Kaingo: Where Time Stands Still

Time doesn’t seem to exist here.

Out here in the bush, in the middle of the remote African wilderness, time seems to melt away. The wall clocks and wristwatches and phone screens that we use to chart our every activity become irrelevant. The sun’s movement across the sky becomes the gauge with which to measure time- the way nature intended.

Things move more slowly, more purposefully in the bush- time is stretched, somehow. Perhaps it’s the absence of tall buildings, of traffic, of crowds, of unpleasant smells, of rubbish strewn everywhere, of the endless tooting of car horns…

In the bush, you notice things you simply wouldn’t elsewhere. You feel the relentless beating down of the midday sun, you welcome the cooling breath of a breeze, you hear every strange call of birds and animals to each other. There’s no chaos, or rush, no inexplicable “go, go, go” mindset you always seem to find yourself in in a city. Here, you can relax. And the Kaingo team makes sure that you do just that.

Kaingo Game Reserve is located in South Africa’s Limpopo province, within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. This is a stunningly beautiful part of the country, made up of rolling hills, open plains, vegetated valleys, and montane grasslands. Kaingo is approximately 9000 hectares in size, and features massive cliffs, sandy beaches, natural causeways, and potholes and waterfalls. Over 50 mammal species call the reserve home, including 4 of the iconic African Big 5, as well as over 300 species of birds. Kaingo employs a genuine conservation-focused philosophy, and bases its management and operations on this ethos.

There is just one safari lodge found inside Kaingo Reserve. Elephant Lodge is designed in a style that is reminiscent of a traditional African safari camp, while still offering complete luxury and comfort. The lodge is built from natural stone with thatched roofs, with nature-inspired décor. Only 28 guests are accommodated at Elephant Lodge, ensuring personal attention and superb service.

The staff at Kaingo are incredible. It sounds clichéd, when describing a luxury establishment, but they genuinely go out of their way to make sure that you have everything you need. From the minute you step out of your car at reception to the minute that you leave, they are ready to pamper and spoil you. The chef will change her menu to suit your dietary requirements. The lodge manager will welcome and greet you personally. The reservations manager will show you around, make sure you have everything you need, and even accompany you on the game drive. And the guides and rangers are the stars of the show. Their knowledge of the bush and passion for what they do truly shines through.

The Safari Index team arrived at Elephant Lodge in the early afternoon. After a warm welcome, a refreshing dip in the pool after the long and dusty drive, and a refueling bite for lunch, we headed out for the afternoon game drive.

Don’t expect a typical safari experience when you go on a game drive at Kaingo. The reserve’s unique conservation policy means that the emphasis is on experiencing things as they are, instead of heading out on a crazy high-speed search mission to tick the Big 5 off a list. Instead, you drive through the reserve at a leisurely pace, stopping to appreciate whatever happens to cross your path. Andre, our guide, stopped frequently to point out interesting or unusual trees, take note of a rare bird-call, and relate stories about the animals we encountered. Since there are no other lodges in the reserve, you encounter no other vehicles when out on safari. This is a major plus- it’s something that is a rather frustrating problem in many other safari areas.

Andre drove expertly through the reserve’s maze of roads, appearing to know exactly where he was going, even though there wasn’t a single signpost in sight. At this point, the sun was sinking rapidly, and the bushveld was suffused with the magical light of “golden hour”.  We saw impalas and kudus aplenty as we drove- but it was as we arrived at a clearing that the most delightful sight greeted us- a baby giraffe and its mother! Andre moved the vehicle as close as was possible, warning that the protective mama giraffe could possibly charge if it detected any potential danger. We learnt with delight that the little one was just a week old, and spent some time watching as it went from tree to tree, stopping now and then to observe us curiously.

After spending a while with the baby giraffe, we headed on. We moved further downwards into a valley, towards the Mokolo River. Sunset had arrived as we stopped on the most beautiful spot on the riverbank. Andre set out the sundowner drinks and snacks, and we enjoyed them in the most magical setting imaginable: the myriad colours of the sunset sky and clouds reflected in the river, slowly darkening as the sounds of nocturnal creatures started to amplify.

