Loading...

Follow Ultimate Africa Safaris® | USA Based African T.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

Following in the footsteps of the phenomenal success of the inaugural Serengeti Girls Run in 2018, Singita and the Grumeti Fund are offering 18 runners the exclusive opportunity to join this purpose-driven event in 2019.

Only six spaces are left for this unforgettable experience, which will see runners covering a distance of 21 kilometers daily over 3 days in some of Africa’s most untouched wilderness areas.

This year’s itinerary comprises six all-inclusive days, featuring a range of activities which include participating in a career fair with girls from local communities and visiting the Grumeti Fund’s Anti-Poaching Canine Unit.

Travel Dates: 25-30 October 2019

Check out the video below…

To reserve space of if you have any questions give us a call in Seattle – toll free 1 800 461 0682 or .

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As of Monday, June 24, 2019 the Zimbabwe government is once again issuing Zimbabwe dollars and saying that the use of US dollars is illegal.

In a government gazette published on Monday, the president of Zimbabwe said: “The British Pound, US dollar, South African Rand, Botswana Pula and any other foreign currency whatsoever shall no longer be legal tender alongside the Zimbabwe dollar in any transaction in Zimbabwe”.

This means that the multi-currency system that Zimbabwe has been using has now come to an end and transactions are now to be conducted in local currency.

Most people in the tourism industry however believe this will apply like it does in all other countries and even in Zimbabwe before the US dollar became their currency (yes – Zimbabwe’s currency for the last several years has been the US dollar).

We believe US dollars will be accepted at hotels and tourist facilities but in local shops the Zimbabwean dollar will have to be used.

This could pose a problem for credit card use in Zimbabwe as there could be a wide disparity between the official US $ rate and black market rate making charges MUCH greater than you would expect…

We will see how it shakes out over the next few months.

Although the use of US dollars will be illegal entry visas must be paid in US dollars!

You have got to love Africa!

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As the tourism / wildlive viewing high season starts in Zimbabwe for 2019 hotels at Victoria Falls are suffering from power outages that have forced them to use generators for hours at a time.

The power shortages stem from low water levels at Kariba Dam. In addition, the curtailment of power imports from Eskom South Africa and Mozambican power utility Hydro Electrica de Cahorra Bassa has resulted in widespread load shedding throughout Zimbabwe.

Fuel supplies in Zimbabwe’s cities and towns are also an issue and could compound the problem.

Most remote safari camps in Zimbabwe are not connected to mains electricity / power lines. Instead they produce their own power either via generator or solar. We therefore do not see the above issues affecting these properties.

Ultimate Africa has reached out to our partners at the Falls for additional details and will be updating this post shortly.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Serengeti Balloon Safaris begin their seasonal northern Serengeti flights July 1, 2019… daily balloon safaris are possible from most camps near Kogatende. The season runs until October 31.

The balloon safari season in the southern Serengeti runs December 20 through March 31 each year. In the western Serengeti balloon flights are offered June through October. Balloon flights are offered year round in the central Serengeti.

Balloon flights over Ruaha and Tarangire are possible as well.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Each year rains that have fallen several months previously in Angola (the catchment area of the Okavango Delta) begin to flood Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta around March / April… this year’s flood is much lower than normal.

Lower water levels means that many camps that would typically offer water activities such as boating / canoeing / mekoroing cannot do so… the upside are that vast tracts of land and islands that were previously only accessible by boat or mokoro are now accessible by vehicle and wildlife has been able to move into certain areas that would ordinarily be under water. Large herds of zebra for instance have been recorded on the Jao Flats for the first time since 2012.

The graph below shows the water levels of the Okavango River – the river that feeds the Okavango Delta – at Rundu. The stats show that the river is significantly lower than at the same time last year.

Here are updates from various camps and lodges:

Camps in the Vumbura Concession, Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura, are offering normal water activities as they have access to good permanent water.

Camps in the Jao Concession are drier than normal as they rely on the seasonal flooding… We expect more water to inundate the areas around Tubu and Kwetsani. Boating is probably off the table for the season.

Qorokwe is offering mekoro excursions and should be able to do so throughout the season.

