Where to Safari – East or Southern Africa?

The idea of a safari was conceived in East Africa, but soon reached Southern Africa where luxury safaris became popular. Today both parts of the continent offer state-of-the-art designed lodges and camps, unparalleled game viewing and bucket-list worthy activities. But with so many countries to choose from, it’s not surprising that one would find it difficult deciding where to go – especially if it’s your first safari. Here’s what makes each region a unique and memorable safari destination:

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

East Africa is synonymous with the incomparable Mara-Serengeti triangle and the indigenous ecosystems that fall part of these areas. If you want to experience the seasonal Great Migration between Kenya and Tanzania, then an East Africa safari should be right on top of your travel-list! The seasonal rain patterns are nothing short of awe-inspiring, supporting over a million wildebeest and other game. East Africa, like other parts of the continent, boasts diverse habitats from lush, green forests to aquatic bodies that see large flocks of flamingos, baobab forests, and gorilla families. Not forgetting Mount Kilimanjaro and the famous Ngorongoro Crater where you will find incredible lodges that offer panoramic views. East Africa has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with vehicle trails, ensuring exceptional game viewing at a close range. Unlike Southern Africa’s reserves and parks, off-road and night-drives are less likely unless you are visiting a private concession. However, you can look forward to life-changing bush walks with Maasai locals who will show you the area on foot.

 

What you can expect from a safari in East Africa:

  • Massive herds of wildebeest and zebra
  • Two dry seasons: January to March and June to October
  • Great for family safaris as most accommodations allow young children; there are fewer internal flights and the interactive game drives keep kids interested
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles with English-speaking guides
  • Hot air balloon safaris over the Mara plains
  • Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
  • Fun walking safaris in some private reserves
  • Numerous cultural encounters with local tribes

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Click on the links below to see our top accommodation in East Africa:

Kenya– Great Migration, Maasai warriors, pink flamingos, Giraffe Manor, hot air balloon safaris.

Mozambique– Snorkelling, diving and untouched coral reefs.

Tanzania– Great Migration, Mt Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Tarangire National Park, hot air balloon safaris.

Rwanda– Gorilla trekking, golden monkeys, chimpanzees and canopy walks.

Gorilla Treks Rwanda Uganda Iconic Africa

Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Southern Africa has an array of different geographical features and weather conditions. You can tailor-make your safari to include the Kruger’s savannah grasslands, Zambia’ s woodlands, Zimbabwe’s thundering Victoria Falls, the dry desert of the Kalahari or the Okavango Delta’s heavy rains. Or combine the rugged mountains and luscious winelands with beautiful golden beaches and the bustling city life of Cape Town. You can have it all in one Southern Africa trip!

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

Guests look forward to low -volumes of people and smaller camps or lodges that often only accommodate up to a dozen people at a time. With the abundance of private concessions, you can create a more exclusive and personalised safari.

Contrary to East Africa’s vast open landscapes found in the Serengeti or Mara region and high concentration of wildlife, Southern Africa focuses more on personal encounters and walking safaris which can be done in Botswana and Zambia. You will also have the chance for exciting night game drives to spot elusive nocturnal animals, charming water safaris and nights out under the stars. While cultural experiences are limited unlike the many found in East Africa, you can plan a visit to the San Bushman of the Kalahari which is equally as rewarding.

What you can expect from a safari in Southern Africa:

  • Varied topography and habitats
  • Smaller concentration of herds in private concessions
  • One dry season: May to October
  • South Africa is great for family safaris with some lodges and camps located in malaria-free areas
  • Many camps outside of South Africa require minimum age of eight years old, unless you reserve the entire camp
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles
  • Choose from many small, remote and exclusive private camps with limited guests of 8-12
  • Guides usually share meals with guests at small lodges/camps developing close relations
  • More private concessions with fewer tourists which makes for great wildlife viewing
  • Wider variety of safaris activities such as walking safaris, mokoro tours, night drives, hot air ballooning, kayaking and food safaris

Click on the links below to see our top accommodations in Southern Africa:

Botswana–, Madikwe Game Reserve, Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta, Big 5 safaris, hot air balloon safaris, boating trips.

