Tag Archives: Safari Index Africa

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 Great Wildebeest Migration

Africa’s annual Great Wildebeest Migration is the world’s largest overland animal migration. This spectacular phenomenon occurs when approximately two million wildebeest, zebra and other indigenous antelope undertake an incredible journey across the African plains, from Tanzanias beautiful Serengeti to the world-renowned Masai Mara in Kenya.

The Migration does not just consist of one large herd, but rather thousands of smaller ones that branch in and out of the main bulk, depending on the availability of food and water. The sizes of the herds fluctuate, as some wildebeest do not travel, choosing to stay in specific areas.

It is also interesting to note that during the Migration, the wildebeest and zebra travel harmoniously together. Though both species are herbivores, their feeding preferences differ greatly, as they prefer different parts of the same grasses. This means that while they inhabit the same space, they are not in competition for the same resources.

The thrill of the Migration is also enhanced by the presence of predators. As the herbivores cross the plains in their thousands, they are closely pursued by fearsome carnivores. More than 3 000 lions prey upon the herds, bringing down thousands of wildebeest each season. These losses are replenished during the rainy season between January and March, as the herds roam the Serengeti. It is speculated that over half a million wildebeest are born during this period.

Other predators can also be spotted preying on the herds, including hyena, cheetah, and leopard. These predators do not migrate with the herds. Rather the herds move through their territories, making them ideal prey. However, some predators have become nomadic and spend their lives in pursuit of these herds.

Crocodiles also lie in wait as the wildebeest and zebras attempt to cross over the Mara and Grumeti Rivers, ready to prey upon any who are not strong or quick enough. These crossings typically take place during the dry season when the animals make their way to the greener grazing fields of the Masai Mara.

While herd movements depend on the availability of food and water, the animals can be seen to travel in a general clockwise direction during the Great Migration. This gives the discerning traveller ample opportunity to witness the incredible phenomenon all year round. Several well-appointed lodges and camps cater to the seasoned as well as first-time viewer of the Migration. One can easily find accommodation that will suit your particular needs and provide the perfect opportunity to see this awe-inspiring spectacle.

The Great Migration Pattern

The Great Migration takes place annually, spanning the whole year. This allows for a Migration safari trip at any time of the year, depending on where the herds are. Don’t you think that this is an experience that should be on your bucket list? Chat to one of the Safari Index team of experts today to plan that dream Migration safari now!

 

Serengeti Walking Safari

The Serengeti in Tanzania is one of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations. The wide open plains of grassland and savannah are home to thriving populations of Africa’s quintessential wildlife species, including vast numbers of plains game, fearsome predators, and the famous African Big 5.

While it is true that African safaris are traditionally conducted in open game-viewing vehicles, there are many other unique and exciting ways in which the African wilderness can be explored. A walking safari is one of the most thrilling ways to have an African bushveld experience. On a walking safari, you are able to connect with your surroundings in a much more intimate and up-close way.

These Serengeti walking safari tours are led by experienced guides and armed rangers, who will enhance your game-viewing experience and make sure that you feel completely safe out in the wilderness. You are also accompanied by a safari chef and camp assistant, all of who will ensure your safety and comfort, and strive to ensure that you have the best possible game-viewing opportunities.

There are two walking safari tour options: a 7-day/6-night tour, or a 5-day/4-night tour. On the tours, you spend approximately 4 to 5 hours a day walking, with some of the nights spent at luxury wilderness safari lodges, and others out “camping” under the stars in the African bush. The “camps” are fully-equipped and feature walk-in dome tents, bedding and mattresses, bush toilets and showers, mess tents, chairs, fridges/cool boxes, and camp lighting.

The tours are conducted in pristine wilderness areas inside the Serengeti National Park, away from busy crowds and safari vehicles. The 7-day/6-night tour also includes a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater, another of Tanzania’s iconic wildlife destinations, where wildlife is found in abundance and the chances of spotting the members of the Big 5 are high. There is also the option of stopping at the Olduvai Gorge, a world-renowned paleoanthropological site. Guided game drives are also included in the safari tour package- but it is the walking safaris that are the undoubted highlight.

What is there to do in Victoria Falls?

Victoria Falls in one of the most iconic travel destinations in Africa, and indeed the world. Magnificent and breathtaking, the Falls are known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, or the “Smoke that Thunders”. The name refers to the smoke-like appearance of the spray that is generated as the mighty Zambezi River plummets 100m into the yawning gorge below. The Falls provide the perfect base from which to enjoy a variety of adventure and safari activities.

