African Safaris Consultants Blog » South Africa http://blog.africansafaris.com Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:55:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Rhino Poaching Crisis: Colin Bell talks Statistics and Solutions http://blog.africansafaris.com/rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions http://blog.africansafaris.com/rhino-poaching-crisis-colin-bell-talks-statistics-solutions/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 15:23:44 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3760 Over the course of the last two or three years, the plight of African rhinos has become an issue of international concern. With Eastern demand for rhino horn products seemingly ever increasing, the numbers of rhinos poached annually is skyrocketing to potentially fatal levels –but what is actually being done about it? The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) – of which we are a member – recently hosted an informative presentation by renowned wildlife activist Colin Bell about just that. What follows is a synopsis of Mr. Bell’s extremely enlightening presentation.

Colin Bell is a longtime proponent of sustainable ecotourism and has several decades of experience under his belt in his various capacities at Wilderness Safaris and Great Plains Conservation. Now a fulltime conservation activist, Colin has used his extensive network and skillset to highlight African issues such as community development, poaching and habitat loss. His real passion though is the preservation of the African White and Black rhino – an animal for which he has a deep affinity.

The figures are truly staggering. In 2014, there is an estimated maximum of 25 000 rhinos left in the wild and this number could be inflated by as much as 5000. At present, we are losing over a thousand rhinos per year and climbing. Just a month or so ago, Mozambique lost their very last wild rhino to poaching. There are no more wild rhinos in Mozambique. That sentence is one we do not want to ever repeat for other African countries, and it could apply to South Africa in as little as five years time…

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Colin Bell presents on the decline of rhinos due to poaching.

At this stage you are probably wondering why are more people buying rhino horns? What has changed in the last three years? The answers to these questions are multifaceted and encompass both social and cultural considerations. Firstly, there has been an incredible growth of the Asian middleclass. This has lead to greater demand for substances that were previously the preserve of the elite – such as rhino horn, which is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Secondly, there was an unsubstantiated claim made in Vietnam that rhino horn has cancer-fighting abilities. These two factors have sent demand sky high. In fact a recent WWF survey determined that while 5% of the population in Vietnam’s biggest cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are currently using rhino horn products, a whopping 16% still aspire to. Scary stuff indeed!

The trade of illicit rhino horn is big business. The estimated street value of the horns from poached rhinos in 2013 exceeds three billion Rand. That money is being used to finance militias, to buy arms and to fund terrorism. The recent terror attacks in Kenya were committed by an organization that derives almost all its funding from rhino horn trade. This is a global issue, not just an African one.

All throughout Africa, some of the poorest communities live on the fringes of pristine wilderness and national parks. They have become increasingly marginalized and do not see enough benefit from tourism and conservation to actively pursue it. Little wonder then that they turn to poaching as a means to support their family. In South Africa, 60-80% of the illegal rhino horn passes through Mozambique right through these very same ‘fringe’ communities.

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We need to preserve these beautiful animals while we still can.

Having played his part in several successful rhino reintroductions in Botswana and Namibia, Colin has now shifted focus to South Africa – a country where 80% of all African rhinos are located.  He envisions a scenario such as that in Damaraland, Namibia, where reintroduced rhino now freely roam across thousands of kilometers without being poached. The reason for this is that the local communities are stakeholders in the project and it is in their interests to ensure the rhinos conservation. It is this sort of ‘holistic’ approach that we need to implement in South Africa.

Colin proposes a number of solutions that, when implemented together, have a real chance of combatting not just rhino horn trade, but illegal wildlife trade generally. These are:

  • Integrate communities: The communities around national parks need to be consulted and considered. Their lives need to improve in order for any real change to be lasting and effective,
  • Make use of technical advancements: The United States military has developed an incredibly advanced mobile field unit that is capable of observing areas as large as 50 hectares. This technology is capable of identifying animals, humans and even weapons from incredible distances. Costing $1million each, they’re not cheap, but they are obtainable.
  • International lobbying and diplomacy: With enough pressure, changes will be made. Chinese demand for shark fin almost halved recently when the Chinese government took shark fin soup off all official menus due to international pressure.
  • Establish a National Capital Tourism Fund: Colin proposes that an extra 1% be added to all tourism related fees and that that money goes towards National conservation endeavors.