South AfricaKruger National Park, Table Mountain, Cape Winelands, Big Five safaris, marine safaris, hot air balloon safaris, Garden Route.

Zambia– Trekking, Lake Malawi, adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Devils Pool, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, village tours, safaris in South Luangwa.

Zimbabwe– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Batoka Gorge.

Both East and Southern Africa offer amazing opportunities to spot the Big 5 wildlife, amongst other game and indigenous fauna and flora. Each region has its own unique wildlife and landscape attractions, but East Africa definitely has a higher density of animals in one area – especially considering the Great Migration and gorillas. Needless to say you will see plenty of cool animals in both parts of the continent and Southern Africa will entice you with its diverse topography in a single city such as Cape Town. So which is better for safari? Whether you’re interested in seeing tens of lions on your first day or basking in opulence at small, private lodges with low visitor concentration, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Why Go for a Private Guide?

A private guided safari is without a doubt the best way to experience Africa’s bush and wildlife. Guests can enjoy a holistic experience with our lodges and camps’ excellent teams of specialist guides who will assist you with not only planning your dream game drives but also guiding you throughout the journey to ensure that your wildlife experience is everything you ever dreamed of!

Most camps and lodges organise game drives with between 4 and 6 guests to a vehicle. While sharing your experiences with other guests is a great way to meet fellow travellers and often great fun, it is also possible to request the ‘exclusive-use’ of a vehicle and a private guide for all or part of your stay.  This can be very appealing to guests who have very specific interests or simply wish to prioritise the flexibility and exclusivity of their day.

Here are our top reasons to choose a private guided safari:

All of our destinations offer the finest qualified and experienced private guides in the industry, adding immeasurable value to your safari. Most countries in Africa have a formal qualification requirement which is extremely rigorous, and ensures top quality guiding.

From the moment you arrive, your private guide will be there to make sure you don’t have to worry about anything other than enjoying your time in Africa’s great outdoors. You can customise your game drives to specific areas you wish to visit and your guide will help you to maximise the sighting and photographic possibilities.

You’ll build up a wonderful relationship with your private guide, as they share the incredible knowledge, stories and experiences with you. Your private guide will become familiar with your interests, what you’ve already seen and what you want to see, maximising your time in the bush.

On a private guided safari, you won’t have to share your guide’s knowledge and passion – special attributes that add a unique touch to your experience.  This one-on-one time accompanied by your guide’s deep understanding will open your eyes to a world you never knew existed. You will learn more than on any other type of holiday – that’s for sure!

Your private guide is also available to you throughout the day for any questions or to help with editing the day’s photographs. Whatever your level of photography is, you can be assured of leaving your safari with new skills, techniques and inspiration.

Whether your focus is on wildlife photography or an interpretive game drive, your private guide will make your days more relaxed, memorable and informative, but leave you wanting more. You will also no doubt make a life-long friend in your guide.

A Babymoon Safari for Expecting Parents

For some expecting parents, one of the priorities on the to-do list is planning the ultimate babymoon before the stalk arrives. For some 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 extensive vacation, you could expect to indulge in couple’s massages, 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.

 

Create a babymoon bucket-list filled with all the activities that won’t be as easy when two becomes three such as turning up the romance in a luxurious honeymoon-worthy villa overlooking a waterhole or lodges that don’t accommodate under 12’s/young rangers.

 

We’re here to help you plan that final romantic hoorah. If you’re ready to hop on a plane, South Africa is the ideal destination for a pre-baby escape because of its malaria-free game reserves and access to great medical care (just in case). 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.

