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…
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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…
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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”.
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.
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!
“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.
Situated near Volcanoes National Park in the Republic of Rwanda offering unique gorilla sightings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Just in case you’ve missed out – here are some of our top #iconicmoments of 2017 caught on film. We hope that wherever in the world you are… watching these transports you into the African bush for even just a few minutes.
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. Here are 4 reasons why this incredible destination should most definitely be on that bucket list of yours!
Experience a wealth of wildlife
Not only is Rwanda the realm of the Silverback Gorillas, but it is also home to a multitude of monkey species. Rwanda promises to be the pinnacle of monkey interactions. Of course, a trip to Rwanda would be wasted without the unique experience of a gorilla trek but, why not combine gorilla trekking with chimpanzee trekking to create an utterly unforgettable experience? Nothing compares to the excitement of spotting Colobus and Mangabey monkeys whilst strolling through the lush, virescent jungles of Rwanda. Birdlife is also abundant—making Rwanda the ultimate bird lover’s paradise.
The ultimate jungle adventure
Rwanda guarantees an exceptional jungle experience. Gorilla treks, chimpanzee treks, bird-watching, and hiking, set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s lush forests, all combine to ensure an exciting jungle adventure. Luxurious lodges allow guests to feel at one with the jungle, and they offer an unrivalled sense of peace and tranquillity.
Home to the world-famous Silverback Gorillas
Every visitor dreams of catching a glimpse of the elusive Silverback Gorillas—the absolute stars of Rwanda. The dwindling number of gorillas makes gorilla trekking an essential experience for visitors, and it is an encounter that one will never forget. The two hour drive from Kigali, the capital, is certainly worth the time spent with these breath-taking, magnificent creatures.
The venturesome traveller’s dream
The forests of Rwanda are enchanting, the accommodation is exceptional, and the wildlife is outstanding. These features create a recipe for an escapade that is filled with thrills and wonder. Although the beauty of Rwanda is magical, Rwanda has been victim to a very bloody past. It is essential for every visitor to make a trip to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The Centre is both sombre and thought-provoking, and it is an imperative outing for anyone who wants to connect with Rwanda on a deeper level.
The Volcanoes National Park is another spot that visitors have to see. There is nothing quite like watching the mist roll in over the forest while you follow in the footsteps of the great naturalist, Dian Fossey. The park gives you a chance to capture your very own ‘gorillas in the mist’ moment.
Need the perfect accommodation for your trip? Why not take a look at the recently opened Bisate Lodge:
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. Read more here.