Month on Instagram

It’s as if we blinked and February was gone!

Although it might have been short it certainly was sweet.  From team visits to the Kruger, to exploring some new lodges, investigating Africa’s rare creatures and welcoming award-winning photographers to our Instagram feed… we’ve had a busy month.

Scroll down here for a quick catch up on what’s been happening. #luxury #safari #travel #africa

 

Africa’s Rare Finds

Are you wondering what animals should be at the top of your wish list for your upcoming safari? Here are 5 of Africa’s rare finds that you should most definitely keep your eyes peeled for. A sighting of any one of these incredible creatures is undoubtedly be an experience you will never forget!

  1. African Wild Dog

With only 6600 Wild Dogs left on earth, the African Wild Dog is one of the most endangered animals in the world. You can still find Wild Dogs in southern Africa, Tanzania, and northern Mozambique. Wild Dogs are also known as “painted wolves” because of their attractive and characteristic patchy markings. Every Wild Dog has its own unique markings, making each Wild Dog an individual. Wild Dogs hunt in packs and they are intelligent and harmonious hunters—they have a distinct hunting style that allows them to work together to bring down prey. The entire pack takes turns looking after the pups.

  1. White Rhino

White Rhinos were on the edge of becoming extinct but, because of hugely successful conservation efforts, the White Rhino is currently the least endangered species of living rhino. White Rhinos are the second largest land mammal on the planet. You can tell the difference between black rhinos and white rhinos by looking at their upper lips. A white rhino will have a square lip, which is why they are also known as ‘the square-lipped rhino’. A black rhino boasts a pointed (triangular) upper lip. If you’re hoping to spot one of these beauties, you are more likely to find them in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening.

  1. Aardvark

The name ‘aardvark’ is an Afrikaans word which means ‘earth pig’ or ‘ground pig’. Aardvarks are also known as Cape anteaters. They use their strong feet and claws to dig into huge termite mounds so that they can treat themselves to their favourite food! Their tongues can be up to 30.5 centimetres long which means that they can catch approximately 50 000 termites in one go. African folklore reveres Aarvarks because of the way they search for food and because they are not afraid of soldier ants.

  1. Pangolin

The Pangolin is the most trafficked and hunted animal in the world because their scales, which are very valuable, are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The animal is called a Pangolin because the Malay word ‘pengguling’ means ‘rolling up’. Pangolins roll up into a tight ball when they feel threatened. Interestingly, there is no record of how long pangolins can live for in the wild. Speculation suggests that they can live for up to 20 years because the oldest pangolin in captivity lived for 19 years. Mothers carry their babies on their tails for the first three months of their lives.

  1. Pel’s Fishing Owl

Pel’s Fishing Owl is the largest fishing owl that can be found in Africa and it is also known as the African fishing-owl. This owl is distinct because its legs and toes don’t have any feathers. Instead, the toes are covered in spiky scales that allow the owl to hold on to wriggling fish. Pel’s Fishing Owl is also different from other owls because it doesn’t have a concave facial disk. This is because it uses its sight to hunt instead of its hearing. This type of owl is not a threatened species but it is listed as vulnerable because the rivers and streams that it relies on for food are heavily polluted.

Please do let us know if you have been lucky enough to spot one, two or even all of these 5 beautiful creatures. If not and you’d like to… let us know and we will do our very best to help you!

Iconic Africa’s 2017 Bucket List

“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” Paulo Coelho

Having a bucket list is a great way of making sure we see, do and experience as much as we possibly can. To help you with yours we’ve handpicked the most, breath-taking, unforgettable and unbelievable experiences that Africa has to offer. All of which come very highly recommended!

  1. Witness the Great Migration

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  1. Visit the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls

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  1. Explore the old town and beaches of Zanzibar

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  1. Experience the wonder of the Kalahari

Tswalu Game Reserve. Southern Kalahari. Northern Cape. South Africa.

  1. Sample the Cape Winelands

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  1. Ride a hot air balloon over the Serengeti

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  1. Swim with dolphins in Mozambique

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  1. Go on a walking safari

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  1. See the leopards of Londolozi

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  1. Witness the absolute abundance of the Masai Mara

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  1. Raft the Zambezi River

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  1. Visit the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater

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  1. Go whale-watching in Hermanus

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  1. Ride a Mokoro through the Okavango Delta

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We wish for all our friends and fellow travellers that you get to experience as many of these as possible in your lifetime. For after all…

“…in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln.