Although the situation is dire, it is not yet critical. There are positive developments being made – this talk to key stakeholders in the South African tourism industry being just one example. Colin and his team are mobilizing and a movement is building. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as we join forces to keep our wildlife around for many generations to come.

White Rhino & Calf

White Rhino & Calf

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Press Release: Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond join forces to translocate 100 rhino. http://blog.africansafaris.com/press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino http://blog.africansafaris.com/press-release-great-plains-conservation-beyond-join-forces-translocate-100-rhino/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:32:02 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3632 With rhino poaching at an all-time high in South Africa, two of Africa’s leading conservation companies, Great Plains Conservation and andBeyond, have joined forces to safely translocate up to 100 rhino from South Africa to the safe haven of Botswana.

“There is a battle for Africa’s wildlife raging as we speak. Rhinos are being poached at a rate of one every nine hours and the official number is 1 004 dead in 2013 alone. The unofficial number, because we simply do not find them all, is well over 1 000. Like everyone, I’ve been watching this desperate situation worsen, which is why Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond have decided to take action. This is not a Great Plains Conservation project or an &Beyond one, it is a global one that we can all play a role in, small and large. I don’t believe in branded conservation — it needs to be something we all get behind to save a species,” says Dereck Joubert, Great Plains CEO.

White Rhino & Calf

White Rhino & Calf

“Botswana has an excellent security system in place to protect these endangered animals and will be a safe haven for the relocated rhino. Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of endangered species and this groundbreaking project aims to protect the species for future generations to enjoy. A project this size requires a strong partnership and a huge resource pool to pull it off. We are therefore very pleased to be joining forces with Great Plains Conservation for this mass translocation. We share the same mission and operating ethos and together we believe we can make this happen,” says Joss Kent, &Beyond CEO.

Having successfully translocated six rhino from South Africa to Botswana last year, &Beyond’s conservation team will lend its expertise to the project. Up to 100 rhino will be captured and safely transported from South Africa and released in Botswana’s remote wilderness. Each rhino will be tagged and microchipped for research and monitoring purposes. A dedicated anti-poaching team will then work in conjunction with the Botswana government agencies to monitor the animals using the latest technology.

A rhino relocation in progress.

A rhino relocation in progress.

This operation will cost USD8 million and both Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond will announce specific fundraising initiatives to enable tourism stakeholders, travel partners, tour operators and guests to help save this iconic species and ensure Africa’s Big Five remains for future generations to enjoy.

The battle to save the rhino from extinction won’t be won tomorrow; however, with joint initiatives such as this, the battle won’t be lost tomorrow either.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Hilton Walker

T. +27 (13) 7502005 | M. +27 (82) 5799055

hilton@greatplainsconservation.com

Twitter @ZerosForRhinos

 

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GoPro: Lions – The New Endangered Species? http://blog.africansafaris.com/gopro-lions-new-endangered-species/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gopro-lions-new-endangered-species http://blog.africansafaris.com/gopro-lions-new-endangered-species/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 10:30:55 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3521 Kevin Richardson – aka The Lion Whisperer – is a South African ‘self-taught’ zoologist with a particular affinity for big predators like lions and hyenas. Beginning his career as a 22 year old assistant on a lion reserve outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Kevin quickly realised his passion and unique ability to connect with the animals in a way that few others can. Ever since those days in his formative early 20s, Kevin has worked tirelessly to highlight the plight of wild predators in Africa and campaign for their conservation. He is world-renowned on the internet for a series of clips showing him seemingly disregarding personal safety concerns, and embracing wild lions who rush to greet him as if common house cats.

Kevin teamed up with GoPro for the video below and we think you’ll agree that the result is pretty special indeed. Enjoy!