It was fully dark by the time we started to head back to the lodge- so were treated to a nighttime safari en-route! Andre cast an enormous flashlight into the surrounding blackness as he drove, now and then catching the glowing eyes of various creatures in the beam. Back at Elephant Lodge, a delicious three-course dinner was waiting for us. The first course included warm bread baked in the shape of a crocodile- another quirky little touch!

After dinner, we enjoyed some time around the campfire. The campfire deck is wonderful place to sit and swap stories of the bush, out under a multitude of stars, which shine much more brightly without a harsh city glare to diminish them. We then retired gratefully to our luxurious rooms, where amenities like tea-and-coffee stations, bathtubs, and soft beds (with little chocolates on the pillow!) were most welcome after a thrilling day.

We were woken early the next day. Early mornings are one of the best times for going out on a game drive. The unpleasantness of an early morning is almost unnoticeable in a place like this- sunrise in the African bush is definitely something worth waking up for.

After tea/coffee and biscuits, we set out on safari once again.

An unexpected and wonderfully special treat awaited us on our safari today. After driving for a while, Andre stopped the vehicle in a small clearing. We were then asked to disembark. With excitement (and a little trepidation), we followed him along a path. He stopped to point out interesting plants and trees, and, thrillingly, some lion prints! A short way away, a spectacular view over a dry riverbed greeted us. We followed Andre down the path into the ravine, where, under an overhang, we came to a rock art site.

Many times, when you visit a famous or important historical place, the experience can sometimes be diminished by the presence of newer, more modern developments that have appeared or been built around it. This isn’t true of the rock art sites in Kaingo Reserve. Out here in the wilderness, surrounded by the pristine bushveld that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, you are easily transported back in time. You can see the Bushmen painting the art without even closing your eyes. You can imagine the Khoisan standing right in front of you, conducting a religious ritual.

We spent a long while at the site, Andre explaining the various stories and meanings behind the incredible artwork. We visited two beautiful sites on our drive, but Andre informed that us that these were just two of many on the reserve. Kaingo can arrange specialised rock art safari packages for anyone who is interested in this fascinating subject.

The second notable experience on our morning safari was seeing a large herd of sable antelope. These are stunningly graceful creatures, with rich black-and-brown coats and formidable horns. They are also endangered, and it’s a special privilege to be able to see them in the flesh. We were introduced to Prince, the patriarch of the herd, whose distinctly large horns and unmistakably self-important expression showed that he knew exactly who the boss was.

Much to our delight, a giraffe ambled over into the midst of the antelope, who were supremely unconcerned by the arrival of their tall visitor. As we sat in the vehicle with this extraordinary scene in front of us, it felt as though we were sitting at a drive-in theater watching a National Geographic documentary- with the smells of the bush as a bonus!

We returned to the lodge in time for a hearty breakfast out on the deck, before getting ready for a reluctant departure. The end of our stay had arrived all too quickly. Our bags were packed, our car was waiting. But Kaingo had one last parting gift for us. Just as we made our way through the garden to reception, our farewell party arrived: two enormous elephants, with a young bull in tow! The magnificent creatures had come right up to the lodge’s perimeter fence. We were able to stand just metres away from them as they munched away on the grass, completely oblivious to the awestruck humans ogling them. We were utterly delighted; there is nothing quite as breathtaking as being so close to such majestic animals. A truly wonderful send-off!

They say it’s the little things that make a big difference- and this is certainly true at Kaingo. From the fresh warm towels waiting for us when we arrived or returned from a game drive, to the personalized water flasks that we were allowed to keep, to the welcoming postcards with our names added by hand, to the adorable elephant-shaped towels on the beds- it was these original and personal touches that put the cherry on top of an already incredible experience.

As we got ready to start our journey back home, the sense of time being warped was palpable again. We had only arrived at Kaingo the previous day, but in less than 24 hours, we had been treated to a wealth of sights and experiences. And while it felt like we’d been there for ages, it also didn’t feel like enough.

Visit Kaingo. You won’t regret it.

In Search of Africa’s Ultimate Safari Destinations

In 2016, Jake Hoddinott and Donovan Rule set out on a mammoth overland trip through the wildest areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the goal of finding Africa’s ultimate safari destination. They visited South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Their travels took them to many places off the beaten track. This was an unforgettable experience for them, and an inspiration for the rest of us. They were able to acquire a wealth of knowledge, so that we too can find the ultimate safari destination, without the trial and error they faced.

