African Safaris Consultants Blog » honeymoon safari http://blog.africansafaris.com Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Cape to Kruger: Valentine’s Day Special http://blog.africansafaris.com/valentines-day-specials/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=valentines-day-specials http://blog.africansafaris.com/valentines-day-specials/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 12:31:30 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2415 It’s Valentine’s Week and love is most definitely in the air. From New York to Cape Town, the ASC offices have been celebrating the special ones in our lives.

In keeping with the loving spirit, we’ve put together an amazing Cape Town & Safari Combo special for honeymooners or couples looking for a romantic African retreat.

Table Mountain

The Breathtaking Table Mountain

 

Your partner will love waking up in the crisp air of the African bush as the sounds of nature signal the start of a new day while on safari near the Kruger National Park. Then treat yourselves to a few days in trendy, sexy, cosmopolitan Cape Town.

 

Cape Town by night

Cape Town by night

 

Cape Town was named as TripAdvisor’s destination of the world in 2011 and boasts a myriad of options for you and yours. Whether it’s a ride up the cable car to the peak of Table Mountain for a coffee overlooking the City and Robben Island; a day on one of the many golden beaches soaking up the sun; or a tour of the surrounding cape winelands. Long Street is a vibrant mix of cultures and home to some of the City’s best independent shops and markets while adjacent Kloof Street is a foodie’s haven. Relaxed seaside villages like Muizenberg and Kalk Bay pepper the coast en route to the Cape of Good Hope and are filled with eclectic boutique shops and art galleries.

 

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach

 

Here’s the deal!  Spend 4 nights at the luxurious Cape Cadogan  AND spend 3 nights on a Big Five safari at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve with a free experience at the über romantic Chalkley Tree House.  Total for 2 people for a 7 night stay = $10 400

The Owners Villa at Cape Cadogan  (4 nights)

Right in the heart of Cape Town within walking distance to many popular attractions and great restaurants, this is the perfect Cape Town retreat. The Villa is decorated in classic olde world Cape Town style with abundance of natural light.  We’re including (for free) your choice of day excursion: EITHER  a harbour cruise around the famous V&A Waterfront – one of the top tourist destinations in the world OR a picnic in the winelands (with a packed basket and free wine tasting) near the famous wine town of Stellenbosch.

V&A Waterfront

V&A Waterfront

 

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge  (3 nights)

Located in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park, Lion Sands is well known for it’s superlative Big Five game viewing, especially lions and leopards. Enjoy thrilling safari drives in open 4×4 vehicles with a dedicated ranger and tracker. Back at the lodge you’ll be able to relax, have spa treatment, dine on fine cuisine and have close encounters with nature in the most luxurious of wilderness locations.

Lion Sands

Lion Sands

 

Whether cooling off in your private infinity pool, enjoying a starlit bath, dozing on your four-poster bed or kicking back in the comfortable chill area, the African wilds are never out of sight. Mixing the old with the new, the traditional building methods of the lodge have been coupled with stylised innovations, like floor to ceiling glass walls in each of the six luxury suites with extraordinary views of the canopy of stars at night.

 

Lion Sands Suite

Take in the amazing river views at sunset

An evening at Chalkey Treehouse (which we’re including for free) will be the highlight of your trip as you toast yourselves and the setting sun from this unique and luxurious treehouse set up in the bush.

Valid for travel between 1 May -31 Aug 2012. Excludes flights.

lion

The Kruger National Park is lion country

Contact African Safari Consultants for more

 

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Tanzania Tour Diary http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-tour-diary/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tanzania-tour-diary http://blog.africansafaris.com/tanzania-tour-diary/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2011 15:28:56 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1152 Our Safari Honcho, Jeff Ward, recently spent a week exploring the beautiful country of Tanzania. The below are excerpts of his trip as he recounts his amazing experiences…

Day 1:

 

I arrive at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha after a long spell of travelling. It’s the perfect spot for a one night pre or post safari stay, and it has a wonderful day room scenario for the late KLM flights out of JRO.