Please do let us know if we can help in making any or all of the above dreams a reality for you!

Top 5 Spots to See Leopards in Africa

The leopard is without a doubt the most beautiful and most elusive member of the Big Five. It’s the most sought after sighting amongst tourists and one that safari guides across Africa spend their days in search of. If you are lucky enough to see a leopard in your life… that moment will be one that you remember and treasure forever.

Leopards are solitary and stealthy predators whose mastery of camouflage makes them very difficult to spot. To increase your chance of seeing them you need to find their prime habitats where concentrations are greatest. It also really helps if guides are able to take you on night drives as well as drive off road in the reserve to follow these magnificent predators. A leopard sighting is truly a sight to behold but unfortunately seeing them really is down to luck. However, if you go to one of the 5 places listed below you will most definitely have better odds of witnessing this definitive wildlife experience.

Sabi Sands, South Africa

The Sabi Sands situated on the Kruger National Park’s western boundary has an incredibly high concentration of leopard. Within the Sabi Sands your best bet is most definitely Londolozi as this pinnacle safari destination prides itself in its incredible relationship with its leopards. The reserve contains hoards of the perfect leopard prey, its lush habitat and expanse of dense trees makes is perfect for leopards and guides are allowed to drive off road and at night in search of them.

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Click here to read our five favorite stories from the famous Londolozi blog.

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Moremi is a truly special place as it surrounds much of the Okavango Delta, Botswana’s wildlife hotspot. With herds of small antelope, monkeys, warthogs and the like the grassy floodplains and tall forest are prime leopard country. Most of the camps allow night and off-road driving which helps considerably too. Chiefs Camp in particular sits on the Delta’s largest island and is renowned for some of the best big game viewing in all of Africa and most notably leopard viewing.

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Samburu & Masai Mara Reserves, Kenya

The Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves both have great reputations for excellent leopard sightings. Samburu a dry woodland area and the Mara an open rolling grassland are both prime leopard habitats. Leopards lie especially along the rivers, in the trees and in amongst the kopjes awaiting the arrival of their prey often which consist of the great herds that move annually into the areas.

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South Luangwa, Zambia

The exquisite South Luangwa Valley in central Zambia boasts one of the highest concentrations of leopard in Africa due to its high concentrations of prey. A wide and fertile alluvial plain nourished by the Luangwa River, the park’s wildlife ranges from aardvark to zebra and it has long been known for its dense concentrations of predators, especially lions and leopards. South Luangwa camps also offer some of Africa’s best walking safaris, which enable you to prowl this big predator country on foot!

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Kalahari Desert, Namibia and South Africa

The Kalahari Desert is a large “waterless” desert covering most of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It is hot and rainfall is minimal but it is also home to a large collection of leopard, which graze and cool off by the few rivers in amongst the sandy plains, mostly up North towards Namibia.

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A leopard sighting is one of life’s true wonders, an experience you will never forget and one that will leave you speechless and covered (head to toe) in goosebumps! We wish you all the best on your quest to get up close and personal with Africa’s most magnificent predator.

Top 10 Blogs of 2016

January is a time for planning and looking to the future… but it it is also a time for reflection. A time to look back at the year gone by and remember all the great times had, magic moments experienced and adventures encountered! 2016 certainly was an eventful year for us with so many epic memories made. To give it its due we have handpicked our top 10 blogs of the year for you here:

The Great Crossing

‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.’ African Proverb.

One lone wildebeest wanders around snorting, cavorting and indulging in the odd blade of red grass. He’s skittish yet surprisingly feisty and fearless. He approaches the vehicle with a confident and somewhat rambunctious attitude. He’s the first, in fact, he’s winning the race. Perhaps not a race that you want to win though, when the closer you are to the front, the hungrier the crocodiles and other predators are!

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #1

Iconic Africa is proud to present the Iconic Africa Bush Diaries!

