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Found 136 results

  1. I am just returning from a three day stay at Tuningi Lodge in the Madikwe. An interesting trip - lovely lodge, very cold (and windy at times), the first game drive on which I took no photos at all, a couple of firsts: a lion kill and an amazing waterhole. I will update as I sort my photos... (And yes @Game Warden - I will add a lodge review)
  2. we loved our first family safari so much! back a month now. kids were 13 and 15. eka for first night, 4 nights ol lentile, 3 kicheche laikipia, 4 kitceche mara and a private sheldrick visit on departure day. what we loved: the people! ol lentille was a perfect first stop. it was to have been sosian but we had to change. our flight was 25 hours from the us. thank goodness we had access to the admirals club lounges. the one in paris is amazing! we stayed in the captains house (2 br 3 bath) and had our own butler, valet, guide and vehicle. so dry here so not many animals but we loved our camel safari where we met our guide's son, nephew and friends. we also visited a school and did a village visit that was to be an hour and we were there for almost 4! we took pics of the kids, and then family photos and shared them with the villagers. they delighted in them. my daughter and i loved the unlimited spa treatments and we did atv rides where the locals came out and waved to us. we chased a lone bull elephant away from a village. we really got to know our butler, valet and guide and had some very interesting and respectful conversations. dd and i also had some with the women at the spa since we visited it so frequently. we have never experienced such level of luxury, gracious hospitality, amazing views, cultural interaction, fab food etc. it was a great way to better understand the country we were visiting and to rest up before the real safari began. many of you have done the kicheche camps-we loved the lack of schedule (we typically went out at 6:15 and returned at 12:30 then out from 4 to 7 ish. loved the bush breakfasts and open topped vehicles and wonderful guiding standards. only time we saw more than 1other vehicle is when we witnessed a kill and found a huge pride or lions. small intimate camps that always made my kids feel welcome and included (who knew we'd meet a family from canada who love hockey as much as my son and husband!) my kids had their own tent at k mara and were the last tent and always surrounded by tons of cape buffalo (my son calls them the spawn of satan) and baboons but they knew their askari would keep them safe. while i wanted very nice accommodations i realized we spent so little time in out tents (not true at ol lentille) so guiding, vehicle, food became most important to me. i could never rough it but don't need an over the top tent bc so little time is spent there. that said, we want to return and hope to return to kenya. however the sand dunes in namibia also sound so different. was considering namibia and south africa but sa seems so scheduled-a few hours out and then back for breakfast! is this accurate? if so, it is back to kenya for us! as of now, we are considering laikipia wilderness, then a mobile camp in meru that the folks from lwc are opening and then to the mara and hopefully to kicheche bush to see all those leopards? thoughts? thanks so much.
  3. I've about finished editing a few hundred images from my 15 days in the Kalahari and will shortly begin my trip report. Meanwhile, this video is a short 'tease' of the trip. https://youtu.be/6FfiXWzteEY I hope you enjoy this 3 minute overview. I promise to begin the tale shortly.
  4. Can I just say, I absolutely loved Cape Town and would return in an instant. I arrived mid morning direct from Heathrow on British Airways. The flight was fine and I actually got a decent amount of sleep. After dealing with immigration formalities, where I had difficulty with the fingerprinting machine (to the point where I think the officer was getting frustrated with me), I quickly picked up my luggage and met my transfer. It took about 40 minutes to drive to the hotel. During this time, I asked the driver various questions about South Africa and he pointed out some sights along the way. It was a sunny warm day and I immediately decided that after I dumped my bags, I would head straight to Table Mountain. I had read how difficult it can sometimes be to visit due to crowds and worse, due to cloud cover. It can be perfectly sunny in the morning and then the clouds roll in and surround the mountain and the new you can't see anything. So as a piece of advice, if you are thinking of going, head straight there at the first opportunity so you don't miss out. I bought my ticket ahead of time from home. You pick the day you want to go and then the ticket is valid for 7 days. Easy peasy! I figured that one day out of the several I would spend here would have good weather. I checked into my hotel, was given a quick tour, had a quick shower as my room was ready and then I had the reception arrange a taxi to the mountain. While I was waiting, I took some photos of the spectacular scenery around the hotel. On arrival at the mountain, I arranged for the same taxi to come pick me up in a few hours. In hindsight, I wish I had allowed myself more time. I just loved it and there was so much to see. Luckily, I didn't waste much time getting to the top. Having my ticket in hand meant I didn't have to stand in line to purchase and could head to the cable car for the flight to the top. The flora, fauna, vistas are just spectacular. I walked and walked. There are lots of lovely trails. I also spent some time chatting to a guy from Australia who I was standing beside on the cable car. It was his first trip also. I took lots of photos and got the rock hyrax and even a sunbird. I was thrilled to bits. This may not be exciting to some, but I had been dreaming if Africa for some time and I was going to enjoy every little thing. i had no trouble finding the taxi and headed back to the hotel. I was then informed that there was a surprise waiting in the hotel bar. My friend and travel agent had arranged tea for me. OMG! There was so much food and so many desserts. I have a friend at home who always complains that I never share my dessert, but I could have easily shared this. I had to take some back to my room. I stayed in the bar to watch the sunset, which in August, is quite early in the evening. I can't figure out how to get the text in between the photos for captions. They are in order: Table Mountain from the Waterfront View of Cape Town taken from plane on landing The Twelve Apostles View of Signal Hill Cable Car to the top View of the mountain Hyrax surveying the territory Pretty Flowers Beautiful Vista Sunbird Tea with a view
