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Little Ongava: Privacy on the Namibian plains

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Namibia (camps).

Little Ongava VillaLittle Ongava is probably the most exclusive safari lodge in Namibia. Taking a maximum of six guests at any one time, it is all about exclusivity and personalized service.

Each of the three thatched villas is meticulously appointed and includes a private plunge pool, ensuite bathroom, sala and an outdoor shower with views of the waterhole. The entertainment area is ideally set up for relaxation and stylish dining.

Guests share a dedicated guide to ensure an optimal nature experience. As well as the privatElephants on the Ongava Reservee Ongava Reserve, there is the incredible expanse of Etosha National Park, one of Africa’s largest game parks, to explore.

The wildlife here is plentiful year round. Game drives will view elephant, lion, black rhino, springbok, gemsbok, hartebeest, leopard, cheetah…and the list goes on. The birdlife is also spectacular; look out for the White-tailed Shrike, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Hartlaub’s Francolin and the abundant raptors roaming the endless skies.  Relaxing bath at Little Ongava The more adventurous may choose to track the endangered black rhino on foot.

Return to Little Ongava to enjoy champagne in a warm bath as you stare out over the magnificent plains. Enjoy a sundowner looking out over the busy waterhole. Dine on your veranda and drink in the vast African skies. Do as you please – this is your own private piece of Africa.

 

 

 

 

 


Desert Rhino Camp: Track the Endangered Black Rhino

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Namibia (camps).

The Desert Rhino CampThe Desert Rhino Camp sits amongst the golden plains and rolling, rocky hills of the 450,000 hectare Palmway Concession in Damaraland, between Etosha and the Skeleton Coast.

Partly owned by the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), this rustic camp is designed to offer guests unique insights into the ecology of this vulnerable area, as well as contributing directly to its conservation.

The endangered Black RhinoNamibia’s desert-adapted black rhino is a true desert survivor. Ancient rock art shows rhinos in the region centuries ago, but the late 20th century almost obliterated them. By 1982 less than 10 rhinoceros survived in Kaokoland and an estimated 30 to 40 survived in Damaraland. Thanks in part to the efforts of SRT; northwest Namibia now enjoys the largest truly free-ranging black rhino population left in the world.

View from a tent at Desert Rhino CampThe camp is remote and provides a personalised experience.   Holding a maximum of only 12 guests, the setting is minimalist but still full of character and comfort. The eight raised Meru-style canvas tents each have a private verandah where guests can take in the sweeping valley that stretches to the Etendeka Mountains in the background.

Around the Fire Pit at Desert Rhino CampThe comfortable, tented dining and lounge areas are also elevated. Sit in the large lounge or one of the comfy chairs and read one of the many books on Namibia, or gaze through the partially opened sides of the tent to the panoramic views beyond.

Evening meals are taken around the fire pit. Here guests gather to recount tales of day’s adventures.

The rhino tracking starts early. Trackers from SRT are in contact with your guide, informing them where to find the rhino. Usually guides will drive to within a kilometer of the rhinos’ location and then approach on foot.

The rhino is not the only game to be found on the Concession. There is a healthy number of desert adapted elephants, a large population of Hartman’s mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu. The predator population is Namibia’s largest outside of Etosha, with lions, cheetah, leopard, brown and spotted hyenas.


Camp Amalinda: Refuge in a Granite Wilderness

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zimbabwe (camps).

Camp AmalindaThe Matobo Hills has some of the most breathtaking granite scenery in the world.  Tucked in amongst the imposing boulders is Amalinda Camp, an exclusive, tranquil refuge.

Amalinda’s nine individually thatched units each have a distinctive look and feel. Showers and toilets are built right into the granite rock face.  Shared lounge, dining and library spaces are uniquely designed to capture the feeling of this granite wilderness.

Rock Art in Matobo HillsThese hills, where the nomads once held sacred ceremonies, are home to a wide array of mammals and birds.  The highest concentration of leopard and black eagle in the world is found here, and there is a healthy population of the endangered black and white rhino.

There is plenty to keep you busy in the Matobo Hills:  go rhino tracking, visit the tomb of Cecil John Rhodes, explore the granite hills and discover the millennia old rock art of the San Bushmen.  But Amalinda is also a special place to relax.  Whether you are lazing in the lounge or library, or treating yourself to a massage at the safari spa, you will be touched by the tranquility and spiritual energy of this place.

 

Photography and video compliments of Amalinda


Singita Pamushana Lodge: Africa’s Magical & Luxurious Secret

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zimbabwe (camps).

Singita Pamushana LodgeThe Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is a 150,000 acre conservation area, established to protect and manage the extraordinary wilderness and wildlife in this part of southeastern Zimbabwe.

