The Perfect Winter Tour – Durban, Cape Town & Phinda

Spend 11 days and 10 nights in KZN, Durban and Cape Town 

Iconic Africa presents an outstanding Winter Special across two fantastic South African cities. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime all-inclusive safari before heading to Umhlanga Ridge and enjoying a relaxing 4 days at the 5* Oyster Box that has direct access to a beautiful piece of beach and offers world-class cuisine. End off in the Mother City. The striking ocean views set the stage for a memorable stay in Cape Town. Wake to the sound of gentle waves breaking on the shore before embarking on a day of exploration.

Day 1 – 4  &BEYOND PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Described as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder’, &Beyond Phinda encompasses an impressive 28 555 hectares (70 560 acres) of prime Big Five wilderness in KwaZulu-Natal. This Reserve comprises seven distinct habitats – from dry sand forest to wetland systems and mountain ranges. Catch a glimpse of the shy suni antelope, track rhino in the bushveld, observe breeding herds of elephant in fever tree forests, hold your breath as a cheetah teaches her cubs to hunt, glide past hippo on the Mzinene River and marvel at the gracious nyala. Phinda is home to more than 3 000 of these rare antelope.

Accommodation: andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge

  • Complimentary road transfer from King Shaka International Airport to Phinda (approx 3hrs)
  • 3 nights at Phinda Forest Lodge (Fully Inclusive)
  • Wild Child Programme for the children
  • Safari activities,
  • 1-hour nature walks accompanied by experienced armed trackers (subject to availability),
  • Daily Morning and afternoon game drive

Day 4 -7  UMHLANGA

Located on the eastern coast of South Africa, just outside of the port city of Durban, Umhlanga Rocks, also referred to as Umhlanga, is a popular seaside resort town. The tropical weather and lush vegetation make this an enticing holiday destination attracting visitors from all over the world. Umhlanga and its surrounds feature golden-sand beaches stretching over 200 kilometres, endless sugarcane fields and the rolling verdant landscape of the Valley of 1000 Hills. It is the perfect location for ocean enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike, with great opportunities for diving, swimming, scuba diving, whale watching, dolphin viewing, deep-sea fishing and kiteboarding. Don’t miss Umhlanga’s excellent golf courses; they are a real treat for the avid golfer.

Accommodation: The Oyster Box 

  • Road transfer to The Oyster Box Hotel 
  • 3 nights accommodation at The Oyster Box Hotel (B&B) * 3rd night is free!

Day 7 – 11  CAPE TOWN 

Without question one of the world’s most spectacular cities, Cape Town sits on the southwestern edge of Africa and nestles beautifully between the two national heritage sites of the infamous Robben Island and the iconic “New 7 natural wonders of the world” member, Table Mountain. Cape Town is undoubtedly a destination in itself but also the holidaymaker’s gateway to the African continent. Perhaps in your own time, you’d prefer to relax peacefully on tranquil beaches, stroll along the promenade, hike up “Lions Head” or visit The Houses of Parliament set picturesquely in the Company Gardens? Or for those looking for a bit more of a buzz and some retail therapy visit the shops, restaurants and lavish hotels of V&A Waterfront.

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Waterfront

  • Transfer to King Shaka International Airport
  • Scheduled flight to Cape Town
  • Transfer to hotel
  • 4 nights accommodation 

A world of endless experiences:

The beauty of Cape Town is not restricted to the city alone. Cape Town’s proximity to a number of incredible destinations makes short day trips to the likes of the Cape Winelands, Cape Point, Hermanus and the Garden Route an absolute must!

We recommend seeing:

Private Peninsula tour

Wine estates that are child-friendly such as Blauuwklippen, Seidelberg, and Fairview, 

Eagle Encounters at Spier Estate 

Cheetah Outreach 

Camps Bay

Seal Island Hout Bay

Chapman’s Peak

Boulders Penguin Colony

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Includes:

  • Road transfer from King Shaka International Airport to Phinda (approx 3hrs)
  • 3 nights at Phinda Forest Lodge (FI)
  • Road transfer to The Oyster Box Hotel ( approx 3 hrs)
  • 3 nights accommodation at The Oyster Box Hotel (B&B)
  • Transfer to King Shaka International Airport
  • Scheduled flight to Cape Town
  • Transfer to hotel
  • 4 nights accommodation at The Radisson Blu Waterfront (B&B)

Excludes:

  • Meals, drinks and laundry not specified in the itinerary or as outlined in the Includes
  • Premium brand drinks, champagne, cognacs, cellar wines, cigars and cigarettes
  • Gratuities and any items of a personal nature
  • Sightseeing and excursions not specified in the itinerary
  • Flights and transfers not specified in the itinerary
  • National parks and concession fees not specified in the itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees (please be sure to check if visas are required)
  • International flights

 

Find out more about this tour here. 

https://digital.iconicafrica.com/Itinerary/Landing/d66bad8a-59a4-4a77-9b00-fc19713b71ff

 

Top Game Parks in Africa 

Are you returning to Africa on safari or visiting us for the first time? Choosing which country to safari in can be an intimidating task, and deciding on a national park can be an even bigger conundrum. Africa is the world’s second-largest continent and is famous for its luxury safaris. Surrounded by adjacent islands, Africa offers a plethora of tour options and premier national parks, ideal for game viewing, adventure activities and hosts a number of luxury accommodations. 

These national parks are the epitome of how you have always imaged Africa, each offering something different, yet equally worthy of your stay. Many have private game reserves within the park ready to give you the experience of a lifetime and satisfy your travel cravings as you marvel at the unimaginable vistas. We have compiled a bite-size list of our favourite national parks in Africa to make your work less and choice easier. 

