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Game drive etiquette: Rules you need to know before going to the Kruger

When doing a self-drive safari in the Kruger National Park, there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind cars insisting on stopping diagonally on the road to get their perfect picture, or waiting to get a glimpse of the sighting because others have been parked in the front-row seats for hours.

That’s why there are certain rules in the park and if everyone abides by them, game drives should be a terrific experience. Before you go, familiarise yourself with these to make sure you’re not one of the culprits.

Remember, everyone wants to see the amazing sightings and enjoy their drives, so heading out with a patient and accommodating mindset from the get-go will go a long way.

Take note of these general sighting rules:

– Always keep to the speed limit: 50 km/h on tarred roads and 40 km/h on gravel roads, but slower is better

– When you come across a sighting, slowly pull over on the side of the road closest to the animal, but keep a safe distance

– If there are animals in the road, immediately stop at least 20 m from them

– The lane furthest from the sighting should never be blocked, so that others can pass if they want to

– Don’t linger longer than a few minutes at a sighting, so that others can view it too

– Never go off the designated roads

– Never climb out of your vehicle during a drive, or hang out of your car windows or sunroof

– Don’t hoot or blare loud music

– Avoid driving into vegetation, as this could damage the environment or kill small animals

– During night drives, never shine a spotlight directly in animals’ eyes

– Never make noise to get animals to move, stand up or otherwise react for pictures

– Respect the rangers, and always comply with their requests or instructions

Private game reserves are vital in battle to conserve environmental heritage

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the global travel industry and although there now are signs of activity resuming in some markets, the sector is still a long way from recovery.

New research from ForwardKeys, the travel data provider, shows that international flights to European destinations have reached 39.9% of pre-pandemic levels.

While this is significantly better than 2020 when the comparative figure was 26.6%, the picture is very mixed, with some destinations doing much better than others. Worryingly though, the outlook is not good, with bookings slowing towards the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer.

Although the data only considered Europe, it revealed some trends that should concern us. Countries that fared worst were those reliant on long-haul tourism. These travellers typically stay longer and spend more, and have all but disappeared.

Onerous travel restrictions, such as those the UK imposed, also affected destinations popular with British holidaymakers, such as Portugal, which was reclassified from green to amber in June. At the time of writing, South Africa remains on the UK’s red list, inhibiting travel from one of our most important source markets.

A year ago, I was asked when we anticipate guest numbers at Shamwari, a private game reserve in the Eastern Cape, returning to pre-2019 levels. My gloomy projection was 2023. Now, that seems optimistic.

The consequences of a prolonged recovery are significant for the entire travel and hospitality industry. The obvious concern is the longer it takes, the more the sector contracts.

By the time the recovery comes, South Africa may no longer be able to reclaim its place in a competitive global market.

As someone who started their safari career in conservation rather than hospitality, I have another worry that’s perhaps less obvious but to my mind equally important. It’s our ability to conserve our natural heritage.

Conservation is an expensive business and private game reserves have no other source of revenue than what guests spend when they visit us. Tourism funds these projects. Every rand spent contributes to a business model that absorbs the cost of conserving fauna and flora as well as its rehabilitation and protection.

Private game reserves play a vital role in conserving our natural environment. Many are outstanding at doing this.

With ever-growing demands on state coffers, a declining revenue base, and the need to prioritise spending, the government will simply not be able to support the extent and scale of conservation efforts in South Africa without private-sector support.

By way of example, for nearly 30 years the conservation project at Shamwari has arrested the impact of human activity and returned, to 25,000ha, the rich diversity for which the area was once renowned.

Much of the ecology has been restored, attracting or allowing for the reintroduction of an abundance of indigenous game, bird and insect life – from the big five to the flightless dung beetle.

Expanding, managing, developing and rehabilitating the land after many years of farming is an ongoing and costly exercise. As is deploying anti-poaching security to protect the wildlife and rehabilitating sick and injured animals.

Contrary to what critics may choose to believe, this isn’t all for the enjoyment of a handful of wealthy overseas tourists. The benefits of conserving our environmental heritage are much greater.

The lessons we’ve learnt over nearly three decades have contributed to a wealth of scientific and practical knowledge about how to rehabilitate land and reintroduce indigenous species.

