Our Year in Review – A Collection of 2018 Newsletters

As the pendulum swings, we say goodbye to 2018. We reflect on the most fantastic moments of this year – in order to carry forward a much needed awareness and gratefulness into the next. We want you to remember this year as more than just extreme politics and weather – so we take a look the year’s biggest moments and fabulous highlights so that we can begin looking forward to a fruitful 2019.

There’s no better time than now… to take a minute, look back and see all the amazing work we have created for you over the past year – from lodge visits to features to takeovers to wonderful reviews and much more.

We’d like to thank everyone who has inspired and contributed to such interesting content. From January to November, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Catch up on everything you may have missed out on in one place! We’ve highlighted all the important stuff for you so that you can get up to speed on the entire luxury African safari and epic wildlife must-knows. Check out our top-rated stories right here, right now:

January

Dulini Lodge Entrance
Giraffe Manor Breakfast 2
Here’s to many more breath-taking African moments in 2019!

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:

 

 

 

Top 10 Cute Animal Videos of 2018

Africa is blessed with enough amazing animals to keep the entire world entertained for a lifetime! From clumsy baby elephants to feisty spotted wild dogs… Often their cute nature, cuddly appearances and silly antics make us feel unworthy of such delight!

If you’re in a slump and need a mid-week pickup, we have the cure for you right here! Meet some of the sweetest and funniest furries that we couldn’t resist sharing. They are the balm to our dreary days and have made 2018 a little less cumbersome. Try not to smile or laugh at these videos, we dare you.

Botswana-Safari-Okavango-Safari-Banner-Elephants

 

Here are our top ten wildlife video-shares of 2018 waiting for you. Our viral superstars want you to click play and let them melt your heart:

Posted by Berussa

https://www.facebook.com/berussacan/videos/10155725439728994/?t=7

Posted by Nomad Tours

https://www.facebook.com/NomadTours/videos/10156554156553684/?t=5

Posted by Africa Geographic

https://www.facebook.com/africa.geographic/videos/10154817792121400/?t=2

Posted by andBeyond Travel

https://www.facebook.com/andBeyondTravel/videos/10159186024205193/?t=2

Posted by Amazing Animal Life

https://www.facebook.com/amazinganimallife.page/videos/2208868182771384/?t=4

Posted by Singita Game Reserve

https://www.facebook.com/singita.gamereserves/videos/1961723454125410/?t=16

Posted by Barcroft Animals

https://www.facebook.com/BarcroftAnimals/videos/1013336995430614/?t=5

Posted by Singita Game Reserves

https://www.facebook.com/singita.gamereserves/videos/2125816530786557/?t=4

Posted by News.com

https://www.facebook.com/news.com.au/videos/1118779428149429/?t=3

Posted by Hugs and Happy Diving

https://www.facebook.com/hugsandhappydiving/videos/10155128987632703/?t=10

Hopefully we get to see more of their playfulness in 2019! Here’s to more happy animals…

 

Best Takeovers of 2018

Many dream of Africa – and some revisit it regularly taking visual journeys through photos. There is something special about being able to travel through time and return to places through images, conjuring up favourable memories of a time gone by.

Where in Africa would you like to go? Let us take you there…

This throwback is for both our esteemed travellers and appreciated photographers. As photographers, surely you get excited about new pictures, but it’s also great going back and reminiscing about the great shots of the past. Imagine finding a photo album or scrolling through pictures on your phone right before dinner. The table is set and the next thing you know, you’re 200 pictures deep and dinner has gotten cold.

Here’s to the forgotten photographs, overlooked photographs and taking nostalgic travellers back to Africa. Memories and emotions will come racing back – perhaps even new inspiration. Re-visit untouched landscapes and picturesque sceneries; animals roaming freely; raw African beauty; the infamous African sunsets; dramatic clouds, brewing storms and so much more that this exquisite continent has to offer.

Let us take you on a photographic time travel with this year’s top Iconic Takeovers:

There’s so many wonderful pictures that we cannot fit into one story so check out our Instagram page for more.

Graham Wood

Ngala Safari Lodge Lion Kill Graham Wood

Ad van Zyl

James Tyrrell

Craig Hayman

 

 

A big thank you to all our photographer friends that have taken part in #IATakeovers this year! We are truly honoured to be able to share your images with our travellers. Keep travelling and taking these beautiful pictures – here’s to many more in 2019!

