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What is the Safari Experience...?

Safari literally means ‘expedition’ and in our eyes that is precisely what it is, on numerous levels. It’s a voyage in terms of miles travelled, a tour into a world governed by animals and a wonderful journey for the mind.

Staying at a lodge within a game-reserve your day will normally begin early. Before sunrise you’ll be invited to join a drive into the bush in the hope of observing the end of last night’s activities. It is not uncommon to see many of the nocturnal animals such as lion, leopard, genet and hyena - and the remains of their last victims! Your breakfast however will be served back at the lodge around 9.30am. on your return.

During the heat of the day you can relax around the lodge, do some bird-spotting from your viewing deck, take a welcome swim and ultimately enjoy an appetizing lunch. Those who are tempted can join a bush-walk with an armed ranger in the hope of viewing the smaller animals, insects and plant-life of the area. After tea and sandwiches your game-ranger will once again request your company in another open-topped 4x4 vehicle for the afternoon game-drive.

Dependant on environmental conditions and animal movements, the hope is that you’ll see all the so-called big five (rhinoceros, buffalo, elephant, lion and leopard), along with numerous browsers such as wildebeest, zebra, various antelopes and many other species. Hippopotamus, monitor lizard and crocodile we usually see around the water holes and along river banks, where a majority of the birdlife also dwells. Depending on your fortune you could even catch a glance of the rare and elusive Cape hunting dog (Lycaon Pictus) too.

This is the time of day we most relish whilst on safari as the rich bush colours are made ever more vibrant (particularly for photographs) by the angled rays of the setting African sun. Sunsets are stunning and once another one has been toasted with a tot of your favourite tipple, presented at the appropriate time by your trusty ranger, it’s another thrilling drive back to the lodge. With your tracker probing the bush with beams of torch-light it becomes an exciting hunt for the give-away signs of eye reflections, signifying nocturnal animals such as jackal, porcupine, serval and civet.

Back in the safety of the lodge, mouth-watering bush-cuisine is served either in the restaurant or in the traditional ‘boma’ under an intensely shimmering blanket of southern hemisphere stars, backed by the ever-present bush-cricket chorus. It is now that non-stop tales of another thrilling day are recounted to firelight.

In our opinion, for the best of these experiences, the finest areas to visit are:

South Africa: Kruger National Park & surrounding areas
Botswana: in the north - Okavango Delta & Chobe in the east - Mashatu

South Africa

In terms of sheer game and birdlife diversity we can recommend nothing better than ‘the Greater Kruger Park’ now effectively a single conservation area mostly comprising the Sabi Sands and Timbavati private reserves merging into the western boundary of the Kruger National Park itself.

This unique combination of public and private lands is one of Africa’s oldest and largest conservation areas and because of its many different habitats, it is home to the widest variety of animal life on Earth.

This hot low-lying area of wood and grassland offers relatively safe haven not only to the so-called big five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) but also to many other species of predator and antelope, and around four hundred bird species. A number of excellent private game lodges are located throughout this region and some of our favourites are listed below. Please click to expand.



Botswana is a pretty large country (roughly the size of France) but we find four areas quite irresistible: the Okavango Delta, much of which comprises the wonderful Moremi Game Reserve, is the ultimate oasis. It sustains a huge variety of wildlife (literally … amoeba to zebra!) in an assortment of habitats where the floodwaters pour into the Kalahari Desert.

Next door is another equally spectacular safari Eden, Chobe, echoing the Africa of old. This is where some of the finest lodges and game-viewing in the whole of Africa can be found.

If, however, it’s beauty and remoteness you seek, there’s the very wild Mashatu Private Game Reserve, or ‘Land of the Giants’. The area is so named because it’s home to seven of Africa’s big ones: the African elephant, the lion, the giraffe, the eland, the ostrich, the kori bustard, and finally the wonderful baobab tree. Please click to expand.

Kirkman's Kamp
Situated in the southern area of the Sabi Sand private game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Built in the early 1920’s the original homestead now serves as the recreational centre of the lodge and offers a return to the bush in the style of yesteryear.The lodge also has a swimming pool and a gymnasium. Meals are either served in the main house or on the shady surrounding verandas. Evening meals are enjoyed in the boma, weather permitting, and dinner in the bush can also be arranged.There are 18 colonial-style, air-conditioned cottages with en-suite bathrooms featuring ball-and claw-baths, private verandas and magnificent views of the bush.