 

Botswana

Okavango Delta – Take a canoe trip down the channel with your loved one and try spotting elephants along the banks. Lodges in the Okavango Delta offer wonderful activities such as water safaris, game drives, boat rides and fishing. 

Botswana Safaris Okavango Safaris Okavango Delta

Chobe National Park Experience one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. See giant elephant herds and the rest of the big five as they roam along the banks of the Chobe River on your Botswana Safari. Famous for its jaw-dropping predator sightings Chobe is not to be missed!

Kenya 

Masai Mara National Reserve – Wherever you go in the Mara, the one certain thing is that you’ll see an astonishing amount of game, often in one place at one time. This exquisite ecosystem boasts one of the highest densities of animals in the world with 95 mammal species and 570 bird species recorded. You may think you’ve seen it all, but I can guarantee you that a visit to the Masai Mara is the safari of a lifetime. From the mating habits of lions to the displaying characteristics of the crowned cranes, to the quirky behaviour of the male wildebeest, to the idiosyncrasies of the local Maasai people. 

Choose between 1 of 5 of our spectacular accommodations

Rwanda 

Volcanoes National Park – Although the lush green forests of Rwanda offer a challenge for adventurous guests, a gorilla trek is certainly a magical experience and one that is not to be missed. Encounters with these majestic animals in Volcanoes National Park is exceptionally and powerfully moving.

Stay at Bisate Lodge

South Africa

Madikwe Game ReserveMadikwe is widely recognised as one of the premier luxury safari destinations in Southern Africa. Madikwe Private Game Reserve has become world-famous for its Lion, African Wild Dog and Big 5 viewing.

The Kruger National Park – The Kruger National Park is the largest reserve in South Africa. Visit Sabi Sands, Timbavati Private Game Reserve or Kruger National Park Private Concessions for a guaranteed incredible safari and luxury accommodation. 

Tanzania 

Serengeti National Park – Here you can find the Big 5 on your classic safari, elusive big cats and witness the Great Migration all while staying at one of these beautiful accommodations. 

Ngorongoro Crater – The Ngorongoro Crater is an iconic natural wonder of the world. Once an enormous volcano, it is now the world’s largest intact caldera volcano formed over 2 million years ago. This phenomenally game-rich crater is an ecosystem within itself and is a fertile paradise for plains game and predators alike. 

Zambia 

Liuwa Plain – the Liuwa Plain offers unrivalled access to incredible wildlife, bird-sightings and wildflower blooms that you will see on any day and night game drives, walking safaris, or bird watching. However, the real magic of Liuwa Plain is the 30 000 – 40 000 wildebeest seen in the area from June when they start their migration from the area around camp to the north of the National Park. 

Stay at King Lewanika  

Lower Zambezi – This spectacular region draws travellers in with its world-famous composite of abundant wildlife, natural beauty and bucket-list-worthy activities such as fishing, canoeing safaris and sleep-outs.

Stay at Chongwe 

Chongwe Zambia - Tempt your taste buds with Zambia_s fine cuisine

South Luangwa National Park – South Luangwa is Zambia’s premier national park and wildlife destination. It is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, covering 9,050 km2. The park is unfenced and bordered by a steep escarpment to the west and by the Luangwa River to the east.

Stay at Mchenja Bush Camp.
Mchenja Zambia South Luangwa - The style and comfort of the suites make you feel like an early explorer on an authentic safari

If you’ve already decided where you want to safari on your next trip to Africa, enquire about an itinerary with one of our team members here.

Iconic Africa partners with African Conservation Expeditions 

Iconic Africa is proud to partner with African Conservation Expeditions, a first of its kind initiative that combines real conservation work with high-end luxury safaris. 

This unique conservation company was established by well-known conservationist, Cole du Plessis, and Wallabies rugby legend, Dane Haylett-Petty. The motivation that drives this initiative is the raising of funds for the critical, ongoing conservation work needed to save some of Africa’s most endangered species.

The expeditions are hosted by conservation specialists who introduce guests to the areas where intervention is necessary to sustain Africa’s most wild and threatened species. 

The current focal points include the Kalahari region, North-West, Limpopo and the Greater Kruger National Park. The extent and diversity of these areas ensure that each expedition is both unique and thrilling.    

50% of the proceeds from these expeditions are directed to the Endangered Wildlife Trust – an NGO that has dedicated over 45 years to saving Africa’s wildlife and habitats.

African Conservation Expeditions focuses on threatened species that include: African Wild Dog, Lion, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Cheetah, Elephants and Pangolins. Most threats are human-induced and involve poaching, disease, persecution and roadkill.

Step into an action movie as you help monitor and observe; fit tracking collars onto key individuals; administer vaccines; collect genetic samples, and removing snares where necessary. 

Once the conservation objectives are achieved, guests have plenty of time to relax, reflect on their experiences, and enjoy the facilities of some of the most exclusive and most luxurious lodges South Africa has to offer. The luxury of the rooms, the exquisite food, the beautiful views and the inviting swimming pools create the ideal atmosphere for some well-deserved relaxation. 

Contact the Iconic team to find out more on how you can help make a difference to wildlife on your next luxury safari in Africa here

Iconic Africa’s Top 10 tours for 2020

There are so many different holiday-makers, from couples seeking a luxury escape, families that need different ages catered for and solo travellers seeking adventure. And… so many variables to consider – connecting flights, accommodation, activities and so on and so on! Taking time to plan your vacation shouldn’t feel like more effort so Iconic Africa has done all the hard work for you and put together some fantastic tours that have the perfect itinerary waiting. We have chosen our top ten tours for 2020 right here: 

 

JOHN’S GREAT VALUE GOLF & WINE SAFARI

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 made while either teeing off at sunrise or toasting to the sunset with an ice-cold beer at a waterhole.  On that note – another great love of his is wine so a combo of golf, bush and wine… really is (in his mind) heaven! John has put together this incredible Golf & Wine Safari 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. Click here for full interactive itinerary.

