Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia Open for Travel

We are excited to let our international travellers know that entry into Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia is now open.
Do not hesitate to book your trip to the land of a thousand hills and endless jungle; the finest wildlife entertainment in Africa; and world-class predator activity!

RWANDA
Rwanda is the ultimate jungle escape for the adventurous traveller. Its gorgeously green and misty forests are home to the magnificent, world-renowned Silverback Gorillas. Rwanda is fondly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ because of its remarkably hilly landscape and its spectacular volcanoes.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

One of Rwanda’s most luxurious lodges, Bisate Lodge is a sight to behold—striking in its unique design and set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s verdant forested landscape, Bisate Lodge allows guests to marvel at the wonder that is Rwanda.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

And no Rwandan adventure is complete without a gorilla trekking tour! This magical experience will, no doubt, take your breath away and render you speechless. You will be in awe of this most unbelievable and unforgettable, encounter. It is an intimate experience like no other and has been known to bring many people to tears. One hour is certainly not long enough but it is an hour that you will remember for the rest of your days.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 3

Rules for entry:
*All countries can visit.
*All countries must fill out a pre-arrival form. Before travelling to Rwanda, passengers must fill out a Passenger Locator Form. To fill out this form, passengers must be able to provide passport information, travel details, negative PCR COVID-19 test results, and booking confirmation at one of the designated hotels for a 24-hour quarantine upon arrival.
*All countries must produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of boarding. The negative test must be emailed to lab@rbc.gov.rw before your departure and a printed copy of the results brought with you upon entry into Rwanda.
*Upon arrival to Rwanda, visitors will be taken to the designated quarantine hotel of their choice at the cost of the traveller. They will be required to quarantine in their hotel room until they receive a negative COVID-19 result.
*A test will be done upon arrival. The results should be available after 8 hours. Plus another test 48 hours after arrival, both at the cost of the traveller.
*Any traveller who has their negative-PCR test in hand, and is showing no symptoms, will not have to quarantine upon arrival into Rwanda.
*Re-Testing may be done before going on in-country tours or treks.

Popular parks such as Volcanos National Park, Nyungwe National Park and Akagera National Park have all reopened to international tourists, but some protocols need to be followed.

KENYA
Kenya is an Approved and recognised user of the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp. Kenya promises the very best game viewing, hospitality and endless breathtaking landscapes, the origin and epitome of the true safari experience. It is without a doubt the ultimate safari destination. Exquisite luxury lodges and magical tented camps are aplenty, easily accessible and waiting to welcome you with open arms.

Your choice for luxury 5-star accommodation is endless. Take your pick between Giraffe Manor, Mara Expeditions, Ol Donyo, Bateleur Camp, Mara Plains and Angama Mara.

Giraffe Manor Breakfast Feature

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

Rules for entry:
*Entry into Kenya is permitted if the passenger does not have a body temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F); does not have a persistent cough, difficulty breathing or other flu-like symptoms, and has a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours of arrival.
*All passengers arriving on international flights are required to quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence.
*If there is a reported case of COVID-19 on a flight or if the above symptoms are detected, all passengers within two rows of the passenger with the symptoms will be quarantined for testing. If the test results are negative, they will be allowed to leave the facility.
*It is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Kenya to complete the Travelers Health Surveillance Form by the Ministry of Health. The form must be completed online prior to disembarkation. Passengers will receive a QR code after completing the form and will be required to display it to a Port Health Official to proceed through immigration.
*Health screening procedures are in place at airports and other ports of entry.
*The Government of Kenya established an online portal to extend visitor and resident visas.
*Testing is available at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, and Kenyatta National Hospital. The charge for the test is approximately USD 100 at private health facilities and USD 50 at government hospitals. Test results are available within 48 – 96 hours.
*Commercial flights and public transportation are operating.

ZAMBIA
Here in the warm heart of Africa lies one of the continent’s greatest secrets, the birthplace of the walking safari, Zambia! Sitting on a sprawling plateau, this little gem boasts the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa rivers, and shares one of the largest waterfalls in the world, the Victoria Falls with neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Mchenja Zambia South Luangwa - The South Luangwa is renowned for its world class predator action

There is no better way to get up-close-and-personal with the African bush, and its wildlife, than to go on a walking safari. It is, without a doubt, the best way to fully experience and appreciate the magical intricacies that make up a regular day out in the bush. Even if you’ve had many safari experiences in the past, this iconic adventure will, no doubt, take your breath away.