 

 

Instagram Takeover by Graham Wood

Here is another wonderful takeover by good friend and legendary wildlife photographer, Graham Wood. Thank you Graham – for sharing these exquisite photographs with us.

Ever alert. // Ingrid Dam Female of @londolozi #londolozi #nikon #wildlifephotography #sabisands

Giants under stormy skies // #capturethewild #nikon #wildlifephotography

Regal King // Mara // #wildlifephotoraphy #nikon

Morning shake // #capturethewild #nikon #wildlifephotography

Hunting in the shadows. #southluangwa #zambia #nikon #leopard #wildlifephotography

Halo of light // Mana Pools.

Emerald Eye // Londolozi // #sabisands #wildlifephotography #nikon

For more of Graham’s breath-taking photographs follow him on Instagram – @grahamwoodphoto.

 

 

 

What is a Game Drive?

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUN PROTECTION

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

CLOTHING

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

SHOES

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

SMALL MEDICAL KIT

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

CAMERA EQUIPMENT

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

BINOCULARS

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

 

Month on Instagram

“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” Kate Thurmes.

Just in case you missed out on this month on Instagram, scroll down here to see our beautiful continent and its exquisite creatures… captured in moments!

 

 

 

Instagram Takeover – James Tyrrell

From spectacular leopards, to brown snake eagles taking flight, to gorgeous hyena cubs… and so much more… our great friend, James Tyrell, has expertly captured the Sabi Sands in all its glory here.

 

For more of James’ exquisite photographs follow @jamotyrrell on Instagram.

The Best African Safari Tours for 2018

“If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.” Karen Blixen.

It’s a new year… so why not make 2018 the year that you finally go on that safari you’ve been meaning to go on for so long!

Planning the perfect African Safari can be intimidating when you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve carefully selected our Top 3 African Safari Tours which offer only the most luxurious, authentic, and unparalleled experiences just for you!

The optimal safari tour for first-time African adventurers. Be astounded by the magnificent Cape Grace Hotel, located in South Africa’s Mother City. Enjoy luscious cocktails on the deck, tranquil spa treatments, and divine gourmet meals.

Be whisked to the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in world-renowned Kruger National Park, and revel in complete exclusivity while sharing an intimate connection with the African bushveld. Take delight in spotting the Big 5 and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Africa.

End your adventure in Zambia at the Royal Livingstone—Africa’s most graceful Victorian hotel. Enjoy the healing spray of Victoria Falls and unwind to the sound of its roar. With your G&T in hand, gazing out over golden mist at sundown, get a true taste of Africa’s bygone era.

  1. The Royal Romance

The ultimate romantic getaway for couples with a love for Africa. The safari begins in Cape Town at Ellerman House—an absolutely gorgeous Edwardian Mansion resting on Lion’s Head. Take in spectacular views, delectable food, and Africa’s greatest art collection.

Head off to idyllic La Residence—a captivating boutique hotel set in picturesque Franschhoek. Not only is it the most alluring hotel in Franschhoek, it is also home to exceptional wine and unrivalled cuisine.

Escape to Royal Chundu in Zambia where opulence meets tranquillity. It’s the perfect place for you and your special someone to revel in all things ‘Africa’.

  1. Africa’s Family Getaway

An extravagant safari adventure for the whole family. Your African escapade starts at the One&Only Cape Town—centrally located and an ideal home base for the whole family. Admire the sweeping views over Cape Town while indulging in all the mod-cons, what more could you ask for?

Journey to Madkiwe Safari Lodge an African safari that caters for everyone. Located in a malaria free area makes it ideal for families. Madikwe blends five star comfort and pure African indulgence.

End your adventure at Tongabezi which lies on the banks of the Zambezi River. With plenty of exciting activities for the entire family—parents can relax at the peaceful plunge pools while kids can enjoy the delights of the play area.

For more information on tours that are available please visit our site here.

Top 10 Luxury Destinations for 2018

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” — Author Unknown.

Everyone deserves to feel spoilt, pampered and relaxed. Especially in the aftermath of the festive season, there’s even more of a need to escape from the madness. South Africa is not short of luxury destinations to escape to, put your feet up and bask under Africa’s sun. Iconic Africa ticks all the boxes for those who are accustomed to only the best and prefer the finer things in life. Do pristine wilderness, private pavilions, silver service and contemporary interiors excite you? Indulge in our finest selection of luxurious locations and let us enable you to travel in guilt-free style and be in complete harmony with nature. Wherever you choose to go, we have only the very best in true African   hospitality for you and your family.

