Thank You Magical Marataba

After a year of lockdowns, covid and work stresses. I could not have imagined a better way to start 2021… than what can only be described as the MOST magical family safari. Situated just over 3 hours from Joburg, Marataba Safari Lodge is a 5 star, home away from home, an enchanting wonderland, set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Waterberg Mountain range.

It is almost 4 years since our last visit to Marataba… a time when I was pregnant with my son, we were much younger and more carefree (although embarrassingly still wearing some of the same clothes!)

At the end of that post, I wrote…

“Now we just can’t wait until we can come back as three and show our little one what an exceptional continent we live on and to teach him/her all that there is to know about nature, wildlife and how everything has its place in the world.”

Little did I know that we would return as a family and that somehow would enjoy the whole experience 4 fold. Never mind the fact that these words would hold more truth now than ever before.

We had booked to stay 3 nights and after the first night had extended it to 4… if we could have, we would have stayed even longer. Life in the bush dances to a different rhythm and it is unfathomable what you can do in just 4 days and what those 4 days can do for you.

For me – it was like “going home” just what the soul, post all the stress of 2020 needed. It was in short, life-changing.
For my kids – it was their first real safari, each moment the excitement was palpable. It was a privilege to witness.
For my husband and I – it was so divine to have some time as a couple again! The team at Marataba certainly know how to do romance ☺
For my view on the world – it was restorative, calming, inspiring and rejuvenating. No matter what you’ve faced – the African bush can set you right. It’s trips like these that make me so grateful to live in this exceptional country.

Just a few highlights of our trip:

  1. Spotting 2 white rhino, a female cheetah and all the plains game before we’d even got to the lodge
  2. The miracle of seeing the bush through my kids’ eyes
  3. The exciting adventure that was each jam-packed game drive
  4. Sundowners overlooking the river as a crimson red sunset descended over the horizon
  5. A surprise breakfast of salmon bagels and bacon and honey-butter crumpets in the bush
  6. The delicious aroma of More coffee
  7. Living in amongst a herd of impala at the lodge, lambs aplenty
  8. The nostalgic sound of fish eagles while on a sunset cruise
  9. Following 3 lionesses along a windy road for while they searched for a shady spot to snooze
  10. The continual learning of the intricacies and wonder that is the natural world
  11. Watching my kids’ excitement as they did spoor casting/made cookies/attempted archery
  12. Playing in the pool with the kids and all the fun pool toys
  13. Afternoon sleeps on the plush oversized beds with the air con on high and the emerald-spotted wood dove calling in the background
  14. A fairy-tale birthday boma dinner, the team’s harmonious Happy Birthday song and an indulgent chocolate cake
  15. The smell of the rain, the sound of thunder and the vibrant skies
  16. Driving alongside two white rhinos, running under a rainbow and during a monkey’s wedding
  17. Feeling the peace and restorative nature of the African bushveld
  18. The cicada’s lullaby each evening
  19. The in-suite massage on our deck, whilst kids were sleeping and impala wandered past #winning
  20. A quiet bush walk with a herd of kudu and impala
  21. Steaming hot outside showers under the milky way each night
  22. Sitting around the campfire telling stories of old
  23. Witnessing some interesting elephant behaviour during a romantic sunset drink
  24. Sharing my morning tea with a bushbuck
  25. Learning the trees, plants and insects and revelling in the overall serenity on a quiet bush walk

And…. I could go on and on… and on! Continue reading “Thank You Magical Marataba”

The Great Migration – Where to stay?

The wildebeest migration is rated as one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles, and a phenomenon that should have its place on every safari lover’s bucket list. Every year, over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra, and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem. They travel up to 3000 kilometres each year in search of rain ripened grass. It is a natural phenomenon like no other, a spectacle not to be missed and, most definitely, an event that belongs on your bucket list.

The trouble with the wildebeest migration is that it can be so unpredictable and it can be difficult to be in the right place at the right time, and you could miss the whole event. Therefore, we’ve made a list of the best places to stay to make sure you get to see a wildlife spectacle like no other without the hours of driving to spot their movements.

Where to Stay in Masai Mara, Kenya

The ideal time to stay here: August – December

The Masai Mara sits at the top of every safari lover’s bucket list. This exceptional reserve comprises 1,500 square kilometres of endless, savannah grassland. In amongst whistling thorns, white thorns, fever trees and wild olives, the great plains of the Masai Mara are home to Africa’s most majestic animals. The red grass savannahs, brightly coloured Maasai villages, interminable vistas and distinct horizons combine to ensure the most quintessential African panorama.

Angama Mara
Perched on the edge of Africa’s Great Rift Valley is a lodge that comes as close to heaven on earth, as possible. Angama Mara, Swahili for “suspended in mid-air” boasts the best views in the Masai Mara. A place that constantly takes your breath away, where happiness reigns and peace is all-encompassing, where you literally stand on the edge of the world. Owner-managed and run by the reputable Fitzgerald family, Angama Mara is the ultimate African safari destination.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

Mara Plains
Situated in the luscious river woodland of the Ntiakitiak River, within the Olare Motorogi Conservancy on the Northern border of the Masai Mara, is the definition of grandeur and colonial opulence. Mara Plains is a lavish and magical wonderland. From the minute you step onto the rope bridge, you are immediately transported into your very own, African, home away from home. “A camp’s success is in the details,” says Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains and Mara Plains is testament to this.