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Client Images: Sabi Sand Lions Bonding http://blog.africansafaris.com/client-images-sabi-sand-lions-bonding/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=client-images-sabi-sand-lions-bonding http://blog.africansafaris.com/client-images-sabi-sand-lions-bonding/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 13:43:16 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3436 Past clients Darren Zipperer and Patrick Richardson recently enjoyed some time at the beautiful Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park, where they happened upon some adult male lions thoroughly enjoying some bonding time. They sent us the images and we just had to share them with you…

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A Weekend at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve http://blog.africansafaris.com/weekend-grootbos-private-nature-reserve/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=weekend-grootbos-private-nature-reserve http://blog.africansafaris.com/weekend-grootbos-private-nature-reserve/#comments Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:43:01 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3361 A couple months ago I received an email from Grootbos Private Nature Reserve inviting me to spend a weekend there to check out just how one of South Africa’s preeminent ecolodges goes about its business. I gave it a cursory glance, flagged the email without much thought and carried on with my day. Fast forward a couple months and I decided to take them up on their kind offer after our Safari Guru Jeff enthused to me just how special a place it is. A few friendly emails later and I was fully booked and ready to experience Grootbos for myself…

Grootbos is a privately owned nature reserve of some 2500 hectares located just under two hours outside of Cape Town. Home to an incredible 765 completely indigenous plant species, it is one of South Africa’s most awarded Private Nature Reserves, with honours in categories such as Best Ecological Safari, Best Community Safari and Most Innovative Retreat to name but a few. It also has the distinction of recently being named amongst the world’s Top 10 land-based destinations to watch whales. With such an abundance of natural beauty, it’s fitting that every aspect of Grootbos has been carefully designed to enhance the magnificent surroundings.

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The entrance to Grootbos is indicative of what lies ahead.

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Forest Lodge.

My friend and I arrived on a cold and windy Friday afternoon, eager to get out the city and soak up the tranquil atmosphere of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Our first encounter with Grootbos was at the security gate where the friendly staff asked for our name to confirm whether we were booked in at the Forest or Garden Lodge (we stayed at the former), and then wished us a pleasant stay. We got the impression straight away that smiling faces were to be the norm over the next few days. After finishing our delicious welcome drink and planning our weekend’s activity schedule, we were eager to check out our room.

Walking from the main building of Forest Lodge – which houses reception, a curio shop, the dining hall, bar and reading deck – to the individual villas, one gets a real sense of the isolation of the place. For as far as the eyes can see, there is nothing but fynbos (the indigenous vegetation of the region) and ocean. The air is clean, fresh and accented by the early scents of Spring blossoming. The sense of peace and tranquility is tangible, and one begins to relax and unwind even before reaching your front door.

The villas at Forest Lodge are unmistakably modern, yet surprisingly unobtrusive – instead letting the natural beauty of their surrounds be the focus of attention. Interior finishes are of a very high quality, and the rooms are tastefully furnished and welcoming. The real highlight though is not the luxurious bed, the well stocked fireplace or the massive bathtub – what sets the rooms at Grootbos apart are the views. They are incredible! We spent a good part of the evening just watching the amazing sunset from our deck, as the brilliant purple and pink hues bounced off the ocean and blanketed the seemingly endless horizon of fynbos. It was pretty special indeed.

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The view from the master bedroom.

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The sunset from Friday evening was spectacular.

After marvelling at the sunset for a good while, we set about starting a fire in the lounge’s fireplace and readied ourselves for dinner. The dining area at Forest Lodge is at the end of the building, which means you walk past a good few friendly staff members on the way – all of whom go out of their way to greet you and wish you a pleasant stay or an enjoyable meal. We exchanged greetings with all of them and made our way to a window-facing table, eager to satisfy our rumbling stomachs. While we had heard that the food at Grootbos was good, we were not prepared for just how good…

Though I’ve been fortunate to eat at some respected five star restaurants around the world, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a meal as much as I enjoyed that first dinner. Freshly baked rolls and farm fresh butter were followed by an amuse bouche of crispy roasted duck, a delicious potato and leek soup, a refreshing lime, lemon and mint sorbet palate cleanser, beef fillet cooked to perfection, and a decadent dessert of a chocolate brownie with apricot ice cream – both homemade of course. All the food served at Grootbos is organic and either grown on site or ethically sourced from local organic/free range suppliers. And all of it is incredible! With stomachs supremely satisfied, we lazily walked back to our villa and settled in for a good nights sleep.

