A Comprehensive Travel List

“Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes, or at least eat their food” – Anthony Boudain

Travel for as long as we can remember has always been associated with people’s general and greater happiness. Let’s be honest we could all do with planning and looking forward to a trip right about now. With the anticipation of travel, comes the questions of is “it safe; where can I go; and what is travelling like right now…?” We have some answers, inspiration and tips for you right here!

Research has shown that travelling can boost your wellbeing, energy and creativity. So even amidst a global pandemic, getting away from the crowds and heading towards nature can bring you complete and utter contentment. The African bush is right there… just a flight away… waiting to fill up that cup of yours!

If you’re dying to get on a plane, but not sure where you’re allowed to visit and what you need to do, take a look at the most updated comprehensive travel list or read our tips for travelling during covid here.

Although countries have strict COVID-19 protocols put in place, don’t forget to implement all safety guidelines and precautionary measures during your stay. Click here for Level 3 risk-adjusted strategy.

For any questions please contact us. Our team is here to help.

Thank You Magical Marataba

After a year of lockdowns, covid and work stresses. I could not have imagined a better way to start 2021… than what can only be described as the MOST magical family safari. Situated just over 3 hours from Joburg, Marataba Safari Lodge is a 5 star, home away from home, an enchanting wonderland, set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Waterberg Mountain range.

It is almost 4 years since our last visit to Marataba… a time when I was pregnant with my son, we were much younger and more carefree (although embarrassingly still wearing some of the same clothes!)

At the end of that post, I wrote…

“Now we just can’t wait until we can come back as three and show our little one what an exceptional continent we live on and to teach him/her all that there is to know about nature, wildlife and how everything has its place in the world.”

Little did I know that we would return as a family and that somehow would enjoy the whole experience 4 fold. Never mind the fact that these words would hold more truth now than ever before.

We had booked to stay 3 nights and after the first night had extended it to 4… if we could have, we would have stayed even longer. Life in the bush dances to a different rhythm and it is unfathomable what you can do in just 4 days and what those 4 days can do for you.

For me – it was like “going home” just what the soul, post all the stress of 2020 needed. It was in short, life-changing.
For my kids – it was their first real safari, each moment the excitement was palpable. It was a privilege to witness.
For my husband and I – it was so divine to have some time as a couple again! The team at Marataba certainly know how to do romance ☺
For my view on the world – it was restorative, calming, inspiring and rejuvenating. No matter what you’ve faced – the African bush can set you right. It’s trips like these that make me so grateful to live in this exceptional country.

Just a few highlights of our trip:

  1. Spotting 2 white rhino, a female cheetah and all the plains game before we’d even got to the lodge
  2. The miracle of seeing the bush through my kids’ eyes
  3. The exciting adventure that was each jam-packed game drive
  4. Sundowners overlooking the river as a crimson red sunset descended over the horizon
  5. A surprise breakfast of salmon bagels and bacon and honey-butter crumpets in the bush
  6. The delicious aroma of More coffee
  7. Living in amongst a herd of impala at the lodge, lambs aplenty
  8. The nostalgic sound of fish eagles while on a sunset cruise
  9. Following 3 lionesses along a windy road for while they searched for a shady spot to snooze
  10. The continual learning of the intricacies and wonder that is the natural world
  11. Watching my kids’ excitement as they did spoor casting/made cookies/attempted archery
  12. Playing in the pool with the kids and all the fun pool toys
  13. Afternoon sleeps on the plush oversized beds with the air con on high and the emerald-spotted wood dove calling in the background
  14. A fairy-tale birthday boma dinner, the team’s harmonious Happy Birthday song and an indulgent chocolate cake
  15. The smell of the rain, the sound of thunder and the vibrant skies
  16. Driving alongside two white rhinos, running under a rainbow and during a monkey’s wedding
  17. Feeling the peace and restorative nature of the African bushveld
  18. The cicada’s lullaby each evening
  19. The in-suite massage on our deck, whilst kids were sleeping and impala wandered past #winning
  20. A quiet bush walk with a herd of kudu and impala
  21. Steaming hot outside showers under the milky way each night
  22. Sitting around the campfire telling stories of old
  23. Witnessing some interesting elephant behaviour during a romantic sunset drink
  24. Sharing my morning tea with a bushbuck
  25. Learning the trees, plants and insects and revelling in the overall serenity on a quiet bush walk

And…. I could go on and on… and on! Continue reading “Thank You Magical Marataba”

Lauren Fryer’s Heart is in Botswana

Lauren is a born and bred South African who married into a bush-mad family. She has been a part of the Iconic team for many years now and falls more and more in love with Africa each day. Lauren endeavours to instil an appreciation of the natural world into her children and she believes there is no better place than Africa to do this! Over the years she has visited Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Seychelles.

