African Safari Consultants https://www.africansafaris.com Thu, 25 May 2017 12:18:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Tip of Africa for Foodies https://www.africansafaris.com/tip-africa-foodies/ https://www.africansafaris.com/tip-africa-foodies/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 13:28:59 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202468 Read More]]> Travelling and food go hand in hand, and it’s often the new and exciting flavour combinations that you sampled on holiday that stay with you long after you’ve unpacked your suitcase. Historically the top foodie destinations have been France and Italy, but with more and more travelers seeking something a little different, with the focus on innovative rather than classic cuisine enjoyed in breathtaking surroundings (as we all know eating is about more than just the food, it’s about the whole experience!) destinations such as South Africa and Australia have increasingly become popular. What better way to really get under the skin of a new destination and to experience its culture and the people who live there than by going on a culinary adventure?

Cape Town for foodies

Travelling and food go hand in hand. Cape Town’s restaurants attract visitors and trendy locals alike

Cape Town is fast becoming Africa’s culinary capital with a plethora of new restaurants popping up faster than you can say ‘gourmet’, one more fabulous than the next. It’s the perfect destination to go on holiday with groups of friends or family members as this city has something for everyone. Add to that the beautiful hot climate, superb wines, friendly service, focus and access to fresh and seasonal ingredients, great value for money, and incredible locations and you have a winning recipe! We’ve rounded up a list of our new (plus a few old) favourites to highlight why Cape Town and its surrounds should be on your list of must-visit culinary cities.

Cape Town

Bright and beautiful, Cape Town’s colourful streets are a treasure trove for cultural foodies

Located in the suburb of Noordhoek, French chef Franck Dangereux’s The Foodbarn is an old favourite, but his brand new The Foodbarn Studio may need an introduction. Situated a few minutes away in the home of fellow chef Nicky Gibbs (who has cooked for the likes of the Rolling Stones and the late David Bowie), this little gem offers weekly evening cooking classes where you get to savour the dishes after class, or you can opt to simply enjoy a delicious five to six-course lunch from Wednesday to Saturday.

The-Foodbarn-Restaurant-Noordhoek-Cape-Town-Franck-Dangereux

The Foodbarn, tucked away in shady Noordehoek is on many a gourmet traveller’s pilgrimage

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Franck Dangereux – legendary chef at The Foodbarn is being innovative… as usual

Another interactive dining experience where you can learn the tricks of the trade by a local chef with years of experience in Cape Town’s food and wine culture is One Ingredient hosted by chef Matt Manning. Trained in the UK and formerly a chef at the prestigious La Colombe restaurant, Manning has worked with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing. One Ingredient offers guests a hands-on tutorial of how to cook dishes, where he picks one seasonal ingredient to focus on whilst preparing an extravagant five-course menu with locally sourced wine pairings.

One Ingredient

One Ingredient is another one of the Mother City’s exciting interactive dining experiences

The original Chefs Warehouse frequently tops best-rated restaurants in Cape Town, and now chef Liam Tomlin has paired up with chef Ivor Jones (formally from the renowned Test Kitchen) to open a second Chefs Warehouse at the Beau Constantia Wine Estate in Constantia. The food is just as exceptional, boasting the same laid-back charm as the original eatery was known for.

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The original Chef’s Warehouse on Cape Town’s Bree Street does not take reservations. The one at Beau Constantia does

Just around the corner is another newbie Foxcroft which is co-owned by chef Glen Foxcroft Williams and well-known chef Scot Kirton of La Colombe, another truly innovative fine-dining restaurant. Feast on exquisitely prepared dishes at incredibly good value for money in elegant surroundings. When going on a gastronomic pilgrimage to Cape Town, two restaurants stand out that are not brand new but still deserve a mention.

Foxcroft

Foxcroft is one of Cape Town’s fine dining restaurants where diners get to experience exquisitely prepared dishes… and great value

The Test Kitchen with chef Dale-Luke Roberts at the helm needs no introduction, consistently being rated amongst the world’s top restaurants. Renowned for his innovative, cutting-edge cuisine that cleverly combines ingredients that traditionally don’t go together; this is one of Cape Town’s best, located in the trendy Biscuit Mill. La Colombe is another one of Cape Town’s fine-dining favourites, recently having relocated to the Silvermist Estate overlooking the Constantia valley. With exceptional service and a variety of beautifully presented dishes it’s just another reason to put Cape Town at the top of your culinary vacation list. Be aware that bookings for Test Kitchen open exactly one month (to the minute!) ahead of time and you can only book online.

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Luke Dale Roberts, celebrated concept chef at the Test Kitchen amongst others

For some truly African cuisine, head to the Gold Restaurant located in trendy Green Point. Here you can immerse yourself in uniquely African flavours with dishes that showcase Cape Town’s Malay heritage, as well as traditional African delicacies. Gold is a must for anyone seeking to experience vibrant African hospitality at its best and includes traditional entertainment.

Cape Town gourmet

Gold Restaurant showcases African cuisine and especially it’s tasty Eastern influence

Franschhoek has been on the gourmet food map for some time, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to visit this slice of heaven you won’t be disappointed by the host of incredible restaurants (not to mention the fine wine estates!) that line this picturesque village located in the heart of the famous Cape Winelands. For contemporary South African fare try Ryan’s Kitchen. Having completed his training at various international Michelin schools, Ryan has created an eatery with a cozy atmosphere that serves up smaller tasting menus. His signature ‘Taste of Africa’ menu is well worth a try!

Salted caramel pear Ryans Kitchen

Salted caramel pear at Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek

Another brand new restaurant on the Franschhoek gastronomic scene is Foliage opened by foraging-enthusiast (and formerly celebrated chef at Pierneef á la Motte) Chris Erasmus. With an eclectic menu that comprises of locally sourced and foraged ingredients, this restaurant has become hugely popular. The restaurant boasts an open kitchen and cozy fireplace from where you can watch Erasmus in action crafting his exquisite dishes.

Foliage restaurant

The newest trend towards foraging for seasonal ingredients is taken to full advantage by chef Chris Erasmus at Foliage

The Haute Cabriére Cellar Restaurant is another top restaurant that is well worth a visit. Under the new helm of chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Müller (who took over the kitchen in late 2016), together with the expertise of cellar master Takuan von Arnim, Haute Cabriére has flourished into a must-visit culinary destination. You can expect beautifully prepared, eclectic dishes that complement the estates esteemed wines perfectly in spectacular surroundings overlooking the Franschhoek valley.

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Haute Cabriere Restaurant is a must for travellers seeking a culinary destination with superb wines in spectacular surroundings

A culinary tour to Africa is full of variety, intrigue, and just a little bit of African magic and you can take your pick of extraordinary culinary experiences – from sophisticated fine dining and ethnic eateries to simple, yet incredibly flavoursome traditional bush cuisine when you go onto your safari destination.   But more about The Best Safari Lodges for Foodies next month…!

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Our Top African Safari Tour Picks For 2017 https://www.africansafaris.com/top-african-safari-tour-picks-2017/ https://www.africansafaris.com/top-african-safari-tour-picks-2017/#respond Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:41:38 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202415 Read More]]> Are you planning a trip to Africa and not sure how to join the dots or how to choose a safari perfect for you? We thought we’d outline some of our best African Safaris and tell you why we like them and why our clients give these particular tours 5 star reviews every time. Over the 20 years that we have been putting trips together for our predominantly American clientele, we have gotten a feel for what works and what doesn’t, which destinations pair well and how to coordinate the smoothest logistics. We pride ourselves on providing seamless transfers between hotels and safari lodges, assigning the best local guides to you and designing your itinerary so that each location and experience surpasses the one the day before.

Our most popular African safari tours tick a range of experiences: multi-generational families will love our sought-after South African and Namibian tours, whilst honeymooning couples and romantics will adore our blissful ‘bush and beach’ combinations. They also feature some of Africa’s most iconic destinations from Cape Town (voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world) to wilderness areas teeming with animals such as the Kruger National Park, the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, as well as the stark desert beauty of Namibia and remote and exclusive corners of Botswana and the iconic Victoria Falls.

