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Mark and Alison Nolting in South Africa



South Africa 2013
Mark and I cemented key partnerships in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.  The weather was stunning with meals enjoyed outside with stunning ocean views and green, lush vineyards.   We were there for two weddings - and the funeral of leader Nelson Mandela.

November 28, 2013 in Cape Town                                Bakoven Luxury Apartments near Camps Bay
November 28, 2013 in Cape Town  Bakoven Luxury Apartments near Camps Bay


November 30 – Constantia Winelands Wedding

Constantia Winelands Wedding 


My brother, wife and lovely daughter – my niece
My brother, wife and lovely daughter – my niece


December 02, Meeting Wilderness Touring – lunch at the Boat House by chef Bruce Robertson
Meeting Wilderness Touring – lunch at the Boat House by chef Bruce Robertson
                        

Meeting our Cape Town Guides -  Andrew, Lucia, Janice and Lazarus
Meeting our Cape Town Guides -  Andrew Meeting our Cape Town Guides -  Lucia Meeting our Cape Town Guides -  Janine Meeting our Cape Town Guides -  Lazarus


December 03, Meeting the Singita Operations
Meeting the Singita Operations


Meeting all at the Asilia Office and Operations
Meeting all at the Asilia Office and Operations


December 04, the Cape Grace 5 start Hospitality
the Cape Grace 5 start Hospitality


Dining at the Signal Restaurant  - Cape Grace
Dining at the Signal Restaurant  - Cape Grace Dining at the Signal Restaurant  - Cape Grace 
Dining at the Signal Restaurant  - Cape Grace Dining at the Signal Restaurant  - Cape Grace


December 05, Visiting Colin Bell – Conservationist and author of “ Africa’s Finest”
Visiting Colin Bell – Conservationist and author of “ Africa’s Finest”


Ellerman House and their 6 start Wine Cellar!
Ellerman House and their 6 start Wine Cellar!


December 06, Iliso Care Society in Kaylicha Township – visiting with Vivian
 Iliso Care Society in Kaylicha Township – visiting with Vivian


Visiting the Winelands–Delaire and Bablyonstoren
Visiting the Winelands–Delaire and Bablyonstoren


December 07,  country wedding in Kwa-Zulu Natal
Good to see Yvonne and Blessing.

country wedding in Kwa-Zulu Natal Good to see Yvonne and Blessing.


 Nelson Mandela memorial–a country in mourning
Nelson Mandela memorial–a country in mourning


December 08, the Saxon Hotel – 6 star hospitality
the Saxon Hotel – 6 star hospitality


December 08, Johannesburg Wilderness Safaris
Johannesburg Wilderness Safari

- by: Alison Nolting


Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou


A special safari this one - I had the pleasure of traveling with 3 Africa '˜virgins' - my partner Sonia and our dearest friends Barbara and Steve. For those of us who have had the good fortune to have been on safari lready taking first timers is incredibly exciting - we know what is coming and how fantastic the whole experience is ….

Africa Adventure with friends by Elena Theodosiou

After a few days with my family in Johannesburg we left for Maun and were met by our bush pilot and our first flight over the delta. Chitabe was our first stop and our first game drive we found a juvenile leopard that had eaten too much impala and lay full and sleepy in the shade a few feet from the vehicle - needless to say my safariers were blown away. The sense of triumph an d I told you so…was overpowering. After a second game filled day at Chitabe we continued to Vumbura Plains - the game viewing continued, our first night drive at Vumbura a pride of lions roaring so close to the vehicle you could feel the vibrations in y our chest! What can I say we saw it all and more - with the most memorable '˜encounter' being that night when we all went to bed and the hippos came to crop the grass under the tent and kept Steve awake the whole night wondering what was going on outside - needless to say the three girls slept through it all and he has yet to live it down!

