A Photo Post Of My South African Safari

Having safaried in Kenya before I was better prepared with my trusty bridge camera this time and I wanted to share some of the amazing snaps I captured on my trip.

I apologise in advance for those who are squeamish, one of the greatest experiences of my safari was witnessing a cheetah feasting on its lunch.

These pictures were taken at The Garden Route Safari Lodge.

Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa

Looking for some more adventure on your South African trip? Look no further than Tsitsikamma. Located along the Garden route this popular area is famous for its adrenaline sports and many a visitor can not resist the extensive list of heart pulsing activities.

Approximately 615km from Cape Town, Tsitikamma is a easy point to stop along your way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth along the south coast.

Here are my top tips while you are in the area!

 

Bungy Jumping Off Bloukrans Bridge.

If you fancy throwing yourself off the 216 meter high bridge then be my guest! Located within the National Park, most will pass over this bridge without evening noticing anything different about it. Because the bridge is still for road use you must walk in the metal cage attached to the underneath to get to the jump platform… Pretty scary already if you ask me!

With a turn off for parking and viewpoint even if you didn’t fancy a jump it’s worth pulling over and watching those daring enough!

Jumps can be purchased on the day, or pre booked online for a saving here.

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Zip Lining

Unfortunately the one thing I couldn’t fit in on my trip to Tsitsikamma due to not having done enough research before hand (and not being able to find a post like this before) we had to give this a miss this time!

We stayed right next door to the centre at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn (Which I highly recommend, I’ll soon enough have my blog post up)

Plan ahead and book online, or risk booking on the day if spaces are still available, Due to safety restrictions numbers are limited throughout the day.

Ps. Travelling over your birthday? You get a free Zipline tour if joining a tour on the same day, Great excuse for a day trip if you ask me!

 

 Lilo Rafting

Yep you read that right… If you are the first to blow up yours and jump in the pool on holiday then this trip is for you! Untouched Adventures take you out on a day you wont forget in a hurry! Starting as soon as you arrive a hike through the forest to get to the mouth of the river to start your rafting adventure, Starting in a kayak in the stronger waters you need to make your way down Storms river to arrive at the more narrow sections to get your lilo out and continue on your journey. If that does not sound strenuous enough for you, the guides will then take you on your own cliff jumping experience, or for those of you like me maybe you’ll just enjoy a refreshing swim and some relaxing time.

Trips can be booked online here before your arrival.

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Horse Back Safari At Hoggs Hollow

A beautiful rustic setting owned locally and managed by the family this small and friendly property offer daily horse back riding for private or group tours. Chose the setting for your day with a short farm visit or stay for longer and be taken out into the local area of the Tsitsikamma national park and visit destinations like the Craggs.

Tours can be booked online in advance here, And if you fancy continuing the experience check out the room rates to stay overnight, Book online here.

 

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Also be sure to check out the coastal region especially around Natures Valley, Where the beach meets the headlands!

 

Constantia Wine Route, Cape Town

Dating back to 1685, Constantia is home to the oldest producing vineyard in South Africa. Often overshadowed by the neighbouring regions of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek, Constantia is actually also the closest region to Cape Town; Only 15km (20 mins) from the city centre, Nestled below in the green of Table Mountain.

Perfect for those looking to sample the local wine without having to sacrifice time travelling, there are 9 estates to discover each with their own samples and specialities. I wanted to give you the low down on my favourite properties in the region and more about the cellar tours and wine tasting on offer so you can plan your day out in Constantia.

 

 

 

Klein Constantia

Dating back to the original Constantia formed in 1685, The property was established by the first governor of the cape, Simon Van Der Stel. Although rumoured to have been chosen for its beautiful location in the valley of the Table Mountain National Park it also benefits from the soils from the slopes and the ocean breeze brought in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Know your in good taste when Klein favoured by many a royal and celebrity including authors and poets from the 18th & 19th century, Jane Austin and Charles Dickens.

Good value wine tasting is on offer at Klein with prices from 50 Rand per person which includes a try of all estate wines.

*No need to pre book here, Just arrive on the day and join onto a tasting tour. Although please check online for opening hours before planning your visit.