The Singita Pamushana Lodge is the ecotourism arm of the reserve, and one of the most magical secrets on the African continent.

The setting is magnificent, with the lodge built amongst forests of Mopane and Baobab trees and overlooking the serene lake formed by the Malilangwe dam.  There are six luxury suites and one five-bedroom villa, each with a private pool and extraordinary views.

Trekking Game Near Singita PamushanaTeeming with birds and wildlife, The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve holds one of the highest concentrations of black rhino in Africa, fourteen different species of eagle, and endangered species such as the roan and sable antelope.

The magnificence of the landscape and the abundance of wildlife can be appreciated from the comfort of the lodge, or head out on a game drive, safari walk, sundowner cruise or mountain bike ride.   Unlike other camps that follow a strict routine, how you plan your day is completely up to you.

 

View from Singita PamushanaIf you tire of the views and the wildlife then play tennis on one of the lodge’s two tennis courts, set out on a fishing trip, head to the gym, relax in the spa, visit the 2 millenia old San rock paintings, or experience some local Shangaan culture.

But leave time to enjoy the exquisite food and wines. Pamushana Lodge is one of the continent’s most influential collectors of wines, with a cellar stocked with some of Africa’s most sought after reserves.

Everything is impeccable at Pamushana, but it is possibly its passion and its people that set this lodge above others of its kind.  The level of service is exceptional.  Your every whim is met, often before you’ve even had a chance to articulate it.  And the passion for conserving this special place and developing the local villages gives this magical spot a special heart.

 

 

Photography and video compliments of Singita


Little Makalolo: An Intimate Hwange Experience

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zimbabwe (camps).

Tent interior; Little MakaloloThis is probably the most comfortable safari camp inside the massive Hwange National Park, and offers some of the park’s best game viewing areas.

Little Makalolo is one of only a few private camps in Hwange, and guests enjoys exclusive use of an enormous concession area right in the heart of Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve.

The camp itself is intimate, with a sense of remoteness.  There are six traditional canvas tents, each with an ensuite and indoor and outdoor showers.  The shared dining area, living area and plunge pool all overlook the watering hole at the front of the camp, which is a magnet for wildlife.

Great lion sightings at Little Makalolo, Hwange National ParkThis area of the park has impressive herds of buffalo and elephant and a high concentration of the rare and beautiful sable and roan antelope.  It is also one of the best places to view the predators with lions, leopards, cheetah and wild dog on the prowl.

The excellent guides offer game drives in 4 x 4 vehicles and guided safari walks.  Or you can get up close and personal from behind the log pile hide overlooking the watering hole.

Little Makalolo is environmentally and socially responsible. Funds from tourism flow directly to the local communities closest to the park through dividends and salaries.  And a portion of each guests fare is allocated to Wilderness Safaris Wildlife Trust which allocates funds to approved conservation projects.

Awesome leopard near Little Makalolo

 

Photos compliments of Wilderness Safaris


Go Off the Beaten Track in Wildest Tanzania

Posted on April 24th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Tanzania.

8 Day Fly-in Safari in Katavi and Ruaha National Park

This 7-night safari idea takes you well off Tanzania’s beaten track, to explore the western and central parts of the country.  You can be assured that you won’t be waiting in any queues as you explore the wide-open floodplains of Katavi National Park and the dramatic landscapes and massive baobabs of Ruaha National Park.

Katavi Buffalo HerdDay 1 to 5:  The Floodplains of Katavi

From Arusha Airport you travel west on a charter flight to Katavi.  Even today few people visit this part of the world, and you will sense its untouched beauty even as fly across the open spaces.  As you soar across the vast plains of yellow grasses you will have trouble spotting the 6-tent, eco-friendly Chada Katavi camp that will be your home for the next 4 nights.

The camp is stylish but has the simple feel you would expect in a remote bush camp.  Your comfortable tent is wide open to the glorious landscape, with the comforts of an ensuite bathroom and safari-style bucket shower.

You may need to share the camp with elephants, who are frequent visitors.  And looking out of your tent each morning, don’t be surprised by the vast herds of buffalo who frequently graze right in front of the camp.

The game is everywhere so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your tent to see all kinds.  But you will want to venture beyond the camp on the shared walks and game drives, including a night game drive.

Ruaha National ParkDay 5 to 8:  The Elephants and Baobabs of Ruaha

You fly from Katavi to Ruaha Msembe, entering Tanzania’s second largest national park.  Ruaha National Park, right in the heart of Tanzania, covers 13,000 square kilometers of rocky escarpments, hills dotted with baobabs, open savannah and the great Ruaha River.