So, too, has the pioneering work carried out at our wildlife rehabilitation centre, the largest and most advanced of its kind on the continent. State-owned and private reserves around the country make use of its facilities and expertise.

Shamwari and other private reserves have also contributed to studies on the relative socioeconomic impacts of game reserves, which outweigh those of agriculture tenfold.

We’ve learnt and shared lessons about how to reintroduce animals to rehabilitated land. This isn’t limited to the big game, but also benefits species such as the humble oxpecker.

Besides furthering a better understanding of conservation and how to implement it, we also strive to educate and stimulate interest in the subject. We regularly host schools from the surrounding communities as well as encourage visits to the two Born Free facilities on the reserve.

We’re determined that, despite the unprecedented difficulties we’re facing now, this successful conservation project will continue.

To that end, we’ve done everything we can to save costs and limit the effects on our team, without diluting the Shamwari experience. We’ve permanently shut some lodges and have stopped all new development.

We also decided to reopen incrementally, initially opening just two of our seven lodges, Long Lee Manor and Sarili Private Lodge. Sindile reopened this month and Bayethe follows in October. This enables us to keep operating costs down as well as implement strict health protocols.

And we’ve changed our model, repackaging to appeal to the domestic market. As well as offering unprecedented low rates, we’ve implemented initiatives such as the Banquet in the Bush and Safari Unplugged, with Watershed frontman Craig Hinds.

In November we’ll be hosting a weekend for local twitchers to coincide with the Birding Big Day 2021. We’re also looking at other activities such as mountain biking weekends, and we teamed up with Ultimate Braai Master for series seven, which was filmed in the Eastern Cape.

Perhaps our most successful venture to keep Shamwari top-of-mind has been Shamwari TV. This YouTube channel, offering virtual safaris, has proved hugely popular, both here and internationally, and showcases the essence of what the Shamwari conservation project is all about.

Conservation is cripplingly expensive, and the margins are thin, but I hope I’ve made the case for supporting privately funded projects such as Shamwari.

Besides the obvious benefits of sustaining South Africa’s tourism sector and the jobs and income it provides, it is also an investment in conserving our environmental heritage. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.

 

What is a Game Drive? Plus 5 Things to Know Before You Go

The cool, crisp air of a savanna morning blows through your hair as your guide steers the 4×4 over a hill. You watch a group of bright yellow weaverbirds attending to their nests in a nearby acacia tree—they’re so colorful you don’t need binoculars to see them, but you pull out your pair for a closer look. All of a sudden, you hear a sharp intake of breath and a single, whispered word: “Leopard!”

You turn around and there it is, several yards in front of the vehicle, relaxing on a streambank: one of Africa’s most majestic wild cats in all its spotted glory. The leopard is more beautiful than you ever imagined. You almost forget to breathe.

Game drives are the highlight of most African safaris. They allow you to get unparalleled views of African wildlife by bringing you deep into untamed areas that would be difficult to explore by foot.

This article explains what a game drive is, the types of vehicles used in game drives, who can go on a game drive, what to bring on a game drive, and wildlife protection and game drives. And of course, we’ll give you a glance at some of the many animals you can see on a game drive.

What is a game drive?

A game drive is an excursion through wild areas to find some of Africa’s most iconic and elusive wildlife. It is led by a certified naturalist guide who is familiar with the wildlife area and can lead you to amazing sightings. You may also be joined by a tracker who specializes in “reading” natural signs—like broken branches or marks in the dirt—to find animals.

Game drives are timed for when animals are most active. Typically, this means leaving your lodge or camp for a 2-4 hour game drive beginning at sunrise. You will return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation, followed by another game drive late in the afternoon as temperatures begin to cool. Night game drives in search of nocturnally active creatures are an option in some areas, and usually last 1-2 hours.

What types of vehicles are used in game drives?

Depending on the country and terrain, game drives are conducted in 4×4 vehicles or minibuses with seating for 5 to 12 individuals, including the driver. In South Africa and Botswana, the vehicles are typically open at the top. Passenger seats are often “stadium style”—each row is a little higher than the one in front of it, so your view won’t be blocked by the head of the person in front of you.