We awoke on Saturday morning to the sound of the wind gusting outside at a rate of knots, while completely sheltered in the warm, soft embrace of our luxurious beds. After some coffee and a hot shower, we braved the inclement weather and made our way to the dining area with much excitement. Breakfast at Grootbos is just as special an occasion as dinner! A ‘cold buffet’ of cereals and grains, freshly baked muffins, croissants and breads, cold meats, cheeses and fresh organic fruit lay tantalisingly laid out upon our arrival. The hot breakfast is a la carte and features the traditional English, Grootbos Eggs Benedict and various other options. We both opted for the Eggs Benedict and it was honestly one of the best I’ve ever had.

Unfortunately the rain meant that certain outdoor activities were cancelled, so we headed back to our room to enjoy the fireplace and a good book. With the rain continuing to fall outside, we could not have been happier than we were next to the fireplace, sipping on tea. Even in winter, Grootbos is the ideal destination to go to relax. Although we were doing something we could’ve done at home, the atmosphere and ambience at Grootbos is so conducive to relaxation that an hour spent reading there is the rejuvenating equivalent of three spent elsewhere. Before we knew it it was time for another Grootbos meal – probably the only thing that could’ve pried us from our warm couch. I’ll let the menu in the picture below do all the talking for me this time.

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Grootbos Eggs Benedict.

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Saturday’s lunch menu.

While staying indoors reading all weekend is a perfectly good option, Grootbos prides itself on its extensive list of available activities – most of which are included. The inclement weather put a (literal) damper on a few of them, but we were fortunate enough to partake in two of them – horseback riding and a Social Responsibility Tour. First up was a relaxed horseback ride through the fynbos, around the two lodges, and back again. The horses at Grootbos are all extremely well looked after and very used to people, so they’re perfectly suited to an absolute novice like myself. The ride was incredibly enjoyable and offered a unique perspective on the natural beauty that surrounds the lodge.  

Our next activity was the Social Responsibility Tour, which really represents the essence of Grootbos. With a horticultural college/nursery and organic farm on the reserve’s premises, Grootbos is passionate about giving back to the community. Both the nursery and the farm take in 10 local community members each year and educate them on topics including organic farming, soil science, horticulture and sustainability. They also receive driving lessons and share in the profits of the produce that they sell back to Grootbos itself. At the end of the year they leave with a certificate in horticulture, a driver’s license, and vastly improved reading and writing skills. Newly qualified and skilled, they are either quickly employed by local farmers or they start working their way up the ranks at Grootbos. It is sustainable ecotourism at its finest, and was truly refreshing to see.

All said, we could not find a single fault with our entire Grootbos experience. The staff were extremely friendly, the accommodation superb, the food exceptional, the surrounds pristine and the goodwill palpable. I cannot wait to go back!

Grootbos Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

For more pictures of our time at Grootbos, check out our Google + gallery here.

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Riding through the fynbos.

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The indigenous nursery and classroom.

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Main building, Forest Lodge.

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Cape Town Honours Nelson Mandela http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-honours-nelson-mandela/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cape-town-honours-nelson-mandela http://blog.africansafaris.com/cape-town-honours-nelson-mandela/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:37:57 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3309 The City of Cape Town has recently installed a popup tribute to the iconic Mr Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s first democratically elected President – honouring the former statesman and his longtime affiliation with the city. Situated in Cape Town’s Civic Centre, the exhibition is hugely informative whilst still being visually appealing and inspirational. Containing rare photographs of Mr Mandela with various celebrities, dignitaries and children, facts about his life,  well-known quotations and video recordings of some of his landmark moments, one cannot help but feel a great sense of pride and respect. The impact that Madiba has had on the world is nothing short of remarkable and the City’s homage to the great man is suitably fitting.

“As I was preparing to meet Nelson Mandela I considered that his reputation was in fact larger than anyone else’s. But only in this case was the individual much larger than the reputation.” – The Dalai Lama.

The Nelson Mandela exhibition runs until July 2014 and is free to the public during the hours of 10.00 – 16.00 (including public holidays). The Civic Centre is located at 12 Hertzog Boulevard.

