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Archive for March, 2010

Please note that this is a suggested itinerary only … if this does not suit your needs, then we can tailor an itinerary that does.

Day 1
Upon arrival in Windhoek make your way to the car hire counter and pick up your 4×4 vehicle. You have a scenic 5 hour drive through to Etosha in the North.

Spend three nights at Andersson’s Camp where you can either do your own drives through Etosha National Park, or you can participate in camp activities. Depending on the time of year you go, the plains will either be very dry and you’ll see animals hunting for water, or you may have the unusual occurrence of actually having water in the pan and the grasses long and swaying in the breeze.

Day 4
From Etosha you head South West into the scenic Damaraland. Very low rainfall in this area give it a lunar appearance and makes it one of the harshest environments on earth.

Dry river beds, gravel plains, rocky outcrops and large hills sustain the wildlife that lives here. You get the rare desert rhino and the desert-adapted elephant. Amazing geological and cultural highlights also exist from the rock paintings/engravings at Twyfelfontein, through to the ancient petrified forest or organ pipes.

Enjoy two nights exploring this area at Doro Nawas where your views are endless and the staff attentive to all your needs. Again here you can participate in camp activities or you can choose to explore on your own.

Day 6
A scenic drive down the coast through Henties Bay to Swakopmund, gives you some idea of why the area has been named the Skeleton Coast.

Swakopmund is a scenic town with brightly coloured buildings and some old architecture. There are also plenty of activities that will keep you busy here from desert tours to kayak trips to quad biking through the desert. A two night stay is recommended at Cornerstone Guest House or Villa Margherita while you enjoy the cool morning breeze off the Atlantic.

Day 8
An early start will get you down to Sossusvlei for a brilliant sunset. Spend two nights in this area, or three nights if you have the time. There is a lot to soak in and the area is definitely a highlight on its own.

Kulala Desert Lodge allows for the opportunity of sleeping under the stars, or Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, perched on the mountainside, gives you that feeling that you are the only people in the world. Highlights in this area are the sunrise balloon safaris or the scenic flight options available (recommended to book in advance). This will be a place engraved in your memory for all time.

Day 10
A leisurely drive back to Windhoek allows you to enjoy your last sunrise in the Namib-Nauklaft National Park.

Once back in Windhoek you can do some last minute shopping or just enjoy the city. A stay at the Elegant Guest House or Olive Grove Guest House, gives you that base to work from on your last night in the country.

Day 11
Depending on your departure flight, you can make your way back to Windhoek International Airport and drop off your hire car.

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Dear all,

Once again, weekend in Cape Town started on thursdaynight..Drinking local beer in a lounge bar  while overlooking the Green Point stadium made me realize that I am quite privileged to be here..Even though I work 5 days a week, it often seems like I am on yet another great holiday!

Thursdaymorning started off somewhat “confronting” though.  As I noticed the past few weeks, South-Africans are…well, I wouldn’t say lazy, but they take their time on things.. Trains don’t really stick to their schedule, minibus drivers take their time on a burrito without  a care in the world,  not to mention the cashiers at supermarkets,  who seemingly take NO effort in working just a tiny little bit quicker and can’t care less about closing up right when you’re next in line.I was confronted with that cultural characteristic at Home Affairs as well, while trying to extend my Visa. There was no actual line in which people were waiting, more of a mess really.
After spending 4 hours sitting on the floor, I finally made it to the counter..but as I was told before, they don’t just arrange your new visa; they give you a receipt that tells you it takes another 30 days! “Fantastic”, especially combined with the frustration towards the South-African railway company the day before;)

Anyhow, thursdaynight took the frustration away, and on saturday I joined a few friends to the Woodstock Food Market, a great place to spend a saturday afternoon. Woodstock isn’t exactly an area that is well-known for its safety..A run-down, old industrial “improvement” district I’d say. It is therefore hard to imagine that the district is home to Cape Town’s yuppie foodie market where the wealthier Capetonians show up for lunch. We were surprised by the array of food stalls,  serving all kinds of  international cuisines.
After  spicy Thai chicken and a “broodje kroket” at “The Frying Dutchman” (yep, got that too) we called it a day and drove to Waterfront, where we enjoyed live music and watched the “table cloth-cloud” revealing Table Mountain in the background..

Adios!

Ivo

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The Okavango Delta is an intriguing collage of islands and floodplains, channels and floating papyrus all melded together to form a fascinating wilderness of wildlife and plants. Lying on the sands of the Kalahari Desert and fed by a river that rises in the highlands almost two thousand kilometres away the Okavango Delta is truly a wonder of the natural world.

The water from the Angolan Highlands takes almost six months to reach the delta, resulting in the phenomenon of the annual flooding of the delta occurring during the dry season. The local rainfall has a limited affect on the water levels although it must be said that in some years the high local rainfall does raise the water table considerably.

The Okavango Delta offers water and land based activities including gliding through the channels on traditional dugouts or Makoros, boating, walking and game drives. The original African elephant-back safaris are based in the Okavango and horse safaris are a popular way of experiencing the delta..

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Please note that this is a suggested itinerary only … if this does not suit your needs, then we can tailor an itinerary that does.

Day 1
Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport a representative will drive you to Arusha Coffee Lodge, where you will spend one night in a chalet. Your stay is on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day 2

Drive to Arusha Airport for a flight to Manyara Airstrip. A vehicle from Lake Manyara Tree Lodge will be waiting to take you to the Lodge, where you will enjoy two nights in a stilted tree house. Your stay is on a full board basis, including twice daily game drives and park fees.

Day 4
Return to the airstrip for a flight to Grumeti, Klein’s or Serengeti Under Canvas Camps airstrip. From the airstrip, a short game drive will take you to the camp of your choice.