  5. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Tuningi Safari Lodge, Madikwe, South Africa 2) Website address if known: http://www.seasonsinafrica.com/lodges-in-south-africa/madikwe-game-reserve/tuningi-safari-lodge/lodge-luxury-suites/ 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). July 2017. Low season. R5500 per person per night 4) Length of stay: 3 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? A few details in my trip report. Ease of access from JNB, very comfortable lodge for a friend on first safari. Used website and TA reviews for info (no mention of it on Safaritalk!) 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Via an agent, Jacqui Sive of Lodge Trackers. It is possible to book direct via website and in doing so it appears that you can avoid the single supplement applied to 2nd and subsequent single rooms in a booking. I feel comfortable mentioning this as I continued to book via the TA but the lodge have done nothing to correct the apparent error in the two months since they were informed about it. 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 6 8) To which countries? South Africa (5 times) and Kenya 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Nottens (Sabi Sands), Kambaku River Sands (Timbavati) 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? Yes. It does however have a lovely waterhole (lit at night) which provided a steady stream of good sightings. 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 4 double and 2 family (16 beds total). NB Children of any age can stay and can go on game drives. Generally OK with this but on occasions noise and running around disturbed animals at waterhole and other guests. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Room 2. Good view over main path taken by animals to waterhole. Private. Only downside a faint hum from the generator at night. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable. Including gas fire and Nespresso coffee machine! 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Good variety and vegetarian options. Enjoyable although the bona BBQ wasn't exceptional quality 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Available without notice. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables and guides not present. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? N/A 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Open Toyota 4 WD. 3 rows for guests, 3 individual seats in each row 19) How many guests per row? 2 (unless larger family group) 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 3 - 3,5 hours. Not very varied during my stay. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Don't think so. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? Private park (large) Comparable vehicle density with Sabi Sands 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? N/A 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Yes but relaxed and didn't feel pressured 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Lions (yes) Wild Dogs (no) general game - a bit sparse 27) How was the standard of guiding? Average. Guide only on vehicle (no tracker), tended to team up with another guide from Tuning when tracking on foot leaving guests in the vehicle. Although allowed to use the whole Madikwe we tended to drive the same small area in an (unsuccessful) search for a leopard over several days. In my opinion it would have been better to have admitted defeat earlier and concentrated on 'smaller' sightings which can be equally interesting. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? This concern didn't reach the threshold for a complaint. 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes - excellent lodge staff. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes but can't recall details. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Like this
  6. A photographic safari and apparently not my last after all…… My usual travel partner is my daughter but since she’s about to graduate and enter the workforce with no chunk of time off in the near future I suspected this would be my last hoorah to the continent. So this trip was with my husband and because he doesn’t have much interest in wildlife or photography to keep him satisfied the lodges needed to have nice accommodations, good food and wine or in his case the bourbon of his choice. What I thought would fit that tall order was Phinda Vlei, Sabi Sabi Earth and Londolozi Granite, all places I had been to before at various times, over the top for him and offer me some excellent photographic opportunities. It went like this: GNV to ATL to JNB JNB one night Intercontinental Phinda four nights Sabi Sabi four nights Londolozi four nights We had hoped to meet Peter Connan, the ST hostess with the mostest and his wife for dinner in JNB but as luck would have it he was in Namibia trying to tear up his camper trailer that he had so lovely constructed…. see his report on that….and his ongoing Namibia TR. Two months out from our trip we found out that the direct flight to Phinda and then from there to the Sabi Sands as we had done before was now going to take 4-5 legs. Phinda is now using SAA so we had to fly JNB to Skukuza then to Phinda….a minor inconvenience. I had felt Phinda was one of the best bangs for the buck, great accommodations, food, service, wildlife and also some really beautiful scenery. This is all still true except for the wildlife viewing…..dismal might be a little strong of a term but not far off. There were many, many hours that would go by where we would only see an impala or a wart hog or two. Our tracker and guide only once in four days got off the vehicle to look at tracks and pretty much relied on radio chatter to find sightings.
  7. Reports www.news24.com To read the full article click here.
  8. Hi ST! I have just seen the following trip from a Spanish TO. http://www.pasaporte3.com/africa/viajes/sudafrica-namibia-botswana/sudafrica-namibia-botswana.php I am very impressed by the prices they offer. This includes short safari in Kalahari, Torra conservancy safari, Etosha, Okavango safaris in canoa and Chobe in 4x4. It is also included flights of the Namib in aircraft, Damaraland rhino safari with Wilderness in Torra Conservancy, Visit of Fish Canyon, A flight over the Okavango Delta, and a helicopter flight over the Victoria falls. The price is around 4000 euros with the international flights. As a photographer I would obviously prefer a 4x4, but the point is that this includes a guide which would not be the case if I travel in self drive, excellent Wilderness lodges in many places. Also I see that the safaris in the parks are shorter than usual, but this seems logical if considered that it is a 28 days trip from Cap Town to Victorial Falls. I don't know if they consider 4x4 in Etosha which would be much better fro photography because these trucks are clearly not appropriate for photographic safaris...
