• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

A Hidden Gem in Botswana

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The Mashatu Game Reserve, in the Tuli Block, Botswana has a wealth of experiences to offer the adventurous traveller and has just become easier to get there. They now sponsor connecting flights from Johannesburg and Maun every Wednesday and Saturday. Just one hour from Johannesburg has you landing in “the Land of the Giants”.

The name comes from the locally revered Mashatu Tree that frame the Limpopo River, the big herds of elephants and iconic baobab trees. You have the choice of staying in a lodge or tented camp, both with active waterholes that will keep you entertained. The guides also offer you different ways of experience Africa unchanged.

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

You can opt for the traditional game drive in 4×4, take to a mountain bike for a closer contact with the wild or perhaps go for the walking safari with sleep outs. Whichever way you choose your guide will ensure your safety, comfort and tailor the safari to the fitness of those involved. For those that are competent horse riders then there is the chance to ride along with the plains animals.

For lovers of history then there is evidence of pre-historic man, the Great Zimbabwe period and the more modern times of colonial rule through to now. Find out from the locals with a trip to a nearby village to learn about life in the Tuli Block.

A different African experience within an hour of one the hub airports of Africa, Johannesburg. For more information please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Kenya – the ultimate safari destination!

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The word ‘safari’ is synonymous with Kenya, and with good reason. Not only was it the first safari destination for tourists, but it’s also one of the best with phenomenal game viewing opportunities, breath-taking landscapes and fascinating people. Combine this with the soft white sands and turquoise seas of the coast, and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable holiday.

With such a fantastic reputation, it’s easy to think that Kenya would be expensive and in truth, there are certainly some luxurious, exclusive options that don’t come cheap. However, there are also options for those keen for the exclusive experience, but without the exclusive price tag.

Our partner in Kenya offers two excellent Adventure Camps, which bring all the benefits of staying in a Wildlife Conservancy teeming with animals but at a small fraction of the price that you’d normally pay to stay at the main, more luxurious camps. All activities are included and conducted at the same standard as is in the main camps.

Their conservancies are vast areas of pristine wildlife-filled terrain where you enjoy day and night game drives in 4×4 vehicles, bush meals and guided walks and stay in comfortable small and exclusive camps. Here guests can observe the wildlife – including elephants and all the Big Cats – where the animals are completely safe, in their natural environment and in a near exclusive setting. No Crowds.

Picture courtesy of Gamewatchers Safaris

The Adventure Camps are designed for those for whom the wildlife safari experience is more important than the accommodation and who are prepared to sleep in basic tents – 10 feet square and 6 feet tall – with sleeping bags and a foam mattress on the floor. (Private safari shower and flush wc are behind each tent). All meals are included, prepared by the camp cook. Mineral water is provided in camp and on game drives and the camp bar has wine, beer and soft drinks available for sale at reasonable prices. The Adventure Camps ensure you get all the premium activities and game-viewing normally associated with only the most expensive camps and lodges but at a fraction of the price.

A six night safari with three nights in Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli region) and three nights in Ol Kinyei Conservancy (Maasai Mara) starts at £1755.00 per person sharing in the peak season for 2018. The single tent supplement is just £108.00. Prices include Full Board accommodation, flights from and back to Nairobi, day and night game drives in 4×4 vehicles, a visit to Amboseli National Park or the Maasai Mara National Reserve, all Conservancy fees and educational nature walks with Maasai guides. These camps are open between July and October – spaces are limited as the camps are small and personal, so please do give us a call to enquire!

Picture courtesy of Gamewatchers Safaris

Prices are subject to availability and change. International flights are not included – there are plenty of airlines offering flights between London and Nairobi, some direct and others with a stop en route. For information on international flights, please do let us know your preferred dates and we can provide a price for the most appropriate option.

Consider also spending time in Nairobi prior to the tour, and perhaps time on the coast at the end to relax – anything is possible!

For more information on putting together your own bespoke tailor made Africa Safari please call us on Tel:01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Fly-fishing in Botswana and Zambia

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

 

The Zambezi River flows through and borders Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The area is unique, not only as a game-viewing area, but also as the home of the famous Victoria Falls, complete with its history both recent and not so recent. 

Our Guides are highly experienced and knowledgeable – Lee Whittam in particular is also an accomplished wildlife photographer and a keen fly-fisherman.  Wherever possible he will be guiding trips.  In his words:

The areas in which we concentrate are the Okavango system in Botswana and the Zambezi river system in Zimbabawe and Zambia. The main target species would be the Tiger fish and the many Tilapia species (or Bream as they are locally known). Both species readily take a fly and with the tiger fish being a ferocious predator – large baitfish imitations are the order of the day.  The Tilapia species are also generally predatory and similar flies although slightly smaller than those used for Tiger fish will be savagely taken by most bream species.  Sight fishing is the most rewarding way of targeting these two species and this is particularly true in the Okavango in Northern Botswana.  The crystal clear waters of this system offer the angler pristine wilderness coupled with fantastic fishing.