Spend three nights at one of these camps. Your stay is on a full board basis, including twice daily game drives and park fees.

Day 7
Your plane to Manyara Airstrip will be waiting at the airstrip. Enjoy a scenic two-hour drive on your way to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. For the next two nights, take in some of the most spectacular views on the African continent.

Your stay is on a full board basis, including one game drive on the crater floor per day, as well as park fees.

Day 9
Return to Manyara Airstrip for a flight to Arusha Airport. From there, you will be chauffeured to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where your safari will end.

The perfect way to end your holiday is to add on a few nights at Mnemba Island Lodge, located on Mnemba Island just off Zanzibar.

Day 13
You will be transferred back to Zanzibar airport in time for your departure flight.

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Hi all,

Despite a few scratches, sore calf muscles and a decent sunburn, I actually enjoyed the exhausting 8-hour hike through the Cedarberg mountains!

A real “overland truck” picked us up at Greenmarket Square in the centre of Cape Town on fridaymorning, taking us on a 5 hour drive to  Cedarberg, a wilderness area which occupies approximately 130 000 hectares of rugged mountain terrain.
The area is famous for the Cedar Tree which survives in small numbers and gives the Cedarberg its name.

After a quick look at some rock art, a swim in the pool and a gigantic T-bone steak for dinner, we called it a day around 11pm due to the fact that breakfast would be ready at 6(!) on saturdaymorning..
Now, I am not much of a morning person, but the earlier we would start climbing, the longer we could climb in the shade..So there was not much choice than to drag myself out of my tent..:-(

The first part was easy: walking up the weathered rock formations while watching the beautiful vistas, crystal clear pools and streams with the sun still hiding on the other side of the mountain.
As we crawled through the dark and narrowing crack, the sun eventually appeared  and the next few kilometers to the famous Wolfberg Arch turned out to be a lot tougher.
The walk was well worth it; the view from the Arch was stunning..” iets u nie sien elke dag nie”

Luckily, our driver picked us up on the other side and drove us straight to our accomodation; a jump in the pool was a basic living need.
Being tired didn’t stop us from having a party under the beautiful night sky, and on sunday afternoon it was time to head back to Cape Town.

More news next week!

Cheers!

Ivo

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Please note that this is a suggested itinerary only … if this does not suit your needs exactly, then we can create an itinerary that does.

Day 1

Scheduled flight from Johannesburg to Kruger airport where you will collect your car for the start of your self-drive safari.

Make your way to one of our recommended lodges in the Timbavati Game Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger Park. The Timbavati boasts 40 species of mammal including the Big Five; and the 360 bird species make it a bird lover’s paradise.

Spend 2 nights at a lodge or tented camp of your choice enjoying activities such as early morning and afternoon / evening game-viewing, and nature walks.

Day 3

Drive to your next destination, the Sabi Sands game reserve, a wildlife oasis, where you can observe at close quarters the age-old natural relationship between predator and prey.

Spend the next 2 nights at a lodge or tented camp of your choice enjoying activities such as early morning and afternoon / evening game-viewing, and nature walks.

Day 5

Say your farewells to the Kruger and drive to the Panarama Route, where you will spend 2 nights in one of our suggested lodges or guesthouses.

This is an area of breathtaking beauty and tranquility, where the towering Drakensberg escarpment rears out of the Bushveld. Your days can be spent visiting the surrounding attractions such as The Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels, God’s Window, and the historic mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest. For more information on this area and our recommended accommodations, speak to our travel experts.

Day 7

Drive back to Kruger airport where you will drop off your car and board your flight to Johannesburg.

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“Seapoint-seapoint-seapoint! ….U sit in the front bro.”
I have to admit;   as much as I hated the minivans the first few weeks, I actually enjoy taking one  now.

Every van has its own music and its own driver..Sitting next to an oversized “50 cent- looking fellow” covered in tatoos playing Whitney Houston’s  “I will always love you” was probably the weirdest combination I have encountered in Cape Town so far;-)

Also, catching the train from Central Station to Observatory is becoming every-day-life..and I’ve noticed that people are more open and friendly than in the average train to Amsterdam; they actually talk to you!

Concerning my weekend, I unfortunately can’t provide you with a breathtaking picture I personally took..
As I was strolling along the Atlantic ocean from Sea Point to Waterfront, my camera battery had decided to die right before I was about the take a scenic helicopter flight. Guess i’ll have to promise to do this some other time!

This weekend, I am going on a 3-day tour to Cederberg, a mountain and nature reserve approximately 300 km north of Cape Town.
Hiking, swimming and drinking will be most likely be the main activities.
The hike up Wolfberg Arch on saturday will take 8 hours, according to the itinerary.. Let’s just hope I’ll survive;-)
Anyhow, an extensive report on this trip will follow next tuesday!

Cheersch and take care,

Ivo

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New to African Travel Expert‘s list of destinations is – since last week- ..Mozambique!

After years of civil unrest Mozambique is coming into its own as a tourist destination – with some of the continents best beaches and diving areas. There is a region however that has survived and flourished even during the years of unrest – the Bazaruto Archipelago. Today there are many well know beach areas in the country but the islands of the Archipelago are still the most recognised of the holiday destinations of Mozambique.

Set off the coast of Vilanculo the Bazaruto Archipelago is made up of the five islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Maraque, Banque and Santa Carolina. The islands make up the Bazaruto National Park – a unique African park of birdlife, coral reefs, forest and some savanna. Apart from the birdlife parts of the park are home to crocodiles and small mammals.

But it is the Indian Ocean that attracts most visitors to this fascinating natural resource. The underwater world is of the best in the world with the rare opportunity to see the dugong. Diving and deep sea fishing off the islands is legendary.

A trip to true paradise can now be booked with African Travel Experts.  Have a look at our website for one of the suggested itineraries.

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