  9. Just a short report on my experience of the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West, South Africa. My apologies if someone else has covered this before. We drove from Cape Town - took the scenic route - gravel roads and rather remote. The distance from Cape Town to Beaufort West is 462km, driving the back roads about the same - but it took us 13 hours as we stopped a lot - and drove quite slow, by choice. Staying over the first night at Kalkfontein Guest Farm, between Fraserburg and Beaufort West - which is totally recommended. We had a proper farm supper for R50 pp. The Karoo National Park is situated in the Karoo proper- with it's desert like conditions - it is very dry - especially at present. I visited from 15 - 18 June, with a friend, and our main aim was photography. A large part of the park is only suitable to drive in 4x4's (as indicated on the map and on the roads in places). You definitely need high clearance - but mostly we did 2x4, only switching to 4x4 twice - and once to Low range as I manage to get stuck in the sand. Seems that is my achilles heel - maybe I should stick to using my 4x4 to drive over pavements. The vistas are truly beautiful - if this is your kind of thing. The silence is absolute. The night-sky pitch black. We saw very few animals - the drought is partly responsible I believe. My only negative experience was that the roads on the 4x4 trails are NOT properly marked - and the map is seriously incorrect. A GPS with "Tracks for Africa" would have solved this problem, but of course I was not aware of this before hand. I expected properly marked roads! Geez what was I thinking! We encountered very few vehicles on the road, and if you broke down - it might have meant spending a loooooong time waiting for help. It's not like you can walk anywhere - lions are about (not that we saw any) - and of course there is no mobile reception on these tracks. We chose to stay in Afsaal Cottage - which is very remote too - 34 km from base camp - great cottage, outside shower. I had a shower - and at the appropriate moment another vehicle drove past. Of course I was in a state of complete undress. Perfect timing. Lucky them. (if you who saw me is reading this - go away - dont say a word! ) . The cottage has no electricity - and no mobile reception. Bliss. Braai, Gas cooking, and solar for the lights. I used my studio light's battery inverter to change batteries. Just across from the cottage - otherside of the riverbed - has a small waterhole. Saw a couple of antelope drinking. Sadly no lions!
  10. I have read that Lion Sands River Lodge in the Sabi Sands has been badly damaged in a fire - nobody hurt but closed for the time being: http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/article/123172/Luxury-lodge-in-the-Sabi-Sand-closes-following-fire
  11. Find out more here. Might be a useful reference for anyone visiting - @Peter Connan when are you next going and will any STer's be with you? Matt
  12. Having an interest in Africa’s culture/history as well as it’s wildlife I thought it was time for a thread on a subject that perfectly combines these two interests and that hasn’t come up as far as I can recall very often and that is rock art. I’m not any kind of expert on this subject and haven’t visited a huge numbers of sites but I thought I’d write a brief intro before getting to some photos from the places I have been to. All over Africa there are fine examples of rock art, ancient paintings and engravings or petroglyphs, such art has been found on all continents except Antarctica but there is more of this art in Africa than anywhere else in the world. The Saharan Region is especially rich in both paintings and petroglyphs which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the ancient peoples of this region and the of wildlife that they lived alongside, much of this artwork dates from a wet period when the Sahara was not a desert but a lush green land of rivers and lakes, lush grasslands and savannahs. Besides depictions of people and their cattle and other livestock there are numerous representations of easily recognisable wild animals like giraffes, elephants and white rhinos in countries like Libya and Algeria far outside their modern historical distribution. Sadly much of this rock art is found in areas of the Sahara that are no longer accessible to tourists due to ongoing political instability, I don’t know enough about all of the countries of this region so there may be some sites that are safe to visit, certainly it should be okay to visit some of the sites in the Ennedi region of Chad, I have not done so. I have only admired the extraordinary engravings of giraffes for example found in Niger in photographs in Nat Geo and online. Here’s a link to the Trust for African Rock Art click on the countries highlighted to see photos of this extraordinary art. While rock art can be found in various places in East Africa the largest collection of paintings (that I know of) is as at Kondoa in Tanzania just south west of Tarangire NP, although I’ve not visited Kondoa the rock art sites are not that hard to get to being only 9kms from the main highway going south from Arusha to Dodoma. While the site is accessible it’s only 3.5 hrs drive south of Arusha it is somewhat off the beaten track as far as Tanzania’s northern safari circuit is concerned and most people going from Arusha down to say Ruaha NP or Selous GR would tend to fly rather than drive. You really need to make a special trip to visit Kondoa as you’re not likely to be passing by, therefore few tourists visit these paintings. The depictions of elongated human figures and local wildlife are thought primarily to have been painted by the Sandawe people, related to the San peoples of Southern Africa and speaking a similar click language the Sandawe were likewise originally hunter gatherers. Here’s a guide to Kondoa Rock Art of Kondoa Irangi Further south, Southern Africa has an abundance of rock art, around the whole region numerous caves and rock shelters have been richly decorated with depictions of the local wildlife and people, for the most part these paintings and pictographs were created by San hunter gatherers and later Khoekhoe herders. The pictures are in many cases not actually depictions of the real world as observed by the San, but are in fact scenes taken from the spirit world visited by their shamans during trances brought on during ceremonial dances. The frequency with which certain animal species were depicted depended on their spiritual significance to the people of the area. In South Africa (& Lesotho) where there could be anywhere up to 30,000 rock art sites