Value Golf And Wine Tour South Africa 2A

LUXURY LONDOLOZI AFRICAN ADVENTURE

Iconic Africa has crafted the perfect mix of the ultimate in African luxury destinations to bring you the Luxury Londolozi African Adventure.  You’ll begin your trip in the Cape of South Africa at the Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city and then visit La Residence perched on the slopes of the Franschhoek Valley on the world’s most beautiful wine-lands. From there you will travel to the magnificent Londolozi Founders Camp in the exquisite Sabi Sands and then on to  Zambia where you will experience the majesty of Victoria Falls from The Royal Livingstone and lastly to Jao Camp in the midst the wilderness wonderland of the Okavango Delta. Click here for full interactive itinerary.

SAFARI AND ISLAND RETREAT

Southern Africa offers some of the most spectacular coastlines the world over. Iconic Africa has picked boutique luxury on the shores of the raw wild Atlantic and floating in the tropical serenity of the Indian Ocean. Cape Cadogan nestled on the northern slopes of Table Mountain, offers relaxed, family-owned style and luxury – a perfect base from which to explore the awesome beaches, gastronomy and viticulture of the Cape. Azura Benguerra, in the cobalt warm waters of the Indian Ocean, offers a new level of fresh sophistication, seclusion and serenity on pristine beaches and unspoilt reefs. In between these, Londolozi Private Granite Suites offer you discerning and opulent hospitality combined with the world’s best leopard viewing. Click here for full interactive itinerary

AFRICA’S CAPE OF DESIRE

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. Click here for full interactive itinerary

AFRICA’S FAMILY GETAWAY

Africa’s Family Getaway is the ultimate luxury bespoke family holiday. It is full of excitement, adventure and fun while maintaining an indulgent level of sumptuous luxury. It is also completely safe for young children. The One&Only Cape Town is perfectly placed and appointed to accommodate your family in luxury while being an excellent launch pad to the delights of the Cape. Lelapa is malaria-free and by far the premier luxury safari camp for families with a quite exceptional children’s programme amidst the gorgeous wilderness and opulent accommodation. Likewise, Tongabezi is specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance. Click here for full interactive itinerary

THE ROYAL ROMANCE

Africa is the continent of safari, wilderness and adventurous escapades but infused into all of this is an unmistakable and ancient romance. Iconic Africa’s Royal Romance combines the beauty, wilderness, adventure and pioneering excitement of Africa with four destinations that define supreme luxury permeated with complete privacy and opulent romance. Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. La Residence is the jewel of Franschoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion. Click here for full interactive itinerary

LUXURY VIC FALLS & BOTSWANA

In the Luxury Vic Falls & Botswana Safari, Iconic Africa has created the ultimate safari for those wishing to explore Victoria Falls, one of the original natural wonders of the world, and Botswana’s unbelievable wildlife areas. The Elephant Camp –has breath-taking views of the Victoria Falls’ spray and the spectacular gorges which separate Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is a luxury, intimate lodge under canvas within easy reach of Victoria Falls and all its attractions and activities, yet secluded in its own private game reserve. Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Lodge is situated in Chobe National Park which boasts the largest remaining population of the iconic African elephant. Botswana’s only fully serviced safari spa offers sweet repose in the heat of the midday. Selinda Camp is found in the Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana along the eastern banks of the Selinda Spillway, near the confluence of the Linyanti, Savute and Kwando Rivers. At the peak of the dry season, this concession boasts elephants by the thousands and regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs.  Click here for full interactive itinerary

Selinda Explorers Camp

AFRICA’S LUXURY SAFARI CLASSIC

In Africa’s Luxury Safari Classic, Iconic Africa handpicks the quintessential essence of luxury southern Africa – the boutique opulence, the Out of Africa safari experience and the adventure of legend. The Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city – is bountiful comfort while the city has natural beauty, gastronomic delight and heart-wrenching history in abundance. Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is a sumptuous safari in the world-famous Kruger National Park. The Royal Livingstone Hotel, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, in the spray of the Victoria Falls is a luxurious launching pad for the natural spectacles and adventures of the falls.   Click here for full interactive itinerary

LUXURY EAST AFRICAN ADVENTURE

This tour as its name suggest is a grand tour of East Africa. From the colonial opulence of Hemingways Nairobi to the breathtaking views and exceptional service at Angama Mara, to the ultimate safari at Singita Faru Faru, to the pearly whites sands of andBeyond’s Mnemba Island Lodge in Zanzibar. Only the very best in East African hospitality, classic safari experiences, sumptuous luxury and unbelievable wildlife encounters await you.

JOHN’S PREMIER WINE & GOLF TOURS

Iconic Africa Director, John Holley’s three passions in life are golf, the bush and wine – 3 of life’s finest treats! He’s been lucky enough to spend much of his life dedicated to these 3 passions and exploring all that South Africa has to offer – which fortunately for him – is a great deal! He’s hand-picked his favourite destination and put them together for you here in his ultimate golf and wine safari. Explore the historical panorama route, the sensational Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, the Mother City, the coastal town of Hermanus and the rolling hills in Franschhoek and George.  These will no doubt be some of the best 15 days of your life – and full of wine, wildlife and golf they will be! Click here for full interactive itinerary.