You will transfer to the 12-bed tented Kigelia Ruaha on the edge of Ifuguru Sand River.  The camp is light, making minimal impact upon its surroundings.  But it’s still stylish and comfortable with large beds, ensuite bathrooms and a wonderful shared “pavilion” tent for dining and relaxing.

This area offers a unique variety of animal, bird and plant life, being a transition zone where southern and eastern species overlap.  Famous for it’s 10,000-strong elephant population, it is also home to the Greater and Lesser Kudu, Sable and Roan antelope, giraffe, zebras and, of course, the predators that follow: lions, leopards, cheetah and jackal.  With over 570 bird-species, the area is a bird-watchers paradise.

Day 8: 

You fly back from Ruaha Msembe to Arusha Airport leaving the remote corners of Tanzania behind.

As with all our safari ideas, this has been designed to spark your imagination.  All aspects of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit you.  We want you to discover your own Africa!


Adventures in Zambia’s Remotest Corners

Posted on April 24th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zambia.

11 Days Fly-in Safari on the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa River

ZambiaFlightMapHere’s a safari idea for those who want to discover the adventurous heart of Africa.  Spend 10 nights exploring some of Zambia’s most exciting landscapes.  Fly in to the remote corners of the country and explore by foot, canoe and bicycle.

Day 1 to 3:  Luxury & Adventure on the Lower Zambezi

Fly from the capital Lusaka to Jeki airport near the Lower Zambezi National Park.  From the airport you will be transferred to Chiawa Camp, a family owned, award-winning safari camp.  Over the next 2 nights you will bask in the luxury of your beautifully appointed “tent”, personalized service and views of the Zambezi River.

You can watch the plentiful game just sitting on your private sundeck, but you will also have the option to explore further afield with twice daily game drives, walking trips, canoeing, boating and angling opportunities – all led by some of Africa’s best guides.

Microlighting in TafikaDay 3 to 6: Go Bush!

Remaining on the Lower Zambezi, you will transfer to the very intimate bush camp of Old Mondoro.  With only 8 beds this has to be one of the most private ways to experience the African bush.  Overlooking a maze of hippo-inhabited islands on the mighty Zambezi and frequently visited by elephants, this bush camp has a real sense of adventure.

Day 6 to 8:  Remote ExplorationsChikoko Camp

Fly in a 3-seater charter plane from Jeki to Lukuzi in South Luangwa National

Park – now you are entering the truly remote corners of this amazing country.  You will be transferred to the intimate Tafika Camp, with its six comfortable ensuite chalets.

Here you can combine exceptional game viewing with exciting daily activities.  Take a microlight flight over the ever-changing Luangwa River, discover the abundant wildlife on a mountain bike safari or visit the local village of Mkasanga.

Walking Safari ZambiaDay 8 to 11: The Walk of a Lifetime

We transfer from Tafika to the incredible Chikoko Trails Camps: two exquisite camps in a walking paradise.  You will stay at the Chikoko Tree Camp, before setting out to walk to the Crocodile River Camp, following the well-worn elephant and hippo trails through the Luangwa Valley.  All luggage and supplies is portered into the camps so you can focus on walking and watching the wildlife.

Day 11:

We fly by small charter plane from Lukuzi to Mfuwe, before catching a scheduled flight from Mfuwe back to Lukasa.  Your trip has come to an end, but the memories will be seared in your memory for eternity.

 

As with all our safari ideas, this has been designed to spark your imagination.  All aspects of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit you.  We want you to discover your own Africa!


Postcard from Tanzania

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Blog.

MwibaLodgePostcard


Linda & David: Reporting for the Globe & Mail

Posted on February 10th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Blog.

the-globe-and-mailWe recently helped Linda Intaschi and David Silcox to arrange a 3-week trip in Namibia and Botswana and we are pleased to report that their Adventurlog has been published in the Globe and Mail.  Read about their adventures, and give us a call if their journey sparks your interest.


Finding The Apes

Posted on January 21st, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Resources.

Perhaps the most fascinating, irresistible and charming creatures in Africa are the Apes.  Hidden in the dense jungle and rainforest areas, Africa’s gorillas and chimpanzees require time and effort to visit.  But the rare opportunity to share time with our distant cousins will be one of the highlights of your safari.

Mountain Gorilla

Gorilla gorilla beringei  Mountain gorilla

Quick Facts

  • The largest living primate, an adult male gorilla can be 1.8 meters tall and weigh 180kg.
  • Gorillas live in family groups, called troops, with up to 30 members.
  • Highly sociable, gorillas form strong attachments to members of their troop.
  • One mature male, known as the Silverback, normally acts as leader and chief protector.
  • Gorillas inhabit dense forest and rainforest, wandering over a 15-25km home range.
  • Feeding and resting through the day, gorillas build nests from bent branches or grasses each evening.
  • Gorillas are shy and retiring and will seek no trouble unless harassed.  But they will fiercely defend their family group when threatened.
  • Twenty-five distinct vocalizations are recognised and used for group communication in the dense vegetation.
  • There are only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world.

