Many thanks to the Africa Inscribed team – especially Dylan Harriss and Bernadette Venter
Thank you Africa Inscribed!
Our Safari was the most memorable experience of Will’s, Lily’s and my life.
The plan went like clockwork. Not one misstep. Dylan, Bernadette and team Africa Inscribed created and planned a spectacular experience from the minute we got off the plane till we got back on.
A big shout out goes to Warren Wright, our private label guide. He was so attuned to the children, they loved him. They learned so much and a huge part of our amazing experience was because of Warren. For a family traveling with children, I heartily recommend Warren as your private label guide.
No words to thank Team Africa Inscribed enough. Treasured memories for a lifetime.
Warren Wright – amazing private guide especially for families with children
Probably the most unique hotel in the world, Giraffe Manor was created by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. They were very interested in animal conservation, and bought the faux Scottish hunting lodge, in 1974. That year, the amiable giraffes, who kept poking their heads interestedly through the first-floor bedroom window were about to be dispossessed, their habitat lost to farmland development and their lives threatened.
Betty persuaded her husband to allow the giraffes to live on their 15-acre estate, and the couple began the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, based in Kenya and Maryland, which later bought an additional 105 acres for the giraffes. They adopted Daisy, one of the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes—which can be as tall as 20 feet, making them the tallest of the species. Daisy’s descendants have since proliferated, and the Leslie – Melvilles added the Giraffe Center, open to the public, on the southern part of the property.
Waking up to a kind voice saying Jambo and bringing hot chocolate, African sunrises and sunsets in that unlimited sky, rain storms rolling across the plains, almost running over a sleeping lion in the tall grass, learning about animal alarm calls when a predator is near, smells of a night fire, adopting orphan elephants, feeding Giraffe from your hand, learning polite words in Swahili, making bows and arrows with a Masai warrior, learning to build a fire from dung, visiting a Masai village, seeing the joy on children’s faces when giving mosquito nets to a school, visiting Karen Blixen’s home, sundowners, hearing the sounds of thousands of wildebeest in the migration, experiencing new food and tastes, the list can go on for days.
Learning and understanding wildlife in their habitat, watching them up closely in their daily activities is the ultimate thrill. There is so much the children expeiienced that cannot be listed. The enrichment was immense and incredibly satisfying to experience. A window in time that will never be recaptured. Traveling with children is priceless.
Sirikoi Lodge- Heaven on Earth – Lewa Downs Conservancy, Kenya
Sirikoi Lodge -Lewa Conservancy , Kenya
Learning how to play croquet – Sirikoi
View from the tent- lots of elllies.
Beautifully managed by Tom and Nikki Hartley, Sirikoi aims to please. We think it is our favorite Camp. The staff is so warm and welcoming, food is amazing, and the setting is unforgettable. Main dining area is off the Lodge right next to a water hole. So there is always action right in front of your eyes. Decor is impeccable with an organic garden that rivals anything we have seen. All food comes directly from the garden. Sirikoi is a hard place to leave.
What a thrill!!
We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the migration on the Grumeti plains.
We saw thousands of wildebeest, and zebras. I did not realize there was a such a sound factor to the migration- all those animals talking at the same time. We very lucky to see river crossings, and lots of interaction between the masses of animals.
Superb staff, warm welcome, the place was an old homestead, and it feels like a charming home.
Upon arrival, they offered a fabulous dinner on their verandah overlooking a lovely garden.
I had duck breast, and the children had crispy prawns. We had a connecting suites as big as the house. Snuggling down between Egyptian sheets, with the africology amenities smelling of Africa, we feel immediately to sleep.
We found some fab new vendors and renewed friendships with our favorite suppliers that are clearly a cut above. Here are some of our favorites:
In Residence – Cape Town New villa concept. Pieter Brundyn is the founder.
Camp Kuzuma, Botswana – delightful husband and wife team running the beautiful camp.