Premier Golf and Safari Tour Fancourt

Fly Direct from JFK to Cape Town

Cape Town has always been a popular travel destination – here’s why! This beautiful city has been voted Best City in the World for 7 consecutive years by thousands of Telegraph readers. 

Located in one of the top countries in Africa for safari, vacationers come from all over to stopover in Cape Town for the luxury accommodation, plethora of eateries and coffee shops, the beautiful beaches and endless sightseeing.

But the journey from the U.S. to Cape Town has always been quite long and often required a lengthy stopover.

But no longer! United Airlines now offers new direct flights between New York and Cape Town with flight plans running from 15 December 2019. This is a paramount moment for the Western Cape as the United States is one of the Western Cape’s biggest tourism markets. 

Now you don’t have to wait to see Table Mountain, Camps Bay beach strip,  tandem paraglide off Lion’s Head or visit dozens of tourist hotspots! With United Airlines’ introduction of the first long-haul flight between the U.S and Cape Town, holiday-makers will find their journey much quicker and simpler. This new 3-times-per-week direct flight will reduce travel time by at least 4 hours and have you photographing the contrasting sceneries in no time.

If long flights and unnecessary layovers have kept you in two-minds – now is your chance to book your seat. Be one of those passengers directly on their way to Cape Town International Airport and book Africa’s Cape of Desire tour. As its name suggests, it 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. 

Jake Cefolia, United’s senior vice president of Worldwide Sales, said ‘We look forward to offering our customers easier access to South Africa’s growing tourism industry and enabling business opportunities between the United States and the Western Cape’s technology sector.’

Find return ticket prices from United Airline’s website.

A Whirlwind Adventure

Deborah and Jim Mills have just settled back in New Zealand after an unforgettable trip to Africa. They went on a whirlwind adventure from North Eastern Tanzania to the award-winning Londolozi. They certainly had a magical trip and plan to return in 2021. Deb and Jim have very kindly shared some of their experiences from their trip and a few tips for those visiting soon:

“Iconic Africa did it again! A trip to Africa that felt like something out of a National Geographic production. Absolutely awesome.” – Bev Mills 

“We fell in love with the bush 12 years ago in the Sabi Sands on an excursion offered after a conference. Our first sighting was a giraffe ambling across the road, later came the elephants, leopards and lions. We only stayed four nights, but immediately began to plan our return. While sitting in the Federal Air terminal, I picked up a book, “I Speak of Africa” by Shan Varty and Molly Buchanon, and I was hooked. It was clear that Londolozi had to be part of our next trip, and it has continued to be the anchor to our travels on each of our visits. It was at Londolozi that we met John Holley, now of Iconic Africa, who introduced us to the fabulous bush, as well as South African hospitality. Subsequently, the Iconic Africa team has planned many more adventures for us, always choosing the perfect lodges and locations.

Our trip this year in late July, early August, to Tanzania and South Africa was spectacular. We stayed at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, the Mara River Camp and Faru Faru in Tanzania, and Tswalu and Londolozi in South Africa.

There were so many highlights. The trip to Arusha National Park provided the opportunity to photograph the colobus monkeys, and to see an albino baboon. Our guide, Antony Kivuko, positioned us perfectly so that we could spend an extended period photographing the monkeys, with no one else around.

It was our second visit to the Mara River Tented Camp, and it felt like coming home. The people there are special. Herman Charles, our butler/waiter, was a pure delight, teaching us phrases in Swahili and treating us like members of the family. Benson Mboya, our ranger, got us into the perfect position for each of the crossings. The crossings were an amazing experience. We could not believe the number of wildebeest in the Serengeti, and we saw at least half of the three million. We felt like we were in a National Geographic moment. Another highlight was seeing a herd of sixteen elephants crossing the Mara River. After watching the frenzied crossing of the wildebeest, the elephants were majestic and graceful, a sight that we will never forget. For anyone who wants to see the migration and a river crossing, The Mara River Camp is the perfect location.

Faru Faru provides a great opportunity to see the Serengeti Plains. We would definitely like to stay there longer next time. There were two special sightings at Faru Faru, the tree-climbing lions and the zebra migration at the water hole. It is also a great spot to view cheetahs.

Tswalu is very different, with the red sand desert and rocky mountains. It is a great place to see pangolin, aardvark, bat-eared foxes and meerkats. They let you get out of the range rover and follow the pangolin and aardvark on foot. For the meerkats, you arrive early in the morning, just as they are beginning to come out of the dens and acclimate to the cold. You are also able to get out of the vehicle to observe and photograph them. Winter is a great time to go because the nocturnal animals are out earlier and are easier to find. Tswalu also has a number of wild dogs, as well as cheetah, lions and rhino.

Our final stop was Londolozi, which never disappoints. There were leopards everywhere, as usual. The leaves were not out on many trees, making it excellent for photographing leopards. Seeing the three Birmingham male lions, along with the Ntsevu lionesses and cubs walk by the land rover was breathtaking. On our last day, we had the opportunity to view a cheetah, much to the delight of all. Londolozi is still is the best for consistent wildlife viewing that we have experienced, in terms of both variety and density. However, it is not only the wildlife that makes Londolozi special. The people, the culture and the environment all contribute to the magic of the place. Our guide, Alex Jordan, is an excellent photographer and he gave us new tips and also helped us edit photos in the studio. Our tracker, Lucky, was excellent, always able to read the tracks and the signs to find the elusive leopard. Pioneer is our favourite camp, and Trevor and Tais made us feel right at home.

And lastly…

Bev Van Schoor of Iconic Africa has repeatedly developed itineraries that have exceeded our dreams, as well as our expectations. We are so thankful for Bev’s patience and attention to detail that makes this experience absolutely worry-free. Thank you, Bev. We are looking forward to our next adventure.”

