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Journeys in Africa

Featured Safari Specialist – Margie Vogel

March 10th, 2015 for

Q: What is your favorite activity you would recommend guests do while on a South Africa safari?

The night game viewing in an open safari vehicle in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is absolutely a “must do” activity. The various animal sounds, coupled with the fresh smell of the crisp night air, adds to the excitement and anticipation of what one may encounter in the darkness of the bush. The highlight on one of my evening drives was when our tracker pointed the spotlight on three lionesses, hanging out patiently under a nearby tree for their next “meal.”

 Q: How many years have you been with African Travel, Inc. and why do you like your job?

I just celebrated 17 years with African Travel, Inc. on Feb 9th, which says a lot about how much I enjoy what I do. I have learned so much about South Africa, and have visited so many times that I don’t think l would ever want to sell any other destination. Each booking is different from the last, which makes my job interesting – especially those that involve a lot of research into which lodge, game reserve, or sightseeing tour would be suitable for the client.  At the end of the day, it’s great to hear from returning guests who tell you how much they have enjoyed their trip of a lifetime. That makes my job incredibly rewarding. 

 Q: What is the most frequently asked question you get about South Africa?

One of the most frequently asked question is the flying time from the US to South Africa. I also get asked if it is a safe destination and what type of food is typically served.

 Q: What makes this destination so special?

South Africa is a destination that caters to all age groups and varying interests or budget requirements.   The offerings are endless, whether guests are looking for a honeymoon getaway, multi-generational family vacation, adventure seeking experience, or just a “kick back and relax” type of vacation. With so many accommodations and activities to choose from, South Africa is a single-country destination where you can combine a safari with a cultural and city experience.  But I think the most important aspect of what makes South Africa so special is our hard working and professional staff on the ground. I know firsthand that they go above and beyond to service our clients…and they do it with a big smile.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Margie. 

Get out of the Jeep – Walking Safari

March 9th, 2015 for

walking in stellenboschWalking safaris are arguably the most intimate way to connect with African wildlife. On these incredibly rewarding excursions, the landrover’s safety net is removed and suddenly you feel rather vulnerable. Your pulse quickens, senses heightened –your eyes are constantly scanning for movement and the slightest snap of a tree branch is cause for immediate attention.  

Nature is never 100% predictable, and “tame” wildlife is an obvious oxymoron. Depending on your location, you are likely to contact elephants, lions, buffalo, wild dogs – and these majestic beasts are significantly more imposing when you catch them at eye level. On a walking safari, it is glaringly apparent that you are in the wildlife’s territory, and you are there on their terms.

Marataba-Walking-Trails-PhotoCertain lodges are renowned for their walking safaris, such as Maratuba Trails Lodge. Appointed in the spectacular Marakele National Park, home to all of the large game species from elephant and rhino to the big cats, this lodge is dedicated to providing explorers with incomparable walking safaris by day and comfortable accommodations by night. Morning and afternoon trails depart from the camp each day, and during the winter guests can enjoy a full-day hike and picnic. A variety of trail options are available, ranging from trekking to the top of neighboring mountains to the riverine trails and their accompanying waterholes.

In the below South Africa itineraries, a walking safari can be included as an additional activity during your stay. 

 

Hot Properties – South Africa

March 9th, 2015 for

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat

SpaBushmans-KloofNestled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat is an ecological oasis within an untamed and magical land. This sparsely populated region is regaled for its spectacular natural features, Bushman rock art and the kaleidoscopic displays of color during the flower season. Bushmans Kloof provides a distinctive wildlife experience among these open plains and ancient sandstone formations; it is the ideal environment to unwind and reconnect with our natural world.

This award-winning 5-star property is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and a member of Relais & Châteaux. A selection of masterfully decorated rooms and suites, as well as a private villa, provide incomparable luxury to a maximum total of 34 guests. This intimate setting enables generous personalized attention for each and every guest, with visits peppered with thoughtful touches and small surprises.

The Homestead sits at the heart of the property, providing a world-class restaurant, heated pool, convivial bar and two comfortable lounges. Guests can also break a sweat in the state-of-the-art fitness centre or borrow a book from the library to read on the sun-drenched terrace. Bushmans Kloof’s therapeutic Spa is a peaceful sanctuary to rejuvenate and replenish the spirit. 

