African Safaris Consultants Blog » Must See Mon, 19 May 2014 08:17:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 African Safari Consultants Team Profile: Jeff Ward Mon, 14 Jan 2013 11:51:46 +0000 With this, the first in a new series of posts, we’ll be chatting to the faces behind African Safari Consultants and asking them about their favorite destinations, how they got into the industry and much (much) more.

First up we speak to Mr Jeff Ward, managing partner of the New York office.

1) Where are you from?

I grew up in a town just outside of Houston, Texas, called Seabrook. The main industry in the town was of course NASA, so it was a town full of astronauts. It was a really exciting time to be there and I believe it somehow inspired me to travel.

2) When did you get in to the safari industry?

Around 2006. However I’ve been in love with safaris since the late 1990’s.

3) How did you get in to the industry?

I’ve always loved travel, and specifically the airline industry (must’ve been all the astronauts!). When I was 10 years old, I started booking all the family vacations and it just sort of grew from there. After obtaining my MBA from Northwestern University I joined American Airlines (AA) in a management training program (marketing division) at their Headquarters when I was about 28 years old, and enjoyed many happy years there.

I left AA in 2001 to embark on a completely different career path entirely. For five years I ran my own Executive Coaching company called Northward Leadership & Development. Though the experience was hugely beneficial, I realized in 2006 that my heart was in travel. A good friend always says of the time that “the executive coach coached himself out of coaching”.

I launched my first travel company, Savvy Navigator Tours, in 2006 when my now partner, Liesl, told me that I needed to bring her high-end South African food and wine safaris to the US marketplace.

4) Where have you traveled in Africa?

So far I’ve visited Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.


A meerkat surveys the scene from atop Jeff’s head.

5) Where is your favourite African destination?

Botswana, hands down. I love the geographical diversity that the country offers. From the arid desert environment of the Kalahari, to the fascinating Makgadigadi Salt Pans, to the abundance of wildlife in the Chobe National Park and the Savuti Plains, to the pristine beauty of the Okavango Delta – Botswana has all the bases covered. The game viewing is incredible too, and there are some really specatular lodges there!

6) What has been your safari highlight?

I have a couple! In 2008, Vanessa and I were at Londolozi in the Sabi SandsSab game reserve. We had been tracking a small female leopard hunting an impala. Our persistence paid off and we actually witnessed the slight of frame leopard take down the considerably bigger impala – it was incredible! The leopard applied the choke hold and the impala was dead within a couple of minutes. The leopard just began to eat when an adult Spotted Hyena came along and chased her from the scene. She managed to scramble to a nearby hill and sat and watched the Hyena finish the impala with great disgust. Absolutely fascinating to see nature in full effect!

My other highlight was when I was spending some time at Beverly and Derek Joubert’s Duba Plains camp. We were out on a game drive and happened across the infamous lioness ‘Silver Eye’ (star of the Joubert’s ‘The Last Lioness’ film). She lead us to a recent buffalo kill of her pride where all the members were stuffed to the point of being unable to move. The adult lions rested while the cubs were playing with bits of the buffalo – it was both gory and unbelievably cute. And I’m not one for ‘cute’…


A photo from when Jeff witnessed a pride of lions take on a buffalo.

7) What has been your most stressful experience as a consultant?

Recently a young couple on their honeymoon experienced some really bad luck with flight cancellations. Through no fault of anyone’s really, the airline kept cancelling their flights and left them stranded at the airport. My team and I had to do somersaults to get things back on track! Though it was extremely difficult to get things solved and to find space for them on various inbound and connecting flights, as well as adjust their accommodation bookings, I’m proud to say that we were successful and that they had a fantastic honeymoon in the end.

8) What’s the best one line of feedback you’ve received?

“Everything was perfect on our trip and we couldn’t have done it without you guys”.

9) What makes you different from the rest?

The fact that we have an office in both New York and Cape Town puts us in a unique position to cater to our clients all over the world. Between the offices, we have hundreds and hundreds of hours of safari planning expertise. I honestly believe that our collective experience of travelling throughout Africa has given us a superior knowledge of the continent.

10) Why do you do what you do?

I personally believe strongly in making a positive difference in people’s lives and that African travel does just that. In this way, my job now is similar to my previous jobs at American Airlines and Northward Development where I helped people travel to places where they enjoyed themselves, and leaders to find their passion respectively.


Smiling faces make Jeff’s day: clients enjoying sundowners in the Kalahari.

11) What are your favourite meals from the African continent?