A big thank you to Deb and Jim – we look forward to having you back on African soil in 2021…

2020 Top Travel Trends 

A lot can happen in a year – this is certainly true in travel trends across the world. Most of them for the better – such as more family vacations, reducing carbon footprints and taking things down a notch with the concept of ‘slow travel’. We bring you the 8 latest travel trends expected for the coming year as people transcend their comfort zone and prioritise international vacations…

 

Sustainable Travel in 2020 

This is the year where travellers and operators become increasingly conscious of their impact on the earth. With the growing concern of climate change, decreasing numbers of wildlife and community sustainability, Africa not only offers some of the world’s most pristine, untouched areas, but is active in the initiative to preserve these. This year the focus continues on conserving the land, the wildlife and local communities. This is the new standard within the safari industry without compromising luxury as seen at Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Almost a year old, Singita Kwitonda Lodge was designed in response to this purpose and its remarkable location offering environmentally-conscious luxury. 

Multiple Countries 

More travellers are spending less time in one country and coupling it with two additional countries to explore. They are looking at more cross-country tours that have short connecting flights and different experiences. 

andbeyond-chobe-under-canvas-game_drive-sunset

Culinary Adventures

While most travellers have previously considered accommodation, tourist attractions and transport; food and wine have become the deciding factor in many recent travel choices. Tasty local food and house wines are essential to planning a trip and more cooking classes, local dining and fresh produce markets will be booked and visited as part of the experience. This year travellers will go beyond 5-star restaurants and instead pre-book more authentic foodie tours. If you’re heading to Cape Town – Franschhoek should definitely be on your to-see list as this culinary capital surely knows how to tantalise tastebuds. 

Group Travel 

Taking heed from the solo travel trend, travellers are looking for people with the same interests to experience a country in a group. This offers the opportunity to meet new people who want to connect with like-minded individuals in a safe environment. Because of this, there is an increase in female-only travel groups and buddymoons and group bookings for friend-adventures. 

Slow Travel 

More of an antidote to the craze of every day, an increasing number of tourists are getting away to rejuvenate their mind, body and soul rather than tick off an action-packed itinerary that leaves little time for reflection. Some of the top activities being booked are bicycle trips through mountains and vineyards, visiting local markets and spending time in small towns such as Franschhoek. Others will opt for horseback rides or village tours that will keep them occupied and relaxed while escaping the reality they have momentarily left behind. 

Milestone Celebrations

More families and friends are booking out entire accommodations for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions. This is particularly the case with luxury safari destinations such as the Kruger National Park and Botswana. 

All about Aesthetic

When you step into an architectural masterpiece, you know it and it leaves you speechless for your entire stay. Increased bookings are based on the sensory overload of the accommodation such as Baraza, Tanzania where you will spend your free time taking in every little detail from the oriental-inspired pool courtyard to the carefully-chosen interior and decor. 

Zimbabwean Travel Back on the Maps 

Travellers are flocking to Zimbabwe as it has re-emerged as a top safari destination attracting even more tourists in 2020. Best known for its plethora of adrenalin activities and the majestic Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe has so much to offer – from romance to world-class game viewing and superb service.

Seize the day in 2020 and book your African adventure here and now!

An African Romance at Londolozi

Londolozi was voted Best Resort In South Africa: Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2019. No wonder Carmen Shui chose to spend her honeymoon there – in absolute luxury amongst Africa’s most sought-after wildlife and wilderness. This magnificent property exceeds all expectations, but often cannot be described adequately with just words. Carmen has very kindly shared with us some of the breathtaking wildlife photographs that she captured whilst on her romantic stay in the bush. Scroll down here for her full photo story…

Graham Wood Returns to Londolozi 

What better way to end the year than with another remarkable collection of videos taken by our very own, great friend and photographer, @grahamwoodphoto. His wildlife images are always worth a thousand words and his videos inspire the wanderlust in us all. Let these 3 short videos subdue your safari cravings until you make your next trip to Africa to see the wild dogs, leopards and the rest of our exquisite wildlife.

The Western Cape – A guide to good food and wine

The Cape is known for its magnificent mountains, amazing scenery, gorgeous blue oceans, rich history, and, of course, its first-class wines and delicious food. We’ve compiled a list of our four favourite restaurants in the Cape that combine delectable food and award-winning wine.

Franschhoek Kitchen

If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, it is essential to visit the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek is our absolute favourite wine district. We recommend visiting the Franschhoek kitchen at the Holden Manz winery. It has been rated as one of the leading restaurants in Franschhoek and it is regarded as one of South Africa’s culinary hotspots. 

The restaurant is the perfect place to relax and enjoy bistro-style food made from delicious, locally sourced ingredients. Because they are a sustainability farm, they emphasise seasonal ingredients which means that their menu changes regularly. Franschhoek Kitchen also provides beautifully presented picnic baskets filled with absolutely delicious and fresh treats, so that you can enjoy a long summer afternoon resting by the picturesque Franschhoek River. You will also have a chance to try their beautifully fragrant Rosé, their barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and their decadent port-style wines.

Fyndraai Restaurant

At the 320-year-old Solms-Delta estate, you will discover the Fyndraai Restaurant—a restaurant that offers traditional Cape cuisine with a contemporary twist. The dishes aim to promote the assorted culinary heritage of the Cape, and you will therefore find that the dishes showcase European, Asian, and African flavours. Many of the rare and indigenous herbs are grown on the farm. You can opt for the tasty, four-course heritage menu, or you can choose to have a wine pairing menu that lets guests sample six glasses of the estate’s wines and six tasty tapas. The estate also allows guests to picnic on its grounds, and the Fyndraai Restaurant creates delicious picnic hampers for its guests.

