The Blue Train out of Cape Town

The Blue Train’s maiden trip was in 1946 and it soon became known as being the epitome of luxury rail travel. The Blue Train is comparable to some of the world’s finest five star hotels as it offers luxurious accommodation with private en-suite bathroom facilities with views from the window that are second to none and everchanging.   

Perhaps the ultimate touch of luxury is the unintrusive personal butler service in addition to that the Blue Train also prides itself on the fine cuisine on board and a broad selection of South African wines. As the train chugs through some of South Africa’s most spectacular scenery you could be forgiven for forgetting that you are on board a train. This yesteryear engineering has had a touch of refining by way of a sophisticated suspension system to ensure a smooth trip and additional safety. The Blue Train mainly runs between Glorious Cape Town and Pretoria in both directions, with also the occasional alternative routes of Durban, Pilanesberg and Kruger etc.

A spectacular and affordable 10-night South African safari…

Experience the best of South Africa’s bush and seashore on this amazing 10-night/11-day itinerary – from the remote and scenic northern region of the Kruger National Park at Pafuri Camp (a baobab dotted landscape with spectacular wildlife and cultural sites seen on game drives and walks) to the endless white beaches of iSimangaliso Wetland Park at Rocktail Beach Camp (South Africa’s best beach experience with quiet sandy beaches, prolific marine life, diving, snorkelling and community visits) – with a night spent in the bustling cityscapes of Johannesburg in between.

Scheduled departure every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Monday departures:

  • 4 nights Pafuri Camp
  • 1 night TIntswalo at Waterfall or The Grace in Rosebank
  • 5 nights Rocktail Beach Camp

 

Wednesday & Friday departures:

  • 5 nights Pafuri Camp
  • 1 night Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace in Rosebank
  • 4 nights Rocktail Beach Camp

 

The price of the featured itinerary is from £1,820 per person sharing. Opulent Africa standard booking terms and conditions apply. Accommodation subject to availability at time of booking.

Monday departures

Day 1

Road transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to Lanseria Airport. Scheduled light aircraft transfer from Lanseria Airport to Pafuri Camp.

Accommodation: 4 x nights @ Pafuri Camp (FB).

Days 2 – 4

Daily scheduled activities at Pafuri Camp (FB).

Day 5

Scheduled light aircraft transfer from Pafuri Camp to Lanseria Airport. Road transfer to either Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace Hotel in Rosebank. Accommodation: 1 x night @ either Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace Hotel in

Rosebank (BB).

Day 6

Road transfer from either Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace Hotel in Rosebank to OR Tambo International Airport.

Road transfer from Richard’s Bay Airport to Rocktail Beach Camp. Accommodation: 5 x nights @ Rocktail Beach Camp (DBB).

Days 7 -10

Daily scheduled activities at Rocktail Beach Camp (DBB).

Day 11

Depart Rocktail Beach Camp under your own arrangements.

Wednesday & Friday departures:

Day 1

Road transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to Lanseria Airport. Scheduled light aircraft transfer from Lanseria Airport to Pafuri Camp.

Accommodation: 5 x nights @ Pafuri Camp (FB).

Days 2 – 5

Daily scheduled activities at Pafuri Camp (FB).

Day 6

Scheduled light aircraft transfer from Pafuri Camp to Lanseria Airport. Road transfer to either Tintswalo at Waterfall OR The Grace Hotel in

Rosebank. Accommodation: 1 x night @ either Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace Hotel in Rosebank (BB).

Day 7

Road transfer from either Tintswalo at Waterfall or The Grace Hotel in Rosebank to OR Tambo International Airport.

Road transfer from Richards Bay Airport to Rocktail Beach Camp. Accommodation: 4 x nights @ Rocktail Beach Camp (DBB).

Days 8 -10

Daily scheduled activities at Rocktail Beach Camp (DBB).

Day 11

Depart Rocktail Beach Camp under your own arrangements.
 

General Inclusions:

• Road transfer from OR Tambo International Airport to Lanseria Airport.

• Return scheduled light aircraft transfer: Lanseria Airport – Pafuri Camp – Lanseria Airport.