Tanzania safari andbeyond serengeti under canvas

On safari in one of Africa’s most iconic destinations – Tanzania’s breathtaking Serengeti

Here are a few of our best African safari tours for 2017, as rated by our clients and top consultants:

Family Safari Tour

More and more multi-generational families (one of our top travel trends for 2017) are travelling together to Africa where they are guaranteed beautiful sunshine, raw nature, warm local hospitality and quality time together around a crackling boma fire under the African stars away from all the modern day electronic distraction. The best tours for 2017 also need to tick as many bucket list experiences as possible, including a range of activities to suit all ages – from grandparents who will want access to luxury and downtime in a lodge with great views to busy kids who need constant stimulation.

This is one of our top rated tours that we would be ideally suited for families or a small group of friends travelling together:

Botswana & Zimbabwe Family Safari Tour

  • 3 nights on safari in the Okavango Delta staying at Khwai Tented Camp in a family tent.
  • 3 nights on safari in the Chobe region staying at Linyanti Ebony Camp in a family tent.
  • 2 nights on safari at Victoria Falls staying at Elephant Camp situated on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls
  • 3 nights on safari in Hwange National Park staying at Somalisa Acacia Camp in a family unit.

With Botswana becoming more expensive these days, we are finding great value in destinations like Zimbabwe and Namibia. Safari travel to Zimbabwe is on the up and we are seeing more camps opening in stunning locations as well as established safari lodges being refreshed. In general Zimbabwe is making a big effort to get back onto the safari tour circuit for 2017. The opening of the international airport at Victoria Falls has certainly attracted more interest to the region by making it more accessible for international flights. For example Emirates flies directly into Victoria Falls. So be sure to consider putting Zimbabwe on your bucket list for 2017.

canoeing okavango delta elephant giraffe botswana

Zimbabwe is ideal for doing exciting activities such as canoeing on the Zambezi and getting up close to the animals

Victoria Falls Elephant Camp Zimbabwe

Combining Botswana with a visit to Zimbabwe’s Elephant Camp offers both great value for money in a stunning location set in close proximity to the Falls

Honeymoon Safari Tour

Honeymooning in Africa is still popular. Besides the wide range of wild luxury safari lodges and boutique hotels, there is also great value especially when it comes to wining and dining, the generous proportions of honeymoon suites and the added complimentary extras. The locals love to spoil romantic couples and celebrate LOVE in so many fun colourful African ways. There’s adventure to be had too, animals to encounter, bucket list items to check off plus loads of stunning sunset selfie photo opportunities!

Most weddings in the Northern Hemisphere take place in May/ June and this coincides perfectly with the best time to go on safari (June to July and August).

A top-rated honeymoon safari would look something like this:

Cape Town/ Winelands/ Kruger National Park/ Mozambique 

  • 3 nights in Cape Town staying at Kensington Place Boutique Hotel.
  • 2 nights in the Cape Winelands staying at the culinary epicentre of Franschhoek, Le Quartier Français.
  • 4 nights on safari in the Kruger National Park staying at Tinga Safari Lodge (with one surprise night in a luxury treehouse).
  • 4 nights in Mozambique for the ultimate island getaway staying at andBeyond Benguerra Lodge

One of our senior consultants at African Safaris, Camille Rowe, recommends this tour saying ‘it’s the perfect honeymoon as it starts in sexy Cape Town where there is so much to see and do, even in the cooler winter months. Kensington Palace is a chic, romantic boutique hotel at the foot of Table Mountain, close to lots of trendy cafes and the best restaurants. Two nights in the Cape Winelands is a ‘nice to have’ if the couple has enough time on their hands and especially if they are fine wine lovers! Le Quartier Francais is an eclectic blend of quirky style and award winning gourmet cuisine. Tinga is great for honeymooners with river-frontage suites where you can watch the animals wander past from the privacy of your own deck. A definite highlight is to spend one night in one of the amazingly kitted out Lion Sands Treehouses – a thrilling and romantic sleep-out under the stars. If you are the groom or bride reading this we suggest booking it as a surprise! And to top off a honeymoon made in heaven, there is nothing nicer than (after all the exciting safari action) chilling on the beach or snorkelling, diving and sailing in a traditional dhow.’

Camps Bay beach

Africa is the ideal honeymoon destination and your first port of call should be one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town

Benguerra Island Mozambique

Top off your dream honeymoon by staying in Mozambique’s Benguerra Lodge for sheer island getaway bliss

Self-Drive Safari Tour

Namibia is one of the most re-visited destinations in Southern Africa. First time travellers typically only spend a few days in Namibia and then make plans to return as soon as they discover how much more there is to see!

Flying from region to region is of course the best way to see Namibia as the distances between highlight destinations such as Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park and Damaraland are vast. But if travellers have time, then a self-drive tour through Namibia is excellent value. There are more and more quality lodges being opened, the tourism infrastructure has matured nicely, the Namibian Dollar is pegged to the South African Rand, and therefore not very strong, there are so many unexpectedly fascinating aspects to Namibia in terms of wildlife, dramatic landscapes, plant life and culture.

This is one of our recommended self-drive tours through Namibia for 2017:

Namibia Self-Drive Safari Tour

  • 1 night Galton House, breakfast
  • 2 night Frans Indongo, DBB
  • 2 nights Mokuti, DBB
  • 1 night Andersson’s, DBB
  • 2 nights Camp Kipwe, FB and 1 activity
  • 2 nights Strand Hotel, BB
  • Tour in Swakopmund
  • 2 nights Desert Homestead Outpost, DBB, a tour of Sossusvlei and a sunset drive or horse ride
  • 1 night Bagatelle, DBB and sunset drive
  • Rental of a VW Amarok with premium insurance and unlimited milage.
  • Approximate Cost: $4240 per person
Camp Kipwe

Camp Kipwe is the perfect self-drive destination in Damaraland and offers visitors a glimpse into Namibia’s stark beauty and endless expanse

Sossusvlei Dunes

Sossusvlei is one of Namibia’s most spectacular attractions and features the world’s highest sand dunes in incredible shades of red

Even though we tailor each trip to our customer’s wishes and tastes, it’s worth having a look at our Top 10 Safari Tours and iconic destination combinations that are tried and tested and have gotten good reviews. These itineraries have been chosen by our expert safari planners and our customers, are good value as well as a great source of ideas.

We feature the tours that combine popular regions such as Cape Town and the Kruger National Park or Victoria Falls and Botswana, and that have been designed to suit either honeymooners or an active multi-generational family. We have designed itineraries that showcase the best of Namibia by air as well as South Africa by luxury train. We generally include private guiding, transfers and local flights, but you can choose to self-drive between destinations like the Garden Route and the Winelands.

Our Top selling tours offer inspiration and ideas as to how to combine bucket list places like the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and Zanzibar. As well as provide insight into how to go Gorilla Trekking, when to see the Great Migration, and how to combine a walking safari in Zambia with time on the beach in Mozambique. Browse these tours, make contact, and one of our expert consultants will put together the perfect Africa trip including flights, transfers and all the nitty bitty details.

Masai Mara Migration photo credit Tatra Photography new

One of our top selling African tours is a visit to the Masai Mara for the sheer natural spectacle that is the Great Migration (Photo Credit and Copyright: Tatra Photography)

A combination of destinations like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia is great for getting a taste of authentic Africa and where one can mix lots of fun and educational adventure activities with amazing landscapes, thrilling wildlife encounters and excellent hosting by local guides.

Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe side

Zimbabwe with its landmark waterfall as well as prime game reserves  is amongst 2017’s top destinations

We like to create itineraries based on our client’s bucket list wishes, comfort requirements, energy levels, travel dates and of course budget. We don’t put together ‘do it yourself camping trips’ I’m afraid, quite the opposite … we are very skilled at designing programmes that include quality safari camps and lodges that we have visited ourselves, that introduce you to interesting local people, include fantastic wildlife experiences, that will WOW you and make you want to take a thousand photographs and provide you with life long special memories of unique once-in-a-lifetime moments together in Africa.