In East Africa, open or canvas topped vehicles may be used on private reserves. National parks usually require that safari vehicles are enclosed. They can include minibuses, particularly in Kenya, or enclosed 4x4s. Both generally come with a sunroof or pop-up top to increase the range of view. At Ujuzi, you will always get a window seat, so you don’t have to worry about a blocked view.

What can I see on a game drive?

Almost everything wild Africa has to offer can be seen on a game drive, from the tiny birds to majestic elephants. All of the photos in the gallery below were taken on Ujuzi game drives.

Who can go on a game drive?

Game drives are one of the most accessible safari activities, appropriate for a variety of ages and fitness levels.

What should I bring on a game drive?

You don’t need to bring anything but yourself on a game drive. Water is provided in the vehicle, and the guide usually has a guidebook or two to pass around—not that you will need it, thanks to their expertise.

However, most travelers like to have a pair of binoculars for viewing smaller or more distant wildlife. Consider bringing a camera or cell phone for recording some of the wildlife you see. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring extra sunblock if you will be spending more than two hours in an open vehicle.

What steps are taken to protect the land and wildlife from game drive vehicles?

Only certified driver-guides can operate game drive vehicles. These guides have a deep knowledge of and respect for nature. The ethics of their profession require them to drive carefully around wildlife, limiting their speed and avoiding any maneuvers that may cause stress to the animals. Game drives take place predominantly on designated tracks to avoid damage to plant life, and most national parks prohibit off-road driving. On some private reserves, drivers may go off these tracks in search of wildlife. If a game drive needs to go off-road, the guide will search for areas with more resilient soil and avoid going over the same area twice to minimize impacts. To get the best of both worlds, consider visiting both public and private lands on your safari.

Care for animals and nature always come first. If the choice is between stopping a vehicle close to an animal and stressing it, or stopping the vehicle a bit farther away, the guide will choose the latter. Even so, you will be amazed at the intimate views of wildlife you can get from a game drive vehicle.

Game drives also play a huge role in protecting wildlife. Park admission fees provide much-needed money to conservation efforts, and the presence of guides and safari-goers in a wild area discourages poaching. Going on a safari is a great way to support preservation of some of the world’s most beautiful wild areas.

The Importance of Africa’s Game Reserves

A game reserve is a large area where wild animals can safely live and reproduce. Game reserves exist to safeguard wild animals and provide a secure environment for them to thrive away from poachers, hunters, and other intruders. As a result, game reserves are created as a safe haven for animals before they are reintroduced into the wild, and a large amount of land is set aside for this purpose. Animals such as antelope, rhinos, and giraffes are protected in these areas. Animals are mostly protected in game reserves, and when they are hunted, it is done in a controlled manner. Many game reserves are established in Africa, and most are open to the public, as tourists commonly take sightseeing safaris. Let us take a closer look at the importance of game reserves and their functions in society.

 

Game reserves are dedicated places for wildlife conservation

Since the world’s forests are being depleted, the natural habitats of the world’s animals are diminishing. Creating slums or shanty towns around the edges of some cities also reduces the amount of area available for animals to thrive. As a result, the creation of a game reserve allows the allocation of space, time, and resources to the conservation and protection of these animals by local governments and individuals.

Game reserves offer protection of natural vegetation

Many towns and cities are overcrowded, destroying forests and putting the remaining vegetation in these areas in jeopardy. Dedicated space for wildlife and vegetation is becoming increasingly necessary as the urban world continues to expand. Biodiversity is necessary to keep our ecosystems in balance, and game reserves contribute to the protection and maintenance of important natural areas. Several animal species are endangered, but the threat to our vegetation and landscapes is less well-known. Game reserves maintain life cycles and resist the dangers that urbanisation and overpopulation pose to these historically significant locations.

Game reserves provide animals with food and shelter

The animals that live in the game reserves are provided with food and shelter. A variety of wild fruits, as well as edible roots and tubers, can be found on the reserves. Because they are dependent on the food chain, the animals also provide food for one another, with herbivorous animals being provided with a grazing area. Game reserves allow animals to stay in their native habitat while also ensuring that their territorial grounds are protected.