When fishing the Zambezi River a completely different approach is needed. This impressive  river system, which in some areas (lower Zambezi) can be up to 3 km wide,  is most productive on the fast flowing sections of river.  The tiger fish wait on the outskirts of the main channel and pick off fish as they come past. Apart from the Bream and the Tiger fish there are over 80 fish species in each system and most are catchable on fly, this coupled with the fact that you are fishing in areas where the wildlife roams freely makes for a truly unique fly fishing destination. 

Green headed bream -Okavango Delta Botswana

And for the non-fishermen:  The facilities at the lodges insure that for the non fisherman there are plenty of options in the form of game-viewing walks, bird-watching, boat trips and in some cases cultural tours of neighbouring villages to be enjoyed while “the other half” fish.

The Itinerary:  Your itinerary will typically include three nights in the Delta, three nights on a house boat in the ‘pan handle’ and three nights on the shores of the Zambezi.  Including your flights in both directions, this creates an 11 night holiday, however, this can be extended or curtailed to your requirements.

So what else could we add:

Victoria FallsNo visit to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to Victoria Falls.

Game Viewing in the Linyanti or Selinda Reserve: Without doubt, the Linyanti and Selinda Reserves located to the western edge of the Chobe National Park offer the best game viewing in the world.

Makgadikgadi Pans:  Extend your holiday with a two or three night stay at the salt pans.  This area, the size of a small country is the result of the extraordinary changes that have taken place geologically over the millions of years.  Once an inland sea, the pans are now dry, leaving one of the flattest places on earth – so flat that the curvature of the earth can be seen with the naked eye.

A touch of pampering:  After your fly-fishing holiday and game viewing experience, round off your holiday with a few days rest and relaxation, some excellent wines and fine dining and perhaps a little pampering.

 

 

Great Value Kenyan Safaris

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

One of Kenya’s premier safari companies, Gamewatchers Safaris, is keen to see a greater return of British clients to the treasures of this beautiful country. Towards this end they are offering some truly special prices for 6 or more day safaris.

Most cover the key wildlife areas of Kenya such as the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Nairobi National Park. These include flights between these key locations and you will be staying in Porini Safari Camps which are small, exclusive and run on environmentally sound principles.

Prices start from US$2,765 per person (Just over £2,000 per person) which includes all the flights, meals and most drinks as well as game drives in each location. There are a number of permutations for types and lengths of safari to include all that Kenya has to offer and building a safari to suit your needs is what we and Gamewatchers love doing.

However, because the camps are small in size, places go fast and the special offers will not be here for long.

For more information on this fantastic Kenya Safari offer please contact us on: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Botswana – The Northern Parks and Wildlife Areas

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Africa’s largest inland delta, the Okavango, is the centre of any holiday to this part of Botswana. This wetland has always been a haven for animals and birds and is now mostly protected as National Park or Game Reserves. Large areas of the Delta are under private concessions who work closely with the locals to offer you a quality experience which you share with just a few other travellers. With the options of traditional game drives, boat tours, mokoro (dugouts) trips, night safaris and walking safaris you have the chance to see the flora and fauna from so many different angles – not forgetting the light aircraft transfers that give you an eagle’s eye view of this fascinating country.

Summary

The Northern Parks and Wildlife Areas

 

Day 1:              Chobe National Park

Day 3:              Moremi Game Reserve

Day 5:              Okavango Delta

Day 8:              Nxai Pan National Park

Day 10:            Maun

 

Description

Description

 

This itinerary takes to you the World famous areas of Botswana and is a feast of wildlife and wild scenery. With a mixture of the wetland of the Okavango Delta and the dryness of the Kalahari Desert you have a real African adventure of contrast.

 

Day 1

Your flight in to the first camp will be in a small aircraft and will give you a great overview of the Delta and then Chobe National Park. On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your lodge located on the Chobe River. Famous for the size of the elephant and buffalo herds you will have a chance to see these (and all the other animals) both from your 4×4 vehicle and also from a boat on the river. Sipping a sundowner and watching the wildlife coming down for their evening drink and the sun setting behind them.

2 nights Chobe National Park

 

Day 3

A short flight takes you to your next camp in the Moremi Game Reserve, the first conservation area in the Okavango set up by the local tribes. Set in the flood plains of the Delta, this area is rich in wildlife and has recorded over 400 types of birds. Following the re-introduction of rhino to the area, it is truly Big 5 country with wild dog also present. Again you have the choice of boat or vehicle tours of this amazing area. You also will appreciate how fewer tourists are to be found here. Often you will have the wildlife experience with just your vehicle/boat in attendance.