Zambia African Safari Travel

Zambia boasts magical accommodations from South Luangwa National Park to Liuwa Plains and Lower Zambezi Valley. Mchenja Bush Camp, King Lewanika and Chongwe are surrounded by unspeakable beauty and luxury.

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

King Lewanika - Gather after your exciting game drives and swap tales under the stars_

Zambia is open to foreign nationals and issuing visitor visas upon entry into the country. Limited domestic flight schedules are operating twice-weekly between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Mfuwe International Airport, and between Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone.

Royal CHundu Iconic Africa Why Us

Rules for entry:
*All international visitors are screened on arrival. If you show any signs of COVID-19, you will have to quarantine for 14 days.
*All arriving passengers must have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test that has been conducted within 3 days of arriving in Zambia.
*Visitors will be expected to adhere to COVID-19 regulations like physical distancing, wearing face masks, and personal hygiene. They will also need to monitor themselves daily for 10 days for symptoms of the virus and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.

Strict control measures have been implemented in these countries and have to be followed: social distancing, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of masks remain mandatory. Contact us HERE for more information on your next African safari adventure!

Birding in Mana Pools

Are you planning your post-lockdown travel itinerary? If you’ve decided on the far north of Zimbabwe, Mana Pools is the perfect destination for travellers who appreciate and are seeking a great diversity of bird species. This already bucket-list worthy destination has over 380 recorded bird species, spread across more than three different habitats from woodlands to plateaus and savannah areas.

Mana Pools National Park includes the south bank and islands of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zambia. The park is known for its incredible wildlife… and the exquisite river and vast flood plains. It is on every safari-lovers bucket-list as it is remote, it’s teeming with animals, the scenery is exquisite, sunsets breath-taking… need we say more – it really is Africa at its best.

Some of the avifauna you can expect to lay eyes on are Waterbirds along the banks of the Zambezi River, the Southern carmine bee-eaters during April to November, the African skimmer, Pel’s fishing-owl and Lilian’s lovebird among others.

The best time to feast one’s eyes on the abundance of colours and sounds is during the dry season – April to November – when both resident and migratory birds are plentiful. Although birding in Mana Pools is good year-round, the dry season is when local species begin nesting.

Plan your trip to coincide with the best wildlife viewing which is from June to October to make the most out of your time in this beautiful region. At this time animals congregate around water sources and large numbers of elephants and buffalo can be seen more frequently.

The Zambezi River is known to have luxury safari accommodations nestled along its banks and relaxing boat safaris cruising its waters. The river attracts a variety of waders, including:

Spur-winged Plover,
Green Sandpiper,
Common Ringed Plover,
Grey Plover,
Caspian Plover,
Common Redshank
and Bar-tailed Godwit

Zambezi Crescent, Victoria Falls River Lodge, Zambezi River, near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Plan a walk along the river or take a canoe/boat trip and try to spot the Afrian Skimmer – breeding along the sand banks from May – November. During Spring, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters excavate their nest holes in the river banks.

Other species to keep an eye out for are:

Mottled & Bohm’s Spinetail,
Horus Swift,
White-browed Coucal,
Western Banded Snake-Eagle,
Rufous-bellied Heron,
and Collared Pratincole.

Back at your camp, look out for the Purple-banded Sunbird or White-bellied Sunbird before heading out for your drive through the woodland.

Zambia’s Adrenalin Factor 

If you’re looking for those specific activities that will add that wow-element to your next trip to Victoria Falls – there’s no better combo than a helicopter flight, swimming in Devil’s Pool and taking a Livingstone Island tour to experience the ultimate rush, see the endless landscape from the sky and truly appreciate one of the worlds 7 natural wonders.

Choose between a 12-minute Flight of Angels or a 25-minute Zambezi Spectacular. The Flight of Angels was coined by David Livingstone when he first wrote about the surrounding area. Experience exactly what he felt when he wrote “a sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight”. Head towards Victoria Falls and fly in both directions as you find your perfect angle to film and photograph. Both air-tours provide the best viewing and photography opportunities that cannot be compared. Fly up the Zambezi River and over the Zambezi National Park as you head back towards the helipad. 

