African Bush Camps chief executive Beks Ndlovu developed his love for remote areas at a young age, accompanying his mother, a state nurse, when she was transferred to various rural outposts in Zimbabwe. This nomadic life fuelled his desire to become a guide. After leaving school he started guiding in safari camps, going on to manage properties and gaining exposure to operations and marketing. After serving his apprenticeship, he decided to strike out on his own, offering privately guided safaris throughout Africa. It was during this time that Beks developed the idea to build a portfolio of camps focused on the guest experience. “I saw the industry rapidly changing and I was keen to develop a wild and remote camp that would be the ultimate playground for guides from all over Africa to come and visit with their clients on private safaris,” he says. “I wanted to develop a camp that would allow guides to be guides.” He didn’t want his guests to miss out on the fun, either. “I wanted to..
The artist tells Anna Vujicic about her life in Kenya, owning a herd of camels and how Africa inspires her work What do you love about Africa? Africa has a freedom and beauty that I have never found anywhere else. It makes one aware of everyday life and of other peoples’ burdens – in some cases extreme misery and brutality. But there is also so much hope, ambition, extraordinary generosity and kindness. You have returned to Kenya with your family. What do you love most about the country? Following our life in Jerusalem, it was a complete joy to return to the wild and open spaces, lush greenery and friendly faces of Kenya. I love the fact that if you have imagination and energy, then you can make things happen and start projects. You can do things that you couldn’t dream of doing in many other countries. What is it about Africa that inspires you? I love to paint the majestic landscapes with the people and wildlife. I want to put it all down on canvas and paper before the nature is po..
Do you know what your flashlight tastes like? Yes? Then you need a headlamp. They light the way, leaving both your hands free to construct camp, cook, eat, read, navigate or even to cling while climbing to a summit for sunrise. Here, we review some of the top models and gives you some insight into what you should be looking for. Brightness Brighter is not always better. Purchasing one with 10,000 candlepower (126 lumens) to simply complete chores around camp or read in your tent will result in little other than you blinding yourself and your travel companions. It will also mean you’ll be forced to tote around a hefty pack of batteries strapped to your cranium. However, if you plan on delving into caves or strapping on a red filter and searching for animals on a night-drive, a single LED (light-emitting diode) light won’t offer you much in the way long-distance lighting. Since most of you will want your headlamp for various activities, look for one that offers multiple brightness setti..
Zambia has a bewildering variety of attractions. Sometimes it can be hard to decide exactly where and when to go, especially as every season offers something different. Some are well known, others more offbeat. January – April · The rainy season: hot and wet. Rivers swell, lagoons fill and plains flood. Vegetation runs riot, making animals elusive , but many have their young at this time. · Birding probably at its best, with many summer migrants around – including iridescent Carmine bee-eaters. March-April is the best time to see the Shoebill in the Bangweulu Swamps, though it can be difficult to get there. · Kafue, Lower Zambezi and most other national parks are impassable by road. · South Luangwa’s Kapani and Mfuwe lodges open to use Luangwa’s limited network of all-weather roads. Most others are closed. Boats are the only reliable way to get around. Tafika, in South Luangwa, runs ‘river safaris’ using canoes and inflatables to explore the Luangwa’s backwaters. · The spectacular Ku-..
The million-year-old fossilised remains of a cheetah specimen have been found near Bulawayo (Zimbabwe). Once, though no longer , the cheetah also ranged across Asia and India. Its Hindu name chita, meaning spotted, has, however, endured. Today wild cheetah can only be found in Africa and Iran, usually near springbok or Thomson’s gazelle grazing on open grassland. In game reserves, midday – when scavenging hyaena and snappy tourists are at siesta – is prime action time. The cheetah, having stalked to within 50 or 60m, steps up to a long-legged loping 30-40mph cruise in full view of and parallel with the now stampeding herd. A target is selected from the outskirts of the group. In 2-3 seconds the lithe, streamlined torso explodes to about 65mph, large but narrow open-clawed paws spiking the ground as long, muscular legs rapidly close the gap in strides of almost eight metres. A foreleg stretch, a dewclaw hook and the tripped victim cartwheels in a dust cloud. Death is by strangulation. ..