Here are some of the highlights from their unforgettable adventure.

Botswana

The Okavango Delta remains one of their all-time favourite places, not only in Africa, but in the world. The sheer bird and wildlife concentrations of the region is amazing. Here, one can watch elephants cross a crystal clear channel that’s just a little too deep for the youngest members of the herd, so that all that is visible are their wettened trunks. At the same time, you can enjoy a sundowner while casting a line for an African pike or a tackle-busting nembwe, all to the tune of the omnipresent African fish eagle. A truly unique experience!

Whilst Botswana has adopted a high-value, low-impact model with respect to tourism, making it a relatively expensive trip, the richness of its wildlife biodiversity is unrivalled, and the swamps are a truly special place.

Namibia

Namibia: Breathtaking landscapes, massive expanses of seeming nothingness… the rust-red sand dunes of the Namib, and oases of wildlife dotted throughout the country. Add in the feeling that, culturally and economically, you haven’t really left home, and Namibia becomes a very appealing option.

Zimbabwe

Chitake Springs is a truly wonderful Zambian destination. Unfenced camps, a real sense of wilderness, and one of the few wildlife parks that allow unguided walks make it a superb safari destination. And just 50km north, both the  Zambezi and the iconic Mana Pools can be found. Jake and Donovan didn’t see any other people during their stay, bar the Anti-Poaching Unit. This was possibly due to the time of the year that they visited, and a real sense of being in the wild pervaded. This made it a very special part of the trip, somewhat reminiscent of their time at Lake Tagalala in the Selous.

Zambia

Liuwa Plain National Park is unique, with rural communities continuing to exist within the park boundaries. It is a great example of a sustainable solution to Africa’s growing population and the potential human-wildlife conflicts that result. The local communities have a participatory stake in the park, and benefit directly from the tourism associated with the park, creating an ecosystem where people and wildlife co-exist. Liuwa is home to Africa’s second-largest wildebeest migration, and has been the site of many positive changes since African Parks began managing the park in 2003. These include a growing pride of lions, increasing cheetah numbers, and drastically-reduced poaching. Jake and Donovan enjoyed some incredibly special sunsets, observing massive lines of wildebeest, with thousands of black-winged pratincoles landing and taking-off in the ensuing dust cloud, all punctuated by the ubiquitous spotted hyena. The Zambian people were some of the friendliest they encountered, which added a wonderful warmth to the experience.

Tanzania

Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, and Selous Game Reserve offered up some truly incredible wildlife sightings, accompanied by a genuine sense of wilderness and solitude. Tanzania has some challenges- the traffic officials can become tiresome, and the park fees (USD denominated) are very high. When Jake and Donovan arrived, the parks had just added 18% VAT to all park fees under the premise that this would see an improvement in facilities. This was not something they could really attest to, as the facilities they encountered were extremely basic, if any were provided at all. However,  when it comes to a wilderness experience and wildlife densities, the parks of Tanzania’s southern circuit really are exceptional.

This is just a fraction of what Jake and Donovan experienced on their incredible expedition. The African continent has so much to offer, such wonders to see. Don’t you think it is worth your time to visit some of these spots for yourself?

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Home of the Majestic Mountain Gorilla

The dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park create a feeling of awe and mystery as one treks through the dense underbrush, eyes seeking out the source of leaves rustling and birds calling.

Many animals make their home in this well-known park in Uganda, but one in particular draws safari-goers from all over the world. Every year, they come to make the trek into the lush green forest  in search of these elusive animals, hoping to catch a glimpse of them up close and personal in their natural environment.

Seeing the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a bucket list activity like no other. These majestic creatures inspire awe and reverie when encountered, giving those fortunate enough to make the trip an experience that stays with you for a lifetime.

There are several different gorilla trekking tours on offer, varying in length of stay and including different activities. Chimpanzee trekking in Queen Elizabeth National Park  or Kibale National Park is a popular addition. There really is nothing quite like visiting humankind’s closest relatives in their natural habitat, so extending the visit to include more species is always a worthwhile addition to this type of safari.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also home to a huge variety of bird species to see during your stay. Shoebills, black bee-eaters, and red-chested owlets are but some of the species that can be encountered.