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The collection of rare photographs are heartwarming.

The collection of rare photographs are heartwarming.

The exhibition is filled with inspirational quotes from the great man.

The exhibition is filled with inspirational quotes from the great man.

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Top 5 Lodges for a South African Wine Safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/top-5-lodges-for-a-south-african-wine-safari/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-5-lodges-for-a-south-african-wine-safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/top-5-lodges-for-a-south-african-wine-safari/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 05:01:25 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3270 Renowned global wine authority, Wine Spectator, features South Africa in their July 2013 issue and we couldn’t be more pleased. We’ve long said that South African wines are amongst the very best in the world, with the country producing wines of equal or greater quality as established producers such as the United States, Australia and France. With the majority of South Africa’s wine lands located just outside Cape Town – where our South African office is located – it’s safe to say that we’re quite familiar with them. In celebration of this honour, we thought we’d put together some of our favourite lodges who boast exceptional cellars for the wine enthusiast on safari in Africa’s wine headquarters.

1. Singita Boulders

Located in the private Sabi Sands concession in the Kruger National Park, world famous Singita Boulders has one of the best cellars in South Africa and counts some 35 000 bottles in it’s inventory. Sip on a cold chardonnay while relaxing in your private plunge pool overlooking the African bush, and, if you really enjoy that particular tipple, there is a well stocked wine boutique on site for purchasing your favourite(s).

A wine lover's heaven!

A wine lover’s heaven!

2. Honeyguide Mantobeni

Another concession in the Kruger National Park, the Manyaleti Private Game Reserve’s Honeyguide Mantobeni combines colonial inspired interior design with an authentic African safari experience under canvas. Their climate controlled wine cellar houses a vast selection of South Africa’s very best wines, which are expertly paired with the freshly prepared meals of the day for an all round gastronomic treat.

The pride of Mantobeni.

The pride of Mantobeni.

3. Royal Malewane

Located in the Thornybush Game Reserve, just outside the Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is an exclusive getaway for the discerning safari enthusiast. With a maximum of 20 guests at a time, the camp oozes luxurious splendour – which is mirrored by it’s superb wine cellar.

The perfect spot for an evening glass of wine.

The perfect spot for an evening glass of wine.

4. Ulusaba

Part of the Virgin Group of Companies, Ulusaba Safari Lodge offers the quintessential safari experience with the lodge located on a hill surrounded by the African bush for as far as the eye can see. With Sir Richard Branson having personally overseen all the important details, guests can rest assured that the cellar houses an impressive collection of some of his personal favourites.

Ulusaba Safari Lodge has incredible views to sip to.

Ulusaba Safari Lodge has incredible views to sip to.

5. The Cape Winelands

While the title of this article is the Top 5 wine lodges in South Africa, it would be remiss to not mention their source – The Cape Winelands. Boasting award-winning cuisines, exceptionally high quality wines, and some of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, the Cape Winelands are well worth a visit. From Stellenbosch – one of the oldest towns in South Africa – to culinary capital Franschoek, the winelands are all within an easy hours drive outside Cape Town and make for a perfect way to spend a sunny Cape day.

Pierneef in Franschoek .

Pierneef in Franschoek .

If you’d like to experience some of the best wines in the world in South Africa for yourself, Contact Us to make it happen.

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Rand hits new low against the Dollar: 5 Great South African Safari Specials to Take Advantage http://blog.africansafaris.com/rand-hits-new-low-against-the-dollar-5-great-south-african-safari-specials-to-take-advantage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rand-hits-new-low-against-the-dollar-5-great-south-african-safari-specials-to-take-advantage http://blog.africansafaris.com/rand-hits-new-low-against-the-dollar-5-great-south-african-safari-specials-to-take-advantage/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 10:54:22 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3260 With the South African Rand currently at a four year low against the US Dollar, there has never been a better time for Americans to visit the beautiful country of South Africa. With some of the best game viewing in the world and some of the finest, most luxurious safari lodges and camps, the Rainbow Nation is a really attractive destination offering unrivalled value for money. Here are our Top 5 picks of the best safaris to take advantage of at the moment:

1. Tanda Tula Safari Camp – Kruger National Park

Tanda Tula

Tanda Tula

Tanda Tula‘s home is within the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, forming part of the Greater Kruger National Park. With just 12 luxurious tents set on the banks of the Nhlaralumi riverbed and a frequently visited watering hole within camp, Tanda Tula is able to offer outstanding ‘Big 5′ game viewing on foot and by 4×4, with the comfort and style that has already earned the camp such a highly respected reputation.

