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Masai Mara

How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly

How to travel responsibly, being a responsible budget traveler Tourism in developing countries can be both a blessing and a curse – each individual leaves his or her mark upon a place.

Small decisions that we make along the way as travelers insure that future travelers find a place as welcoming and magical as we did.

Travel and tourism should be planned and executed as a means of individual growth and development. When practiced with an open mind, it is an awesome source of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the diversity and wonderful nuances that make our planet such an interesting place.

Everyone has a responsibility for creating and promoting responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must shoulder their share of the load, but as a budget traveler you can support this in many ways that make a huge difference:

  1. Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your trip and you will earn respect and welcome of the local people. Be tolerant and respectful, making sure to observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
  2. Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental purpose of travel.
  3. Help preserve natural environments. Leave things the way you found it – or better.  Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals….this includes animal products, novelty insects, etc…
  4. Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted in a way that respects the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of a place.
  5. Support the local economy – they need it. Purchase local handicrafts and products using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage – don’t fall victim to traveler scams, but that merchant probably needs the difference more than you do.
  6. Get up to date about the destination’s current health situation prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be threatened. Make sure that you have the means to remain healthy and happy before you arrive in a new place.
  7. Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions in an effort to avoid accidentally offending the local population.
  8. Learn the local laws so that you do not accidentally break them. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited.

Responsible travel is not complicated.  Getting into the mindset that you are going to leave a place in better shape than you found it by doing your part and encouraging others, will ensure that the doors will be kept open for future budget travelers!

provided by StepUpTravel.org

safari camps for elephant viewing

 Safari Camps for Elephant Viewing

Safari camps for elephant viewing by Rose Hipwood on May 06, 2015 in Accommodation, Adventure Travel, Africa, Botswana,Camping, Kenya, Leisure Travel, Regions, Resorts, South Africa, Speciality Travel, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Elephants hold a huge draw for people on luxury safaris, and it’s no surprise – these amazing animals have intricate family ties, and human like emotions. Much research has been done on the elephant and it remains one of the most fascinating animals to see on any luxury safari. Elephants are currently being heavily persecuted for their ivory, and now is the time to visit Africa and see these gentle giants. There is almost nothing better than watching baby elephants role around in the mud, or play with their siblings. African elephants are larger than their Indian counterparts and this can make watching them both humbling and awe inspiring. They move through the bush almost silently and are the real undisputed kings of the jungle. There are hundreds of conservation projects currently working on over drive to protect these magical beasts from poaching, but the battle is still very much ongoing. Here are the top ten luxury safari properties from which one can watch elephants.

1. Sirikoi, Lewa, Northern Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya is breath-takingly beautiful with rolling hills, views of Mount Kenya, open plains and marshes surrounded by yellow fever trees. Sirikoi is an exceptionally special luxury safari camp boasting both tents and two private houses. From Sirikoi you can often watch family groups of elephant come down to drink at the waterhole in front of camp, and once you head out onto the plains with your private Samburu guide you will be treated to huge vistas often dotted with family groups of elephant.

2. Saruni Samburu, Samburu, Northern Kenya

Samburu National Park has long been known as one of the best places to see elephant and this is due to the Ewaso Nyiro River which runs through it. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to see large groups of elephant come together to play, mock fight and frolic in the murky river waters. Saruni offers a true paradise of a lodge with exceptional guides, food and some of the best views in all of Kenya.

3. Richard’s Camp, Masai Mara, Southern Kenya

Richard’s Camp is owned by Richard Roberts who started the Mara Elephant Project, so if you do want to see elephants you can go with one of the Richard’s Camp guides, all of whom really know their stuff when it comes to the elephants of the Masai Mara. This luxury tented camp is quirky and unique with a relaxed and warm atmosphere, and you will often have exceptional game viewing from your own luxury safari tent.

4. Sausage Tree Camp, Lower Zambezi, Zambia

Sausage Tree is very special – you might even bump into an elephant on your way from your vast tented suite to the main area, as it makes its way down into the Zambezi River to feast on the long grasses and enjoy swimming (trunks make a fantastic snorkel). There are elephants everywhere here and you will not go for longer than a few minutes without seeing one.

5. Tena Tena, South Luangwa, Zambia

Tena Tena is set in its own private conservancy with the Luangwa River separating it from the South Luangwa National Park – wonderful scenes will play out before you whilst on drives or in front of camp, with elephants heading down to the river to drink. When the waters are shallow you can watch them protect the little ones from approaching crocodiles. Tena Tena is run by the famous Robin Pope Safaris and has absolutely everything you could want in a luxury safari camp.