and over 1 million images, the eland was the most totemic species in the Drakensberg and Maloti Mts for example there are whole galleries of eland paintings. In Namibia and Zimbabwe depictions of eland are far less frequent and giraffes much more common, other animals like zebras, rhinos, elephants and ostriches are also commonly depicted. I don’t know if this reflects a difference in the past abundance of these animals or simply their significance to the artists who portrayed them. Many of the painting and petroglyphs date back to around 2,000 years or so ago, although it’s recently been confirmed that some of the oldest paintings in South Africa date back to 5,000 years ago. The tradition may go back far longer but paintings on sandstone apparently don’t last for more than a few thousand years due to the porous nature of the rock. There are also much more recent paintings but it’s generally thought that certainly in South Africa the San stopped painting soon after European colonisation, large numbers of San died from smallpox brought in by the settlers or were killed in conflicts with the newly arrived whites and also the expanding black tribes that were encroaching into their territory. Conflict was inevitable as the San saw no distinction between wild game and domestic livestock regarding both simply as meat to be hunted, the severe reduction in their numbers, the disruption to their culture and mixing with other peoples brought an end to their production of rock art. While I’ve not visited rock art sites in the Sahara or East Africa I have been to a couple of sites in Zimbabwe and in Namibia, as with the rest of Southern Africa the San were the original inhabitants of Zimbabwe and would have lived throughout the country, they produced the majority of the rock art found at over 15,000 sites around the Zimbabwe. One of the highest concentrations of rock paintings can be found in the Matobos Hills just south of Bulawayo throughout these beautiful hills caves and rock overhangs were decorated by the San. The most accessible of these caves sites in Matobos National Park is Nswatugi Cave which has some of Zimbabwe’s most impressive paintings and is also conveniently close to Malindidzimu or World’s End the spectacular burial place of Cecil Rhodes. Nswatugi Cave a Guide to the Big Game of the Matobos. Rhodes Matopos NP as it was originally called was created in 1926 after Cecil Rhodes bequeathed the area to the country, much of the original big game that would once have been found in the Matobos had been hunted out. When it was decided in the 1960s to set aside an area of the park as a game preserve that would be restocked with suitable wildlife, they needed to know which species they should reintroduce, caves like Nswatugi provided a perfect guide to the original fauna of the park. At another site that I’ve not visited known as the White Rhino Shelter is the faint outline of what is clearly a white rhino, a species that was entirely extinct in the country when Southern Rhodesia was founded in the 1890s, exactly when they became extinct is not known (as far as I know) but this evidence of their former presence led to their reintroduction. There is now a healthy and seemingly well protected population of southern white rhinos and also black rhinos in the park. Some of the other game hasn’t fared quite as well some species like buffalo were actively exterminated some years ago for reasons of foot and mouth disease control and a lot of game was poached during the recent chaos, but hopefully more restocking will be carried out in future when the opportunity arises. Photographing rock paintings can be a bit of a challenge as you can’t use flash which would damage the paintings, so I wasn't sure how well my photos would come out when I visited Nswatugi a few years ago. These paintings are perhaps 2,000 years old and have survived remarkably well considering that Ndebele rebels hid out in caves like this one during the first Chimurenga or freedom war that lasted from 1894-97. It was from hideouts in the Matobos that they launched their guerilla war against the white settlers that nearly extinguished the fledgling colony of Southern Rhodesia. The large animal in the centre of the scene is an eland The artists would often simply paint on top of the earlier paintings frequently creating a jumble of images which can make it a little difficult to make out some of the individual animals and people, the shapes below the eland appear to be entirely abstract and I don't recall what their significance may have been if known. Probably the finest painting of giraffes in Zimbabwe This would appear to be a female greater kudu Greater kudu bull Giraffes, zebras, antelopes and other animals Plains zebra
  13. While looking for other information on the web I came across this report on the translocation of seven elephants from South Africa to Zinave NP in Mozambique. First Elephant Translocated to Zinave National Park, Mozambique Zinave NP is north-east of Kruger NP and directly east of Gonarezhou NP in Zimbabwe it doesn’t actually adjoin either of these two parks but with them it is along with Banhine NP and Limpopo NP part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. During Mozambique’s civil war it seems that almost all of the large game was wiped out in Zinave so it’s great to see that animals are now being reintroduced. Already zebra, wildebeest and giraffes have been brought in from Kruger in 2012 and 13 and the plan is to move more animals to Zinave in the future from Kruger and also some from Gorongosa NP further north. In Gorongosa some of the animals that survived the war and didn’t need restocking like common waterbuck are now extremely common so the park is a good source for these animals to restock Zinave. All of the animals are initially being released into a fenced sanctuary. Zinave should be able to provide a home for 2000 elephants so I have no doubt that plenty more elephants will be moved to the park in time. With so much depressing news about wildlife being reported it’s great to see so positive news for a change Here’s another interesting article on the park Finding refuge: The untapped potential of Mozambique's Banhine and Zinave Unfortunately it seems that re-establishing a wildlife corridor between Zinave and Gonarezhou may prove difficult but it would be good if some way could be found to allow animals to move around between parks as they did in the past. Remarkably surveys of wildlife in Limpopo and Banhine NPs found WILDLIFE DIVERSITY IN LIMPOPO NATIONAL PARK Click on the map in the article on the Peace Parks Foundation website to see the location of these parks.
