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Chilo Gorge: Luxury in a Pristine Wilderness

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zimbabwe (camps).

Chilo Gorge LodgeFar from the main tourist routes, in a remote corner of southeastern Zimbabwe, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge sits surrounded by pristine wilderness.  This elegant but simple lodge, with its well-tended gardens, overlooks the wild and rugged terrain of Gonarezhou National Park.

From the viewing deck in the main lodge you can watch the local elephants, hippos and crocodiles in the Save River below.  Or set out with Chilo’s professional guides to explore the unspoiled wilds of red sandstone, baobabs, elephants, buffalo and big cats.

Clive StockilThe guiding is a highlight at Chilo Gorge.  Clive Stockil, the founder, was born and bred in the area and has been guiding since 1973.  He is a renowned authority on the wildlife and communities of the lowveld.

A very special option for Chilo Gorge guests is an overnight stay in a remote tented camp, accompanied by a professional guide: an unparalleled encounter with nature.

Chilo Gorge has long been involved with the local Shangaan communities.  The CAMPFIRE program, Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources, was started here and has since become an Africa wide program.  Visitors to the lodge are given a unique opportunity to spend a day with the people of Mahenye Village, who open their doors and their hearts to visitors.

Chilo Gorge by the poolWhen not tracking wildlife, exploring the wilderness or discovering new cultures relax in the lodge, which is light, spacious and graceful.  The all inclusive luxury rooms feature spacious ensuites, private balconies, and fabulous views.  The main lodge features a shaded swimming pool, lounge, bar and dining area.

Chilo Lodge brings the outside in – somehow managing to create a luxurious, comfortable space that celebrates and shows off its wilderness setting.

Elephant near Chilo Gorge

 

Photographs compliments of Chilo Gorge


Alex Walker’s Serian Serengeti South: Distinctive Bush Camp and Walking Safaris

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Tanzania.

"Your Room" at Serian SerengetiHadzabe HunterSerian Serengeti South is a seasonal camp that operates only between December and late April.  Because the camp is mobile it is more basic than some of the luxurious lodges.  But what it lacks in luxury it more than makes up for in atmosphere and adventure.  This is a place to feel the true heart of Africa.

The camp is open in the months when this area is inundated with a million or more wildebeest, and at the height of wildebeest calving season.  With exclusive use of a 250,000-acre conservation area, guests experience the great migration in an intimate way, far from the hordes of tourists and jeeps.

Alex Walker has been guiding and outfitting safaris for over 30 year.  He and his hand picked professional team of guides have created distinctive safaris, focused on walking and exploring.

This is a place to disconnect and be seduced by the rhythms of Africa.  The eight tents are stylish, but basic.  There is no telephone or Wi-Fi.  Instead, guests enjoy exclusive use of a vehicle with a private guide and spotter to explore and the seemingly endless short grass plains and divorce themselves from the everyday world.

The truly adventurous have a unique opportunity to walk with experienced guides and Hadzabe bushmen into the wilderness for two or three days fly camping.  This is an unadulterated bush experience, shared with those who know and understand the bush.
Wild Dogs Chasing Zebras Near Serian South SerengetiPhotographs compliments of Alex Walker’s Serian Serengeti South


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


Somalisa: Authentic African Bush Tents

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

Somalisa CampA four to five hour drive or 40 minute charter flight from Victoria Falls, this authentic tented bush camp offers up old world African charm and elegance right in the heart of Hwange National Park.

Six elegantly furnished canvas tents sit along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain.  Each is decorated in a bygone, colonial style with ensuite flush toilets and alfresco bush showers.

The dining and lounge areas are nestled under a soaring canopy of acacia trees and offer breathtaking views of the savannah plains and the famous Kennedy Vlei line.

Incredible elephant viewing at Somalisa Camp

Incredible elephant viewing at Somalisa Camp

After the first summer rains in November/December the plains are ablaze with seasonal wildflowers, making this the most beautiful spot in the park. The dry season between May and October offers some of the best elephant viewing in Africa, with elephants seen right in the camp.

The passionate and knowledgeable guides offer game drives, guided walks, bird watching and evening night drives.  Expect to see elephant, kudu, sable, the rare and endangered roan antelope, buffalo, white rhino, lion, leopard, and hyena amongst other wildlife species.

Somalisa lets you explore Africa the way you have imagined: up close to nature with the romance of a true safari bush camp.

On the Prowl Near SomalisaPhotographs and video by Safari Mike


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


Discover Zimbabwe’s History, Grandeur and Wildlife

Posted on May 29th, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Safaris: Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is becoming a hot safari destination again.  Its praise is deserved because “Zim” is home to some of Africa’s best guides, most amazing landscapes and some surprising history.  This rough planning guide explores the breadth of Zimbabwe’s historical and native wonders.