While she has many stories to tell about all the places she has visited, her favourite memory remains in Botswana – the most incredible wilderness sanctuaries with its diverse landscapes: from the Kalahari Desert through great stretches of Mopane woodland to the delta itself, with kilometres of channels, islands and lagoons. It has large herds of elephants, beautiful cats, and enough variety in its bird-life to turn even the most dedicated big-mammal follower into a twitcher!

One of the most intimate and peaceful experiences she has had in nature was on a Mokoro trip through the channels of the Okavango Delta, home of the water-based safari!

“I was extremely out of my comfort zone, and although I was exceptionally nervous, my husband insisted that we go and I am so glad we did!

The polers, who stood at the back behind us, used their panoramic view of our surroundings to watch for animals of all sizes. While you can get up close and personal with the likes of Africa’s smallest frog and water birds, your guide will ensure that a safe distance is kept between you and larger species such as hippos and crocodiles! It truly is a unique safari experience gliding on the delta, taking in rosy sunsets and the dazzling array of wildlife.”

They stayed at Gomoti Camp, part of the Machaba Safari group. Scroll down for images of this breathtaking destination.

Lauren Fryer believes there is no greater vacation than an African Safari & Beach experience.

South Africa’s Ultimate Family Safaris

In the chaos of today’s frantic, fast-moving world the simple things like spending time with family are often forgotten. I can promise you that at the end of your life you will never look back and wish that you had worked harder, spent more time on your cellphone or made more money… you are going to wish that you had made more time for and gone on more adventures with those nearest and dearest to you. So why not take things down a notch, go back to simpler times and disconnect from the world. Travel to Africa, succumb to its beauty, be in awe of its people and let its magic engulf your whole family.

To be able to do this kind of travel, to let go of the world and have new experiences with the whole family is a wonderful gift to give your children. But to take them on an African safari is the greatest gift of all. Many luxury African safari destinations are specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance.

Nothing could ever be more special than going on an out-of-Africa safari adventure with the entire family. Sharing and making unforgettable memories with children is what parents dream of and taking them on safari is one sure way of doing this. There really is nothing better than seeing your child’s face light up at the sight of their first elephant, or watching the wind in their hair as the game vehicle races through the bushveld in pursuit of a pack of wild dogs. Africa has so much to offer for all souls – young and old.

Here are our favourite family-friendly safari destinations that we highly recommend:

LELAPA

Lelapa, meaning family in the local language of Setswana, is another of the pioneering More family’s sublime properties. Situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve and with a more extensive children’s safari than any other luxury camp, Lelapa is the ideal destination for a family safari. While parents are catching forty winks or luxuriating in a spa treatment, children are entertained in the Eco House or nature beyond. The idea is for parents to be absolutely pampered while kids are kept completely entertained by the specialised rangers and facilities. Lelapa Lodge even has a special bush orientation programme for kids. Meals are kept decadent for parents and simple for children. Kids can even help the chefs make pizzas for lunch and cookies for tea! It’s an absolutely spell-binding experience for children. The Lelapa suites are indulgent havens that blend beautifully into the vastness of the surrounding woodland. The enormous lounge, bedroom and bathroom areas are all glass-fronted and allow unimpeded views of the African wilds beyond where you may see herds of elephant picking at the leaves as they amble slowly by. The suites can accommodate up to two children on a double sleeper couch. The secluded deck with private plunge pool is an excellent place for you and your family to cool off in the heat. On colder nights, you might like to sit by the fire in the sumptuous lounge and enjoy dinner in your suite, the full moon lighting the plains in gentle blue, a lion calling in the distance.

LONDOLOZI

Londolozi Pioneer Camp nurtures the essence of generations of pioneering family spirit and offers the ultimate luxury Relais and Chateaux safari experience. Set on the wildlife-rich banks of the Sand River, the camp has access to over 16 000 hectares of pristine wilderness within The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve neighbouring South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park.

Pioneer camp is designed as an exclusive safari homestead which makes it ideal for families and small groups. Pioneer Camp is the most secluded of Londolozi’s five camps; its expansive deck is shaded by wise old Jackalberry Pioneers, an interactive open-plan kitchen, and enclosed lavish lounge gives guests the freedom to savour their private safari experience. Should you seek company or the like then a serene stroll by footpath leads the way to the Londolozi yoga deck, fitness centre, Londolozi Living gift shop and Londolozi Life massage haven.

For years Pioneer Camp has been the holiday of choice for Terri Abadi (founder of Iconic Africa) and her family. Terri has travelled Africa extensively and yet year-on-year she is adamant Pioneer Camp is the place she wants to return to over and over again. Each trip is unique, each trip delivers, each trip a lifetime of memories for her and her family.