The Hotel has that old world charm that reminds me of the Mount Nelson in Cape Town… the perfect place to take Gran to tea.

The next day, I headed out to Tarangire National Park. The drive was extremely long but there was lots of good game on the way, including a python in a tree!

Day 2

The rooms at Tarangire Tree Tops Lodge are all built around a big old Baobab and Marula trees. A real tree house feel with great views.

 

Tarangire Tree Tops

Tarangire Tree Tops

 

There’s a watering hole right at the front of the lodge where we saw baboons playing (and fighting) while we had lunch.

Swala Sanctuary Camp

This under-canvas camp is right in the middle of the Tarangire National Park, so you can’t beat the location. With 12 tents, this is one of my all-time favorites.  The camp was completely renovated in 2009 and it shows. The place looks terrific. The large tents are permanently fixed on platforms and have full amenities. There is an outdoor shower for each room, with most overlooking the VERY active water hole. Guests at breakfast witnessed a mama lion snacking on a baby warthog this morning. The new managers are in the process of introducing walking safaris, which will be cool.

Swala Sanctuary Lodge

Swala Sanctuary Lodge

Day 4:

Manyara Serena Lodge

We did not have an appointment here, but Adam, my Akorn Driver/Guide thought it might be worthwhile to see.

We got a quick tour of the Manyara Serena which is right at the top of the escarpment. It has 67 rooms and was built in the 1990s. It was spacious, open, and clean, and had beautiful gardens for the grounds.

The lodge has amazing views out over Manyara and also has a refreshing pool that also overlooks the fertile valley below.

 

Manyara Serena Lodge

Manyara Serena Lodge

 

After breakfast at Manyara Ranch, we headed north-west past Lake Manyara National Park and up the Great Rift Valley escarpment  headed to the Karatu Highlands, where it was lush, green, and very pretty.

 

Karatu Highlands

Karatu Highlands

 

Gibbs Farm

I loved this place. They were expecting us and made us feel so welcome. We were immediately offered lunch from the buffet, which offered food that was almost completely grown on the farm (yes, the best meal I’d had so far). The front-office manager dined with us and was available to answer all of my questions. The environment was calm, serene and very relaxing.

Gibbs Farm Bedroom

Gibbs Farm Bedroom

 

 

The lodge sits adjacent to the Ngorongoro Crater National Park and has amazing views that overlook the highlands. There are 21 rooms — 3 older ones (2 of which are in the old home), and 18 new ones. All rooms are basically suites with sleeping, lounging and outside terrace areas. They are very, very well done and remind me a lot of LQF in Franschhoek. There are numerous “Rhythm of the Farm” activities offered and guests can basically stay busy all day (starting with bread baking at 6:30 am). Free activities include farm and garden tours, but there are also many other lower-priced activities in the park (hiking, mountain biking, etc.).

Best time of year to visit is June/July/August (especially for birding) and November/December when everything is green and the gardens are blooming.

At the end of the inspection, they gave me a 10-minute massage with a Masai traditional healer. It was amazing. I’m sold.

 

Masai Traditional Healer

Masai Traditional Healer

 

Manor Lodge

I loved this place, too, as it totally hit the JW-POSH button. It’s beautiful, it’s luxurious. The lodge is only 3 years old and it’s impeccable. Every guest will have each meal in a different location (of course, weather permitting). The have 4 horses (retired Kenyan polo ponies), a massage room, and a manicurist/pedicurist on staff.

The grounds are the loveliest I’ve seen in Tanzania. And the staff were all incredibly friendly.

Manor at Ngorongoro Crater

Manor at Ngorongoro Crater

 

 

Ngorogoro Crater Lodge

Wow! This place is definitely over the top and understandably the most expensive lodge around. The B&B product is very, very tight and the customer experience is one of the best I’d had this trip.