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Close Encounter With a Mountain Gorilla https://www.africansafaris.com/close-encounter-mountain-gorilla/ https://www.africansafaris.com/close-encounter-mountain-gorilla/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 08:44:33 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202379 Read More]]> Seeing Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat is right up there on my bucket list. For now I’ll have to be content with living vicariously through our lucky clients who go Gorilla Trekking in either Rwanda or Uganda and then send us their trip reports.

Liesl (who has been gorilla trekking) recently put an intensive East Africa safari together for Scott and Laurel Farrell and their friends.

Walked over by a big Silverback!

“Amazing, interesting, humbling, and rewarding and there is probably 10 more words that could be said.  The first day we went on an “easy” trek with M&M that ended up being more of a medium trek as the gorillas had moved into a steeper area.  We had to move about as they were also moving but had a great day and good weather.  The second day Laurel and I split off from M&M and went on a harder trek.  This one went toward the volcano and was steeper and denser jungle.

The gorillas ended up moving down the mountain and we had a heck of a time getting down to them.  Slipping and sliding.  Finally came around some vegetation and there was the Silverback just sitting and eating.  We spent the entire hour parked right there with him, a mother with a young, and several juveniles.  Laurel got some great video of the baby using mom as a play toy.  It would climb up her back and roll off the front and grin.  This went on almost the entire time we were there.

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While mum feeds, a youngster clambers on her playing peek a boo.   Photo by Scott Farrell

This is also where the Silverback decided to walk over me.  I was sitting down, legs out, on some thick vegetation taking pictures.  Towards the end of our time he fed downhill and was even with me on the slope.  After a while he just walked toward me, put his left hand on my thigh and walked over me.  When I saw him coming I laid back to give him room but he decided it was easier to come through me.  It was interesting as he actually grabbed my pants and held on as he passed, pulling my leg with him until he lost grip.  I think it was his way of saying that he was boss.

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This was taken just seconds before the Silverback stepped forward and over Scott.    Photo by Scott Farrell

The female guide was right there and she was smiling as big as I was.  Another guest got the whole thing on video and was supposed to meet us at the ranger station.  Unfortunately they didn’t stop so no video.  It started to rain shortly after heading back and we proceeded to get soaked.  We had good rain jackets and rented gaiters but when it rains that hard and you end up shin deep in muddy water for most the trek the rain just seeps in.  The trip out was definitely a challenge.  We were glad for a room with a fireplace that evening.   I had to talk M&M into doing the second gorilla trek and we were all happy we did.  We both saw such different behavior on the second day.

It was well worth the expense and we probably will never have another chance to see them.  Doing only one trek would not have done the gorillas justice.”

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A Mountain Gorilla’s hands – so human.   Photo by Scott Farrell 

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The group had to hike quite deep into the jungle before coming across the gorilla family. But it was so worth it.   Photo by Scott Farrell

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With a reasonably good camera, it is possible to get this close up.    Phot0 by Scott Farrell

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A weekend in the New York of Africa – Johannesburg https://www.africansafaris.com/weekend-new-york-africa-johannesburg/ https://www.africansafaris.com/weekend-new-york-africa-johannesburg/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:16:00 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202315 Read More]]> I recently spent a long weekend in Johannesburg which describes itself as ‘The New York of Africa’. Having been born and raised in Johannesburg and then spending six years in New York I was intrigued by the description.

Like New York, Johannesburg is big – in fact it is the 5th largest city in Africa with an estimated population of 5 million. Johannesburg sprung up as a result of the discovery of gold in 1886 and is the largest city in the world not located on a river, lake or next to the ocean.

Where to stay

The Four Seasons Westcliff Hotel is a must-visit on the Westcliff Ridge for its gorgeous spa and spectacular vistas. I enjoyed a wonderful cappuccino overlooking the old Johannesburg Zoo established in 1904. Growing up as a child in Westcliff I used to listen to the lions roaring at night – a tamed version of Africa from their zoo enclosures.The WestcliffeThe Four Season’s Westcliff has great views over leafy suburbs

The Saxon Hotel is another fabulous hotel to stay at. It is here where Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography ‘Long walk to Freedom’.  

the-saxon-boutique-hotel

The Saxon Boutique Hotel is a luxurious retreat with award winning restaurants and a spa

GETTING AROUND

The Gautrain is a shining example of the modernity of this African city and I was impressed by its efficiency cleanliness and easy accessibility from the airport. I almost got a R700 fine for taking a sip of my bottles water as no drinking or eating is allowed on the gleaming station platform!

Because time was limited I decided to re-discover my home town and go sightseeing on the Hop on Hop Off bus.

hop-on-hop-off-bus-joberg

The Sightseeing Hop on Hop Off bus is a great way to get an overview of the city and to then decide where you want to stop off and spend more time.

I did the Red City Day Tour which included 11 stops. The highlights were :

The Origins Centre at Wits University Centre  which tells the story of the origin and evolution of human beings in southern Africa and houses a huge array of artefacts and rock art.

The Carlton Centre  which is still the highest building in Africa towering 50 stories above the Highveld.

The City Centre in Braamfontein  with its Street Art and the Maboneng Precinct.

Constitution Hill is a conglomeration of historic buildings telling the story of South Africa’s transition from Apartheid to Democracy including the Constitutional Court and prison where both Nelson Mandela and Ghandi were imprisoned.

Gold Reef City  is perfect for children as it is an amusement park built around the gold mining history of Johannesburg.

The Apartheid Museum has recently been voted the best museum in Africa and the building was designed to resemble the prison-like conditions of Robben Island. Visitors can expect a two hour emotional journey exploring the rise and demise of Apartheid so be sure to build enough time into your itinerary. Tours are not recommended for under 12’s.

For those wishing to visit the famous township of Soweto and see where Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu lived, there is an extension tour departing from certain stops on the hour.

Aprtheid-Museum-1

The museum documents the history of Apartheid in South Africa

GARDENS, SHOPPING AND EATING OUT  

Johannesburg is known for its gorgeous gardens which are much in evidence. It also has over 7 million planted trees. There are plenty of fabulous malls as well as neighbourhood hubs in Johannesburg’s wealthy Northern suburbs.

Sandton City and Hyde Park have world-class shopping featuring all the top brand names and at the Rosebank Mall in between a shopping break one can pop into the first Starbucks in Africa for a caffeine boost

Greenside has a great restaurant strip with food from all over the world. We enjoyed very good Thai noodles.

Parkview is located near the Zoo Lake which is a great place to go for an afternoon stroll. Parkview has a sweet village atmosphere where not much has changed over the past fifty years.  We popped in for excellent coffee at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants lining this tree covered avenue strip.

One of the similarities between Johannesburg and New York is that the inhabitants are very proud of their city. Both are vibrant, creative hubs and a few day in Johannesburg is a great introduction to the powerhouse of Africa before going on safari or down to the more tranquil beauty of the Cape.johannesburg shopping

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Tanzania & Zanzibar Honeymoons: Why You Should Go https://www.africansafaris.com/go-honeymoon-tanzania-zanzibar/ https://www.africansafaris.com/go-honeymoon-tanzania-zanzibar/#respond Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:22:44 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202243 Read More]]> As honeymoon fantasies go, an authentic safari resplendent with gorgeous African sunsets, is very definitely near the top of the wish list for many soon-to-be-married couples.

Another hope high on the honeymoon hit list quite often tends toward tropical beaches, with tepid azure waters lapping onto powdery white shores.

The solution, a combined bush and beach safari, taking in both the extraordinary wilderness of Tanzania, along with the intoxicating charms of the nearby ‘Spice Islands’ of carefree Zanzibar.

Tanzania plays host to no less than seven of the world’s heritage sites, most notably, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and the Selous Game Reserve, all of which offer utterly incomparable safari prospects for honeymooners, including entirely enchanting camps and lodges to suit every imaginable romantic taste and desire.

