A trip to Africa conjures a riot of images and possibilities. For wildlife enthusiasts, this is the ultimate destination. Every year
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Getting the Most of the Wildlife Experience
A trip to Africa conjures a riot of images and possibilities. For wildlife enthusiasts, this is the ultimate destination. Every year, more resorts spring up, offering easier access to the remotest locations, assuring guests a personalised and far more intimate interaction with nature, wildlife and a host of conservation projects that provide an inspiring and humbling experience. World Travel Magazine handpicks seven exotic resorts and lodges that are designed to add a sheen to your travel on this continent.
Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa
A luxury safari lodge right in the middle of the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, on the western border of the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa combines a vintage elegance with modern comfort. The bottom line here is the assurance of experiencing a most memorable game viewing safari in the rich ecosystem of the South African bushveld. A minimum of three days stay is recommended to make the most of the twice-a-day rides to spot the Big Five, savour dinners under the African skies and revel in the property’s amenities that include sensual spa treatments. Those staying longer can explore nearby areas and go for hot air ballooning, golf and local village excursions. The luxurious safari lodge has six luxury suites, two royal suites and an Africa house that has an exclusive bush villa with six bedrooms. Antique furniture, carved four-poster beds from Mombasa, plush silk furnishings and Persian rugs make the interiors captivating. The property is popular with solo travellers, groups and even those interested in a safari wedding!
Getting there: Closest airport to Royal Malewane is Hoedspruit and from Kruger Mpumulanga International Airport in Nelspruit. Chartered flights are common and also road drives through the Drakensberg mountains.
Azura Quilalea Private Island
Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Azura Quilalea sits regally on an uninhabited island paradise surrounded by the pristine waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago marine sanctuary. Azura along with its sister island, Sencar, lies within a protected marine reserve that offers excellent snorkelling and diving facilities. Quilalea is the ultimate private luxury hideaway that allows you to discover new places of unspoilt natural beauty while preserving the environment. In a unique partnership with the locals, the property has been developed as a seamless extension of the deserted beaches, pristine reefs and sparkling turquoise seas. Experience a lightness of being, as a happy kind of hospitality envelopes you in its warm and caring embrace. Award winning villas have been hand built by the local community. Island villas are just footsteps from the beach while the safari tented villas lie on the banks of the Great Ruaha River, where the hippo call by day and lions roam by night. The four Kaskazi villas are open-plan and spacious, with stylish décors of wood, cotton and materials such as rope, pebbles and rattan, all blending in ever so naturally with the island surroundings.
Getting there: Pemba can be accessed from South Africa with flights from Johannesburg on Airlink and LAM; from Kenya with flights on LAM from Nairobi; from Tanzania with flights on LAM from Dar es Salaam and from other centres in Mozambique including Maputo, Beira and Nampula.
Located on the edge of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Angama Mara overlooks Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara. With two intimate camps of 15 tented suites each, a private airfield and access to the Mara below, guests can choose from a range of special tours that include customised jeep and walking safaris, hot air ballooning, photography expeditions, and cultural visits to neighbouring Maasai villages. Be sure to witness sightings of lions, leopards, black rhinos and abundant herds of elephant and buffalo. On a quiet day, plan a picnic breakfast after watching a magnificent sunrise and embark on a boat ride along the Mara River. Interestingly, even if you miss the peak season which has the migration, you can go in any season and get to unearth a slice of the generous Mara pie. Indeed, each season offers something new with the attraction of storm clouds and lush green grasslands, watching the Big Five in their natural habitat and listening to stories of the local tribes.
Getting there: Best accessed by plane from Nairobi with many scheduled daily flights landing at the lodge’s private airfield. Another popular route is to connect via Serengeti and cross Tanzania/Kenya border west of the Mara. Both Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam airports are well connected with a network of flights connecting to the Serengeti safari lodges and camps.