2 nights Moremi Game Reserve

 

Day 5

Another transfer by air or possibly by road has you deep in the Okavango Delta and your third camp site. You will be deep in the Delta and the chance to head out in a mokoro (dugout that is powered by your guide with a long pole). This gives you another, more intimate, way of seeing the wild and bird life here. The silence of your approach means you should have excellent viewing and not disturb the animals. For the intrepid you could elect to have a night or two wild camping further in to the bush.

3 nights Okavango Delta

 

Day 8

Catch your next small plane flight out of the Delta and then in to the Kalahari Desert. You leave the green of Okavango behind and enter the vastness of this huge desert. Your next destination is the Nxai Pan National Park which, depending on the time of year, is a grassy plain with clumps of trees around waterholes. The wildlife is abundant during the rainy season then sparser and inhabited by the residents such as bat eared fox. Your camp here is most likely around one of the few waterholes and with views over the plains. Perhaps take a quad bike tour out over the desert/saltpan and experience the flat and hugeness of this area.

2 nights Nxai Pan National Park

 

Day 10

Fly back to Maun for your connection back home or onwards to Victoria Falls or different parts of Botswana (see our other itineraries for Botswana).

 

Botswana - Leopard

Picture courtesy of Helen Wibley

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Helen Wibley

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

Being punted through the reeds and waterways of the Okavango Delta by an experienced guide and never quite sure what you will see next – hippo pod, elephant bathing or drinking or the beautiful, tiny Malachite kingfisher perched on a reed.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

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Namibia’s Caprivi Strip

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

There is another side to Namibia which is greener, with wide rivers running through it and giant trees fringing the banks. This is home to about 70% of Namibia’s population and a fruitful land that supports both the people and its diverse bird and wildlife. This itinerary is a self drive one but could just as easily be a fly in or guided tour option. It also lends itself to combining with a visit to the Victoria Falls.

Summary

Caprivi Strip

 

Day 1:              Okonjima

Day 2:              Rundu

Day 3:              Mahango

Day 6:              Mudumu/Lianshulu

Day 8:              Katimo Mulilo

Day 9:              River Cruise

Day 11:             Victoria Falls or Windhoek

Description

Description

 

This itinerary captures some of the iconic but less visited attractions of Northern Namibia. All along the river the giant trees and fast flowing waters attract a host of wildlife and birds. It is also home to 70% on Namibia’s population giving you the chance to meet and learn about the culture of Namibians.

 

Day 1

Pick up your vehicle and drive due north to Okonjima, the home of the Africat Foundation and a farm that has now become a leading animal conservation point in Namibia. Join in one of the activities that are on offer here, such as leopard tracking, learning about Africat or a night drive.

1 night Okonjima

Day 2

A long drive as you head due north until you reach Rundu which on the Kavango River and the border with Angola. Your stay will be overlooking the river and a cruise will bring the first of the crocodiles that you see. Local fishermen will be out with their nets and the different sized kingfishers coursing up and down the waters. Being on the river at sundown is a magical way to end the day.

You are now in a birder’s paradise with about 450 species found here.

1 night at Gondwana Hakusembe River Lodge

 Day 3

Today’s journey is a relatively short one but very different from other drives in Namibia in that you will pass through many villages, well tended fields and see so many more people. Ensure that you have a picnic lunch at the Popa Falls which is more of a cascade than falls but just as interesting. The shade from the big riverside trees will be welcome. Your destination is a lodge based on the river in or close to Mahango Game Park.

Explore this Park both by boat from the lodge or in a vehicle to make the most of your time here. Pods of hippo will be in the river close to the lodge and you could have otters rummaging about outside your room. Explore Bwabwata National Park (formerly Buffalo Park) which is not easy to find but well worth the effort. Good numbers of elephant and buffalo are found here as well as herds of roan and sable antelope. This area was the Special Forces area of the Apartheid regime and you come across deserted buildings and very overgrown cemeteries.

3 nights at Lianshulu Lodge

Day 6

Cross over the narrow Caprivi Game Park that is sandwiched between Zambia and Botswana watching out for game along the way. Your next stop is at the other end of the Strip in Mudumu National Park which has the Kwando River as its border. Again your stay will be besides the river and with a bigger Park to explore, the chance of seeing plenty of the same kind of game. Mudumu does also have sitatunga antelope living in the marsh areas. Take time to visit Nkasa Lupala National Park which has the feel of the Okavango Delta to it with oxbow lakes, channels, reed beds and islands particularly in the flood season.

2 nights at Camp Kwando

Day 8

Drive to Katima Mulilo and have a final night in the Caprivi Strip in one of the lodges along the river.