Each room has sweeping views of the crater, and is huge with separate living, terrace, sleeping, and mombo-sized bath areas. Any one of these rooms would be perfect for honeymooners. The Tree Camp rooms are somewhat smaller and have somewhat obstructed views of the crater, due to the foliage.

The lodge is great for honeymooners and families alike.

 

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

 

Day 5:

Serena Crater Lodge

Best suited for tour groups or those seeking less-expensive accommodation on the Crater, and cannot afford the Ngorogoro Crater Lodge.

 

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

 

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

Actually not in the Serengeti National Park, but instead in the Ngorogoro conservation area. This is a lovely 20-tent property owned also by Tanzanian entrepreneur Willy Chamulo. Tents are nicely appointed with tubs and outdoor showers. Built in 2009, the camp is 100% solar powered – nice one Willy!

Best lodge in the area…

 

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

Lake Masek Tented Lodge

 

Sanctuary Kusini Tented Camp

After a long day of driving, I was so happy to get to this lodge. There’s a large rock formation adjacent to the camp, which is fun to climb and has a stunning 360-view of the Serengeti.

 

Sanctuary Kusini

Sanctuary Kusini

 

Day 6:

 

After leaving Kasini, we continued through the Serengeti to Dunia Camp.

Dunia is a permanent tented camp lodge. The camp is 100% solar powered and has bucket showers available 24/7. There is also power available in the tents. It’s well appointed and the staff greeted me warmly. The camp feels like a luxury, mobile tented camp, but rustically elegant and a bit nicer than the standard mobile option.

 

Dunia Camp

Dunia Camp

 

Bilila Kempinski / Four Seasons

Built in 2009 this large, luxury lodge hotel is owned by a wealthy Arab investor so its super luxurious, world-class and very pretty. It has 2 dining venues, wine cellar, large spa, pool area, and sweeping views of the plains.

Perfect for guests who want a large, luxury lodge experience. Not for those who want an intimate camp.

 

Bilila Kempinski Lodge

Bilila Kempinski Lodge

 

Kirawira Tented Camp

This camp, built in 1998 is part of the Serena hotel group (which I learned is part of the Aga Khan’s empire). It’s a SLH (Small Luxury Hotel) property and the common areas have a clubby, intimate feel to them. There are 25 tents, all of which are on vaulted platforms offering amazing views of the Serengeti..

The one thing I didn’t like was the decor of the tent rooms. It looked like it had not been updated since opening, and the bedding was definitely not up to international luxury standards (i.e. duvet covers instead of cotton/poly bedspreads).

The management was welcoming and accommodating and the camp is in a great location with excellent common areas and views. I couldn’t find anything wrong with this place other than the outdated room decor.

 

Kirawira Tented Camp

Kirawira Tented Camp

 

&Beyond Grumeti Tented Camp

For my 6th night on the road, we stayed in Grumeti camp, which is located on a tributary of the Grumeti river, inside the Serengeti national park. The most interesting aspect of the lodge’s location is the large number of hippo in the river right in front of main lodge. There are 3 families and the hippos are very rambunctious (i.e. active and loud). Across the tributary, on the other side, there’s also a lot of other game viewing (giraffes, monkeys, impala, etc).

The staff here was VERY high-touch, with on-going name usage with all guests. The &Beyond lodges all stand out above the rest in their customer service and friendly, confident levels of service (as opposed to Sanctuary’s very timid, unconfident lodge wait staff). There’s a butler assigned to every guest, who is there for every whim (and meal).

I found the food above-average, and some of the best I had on the trip.

 

Singita-Grumeti Camp

Singita-Grumeti Camp

 

Day 7:

After leaving Grumeti Camp, we were able to do a site inspection at one of the Singita Grumeti camps:

Singita Sabora Lodge

The first of the 3 Singita lodges in the Grumeti concession, adjacent to the Serengeti national park, this luxury tented camp is run like the other Singita proprieties — all-inclusive with game package. Basically, all the East Africa tour operators drop the clients at the lodge and step away.