  14. http://www.sajs.co.za/implications-summer-breeding-frogs-langebaanweg-south-africa-regional-climate-evolution-5-1-mya/thalassa-matthews-g-john-measey-david-l-roberts https://phys.org/news/2017-06-frog-fossils-patterns-south-africa.html https://theconversation.com/frog-fossils-tell-us-something-new-about-rain-patterns-on-south-africas-west-coast-78420 ~ This September, 2016 research article published in the South African Journal of Science presents findings of a study of fossil frog species, including analysis of the history of winter rainfall in the arid west coast of South Africa.
  15. http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450420986/South-African-game-reserve-goes-digital-to-save-the-rhino ~ From Computer Weekly: “South African Game Reserve Goes Digital to Save the Rhino” The latest networking and IoT sensor technology has been installed in a large private game reserve bordering South Africa's Kruger National Park.
  16. http://ktpress.rw/2017/06/south-africa-rwanda-sign-wildlife-conservation-agreement/ ~ This June, 2017 article from Rwanda's KT Press tells of an agreement signed by Rwanda and South Africa for cooperation concerning wildlife conservation in the two countries. Wildlife protection issues concern both Rwanda and South Africa, where the disappearance of wildlife may negatively effect tourism revenue.
  17. Hi forum! We are newbies (none of us have never been on a safari), so we would love your help! We will be traveling to Southern Africa in March 2018 (our dates are set). Given the climate that time of year in Southern Africa, and to maximize the “authentic” experience, we are trying to decide on the best safari experience for our family that we can afford. We will be traveling with 2 adults and two kids (both aged 10). We have 14 days total from arrival to departure (arrive into Cape Town, depart from Jo'Burg). We are not seeking luxury; our priority is a great family-friendly experience. We are fine staying in tents without plumbing for some of the trip. After 4-5 days in Cape Town exploring the coast (I will arrange this on my own), we basically have 3 options: Option 1: Fly to Maun from Cape Town. From there we would do approx. 2-3 days in the Central Kalahari and then 4 days or so in the Okanvango. Then fly from Maun to JNB to get back home. I understand it might be more expensive because of the exchange rate (we are Canadian), but we might save a bit (compared to high season rates) due to the low season in Botswana. Option 2: Travel to the Tuli region (e.g., Mashatu) and after 3-4 days there, then travel to a private Kruger-area park. From the Kruger area, head back to JNB to get back home. I was considering the Tuli/Kruger combo which from what I understand is amazing for kids and photography (but we might sacrifice some of the optimal viewing because of the time of year). Option 3: Arrive into Cape Town and do the 1st week in Cape Town and garden route. Then do an Eastern Cape lodge for 3 days or so. From there, go to Tuli (e.g., Mashatu) for 4 days and from there get back to JNB to get back home. This would minimize flights and travel time. While the Eastern Cape lodges are less “authentic” it still might be a great introduction for the kids and we “save the best for last” with Tuli at the end. For this option, we would drop Kruger and drop central/northern Botswana. In your expert opinions (and recognizing that the grasses might be high in March at some locations limiting visibility), which option will be: a. Best for kids? b. Best for game viewing? c. Best for photography? d. Best value? e. Most “authentic”? (I recognize that the “best” option may not be the best for each.) While we would love to also see Victoria Falls, I don’t think if we have either the time or the budget to make it happen. Finally, in a perfect world, we would love to be able to all stay in the same tent/room if at all possible, rather than having to split into two tents (since I would prefer to not have the two kids be alone). I really appreciate any advice that you have!! Roger
  18. http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/4/161090 https://www.yahoo.com/news/key-leopard-population-crashing-study-warns-004340270.html http://allafrica.com/stories/201704250920.html ~ This April, 2017 research article published in Royal Society Open Science presents findings from a 2012 to 2016 trap survey of Panthera pardus, Leopard, in the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa, in Limpopo Province. Eight leopards were fitted with GPS collars. A high mortality rate was ascribed to illegal human activity. The two explanatory articles expand and comment on the findings, urging greater protection for South Africa's leopards.
  19. In two months and a couple of days, we will be winging our way to Kenya! I cannot wait and have nothing left to plan!! I am thrilled that a friend from work and her high-school aged daughter decided to join us at the last minute, which should make the experience that much better (unless I drive her bonkers with my many exclamations.) My boss is retiring at the end of the school year and she considered going with us too; the timing wasn't right as we leave two days after school gets out and she has to stay through the end of June. So now I am wondering about a "next safari," when I haven't gone on the first one yet! What say you, collective Safari Gurus? This might be a teacher's trip, so probably shorter than the 2 weeks that I'm going this year. Daughter will be doing an internship next summer so I won't have to work around her schedule, although we will be pretty much restricted to mid-June to early-August again. PS That we I in the title is going to drive me bonkers. Can someone fix it to we?