But 15-minutes might not be enough time in the sky – continue downstream over the Batoka Gorge, along the Zambezi River and navigate your way between steep cliffs and over Long Island before your Zambezi Spectacular flight comes to an end. Long Island is home to a great deal of big game and you will be able to see them clearly in the national park. 

If skimming just above turbulent water is not thrilling enough – try something more daring like swimming in Devil’s Pool. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is well-managed with safety being the top priority. 

Your guide will take you on a 5-minute boat ride along the Zambezi River – an exhilarating experience on its own, as you slipstream through rocky channels. Once you arrive on the island you are then led to the west of the island where you can jump into Devil’s Pool if you wish. The route directs you to swim slightly upstream in a very slow current. A safety rope is also in place as an added precaution. You then climb out on another rocky outcrop close to the edge of the Falls and the Devils Pool.

The Devils Pool itself is a deep natural pool that has been created by thousands of years of erosion, but what is unique about it is that there is a rock ledge on the lip of the Falls, where the water is only a few centimetres deep. You can now lie on this rock lip at the edge of the Devils Pool. 

The Devil’s Pool is available only when the water level is really low to allow for safe swimming. This is normally from late August to early January.

Once you return to Livingstone Island, you can take the season tour if the water level of the Zambezi River is low enough to allow safe access to Livingstone Island. The best time is from approximately late June to early March. 

For more on our favourite Victoria Falls destinations click here

 

Why Choose Africa 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    

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

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

Need we say any more? 

 

         

 

Top Spots to See Birds in Africa

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

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

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

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

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

Tanzania

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

What you can see:

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

Famous bird-watching destinations:

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Zambia

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

Bird-viewing highlights:

  • The shoebill stork
  • The African Pitta

Chongwe Zambia - A tranquility like no other

Must-visit bird-watching destination:

  • The Zambezi River catchment of Zambia

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Kenya

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

What you can see:

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

 

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Mozambique

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

What you can see:

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

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

Rwanda

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

What you can see:

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

Stay at one of these luxury accommodations.

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

Why Tailor-made Luxury African Safaris are the Way to Go

Iconic Africa specialises in bespoke African safaris, custom designed for the discerning traveller. We love  what we do; have loads of knowledge, and have been lucky enough to visit and experience most of our destinations themselves, and… have long standing relationships with many of the lodge owners.

Here’s why we think that choosing a tailor-made safari is definitely the best choice for your African adventure.

  1. Discover Africa’s Most Sought-After Destinations

Browse our destinations to explore everything Africa has to offer. There are countless amazing experiences to enjoy, so take your time.

We are here to help. Once you have an idea of what you would like to experience in Africa let one of our African travel experts guide you according to your preferences and budget. It is never too soon to contact us.

2. Relax & Let Us Do The Rest

Our team will design a luxury itinerary specifically for you, complete with accommodation, activities and travel designed specifically around your very own needs.  We will make sure you have a trip you will remember forever.

So relax, take a deep breath and imagine yourself basking in the hot African sun, sipping a cold cocktail and marvelling at the majestic wildlife we are so privileged to enjoy on the extraordinary continent we call Africa. We will take care of the rest!

Here are just a few more benefits of tailor-made safari…

3. Experience unique and luxurious safari moments.

4. Celebrate the incredible cultures, hospitality, food and wine.

5. Explore uncharted territories with private guides.

6. Choose and plan around specific activities you are interested in

7. See Africa’s breath-taking Natural Wonders of the World in luxury

Giraffe Manor Colonial Luxury Courtyard Aerial

8. Choose between fast-paced adventure destinations and slow safaris

9. Enjoy personalised tours and trips that gets you face-to-face with all the action.

Tailor-made safaris can/may include all flights, transfers and private guides, accommodation, breakfast, all meals on a full board basis, complimentary transfers, wireless internet access, morning tea and coffee with wake up calls, use of spa areas and fitness studio, game drives, walking safaris, private tours and many additional complimentary experiences.

