Szilvia Hegyi - Southern Africa 2007

First stop of our safari was Mombo camp, one of Southern Africa's most luxurious camps. During our first ten minutes (while driving to camp!) we saw lots of impalas, warthogs and elephants. After our first game drive we stopped for a sundowner and watched the endless floodplain with its harmony full of elephants, zebras, wildebeests, buffalos and impalas. We have spent our first night listening to the amazing concert Botswana's
bird, hyena and frog community provided for us. Next morning we departed on our game drive at 6:00 am. Once again the beauty of wildlife totally mesmerized us including giraffes, elephants, lions, jackals and a pack of wild dogs. Seeing wild dogs was one of my dreams and it was truly an amazing exp erience!


Our next stop was Jao Camp, where we experienced our first leopard encounter. The camp with its amazing architecture was breathtaking. Our guide, Victor made sure that our stay at Jao will be an unforgettable experience. We enjoyed a m okoro ride and appreciated just being quiet and listened to the sounds of nature. I also enjoyed a relaxing massage in the open air spa at Jao. What a nice treat, a definite do not miss at Jao! One of the many highlights here was the traditional night at t he Boma with its great food and entertainment from the local staff. On our last morning we went walking with our guide and tried to absorb all the knowledge he shared with us about what the treks mean, which way the elephants were walking, signs of the com ing rain, etc. We could have stayed there and listened to him forever. His depth of knowledge was incredible

After spending two nights at Jao, we flew to our third camp in Botswana, Vumbura Plains. As one of the newest premier camps, Vumbura Plains represents the modern elegance in the bush. Besides game drives, we also enjoyed a boating excursion. We watched hippos swimming not far from our boat, it was very exciting.
On our second game drive we witnessed a leopard hunting a baby giraffe. At the en d, the giraffe got away with some injuries and the leopard needed to look for another prey. On our last morning we had a chance to see wild dogs for a second time. This time they were resting, so we had a chance to stay and observe them for a longer period.

Our last stop in Botswana was Kings Pool camp. Every time we looked out from our room, we saw an average
of 10-15 hippos in the river. They were laughing like old ladies and we enjoyed their endless conversations. The highlight of our stay a t Kings Pool was seeing two cheetah brothers cuddled up. They woke up once we have approached them, then continued their sleep in a split second. It was very special for us to experience this harmony. Kings Pool was a great finish to our time in Botswana.

Next day we headed to Victoria Falls with a lot of anticipation. We stayed at the colonial -style Victoria Falls
Hotel. The hotel is a balanced combination of history and convenience.
The Falls was everything and much more than what we have im agined. With the beautiful rainbows and surrounding rainforest, it is truly a spectacular site. While at Victoria Falls, we enjoyed a sunset cruise, bungee jumping (yes, we did it!) and an elephant back safari.


We also spent a night of the Zambian s ide of Victoria Falls at the beautiful River Club Lodge. Here we visited Simonga village and the Basic School of the village. We felt very fortunate and appreciative that the head lady of the village allowed us to tour the village and photograph during our tour. We enjoyed the million smiles and laughs the children have shared with us.

After bidding farewell to Zambia we flew to Cape Town for the last four nights of our Southern African adventure. We stayed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront hotel . We loved having breakfast on the terrace while looking at Table Mountain. On our first morning we enjoyed a cable car ride up to Table Mountain. The view from the top of the mountain is absolutely breathtaking. Cape Town is definitely one of the most bea utiful cities in the world tucked away between mountains and the ocean.

One afternoon we drove out to the winelands and enjoyed a picnic lunch. On the way back to the city we stopped at Greenmarket Square and shopped some nice curios, bargaining is a must! On our last full day, we enjoyed a guided peninsula tour and enjoyed the different beaches and water colors Cape Town has to offer. We finished our tour with a visit to the penguin colony on Boulders Beach.
We left Africa with a lot of unforgettab le memories and felt very fortunate to have experienced th is incredibly diverse wildlife in its natural habitat!