Both dishes are South African by chance! I absolutely love a traditional Cape Malay style ‘Bobotie’, which is a spicy mince dish with an egg based topping that is usually accompanied by rice. The dish is Indonesian in origin but was bought to the Cape by the Dutch and adopted by the Cape Malay population in the 1600’s.

My other favourite dish from Africa is the traditional South African desert of malva pudding, which is spongy and apricot jam based. The dish has a couple variants and is almost certain to be found on the dessert menu of most South African restaurants. The best one I’ve had so far is at Julian Melck’s Kersefontein farm where it was served with a rooibos cream (rooibos, or ‘red bush’, is a popular South African tea).

Speaking of rooibos, our Social Media guru in Cape Town has promised to bring me a ‘Red Espresso’ when I’m next at the office. It’s apparently a coffee alternative made out of rooibos so I can’t wait to try it.

12) What piece of top travel advice can you share?

This piece of advice is absolutely crucial and comes from personal experience. Before leaving for Africa, always ensure that your carry-on luggage complies with charter flight regulations for flying between camps. I once had to leave my bag behind (full of dirty laundry) because it had wheels that extended it beyond the permitted dimensions. This is NOT something you want to happen to you!

For more of Jeff’s favorite safari photographs, check out his Pinterest board here. If you have anything you’d like to ask Jeff yourself, feel free to tweet him at @SafariGuru.


]]> 2
Safari Icons: Norman Carr Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:59:53 +0000 Every year, millions of people visit the continent of Africa to take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of its fauna and flora. Whether it’s the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya, the roaring cascade of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia or the vast deserts of Namibia, Africa has long since had a hold on man’s imagination. The routes we traverse across this great continent, metaphorical and otherwise, were mapped out by the intrepid men and women of yesteryear – explorers with a notebook and a thirst for adventure. In this series, we’ll profile a safari icon of the past one by one and pay homage to the work they did.

We’ll begin by taking a look at the Zambian conservationist, Norman Carr.

Norman Carr

Norman Carr was born in the busy port town of Chinde, in what is now modern day Malawi, in 1912. He received his education in England and returned to Africa in 1930 where he worked as an ‘Elephant Control Officer’ in the Luangwa Valley. This majestically titled job entailed mitigating the damage done by the resident elephant herds on the crop of farmers in the area.  After serving for four years in the Kings African Rifles, where he attained the rank of Captain, Norman became one of Africa’s first Game Rangers in the Luangwa Valley’s newly formed ‘Game Department’.  It was in this role that Norman started implementing conservation measures which would be adopted throughout Africa.

Norman had to be alert in the bush

Norman Carr persuaded the then Chief Nsefu to set aside some of his land for game conservation use, and this became Nsefu Camp – the first camp of its kind open to the public in what is now Zambia. Some years later a spinal injury, caused by a run in with a buffalo, necessitated a withdrawal from the scene for a year or so. After making a recovery, Norman returned to work as a Warden for the Kafue National Park. It was here that he famously adopted two orphaned male lions – characters which left an indelible impression on all who met them.  Norman lovingly raised the pair to adulthood and later successfully reintroduced them in to the wild when they were about three years old (inspiring the novel and movie “Return to the Wild”). After cofounding the first hunting operation in the Luangwa Valley with Peter Hankin, it was in 1968 that Norman Carr’s next revolutionary idea came about…

Norman Carr with the orphaned cubs


Midday Stroll

Growing up in the wild, Norman was always very at home in the African bush. His deep understanding of the dynamic between man and animal meant that he read situations between the two very well. For Norman, a walk in the bush amongst the Big Five was part of his everyday life. So much so in fact that he decided to extend the opportunity of a Walking Safari to visitors of Chibembe Safari Camp. The safari walks were a smash hit! Never before had people experienced wildlife in such a manner, where man and nature interacted so harmoniously in such close proximity.

One of the first Walking Safaris

In his later years, Norman Carr continued in his unwavering quest to conserve and protect all wildlife.  In 1979 he devoted two years of his life to the ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign aimed at eradicating the rampant poaching of the Valley’s rhinoceros population. Through the Kapani School Fund, Norman provided scholarships for many children in the area all the while engraining in them the importance of wildlife conservation. These were to be amongst his final acts as the great conservationist, Mr Norman Carr, passed peacefully in 1993.

Norman Carr’s pioneering spirit led to him becoming one of the most important figures in Zambia’s recent history, in the fields of tourism and conservation. His philanthropically inclined nature meant he was well liked and respected amongst his peers, and people in general.

