Posts Tagged ‘game drive’

Londolozi: The Best Destination for a Photographic Safari in South Africa

4V1C0584

Thirsty leopard drinking at Londolozi

If you are a planning photographic safari and want a luxury experience, Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa might be the destination for you.

I rented this Canon is 100-400 mm IS lens at Londolozi

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Scenes from a Game Drive at Londolozi, South Africa

Processed with VSCOcam with a9 preset

Up close with African elephants at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa

Last month I returned to Londolozi Game Reserve, where I went on my first safari in 2004. The three days I spent there reminded me of why Londolozi has such a fantastic reputation and constantly winds up on lists of the best safari lodges in the world.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Solo rhino at Londolozi

This time my husband and I stayed at Tree Camp, the newest of the camps at Londolozi and found the room far more luxurious than we needed it to be. We appreciated all the mod cons like AC and dual vanity sinks and the hot tub, but the point of safari is to go on the game drives and see the animals. Tree Camp was amazing, but I don’t think it’s necessary to get the fanciest room at Londolozi.

Processed with VSCOcam with 6 preset

A casual encounter with an African elephant at Londolozi

We also paid for a private vehicle, so that we could go at our own pace and hang out with certain sightings as long as we wanted. If I had to pick one splurge, I’d pick the private vehicle over the largest room on safari. This gives you a more customized safari experience.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Adorable elephant at Londolozi

Processed with VSCOcam with c7 preset

Elephants on an afternoon game drive

There have been some changes at Londolozi since I first visited, and they are great. I’ll dedicate a future post to Londolozi’s photographic studio, which rents Canon and Nikon compatible lenses. This makes Londolozi a top pick for travelers who want the best photographic safari experience.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Pride of lions feeding on a wildebeest

Game drives at Londolozi last about three hours in the morning and another three in the afternoon. If you’ve never been on safari, six hours of game drives seems like a long time to spend in a vehicle. But the time flies on a game drive when you get to see such amazing wildlife activity up close.

londolozileo

Thirsty leopard

The elephants and leopards were my favorite animals to view. And I got up close with quite a few of them.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

Londolozi is famous for the leopards

One of the highlights of any safari at Londolozi is the seeing the leopards. They are beautiful and amazing.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Following a leaping leopard on a game drive

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Leopard on the move at Londolozi

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Leopard napping in a tree

Londolozi is located within South Africa’s Greater Kruger National park on the Sand River. This is also in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

Up close with an elephant on a game drive at Londolozi

Londolozi Game Reserve

Phone number +27 13 735 5653
Email address news@londolozi.co.za

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Glamping with Wilderness Safaris at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

Desert glamping in Namibia at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

My recent trip to Namibia was the first time I traveled with Wilderness Safaris and I was truly impressed with everything about Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. It’s brand new, having opened in August 2014.

Twilight outside tent #2 at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Impressive, elevated tents at Hoanib

Namibia doesn’t allow permanent camps, instead they grant land concessions for a number of years. So everything about Hoanib will be able to disappear without a trace to help conserve Namibia’s natural environment.

Visiting the Roaring Dunes was one of the highlights of my stay at Hoanib

While the tents may be temporary, the camp is still amazingly stylish and comfortable. The guest tents have a genius design. They are built on platforms elevated over the sand, which helps keep their interiors at a comfortable temperature both day and night.

The Hoanib Staff waits to greet you with cool towels and fresh lemonade

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is run with Wilderness Safari’s ethos and commitment to the 4Cs – Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture. The staff is committed to contributing meaningfully to the wildlife and the people of Africa. The staff is great and this attitude makes you feel really good about spending money here.

Bella, the resident cat at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

General Manager Clement Lawrence and his team are all warm, personable, and take very good care of you. The service style is laid-back and unobtrusive. This is perfect for the modern luxury travelers who don’t want to feel like a Colonial with a staff fawning over you all the time.

The pool is perfect for cooling off on hot days in the Namib desert

Emms, our guide and tracker was incredible. He was friendly and warm and just plain fun to hang out with and have a chat. Fatima keeps things the ship running tight back at camp. There are only 10 tents, so the camp feels intimate.