Greenhouse (Constantia)

If classic elegance is what you’re after, we suggest visiting the Greenhouse. The cuisine is created by the famous Peter Tempelhoff who emphasises the importance of complementary tastes and aromas. For these chefs, ingredients must have meaning and purpose, and they aim to showcase the beauty of South Africa through their cooking. The menu also features some of the best wines from Constantia, and the restaurant pairs its wines beautifully. Greenhouse welcomes new Head Chef, Farrel Hirsch to its kitchen as of November 2018, and can look forward to Hirsch’s flair for innovation and fresh flavours. 

La Colombe

La Colombe is certainly worth a visit if you want to treat yourself to the ultimate fine dining experience. This spectacular restaurant earned its place among the top 100 restaurants in the world in 2016. The restaurant is situated at the Silvermist wine estate on top of Constantia Nek and it has magnificent views of Constantia Valley and Hout Bay. The chefs use ingredients that are sourced from the restaurant’s own organic gardens and therefore, the menu is also a seasonal one. Each dish is perfectly and beautifully presented, and the vibrant colours and flavours of the dishes combine together to create a unique cuisine adventure. The menu pays tribute to deliciously fresh seafood which is an absolute treat when you’re dining in the Cape.

Complete your safari with tasty food, plated beautifully, overlooking breath-taking views the next time you’re in Cape Town.

10 Things to be Thankful for as Africans

“I am an African not because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.” – Kwame Nkrumah

The African continent holds a very special place in our hearts and how often do we take a few moments to appreciate what we have in our life? Today is the day to give thanks for all those things that make a difference in our daily lives and visiting Africa so incredible.

To those who have never been… we wish that you will visit in the not-too-distant future and that you will come to know and love this amazing place.

In the meantime & in the spirit of thanksgiving here are 10 things we (as African’s) are grateful for:

 

Our People

Special conversations, shared laughs and smiles are parts of every day in Africa. The warmth, humility and courage of its people are overwhelming and infectious!

Our Sunrises and Sunsets

Only the best and most beautiful you could ever imagine. The sky lights up with a thousand splendid colours and imprints on your memory forever.

Our Wildlife

The variety and quantity of wildlife that we share with the continent is sometimes unbelievable. It is an honour to experience these majestic creatures.

Our Food

Always prepared with the utmost care the taste sensations and culinary journeys we are exposed to on a daily basis are out of this world!

Our Culture

This colourful land is bursting with characters, cultures, religions and beliefs aplenty. There is so much to see, to learn and to understand.

Our Landscapes

From savannahs, to mountains, to forests, to beaches to deserts we have it all and it’s ever-changing and always takes your breath away.

The Weather

Summer in South Africa is glorious. It’s hot, it’s humid and the afternoon summer thunderstorms are the best.

Summer Fruit

Pineapples, watermelons, apricots, peaches. All of these juicy edibles make summer totally delicious. 

Our Freedom

Nowhere else will you experience space like in Africa. The middle of nowhere is a real place here and a feeling experienced often on this endless continent!

Braai Time

There’s nothing quite like a braai on a warm afternoon with a few beers and cocktails. 

From all of us at Iconic Africa, Happy Thanksgiving!

Property of the Month – Ngala Safari Camp 

Timbavati is a 53 000-hectare private game reserve which sits on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park. It boasts an astonishing game diversity and offers the opportunity for nature lovers to see the Big 5.

The Reserve was founded in the 1950s when conservationists decided to transform failed farmland into a private game reserve. This incredible success story continued with the dropping of the fences between the private reserve and the famous Kruger National Park to allow the area to form part of a much larger sanctuary. It was, however, the White Lions of the Timbavati that shot this reserve into world acclaim in the 1970s, as people clambered from around the world to visit it in the hope of a glimpse of these rare animals.

Set on this private game reserve bordering Kruger National Park, is this month’s property of the month. This upscale, all-inclusive lodge overlooks a wildlife watering hole and is the essence of pioneering Kruger history combined with sumptuous luxury in a family-friendly environment. 

Ngala Safari Camp is 15 000 hectares of the epic and exclusive Kruger National Park. Tracking an endangered white rhino, through the green summer grass on a golden misty morning allows the ancient African wilderness to restore your soul. Scrumptious pan-African cuisine tantalises your palate on the deck overlooking the camp waterhole or in the boma suspended under the Milky Way’s heavenly canopy.

The exquisite camp

andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge is nestled in the shade of a cool green mopane forest infused with an atmosphere of rich history and the ultimate tranquillity of the African wild. The 21 exquisite thatched cottages are appointed to conjure the inspiration of the brave early naturalists who were so awed by this stunning area. The cottages boast opulent, spacious bathrooms, a bedroom with every possible comfort and a cosy seating area from which to enjoy a sherry or a book about the wonders of Africa.

Each cottage has its own perfectly secluded veranda, shaded by the aromatic mopane woodland that touches the air with a subtle spicy scent. Absorb the peace of the midday on the veranda; sip your favourite cocktail while the glossy starlings and chuckling hornbills forage in the woodland. Alternatively, laze in the crystal waters of the pool overlooking the waterhole where thirsty elephants shake their thirst shaded by an ancient Tamboti tree.

In the middle of the day, browse the extensive collection of Africana – books, jewellery, clothes and tasteful artefacts in the curio shop. Outside the shop, absorb the primordial tranquillity of the Kruger in the sublime calm of the outdoor lounge in the gilded shade of three old fever trees.

