A round up of snippets for those of you who have been ‘away’ for a while.
Welcome Back, we have missed you!!
We have missed you. We know you will have been following events and seen the extraordinary wildlife experienced by just a few and will be dreaming of your next visit. We hope that we will be able to plan a trip soon but in the meantime, we urge you to join us in signing the petition to reopen the travel corridors to Africa:
Open travel corridors to Africa : 3 Easy Steps #openafricantravel
1. Sign Petition
2. Email your MP (Click MP finder / letter template)
3. In Africa? Email UK High Commission (Click contact / letter template)
Remote Africa Safaris- Zambia
This summer, Nick undertook an extraordinary walk of the entire Luangwa Valley #walkluangwa2020 raising money for conservation and the communities hit by the closed borders – donations are still being accepted via Justgiving. The air borders are now open and tourist visas are being issued.
Remote Africa have released a new video with welcoming smiles and capturing the essence of the Luangwa Valley.
RAS have also taken over the management of Shoebill Island Camp in the Bangweulu wetlands. By staying 3 nights at any of the RAS camps, you can access the seat in plane rates to visit this spectacular wetland. The camp has 4 comfortable tents with en-suite facilities and electricity and activities include canoeing through the swamps, birding, walking safaris and game drives. The Bangweulu swamps are one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife secrets – the wetlands sustain diverse flora and fauna, exceptional birdlife and many endangered and unique species including the iconic shoebill and Zambia’s endemic black lechwe antelope. Bangweulu is a unique success story in that it is a community-owned protected area and is home to 50,000 people who retain the right to sustainably harvest its natural resources for their survival and livelihoods.
Takwela in North Luangwa has increased from 2 to 4 rooms and RAS have rebuilt the guest areas which offer dramatic views over the confluence of the Luangwa and Mwaleshi Rivers.
Babylonstoren – South Africa
Even during the most unusual of times, life on the farm is regulated by the constant rhythm of the changing seasons. The garden tours have begun again: 1000hrs every day or specialist tours on weekdays at 1130hrs. The hotel has reopened and looking forward to having international guests in the coming months.
Staff worked in different areas of the Farm during lockdown enabling them to share different experiences and inspiring them to learn and grow as a team.
We also wanted to share a very short, inspiring video on the Fynbos at the Farm by Ernst, our Farm Horticulturalist and Botanist. The team have been very busy planting and maintaining the gardens during lockdown, especially those in the new Fynbos area by the cottages. The images are so beautiful, do take a look!
Don’t forget that Babylonstoren’s delicious wines, olive oils and other treats are now available online here in the UK – a perfect gift delivered in time for Christmas.
Imvelo Safari Lodges – Zimbabwe
Imvelo Safari Lodges has evolved and become the Hwange Specialists where their experiential approach, expertise and commitment to conservation and community has had a huge impact during the last 6 months. As Hwange is Imvelo’s heartland, they will be transitioning in the coming months to a new era where the Imvelo Safari Lodges brand will consist of 4 diversified Hwange camps, (Bomani, Camelthorn, Nehimba and Jozibanini) stretching from the North to the South of the park and all offering unique experiences and safari activities. Imvelo will transition out of ownership of the two Victoria Falls properties (Gorges Lodge and Zambezi Sands) but will continue to collaborate and work together very closely to ensure the transition is seamless for our valued partners in the tourism industry.
Nehimba Lodge and Bomani Tented Lodge will remain open through the upcoming festive season and will not close, as previously advised. With guests arriving from Germany and the US this week, Imvelo have had a surge of enquiries. The stay 3/pay 2 has also been extended.
Imvelo have been busy. The ongoing drought, compounded by human-wildlife conflicts and the lockdown (which has disrupted work, transport and food supplies) has generated widespread hunger and stress in the villages. Incredibly, Imvelo have bought and distributed 60 tonnes of maize meal, helping over 2,200 desperate households in need. They have delivered over 120,000 school meals, provided compassionate food packs to staff affected by the stall in tourism as well as food packs and logistical support to Hwange Rangers and Forestry Fire Clearing Teams, reaching the most remote areas. To join forces with Imvelo, click here or to donate in the UK, please click here.
Nimali Africa – Tanzania
The Nimali camps reopened over the summer and guests have experienced wonderful wildlife in safe hands. Nimali are extending their special rates into 2021, please let us know if you would like to have some of their itinerary suggestions and specials.
Nimali Africa are excited to be working on their new project, The Tarangear Trust, a foundation to build upon their vision to meaningfully give back to their community. It all began with making masks during the Covid lockdown but Nimali quickly recognised that there was a larger opportunity to create a journey of giving to support the land, the people who conserve it and the animals that thrive on it. Launching in November 2020 we will share more information and links as it goes live.
Gamewatchers Safaris – Kenya
Kenya reopened its doors in August and international guests have been enjoying the Porini camps and quite extraordinary game viewing. They are offering in camp Covid testing at Nairobi Tented Camp, at an additional cost, and have also done so at the Porini camps in the Mara. Porini send the testing lab team to camp to test 2 days before guests fly out. Nairobi Tented Camp is ideally positioned for this too!
#adoptanacre was inspired by Gamewatchers Safaris in response to the lack of tourism due to Covid and the potential impact this would have on the conservancies they support in areas around the NP’s of Kenya. They set up a Wildlife Habitat Trust, audited independently, to accept donations for multiples of acres. 1 acre costs USD35, of which US15 goes to conservancy and camp staff wages and USD20 goes to families in the communities. The aim is to raise US1.5 million, which is usually raised via tourism and generated from the 42,500 acres that they currently support.
Book now for travel until December 2021 to take advantage of special reduced rates which provide excellent value for money on stays of 6 nights or more at combinations of Porini Camps: Reduced Rates for 6 Nights as well as a Flexi-Booking Policy and No Amendment Guarantee designed to bring peace of mind for all bookings.
Rhino River Lodge, Meru, has well and truly settled into the Porini family. Meru is the second largest conservation area after Tsavo, a true wilderness with less than 2,000 visitors a year. It is the area where Born Free was filmed and is also the setting for the backdrop of Disney’s The Lion King. The lodge is set in 80 acres of privately owned wilderness right on the edge of Meru NP and the 7 tents, including a family tent, are on raised decks, overlooking the gentle flow of the Kindani river – a truly magical setting. The Park hosts a large population of elephant, hippo, lion, cheetah and leopard and over 300 species of birdlife. The rhino sanctuary is also on the doorstep of the camp. Let us know if you need rates and factsheets.
Footsteps in Africa – Botswana
Deception Valley Lodge – The private land surrounding the Lodge has increased from 15,000 to 43,000 hectares. They are undertaking an extensive refurbishment which has been slightly delayed with covid limiting supplies but we will share pictures as soon as we have them.
Lodges of Botswana, Delta Camp, Oddballs and Oddballs’ enclave will remain closed until March 2021 with a skeleton staff looking after the area and keeping connections with the local community.
Delta Camp is still offering U16 children to stay for free and for a min 3 night stay, a one way flight to/from Maun.
6 Guests at Oddballs’ Enclave can have exclusive use of the camp.
Footsteps in Africa launched their new website with their strapline #traveldeeper which sums up their ethos; stay longer, travel slowly, enjoy the moment – connect, inspire, discover. They have new suggested itineraries, photography and information @ footsteps-in-africa
Coquille Bonheur – Mauritius
We are excited to announce that borders to Mauritius have reopened and there is a special long stay visa available. Anyone else fancy spending a year working and living in Mauritius?! Visitors will be welcomed back for long stays and quarantine for 14 nights on FB to ensure limited movement around the island.