For the more adventurous, there are several hair-raising activities to try. The Victoria Falls Bungee Jump is one of the most incredible bungee jumps that anybody can experience. It is 111 metres high, one of the highest in the world. Its setting against the backdrop of the Falls only makes it more spectacular.

Adrenaline junkies can also have a go on the Victoria Falls Bridge Swing. The swing is done from the railway bridge that spans the Second Gorge of the Falls, linking the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Those looking for a more relaxed experience can enjoy a leisurely boat cruise down the Zambezi. Or, just take a tour of the Falls, simply to marvel at their brilliance.

The splendour of the Falls can also be witnessed from above. Soar above them in a helicopter or microlight aircraft. Aptly known as the “flight of angels”, this is one of the best ways to see the Falls.

Wildlife lovers will also find plenty to appreciate in the region. The area surrounding the Falls is a national park and protected area. Wildlife species are found here in abundance. Experience a safari in a unique way on a boat, canoe or horseback safari, exploring the channels of the Zambezi and the surrounding forest and riverine bush. Look out for species such as hippo and elephant. You can also embark on a traditional game drive into the adjacent Zambezi National Park, for a chance to spot the famous African big 5.

The Zambezi is also an excellent fishing destination. You can try your hand at catching one of the more than 75 species found in the waters, including the elusive tiger fish, one of the most sought-after fish in the world. Guided fishing tours are offered, and the boats are fully-equipped.

African Budget Safari

Who said that going on an African safari is only for the rich and famous? You can go on an African budget safari and still have an exceptional safari experience with incredible stories to tell.

There are many African budget safari options available. You can tailor-make a fantastic affordable safari with the help of the team of seasoned safari experts from the Safari Index.

First, there are a few things that you need to iron out when planning your dream African budget safari. Let’s take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself when planning your African budget safari:

  • Where would you like to go? South Africans often say that “local is lekker”- some of the best holiday destinations are often right on your doorstep. Southern and East Africa are home to so many parks and reserves that it is safe to say there will be a park or reserve within a couple of hour’s drive of you at any time.
  • Once you know where you would like to go, you need to decide what type of accommodation you would like to stay in. For the very budget-conscious, camping is always popular. For those wanting to sleep under a roof, self-catering chalets in national park camps are a great and affordable option. The facilities at these camps include basic kitchen equipment, linen and towels, and braai (barbeque) areas in which to cook your meals under African skies. When camping and staying in self-catering camps, you will generally travel in your own vehicle and self-drive around the various national parks.

  • Those looking at travelling without any can opt for full-board lodging at a private game lodge. Although these lodges cost more than self-catering camps, they offer an amazing safari experience, as the rate usually includes one or two guided game drives each day. These affordable and cost-effective private lodges offer great value for money, especially to international travellers on their first trip to Africa.
  • Those looking to get the most bang for their buck can also look for last-minute deals and great specials (such as local resident rates), where meals and game drives are often included at a very low rate.

  • Then there are alternative budget safari experiences which offer great value for money. 3 to 4-day wilderness walking trails are an incredible way to get truly in touch with nature at budget-friendly rates.
  • An affordable budget safari tour or overland safari tour is another way to see a lot for very little. If you have 2 to 3 weeks or more to spare, then this is the best bet for you.
  • A cheap safari doesn’t have to be a bad safari. Draw up a budget and give yourself enough time to save up for that trip. One dream trip a year is worth more in memories then several rushed holidays to cheap and nasty destinations.

The Safari Index Africa has some great African budget safaris and budget-friendly game lodges which they recommend in some of Africa’s best game parks and nature reserves. The majority of game lodges, bush camps and safari tours in Big 5 areas are generally expensive, given the costs of getting the various first-world luxuries into the lodges and camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.

Visit the Safari Index’s list of recommend affordable safari lodges and budget safari tours today – click here to see more.

 

An African Safari Tour- The Adventure of a Lifetime…

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.” That is what an African safari tour is all about. There is something about Africa that ensures that one becomes infused with its energy. People say that they never feel quite so invigorated or refreshed as they do on an African safari tour.

Going on a safari will probably be one of the best decisions you could ever make. There are just so many draw-cards to it, and it is the ultimate experience for families, couples, groups and any adventurous spirit.

But why is Africa such a dreamy destination? It can be harsh and unforgiving from the outside, but it swings to its own tune and is in a perfect state of equilibrium. The key is to fit into that rhythm and find your equilibrium.  Although the main attractions on an African safari tour are no doubt seeing the Big 5 or watching predators on the hunt, there is so much more. A safari is about peeling off the layers. There is no place on the planet where you will see such a wide diversity of big game and in large numbers. The savannahs make it easy to see the larger beasts and witness the most breathtaking sunsets.

