Taaibos River Lodge: seclusion, tranquillity and Big 5

26 February 2018

Taaibos River Lodge: seclusion, tranquillity and Big 5

2BWild Safaris was privileged to spend two nights in this magnificent and exclusive lodge overlooking the Taaibos River in the Big 5 Welgevonden Game Reserve, a mere 2 ½ hours from Johannesburg.

Taaibos management James and Angela on the left with Viv from 2BWild Safaris on the right

Our hosts and lodge managers, Angela and James shared their friendship and enthusiasm of the African bush with us, and attended to our every need.

Click here for special rates and bookings

Angela, an accomplished gourmet chef of note, whipped up the most delicious 6-star meals, whilst chatting away about the history and origins of Taaibos.

Her partner, James, must be the the most knowledgeable and enthusiast range guide we have met in all our travels. His understanding and deep knowledge of the flora and fauna, and of the Welgevonden Reserve, is unsurpassed.

One of the most striking aspects of Taaibos is the breathtaking architecture, coupled with the bush ambience of the interior design and beautiful artefacts throughout the spacious lodge.

With five suites, two swimming pools (one heated), cosy braai area, a stunning kitchen and fully-stocked bar, state-of-the-art yet intimate conference facility, library, snooker table, a huge deck with comfy couches and a view of the cliffs and adjacent plains – Taaibos is a must for a family group; a family gathering; or a business think-tank.

The seclusion and tranquillity is indescribable, the pulse of Africa tangible, and the company enthralling.

Just 2 ½ hours from Johannesburg – or a 30 minute helicopter flight

Taaibos River Lodge is BA friendly. 2BWild Safaris has negotiated preferential rates for BA crew:

Click here for special rates and bookings

 

 

 

Prof rounds off his conference with a wild safari

Prof rounds off his conference with a wild safari

Welgevonden – Big Five reserve, South Africa

To plan and book your stay click here

 

By Prof Jonker, The Netherlands

My trip was wonderful and I really enjoyed South Africa. The Wild Ivory Eco Lodge was excellent. Good accommodation with very good service. Herbert, the manager and ranger took me on brilliant game drives. He did his utmost best to show the animals in the park and except for the Leopard I did actually see most of the Big Five. The Lioness wandering around our cars late in the evening after she missed a catch, was one of the most impressive moments.

Everything you arranged worked very well. The transfer was nicely on time and gave me a nice drive towards the lodge. All arrangements were good and worked smoothly and I really appreciated your service. I appreciated that the park was not so crowded.

Having only seen so little of your country I will have to come back once to see more of it.

Thanks, Viv, for all the good work.

To plan and book your stay click here

 

Don and Debbie’s luxurious Africa expedition


Don and Debbie from Colorado share their 2BWild Safari adventure with us

Safari description: Fly-in, luxury to wild Big Five reserves.

All travel arrangements, route and itinerary planning, bookings, flights, transfers and accommodation by 2BWild Safaris.

Itinerary: Okavango Delta and Linyanti area – Botswana; Hwange National Park, Stanley & Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe.

Click here to get cracking on your luxury African adventure

 

Hi Viv,

We had a fantastic trip and game viewing was exceptional. Plenty of great food and wonderful accommodation. Also lots of miles (not the really good part – but we saw a lot of country).

On the Botswana / Zimbabwe portion:
First, we were beyond impressed on the smoothness of the hand-over from one location to another. Someone was always there waiting for us and took good care of us whether getting us to an airplane, across the border or to a park.

Accommodation at all four locations was very good. Rooms were very clean, very comfortable, well furnished, and very attractive and appealing. Calling them tents may be technically correct but certainly misleading. Staff were fantastic.

The Delta was WET!! – but plenty of animals and a great guide and we would certainly return. The food service here was the best of any game camp we were at either in the Botswana/Zimbabwe area or South Africa. The staff here were also the most accommodating. We enjoyed the hippo ‘party’ outside our room the first night and were mildly disappointed that the party did not continue the other nights (of course the absence of a party made sleeping easier).

