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An Unforgettable Visit at Shamwari Game Reserve

July 4th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

An Unforgettable Visit at Shamwari Game Reserve

Covering 25,000 hectares with a choice of six luxury, 5-star lodges and abundant and diverse wildlife, it’s easy to see why malaria free, award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve is considered the best private game reserve in the eastern cape.

Staff from African Travel, Inc. recently stayed at Shamwari Game Reserve during a staff educational trip. We were graciously hosted by the teams at Bayethe Tented Lodge, Eagles Crag Lodge and Lobengula Lodge. Two very different lodges, but a few things remained constant - the staff, food and accommodations were all spectacular.  

Bayethe Tented Lodge
Named from the African greeting “By-ye-ti,” which means “I salute you,” this lodge has 12 detached tents, each of which can accommodate a maximum of two adults. A truly luxurious experience, each tent is equipped with an ensuite bathroom with six tents having outdoor showers and three tents having indoor showers.

Eagles Crag Lodge
As Shamwari’s premier lodge, Eagles Crag offers guests ultimate luxury, privacy and breath-taking scenery. All nine luxury suites can accommodate a maximum of two adults and include a private deck with plunge pool. All suites all offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding rock faces where guests can watch eagles soar.

Lobengula Lodge
Boasting panoramic views of the mountains and valleys, Lobengula has been designed to resemble a traditional African kraal. This lodge boasts six suites, each of which can accommodate two adults per suite. Nina, Lobengula’s manager and her team were excellent hosts welcoming us “home” after each game drive with hot chocolate, Chai tea or Sherry along with warm and refreshing hand towels. It was luxury at its finest and we all felt like VIP guests.

Our game rangers, Jan and Jacques also gave us the best game drive experiences. With three staff visiting South Africa for the first time, Jan and Jacques were so knowledgeable, fun and engaging and it was a special treat to spot four (rhino, lion, buffalo and elephant) out of the big five on our game drives.

Not only known for its luxury accommodations and unforgettable safari experiences, Shamwari Game Reserve is also one of the most successful private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. After visiting, it is absolutely clear how Shamwari leads in conservation and preservation. Read all about how African Travel, Inc. and Lion World Travel staff had the incredible opportunity to micro-chip a rhino.

Looking to stay at Shamwari Game Reserve and help with rhino conservation? On our Majestic South Africa safari vacation, you will stay three nights at the luxurious Eagles Crag Lodge and for every booking we will be donating $50 per couple, in your name, to go towards building a new rhino boma at Shamwari.

The Shamwari Experience

We Know Namibia

April 10th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

We Know Namibia

For a truly unspoiled and authentic experience, a visit to Namibia is a must. It’s a place of great contrasts with seas of soft sand dunes and lush greenery. For seekers of the remote and profound, Namibia offers a one-of-a-kind wilderness experience with a landscape inhabited by incredible desert-adapted plant and animal life.

Here are our top five reasons to visit Namibia:

  1.  Skeleton Coast
    The wild Skeleton Coast coastline is home to Cape fur seals, black-backed jackals and the rare, brown hyena. Swirling mists brew where shipwrecks rest along the shorelines where a scenic flight over the dramatic landscape is the only way to see this unique region.
     

  2. Damaraland
    Known as the land of the rhinos, Damaraland is recognized as having the largest free-roaming black rhino population in Africa. From Rhino tracking to nature walks to game drives where you can see desert-adapted wildlife including giraffe, zebra and elephant, you will definitely want to explore this miraculous ecosystem.
     
  3. Sunshine
    Did you know that Namibia has an average of 300 days of sunshine per year? That makes it one of the sunniest countries in the world. The hot and dry climate make it a pleasurable safari vacation with most travelers preferring to travel during the months of May-October.
     

  4. Soussusvlei
    As Namibia’s most iconic landscape, the red sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park tower more than 900 feet above the surrounding plains. The spectacular landmark is a photographer’s dream with many visitors opting to climb the dunes for surreal views of the landscape.
     

  5. Cheetah
    Known as “Cheetah country,” Namibia is home to one third of the world’s entire cheetah population. Although they aren’t part of the Big Five, a trip to Africa wouldn’t be complete without seeing one and with Namibia having one of the densest cheetah populations, a visit offers the best chance to see these magnificent creatures.

If cheetahs, seeing the iconic red sand dunes and a truly authentic experience are part of your bucket list, why not book your safari vacation with African Travel, Inc. and discover the best of Namibia? Check out African Travel’s Namibia Desert Escape or speak to one of our Safari Specialists to create your own tailor-made safari.

All photo credits: Jessica Lynn Gafford

Getting Catty at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

April 4th, 2017, by

Getting Catty at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The following story by journalist Dana Hammond, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and a regular contributor to AAA publications, first appeared in Horizons magazine. Or, Horizons and Your AAA magazines.

People say a leopard can’t change its spots, but I say watching a leopard can change people. I saw that happen for myself while on a safari with African Travel at the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. Bouncing across the wild tundra in an open safari vehicle with just a few like-minded souls, we were homebound for the eco-chic Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge after our first exhilarating game drive. Visions of mud-splashed hippos, lumbering rhinos, elephants of all sizes and myriad antelope already decorated our memories.

As we drove the air swirled around us like an embrace, still warm and welcoming as the the last wisps of sunlight left the sky. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bright beam of light caught the eyes and eventually illuminated the full coat of a leopard on the prowl. Surely Mother Nature took her most fashion-forward stance when she dressed the leopard in such spectacular finery from head to toe, and I couldn’t help thinking we were privileged to spy the ultimate cat walk. Our tracker spotlighted the animal for only a brief moment. It was simply a glimpse of what was to come.

Sabi Sands sits adjacent to the legendary Kruger National Park. Animals roam freely between the vast park and the private reserve, but by all accounts the elusive leopards have developed an extra soft spot for the Sabi Sands area. It’s recognized as one of the best places in the world to spy the shy creatures.

During our first morning game drive the area’s bounty continued to reveal itself. A hush fell over our group as we spied a pair of leopards playing and preening in a clearing. Usually leopards are solitary creatures. We watched for several mesmerizing moments before they disappeared into the bush. That encounter would have been enough to satisfy me, but it proved to be another prelude. The next hour flashed by in what seemed like a minute. It started with a single leopard snoozing on a termite mound, yet another marvelous scene. But the excitement kept building as the leopard woke up with a series of tooth-baring yawns and then strolled right alongside our safari vehicle to reposition itself atop a tree. As if a fantasy wildlife director were choreographing every move, the leopard seemingly posed in a few different positions and then decided to sprawl out across a limb with its tail dangling freely in perfect repose. It made me want to put down the camera and get out a sketch pad. And, that was telling.

While the leopard was obviously unfazed in our presence, it nonetheless made me feel as if it was obliging in some sense. It was like this amazing creature knowingly let us into its secret world, gave us time to take lots of pictures because that’s what we do in our own tech-centric world, and then challenged all of us to put down the gizmos to absorb the true essence of its being. The raw magnificence, the clarity of primordial power, was palpable. In those moments, I felt connected to Africa. It informed me. I started breathing in its time. And, I created a map in my mind to get back to that place whenever I want to return in a daydream.

All Photo Credits: Kym Hammond 

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