Begin your babymoon exploring Cape Town where you will find a great balance between fun activities and sophisticated pleasures. This city has everything to offer you, from mocktails on glistening beaches and an incredible city-life to countryside day-trips and time to relax by the pool – which is pretty essential when you’re pregnant. Not only does Cape Town house many great tourist attractions such as Table Mountain and Robben Island , you are centrally located to great smaller towns that are only an hour and a half drive away such as the coastal town of Hermanus and the French-inspired Franschhoek.

Move on to a luxury safari in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve where there is phenomenal game-viewing.  Just 3.5 hours north of Johannesburg and bordering Botswana near Gaborone, this 75 000 hectare reserve is one of South Africa’s largest and finest game reserves. Madikwe Private Game Reserve has become world famous for its Lion and African Wild Dog viewing. The exclusive Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Hills and Jamala Madikwe are equally famous for their bespoke romantic experiences and have become synonymous with luxury and attention to detail. Here you are ensured a romantic, lavish safari retreat.

You can also add the beautiful Kalahari to your itinerary. Located just south of Botswana’s border, it’s the largest private game reserve in South Africa, yet only allowing 30 guests at a time within its borders. Tswalu Kalahari’s lodges were named together as one of National Geographic’s 24 Unique Lodges of the World!

A new baby brings with it great changes and joy for new parents! Soak up these romantic moments with a luxury babymoon safari.  You know what you seek, 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.

Southern Africa’s ‘Green’ Season

If you’ve set out on safari before, you’ll know that Africa’s traditional safari season begins in the southern hemisphere’s winter months, – just when European and North American holiday-makers are on their summer breaks.

This means that Africa’s peak season runs from July to September, which is ideal for most travellers. But this also means that Africa’s ‘green’ season is often overlooked. Between November and April, traditional ‘safari hotspots’ experience a rainy summer. With luscious landscapes and quiet accommodations, this could actually be the perfect time for that luxury trip to the bush. During this ‘green’ season, the chances of having uninterrupted views and endless sightings of wildlife all to yourself are good. By March most of the summer ‘safari hotspots’ move towards the end of the heavy rain period making it a pleasant time for travel.

Summer rain also brings about an abundance of migratory birds visiting from the North and resident birds preparing to breed making it perfect for avid bird-watchers; there’s copious flora; thriving bugs and the short rainstorms make way for clear skies and cloud formations that present beautiful sunsets. Summer brings about new life from impala to elephants which also mean the bush is filled with predatory activity.

Some of our top southern safari hotspots that experience refreshing summer rains are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania.  Here is our list of seven summer safari destinations that will definitely add significant value to your experience:

Victoria Falls remains a top bucket-list destination perfect for year-round travel with heaps of local activities.

Chobe is an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and offers spectacular elephant sightings.

The Central Kalahari is at its finest from December to April.

The Okavango Delta is excellent year-round.

Cape Town’s peak season is during the warm and clear summer months and is easily combined with other safari hotspots.

Tanzania’s Serengeti is at its peak once the rains have fallen. The new-born wildlife is thriving and the area is carpeted in luscious grass.

From October to April, Uganda is set apart from any other African safari destination with its diverse bird habitats.

Book your next safari trip in March when there is little rain and there is an increase in game sightings. It’s a quiet time of the year in the bush and you will hopefully miss the crowds. For more on the exquisite destinations we recommend in the above destinations contact us here. 

Top 10 Travel Trends for 2019

If you’re planning your next trip to Africa and want to know the hottest trends to make sure you’re not missing out on any travel ideas, styles or tips to make your holiday more enjoyable – we have compiled a list with the help of industry experts of the top 10 travel trends for 2019. Whether you’re escaping the winter blues, celebrating a birthday or anniversary or gifting a Christmas getaway to a loved one, here is a prediction of the year’s popular travel indicators:

The travel industry is working on year-round tourism. Travel will be based less on peak season and off-season as more than 50% of travellers believe that large crowds are taking away from experiences. There will be more travel choices available for autumn, winter and spring trips.