  20. Since our first post in 2011, Pack for a Purpose has grown to over 485 accommodations and tour companies across the globe with more than 260 being in Africa. We also have seven accommodations and tour companies in India. All of these accommodations and tour companies offer safari experiences, and each of our participants supports local community projects ranging from schools to anti-poaching projects. Our participants focus on five initiatives: education, health, child welfare, animal welfare, and socioeconomic development. Our newly designed website can be searched by destination alone or by initiative. When you choose to become a Pack for a Purpose traveler, the safari you take goes much farther than the miles you travel. By going to our website, you will find the specific needs list for the projects supported by our participants, How to Pack information, everything you need to make each safari more meaningful. Since our inception, Dec. 17, 2009, generous Pack for a Purpose travelers have taken over 40,600 kilos of supplies meeting essential needs in over 60 countries. PfaP travelers have shared their stories on our website and continue to inspire other travelers. Our newly designed website includes our first shop, which includes high-quality Pack for a Purpose merchandise. From T-shirts to hoodies, we've got you covered. A large portion of the sales directly benefit our mission to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. We encourage you to share the Pack for a Purpose website across your social media and to check back on our website from time to time as we are continually adding new safari locations. Below is a list of participants in Africa and India, current as of Sept. 18, 2015. Africa BotswanaBush Ways Mobiles Chobe Elephant Camp Foot Steps Across the Delta Jacana Camp Kanana Khwai Tented Camp Linyanti Bush Camp Linyanti Ebony Little Vumbura Meno A Kwena Tented Camp & Safaris Muchenje Safari Lodge Ngoma Safari Lodge Okuti Sango Safari Camp Selinda Camp Selinda Canoe Trail Shinde Shinde Enclave The Kanana Mokoro Trail Vumbura Plains Zarafa Camp CameroonCameroon Experiential Travel and Adventure Centre Cape Verde IslandsMindelo Apartments EgyptHabiba Beach Lodge EthiopiaStrawberry Fields Eco Lodge GhanaAfia Beach Hotel Ankobra Beach Ltd. Pink Hostel KenyaAberdare Country Club Borana Campi ya Kanzi Coral Key Malindi Cottar’s 1920’s Safari Camp Custom Safaris Delta Dunes Lodge Elephant Pepper Camp Elsa’s Kopje Entim Camp Governors Camp Governors Private Camp Il Moran Ilkeliani Camp Joy’s Camp Kicheche Bush Camp Kicheche Laikipia Camp Kicheche Mara Camp Kicheche Valley Camp Kipalo Hills Kitich Camp Lewa Safari Camp Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Little Governors Camp Loisaba Loldia House Losokwan Camp Maasai Simba Camp Mara Bushtops Camp Mara Explorers Camp Mara Leisure Camp Mara Plains Camp Mara West Ngerende Island Lodge Nyati Hill Cottages ol Donyo Lodge Overland Travel Adventures Sabuk Lodge Safari Joe – East African Adventure Safaris Safarilink Aviation Ltd. Saruni Mara Saruni Samburu Sirikoi Lodge The Ark The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille Tortilis Camp Travel House Tours Tropical Vacations Wildebeest Eco Camp MalawiMvuu Camp Mvuu Lodge Pumulani Tongole Wilderness Lodge Yellow Zebra Safaris MauritiusLUX* Le Morne Merville Beach Hotel – Produced By LUX* Tamassa Produced by LUX* MoroccoKasbah Tamadot Rough Tours Morocco Company World Unite! MozambiqueAzura Nkwichi Lodge Vamizi Island Lodge White Pearl Resorts NamibiaDamaraland Camp Hoanib Camp Naankuse Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary RwandaAmahoro Tours Virunga Lodge (Volcanoes Safaris) South AfricaAfrican Game Lodge Amakhala Game Reserve Ant’s Nest & Ant’s Hill Blyde River Canyon Lodge Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel Cape Splendour Tours & Safaris Chitwa Chitwa Private Game Lodge Cliff Lodge de Pakhuys Fugitives Drift Lodge Garonga Safari Lodge Giltedge Africa Inyati Game Lodge Isibindi Zulu Lodge Jenman African Safaris JP Kleinhans Safaris Kariega Game Reserve Kwa Maritane Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers Lion Sands Game Reserve Londolozi Game Reserve Madikwe Safari Lodge Makalali Private Game Lodge Mateya Safari Lodge Mimosa Lodge Montagu Country Hotel More Quarters Apartment Hotel Rocktail Camp Samara Private Game Reserve Savanna Private Game Reserve Spier Hotel Tau Game Lodge Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre The Backpack The Cavern The Oyster Box The Peech Hotel The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa Tuningi Safari Lodge Ulusaba Private Game Reserve Wilderness Touring ZuluWaters Game Reserve TanzaniaAfrican View Lodges AJT Tanzania, Ltd. Bristol Cottages Chada Katavi Chem Chem Safari Lodge Deeper Africa Domokuchu Beach Bungalows Fundu Lagoon Gecko Adventure Tanzania Gibb’s Farm Grassroots Traveller Greystoke, Mahale Halisi Expeditions It Started in Africa Karama Lodge & Spa Karanga Adventure Tours & Safaris Kigelia Ruaha Kisampa Lamai Serengeti Machweo Mambo View Point Mangrove Lodge Manyara Ranch Conservancy Mountain Madness Mwagusi Safari Camp Nasikia Luxury Mobile Camps Nature Bound Africa Nduara Loliondo Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge Onsea House Peace Matunda Tours Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel Red Monkey Lodge Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge Samba Treks Savannah Discovery Serengeti Bushtops Camp Serengeti Pride – Safaris & Kilimanjaro Climbs Simba Portfolio Siringit Stella Maris Lodge Stone Town Cafe and Bed & Breakfast Taraji Kilimanjaro The Tides Lodge Tin Tin Tours Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp World Unite! World Unite! UgandaBwindi Lodge Chobe