The accommodation in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park fits in perfectly into the landscape, making your stay comfortable without detracting from the majestic forest surrounds. One such camp is Gorilla Forest Camp. It is ideally located for a gorilla trekking safari, and also offers unbeatable luxury. The camp even has a spa on offer to its guests, perfect for relaxing after a long trek into the undergrowth.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a must-visit park in Africa. It offers a special encounter that will stay with you forever. Contact us today to book your gorilla trekking experience. This truly is a safari you will remember for the rest of your life.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Located in the Western reaches of UgandaQueen Elizabeth National Park is a  wildlife paradise. It is a sanctuary for over 90 mammal species and 600 bird species. It is made up of of 4 different types of terrain: bushy grassland, acacia woodland, swamp or lakeshore, and forest grassland. This ensures a rich and diverse array of flora as well.

The majestic landscape flows gracefully from Lake George in the north-east to Lake Edward in the south-west. These lakes are connected by the Kazinga Channel, which meanders through a changing landscape of volcanic craters and wide-open plains. With a variety of animals thriving here, one can expect to see species such as buffalo, Ugandan kob, and giant forest hogs with relative ease.

Queen Elizabeth National Park also hosts two highly-acclaimed animal populations. The first is the tree-climbing lions, one of only 2 populations found worldwide. Located in the Ishasha sector of the park, these majestic predators can be seen lazing in trees during the hot African days. Since lions can be elusive and hard to spot, this offers a great opportunity to view these big cats. While it is not known why they have developed the ability to climb trees, a characteristic not share by most of their brethren, it is speculated that the heat drives them to climb up to the shady and cooler branches of the local flora.

The second animal specie that Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for is primates. Chimp trekking is a popular activity, sometimes done in conjunction with gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, located close by.

The forest primates make their home in Kyambura Gorge and Maramgambo Forest within Queen Elizabeth National Park. There are several guided tours to choose from if you want to see these wonderful creatures. It is important to note that there are a limited number of chimp trekking permits issued by the Ugandan government, and it is therefore essential to choose a tour before visiting the primates, to make sure you are not disappointed.

There are some fantastic tours available, allowing you to not only see Queen Elizabeth National Park, but also the rest of Uganda. For those more interested in our feathered friends, there are several birding tours available. With over 600 species, there are many birds to see in Queen Elizabeth- even for the most seasoned birder! Some of these birding safaris even allow for the best of both worlds to be experienced: birds and big game.

With so much to see and experience, why not contact us- we will be more than happy to assist you in planning your perfect Ugandan holiday.

The Okavango Delta: A paradise surrounded by the parched Kalahari

One would be forgiven for being completely and utterly awed by the Okavango Delta. This  unique wetland spans between 6000 to 1500 square kilometres, depending on the season. Situated in the northern reaches of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a lush paradise made up of islands, woodlands, and floodplains, surrounded by the parched sands of the Kalahari Desert.

This natural masterpiece is the largest inland delta in Africa, and hosts hundreds of bird and animal species. This includes red lechwe and sitatunga. The area provides excellent safari opportunities, with not only a variety of wildlife to observe, but also several ways of going on safari. These include mokoro canoes, hot air balloons, and boat cruises- you are spoiled for choice. With Moremi Game Reserve situated on the eastern edge of the Okavango, even traditional game drives are on offer!

There are dozens of Okavango lodges to stay in, allowing for a unique experience when visiting different parts of the delta. These Okavango lodges strive to provide the best experience for their guests, making sure they enjoy this stunning World Heritage Site to the fullest.

Gunn’s Camp is one of the last few remaining luxury vintage safari camps, and maintains a fine balance between comfort and a true bushveld experience. Overlooking the legendary Chief’s Island, this Okavango lodge is set on raised platforms, giving it superb views over the delta plains. The dense wooded island on which it is situated gives Gunn’s a discrete and intimate atmosphere, perfect for honeymooners and couples.

Xugana Island Lodge is situated on a private concession. This Okavango lodge takes full advantage of its majestic location. Xugana has an expansive deck, which allows guests to dine under the stars while overlooking the pristine waters of the delta. Xugana is a wonderful place to relax. The swimming pool and garden are perfect for cooling off after a long day on safari.