The Linyanti area was dry of course – and again a great room. The food here was wonderful but not as great as it was in the Delta. Again good staff. Not as many animals as at the Delta but we did witness a leopard stalking and ultimately succeeding with a kill within a few feet of our vehicle. Very impressive.

Hwange also had great rooms – and a view – as did the rooms at the Delta and Linyanti. The cook here went to a lot of trouble making special meals for us and they were very well received. I was quite surprised at the lack of game but I guess the weather had a major impact. We did see the pride of lions (Cecil’s pride minus Cecil of course) and we upset a sleeping old bull elephant who was lying down. For a few moments it was exciting because the elephant wasn’t happy and couldn’t decide whether to charge or leave. The driver stayed in reverse with the engine running and said he was very concerned because the elephant was not behaving normally.

The charter flights were enjoyable and comfortable. The flight from Victoria Falls International airport to the bush airport (ie a dirt airstrip) was in a 4-seater Cessna 206 – with the returning flight on a much larger Cessna Caravan which was very comfortable.

The Stanley & Livingstone hotel was first class and highly recommended. A good trip to the Falls – and of course we were soon wet through from the mist. Certainly a magnificent sight.

And then back to Joburg and a relaxing night repacking in the Intercontinental. We decided that the Intercontinental at the airport is the place to stay waiting for a flight. Service there is first class. The staff checked on us to make sure our room service was satisfactory, when we didn’t talk to anyone after our wake up call someone knocked on our door to make sure we were up (can’t have the residents missing their plane).

Thanks for everything Viv! Finally, what do you have on walking with the Gorillas? Debbie wants to include that area (activity) on our next trip probably next year.

All photos: Debbie

Click here to get cracking on your luxury African adventure

Paradise found – just for you

Paradise found – just for you

Coinciding with Mango Airline’s additional flights from Johannesburg to the mystical tropical paradise of Zanzibar, announced this week, 2BWild Safaris offers you personalised travel planning and accommodation arrangements with specials being announced on a regular basis.

Just a 3 ½ hour hop from Jo’burg to Zanzibar

Working closely and directly with you, 2BWild will develop your itinerary based on our personal experience and visits to Zanzibar, selecting the most appropriate accommodation – from 5-star luxury to self-catering – to suit your needs.

This exquisite Spice Island is one-of-a-kind, with an unforgettable array of lifetime experiences to enjoy. An azure ocean within beautiful reefs, crisp white beaches, refreshing cuisine and a wonderful array of activities to enhance each and every day – dhow cruises, snorkelling, scuba-diving, tours to the Jozini Forest, spice farms, Prison Island, Stone Town markets and – not to be missed – a mouth-watering gourmet meal in the Tea House Restaurant on the rooftop of the Emerson Spice Hotel in Stone Town – and much more!

(BA captains, note that Zanzibar is a short 3 1/2 hour hop from Joburg to Zanzibar flying Mango!)

 

 

 

 

 

Surf n Turf – the ultimate travel experience

Why not do the whole nine yards: a circular trip from Johannesburg to Zanzibar, then fly on to the incredible Masai Mara National Park in Tanzania, before heading back to Johannesburg? 

Game viewing in “the Mara” is second to none at most times of the year. Yet at certain times, usually around September, you’ll be fortunate enough to witness the renowned annual migration of Wildebeest and Zebra.  We have information on where the game are at certain times of the year and so can book you into a lodge closest to where the action is!

ContactClick here to get the ball rolling for your trip to Paradise[/caldera_form_modal]

CWAC International Bird Count – Borakalalo Reserve, South Africa – 01-2018

CWAC International Bird Count – Borakalalo Reserve, South Africa – 01-2018

By Viv Thom╬, 2BWild Safaris.