Our consultants will be sure to explain this all to you depending on the trip they have planned for you but these are many of the additional services that are provided. For more info on planning your ultimate tailor-made safari getaway click here. 

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Zambia 

Zambia is a beautiful landlocked country in Southern Africa. Bordered by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola, this large natural attraction is unrivalled when it comes to wildlife, people and activities.  Zambia’s notable size and remoteness guarantees exclusive safari opportunities, at 5 –star accommodations with world-class guides and sightseeing. We are very excited about our new collection of Zambian properties and hope to add more properties soon. Here are our top ten reasons to bump up Zambia to the top of your travel list:

  1. Walking safaris

One of Zambia (more specifically, South Luangwa’s) main attractions is walking into the bush with guides or scouts to track wildlife through the lush thickets or dusty banks – hot on the trail of big cats and mammals. Enjoy a thrilling experience of reading animal droppings and paw prints to see them face-to-face. 

  1. Victoria Falls

David Livingstone describes ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ as “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” Named after Queen Victoria, Mosi-oa-Tunya truly is a majestic experience. Visit during May when the falls are in full flow, however, it is no less spectacular any other time of the year. 

  1. Canoeing the Zambezi

Visit elephants, crocodiles and hippos along the lower Zambezi River from your canoe. Paddle at your own leisurely pace as you see Africa’s wild from a fantastic vantage point. Or perhaps turn up the romance with a sunset boat cruise down the Zambezi River. 

  1. Rafting 

White water rafting is a thrilling experience and there’s nowhere better than the Zambezi. Whilst you can raft all year round, the best time is the low water season (July – January) when the river at its most ferocious.

  1. The Zambian People

Zambians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Experience a new culture, food and lifestyle as you travel through the city and countryside. The local people are always ready to lend a helping hand or simply have a chat. 

  1. A Bird’s Eye View 

Zambia and Victoria Falls is exceptionally beautiful while on the ground, but seeing it from the air will completely take your breath away. Book a helicopter ride or microlighting to see the misty top and green surroundings from the sky. 

  1. Afternoon Tea at The Royal Livingstone

Zambia has no shortage of luxury settings and accommodations. Spoil yourself with some cake and tea at The Royal Livingstone and indulge in some good music, beautiful views and fine china. Perhaps you will see a zebra pass by or a giraffe wonder onto the lawns. 

  1. South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park has aIl the wildlife that you could possibly want to see and some of the finest luxury safari accommodation. With its great expanse, the reserve is quieter than other parks and offers exceptional sightings without the distractions of other game vehicles.  

  1. Luxury Accommodation 

Experience everything the bush has to offer without ‘roughing it’. Zambia has exceptional luxury accommodation in national parks that allow guests to fully submerge themselves into Zambia’s great outdoors without compromising on luxury and amenities. 

  1. The Lunar Rainbow Tour 

Lunar rainbows are rainbows that take place at night, when a rainbow is seen in the light of the moon. Victoria Falls is one of a very few places in the world which are known for the occurrence of moonbows. The lunar rainbow is a spectacular event that can be seen only during the full moon.

To see all of our Zambian properties, click here.

 

6 Different Ways to Experience the Bush

Most people list an African safari as a top bucket-list activity. For those of you who have already been, you’ll know how addictive it is. For our first-timers, here are a few secrets to seeing some amazing wildlife and getting the most fun out of your trip…

While some travellers are privileged to see almost everything on their first safari – from the Big Five to wild dogs, birds and marine life, others may only spot a handful of wildlife. But that’s okay! A safari can be more than sitting at the back of an open 4×4 vehicle, walking alongside a guide or looking down from a hot air balloon.

Here are six incredible activities to add to your itinerary to maximize your time in the bush. Take your time, enjoy the excursion and take in the scenery for an experience of a lifetime.

  1. Horse riding

This is an incredible opportunity to experience nature and a very unique way of going on safari! Some lodges in Africa let you ride in the wild even if you are a complete novice. The more seasoned rider can choose from further options, like riding alongside an elegant giraffe or carefully walking with an elephant.

  1. Stargazing

Far away from any light pollution, the stargazing in Africa is phenomenal! It is as if the sky was made for the sole purpose of displaying the stars’ beauty. While you lie back and focus on absorbing all the sounds and calls of the animals and birds; your guide will take you on an astrological journey through the universe.