Herds of elephants in the bush Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou

Next Victoria Falls where the water was so high you could see the mist from everywhere - it was truly the smoke that thunders! We stayed at the grand Victoria Falls Hotel which is so beautiful and where sitting on the outside patio gives you a sweeping expanse of lawn, the bridge and the mist from the falls as your view - breathtaking. We enjoyed the Jungle Junction for dinner, the next day an elephant back safari and a sunset cruise on the Zambezi. A grand time was had by all…

Victoria Falls Victoria Falls Victoria Falls

Cape Town was good to us and the weather was absolutely beautiful! We stayed at the Cape Grace with a beautiful view of the Marina. One of my favorite things is to reserve '˜a go as you please' and I had arranged two days for us. The first day we did the peninsula with the drive on the coast, Cape Point, and visited the penguins and the seals - our afternoon ended with Table Mountain - crystal clear air views of the who le city, the new stadium and a glass of wine. The next day we drove to the wine lands - some of the most awe inspiring countryside, surrounded by mountains, vine yards on the slopes and the little historic towns of Franshhoek and Stellenbosch. We had lunch at the Goatshed at Fairview - where you can enjoy some of the excellent wines they produce along with excellent goats cheese a fantastic combination for a lazy afternoon. The next morning we spent some time at Greenmarket square looking (and buying) so me of the fantastic curios and African art, a visit to the V&A for an excellent lunch at Balthazar - and a stroll enjoying our last sights and sounds of Cape Town.

Penguins in Cape Town. Cape Town

Our last stop was Phinda in northern KwaZulu -Natal. We spent time at Mountain and Forest Lodge and enjoyed both very much. Forest Lodge is in a very special sand forest area and has a very special feel about it - definitely a favorite. Here we had our fist rhino sightings which we up close and personal and reminded me how huge these animals are - for my newbie's they were impressed and a little shaken at how close this encounter truly was. The game viewing was great and in -between game drives I got the opportunity to have a look at all the Phinda properties. Our last night on safari we had a boma dinner under the African stars with the special smells and sounds surrounding us.

Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou

- by: Elena Theodosiou


Elephant Extravaganza - South Africa


I have been to South Africa several times but it is always new and special to be part of someone's first safari!

Our safari began with a full day to relax and recover at the ever elegant Saxon hotel in Johannesburg. W e approached the entrance to the hotel - concealed behind a huge wooden -door gated entrance. The door opened to reveal a beautifully landscaped space. We were greeted warmly and our bags were taken to our room quickly. The Saxon is beyond words. We enjoyed an hour at their magnificent spa. Go for the hot stone therapy back and shoulder massage - just like heaven! Lunch was great on the courtyard; the best club sandwich ever and a seafood salad with prawns, lobster and langoustines on a bed of arugala.

The Saxon
The Saxon

The next morning we were transferred on time to the airport to board our flight to Hoedspruit. We were met by Ray, our guide from Camp Jabulani and we literally crossed the road and were in the Kapama Game Reserve. The reserve is very close to airport but we heard no noise from aircrafts at all.

Kyle Witten in South Africa

5353 North Federal Highway, Suite 30 0 ï‚· Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 U.S.A  Tel: 800·882·9453 ï‚·
Tel: 954·491·8877  FAX 954·491·9060  email: safari@africanadventure.com
 Website: www.africanadventure.com


Kyle Witten's Elephant Extravaganza - South Africa

Camp Jabulani gets high scores for accommodation, food and service. Rudolf is the chef and his wife Lezan is the manager and together they run a fine camp. The draw to Jabulani is of course the elephant back safaris and intimate interaction. The first afternoon we enjoyed an introduction to the elephant team, touching, feeling and feeding. We saddled up and we went on a game drive/walk - we saw general plains game during the walk. The ride ended with surprise sundowners at a watering hole. After a few G&Ts and Amarula we finished with a very productive night drive.

Kyle Witten's Elephant Extravaganza - South Africa

The next day we went to the Hoedspruit Cheetah Conservation Center. We met the founder, Letta and she gave a very informative ta lk and took us to the king cheetah which she raised from a cub. Jabulani's guests have free reign to enter the hold with her, touch and interact with the king cheetah. They release about 50 cheetahs a year back into the wild.