Victoria Falls
Start your trip at Victoria Falls: the Smoke that Thunders.

You will marvel at the immensity of the Falls themselves: from the ground, the air or the mighty Zambezi River.

This is also the playground of Zimbabwe.  Thrill seekers will love the bungee jumping, hydro-speeding and a host of other adventures.  How long you stay will depend entirely on the length of your bucket list.

Victoria Falls

Hwange National Park

The largest game park in Zimbabwe, Hwange stretches south of Victoria Falls to Bulawayo and west to the Kalahari Desert.  It is home to a stunning array of wildlife and famous for its massive herds of buffalo and elephant.

We suggest you try out a couple of the intimate tented camps scattered through the park.

Somalisa and Little Makalolo are both exclusive tented camps, situated in the middle eastern section of the park.  Somalisa offers breathtaking views of savannah grasslands, while Little Makalolo overlooks a vibrant waterhole.  Both offer guided walks, game drives and birdwatching.

Camp Hwange is further west set on a rise in a private concession, overlooking the Shumba Pans.

Lion spotted near Little Makalolo

Matobo National Park

The oldest national park in Zimbabwe, Matobo is as much about history as it is about wildlife.

Discover a rich heritage of ancient rock paintings amongst the granite kopjes of this ancient landscape.  Created over 2,000 years ago by the San (bushmen) there are beautiful friezes of giraffes, elephants and kudus.

These hills were also the scene of the famous indaba between white settlers and Ndebele leaders in 1896.

We recommend either Big Cave Camp or Camp Amalinda which both offer comfortable accommodation and sweeping views of the Matopos Hills.

Rock Art at Matobo

Great Zimbabwe

Prepare to be surprised!  Great Zimbabwe is a ruined, walled city in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe.  Once the royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch, much of the grandeur of the place remains despite the crumbling walls.

While visiting Great Zimbabwe you can stay at Norma Jeans Lakeview Resort, quaint B&B style accommodation that makes a homey change from safari camps..

Great Zimbabwe Ruins

More Wildlife?

If you’re up for a little more wildlife than consider heading to Gonarezhou National Park on the Mozambique border.  Stay at the luxurious Chilo Gorge, with its spectacular views and first class guiding, or Singita Pamushana.

This is just a rough guide.  Let us create a personalized itinerary that is perfect just for you.


Finding The Big Five

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

The term “big five” was coined by game hunters to refer to their most prized kills.  These five animals are considered the most ferocious when cornered, and so the most difficult to “bag”.

The mystique of the “big five” continues today, although tourists are more likely to shoot with their camera than a rifle.   Many of our clients head out on safari with these animals at the top of their “must see” list.   So here are some quick facts to consider.

 

African Lion

Lions in Kalahari

Quick Facts

  • Social animals, lions live in prides of several females, their young and a couple of males.
  • Female lions tend to hunt more than the males.
  • Lions ambush their prey rather than tracking and chasing.
  • Female lions synchronize the birth of their cubs and cooperate in raising them.
  • Females tend to stay with the pride for life.  Males will leave between 2 and 4 years of age.
  • The size and colour of a male lion’s mane shows other males how old he is.  The darker and larger the mane, the older the lion.

Did You Know?

  • You are most likely to catch a lion napping – they rest approximately 20 hours a day.
  • Lions can climb trees.  In certain areas lions will rest in trees to avoid buffalo and tsetse flies.

Best Places for an Encounter

Botswana: Okavango Delta & Linyanti River region.

South Africa:  Greater Kruger Area

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park & Kafue National Park.

Kenya: Masai Mara, Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks

Tanzania: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Katavi National Park.

 

African Elephants

Elephant Linyanti

Quick Facts

  • The African Elephant is the largest mammal in the word and can be 3 meters tall and weigh up to 6,000 kilos.
  • Elephants are vegetarian and consume 170 kilos of vegetation daily and drink 120 – 190 liters of waters.
  • Elephants live in woodlands, forest, deserts and savanna.  They are spread across 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Peaceful if left alone, elephants can be dangerous when they feel threatened.
  • Elephants are extremely social animals, living in family groups of up to 100 members, headed by a matriarch.
  • Elephants communicate using a variety of low frequency grumbles, which can be picked up as much as 10 kilometers away.

Did You Know?

  • You are most likely to catch an elephant snacking – they spend 16-18 hours a day eating.
  • Elephants prefer one tusk over another, just as humans are right or left-handed.