Four of our top ten luxury destinations for 2018 featured on Travel and Leisure’s ‘Top 100 Luxury Hotels in the World’ in 2017. Our collection of accommodation has a traditional African character preserving pieces of our land with qualities of sophistication, charm and natural beauty. Iconic Africa ensures that guests have a comfortable and relaxing stay in private and exclusive settings which inspire wanderlust and acts as a salve for the soul.

  1. Tswalu – Kalahari

Tswalu is 240 000 acres of pristine Kalahari wilderness. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, this is the largest private game reserve in southern Africa and bares testament to the family’s commitment to authentic conservation and opulent luxury. Out in the wild, the game viewing is breathtaking be it from the back of a 4 X 4 safari vehicle, the saddle of an impeccably behaved horse or on foot. Tswalu is the ultimate luxury safari destination in the heart of the magical Kalahari.

Tswalu Game Reserve. Southern Kalahari. Northern Cape. South Africa.
  1. Londolozi – Sabi Sands

In Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2014, Londolozi was named the best hotel in the world! A global honour of colossal proportions. Londolozi effortlessly exceeds all expectations on a luxury, hospitality, wilderness and experiential front – however when anyone who knows Londolozi well, is tasked with describing this African wonder they are immediately confronted by the difficulty of portraying the intangible. It is this indiscernible x factor which sets Londolozi aside from the rest!

Londolozi Tree Camp Deck Iconic Africa Safaris

  1. Angama Mara – Masai 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.

Angama Kenya Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

  1. Royal Chundu – Victoria Falls

Royal Chundu, the first Relaix Chateaux property in Zambia, is nestled on the Zambian bank of the immense Zambezi River. Here, upstream of the Victoria Falls, the river is a wide and tranquil elixir that supports a myriad of bird, fish, mammal and plant life. Elephants graze the banks and islands while tiger fish dart through the water after prey. Royal Chundu represents a commitment to unbridled luxury in the wild of Africa and the constant support of local communities.

  1. Zarafa – Okavango Delta

Zarafa, from the Arabic word for beloved, is a jewel set in the treasure trove of the Zibadianja lagoon – itself a paradise in the Selinda Game Reserve. Conceived by world-renowned wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert in the shadows of a giant ebony tree, Zarafa is earth-friendly, exclusive Relais & Chateaux luxury in one of the last great wilderness areas on earth. There are just four sumptuous and spacious suites set on the banks of the awesome lagoon where the exuberance of the African wild will speak to your soul.

  1. Singita Sasakwa – Serengeti

Perched atop the rocky Sasakwa Hill looking out over the Serengeti’s Western corridor and endless golden plains is the elegant Sasakwa House. 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’. Exquisite views extend in every direction as the ever-changing landscape teems with Africa’s most majestic wildlife and the clouds waft over the plains.

  1. Lion Sands – Sabi Sands

By protecting and harnessing the roots of both the More and Chalkley families, Lion Sands has certainly found its wings within the luxury safari industry. In 2014 Lion Sands was awarded third place in Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Resort in Africa, and in 2010 the extraordinarily luxurious Ivory Lodge was named third best hotel in the world by Tatler.

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Lounge Interior 2 Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

  1. La Residence – Winelands

Perched amongst the vineyards, on the slopes of the beautiful Franschhoek Mountains is the pinnacle of luxury and unrivalled piece of heaven – La Residence. Voted Conde Nast’s No 1 Hotel in the World in 2013 amongst a myriad of other awards, La Residence is a must for any bucket list. The sprawling green lawns speckled with majestic springbok, the private dam complete with island, rowboat and soft flowing willow trees, instil an awe-inspiring sense of peace.

  1. White Pearl – Mozambique

Set on two kilometres of magnificent, pristine Mozambican coastline, White Pearl is an intimate resort for the discerning traveller. Couples or families will revel in the luxury, hospitality, delightful cuisine and natural wonder of this beach paradise. Whether you want to adventure on or under the cobalt Indian Ocean, lounge on the beach, sip cocktails in the pool or simply soak up the soothing peace of the sea, White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli offers the ultimate luxury beach holiday.

  1. Ellerman House – Cape Town

Nestled into the side of Signal Hill and boasting some of Cape Town’s most spectacular views lies a magnificent Cape Edwardian mansion that will welcome you with both arms and capture your heart forever. Ellerman House not only offers the ultimate in Cape luxury but it is an endless heaven to wine lovers and art fanatics alike.

