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.

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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

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Dr Kate examines Gonarezhou

GONAREZHOU – Place of the Elephants

By Dr Kate

An unforgettable excursion to a little-known wild and remote corner of Africa

The Gonarezhou National Park, meaning “Place of the elephants”, is one of 11 national parks in Zimbabwe and is situated in the south-eastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe. It covers an area of approximately 5 000 km2 and was proclaimed a national park in 1975, although some sections were already designated as a game reserve in 1934. The reserve forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

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, including guided self-drive adventure trails in the area.

 

Our party of six adults, three children and three 4WD vehicles were advised to stay in Punda Maria, northern Kruger National Park, by 2BWild Safaris, for our first night in order to exit through the Pafuri border post the next morning – destination Mabalauta Camp, Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe!

This route took us along the north-western edge of Mozambique, across two major rivers – the Limpopo and the Nuanetsi – making two border crossings en route, to Chicualacuala. It took us MUCH longer than we’d anticipated and we were quite anxious as the border post closed at 6pm – but we made it! (Moral of the story: allow plenty of travel time leeway in your escapades). The Mozambique side was super easy and the Zimbabwe side very friendly, albeit somewhat longer to process.

It was getting dark as we headed into Zim. The park staff were so friendly and radioed ahead to Mabalauta to let them know we were on our way. We were shown to our campsite and they had kindly lit the “donkey-fire” for us so that we could have a warm shower. Our campsite was right on the banks of the Nuanetsi river under a huge canopy of trees. We heard very odd noises only to discover they were made by a massive fruit bat. Nyala were grazing just down the bank and we heard hyena which sounded very close.

The next morning we headed for the exclusive Hlaro Camp (exclusive camps cannot be used by any other visitors, nor may anyone enter the campsite). Again, darkness was falling as we drove into camp. We were getting quite adept at putting up camp in the dark. We could hear hippo nearby with one lying on the river bank about 200 metres from camp. The next morning we were greeted with the sound of lions roaring and the amazing sight of the sun rising over the Chilojo Cliffs. A little later we saw two young male lions on the riverbank downstream.

We headed down to Bhenji Weir, passing the one and only car we saw the ENTIRE time we were in the park! We saw two baby jackal frolicking in their den as well as a number of elephant. Bhenji Weir was a great viewing site comprising a double-decker viewing platform enabling visitors to see all the way down to the weir and up the valley. We were privileged to see a large herd of sable coming down the valley to drink. After a tasty brunch we set up our hammocks and had a snooze in the shade before heading back, crossing the Runde river at Bopomela then driving up to the Chilojo Cliffs viewpoints which provide a magnificent view of the entire Runde valley. The highlight here was our sighting of a pair of Verreaux’s eagles.

The next day we started a slow trek towards another exclusive camp, Chitove. We enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at the west viewing point of Chilojo Cliffs and from our vantage point we saw plenty of game including buffalo, kudu and elephant. We carried on to the east viewpoint and saw about six different herds of elephants amongst the Mopane forests and on the plains. The Chitove campsite was breathtaking, right on the river, which was patrolled by resident crocs and hippo. Fishing is allowed in Gonarezhou and the guys decided to try their hand in one of the pools upstream, managing to land a fair sized Tiger fish.

The following day, we headed off towards Machaniwa Pan and saw a plethora of game – eland, warthog, zebra, baboons and a large elephant bull. The pan was stunning with plenty of birdlife – African jacana, white-faced ducks, herons and many more. Here we cooked up a delicious meal on the skottel before making our way across the Runde river towards Gayiseni campsite and the confluence of the Runde and Save rivers. The road to Gayiseni turned out to be little more than an elephant path, completely overgrown with palms, and without Tracks4Africa telling us we were there I’m not sure we would have known! From here we headed back via Tembwahata Pan and again saw loads of game with many rafts of hippo! The weather was quite cool, so many of the hippo were in the shallows which made for some great pics. The baobabs around here were stunning. We crossed back over at the Chitove water crossing after seeing more game.

The following morning we struck camp and headed back along the river, the highlight of the drive being a sighting of three young lions! Lunch at Chilojo Cliffs picnic site with a sighting of large elephant bull and also a large herd of ellies with very small calves coming down to drink. As we neared the Chipinda Pools camp the amount of game increased and we saw herds of elephant, zebra, impala and kudu. The sun was again setting as we headed down the final hill to Chipinda, giving us a stunning view of the Runde valley with the broken bridge way off in the distance. The campsite at Chipinda Pools was very well appointed with newly-refurbished ablutions, hot water and a thatched lapa dining area. We were welcomed by a small Mozambique spitting cobra but he soon moved off. Great excitement – two of our party nearly walked smack bang into the resident leopard as they were leaving the bathroom!

Next day we were really sad to leave. Heading south across the Runde crossing to extend our adventure and following Tracks4Africa to try and keep off the main road as much as possible, we stopped for an obligatory “G&T” under a baobab along the way! We were welcomed at the Elephant and Lion Motel, although it felt very strange not to be putting up the tents!