Next time you’re out on that amazing Walking Safari, tip your hat to Mr Carr…

*If you’d like to see more images of Norman and the lions, check out our Pinterest board here.

]]> 4
Seven Reasons to visit Tanzania Thu, 02 Feb 2012 10:50:05 +0000 Beautiful Tanzania is rapidly gaining admirers. Recently featured as one of the top destinations of 2012 by The New York Times, the country is enjoying it’s growing reputation as a country that caters to many different tastes – with a smile.

The people are amongst the continent’s friendliest and the fauna and flora amongst it’s most diverse and plentiful. The range of activities on offer means that everyone from nature enthusiasts, to families or newly weds -or even extreme thrill seekers – are sure to find exactly what they’re looking for.

We’ve compiled a list of the seven best things about Tanzania. It was extremely difficult to keep it to seven, but we (just) managed…

Ngorongoro CraterThis UNESCO World Heritage site boasts an abundance of wild life at the best of times, but more so during the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra as they move south in December and north in June. The migration is one of nature’s great spectacles and is truly something to behold.

The Ngorogoro Crater

The Ngorogoro Crater


Meet the Maasai The Maasai People are a semi-nomadic ethnic group who reside in regions of Kenya and Tanzania. They’re well known for their energetic customs and colourful dress, and openly welcome visitors to the area to experience their culture and lifestyle first hand.


Maasai Warriors Dancing

Maasai Warriors


The SerengetiWidely regarded as the World’s Best Game Reserve, the Serengeti National Park has an incredibly high density of both predators and prey. A hot air balloon flight over vast herds of animals is the most incredible wildlife experience.

Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain is a dormant volcano, which peaks at Uhuru at an altitude of 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level. An exhilarating climb!


Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Walk with Chimpanzees in Mahale National Park – The National Park is one of Tanzania’s two protected chimpanzee sanctuaries, and can only be experienced by foot. There are no roads or trails in the National Park so visitors forge their own path with their experienced guide.

Mnemba IslandThis secluded island on the coast north of Zanzibar is surrounded by crystal clear azure blue waters which feature some of Africa’s best known dive sites. Snorkel amongst the coral atoll or spend your days lazily soaking up the sun - Pure barefoot luxury!


Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island Lodge


Tarangire National Park – The Tarangire National Park is not as famous as the Serengeti or Ngorongoro, but that also means it’s less crowded. The park has an abundance of fauna and flora and is particularly well known for its baobab trees and big elephant herds.

Travel deal :  Stay at one or more of &Beyond’s Tanzanian lodges for six nights and only pay for five!   Contact African Safari Consultants now with your questions.


]]> 0
1 Like 1 Dollar Update Thu, 29 Dec 2011 20:58:47 +0000 At the beginning of December, we launched the second of our successful ‘1 like 1 Dollar‘ campaigns whereby we donate $1 to a charitable organisation for every new ‘like’ received on our facebook fan page during the campaign.

For the second campaign, we chose to partner with The Wilderness Foundation - an organisation dedicated to being a positive force for social and environmental stability in Africa.  As rhino poaching in Southern Africa continues to climb unabated, the Wilderness Foundation decided to take action and established their ‘Forever Wild’ Rhino Initiative in May 2011.

Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative

Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative

As an international organisation, the Wilderness Foundation is using its leverage to access some of the highest governmental authorities in order to raise global awareness. In January 2012,  Wilderness Foundation Director, Andrew Muir, will be delivering a petition to US Congress to bring the situation to the attention of international governments.

At the start of the campaign, the African Safari Consultants facebook page had 235 likes.  At the time of writing, that figure had risen to 679 likes.  That’s a difference of 444 likes, equating to a donation of $444.00 to Forever Wild. If we reach our goal of 1000 likes by the end of December, we’ll double the donation amount.  We would really like that, and we know that Forever Wild would too.

Rhinos enjoying a mud bath

Rhinos enjoying a mud bath


This is the final push before December ends! Let’s end 2011 on a high and donate as much money as possible.  Please share our page with all your friends and family.

]]> 0
Where in the world is Matt Lauer? Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:12:55 +0000 NBC’s popular TV show “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” began it’s 10th season today, with the location clue reading as follows:

It conjures up thoughts of a child’s worst fright, but there are no people to scare in this skier’s delight

Any guesses?

Matt is (of course) referring to the sand ski haven of the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. The skeleton coast is aptly named as shipwrecks and animal skeletons dot the desert landscape. Only the tough survive out here!