King cheetah
King cheetah

That afternoon we did a game drive to another sundowner spot. The elephant team met us and we enjoyed an elephant-back night walk - complete with our own spot light. The walk ended at the elephant enclosure where they sleep at night.

Fortunately, the elephants are out in the bush all day being elephants, and sleep in the corral only at night. 
You will likely not see wild elephants near this camp as they are wea ry of the 'trained' team and tend to stay away.

Elephant-back night walk

We then took a very hot and bumpy charter flight to Private Granite Suites at Londolozi - about 15 minutes. We were met by our tracker Like and drove to camp. On arrival we were greeted by Kerin and her team - headed up by Cry. The food was outrageously good, prepared by the chef - Eric, self trained by his father who was the chef at Singita.

Cry - staff village visit
Cry - staff village visit

Our room was unlike any I had ever seen before; living room, bedroom, dressing area, bathroom, deck, private plunge pool, outdoor shower and lounge area. I had pre arranged a private dinner in the room. I pulled Kerin aside to be sure it was going to happen. She said yes, we are doing it for everyone tonight. After the night drive we were greeted and told to go the rooms and when we were ready for dinner, we were to dial 9. The room was dark, l it only by candle light and the table was dressed in front of the picture window (lanterns hanging from the trees outside). Candles everywhere, rose petals on the bed, bubble bath and a bucket of champagne. We went from room to room - amazed with what they had created.

Private Granite Suites at Londolozi
Private Granite Suites at Londolozi

Jules was our guide and the game viewing here is spectacular - leopard and lion on every game drive, elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, hyena, eagles, giraffe, hippo, plains game (you name it, we saw it !). On the first night game drive we were lucky enough to have a male lion chasing a female, darting in front of our vehicle. They were mating and what a sight to see and hear from 5 feet away.

Elephant Extravaganza - South Africa

The next stop was one of my favorite cities in the world, Cape Town and we stayed at the boutique guesthouse, Kensington Place.

We spent 2 days with our guide Thomas exploring the peninsula and visiting the wine lands (Waterfront and Solms Delta estates). We enjoyed dinner at The Showroom Restaurant and Baia on the waterfront. Cape Town never disappoints even with dreary weather it is the most beautiful city.

Thomas – Cape Town guide
Thomas – Cape Town guide

Lastly was Grootbos Nature Reserve. This reserve boasts some of the last milkwood forests on earth. And you can help revitalize the forest by planting a tree!

Grootbos Nature Reserve

September is the peak of whale watching season and Walker Bay lived up to its reputation. The whales come to within 30 meters of the DeKelders shore. We could see whales breeching (count to 13 and they will breech again) mating groups, moms with their babies. We enjoyed a scenic flight over the bay to see the whales from the air. There must have been 20 in short the time we were over the bay en route to Cape Town to fly home.

September is the peak of whale watching season

I have visited South Africa in April, May and September. From a game viewing point of view this September safari was the best. The bush is thin and dry which makes game viewing and pursuing easier. We saw the whole range from 105 degrees in Kapama game reserve to 39 in Cape Town. A visit to the Cape is always a mixed bag. If you are asking yourself 'When should I go on vacation?' I would pick the off season in the Cape; you will hit whale/shark season June -October and capture incredible photographs of the storm clouds rising over the mountains and stretching out to sea.

South Africa is also attractive due to the current Rand to dollar exchange rate. You can eat in some of the best restaurants in Cape Town and spend $1.00 on a glass of wine and racks of lamb for $15.00 - try that in the US. Given today's economy we all trying to save a few dollars, and remember an investment in travel does not loose any value.

Traveling to Africa is naturally a passion for me. I am always impressed with the camps that accommodate so few people can change the lives of so many people in the surrounding communities; the staff village at Londolozi for instance where they have installed a computer lab to teach life skills. Our butler Cry worked his way up and is now being promoted to management at Private Granite Suites. We must continue traveling to these reserves and parks in order to conserve the natural habitats and most importantly to ensure that we brighten the future of other people.

- by: Kyle Witten


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