This safari was a truly fantastic experience – a trip of lifetime. And the staff in the Park went out of their way to make our stay as enjoyable as possible.

Our huge thanks to Viv at 2BWild Safaris for all the bookings and advice – you really made our trip unforgettable and hassle free!

CHECKBOX

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, including guided self-drive adventure trails in the area.

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR
The ideal time is June to August when the Limpopo is at its lowest and temperatures are mild to warm.

SELF-DRIVE
You will need to be completely self-sufficient. 2BWild will book a self-drive 4×4 for you if required, as well as provide you with a comprehensive Trail List with everything you will need, depending on where you choose to stay, and the time of year.

FLY-IN
For overseas or local visitors wishing to fly in to Chilo Gorge 2BWild will book your flights and accommodation and arrange transfers.

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.

 

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Jambo Zanzibar – 06-2016 – Part 3 : The North – Nungwe Village

IMG_3448Jambo Zanzibar – 06-2016 – Part 3 :

The North – Nungwe Village

Hakuna matata!

All too soon we were whisked away from Ras Michamvi and the south-east coast by our driver, Hashim, in another of our specially appointed transfer and tour company Babou Tours’ wonderfully comfortable silver Toyota 8-seater air-conditioned taxis. Via the villages of Michamvi and Paje we cruised, first westwards then northwards up the centre of the island towards Nungwe Village situated at the northern tip of the island. Passing through rice and sugar cane fields, and endless coconut and palm plantations. Passing bicycles, Dulla-Dulla’s filled with European tourists and locals plied through the rural villages and mini-markets, and we arrive at our destination Lang Langi a mere hour and a half later.IMG_3551

At Reception, we were given the keys to our room. Porters led us through a beautiful Zanzibari door, up one flight of stairs and we found we were only one of two rooms in this part of the building. The view through our windows completely took our breath way as the door opened and we took in the exquisite azure aqua vista of ocean which stretched to the horizon, with vessels of all kinds dotted around at anchor: a yacht or two, dhows, dive-boats and fishing vessels. We entered our spacious sea-facing double-room, complete with a colourful, flower-decorated Zanzibari four-poster bed with mosquito net, wardrobe, desk/chair with tea/coffee making station, upholstered chairs, antique couch, table and mini-fridge. The bathroom is entered through a swing door and spans the width of the room with a lovely spacious shower.

IMG_3489 IMG_3490 IMG_3498 IMG_3509 IMG_3522We discovered that the waves were gently lapping right beneath our room and that we were very centrally-situated in Nungwe Village with resorts stretching for a mile or two on either side of us. Although we were on the northern tip of Zanzibar, we were in fact facing the sunset. We couldn’t wait to explore!

We took a long walk south down the beach and back through the dusty roads and alleys of the village, where we spent lazy time bargaining for a patterned shirt, a sarong and beautiful beadwork. The resort restaurant was directly below our room on a wooden deck supported on wooden stilts above the ocean. Each morning we breakfasted there in style on a typical Zanzibari menu – fruit, coffee, juice and omelettes with toast and sausages.

The weather was perfect and we descended the restaurant stairs straight into the warm, transparent waters for a swim, laughing for the pure joy of being in such a paradise, floating along over the gently undulated waves – what heaven!

Each morning we’d watch the dive-boats go out, returning a few hours later with happy divers and snorkellers climbing down into the shallow sea, unpacking equipment to get ready for the next trip out to the reef, which we heard is around 12 m deep.

IMG_3253We bought wine and beer at a tiny grocery store for sun-downers on our balcony, visited the Bureau de Change to exchange Dollars for Shillings, which are more commonly used in the markets, and we dine on seafood in the evenings at a couple of very beautiful restaurants all facing out over the sea, listening to the waves gently lapping against the rock walls. One evening, we walked past resorts and hotels along a paved pathway to the far north and enjoyed a Mojito in the moonlight, sitting at a little table in the sand in the middle of a small beach with not a soul anywhere near us.

During our stay, we hired bicycles and rode along dusty, bumpy roads down the coast to visit the luxury Ras Nungwe resort which we’d been invited to visit. We were met by the typically friendly staff and the reservationist who seemed to be in charge and were shown around a fabulous, up-market and large resort with rolling lawns, colourful tropical gardens, beautifully-appointed accommodation, sparkling pool and long stretch of powdery white beach.

IMG_3725 IMG_3696 IMG_3609Our last evening was spent, once again, on a sunset dhow trip for an hour and a half, this time on a much larger vessel with seats below and upstairs and four men in attendance. We were joined by another couple and sun-downers were poured as we skimmed along, sail flapping, looking down through the transparent azure ocean to the smooth white sand below while the sun, a fiery red ball, gradually dipped beneath the horizon.

That night all was quiet as the restaurant closed at 10 PM as we listened to the gently lapping waves beneath us, lulling us into a deep, happy sleep enclosed by our mosquito netting, with door and windows wide open to the gentle sea breeze.

Another chapter of our journey has come to an end all too soon!

IMG_3417Click here to let us plan your itinerary and book your passage to Zanzibar now.