• All accommodation on a shared basis.

• All meals at Pafuri Camp, Breakfast at Tintswalo at Waterfall OR at The Grace in Rosebank; Dinner & Breakfast at Rocktail Beach Camp.

• Scheduled twice daily lodge activities at Pafuri Camp as well as Rocktail Beach Camp.

• Road transfers from Lanseria to Tintswalo at Waterfall OR The Grace in Rosebank.

• Road transfers from Tintswalo at Waterfall OR The Grace in Rosebank to OR Tambo International Airport.

• Road transfer from Richard’s Bay Airport to Rocktail Beach Camp (one way).

• Relevant park fees.

• Accommodation taxes, the applicable Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax (VAT).

General Exclusions:

• Any other meals not specified.

• All drinks, laundry and porterage.

• Any tours/excursions which are not standard daily lodge activities.

• Scheduled flights, airport taxes and related tickets between Johannesburg – Richards Bay – Johannesburg.

• Onward road or air transfer from Rocktail Beach Camp.

• Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance.

• Staff gratuities.

• Any new Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control.

• Visa fees where relevant.

• Any items of personal nature.

• Luggage is restricted to 20 kg per person (maximum in a soft bag/s including camera equipment and hand

luggage). If these limits above are exceeded, the excess luggage can be held (or forwarded to the point of exit) for your flight out at the end of the safari. Kindly note that the additional cost incurred will be for your account.

Wild dogs chase Impala in Chobe

A pack of wild dogs have been spotted on the Chobe River flood plains.  This caused great excitement for some clients staying at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero as they were enjoying a sundowner cruise and watching a herd of elephants swimming across the river when the peace was broken and a pack of wild dogs kicked a dust cloud in the air as they keenly pursued an impala running towards the safety of river. The impala almost threw itself in the river and instinctively swam towards one of the islands.  Unfortunately after all of that effort a crocodile grabbed the impala and drowned it barely twenty meters away from the guests on their boat. The wild dogs didn’t even notice as they had now rounded up another Impala which they were now chasing around in every decreasing circles.

Botswana in November

November traditionally marks the much needed arrival of rain to the parched plains of the Okavango and Chobe regions. The animals look longingly to the skies in anticipation of an end to the dry and dusty floodplains.

Once the clouds finally break and the rains arrive, there is a great sense of relief within the local communities and the wildlife. Animals begin to move away from the permanent waters of the Okavango Delta and the Chobe River as they disperse into the surrounding bush. The antelope and gazelle fall into the calving season which becomes a time of plenty for the predators which take advantage of the unstable newborn.

After the first rains, the Okavango Delta springs back into life with a flush of green throughout the previously parched areas with plants and trees coming alive!

I Dream of Africa.

Loisaba; the ultimate for peace and serenity to rejuvenate your soul.   Loisaba is all about connecting with nature and relaxing in your surroundings.  The game here is abundant and the scenery that provides the backdrop for a restful safari is breathtaking.

What draws one specifically to Loisaba?  The remote location, the fabulous game viewing, or perhaps just the lodge itself and its renowned Star Beds? Sleep out and star gaze on a star bed and listen throughout your dreams to the sounds of Africa below and all around you. 

Loisaba Lodge has two different types of star bed.  The original beds are located amongst a rocky outcrop looking out over the Kiboko waterhole in one of the eastern valleys.  The second more recently constructed beds are a few miles further south on the banks of the Ewaso N’giro River.  The beds cantilever over the river beneath and they are approached by a bridge from the opposite bank.  These new star beds are named after the Koija community of Laikipiak Maasai who together with Loisaba created and constructed them.

Even actually reaching your starbed is an adventure as you are guided through the African bush by Samburu and Laikipiak Maasai warriors.

Imagine laying there in the African night on a handcrafted wooden raised platform with a comfortable mattresses plump pillows and soft blankets with a picnic and wine to tide you through until morning.  A night under the stars has to be one of the most memorable on a safari along with the waking in the morning to hear an Elephant beneath you taking his morning wash in the pool below.

 Loisaba is excellent in combination with the Masai Mara and the Amboseli National Parks.

