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Africa Solo

Posted on December 2nd, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Blog.

GiseleGisele had done her research before she came to Safari and Co. She knew she wanted to do a wildlife safari in Zambia and a photographic safari in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Our role was to stitch everything together, because travelling solo in Africa you want to make sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. We talked to Gisele on her return about the joys of adventuring alone in the wilds of Africa. Continue reading …


Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp: Luxury amongst the sand dunes

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

Desert walk at HoanibAccessible only by light aircraft, the brand new Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp sits on an island in the dry Khumib riverbed. Straddling the private Palmwag Concession and the Skeleton Coast National Park, the camp is perfectly positioned for exploring this rugged and remote Skeleton Coast.

Eight Meru-style tents make up the living quarters. With sumptuous interior and full ensuite, each tent opens onto a canopied verandah with views straight down to the dunes. The large shared lounge area is filled with comfortable sofas and armchairs and leads into a separate bar and dining area. The large decked terrace has magnificent views, and is ideal for al fresco dining.

Gemsbok near HoanibFour-wheel drive excursions will explore the roaring sand dunes, windswept plains, canyons and saltpans of this unique landscape. As barren as it looks at first, there is plenty of game just around the corner. This area has one of the greatest concentrations of desert adapted elephant and lion, and home to some elusive and unusual predators like the shaggy brown hyena and the black-toed jackal.

Enjoy a scenic flight over the crumbling shipwrecks and craggy shores of the Skeleton Coast, or take an excursion to see the shipwrecks up close and visit a Cape fur seal colony.


Little Kulala: Elegance amongst the red sands

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

Little KulalaTucked away on a 37,000 hectare private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Little Kulala shows off the haunting beauty of the Namib desert. Inspired by its environment, the neutral colours, rich textures and natural light of the camp blend perfectly into the sprawling desert.   You will truly experience the vastness of seemingly endless landscapes and vast starlit skies.

Little Kulala VillaKulala means “to sleep” and the camp is made up of 11 thatch roofed villas, or kulalas, each with climate control, ensuite with indoor/outdoor shower, a private deck and plunge pool. Each kulala has a rooftop skybed where you can lie back and drink in the African night skies.

The spectacular red dunes of Sossusvlei are what bring people to this area and Little Kulala is the only camp with direct access. Climb Big Daddy with its red sands reaching over 300m above the valley floor. Head out in the early morning and capture the deep reds and rich shadows of the sunrise over Sossusvlei.   Or take a hot air balloon safari, floating across the dramatic dunes and returning for a champagne breakfast.

Little Kulala SkybedBut there is more to explore than the dunes. Take a quad bike tour of the beautiful Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Wander the hills and dunes on one of the guided walking trails. Walk or drive in search of the smaller desert animals like the bat-eared fox, or take a night walk to look for the dancing lady spider.

Then return to camp to shop at the craft boutique, lounge in the library or enjoy a sundowner overlooking the magic desert landscape. Just drink in the serenity.

The Red Dunes of Sossusvlei


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.


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


Indulge in Singita’s ‘Six Star’ Safari’s

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

Singita has created a wholly new type of luxurious, high-end African experience, offering what I consider to be “six star” lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
On a recent trip to South Africa I visited three Singita lodges: Ebony in the Sabi Sands area, Lebombo and Sweni in Kruger National Park. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it before!

  • Each lodge is different, but all are discerningly designed and decorated to blend seamlessly into their environment and provide genuine comfort.  This is as close to a six star hotel as you will ever get in the African bush.

Sweni Lodge

 

  • With a light touch, the staff caters for your every whim from the moment you arrive.  It’s almost as though you get what you want before you realise you want it.

Castleton

 

  • Unlike most safari lodges, there is no regimentation or routine: you set your own agenda.  Get up when you want.  Dine when and where you want.  Set your own times and methods of exploration.

Ebony Lodge Safari

 

  • A foodie’s heaven, each lodge offers fine dining and excellent wines.  All wines are African (except for the French Champagne).  A highlight of my stay at Ebony Lodge was a surprise 5-course wine & food matching dinner set up on the airstrip.  The glow of bonfires and lanterns was the only light to compete with the wonder of the African sky.  The food was mind-blowing.
  • The guides are exceptional.  And if you are visiting more than one of their South African lodges you can choose to retain one guide for your entire stay.

Lebombo Lodge

 

  • I was surprised to discover incredible on-site markets, ensuring that even shopaholics are catered for at Singita.  You can buy the luxurious linens, shampoos and other items found in your suite and spend hours browsing through an incredible gallery of African art and craft.
  • As a lover of Africa, I was particularly pleased to discover that Singita is deeply involved in wildlife conservation and community development projects.  In Sabi Sand, Singita supports a pre-school development program.  At Kruger National Park they offer the Singita School of Cooking.  In Zimbabwe, where the need is greater, Singita are currently helping to feed 19,000 children affected by drought.

Pamushana Feeding Program

 

I highly recommend Singita lodges to all of our clients who seek true luxury.  If you look for the finest quality and most personal care then please talk to me about including Singita in your itinerary.


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 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

 


Chris & Ruben: Wildlife, Beaches, Wine & Baths

Posted on December 12th, 2013 by Stephanie Hunt in Blog.

Chris and RubenChris and Ruben first travelled to Africa with Safari and Co in 2009and they vowed to return for Chris’s 50th. “We decided the trip would be 5-weeks, 1-week per decade,” he says.  Planning started in November 2012.  They wanted to see the wildebeest migration on the Masai Mara, the chimps in Tanzania, elephants and lions in Botswana,  wineries in South Africa…and spend some time at the beach.

“It was probably a bit challenging for Mike to organise all that,” acknowledges Chris.  But Safari and Co set the itinerary, arranged the details, selected the best camps and on the 10th of August 2013 Chris and Ruben departed Toronto for a once-in-a-lifetime safari.  They invite you to share some of their favourite pictures and stories and imagine yourself sipping a sundowner in the wilds of Africa.

Continue reading …