Perfect for: Family or friends travelling together

Bateleur Camp
On the edge of the Mara Triangle, beneath the Olooloolo Escarpment, Swahili for “zigzag” lies a lush, magical oasis of giant fig and wild ebony trees that is home to an intimate, colonial, Kenyan escape. The sanctuary of comfort, shade, coolness and luxury is a welcome retreat from the heat and wide-open spaces of the surrounding savannah. Enquire now and let us plan the ultimate East African Safari for you.
Perfect for: Groups and families (children of all ages welcome)

Ol Donyo
Ol Donyo Lodge is one of the oldest and most classic of Africa’s safari destinations. Kenya’s first Relais and Chateaux lodge represents the ultimate of private, exclusive safari bliss. Located on the Maasai-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch, comprising of 275,000 acres of wilderness between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks and bordering Chyulu Hills National Park, it offers endless views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the savannahs below. Breathtakingly beautiful every way you look, Ol Donyo is a must for the bucket list, the ultimate luxury destination in South Eastern Kenya.

Mara Expeditions Camp
Set on the very outskirts of the Masai Mara and on the edge of the Mara North Conservancy is this unbelievable luxury safari hideout. At Mara expeditions camp you immediately become an intrepid explorer, with so much to investigate, to learn and to enjoy. The never-ending plains become your playground and the big-hearted, ever-smiling, genuine African staff… your friends. Mara Expeditions Camp has been built on a small bend in the Ntiakitiak River where the dese riverine forest meets the golden plains. It’s a place where lion calls dominate the nights…

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Where to Stay in the Serengeti

The Serengeti National Park, meaning “endless plains” in the Maasai language, is Tanzania’s oldest game reserve and undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous wilderness areas. It is most celebrated as the site of Africa’s greatest spectacle, the annual Great Migration when an estimated three million antelope – mostly wildebeest — migrate to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. This epic, seasonal journey is something every safari-goer and lover of Africa should experience at least once. The Serengeti has so much to offer: from action-packed game drives, to epic hot air balloon adventures and an abundance of game that makes it the iconic safari adventure of a lifetime.

&Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp
Set in a wild and remote section of the Serengeti’s Western Corridor is a riverside paradise like no other. Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp was built for and inspired by the Great Migration as it sits minutes away from one of the key crossing points on the Grumeti River. This lush haven is the perfect way to escape from the crowds of the Greater Serengeti to relax, put your feet up, immerse yourself in nature and resign yourself to the fact that you don’t have to lift a finger in order to have the time of your life!

Perfect for: Romantic getaways and families/groups travelling together

&Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas
Set somewhere in the vast Serengeti in hot pursuit of the massive herd of the Great Migration is this unbelievably luxurious semi-permanent camp. It is the absolute ultimate in true bush immersion and wild African adventure, your very own wildlife haven set up in only the very best part of the Serengeti for that particular time of year. Escape from the real world entirely, put your feet up and relax while sharing Africa’s most famous wildlife area with its wildlife as intimately as possible.

Perfect for: Adventurous travellers and families

Alex Walker’s Serian
Alex Walker’s Serian is the ultimate mobile camping experience, with four camps in the Serengeti it will bring you as close as humanly possible to the migrating herds. Revel in the fresh air, the unspoilt bush, the wild animals and this wholly natural setting; let the harmony and tranquillity of your surroundings infiltrate you.

Sayari
Close to the famous Lamai wedge overlooking the unspoilt plains of the Northern Serengeti and minutes from the mighty Mara River’s most famous wildebeest migration crossing points is this award-winning camp offering only the very best in exclusive game viewing while indulging you in remarkable luxury. Perched high up on a hill overlooking the great expanse of the Serengeti is Sayari, Swahili for ‘planet.’ And you definitely do feel as if you are on your own planet.

Singita Faru Faru
Singita Faru Faru really is something else, it is the ultimate in classic safari lodges, set in one of the most exquisite locations, boasting incredible game experiences and the very best East African hospitality. Here you don’t even need to leave the lodge, due to the waterhole the safari comes to you.

Singita Sasakwa
Resembling a deluxe ranch house in the midst of the African bushveld this is one Africa’s most exquisite destinations and another Singita – ‘place of miracles’. From June-September you may even have a run-in with Africa’s most phenomenal spectacle, the great wildebeest migration… something that should most definitely take the top spot on any bucket list. Witness as thousands of wildebeest make the trek from the Southern Serengeti, up North to the Masai Mara in search of rain ripened grass.

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Let’s Make it Happen! Our team will make sure you get to experience a side of Africa that few others ever get to see. Contact us here for more information.

Why Book With Our Expert Travel Agents Now More Than Ever Before

Safari is the lifeblood of African tourism and during these strange and unpredictable times, African lodges and hotels are appealing to travellers to come and experience the once-in-a-lifetime beauty and joy of the bush with the assurance of a safe environment.

At Iconic Africa, we understand that many travellers have had to put their upcoming plans on hold or postponed them, but now is the right time to be planning for your 2021 travels and we are here to help with it all. We have great relationships with our lodges and know just how to safeguard your plans to make sure that even if they get turned upside down as is the nature of 2020 we can right them again.

With almost all countries having health, safety and quarantine measures in place, we know many of you are craving to pack your bags but that you are nervous to do so. Our trained and dedicated staff know exactly where you can go on safari, where is the easiest to get to, and what is best for you and your family. Our team has been hard at work this year helping to support the South African tourism industry. With their ears to the ground, they have all the information and updates to provide travellers with a stress-free planning experience and smooth sailing from touchdown to take off.

For locals – this is the perfect time to check-in at destinations that are normally fully booked months and years in advance and that have emphasised the importance of using local rates during this pandemic. It is time to enjoy your own continent without lots of tourists and without the stirring concern and anxiety as we carry on doing what we do best – plan!

For foreigners: here are some reasons to chat to our lovely travel agents and book some time with your family in crisp, fresh African air, under open skies, no crowds, and an abundance of wildlife!

We have been in the luxury safari business for 20 years and our Iconic team listens to everything you like, want and need from your safari experience. Whether it is a classic safari, being alone in the wilderness or harnessing the spirit of adventure. We pride ourselves on our longstanding relationships with luxury destinations which always deliver 5-star results.