Gorillas Trekking in Uganda

There is a fabulous safari camp nestled deep inside the very heart of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in southwest Uganda. The camp has just eight tents and is one of the most remote and atmospheric in Africa.
 
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the big screen in the flesh with volcanoes sculpting the skyline and valleys cutting deeply into the landscape.  The scenery if almost unfathomable to the virgin eye.  But tucked away almost in a secret place on a flat ridge high in the forest, is Sanctuary’s Gorilla Forest Camp.

It’s difficult to understand how such luxury and sophistication can exist in such a harsh and remote location.  The camp is the ideal place for the discerning safari traveler to head out to track the gorillas that live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.   
 
We have had recent reports that our primate relatives also recognize how nice this camp is too.  A guest taken ill and unable to go out on the trek, was visited by a Gorilla who wandered into camp.  Perhaps a surprise but one that was welcomed immensely as he would have missed out on this once in a lifetime encounter had the Gorilla not been so accommodating. 
 
After a day trekking to see the gorillas guests relax around a roaring fire with a few nightcaps after dinner before retiring to one of eight comfortable tents with wooden floors, comfortable beds and most importantly large bathtubs in which to soak tired muscles.

 

Hot stone massages on the banks of the Zambezi.

There’s a fabulous lodge overlooking the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, it’s called Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma lodge which is named after the intrepid explorer David Livingstone’s two companions.  The lodge is superbly located in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which in addition to the mighty roar of the Victoria Falls, also boasts great game viewing opportunities as well.

The main lodge area is built between the giant ebony trees that overlook the impressive Zambezi which enables guests to have the option of relaxing by the pool, at the elevated bar with a drink, or in their air-conditioned room (of which there are just twelve tree house style suites.) Sussi and Chuma have now opened a tranquil treatment room which specializes in massages such as the Ukuchina, a Zambian version of the traditional hot stone massage.

Sussi and Chuma is excellently located on the Zambezi to command stunning views of the river and of course the game that frequents it.  Each of the tree houses is positioned for river viewing and each suite is airy and open plan room with a shower, large bathtub, vanity area and private toilet.

A stop of a few nights at Victoria falls combines well with a few days to a week in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Safari Honeymoon Heaven!

Gillian and Tony Reeve have just got back from Botswana and wrote a few words on their safari for our Blog.

The highlight has to be the moment when we were flying over the Delta into our first camp when we both looked at each other and said one word that meant everything, ‘wow’. It was at this moment that we felt a bubbling of excitement in our bellies and began to unwrap our fabulous wedding present to each other, our safari.

When we landed we were greeted by Amos, his smile welcomed and settled us immediately. We drove into camp, at first not realising that we were on a ‘game drive’ that is until Amos pulled to a stop and pointed towards the bushes where poking out and giving the game away was an elephant’s back legs. We edged slowly forward and tracked around the bushes and thicket and there was a small herd of them gathered together in the shade snoozing and flicking tails. We wanted to stay rooted there for ages not realising that the days ahead of us would be a flurry of experiences such as this.

We pulled into our first camp and were welcomed by Kerry our host who handed us cool drinks, refreshing chilled flannels and had our bags taken to our tent. Wow again! The tent was fabulous, a four poster bed, soft linens, plump pillows, and soft rugs under foot, with an en-suite bathroom that puts many hotels to shame. This was certainly nothing like what you would normally describe as a tent! We had arrived and had enjoyed every minute just getting there.

How can one describe that everyday topped yesterday? On our first game drive the next morning we saw, zebra and numerous antelope before enjoying a picnic lunch and a naughty glass of wine. After that we headed further afield to where Amos thought he had heard lion earlier that morning and sure enough Amos was right. There shading against a tree trunk sat three lionesses. We could have sat there all day taking photographs and video, but eventually we tore ourselves away and went in search of the next find. More often than not we found something ‘more spectacular’ each time we drove onwards. We were in heaven. Thank goodness for digital cameras, our developing bill would have been astronomical. Thank you so much Opulent Africa, we had a superb honeymoon, and although we originally thought this would be a ‘once in a lifetime trip’ we are now not so sure.