 

BOTSWANA IN FIVE DAYS

My first safari in Botswana began with an overnight at the Airport Sun Intercontinental, a perfect hotel, a short walk from arrivals. The morning is very relaxing as you do not have to get up early for the transfer back to the airport. A leisurely breakfast followed by an easy walk to the international terminal made for a stress free morning. I met up with a colleague in Johannesburg and departed to Maun.

 

   
 After arriving in Maun, Botswana I took a charter flight to Vumbura P lains. The flight over the delta was amazing. The landscape was very dry and barren leaving Maun and gradually fingers of water and life appeared as we flew closer to the heart of the delta. The land below is dotted with islands and waterways - lush and green. The rooms at Vumbura Plains have the best showers in Botswana - amazing. I saw leopard, lion and lots of plains game. A morning mokoro ride was a relaxing way to enjoy the delta close up. Little Vumbura was a charming camp, small and cozy.
Delta view   
Me and Kirsten         Charter flight to camp

                                        

The next camp was Kwetsani. I loved this camp. Shane and Kim the managers have it right, from the welcome to departure. The camp is very warm and inviting - it feels like home. Good lion sightings, plains game and elephant. One elephant was below my tent enjoying a palm tree for breakfast. He took great care at pulling the tree down to eat the heart of the palm. Elephants will always s amaze me at how such a large animal can be so gently and precise. We also took a boat cruse on the delta. I would choose the boat cruise over the mokoro if not just for the comfort level.

 

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Kwetsani Tent  
Elephant below my tent at Kwetsani

                                                                       

 

Jao was a short drive from Kwetsani. Jao is stunning - a great splurge for a camp in the delta. The next camp was Mombo, absolute perfection from start to finish. The game is amazing - I was stunned as I walked through to the lounge area and the magnificent flood plain opened in front of me, I was literally speechless. Everything was right there in view from the lounge and my room. My species list was almost complete and I just arrived. The food and service is unparalleled. We sa w a pride of 19 lion on a morning game drive, a leopard in a tree enjoying an impala, a male lion lay on the ground below with one open hoping for piece of impala to fall to the ground.

 

Jao                                                  Mombo

The highlight was a buffalo attack at 3:00 in the in camp by a group of hyena - a lot of noise. The buffalo tail was found the next morning in camp, but they did not get him,, we found him later in the deep water soaking his wounds. Duma Tau was next with a quick visit to Kings Pool and Savuti. The reward was 4 wild dog, my first sighting ever! Savuti is brilliant with a great view of a watering hole from camp, teaming
with elephant in season. Kings Pool also beautifully situated above a hippo pool. If you love hippos - Kings
Pool is the place.
The diversity of the delta amazed me. Vumbura Plains and Kwetsani are just 10 minutes apart but the terrain is completely different. The Moremi Reserve differs from both the Kwetsani and Vumbura concessions. Seeing the changes in ecosystems reinforces the importan ce to visit 3 camps in 3 different areas.

 

The Nolting family safari -Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa - June/July 2007

Kenya Villa in the Hilltops

We arrived in Nairobi-Kenya at 6:00am off the new Virgin Atlantic service from London. After clearing customs and immigration we walked over to a w aiting charter flight with Tropic Air to fly us north into the Laikipia region to stay at the newly opened Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, a fabulous property that is joint leading edge conservation tourism partnership with the Masai community and John and Gill Elias. The concept is that you have your own villa stay for a week or more. Our children now 13 and 10 years old enjoyed the camel rides, riding out on the quad bikes, climbing Ol Lentille hill with their dad, riding the horses along the animal trails and hanging out at the local Masai school and their homesteads.

   

  

Tanzania -Stampede in the Serengeti and Cross Pollination of Cultures

Our Journey through Tanzania began in the private Grumeti Reserves, with 'top of the range' stays at

Sasakwa Lodge, Sabora Plains and Faru Faru - a trio of tantalizing elegance in the wilderness . This is where we saw the migration in all its glory for 3 days with endless wildebeest columns moving through

the area on their annual migration .