Camp Okavango is our next Okavango lodge on offer. It is an authentically African safari camp, situated on the remote Nxaragha Island.  This Okavango lodge is a hidden gem, offering individual safari tents raised on platforms. They all enjoy private open-air viewing decks.

There are a plethora of Okavango lodges to choose from, each offering something unique and wonderful, just like the Okavango Delta itself. Visit this luxurious location for yourself- contact us to book your stay at one of our Okavango lodges.

The Kgalagadi: Wilderness Camps

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in South Africa‘s Northern Cape province. This park’s wide expanses  are perfect for those seeking solitude and rejuvenation while getting in touch with nature. The arid landscapes and interesting wildlife conjure up feelings of tranquility.

When visiting a place like this, the serene atmosphere can sometimes be spoiled when coming across other park-goers.With this in mind, a good accommodation option could be one of the many smaller Kgalagadi camps, aptly named wilderness camps. These Kgalagadi camps feature only four chalets, each sleeping 2 people, making for a more intimate experience. The camps also do not allow children under 12 to stay, ensuring a relaxing getaway for any parent!

Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp is set on one of the highest dunes in the Kalahari, and offers unspoiled views over the surroundings. This includes a watering hole, perfect for observing the local wildlife.  The atmosphere of remote vastness is further enhanced by the fact that this Kgalagadi camp is unfenced, ensuring that nothing obscures the view.

Bitterpan Wilderness Camp is set between the Nossob and Aurob Rivers. This camp overlooks a large pan, which is exclusive to the camp.  It is wonderfully isolated, and only accessible by 4×4 vehicles. If you and your friends are planning a 4×4 excursion, Bitterpan is the ideal destination.

Gharagab Wilderness Camp is another Kgalagadi camp that can only be accessed by 4×4. It is situated in the northern part of the park, surrounded by the breathtaking grass savannah veld landscape of the Kalahari.

Then, situated in the remote northern expanses of the Kgalagadi, you will find Grootkolk Wilderness Camp. This part of the park is known for sightings of the unique black-maned Kalahari lion. The camp is close to a waterhole, which brings wildlife within sight of the camp during both the day and night. Unlike Gharagab and Bitterpan, Grootkolk is accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicles.

Our last Kgalagadi camp is Urikaruus Wilderness Camp. This camp is known for its active watering hole. Plenty of animals, including springbok, wildebeest, lion, cheetah, and a plethora of birds  are attracted by the camelthorn trees that surround the camp.

The Kgalagadi is unique and has so much to  offer. It is a must-visit destination. Contact us today and explore the wide open spaces for yourself.

The Kgalagadi: Beautifully tranquil desert wilderness

The vast desert wilderness of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the perfect destination for those seeking a unique, solitary safari experience. With a landscape that stretches over both South Africa and Botswana, the Kgalagadi will not disappoint anyone who visits the breathtaking area.

Nestled between the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Mata Rivers, The Kgalagadi is made up of savannah habitat and red Kalahari sand dunes. This blend of terrains makes for a beautiful and interesting landscape.

Accommodation in the Kgalagadi is found primarily in the form of camping and self-catering facilities, with exclusive wilderness camps dotted throughout the park. There is also a luxury safari lodge available: !Xaus Lodge is owned and run by the local Khomani San and Mier communities. This stunning lodge features 24 beds and overlooks a large salt pan, from which you can observe the park’s diverse wildlife.

The three bush camps in the park offer a number of accommodation types that suit a variety of tastes and budgets. This includes family cottages, chalets, and camp sites. The camps of the Kgalagadi are: Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, Mata-Mata Rest Camp, and Nossob Rest Camp.

Situated on the banks of the Nossob River, you find the Kgalagadi’s largest rest camp, Twee Rivieren. The area is home to a diverse range of animals, and different plant species colour the surroundings. This rest camp is ideal for first-time Kgalagadi bookings.

On the western boundary, right on the border with Namibia, you find Mata-Mata Rest Camp. This far west, the terrain changes to take on the characteristics of the Kalahari, giving the camp that same desert atmosphere of solitude and isolation.

The final rest camp is named after the dry riverbed on which it is located. Nossob Rest Camp is surrounded by tree savannah, and is famous for spectacular predator sightings.

In fact, the Kgalagadi itself is known for its predator populations, raptors in particular. Other species found here include African wild cat, silver (Cape) fox, African wild dog, and cheetah. Birding is also a popular attraction in the area.