Under normal circumstances, you would need to book well in advance, but because of constantly changing circumstances, we can secure the right place for you without having to put your dream safari on hold for too long.

Have your itinerary custom-designed from your arrival to departure with carefully chosen activities and experiences that suit your interests.

Let us make it our job to stay on top of COVID-19 updates, travel restrictions and border regulations and communicate it to you.

We can recommend reliable insurance cover and our team is on top of all travel and visa requirements, flight schedules and airport transfers.

We work closely with tourism representatives in each country and stay on top of all news and updates. Our team gathers reliable information to communicate with you before and during your trip.

No need to spend hours on the phone! We deal with any and all changes before your departure, from flights to hotel accommodation – we have got it covered!

There’s no better time than now to make your safari dreams come true! Let us help you plan your trip for 2021 and 2022. Travelling should be exciting, so don’t get bogged down with all the small details, leave that to us. Find out more from one of our team members here.

South Africa’s Ultimate Family Safaris

In the chaos of today’s frantic, fast-moving world the simple things like spending time with family are often forgotten. I can promise you that at the end of your life you will never look back and wish that you had worked harder, spent more time on your cellphone or made more money… you are going to wish that you had made more time for and gone on more adventures with those nearest and dearest to you. So why not take things down a notch, go back to simpler times and disconnect from the world. Travel to Africa, succumb to its beauty, be in awe of its people and let its magic engulf your whole family.

To be able to do this kind of travel, to let go of the world and have new experiences with the whole family is a wonderful gift to give your children. But to take them on an African safari is the greatest gift of all. Many luxury African safari destinations are specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance.

Nothing could ever be more special than going on an out-of-Africa safari adventure with the entire family. Sharing and making unforgettable memories with children is what parents dream of and taking them on safari is one sure way of doing this. There really is nothing better than seeing your child’s face light up at the sight of their first elephant, or watching the wind in their hair as the game vehicle races through the bushveld in pursuit of a pack of wild dogs. Africa has so much to offer for all souls – young and old.

Here are our favourite family-friendly safari destinations that we highly recommend:

LELAPA

Lelapa, meaning family in the local language of Setswana, is another of the pioneering More family’s sublime properties. Situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve and with a more extensive children’s safari than any other luxury camp, Lelapa is the ideal destination for a family safari. While parents are catching forty winks or luxuriating in a spa treatment, children are entertained in the Eco House or nature beyond. The idea is for parents to be absolutely pampered while kids are kept completely entertained by the specialised rangers and facilities. Lelapa Lodge even has a special bush orientation programme for kids. Meals are kept decadent for parents and simple for children. Kids can even help the chefs make pizzas for lunch and cookies for tea! It’s an absolutely spell-binding experience for children. The Lelapa suites are indulgent havens that blend beautifully into the vastness of the surrounding woodland. The enormous lounge, bedroom and bathroom areas are all glass-fronted and allow unimpeded views of the African wilds beyond where you may see herds of elephant picking at the leaves as they amble slowly by. The suites can accommodate up to two children on a double sleeper couch. The secluded deck with private plunge pool is an excellent place for you and your family to cool off in the heat. On colder nights, you might like to sit by the fire in the sumptuous lounge and enjoy dinner in your suite, the full moon lighting the plains in gentle blue, a lion calling in the distance.

LONDOLOZI

Londolozi Pioneer Camp nurtures the essence of generations of pioneering family spirit and offers the ultimate luxury Relais and Chateaux safari experience. Set on the wildlife-rich banks of the Sand River, the camp has access to over 16 000 hectares of pristine wilderness within The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve neighbouring South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park.

Pioneer camp is designed as an exclusive safari homestead which makes it ideal for families and small groups. Pioneer Camp is the most secluded of Londolozi’s five camps; its expansive deck is shaded by wise old Jackalberry Pioneers, an interactive open-plan kitchen, and enclosed lavish lounge gives guests the freedom to savour their private safari experience. Should you seek company or the like then a serene stroll by footpath leads the way to the Londolozi yoga deck, fitness centre, Londolozi Living gift shop and Londolozi Life massage haven.

For years Pioneer Camp has been the holiday of choice for Terri Abadi (founder of Iconic Africa) and her family. Terri has travelled Africa extensively and yet year-on-year she is adamant Pioneer Camp is the place she wants to return to over and over again. Each trip is unique, each trip delivers, each trip a lifetime of memories for her and her family.

SINGITA

Singita Castleton Camp holds a place most dear to Iconic Africa. If you scroll through the tattered original “visitors” book kept at Castleton Camp back in 1986 you will find my then 7-year-old sisters entry which reads “Thanks very much, this is definitely a 5-star experience!” followed by my entry reading “Thanks very much. I liked the chocolate.” Perhaps we at Iconic Africa are slightly biased BUT what could be more perfect than spending a week with 11 of your closest family and friends in your own exclusive-use luxury villa, in the heart of the world-renowned Sabi Sands Private Game reserve. Castleton Camp allows you this rare treasure: to spend uninterrupted time in the lap of luxury with those dearest to you, away from the distractions of “life”.

Steeped in history, Castleton Camp is the original family home of Singita’s founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather built in the mid-1900s. The newly refurbished family residence has since been converted into a stonewalled homestead characterised by its spacious patio and graceful lounge. This central homestead is adjoined by six sumptuous luxury cottages which allow you the option to retreat to the privacy of your luxury cottage or stay in the company of your friends and family.

ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN

The One & Only is an energetic, friendly and contemporary hotel in the perfect Cape Town location. The suites all have sweeping views out over Table Mountain or of the picturesque working harbour fringed by the world-class V and A waterfront and world-renowned Two Oceans Aquarium. The rooms and suites are tributes to contemporary chic lines and fresh art with deference to Africa through the dark wood finishes. Every possible modern convenience including full internet facilities and a personal Nespresso machine complete the opulence of the space. The commodious bathrooms boast huge baths and showers with separate lavatories. Cape Town is packed full of fun for the whole family. Trips up Table Mountain in the cable car or on foot for the fitter families will leave you breathless with wonder. The gleaming white beaches, especially with a gourmet picnic lunch, offer magnificent days out in Hout Bay, Llandudno, Clifton and Camp’s Bay while the quirky town of Fishhoek and Boulder’s Beach offers warmer waters for the kids. Although the produce of the spectacular Winelands is best enjoyed by parents, there is beauty and activity in abundance for young travellers.

TONGABEZI SAFARI LODGE

Tongabezi is situated about 30kms upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls. It is the perfect place for families with children – with two delightful two-bedroom houses with private lounges, play areas and plunge pools. The Garden House has a fully walled garden which is ideal for younger children while its funky African fusion design gives it an informal and fun atmosphere. The Dog House’s bedrooms and communal areas are safely linked by raised walkways and the infinity pool hangs out over the Zambezi River. This beautiful suite comes with a private vehicle, guide and valet. The expansive and luxuriant gardens are blended into the banks of the Zambezi. They are dotted with private decks and terraces where families can relax in privacy. The magnificent Lookout – a multi-level wooden platform, sumptuously furnished with soft sofas and chairs can be booked for exclusive use and is a wonderful way for families to dine together and watch the river. Large families can book Tangala House – the pinnacle of luxurious family living. This magnificent home has three ensuite bedrooms, a huge private pool set in lavish gardens. For fun, there is a trampoline, garden games and a TV nook. Tangala comes with a private valet, chef, guide, boat and vehicle for exploration. There are endless activities – fishing, drumming, helicopters flips and much more for parents and children alike and in the evening, smiling kids and contented parents will revel in the joy of a sunset cruise on the languid waters of the Zambezi around Tongabezi.

TSWALU LODGE, KALAHARI

Tswalu is southern Africa’s biggest private game reserve and is perfect for anyone wanting to experience true Kalahari wilderness. The views from the lodge are utterly magical and ensure awesome game-viewing opportunities. Tswalu has three luxurious bungalows that have been specifically designed to cater to families, and the warm staff know just how to make your enchanting family escape one to remember. From de-stressing massage treatments to exciting morning game drives, this is a place where memories are made. Treat yourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime horse safari or relax on the private sundeck while taking in the awe-inspiring views of the waterhole.

For more information on other family-friendly destinations on our beautiful African continent please click here.

Find the Magic of Madikwe

Madikwe Game Reserve is widely recognised as one of the premier luxury safari destinations in Southern Africa. Nearly 30 years old, this 75 000 hectares reserve is one of South Africa’s largest and finest game reserves. But this beautiful gem is more than just a malaria-free luxury bush accommodation. You will find breathtaking scenery, bold colours and a plethora of photographic opportunities. Explore the wildlife and nocturnal animals on the day and night drives or by foot and immerse yourself in nature’s playground.

Here are some reasons why we think Madikwe really is a magical destination and is so worthy of a spot on your bucket list.

  • Amazing game viewing:

Madikwe Private Game Reserve has become world-famous for its Lion and (highly endangered) African Wild Dog viewing. What’s more, because Madikwe’s terrain is a unique mix of savannah and semi-arid desert the diverse safari experience allows visitors the chance to view the ever-renowned Big 5, as well as a number of rare desert-adapted species.

In Madikwe’s early years, the chance of seeing a Leopard on safari was low. However, in more recent years, the Leopard viewing has improved tremendously. As such the opportunity to see the much desired Big 5 is high! All rangers and trackers work together in unison to locate these ever-elusive cats. Due to the semi-arid nature of the terrain, the visibility in the reserve is good and the quality of game viewing is further ensured, as the game rangers are able to drive the safari 4×4 vehicles off-road for closer viewing.

  • Easy to get to:

Madikwe is a 50-minute charter flight or 4-5 hour drive from Johannesburg and lies on the edge of the Kalahari and Botswana borders.

National Park vs Game Reserve Lion Road

  • The ultimate romance and luxury

Iconic Africa has also handpicked the exclusive lodges that are equally famous for their bespoke honeymoon luxury experiences. Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Hills and Jamala Madikwe are such lodges that have become synonymous with luxury and attention to detail. These exclusive lodges will ensure a romantic, lavish safari retreat.

  • A trailblazer for African conservation

It is impossible to believe Madikwe once operated as a cattle ranch! It was the scene of the largest game translocation programme in the world between 1991 and 1997, moving over 8000 animals! Madikwe continues to be a shining light in African conservation. Madikwe Game Reserve was one of the earliest pioneers that proved local communities; government and private business sectors can work successfully together to set up sustainable conservation sanctuaries. This approach to wildlife conservation uplifts the local community whilst benefiting the park’s lodges and now homes over 66 different mammal species and over 360 different bird species.

  • Malaria free

Madikwe Game Reserve is a malaria-free safari region, which makes it ideal for families with younger children. These family-friendly luxury lodges offer tailored children’s activities as well as adjusted game drives which are more geared towards children. Madikwe Safari Lodge and Jaci’s Safari lodge offer fantastic family-friendly safaris.

Besides being one of the best family-friendly safari options in South Africa, the exclusivity of this destination makes it the ideal romantic getaway and many babymooners have chosen this as their escape of choice!

For some expecting parents, it’s a relaxing weekend getaway and others are ready for a long-haul flight and an action-packed two-week stay in the bush.