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Combine the extraordinary wilderness of Tanzania with…

andbeyond-mnemba-island-17.jpg.950x0

the ‘Spice Islands’ of carefree Zanzibar.

For the safari part, choose from : 

The Ngorongoro Crater

Set in the highlands of Northern Tanzania, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater, is home to the highest density of big game in Africa, amongst which, Africa’s legendary Big Five of elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo.

One of the most fertile and richest grazing grounds in Africa, the lush Ngorongoro Crater, is also one of the most beautiful natural wildlife safari sites on earth, a veritable auditorium of animal life and drama.

Perched high on the rim of this vast crater, the opulent French baroque style andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a downright decadent lodge offering 30 private stilted suites in three luxuriously furnished camps … all camps boasting fine silks, plush brocades, ornate antiques, gilded mirrors, elaborate crystal chandeliers, and exquisitely stylish wall panels

Private balconies proffer jaw-dropping views over the crater, claw-foot bath tubs sprinkled with rose petals entice you to take a long soak, and butlers at each camp ensure your personal wellbeing.

Sip champagne, enjoy fine dining, savour sundowners overlooking the crater, both day and night.

Ngorongoro-Crater-Lodge-romantic dinner

andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a feast for the senses, a perfect choice for a honeymoon.

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Positioned right on the edge of the crater, go wild, treat yourselves at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

The Serengeti

The vast open plains of the Serengeti are in turn one of the most famous destinations for a safari in Africa, and just plain perfect for a honeymoon. The immense, open grasslands epitomise for many, what Africa is all about, and deliver a breathtaking backdrop to the annual wildebeest (and zebra) migration, punted by many as ‘the Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’.

For a taste of a bygone era of African safari, andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas, offers extravagant camping in luxury Bedouin style tents, the very quintessential of Meryl Streep’s quixotic ‘Out of Africa’.

A mere nine tents make up two individual mobile ‘under canvas’ camps, all tents with large beds, lavish linens and flush loos. The camp itself is dazzles with Indian rugs, polished brass chandeliers, silver- and crystal-ware, and evokes safari romance from every angle. A private butler service perfects this honeymoon picture.

For a more current option, a contemporary and organic interpretation of a classic safari lodge, the stunning riverine Singita Faru Faru Lodge has intimacy, luxury and excellent game viewing in abundance. Singita Faru Faru has nine modern and incredibly spacious suites, the front of which are completely glass, which if desired, at the touch of a button, can easily slide open.

Unexpected, sumptuous, unreservedly enchanting and whole-heartedly romantic, Singita Faru Faru truly is a honeymoon dream.

Singita faru Faru horseriding

The epitome of an adventurous safari honeymoon is game viewing on horseback in Singita’s Grumeti Reserve

singita faru faru

Views forever across the Serengeti plains at Singita Faru Faru

The Selous

One of the largest faunal reserves of the world, the mighty Selous Game Reserve is densely populated with a spectacular myriad of wildlife. Unique for the diversity and numbers of animals to be sighted, elephants, hippopotami, African wild dogs, Cape buffalos, as well as crocodiles, are all relatively easy to locate in the reserve, as well as to capture on film.

Once again, outstanding honeymoon accommodation is to be found here, in the form of the Azura Selous Tented Camp

For intrepid travellers who like to travel to remote corners of the planet but desire style and luxury.  There are 12 air conditioned tented villas with opulent stone bathrooms and private plunge pools. Each villa is gorgeously furnished, with luxurious soft linens and decks with unsurpassed views of the reserve. For honeymoon romance and relaxation, retreat to your deck or the edge of the infinity pool, sip a cocktail, and soak up the fantasy wilderness vistas.

Float ethereally in a hot air balloon over the vast plains of Africa at dawn, relish an intimate dinner beneath star-studded velvet skies, take in unrivaled views whilst delighting in a romantic picnic on the savannas of the Serengeti, discover the beautiful people of the Masai tribe … or time your honeymoon to coincide with the great wildebeest migration … Tanzania really does offer newlyweds the ultimate in both thrilling wildlife encounters and  ‘Out of Africa’  romance.

Azura Selous Luxury Tented Camp

Safari chic style at Azura Selous Luxury Tented Camp

Azura-Selous

After a day on safari, enjoy a candlelit dinner serenaded by the sounds of the African bush

For the beach part, choose Zanzibar! 

After a somewhat dusty, often rigorous, but always remarkable wildlife encounter in the game reserves of Tanzania, what could possibly be more magical than time spent lolling on languid silvery beaches next to the balmy ocean, relishing freshest seafood landed by local fisherman, enjoying guided tours in forests of spice trees … or snorkeling crystal clear water alongside brilliantly coloured fish. Intriguing Zanzibar is the Tropical utopia that has this all.

For honeymoon accommodation, couples are spoilt for choice in Zanzibar; from larger resorts and lodges, to secreted hideaways down palm-lined lanes, and the pure mystic of boutique hotels in exotic Stone Town.

A short boat ride from the northern tip of Zanzibar’s main island, andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge is one such treasure; away from it all, with just ten open-sided guest ‘bandas’ on the entire islet, it really is a private paradise.

Soaring thatched roofs shelter beautifully simple spaces, big bedrooms open to wide verandahs with intimate dining table, armchairs and cushioned day beds, en suites offer glass beaded showers opening onto the leafy forest. Your personal butler will attend to your every whim; morning coffee and breakfast at your suite, picnic lunches on the beach, romantic seafood dinners served by candlelight right on the seashore.

Exclusive, romantic, unpretentious, andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge is sheer island and honeymoon bliss.

The wedding was perfect, everything you dreamed it would be, now pack your bags and head to Tanzania and Zanzibar for your bush and beach honeymoon, which promises to fulfill any and all of your honeymoon dreams.

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Chill on the beach or enjoy a myriad of water activities at andBeyond Mnemba Island

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Love in the air. Sea breeze in your hair. Dhow sailing andBeyond style off  the coast of Zanzibar

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Africa Travel Trends for 2017 https://www.africansafaris.com/africa-travel-trends-2017/ https://www.africansafaris.com/africa-travel-trends-2017/#comments Fri, 27 Jan 2017 13:11:44 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202200 Read More]]> As we steam boisterously towards a whole new year of possibilities, amongst other global inclinations, the principal travel trends for 2017 have also emerged.

In today’s fast-paced world, as we vainly endeavour to juggle excessively demanding schedules, days crammed to capacity with work and home activities, it is no surprise that the travel industry is seeing a continued move towards more focussed holidays.

Whilst ‘normal’ vacations will never be out of vogue, it would appear there are those who hanker after more than just ‘standard’ fun in the sun, and a number of key holiday elements have been tagged for 2017.

Experiential Travel

As the name suggests, experiential or immersion travel, allows travellers to focus wholly on experiencing a country, a city, or a particular place, on a deeper level … by connecting to it’s history, it’s people, and it’s culture.

Much more than a trendy axiom, experiential travel is about participation, about steeping oneself intensely in a country at the level of felt experience, rather than merely as a bystander or as an onlooker.

Experiential travel is unhurried, it is culturally authentic, it is emotional, and it is personal.

And what better place or space to immerse yourself in cultural realism than the captivating and culturally rich regions of Southern and East Africa respectively.

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Experiential Travel is….Seeing turtles come ashore to lay their precious eggs

Visit inspiring community development projects, enroll in a local cooking courses, partake in a guided wine tour, dine in a township, participate in a rhino tracking and micro-chipping operation … count endangered turtle eggs on a remote shoreline … appease an array of sensory cravings, all whilst engaging deeply with warm-hearted people, in an authentic and beautiful landscape.

Multi Generational Travel

Multi-generational tourism is a continued travel trend for 2017.

Where previously this type of travel tended to incidental and occasional family gatherings, nowadays it’s no secret that families are spending more time (and more money), travelling together.