Bushmans Kloof also provides a wealth of recreational pursuits within the reserve, from hiking to archery and even canoeing. Nature walks and sunset drives allow guests to view more than 200 birds and animal species and witness the colorful palette of 755 species of indigenous fynbos. 

Click here for more on Bushman Kloof. 

Shamwari Game Reserve

EaglesCragfromAirTermed “the Pride of the Eastern Cape”, the Shamwari Game Reserve is one of the largest private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. Comprising more than 25,000 hectares of well-established Big Five country, this award-winning Reserve is family-friendly, malaria-free, and devoted to the philosophy of conservation alongside tourism.

Shamwari translates to “my friend” in Shona, and the Reserve aims to promote harmony between travelers and wildlife. Interactive game drives, guided game walks, and guided nature walks offer various methods to witness the largest concentration of wildlife in the Eastern and Southern Cape.

In addition to its massive populations of native species, Shamwari Game Reserve offers ample accommodation options with six different lodges. These luxurious properties are all 5-star graded, yet each lends their unique character and charm. As a result, travelers with varying preferences and budgets will find their perfectly-suited lodge within the Reserve.

Eagles Crag Lodge represents the utmost in exclusivity, privacy, and serenity – it was designed for the most discerning of travelers. Villa Lobengula is a tranquil, exclusive getaway deep in the SE11valley bushveld. Long Lee Manor is the biggest of the camps, and its rolling green lawns surround an establishment inspired by the refined elegance from a bygone era. Bayethe Lodge is the ultimate luxury tented accommodation, undeniably romantic and perfect for honeymooning couples. Sarili Lodge acts as a colonial bush experience, perfect for families or small parties. Riverdene Lodge is also family-friendly, an elegantly restored and colorful frontier home.

The Shamwari Group has been the World’s Leading Conservation Company since 1998 and its Dedicated Wildlife Department includes a rehabilitation center, breeding center, education center, anti-poaching unit and an animal hospital. Qualified wildlife veterinarians, ecologists and environmentalists contribute to the 300+ local staff members and the Reserve has received the Global Nature Fund Award for Best Conservation Practice. The Shamwari Game Reserve represents a remarkable success story and is currently partnering with the Wilderness Foundation to highlight the devastating effect of rhino poaching within South Africa and the rest of the continent. 

Click here for more on Shamwari Eagles Crag Lodge

Destination Spotlight: South Africa

March 9th, 2015 for

No other continent can compete with Africa’s prolific canvas, ranging from the stunning savannahs of the Serengeti to Cape Town one of the most stunning cities in the world.  Africa is home to an exquisite Noah’s Ark of wildlife and an incredible array of unique traditions and cultures. As a result of this disparity, the first pertinent decision you must make when booking an African safari is which destination to explore.

If you are seeking a variety of experiences such as a Big Five safari, sophisticated culinary events, adventure options, charming villages and some of the world’s finest safari lodges, then South Africa is calling your name. Cape Town alone is reason enough to make the journey; this breathtaking city boasts an energetic nightlife, internationally renowned restaurants, and close proximity to more stunning natural landscapes than you can count – including the arresting Table Mountain. Step outside the Mother City and find a bevy of enthralling destinations, from the deserted Kalahari to the wildlife-congested savannah of Kruger National Park.

Africa beckons with an unmistakable allure, boasting a kaleidoscope of possibilities sure to satisfy every budget and bucket list. African Travel, Inc.’s NEW Safari Vacation Packages offers deluxe safaris at a truly unbeatable value. Many of these packages even include international airfare – you simply won’t find Africa at a greater value anywhere else!

These locally hosted safaris are intimate, with a maximum of twelve people per journey, and the stunning accommodations are consistent with the quality travelers expect from African Travel, Inc. Additional experiences are available à-la-carte on most Safari Vacation Packages itineraries, enabling you to craft each safari around your own individual interests and desires.

Jim Holden getting ready for the trip to his homeland – Zambia

May 8th, 2014 for

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