At Abu and Seba no water activities are on offer. Everyone however anticipates that water will push into the Abu Concession in the next couple of months making mokoro trips possible.

In the Linyanti area water levels are good and water activities at Duma Tau and Kings Pool continue as normal. As a side note, the Savute Channel is still flowing past Savuti Camp!

In a “normal” year, we would pretty much guarantee water activities in the Jao, Abu, and Vumbura concessions from May through August. However, this year is not normal.

Great Plains Conservation operates camps in the Duba Plains Concession and the Selinda Reserve… Dereck Joubert notes that when things are dry guests are in for a bumper year for great sightings.

The guides often struggle to get to the far corners of the Duba area in wet cycles, pushing their vehicles through the swamp and flood to get there. For those that know Duba Plains well, getting stuck every now and then is not unusual! A little terra firma in a dry cycle is welcomed where guests can get in everywhere and the floodplains, or rolling grasslands, are reminiscent of the Mara, but in Botswana. Lions must have known this was going to be their season of plenty because there are cubs everywhere. In addition prides are already following the buffalo, with wild dog and leopard already hunting the river banks and floodplains.

The northern sector of the Duba concession, where Duba Explorers Camp is located, has the best of both worlds. The area surrounding the camp is in the inner Okavango Delta, allowing mekoro and canoeing, even in the expected shallower waters of this coming season.

Another element of this drought is the suspension of the 2019 rhino relocations. Great Plains Conservation had planned to move another 13 into Botswana to complete their first milestone of 100 under the Rhinos Without Borders project.

AndBeyond has noted that the continuing dry conditions in Angola and Botswana has resulted in the suspension of mokoro trips, motorized boat cruises, and fishing activities at all their lodges. On the other hand even better than normal game viewing is the order of the day!

Desert and Delta Camps and Lodges have reported that mokoro and boating activities have continued at both Camp Okavango and Xugana Island Lodge despite the low water levels. Boating activities from Camp Moremi and Camp Xakanaxa have been unaffected as the water levels in the Xakanaxa Lagoon and the surrounding deep water channels remain high.

Chobe River levels are considerably lower than average. Measurements of the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo (which usually pushes water into the Chobe) are approximately 4 meters lower than last year. Despite the lower levels boating continues on the Chobe River from both Chobe Game Lodge and Chobe Savanna Lodge and wildlife sightings are extremely good.

The poor rainfall has resulted in the premature start of the zebra migration at Leroo La Tau on the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park – seeing thousands of zebra starting their annual movements months before the usual times. Seasonal boating activities at the lodge are suspended for the foreseeable future. The early zebra migration means that the Boteti River Valley is once again a sea of black and white and guests are in for an intense season of game-viewing.

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Singita will open its first gorilla trekking properties in Rwanda – the 9 roomed Singita Kwitonda Lodge and the exclusive use 4 roomed Singita Kataza House will start accepting guests in August 2019! These 2 new properties will join Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge and One and Only’s Gorilla’s Nest as the premier luxury lodges in the Virunga area.

Here is a short video to whet your appetite!

These two properties will complement Singita’s Tanzanian properties – Singita Faru Faru, Sasakwa, Serengeti House, Sabora Plains, and Singita Mara River Tented Camp.

Want an all out luxurious East African trip including the breakfasting with giraffes, trekking gorillas, viewing the wildebeest migration, and visiting Ngorongoro Crater?

We would suggest starting with 2 nights at Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

Then take the morning flight to Kigali, Rwanda and we will fly you by helicopter to Kwitonda for 3 nights with 2 gorilla treks.

After a night in Kigali we fly you directly to the Serengeti where you could spend 3 nights at Singita Mara River Camp (if you have the time add a further 3 nights in Singita’s exclusive Grumeti Reserve). End the trip with 2 nights at one of the world’s 7 wonders – Ngorongoro Crater – staying at the opulant Crater Lodge!

Want some beach time? End with 3 to 5 nights at Mnemba Private Island off the Zanzbari coast!

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This is a HUGE special… probably the best value in Africa today!