The ideal of spending more quality time as an extended family, is very real, which is why more and more parents and grandparents, are beginning to appreciate the benefits of the African wilderness, and family bush safaris particularly, as a high-value family holiday option.

Southern Africa is fast becoming a destination of choice for families wanting their children to experience the enchantment of a meaningful vacation, where days are spent immersed in the great outdoors, witnessing the bush environment first-hand and at its absolute authentic best.

Choose from a sole-use lodge, especially suited to several generations, or a game lodge offering personalised packages expressly for children; either choice will entertain, educate, and ignite an interest in ecology, wildlife, the wilderness, and the cycle of life.

family safaris kids with elephant

Multi- Generational Travel is…Visiting a place where grandparents and children have equally thrilling encounters.

There is absolutely no need for electronic devices here, it’s hands-on, it’s enlightening, it’s healthy stimulation, it’s relaxed bonding time … for adults and youngsters alike.

Eco Tourism – Green Travel

With a rising consumer and industry interest in sustainable-and eco-tourism, hotels, lodges, camps, and tour operators are striving to incorporate responsible eco practices into their operations.

In line with this, the trend is for travellers to plan low-impact vacations and getaways, and to visit eco conscious destinations where conservation is top of mind.

Parts of Southern African, and in particular, South Africa, are high rankers in responsible tourism, and offer many superb eco destinations and sustainable tourism products, where relevant hotels, camps and lodges have a minimum effect on the environment, where staff are treated fairly and employed ethically … whilst still providing levels of luxury every bit as sumptuous as their counterparts.

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Green Travel is…Staying at Elsa’s Kopje which has a Gold Eco-Rating as well as an International Silver-Level Certification with Sustainable Travel International.

By choosing to visit these properties and those destinations where conservation is a priority and where Fair Trade is practiced, not only is the precious environment being safeguarded, but income generated by tourism also finds its way back into local communities.

Mindfulness and Wellness Travel

It is not surprising that in today’s somewhat jaded and weary world, there is also a large global trend in mindful and wellness travel for 2017,

Mindful and wellness travel is the principle of unplugging from the rat-race, of linking travel, with for instance, meditation and yoga, of nourishing the senses and attuning to nature, and with taking care of the self.

An aspiration for many travellers whilst on vacation is to gain life-enhancing skills through mindful and spiritual activities that can then be applied to everyday life.

The principle extends to mindfulness and awareness of loved ones, and the environment, and quality time spent with both.

And this is all very apropos in Southern Africa, where the term ‘wellness in the wilderness’, has become commonplace, with travelers seeking unique and authentic experiences, resulting in a demand for what may be termed more spiritual travel.

Diverse, and bursting with raw beauty, Southern Africa is brim-full of opportunities for enriching the mindful traveler –

Stargazing in the Namibian desert is one wellness experience, including the body, mind and soul, that can truly bring a sense of calm and reflection to a person.

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Wellness Travel is…Stargazing at Sossusvlei desert Lodge in Namibia. Food for the soul

Or travelers can reconnect with themselves, as well as with nature, as they dive amongst hundreds of species of tropical fish and extraordinary coral reefs on any of Mozambique’s tropical islands. To expand the experience, in some instances, spa treatments may take place in direct sight of the beach.

Resorts such as Kenya-based Campi ya Kanzi offer a luxury eco-lodge including yoga classes and meditation in the middle of the savannah at sunset. Whilst a truly unique experience is the Africa yoga walking safari, where travelers walk, practice yoga and meditate in Africa’s most remote and untouched wilderness areas, such as the Luangwa Valley in Zambia.

Luxurious, yet eco-conscience and mindful, there are a myriad of authentic African encounters and holistic destinations to spiritually enrich and sustain the soul.

Active or Adventure Travel

A consumer shift away from material possessions, towards an interest in actual experiences, has seen an ever-rising trend in adventure travel for 2017.

The trend is however away from ‘hard’ adventure, or traditional adventuring, and in the direction of ‘soft adventure’ and ‘microadventure’, either stand-alone, or added on to a holiday.

Soft adventure refers to low risk activities that are usually achievable with minimum previous experience, and microadventure is the term coined by British explorer Alastair Humphreys, for an outdoor adventure, small and achievable for normal people with real lives.

Both types of adventure tends to be minimalist in terms of gear, both types of adventure suited for people aspiring to cope with their fast-paced lives, both types of adventure ties in with an increasing drive for healthier lifestyles.

Southern and East Africa embodies all of the above qualities, making it an irresistible destination for international travellers no matter the demographic.

Whether a luxury desert camp on the edge of the Kalahari, or trekking the forests of East Africa in search of mountain gorilla, whether sleeping out on a platform under the African stars, or a walking safari in the South Luangwa Valley of Zambia, travelers are embracing undiscovered environments and experiences in an entirely more adventurous manner.

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Adventure Travel is…Trekking through the rainforests in East Africa in search of the mountain gorillas

Special Interest Tours – Birding, Photography, Shopping, Art et al

In line with the fact that most individuals nowadays have very little spare time to practice specific interests, and also in line with the move towards actual experiences, there is a travel trend towards special interest tours.

Special interest tours may take the form of a cooking holiday, a birding vacation, learning how to scuba dive, seeking the perfect wildlife photo, pursuing the passion to shop (whether for ceramic collectibles, or items as personal as authentic and original jewelry )… or for those interested in art, a special interest art tour to Southern Africa may involve exploring a number of art routes or visiting an array of outstanding art galleries.

Southern African, and South Africa, simply and really, does have it all.

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Southern Africa’s birdlife is perfect for special interest birders and photographers

Most Welcome Travel Trend 2017

Laudable mention must be made of one additional and most welcome 2017 travel trend, the move away from animal interactions of any sort.

Where elephant-back riding, ‘swimming with dolphins’, ‘walking with lions’ (and the like), used to be acceptable, these activities, and correctly so, have been spurned, for the cruel and exploitive undertakings they are

Not only does East Africa and Southern African respectively, and South Africa in particular, top all of the lists as burgeoning international destinations, but also as top-notch on trend travel destinations for 2017 as well.

 

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My Botswana Safari with Ker & Downey Tops Trump https://www.africansafaris.com/botswana-safari-ker-downey-tops-trump/ https://www.africansafaris.com/botswana-safari-ker-downey-tops-trump/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:24:25 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202176 Read More]]> That an elephant was blocking our approach to the small airstrip was almost definitely a coincidence, but I love a bit of portent. You see, it was US election time and the improbable ascendency of the Republican elephant to the White House was happening whilst I and some travel biz colleagues were doing a spot of languishing and scoping out of new destinations in the African bush.

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My view from Kanana Camp

And what languishing it was! I was lucky enough to go on a ‘Fam’ trip with Ker & Downey to see their camps in Botswana. They are not the lovely couple who live opposite the Post Office, but are a luxury safari tour operator who have been around for many years and five of us were given the onerous task of giving some of their camps our  agent’s ‘stamp of approval’ so to speak.  And so it was that in the second week of November we headed off to Botswana.

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Sundowners at Shinde Camp

The first bit of luxury for us was the direct flight between Cape Town and Maun, an airport that serves the Okavango Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve as well as other camps in the area, This is a giant leap for mankind in terms of the ease of access to Botswana. The time saved in terms of eliminating flights via Johannesburg or wherever… is considerable enough to make mention of. The quicker you can get to your destination the sooner you can unwind and enjoy the African experience. From Maun we took short  ‘hop’ flights between the camps within Botswana, the landing of one which was delayed by the lethargic elephant on one of the runways!

Our blissful ignorance of the events of the time -Clinton being Trumped – was helped by the fact that there was no wifi connection at any of the camps we visited, although there was computer availability if one was that desperate. None of us were!