Looking from the pool into the dining pavilion

Located in the private the Hoanib River Valley in the Private Palmwag Concession, the property is remote and way off the grid. It’s luxurious for sure, but you’re glamping.

The living room in the

There is no wifi, phone service, or television. With your days filled with game drives and wildlife walking through the camp serving as “Namibian television.” I did not miss being connected. That being said, we did pack our own satellite phone for emergencies. 

Left: The main tent looks gorgeous against the desert landscape Right: Zulu baskets

Clement let me know I could send an email from the office if it was necessary.

Table in the dining tent facing the gorgeous rocky landscape

Left: the communal living room Right: The fresh lemonade was my personal favorite beverage

You’re not exactly roughing it here. The bathrooms were spacious, chic and had plenty of hot water heated by the solar panels that surround the camp.

I loved the modern safari chic vibe of Hoanib’s communal living room

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes along the Skeleton Coast.

A club sandwich & chips for lunch

Hoanib is one of Wilderness Safaris Classic Camps, which is their second tier of luxury. It felt plenty luxurious to both me and my husband.

Left: A view of the lunch buffet Right: a pastry at lunch

This means there are fewer selections for entrees at lunch and dinner than you’d find at one of the Premier Camps,  but we felt well fed and still had plenty of options and never went hungry.

Pops of cornflower blue looked fantastic against the desert backdrop

Your days are filled with Game Drives and wildlife viewing (the elephants were my personal favorite), and adventures like visiting the Roaring Dunes and seal colony along the Skeleton Coast.

Left: Local handicrafts on display at camp Right: I loved these these cool bar stools

A rare rainy morning before a game drive

On a rare rainy morning in December, it was chilly when we left for our morning game drive. Emms, our guide, made sure we had blankets and ponchos to keep us warm and toasty.

Sundowners were my favorite daily ritual

Emms also delivered us to a great spot for sundowners every evening, and it became my favorite daily ritual.

Not a bad place for a sundowner

Namibia’s dramatic skies are as spectacular as it’s landscape

Nambia’s rugged and dramatic landscape is matched by it’s crazy beautiful skies. The clouds are ever-changing.

The moon was still visible in the morning

Clear skies mean star spotting and a visible moon

Moon framed in by the ties of a tent at Hoanib

My stay at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was so memorable and impressive, I’m now very curious about visiting more of Wilderness Safaris properties. Perhaps I’ll go see the gorillas in the Congo next.

Safari chic bathroom selfie, Namibia

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Rates start at $484 USD – low season (11 January 2015  to 14 June 2015, 01 November 2015 to 19 December 2015)

From $720 – high season (15 June 2015  to 31 October 2015, 20 December 2015 to 10 January 2016)

Booking Inquiries:

Wilderness Safaris

Johannesburg

+27 ­11 ­807 ­1800
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

Cape Town

+27 ­21 ­702 ­7500
Mon-Fri 08:00 – 17:00 GMT+2

enquiry@wilderness.co.za

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Morning Cloud Lapse at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia

My husband enjoying the morning clouds in the main pavillion Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

One of the things that makes Namibia’s landscape so beautiful is it’s star-filled skies and shape shifting clouds. When you’re on safari, you wake up early to grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before you head out on your morning game drive. That’s when I set up my iPhone to capture the morning clouds just as the sun was beginning to peek beyond the horizon.

Morning clouds and sky time lapse at Hoanib

The moon was still clearly visible in the December morning sky.

The moon still visible in the morning skies of Namibia

Morning cloud reflections

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hotel Review: A Stay at the Aman-I-Khas Rajasthan, India

The tents are palatial at Aman-I-Khas

Last month I got a chance to visit Aman-I-Khas is Rajasthan, India on assignment for Glamping.com. It was an incredibly property and by far the poshest glamping experience I’ve had to date. Perhaps the most notable thing about the Aman-I-Khas experience is that it begins prior to arrival. Guests are assigned a batman (that’s a butler) prior to arrival to help with all travel logistics.