This is your chance to unwind properly and enjoy each other’s company undisturbed. Whether it’s a quick trip or an extended vacation, you could expect to indulge in a couple’s massage, gourmet dinners, theatre performances, art galleries, outdoor yoga and not forgetting a memorable game drive that will leave you wanting to return with your little one. And if you or your better-half are incapable of sitting on a lounger for more than a couple of hours, we’ve incorporated a little bit of adventure for you too…

The best time to experience an unforgettable safari in South Africa is September when spring is in full force in the Western Cape. You’ll have clear blue skies and temperatures in the early 20s – perfect for exploring and relaxing in the sun.

Soak up those memorable moments, whether it’s pristine beaches or a brush with the Big Five, our team is here to help you take advantage of the small pleasures. Need we say more? Please contact us if you have any questions whatsoever on the magic of Madikwe.

Falling for Africa

Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventure and infused into all of this is an unmistakable and ancient romance. Not only can Africa rekindle the flame under ancient Jackalberry trees, but this colourful continent will touch your heart and have you falling in love with everything it has to offer. There is very little in this world that compares to a rustic, yet luxurious entanglement with nature and no other place can offer it in an abundance like here.


Zambia African Safari Destination - a haven for relaxation with soaking tubs overlooking the landscape

We can think of hundreds of places to make you fall head-over-heels, but we have chosen just 5 for now…

South Africa

Cape Town has something which will appeal to you, no matter your holiday desires. Honeymooners and romantics will fall further in love with the idyllic views and white sanded beaches. Families can share a morning with curious penguins or throw in some laidback whale watching in Hermanus. For the more adventurous go cage diving with the Great White sharks off Gansbaai or even paraglide off the mountains surrounding Cape Town.

Cape Winelands are without doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Leave the coastline of Cape Town and wander towards the culinary capital of South Africa – Franschhoek. Cross rugged mountains passes and descend into century-old vineyards framed by high arching mountains. Drive lightly down age-old cobbled driveways and gently make your way into the Cape Dutch style manor houses.

Value Golf And Wine Tour South Africa A1

The Kruger National Park is the largest reserve in South Africa and forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which stretches over 35 000 square kilometres and encompasses three countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries whose vast expanse ensures the ultimate luxury safari experience as the wildlife is free to roam in a protected area which is slightly larger than the State of South Carolina.

Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls is possibly the most awe-inspiring and humbling natural wonder on planet earth. Standing in the rainforest faced with the great thundering boom of the ancient Zambezi waters plunging more than 100 metres into a fathomless gorge will leave you silent, grinning, tearful and overjoyed to be soaked by the cleansing waters. Victoria Falls is a soulful journey into primal Africa – with Iconic Africa, your visit is combined with superlative luxury, service and adventure.

Rwanda

Not only is Rwanda the realm of the Silverback Gorillas, but it is also home to a multitude of monkey species. Rwanda promises to be the pinnacle of monkey interactions. Of course, a trip to Rwanda would be wasted without the unique experience of a gorilla trek but, why not combine gorilla trekking with chimpanzee trekking to create an utterly unforgettable experience? Nothing compares to the excitement of spotting Colobus and Mangabey monkeys whilst strolling through the lush, virescent jungles of Rwanda. Birdlife is also abundant—making Rwanda the ultimate bird lover’s paradise.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

 

 

Kenya

The density and variety of wildlife is unreal, with often more than ten different species of mammals in one spot, an anomaly that is unheard of elsewhere. Kenya boasts hoards of unique antelope such as the graceful Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle as well as the vibrant topis making it the ultimate predator’s paradise.

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Tanzania

From the volcanically rich soil to the lush forests, interminable golden savannahs, pearly white sands, snow-capped peaks, baobab clusters, lush swamps, fields of sunflowers and a constantly overwhelming sense of space, there is so much to explore. Tanzania has three safari circuits and each one of them would make Tanzania a top wildlife destination. The popular Northern circuit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater offers one of the best classical safaris in Africa, especially if timed with the annual wildebeest migration. Sit surrounded by 1.5 million wildebeest as you experience one of nature’s great wonders, sip a G and T on the shores of the flamingo-infested lake Manyara as the fiery sun sinks below the horizon, or survey the vast Ngorongoro crater from a breathtaking vantage point on the rim.

Balloon Safari Iconic Africa Tanzania Desert 2 Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

The Indian Ocean Islands are Calling

We have all been feeling cooped up for the most part of this year and deserve a much-needed vacation. What better timing for the Indian Ocean islands to open up again to international tourists. We are excited to welcome travellers back to paradise and to celebrate, we have an exclusive safari and island getaway that will remedy all our problems as we leave reality behind…

Mnemba Island East Africa Tour

Mozambique is a symbol of hope, beauty and possibility. Benguerra and Quilalea present the most luxurious and secluded ways to relish the legendary islands drifting off the ancient coast. But before you decide to immerse in the splendour of a Mozambique island holiday, let us take you to Tanzania, East Africa’s biggest country by far and most famously known for the famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s highest mountain and largest lake but holds secrets very dear to us – Essque Zalu, Baraza and andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge.

Iconic Africa Tanzania Zanzibar

Tanzania:

Arguably one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, Essque Zalu Zanzibar has been awarded numerous high-quality travel industry awards. The hotel is the winner of the Tripadvisor ‘Travelers Choice 2016’ Award and it has been nominated for the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards. Enjoy your own personal piece of paradise and create unforgettable memories at Essque Zalu Zanzibar.

Experience the wonders of Zanzibar whilst spoiling yourself to the ultimate luxury beach getaway. Baraza Resort is an exclusive boutique hotel located along Bwejuu Beach – one of the top 30 island beaches in the world!

Just off Zanzibar’s north-eastern tip, resting on a secluded island, you will find Mnemba Island Lodge – Africa’s most exclusive beach lodge. Famous for its astounding coral reefs and its esteemed reputation for being one of the most amorous ocean destinations in the world, Mnemba Island Lodge is the perfect romantic getaway. With its rustic charm and its gorgeous ocean views, Mnemba will not disappoint!