Best Places for an Encounter

Botswana: Linyanti River region, Mashatu and Okavango Delta

South Africa: Greater Kruger Area

Namibia: Etosha National Park

Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park & Mana Pools National Park

Kenya: Masai Mara, Tsavo, Meru and Amboseli National Parks

Tanzania: Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, The Selous

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park & Lower Zambezi National Park

 

African Leopard

Leopard

Quick Facts

  • Leopards are shy, nocturnal animals that prefer not to be seen.  Their spots act as camouflage.
  • Leopards mark their territory with urine and faeces and by leaving claw marks on the bark of trees.
  • Leopards can climb, swim and live in a wider range of habitats than most other cats.  They prefer thick bush and riverine forests.
  • Smaller than a lion, the leopard is still a big cat!  And adult male can weigh up to 90 kilos.
  • Extremely fast and agile, a leopard can run at speeds over 55 kilometers per hour and jump as high as 3 meters straight up.
  • A leopard will stalk and pounce its prey rather than chase over long distances.

Did You Know?

  • You are most likely to spot a leopard in a tree – they use trees as observation platforms and to protect their kill from scavengers.  Don’t forget to look up!
  • The leopard’s spots are circular in East Africa and square in southern Africa.

Best Places for an Encounter

Botswana: Okavango Delta & Linyanti River region

South Africa: Greater Kruger Area

Zimbabwe: Hwange & Mana Pools National Parks

Kenya: Masai Mara and Samburu

Tanzania: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Zambia: South Luangwa, Kafue & Lower Zambezi National Parks

 

African Rhino

Rhino

Quick Facts

  • There are two species of rhinoceros in Africa: the black rhino and the white rhino.
  • All rhinos are in fact grey.
  • What differentiates white and black rhino is the lips.  Black rhino have a prehensile lip to strip leaves from bushes and white rhino have a long, flat lip for grazing.
  • There are only 4,000 black rhino left in the wild.  They are usually solitary and live in savanna, shrub and tropical bush areas.
  • White rhinos are more numerous, with over 17,000 remaining.  They are more social and are heavily concentrated in southern Africa.
  • A charging rhino can reach speeds of up to 55 kilometers per hour.
  • An adult rhino can weigh up over 2,500 kilos.
  • Rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine.  Increasing poaching to cash in on this demand has brought rhinos close to extinction.

Did You Know?

  • You are most likely to see a rhino in South Africa – over 80% of the African rhino population is concentrated in South Africa.
  • White rhinos derive their name from the Dutch word “weit”, meaning wide.  This reference is to the white rhino’s wide, square jaw.

Best Places for an Encounter

South Africa: Great Kruger Area

Namibia: Etosha National Park

Kenya: Lake Nakuru, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater

 

The Cape Buffalo

Buffalo herd from hot air balloon, Kafue, Zambia

Quick Facts

  • The buffalo is considered one of Africa’s most dangerous animals and is said to have killed more game hunters than any other animal.
  • Hunters have an adage that says the buffalo never forgets.  They are known to ambush hunters that have injured them in the past.
  • Left alone and unthreatened, buffalo tend to be quite placid.
  • Buffalo are exclusively grazers.
  • On open grasslands they appear in large herds of up to 1,000.
  • The number of buffalo is shrinking due to hunting and domestic cattle diseases.  There are thought to be 1 million left in Africa.
  • When chased by predators the herd sticks close together, marshaling the young into the centre for protection.

Did You Know?

  • You are most likely to see a buffalo with a bird on its back – the Oxpecker bird keeps the buffalo clean by eating all the parasites that live in its thick hide.
  • Buffalo will engage in mobbing behaviour to fight off predators, especially if a calf cries for help.  They have been known to kill a lion.

Best Place for an Encounter

Botswana: Okavango Delta & Linyanti River region.

South Africa: Greater Kruger Area

Zimbabwe: Hwange & Mana Pools National Park

Kenya: Masai Mara & Amboseli National Park

Tanzania: Serengeti National Park & Katavi National park

Zambia: South Luangwa & Lower Zambezi National Park

 


Bushcamp in Style

Posted on July 18th, 2013 by Mike Haines in Safaris: Tanzania.

Little Chem Chem Bushcamp

The wonderful Chem Chem Lodge in Tanzania, will be adding Chem Chem Bushcamp this September (2013). Situated in an area adjacent to Tarangire, the Bushcamp will offer 5 traditional safari tents in keeping with the signature style and sophistication of Chem Chem Lodge. Continue reading …



Cape Town & Winelands, South Africa

Posted on May 25th, 2013 by Mike Haines in Safaris: South Africa.

Cape Town and the picturesque regions nearby, provide the ideal beginning or end to a southern Africa safari. Four or five days touring along the coast and winelands are easily connected with Botswana, Victoria Falls or Kruger. Stunning scenery, excellent wines and cuisine are an important part of a Cape tour. For the adventurous and energetic, there are Great White Shark safaris, hikes up Table Mountain, cycling through the winelands and whale watching. The Cape has a bit everything for everyone.
Some of the best hotels in the world are here; take your pick from intimate boutique style to major hotel brands. Continue reading …