 

Constantia Glen

Relativity new to the game, Constantia Glen only planting it’s first grapes in 1999, and producing their first Sauvignon Blanc in 2005, still are an award winning producer in the area. Ranked as a boutique wine estate I would suggest visiting the Glen over lunch time and ordering a cheese platter to accompany your wine tasting, Trust me when I say it is one of the nicest I’ve enjoyed. Wine tastings can be pre booked online starting from 55 Rand per person and you can have a choice of 3 different seating areas all with their own setting and views.

Book your packages online here.

 

Groot Constantia

Officially the oldest wine producer in the region, Groot offer something different with their cape dutch architecture and desert wines. Located right on the City Sightseeing bus route this stop off within the Constantia means you wont need to worry about who is driving and arranging a taxi, the bus will take you from the city to the estate.

‘Groot’ in dutch translates to Great, Meaning then basically named themselves ‘Great Wine.’ Arrive with high expectations and you will not be disappointed, With cellar tours (60 Rand each) and wine tastings (45 Rand each, or combine them both for 70 Rand each) you can also expect an expert to talk you through the selection of wines and to tell you a little more history of the estate and owners.

*No pre-booking needed at Groot for the wine tasting or cellar tours, However the tours only run on the hour from 10:00 and the last tour departing at 16:00.

 

Eagles Nest

Located high in the slopes of Constantia, Eagles nest is another relativity newcomer to the game. This family owned boutique vineyard has a huge following thanks to its reasonably priced picnic baskets you are able to enjoy in the grounds of the property (£25 for 2 people, plus the purchase cost of a bottle of wine) Sat so high up in the route it gives a beautiful lookout over the valley and vineyards.

Wine tastings start from 50 Rand per person, and should you like to have a wine tasting before purchasing your bottle to accompany your picnic you will need to pre book before your arrival.

Book your visit online here.

 

* At the time of posting 50 South African Rand = £2.50 or $3.50 Us Dollars *

 

 

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Who doesn’t want to see the majestic Table Mountain up close and personal! After a recent trip to Cape Town this spring it was the first stop after landing in the city. I wanted to share my tips on Table Mountain, The How to get there and the what to do’s!

The name was given from the meteorological phenomenon that occurs which forms a billowing fabric to fall over the Mountain giving it a table cloth appearance over it’s flat surface, Table Mountain has been named one of the 7 new wonders of the world (as of 2011) and is often ranked within the top 10 sights to see before you die.

 

Getting to Table Mountain

Getting to the Aerial cable car entry is easy enough! With the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus dropping at the entrance it is easy to include within the package. However there is a free bus service which will take you to the same drop off point for those whom are aren’t. The MyCiTi shuttle service from the Lower Tafelberg Road stop, just off Kloof Nek Road is free of charge and runs from opening time until 7pm so for those travelling in the summer months of November to February who are hoping to wait out the sunset  this might only work for one of your journeys. There are other busses that run to the lower cable station but will charge and you must use your myconnect card to pay for the journey, and they will not expect cash. Taxis and Uber’s can be ordered for collection and will charge approx. 15 South African Rand per km.

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The easiest way to get to the top….

Is of course the cable way! A wonder of it’s own the cable way has been running since 1929 and has undergone some modernisation over the years, With new 360 viewing the floors of the carriages now rotate as you travel to allow all guests get the best views.

For the small price of 255 South African Rand (£12) you can purchase a return on the cable way to the top and back. Always ensurer to check online before visiting to check the days operating hours, And due to high winds they may not be running without any notice. I found following them on twitter meant I was always up to date.

For those who are looking for something a little more challenging you are able to climb to the upper cable station via Platteklip gorge, the most direct route. This steep hike can be done in only a few hours for those who are super fit, and can be accessed from Tafelberg Road. Please only climb while the cable car is operating, and be aware of sunset timings… You do not want to be caught out and try and climb back down in the dark. The path is well constructed but is very steep, there was plenty of opportunities to sit and bathe in the sunshine and look back into Cape Town and table bay while you climb so make sure you pack a lunch and plenty of water!

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Now What?…

Now you’ve made it to the top whether hiked or cabled you are free to spend as long as you want at the top. Personally I think joining onto one of the guided walks (which run every hour on the hour) are a great way to learn the local history of the island and to understand where you are looking out towards. With fauna on the top of the Mountain you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world the guides are informative and  are happy to answer any questions you might have.

