African Safaris Consultants Blog » luxury safari http://blog.africansafaris.com Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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.

grootbos_sign

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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The African Trip of a Lifetime http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-african-trip-of-a-lifetime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-african-trip-of-a-lifetime http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-african-trip-of-a-lifetime/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 14:49:47 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2307
A once in a lifetime opportunity, to travel an age-old route across Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, but this time by private plane…Imagine – a flying safari from Egypt to Cape Town, taking in the sights of both and everything in between. Cross the desert of Khartoum on camel back then sit back and marvel at the Whirling Dervishes all in one day. Sample Ethiopian delicacies in the crags of Lalibela. Observe the zebras and wildebeest below as your soar over Mount Kenya, home of the Masai Mara. Walk amongst the silver back gorillas in the forests of Rwanda. Lazily sail over the still, turquoise waters of Lake Malawi and take in the majesty of Victoria Falls – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Experience the tranquillity of Namibia’s Etosha desert and the European style elegance of Cape Town.

Pyramids of Giza

The journey begins in Cairo, and after visiting 17 of Africa’s most fascinating and memorable spots, it ends in Cape Town.

Even the aircraft is an experience in itself – a beautiful new, luxuriously-fitted, private Cessna Caravan, being flown by renowned pilot Christian Strebel, the Director of Kenya’s private charter company Yellow Wings. Soar across Africa’s most stunning landscapes, viewing wildlife, enchanting villages and vast expanses of savannah, lakes, rivers, forest, mountain and desert.

 

Lake Malawi

Dates: 

21st May – 18th June 2012

Costs:

US$ 57,000 per person

 

 

Cape Town

Want to know more? 

Please contact Charlotte to receive a copy of the African Skies PDF brochure, which contains a detailed itinerary, terms & conditions.

 

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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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Birders vs non-birders on safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/birders-vs-non-birders-on-safari/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=birders-vs-non-birders-on-safari http://blog.africansafaris.com/birders-vs-non-birders-on-safari/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 09:07:16 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1082 Non-birders on safari

Now here is a dilemma. We recently had a couple who all in all had a fantastic safari in Botswana and Kruger except for one recurring problem….They proclaimed to not be very interested in birds, but just as luck would have it, they found themselves on game drives with keen birders, or twitchers or bird fundis or whatever other
name you give to people who want to stop, reach for their binoculars, and identify and observe our little feathered friends! Our clients found this boring and frustrating, and would have preferred to have spent the time
tracking the Big Five as opposed to sitting in hushed bird-watching mode.

Now this is a tricky potentially explosive situation! And as a safari operator, I have given a solution some thought.

Firstly, serious birders would let us know that they are looking for a specialist birding trip and we would arrange a birding guide and exclusive use of the safari vehicle accordingly. Fanatical birders can be quite weird and potentially intimidating! They are known to travel vast distances in extreme conditions to tick off a sought-after rare species. Dinner table conversation will be exclusively about birds and brag stories about which SBB (small brown bird) was spotted where. They are a mixed bag of humans, coming from all walks of life but will definately have a pair of super-binoculars hanging around their neck at all times.

In this particular case, the other guests on the game vehicle were most likely just keen birders who love seeing the animals, but who have seen their share of lazy lions lying in the shade. These folk have probably been on safari a few times and want to learn more about the birds and the trees. It is generally first-time safari goers who aren’t particularly interested in birds and the ‘Little Five’, and who still have a lot to learn about the African bush. For them (and our recent past clients), being on safari with keen birders can be dull and seemingly time wasting. I am tempted to say to these folks ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds and smells of the bush…you never know what might walk out from under a tree off to the left while everyone else has binoculars glued to their faces looking right!!!‘ But in all seriousness, the solution lies in the hands of the safari lodges. Lodge staff and rangers should chat to their guests and get an idea of their interests and then, if possible, assign them to separate safari vehicles so that…birds of a feather can flock together!

African Jacana - his long toes allow him to 'walk on water'

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Pic of the week : Hippo by Stephen Raffay http://blog.africansafaris.com/pic-of-the-week-hippo-by-stephen-raffay/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pic-of-the-week-hippo-by-stephen-raffay http://blog.africansafaris.com/pic-of-the-week-hippo-by-stephen-raffay/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 12:27:05 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1066 Hippopotamus amphibius  – “river horse”

This great shot of a hippo showing off his incisors was taken by Stephen Raffay, a professional photographer who is currently on safari in the Kruger National Park area care of africansafaris.com.   Contrary to popular belief, this old guy is not yawning or opening up wide for the dentist…! This is a typical display of aggression towards younger bull hippos.

Stephen visited Mala Mala Game Reserve and Tinga Safari Lodge.  If you would like to see more of Stephen’s wildlife photography or order prints, here is his website raffayphoto

Old Big-Mouth in the foreground. Rhino mother and calf are reflected in the water in the background

 

 

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We’ve been nominated for Travel & Leisure magazine’s A-List Travel Agent awards! http://blog.africansafaris.com/we%e2%80%99ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%e2%80%99s-a-list-travel-agent-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=we%25e2%2580%2599ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%25e2%2580%2599s-a-list-travel-agent-awards http://blog.africansafaris.com/we%e2%80%99ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%e2%80%99s-a-list-travel-agent-awards/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:50:42 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1057 “As long time T&L (Travel & Leisure Magazine) readers and subscribers, we want to tell you about our recent trip to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia & Namibia, and to nominate our Tour Operator, African Safari Consultants, for your 2012 A-List. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary, and wanted to plan a “trip of a lifetime.”  We knew we wanted to go to Africa, but had no idea where to start or how to narrow down our choices.  Enter African Safari Consultants.  With over fifteen years of experience, and a wonderful, informative website, ASC’s head honchos Jeff Ward in NY and Liesl Matthews in Cape Town worked tirelessly with us to figure out which countries, habitats, and lodges would best suit our needs.  They were wonderful at planning a trip that fit our budget, and the varied needs of two old fogies, as well as our teenage children.  They were endlessly patient as we went back and forth about cost, level of luxury, and types of lodges, giving advice that was helpful, accurate, and based on a thorough first-hand knowledge of the locations we were considering. They even considered when we would need unscheduled down time (after our two day journey from IAH-LHR-CPT), and when we would be happy to go-go-go.