Game reserves generate income from tourism

Some game reserves serve as great tourist destinations. Tourism can fund projects to restore and protect the country’s indigenous fauna and flora, attract international investment, and provide economic opportunities for rural communities. Tourism spreads wealth throughout the country, benefiting people in remote and rural communities.

Game reserves create employment

Animals require continuous protection from poachers’ pressure and the threat of extinction that they pose. For this reason, guards are employed to protect the animals. Tour guides, in addition to guards, are recruited to show tourists around and provide them with detailed information on the animal’s habits and lifestyle. The administrative staff is also necessary to ensure that game reserves run smoothly. Receptionists, for example, are needed to ensure that visitors are booked into suitable rooms and are given itineraries for their activities. In addition, general personnel must ensure that the animals are fed and that their environment is clean. Therefore, game reserves are imperative because they offer employment opportunities to the community.

Game reserves provide the pleasure of observing the animals

People derive great pleasure from observing animal behaviour in their natural environment. That pleasure alone is enough for people to insist that game reserves are preserved and even that others are created to serve as a source of happiness. Many game reserves offer Safari viewing to visitors, and this rich experience is thoroughly enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

All forms of tourism in which relatively undisturbed natural areas serve as the principal attraction or setting are referred to as nature-based tourism. Wildlife and nature-based tourism, in particular, support a wide range of related industries and sectors, including conservation, by providing income generation for park management, wildlife protection, anti-poaching, and, to some degree, border control. For years, national and provincial conservation agencies have gained major financial benefits from nature-based tourism, which helps to fund conservation programs.

In Namibia, game reserves provide significant benefits to the neighbouring communities by supplying goods and services to visitors. Poaching, illegal resource extraction, and park invasion are all more likely in these reserves when there is no economic activity. Years of community engagement to participate in the advantages of conservation and nature-based tourism will be undone if the economic worth of our protected areas is lost to the communities that rely on them. It’s also worth noting that many people working in nature-based tourism are unskilled or semi-skilled employees who are usually their family’s breadwinners.

Namibia has an impressive diversity of animals, plants, and natural places, and this biological diversity is valuable in many ways. Besides the pleasure that many people take in observing and experiencing nature, our biodiversity provides food, shelter, grazing, pollination, and many other services.

Game reserves are important to the preservation of biodiversity. They not only help to preserve natural areas, but they also allow us to observe how ecosystems function in their natural condition. Recognizing that knowledge and awareness are catalysts for change reinforces in us the necessity of knowing about and protecting our natural environment, equipping us to protect it.

Ohorongo Game Reserve is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to creating a sustainable conservation legacy in Africa for the past 50 years. Our values are embedded in the sustainability of both humans and animals. We ensure that our visitors are prepared for an adventurous experience in the lap of luxury that is our reserve.

LIMPOPO WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Finding itself at South Africa’s northernmost area and bisected by the tropic of Capricorn, visitors to Limpopo can expect sunshine, long summer afternoons and dry days for most of their stay. Polokwane (previously known as Pietersburg), the capital city of Limpopo, lies more or less in the centre of the Limpopo province and its weather is reflective of most of it. Only the region east of the city offers markedly different climate, with most the subtropical conditions of the Lowveld providing weather more suited to dense forests.

With almost all year-round sunshine, it can get rather hot in the summer months (October to March) averaging 27ºC. The lowveld is less forgiving in the swelter of summer afternoons, with towns such as Phalaborwa known to reach 45ºC. Generally, however, visitors to the Kruger National Park area can expect temperatures around 30ºC in summer.

Don’t be surprised to find late afternoon growing heavy with clouds and you can expect short thunderstorms. Winter is typical of the interior highveld plateau. A sunny season of chilly, early mornings, warm middays, dry afternoons and cool to cold nights. In general the weather of Limpopo will greet you with a hospitable display of sunshine and reserve.

To start planning your trop, explore Limpopo with us! Enjoy browsing our info pages where you will find all the Limpopo Attractions and destinations, photographs to inspire you and a large selection of accredited accommodation in Waterberg.

The site provides user-friendly guides for finding accommodation in Limpopo with listings sorted by region, town and suburb and by categories from hotels and guesthouses to self catering options. We trust you will enjoy your stay in the Limpopo Province!