Marataba Trails Lodge Luxury Safari Africa Waterberg

Continuing with one of 2018’s top travel trends, culinary travel continues with more foodie tours from city centre food tours to countryside wine and cheese tasting.

Londolozi Tree Camp Bush Dinner Kruger Park

Continuing the trend from 2019, travellers will be frequenting sustainable properties and accommodations and researching what they are actively doing.

Travellers are planning more surprise trips for milestone birthdays and anniversaries at secluded destinations – as the search for quiet and relaxing vacations increase.

Travellers will be frequenting undiscovered and off-the-beaten-track getaways such as eco-friendly island destinations.

Ocean safaris Snorkeling mnemba Island

Travellers are going back in time with a camera in hand and leaving the beach for historical excursions around old buildings and sights such as castles, chateaus and citadels.

Travellers are increasingly heading towards the countryside than staying in the city or cramming all the city sights into a few days.

Travellers of all ages are exchanging extensive sightseeing for fewer immersive experiences such as cultural interactions and new activities.

Travellers are taking the hassle out of travel and booking guided trips and tours to spend more quality time with family and friends while on vacation. With our tailor-made itineraries, you won’t have to stress about a thing.

While millennials continue to research holidays on social media, most travellers are considering a digital detox and are leaving technology behind. Unplug by filling your days with mountain hikes, morning yoga and evening swims.

To book your dream 2019 luxury African safari, contact one of our team members now!

Iconic Africa’s Ultimate 2019 Bucket-List

2018 took us to some breathtaking destinations so choosing our favourites for you has not been easy. We hope this inspires you to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime safari, African romance or island getaway! From heaven in the tropics to awe-inspiring wildlife experiences, unforgettable adventures and cultural immersions, it all starts here, now.  Click on the link below to scroll through our top destinations for 2019! The magic of Africa awaits you…

Iconic Africa Bucket List 2019

For any questions or queries please contact us here. 

Africa’s Most Elusive Wildlife

Africa is the place of rolling hills, warm sunsets, amazing culture and memorable wildlife. Travellers from all over the world head to Africa for a thrilling experience as they tick off the Big Five and other big game off their list. Found in diverse habitats, from mountain sides to savannah and tropical forests ecosystems, Africa’s most celebrated and fascinating animals are waiting for you to find them.

It surely is a once-in-a-lifetime experience spotting the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant or buffalo – but what about those animals that aren’t so easy to see? Your next safari trip should be about trying to boost your bush-cred and try to find those more elusive animals. The idea that they are so hard to find is part of the appeal, able to elude the sights of humans, adds to their charming character. Whether you’re on a traditional safari in South Africa, on an adventure in Victoria Falls or immersing yourself in East Africa’s endless open spaces, keep an eye out for the more shy animals! These five animals will be a real treat for all our photographers and wildlife enthusiasts:

The Aardvark

Our first of the lesser seen, peculiar animals is the aardvark. Roaming the bush with its pale skin, a long snout resembling a pig’s and long bunny ears, there’s no chance you will mistake it. These nocturnal creatures are impressive diggers and can dig up to six metres deep in minutes. The best place to try and spot these little creatures with sturdy legs and long claws is the Addo Elephant National Park or the Kalahari. 

The Leopard

Leopards are very secretive creatures and keep a low profile high up in trees or amongst the tall grass or bush. These big cats are the strongest feline climbers and can kill prey even larger than themselves. Because these creatures are always lurking until they can pounce on their prey, spotting them in the wild is a rare treat.

The Pangolin

This one is for the wildlife fanatics! With its unmistakeable bronze armour, the pangolin is extremely distinctive with its unique scales and unassailable attitude. Despite this invincible outlook, all eight species are endangered – being the most trafficked animal on earth. They have a really long and sticky tongue that’s almost 40cm long. Try spotting them in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The Patas Monkey

Patas monkeys are considered the fastest primate on Earth. Their long limbs help them reach top speeds of 55km/h to evade predators and also makes it harder for us to catch a glimpse of them…

The Oryx

These majestic and graceful creatures have been hunted for their meat and hides, and in many cultures, the horns of the oryx are used as tokens or charms.