6. Chindeni Bushcamp, South Luangwa, Zambia

Chindeni is set in a wild and remote area of the South Luangwa – your luxury rooms are elevated above a lagoon below, and you can while away the day watching elephants below from your comfy hammock. From this luxury camp you can also see the Chindeni Mountains, which make the most amazing photographic backdrop when there are elephants browsing beneath them. Chindeni is called a bushcamp, but feels exceptionally luxurious and boasts wonderful guides and delicious food.

7. Chief’s Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Chief’s Camp is one of Botswana’s most luxurious safari camps and is impossibly spoiling. Everything here is perfect and that goes for the game viewing too. Chief’s Island is perhaps one of the most famous game viewing destinations in Africa and of course the elephant viewing here will not disappoint. Often you will be watching herds of elephants from the comfort of your verandah or the main area. You don’t have to go far here to see abundant elephant.

8. Savute Under Canvas, Savute, Botswana

Savute is absolutely pumping with game and this includes elephant. Savute Under Canvas is an authentic but comfortable luxury safari camp which really feels as if it is truly in the wilds. Here you can enjoy a mobile camp without having to pay the premium to take it exclusively. Savute Under Canvas has the most magical location which will certainly fulfill all your desires when it comes to game viewing, and experiencing the romance of a luxury tented camp.

9. Somalisa, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Somalisa has a classic elegance to it which comes naturally, and this luxury safari camp certainly delivers when it comes to elephant. There are many famous photographs of elephant coming right up to the deck in front of the camp – this is because large herds of elephant congregate on the pan which is directly in front of this amazing camp. With only six luxury rooms you will certainly feel as if you are in one of Africa’s most exclusive camps, which indeed you are.

10. Madikwe Hills, Madikwe, South Africa

Madikwe Hills is incredibly luxurious but has such a warm and friendly atmosphere that you feel as if you can throw your shoes off and walk around in your dressing gown (which they wouldn’t mind about at all!). There is a waterhole in front of the lodge which attracts elephant every day, but Madikwe itself is just fantastic for elephant, everywhere you turn there will be small family groups or larger herds, and the red dust and amazing sunsets make for some magical photographs.

By Rose Hipwood

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopard facts Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopards are the ultimate cats. They are the most feline, the most intelligent, the most dangerous and, until recently, one of the least understood. They hunt from South Africa to Siberia, from Arabia to Sri Lanka, and are the most widespread predator of their size on land. A leopard is a cat that walks by itself, unseen and secretive. Leopards are the beautiful killers that live in the shadows.

Additional Facts:
  • The animal’s name derives from the Greek word leopardus, a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther). Of the big cats, the leopard is the only known species that lives in both desert and rainforest habitats. Leopards are generally nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night. Their large eyes and dilated pupils allow them to see well in dark conditions.
  • Leopards are incredibly athletic and known for their climbing ability. They often carry food into trees to avoid losing it to scavengers like lions and hyenas.
  • They tend to be solitary animals and rarely interact with each other except to mate or raise cubs. Leopards breed perennially with a gestation period of approximately 3 months, giving birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs on average. Despite their names, the clouded leopard ( neofelis nebulosa ) and snow leopard ( panthera uncial ) are often considered a separate species.
  • One of the rarest subspecies of leopard is eastern Russia’s Amur Leopard. There are only an estimated 30 currently living in the wild. Leopards can go for long periods of time without water, living off the moisture of their prey.
  • Leopards mark their territory with urine and claw marks on the bark of trees.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the short story, How the Leopard Got Its Spots, to offer his own fictional explanation for the big cat’s attractive coat.

Leopards are Best at Going the Distance

Leopards are Best at Going the Distancemaxresdefault Leopards are Best at Going the Distance

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
Serengeti National Park 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

Serengeti National Park

Long gone are the days of a big adventure trip to colonial Africa for game-hunting safaris. In the past, the debonair safari suits and sun helmets of Hemingway’s Hollywood era dominated; nowadays, it’s normal to escape on a long weekend safari with little more than casual clothes thrown in a rucksack. Meanwhile, though Kenya and Tanzania remain popular options, Africa’s previously political no-go zones are rapidly emerging as new safari destinations, now that more national parks are being designated and protected while tourism is increasingly welcomed. And there are exciting new safari options, from private helicopters to sailboats in pristine marine reserves to nighttime game drives through voluptuous volcanic lands. Here are our picks for the 10 best sarafi destinations in Africa.
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST RESERVE

Where: Uganda

Guides ask you not to stare at the mountain gorillas, but it’s tough. The gentle giants have deep mysterious eyes that lull you into a sense of serenity. Home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas, tracking is a highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve.