" … …This is one of our particular favourite places due to its dissimilarity to most other lodges, especially all old photo’s and colonial artefacts still dotted around giving it a really homely feel. The old farmer who lived here must have had one hell of a life !…An unforgettable and unique experience was witnessed by us in November 2003 when the dry bed of the Sand River flooded with the first rains in front of our very eyes just outside the Kamp. The game-rangers who went out of their way to make sure we got the best view of this spectacle were fantastic at getting us all in the best position, shooing away that over- inquisitive hyena and giving us a rare and thrilling experience. The whoops we got from them after the event proved that they really were as excited as us … (or WAS it that pesky hyena again!?)".
For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
River Lodge
Exeter River Lodge is nestled in a grove of Ebony trees on the banks of the Sand River in the Sabi Sand Reserve. There are eight individually-designed and decorated ultra-luxury suites. Each suite has a private plunge-pool and bush-facing deck from which elephants can often be seen at very close but safe quarters. Magnificently-positioned lounges and dining areas overlook the river and compliment the finest cuisine. Teak furniture, deep sofas covered in rich linens and African ornaments create a welcoming and relaxed ambience.
" … within ten minutes of arrival, and literally whist still unpacking on a recent visit here, I and the people I was escorting were treated to an amazing site. A large herd of elephant including many mothers and babies came lumbering slowly but surely past each suite along the river bank. This is the first time I have ever had one of my clients break down in tears on tour – thankfully in sheer awe of the spectacle I might add! …" - Chris

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Dulini Lodge
Six traditionally-thatched suites under a leafy canopy of ebony trees gracing the banks of the Mabrak River. The beauty of Dulini lies in the exclusivity of its luxurious air-conditioned suites. Each one has an individual character and is decorated in contemporary African art. Bird-watching and dining under the ancient Jackalberry Tree, a brisk work-out in the well-equipped gym, or simply relaxing with space to yourself beside the sparkling pool on the deck of your private suite offer diversions to those not wishing to partake in an afternoon nap.
" … What a fabulous atmosphere at this lodge. The shady areas under thatch and the trees around about give this place a deeply cosy feeling. The sumptuous suites are really like actual cottages and you feel as though you’ve always lived there, … and those bathrooms!! One specific feature we relished on a particularly balmy evening was the lodge’s own walk-in wine-cellar stocked with excellent local and international wines …" - Mike

Oh yes, and if you ever get the chance to ask Chris about the trouble he had with the dung-beetle here in 2004, please do !!
For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Situated on the banks of the Sohebele River in the Timbavati private game reserve, this family-owned lodge offers complete peace and relaxation with charming ‘bush hospitality’. There are fifteen luxury en-suite bungalows with air-conditioning, ceiling-fans and fabulous bush and river views. A spacious lounge and bar over-look a beautiful waterhole and a there is traditional open-air boma for outdoor eating. For the heat of the day there’s a refreshing swimming pool.
" …we remember Motswari particularly for its game-viewing …firstly that amazing young leopard which we followed as it stalked and killed an African mongoose and then promptly climbed a low tree and gave us the best view ever … then there was the large monitor lizard which we observed climbing up an old tree, poking around in holes looking for baby hornbills …a bit gory, but that’s nature … finally there was the young bull elephant who decided to mock charge us just outside the lodge before dinner…frightened the living daylights out of us all, except our trusty game-ranger who, as ever, remained as cool as a cucumber…"

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Chobe Game Lodge
Brochure-speak: The only permanent game lodge situated within the Chobe National Park, Chobe Game Lodge is Botswana’s premier venue for guests seeking the perfect base from which to experience game viewing in the Chobe area. Set on the perennial banks of the Chobe River overlooking the fertile floodplains of Namibia, guests at the lodge are accommodated in a relaxed yet luxurious environment - completely in tune with a timeless Africa. Each room faces the river has its own private terrace/balcony, is fully air-conditioned, as well as having an en-suite bathroom and a complimentary stocked minibar.

For those guests looking for the ultimate in luxury, the lodge also has four river-view suites, each with its own private plunge pool, sun deck and separate lounge area.

Our Personal Comment: " … situated slap-bang on the River, this is the perfect place when we want to enjoy some unashamed luxury more than the ‘wood & thatch’ feel of some other lodges. We’ve always found that the staff here delight in going that extra mile to make you feel welcome and the food is excellent. If it’s good enough for Liz Taylor and Richard Burton to tie one of their numerous knots at, it’s good enough for us!

