when planning to climb Kilimanjaro

If witnessing the Great Migration, exploring breathtaking landscapes and sceneries or standing on the edge of a dormant volcano in Tanzania doesn’t conjure enough adrenaline to course your veins; if a heart-pumping activity is what you’re looking for and you’re ready to test your limits; why not add a Kilimanjaro trek to your Tanzanian safari…

Seeing the Great Migration, or any big game on safari is already a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will make your trip that much more unforgettable. This escapade requires you to be fit, mentally and physically and will push your boundaries like never before. But it will all be worth it as you reach the summit and look down on Africa. This add-on can be demanding, strenuous and challenging and requires weeks of physical training. 

Here are 4 tips to help you start preparing to reach the level of fitness required to enjoy your Kili climb:

Physical Endurance: Depending on which route you take, you can be hiking for up to 15km a day. Prepare yourself for physical endurance so that you can train your body to maintain energy reserves for when you’re feeling tired. 

Try running/jogging, brisk walking, cycling and swimming or start by just taking the stairs at work. 

Cardio Exercise: This form of activity requires the body to use oxygen supplies to adequately meet energy demands. Build up your cardiovascular system with running, rowing, cycling, aerobics, jumping rope and walking to train your body to process oxygen in an efficient way while determining your target heart rate. 

Hiking: A Mount Kili climb is basically one very long hike. Try doing long hikes – preferably 5-hour-long ones back-to-back and wear in your new hiking boots to avoid blisters and swollen feet on your trip. 

Improve Mental Capacity: We can push our physical boundaries, but it is often the mental stamina that holds us back. Prepare yourself mentally up to 8 weeks before your trip to Tanzania as it is often your mental strength that will get you to the end of your journey. Being prepared mentally is what keeps you going and will get you to the summit. Try long-distance running twice or thrice a week two months before your departure. 

When to go

Travelling to Tanzania is good year-round. Whenever you go, you will be guaranteed to see amazing wildlife and witness surreal landscapes. However, if you’re adding a Kili climb to your itinerary, taking the season and weather into consideration can greatly benefit you. For example, peak-season can get crowded on the mountain, whereas off-peak may be more wet and cold, but fewer people on the trails. The summer season from December to March has temperatures ranging from a high of 28°C and an average low of 15°C. There is little rain and you can catch the migration in the southern Serengeti. April to June is the wet season and has heavy rain. During this time, the parks are fairly empty and wildlife numbers are at their highest. 

When hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro you have different climb options and four routes to choose from. Your service provider can take you on a group, private or charity climb starting from the Machame, Lemosho, Northern Circuit or Rongai route.  All routes vary in the number of days you spend on the mountain and where you start and finish your climb.  

Top 10 essentials for trekking Kilimanjaro

A strong (broken-in) pair of supportive, waterproof hiking boots. 

Trekking poles. 

Gaiters (can be hired too).  

A backpack of daily essentials. 

A duffle to carry 15kg (there are porters that can be hired to carry this bag). 

A down sleeping bag. 

Breathable, waterproof clothing and a down jacket. 

Garment essentials – fleece top, hat, gloves, scarf, breathable/thermal trousers, long top, fleece socks.  

Sunglasses (all seasons). 

Thermal underwear 

 

Practice walking/hiking with a packed backpack before you leave to make sure you are comfortable and can handle the load. 

Make sure you pack these essentials in your backpack in an easy-to-reach compartment:

Support bandages 

Sunscreen 

Moisturizing lotion

Lip balm 

Insect repellent 

Tissues

Wet wipes

Energy bars 

Water thermos and a 1L water bottle with a sucking tube 

A camera, torch and headlamp 

Don’t forget your money, passport, visa and other documentation.

Top Game Parks in Africa 

Are you returning to Africa on safari or visiting us for the first time? Choosing which country to safari in can be an intimidating task, and deciding on a national park can be an even bigger conundrum. Africa is the world’s second-largest continent and is famous for its luxury safaris. Surrounded by adjacent islands, Africa offers a plethora of tour options and premier national parks, ideal for game viewing, adventure activities and hosts a number of luxury accommodations. 

These national parks are the epitome of how you have always imaged Africa, each offering something different, yet equally worthy of your stay. Many have private game reserves within the park ready to give you the experience of a lifetime and satisfy your travel cravings as you marvel at the unimaginable vistas. We have compiled a bite-size list of our favourite national parks in Africa to make your work less and choice easier. 

 

Botswana

Okavango Delta – Take a canoe trip down the channel with your loved one and try spotting elephants along the banks. Lodges in the Okavango Delta offer wonderful activities such as water safaris, game drives, boat rides and fishing. 

Botswana Safaris Okavango Safaris Okavango Delta

Chobe National Park Experience one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. See giant elephant herds and the rest of the big five as they roam along the banks of the Chobe River on your Botswana Safari. Famous for its jaw-dropping predator sightings Chobe is not to be missed!

Kenya 

Masai Mara National Reserve – 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. This exquisite ecosystem boasts one of the highest densities of animals in the world with 95 mammal species and 570 bird species recorded. You may think you’ve seen it all, but I can guarantee you that a visit to the Masai Mara is 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. 

Choose between 1 of 5 of our spectacular accommodations

Rwanda 

Volcanoes National Park – Although the lush green forests of Rwanda offer a challenge for adventurous guests, a gorilla trek is certainly a magical experience and one that is not to be missed. Encounters with these majestic animals in Volcanoes National Park is exceptionally and powerfully moving.