  1. Camel safari

A camel safari is almost like being on horseback, but you have a slightly more elevated view and the ride is a bit quieter thanks to the extra padding in camels’ feet. Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya all offer camel safaris, as an additional activity or solely as your mode of transport on a mobile safari. Kenya is by far the best place to do this!

  1. Canoeing

Canoeing can be done as a single activity or as part of a trail where you canoe between campsites for 3–7 days. Among the more popular canoe trails is the 4-day Selinda Canoe Trail in Botswana. You can expect to see an array of birdlife, as well as larger animals like hippos and elephants.

  1. Hides

Zimbabwe has some of the best hides in Africa and a large elephant population that is reliant on the pumped waterholes making this an incredible experience. There is nothing quite like being at arm’s length from a herd of elephants simply going about their routine, drinking and splashing in the waterhole. If this is on your bucket-list, check with your safari specialist whether the lodges you are going to stay at offer this activity.

Lions Sands Sabi Sands Luxury Safari Leopard

  1. Fishing

Africa plays host to some of the most fearsome freshwater fish species in the world such as the tigerfish. The waterways of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana offer your best chance of coming face to face with it. The coasts of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique also offer some of the most productive saltwater fishing in the world!

We hope you return to tick off more wildlife sightings and safari experiences. Keep notes of everything you see, so that you can keep track of which animals you have seen and properly identify them in your pictures. It will also help you with you ‘must-see’ list for your next trip.

 

Our Pick of the Best Tented Camps in Africa

If you feel that you’re too old to pitch a tent but want to live your dream of camping in the great outdoors, luxury safari tented camps offer guests the comfort and service of five-star lodging while allowing you to spend your nights sleeping under the stars. Enjoy walking in nature, going on game drives and spotting wildlife or simply immerse yourself in a good book on your private deck; and spend your nights under canvas, in a furnished private tent amongst the trees. Staying on the bend of

Here are our favourite six luxury tented camps located in beautiful sceneries, each featuring luxurious amenities such as romantic claw-foot baths, outdoor showers, and private swimming pools.

Ngala Tented Camp– Timbavati Private Game Reserve

Ngala’s tented camp evokes the romance and spirit of the African wild. It combines the extravagant appointments of a five-star lodge with the wilderness immersion that a canvas tent allows. Each of the nine tents are raised on decks allowing for unfettered views over the lawns and onto the dry Timbavati River where elephant, bush buck and buffalo bulls are frequent visitors.

Elephant Camp– Zimbabwe

The 12 tented suites blend into the Zimbabwean wild, conjuring an era of Victorian frontier camping – crystal glasses, white canvas, leather luggage and wooden trunks – but with an unsurpassed level of modern luxury. The airy and spacious, lounge, bedroom and bathroom all look out north over the Masuwe River and east to the cliffs of the Zambezi gorge.

Bateleur Camp– Kenya

Recently refurbished with all the latest deluxe comforts, Bateleur Camp is even more inviting than it’s ever been before. The two camps of nine suites each, boast polished wooden floors, vintage carpets and exquisite furniture ensuring a stately yet welcoming feel. A cosy central fireplace sits at the heart of the twenties style sitting room, scattered with delicate ivory lamps, substantial tree trunk stools, lanterns, old English portraits, classic suitcases, tartan throw pillows and soft delicate mohair blankets.

Alex Walker’s Serian– Tanzania

Stepping into the main tent is like walking into your lounge at home. It’s laid back, relaxed and down to earth, slowing you down to the pace of the natural world around you. With no more than six tents in each camp, it is intimate, quiet and peaceful. Sit in the lounge, put your feet up and investigate some of the old classic coffee table books, have a game of solitaire or try your hand at some sketching.

Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp– Tanzania

The ten en-suite tents are tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest on the banks of a tributary of the famous Grumeti River. From buffalos, to lions, to hyenas, to baboons you are fully immersed in the sounds and goings on of the animals surrounding you. From your own private patio watch the game drinking, the colubus monkeys playing or the sunbirds, kingfishers and starlings darting around in their daily routines.