What is an African Safari like in the 21st Century?

Of course, you’ve heard about African safaris and seen snaps of celebrities looking glamourous on safaris in Africa. But, what is an African Safari really like for the regular 21st Century traveller? We’ll tell you all about African safaris in this post and explain what they are like for most travellers (mere mortals) nowadays.

What is an African Safari?

It is a journey in Africa that involves spending some time in the bush watching wild animals. So, basically, a safari is any trip into the wilderness to see wildlife.

That’s quite a narrow definition though. One that has evolved and expanded over the years to mean more than it once did.

Now an ‘African safari’ can be an adventure tour that spends some time in nature looking at animals and birds. Calling an urban or cultural tour in Africa a safari would still be inaccurate.

But, referring to a marine boat tour as an ‘ocean safari’ is acceptable (to marketers at the least). First, let’s take a look at the traditional Africa safari and how it has evolved…

The History of African Safaris

The name safari derives from the Swahili word for “journey”.

And, back in colonial times, the implication was that big game (large animals) would be hunted, shot, and then arduously lugged overland by a small army of local tribespeople.

US President Teddy Roosevelt popularized the concept in the United States, when he embarked on a safari of enormous proportions, ostensibly with the aim of filling the Smithsonian Institute with African specimens.

11,400 Animals fell to the party’s rifles, of which 512 were ‘big game’ – elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, hippos and rhino, including six white rhino – rare even at the time.

We’ll talk more about hunting further down the page, but right now let’s just state clearly that African Budget Safaris absolutely does not sell hunting trips, nor do we endorse hunting for sport. This, in our opinion, is a primitive pastime from a colonial-era that the vast majority of Africa has already moved on from.

Evolution of the Safari

Today the negative hunting connotations of the word ‘safari’ are being rapidly replaced by more modern associations with socially and environmentally responsible travel.

Safari travel in contemporary Africa typically implies that the journey will include game viewing and some time spent in wilderness areas (game reserves and national parks). A traditional African safari is usually focused on seeing Africa’s wildlife, but safaris are definitely not limited to game viewing.

Top 10 Reasons to go on a Safari

Reasons to Go on Safari

There are plenty of reasons to go on safari – and why you should not hesitate for a moment! Start planning that next safari….here are some my reasons for heading to the dark continent.

1. Watching Wildlife

I am completely besotted by watching wildlife and you may just find that you will be too. For me it’s the Big 5 sure, but I love the birds too, especially bee eaters, kingfishers, rollers…hippos though are my favourite, extraordinary creatures…

2. Landscapes

From the swirling sands and granite rocks of Namibia, to the great African plains of Tanzania, the landscapes of the continent will sear themselves in your mind. Savannahs, woodlands, mighty mountains and crystal clear waters…the landscapes are phenomenal.

3. Guides and Rangers

I have found the guides and rangers to be amongst the most interesting and admirable people I have met anywhere. Sitting under a mopani tree and chewing the fat with one of these folk is a memorable experience.

4. The Great Spectacles of Africa

No room to list all of Africa’s wonders here – but a few favourites…. The Great Migration of East Africa; Victoria Falls; the Drakensberg Mountains; Carmine Bee Eater colonies of 10,000 plus; the Rift Valley; Fish River Canyon; Table Mountain; Big Five…

5. Bush Experience

Under the stars in the African bush with the sounds of the night all around you is something you won’t forget. It’s just such an antidote to urban grit. For me it was bouncing around the back of an ox cart after a local festival in Zambia.

6. Luxury Accommodation

Some of the accommodation options available to people are incredibly opulent. But really, luxury on safari doesn’t have to be that expensive. A wooden decking, a cold drink, a view of a waterhole, candlelight…the formula is pretty simple.

7. Cultural Experience

The opportunity to interact with local culture – through local people, food, crafts, dancing and singing (if you’re lucky enough to see it), festivals and local celebrations – is a real highlight

8. Broadening Your Mind

Everyone needs to broaden their perspective on life, it’s just plain good for you. And the opportunity to see how people live and survive in places like Africa can be a life-changing experience.