1 night at Caprivi Mutoya Lodge

Day 9

Drop off your vehicle at the airport and catch a flight to Victoria Falls, You have the option of either the Zambian side of the Falls or the Zimbabwe side. The latter has the biggest and most scenic portion of the Falls although the Devil’s Pool and Livingstone Island are on the Zambian side. The choice is down to what you want to see and do here. For those that like an adrenalin rush then the Zim side offers white water rafting (at certain times of the year), bungee jumping and a host of other such attractions. Both offer wild life experiences and perhaps finish your river odyssey with a night or two on a river boat cruising.

2 nights on the Zambezi Queen or Hotel at Victoria Falls

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

Quietly following a pair of otters as they forage through the river banks and islands of the river. Hearing them whistling to each other and their excited cries when they find something to eat is fascinating. Then having to give way to a male hippo as we encroached upon his territory and he objected with a charge through the water.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

Coming soon!

 

 

Horse Riding with the Zimbabwe Wildlife

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Seeing the wildlife of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is a stunning experience on its own but Imvelo Safaris have just announced the start of horse riding from two of their lodges. This would be a completely different way of seeing the wildlife of visiting the village close by for a genuine cultural experience.

There are different experiences to take in to account experience – and yes there is an option for beginners or novice riders. The options are:

  1. Beginner Bush Experience – approximately 1 hour for beginners and novice riders
  2. Hippo Sunrise – approximately 3 hours for experienced riders
  3. Cultural Ride – approximately 5 ½ hours for intermediate riders
  4. Sundowner Ride – approximately 2 hours for intermediate riders
  5. Full Day Safari Ride – approximately 8 hours for experienced riders

In line with Imvelo’s ethos, this new activity has been brought to life in partnership with the communities. It has provided new jobs and will support Nganyana Village close to Camelthorn through guests participating in the cultural ride! During your visit the villagers will gladly show you the different ways they try make an income including basket weaving, beading and jewellery making – riders are welcome to try their hand at these crafts too!

The magnificent and expansive savanna vleis that border Camelthorn along with the Ngamo Plains make for the best safari riding areas in Zimbabwe and guests will now be able to enjoy leisurely strolls or more adventurous rides all led by experienced horse guides! The sense of freedom, silence and tranquillity, with a touch of adrenaline thrown in too, brings you closer to nature than you may have ever been before.

If this is for you and would like to make it part of your own bespoke tailor made itinerary to Africa then please contact us for fuller details and to start your safari plans – call on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

Picture courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

New African Rail Route announced by Rovos Rail

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Rovos Rail, one of our favourite carriers for that ”extraordinary” way to see Africa, have just announced a new 15 day trip that takes in Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. It has taken patient diplomatic negotiations to arrange permissions along the whole route and it has taken over 2 years.

The inaugural trip sets off on July 16, 2019 from Dar es Salaam (a city familiar to Rovos Rail as it has been running its 15-day Cape to Dar trip since 1993), and includes a game visit in the Selous Reserve, a fly-in two-night safari in the South Luangwa National Park (Zambia) and a city tour of Lubumbashi (DRC). Thereafter, it joins the Benguela line for short walking tours detailing Angola’s recent history with journey’s end in Lobito. The voyage is available in reverse departing from Lobito (Angola) on August 2, 2019.

Rates, which start at US$12 820 per person sharing, vary according to suite type and are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, all alcoholic and other beverages, room service, laundry, an on-board historian and doctor as well as excursions and the fly-in two-night safari (accommodation, meals, bottled water and a limited wine selection). Not included are pre- or post-tour accommodation, flights and transfers.

A wonderful way to see parts of Africa that are often difficult to access or combine. Give us a call to be one of the first to experience this amazing train journey – it will fill fast and places are limited.

If you would like to find out more and incorporate this in your own bespoke tailor made trip then please contact us for further details on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

Picture courtesy of Rovos Rail

 

Cape Town to Victoria, South Africa or Vice Versa

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Visiting these two iconic African locations is now easier. South African Airways are now flying direct between these two prime Southern African cities. The flights are daily, except Saturdays, departing Cape Town early (08:30) and arriving at Vic Falls at 11:15.

The return flight leaves at 11:45 and arrives in Cape Town at 14:40.

You could be soaked by the spray from The Falls and on top of Table Mountain all in one day!

Victoria Falls

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Cape Town

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenya Railways – Nairobi to Mombasa or Vice Versa

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, launched the revitalised/ new Standard Gauged Railway between Nairobi and Mombasa last week. This has cut the travelling time to just over 4 hours for the trip and with prices set at US$9-00 for economy class and US$30 for First Class this has become a real alternative to flying or buses.

There are plans to include a Business class carriage as well but these have yet to be delivered from China.

 

Kenya Lion

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

This gives travellers another option for travel between thee two popular cities but you could also use the train for access to Tsavo East and West National Parks and the Taita Hills with the train stopping at Voi and Mtito Andei. Providing the service is maintained this is another way to see this beautiful country without the experience of some of the rough roads.

For expert advice on your tailor made holiday to Kenya call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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