Special:  Stay 4 nights and save R 1 200.00 per person. Valid from 01.05.2013 – 30.09.2013 and 01.05.2014 – 30.09.2014 (T&C’s apply).

2. Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Nestled in the heart of South Africa‘s unspoilt Eastern Cape province lies Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, a world-class Big Five safari experience in 22 000 hectares (54 000 acres) of malaria-free pristine private wilderness. Renowned for understated luxury, exquisite scenery and the thousands of animals and wildlife that call the Reserve home, our four award-winning Lodges offer a range of accommodation options and activities to make every African Dream come true.

Special: 10% off for a minimum three night stay. Valid 15.03.2014 – 14.12.2014 (T&C’s apply)

3. The Blue Train

The Blue Train Lounge

The Blue Train Lounge

The Blue Train is regarded as one of the most luxurious train rides in the world, meandering gently through the South African countryside between Pretoria and Cape Town, dating back to 1923. Billed as a “magnificent, moving 5-star hotel” it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Special: Receive a nights complimentary accommodation at either The Raj Hotel in Cape Town or at the boutique 131 Herbert Baker Hotel in Pretoria (T&C’s apply).

4. Ellerman House – Cape Town

Ellerman House

Ellerman House

This elegant Cape Edwardian mansion is known for having one of the most spectacular ocean views in South Africa. Just ten minutes from the heart of Cape Town, the one-and-a-half acre property features a panorama of Atlantic coastline that includes the infamous Robben Island. Now privately owned, Ellerman House stands as an iconic showcase of South Africa’s finest lodging, cuisine, wine, and leisure. With shaded verandas, tiered gardens, beautiful interiors, and a celebrated art collection, guests from all over the world love the combination of luxury and service this serene getaway offers.

Special: Book for three nights and receive 10% discount on Low Season Rate. Includes Table Mountain & Robben Island tickets for 2, Peninsula Tour for 2 in luxury vehicle with personal guide, and all usual services and amenities such as airport transfer (T&C’s apply).

5. &Beyond Big Cat Safari Package

See the Big Cats in all their glory.

See the Big Cats in all their glory.

Choose to spend 2 nights at historic &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, famed for its leopard encounters, or indulge in 2 nights at &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve. Sharing unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park, Ngala is renowned for regular sightings of the Big Five, including large lion prides. End off with 3 nights at one of four safari lodges at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, known for magnificent cheetah viewing.

Special: Save R3425 per person (T&C’s apply).

If you’re interested in taking advantage of any of these amazing offers, please Contact Us for more information. You can check out more pictures of the above properties on our Facebook page here.

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The Landmark Foundation http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-landmark-foundation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-landmark-foundation http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-landmark-foundation/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 14:03:18 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3219 A week or so ago, we at African Safari Consultants (ASC) were fortunate enough to chat with Dr Bool Smuts of the Landmark Foundation – a South African NGO dedicated to building South Africa’s conservation economy so that it’s natural landscapes can be more effectively conserved.  The paragraphs that follow are from notes made during his presentation.

We were advised right at the beginning of Dr Smuts presentation that his efforts are not always appreciated by farmers or local politicians, as he is tackling something with far reaching implications. We assured him that we too have the environment’s best interests at heart, and proceeded to listen attentively to what he had to say.

Dr Smuts formed the Landmark Foundation in 2004 to tackle the human-wildlife conflict, representing the best interests of those that cannot speak for themselves (the animals) and is one of only a few organisations that use a holistic approach to tackle the current problems facing South African conservation, and as such are active in the fields of:

  • Education
  • Research, and
  • Litigation
Dr Bool Smuts (far left).