Singita Pamushana Lodge
Singita Pamushana Lodge sets a new paradigm in ecotourism with a sprawling 130,000 acre reserve that is committed to preserving the wildlife and ecology of the area. As one of Africa’s most exclusive and hidden haunts, it has an old world appeal with organic shaped buildings with thick walls, meticulous thatching and detailed stonework that trace back to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. Six palatial suites and a five-bedroom villa are equipped with private plunge pools and panoramic views. The Lodge’s cellars are home to some of the most sought after private reserves and vintage wines that Africa has to offer. Apart from the must-do’s of safaris, game drives, nature walks and cycling tours, a water safari is highly recommended. The personal favourite is a visit to the San Bushmen rock art sites, during the day, dating back thousands of years and exploring the crystal clear African night sky filled with stars, a dreamer’s paradise.
Getting there: The resort organises scheduled flights and private charters. While Federal Air schedules flights to/ from Buffalo Range International Airport on Mondays and Thursdays from or Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, chartered flights land at Lonestar airstrip, 25 minutes from the lodge.
Cozily shrouded under thick foliage in Mombo Concession, on the northern tip of Chief’s Island within the Moremi Game Reserve, the Mombo Camp has an abundance of game year-round in its floodplains. This luxurious camp in the middle of the Delta has nine spacious en-suite tents raised above the ground with excellent views, a long veranda, sala and indoor and outdoor showers. Well-mapped drives on 4×4 Land Rovers ensure a window seat to each of the 6-7 guests giving ample scope to observe, marvel and learn from nature. Conclude the day with an in-room massage treatment to relax your exhausted limbs. On a relaxed morning, familiarise yourself with the Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project that is a joint initiative between Wilderness Safaris and Botswana government. The conservation efforts of the lodge cover 3mn hectares across nine African biomes and includes 800 bird species, 280 mammals, 220 reptiles and no less than 63 amphibians.
Getting there: Fly in from Maun 30 minutes from Kasame and about 90 minutes from Kasane to Victoria Falls.
Serra Cafema Camp
One of remotest camps in southern Africa, Serra Cafema is located in the extreme north-west of Namibia, on the banks of the Kunene River in Hartmann’s Valley. Eight riverside wood canvas and thatched villas on spacious elevated decks blend smoothly into the picturesque surroundings. Rushing rapids below the camp will tempt you to sit by the shores, letting time stand still. The resort organises authentic Himba cultural experiences and throws in quad bike rides for those wanting to venture on to the winding bike trail. The Kunene River stretches to Serra Cafema mountain range in the north and is home to the Nile crocodiles and water birds. Boating trips are organised on demand. Game viewing however is limited to small herds of gemsbok, springbok and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. Nature drives and walks in Hartmann’s Valley with a conservationist will provide insights into the nature of the fragile environs and efforts being made to preserve the unique and delicate habitats of the landscape. There is much to learn from the Namibia Sea Turtle Project and Crocodile Research apart from energy-saving initiatives undertaken in the area.
Getting there: The resort’s travel desk helps you plan your
itinerary guiding you on the best way to reach.
Northern Cape, South Africa
South Africa’s largest private game reserve protects an unending stretch of over 110,000 hectares of grasslands and mountains. With an endless variety and range of visuals and experiences, the Kalahari is the perfect ground for all age groups, especially children, to see and learn about flora, fauna and animals.
Game drives at Tswalu are flexible and follow no particular rules or timings, giving a chance to nature, wildlife and adventure enthusiasts to create their own itinerary for the day. During the day, encounter dust devils which are small swirling dust storms that drift across the sand dunes. At night, settle down under the star spangled sky to enjoy their bush dinner, soak in the feet in the sand and relish the traditional Kalahari feast.
Three family suites have a special activity zone for kids that include archery, spoor identification and casting and tracking on foot. Children’s bush walks are educational and usually include bird watching, cycling and a picnic.
Getting there: 350km from Upington Airport, fly in from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kimberley or Upington by private charter. Driving distances from Kimberley / Upington are about 4 hours and the nearest town is Kuruman.
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