SINGITA

Singita Castleton Camp holds a place most dear to Iconic Africa. If you scroll through the tattered original “visitors” book kept at Castleton Camp back in 1986 you will find my then 7-year-old sisters entry which reads “Thanks very much, this is definitely a 5-star experience!” followed by my entry reading “Thanks very much. I liked the chocolate.” Perhaps we at Iconic Africa are slightly biased BUT what could be more perfect than spending a week with 11 of your closest family and friends in your own exclusive-use luxury villa, in the heart of the world-renowned Sabi Sands Private Game reserve. Castleton Camp allows you this rare treasure: to spend uninterrupted time in the lap of luxury with those dearest to you, away from the distractions of “life”.

Steeped in history, Castleton Camp is the original family home of Singita’s founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather built in the mid-1900s. The newly refurbished family residence has since been converted into a stonewalled homestead characterised by its spacious patio and graceful lounge. This central homestead is adjoined by six sumptuous luxury cottages which allow you the option to retreat to the privacy of your luxury cottage or stay in the company of your friends and family.

ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN

The One & Only is an energetic, friendly and contemporary hotel in the perfect Cape Town location. The suites all have sweeping views out over Table Mountain or of the picturesque working harbour fringed by the world-class V and A waterfront and world-renowned Two Oceans Aquarium. The rooms and suites are tributes to contemporary chic lines and fresh art with deference to Africa through the dark wood finishes. Every possible modern convenience including full internet facilities and a personal Nespresso machine complete the opulence of the space. The commodious bathrooms boast huge baths and showers with separate lavatories. Cape Town is packed full of fun for the whole family. Trips up Table Mountain in the cable car or on foot for the fitter families will leave you breathless with wonder. The gleaming white beaches, especially with a gourmet picnic lunch, offer magnificent days out in Hout Bay, Llandudno, Clifton and Camp’s Bay while the quirky town of Fishhoek and Boulder’s Beach offers warmer waters for the kids. Although the produce of the spectacular Winelands is best enjoyed by parents, there is beauty and activity in abundance for young travellers.

TONGABEZI SAFARI LODGE

Tongabezi is situated about 30kms upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls. It is the perfect place for families with children – with two delightful two-bedroom houses with private lounges, play areas and plunge pools. The Garden House has a fully walled garden which is ideal for younger children while its funky African fusion design gives it an informal and fun atmosphere. The Dog House’s bedrooms and communal areas are safely linked by raised walkways and the infinity pool hangs out over the Zambezi River. This beautiful suite comes with a private vehicle, guide and valet. The expansive and luxuriant gardens are blended into the banks of the Zambezi. They are dotted with private decks and terraces where families can relax in privacy. The magnificent Lookout – a multi-level wooden platform, sumptuously furnished with soft sofas and chairs can be booked for exclusive use and is a wonderful way for families to dine together and watch the river. Large families can book Tangala House – the pinnacle of luxurious family living. This magnificent home has three ensuite bedrooms, a huge private pool set in lavish gardens. For fun, there is a trampoline, garden games and a TV nook. Tangala comes with a private valet, chef, guide, boat and vehicle for exploration. There are endless activities – fishing, drumming, helicopters flips and much more for parents and children alike and in the evening, smiling kids and contented parents will revel in the joy of a sunset cruise on the languid waters of the Zambezi around Tongabezi.

TSWALU LODGE, KALAHARI

Tswalu is southern Africa’s biggest private game reserve and is perfect for anyone wanting to experience true Kalahari wilderness. The views from the lodge are utterly magical and ensure awesome game-viewing opportunities. Tswalu has three luxurious bungalows that have been specifically designed to cater to families, and the warm staff know just how to make your enchanting family escape one to remember. From de-stressing massage treatments to exciting morning game drives, this is a place where memories are made. Treat yourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime horse safari or relax on the private sundeck while taking in the awe-inspiring views of the waterhole.

For more information on other family-friendly destinations on our beautiful African continent please click here.

East or South Africa for your 2021 safari?

This year has left people all over the world dreaming of travel, and many have already planned to touch down in Africa in 2021. Most spaces are already filling up fast, and the only thing left to decide is.. where in Africa to go.

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

Click on the links below to see our top luxury destinations 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.

iconic-africa-tours-african-balloon-safaris-tours

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

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

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!

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

A 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 a 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 luxury destinations in Southern Africa:

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

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

Ivory Lodge Sabi sands Kruger Park Safari

Zambia– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls, village tours, safaris in South Luangwa.

Zimbabwe– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls and Mana Pools.

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.

Africa – A Golfer’s Paradise

Longstanding as a top safari destination, South Africa boasts exceptional weather and offers magnificent golf courses set in the beautiful scenery, doubling it as a golfer’s paradise. South Africa gives travellers the gift of options – incorporating a golf tour into any well-deserved holiday, romantic trip or family vacation.

