Tag Archives: safari

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.

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.

 

Zambia Lodges

The Southern African country of Zambia,  named for the mighty Zambezi River that flows through its borders, is a safari and nature treasure. It is home to 19 incredible national parks and reserves.

The safari accommodation found in the country is not only affordable, but are some of the best on the continent, each offering a unique experience, tailored to reflect the park or reserve they are located in.

These are some of the best Zambia lodges on offer:

 Gorges Lodge

As far as Zambia Lodges go, Gorges Lodge, located in the Victoria Falls National Park, is one one of the best. It offers stunning vistas over the Zambezi River from its perch above Batoka Gorge. Not for the faint of heart, the main lodge is set on the very edge of the gorge, 250 meters above the raging waters below.  The accommodation, ten stone and thatched chalets, is set against an indigenous garden backdrop, and each has a private deck from which to take in the stunning surrounds and wildlife.

Gorges Lodge is perfect for those with an adventurous spirit. Its location in the Victoria Falls National Park allows guests access to activities such as elephant back safaris, white water rafting and bungee jumping.

King Lewanika Lodge

For those looking for Zambia Lodges that offer something a bit more on the wild side, one need look no further than King Lewanika Lodge, right in the heart of Liuwa Plains National Park‘s vast grassy floodplains.

King Lewanika Lodge is the only fixed lodge in the park, and is made up of 6 luxurious villas. Each villa is raised above the surrounding plains, allowing for magnificent views of the plentiful wildlife of the area.

Mfuwe Lodge

If you would prefer a Zambia Lodge a touch more on the luxurious side, look no further than Mfuwe Lodge, the jewel of  South Luangwa National Park. It boasts every luxury one could wish for, and more. 18 bespoke chalets have private decks that look out over the banks of a lagoon.

The lodge features top-notch facilities that include a spa, outdoor gym, and excellent dining facilities. Also on offer are superb safari activities, such as thrilling night drives and guided walking tours.

Mfuwe Lodge is also known for its four-footed guests- a herd of elephants has tried checking in at reception before- a uniquely African event!

There are many more Zambia lodges to choose from, each with their own unique surrounds and offerings. Contact us to experience one of these magnificent lodges and enjoy the beauty Zambia has to offer.

Something Different: Non-motorised Safaris

The mention of an African safari usually conjures up images of bushveld landscapes, gravel roads, and 4x4s. While traditional game drives in open safari vehicles are still one of the best ways to experience a classic African safari, a variety of new safari methods are now on offer. These non-motorised safari techniques offer fresh and unique ways to explore the African wilderness.

Walking safaris

Walking safaris are undoubtedly one of the most thrilling ways to experience a safari. Being on foot allows to you experience your surroundings up close and in a much more personal way than you would in a vehicle. You are able to take in every little detail; you can see, hear, smell, touch, and even taste your surroundings! Encountering wildlife on foot will bring an unforgettable rush of adrenaline.

Plenty of safari destinations now offer guided walking safaris- but one of the best places for this experience is the South Luangwa in Zambia.

Horseback Safaris

Explore the African wilderness in the same way that early travelers and explorers once did- on horseback! As with a walking safari, a horseback safari allows you to get much closer to your surroundings than a vehicle would. There is a wonderful variety of parks and reserves that offer guided horseback safaris, catering for everyone from young children and beginners to experienced riders. Explore iconic safari destinations like the Kruger, the Masai Mara, and Victoria Falls on horseback, or chose to visit places such as the Tswalu Kalahari or Ant’s Nest Reserves in South Africa. You can even choose to do a multi-day horseback trail in the Mashatu region of Botswana.

Mokoro Safaris

A mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe that is mainly used for water-based safaris in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. The guide stands on a flattened platform at the back of the boat, propelling it using a long pole. You are taken on an exciting journey along the waterways and channels of the area, using your unique vantage point to help you spot wildlife species.

While Botswana is the prime mokoro safari destination, a number of other regions where you can enjoy them as well, including Victoria FallsKafue National Park in Zambia, and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Excellent camps in Botswana to visit include Pom Pom Camp, Machaba Camp, and Pelo Camp.

The Kruger Park

South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park spans over 2 million unspoiled hectares and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The Kruger Park, as it is known locally, is one of the world’s most fertile and abundant wildlife sanctuaries, and famously hosts the majestic Big 5. The Kruger Park is a dream destination for anyone wishing for a safari getaway.

Kruger Park guided safari

There is plenty to see when out on a game drive while in the Kruger Park.  The park’s incredible diversity of life includes 336 tree species, 507 bird species and 147 mammal species. Whether you choose to do a self-drive safari or guided game drive, there are plenty of ways to see what the Kruger Park has to offer. When doing a self-drive safari, you need not be concerned about wear and tear on your vehicle, as the Kruger Park boasts a well-maintained road infrastructure.

 

RWS walking safari

Driving safaris are not the only type of safari on offer in the Kruger. Several camps, like Rhino Walking Safaris Plains Camp, offer walking safaris, where keen-eyed, well-informed guides are able to find even the most elusive animals.

The famous African Big 5- consisting of the lion, leopard, rhino (white and black), elephant and Cape buffalo- can be found in the Kruger Park. The highlight of any Kruger safari is spotting all 5 members out in their natural habitat. Imagine being on an early-morning walking tour, the sun rising above the plains, and spotting a family of elephants in the distance. Picture enjoying sundowner drinks with a view of a waterhole, where a pride of lions joins you in enjoying some refreshments after a hot day. The Kruger Park is a magical place where just such occurrences can take place.

The Kruger Park offers different accommodation options to suit anyone’s budget and taste. From the versatile accommodation types at Skukuza Rest Camp, to the rustic rondawels of Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, to the more luxurious lodges like Singita Lebombo, there is something to suit everyone.

Singita Lebombo
Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

No matter what your budget, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let the experts at Safari Index help you find the best option for your pocket. Contact us today to book your dream safari getaway to the Kruger  Park.

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.