The new stuff – new safari camp openings
We’ve always got an ear tuned to what’s happening in Africa – filtering out the good from the less good. Sifting through new camp openings is one of the great perks of the job and visiting a new gem is always a buzz. Among the recent safari additions here are our some that particularly caught our eye.
Tusk and Mane – mobile camping in Zambia
Safari old-hands Kyle Branch and Luke Evans have joined forces to start Tusk and Mane Safaris – a new mobile camping operation exploring some of the wildest and most breathtaking corners of the Lower Zambezi. Two fly camp sites are tucked away on secluded islands in prime wildlife areas. A third follows ancient elephant trails into the foothills of the escarpment to the Kalingala Springs. Travel between the camps is on foot, by canoe, boat or game drive with each safari fully customised to suit fitness and desired level of adventure! Along the way, there is plenty of opportunity to spot buffalo, elephant, zebra, hippo and myriad other animal and bird species. A cosy bed, warm bucket-shower and a hearty meal around the campfire await at the end of the day. It may be a back to basics approach to safari but it proves wonderfully that a great guide, a tent, hot meal and fire is all you need to experience the magic of this superb wildlife area.
Forest Chem Chem – exclusive safari chic in Tanzania
This intimate, exclusive-use safari camp, set in a pocket of fever trees along the Tarangire River comprises just two vintage style tents and one two-bedroomed family tent. Accommodating a maximum of six adults and two children and oozing safari chic, it’s a wonderful place for families and friends to spend time together. Private game drives on a 16,000 hectare wilderness mean guests are free to explore this wildlife rich land as they wish – with the opportunity to spot breeding herds of elephant, prides of lion, plentiful plains species and lavish birdlife.
Hoanib Valley Camp – Namibian desert exploration
A joint venture between the Sesfontein community and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Hoanib Valley Camp is positioned deep in north-western Namibia. In a country packed with vast and spectacularly beautiful landscapes this Kaokoland region, with towering mountains, sand dunes and huge expanses of desert, is certainly no exception. Six elegant tents overlook the Hoanib river valley and it’s a perfect location from which to take drives to track desert-adapted lion, rhino, elephant and giraffe, and to meet the Himba, Herero and Damara communities in the area.
Kuthengo Camp – safari in unspoiled Malawi
Nestled among fever trees and baobabs, Robin Pope Safaris’ new Kuthengo Camp in southern Malawi’s Liwonde National Park sits alongside the Shire River and Lake Malombe. With four spacious en-suite tents, each with a private deck, this intimate camp is all rustic charm and glorious views. The park’s unspoiled wilderness provides a wonderful retreat to enjoy game drives and walking safaris, as well as tranquil boat cruises along the grand Shire River. The riverine, grassland and mopane woodland is scenically beautiful and home to elephant, buffalo, endangered black rhino and various antelope species. Cheetah have been reintroduced thanks to recent conservation efforts and it’s a birder’s paradise too with nearly 300 species resident.
Surefoot Safaris – privately guided walking in Zambia’s South Luangwa
With over 22 years’ experience guiding in the Luangwa, and 15 specialising in walking safaris, Deb Tittle is regarded as one of the top safari guides in Africa. In September 2018, she opens Mapazi Camp in a remote and undisturbed corner of the South Luangwa National Park. Offering bespoke walking safaris for groups of up to four (or single parties to a maximum of six), Deb’s guests will enjoy her uniquely flexible approach, following the action as it unfolds, with a mix of tracking, stalking and observing Africa’s wildlife on foot.
Deb will build the experience around the abilities and interests of her guests and likely animal encounters include elephant, zebra, buffalo and plentiful bird life. Morning walks will start early to maximise the cooler temperature and wildlife activities, with a lengthy stop en-route to allow for a rest and a good chat. Afternoon walks will cover less ground before returning to camp. Mapazi is a simple bush camp affair with three Meru-style tents providing comfortable accommodation, each with views of the Luangwa River. There’s a well-stocked bar and good wholesome food. If you are looking for a top class walking safari this is sure to be one of the best.
Morukuru Beach Lodge – Garden Route stop-off in South Africa
Anyone planning a trip down the Garden Route should consider a deviation for a night or two at Morukuru Beach Lodge. Set in the sublimely beautiful UNESCO De Hoop Nature Reserve the five bedroom lodge is a luxurious sanctuary amid towering white sand dunes, the azure Indian Ocean, limestone cliffs, rock pools and coastal fynbos. It is a wonderful place to see southern right whales, dolphins, sharks and seals. On land there are bontebok and Cape mountain zebra and the reserve is particularly known for its bird population. Activities include guided marine walks, fynbos walks, mountain biking, 4×4 nature drives, whale watching, sand boarding, volleyball, cricket, croquet, snorkelling and boat trips. All this, just three hours from Cape Town.
Shipwreck Lodge – sand dune delight in Namibia
This unique lodge with its ten innovative ‘shipwreck’ style cabins hidden in the sand dunes sits in a raw, rugged and hauntingly picturesque landscape in the Skeleton Coast National Park. Between the Hoarusib and Hoanib Rivers, it’s a perfect getaway for desert adventures and alternative safaris – an opportunity to spot desert-dwelling elephant, lion and kudu, or explore the Suiderkus and Karimona shipwrecks. Among the activities on offer are day excursions to the Möwe Bay seal colony, sundowner drives to the roaring dunes, and trips to the famous Clay Castles, a natural geological formation, where brown hyena burrow in the caves.
Four Seasons, Desroches – Seychelles island luxury
On the outer edge of the Seychelles archipelago, Desroches Island is a blissful paradise of pristine white-sand beaches, lush coconut groves, crystal clear waters and vibrant coral reefs – a remote and tranquil oasis, just five degrees south of the equator. After a lengthy refurbishment project, the resort has just reopened under the Four Seasons moniker. Each of the luxuriously appointed suites and villas has direct beach access, tropical gardens, plunge pool and luxurious outdoor living spaces. There’s a great spa, superb fishing and diving; while the inland forests and coconut trees provide picturesque paths for cycling and hiking. For guests looking to explore the many natural wonders of the Indian Ocean, the island’s Marine Conservation Discovery Centre and Giant Tortoise Sanctuary will be of interest.
There are plenty of places we’ve got our eye on among which is Magashi Camp an exciting new venture from Wilderness Safaris in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. This will offer an extraordinary savannah experience as well as helping to protect a delicate ecosystem and species like the shoebill and black rhino.
Also in Rwanda is Singita’s Kwitonda Lodge which, in the Volcanoes National Park, will offer luxurious accommodation for gorilla tracking safaris, as well as an easy connection to Singita’s private reserve on the Serengeti plains in Tanzania.
Gwe Gwe, from our friends at Natural Selection looks to be very special. It’ll be a waterfront retreat in the Mkambati Reserve on South Africa’s Wild Coast, home to powder-white beaches, pockets of dense forest and Serengeti-esque plains. So you can flit from whales and dolphins in the water to plains wildlife on land.
Finally, luxury specialist &Beyond is opening a contemporary safari lodge in South Africa’s Sabi Sand reserve. With one of the richest game populations in South Africa the chances of seeing the Big Five of lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino are excellent. It’ll be a great spot for those seeking a fabulous wildlife experience in a luxury setting.
We would be delighted to help you plan your safari or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris, to wildlife enthusiast safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.