If you prefer to wander on your own there are three walks you can take, and with the longest only being 45 minutes you don’t have to spend all day there. Almost all of the walks once at the summit are wheelchair friendly with paved walkways and signage.

Those who are looking to stake their claim to fame are able to climb to the highest point on Table Mountain, Maclears Beacon which sits pretty at 1085 m Above sea level. Follow the yellow painted footprints on the path ways to take you to the chains and poles erected to help assist you to the rocky steps.

 

 

For more information on the cable way please visit their website here.

For more information on the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus and it’s route please visit their website here.

Always advise others when hiking and when can be avoided please do not attempt alone. If doing so please ensure you advise your hotel reception desk and advise a time you are likely to return.

Johannesburg Things To See And Do

Being the largest city in South Africa, And the second largest city in the continent (only beaten by Cairo) you would expect there to be plenty to entertain the tourists that pass though however before I arrived I thought I might struggle to find things to do and was I proved wrong! I wanted to share my top tips on what to see and do while in Jozi.

 

Lebos Soweto Bicycle Tours 

Located in the famous south western township (otherwise known as soweto) This little hostel located in the area of Orlando West within SOWETO host daily bicycle tours in the local area. Taking you out for either 2 or 4 hours your tour guides will lead you though the houses of Orlando and take you to the main sights in the local area, Including Nelson Mandela’s house and the Hector Pieterson museum. Your tour includes lunch and they are more than happy to stop while you take photos, Trust me your phone/camera will be glued to your hands! On a side note for those not looking exert themselves Lebos also offer Tuk Tuk tours in which you can be driven around in their awesome Tuks Tuks with a guide (As shown below!)

Prices start from 430rand for a 2 hour cycle. Tours can be prearranged online here.

 

Valakazi Street & Nelson Mandela’s House

The only street in the world which can lay claim to once being the home or not 1 but 2 Nobel Prize winners; Desmond Tutu & Nelson Mandela, Possibly the most famous street in Johannesburg is a must see while in the area. With dining options and local bars you can easily people watch from the outdoor Terrence’s and order some authentic local South African cuisine.

Although Nelson’s family no longer live at 8115 the building has been turned into a museum for guests to see the humble beginnings the legacy started from and hear the meaningful life he lived. Nelson donated the house to the Soweto Heritage Trust on
1 September 1997 and asked for it to be kept as a museum for people to visit and learn.

It truly is a unforgettable moment and hearing the guides stories, showing us the bullet holes that still exist in the structure is heart breaking.

Entrance starts at 40rand per person. Learn more online here.

 

Hector Pieterson Museum & Memorial 

On June 16, 1976, Soweto high school students took to the streets in a peaceful protest against the sub-standard education in black schools but on the way to the stadium, they were met by the apartheid police. One of the first to be killed by the police was 12-year-old Hector Pieterson. The soon iconic image of Pieterson’s body being carried with his sister running alongside.

The memorial was opened by Nelson Mandela in the early 1990’s and the museum followed in the early 00’s. With an aim to persevere the memory of the events of the day, there are a collection of eye witness statements, pictures and historical documents and certainly plays an important part of South African history.

Another museum that may interest you if you would like yo learn more about the apartheid in South Africa you can visit the museum on Cnr Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road. Learn more here

 

Orlando Towers

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Look no further than the SOWETO suburb of Orlando west! With the option of Bungee, Free-fall (yes you read that right, Check out the videos online on the link below) tower climbing and paint balling this place have it all. With a new cash free policy all bookings must be pre-booked online with a debit or credit card.

Check out there website for more information, videos and booking links here.

Garden Route Game Lodge. A Review, South Africa

Located only 3 1/2 hours from Cape Town and 1 hour from George this little slice of wonder is nestled amongst the Langeberg Mountain range and is accessible from the most southern major entry ports of South Africa and as the name gives away it is located on the entry onto the famous garden route!

I was lucky enough to have a two night stay while on my travels last month and thought I would share my thoughts on the hotel and game.

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The appeal of a family owned and operated lodge enticed me to try  them out. I think having the owners around can make a massive difference in the experience and service you receive!