We were particularly cognizant of the value of having someone in NY and in Cape Town looking out for us when, in the middle of our trip, a Chilean volcano eruption caused the cancellation of one of our flights.  Liesl quickly got us rebooked and all of our downline transfers re-organized so that we were able to rejoin our intended itinerary as soon as the skies cleared.  This had the potential to be a nightmare, but ended up being a small blip on our radar screens thanks to the excellent in-country support of ASC.

Our expectations were high, but our trip far surpassed them.  Every part of the trip was just as advertised by the folks at ASC.  There were no unpleasant surprises, and we would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Africa.

We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our experience with ASC.”

Jill & John Pollock, Houston, TX

 

 

 

 

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Wildlife pic of the week: The African Buffalo http://blog.africansafaris.com/wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo http://blog.africansafaris.com/wildlife-pic-of-the-week-the-african-buffalo/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2011 10:57:42 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1031 The African Buffalo is a respected member of the Big Five even though he might look like a mellow bovine. His cousins in the East, the Asian Water Buffalo, can be domesticated. Not this guy!  He is extremely dangerous, and is capable of killing a lion. He is on the trophy wish list of big game hunters and I am pleased to report that he has gored and maimed many a hunter! You have heard the expression – ‘like a wounded buffalo’ to describe someone who is so mad with rage and attacks relentlessly again and again…Those geeky looking horns actually act as a ‘shield’ and the thick bone is capable of stopping a rifle bullet. We do NOT condone big game hunting! But we do encourage you to join an African Safaris photographic safari to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands, the South Luangwa National Park, the Lower Zambezi National Park, the Masai Mara and the Serengeti.

It is thrilling to be in a safari vehicle amongst a herd of buffalo. You are quite safe if you stay in the vehicle, but you definitely get a sense of their power and potential danger.

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The great migration – the gory aftermath http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-great-migration-the-gory-aftermath/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2011 09:58:18 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1018 Being in East Africa’s Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks during the annual migration is high up on every animal lover’s wish list. The awesomeness is in the sheer numbers and the opportunity to witness one of
nature’s most incredible spectacles.  Not everybody is lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to see the famous River Crossings – when thousands of wildebeest, on auto-pilot, launch themselves as one into crocodile infested rivers with a seemingly blind faith in ‘safety in numbers’.

As nature has it, there are casualties and this is good news for the predators – the crocodiles, hyena, jackal, other small mammals and ultimately squabbling parties of vulture and ugly marabou storks.

jackal & vulture 'tidying up' in the Serengeti

But be prepared. The aftermath of the migration is not for the faint hearted. You will need a strong stomach.  The river banks and immediate surrounds are literally littered with carcasses being chewed and pecked.  Grim as it may be, this is all part of nature’s big plan as hundreds of creatures, birds and insects ultimately benefit from the gory slaughter.

Vultures and a 'picked clean' carcass

If you would like to visit East Africa and see the migration it is best to start planning and booking your trip now. It is tricky choosing which safari camps to book as it all depends on the time of year and whether you travel to Tanzania or Kenya or both. Talk to one of our African Safari Consultants for more advice and info.

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World Rhino Day – 22 September 2011 http://blog.africansafaris.com/world-rhino-day-%e2%80%93-22-september-2011/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-rhino-day-%25e2%2580%2593-22-september-2011 http://blog.africansafaris.com/world-rhino-day-%e2%80%93-22-september-2011/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:22:21 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1005 One of the Big 5 – Rhinos on Safari

I have done a blog post before on Rhino poaching when it was all looking like it was getting out of control a couple of months ago.  There was a huge outcry and then things looked like they calmed down a bit and some progress was being made……but suddenly it has all gone way out of control again and I read that a Rhino is being killed every 22 hours!!  There is a big protest that is going to happen tomorrow in Cape Town, South Africa, outside our parliament buildings, calling on our government to do more to help save these endangered animals that are being so ruthlessly killed for their horns.

Let’s hope that progress is made world-wide in recognizing the plight of one of Africa’s most famous animals.

Family of White Rhinos

I found a few interesting bits of information about the Rhino that I thought I would share in honor of their day tomorrow:

-  The collective noun for a group of Rhinos is a crash or herd
-  The main difference between the Black Rhino and White Rhino is the shape of their mouths
-  The White Rhino have broad flat lips for grazing
-  The Black Rhino has long pointed lips for eating foliage
-  Rhino horns consist of Keratin only – the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails
-  There are 5 species of Rhino of which 3 are classified as critically endangered
-  2 species native to Africa and 3 species native to southern Asia
-  The biggest predator of Rhinos are humans

If you are in South Africa you can help and donate to many organizations.  You can also buy a bag from Supermarket Chain Woolworths and proceeds go automatically to help Rhinos.  Have a look at this quick video I found:

Save the Rhinos from Extinction

And just a reminder for how wonderful these animals are – some really cute footage of a Mom and baby posted by Londolozi earlier this week:

Mom and Baby

Please all do something!

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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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