Contact us if you are would like to book a unique safari holiday in the Kgalagadi. The Safari Index team is always ready to make your safari dreams come true.

Liuwa Plains: An Undiscovered Safari Paradise

Liuwa Plains National Park, situated in western Zambia, is truly a hidden safari gem. This remote park practically calls out for travelers to come and explore its vast open grasslands and seemingly endless horizons. Pristine and unspoilt, with wildlife spread out across the plains, the park makes for a real treat when out on safari. There is always something to see.

Delving into the history of Liuwa Plains, one will find that the park is one of the oldest in Africa, having been established in the late 19th century by King Lubosi Lewanika. It thus boasts a rather unique ecosystem, whereby the people of the plains and the wildlife co-exist in such a way as to preserve the rustic beauty of the park.

Dramatic thunderstorms are known to light up the ominous skies, contrasting with the green and gold of the plains. This makes for spectacularly beautiful photographic opportunities. But these breathtaking forces of nature are not the only reason to visit Liuwa Plains. The park also plays host to what is perhaps the best-kept secret in Zambia- the world’s second-largest wildebeest migration.

Thousands of wildebeest travel across Liuwa Plains each year, following the rains as they make their way across the plains. Along with the wildebeest herds, you will also find plenty of other animals, including zebra, oribi, red lechwe, and steenbok. These plains animals, in turn, draw predators after them. Look out especially for cheetahs and lions- their populations are slowly growing after being poached to near extinction in the park. Liuwa also has a well-established spotted hyena population.

What is the best time to visit Liuwa Plains? Although it is difficult to pinpoint an exact time, as the migration is dependent on the rains, the window is normally between August and December.

King Lewanika Lodge

When it comes to accommodation, Liuwa Plains is a little different. There is only one fixed lodge in the park, called King Lewanika Lodge. This luxury lodge is made up of six plush villas that are perched on raised platforms to maximise views of the surrounding plains. Five campsites make up the rest of the accommodation options in the park: Kayala, Katoyana, Kwale, Lyangu, and Sikale. Each is located in a different area of the park, and can accommodate up to 20 guests. Only 4 guests are allowed per campground, making the setting intimate and private, and allowing you to enjoy the expanses of solitude in peace.

Liuwa Plains Campsite

If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track safari destination that abounds with untamed beauty, look no further than Liuwa Plains.

What are the best Kruger Camps to visit?

 

Heading to the Kruger Park is super exciting but the planning can be both an exhilarating and daunting undertaking. With 12 main camps, 5 satellite camps, 5 bush camps, and 2 overnight hides, not to mention luxury lodges and wilderness trails, you are forgiven for not knowing which to choose and what to expect when staying in one of the Kruger camps.

Here are our 5 favourite Kruger Camps and what you can expect:

Punda Maria Rest Camp

The Northernmost Kruger Camp is first on our list and with good reason. Punda Maria is perhaps the best camp for birding in the whole of the Kruger. This lush green camp is known for sightings of Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Terrestrial Bulbul, Bearded Robin and Black Eagle, all this before even leaving the camp itself!
Running in a 25-kilometre course around the camp is the Mahonie loop, perhaps the most rewarding birding drives in the Kruger. A patient birder will be rewarded for taking their time on this trail by being able to spot Yellow Oxpecker, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Crested Guineafowl, Cape Parrot, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Stierling’s Barred Warbler and Dickinson’s Kestrel. A select few might even see the Narina Trogon, a shy and elusive species.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Lower Sabie is situated in the southern region of the Kruger Park and is a very popular family destination. With an abundance of foliage and watering holes, there is plenty of game, making Lower Sabie ideal for game drives.
There is always something to see in the region. Lions are quite common as well as Cheetah. Lower Sabie is also a great location for viewing White Rhino and there are large herds of Buffalo that roam the area. The watering holes and dams also make it an ideal place for birding as there is a variety of bird species close to the water’s edge.

Olifants Rest Camp

If panoramic Kruger views are what you are after look no further, Olifants is one of the best Kruger camps for breath taking vistas. Set on a hill, the camp overlooks the Olifants River and long stretches of bushveld.
Olifants offer a wide range of game due to the fact that it is a transitional zone, where one ecosystem flows into another. To the North Mopane trees provide cover for Zebra and Impala while the rolling plains to the south are home to Buffalo and Giraffe.
Ideally placed shaded lookout platforms along the Olifants River makes it easy to view the river’s edge and gives views of Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and the occasional Lion kill.