Zarafa Dhow Suites Villa

Zarafa Dhow Suites – Botswana

The Zarafa Dhow Suites offer a lavish experience in the Okavango Delta. At this remote location you are able to ‘unplug’ and reconnect with nature, while still feeling totally at ease and luxuriated.

Immerse yourself in nature and have an authentic wilderness experience without compromising the comforts of luxury accommodations. Wherever you decide to visit, you are promised extraordinary views with stylish but classical décor and impeccable service. Don’t hesitate to tick off another bucket-list experience, enquire about one of our tented camps here.

Mchenja Bush Camp

Proudly introducing Mchenja Bush Camp – our newest Zambian gem!

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. The Luangwa Valley lies at the tail end of the Great African Rift Valley, which extends 4,000 km all the way from the Red Sea down to the Pungwe River mouth in Mozambique. Listen to a lion calling in the distance and feel every sense awaken as you open your eyes in one of the wildest places on the planet.

Mchenja Bush Camp is a luxury safari retreat located in one of Zambia’s most renowned natural sanctuaries. Taking its name from its prime location, Mchenja (ebony) is a seasonal camp (20 May – 7 November) set under a canopy of Ebony trees along the banks of the Luangwa River. This enchanting accommodation provides you with all the modern amenities in an elegant and stylish tented camp overlooking a huge sweeping bend in the river.

Described as one of Zambia’s most luxurious and romantic bush getaways, guests spend sunny afternoons in the beautiful lounge which is built around one of the old, fallen ebony trees before enjoying a scrumptious lunch.

Relax next to the pool which overlooks the river while you wait for the excitement night brings. Watch as herds of elephants approach to drink from the plunge pool or cross the Luangwa River and big cats wander around the nearby ebony grove and lagoon in search of their next hunt.

Once the sun sets and the stars start twinkling, Mchenja kindles the spark with a romantic dinner served on the river bank or an exciting night-drive that will have your heart racing.

Picture-perfect Accommodation

Reconnect with nature and each other in a meaningful way on the ultimate family getaway. Iconic Africa recommends one of four sensational and diverse camps, to suit all travel styles. The camps have different opening times based on their seasonality. Time + Tide’s collection of South Luangwa camps offer an immersive, authentic experience that celebrates the wilderness and allows guests to experience the true Africa in a luxurious way. From opulent settings to natural elegance, the variety of camps suits all types of travellers.

Mchenja boasts four striking one bedroom luxury tented suites and one two bedroom family villa. These innovative octagonal luxury canvas accommodations are built on a raised platform shaded by canopies of ancient trees. Each chalet offers open-air en suit bathrooms with claw-foot baths and outdoor showers all with spectacular views integrating guests’ living spaces with nature. Soak off between game drives and unwind in the tub as you focus on the river meandering past you.

You will have an authentic safari experience in this grand wilderness without compromising on style, comfort and luxury. Rest your tired heads on the softest beds with large picture-windows for uninterrupted views.

The two bedroom, two bathroom family villa is the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends travelling together. Relax elevated high into the trees and the hippos below bellow and the elephants feed right outside your tent.

The minimum age of guests is 8 years old.

Mchenja is renowned for their luxury safari accommodation, excellent service, mouth-watering cuisine and most important, the wildlife sightings!

Sensational Game Viewing

South Luangwa National Park offers guests the opportunity to witness an unspoiled wilderness of soothing rivers, aged forests and open pans. This region promises excellent game viewing with world-class predator action, large herds of elephants, endemic species of fauna and flora, superb leopard sightings, wild dog and lions. Concentrations of game along the meandering Luangwa River and its lagoons are amongst the most intense in Africa. The river teems with hippo and crocodile and provides a lifeline for one of the greatest diversities of habitat and wildlife, supporting more than 60 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds. One of South Luangwa’s most exciting success stories is the resurgence of the African wild dog population. Over the past decade, numbers have strengthened considerably and today, although far from guaranteed, sightings of wild dog are common.