There are 9 luxurious tents, built on platforms, that are suite-sized. 6 of the tents are arranged in pairs (but still can be sold as singles), sharing a library tent between them.

The lodge is pure Singita in every aspect. It’s luxurious, serene, and tasteful on all fronts. There is a pool, spa, tennis courts, wifi throughout, and air conditioning in the tents.

Sabora sits out in the middle of the plains and is beautifully located. There’s nothing around besides the resident family of zebras in the camp, just in front of the main lodge.

The game is starting to come back after years of depletion.

 

Game viewing at Singita

Game viewing at Singita

 

After flying back to Arusha, and then to DAR, I transferred by land out to the Ras Kutani Beach Lodge.

With no traffic, it’s a 1:15 drive from the DAR airport (mine was 1:45 in traffic), or a 12-minute air hop. This lodge provides a very nice, relaxing alternative for an after-safari beach experience. The lodge is part of the Selous safari company portfolio, along with their 2 Selous lodges. The property has 4 suites, with private plunge pools, 9 “castaway chic” cottages, and 1 family cottage. a few of the cottages have lagoon views.

Their cottages have large verandas with hammocks, spacious king/twin rooms, and large bath areas. The resort is super causal, with most guests walking around barefoot. There’s a beautiful beach with very warm water for those mid afternoon dips.

For my return flight out, I had a 7am air hop transfer back to DAR, in more than enough time for my 8:35 am BA flight back to London.

Ras Kutani is a well-kept secret and the perfect solution for guests needing to overnight in Dar es Salaam. Two nights here after the northern circuit, or Selous, is the perfect way to end a safari. It’s also closer than Zanzibar and provides a good alternative.

 

Ras Kutani Beach

Ras Kutani Beach

 

All said, Tanzania is a beautiful country with plenty to offer a variety of visitors. Get in touch with us here at African Safari Consultants and we’ll make sure your trip is as unforgettable as Jeff’s.

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View of the Week: Nosy Iranja – Madagascar http://blog.africansafaris.com/view-of-the-week-nosy-iranja-madagascar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=view-of-the-week-nosy-iranja-madagascar http://blog.africansafaris.com/view-of-the-week-nosy-iranja-madagascar/#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2011 11:18:57 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1000 Tropical Paradise off the coast of Madagascar

Today it finally feels like summer is on the way in Cape Town.  After a week of rainy and cold weather – the sun is out brightly and we feel like we are on the path to flops, shorts, beaches and tans!

So I am inspired again by the warm Indian Ocean and the coast of Madagascar!  Don’t you just want to escape from the world, kick off your shoes, get your toes in the sand and relax here – with this view!

That morning sea view - Nosy Iranja - Madagascar

 

Have a great weekend dreaming of that tropical paradise!

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Photo of the Week: Kruger Park Sunset http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-kruger-park-sunset/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photo-of-the-week-kruger-park-sunset http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-kruger-park-sunset/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2011 12:36:21 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=979 Why the Kruger Park is such a Safari favorite

One of my colleagues has recently done a trip up to the Kruger Park, and it is always awesome to see the pictures they come back with.  As much as I love the animals, I also love those sunsets!  Here is my favorite one from her trip, taken on game drive at Simbambili:

Kruger Park Sunset

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My Favorite African Places http://blog.africansafaris.com/my-favorite-african-places/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-favorite-african-places http://blog.africansafaris.com/my-favorite-african-places/#comments Mon, 29 Aug 2011 12:42:27 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=937 That ultimate African destination

With Irene causing havoc along the coast of the USA it is a good time to remind you of why you should visit our beautiful continent Africa!  I have also covered some good tips on how to choose your Safari in previous blog posts (so go back and have a look) which just adds substance to the above!