Choose from the breath-taking Cape Town or the City of Gold – the perfect start with brilliant shopping for the non-golfers. Perhaps the appeal of a seaside setting will lure travellers to the Garden Route or for another life-changing bush experience to the world-famous Kruger National Park. Those familiar with South Africa will understand the phenomenal natural beauty of the surroundings that will form the backdrop for your next tee-off.

Value Golf And Wine Tour South Africa 2A

Iconic Africa Director, John Holley’s two passions in life are golf and the bush. Most of his childhood was spent doing one or the other and many memories were made while either teeing off at sunrise or toasting to the sunset with an ice-cold beer at a waterhole. John has put together two incredible Golf & Wine Safaris from all of his favourite destinations just for you. Get up close and personal with the magnificent Big Five; tee off on some of South Africa’s most impressive golf courses; discover gourmet restaurants and taste the finest wines that the Cape Winelands has to offer.

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Garden Route

Read all about John’s Great Value Golf & Wine Safari and John’s Premier Wine & Golf Tours here.

Here are our top three reasons to add golf to your next safari:

Wide Variety of Championship Courses

South Africa is home to more than 500 golf courses – many of which are championship courses. A lot of South African gold courses have been designed by international designers or have the patriotic stamp of resident golfing legends.

Spectacular Settings

South Africa is one of the top countries with many diverse golf course settings. You can tee off inland or near the sea; from a clifftop at Pinnacle Point; or within view of some big game near or in the Kruger National Park, where it is common for wildlife to wander onto the course.

Additional Activities

While your vacation may focus on having an exceptional golfing experience, you will still be able to incorporate traditional highlights such as a Big Five safari or visiting world-renowned tourist attractions, ensuring your visit to South Africa is unforgettable.

Iconic-Africa-Luxury-Kruger-National-Park-safaris-leopard

Here are our top four golf destinations in South Africa:

Cape Town

The Western Cape is blessed with magnificent mountain ranges and bordered by coastal settings. This creates picturesque sceneries for impeccably maintained courses such as Erinvale Golf Club in Somerset West and Steenberg Golf Club near the Tokai Forest designed by golf-legends, Gary Player and Peter Matkovich.

While you’re in Cape Town, you can stay at one of our beautiful city residences or countryside homes-away-from-home.

Garden Route

The Garden Route offers a distinct climate specific to that area. Combine moderate temperatures with the surrounding greenery and golden beaches and you have yourself a bucket-list destination! This area has a number of beautiful golf courses and at least four of the top ten golf courses in South Africa are located here. Two of our favourite courses include Fancourt and Pezula. The area also offers a treasure of other fun activities for non-golfers and families.

Gauteng

While not as scenic as other parts of South Africa, Gauteng does offer exceptional quality golf courses. Some of the top courses in Gauteng have hosted various competitions, including the South African Open and the PGA Championship.

Distance from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park: +- 4 hours by vehicle.

Kruger Park

The Kruger National Park has a range of pristine golf courses bordering the park or nearby in the Lowveld region. This is one of the only areas in South Africa where golf is best enjoyed during the dry autumn and winter months. Often ranked as South Africa’s best golf course, Leopard Creek should be on top of your golfing to-do list.

Here are is a list of our top accommodation in the Kruger National Park.

Add a round of golf – or two – to the itinerary on your next South African vacation. South Africa is the perfect family getaway and your golfing experience will be enriched by the possibility of combining it with the ultimate luxury safari. In between rounds of golf, see the legendary Big Five, do a Cape Winelands wine tour or simply relax on the beach.

Things You Can Do in SA in Level 1

South Africa sits on the southernmost tip of the African continent and is marked by several distinct destinations, landmarks and activities. The most famous being the Kruger National Park for an abundance of big game. First stop, the Western Cape where the highlight of your trip will start and end with the plethora of golden-sand beaches, lush Winelands, breath-taking mountainsides and so much more.

While we remain vigilant, safe, and adhere to health and safety precautions, the future looks bright as South Africa heads into warmer summer months and most normal activity can resume at Coronavirus COVID-19 Alert level 1. With precautions and health guidelines followed at all times, locals and travellers can now look forward to the resumption of incredible sights and attractions.