As it is a private game lodge the experience will be different to that if you were staying within the national parks, As the lodge owns 3000 hectares of land it can be easier to spot the wildlife although they have less animals as they haven’t the space the national parks have. They do have Rhinos, Lions, Elephants, Hippo, Buffalo, Cheetahs and Leopards (although these are wild and pass through the park as they like) you have a high chance of spotting the big 5.

These sights work towards rehabilitation and conservation, As animal poaching in South Africa is the worst in the continent the owners have come together to get some security in place for these animals and now each Rhino has it’s own personal security guard… Drastic times call for drastic measures. Until poachers are no longer a threat to these timid creatures this is what has to be done. Learn more about the projects in place here.

 

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The open Land Rover game drives (which are included within the room rate, twice a day) depart on sunrise and sunset rides everyday and can last between 2-3 hours… Although if like us you have a lion blocking the road this can quickly become 4-5 hours! The rangers are employed for their expertise on the local wildlife and fauna, Some of the random facts we learnt will stay with me for quite some time.

On top of the game reserve the hotel is home to a reptile centre and skull garden for encounters with the animals. The hotel is geared towards families with young children (6-12 years) as the hotel can offer babysitting/child minding programmes and activities for the younger ones and families will receive their own game drive to ensure plenty of time can be spent as they chose while in the game reserve.

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The hotel is separated by room types with standard rooms located closest to the main facilities and the private chalets located overlooking the valley and watering hole.I stayed in the standard rooms and there was nothing standard about it. With a huge floor space and beds we had our own en-suite which came with bath and shower. Each room comes with its own mini bar/fridge and deck area for valley views while drinking sun downers.

 

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The hotel serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests in the Serengeti’s restaurant in the main building and as the hotel comes as half board as standard it does mean you are subject for your own lunch but luckily the menu is very reasonably prices with prices from 80 RND (£4) for a burger or open sandwich,

As for the meals that are included they do come as buffet style and are sublime with interactive experiences. In the evenings the chefs cook the meat to your taste on a BBQ while you fill your plate with the side dishes, With options of chicken, Impala and Ostrich there is always something different to try. As I mentioned all is cooked to your taste and if it’s all new to you, you can ask for the chefs recommendations!

Now a safari in South Africa would not be complete without a boma or in other words an African BBQ. As I as travelling during the winter season they couldn’t host an evening Boma but we were treated to an indoor breakfast buffet in the Boma located next to the pool area. The breakfast was amazing with eggs cooked to choice and pancakes. Cheese boards and cold cuts with a choice of juices, teas and coffee we really were spoilt for choice.

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In case you are only passing by and haven’t the time to stay at the lodges you are in luck as they do offer game drive safaris for day guests! Have a check on-line for availability and prices.

http://grgamelodge.co.za/

This is a 3* lodge hotel where prices start from £90 (per room) per night based on two people sharing on a half board basis including 2 game drives per night paid.

South Africa Rand was 20 to £1 at the time of writing (June 2016)

Kuzuko Lodge, A Review. South Africa

If you are looking for a little luxury on your trip in South Africa then look no further than Kuzuko Lodge. Located less than 2 hours away from Port Elizabeth’s airport Kuzuko makes a great beginning or end to your trip along the ever popular Garden Route, Somewhere to rest up before or after the long flight.

A private game lodge with over 15,000 hectares of ground located within the Greater Addo Elephant National Park there is lots of chance to spot the big 5 and lots of other firm favourites. As the lodges has its own private grounds please remember this is going to be a different style of safari than those only travelling within the National Parks, There will be a limited number of animals which they own and breed themselves and will have less of the authentic experience. For those who like to tick boxes then I do recommend a hotel which has it’s own grounds as you are very likely to find at least 4 of the big 5 (That elusive Leopard can not be kept by by fencing they can build.) But for me still not having spotted the Leopard means I have yet another reason to return!

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With 24 luxury chalets the hotel does not feel over crowed and allows guests to feel spoilt when they arrive as the staff to guest ratio is very high and without strict timings on meals it means people can dine when they chose.