Where to See the Gorillas

  • Approximately 480 gorillas inhabit the Virunga Ranges.  This extinct volcanic region runs along the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The remaining gorillas inhabit Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda.

 About Visiting the Gorillas

  • Getting to see the gorillas is not easy and there are no guarantees.
  • At least a moderate level of fitness is required as you will have to trek through thick vegetation and up steep slopes in search of the gorillas.  The trek can last for several hours.
  • Local guides keep track of the animals, but they move daily and are not easy to track.  Visitors have been disappointed.
  • Your time with the gorillas is limited to 1 hour and facemasks may be required to prevent transmission of disease.
  • You may not use a flash, so choose your lens accordingly.
  • You will require an official permit to see the gorillas.

 

Western Lowland Gorilla

western lowland gorilla

Quick Facts

  • The smallest subspecies of gorilla, the average male still stands 1.6m tall and weighs 168 kg.
  • Compared to mountain gorillas there is a greater gender size difference, with females being half the size of males.
  • Endangered but far more common and widespread than the mountain gorillas.
  • Females don’t start reproducing until around 9 years old, and they generally have one offspring every 5 years.
  • When males reach maturity they go through a “bachelor stage” that can last several years.  Whereas females are never found alone.
  • This breed has the smallest family groups of all gorillas, averaging 4-8 members.
  • Highly sociable, gorillas form strong attachments to family members.
  • One mature male, known as the Silverback, normally acts as leader and chief protector.
  • The western lowland gorilla inhabits dense rainforest throughout central Africa.
  • Western gorillas frequently stand upright, but walk in a hunched, quadruped fashion.
  • Feeding and resting through the day, gorillas build nests from bent branches or grasses each evening.
  • All gorillas are shy and retiring and will seek no trouble unless harassed.  But they will fiercely defend their family group when threatened.

Where to See the Gorillas

  • The forests of the Congo (Brazzaville) harbour the largest population of western lowland gorillas.
  • Odzalla-Kokoua National Park has the densest population and new lodges are beginning to open, making this area more accessible.

About Visiting the Gorillas

  • Getting to see the gorillas is not easy and there are no guarantees.
  • At least a moderate level of fitness is required as you will have to trek on foot through thick vegetation, often for several hours.
  • Local guides keep track of the animals, but they move daily and are not easy to track.  Visitors have been disappointed.
  • Your time with the gorillas is limited to 1 hour and facemasks may be required to prevent transmission of disease.
  • You may not use a flash, so choose your lens accordingly.

 

Chimpanzee

chimpanzee

Quick Facts

  • Chimpanzees are humans’ closest relatives, sharing 98% of our genes.
  • Highly sociable, chimps move in flexible groups of 15-80, called troops.
  • Agile climbers, chimps build nests high up in the trees to rest during the day and sleep at night.
  • During the day chimps move largely on the ground, either bipedally or knuckle-walking.
  • Bigger than you might think, the adult male weighs up to 70kg and reaches heights of 1.7 meters.
  • Largely vegetarian, chimps do supplement their diets with meat.  Males hunt in groups for small antelope, monkeys and baboons.
  • Extremely noisy creatures, chimps communicate through screams, pant hoots, squeaks and barks.

Where to See the Chimpanzees

  • Chimps are present throughout a number of African countries, but the best place to see them is in Tanzania or Uganda.
  • The Mahale Mountains National Park, in western Tanzania, has an estimated 1,000 chimps in residence.
  • Gombe Stream National Park, also in western Tanzania, is where Jane Goodall studied chimps and remains home to several groups of habituated chimps.
  • Kibale National Park in Uganda is home to 1,500 chimps.
  • Chimps can also be seen at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Kyamburu Gorge in Uganda.

About Visiting the Chimpanzees

  • You will have to trek to find the chimpanzees and the length of the walk can vary from a wander to the back of the camp to a 10-hour trek.
  • Local guides stay in touch with the chimps day to day movements.  As long as you’re up to walking, it’s unusual for people not to see the chimps in a 3-day stay.
  • When you find the chimps you are often able to get in close proximity as they are habituated.
  • Your time with the chimps is limited to 1 hour and facemasks may be required to prevent transmission of disease.
  • You may not use a flash, so choose your lens accordingly.
  • Tracking chimps is easier in the wet season when they don’t roam so far, but the dry season (July – October) is better for photos as the foliage is less dense.