Things to add to your itinerary:

Table Mountain Cable Way

Robben Island Ferry Tours

Addo Elephant National Park 

Visit Augrabies Falls

Balloon Safaris

Valley of a Thousand Hills

St Lucia Estuary

Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach

Cape Winelands Tours

The Kruger National Park

iconic-africa-kruger-national-park-leopard luxury african safaris

Blyde River Canyon

Bloukrans Bungee Jumping

Camps Bay beach

Hike and picnic at Cape of Good Hope

Clay Cafe

Our Top Tours in the Cape

Cape Town is the ultimate destination! A triad of vacation destinations – bush, mountain and sea, perfect for the whole family. This city is an amalgamation of cultures, cuisines and landscapes, and what better time to visit this festive-hub than December… With an abundance of sunshine and perfect weather, it is every beach-lovers ideal stop. The endless possibilities of activities for all ages and close proximity to nearby towns and cities will have you visiting us for a while.

We have the perfect tour to tick off all the boxes without compromising on luxury and wildlife sightings that you can definitely boast about back home.

These two tailor-made tours offer travellers the perfect combination of mountain and sea with ample opportunity to spot some of South Africa’s Big 5.

Africa’s Cape of Desire, as its name suggests, is a grand tour of this inspirational region at the base of the African continent. From cosmopolitan Cape Town – with its trendy bars and restaurants, world heritage sites, pristine beaches, sense of history and natural beauty – to the winelands of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek – the undisputed culinary capital of South Africa and where South Africa’s world-famous wines are conjured from the Cape terroir – to the coastal sanctuary of Hermanus set on the magnificent cliffs of Walker Bay – world renowned for its frolicking southern right whales and, for the more adventurous, a place to dive with Great White Sharks; The Cape of Desire offers you the most sumptuous luxury and astonishing natural wonder that only the tip of Africa has to offer.

Accommodation: Ellerman House

Accommodation: Delaire Graff

Accommodation: Birkenhead House

The most spectacular mix of Africa’s world-class luxury destinations and combined them to bring you Singita Safari Splendour. Marvel at the wonders of the Cape, its exquisite winelands, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime safari in the Kruger National Park and much much more.

Accommodation: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Accommodation: Birkenhead House

Accommodation: Singita Boulders

Why not go the extra mile for the golf-lover in your family and add an exclusive golf tour to your itinerary?

Falling for Africa

Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventure and infused into all of this is an unmistakable and ancient romance. Not only can Africa rekindle the flame under ancient Jackalberry trees, but this colourful continent will touch your heart and have you falling in love with everything it has to offer. There is very little in this world that compares to a rustic, yet luxurious entanglement with nature and no other place can offer it in an abundance like here.


Zambia African Safari Destination - a haven for relaxation with soaking tubs overlooking the landscape

We can think of hundreds of places to make you fall head-over-heels, but we have chosen just 5 for now…

South Africa

Cape Town has something which will appeal to you, no matter your holiday desires. Honeymooners and romantics will fall further in love with the idyllic views and white sanded beaches. Families can share a morning with curious penguins or throw in some laidback whale watching in Hermanus. For the more adventurous go cage diving with the Great White sharks off Gansbaai or even paraglide off the mountains surrounding Cape Town.

Cape Winelands are without doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Leave the coastline of Cape Town and wander towards the culinary capital of South Africa – Franschhoek. Cross rugged mountains passes and descend into century-old vineyards framed by high arching mountains. Drive lightly down age-old cobbled driveways and gently make your way into the Cape Dutch style manor houses.

Value Golf And Wine Tour South Africa A1

The Kruger National Park is the largest reserve in South Africa and forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which stretches over 35 000 square kilometres and encompasses three countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries whose vast expanse ensures the ultimate luxury safari experience as the wildlife is free to roam in a protected area which is slightly larger than the State of South Carolina.

Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls is possibly the most awe-inspiring and humbling natural wonder on planet earth. Standing in the rainforest faced with the great thundering boom of the ancient Zambezi waters plunging more than 100 metres into a fathomless gorge will leave you silent, grinning, tearful and overjoyed to be soaked by the cleansing waters. Victoria Falls is a soulful journey into primal Africa – with Iconic Africa, your visit is combined with superlative luxury, service and adventure.

Rwanda

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.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

 

 

Kenya

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. Kenya boasts hoards of unique antelope such as the graceful Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle as well as the vibrant topis making it the ultimate predator’s paradise.

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Tanzania

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. Tanzania has three safari circuits and each one of them would make Tanzania a top wildlife destination. The popular Northern circuit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater offers one of the best classical safaris in Africa, especially if timed with the annual wildebeest migration. Sit surrounded by 1.5 million wildebeest as you experience one of nature’s great wonders, sip a G and T on the shores of the flamingo-infested lake Manyara as the fiery sun sinks below the horizon, or survey the vast Ngorongoro crater from a breathtaking vantage point on the rim.

Balloon Safari Iconic Africa Tanzania Desert 2 Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

South African International Borders Are Open!

Drumroll… the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived!

We are ecstatic to share with you that South African borders will finally be open to international visitors on the 1st October 2020. Although they are not open to all countries just yet this is a step in the right direction and they will be soon.