At tea time, take refuge in the coolth of the sumptuous lounge and watch a herd of 250 buffalo wind their way down the water’s edge – bulls to roll in the glorious mud, calves to frolic in the shallows.

A true wilderness

Out in the wild, Ngala offers the wildest Kruger experience. The reserve is 15 000 spectacular hectares of exclusive wilderness bisected by the iconic Timbavati River. This ageless river’s picturesque banks are dominated by forests of African giants – mahogany, ebony, fig and boer bean – where Ngala’s confiding leopard find refuge in the deep green and elephants wait out the lazy heat of the lowveld midday. Away from the Timbavati, herds of 600 buffalo gather at the waterholes in the ginger dusk. On the floodplains, prides of up to 25 lions rouse, black-maned males roaring, cubs cavorting in the twilight, lionesses stretching before heading into the night to hunt. As the soft light of the African dawn touches the eastern horizon, and the last hyaena whoops fade into the passing night, packs of wild dogs course onto the clearings to hound the abundant plains game gathered to graze.

Ngala activities

Ngala wilderness activities include adventurous dawn and dusk game drives and gentle walks from camp in the middle of the day. For those wanting to truly communicate with this ancient land, tracking walks in the misty morning to find a white rhino is the ultimate wilderness experience. An experienced ranger and tracker team leads you into the morning on the trail of an endangered white rhino – an experience that will, enchant, re-awaken and enthral every sense.

Fantastic for families

Ngala is specially equipped to offer safe African adventures to children without sacrificing sophisticated luxury and relaxation for parents. The lavish family suite has its own huge pool overlooking the Mapona River, two spacious bedrooms, and a dedicated game ranger. This is ideal for younger families because activities in the wild can be tailor-made to suit the needs of the whole family. The superb cottages are also situated such that parents and children can be close to each other.

Pan-African cuisine

The cuisine at Ngala is as pan-African – flavours and ingredients are drawn from the most gastronomically renowned regions of the continent. You could expect grilled beef from the highveld, succulent vegetables and sweet citrus from the lowveld, seared yellow-tail from the Indian Ocean and Arabian spices all the way from Morocco.

Breakfast and lunch are served overlooking the waterhole and its daily procession of exciting visitors. For dinner, Ngala boasts an impressive boma, centred on a roaring fire, overhung by the cascading African stars and the branches of a huge fever tree where roosting baboons are frequent observers. Dinner in the courtyard bathed by the soft light of 100 golden lanterns, candelabra and crystal glasses gives a sense of the colonial opulence of a bygone era. 

 

5 Iconic Destinations – Luxury Londolozi African Adventure Tour

Discover everything Africa has to offer with this month’s tour of the month. Visit a land of unchartered beauty and experiences, from Londolozi – a place consistently voted amongst the world’s best to an awe-inspiring natural wonder of the world! 

The Luxury Londolozi African Adventure Tour takes you to five Iconic destinations including Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls and Botswana. 

Iconic Africa has crafted the perfect mix. You’ll begin your trip in the Cape of South Africa at the Cape Grace – in the heart of the world’s most beautiful city and then visit La Residence perched on the slopes of the Franschhoek Valley on the world’s most beautiful wine-lands. From there you will travel to the magnificent Londolozi Founders Camp in the exquisite Sabi Sands and then on to Zambia where you will experience the majesty of Victoria Falls from The Royal Livingstone and lastly to Jao Camp in the midst the wilderness wonderland of the Okavango Delta. See the full itinerary below.

THE CAPE GRACE

Cape Town

  • Cape Grace is in the ideal position for you to enjoy all the enchantments of the Mother City including the harbour, yacht basin and Table Mountain.
  • The Cape Grace offers various choices of expansive, luxurious suites and rooms to suit all needs.
  • You are guaranteed to the ultimate opulence.
  • The African Spa offers a full suite of beauty and massage treatments, a gym and a hair salon.
  • Boasting endless panoramic views of the marina, mountain and the Atlantic Ocean

FRANSCHHOEK – LA RESIDENCE

Cape Winelands

  • La Residence is part of the world-beating Royal Portfolio.
  • It brings with it all the luxury, service excellence, scrumptious cuisine and tasteful décor that have become synonymous with this great brand.
  • The hotel is set on an exclusive 30-acre estate surrounded by vineyards and plum orchards with the breath-taking views of the Franschhoek valley beyond.
  • Each suite is an individual masterpiece of sophistication and opulence and filled with original art, antiques and freshly cut flowers.
  • From this spectacular boutique hotel, you can explore the valley, the surrounding farms or cosmopolitan Cape Town further afield.

Accommodation: La Residence

LONDOLOZI FOUNDERS CAMP

Sabi Sands

  • In Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards 2014, Londolozi was named the best hotel in the world!
  • It effortlessly exceeds all expectations on a luxury, hospitality, wilderness and experiential front
  • Londolozi is a feeling, you simply must visit to experience it for yourself.
  • Londolozi Founders Camp is one of Londolozi’s five intimate camps, set under a lush riverine canopy of Jackalberry trees and dotted along the banks of the Sand River.
  • Nestled at the heart of the Sabi Sand Reserve lies Londolozi whose pristine river frontage positioning affords it an abundance of wildlife which has made Londolozi infamous for its incredible game viewing.