9. Seeing the Best of Eco Tourism

Responsible tourism comes into its own on safari. Africa shows off the best of eco or green tourism spearheaded by responsible safari tour operators.

10. The Wow Factor When You Return Home

Come on you know this is the best bit! The wows, the ooohhhs, the aaaahhhs when you show your photos to friends and family back home. Oh, the elephant wasn’t that big…Was I scared? Naah, I was at one with the big fella…

Safari animals: the story of lions (and the best places to see them)

Few experiences in Africa live longer in the memory than the first time you see a lion. Lithe and ferocious, lions are without rival as Africa’s apex predator and carry on their body what one lion expert described as an “aura of impending violence”. The epitome of wild Africa, they are also the most sought-after prize on any safari to East Africa or Southern Africa for their combination of grace and grandeur, charisma and gravitas. Here we introduce you to the king of Africa’s cats, and tell you where’s best to see them.

Africa’s biggest cat
Second in size among felines only to the tiger, lions are easily Africa’s largest cat species. Males can be over 2.5m long, 3.5m if you include the tail. The heaviest wild male lion recorded weighed in at a rather hefty 272kg. Females generally weigh between 110kg and 168kg. Lions can eat up to 25% of their own body weight in a single session and, on such occasions, even male lions can appear pregnant, so swollen are their bellies.

Female lions can live up to 18 years in the wild; males have been known to live up to 16, but rarely make it past 12. Lions can live up to 27 years in captivity.

A social beast

There are 38 species of wild cats in the world, and the lion is the only social cat among them. Lions live in prides which can include more than 30 individuals, although many prides are much smaller, especially in areas where pressure from human populations is high, or in regions where prey is scarce.

A multi-generational sisterhood of lionesses forms the core of nearly every pride. Females born into the pride will, in many cases, remain with their sisters and mothers, aunties and grandmothers throughout their lifetimes. Together this formidable team of lionesses raises the pride’s cubs and inhabits a defined home range that can be as small as 35 sq km, or as large as 1000. They hunt as a team, defend their territory together against intruders, and raise cubs in a collective creche-like environment.

Lion pregnancies last between three and four months and, when they are ready to give birth, lionesses retreat to a secluded place where the cubs are born. The average size of a litter of lions is between two and four, but as many as seven have been recorded. Cubs cannot open their eyes until around ten days after birth, and mothers keep their cubs hidden until they are around eight weeks old. Despite the protection afforded by the pride, lions are particularly vulnerable during their first two years of life.

When they reach adulthood, which for lions usually occurs between two and four years of age, the young males will leave their natal pride and search for a territory of their own – this is nature’s way of ensuring that sexually mature males do not mate with their own relatives. They will often join with brothers or cousins to form a coalition and, largely nomadic, these dispersing males will wander until they can successfully challenge a resident male (or males) for control of a pride. Once in control, they will patrol their territory, sometimes remaining on their own with the other coalition male(s), sometimes hanging out with the pride females and cubs.

What lions eat

Lions are great opportunists and will eat springhares, elephants and most animals in between. Their favourite prey varies from one region to the next, but their diet often includes zebra, warthog, buffalo, wildebeest, impala, gemsbok, and warthog. One pride of lions even learned to hunt seals along Namibia’s northern coast. Lions also hunt giraffes – this is a particular speciality in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve. Lions commonly hunt elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, especially late in the dry season (September and October); the weight imbalance between lions and elephants, which can weigh 3.5 tons, is the greatest disparity between predator and prey in the animal kingdom. Even one-tonne buffaloes can weigh more than seven times that of the adult lioness bringing it down.

Although lions are skilled hunters and can reach a top speed of 93km/h, they rely on short bursts of speed rather than stamina – a typical lion hunt requires that lions stalk their prey to within around 15m before launching their attack. And despite such skills, their recorded success rate as hunters can be as low as 15% and never higher than 38.5% – in other words, significantly more than half of all lion hunts end in failure. And contrary to popular belief, lions routinely scavenge a significant proportion of their meals.

Lions will also eat domestic livestock, especially cows, and donkeys. With human beings and lions living in ever-closer proximity, such killings are a major cause of human-lion conflict, with many lions killed in retaliation.