Every year as part of our ongoing commitment to wildlife and conservation, my husband John and I religiously participate in the bi-annual CWAC (Coordinated Waterbird Counts project (see http://cwac.adu.org.za/) at Borakalalo Nature reserve in North West Province.

Borakalalo incorporates the Klipvoor a large and significant body of water in the region, which is home to a wide array of waterbirds.

Below we share a gallery of this year’s summer CWAC, during which we were pleased as always to see a number of our furry mammal friends as well.

About CWAC

The Animal Demography Unit (ADU) launched the Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) project in 1992 as part South Africa’s commitment to International waterbird conservation. This is being done by means of a programme of regular mid-summer and mid-winter censuses at a large number of South African wetlands. Regular six-monthly counts are regarded as a minimum standard; however, we do encourage counters to survey their wetlands on a more regular basis as this provides more accurate data. All the counts are conducted by volunteers; people and organisations with a passion for waterbird conservation. It is one of the largest and most successful citizen science programmes in Africa, providing much needed data for waterbird conservation around the world. Currently the project regularly monitors over 400 wetlands around the country, and furthermore curates waterbird data for over 600 sites.

 

Kill skill – lions on the prowl in Pilanesberg

Kill Skill – lions on the prowl in Pilanesberg

Panthera leo – the African Lion – demonstrates its enormous power and kill skill

By John Thomé

Whilst on a recent visit to the internationally renowned Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa, a Big Five reserve, Viv and I from 2BWild Safaris were thrilled to witness a lifetime experience – a lion kill – which unfolded right before our very eyes.

The scenario

A small pride of lion ambled listlessly towards Mankwe Dam in Pilanesberg at around 7:30am  this hot summer morning for a pre-snooze drink. We were fortunate enough to spot them – two large males, four cubs and two lionesses – with one of the lionesses leading by a few hundred metres.

We decided to stay abreast of the lioness as the gravel road ran parallel to her path, adjacent to the shoreline of the Mankwe dam. She wasn’t really in hunting mode, simply checking out the environment ahead of the pride. A fresh breeze was blowing from our right to left, straight towards her. Suddenly her ears flattened and she crouched down, the length of her body hugging the ground.

The reason? A small herd of about 20 Wildebeest were grazing some 200 meters away when something spooked them and they set off at a quick trot – directly towards the crouching lioness – quite oblivious of her presence.

We were astounded and couldn’t believe this was happening. The lead Wildebeest only saw the lioness when almost on top of her and veered off in panic, as did the rest of the herd.

The kill

But it was too late. The lioness announced her presence – standing up bear-like on her hind legs, and at full stretch – then gave chase at breath-taking speed. Running towards us now one Wildebeest made her desperate and vain attempt to escape. But the lioness powered forward and in clouds of dust launched onto the Wildebeest and pulled her down, the muscles of her immensely strong “forearm” visible as the pair crashed to the ground – the Wildebeest landing partially on top of the Lioness.

Throughout these few seconds I had both eyes open, monitoring the animals’ progress whilst simultaneously following the action on my Nikon DSLR, which was firing away madly at 5 frames per second !!!

And this sequence (13 of about 180 images!) is the result!

 

Mana Pools – A Remote and Enchanting Wilderness

Mana Pools

A Remote and Enchanting Wilderness

Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site -a pristine, unspoilt paradise with abundant game, spectacular scenery, and an incredible variety of birds. Here 2BWild’s Viv Thomé recounts the indelible experience of visiting this unique part of Africa.

Sitting in our camp chairs on the edge of a dry riverbed after setting up camp deep in the far northern Zimbabwean bush, the four of us had been chatting after enjoying a quiet lunch. A hush fell over us all and my mouth opened in amazement as I pointed through the trees, speechless. We stared in awe through the foliage, too stunned to even move, let alone whisper, as a column of huge grey shadows approached slowly, steadily and silently down the dry riverbed towards us.

We could barely contain ourselves at the privilege of seeing this majestic herd of some 20 elephant, a breeding herd comprising young and old – matriarch, cows, adolescents, and tiny calves – right in front of us, seemingly an arm’s length away.