The chalets themselves were beautiful with a small sitting area and large bathroom with separate shower to bath, However I do believe the main feature of the room is the oversized patio area overlooking the grounds and the mountainous backdrop. Even with the winter chill it was beautiful to sit out and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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The game drives and rangers are second to none, They are full of knowledge and certainly go the extra mile to ensure you have the best experience. With sundowners provided mid safari, you are taken to some of the highest points of the range to enjoy a beverage out of vehicle.

My best memory from my time in South Africa will be from our Cosmic safari in the Boma at Kuzuko Lodge.With hot drinks and desert we were taken down into the Boma (Picture a hidden garden behind the bamboo) where a fire pit had been lit and chairs set out for us all. Our ranger joined us and turned out the surrounding lights and it was like someone has turned a TV on above us, The sky came to life with hundreds of stars visible without the light pollution of any near by towns. We spent the 90 minutes being show our star signs, and learning facts about the nights sky from South Africa. Being a bit of an astrology freak I could listen to stories about the stars for days, but this truly was special and such a lovely experience to be included at the lodge. A warn crumble, a hot tea and the milky way… what more do you need? After the safari finished we continued to spend the evening on our private balcony with a bottle of wine to continue star gazing.

With other activities on offer at an additional fee including Big 5 Nature walks, Nature hikes to the bush man paintings, Cheetah experiences and children clubs there is plenty to fill your days.

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Kuzuko Lodge is a full board accommodation with standard breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. With every 1 night stay booked you are entitled to 2 game drives, One sunset after check in and sunrise before checkout. If staying more than 1 night you are free to spend the day at your choosing and can use the facilities at the Lodge including the swimming pool and spa or you can book onto additional activities provided by Kuzuko at an additional cost. 

Kuzoko has 3 wheelchair accessible rooms available to book online through their website below! The game vehicles have access with ramp to door access. 

http://www.kuzuko.com/

Kenyan And Tanzanian Safari’s

Even after travelling myself I still can not describe the feeling of standing in the back of a safari Jeep watching a herd of elephants crossing the road ahead,Little babies hiding amongst their mothers legs and the males inquisitively looking over, wondering whether to come closer.

I’ve never been a fan of zoo’s or sea world style attractions, and after seeing black fish a few years ago I finally stopped altogether and then after seeing BBC’s Africa with David Attenborough I knew it had to be my next destination to see these majestic animals in their natural habitats.

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Giving a whole new meaning to the term zebra crossing…

Having never been before it took me hours to decide on a National park to visit, all sort of factors need to be taken into account… Time of year, Animals most likely to been spotted and Landmarks there’s so much information to take into account. Even I found all the information over whelming with all the different parks and contradicting statements so I’ve put together to help my customers which I thought I’d share on the site.

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I suppose the three biggest parks people have heard of would be the Masai Mara, The Serengeti and Tsavo. But there are a bunch of other choices where it is still possible to see the big 5 and are easily assessable from Mombasa, Nairobi or Arusha.

The term big five refers to lions, leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Buffalo. It originated from big game hunters as these animals were the hardest to hunt on foot. The big five still remain the biggest draw to a Safari and most travel with the intention of seeing all on their trip, but please remember these are wild animals and wont be waiting, waving from the side of the road. I travelled on my Safari for 4 days and didn’t see a lion, or a Rhino and I still had an amazing time.

Masai Mara National Reserve – Kenya

Known to be the world’s most popular game reserve, the Masai Mara is said to have the highest concentration of wildlife on earth. Featured on the BBC’s Big Cat Diary there’s no questioning it’s high chances of seeing Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs, But the park also hosts the annual migration of Wildebeest and Zebra from July to September every year. With a a landscape of grassland the savannah is hugely popular for photographers to capture the beautiful scenery, But with plenty of greenery the chances of catching a glimpse of some of the other Big5 are high.

For Safaris in the Masai Mara the local airport would be Nairobi, Which is approx 2-2.5 hours drive away. However some companies can package together a beach stay in the Mombasa area and fly you direct onto one of the 6 airstrips within the Masai. 

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Serengeti National Park – Tanzania 

The supposed setting for Disney’s The Lion King after creators were sent to eastern Africa to research and study the local wildlife there has always been speculation as to which park it may have been, although Olduvai Gorge, a 50km long, 90km deep, canyon, where in the film the wildebeest stampede and King Mufasa dies, does exist and is found it the Park. Most people will recognise the name of this Tanzanian National Park without reminder, and is one of the most popular parks for Big5 sightings and high population of predators. The migration of Wildebeest and Zebras is in the park for 9/10 months of the year from October to July.