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We came across this beautiful young leopard on a morning game drive in the Moremi Game Reserve

We visited four camps, the first of which had some of the best and most dedicated staff I have come across in my travels. Okuti Camp is in the Moremi Game Reserve, nestled alongside the Maunachira River which flows through the Xakanaxa Lagoon. Aside from the utterly delightful staff whose impressive singing voices regaled us with African songs, Okuti is known for its excellent predator sightings and we were lucky enough to see a pack of wild dogs kill a reedbuck, which I very much suspect didn’t appreciate our touristy gawking as it breathed its last.

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Sunset cruise along the Okavango Delta waterways at Ker & Downey’s Okuti Camp

From Okuti we toddled over, in the aviation sense, to Kanana Camp, which is one of my favourites due to its bush view and lovely setting. It is from here that you can visit the largest heronary (breeding ground for herons) in Bostwana on a mokoro canoe ending with champagne in the bush as the sun sets over the Delta. It really is a magnificent way to spend a day. Kanana has a wide variation of activities on offer, so besides punting around on the canoe, one can also do game drives, bush walks and boats trips in this most special corner of the world. For me, the highlight was sleeping out on the deck in the middle of the bush. With the trumpeting snoring of my fellow travellers keeping the monsters at bay.

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Mokoro excursion from Kanana Camp

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Me, catching (and releasing) my first fish!

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My guide teaching me to drive the landrover

At the other two camps we visited, Shinde Camp and Footsteps, I suspended my adult languishing and decided to have some fun. At Shinde I caught a fish, my first fish, albeit microscopic in size, but the fight was on and I prevailed! Another first at Shinde was spotting a wild cat, in amongst the teeming game that included a whole bunch of antelope, elephant, jackal and even leopards. Footsteps, which is fairly basic in its infrastructure had many kid’s activities which I gamely took on: actually driving the game vehicle, target practice with a pellet gun (Cue: applause. I hit one can!) short walks in the wild and learning to pole a mokoro.  Contact me, Lise Kargaard for your next African Safari.

Meanwhile in America….

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Kenya Beach Holidays: Where To Go https://www.africansafaris.com/kenya-beach-holidays-go/ https://www.africansafaris.com/kenya-beach-holidays-go/#respond Mon, 12 Dec 2016 11:17:28 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202088 Read More]]> Imagine Kenya as a travel destination and you are probably conjuring up images of expansive savannahs teeming with herds of wildlife with the iconic image of an Acacia tree starkly silhouetted against a crimson sky. Kenya, after all, is renowned for one of the greatest natural spectacles on earth – the Great Migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras, as well as arguably the world’s most iconic African safari destination. But did you know that this country has one of Africa’s most historic and fascinating coastlines (European colonialists, Arab traders, and African empires have all left their mark) with endless picture-postcard-perfect beaches?

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Kenya’s Diani Beach is one of the most idyllic beach locations in the world

From Kenya’s famous Diani Beach, through to lively Mombasa and tranquil Malindi, and further afield to the idyllic islands of the Lamu Archipelago, the beauty of Kenya is that you can easily combine a thrilling safari in the Masai Mara one day with a relaxing beach holiday the next, making it the perfect ‘Bush and Beach’ destination! It’s also considered an all-year-round destination (for both safaris and beach vacations); its coastal temperatures are consistently hot and humid with the occasional shower to cool things off. The best time to visit Kenya (especially its Indian Ocean coastline) is from June to early March when temperatures and rainfall are at their lowest. Kenya’s coast is well known for its natural beauty and is filled with all sorts of diverse wildlife: from coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, to marine parks, bird-filled coastal forests, to game reserves where you can marvel at the Big Five just a hop and a skip away.

Mombasa: Kenya’s Coastal Heartbeat

Kenya’s Mombasa region is perhaps its most famous coastline, known for its diving and deep sea fishing, as well as its lively atmosphere favoured by those seeking a more festive vacation. It offers a number of larger resorts, has a great selection of restaurants, night clubs, and shops, and the proximity to Mombasa’s airport means it’s the perfect safari and beach destination. We recommend staying at Voyager Beach Resort located in the Nyali area, just north of Mombasa. Perfect for both couples or families, the resort offers the visitor fantastic value for money, well maintained tropical gardens, three large swimming pools, and a flawless white sandy beach sheltered by a coral reef with activities to suit all ages.

Voyager Beach Resort

Set right at the beach, Voyager Beach Resort is the perfect resort for both families and honeymooning couples

Diani Beach: Kenya’s Southern Jewel

Your second port of call should be Kenya’s southern coast: expect palm-fringed white sandy beaches with crystal blue waters and some of Africa’s finest dive spots. Diani Beach (where most of our recommended accommodation options are located) is world-famous for its pristine white beaches and safe, shallow, tropical waters – the classic beach destination perfect for either families or those seeking a romantic honeymoon destination. Kenya’s warm tropical water (in particular around the Diani area) is well-known for its migrating whale sharks known as the gentle giants of the deep (and measuring longer even than a school bus!).

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The Kenyan coast has many superb diving spots and Diani Beach is well-known for its whale shark encounters

There are a number of luxury hotels and resorts dotted along Diani Beach, but we love Kinondo Kwetu Hotel and the Almanara Luxury Resort. For the perfect post-safari-beach-bliss book yourself into Kinondo Kwetu. This Swedish family-owned resort located south of Diani Beach offers utter relaxation in a laid-back, yet luxurious setting: relax on your own private stretch of beach or cool off in one of two swimming pools, revitalize body and soul at the cliff top yoga studio, go horse-riding along the pristine beach, set off snorkeling along the magnificent coral reef or dive with whale sharks, or simply enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach with your loved one. For a bespoke luxury experience, the Almanara Luxury Resort offers you the choice of either staying in an exclusive private boutique hotel or a private villa complete with butler service and your own personal chef. Feast on freshly caught seafood right at the water’s edge at the Sails Beach Bar, go kite or wind surfing, scuba dive around world-class dive sites and experience the underwater wonderland and the shimmering coral reefs such as the Kisite National Marine Reserve, go deep sea fishing to the famous Pemba Channel teeming with Sailfish, Black Marlin and Yellow Fin Tuna, or simply hop aboard Almanara’s ‘Ngalawa’ (their locally crafted sailboat) to go snorkeling around the sand islands. The list of water-based activities is endless.

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At Kinondo Kwetu you can take a boat excursion to go snorkeling at Galu Beach

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Almanara is a luxury resort that comes with its own stretch of private beach

Malindi: Kenya’s Tranquil Coast

The Malindi region (popular with European holidaymakers and ex-pats) and nearby Watamu are also well worth a visit with spectacular beaches abounding and superb diving at Malindi Marine National Park perfect for honeymooners or families seeking a quieter Kenya beach destination. Tsavo National Park (known for its incredible variety of big game) is a mere hundred kilometers inland, making a safari-beach holiday an easy option.

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Spectacular beaches framed by palm trees abound at Malindi Beach

KENYA, Watamu: In a photograph taken by Make It Kenya 11 Decmeber 2015, a Green turtle makes it's way back to the ocean from a deserted stretch of coastline after being released by a team from the Local Ocean Trust (LOT). The LOT and Watamu Turtle Watch work to protect both the future of sea turtles and the wider fragile marine environment along Kenya's Watamu stretch of coastline through nest-monitoring and protection of turtle nesting sites, practising a catch and release programme working closely with local fisherman who inadvertently catch sea turtles in the nets, and conservation education and awareness outreach with local communities. MAKE IT KENYA PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

A Green turtle returns to the sea along Watamu’s stretch of coastline (Picture Credit and Copyright: Make It Kenya, Stuart Price)

Lamu Archipelago: Kenya’s Idyllic North

For the ultimate private island vacation and barefoot luxury with a lovely laid-back charm, the islands of the Lamu Archipelago offer the idyllic romantic honeymoon destination. There is a range of incredible lodges and private villas on offer, but you will need to take a boat to navigate between the islands. For the ultimate Kenyan honeymoon destination, we recommend staying at Manda Island.