EXCLUSIVE CAMPSITE

Our camp was an ‘exclusive’ campsite (meaning no other visitors were permitted), situated beneath the generous and shady canopy of a massive Jackalberry tree in a clearing overlooking the riverbed which led from a spring. There are no facilities whatsoever, only our friendly trees. However, we travel fully-equipped and are completely self-sufficient. We had researched the area well in advance as this was a ‘recce’ trip to experience the route personally for recommendation to future guests.

The awesome pachyderms settled right in front of our campsite and, between gentle deep rumblings and slow shuffling among themselves, they began excavating small, but deep, holes in the beach-like sand for their regular evening drink. The process was slow and laborious, but they were in no hurry.

As the newly-dug holes filled slowly with freshly-filtered water, they slowly slurped up a little into the lower portion of their trunks, waiting a moment to let any sand settle before deftly flicking that away. They then raised their heads and drank deeply, repeating the process over and over for some four hours as we sat riveted to our camp chairs.

We silently soaked up this most incredible scene before us.

And then they gradually disappeared, as silently as they had come, into the dusk that had fallen upon us. This had been a very special experience and one never to be forgotten.

Another day in Africa!

Camping in an exclusive campsite in one of Africa’s last true wilderness areas was an unparalleled privilege

FULLY SELF-SUFFICIENT

We had set off from Sandton in Gauteng two days earlier with our travel companions, Rob and Di, in our trusty Land Cruisers which have, over the years, been kitted out specifically for such journeys, making us fully self-sufficient for a week or more at a time including carrying all the water and food necessary as well as a bush shower and loo.

We had arrived at Mana Pools that morning, having made our booking a year in advance. Visiting Mana Pools had been on our bucket list for a long time and, for many, it is indeed a lifetime experience. One of my main missions was to find the Red-Throated Twinspot, a 20-year-long dream of mine as an avid birder.

We wanted to visit and understand not only the Mana Pools environment, but also the best route options and accommodation along the way, including a few nights spent on a houseboat on Lake Kariba.

A herd of some 100 buffalo just 200 meters from camp

The concept of camping in an exclusive and remote campsite in one of Africa’s last true wilderness areas was an unparalleled privilege. At our first camp, the intention was to relax without any game-driving. We had discovered that the game was attracted to the nearby spring, which delivers water all year round.

The elephant herds visited us daily at roughly the same time – a photographer’s dream. We also had lions roaring within metres of our camp on the first night, not to mention hyena giggling away a bit further off in the African night. A large herd of buffalo quietly appeared at the spring on our second morning, as well as the ever-graceful impala.

Birdlife in the area is unsurpassed and birders can look forward to adding a few ‘lifers’ to their lists.

After three nights in this paradise, it was time to strike camp and head 40km north to the banks of the mighty Zambezi. This section of Mana Pools is truly magnificent, with wildlife grazing along the riverbank and spread throughout the surrounding pristine bush. Again, these camps are exclusive with minimal facilities – just the way we true explorers prefer it. A guided walk is also highly recommended. Our guide, Tendai, was extremely knowledgeable.

These camps have no facilities – just the way we true explorers prefer it

Just one thing: my little Red-Throated Twinspot eluded me, not to mention the famous elephant named Boswell, who stands on his hindlegs, lifting his five-ton body to get to the sweetest leaves of the massive Winterthorn trees! I will be back!

For those on a tight schedule, fly-in options to the luxury lodges in the area are available. There is also a large campsite with a number of ablution blocks for those with youngsters, or who prefer a hot shower.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

2BWild Safaris will work closely with you to plan your personalised itinerary, providing you with routing and undertaking all your reservations.

Options are fly-in or self-drive in your own vehicle, or a fully equipped 4×4 vehicle can be hired for you.