A Perfect Time to Visit

The African bushveld is spectacular all year round, each season bringing with it a special experience which cannot be seen at other times of the year. The ideal time to visit will depend on your interests and which camp you wish to stay at. The dry, winter season runs from May to September when temperatures drop to their lowest – still around 27˚C to 30˚C during the day – with cool mornings and evenings. May is the start of the ‘sleep-out’ season and when animals start to gather at lagoons. It’s also when all the camps in South Luangwa are open. By June you can expect the rare chance to see caracal or serval in and the crowned cranes start to come together in colonies. July is an excellent time for walking safaris as the weather is mild overnight and pleasantly warm during the days. August and September sees an increase in lion sightings and guests start to see the traditional elephant crossings of the Luangwa. The summer rains begin around October with storms building, lightning and thunder later in the month. By March, the rains begin to stop and April introduces the warm humid air again.

The Elite Safari Experience

It is the combination of viewing Africa’s raw power from the comfort and luxury of your open topped 4×4 game vehicle and then the return to your 5 Star luxury camp which has hurtled South Luangwa into the acclaimed status they now enjoy. Mchenja Camp, Nsolo Camp, Luwi Camp and Kakuli Camp all offer boutique luxury safari experiences which will leave you astonished that you are in Africa’s untamed wilderness.

Family Fun

Together, you can explore the beautiful African bush, come face-to-face with some of Africa’s most loved wildlife and spend quality time with family and friends. South Luangwa has activities to suit every guest’s wants and needs – from adrenaline rushes to blissful R&R time. To inspire Norman Carr’s love for Africa, nature and wildlife in the next generation, Time + Tide has tasked award-winning all-Zambian guiding teams with leading some of the most exciting bucket-list activities:

Day & Night Drives

There’s nothing to compare an encounter with African wildlife during both day and night drives to. South Luangwa’s excellent guides provide plenty of knowledge to enrich the experience and the escarpment and river bank ensures incomparable sightings.

Walking Safaris

Explore the untamed beauty of South Luangwa with our experienced guides at your side, sharing their knowledge of flora and fauna. Our world-class guides make every step thrilling, allowing you to become part of the landscape rather than a mere spectator.

Sleep-out

Feel the thrill of early explorers while camping out on the Luwi Riverbed with only wildlife and stars for company.

Why Mchenja?

  • A wide variety of activities to keep children engaged
  • Combine land and water experiences for the ultimate family getaway
  • Situated on the banks of the Luangwa river with amazing views from all tented suites
  • Extremely intimate with only 5 rooms
  • The most luxurious bush camp and the only one to boast a pool
  • Superb game-viewing, with leopards and lions sometimes wandering through the camp’s ebony grove in search of prey.

Getting There

There are a number of travel options getting to South Luangwa. We recommend a short 1 hour flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka. Alternatively, there are a number of other international flights from Windhoek, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Lilongwe and Kigali – all landing at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. From there it’s a short distance to Mfuwe domestic airport.  •   2.5 hour game drive transfer from Mfuwe Airport.

The magic of the African bushveld touches all that visit it. To share this experience with your loved ones away from the distraction of “life” strengthens your bond and will forge unforgettable memories for life.

For further information and to plan your tailor-made Zambian safari, contact one of our safari experts.

 

Introducing Chongwe

Located in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi Valley, Chongwe River House and Camp is one of the most established accommodations. 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. Here you can come face-to-face with African giants such as the captivating elephant and ancient baobabs.

Experience the Lower Zambezi region at its finest

Set up by a father and son duo in 1992, Chris and his father were captivated by the raw beauty and wilderness of the Lower Zambezi. They set up a camp on the banks of the Chongwe River and in time this overnight campsite has grown into an award-winning luxury collection. Today Chris shares his love of the great outdoors through the remarkable Chongwe safari experience.

Chongwe River House

Stay at your very own safari home, the Chongwe River House. With four spacious en-suit bathrooms, this home-away-from-home sleeps eight. Mirroring the natural landscape laid out before it, River House follows the lines of the termite hills and blends in with its surroundings. With an undisturbed flow of nature, the landscape has been brought into the house with tree trunks, lianas and branches incorporated into the main guest areas and softly coloured pebbles from the Chongwe River set into the ceilings. The rooms open up to the river and the bathrooms feature magnificent waterfall or rain-showers that perfectly incorporate nature into the living spaces making guests feel a dramatic bond with the Lower Zambezi’s environment. Relax at your private pool on the shady deck and take in the breath-taking panoramic view. Chongwe House comes with a private guide, house manager and chef. A private vehicle, canoe, boat and armed guide for walking safaris offers guests a number of ways to explore the beautiful surroundings.