The main difficultly I have with this subject is actually where to start!  There is so much here to indulge in.  You are also spoilt for type of holiday – from adventure, to romance, viby cities to desolate wilderness, vacations for retired folks as well as vacations for families!  Maybe the easy way to do this is to list some of my favorites and hopefully that sparks off a desire in you to get away from the first world havoc and come and see what Africa is all about!

Having grown up in South Africa I have been privileged enough to regularly enjoy areas like the Kruger National Park, Garden Route, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and even the Malaria free areas of the Eastern Cape and Madikwe.  I can speak endlessly about the sea, mountains, wildlife, people and just awesome beauty that South Africa holds.   It honestly is one of the most beautiful countries I have been too – and I have traveled fairly extensively!  If you want variety – South Africa is it!

My favorite for game experiences has to be Zambia and the South Luangwa National Park.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many lion and the hippos – wow!  But the other awesome thing about South Luangwa is the walking.  If you’ve had a few safari experiences in your life and are looking for something a little different, than walking safaris are the way to go!  It is super thrilling and you really have the opportunity to get very close to nature and wildlife.

I also relish the opportunity to get away from it all, leave the rat race behind.  I love going to places where I don’t see many people, have amazing views, can see millions of stars at night (this is quite common throughout Africa actually!) and have experiences that are just totally different to everyday life.  One country that gave me all of this was Namibia.  The baron vast endlessness……..and honestly, it is impossible to take a bad photo (unless of course you stupidly have your camera on the wrong settings)!  Namibia delivers on so many levels.

My final thoughts for today are with the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana.  A truly magical place that not many people have the opportunity of experiencing!  The desert adapted wildlife throws a whole new perspective on how remarkable nature is.  Whether you travel in the wet season or the dry season this place puts the world into perspective and reminds you of what is actually important.

Don’t forget to contact us if you want any advice on the above!  Or please let me know your favorite places?

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How to choose your Safari – Part 2 http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2 http://blog.africansafaris.com/how-to-choose-your-safari-part-2/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:55:59 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=932 Choosing the right safari

Last week I promised a few more tips on how to choose the right safari.  Last week I covered:

1.  When do you want to go?
2. Winter vs Summer?
3. Malaria Free Safaris?
4. Your budget?

With these 4 questions covered we can look at getting a little more specific about your experience.

Once you have covered the above the next thing that I would ask is what kind of vacation or safari are you looking for and who are you traveling with?
There are options out there that are more suited to families, older generations, honeymooners, adventurers, 1st time safari goers and those looking to volunteer and give something back.  So believe it or not, this is an important consideration and really helps your consultant provide you with the product best suited to you.

Although your budget might decide where you can go – it would be good for you to have an idea about this too?  There are plenty of choices out there – somewhere like East Africa with Kenya and Tanzania and of course the Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda – has been on the safari circuit for decades.  They are awesome destinations for game viewing and they can be busy and expensive.  Botswana is going to give you an exclusive wilderness experience.  I think it has been said that there are more beds in the Cape Town Waterfront, then in the whole of Botswana!  Because of this exclusivity there is a premium cost attached to staying in this beautiful country.
South Africa has marketed itself well over the years and certainly is a destination that has something for everyone.  So if you are looking for other experiences to include with your Safari, then perhaps South Africa is the right place for you.   Of course – if you like Deserts……nothing compares to dunes and ancient paths in Namibia.

The last thing I would consider when making my safari choice is how much support these establishments are providing to the local communities and how much they are giving back to wildlife.  This is actually something that you do find often now and I think it is an important consideration.  You want to know that you are also giving back to the local people and wildlife you are seeing.

In this way we all play a small part in preserving our Earth’s amazing treasures.  I hope this has been useful.  I always value any comments or thoughts so please feel free to add yours!