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Dry season – June to October

SELF-DRIVE

You will need to be completely self-sufficient, as there are no shops or petrol stations in the reserve. 2BWild provides a comprehensive Trail List with everything you will need, depending on where you choose to stay and the time of year.

FLY-IN

We will book your flights, accommodation and arrange transfers as well as any activities you may be interested partaking in, eg canoeing.

ZAMBEZI CANOE TRIP

For the fitter travellers, a canoe trip down the Zambezi is highly recommended.

HOUSE BOAT

For something completely different after your wild safari, relax on a houseboat for a few days on Lake Kariba, taking a tender-boat along the shore in search of wildlife, casting a line for a Bream for dinner, or simply just relaxing and being pampered.

2BWild Safaris will arrange your transfers and a boat to suit.

Zanzibar – exclusive luxury special offer – March to June 2017

2BWild Safaris has negotiated an exclusive special offer at the exquisite island luxury beach resort of Qambani in Zanzibar.

IMG_3340-2BWILD-QAMBANI

This special offer, valid for the period 1 March to 15 June 2017, has room rates for 2 guests from $432 per night. (See the table below for the detailed special rates per room for the period).

Rates are full board,  inclusive of coffee tray at the room in the morning and all meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
All soft and hard drinks not included.

All rooms are ocean facing with a private verandah  ocean view.

Click here to book now, indicating your preferred dates

[In 2016 John and Viv of 2BWild Safaris were privileged to be given a guided tour of Qambani by the legendary Axel Imhoff – Head Chef for the Our Zanzibar Group. At the time we were staying right next door at the illustrious world class Ras Michamvi, a sister resort].

IMG_3341-2BWILD-QAMBANIQambani’s generous proportions provide six bedroom villas, living spaces, two pools and lush tropical garden, a promise of complete relaxation and indulgence. A fusion of ancient Swahili crafts – perfected in the palaces of the sultans along the East African shores – and modern coastal design, it gives shady sanctuary, while turning the inside out, so every space takes great gulps of the sea and the balmy tropical air.

A full fly-in package from Johannesburg, South Africa will include a direct return flight to Zanzibar and all transfers – to be published here shortly.

IMG_3334-2BWILD-QAMBANIThe single greatest luxury in Qambani is undoubtedly the vast amount of personal space and how well it works. At the heart of Qambbani a ring of expanaive communal areas: generous, beautifully equipped and made for dream holidays. A huge living room extends along the garden’s ocean edge opening onto sun-drenched terraces. To one side stands a big, breezy, timber dining room and to the back, the kitchen and  entertainment room. The adjacent gym and hammam (steam room) open onto a tropical courtyard.

Guests from the US and Europe fly-in to Dar es Salam then take an air transfer to Zanzibar.

 

2BWild conducts a recce tour to the exquisite spice island - Zanzibar
2BWild conducts a recce tour to the exquisite spice island – Zanzibar

It is certainly difficult to say what the best thing about Qambani may be … : the splendid pools for endless afternoons in the water, the exotic gardens with palms and sunbirds – planted by one of East Africa’s best gardeners – or the Indian Oceans’ craggy coral edge with sea views splashed all the way along the front.

A stroll down through the grounds takes you to five wooden steps and the shore. From June to November, a miles-long white sand beach curls around the headland. From December to May, a smaller beach is no more than ten minutes walk away on the coral at low tide.

Click here to book now, indicating your preferred dates

 

Detail of room rates on this special offer – 1 March to 15 June 2017

IMG_3368-2BWILD-QAMBANI
Sultan

Sultan

Air conditioned | Bathrobes Provided | Ceiling Fans …

Rates from
$432.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests

 

3-africa-QAMBANI
Africa

Africa
Suitable for couples and honeymooners

Air conditioned | Bathrobes Provided | Ceiling Fans …

Rates from
$540.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests

 

4-Plantation-QAMBANI
Plantation

Plantation
Suitable for couples and honeymooners

Air conditioned | Balcony | Bathrobes Provided …

Rates from
$540.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests

 