We would like to give a warm welcome to James Hendry an old friend and expert safari guide who will be sharing monthly bush diary videos from the heart of the Kruger National Park.  James is incredibly talented with a camera and his understanding of and passion for the African bushveld is unparalleled. Thank you James, we are excited to have you on board!

Click here to learn more about James Hendry the safari guide in our interview with him.

What is a “Big Five” Safari?

On first hearing about the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant – you may presume that the select few were chosen due to their impressive size. You wouldn’t be the first person to make that mistake. After all, the adjective – big – certainly points to that conclusion. Right about now, those who are familiar with Africa’s fauna might question why hippos –weighing in at several tons – did not shove their way onto the list? The answer becomes clear when you delve into a little research about the origins of the term. To save you the trouble, I’ve done it for you; the Big Five was coined by Africa’s early hunters to identify the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.  Click here for more.

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So much to take in, so little time

You may think you’ve seen it all and that you know a lot about the bush, but I can guarantee you that a visit to the Masai Mara is the learning safari of a lifetime. From the mating habits of lions, to the displaying characteristics of the crowned cranes, to the Latin and common names of the trees, to the quirky behaviour of the male wildebeest, to the idiosyncrasies of the local Maasai people… there is so much to take in. Kenyan guides are incredible storytellers; they are knowledgeable and passionate and ensure that with each game drive so much is learnt, not only about the bush and its wildlife but also about life in general too! For more on the pure magic that is the Masai Mara click here. 

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Top 5 Places to See Leopards in Africa

The leopard is without a doubt the most beautiful and most elusive member of the Big Five. It’s the most sought after sighting amongst tourists and one that safari guides across Africa spend their days in search of. Leopards are solitary and stealthy predators whose mastery of camouflage makes them very difficult to spot. To increase your chance of seeing them you need to find their prime habitats where concentrations are greatest. However, if you go to one of the 5 places listed below you will most definitely have better odds of witnessing this definitive wildlife experience.

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A weekend at the lovely Leeu House

From the minute we pulled up outside the exquisite Leeu House we were overwhelmed with the unbelievable 5 star service. The valet, Andy opened the door and welcomed us with the biggest of African smiles, stretching from ear to ear. His warmth was all encompassing and before we knew it he had unpacked the car, taken our luggage inside and taken the car off to park! Second to greet you are the two awe-inspiring sculptures of Mandela and Ghandi, history’s most iconic leaders. These are the first indication of the grandeur and the consideration of the space that awaits you. Not to mention, the seamless integration of African and Asian influence that runs throughout the property. Click here for more on our wonderful weekend at Leeu House.

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The Absolute Abundance of East Africa

In amongst whistling thorns, white thorns, fever trees and wild olives the great plains of the Masai Mara are home to many of Africa’s most majestic animals. The red grass savannahs, interminable vistas and distinct horizons combine to ensure the most quintessential African panorama. 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. The Mara boasts hoards of unique antelope such as the graceful Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle as well as the colourful topis making it the ultimate predator’s paradise. Everything, in absolute abundance… and so much more here. 

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Grumeti, Serengeti, Tanzania. Agency HKLM. Art Director: Paul Henriques. Stylist/Producer: Janine Fourie. Photographer: Mark Williams. 16/02/12.

Africa’s Greatest Ocean Safari

When you hear the word “safari” you immediately think of the Masai Mara, the Serengeti or the Kruger National Park. However, the official dictionary definition of the word “safari” is “an expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat.”So why not explore the offshore wonders of the Indian Ocean from White Pearl, Mozambique – where a somewhat different but equally magical adventure awaits?wetu-white-pearl-24-36Up, Up and Away

Since the very first time I went to the Serengeti when I was 12, I have dreamt about going on a Balloon Safari. It literally has sat at the very top spot on my bucketlist for the last (almost) 20 years. Little did I know that a few weeks ago, I would get to live out this dream and it would blow me away more than I could ever have imagined…

Londolozi: A Photo Essay

This past weekend we ran our first official Instagram takeover by the unbelievably talented @lara.jess during her trip to Londolozi. We hope you have enjoyed her photos and if not follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on more #IAtakeovers like this.

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Click here to read about our five favourite Londolozi blog posts.

What to Pack for Your Upcoming Safari?