Travel to Botswana and or Zimbabwe and stay at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, Khwai Tented, Khwai Bush Camp, Linyanti Bush Camp, Linyanti Ebony, Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Acacia, and / or Somalisa Expeditions between January 1 and March 31, 2020 for US $340 per person per night all inclusive (all park fees, activities, meals, drinks). This is based on staying 9 nights. Stay 6 nights for US $360 per person per night. Stay 3 nights for US $380 per person per night. That is a savings of 65% off high season rates!!!

In addition children are 50% of the adult price making this special phenomenal for families wanting to visit Africa without breaking the bank!

The period January through March is considered low season in Botswana however as they only receive an average of 12 days of rain between November and March wildlife viewing is stellar year round. If high season, June through October, is an A+ I would give low season a B+.

For the perfect trip we would suggest starting with 3 or 4 nights in Cape Town, South Africa… considered one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful seaside cities there are number of great value boutique hotels that are amazing. The period January through March offers great summer weather for checking out Table Mountain, the penguins at Boulders Beach, the Cape Point, the winelands, and Robben Island. Then fly direct to Maun, Botswana for 6 to 9 nights on safari. End your trip with 2 nights at the world’s largest waterfall – Victoria Falls!

Light air transfers into / out of camps are extra. Based on a minimum 3 night stay.

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Mala Mala Game Reserve offers, in our opinion, South Africa’s best wildlife viewing – hands down! In fact I would go as far as to say that Mala Mala is right up there with Mombo Camp in Botswana, some of the lodges in the Masai Mara, and Ngorongoro Crater for top wildlife viewing in Africa!

With the largest wildlife viewing concession within the famous Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, and butting right up against Kruger National Park, it is common to see the Big 5 here in an afternoon… I recall one game drive where I saw 3 different prides of lion, numerous elephant and buffalo, a mother rhino with a baby, and 9 different leopard!!! 9 different leopard!!! Not over 3 days but in one afternoon – that is simply not possible but it happened.

The 4 nights for the price of 3 nights special is applicable to all 3 camps – Mala Mala Main Camp (a great value), Sable Camp, and the small / intimate Rattrays (for those of you who want all out luxury). The special is valid for travel January 4, 2020 through April 9, 2020.

Mala Mala combines wonderfully with Cape Town (which typically has gorgeous summer weather during the time of this special) for 3 or 4 nights, and Mashatu in Botswana for 3 nights. We could also include the world’s largest waterfall for a few nights for a stellar trip.

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Safaris are expensive and clients often ask if it makes sense to plan a Kenya / Tanzania safari during the long rains (low season) to save some monies. We are expert at extracting value but we draw the line when it impacts the safari experience in a negative way.

Safari camps and lodges don’t like to sit empty and during low season they will entice travelers with the benefits of low season travel:

Savings of up to 50% on luxury properties
Often times private drives at no extra cost
Far more personal attention and management / guides more relaxed
The bush is lush and green and there is little dust
Lots of new born babies and flowers
Animals are more relaxed as they have lots of food and water

Those are great points… if you are able to get where you are supposed to be and you actually see animals!

A few considerations…

Wildlife viewing is, to a large degree, predicated by rainfall. Rain not only provides drinking water for animals but food as plants / grasses need water to grow (animals also get moisture from plants / grasses). During dry periods animals are often congregated around limited water supplies making for very easy viewing. During the rains animals are often scattered far and wide.

Some places in Africa get a LOT more rain than others.

Botswana, in southern Africa, averages 12 days of rain during their 5 month rainy season. Rain is so precious in Botswana they named their currency the Pula, or rain. With little rainfall wildlife viewing in Botswana is stellar year round. If the height of dry season is an A+ I would give the rainy season, late November through March a B+. That is pretty good considering low season prices in Botswana are often 50% lower than high season.

On the other hand Kenya and Tanzania get a LOT of rain… the short rains from mid October through December often don’t materialize however the long rains mid March through May can be heavy – so much so that many lodges and camps close during this time of year.

The more rain that falls, and the later into the rains you get, the taller the savannah grass gets… with the exception of giraffe and elephant it is very difficult to spot animals when the grass grows taller than a LandRover. There is a Masai saying that the “grass grows to the heavens”. Add to this most bushes and trees are lush and full during this time.