As a nation that loves to play host and to show off our beautiful land, we have so missed all of our foreign travellers and friends. We are ready for you now more than ever before as we’ve been prepping for your arrival since March. We cannot wait to welcome you back to the land of magical sunsets, exhilarating safaris, G&Ts, colourful cultures and breath-taking landscapes.

As we enter Level 1, we are excited that both domestic and international flights can resume to get you to us as soon as possible! All travellers will be required to have a PCR COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours from the date of departure. All commercial airports in South Africa have a risk-adjusted strategy in place to keep all flyers safe. But if you’re still having cold feet, we have put together some useful information for when you travel post lockdown.

The thought of welcoming guests back into our hotels, lodges and camps brings us all sorts of emotions! We’ve been waiting patiently and preparing for your arrival. All accommodations, restaurants and attractions are operating within regulations and are thrilled to have you come hang out with our local people and wildlife. Our operators are fully equipped to receive you and your families and cannot wait to give you their undivided attention and offer you the 5-star luxury that cannot compare to anywhere else.

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Silo Hotel

Luxury Golf And Wine Tour South Africa Franschoek 2

Our staff are ready to make your stay the most memorable; our guides cannot wait to show you the bush and its exquisite wildlife and our chefs are busy preparing to cook up a storm for you! The Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Travel Safe-Eat Safe protocols and programme has been implemented across the tourism sector to ensure the safe reopening of the industry.

For those who have postponed their stay, we hope these videos inspire some wanderlust!

Our beaches, winelands and wilderness await you to grace us with your presence once again! The opening up of our borders will unite and reignite after what seems like way too much time apart! We hope to have you on the viewing decks soon, ice-cold G&T in hand and sun setting over the horizon.

Take a look at these amazing once-in-a-lifetime safari tours we have put together to help you to see more of our spectacular country.

Africa’s Cape of Desire

Singita Safari Splendour

Great Value Golf & Wine Tour

Premier Wine & Gold Tour

With Zambia and Zimbabwe opening their borders too, these tours are also now options:

The Royal Romance

Luxury Safari Classic

Africa’s Family Getaway

If you have any questions at all about your travels please feel free to get in touch with us.

Tips for Travelling Post Covid

As things slowly return to a new ‘normal’ and the tourism industry resumes operations, locals can now feel like tourists close to home as we wait for international travel to bounce back from Covid-19 restrictions. As we take to the open road with enthusiasm, bags packed, holiday playlist at hand or board local flights, many will soon be checking in at one of South Africa’s most luxurious accommodations with few foreigners in sight.

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Luxury Safari Kruger Park

Iconic-Africa-Luxury-Kruger-National-Park-safaris-4

But before you experience the comforting buzz of a lodge or hotel lobby, let us remind you of some health and safety tips that are here to stay to make your vacation less stressful. While the entire world has implemented best practice such as requiring customers to wear a mask, promoting social distancing, using online or contactless reservations, check-ins and contactless payments as well as enhanced cleaning procedures, these tips will let you look forward to your getaway with optimism and excitement …

Entering public spaces:
Wear a mask.
Avoid close contact from anyone who is not from your household.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol).
Avoid contact with anyone who is showing flu or cold symptoms.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Continue reading “Tips for Travelling Post Covid”

Time to Switch Off and Reconnect With Nature

Zambia African Safari Destination - a haven for relaxation with soaking tubs overlooking the landscape

“I feel as though the cardboard box of my own reality has been flattened and blown open. Now I can see the edge of the world.” Tom Hiddleston

It’s time to log off and put your devices down. With lockdown lasting longer than we’d like, we have all become hyper-connected to our screens as we depend on it to stay distracted, connected with friends, family and work remotely.

We already live in a world where technology is taking over more of our time and attention, but how do we turn off when we rely so much on our devices? With social distancing and isolation in place, reaching for our phone, tablet, laptop or TV remote has become a coping mechanism for many. But with local travel reopening, you can now trade in checking emails for some much needed time in the bush!

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

At Iconic Africa, we believe that “switching off” and getting in touch with real-life is imperative to our wellbeing. Doing this in our world’s most primitive natural habitat (the African Wilderness or as we call it here… the “Bush”) can only speed up and enhance your experience. As the world heals, we need to heal too! Experience the primordial rhythms of Africa and let it resonate back home; let the stunning landscapes and sceneries of the Kruger infuse into your mind and heart; appreciate the sustainable bounties of the African bush from 5-star gourmet meals to signature cocktails; let your heart be guided by yoga and meditation; meet new, life-long friends who will become family; and reconnect to your true self and bond with your loved ones in a way that can only happen in the bush.