And then you stop. You listen. You smell. And suddenly you realise how much more is actually happening around you. An African safari tour is about all of that. It’s about experiencing Africa. Do yourself a favour and ask yourself why an African safari tour should not be on your bucket list.

Africa’s beauty is beyond comparison and attracts anyone with even half an interest in nature and photography.  Given Africa’s diverse landscapes, cultural array and incredible wildlife, it’s the best place for a photographic safari tour. You have no doubt seen some of the amazing wildlife photographs out there. Many of us harbour a dream of taking a photograph worthy of blowing up and displaying on a lounge wall at home. On any safari, there is always that one beloved shot that you will show off and talk about for years.

The usual mode of transport on an African safari tour is in an open-top game-viewer vehicle. This gets you up close and personal to the larger game, and is fantastic for photography. But people are coming back for more and want different experiences. A walking safari is a unique and adventurous way to explore the African wilderness, and will slowly surpass the rewards of a traditional safari method. A walking safari adds an extra dimension to the experience.  You feel as though you are part of your surrounding environment- you are able to see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste the wilderness! Encountering Africa’s famed wildlife species on foot is a thrill that you will never forget.

Another unique African safari tour is a primate safari. Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking safaris are once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences. You can now get up close and personal with the big apes of Africa on a primate trekking safari. See our primal relatives in their natural environment in the African jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

An African safari tour can be tailor-made to fit any budget. You can opt for a camping safari tour or a self-drive safari tour through one of a few national parks, staying in their rustic chalet-style accommodation. And if you really want to do an African safari tour justice, do it in style. A luxury African safari tour is a fantastic way to experience the raw beauty of Africa, while still enjoying a comfortable holiday with all the modern necessities at hand, coupled with Africa’s incredible hospitality and service.

The team of safari experts at the Safari Index plan African safari tours and holidays every day, so if you have any questions or want any advice, get in touch with them today.

Victoria Falls Lodges

 Located on the border of the Southern African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most iconic travel destinations. Here, the mighty Zambezi River plunges 100m over the edge of the basalt cliffs, crashing into the gorge below in a breathtaking rush of raw energy and power. The Falls are known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, or “The Smoke that Thunders”, due to the incredible amount of spray that is generated by the force of the water.

The Falls provides the perfect base from which to experience a host of exhilarating adventure activities. Go bungee jumping, with the backdrop of the Falls adding an extra thrill. Take a leap and swing off the railway bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe. Witness the majesty of the Falls from above in a helicopter or microlight airplane. There are also options for those looking for a more relaxed experience. Enjoy leisurely cruises down the Zambezi, taking in the sunset, or embark on a unique horseback safari in the surrounding area.

There are a variety of accommodation options for those wanting a Victoria Falls holiday, suitable for various guest preferences and budget ranges.

For those who prefer to holiday in the ultimate style, a number of super-luxury lodges are found in the area. Thorntree River Lodge enjoys a gorgeous setting on the banks of the Zambezi, upstream of the Falls. It features facilities such as private plunge pools, secluded outdoor showers,  WiFi access, and a gym and spa overlooking the river.

The Elephant Camp is set within its own private concession just 10km away from the Falls. It affords wonderful views of the gorges and spray of the Falls from its ultra-luxury canvas suites. Each suite also features private decks with plunge pools, as well as outdoor showers.

Mid-range to luxury options include the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa. This resort-style lodge features various accommodation types to suit a variety of guest types, including families and disabled persons. Many of the rooms overlook the Zambezi, and the lodge has a full range of facilities, including a pool, spa and conference facilities.

Chundukwa River Lodge is another mid-range to luxury option. It is also set on the banks of the river, in a quiet, tranquil area. It is a 30-minute drive to the Falls, making it ideal for those who want to experience the Falls, but also unwind away from the crowds. Its African bush-style chalets are built on stilts with river views.

More affordable options include Greenfire Lodge Victoria Falls, which is located just outside of Victoria Falls Town. It features comfortable en-suite rooms, a sparkling pool, and a lovely garden.

Taita Falcon Lodge is also suited to the more budget-conscious. It enjoys a spectacular location above the Zambezi, overlooking the famous Batoka Gorge, just 11km from the Falls. Its charming grounds and gardens are home to a variety of plants and birds, with each en-suite room featuring its own private garden with outdoor showers.

Those looking for a self-catering option can stay at the charming and rustic Lokuthula Lodges, which feature fully-furnished units that are perfect for families and groups.