Posts Tagged ‘elephants’

Londolozi: My best Safari experience

Leopard at Londolozi. Photo by Pedro Sagüés

Londolozi: My best Safari experience

I have already written about the places I liked the most for going on a Safari in Africa (Namibia, Tanzania and Botswana) and I posted a quick guide to choose the best Safari in Africa. I want to end my series of posts about Safaris in Africa with the one that I liked the most: Londolozi.

Londolozi is a Private Game Reserve situated in South Africa, in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which is part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a huge area that also includes the famous Kruger National Park. The main reasons why I consider Londolozi my best Safari experience in Africa are the following:

  • Variety of animals: In my previous experiences in Africa, it has never been so easy to spot such quantity and quality of game. In Londolozi, the “Big Five” are almost guaranteed: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino (consider in such way for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved).
  • Leopards: Londolozi is probably the best place in Africa to spot wild Leopards. There is a great story behind the relationship between the Varty family (owners of Londolozi) and the leopards, to the point that they are considered part of the family.
  • Driving experience: The game drives are guided by a trained ranger, who works closely with a local tracker to find the animals you want to see. The electrical 4WD cars are adapted to enjoy the wildlife without disturbing them. Off road and night drives are permitted.
  • Ecotourism: Everything in Londolozi is oriented to protect and enjoy the wildlife. In fact, the root of the word Londolozi is the Zulu word for protect and means “protector of all living things”.
  • Accommodation and service: you can stay at any of the Londolozi’s five lodges, that vary from the family oriented to the more romantic ones. Founded in 1926, Londolozi has been managed by the same family for generations. The service is, like in many lodges in Africa, excellent.

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To know more about Londolozi, check out their blog, twitter and website
Also check out this amazing video that Londolozi has just released:

Living with Elephants in the Okavango Delta

Living with Elephants. Okavango Delta. Photo by Pedro Sagüés

Living with Elephants in the Okavango Delta

Botswana is one of Africa’s top safari destinations. In fact, its national parks and game reserves protect almost half of its territory: a fenceless wilderness that allow animals to roam freely.

Botswana host different fascinating places. The best known are:

  • Chobe National Park, probably the most affordable and crowded park, known for the hundreds of hippopotamuses and crocodiles that live together on the Chobe river and its animal migrations and moving safaris. I visited it in 1998 in my way to Victoria Falls. In my oppinion it was just OK allthough many people like it.
  • Kalahari Salt Pans, absolutely magical, stunning and unforgettable huge isolated area full of treasures that I was lucky to visit in 2009 and which I have written an article in this blog. A photographers dream!
  • Okavango Delta: a unique patchwork of environments: waterways, lagoons, forest and savannah grasslands that flows in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world. A fascinating source of life in a country that is 80% arid.

Okavango Delta

In this article I want to focus in the Okavango Delta that, together with Moremi Game Reserve, placed in its heart, host wonderful game and safari camps. However, most of the Okavango’s small camps lie outside Moremi, in their own private wildlife reserves. In my latest visit to this delta I stayed at Stanley’s Camp, a tiny and intimate lodge that borders the southern section of Moremi and is located in seasonal delta so the area around the camp changes with the seasons from lush green to dry savannah. The flood waters arrive in June, though there is often navigable water all year round.

The area around camp is rich with excitement: on game walks, day and nighttime drives, and mokoro excursions gliding soundlessly through the waterways allowing you to get close to the wildlife. This is one of the best places in the world for seeing buffalo in large numbers. In fact, our car was attacked by one of them. It usually never happens, but the buffalo was still scared by a previous lion attack.

Living with elephants

Finally, close to the camp you can enjoy the unique and unforgettable “Living with Elephants” experience. A learning adventure were you accompany a semi-habituated trio of elephants on daily foraging treks. An excursion that transform your understanding of elephants to a deeper and more personal level.

Other useful articles:
The best places in Namibia
The best places in Tanzania
The best Safaris in Africa
Jack’s Camp in Botswana
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Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés.

Selous and Ruaha. Tanzania's best kept secrets

Boat Safari at Selous Game Reserve. Photo by Eduardo Sagüés

Selous and Ruaha. Tanzania’s best kept secrets

Following my previous post about the best safaris in Africa, now I will talk about Tanzania. While most visitors head straight to the amazing, famous but also usually crowded “northern safari circuit” (Serengeti, Ngorongoro…), very few others head down to the beautiful and unspoiled southern National Parks: Selous and Ruaha.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve, Africa’s largest protected area uninhabited by man, offers the lucky few visitors an experience in absolutely wild and unspoiled bush. The park varies from rolling grassy plains to open woodlands and rocky outcrops cut by the Rufiji River – the lifeblood of the park, whose tributaries form a network of lakes, lagoons and channels that offer a superb method of game viewing especially during the dry season (from June to October). Selous hosts Tanzania’s greatest population of elephants.

We stayed at Selous Safari Camp (Camp’s website and other useful info), a luxurious camp tucked away beside the beautiful Lake Nzerakela (we were told that the Prince of Wales stayed there with his family). Some of the safaris are done by boat so you can get really close to the wildlife, spotting not only lions, elephants, giraffes but also hippos, crocodiles, … The camp organizes fly-campings for a night or two (luxury walking safaris where you sleep out in the open with only a mosquito net between you and the sky).
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Ruaha National Park

Due to its’ distance from any major city, very few tourists visit this park. Ruaha National Park has a varied and fascinating terrain with wild fig trees, rare baobab forests and gorges of glowing orange sandstone. Compared with Selous, here you won’t find big grassy plains nor lakes (so you won’t be able to do safaris by boat). The Great Ruaha River contain swirling rapids and deep pools crowded by dozens of crocodiles and hippos fighting each other. Ruaha is a good place to spot predators. In fact, apart from lions, jackals and hyenas, we saw a group of wild dogs hunting.

We stayed at Jongomero, probably the most comfortable way to experience Ruaha. The camp stands beside the ephemeral Jongomero River. At the time we visited the camp, the river was dry. If you have the time and you convince the camp’s manager, he can take you to visit sculptor Robert Glen and Sue Stolberger, top class artists that live together in tents in the middle of the bush and fly to Europe and America for the opening of their exhibitions in major museums. Take a look at the art work and Robert’s giant monuments.
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Ras Kutani. End of the trip at the beach

After visiting Selous and Ruaha, we head to the coast and we enjoyed a couple of days at the beach before returning to Spain. We wanted to avoid touristic Zanzibar, so we went to Ras Kutani. The lodge is situated only 35 kilometers South of Dar es Salaam but offers the perfect hideaway, far from the maddening crowd. The setting ensures that feeling of being on one’s own tropical island. There is not much to do but swimming in the sea and sunbath on the beach just for yourself.
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Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés, Iñigo Sagüés and Eduardo Sagüés