Dr Bool Smuts (far left).

The leopard became central to the Landmark Foundation owing to its iconic status in South Africa. As the last remaining top predator naturally occurring in South African mountain ranges, the leopard’s survival is key in maintaining the natural balance of the ecosystem. With the leopard population having seen rapid decline in recent years – owing to a combination of factors including trophy hunting, the use of gin traps and other (often cruel) elimination methods by farmers, and a decrease in habitat – the work of Dr Smuts and his team is of the utmost importance.

Since beginning their intensive leopard research and rehabilitation project in 2006, Dr Smuts and his team have seen the Western Cape’s leopard population dwindle to 300. The local farming community see leopards as a threat to their livestock, and ruthlessly eliminate them by means of gin traps (which only capture the intended target 8% of the time, meaning a whopping 92% of gin trap victims are honey badgers, porcupines, jackals, birds, reptiles etc.), night hunting, and rigging dens with barbwire and/or poison.

The animals suffer a painful death in what is tantamount to torture, so the threat that these activities represent to all local wildlife is plain to see. It was incredibly disheartening to learn that these practices are so rife, and that even big name grocery stores are happy to turn a blind eye.

What makes the above all the more bitter a pill to swallow is the fact that the Landmark Foundation’s research proves that actively pursuing the elimination of the species is in fact both more costly than the alternative, and less effective (case studies showed livestock losses remained constant or, in some cases, actually rose). So what is the alternative? Dr Smuts and his team are strong advocates for the return of the almost forgotten skill of shepherding – a vocation as old as any.

leopard

What Dr Smuts is fighting to save.

By establishing shepherding academies, the Landmark Foundation aim to mimic the success of a recent Zimbabwean model whereby Allan Savory – a significant landowner and farmer – removed the fences around his land to maximize grazing area, and simultaneously re-introduced shepherds to tend to his flock. The resultant declines in livestock loss were remarkable. Mr. Savory was saving money on expensive culling techniques, had taught valuable skills to his employees, and was losing significantly less livestock.  Wins all round!

In addition to his campaigning for ‘Fair Game’ products and the abolition of the cruel practices described above, Dr Smuts also focuses on educating the youth as to the importance of sustainable practices. By bringing to light ‘conflict situations’ that the public may not be aware of, he and his team seek to reintroduce programs for better land use practices. The work that he and his team are doing is invaluable, and we commend them on their efforts in the face of adversity.

fair-game

Fair Game is Wildlife Friendly.

If you would like to find out more about the Landmark Foundation and how you can help conserve South Africa’s precious wildlife heritage, please visit www.landmarkfoundation.org.za. The site is filled with information on how to help, contact details, and some disturbing imagery/videos that push home the point of just how serious this is.

We at ASC salute the Landmark Foundation and look forward to working with them in future.

 

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Tinga Tinyeleti Tree House Lodge http://blog.africansafaris.com/tinga-tinyeleti-tree-lodge/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tinga-tinyeleti-tree-lodge http://blog.africansafaris.com/tinga-tinyeleti-tree-lodge/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 10:28:15 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=3205 The new Tinga Tinyeleti Tree House lodge offers the chance to rekindle our ancient love affair with trees, in an ultra luxurious setting overlooking the pristine wilderness of the Tinga private concession. Ever since childhood days of tree houses and tire swings, trees have always held a special place in our hearts – many an hour has been spent relaxing under the shade they provide, contemplating life while the birds sing from their branches overhead. They are the grand old guardians of the wilderness, and provide a safari experience second to none…

The Tinga Tinyeleti tree house lodge is located in Tinga – a private concession in the famed Kruger National Park. The lodge was recently completed and offers guests the chance to sleep among the tree canopies in unrivalled luxury, giving one an unprecedented safari experience. With the sights and sounds of the African bush encapsulating you on the luxurious four post bed, it’s incredibly easy to forget one’s cares and become lost in the experience.

These pictures of Tinga Tinyeleti tree house lodge do it more justice than words ever could! If you’d like to experience the treetops for yourself, then please feel free to Contact Us and we’ll gladly make it a reality.

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