Stay at Bisate Lodge

South Africa

Madikwe Game ReserveMadikwe is widely recognised as one of the premier luxury safari destinations in Southern Africa. Madikwe Private Game Reserve has become world-famous for its Lion, African Wild Dog and Big 5 viewing.

The Kruger National Park – The Kruger National Park is the largest reserve in South Africa. Visit Sabi Sands, Timbavati Private Game Reserve or Kruger National Park Private Concessions for a guaranteed incredible safari and luxury accommodation. 

Tanzania 

Serengeti National Park – Here you can find the Big 5 on your classic safari, elusive big cats and witness the Great Migration all while staying at one of these beautiful accommodations. 

Ngorongoro Crater – The Ngorongoro Crater is an iconic natural wonder of the world. Once an enormous volcano, it is now the world’s largest intact caldera volcano formed over 2 million years ago. This phenomenally game-rich crater is an ecosystem within itself and is a fertile paradise for plains game and predators alike. 

Zambia 

Liuwa Plain – the Liuwa Plain offers unrivalled access to incredible wildlife, bird-sightings and wildflower blooms that you will see on any day and night game drives, walking safaris, or bird watching. However, the real magic of Liuwa Plain is the 30 000 – 40 000 wildebeest seen in the area from June when they start their migration from the area around camp to the north of the National Park. 

Stay at King Lewanika  

Lower Zambezi – This spectacular region draws travellers in with its world-famous composite of abundant wildlife, natural beauty and bucket-list-worthy activities such as fishing, canoeing safaris and sleep-outs.

Stay at Chongwe 

Chongwe Zambia - Tempt your taste buds with Zambia_s fine cuisine

South Luangwa National Park – South Luangwa is Zambia’s premier national park and wildlife destination. It is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, covering 9,050 km2. The park is unfenced and bordered by a steep escarpment to the west and by the Luangwa River to the east.

Stay at Mchenja Bush Camp.
Mchenja Zambia South Luangwa - The style and comfort of the suites make you feel like an early explorer on an authentic safari

If you’ve already decided where you want to safari on your next trip to Africa, enquire about an itinerary with one of our team members here.

Experience of the Month – Safari with a Purpose 

This month’s top and not-to-be-missed experience is a Safari with a Purpose. Embark on a journey with meaning… with one of four hand-crafted adventures. Submerge yourself in something bigger. Wander off the beaten track, interact with indigenous tribes, help conserve Africa’s wildlife and give back to wonderful projects so that the world can, in turn, give back to you. Iconic Africa, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris, would like to offer the discerning traveller the opportunity to find their travel purpose in Rwanda, Seychelles, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa by taking part in a world of philanthropy, conservation, wildlife, culture and adventure. 

Whether it’s working with endangered mountain gorillas, collaring wild dogs or elephants or conserving sea turtles – we’ve got just the thing for you here:

Great Apes and Rainforests: Experience behind-the-scenes conservation work in Rwanda; meet the Endangered mountain gorilla and help habituate chimpanzees for future ecotourism.

Travel With Purpose Gorillas

Paradise with Purpose: Explore one of the most beautiful islands on earth while actively participating in a survey and ringing of the Seychelles white-eye population and translocating some of the North Island population to other islands to further protect the species.

Travel With Purpose Turtles

Kenya Natural Wonders: Experience the Great Rift Valley, a dormant volcano, a vital water tower and learn more about the rare and elusive Critically Endangered mountain bongo.

Travel With Purpose Rift Valley Children

Hwange Elephant Collaring: In west Zimbabwe, amongst its grasslands and mopane woods are large herds of elephant. Help collar elephants, count wildlife, discover anti-poaching patrol, and meet neighbouring communities.

Travel With Purpose Elephants

Enquire about adding one of these experiences to your itinerary with one of our team members. You can have a magnificent time with plenty of adventure and also leave a positive impact on the place you’re visiting at the same time.

 

  

Iconic Africa partners with African Conservation Expeditions 

Iconic Africa is proud to partner with African Conservation Expeditions, a first of its kind initiative that combines real conservation work with high-end luxury safaris. 

This unique conservation company was established by well-known conservationist, Cole du Plessis, and Wallabies rugby legend, Dane Haylett-Petty. The motivation that drives this initiative is the raising of funds for the critical, ongoing conservation work needed to save some of Africa’s most endangered species.

The expeditions are hosted by conservation specialists who introduce guests to the areas where intervention is necessary to sustain Africa’s most wild and threatened species. 

The current focal points include the Kalahari region, North-West, Limpopo and the Greater Kruger National Park. The extent and diversity of these areas ensure that each expedition is both unique and thrilling.    

50% of the proceeds from these expeditions are directed to the Endangered Wildlife Trust – an NGO that has dedicated over 45 years to saving Africa’s wildlife and habitats.

African Conservation Expeditions focuses on threatened species that include: African Wild Dog, Lion, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Cheetah, Elephants and Pangolins. Most threats are human-induced and involve poaching, disease, persecution and roadkill.

Step into an action movie as you help monitor and observe; fit tracking collars onto key individuals; administer vaccines; collect genetic samples, and removing snares where necessary. 

Once the conservation objectives are achieved, guests have plenty of time to relax, reflect on their experiences, and enjoy the facilities of some of the most exclusive and most luxurious lodges South Africa has to offer. The luxury of the rooms, the exquisite food, the beautiful views and the inviting swimming pools create the ideal atmosphere for some well-deserved relaxation. 

Contact the Iconic team to find out more on how you can help make a difference to wildlife on your next luxury safari in Africa here