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The spectacular Manda Bay located in the Lamu Archipelago (Picture Credit and Copyright: Dirk Collins)

With its dazzling and secluded tropical beaches, intense turquoise Indian Ocean waters, extravagant sunsets, Swahili hospitality, and activities to suit both honeymooning couples and families, it’s time to start planning your beach holiday to Kenya.

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Safe Places to Visit in Africa: Our Travel Tips https://www.africansafaris.com/safety-travel-tips-africa/ https://www.africansafaris.com/safety-travel-tips-africa/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 09:42:07 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=202021 Read More]]> We are often asked about safe places to travel in Africa. Safety, now more than ever before, is on most traveler’s minds in the difficult times that we live in. We believe that by informing our travelers to the best of our ability, the safer, better prepared, and happier your vacation will be.

When travelling to any exotic destination – such as Africa – there are of course a number of other considerations to take into account when going on safari such as the presence of large, wild animals like lion and elephant (many of the safari lodges are unfenced within the reserve and national parks where wildlife roam freely). Malaria, as well as transport and cultural issues are also considerations.

Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia tick all of the safety boxes, but by following these safety tips, travelling anywhere throughout Southern and East Africa can be a safe and richly rewarding experience.

Health Safety

  • Water: Tap water is safe to drink in South Africa’s urban areas however we recommend drinking bottled water in urban areas in other African countries. The lodges and safari camps that we book will offer purified water, whilst lodges located in remote areas will always ensure that guests have access to bottled or purified water.
  • Dehydration: Dehydration is one of the most common ailments, and Africa has one of the world’s hottest climates. Not drinking enough fluids, overheating, or doing continuous exercise for a long period without drinking fluids all lead to dehydration. We advise our guests to pack electrolyte replacement sachets (to be added to bottled water) into their safari first aid kit, in case of dehydration.
  • Food: The food at our recommended luxury hotels and safari lodges is always superb and of a high standard. Even the wholesome and creative ‘bush cuisine’ prepared by safari camp chefs in the middle of nowhere is worthy of the numerous accolades received. Recently one of our safari clients shared that her hyper-allergic-fussy-eater son loved the chef’s cooking and really thrived whilst being on safari. In the major cities and wine regions, you are in for a treat as Cape Town alone boasts two entries on the World’s Best Restaurants list!
  • Hat And Sunblock: Wherever you are travelling to in Africa, summer or winter, make sure that you always apply a sunblock and wear a hat during the day as the African sun is known to be unforgiving.
  • Inoculations And Vaccines: The best person to speak to for advice on country-specific vaccines and inoculations is your local doctor. Vaccinations (or childhood vaccine boosters) for cholera, polio, tetanus, meningitis, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B are strongly recommended as a precautionary measure as medical services and facilities may be limited in Africa. If you are planning on travelling into East Africa (particularly Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) you will be asked to show your yellow fever inoculation certificate, even if you are just in transit via Nairobi. Yellow fever vaccinations are valid for ten years and need to be administered at least ten days prior to departure. We suggest having your vaccines done before travelling, as some vaccines may make you feel unwell for a few days. Note that you have to travel with your yellow fever certificate card.
  • Be Malaria Savvy: Speak to your local doctor about which anti-malarial prophylactics will be best suited to the country you are planning to visit. Some malaria prophylactics may have side effects. Small children and pregnant women should avoid malaria areas completely. There is now a children’s equivalent of the Malarone based malaria prophylactic. It is important to complete the course of anti-malaria pills you are administered. The best defense against mosquito bites is to use the mosquito nets and ceiling fans provided in your room and to apply insect repellant to exposed skin in the early morning and late afternoon (before game drives) and again before dinner in the evening. If you seek a completely risk-free destination there are plenty of malaria-free regions in Southern Africa to choose from such as the Eastern Cape and the Madikwe Game Reserve, as well as Namibia and the Indian Ocean islands.

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    Mosquito netting is provided at all the camps and lodges

Personal Safety

  • Use Common Sense: As in many other destinations around the world, you will need to use a fair dose of common sense when travelling in Southern and East Africa. Don’t walk around deserted areas after dark, secure your personal possessions, never leave your baggage unattended, keep your car doors locked, make use of your hotel safe, don’t flash your expensive camera equipment, jewelry or cash around unnecessarily, and know where you are going before you head out. We recommend that you keep a copy of your passport number, airline tickets, and credit card numbers in a separate place other than your handbag. Taking photographs of border crossings or government buildings is not advisable. Be sure to consult your guide or hotel concierge as these will have insider knowledge of the country that you are visiting.
  • Be Respectful: Take care to treat the destinations, their cultures, and religions with the respect that they deserve such as the Masai homelands and Zanzibar. Ensure that you dress appropriately in these sensitive regions (clothing that covers the body up to the collarbone, up to the knees and elbows) and don’t take intrusive photographs unless you have asked permission beforehand. In most parts of Africa, it is deemed offensive not to ask before taking a photograph of another person – especially in this Instagram and Facebook influenced world where we feel compelled to photograph and share everything!

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    It is expected to ask permission and in many cases pay the Masai before photographing them

Travel Safety

  • Contact An Expert: It’s always best to speak to a safari expert well ahead of time to pre-arrange all of your personal logistics such as airport transfers. We have on-the-ground knowledge of the best service providers and will be able to help you plan an effortless, stress-free vacation.
    Make Use Of Private Transport: We don’t recommend that you use public transport in most African countries (such as minibus taxis, local buses, and trains) as these can’t be guaranteed to be safe. Rather book a reputable taxi service through your hotel desk or make use of scheduled tours or enlist the services of a private guide.
  • Know Where To Go: It is always a good idea to familiarize yourself on how to get from A to B to ensure there are no nasty surprises. Africa is a vast country with remote areas that may be difficult to access. To visit Kenya’s legendary wildlife reserves (for example) you will land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and will then have to transfer across Nairobi to Wilson Airport (about an hour and a half’s drive away).
  • Self-Drive Vacations: Both South Africa and Namibia are ideal countries for self-driving with their wide open spaces, well sign-posted roads, great infrastructure, and excellent accommodation options. We recommend that you plan your self-drive journey carefully to allow enough time to arrive before it gets dark. If you are planning on driving through Namibia (one of the safest countries in Africa) you will need at least two spare tires as blowouts are common on the long, stony roads typical of Namibia.
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Namibia is one of the best self-drive destinations with wide open spaces, excellent roads and infrastructure

The great beauty of being on safari in this continent is that you can experience the wilderness in its natural state. Travelling safely through the incredible landscapes of Africa with her multitude of wildlife, vast open spaces, and friendly people relies on sensible preparation and precautions that in general you would apply when visiting any other adventure destination. At African Safaris we believe that by being well informed about your destination and seeking advice from your health professional prior to your departure, coupled with our extensive safari expertise we can tailor your trip to ensure that you have an incredible and safe trip to Africa.

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Kenya: What You Need To Know Before You Go https://www.africansafaris.com/kenya-need-know-go/ https://www.africansafaris.com/kenya-need-know-go/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 09:37:51 +0000 https://www.africansafaris.com/?p=201916 Read More]]> One of the most magical and achingly beautiful countries in the world, Kenya is an incredible travel destination known for its diverse landscapes, dazzling light, spectacular variety of animals and friendly people. The safari regions in Kenya are considered safe destinations but nevertheless this detailed guide will answer all your pre-trip questions especially if you are visiting Kenya for the first time.

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An elephant quietly crossing a road less traveled in the Amboseli National Park. Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance.

What You Need To Know: Visas

You will need a visa when visiting Kenya if you are a citizen of the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada or any other EU country. If you hold citizenship for any other country please consult the below link to determine if you require a visa: Kenya Visa Requirements

As with most travel destinations, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your departure date out of Kenya, with at least two consecutive (unstamped) blank visa pages in your passport.