The end of the year is upon us and for those of us going on holiday it’s time to start planning and organising. If you are lucky enough to be going on an African safari we’ve put together the perfect packing list to help you out.

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“There is something about a safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen

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Every person has a right to this feeling and should go on safari at least once… Here’s what you should pack:

ICONIC AFRICA’S EXTRA SPECIAL SAFARI PACKING LIST

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THE BASICS

Trousers (neutral colours)

Shorts (neutral colours)

T-shirts (neutral colours)

Long sleeved t-shirt or turtleneck (neutral colours)

Short sleeved shirts or blouses (neutral colours)

Long sleeved shirt or blouse (neutral colours)

Cardigan/pullover

Scarf/Pashmina

Shoes (closed walking and sandals)

One outfit of “smart casual” evening attire

Swimsuit

Underwear

Socks

Sleepwear

Flip flops (optional) for pool or shower

Personal toiletries

If you are travelling in winter i.e. between April and October ( fleece, warm gloves, scarf and beanie are recommended)

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THE EXTRAS

Sun block

Sunglasses

Wide brimmed hat

Lip balm

Binoculars and a camera are a must

Chargers for your cell phone, camera, video camera, etc.

Batteries for small electronics and cameras

Flashlight

First aid kit

Insect repellent and malaria tablets, depending on where you’re going

Credit and ATM cards

Driver’s licence

Health-insurance card

Local guidebooks

Bird and animal guidebooks

Passport and photocopies of passport

Printouts of reservations

Travel journal

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If you have any questions or think that we have left something out please let us know and be sure to follow our Instagram feed to get you excited for your upcoming safari. And last but not least – enjoy every minute of it. We can assure you that Africa is the most beautiful place you will ever visit… and once you’ve been… you will never stop wanting to go back.

 

 

Our Month on Instagram

September has certainly been an adventure for us. We’ve been on a luxurious diamond safari,  seen the Big Five, headed off on an intrepid walking safari and even featured in the Huffington Post!

Just in case you’ve been busy and feel like you’ve missed out… we’ve got the perfect thing to ignite that African spark, that we know is inside of you. Click here to see our latest Bush Diary video and go on your very own mini safari right now! Or simply scroll down for a brief minute to see our September in #instamoments! We hope that these pictures, stories and videos transport you, even for just a moment, to the beauty of our exquisite continent. #luxury #safari #travel #africa

Happy Friday!

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #7: 'August 2016, the end of winter' filmed by @jamesrahendry our very talented, Kruger based filmmaker. Watch the adorable lion cubs frolicking, the wild dogs feeding, the vultures squabbling, the leopards loving, the wildebeest migrating and the golden sun setting in a fiery red sky over an endless African horizon. Let us take you on a mini safari right now… For the full video click on the link in our bio and to plan a real one go to www.iconicafrica.com to see what other magical adventures await! #iconicafrica #bushdiary #safarilive #safarivideo #kruger #krugerpark #bigfive #safari #wildlife #wildlifephotography #luxuryafricansafari #travel #bucketlist #lions #elephants #wilddog #leopard #africa #epicmoments #bush #vacation

A video posted by Iconic Africa (@iconicafrica) on

Happy #WorldRhinoDay everyone! #iconicafrica #saveourrhino #rhino #africa #conservation #rhinoswithoutborders

A photo posted by Iconic Africa (@iconicafrica) on

 

 

What is a “Big Five” Safari?

On first hearing about the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant – you may presume that the select few were chosen due to their impressive size. You wouldn’t be the first person to make that mistake. After all, the adjective – big – certainly points to that conclusion. Right about now, those who are familiar with Africa’s fauna might question why hippos –weighing in at several tons – did not shove their way onto the list? The answer becomes clear when you delve into a little research about the origins of the term. To save you the trouble, I’ve done it for you; the Big Five was coined by Africa’s early hunters to identify the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.  Click here and we will book you a once-in-a-lifetime Big Five Safari right now!

Times change! Aware of their previous failings, land-owners began to look for other ways to monetise their properties that didn’t involve a rifle. It didn’t take long for them to realise they had been shooting their most valuable assets. Tourism proved more beneficial to both the earth and their pockets and the era of killing for sport made way for a new age of conservation. Ironically, it was the very animals that the hunters feared on foot, the Big Five, which became the reserves’ strongest selling point.

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The term Big Five stuck, evolving into one of tourism’s biggest marketing weapons. Today, the term “Big Five safari” describes trips to reserves and their affiliate lodges that boast Africa’s elite wildlife. Though the schedule varies, these vacations into the African wilderness revolve around game drives guided by a team of two; a ranger and a tracker. When you’re not admiring one of the Big Five, chances are you’ll be eating or relaxing because safaris are punctuated by near constant meals (from lavish high teas on lodge decks to dinners warmed by an open fire) and holistic luxury (from private plunge pools to exclusive candlelit dinners beneath the African sky).

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As a general rule, if a lodge plays host to the Big Five it points towards a certain calibre of reserve because it takes a relatively large territory and a stable ecosystem to sustain game such as lions and elephants. Despite meeting this standard threshold, Africa presents travellers with an overwhelming number of lodges that vary from disappointing to exceptional. At the highest end of this spectrum are lodges that can compete with any hotel in the world. In fact, Londolozi Private Game Reserve did just that in this year’s Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards when it was voted the best hotel in the world. That’s right. In. The. World.

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‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.’ George Orwell’s words are true of Big Five safaris. For first timers, it’s important to understand that just because a reserve has the Big Five, doesn’t mean you’re likely to see them. Leopards are known for their shy natures and while there may be signs of their presence – a paw print in the sand or scratch marks on a tree trunk – sightings are often few and far between. It’s also true that while no game lodge can guarantee the Big Five, some lodges fair much better than others. The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is the perfect example of this. Sharing fenceless borders with South Africa’s beloved Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand has the best of both worlds: the freedom of a private reserve and access to the Kruger’s prolific wildlife. As a private reserve, the game vehicles are not restricted by opening and closing times as is the case with national parks. Morning game drives set off before sunrise and afternoon drives continue well after sunset. This autonomy means better and longer sightings and the absence of curfews ensures that your time spent with, for example, a pride of lions will not be prematurely cut short in order to race back to a gate.

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Another advantage of privately-owned territories is that rangers are permitted to drive off road, following wildlife into dense thickets and securing rare National-Geographic-type scenes for their guests. Habituated to humans, the wildlife within these private sanctuaries are, to a large extent, unfazed by keen-eyed vehicles. This behaviour is best demonstrated by the Sabi Sand’s rare leopard sightings. Stand out lodges within the Sabi Sand lodges include Londolozi (already mentioned above), Singita, Lion Sands, Chitwa Chitwa, Sabi Sabi and the &Beyond lodges. Outstanding lodges are not restricted to any one area of South Africa. Proof of this is found at Phinda Private Game Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Shamwari Game Reserve in the Western Cape. Safaris worth pausing for are not unique to South Africa; lodges and reserves within Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and, further afield, Kenya and Tanzania are on a par to many of the finest in South Africa. Each of these countries offers a unique take on the Big Five from the predators chasing wildebeest and zebra during the Great Migration to the astonishing lifeline that feeds a riot of wildlife within the Okavango Delta but let’s leave that discussion for another day…

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What I want to share with you is that, from my personal experience, Africa is open-handed with remarkable experiences and though the Big Five is often the inspiration for a trip to Africa, safari virgins often discover that it is just the first chapter of a whole new world opening up to them.

Let us know where you think is the best place to see the Big Five… is it the Kruger National Park?

Come discover your inspiration on our African continent, contact Iconic Africa now and let us start your journey to our beautiful continent right away!

If you are wanting to learn more about African safaris, maybe read our blog post about the difference between game reserves and national parks.

Up Close and Personal with Tswalu

Iconic Africa had a chat with old friend and celebrated safari guide, Byron Serrao to get up close and personal with Tswalu, South Africa’s largest private game reserve and one of our newest additions

Byron first visited the Kruger National Park when he was just 5 years old, where his love for the African bush began. He has guided for over 10 years and is now one of the top private guides in the country. Byron enjoys birding, and has a keen sense for animal behaviour, is a fantastic photographer and loves sharing his knowledge with guests. There is always a great story and a good laugh when he is around!

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Byron has been kind enough to share some of his incredible pictures with us. Here’s what he had to say about Tswalu where he has spent a great deal of his guiding career:

What is different about the habitat?

Byron: “Tswalu has an incredible different feeling to it. Beautiful semi-arid vegetation and an amazing mountain range that is just breathtaking. Imagine viewing wild lions with mountains and sand dunes with rich red colouration in the backdrop!”

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What animals thrive there?

Byron: “Thriving wildlife includes most of the antelope species there, and many species that are different from those you see regularly in parts of the Kruger or Botswana. For example: Springbuck, Eland, Roan, Sable and of course the Gemsbok (an Iconic animal for the area) The wildlife is different and there is rich diversity.”

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What are the most memorable sightings that await visitors?

Byron: “There is a great chance of seeing the illusive aardvark or pangolin and also the promise of amazing Kalahari black-maned lion and cheetah sightings.

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Why should people choose the Kalahari?

Byron: “The Kalahari is a destination for the more seasoned safari goer, or perhaps first destination for people going on to the Greater Kruger or Botswana as it is a very unique experience.”

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Thank you Byron for sharing your insights and exquisite pictures with us. For more on Tswalu click here.

Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #3

Presenting Iconic Africa Bush Diary Episode #3: “The awesome colours and creatures of the Kruger autumn.” Filmed by the incredibly talented James Hendry and sent from the heart of the Kruger National Park!

No matter where you are… whether it’s behind your desk, on your sofa at home or waiting for your train to arrive. We’d like to take you on an epic game drive…

This episode celebrates the magnificent colours, animals and plants of the Kruger in Autumn. Isn’t it just wonderful to see the leopards mating, the lions relaxing, the elephants dusting themselves and the ostrich taking off? It transports you immediately!

We hope you enjoyed this episode, that it helps to satisfy your yearning for Africa and tide you over until your next safari adventure. The great open plains, leafy woodlands, thriving wildlife and exotic birds are here, always, doing their thing… and waiting for you.

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Just in case you missed it –Episode 2: “Rain, life and wilderness, ” took a closer look at life in the Kruger awakening in celebration of the much-awaited rains!

 

Sunshine, Safari & South Africa – Cheaper Than Ever Before

Let’s face it… for us locals its not ideal that the South African Rand is at an all time low… but for you lucky foreigners it literally makes this exquisite land your playground! Travelling to South Africa has never been cheaper and its time to strike while the iron is hot!luxury

Over the past three years the South African Rand has lost significant value against major world currencies including the US dollar, Great British pound and the euro. It has always been a reasonably priced, great value destination – this is now truer than ever before.

To date the Rand is almost 16 to the US Dollar, 18 to the Euro and 23 to the Pound so it is most definitely in your favour. To illustrate this in simpler terms:

  • For 1 Pound or less: you can buy an artisanal cappuccino, coke, beer or a scrumptious breakfast pastry.
  • For 2 Pounds or less:you can buy a delicious glass of wine, a decadent cocktail or a dainty starter.
  • For 5 Pounds or less: you can have a mouth-watering main course be it steak or seafood or buy an exquisite bottle of the Cape’s finest wine.

Tswalu Game Reserve. Southern Kalahari. Northern Cape. South Africa.

As a result… the Savannahs are now even more endless, the grass even greener, the sunsets more awe-inspiring and the big blue oceans even more inviting!

For many travellers a Big Five Safari in Africa is a life-long dream…the difference is that now that dream can so easily become a reality. At first glance the cost of a safari may seem off-putting but bear in mind that South Africa’s lodges and tented camps are all-inclusive so your accommodation, twice-daily game drives, highly skilled safari guide, those magnificent breakfasts and lunches, the coffee and drink stops out in the bush, dinners under the stars… need I go on? Absolutely everything is included in the price tag!

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Neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe – price their safaris in US Dollars making South Africa today’s most affordable option. So why not choose the most luxurious lodge with private pool and your own butler as well as extend your holiday by a few days and visit the breath-taking Cape!

You cannot describe the feeling of being out in the wild, the thrill of watching a lion stalk its prey, a leopard climbing a tree or baby elephants frolicking at the waterhole or enjoying that ice-cold G&T as the sun hits the horizon… these are moments that will change your life forever.