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Swimming with Dolphins http://blog.africansafaris.com/swimming-with-dolphins/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=swimming-with-dolphins http://blog.africansafaris.com/swimming-with-dolphins/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2011 14:23:46 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=801 With the continuing summer weather in the Western Cape I am inspired to keep going with awesome Ocean adventures!  Again, I am taking to the shores of Mozambique and I am adding to it the shores of Zanzibar.  Set deep in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean both these destinations have a fantastic array of activities…..if you are not someone who likes to laze about on the beach.

I thought I would focus on something really special though – swimming with dolphins!  How many out there have had this unique encounter?  Both Mozambique and Zanzibar are such superb destinations for this activity because the water is so lovely and warm, you can spend hours swimming, and you don’t even need wetsuits.  The visibility is good as the water is crystal clear, and all the sunshine from above helps too!

In Southern Mozambique there is a tiny spot called Ponte Mamoli where you can go for some perfect rest and relaxation.  The lodge has recently been revamped and offers an exclusive, barefoot luxury experience on its own long stretch of unpopulated beach.

Mozambique Coastline

Any interactions with wildlife need to be closely monitored and there should be strict rules and guidelines in place whether on land or in water.  When snorkeling with dolphins, we went out early each morning on the boat to find them.  It was not a guaranteed find but more like a chance encounter.  When we did find them, we had to enter the water slowly, no jumping in with big splashes.  And wow – it is another world down there.  I have often seen dolphins from the shore or from a boat, but actually being in the deep blue ocean with them is something completely out of the ordinary!  They are so graceful, majestic, friendly and playful.  They’re swift, curious and beautiful.  And with one quick flick of their tail fin, they are gone and you have absolutely no chance what so ever of catching them again……

Zanzibar has been doing these dolphin excursions for years.  Normally done in the south, you can book it from any of the operators there, or you can organize it through your hotel.  For a more personal approach, you can also contact us and we can help put the dream together!

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Photo of the Week: Madagascar http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-madagascar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photo-of-the-week-madagascar http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-madagascar/#comments Fri, 08 Jul 2011 14:03:41 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=733

Nosy Iranja off the North West Coast of Madagascar

With winter well underway in Southern Africa I needed to be reminded of what the sun feels like……I love this soft evening light looking onto Nosy Iranja in Madagascar.  I can feel the sand in my toes and the sun rays on my back.  Lovely way to start what is meant to be a sunny winter weekend in Cape Town.
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Feedback from Clients http://blog.africansafaris.com/feedback-from-clients/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feedback-from-clients http://blog.africansafaris.com/feedback-from-clients/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2011 09:58:37 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=622 We have received some great feedback from a few clients that have recently traveled with us.  It’s often something that is quite hard to get as clients are so busy catching up with life once they return from their vacations that they don’t have a chance to send through their thoughts.  So, when we do get feedback it is great to share it (with their permission of course!).
These clients have traveled to / are traveling too Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa!

Liesl/Jeffrey – just returned from our holiday
Just to let you know with the exception of Intercon Lusaka (which you were able to quickly resolve) everything went extremely smoothly and we had a great experience. The organisation was first class with people to meet us at every stage and help us with things like customs clearance etc.

The highlight was undoubtedly Puku Ridge, and we could not recommend that highly enough.  The low point was the food at Royal Livingstone(Client preferred to remain anonymous)