Please do let us know if you have any questions on the above properties or if there are any more you’d like to hear more about.

How Far in Advance to Book Your Safari

“It was the wildest, untouched Africa and it was magic.” Jane Goodall.

For many, a trip to Africa is a once in a life time opportunity that is the outcome of years of saving. So it is understandable that people would want to plan it properly and not compromise the experience by putting together a last minute trip. A survey conducted by Now Media showed that booking for holidays in Southern Africa are rising as foreign currencies thrive despite our economy showing signs of improvement.

This is not surprising as our tourism industry is South Africa’s biggest earner of foreign exchange. Not only do tourists get their monies worth in Rands, South Africa has always been and remains a key destination for family-orientated safaris, especially in malaria-free locations. Game reserves have shown an increase in child-friendly options, and most tourists head to ‘attraction destinations’ such as Zimbabwe or Zambia. With bookings for 2018 nearly at full capacity, we advise that potential holiday makers start planning at least a year in advance and start booking latest nine months before your scheduled trip. This way you can secure your preferences at the best rates.

For some people, a year is an awfully long time to plan ahead. Anything can happen over the course of a year making people feel intimidated; especially to pay for and confirm a trip that far in advance. But the planning itself takes a few weeks. All you have to do is begin the process. Here are our top five reasons for planning a trip a year before you take it:

Do you have a specific budget?

An African safari is not an inexpensive holiday even though there is a wide range of tours and travel styles, some of which are cheaper than others. We advise clients to start off with a budget in mind. It is fine to spend a little more if a consultant recommends an activity or experience that is worth much more than the extra expense. It’s also fine to spend less than you budgeted, but you don’t want to start off not knowing what you’re comfortable spending. Before planning your safari, determine a budget so that you know how to allocate towards accommodation, bucket-list activities, flights and transport, spending money and unforeseen expenses that may come up.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Luxury Safari Kruger Park

Choosing where to go

The most time consuming part of planning a safari is deciding on where to go. Before you can make any bookings, you’ll need to make decisions about what you’d like to see. Do you have your heart set on seeing the Big Five, whales, birds, or the “great migration”? There are so many options and you will want to weigh each one.

iconic-africa-east-africa-migration-african-luxury-safaris

Choosing when to go

Once you’ve determined what you would like to experience you can determine the best time of year to go on safari. Of course, that’s where we can help you. If you are an avid birder and also want to relax on South Africa’s beaches, there are only a few months a year where these two activities can coincide or are at their respective peaks, since one requires rain and the other sun! Or, if you are considering a top safari destination such as Kenya or Tanzania and want an uncrowded stay, consider off-season travel as peak season welcomes countless visitors.

Getting to South Africa

While we encourage guests to start planning a year in advance and confirm reservations and bookings at least nine months before departure, paying for airline tickets is a little trickier. Airfares constantly flex and although airline reservation systems start showing flights 330 days in advance for international flights, you can start looking for flights four months beforehand (the prime booking window). With direct flights to Africa being few, you want to book your seat no later than two months prior so you can get the lowest possible fare. Given the lack of competition between airlines for international flights to Africa, there are very few sales to take advantage of.

Booking Hotels, Camps and Lodges

Of course there are more accommodation options than airplane seats, but the best safari camps fill up a year in advance. This is especially the case around Christmas and at the height of the safari season. Luxury safari camps often cater to fewer than 20 guests, so availability runs out very quickly especially if you are travelling with a family and need more than one room. When booking your accommodation be sure to pre-book any game drives or activities you wish to do as well. Having a structured budget and plan will allow you to decide whether you want to stay in a private residence or hotel; perhaps a public or private game reserve.

We hope that we have convinced you that planning in advance helps make sure your journey is tailored around your needs, wish list preferences and unique travel concerns. Planning a year in advance can ensure that your travel style & budget is met. If your budget is limited, you’ll want the most affordable options. If you have limited time, you’ll want the most efficient travel logistics. A few months before your trip, you should check in with your travel clinic to get the right immunizations and malaria prophylactics if necessary. At this time you should also find out if you need a tourist visa and double check to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you arrive in Africa.

Iconic Africa Kruger National Park Leopard

If you have any other questions please do let us know. We certainly hope we can help make your dreams of visiting our beautiful continent a reality.