VICTORIA FALLS – ROYAL LIVINGSTONE HOTEL, ZAMBIA

Victoria Falls

  • The Royal Livingstone is situated in the heart of the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls.
  • It radiates Victorian elegance and local charm.
  • The luxurious Afro-chic rooms are generous spaces each with their own secluded terrace and view over the Zambezi.
  • Endless adventures and activities to explore.
  • One of the best sundowner spots as dusk turns the fall’s mist a golden pin

THE OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA – WILDERNESS SAFARIS

Botswana

  • The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena which supports an intimidating diversity of iconic African wildlife.
  • Wilderness Safaris pioneered luxury safaris in this patchwork water wonderland with either water or land-based camps.
  • At Jao you might spend a full day out on a mokoro (dugout canoe) enjoying a picnic on an island in the shade of an ancient fig tree.
  • All the way through your Okavango escapade, you will enjoy delicious cuisine prepared by the dedicated staff at Wilderness Safaris.

Accommodation: Jao Camp

Within Six Feet of Rhinos

Our very own Terri Abadi has just had yet another unforgettable, heart-stopping encounter at our precious Londolozi. This time she was up close to five magnificent rhinos… on foot!

For a sneak peek of this incredible experience watch the video below or read on for more.  

 

“Less than two weeks ago I was within six feet of five rhinos. But I wasn’t in a Land Rover, nor was I safely tucked away in a viewing hide. 

No, I was on foot, crouched motionless next to a Knobthorn acacia tree with my ranger, fervently hoping the wind didn’t swing, which would let the enormous pachyderms catch our scent. 

There was a cow with a horn of over a metre long, feeding peacefully next to her 4-month old calf. She could potentially be aggressive if startled. Right next to them were two sub-adult bulls, only a few years old and still not completely independent. Lastly came a young cow, also probably an offspring of the huge female.

Five of one of Africa’s most threatened species were at eye-level with us, calmly grazing, totally oblivious to our presence (their eyesight is particularly poor), and I have never felt more alive!

Encounters like these can literally be life-changing. Coming face to face with the wildest of Africa’s creatures whilst simultaneously accessing your own vulnerability is a powerful cocktail of sensory stimulation and emotion, which seldom leaves the viewer unmoved. 

There is an intangibility to the true African experience which only the initiated can truly claim to understand; to profess a connection with this most varied of continents is only possible after seeing with your own eyes, after having felt the bare African earth beneath your own feet and after having heard the lion’s roar in the night air with your own ears.

I know that each time I return to the continent that is my spiritual home I will be changed. I will experience things I could hardly have imagined and I will feel things that some search for their whole lives. Awe. Deep Humility. Belonging.

The Africa of old storybooks is the Africa that is still out there; the Africa I found myself immersed in when five rhinos moved past almost within touching distance, with nothing between us but a few strands of grass, and no noise in the evening air but the sound of their heavy breaths and the pounding of my heart in my own ears. 

This is the Africa of dreams. The Africa of romance and of adventure. The Africa that silently waits in the red sunset of each day as she calls with her tribal drumbeats, and the Africa we want to share with you…”

by Terri Abadi

 

Our Favourite South African Hiking Trails

South Africa is a top safari and tourist destination for many reasons: the great weather, beautiful landscapes, plethora of activities and the breath-taking hiking trails for the avid hiker to the less enthusiastic walker who is simply looking for a great backdrop. 

Each one of South Africa’s trails beckons travellers with unimaginable vistas; from seaside mountain tops to in-land reserves and magical forest trails. At least one of these picturesque paths will satisfy even the most insatiable nature-enthusiast. 

Most safaris let you explore by vehicle or even horseback – but what better way than by foot. Brush up against rugged mountain or unspoiled wilderness on your next trip! We’ve put together our top 10 hiking trails with a little bit of ocean breeze, wildlife sightings and forest thickets for you here: 

Lions Head – One of the best places to see the sunrise and sunset. 

Hennops Trail Just 40 minutes from Johannesburg is the beautiful Hennops Trail that has streams along the way. There are two main hikes that takes you along hills with beautiful views. Cool off in the swimming pool after. 

Table Mountain’s Three Peaks – For the more avid, hard-core adventurists, this 9-hour hike will have you breaking a sweat. Starting at Devil’s Peak, move along the saddle up to Maclear’s Beacon, then down Kloof Corner to Lion’s Peak. If you aren’t scared of heights, then it’s hard to imagine a more exciting hike. 

Addo National Park – there are two hikes, one-day trails and a two-day hike along the coast. Both are beautiful and memorable. 

Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail – This coastal trail is a magical secret of the garden route. Cross various ridges and rivers and covers 64 kilometres before reaching Storms River Bridge.

The Otter Trail –  The Otter Trail is one of South Africa’s most famous hikes, and takes you through coastal forest, river crossings, and breathtaking viewpoints. Bookings open a year in advance – and sell out quickly. 

Hole in the Wall Hiking Trail – The Eastern Cape boasts a 31 kilometre distinctly memorable hiking experience that covers a combination of estuaries, mangrove swamps and seaside cliffs. The Wild Coast’s luxury trail can be completed over three days and is a bucket-list activity for all seaside lovers. 

Olifantsbos Shipwrecks hiking Trail – This is one of the Western Cape’s easier routes that cover a 5-kilometre distance. The short and sweet trail costs R110 and takes you through the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Magiebaskloof Hiking Trail – This moderate trail is a beautiful way of seeing Limpopo’s ravines and sub-tropical forests. The full trail is almost 60 kilometres but shorter routes are optional. Forget the outside world under the canopy of trees and prepare for some light rain. 

Dolphin Hiking Trail – This easy 17 kilometre is another wonderful luxury three-night hike based on full board. It’s less daunting than the famous Otter Trail but still takes you to the Storms River Bridge and many other striking landmarks along the route. Perhaps you will even see some dolphins along the way. 

 

If you’ve undertaken one of these trails, or dream of trying one soon – we hope this helps you with your hiking bucket list.