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Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

The Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Mpala Jena Camp

Klein’s Camp

Little Makalolo

Little Makalolo is a light footprint tented camp in the heart of a large private concession in Hwange. The game viewing here is excellent particularly in the dry season when herds and predators come to the ‘Little Mak’ waterhole and cheetah are often found on the surrounding plains.

Namiri Plains

Namiri Plains is set in a secluded part of the Serengeti and is a base to explore a large area of the park in search of cheetah and seasonally the wildebeest and zebra migration.

Phinda Vlei Lodge

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Masai Mara in the green season

They say the Masai Mara is over-traded. During the spectacle that is the annual wildebeest migration you might agree. I have just returned from an incredible stay in the ‘dreaded rainy season’. We got rain almost daily in fantastic thunderstorms (plus a little Rift Valley earth tremor one evening!). But as you will see below, we also got plenty of sunshine, saw loads of animals, very active displaying birds and very very few people…

These young lions will have a real appetite by the time the wildebeest migration returns to the Mara.

These young lions will have a real appetite by the time the wildebeest migration returns to the Mara.

We had a special sighting of a female hippo bringing her young calf from out of the riverine forest back into the Mara River

We had a special sighting of a female hippo bringing her young calf from out of the riverine forest back into the Mara River

Anyone that has been to the Mara Triangle will know the sound of the Little Swifts that nest at the Oloololo Gate. It seems they were gearing up for nesting.

Anyone that has been to the Mara Triangle will know the sound of the Little Swifts that nest at the Oloololo Gate. It seems they were gearing up for nesting.

This is such a classic Mara scene in the rain season.

This is such a classic Mara scene in the rain season.

Whilst this is not the most arresting photo of a lion, I enjoyed his focus and motion through the long grass.

Whilst this is not the most arresting photo of a lion, I enjoyed his focus and motion through the long grass.

The rains turn the landscape green, but this area has also been burnt so was a shocking green. We stopped for a picnic lunch and had 9 mammal species in view!

The rains turn the landscape green, but this area has also been burnt so was a shocking green. We stopped for a picnic lunch and had 9 mammal species in view!

The voice of the Mara is not quite as drab as people say! The Rufous-naped Larks are all singing and nesting right now.

The voice of the Mara is not quite as drab as people say! The Rufous-naped Larks are all singing and nesting right now.

Thatching weavers build nests is a great African safari treat. Quite how this male managed to keep avoiding the thorns whilst so busy I don’t know.

Watching weavers build nests is a great African safari treat. Quite how this male managed to keep avoiding the thorns whilst so busy I don’t know.

The first 5 of no less than 40 vultures that pressured and pushed this female cheetah off her gazelle kill right in front of us (we only saw one other vehicle this day!).

The first 5 of no less than 40 vultures that pressured and pushed this female cheetah off her gazelle kill right in front of us (we only saw one other vehicle this day!).

The ‘Out of Africa’ site where the superb new Angama Mara lodge will be opening soon.

The ‘Out of Africa’ site where the superb new Angama Mara lodge will be opening soon.

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On Safari at Savanna Private Game Reserve

I have taken several trips to Savanna this past year and wanted to share some of the highlights of my time there. Although the game viewing is exceptional, it is the genuine warmth and friendliness of the staff that I enjoy most. They all have this wonderful ability to make you feel so at home I often have to remind myself I am actually working.

It really is all about the game though and that’s the impression you get from the passionate guides who go out of their way to make sure all expectations are met and, where possible, exceeded. Every safari is an adventure, from tracking game to the friendly banter between the vehicles. We are often the first to go out in the morning and the last to come back in the evenings, and that’s not because the guides are lost. Guests are often dragged away from tasty meals to race back out into the field to find themselves arriving at the perfect moment to observe an incredible sighting, and sometimes not. That is nature and it waits for no one but it’s always worth a try. There are very few camps where this still happens and unfortunately, it seems to be a dying service.

At Savanna there is a directly proportionate ratio of embellished camp fire stories to red wine, both of which are in never-ending supply. It does make it a little harder to get up in the mornings but with a fresh cup of coffee, the incredible wildlife and a little nap after brunch, you find yourself quite happily doing it all over again. These are the makings of a great safari.

 

Leopard, Savanna, Sabi Sands

A young female leopard killed a warthog piglet just before dark. After a brief scuffle with an opportunist hyena she managed to hoist it into a nearby tree.

Hyena, Savanna, Sabi Sands

Lions killed a wildebeest in the early morning, this was all that was left by the time we arrived. This hyena spent some time making sure every available piece of flesh and bone was removed.

Lion, Savanna, Sabi Sands

Affection from an older sibling. These young lions were separated from the rest of the pride, we found them in early morning where they climbed up a termite mound right next to the vehicle and posed beautifully for us.

Giraffe, Savanna, Sabi Sands

This young giraffe, with its umbilical chord still attached was running away from a large male leopard who had been watching it closely from the cover of a thicket.

Elephant, Savanna, Sabi Sands

Watching elephants swim is both fascinating and funny, these two bulls certainly wont be competing in a synchronized swimming event any time soon.

Cheetah, Savanna, Sabi Sands

We discovered this male cheetah early one morning, he had caught a young impala lamb just before we got there and had started to feed. Seeing cheetah is always a bonus so we just sat patiently in the rain and enjoyed the sighting.

Rhino, Savanna, Sabi Sands

Under immense pressure, one can consider every sighting of rhino a modern day privilege. In South Africa alone close to a 1000 rhinos were poached in 2013 and in 2014 we have already lost 42. How do we stop this epidemic?

Wild Dog, Savanna, Sabi Sands

A pack of wild dogs on the hunt has to be one of the most thrilling experiences in the African bush.

One of my favourite things to do is spend time watching a large herd of buffalo. There is so much interaction between the different members of the herd, ox-peckers fluttering excitedly and the ever present threat of lion hunt.

One of my favourite things to do is spend time watching a large herd of buffalo. There is so much interaction between the different members of the herd, ox-peckers fluttering excitedly and the ever present threat of hunting lions.

Elephant, Savanna, Sabi Sands

The water hole at Savanna often attract herds of elephants, buffalo and lions. To see these animals from the comfort of the breakfast table is always a treat.