Mozambique:

andBeyond Benguerra Island is a delicious tropical island retreat where couples and families will luxuriate in serene bliss in the consummate hospitality skills and stunning airy rooms that &Beyond has created. Here be adventure and repose in abundance floating in the Indian Ocean.

Quilalea Private Island, lying in a fully protected marine reserve, is the ultimate island experience – there are just nine villas on the entire Indian Ocean knoll. This is Swiss Family Robinson tropical island seclusion in unpretentious sophistication and impossible comfort. Your meals come straight from the abundance of the ocean just steps from your private beach villa. Your private butler will lavish subtle Mozambican hospitality on you while you luxuriate in ultimate island solitude.


White Pearl offers you a 99% chance that an Indian Ocean swim will be in the company of a pod of confiding dolphins – surfing in the waves next to you! An African experience the likes of which will never be equalled again! There is also an excellent chance to see migrating humpback whales from July to October – either as you stroll the beach or recline on your deck.




Ocean Safaris Scuba Dive 2 Mozambique Zanzibar White Pearl
Azura Benguerra Island is a tropical island paradise from the storybooks of history. Silver beaches, leaning palm trees swinging in the gentle breeze and the endless sapphire Indian Ocean dishing largesse in the form of tranquillity, delicious fresh seafood and marine abundance. Benguerra is peace, seclusion, Mozambican hospitality, lavish opulence and modern efficiency at the gentle pace of the Indian Ocean islands.

[caption id="attachment_8949" align="aligncenter" width="2880"] Quirimbas National Park – Mozambique

In case you missed it, here are some post-lockdown travel tips and our revised booking terms.

South African International Borders Are Open!

Drumroll… the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived!

We are ecstatic to share with you that South African borders will finally be open to international visitors on the 1st October 2020. Although they are not open to all countries just yet this is a step in the right direction and they will be soon.

As a nation that loves to play host and to show off our beautiful land, we have so missed all of our foreign travellers and friends. We are ready for you now more than ever before as we’ve been prepping for your arrival since March. We cannot wait to welcome you back to the land of magical sunsets, exhilarating safaris, G&Ts, colourful cultures and breath-taking landscapes.

As we enter Level 1, we are excited that both domestic and international flights can resume to get you to us as soon as possible! All travellers will be required to have a PCR COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours from the date of departure. All commercial airports in South Africa have a risk-adjusted strategy in place to keep all flyers safe. But if you’re still having cold feet, we have put together some useful information for when you travel post lockdown.

The thought of welcoming guests back into our hotels, lodges and camps brings us all sorts of emotions! We’ve been waiting patiently and preparing for your arrival. All accommodations, restaurants and attractions are operating within regulations and are thrilled to have you come hang out with our local people and wildlife. Our operators are fully equipped to receive you and your families and cannot wait to give you their undivided attention and offer you the 5-star luxury that cannot compare to anywhere else.

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Silo Hotel

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Franschoek 2

Our staff are ready to make your stay the most memorable; our guides cannot wait to show you the bush and its exquisite wildlife and our chefs are busy preparing to cook up a storm for you! The Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Travel Safe-Eat Safe protocols and programme has been implemented across the tourism sector to ensure the safe reopening of the industry.

For those who have postponed their stay, we hope these videos inspire some wanderlust!

Our beaches, winelands and wilderness await you to grace us with your presence once again! The opening up of our borders will unite and reignite after what seems like way too much time apart! We hope to have you on the viewing decks soon, ice-cold G&T in hand and sun setting over the horizon.

Take a look at these amazing once-in-a-lifetime safari tours we have put together to help you to see more of our spectacular country.

Africa’s Cape of Desire

Singita Safari Splendour

Great Value Golf & Wine Tour

Premier Wine & Gold Tour

With Zambia and Zimbabwe opening their borders too, these tours are also now options:

The Royal Romance

Luxury Safari Classic

Africa’s Family Getaway

If you have any questions at all about your travels please feel free to get in touch with us.

Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia Open for Travel

We are excited to let our international travellers know that entry into Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia is now open.
Do not hesitate to book your trip to the land of a thousand hills and endless jungle; the finest wildlife entertainment in Africa; and world-class predator activity!

RWANDA
Rwanda is the ultimate jungle escape for the adventurous traveller. Its gorgeously green and misty forests are home to the magnificent, world-renowned Silverback Gorillas. Rwanda is fondly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ because of its remarkably hilly landscape and its spectacular volcanoes.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

One of Rwanda’s most luxurious lodges, Bisate Lodge is a sight to behold—striking in its unique design and set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s verdant forested landscape, Bisate Lodge allows guests to marvel at the wonder that is Rwanda.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

And no Rwandan adventure is complete without a gorilla trekking tour! This magical experience will, no doubt, take your breath away and render you speechless. You will be in awe of this most unbelievable and unforgettable, encounter. It is an intimate experience like no other and has been known to bring many people to tears. One hour is certainly not long enough but it is an hour that you will remember for the rest of your days.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 3

Rules for entry:
*All countries can visit.
*All countries must fill out a pre-arrival form. Before travelling to Rwanda, passengers must fill out a Passenger Locator Form. To fill out this form, passengers must be able to provide passport information, travel details, negative PCR COVID-19 test results, and booking confirmation at one of the designated hotels for a 24-hour quarantine upon arrival.
*All countries must produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding. The negative test must be emailed to lab@rbc.gov.rw before your departure and a printed copy of the results brought with you upon entry into Rwanda.
*Upon arrival to Rwanda, visitors will be taken to the designated quarantine hotel of their choice at the cost of the traveller. They will be required to quarantine in their hotel room until they receive a negative COVID-19 result.
*A test will be done upon arrival. The results should be available after 8 hours. Plus another test 48 hours after arrival, both at the cost of the traveller.
*Any traveller who has their negative-PCR test in hand, and is showing no symptoms, will not have to quarantine upon arrival into Rwanda.
*Re-Testing may be done before going on in-country tours or treks.