Letaba Rest Camp

Letaba is perhaps the best of the Kruger camps for first time visitors to the Kruger. It offer a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from air conditioned bungalows, safari tents, 2 guesthouses, rusting huts and camp sites, making it ideal for those on their first safari as well as experienced campers.
The camp is green and lush, known for its large trees and indigenous gardens. Bushbuck wander freely around the camp and other residents include Tree Squirrels, Fruit Bats and Vervet Monkeys.
Letaba is known for the large mammals that call the area home, particularly around the Letaba River’s sandy riverbed. Lion and Cheetah kills have been known to take place in the riverbed as well, a real treat for those visiting the restaurant which overlooks it.

Satara Rest Camp

Satara is one of the best Kruger camps to visit if seeing the big cats are on your itinerary. Lion, Leopard and Cheetah pray on the grazers that call the area home due to the fertile grazing lands that surround the camp.
The other members of Big 5 (Elephants, Buffalo and Rhino) are also spotted frequently in this part of the park. Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck, Giraffe and Impala are also plentiful and Honey Badgers are a rare treat for those on safari.

Each of these Kruger camps are definitely worth a visit. Each has their own charm and attractions, making the Kruger the ideal safari destination. If you are still unsure which the ideal camp is for you, look no further; simply drop us a line and we will help you plan your ideal Kruger experience.

 

What to know about visiting South Africa

Heading to South Africa?  Need to know what to pack? Unsure about visas or malaria? Here is what you need to know:

Do you need a Visa to visit South Africa?

South Africa is a Visa-free country to a large number of countries and for those that are not on this list a Visa can easily be organised at your local South African embassy. The following countries are exempt from needing a Visa – but remember it is always a good idea just to contact the South African embassy to confirm.

Visas are NOT needed by the following nationals:

-Australia                 -Austria                                -Belgium

-Canada                    -Denmark                            -Finland

-France                      -Germany                            -Greece

-Iceland                     -Ireland                                 -Italy

-Monaco                   -Netherlands                     -Norway

-Portugal                 -Russian Federation       -Spain

-Sweden                 -Switzerland                       -United Kingdom

-United States of America

 Climate

South Africa has been described as having the best climate in the world. It’s an ideal holiday destination year round as the country enjoys warm, sunny days throughout the year and mildly chilly nights during the winter months. Rainfall occurs in the summer months, (November to March) except for the Cape region which has the bulk of its rainfall during the winter months of June to August.

When is the best time to visit? Although South Africa can be visited at any time of the year safaris best undertaken during the winter months of April to October while Cape Town and the Garden Route are great to head to in summer months from October to March.

 Malaria

There are some areas in South Africa where malaria occurs. Malaria is a common illness found in the Sub-Saharan areas of Africa and is transmitted via the female anopheles mosquito. Most of South Africa is malaria-free though.

The anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria disease are found in the far north and east of the country in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal areas.

Which areas are known for having malaria?

The following areas are known for being high risk Malaria areas; the Kruger National Park. the game parks and coastline in the northern half of KwaZulu-Natal and the northern and eastern parts of Limpopo.

The high risk months are the summer months of September to May when rainfall is at its highest.

What precautions to take?

– Speak to your local doctor about taking anti-malaria prophylactic medication.

– It is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved trousers at night (mosquitoes tend to be most active in the early evening).

– Make use of insect repellents on a regular basis, spraying any exposed skin every hour.

– If possible burn insecticide oils or candles in your bedroom.

– Sleep under a mosquito net. Nets are available in most upmarket safari lodges in malaria areas.

Crime

South Africa is a country of warm smiles, sun filled days and fascinating cultural diversity. It unfortunately also has a reputation for being a country with a high crime rate. While not completely inaccurate, statistics are high/ However most crime takes place in ‘crime hotspots’ which are mainly focused in inner city and some economically depressed urban areas. Although it is unlikely that one will experience crime first hand, it is advisable to always be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on belongings and do not flash them about and follow your guide or accommodation’s recommendations of which areas to avoid.

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