Some wisdom:

The more technology takes over our lives the more nature we need…

Humans are hard-wired to love and thrive in nature (and more specifically in the endless space of dusty savannahs)

The bush makes us feel alive – it awakens all our senses

It has the ability to heal the heart, mind and body

The beauty of the African wilderness makes us more efficient, inspired and creative

It can reduce depression and improve psychological wellbeing

Animal-human interaction builds social bonds and grounds us

Nature bonds families and friends

Now that we know why it is important here a few tips on how to digitally de-power on Safari:

The minute you leave the airport and head for your luxury safari destination turn off everything digital except your camera.

Make an effort to do things you wouldn’t normally do and do them at a slower more leisurely pace i.e. take a long bath, read a book, go for a long walk, sit and watch the beautiful African sunrise and listen to the sounds of the bush waking up.

Be aware and observe like a scientist! Immerse yourself in your surroundings and connect with the present by learning as much as you can about your exciting new
environment.

Meditate to the sounds of the African bush this will create clarity and calm the mind in a way you didn’t know was possible.

Relax, sleep and let Africa spoil and treat you in a way you have never been treated before.

Sarah Graham Visits Magical Marataba

Recent traveller, close friend and distinguished chef, Sarah Graham has returned from some much needed time in the bush with her family. The Grahams visited the luxurious Marataba Safari Lodge – a magical retreat just a short drive away from Johannesburg.

This easily accessible escape to one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets is the perfect family getaway! It is malaria-free and combines luxury, adventure and intimacy with wildlife like no other.

This private lodge is the perfect place to make new memories with your loved ones. Sarah has very kindly shared with us some of the highlights of their trip as well as some delightful pictures below.

Was it easy to get to Marataba from Joburg?
It was a totally effortless drive! We made it from door to door in about three hours, and it’s just such an amazing feeling to be on the open roads and heading out of town.

Marataba Safari Lodge Entrance

What was your first impression of Marataba?
As you inch closer to the Waterberg Mountains it’s an incredible feeling, they have a magic all of their own, and that carries through all the way to the Lodge and the warm welcome on arrival.

What were the staff like?
Besides the magical backdrop of the mountains, the bush and its abundance of wildlife, the team at Marataba add a special touch that makes you feel instantly at home. We arrived as eager strangers from the city and feel like we left as real friends.

What was the accommodation like?
We loved our family room! Nestled amongst the trees, with big views over the bush and looking up to the mountains it has incredible tranquillity, and the girls loved having their own room, bunk bed and bathroom. The accommodation is luxurious, spacious, carefully thought out but still comfortable. We didn’t want to leave.

Were there activities and entertainment for your kids?
Our girls loved every minute of their time in the Eco Garden! Thembi looked after them with such sincere care and fun – even little 2-year-old Emily was completely happy there, and they got stuck into everything from cookie making to popcorn eating, spoor crafting and lots in between.

What did they think of the lodge?
The girls were awed by the beautiful setting, the giant Camelthorn Tree on the front lawn that stretches out to the bush, waterhole and mountains beyond really does sweep you off your feet. They even had a little dip in the pool one day, despite mid-winter temperatures.

Do you recommend it as a relaxing family getaway for both parents and kids?
Completely, we would go back in a heartbeat.

What was your best sighting?
Not just our best sighting at Marataba, but definitely in our lives were two fully-grown male Cheetah on a Warthog kill, we were all entranced from the very first moment. We also can’t speak highly enough of our guide Hugh who was patient, fun with our kids, informative and just an all-round legend.

What will be your forever memory of your trip to Marataba?
So many things! Besides the epic cheetah kill, the sight of the dusty pink mountains in the evenings and our girls playing in a nearby riverbed while we have sundowners will probably stay with us forever.

For more information on Marataba and the incredible specials they are offering to South African locals get in touch with one of our team members and start planning your next local family bush vacation.

Our Top 5 Live Safaris

The African bush may seem a distant dream or memory right now… but it doesn’t have to be like that! We have chosen 5 of our favourite Live Safaris to bring the bush and its animals into your living room in a heartbeat.

While we may not be able to see the wildlife in person and capture its beauty, our favourite guides bring the Big 5 and so much more straight to our screens, and the experience cannot be more real. Interact with the guides through the comments and let your kids ask some questions too… You don’t need to let travel bans keep you and your family from adrenaline-boosting experiences in the back of a 4×4 as you make your way through the dusty paths of the bush… as the sun sets and the cicadas sing ? Need we say more.

You can definitely add this to your daily routine and turn it into some quality family-time as these awesome guides bring us exciting news in real-time, from returning pups, to cub sightings to hunts and so much more.