Getting around as a tourist is also less comfortable / more difficult during the rains… light aircraft transfer flights can be quite bumpy and are often cancelled. Airstrips flood out… roads become impassable. The fine volcanic soils of the Serengeti are like butter when wet. I remember my first visit to the area in March 1990… we stepped out of our LandRover and watched as the wheels slowly spun in 4 wheel drive low – the vehicle was stationary.

This headline from April 2018 says it all:

“Tanzania National Parks announced on April 17, 2018 that due to ongoing heavy rainfall, tourist attractions in Lake Manyara National Park are not accessible.”

In early March this same year I was at Cottar’s 1920s camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara. It rained heavily the night of March 13. This same night Mara Plains had their gorgeous camp extensively damaged by flood waters… so much so that their guests had to be reacomodated elsewhere. Fortunately being low season that was not hard to do.

A week later I was stranded 3 hours in the Mara Triangle as my plane could not depart to Nairobi due to heavy rains. When we finally departed we had to stop and pickup other travelers at the Serena Lodge… however we could not land as their airstrip was flooded. We therefore had to fly just below the low clouds, swerving to avoid downpours a few hundred feet over the Mara, to another strip where we landed and waited 2 more hours in the chilling midday rains… late afternoon we attempted to land at the Serena strip and just made it with a bit of slipply and sliding… with muddy shoes we finally took off 6 hours late to Nairobi. My whole trip almost fell apart as a I had a connection to the Laikipia plateau.

A month later things had not improved. SafariLink, who handle many of the air transfers for our clients in Kenya noted: “Due to the ongoing rains, Safarilink regrets to notify you that some of the airstrips they service in the Masai Mara are becoming operationally unserviceable. Therefore, with immediate effect, they are suspending their service into Kichwa Tembo Airstrip until further notice.”

Here are a few photos from chilly, wet days on safari… the 3rd photo is not of a river – it is a ROAD!

In our opinion East Africa is not worth it during the rains (excepting for gorilla trekking in Rwanda where it can rain anytime).

People say well I will go in June then… book me for June 1!

In 2018 rains lasted much longer than usual and went far into June… and even when the rain stops it takes many weeks for things to dry up… and much longer for grasses to be eaten, beaten, and burnt down so animals can be seen.

Oh did I mention there are far more insects (mosquitoes, flies, tsetse flies) and higher risk of diseases (malaria being the most well known) during the rains?

Kenya and Tanzania are best late July through mid October and again mid January through mid March… there are some good values to be had early March and early October.

And not to pick on Kenya and Tanzania… safari destionations Zambia and Zimbabwe get heavy rains as well. Whereas Botswana is great year round the safari season just East in Zambia and Zimbabwe doesn’t really start until May and then ends with the rains in November when many camps close.

Namibia is dry almost year round but it is not really a great wildlife destination.

Kruger / Sabi Sands in South Africa does very well throughout the year but they too get loads of rain November through April / May… just turn on the TV news for stories of massive cyclones hitting the Mozambiquan coast and dumping rains in eastern South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Malawi over the past 6 weeks…

For many travelers a wildlife viewing safari to Africa is a once in a lifetime trip.  It is a long way to travel and it is not cheap… you don’t want to make a mess of it.

If you are looking for value by traveling during the offseason we would suggest Botswana November through March for big time wildlife viewing and savings. Botswana combines well with Cape Town which experiences lovely summer weather November through March and Victoria Falls – the world’s largest waterfall. Rwanda is great for gorilla trekking anytime.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

African Bushcamps is offering 5 nights for the price of 4 for travel during May, June, and July 2019!  

In Botswana during May, June, and July 2019 you get 5 nights for the price of 4 nights when you stay at Khwai Tented, Khwai Bushcamp, Linyanti Bushcamp, or Linyanti Ebony.

In Zimbabwe for June 2019 you may combine Zambezi Expeditions or Nyamatusi in Mana Pools with Bumi Hills in Matusadona and receive a free night. For July 2019 you may combine Zambezi Expeditions or Nyamantusi in Mana Pools with either Bumi Hills or their Somalisa Camps in Hwange National Park.

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview