Why Choose Africa 

“I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same” – Suzanne Evans.

Africa receives millions of travellers each year – most of whom come to visit the variety of beaches, mountainside escapes and safari lodges and camps.  Experience everything from cultural immersion, history and enjoy a variety of wildlife at your fingertips. Let us share with you – why we have come to love the continent as much as we do. 

Africa has a special safari destination for every occasion, family size and travel needs. The continent is selected for the exceptional Big Five game viewing, year-round good weather, spectacular birding opportunities, family-friendly and malaria-free safari accommodations, romantic retreats, award-winning chefs, breath-taking sunsets, and unprecedented sceneries. Find luxury, opulence and extravagance in the great outdoors. 

Africa’s expanse and extremely diverse terrains, climate and wildlife can make deciding on a country a tedious task. You may want a view of Mount Kilimanjaro from your lodge or to climb the famous Table Mountain. The continent has been blessed with so many cultures, community projects and great service that contribute to truly wholesome travel – from the Maasai people in Kenya and Tanzania to the San and Shona in the Kalahari and Zimbabwe. Experience modernity and rustic authenticity simultaneously in Africa’s pristine wilderness whilst returning to your luxury suites each night. Whether it is in the Kruger National Park, South Luangwa National Park or the Serengeti – you will stay mesmerised.

You can experience the best of everything, from nature’s wonders; getting up close and personal with some of Africa’s fiercest game accompanied by world-class guides; adventure activities; photography opportunities; artwork and museums and shopping!

We have put together a list of African safari destinations with the highlights from each to help you with your complex travel choices:

  1.     South Africa
  • Explore the beautiful Winelands of the Western Cape where you will find luxurious chateaux, local wines and exceptional views. 
  • Enjoy the beaches, mountains and city-life of Cape Town. The Mother City boasts beautiful architecture with a thriving night-life and an abundance of activities. 
  • Escape to the quiet of the Kruger National Park and enjoy some quality time with the Big Five.
  • Visit the rugged terrains of the Kalahari

  1.     Botswan
  • An untouched wilderness with incredible wildlife sightings. 
  • Cruise along the Chobe River and come face-to-face with the largest concentration of elephant and other predators. 
  • Diverse landscape from the Kalahari to the Okavango Delta. 
  • Selinda Game Reserve is an opportunity to awaken all your senses with the sceneries and wildlife. 
  • Spend some time in the Kalahari where time stands still 

  1.     Kenya
  • The place where safari originated. 
  • An abundance of wildlife. 
  • Visit the Masai Mara and experience a Maasai village. 
  • Experience the Great Wildebeest Migration. 

  1.     Tanzania
  • Explore the unfathomable magic of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater 
  • Bordering Kenya, Tanzania has a plethora of wildlife 
  • The Serengeti is one of the world’s most famous wilderness areas. 
  • Wonder off the beaten track to a more quiet safari location such as Tarangire National Park 
  • A high density of wildlife throughout the year
  • Choose between a variety of locations from forests to savannahs, beaches or volcanic areas such as Ngorongoro Crater. Even the weather can alter drastically, from snow-capped peaks to lush tropical mountainsides. 

  1.     Zambia
  • Birthplace of the walking safari. 
  • Experience the thrill and views of sitting in Devil’s Pools
  • An alternate and exceptional view of Victoria Falls
  • Great fauna and flora in 20 national parks, our favourites being Liuwa Plain, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa for its dense leopard population. 

  1.     Rwanda 
  • The beautiful forests are magical and encompass a fairytale setting for outstanding wildlife with exceptional surrounding accommodations. It is the ultimate jungle escape – see Silverback Gorillas and trek through the dense mountainside.
  • Rwanda is home to numerous monkey species.
  • Explore the hilly landscapes and see volcanoes for the first time.   

                                    

  1.     Zimbabwe
  • The most tranquil setting for luxury and adventure. 
  • Explore the Zambezi River by boat cruise and watch a masterpiece sunset. 
  • Stand before the most breath-taking Natural Wonder – Mose-oa-Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders 
  • Thrill-seeking activities such as white river rafting, bungee jumping and many more.

  1.     Mozambique
  • The perfect beach escape for couples and families. 
  • Luxury hideaways that exude romance
  • Pristine beaches with silky white sand 
  • Enjoy snorkelling, diving, fishing or simply relaxing with a book
  • Find an amalgamation of flavours and cultures 
  • Find amazing marine life at Azura Benguerra and Azura Quilalea such as turtles, tropical fish, eels, dolphins and rays, maybe even a pod of Southern Right whales.  

Need we say any more? 

 

         

 

Top Spots to See Birds in Africa

Africa is synonymous with safaris and many first-time travellers to the wilderness focus solely on seeing land mammals and marine life. But for those frequent visitors of Africa’s bush, the bird species on the continent is an added bonus and a delight for all our birders. Africa is home to a variety of beautiful birds, both endemic and migratory that range from large flamingos to smaller birds with splash of colour and beautiful voices.

The best part about visiting Africa is most safari destinations not only house hundreds of birds, but these prime bird-watching locations are also some of the top game-viewing areas that support the Big Five as well as many other big and small wildlife like giraffes, zebras and wild cats.

For our enthusiasts, the best time to see our feathered friends is during the wet, green season when the migrant birds are in town and the avifauna are getting the pattern, colour and arrangement of their feathers ready for breeding.

You don’t have to travel long distances, either. Some of Africa’s top bucket-list destinations offer world-class bird-viewing such as the Maasai Mara, which has over 470 recorded bird species and South Luangwa National Park, with over 400 species. Here are some of our top countries in Africa to see aves and some of the species you can expect to see:

South Africa is where all first-time safari goers should go to experience an African safari. With an abundance of wildlife, flora and birds, it’s a dream destination to start ticking off your bucket-list. Mix up your vacation between mountain and sea; wilderness and city life, all in one trip. Here are some other destinations that are the best alternatives to South Africa.

Tanzania

Spend a week in Tanzania on safari. From the volcanically rich soil to the lush forests, interminable golden savannahs, pearly white sands, snow-capped peaks, baobab clusters, lush swamps, fields of sunflowers and a constantly overwhelming sense of space, there is so much to explore.

What you can see:

  • A variety of East-African Endemics
  • Over 20 endemics species
  • Flamingo-filled lakes

Famous bird-watching destinations:

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Zambia

Here in the warm heart of Africa lies one of the continent’s greatest secrets, and birthplace of the walking safari! Sitting on a sprawling plateau, this little gem boasts the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa rivers, and boats some beautiful birds.

Bird-viewing highlights:

  • The shoebill stork
  • The African Pitta

Chongwe Zambia - A tranquility like no other

Must-visit bird-watching destination:

  • The Zambezi River catchment of Zambia

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Kenya

Kenya is an incredible destination for bird-watching. The density and abundance of wildlife is unreal and the climate and geography of the country leads to the highest numbers of bird species in the country. Travelers can sometimes spot over 342 species in 24 hours.

What you can see:

  • Swallows
  • Waders as well as terns
  • Weavers and the bishops
  • Southern African migrants
  • The Long claw and the magpie shrike

 

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Mozambique

Enjoy the luxury and seclusion of an authentic and discerning tropical island holiday in this lush and fauna-filled country. You can expect exceptional bird-viewing along the pristine coastline

What you can see:

  • Coastal migrant waders in the south
  • The striking red and blue double collared sun birds
  • The white tailed blue flycatcher
  • The tiny greenbul
  • The mangrove kingfisher
  • and the olive headed weaver.

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Rwanda

Rwanda is the ultimate jungle escape for the adventurous traveller.  Its gorgeously green and misty forests are home to the magnificent, world-renowned Silverback Gorillas. Rwanda is fondly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ because of its remarkably hilly landscape and its spectacular volcanoes. But don’t overlook the endemic birds of Rwanda for these majestic beasts. Because Rwanda is so small, you have a better chance of sighting of the 600+ species.

What you can see:

  • Collared Apalis
  • The Grauer’s
  • Albertine owlet
  • The red collared mountain babbler
  • and the Neumann’s Warblers.

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Which of these beautiful birds have you been lucky enough to see?

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.

What to Expect from a Night Game Drive

If you have ever been on safari before, you would surely have experienced the wonders of sighting all sorts of wildlife. But you may not have had the chance to go on a thrilling night game drive. A night game drive is a whole experience on its own and completely different to a day safari.

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

At private game reserves, there are usually three guided game drives every day. Each unique in its sightings, the first departs before sunrise, another takes place midday and the last drive is usually before sunset or after dinner, returning after nightfall.

You may want to start the game drive before sundown and enjoy the last light in the bush over a glass of bubbly, cold beer, a delicious G&T or with a light picnic basket and return in time for dinner. Or perhaps have an early dinner and leave after sunset to observe the nocturnal activities of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife and small animals in complete darkness. Twilight is considered the best time to track and observe nocturnal animals and in some parks and reserves, night-drives can last long into the night.

Get your heart pumping from the sheer thrill and excitement as an unknown nocturnal world awaits you. Your guide will help you find the smallest of creatures to well-known big cats and share their knowledge of their behaviour. A  spotlight is attached to a safari vehicle and an animal-friendly red filter light is used to spot the eyes of shy wildlife that are hiding in the dark. Ask your guide if the sighting is a predator or prey from the colour of the eyes…

As with day game drives, you may be driving for a long time before you spot an animal, but when you do, it will be a moment you will never forget as most big predators do their hunting at night. And if you don’t have any explosive sightings, there is nothing more magical than listen to the sounds of nature in the dead of night with no distractions for miles.

Don’t forget that being comfortable on your night game drive is as important as on your day drives as they can last for hours. We suggest having a warm layer for the late evening, a warm hat or beanie, and a good camera with a spare pack of batteries, just in case – even though night photography is very difficult to get right.

Walking Safaris Iconic Africa ZebrasMany would expect to see the obvious game such as hippo, rhino, zebras, or even a big cat on the hunt. But keep your eyes peeled for the occasional bushbaby, chameleon, aardvark or leopard too.

 

 

To get the best quality pictures that does justice to the breath-taking evening scenes and nocturnal sightings, make sure you bring along the necessary camera equipment and lenses and ask your guide how to overcome poor lighting.

For more of the incredible African adventures that await you click 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. 

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.

Bisate in Pictures

“The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.” – Jim Fowler

Dian Fossey beautifully wrote of and made famous Rwanda’s mountain gorillas in her novel Gorillas in the Mist. But no book or film will ever adequately portray the unaltered beauty of Rwanda and its fifty shades of green lustre that surrounds everything!

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda is more than tracking gorillas, Kigali cultural experiences, volcanoes and Intore dancers. There is an attractiveness and grandeur unspoken of… unmatched by words. Nestled in its very own eroded volcanic cone, and conveniently neighbouring Rwanda’s celebrated Volcanoes National Park, you will find one of Rwanda’s most luxurious lodges – Bisate Lodge. The lodge itself is a sight to behold – striking in its unique design, and set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s verdant forested landscape, Bisate Lodge allows guests to marvel at the wonder that is Rwanda.

We’ve run out of descriptions to perfectly pronounce the spectacle that Bisate is. Rwanda’s first and most exclusive luxury accommodation amalgamates the comforts of regal living and the authentic aesthetic of Rwandan culture. The villas keep a watchful eye over the mountain, like sentinels perched on the hillside. To truly appreciate the magnificence of this property, you will have to scroll down and look at the story we have created in pictures here:


If these pictures have captured your heart let us know and we will do our best to get to experience this exceptional lodge in real life.

Getting to know Rwanda

Many travellers don’t know much about land-locked Rwanda – the fourth smallest country in Africa – and popular perception of what this luscious country is all about usually starts with gorillas and ends with Paul Kagame. This is understandable as Rwanda is one of only two countries that safeguards the last of the enigmatic gorillas that can still be tracked by tourists. BUT there is so much more to this mountainous terrain than these beautiful creatures. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills – having literally more than one thousand hills –  this picturesque jade haven has recently become directly linked to the United Kingdom via RwandAir making the national capital of Kigali more accessible than ever before.

Appealing to all the adventurous and daring, Rwanda has an abundance of hills, valleys and dense jungles to explore and hike.  Tented by slopes, the valley below looks up at some of the world’s most dramatic views with lush green thickets in every direction. It is hard to comprehend, compare or not be impressed.

It is an African country known for its fabulous endemic endangered primates and a definite bucket-list destination for physical, off-the-beaten-track activities. With large parts of Rwanda being remote and untouched, travellers can truly experience freedom from all that occupies their minds.

Not necessarily regarded as a typical African safari destination, Rwanda still has room for many wildlife and adventure.In addition to the gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys, Rwanda has more than 300 bird species and access to the Big Five.

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

Rwanda may be landlocked by the endless mountains and hills, but still has its own beach. For those less interested in hiking and extensive tracks of forest or looking for a change of scenery, visit Lake Kivu for some time by the water.

Rwanda Misty Hills Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

But there is more…

Bean there, done that!

Rwanda is famous for its delicious coffee beans and tea leaves and is their biggest export. Rwandan tea is not bitter and can be enjoyed for its full, rich flavour without adding any milk. Rwandan speciality coffee is not only award-winning, but expensive and is exported to big name coffee houses such as Starbucks.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Adding to the grandeur of this area enveloped by mountains is the number of majestic volcanoes.

Kigali is arguably one of the cleanest city in Africa. The country has placed a ban on plastic bags and has minimal litter on the streets. Paul Kagame has also issued compulsory monthly community service for all citizens helping keep communities clean and safe.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda may be small, but it is safe and can be explored with confidence. For more on the exquisite properties that Rwanda offers click here. 

African Travel Myths Demystified

“The only thing dark about Africa is our ignorance of it.” – George Kimble

Many people have preconceived ideas about Africa – often based on opinions or myths. Some of these myths have been circulating for so long that they now are in fact considered as truth or fact. Misconceptions are awful things, managing to dissuade many from visiting Africa – which is very sad! Here are our top five African safari myths debunked to convince you to finally book that unforgettable African trip.

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Africa is not safe:

Safety can be an issue in some African cities as it can be anywhere in the world now, but when it comes to national parks and game reserves, they are some of the safest places in the world.

Africa is all bush:

Africa is a vast continent with diverse landscapes, environments and climates in a single area. Countries have savannahs, rainforests, mountains, beaches and deserts to accommodate different travel wishes – making it easy to find whatever it is that your heart desires!

You always need a guide:

While it would be recommended that first-time traveller’s view game with a guide – once you’ve been on enough safaris you can go on self-drive safaris. Many travellers have seen the super-seven (the Big Five, cheetahs and wild dogs) on their self-drives.

To truly experience Africa, you have to “rough it”:

There is always the option of “roughing it” in the wilderness – sleeping bag and all. But there is the more popular preference and opportunity, to experience all Africa has to offer in comfort and opulence. South Africa boasts some of the most luxurious game lodges offering unrestricted access to some of Africa’s prestigious wildlife. Most game lodges offer gourmet meals and private bungalows – kitted out with all your modern amenities – that overlook the vast plains and Africa’s vibrant wildlife. Not to mention it offers some of the world’s most affordable luxury travel!

 

It will be too hot:

Yes, Africa’s climate is warm, but not all the time. Some countries have a cold, wet winter and others have a rainy summer. Throughout the year, most game reserves can actually get quite chilly in the morning and at night, and you will need to layer to stay warm. This’s a nice balance between the heat of the day and the cool of the night.

Animals are likely to attack you:

Animals attacking is probably the last thing you need to worry about on your safari! The wildlife, in general, prefer to avoid the company of humans, so they won’t be hunting you down any time soon…

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Sabi Sands Lions

Only expensive cameras can take good wildlife photographs:

If you own a long lens it is of course advantageous, however it is not a necessity. Many people have photographed animals within meters of the safari vehicle with a 300mm lens. What works well – if you already have one – is the Nikon D7000 with 18 megapixels. The resolution is decent and you could crop the far-away shots.

Zarafa Camp Leopard Iconic Africa

 

Our suggestion is that when you embark on your trip to Africa, you leave behind all myths and legends. Once you hit the tarmac, your adventure begins and you will never look back!

Top Travel Trends for 2018

From remote luxury accommodations to achievement-based travel, 2018 is set to be a year of long vacations, slowing down and learning to appreciate the world around us. Here’s what the experts have to say about the trends for the year ahead:

Booking trends:

79% of travel research is being done on mobile phones and an increase in online bookings has begun trending with 49% of these direct online bookings being made on mobile devices.

Duliini Lodge River Bridge

Solo Travel:

Ever since Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ was published, solo travel – especially among female travellers – has gained popularity. 2018 welcome’s our solo visitors to our safe safari destinations, where the world is at your fingertips. Our private guides and luxury transfers ensure your safety at all times.

 

Remote Luxury:

Luxury travel is increasingly being associated with remoteness and disconnectivity. This year, people are projected to dedicate more time towards travel – willing to travel farther and into destinations often difficult to get to in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world (nearly) entirely to themselves!

‘Off the beaten track’ is one of this year’s travel themes allowing visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience nature at its fullest. An example is Tswalu Kalahari – a hidden gem set literally in the middle of nowhere!

Zimbabwe and Zambia – The two hot safari destinations for 2018:

South Africa is typically considered a favourite go-to for African safaris with Zimbabwe and Zambia as add-on destinations. On the contrary, 2017 saw an increase in demand for trips to Zimbabwe and Zambia as primary destinations. This is a trend most experts believe to continue in to 2018. These two countries have luxury accommodations and crowd-free safaris – perfect for those looking towards that remote luxury vacation. Investments in both countries from infrastructure and airports to national parks has contributed to this new destination-trend. Not to mention the fact that Zambia was recently voted “safest destination in the world by skyscanner.”

Glamping:

For those travellers who really want to be one with nature – but really can’t, there are endless possibilities for you to be outdoorsy without sacrificing comforts and luxuries. 2018 sees an increase in bookings at luxury tented properties for the less nature-inclined to slow down, unwind and enjoy nature without actually having to “be in nature”.

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

Achievement-based travel:

2017 was the year for experiential national and international travel; connecting the traveller closely with their country or destination. This year, we will see this taken a step further with travellers pushing themselves to achieve a lifelong goals or using travel to “find themselves.”

The goal of the year is to achieve something – whether it is climbing a certain mountain or hiking a difficult trek – built into a traveller’s trip. This trend is a reflection in the travel industry of visitors wanting more from their trips than just a standard sightseeing tour.

Extended trips

The last six months has seen an increase in travellers booking trips for longer than two weeks – clients often pushing for around-the-country trips. According to Jacada Travel, 50% of the trips already booked are for longer than two weeks.

Travellers not tourists:

Increasingly encouraged over the years and recently trending – visitors to foreign countries prefer immersing themselves in experiences that cannot be found in guidebooks and brochures. Meeting locals and wondering through neighbourhoods has been the best way to experience cultures, from wine tasting to learning a new crafts or languages.

 

For all of us getting on a bus, plane or train to somewhere new… 2018 is going to be an exciting year!

Our Top Eco-Friendly Lodges

“The future will either be green or not at all” – Bob Brown.

‘Going green’ has recently become a buzz phrase within the travel industry. More and more African luxury destinations are making efforts to preserve and protect both natural environments and communities within them. Owners are trying to reduce carbon footprints and human impact on the earth in order to safeguard its future. Eco-friendly accommodation does not necessarily mean that you have to compromise on luxury travel. Eco-lodges are becoming increasingly fashionable with their ability to integrate their role in conservation and luxury comfort.

Here are our top four eco-accommodations utilising and promoting green practices for those eco-conscious guests who seek a luxury African experience. Whether you are looking at Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa or Kenya we’ve got you covered.

BISATE LODGE, RWANDA

Situated near Volcanoes National Park in the Republic of Rwanda offering unique gorilla sightings.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Resting in nature’s amphitheatre, the Bisate lodge reopened in June 2017. Formerly renowned for their gorilla conservation experience and dramatic landscape views, the lodge is now celebrated for its progress in pioneering a largescale reforestation program. 5000 indigenous trees have already been planted to date, contributing to conservation and community empowerment. Bisate’s organic yet modern architecture reflects Rwandan building traditions a seen at the Royal Palace of the traditional Monarch.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

ZARAFA CAMP, BOTSWANA

An exquisite tented camp located on the on the private Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors.