Liesl/Jeff – With tremendous thanks
We have been back stateside for a while now.  We’ve been thinking about how we can adequately thank you for the honeymoon and adventure of a lifetime.  All we can say is it is clear to us that while planning our trip with you we were working with the best of the best.  Our trip was flawlessly executed on the ground in South Africa – it was like a choreographed show.  Every transfer, excursion, and venue that you selected for us fit exactly what we were looking for.
After a superlative visit to Swaziland, we arrived in Cape Town and rented our car.  We stayed at the Westin which we would highly recommend to anyone looking for a central, immaculate, modern, and service oriented hotel.  Some of the best breakfasts I have had anywhere were at that hotel (the plated ones in the upstairs club).  We were upgraded to a suite and we looked right to Table Mountain.  It was just beautiful.  The next day we had our Cape tour.  We loved our tourguide and by the end of the day we were wanting to do more with Ilios Tours.  What was a huge surprise for us was that fall is low season for South Africa, especially considering our perfect weather.  As a result, our tour had just one other person.  The four of us had a great – low key – tour of the Cape.  We all gelled perfectly together and we were grateful we had selected that tour for our first full day of Cape Town.  The following day we had a helicopter tour which we also very much enjoyed.  In particular, the driver who picked us up from the hotel offered to drive us anywhere in Cape Town after the tour so we could continue on with our sightseeing.  It was a very welcome touch.  Other highlights in Cape Town included dinner at La Colombe, which was unforgettable!  So was lunch at the 12 Apostles hotel and dinner and drinks at Parangas overlooking the water on Camps Bay.

Then we headed to Grootbos, which ended up being the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the trip.  The two hour drive is very doable (and was indeed two hours door to door and even less from/to the airport).  We LOVED Grootbos.  It can only be adequately described as a luxury wildlife wonderland.  We really did not know what to expect, except that it had your highest recommendation.  When we arrived we had the kindest, warmest welcome full of hot towels, welcome drinks, questions about what food allergies we had and what we liked to eat, and visits from various staff who explained to us what Grootbos was all about.  They presented us with a “menu” of choices of things to do and then showed us our HOUSE!  We walked through the milkwood forest (so beautiful and enchanting) to our abode which was huge, luxurious, and with a breathtaking view.

We took the transfer from Cape Town to Nelspruit (fabulous suggestion) and arrived at paradise, I mean Londolozi.  It felt like luxurious adult summer camp.  Our room #5 looked right out onto the wilderness and we often had elephants and GIANT lizards walk by (not to mention the monkeys of course).  Lisa, our Camp Director, for our stay arranged some wonderful surprises, such as dinner in our room and lunch up on a lookout in the middle of nowhere – the latter having been cancelled because of six lions near the lookout.  The game viewing was near spectacular – we definitely had some slow drives but it just meant more time to explore the trees and the birds.  We had two rare sightings – a porcupine and an otter.  Our guide, Sandros who is native to the area near Londolozi and who was a tracker and a guide for 25+ years was shocked – he hadn’t seen either of those in years. Our transfer back to civilization was like clockwork.
We’re sure this email could have been shorter – but you get the idea – we had a fabulous, spectacular, eye opening, luxurious adventure.  We sincerely could not have done it without you!!
Many many thanks and until the next trip . . .Alex and Oliver

Hi Ilze –
I just wanted to say thank you for the service you have provided, it has been excellent. I really appreciated your patience and taking my suggestions on board.

I have already recommended your company to one of my colleagues looking to book a safari in Tanzania, hopefully he will get in touch.
Kevin (who is still to travel but pleased with the service)

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Photo of the Week – Wild Dogs in Madikwe http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-wild-dogs-in-madikwe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photo-of-the-week-wild-dogs-in-madikwe http://blog.africansafaris.com/photo-of-the-week-wild-dogs-in-madikwe/#comments Fri, 10 Jun 2011 13:14:45 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=576

Wild Dogs after a Kill in Madikwe Reserve, South Africa

We are privileged to have this image from Stephen Raffay along with the beautiful Zebra images that we posted earlier this week on our Facebook page.  Stephen is an avid wildlife photographer and has captured some awesome wildlife moments.

This particular pack of Wild Dogs were tracked from just outside Tau Camp in the Malaria Free Madikwe Reserve to a nearby dam.  There were 22 dogs in the pack and they chased down and killed an Impala (local antelope found in the reserve).  They also tried to catch 2 Waterbuck who fled into the dam which ultimately saved them from the Dogs.

Madikwe Reserve is well known in South Africa for its conservation efforts to keep the endangered Wild Dog populations growing.

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