Royal Portfolio properties :
The new Silo Hotel -Cape Town,La Residencia – Franschhoek , Royal Malewane Camp – Thornybush, and Birkenhead House -Hermanus
Delaire Graff estate near Stellenbosch
Makani Game Lodge South Africa
Mara Engai Lodge Kenya
Elewana Collection – so many great properties in the Elewana Collection
Chitwa Chitwa Camp
Cape Grace -Cape Town
Ellerman House – Cape Town
Groot Bos Lodge
Some of the great Elewana properties:
Tarangire Treetops -Tanzania, Loisaba -Kenya, Arusha Coffee Lodge among others
Image courtesy of Elewana Collection Arusha Coffee Lodge -Tanzania
Shambala Zulu Lodge is owned by the same family that has the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.
Lodge Zulu Camp
Shambala is a Tibetan word meaning “peace on earth”. The Camp is built in Zulu Style- undaluting thatched huts. Huts that are very specious and comfortable with tall ceilings, and beautiful bathrooms. Attention to detail, down to crisp linen sheets, is delightful. It is a small place – 9 chalets. It welcomes a lot of heads of states and security is top notch. We can helicopter from Johannesburg or take a two and half hour drive up into the Waterberg Mountains- north of Johannesburg. A Malaria free zone, Shambala las 12,000 acres of private game reserve.
I found the staff to be completely warm and welcoming. My butler, Norman, anticipated every wish. I never had to repeat a request. Always there with a smile. The food was outstanding, by chef Tshepo. Probably the most inventive, beautifully presented and just great tasting meals I have ever experienced on Safari. I will dream about his homemade bread. Teamed with his wife, Elizabeth, the manager, the operation of the camp spins like a top.
The Saxon Hotel- Top Choice in Johannesburg.
The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg never fails to please. Impeccable service and an a superb decor- tastefully furnished with African artifacts throughout the hotel.
Lobby of the Saxon Hotel.
Guests experience a great sense of place. Located in the tranquil, tree-lined suburb of Sandhurst, within minutes of Johannesburg’s world-class shopping and business hub, the Saxon the Saxon treats you to personalised, discreet service and unparalleled South African hospitality. Room categories are all suites, either in the hotel or in the adjacent villas. Butler service is provided for all.
The Saxon is a luxurious private retreat, set on ten acres of landscaped gardens. The Saxon entrance exudes an air of quiet majesty with its sweeping feature staircase and spectacular ostrich egg chandelier. The neutral shades of the interior reflect the tones and textures of Africa. Nelson Mandela wrote much of his memoir at the Saxon.
&Beyond Grumeti River Camp provides a private Serengeti experience with exclusive game viewing in some of the most secluded parts of Africa’s most famous game reserve. The Grumeti Reserve is located in the remote Western Corridor of the Serengeti. Its rustic yet sophisticated safari tents are tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest on the banks of a tributary of the famous Grumeti River. The staff was superb: very warm and welcoming. Food again was outstanding We had some of the best wines selections there. Welcome song from Grumeti River camp.
Wake up calls come with a Cheerie “Jambo” and tray of coffee with biscuits.
It is easy to become caught up in the complexity of Africa: the history, the people, the camps, the tribes. To me, the magic of the continent is the interaction of the animals. Everyday is a new discovery.
It is a basic mobile tented camp designed to follow the migration. Bucket Showers, and minimum services. But the staff made it a first rate experience. The food – out of a really basic kitchen -was some of the best we had. The staff was friendly, engaged, and welcoming. I will remember this camp fondly, and plan to return.
Ngorngoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world, about 30 kilometers across. An estimated 25000 large mammals are resident in the crater, including a population of approximately 6000 resident wildebeest,zebra, giraffe, and around 70 lions. Visiting it should be a must on everyone’s list.
Known for it’s lions resting in trees to escape the dreaded Tsetse fly, and the glorius flamingos on the lake, Manyara was a delightful surprise. The national park has some of the most lush jungle vegetation I have ever seen. We visited a Massai village, always a warm experience.
A few of the details that make Tswalu Kalahari so special are the shuttle flights: private jets like the Pilatus PC-12, the lounge for your transfer -Fireblade – is in a class all it’s own with day rooms a massage therapist, and private chef on call. Offering a small number of cottages on property, the resort suits both families and honeymooners. Most especially the best offering is the private vehicle , guide and tracker for each set of guests. If you booked singly or came with 4 friends, you get you own land rover, guide and tracker. That is the height of luxury on safari! They dedicate up to 9 vehicles, guides and trackers for their guests. The reserve is so large, you never seem to see more than one other vehicle when one is out on a game drive. Our guide, Warren, knew that reserve like the back of his hand. He even found a pack of wild dogs in a impossible to find location!! Wild dogs!! What a thrill!!! My first sighting in all my years of safari tracking.