Chongwe River Camp

Experience a technology-detox in one of nine luxury tents at Chongwe Camp, scattered along the woody riverbanks. Chongwe Camp is surrounded by unspeakable beauty with the bellowing hippo disrupting the often silent air. Set at the convergence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers against a beautiful mountainous backdrop, the camp has the best views from the outdoor seating areas. Relax outside your tent near the Winterthorn trees, and try spotting the playful Vervet monkeys you will hear overhead or marvel at the elephant before you as it splashes across the river.

Unrivalled wildlife sightings

The Lower Zambezi is nestled between a notable mountain to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south – a noteworthy area for wildlife and bird lovers. With 60 mammal species and 378 bird species, guests are guaranteed quality sightings. Game viewing in the Lower Zambezi is recommended during the dry season between April to November, when the river levels are lower. Plains game is in abundance throughout the park such as elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, buffalo, and plenty of crocodiles. Wild dogs are also regularly spotted and considered a nice bonus since they cover long distances. With fewer crowds in the park at any given time, the region remains a pristine wilderness, free from overcrowding and has limited vehicles in the traversing area. Have you ever been awakened by an elephant outside your room? Or slowly canoed passed a large herd of buffalo on a beautiful afternoon? Add Chongwe to the top of your bucket-list and experience all your safari firsts in one place.

Experience the true essence of African adventure

The unrivalled marriage of land and water not only makes for exceptional game viewing and photography, but allows for perhaps the most exciting aspect of safari – the sheer variety of activities on offer. The Zambezi River allows for a variety of river based activities and experiences that few other destinations can offer. This wistful region is famous for its canoeing safaris, boating trips and catch-and-release fishing.

Day & Night Drives

There’s nothing to compare an encounter with African wildlife during both day and night drives to. Chongwe’s excellent guides provide a plenty of knowledge to enrich the experience and the escarpment and river bank ensures incomparable sightings.

Fishing

When it comes to tiger-fishing, the Lower Zambezi is the place to visit! As Chris implements his conservation efforts, Chongwe is strictly catch-and-release to preserve this and other fish. All equipment is provided, and fishing is suitable for beginners and serious fly fisherman. Fishing is good year round, but peaks in October and November during the tiger fish breeding season.

Boating

A river safari offers a fresh perspective on the breath-taking scenery and wildlife, from predators along the river bank to the diverse birdlife. Chongwe offers boating safari all season due to the Zambezi River’s constant high water level.

Walking Safaris

Become part of the landscape rather than a mere spectator and explore the untamed beauty of the region with our experienced guides at your side. Peak season for walking safari is July to October.

Canoeing Safaris

Book a canoeing safari during the dry months when the wildlife congregates along the river for a peaceful yet exhilarating experience. Enjoy the abundant wilderness and game viewing while quietly passing through the reeds on Africa’s fourth largest river. Float metres away from elephants or buffalo on the river’s edge – a memory you won’t be able to forget!

Sleep-out

Between July and October you can rest under the stars with only the night-sky and roaming wildlife for company. Experience the thrill of early explorers felt while camping out high in the mountain overlooking the sparkling water of the Lower Zambezi region.

Getting there:

Guests can fly into Lusaka or Livingstone Airport and then connect with an air transfer to Royal airstrip. You will be transferred by 4×4 to Chongwe River House or Camp, a short 20 minute drive away.

Why Chongwe?

Beautiful sunsets while on boat cruises.

Excellent for lion and leopard sightings.

Great photograph opportunities.

There are plenty of elephant and predator action right in front of the camp.

There are limited vehicles in the traversing area.

When To Go?

Chongwe River House and Chongwe River Camp are operational from April to November, but the best time to visit this spectacular region is between July and August.

The mornings and evenings are cool and the days are warm and mostly dry. Temperatures range between 27˚C and 30 ˚C with little to no rain.

Clear skies make way for beautiful sunsets and the dry bush improves visibility making lion and leopard sightings more frequent.

July and August is also the beginning of the carmine bee eater season and the Flame creepers are seen in flower.

For more on our other exquisite Zambia destinations contact us now.