For your next wildlife bucket-list, why not change it up and try spotting these amazing creatures that make you work a little harder to find them.

 

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:

 

 

 

10 Things to Consider When Planning A Safari

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

Lions Sands Ultimate Luxury Safari

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

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

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

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

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

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

Rock Fig Safari Lodge Timbervati Pool

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

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

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

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

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

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

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

What exactly is a safari?

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

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

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

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

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

Iconic-Africa-Rwanda-Gorillas

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

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

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

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

Selinda Explorers Camp WIldlife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting to know the Kalahari

Travelling to the Kalahari is like traversing into a parallel universe. It’s a surreal location – not far from major city centres – that makes you experience a supernatural feeling as everything around you looms larger than life making you feel so small in comparison. The Kalahari is an eternal destination where time stands still and the retiring expanse of land sees no end. The infinite space reflects the blanket sky and the beauty of it all deflects the desert heat.

Many believe that the harsh desert heat means an absolute harsh environment. The name Kalahari does comes from the Tswana word ‘Kgala’ which means ‘the great thirst’ after all.

But while the origin of Kalahari may suggest a waterless place, further south receives great rainfall lending it to be referred to as the “Green Kalahari”. A slight change in location and a drastic change in climate conditions, southern Kalahari discredits the perception that the Kalahari is a sparse and desolate place.

The Kalahari is in actual fact a semi-arid grassland that is home to a diversity of plants and wildlife. The paradox is that the Kalahari may appear to be a desert, but in fact is not one. For starters, it gets much more rain than the average desert.

Secondly – especially in southern Kalahari – the area consists of too many different landscapes such as savannahs, sand dunes and mountainous terrains in a relatively close proximity. Though this guarantees an increase in biodiversity (and spectacular photo backdrops). The different landscapes and climatic conditions from north to central and southern Kalahari supports more vegetation than the typical desert such as the shady camelthorn tree, shepherd’s tree, silver cluster-leaf, the Hoodia cactus and embraces approximately 80 different mammal species and 240 bird species, making for excellent game viewing.

Alongside the typical big game, you can expect to encounter rare antelope such as roan and sable antelope, gemsbok, eland, springbok and red hartebeest that are unique to the Kalahari.  There are also opportunities to sight tsessebe, Hartmann mountain zebra and the desert black rhino. If you’re wanting to see more traditional game, there is excellent cheetah viewing and brown hyenas are fairly common. The lions are also illustrious for their size and luscious manes.

There is something that draws visitors the Kalahari in all four seasons.

Even though spring is the approach to the rainy season, September and October sees warmer days and cool evenings. The meerkat pups emerge and the barking geckos start calling for mates.

Summer is hot but November to March receives occasional afternoon thunderstorms to cool down. For avid birders, migrant birds start to arrive and many of the antelope calve early in summer. The abundance of insect life during the wet season entices the jackals and foxes above ground with their pups. This is the longest season lasting up to six months.

Some late season rain still lingers on in autumn. April to May has milder weather and is the greenest time of the year! Animals which hibernate during winter are active during this time the antelope are in their best physical condition trying to establish territories and seek mates.

Winter may be cold and dry but June to August offers rare sightings of smaller mammals and clear night skies offer amazing star-gazing opportunities…

Whatever the season, the Kalahari will enchant long after you depart with its portrait of colour from the crimson sunsets and golden sands to the greenery and clear blue skies.

For our MOST favourite Kalahari destination click here. 

Millennial Travel

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

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

Marataba Trails Lodge Luxury Safari Africa Waterberg

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

Here are our top ten millennial travel incentives to Africa:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Luxury Safari Kruger Park

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

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

Iconic Africa Kalahari Desert Balloon Safari

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

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

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