On a journey to the north of Serengeti National Park, Laura Griffith-Jones discovers that you don’t have to focus on the river crossings during the Great Migration to have some exceptional wildlife encounters. Picture copyright Michael Poliza Our red-letter day began just before dawn in a dark tent in a remote corner of the northern Serengeti. The music of the nocturnal African bush played loud in our ears as we crept along the torch-lit pathway a hyena had trodden the evening before. Clambering into our Land Cruiser, bleary eyed, we set off towards the Kogatende Airstrip and the Mara River. The engine growled sluggishly as the night sky became pinker, until it was stained deep purple. Our guide Bahati slowed the car to a halt and we watched in silence as the horizon turned mauve, then crimson, and the huge golden orb rose from the hills. I would have come to this 14,763sq-km park to experience that sunrise and nothing else. But most people flood here each year with one aim alone: to..
Laura Griffith-Jones speaks to Chris Mears, the new Chief Operating Officer of the African Travel & Tourism Association (Atta), and hears about his plans in the role What was your childhood like? I grew up in Surrey and was educated at boarding school, which taught me to stand on my own two feet. I was lucky enough, at school, to take part in a month-long expedition to Kenya. I decided that I needed to explore more of the continent, and from that, a lifelong passion has grown. Why and how did you get into the tourism industry? I took a gap year and travelled on an overland truck from London to Harare and then onwards to Cape Town. On my return, I reached out to people from my travels and started working at a specialist adventure tour operator — and haven’t looked back. Initially, my career was very much in retail. This made it possible for me to visit the continent regularly and start building contacts, many of which have developed into lifelong friendships. On one trip to Cape Town,..
If you are looking for quirky locals and unexpected treasures and pleasures, head up South Africa’s west coast for a dose of the Wild West SA style, says Carrie Hampton. Here are the best places to visit… (All images by Carrie Hampton)West Coast National Park Head for the lagoon where 20,000-year-old Eve’s footprints were found. Dr Dave Roberts thought, “I’ve found ancient animal footprints here, why not human?” And by jove he did! I love to lie on the powdery sand of this shallow lagoon and imagine Eve looking at this same peaceful scene, albeit within a national park of harsh dry landscapes home to ostrich, lizards and tortoises. Carrie’s pick Privately owned hideaways beside the lagoon at Churchhaven are pure off-the-grid bliss and some are for hire. Try West of the Moon or Seagull Cottage. Paternoster This quaint village has been enticing city-worn chefs who are setting up their own restaurants and attracting an appreciative weekend crowd. Paternoster is all about walking the w..
This is Travel Africa’s guide to everything you need to know about planning your trip to one of Africa’s finest wildlife regions — when to go, what to do and where to stay. David Rogers reveals all When I first visited South Luangwa, in north-east Zambia, in 1995, I was captivated by the meandering river, majestic forests and patchwork of beautiful lagoons — not to mention the staggering concentrations of wildlife. Since then, I have returned twice a year or more to research books, photograph lodges and host workshops. If I could pick just one region to visit for the rest of my life, it would be this. The three national parks, South Luangwa (9050sq km), North Luangwa (4636sq km) and Luambe (254sq km), along with their neighbouring game management areas (GMAs), together create a 13,940sq-km ecosystem that stretches from Malawi down to the Middle Zambezi. It is surprisingly little changed since explorers such as Livingstone first came here in the late 1800s and a place where you can fi..
A safari can be a sensory feast, with the heat, smells and sightings of the day accompanied by chanting birds and grunting herbivores. At night, the lions’ territorial claims and the wanderings of creatures, large and small, outside your tent, do not always add up to a good night’s sleep. With early starts and late-night fireside chats, the paradox of feeling both thrillingly at one with nature and dog-tired will hit you eventually. But there are plenty of tranquil waterside escapes where you can unwind and view wildlife. Guy Mavor lists eight of the best: 1 Lake Malawi Many of the lake’s best beaches are near national parks that are making a comeback. The watersports hub of Cape Maclear is close to Liwonde, where elephants can be spotted during motorboat safaris. Likoma Island and Nkwichi Lodge, both on the Mozambican side of the lake, are not easily accessible but their waters teem with tiny cichlids; the latter’s forested surroundings can also be explored on foot with a guide. 2 T..