Popular parks such as Volcanos National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Akagera National Park have all reopened to international tourists, but some protocols need to be followed.

KENYA
Kenya is an Approved and recognised user of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp. Kenya promises the very best game viewing, hospitality and endless breathtaking landscapes, the origin and epitome of the true safari experience. It is without a doubt the ultimate safari destination. Exquisite luxury lodges and magical tented camps are aplenty, easily accessible and waiting to welcome you with open arms.

Your choice for luxury 5-star accommodation is endless. Take your pick between Giraffe Manor, Mara Expeditions, Ol Donyo, Bateleur Camp, Mara Plains and Angama Mara.

Giraffe Manor Breakfast Feature

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

Rules for entry:
*Entry into Kenya is permitted if the passenger does not have a body temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F); does not have a persistent cough, difficulty breathing or other flu-like symptoms, and has a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours of arrival.
*All passengers arriving on international flights are required to quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence.
*If there is a reported case of COVID-19 on a flight or if the above symptoms are detected, all passengers within two rows of the passenger with the symptoms will be quarantined for testing. If the test results are negative, they will be allowed to leave the facility.
*It is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Kenya to complete the Travelers Health Surveillance Form by the Ministry of Health. The form must be completed online prior to disembarkation. Passengers will receive a QR code after completing the form and will be required to display it to a Port Health Official to proceed through immigration.
*Health screening procedures are in place at airports and other ports of entry.
*The Government of Kenya established an online portal to extend visitor and resident visas.
*Testing is available at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, and Kenyatta National Hospital. The charge for the test is approximately USD 100 at private health facilities and USD 50 at government hospitals. Test results are available within 48 – 96 hours.
*Commercial flights and public transportation are operating.

ZAMBIA
Here in the warm heart of Africa lies one of the continent’s greatest secrets, the birthplace of the walking safari, Zambia! Sitting on a sprawling plateau, this little gem boasts the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa rivers, and shares one of the largest waterfalls in the world, the Victoria Falls with neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Mchenja Zambia South Luangwa - The South Luangwa is renowned for its world class predator action

There is no better way to get up-close-and-personal with the African bush, and its wildlife, than to go on a walking safari. It is, without a doubt, the best way to fully experience and appreciate the magical intricacies that make up a regular day out in the bush. Even if you’ve had many safari experiences in the past, this iconic adventure will, no doubt, take your breath away.

Zambia African Safari Travel

Zambia boasts magical accommodations from South Luangwa National Park to Liuwa Plains and Lower Zambezi Valley. Mchenja Bush Camp, King Lewanika and Chongwe are surrounded by unspeakable beauty and luxury.

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

King Lewanika - Gather after your exciting game drives and swap tales under the stars_

Zambia is open to foreign nationals and issuing visitor visas upon entry into the country. Limited domestic flight schedules are operating twice-weekly between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Mfuwe International Airport, and between Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone.

Royal CHundu Iconic Africa Why Us

Rules for entry:
*All international visitors are screened on arrival. If you show any signs of COVID-19, you will have to quarantine for 14 days.
*All arriving passengers must have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test that has been conducted within 3 days of arriving in Zambia.
*Visitors will be expected to adhere to COVID-19 regulations like physical distancing, wearing face masks, and personal hygiene. They will also need to monitor themselves daily for 10 days for symptoms of the virus and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.

Strict control measures have been implemented in these countries and have to be followed: social distancing, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of masks remain mandatory. Contact us HERE for more information on your next African safari adventure!

Don’t be scared to travel, just be wise when you do!

The tourism industry is seeing the light at the end of this very long tunnel and many of our destinations are finally able to reopen their doors. However, we completely understand that under the current climate, many fervent travellers are reluctant or nervous to book or to travel. This is human nature considering how our world has been turned upside down in a matter of months.

The good news is that establishments now have updated COVID-terms and while we strongly encourage people to continue with their travel plans or to make new travel plans, just ask for information on the COVID regulations to set your mind at ease and inform you of the current situation.

These last few months have changed the way people will travel for a long time. At Iconic Africa, we have done everything we can to accommodate our travellers over this time. Instead of cancelling all of your holiday plans, chat with us and we will do our best to postpone them until you are feeling comfortable to visit us. As airports, hotels, restaurants and recreational facilities improve their social distance and cleaning policies we look forward to the tourism industry opening up even more than it has already and welcoming foreigners to our shores once again.

All of Iconic Africa’s operators are fully aware of the effects of this pandemic and the importance of following health and safety regulations. They are fully prepared and equipped for both international and domestic travellers coming to South Africa and have been extremely accommodating with their booking and postponement terms. This will continue as long as COVID remains an officially regulated threat.

All suppliers have their own specific terms and conditions for bookings and cancellations during this time. Please ask us for more information on this when enquiring. What you can expect is online check-ins, use of QR codes, mobile scans, temperature recording and contact tracing, mandatory mask-wearing, decontamination of surfaces and applicable social distancing.

As mentioned, the specific terms and conditions along with cancellation terms vary from one establishment to another and they also change frequently due to the changing status of the pandemic and the Level we find ourselves in. The cancellation policies will be in place until international travel opens up and we readily welcome our foreign family back to African soil. It is both our and the various suppliers we deal with standard requirement that you have travel insurance in place when making a booking. Once South Africa enters Level 1, operators will be reverting back to standard terms and conditions and non-refundable deposits and cancellation policies will once again apply. We, therefore, please urge you to get yourself covered with good travel insurance for peace of mind.

Together we can assist destinations and businesses that depend on tourism to recover. One of our experienced and trusted advisors can guide you through the unchartered territories of travelling in this new world. We are here to help so please be in touch.