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Muchenje Lodge
Brochure-speak: Situated on the Western flanks of Chobe National Park, Muchenje is the only lodge in this area and offers unparalleled safari experiences for both discerning clientele and newcomers to the bush alike. Owner-run and managed, attention to detail is paramount

Muchenje accommodates just twenty guests and the ten twin-bedded thatched cottages, all with en-suite facilities, are sited on the escarpment edge all with their own balcony and unique view. They are exquisitely furnished creating a true African ambience. The Main lodge features a dining area, bar, reception, curio shop, game viewing platform and library. The feature swimming pool is built amongst natural rock formations, taking advantage of the African vista and providing a tranquil setting for guests to relax in during the heat of the day. Meals are served table d’bush, wholesome and plentiful, yet well presented. Guests dine together on a long railway sleeper dining table, and dress is informal.

Comment: " … I think that the most appealing thing about this lodge is the view that you get from the individual thatched rooms. Looking directly over the Chobe River from the edge of a very high ridge, you can see for miles across the Caprivi Strip into Namibia. The lodge has a fantastic deck, which looks over the view and is a great place to have a sun-downer as night approaches. The owners of this lodge are very accommodating and the staff are lovely … - Mike

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Mashatu - Land of the Giants
Mashatu Main Camp is elevated around a waterhole and offers excellent game viewing opportunities from within the camp itself. The dining area, beautiful day lounge and "Gin Trap" bar provide diverse lookouts from which to enjoy and appreciate the environment Main Camp is the larger and more luxurious of Mashatu’s camps. Completely refurbished during 2002/2003, it offers 14 tastefully and authentically decorated suites. Each suite is furnished with two three-quarter beds, a day bed, an expansive en suite bathroom with shower, bath, double basins, and a second W.C.. A private lounge area overlooks the unfenced surrounding bush and 24 hour temperature control completes the comfort of each suite.

Facilities within the camp include a swimming pool, an air-conditioned lounge and dining room and a lala-palm enclosed African boma, in which sumptuous dinners are savoured under the magnificent African night sky and around a blazing fire. A well appointed curio shop complements the facilities.

The "piece de resistance" at Main Camp is the Discovery Room: base for the scientific research conducted at Mashatu and a magnifying glass though which the animals and history of Mashatu can be examined. A fascinating insight into the world that is Mashatu - the Land of the Giants.

Comment: " … there’s something truly homely yet elegant about Main Lodge, next to it’s own water-hole … possibly it’s that it is a lovely place to arrive back to after some serious game spotting out in the wilderness, and the staff make you feel really welcome as you descend from the Landrover and head for the Gin Trap for a drink before dinner in the boma. … the lodgings here are remarkably spacious and well-appointed indeed having double basins in the bathroom and two loos! The fact that the wild bush runs right up to your French windows and with the waterhole nearby means you can sit and watch it all happen in your own privacy. The last time we visited here was 2004 and we watched a leopard saunter by en-route to alarm some drinking baboons. Stunning place … very close to it all! - Mike

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Camp Moremi, Moremi Game Reserve
Brochure-speak: Inside Moremi and accommodating only 22 safari guests in eleven East African styled tents with private hot showers and waterborne toilets. The famous elevated Tree Lodge is a stunning focal point of Camp Moremi and houses the luxurious main lounge, a wildlife reference library, dining room and cocktail bar, shaded by giant ebony trees and overlooking the Okavango Delta's Xakanaxa Lagoon.

Comment: " … sitting one afternoon on the elevated observation deck chatting to our Austrian-born game-ranger who was crazy about baboons is a something I recall fondly about Camp Moremi … he enthused us so much about their habits while we watched them moving slowly through the camp (which they did every day) that they’ve remained one of my favourite animals to observe … he urged me to read the ‘Soul of the Ape’ by Eugène N. Marais which I can certainly recommend to primate enthusiasts … - Chris

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’
Camp Okavango, Okavango Delta
Brochure-speak: Camp Okavango provides intimate exclusivity for just 24 guests in East African style safari tents individually sited on raised teak platforms, each with en-suite bathrooms and a private sundeck. Every tent is exquisitely furnished with a Rhodesian Teak wardrobe, luggage rack, dressing table, bedside pedestals and traditional directors chairs; colourful woven rugs, designer linen and matching interior blinds complete your African hideaway.

"… so beautifully presented are the tents that you just wouldn’t believe you were under canvas, and being situated on a raised deck adds to the impression of this being your little sanctuary – even though you certainly have nothing to really get away from! In fact you just want to be out there observing everything from the termites in their mounds to the green agama lizards on the tree bark and the incredible fish eagles providing the perfect sound effects; all this living around the camp. We saw what was probably the most amazing sunset I have ever seen whilst being driven back to Camp Okavango. A whole section of the sky was a blazing pinky red with an enormous yellow sun silhouetting the bush trees … - Chris

For more information on this lodge why not email or call us on 08700 ‘Safari’