For Safaris in the Serengeti the local airport would be Arusha and normally package together with Mt. Kilimanjaro. They will normally be a week in length and stay within Tanzania rather than try and fit in more, due to the vast size of the park.

Tsavo National Park – Kenya

A park so large its been designated into two parts; East and West and is one of the oldest parks in Kenya. The total park spans an area of 13747 Sq Kms which makes it one of the worlds largest national parks and covers a staggering 4% of Kenya’s total land area. Totally different from each other Tsavo east has sparse greenery and has endless views of the red dirt landscape. The east is patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya and are regularly seen covering themselves in the red dirt to protect themselves from the strong African sun, a form of sunscreen if you like 😉 The park is also home to the Amboseli/Tsavo Lion population, where its known for the males no have no or little mane. The west has more greenery and is hugely popular for the spotting of Buffalo and Elephants. However there are a population of Cheetahs in the area which some lodges have regular sightings and within the park is an Rhino sanctuary and Mzima Springs where there is underwater Hippo viewing chambers.

Being the most local park to the Mombasa area combine your Safari with a beach stay and on one of the beautiful beaches in the Diani area. Only a 3-4 hour drive from the entrances into the parks it means there’s no extra flying needed but those travel sickness pills might be necessary. 

Samburu and Shaba National Reserves – Kenya

Samburu National Reserve was one of the two areas in which conservationists George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness. Their story was made famous by the best-selling book and award-winning movie “Born Free”. Maybe you haven’t heard of Elsa, but the Samburu is a mixture of lush landscape including plains, deserts and savannah meaning there is a varied ecosystem and wildlife including some not found on the southern half of the Equator. What it lacks in size the park makes up for in high chances of sighting reticulated giraffes, Oryx, Crocodiles, Zebras and good chances of seeing the leopards. The park however small still has high populations of Elephants, giving you the chance to catch a sight of 1 of the Big5.

Located above the Equator and near Mt Kenya the Samburu and Shaba reserves are normally part of a longer tour of the Masai Mara and will be part of a Safari taking in a few National Parks & Game Reserves. The most local airport is Nairobi, a 4.5 hour drive away or using an internal flight to the local airstrip a 45 minute journey.

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Lake Nakuru National Park – Kenya

Another lesser known park but Lake Nakuru is famous in its own rights for its population of Flamingos, where you can find thousands and sometimes millions of the pink silhouettes on the shore line as this is their breeding ground and migratory area. There is an array of bird life in the area, making it a great destination for something a little quieter than the other larger parks and for bird spotters. The park is also home to more than 100 black/white Rhinos making it one of the best parks for sightings and is also where back in 1977, a large number of the Rothschild Giraffe were relocated for safety reasons, meaning there’s high numbers in the park after years of breeding in the sanctuary of the park grounds. Also known to be spotted in the park are Eagles and Leopards.

Located almost midway between the Masai Mara and Samburu National Park, Lake Nakuru is a stop along the way on a longer length Safari. Popular with couples and avid bird watchers due to its array of different breeds the closest airport is Naishi airstrip inside the park, which you can pick up a local flight to from Nairobi or you can drive from Nairobi which is approx 1.5 hours drive away.

Aberdare National Park – Kenya

Aberdares is home to the Treetops Lodge which was made famous back in 1952 when Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom after the death of her father King George VI. The park contains a wide range of terrains due to its mountain ranges, meaning it attracts a wide range of wildlife. Now hugely popular with the tree house style lodges its a perfect destination for a Safari and different from the norm. As every lodge has a watering hole the game come to you, meaning you don’t even have to leave your room for wildlife spotting, watching from your balcony. Predators and plain grazers alike will make their way to these watering holes daily meaning there’s a high chance of seeing the Big5 without looking for it!

Located under Mt. Kenya the closest airport is Nairobi, with local flights to the local airstrips within the park or is a 3 hour drive. A hotel based destination rather than a full Safari as the animals truly do some to you, however there are vehicles owned and operated by the hoteliers. However some tour operators do have longer length Safaris that offer itineraries that pass through the park and offer overnight stays in the famous lodges.  