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Fancourt

Value Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Marine View

For now, we have to co-exist with the virus, and if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug we will get you ready for new ways of planning and travelling in the weeks ahead. Click HERE for some do’s and don’ts when travelling post-lockdown and some insights on the new travel norms. Always remember to exercise extra caution and strict obedience of the rules such as physical distancing, mask-wearing and vigorous handwashing.

Once you are over those few tiny hurdles… enjoy the magic of Africa and the soul-filling sensation of safari!

Time to Switch Off and Reconnect With Nature

Zambia African Safari Destination - a haven for relaxation with soaking tubs overlooking the landscape

“I feel as though the cardboard box of my own reality has been flattened and blown open. Now I can see the edge of the world.” Tom Hiddleston

It’s time to log off and put your devices down. With lockdown lasting longer than we’d like, we have all become hyper-connected to our screens as we depend on it to stay distracted, connected with friends, family and work remotely.

We already live in a world where technology is taking over more of our time and attention, but how do we turn off when we rely so much on our devices? With social distancing and isolation in place, reaching for our phone, tablet, laptop or TV remote has become a coping mechanism for many. But with local travel reopening, you can now trade in checking emails for some much needed time in the bush!

chobe-beyond-under-canvas-game-drive-lions

River Lodge Lions Sands Sabi Sands Game Reserve

At Iconic Africa, we believe that “switching off” and getting in touch with real-life is imperative to our wellbeing. Doing this in our world’s most primitive natural habitat (the African Wilderness or as we call it here… the “Bush”) can only speed up and enhance your experience. As the world heals, we need to heal too! Experience the primordial rhythms of [insert and hyperlink] and let it resonate back home; let the stunning landscapes and sceneries of [insert and hyperlink] infuse into your mind and heart; appreciate the sustainable bounties of the African bush from 5-star gourmet meals to signature cocktails; let your heart be guided by yoga and meditation at [insert and link]; meet new, life-long friends who will become family; and reconnect to your true self and bond with your loved ones in a way that can only happen in the bush.

Some wisdom:

The more technology takes over our lives the more nature we need…

Humans are hard-wired to love and thrive in nature (and more specifically in the endless space of dusty savannahs)

The bush makes us feel alive – it awakens all our senses

It has the ability to heal the heart, mind and body

The beauty of the African wilderness makes us more efficient, inspired and creative

It can reduce depression and improve psychological wellbeing

Animal-human interaction builds social bonds and grounds us

Nature bonds families and friends

Now that we know why it is important here a few tips on how to digitally de-power on Safari:

The minute you leave the airport and head for your luxury safari destination turn off everything digital except your camera.

Make an effort to do things you wouldn’t normally do and do them at a slower more leisurely pace i.e. take a long bath, read a book, go for a long walk, sit and watch the beautiful African sunrise and listen to the sounds of the bush waking up.

Be aware and observe like a scientist! Immerse yourself in your surroundings and connect with the present by learning as much as you can about your exciting new
environment.

Meditate to the sounds of the African bush this will create clarity and calm the mind in a way you didn’t know was possible.

Relax, sleep and let Africa spoil and treat you in a way you have never been treated before.

Sarah Graham Visits Magical Marataba

Recent traveller, close friend and distinguished chef, Sarah Graham has returned from some much needed time in the bush with her family. The Grahams visited the luxurious Marataba Safari Lodge – a magical retreat just a short drive away from Johannesburg.

This easily accessible escape to one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets is the perfect family getaway! It is malaria-free and combines luxury, adventure and intimacy with wildlife like no other.

This private lodge is the perfect place to make new memories with your loved ones. Sarah has very kindly shared with us some of the highlights of their trip as well as some delightful pictures below.

Was it easy to get to Marataba from Joburg?
It was a totally effortless drive! We made it from door to door in about three hours, and it’s just such an amazing feeling to be on the open roads and heading out of town.

Marataba Safari Lodge Entrance

What was your first impression of Marataba?
As you inch closer to the Waterberg Mountains it’s an incredible feeling, they have a magic all of their own, and that carries through all the way to the Lodge and the warm welcome on arrival.

What were the staff like?
Besides the magical backdrop of the mountains, the bush and its abundance of wildlife, the team at Marataba add a special touch that makes you feel instantly at home. We arrived as eager strangers from the city and feel like we left as real friends.

What was the accommodation like?
We loved our family room! Nestled amongst the trees, with big views over the bush and looking up to the mountains it has incredible tranquillity, and the girls loved having their own room, bunk bed and bathroom. The accommodation is luxurious, spacious, carefully thought out but still comfortable. We didn’t want to leave.

Were there activities and entertainment for your kids?
Our girls loved every minute of their time in the Eco Garden! Thembi looked after them with such sincere care and fun – even little 2-year-old Emily was completely happy there, and they got stuck into everything from cookie making to popcorn eating, spoor crafting and lots in between.

What did they think of the lodge?
The girls were awed by the beautiful setting, the giant Camelthorn Tree on the front lawn that stretches out to the bush, waterhole and mountains beyond really does sweep you off your feet. They even had a little dip in the pool one day, despite mid-winter temperatures.

Do you recommend it as a relaxing family getaway for both parents and kids?
Completely, we would go back in a heartbeat.

What was your best sighting?
Not just our best sighting at Marataba, but definitely in our lives were two fully-grown male Cheetah on a Warthog kill, we were all entranced from the very first moment. We also can’t speak highly enough of our guide Hugh who was patient, fun with our kids, informative and just an all-round legend.

What will be your forever memory of your trip to Marataba?
So many things! Besides the epic cheetah kill, the sight of the dusty pink mountains in the evenings and our girls playing in a nearby riverbed while we have sundowners will probably stay with us forever.

For more information on Marataba and the incredible specials they are offering to South African locals get in touch with one of our team members and start planning your next local family bush vacation.