Botswana-Safari-Selinda-Camp

Zarafa recognises the importance of sustainable tourism in South Africa and is 100% eco-wise. It is located in some of Africa’s most beautiful surroundings nature has to offer and they don’t plan on spoiling it! Opening in 2008, and considered a newer property, regulations discourage permanent structures. As a result, the camp is awash in beautiful and luxurious canvas and timber homes so that should the entire site seize to remain, the land would return to its natural state within months. Not forgetting the Zarafa ‘oil field’ – a solar farm that supplies the camp with all its power.

Zarafa Camp Banner Deck

OL DONYO, KENYA

On the private Mbirikani Group Ranch in south-eastern Kenya, between Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks, the rippling Chyulu Hills give way to Ol Donyo.

Its location is unparalleled, with full views of savannah and Mount Kilimanjaro, crossing paths with traditional wildlife migration routes. People and animals crossing paths with this migration route has led to the death of many feral lions, leaving them at risk. The lodge is currently negotiating with cattle breeding villagers to develop a wilderness zone which will be ‘people-free’. Ol Donyo also manages community projects that ensure the sustainability and success of compensation for cattle loss, mobile health clinics, schools and employment.

TSWALU KALAHARI CAMP

The Lodge is located close to the border of Botswana and lies within an easy driving distance of South Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.


Tswalu has won a number of international awards. Their primary focus is conservation and socio-economic development in the region. The architectural designs minimise water and energy usage while extensive use of solar energy and everyday waste recycling substantially reduce the impact on the environment.

Tswalu is committed to restoring and preserving the natural environment and ecological processes that are unique to the Kalahari ecosystems, thereby providing a sanctuary for endangered species such as the African wild dog that is red listed. Some of Tswalu’s projects include the assurance of the density of the black rhino that is be sustained by vegetation in Tswalu and the development of a Tswalu spider database.

We hope our fine travellers of the earth will return home knowing that their holiday contributed to … and preserving the world’s natural environment.

5 Tips for Trekking with the Gorillas

 

Gorilla trekking is an experience that belongs at the top of any wildlife-lover’s bucket-list. It is both awe-inspiring and breath-taking – to say the least. Gorilla trekking takes place in either Rwanda or Uganda, so it’s up to you to decide where you would like to visit. Once you’ve made this decision, there are a few tips to keep in mind before you embark on this adventure of a lifetime. Here are our top five tips for trekking with gorillas.

Iconic-Africa-Rwanda-Gorillas

  1. Do research before you go

It’s imperative to do research before your trip because there are a few very important formalities that you need to be aware of. One crucial piece of advice is to make sure that you have a permit to trek. The permits cost between $500 and $800 and they ensure that you get a one hour visit with the gorillas. Permits are necessary because the gorillas are endangered and are victims of poaching. Do some research about specific gorilla groups that you can visit because there might be a particular group that you’d like to see.

Rwanda Gorillas

  1. Be honest about your level of fitness

Don’t try to be a hero. You need to be realistic about how fit you are—Rwanda has a high altitude which might have an impact on your trekking abilities. Keep in mind that trekking to the gorillas can take between half an hour to ten hours, so be upfront about your abilities and if you hardly ever exercise, be sure to take one of the shorter routes! Otherwise you may not be a very happy camper…

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

  1. Dress appropriately

Make sure you pack in thick gloves, knee-high hiking garters, thick pants (but not thermals), and a long-sleeved light-weight shirt—remember, it’s not a fashion show. Also be sure to pack in a comfy pair of hiking boots and a rain jacket.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

  • Verse yourself in gorilla etiquette

Your guides will give you tips when it comes to this, but there are some important things to keep in mind. Firstly, you shouldn’t look a gorilla directly in the eyes because it may come off as aggressive. Secondly, don’t ever run from a gorilla, and thirdly, don’t eat or drink in front of gorillas.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

  1. Hire a porter

Porters will carry your bag for you and they will help you at any tricky parts of the hike which will definitely maximise your experience. By hiring a porter, you will also make a contribution to the local community and gorilla conservation because most porters are ex-poachers.

For more information about the gorilla trekking experiences we offer, click here.