The visa costs around £30 or $50 and can be bought on arrival in Nairobi (just ensure that you have the exact US dollars with you and that your US$ bills were issued after 2006) or in advance from the relevant Kenyan High Commission.

wildebeest migration in masai mara

The wildebeest migration – one of the world’s most incredible natural spectacles – is one of the many reasons why you should visit Kenya

What You Need To Know: Medical

There are a number of mandatory medications and vaccinations for Kenya, so here is our complete list:

Malaria
Whilst Nairobi and some other highland areas are relatively low-risk malaria zones, malaria in Kenya (as well as many areas of East Africa) is endemic so we strongly recommend that you obtain anti-malaria medication before you depart from your medical doctor or other health authority. The most commonly prescribed malaria tablet is currently Malarone.

Malaria tablets unfortunately often come with some side-effects (fortunately the most common ones aren’t too serious) and for the most part, manifest with a light-sensitivity and slight upset tummies. We thus recommend that you regularly apply a high SFP sunscreen (even for olive skin).

Vaccinations
If you are traveling around Africa you will need to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever and you may even be required to show your Yellow Fever certificate on entry in Kenya, so be sure to get one before you depart on your travels! The Yellow Fever jab lasts 10 years (so even though it’s relatively pricey around £80, it’s money well spent) and must be administered at least 10 days before departure. This vaccine is recommended for children 9 months and older.

yellow fever certificate

You will need to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever if you plan on travelling to Kenya

Water
We advise you to drink bottled water at all times in Kenya, especially if you have traveled from abroad. All our recommended safari camps and lodges supply their guests with fresh, clean (filtered or bottled) water. For things like brushing your teeth, we suggest checking with your camp manager to find out if the tap water is safe to use.

Medications
It’s always a good idea to pack your own small medical kit to have on hand for any minor travel-related ailments such as headaches or hay fever. If you need to take prescription medication please ensure that you pack enough supplies to last your entire holiday, as it may be difficult to get hold of specialized medication in remote areas.

What You Need To Know: In General in Kenya

Language
Kenya is a multilingual country with Swahili and English being spoken as the two official languages. Here are a couple of Swahili words to get you started:

  • ”Jambo” – common greeting meaning “Hello, how are you?”
  • “Asante” or “Asante Sana” – meaning “thank you” and “thank you very much”
  • “Pole Pole” – which means “slowly slowly” referring to the slower African pace!
Masai warriors with visitor

Kenyans are one of the friendliest people in Africa and meeting the Masai warriors in their colourful traditional dress is a experience that will stay with you forever

Time
Kenya is 3 hours ahead (all year round) of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

Weather
Kenya is situated close to the equator so does not experience a real winter or summer season. The country has a pleasant tropical climate but can vary greatly depending on several factors, particularly altitude. Daytime temperatures on average reach between 20°C/68°F and 28°C/82°F, with hotter and more humid temperatures on the coast often rising above 30°C/86°F. The coastal areas are humid and hot all year round but tempered by the monsoon winds. Temperatures inland are relatively temperate, with a hotter and drier climate in Kenya’s northern parts.

The hottest time of the year is from mid-December through to March, with the coolest period from late June until October. The long rains fall from late April throughout May to early June, with the short rains falling from November until mid-December.

Kenyan coast

The Kenyan coastline remains hot and humid all year round and is pure barefoot paradise bliss!

Currency And Credit Cards
Kenya’s currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KSh) which comprises of a 100 Cents. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, whilst American Express and Diners Club cards are usually not. Make sure to check with your bank that your Visa or MasterCard has no foreign transaction fees.

Power And Connectivity
Since most Kenyan camps and lodges are located in remote areas, electricity is generated by solar power or via a diesel generator. Most lodges or camps will have a central charging station (in your room or common area) which may be used to charge your electrical equipment. Most camps provide their guests with plug adapters, but if you would prefer to have your own you will need to buy a ‘G’ socket type which uses the universal plug adapter WA-7.

Connectivity (as in most remote destinations) is less accessible the further away they are from urban areas. Mobile services are usually available in the southern part of Kenya around Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, the entire coastal region, popular safari parks, as well as on the long road between Nairobi and Mombasa. The northern part of Kenya, however, has no network access. Some remote game lodges and hotels offer Wi-Fi but can be quite expensive.

conversion socket adapter for Kenya

Most game lodges will provide conversion socket adapters for their overseas guests

Tipping
Tipping guides, drivers or support staff as a way of showing your appreciation for great service is customary in Kenya, and is done in US$ or Kenyan Shillings (KSh).

  • General Tipping Guidelines
  • Ranger or Guide – $20 per couple per day
  • Tracker – $15 per couple per day
  • Butler – $15 per couple per day
  • Camp Staff – $15 per couple per day
  • Transfer Drivers – $5 per transfer
  • Porters – $1 per bag
  • Restaurants – 10% of the bill
Game drive in Kenya

Game drives led by local guides are de rigeur on a Kenyan safari. Tipping your guide is customary. if you

What You Need To Know: What To Pack

We regularly get asked by our clients what to pack on safari and requests for an essentials packing list, so we thought we would take the stress out of packing and have compiled our list of essential items below. The key thing to remember whilst packing for Kenya is to pack comfortable clothes with neutral colours that will blend into the African bush. You don’t’ have to run out and buy expensive safari gear; jeans, a neutral t-shirt, and a baseball cap are completely acceptable!

Kenya, Governors camps, Masai Mara © David Rogers

Kenya, Governors camps, Masai Mara. (Photo Credit and Copyright: David Rogers)

The Essentials

  • A wide-brimmed, sturdy sun hat to keep your face out of the harsh African sun
  • A bandana to tie around your face for the dry, dusty regions
  • Comfortable sneakers, tennis or boat shoes (you don’t require specialized hiking boots to go on a bush walk)
  • Sandals or flip-flops for around the camp
  • T-shirts or golf shirts in khaki, beige, green and neutral colours
  • Long-sleeved cotton shirts to protect you from the sun and mosquito bites at dusk
  • Shorts (please note we don’t recommend short skirts as these are completely impractical when climbing in a 4×4 vehicle)
  • Jeans or safari trousers for cooler days and evenings
  • Light sweater or jumper
  • A sports bra for game drives as the roads may be bumpy
  • A lightweight waterproof zippered jacket for the rainy summer months
  • A swimming costume (nothing too revealing)
  • Warm, wind-proof jacket or fleece, anorak, scarf, gloves and beanie for the winter months, early morning and evening game drives or higher altitudes
  • Socks and underwear
  • Personal toiletries
  • High SPF sun block, moisturizer, after-sun gel, and lip balm
  • Strong insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars and camera equipment (we suggest packing a dustproof bag to keep your camera equipment safe)
  • A copy of your passport
  • A money belt to carry your valuables (money and passport) under your clothes when traveling

What You Need To Know: Luggage Restrictions

For light aircraft travel within Kenya, there are strict luggage restrictions in place that vary depending on your destination. Travelers to East Africa may only be allowed to take a total luggage weight of 15kg (33lbs) which includes the carry-on hand luggage. Your bags must also be soft-sided with no wheels or rigid frames so that these may easily fit into the hold of a small aircraft. Should you need additional luggage you will have the option of buying an extra seat which will allow for an additional 70kg (154lbs).Please check that your total luggage weight complies with the restrictions for all your Kenyan destinations prior to your departure.

Light aircraft in Kenya

There are strict luggage restrictions in place for lightaircraft travel within Kenya

What You Need To Know: Photography

Visitors to Kenya should be aware that they are not allowed to take photographs or film the President of Kenya nor his residence, airports, railway stations, the military or the police and their barracks, any government buildings or the Kenyan flag. If you want to take a picture of a Masai warrior you will need to ask his consent, as he may only be willing to do so for a fee.

masai-ladies-kenya-photo-credit-and-copyright-marius-coetzee-photography-new

You will need to get consent first before taking pictures of the Masai (Photo Credit and Copyright: Marius Coetzee Photography)

If there’s a burning question that we haven’t covered, please get in touch with one of our friendly experts. Now all that’s left to do is to choose your dates and book your trip to one of the most beautiful countries in Africa for a vacation of a lifetime!

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