Join WildEarth on their safariLIVE channel for sunrise and sunset safaris. This award-winning, expert hosted show is broadcast directly from the African wilderness into your home. You can even interact with an expert game ranger in real-time. Join your guide in a safari vehicle, on foot, in a balloon and remote cams as they search for prey and predators alike. Our close friend and expert ranger James Hendry is one of the crew!

1. WILDWATCH LIVE
&BEYOND WILDwatch LIVE brings the wilderness to you. Join the live stream twice-daily, three-hour-long game drives from &BEYOND Ngala Private Game Reserve, &BEYOND Phinda Private Game Reserve, Djuma Private Game Reserve, Tswalu and Pridelands Conservancy.

How to ask questions on WILDwatch LIVE

Adult questions: Morning and afternoon drives

Twitter: Post your question followed by the hashtag #wildearth
Youtube: Ask your question in the chatbox on the right-hand side

WILDchild (children’s) questions:
Afternoon kiddies drive (first 45min of afternoon safaris): Email kidsquestions@wildearth.tv



2. LONDOLOZI VIRTUAL SAFARIS
Londolozi never fails to excite and stimulate viewers with their thrilling virtual safaris. From rescuing a trapped honey badger to sighting missing wild dog pups, experience the best the Sabi Sands has to offer from your couch!

3. TSWALU ECOLIVE
Tswalu EcoLive is also in collaboration with WildEarth TV and is an interactive virtual safari showcasing the best wildlife action and animal encounters direct from the field, as they unfold in real-time. Tswalu’s experienced field guides are out on the reserve daily, hosting morning and afternoon game drives with a dedicated WildEarth camera crew. They are on a mission to track down the rare and iconic species of the southern Kalahari and to introduce you to Tswalu’s characterful meerkats.

You can find Tswalu EcoLive broadcasts on the below platforms sites:
YouTube
Twitter
Website

4. MARATABA VIRTUAL SAFARI DIARIES
Marataba South Africa Virtual Safari Diaries helps stay-at-home safari-goers learn some fascinating facts about their reserve on bush-walks with Field Guides Helen Mertens and Mitchel Bloem.

5. CHITWA CHITWA LIVE SAFARIS
Join Chitwa Chitwa Private Game Lodge on a Live Safari as they adventure through the South African bush in search for some leopards, lions and zebras!

Let us know what has been your favourite virtual safari over this time or if there are any other great ones that you have loved?

James Hendry is Now Married

We’re back with the follow-up to our most loved blog – Is James Hendry married? Unfortunately (for his die-hard fans), our dear friend, ranger and Wild Earth-star is now married. Iconic Africa catches up with him about his better half, his beautiful wedding and life in the bush during lockdown. Scroll down to see what he has to say and don’t forget to catch him on his live safaris here.

Q: Can you tell us who the lucky lady is?
A: Lucky is an entirely subjective term. The poor girl Who has acquiesced to hanging around me until one of us shuffles off this mortal coil, is Kirsten Hendry (née McLennan-Smith).

Q: Where did you meet her?
A: She was a director of the wild earth shows and as such used to be in my ear more or less permanently. This was excellent preparation for marriage.

Q: Where did you have your wedding?
A: At a place in the KZN midlands called Brahman Hills…there were many cattle and much fun was had by all except my nephew and mother in law who got gastrio but that’s not a story for here.

Q: What was it like?
A: Terrifying, wonderful, permanent

Q: Can you give us an update on what you are doing now?
A: We (my good wife and I) are trying to create and sell wildlife shows with a humorous bent to broadcasters. Mostly I’m trying to keep my wife sweet (she is a redhead so I must tread carefully)

Q: Tell us a little about the Wild Earth journey over the last 3 months?
A: Lockdown WildEarth was an extraordinary honour…being part of the show during this unprecedented human crisis felt important because we were taking the healing power of nature into peoples homes. This is the fIrst time in history that the human species as a whole has faced the same immediate threat. I think people took comfort from the unchanging ways of nature…perhaps made them see that ‘this too shall pass’

Q: What was your best sighting during this time?
A: An elephant sighting one Sunday afternoon where a young bull spent ten minutes feeding just 2 meters from me. He was so close I couldn’t take a picture. He was so relaxed that it brought tears to my eyes…his inviting me into his space was profound.

Q: Are there any other dashing guides that your fans should keep an eye out for?
A: No. I will become jealous.

Q: Any tips for your fans who are really missing the bush right now?
A: Watch WildEarth…I’ll be back on the 21st of June. Go into the Garden and watch the birds…there is a whole wilderness suspended above our cities in the trees. Appreciate the indomitable spirit of the grass pushing through the pavement or the gecko on your wall.

Q: Where to next for James Hendry?
A: You’ll have to ask my wife.

If you’d like to see more of him… and his work, visit his Instagram and Facebook pages 🙂