Along with the shipwrecks, the area is famed for it’s distinctive Welwitschia plants (considered living fossils) which are indigenous to the region. These hardy plants thrive in the harshest of conditions and some individuals may be as many as 2000 years old!


The fascinating Welwitchia plant.

Colonies of Cape Fur seals are found all along the coast whilst inland one can expect to see animals as diverse as elephants and crocodiles to a myriad of bird life.

The skeleton coast provides adventurous types with a real ‘off the beaten track’ feel, and one cannot but marvel at the fascinating landscape which all sorts of weird and wonderful fauna and flora call home.


Shipwreck Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast is famed for it's many shipwrecks.


Speak to African Safari Consultants to arrange your Skeleton Coast experience.

]]> 0
Dramatic Elephant Rescue – Luanga Valley, Zambia Wed, 02 Nov 2011 06:35:47 +0000 Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene). Otherwise nature should be left to her own devices. For the most part…

Every rule has an exception, and this is the tale of just such an exception. In the Luanga Valley of Zambia, Norman Carr Safaris came across this remarkable sight of a mother and calf elephant getting horribly stuck in the mud, and Abraham Banda was on hand to capture the rescue process on film.

The Kapani Lagoon is a source of drinking water for the animals of the area, as well as the place to go for a relieving mud bath. Unfortunately though, a young calf was unlucky enough to get stuck in the mud when visiting the lagoon recently. The calf’s cries attracted her mother who rushed to her rescue, only to get stuck in the mud herself. The pair had been there for a day, exhausted and dehydrated, when the Safari group came across them.

The startled animal lovers simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die. The group contacted the South Luangwa Conservation Society, who agreed that the elephants should be rescued. The following pictures detail just how this amazing feat was achieved.

The herd inspects the mother and daughter.


The struggling left the mother and calf exhausted.


The skilled rescue team bravely slip a rope under the calf.


Slowly but surely, the team begin hauling the calf out.


The terrified calf tries desperately to stay with her mum.


Nearly there! The bulk of the calf is now out of the mud.


The newly freed calf is reluctant to leave mum's side.


The team pull the calf further away from the mud.


The team unwrap the rope and let the calf on her way.


The calf rushes to rejoin the herd who call her from the banks.


Attention now shifts to the much bigger, much heavier mum.


The hard work is starting to show results as mum has two legs out.


The last stretch as the exhausted elephant struggles out.


Success! Mum rushes off to rejoin her herd.

t was extremely heartening for all to see how many local people joined in the efforts to free these two elephants. The cheers of joy, first when the baby ran to his cousin and then when Mum was finally released from the jaws of the sticky, cloying mud were wonderful! Everyone seemed to identify with the mum’s plight  – we all saw the incredible emotional bond between the worried herd members and mum and baby.

A big well done to the South Luangwa Conservation Society and also all the Norman Carr Safari staff who bravely fought to make this a happy ending!

Story by: Norman Carr Safaris

Images by: Abraham Banda

]]> 1 Staff Review: Indigo Bay Island Resort & Spa Tue, 24 May 2011 11:18:37 +0000 I have just travelled to Mozambique on the back of a trip to South Africa to check out some lodges and resorts. All in all it was a fab time, learning lots about Rani Resorts as well as looking at current travel logistics in Mozambique and how best to include the country into our itineraries.  The tropical islands in Mozambique are ideal for chilling on the beach, diving and water activities and eating masses of seafood after  the “hard work” of a safari.  I was a guest of Rani Resorts at Indigo Bay Island Resort & Spa.

High Points : 

  • Food was excellent, especially the fresh seafood offerings throughout the day
  • Extensive house wine list (especially the Boschendal Blanc de Blanc)
  • The Sanctuary Spa — both treatment and the facility were excellent. I loved my soul-to-soul massage, and thought the spa facility to be one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen
  • Excursion over to Paradise Island – an awesome trip – the boat ride over, snorkelling, the picnic lunch, and the walking tour of hotel ruins
  • The competent presence of the front-of-house staff & managers.  Their attitude was “can do” and they were always around and visible
  • The Bayview Villa was comfortable and I slept like a baby

There were one or two lowlights… like when housekeeping didn’t notice the “do not disturb” sign was on the door and came in to clean the pool only to find me running around scantily clad!

In a nutshell it’s not an intimate lodge, but a full-scale resort.  It’s a good product and excellent for families. It would work well for incentive groups, honeymooners (in the Beachfront Villas) and multi-generational trips (using the Bayview Villas).