Safari Lodge Golf Course Apartments Instinct Safaris Kyambura Gorge Lodge (Volcanoes Safaris) Mount Gahinga Lodge (Volcanoes Safaris) Mweya Safari Lodge Paraa Safari Lodge Safari Joe – East African Adventure Safaris Safari Wildz: East African Adventures Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp ZambiaBilimungwe Bushcamp Chamilandu Bushcamp Chaminuka Nature Reserve Chiawa Camp Chikoko Trails Camps Chindeni Bushcamp Chinzombo Camp Chongwe River Camp Chundukwa River Lodge Croc Valley Camp Fawlty Towers Flatdogs Camp Island Bush Camp Islands of Siankaba Jollyboys Backpackers & Camp Kafunta River Lodge Kaingo Camp Kakuli Bush Camp Kapamba Bushcamp Kapani Lodge Kuyenda Lilayi Lodge Lion Camp Luangwa River Camp Luwi Bush Camp Marula Lodge Mchenja Bush Camp Mfuwe Lodge Mwaleshi Camp Mwamba Bush Camp Nkwali Camp Nsefu Camp Nsolo Bush Camp Old Mondoro Royal Zambezi Lodge Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge Sanctuary Puku Ridge Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma Sausage Tree Camp Stanley Safari Lodge Tafika Camp Tena Tena Camp The River Club The Victoria Falls Waterfront Toka Leya Camp Tongabezi Lodge Wasa Lodge – Kasanka National Park Wildlife Camp Zungulila Bushcamp ZimbabweBomani Tented Lodge Camp Amalinda Davison’s Camp Ivory Lodge John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa Little Makalolo Camp Lokuthula Lodges Ngoko Safaris Somalisa Camp The Hide Safari Camp Victoria Falls Safari Club Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Victoria Falls Safari Suites
  21. This article in Ensia magazine (an environmental/conservation publication) concerns the environmental impact of commercial game farming in South Africa--something I never really knew existed at this level. Full disclosure, this was written by a friend of mine--a South African who used to live here in NYC and who I birded with on occasion, who has since moved back to South Africa. http://edge.ensia.com/fenced-in/ I am just posting as I think this may be of interest to some--I am not drawing any conclusions.
  22. This will be our first safari for all of us, and the choices are overwhelming! We will be arriving into Cape Town March 2018, and we will be traveling as a family of 4 (2 adults, and twin 10-year olds) for two weeks (we fly home to Canada out of JNB). The approximate first week of our trip will be spent at Cape Town and the Garden Route (self-drive), but I would love help with planning the final 7-8 days of our holiday. We were looking at spending about 6 total days in lodges perhaps at two different sites doing safari. Our priority is experience (rather than the most luxurious room); I am fine with thatched roofs and/or a setting without electricity if it provides better game watching options for all 4 of us. I know that children under 16 cannot go on game walks, but we are interested in doing as much outdoors as possible. I have heard that the Ants Hill is a very child-friendly lodge. However, we are not big horseback riders, so I'm not sure it it is worth the cost if this is not a priority. I know that there are no predators or elephants at Ants Hill, so even if we did decide to splurge on this, we would still likely need to choose another site. Any thoughts on this? I have also read about Mashatu lodge in Tuli. How challenging is it to travel to the Mashatu/Tuli region (especially with kids)? More importantly, how unique is the Mashatu/Tuli region in March? Will our game viewing opportunities be limited due to the end of the rainy season? Would Mashatu/Tuli still be better or worse than the Kruger region given that we will be traveling in March? If we do Mashatu, would we still need to go to the Kruger area to ensure a full experience (e.g., Sabi Sands or Timbavati)? Finally, how does Mashatu/Tuli compare to Madikwe? Are they different enough to do both? In short, I don't think we will do 3 regions (e.g., Tuli, Kruger or Madikwe) in order to limit the travel time and expense. But we likely will do two (if people think it is is worth it); which two would you recommend? Thanks again for your help! Too many amazing choices! Roger
  23. Next week I was due to be in South Africa (Timbavati) with my adult son who lives in Australia. We both have dual British / NZ citizenship. Last night I was reading the trip report from @@KiwiGran and was alerted to the fact that South Africa now requires NZ passport holders to have a visa that can only be obtained by personal application at a consulate at least 10 days before travel. I understand this is in retaliation for visa requirements imposed on SA citizens by New Zealand (although at least one can apply online). Anyway my son can't use his NZ passport and his UK passport expires 28 days after he was due to leave SA - you need 30 days at least... All our fault (I didn't think to check as I happily used my NZ passport to enter SA last year) and he now realises that he should keep at least 6 months validity on any passport. We decided against a 18 hour journey and jet lag for a 5 day trip and the other option of 18 hours in transit for him and a tight connection for me to get to Zimbabwe didn't really appeal (and was expensive). Anyway the trip is cancelled and an expensive lesson learnt. However it has caused me to reflect on the other recent changes - birth certificates etc needed for younger kids, hand luggage restrictions and hopeless fingerprinting systems amongst others that seem designed to put visitors off coming to South Africa. I'm tired from efforts to sort something out across timezones and frustrated that a trip has had to be cancelled - even given that though I'm not certain I will make any effort to return to SA soon once my short safari with a friend fulfilling a special wish is done in July.