   
   

For the next 12 days we spent time with our private guide Omari Muyangala and for the first four days our children had the most incredible cross-pollination of cultures with the Masai people at E Unoto Retreat near Lake Manyara, the Iraqw centre near Gibbs Farm in Karatu, and visiting the Datoga tribe and Hadzape bushmen using Kisima Ngeda as our base.

We continued onto Ngorongoro Crater where we spent an afternoon and morning in the crater floor

spending time looking for the elusive rhino! Even though we ran into more vehicle traffic then on the rest of our trip we still have to appreciate that 5 or more vehicles at a sighting is not huge when you consider how many travelers around the world have their heart set on seeing one of the Natural Wonders of the World!

   
The drive to Olduvai Gorge bought us into contact with 'the old' to a visit to Richard Leakey's Museum & Archeological Site, and 'the present' with further interaction with the Masai people living in the Ngorongoro Highlands and Shifting Sands area.

The second part of om visit to the Serengeti we spent a total of 6 nights with O:rnati guiding to all comers of the park with time in the central Seronera valley staying at the Serengeti Serena Lodge and a classic Mobile Tented Camp. We continued tluough the plains visiting both Suyan Camp in the Loliondo area and finishing up in the far north at Mara Sayari Camp- many, many highlights of wildlife viewing and om two boys especially enjoying the balloon ride!

 

   
 

South Africa - Renaissance of two fine establishments

Departing Tanzania, our flight leaves Kilimanjaro with stops in Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam before arriving into
Johannesburg, South Africa.

This part of the safari was a reunion, celebratng our wedding anniversary at Londolozi where we had spent our honeymoon 15 years ago. The Londolozi game reserve has had a riveting renaissance within the Varty family, as both parents and children alike have taken the helm agai n at this flagship wildlife property. Shan, Dave, Bronwyn and Boyd share in their absolute delight of being one with nature. All the properties have undergone major rebuilding and refurbishment and it was sheer sublime to see the changes at Tree Lodge and Granite Suites, spend quality family time with Sandros Shilangu our gentleman of a guide, share in a joyous night in the boma with entertainment provided on the guitar , and to have Miles and Nicholas enjoying exposure to the bushveld of Londolozi, sharing her secrets with the next generation . Londolozi is setting the trend for the future focus of eco - tourism!

To finish in Cape Town at the charming Cape Grace Hotel, was as always, a comforting five-star end to our travels in Africa.

Kyle Witten in Tanzania - May 2007
My first safari to East Africa began with two nights at Ngong House in Nairobi. The first morning we toured the Giraffe Center, Karen Blixen Museum and the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. You can feed the giraffe at center and they are much bigger close up!

The next morning I departed by scheduled flight to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. I was met by my guide Hillary  Mandia and we drove to the Ngorongoro Crater.


My guide Hillary                            Elephant in Crater                       Shifting Sands


The next morning game drive began at 5:30am and we made it the gate by 6:00am. We were the only vehicle on the crater floor for about two hours. We exited the crater after about 4 hours and descended on the Serengeti Plains. The view from the crater rim to the Serengeti defies words. We made a side trip to the Shifting Sands and then onward to Kirawira Camp in the western corridor of the park.
We drove through pockets of the migrations at least three time - all of which we were the only vehicle around surrounded by wildebeest and zebra. One of the highlights of the Serengeti was the hot air balloon ride over the plains. The champagne bush breakfast at the end of the balloon ride was excellent.

Champagne breakfast                                Migration                                         Kirawira Camp


From the Serengeti we drove to Lake Manyara and stayed at the Lake Manyara Seren a - amazing views of the lake below. The next morning we game drove through the park and passed through Mto Wa Mbu
village. The village is real slice of Africa. My last stop was Tarangire Park. I loved this park. Where else can you unzip the front of your elevated tent and watch the sun go down over the Rift Valley Wall from the comfort you bed - sherry in hand.

Lake Manyara Serena                                 Mto Wa Mbu                          Tarangire Treetops