1-CASTAWAY-IMG_3352-2BWILD-QAMBANI
Castaway

Castaway

Suitable for families

Air conditioned | Bathrobes Provided | Ceiling Fans …

Rates from
$630.00
Cost for 1 night for 1 guest
$630.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests
$720.00
Cost for 1 night for 3 guests
$810.00
Cost for 1 night for 4 guests

2-coastal--QAMBANI
Coastal

Coastal
Suitable for families

2nd bathroom | Bathrobes Provided | Ceiling Fans …

Rates from
$630.00
Cost for 1 night for 1 guest

$630.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests

$720.00
Cost for 1 night for 3 guests

$810.00
Cost for 1 night for 4 guests

6-sundowner-QAMBANI
Sundowner

Sundowner

Suitable for couples and honeymooners

Air conditioned | Balcony | Bathrobes Provided …

Rates from
$720.00
Cost for 1 night for 2 guests

Click here to book now, indicating your preferred dates

All photos below by 2BWild Safaris – 2016 – enjoy

IMG_2982

IMG_2973 IMG_3153 IMG_3090 IMG_3087 IMG_3006 IMG_3023 IMG_2998 IMG_3024 IMG_3074 IMG_3253 IMG_3417

2017 Personalised safaris

2BWild Safaris is well advanced with the planning of a number of personalised safaris for 2017 for a range of clients.

Destinations, amongst others, include Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Self-drive self-catering; fully guided and catered; and fly-in luxury are just a few of the travel styles being incorporated in the briefs.

These unparalleled wilderness areas of Africa offer endless unique bush and desert  landscapes, many with Big Five game sightings, all with outstanding photographic opportunities.

Click here to find out more about these personalised safaris.

Botswana:

Khumaga
Khumaga

Khumaga, Khwai, Linyanti

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Namibia

Ai-Ais National Park

Richtersveld/Ai-Ais; Namib Nauklift;

 

 

 

 

Northern Namibia:

Kunene River, N Namibia
Kunene

Kunene, Kaokoveld, Skeleton Coast, Etosha, Cape Fria, Hartmann’s Valley, Marienfluss

 

 

 

 

4-Chilojo Cliffs
Chilojo Cliffs, Gonarezhou

Zimbabwe:

Gonarezhou

The European connection: …

The European connection:
Frankfurt > Johannesburg > Waterberg> Cape Town > Johannesburg > Frankfurt

Most of 2BWild Safari’s business is generated by word-of-mouth through referrals by happy clients.

Manfred’s safari is no exception, having been referred by Kayt, a colleague of Manfred’s.

Having relocated recently to South Africa, Manfred planned to treat his wife and children as well as inviting brother-in-law Steven, his wife and children from Germany to an unforgettable visit to South Africa.

river-lodge
Waterberg

Once again, Viv from 2BWild was soon in top gear building an itinerary in close consultation with Manfred and Steven, and going on to complete all bookings, flights and transfers.

wildlife2011-04-13-109“Our vacation was absolutely thrilling. In particular, the lodge in the Waterberg was phenomenal. We can blindly recommend this lodge to everyone. Also Cape Town was great and is always worth a special trip.Manfred & Steven 2017-DSC03190 Manfred & Steven 2017-DSC02768 Manfred & Steven 2017-DSC02931 Manfred & Steven 2017-DSC02286

Many thanks for all your appreciated and professional support making this vacation one of the best ever!

Cheers
Manfred”

—-
ct-hotel“Hello Viv,

The Safari was one of the greatest experiences in my life and also of my wife and children.
This will be on the lifetime memory lane!
Thank you ever so much for finding and booking this. It was much better the expected, the lodge, the people, the game drives just everything. THANK YOU! It was worth every single penny.

ct-hotel-bedAlso the Cape Town luxury hotel was great, too. But after the safari nothing could get ever get near to that standard.

I wish you all the best for 2017 and hope to get in contact soon.

Cheers, Steven”