Namibia; quite simply… spectacular!

Namibia is a vast country of spectacular scenic beauty and takes its name from the ancient Namib Desert which runs the length of the country’s 975 mile coastline and is believed to be the oldest desert on the planet.

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From the air, Namibia appears to be nothing more than a barren desert of wind-carved sand dunes, rocky hills and dry valleys but it is a country that holds much more on closer inspection. In the south, The Great Fish River Canyon, second only in size to the Grand Canyon, snakes some 100 miles down towards the South African border. It is possible to charter a light aircraft and take a breath-taking flight over the canyon or for the more adventurous, join the five day hiking trail which covers around the half the canyon.

Further north are the seemingly mile high red sand dunes of the Namib Desert which stretch for hundreds of miles along the coastline. This is a popular destination for visitors and the opportunity to scale one of the tallest sand dunes in the world to catch sight of an African sunrise is an unforgettable experience.

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Continuing north bound, the harsh desert environment comes alive with fascinating wildlife which has adapted to the extreme conditions. Daytime temperatures can rise to 45° during the summer months and water is almost non-existent but still the region supports elephant, rhino, antelope, giraffe and the almost mythical orxy. Birdlife is remarkable and vegetation clings to life amongst the unforgiving sand and rock.

Often described as “one of the planet’s most inhospitable places”, the stark environment of the Skeleton Coast seems hardly inviting but it should be a must on any visit to Namibia. Once again there is a surprising amount of fauna and flora found in this hidden corner of Africa. Supported by fresh water springs and incoming fog banks rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean, gazelle, elephant and smaller animals thrive. Miles of uninhabited coastline are peppered with whale bones and thousands upon thousands of Cape Fur seals lazing on the beaches, something which has to be seen to be believed!

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For those needing a more traditional safari “fix” the Etosha National Park in the north supports perhaps the largest numbers of large animals with elephant, rhino, lion and cheetah usually seen. Etosha is often best visited from one of the bordering private reserves where guests can relax in comfort, overlooking a waterhole and watch the wildlife amble down to drink. Day and night game drives and rhino tracking on foot give wildlife activities a very different flavour.

No… we haven’t forgotten.

In the extreme north of the country on the border with Angola is perhaps one of Namibia’s true hidden gems. A striking emerald ribbon flanks the sparkling Kunene River as it meanders through the mountains bringing life to a plethora of wildlife. Where else would it be possible to see monstrous Nile crocodiles in the middle of a desert?! One of our clients’ most unexpected pleasures is Serra Cafema Camp which is set overlooking the Kunene River. Seasonal boating, walking, quad biking and scenic drives make the most of this stunning location and the opportunity to interact with the nomadic Himba people is not to be missed.

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If you would like to know more about Namibia or are interested in visiting this beautiful country, please contact us, otherwise contact someone else… but you MUST go!

What makes Singita Boulders Lodge so special?

There are a number of exceptional lodges in South Africa’s exclusive Sabi Sand Private Reserve but for us some of the very best safari experiences have been at Singita Boulders Lodge. We were there earlier this year and once again, the quality was impeccable.

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Singita Boulders Lodge is located in a vast 18,000 hectare private reserve on the western edge of the Kruger National Park and shared by only its two sister lodges, Ebony and Castleton. With easy access by a one hour charter flight from Johannesburg’s International Airport, Singita Boulders offers an understated opulence that is very hard to beat.

The main areas of the lodge have been beautifully designed overlooking the Sand River whilst each of the twelve luxurious suites offer guests the highest levels of comfort and seclusion. The all-suite lodges offers accommodation on a fully inclusive basis, whereby guests can enjoy world class cuisine and an unrivalled wine cellar boasting thousands of bottles of premium wines.

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Game viewing on the reserve is conducted by professional guides and trackers in open 4×4 safari vehicles and guided walking safaris may be arranged on request. The Sabi Sand Private Reserve is renowned for delivering consistently good game viewing and during a three night stay, guests will be taken onto the reserve in search of the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard) which are usually seen in abundance.

For a complete safari experience, Singita Boulders combines perfectly with either of its sister properties in the north, Lebombo or Sweni, which are located on a private reserve within the Kruger National Park. Singita Boulders and Ebony are ideal for a family safari vacation and we are currently running a number of promotions with Singita so please contact us for details.

CAPE TOWN’S TOP SEAFOOD RESTAURANT….

On a recent flying visit to Cape Town I was given an insider tip on where to find the best seafood on the planet. So I made my way out of town some 20 minutes,  passing the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (no time to stop on this trip!) and continuing on to Hout Bay.

This is a wonderfully scenic stop along the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive which winds its way up from sea level in Hout Bay, clinging to the spectacular coastal cliffs along to Noordhoek. Anyway, getting back to the mission I was on, to find the best seafood….

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Just as you enter Hout Bay, you will find the Chapman’s Peak Hotel at one end of the bay with views back across towards the town. The hotel has 24 rooms including 2 wonderful penthouse suites, but that is not why I am here either…

Ushered onto an outside table enjoying views of the bay and craggy peaks rising up from the Atlantic Ocean, I feverishly studied the menu; almost entirely pointlessly I might add as I knew before I left Cape Town what I was going to order. Expectations were understandably high but when the giant pan of fresh Calamari and Queen Tiger Prawns landed on the table I knew this was the right place!

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I have been fortunate enough to enjoy some good seafood during my travels around the world but this is without a doubt the best I have ever tasted and I cannot recommend the Chapman’s Peak Hotel highly enough on a “must do” whilst you visit Cape Town. I would recommend making a reservation at the weekend as I was very fortunate to get the last table. I was also very fortunate to get back to the airport in time for my flight to Windhoek, Namibia for what would include an unforgettable trip to the Skeleton Coast but that is another story….