Rani Resorts also own Matemo Island, Medjumbe Private Island and Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa if something smaller is your preference!

]]> 0
Should We Be Walking With Lions? Thu, 12 May 2011 10:19:48 +0000 Very recently, I read an article about a lady who was attacked by a lion cub while on a guided lion walk in Zimbabwe.  It seems to be a completely unprovoked attack; there were other people in the group and all guests were accompanied by professional rangers who interact regularly with these huge cats.

The Lion Walking Safari is not a new phenomenon (although certainly we have been walking with elephants for much longer).  I know that guides are confident in their abilities of reading wild animals; and they should be, they study their behavior, they live with them in the bush, and they have constant contact with them.  It is a guide’s job to be aware of the animals’ demeanor at all times, and they are very good at this job.  I trust the guides implicitly when I am in a vehicle or on foot in the wild with them.

I have spent hours on game drives and have been privileged to experience Africa’s magnificent game in many of her wonderful parks.  I also have a few walking safaris in my legs.  There is nothing more thrilling than being out in the wild with the open plains of Africa stretching endlessly in front of you.  What are you going to see?  What is out there for you to experience?

But I do believe strongly that wild animals are wild animals.  Yes, you can read signs and this is what we rely on our rangers for – and most of us will never experience the unfortunate situation that this woman was forced to endure.  But what about that one sign that the guides might have missed?  What was it that the rangers on this lion walk looked over?  How will they prevent this from happening again?   Lions are wild and should remain out in the wild, free to roam as they have done for millennia.  We should be able to interact with them at a safe distance where the possibility of what happened is NOT a possibility at all.

But this is also an amazing African attraction, and a huge draw for tourists from overseas.  Who is not tempted to get as close as possible to the King of Africa?  But we need to make sure that something like this never happens again.  Where do we draw the line in the future, both to ensure the safety of tourists in Africa while also continuing to offer the most amazing and exciting adventures possible?

To read the press statement released (PDF) please click here:  Press Statement Lion Encounter 3 May 2011

]]> 0
Rains in Africa Mon, 07 Mar 2011 15:00:49 +0000 Recently, we posted a story and pictures about the effect that the rains can have on the Namib. This week we have some more amazing news about the rain. Of course, the rainy season has finally arrived in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a magical time as nature explodes into life, babies are born, and the landscape turns green. Regions that are dry for most of the year, seemingly ‘dead’ to the untrained eye, come alive.

The cool folks at Planet Baobab in the Makgadigadi in Botswana had this to report:

It’s the rainy season in The Makgadikgadi! With rainfall statistics coming in at 600 mm to date, we often receive downpours of up to 60mm in just a couple of hours! This incredible experience of an absolute whiteout during a thunderstorm is not dissimilar to the experience of standing in a snowstorm… just a whole lot more fun, knowing that in a few moments the sun will be out.

And the results of all this rain… Well, everything has just burst into life, the wildlife in and around Planet Baobab is in a breeding and feeding frenzy, from the tadpoles, terrapins and bream that have taken up residence in our very own newly formed mini-dams and fishponds, the huge quantities of crane, stork, ibis and waterfowl that soar in on a regular basis to the brightly-coloured Banded Rubber Frogs digging themselves out of the soil where they have lain in wait, motionless for several months.

The Rains in Makgadikgadi

If you would like to visit this incredible region and experience the transformation from desert to wetland, head to and contact African Safari Consultants for special wet season safari rates.

]]> 0
ASC Pic of the Week – Baby Cheetah Fri, 04 Mar 2011 15:00:56 +0000 Keeping with the current theme of adorable pictures of the week, this week we’re bringing you one of the cutest shots of a ferocious predator that I’ve ever seen.  This week’s photo, taken by former African Safaris Consultant client John Pickford, shows a young cheetah growling in the grass near Chief’s Island in the Okavango Delta.  As John says, “The photo was a young cheetah who was trying her hardest to convince us she was brave and calling for Mum at the same time.”

What really amazes me about this shot is how close John was able to get, along with the perfect timing to capture that growl/yawn.  John is hoping to return in May for another holiday and more awesome photos.  Thanks John for the incredible picture, and hope to see you in Africa soon!

P.S. If you have any beautiful pictures of Africa from your own travels, we’d love to see them! Feel free to email them to edward[at]africansafaris[dot]com and we’d be happy to post them on our blog with your permission.

]]> 0