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So please don’t feel bad, take advantage of our very weak Rand and come and enjoy our beautiful country for less.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Escape All the Valentines Hype

Although Valentines Day dates back to the 5th century and is steeped in history and romance – let’s be honest, it has become quite commercial and over the top for want of a better description.

Yet again the 14th of February has creeped up on us. So why not… use it as a reminder to do something special with your loved one… get away from all the red and white chaos, and escape into the pristine African wilderness!

At Iconic Africa, we understand the need for spontaneity, romance and a little adventure so have crafted some special Valentines ideas for you– just in case you need some inspiration! There’s a little something for everyone… with four unique destinations that combine supreme luxury, complete privacy and opulent romance:

For a little Edwardian Passion: Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. The illustrious owner, Paul Harris, has spared no expense in ensuring this is a Relais&Chateaux haven of unparalleled luxury. Ellerman House boasts arguably Africa’s greatest art collection as well as a wine compilation which has been expertly selected over multitudes of decades so its perfect for wine fanatics and art aficionados alike. Cape Town’s endless sights, activities and beauty can keep you enthralled for months on end – however we know you will be hard fought to leave the luxurious confines of Ellerman House.

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For some winelands majesty: La Residence is the jewel of Franschhoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Nestled in the vineyards and plum orchards of Franschhoek, La Residence is the most gorgeous boutique hotel in the most picturesque valley in South Africa. Liz Biden and her family have created a benchmark to luxury and comfort that will leave you gaping at the exquisite detail and love with which every furnishing, painting and sculpture has been selected. The hotel is infused with colour, fabulous antiques, vaulted ceilings from which Indian chandeliers twinkle and luxurious Persian Carpets while fresh flowers fill the magnificence with the sweet scent of contentment. The little village of Franchhoek – the undisputed culinary capital of South Africa has a distinctive café culture – probably from the French Huguenot settlers who arrived in the valley in that 17th century. They brought with them a culture of great wine and delicious food and that culture persists to this day through the more than 40 wine estates whose vineyards wash the valley floor in green.

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For something a little more wild: Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. At Royal Malewane, the Biden’s Royal Portfolio has achieved perfection again. This time, on a private concession bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park, Liz Biden has conjured a marvel of wilderness romance and seclusion that blends seamlessly into this ancient land. Dinner is a gourmet affair of wholesome yet sophisticated splendour, either in the privacy of your suite or out in the wild, lit by the heart-melting romance of the star-sprayed sky and 100 lanterns suspended in an ancient Leadwood tree skeleton. Back at the lodge, the Royal Malewane Spa is a world-renowned and the ideal way to unwind with a uniquely healing African treatment. Royal Malewane’s guides and trackers are some of the most highly qualified in Southern Africa. They are an integral part of your safari experience because through them the wonders of the African wilderness will unfold in all their splendor.

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For something a little royal: Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion. Royal Chundu is Zambia’s first Relais & Chateaux property – defined by sumptuous luxury that blends seamlessly into the private stretch of the Zambezi River Bank where Royal Chundu River and Island lodges nestle. Island Lodge is Royal Chundu’s romantic haven of seclusion. Set on a private island in the languid waters of the Zambezi, this lodge offers just four exclusive and indulgent villas. Each palatial haven boasts a private deck suspended over the river. The outdoor bath is a fantastic space to soak up the night sky while on cooler nights, keeping cosy in the plush lounge is an excellent option before retiring to your extravagant bed. A little down river from Royal Chundu, the Zambezi falls over the Victoria Falls to create one of the greatest demonstrations of nature’s power on planet earth. Stand in front of the falls on the Knife Edge Bridge as the thunderous spray of the world’s largest waterfall envelopes you. You can plunge into the gorge below on the end of a bungee rope, swing across or zip line it if you feel the need for an adrenalin rush. You might even take a leap of faith and dive into the Devil’s Pool – right on the edge of the falls – an experience to put life in perspective. Rounding off the day with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi is the ultimate way to experience the peace and contemplation of Africa’s magic and power.

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 Click here for an idea on how to combine all these exquisite destinations into the romantic getaway of a lifetime or here if you have any questions or would like to look into other ideas.