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Canoeing the mighty Zambezi

Canoeing the mighty Zambezi

My Zambezi River Canoe Safari It was August, the middle of the African winter when I set foot on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. The grass was brown, the trees bare and the midday heat was bearable. It’s the perfect time for game viewing and camping – the rainy season only starts in October. I began my journey at Matetsi Lodge, upstream from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and enjoyed this luxurious camp and the game drives in open Landrovers. My bungalow had it’s own plunge pool and a great view of the Zambezi. It was remote and quiet – except for the birds and crickets, and the occasional laughter of a hippo. The Victoria Falls are something to behold. The African people call it ‘Mosi-i-Tunga’: the Smoke that Thunders. All my senses were bombarded – the roar of the water plunging almost 1000 meters, the spray that soaked me in minutes, the view into that unbelievable chasm … I was in awe. The famous bridge that connects Zimbabwe with Zambia is a favorite spot for Bungi-jumping, but I decided to keep my feet on terra firma! Our canoe trip started from Lake Kariba, so I made my way there and spent a night in a rondawel at the shores of the lake. At night the hippos would graze on the lawns – so I stayed indoors and read a book. Next morning we were off in a truck on our great adventure – it began with crossing the Kafue River on a hand-drawn pont (ferry) en route to Kiambi, our base camp. After a hearty breakfast we...
What is it about the African bush?

What is it about the African bush?

Join us on this virtual African Safari Game Drive   “What is it about the African bush?” This is a question that was put to me recently by a guest on a game drive in the Greater Kruger Park. It was something that at first I struggled to put into words, but once I thought about it, I realized that it wasn’t just one thing. One of the key elements is that nervous excitement when departing on your game drive. You can feel the energy in the vehicle when we leave the lodge – often guests can’t contain it – “what are we going to see today?” This is probably the most asked question of any ranger. That is the beauty, we don’t know either and that is what motivates us to get up early after limited sleep-every day. I have often said to guests that I have the best office in the world, where we are just spectators in a story which has played out since the beginning of time. In a world nowadays which is obsessed with reality shows and soap operas, there are no better real life stories than the ones that unfold in the African bush on a daily basis. Many of you who have been following our lion saga can attest to that. Here we are able to go off road to get our guests as close to the animals without interfering or causing them any stress. This has a huge impact on a safari experience, especially in an open top vehicle as you feel more connected to the animal and its environment. In...
Foodie Alert – Eating Experiences Abound in Cape Town

Foodie Alert – Eating Experiences Abound in Cape Town

Calling all Foodies visiting Cape Town, South Africa

Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards – widely regarded as the most authoritative restaurant poll for foodies – announced Cape Town’s Test Kitchen and La Colombe in first and second place and Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort in seventh position. Restaurants in nearby Somerset West, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch took the other high placings, all of them easily accessible in an hour or so from Cape Town.

Food plays an integral part of any magical journey. These activities will take any Cape Town experience to new heights….

What will our Children see in Africa?

What will our Children see in Africa?

How sustainable are our African Safaris?
More and more travellers are able to full-fill their life-long dream of going on African safaris. It is such a memorable experience and will leave a long-lasting impression on everyone that sets foot on this wondrous continent.
However, the effect is an ever growing need for tourism infrastructure, including lodging, vehicles and staff. We are hearing more and more about human – wildlife conflict, and how the tourism business may affect the very reason we want to go to Africa.

Thankfully more travellers are asking what role their tourism dollar plays in the community, and to what extent their contribution in tourism benefits the environment that sustains the local flora and fauna…

Prince rescues Gorillas!

Prince rescues Gorillas!

Recently Christine Boecker attended a conference on conservation and responsible, sustainable travel in Africa. Most inspirational was the story told by the Director of Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, Emmanuel de Merode – who is actually a Belgian Prince!

As a conservationist and anthropologist, de Merode focuses on supporting African wildlife rangers in remote and difficult wildlife reserves, and is instrumental in protecting the Gorilla population in the D.R.C. de Merode now lives at the Virunga park headquarters – far removed from any princely residence in Europe!…

Mountain Gorillas – Gentle Giants

Mountain Gorillas – Gentle Giants

The Virunga Mountains are a chain of eight volcanoes in East Africa that form a border between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo…

Many species live among the trees that fringe the base of the (mostly-dormant) volcanoes, including water buffalo, golden monkey, duiker and elephant. However it was the huge mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) that attracted the American zoologist Dian Fossey. She observed this endangered species for eighteen years from a Rwandan camp that she created between two of the volcanoes, Karisimbi and Visoke…

Volunteering on an African Game Reserve

Volunteering on an African Game Reserve

If you are looking for excitement, adventure and a lot of fun on your trip then African Wildlife Volunteering is a wonderful option. I have been a volunteer at a game reserve for four weeks now and it has exceeded my expectations. Being an ecologist, I was looking forward to getting up close and personal with South Africa’s wildlife and I have not been disappointed.

The main focus of each day is the family of lions on the reserve. Normally we would go out and find the male (he has a collar) at the beginning of each day and record the behavior of all five lions before moving on. This is my favorite part of the day. Even if you are not a morning person (I am not) I am eager to get up at whatever time necessary…

Ever paddled a flying canoe?

Ever paddled a flying canoe?

It was August, the middle of the African winter when I set foot on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, The grass was brown, the trees bare and the midday heat was bearable. It’s the perfect time for game viewing and tenting – the rainy season only starts in late October.

After a hearty breakfast we climbed into our canoes and headed for Kualefu (the ‘Far-away Place’) – 90 kilometres downstream. Our 3 day paddle hugged the shores of the Lower Zambezi National Park. A strong headwind during the first few hours tested my shoulders and arms. After a delicious lunch on the river bank under a shady tree and a quick massage I was ready to carry on. Luckily the wind had subsided and it was easy going from then on…

Oreteti – Bejeweled Wishing Tree

Oreteti – Bejeweled Wishing Tree

Overlooking Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater stands an old bejeweled fig tree, fondly known as “Oreteti” to the Maasai people. This ficus thonningii is of great spiritual significance to the local clans.

‘Oreteti’ was a place where women, usually older women, went to pray for healing, the end of a drought or other misfortune. They would leave a metal or beaded bracelet to cement their prayer, which have slowly become part of the tree. In cases of sever epidemics or droughts, a black sheep would be sacrificed a village elder…

Hiking South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains

Hiking South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains

Stretching over some 200 kilometers, from the Sentinal in the north to Bushman’s Nek in the south, the Drakensberg mountain range is one of the largest protected areas in Southern Africa. Covering over 600,000 acres in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, the area consists of six game parks and six state forests. It is a world of spectacular sandstone cliffs, towering peaks – often snow capped – waterfalls, soaring buttresses and it’s the home of the bearded vulture, the Lammergaier. Giants Castle is a favorite. An easy trail traverses the gentle foothill area, where the wildlife is incredible. Look out for baboons, many species of birds, unusual wildflowers and woody plants. If you long for heights, Cathedral Peak is a good choice. This mystical area is also the home of many ancient Bushman paintings. We made it to the top and back in a day, and the view was overwhelming. On a clear day you can see every peak of the mountain range! Based at Tendele camp you can spend a week at the Amphitheater, hiking a different trail every day. Little wonder then that the ‘Berg’ are South Africa’s most popular hiking and mountaineering area. Click here for our South Africa Experiences Contact Vancouver Travel Consultant Christine Boecker to design your African...
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