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Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania

The crater of the collapsed volcano created 2.5 millions years ago now is home to over 30,000 different animals thanks to the incredible ecosystem. Home to the traditional Masai tribes there is also a lot of culture to be found is this area with some Safaris taking in a stop at a local village where you can learn some of the traditions the tribes will still live by. The area is one of the best places to to find Rhinos in Tanzania and is home to a large pride of Lions, and the crater is considered to have one of the densest populations in Tanzania and other than Lake Nakuru in Kenya is the second place place for Flamingo watching.

Ngorongoro Crater is easily acessed by road from Arusha airport only 3 hours drive away, However there is an airstrip closer to the crater which can be flown into from Nairobi and Arusha. The crater normally forms part of an interary around the Tanzanian National Parks. 

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All in all I don’t think there is a ‘Better’ park or reserve, it is what is better suited to you. When I travelled I went with a staff offer through work and enjoyed a twin centre with time in Diani Beach and Tsavo East and West National Parks as they are driving distance from the area meaning I spent less time travelling to the parks and could enjoy the most out of my holiday. Avoiding the Heavy rains, there is no wrong or right time to travel to Kenya or Tanzania unless you are travelling out to see the Migrations of Wildebeest and Zebras then there’s no reason not to visit any time of the year! But as I mention on my Top Tips page the locals in Mombasa recommended December as the best month to travel to the local National Parks and Reserves. Any questions though please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to try and help!

My Top Tips For A Safari!

I always have customers wanting advice and tips for a safari holiday so I’ve complied a list of the most frequently asked questions to put together a handy guide from my experiences from my Kenyan Safari!

  • Pack extra batteries for cameras, you’ll never want to turn your camera off as you’ll never know what’s about to appear. So make sure you have another fully charged battery handy at all times, I only used my iPhone’s camera so I took a portable charger.
  • Malaria tablets are a must, make sure you check with your GP the best suited to yourself and not decided on the cheapest choice!
  • A yellow fever vaccination is required for the country and for holidays after your trip. Compare the prices with your GP to a local travel health centre as prices can vary, also ensure you are up to date with other recommended vaccinations, which your local GP/nurse will be able to check for you.
  • And with that all being said a good, strong insect repellent is essential!
  • Check the visa requirements for your passport and ensure there is at least 6 months validity left from the date of your return. Some countries don’t require a visa and some are able to purchase on arrival, so check the embassy website beforehand.
  • A lightweight soft bag will be required for the Safari as space on the bus will be limited, and they will normally only allow 15kgs per person. Your pre and post hotel will provide storage for you suitcase and belongings for your return.
  • Plain clothing, i.e. neutral colours, khaki greens. Avoid whites, black and bright colours as these attract wild animals and insects and avoid packing anything Camouflage as in some places this is illegal.
  • Tap water isn’t safe to drink so ensure to use bottled or mineral water (Which can be purchased from the lodges or the driver)
  • For those long bus journeys to the parks I’d recommend taking a travel pillow, and for those with motion sickness/travel sickness some anti sickness tablets… Some days we were driving for 5 hours before we reached the park entrance.
  • Avoid mid April to May as this is the heavy rain season. High season runs from July to Sept and Dec to Feb.
  • Best times to travel to the Masai Mara is during the migration of the Wildebeest and Zebras in July through to September.
  • Best times to travel to the Serengeti is from October through to July for the highest viewings of the migrations of the Wildebeest and Zebras.
  • Weather does play a massive part in the chances of viewing the wildlife and drives the natural wildlife cycles, So avoid travelling during the heavy rain season, and by recommendations from the Locals in Mombasa they advised travelling during December would give higher chances of seeing the Big5.
  • Don’t forget a pair of Binoculars, some vans don’t supply them and a cheap pair is better than none!

Now your ready for your Safari it’s time to decide where to travel to! See my post about the different reserves and game parks to chose from.

Sneak Peek Of My Kenyan Safari 

I’m currently working on a separate post on how to chose your Safari where I’ll go into more detail and explain more about each National Park, Best times to go and what you may tick off your big 5 lists…. But in the mean time here’s some of of favourite pictures to whet your whistle.