The grounds at Aman-I-Khas

Bijay, my butler, met me and my husband at The Lodhi (our hotel in New Delhi) to accompany us to on our journey by car and train to Aman-I-Khas. Having such personal service prior to arrival made the trip hassle free. Bijay took care of all the baggage logistics and even tipped the porters. He also came prepared with a lovely seat cover for the train, and picnic style snacks and tea. It was so thoughtful and let us enjoy the scenery on the less than 3 hour train ride.

Left: the father/son gardeners   Right: I loved the bright saris worn by this woman who swept the grounds

Rural India is entirely different from New Delhi, and it was fun seeing the landscape change outside the window.

The glamorous and chic tent interiors

Some people are nervous about sleeping under canvas. While I am not one of those people, I can say without question that the tented suites at Aman-I-Khas are the most impressive I’ve ever seen. They are huge pavilions with real divisions of space between bedroom, closet, bathrooms and reading area. They have heated floors and impressive water pressure, and side by side sinks. There is even a deep bathtub where Bijay thoughtfully drew a bath waiting for us when we returned from our daytime activities. Even honeymooners would feel comfortable with the level of privacy.

Al fresco dining at Aman-I-Khas

Food is top notch. You can dine in the restaurant tent, or al fresco when the weather allows. The menu features produce grown in the garden on the property and has Indian and non-Indian selections changing daily. I usually chose the Indian, and found the curry to be satisfying and not too spicy.

Left: Lamb curry Right: farm-to-tent leafy green salad

You can spend your days at Aman-I-Khas relaxing in the beautiful surroundings and start with a morning yoga session. I choose to go on game drives in nearby Ranthambore National Park,  which is famous for it’s population of tigers. December is not the month with the greatest track record for tiger spotting but I saw plenty of other wildlife, from deer to egrets. If seeing a tiger is your priority, I’d suggest visiting in the hot spring months, when tigers are frequently spotted at the park’s watering holes and committing to two game drives daily until you spot one. Bobby, my safari guide, spoke great English and knew his animals and birds.

Fancy dress camel at Aman-I-Khas

You can also take a sunset camel ride departing right from the property. Even the camels are up to Aman’s high standards, well dressed, clean, and polite. We took the camel ride the day we arrived and ended the day with a sundowner overlooking the nearby valley. It was spectacular.

Bird at sunrise at Surwal Lake

When I asked the staff to arrange for me to see the sunrise someplace pretty, boy did they deliver. Bobby, my guide, drove us to nearby Surwal Lake to watch the morning come alive. We met some friendly local children and Bijay surprised us by turning up with a picnic breakfast. If this is the Aman way, I’m totally smitten.

One of the deer spotted during a game drive in Ranthambore National Park

Aman service is second to none. It’s personalized, thoughtful, and wonderfully non-intrusive. The resort’s General Manager, Dumi Sakuinje, knows how it’s done. He is from Zimbabwe and previously worked with top safari company And Beyond before coming to Rajasthan.

An egret in Ramthambore

There is a library tent on the property which also has essentials like scarves and buntings for cool morning game drives (at reasonable prices. My bunting jacket cost $10). Those looking for an African safari experience should be aware that Ranthambore is a National Park, not a game reserve. That means vehicles need to stay on the roads to view the wildlife. Still, there is plenty to see.

The library tent at Aman-I-Khas

Any dust I picked up during the game drives was cleaned up in the tent’s impressive bathroom complete with separate shower, bath, and toilet.

Left: Our tent after turndown service Right: The firepit at Aman-I-Khas

Wifi was strong throughout the property and also worked near the communal fire pit, which was another nice spot for a cocktail. Local musicians perform nightly, and their music is rather enchanting and atmospheric. They even performed for us poolside when we had dinner near the pool one evening.

Local musicians perform nightly at Aman-I-Khas

You can read more about my stay and my day-by- day trip reports about Aman-I-Khas on the Glamping.com blog here.

My stay at Aman-I-Khas was part of the Aman India Journey, which combines stays at the Lodhi New Delhi, and the Aman-I-Khas and Amanbagh in Rajasthan.

Disclosure: This post wouldn’t be possible without Glamping.com and the incredible staff at my stay at Aman-I-Khas who sponsored my stay.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook YouTubeTwitterSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSSSubscribe via RSS