Guides and trackers focus on what a guest wants to see, ie birds or predators- or both!! You see it all!!!
ultimate luxury – private vehicle, guide and tracker
I have so many divine recipes from recent visits, I have to post some of the best ones! This one is from Wynand Van Der Watt at the incredible Molori Safari Lodge on Madikwe Game Preserve, South Africa.
Wynand, from Port Elizabeth South Africa, is the Head chef at Molori Safari Lodge. Previous duties were Head Chef at Sabi Selati Lodge, Sabi Sabi Private Game reserve, Sabi Bush Lodge to name a few. He sent me two recipes and here they are!
Located in the most famous game rich preserve in the world, Singita Sweni and Lebombo live up to all their hype. Considered as one of the top resorts in Africa, they work hard to make sure their guests are comfortable and happy. Trackers, Rangers, Chefs and hotel staff are all top of the heap. The Wine Cellar is enormous!! And the gift shop is one of the most comprehensive and beautiful I have seen.
Sweni is situated on the river and more intime. Lebombo is on a ridge with vistas over the thickets with gorgeous public spaces. One can experience both properties when staying at either Sweni or Lebombo. Rooms are similar- just a different view.
I think Sweni is one of my personal favorites and I hope to return very soon. Anyone want to go? I’m ready!
Singita Ebony is done in a more traditional style, warm colors and lots of English Safari antiques and decorative accessories. Singita Boulders is more contemporary, walls are stacked boulders, and the color palate is soothing blues, taupes and greens. Both have an appeal and the staff in each is above par.
Next stops were the fabulous Singita Sabi Sands : Singita Ebony and Singita Boulders.
Singita Resorts and Lodges are always at the top of any Safari Lodge rating. They are in a class by themselves. The best rooms, staff, decoration, and amazing attention to detail. Like Royal Malewane, Singita employs impeccable staff and educates them well. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, passionate, and extremely welcoming. No request is too difficult; one feels like you are in a private home. Care of their guests is extremely well thought out, down to a warm bubble bath waiting for you after an afternoon game drive- with a bucket of chilled champagne sitting on the tub!! Food selection is top notch – innovative, gourmet standard and the wine cellars are eminently well filled with thousands of bottles from all over the world to choose from. All part of their incredible service.
The world renowned KRUGER NATIONAL PARK has a number of private nature reserves that were created fifty years ago along-side it’s western boundary. These private reserves are now part of the Greater Kruger, and are no longer separated from this iconic wildlife conservation area by fences or any barrier at all. area. The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is one such area and Leadwood and Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge are landmark destination lodges within this incredible wildlife sanctuary.
The Reserve is famed for its intimate wildlife encounters, particularly leopard viewing. Home to a host of wildlife, including the Big Five, the Sabi Sand is part of a conservation area that covers over two million hectares (almost five million acres), an area equivalent to the state of New Jersey and larger than some independent countries. Game drives traverse an area of 10 000 hectares (24 700 acres) and strict vehicle limits at sighting ensure the exclusivity of your game viewing experience. Offroad driving ensures that you have the best possible view of any exceptional sighting and rangers are constantly in touch with each other to keep track of animal movements.
Moving on the Sabi Sands Preserve near Kruger National Park, we we delighted to discover Exeter Leadwood Lodge. Along with the Lodge we encountered our favorite ranger/ game drivers. Their passion and humor was the highlight of our trip. I told Africa Inscribed that they should hire them as guides becasue they were completely professional and the most outstanding rangers we met. The could be a traveling comedy act; they were hilarious. We hated to leave them.
We are continuing our adventure with a visit to the grand dame of luxury camps, Royal Malewane. Located in Thornybush private Reserve, adjacent to greater Kruger National Park, Royal Malewane is the the standard all luxury camps wish to reach.
Family owned, the glamorous Royal Malewane offers unparalleled service, food, and the number one Spa in South Africa. Liz Biden is a very hands on proprietor; one sees her touch everywhere. Most of the staff have been there since the opening 13 years ago, which makes for a pleasant return. When they say welcome back, they mean it!