All You Need to Know About going on Safari in 2021

Going on safari always has and will always be a top choice for any vacation.  

There is little that beats the excitement of travelling to Africa for an authentic South African safari.  

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many dreams that were almost a reality became dreams again.  But going on safari has not changed much.  

What do you need to know about your safari experience in 2021 :

The Bush is still the bush

Being out in nature is one of the best places to be with the COVID-19 virus lurking around.  Wide-open spaces and fresh air is just what the doctor has ordered.  

While most of the world was in lockdown and unable to leave their homes, nature just continued to be her fantastic self.  Wildlife went on their merry way each day, the rains came, and the grass grew. 

Now that you can travel again, mother nature can once again showcase her wonders and welcome visitors.  

The bush is still as it was before travel came to a halt.  It might even be a little better as it has had some time to recover and revive itself. 

Everyone needs a little break now and then.  Going on Safari in 2021 might be one of the best years to do so.

There are some changes

With life-changing events, there is a ripple effect that filters through – but if there is a will, there is a way.  

With the outbreak of Covid-19, it was no different.  Once the ways of spreading the virus were determined, safari lodges were able to adapt and again welcome guests.

In general, once at the safari lodge, you do not have much contact with other guests.  You will enjoy meals and activities together, but you would either enjoy some time around the pool or in the comfort of your room during the rest of your stay.

At some lodges, meals are served in a family-style.  Therefore you will be seated at one table with the other guests in the lodge, and you can help yourself to dishes served in a buffet style.  

Now guests travelling together can be seated together and tables spaced out.  Meals are served to the table, rather than buffet style where possible private dinners in the suite is also an option.

The number of guests per safari is limited to allow for efficient distancing.  Again you might only be exploring with your travelling companions.

But not all change is bad.  While on safari, you can connect with nature and reconnect with your loved ones -spending more time together.

Maybe a little closer to home

International travels might still have some bumps in the road, but a safari would still be possible.  

The Entabeni Game Reserve, situated in Limpopo, is only 90 minutes from Polokwane and 2 hours from Pretoria.  This is ideal for a quick weekend getaway or even a more extended break.  The reserve is home to the Big Five and offers traversing on diverse eco-systems and breathtaking mountains as a backdrop.  

You have the choice of either Wildlife Tented Camp, which offer a great view of the watering hole, or Hanglip Mountain Lodge, which offers amazing views over the wetlands, vast open plains and the Hanglip Mountain.

While at either lodge, you can enjoy game drives, nature walks, quad biking, archery and view the starlight night sky.  

Although a little further from each other, with your mask intact, you would still be able to enjoy your safari to the fullest.  Don’t wait another year before you want your African safari.  Make 2021 your year for safari.

 

What are five things to pack for your Entabeni Safari?

So you have booked your holiday and coming on a South African safari and stopping at Entabeni for a few nights. 

Months of planning has gone into your travel plans. You are almost on route to Limpopo in South Africa, where you will encounter the Big Five in a 22,000-hectare Game Reserve. 

But before getting on the plane and arriving in South Africa, there are a few things you will need to pack before embarking on a wildlife adventure. 

NOTE: Keep it simple. Keep it light and don’t overthink it. 

The right clothes and toiletries

Packing the right clothes are essential when going on a safari. If you are travelling by small aircraft then a weight restriction will be compulsory, so best keep to 20kgs max, unless told otherwise by your trusted travel advisor. Be sure to check. 

For most travellers, safari usually looks like a warm sunny holiday, but the evenings and early mornings can be rather chilly, so it is essential to have the correct attire. Keep away from bright colours and note that most safari lodges included same-day laundry service. 

Layering is essential when dressing for safari. We recommend you dress for cold, chilly mornings, and as the sun rises over the African Sky, you can start delayering as the temperature rises. Same goes for evenings. Comfortable clothes are most practical with a good set of sneakers/hiking boots, shorts and shirts. Popular quick-drying fabrics with ventilation and pants that convert to shorts are great clothing item. Be sure to bring a hat and swimming costume for those sunny afternoons. 

 

All relevant information regarding COVID-19 can be found on https://sacoronavirus.co.za/