  24. Working on planning 1st safari. Looking for some feedback from all of you who have visited southern Africa, especially if you have been there in December. If you were going in the first half of December and you want at least one camp/lodge (they could be at the same place or different places for each of the items listed) where you could do or have: a walking safari get on the water in a boat or canoe to view wildlife go on a night drive get up close and personal with the animals watching from a hide sit on a deck at camp/lodge and watch elephants or giraffe (or other wildlife but those would be our favs) walk through great game drives with experienced, knowledgeable guides feel like you are really experiencing what you envision "wild Africa" to be great African décor or quirky, fun accommodations Which of the following places would be your favorites --- both reserves/parks and feel free to share if you have favorite a camp/lodge that you have stayed at there? Botswana - Chobe National Park Botswana - Mashatu Game Reserve Botswana - Moremi Wildlife Reserve Botswana - Okavango Delta South Africa - Kruger National Park South Africa - private reserve near Kruger (if so, please say which one) Victoria Falls (stay on the Zambia or Zimbabwe side? And stay in town or on a property that also has wildlife?) Zambia - Lower Zambezi Zambia - Mosi Oa Tunya Park Zimbabwe - Hwange Zimbabwe - Matusadona Feel free to add a park/reserve if there is one we should consider but not on the list, especially if you have a camp/lodge you recommend there. I ruled out Mana Pools in Zimbabwe because of the time of year we are going but am open to considering it if others have gone in December with good wildlife experiences. We are looking for different experiences at each location and probably 4 different reserves/parks staying 3-4 nights at each. The focus is wildlife but also would like different accommodation experiences such as one with a tent, a tent on a raised platform, a hut/cabin, and/or a lodge but all with en suite toilets and at least sinks for washing up. Outdoor shower would be fine. We are not interested in mobile camping, really want the place to be more permanent. Hoping as it's the green season we can also find some good deals with cheaper prices or free night special. We do have a budget but I am interested to hear what places you would rank among your top choices, where you think you can get great value and where it may be worth splurging a little for a few nights. Thanks in advance.
  25. Edited to say that, of course, that should read "Are We SOL". Can't see a way to edit the subject line. After spending some time researching, browsing these forums, looking at travel books, reading reviews, etc., my husband and I (well, mostly I, as I'm the trip planner in the family) made a decision for our first (and probably only) trip to Africa. (Yes, I know some of you will say we will want to return, and that may be true, but given our age and stage of life, it's not likely.) We decided to do a 10-12 day tour of Namibia, including Soussusvlei, Damaraland, Swapkomund, and Etosha. We don't want to do self-drive, and I decided I would be most comfortable with lodges or permanent tented camps (but preferably lodges). I made a spreadsheet comparing a few small-group safaris (8 ppl or less), finally narrowing it down to a couple of top choices. Well, it turns out that these choices are fully booked until late October. We wanted to travel sometime between the beginning of May and the end of September. So, it seems as if we may be out of luck for Namibia, and we are again considering other options. Wildlife viewing and scenery are our top priorities. I love taking pictures. We may also be interested in indigenous culture. We aren't particularly interested in cities or beaches for this trip. We would like to stay under $4200 Canadian (3200 US or 300 Euro) per person, excluding flights to Africa. Our top choice is Namibia, but we would also be interested in Botswana and would consider Tanzania or South Africa. Our time is fairly flexible, but we'd prefer to travel during dry season/winter, and if we can manage a somewhat less busy time (i.e. just before or just after peak season), so much the better. As mentioned, I prefer lodges but would not completely rule out camps (the kind with real beds, though). I'm kind of a baby when it comes to camping, insects, etc., but I realize that in Africa, I might have to pull up my big girl pants. We aren't really fussy about luxury. (We like it, and that would be nice, but we don't necessarily expect it or want to pay through the nose for it.) We laugh at reviews where people complain about not having the right brand of tea or lack of wifi in the room or post a picture of a little hole in a sofa, when they are in the middle of the bush. We aren't that unrealistic. However, I don't want to sleep on the ground, and I probably wouldn't sleep well if there were, say, scorpions or venomous snakes in the room (as in a couple of reviews I've read). Part of the appeal of Namibia is that it is supposedly less buggy in dry season than some more tropical locations. My brother went there in September a few years ago and loved it, and said he was surprised by the lack of bugs at that time. Our ideal itinerary would have us staying at least two nights in most places. Some Namibia itineraries I've seen change accommodations every night, and while these cover a lot of ground, I think that would wear rather thin. Living in Western Canada, it is nothing to us to drive for hours to get someplace, but I don't want to travel for hours every single day, unless it is on game or sightseeing drives. I also have zero interest in visiting wine country in South Africa. (I don't like wine, and, anyway, we often holiday in the Okanagan in Canada, which is a wine producing region.) I mention this, because many of the tours I've seen in South Africa include two or three days in the winelands. If you have experience or ideas regarding a trip that you think might appeal to me, based on what I've told you, I am interested in your suggestions. Thanks!

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