Gifted with theatrical landscape, volcanoes intersperse jagged valleys and waterfalls shrouded in altitude mist. The principal birding destination bears no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including the spectacularly endangered African Green Broadbill.

Insider Tip: Gorillas often enter Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site, this camp is remote and atmospheric.

ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Namibia

Namibia is rousing serious safari attention with its stark beauty, rugged coastlines, and evolving landscapes. Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, cheetah, and perennial springs luring the big cats. Unique scenes across a shimmering saltpan of mirages are seen via self-drive safaris. Upmarket lodges and camps fringe park boundaries, where guided safaris are inclusive.

Don’t Miss: A stay with a difference, Onguma Treetop Camp is built on stilts amongst treetops, with panoramic views over Onguma Game reserve. The sense of remoteness is unparalleled. Four very intimate thatched rooms feature canvas walls and outdoor showers.

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Botswana

Africa’s densest game concentrations lie along a brilliant peacock-blue river, making Chobe National Park a prime game destination. Situated within the Okavango Delta, we recommend Savute marsh: teeming with wildlife year-round, easily accessible and with a wide range of lodgings for all budgets. Chobe is a stronghold of endangered species such as wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena.

Insider Tip: Take a water safari to watch wildlife huddled around papyrus-clad curves in the river. Meet the original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, to learn their extraordinary culture. Indulgence is paramount at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge, with spa, gourmet food, and undisturbed views.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Where: Kenya

Africa’s most popular safari destination boasts effortless vistas and dramatic game viewing. Masai Mara remains most visited, with rolling grasslands and scattered acacia woodland home to the Big Five. July through October is a Mara highlight—annual migration, where a stampede of millions of wildebeest makes the ground vibrate. Naibor Camp is a luxury-tented camp of contemporary comforts, tucked away within riverine woodland on Talek River.

Insider Tip: Spectacular safaris are specialty of Enasoit. Dhow sailing on the serene Lamu archipelago, soaring over deserted beaches and visiting nomadic tribes by helicopter, or traditional Jeep through foothills of Mount Kenya; Enasoit redefines luxury safari.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Zimbabwe

Unrivaled guides and unique backdrops are Zimbabwe’s assets, amidst low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with lakes and forests. Hwange National Park in the Northwest is the largest. The elephants are world-famed and, here, you’ll find one of the world’s largest populations. The mighty Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls, creates waterholes for thirsty wildlife. Emerging from recent troubles, tourists are flocking in.

Insider Tip: View game from an underground hide at The Hide, which also offers night game drives.Somalisa is an elegant bush camp with six solar powered highly luxurious tents. The pool overlooks the entire pan of wildlife below.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: South Africa

Kruger is a classic. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained parks typifies the highest variety of wildlife. It’s renowned as the easiest spot to see the Big Five, aided by its unfenced borders with Africa’s finest game reserves. Sophisticated lodges offer the ultimate in lavish luxury and intimate bush hideaways.

Insider Tip: Set in private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, sustained by the Sabi and Sand rivers,Dulini’s six suites ooze elegance. Romance is heightened by a symphony of birdlife and passage of wildlife. The original eco private game reserve, Londolozi, is unashamedly family-run and winning awards for its quality of food, service, accommodation, and ecotourism.

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Where: Rwanda

The landlocked beauty of Rwanda stuns visitors. Misty moody rainforest, forested volcanoes, undulating grasslands, and tranquil lakes are ideal for trekking and dugout canoeing. The upper slopes of Virunga volcanoes conservation area comprise three national parks, encapsulating Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo—the most famous residents being 350-strong mountain gorillas.

Insider Tip: On the fringes of Parc National des Volcans, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is minutes from walking treks. In the dramatic foothills of the Virungas, this residence is beautifully appointed and atmospheric. After a hard day’s trek, luxuriate in a massage to ease aches, or adventure-seekers can head out on mountain bikes.

ZAMBEZI VALLEY

Where: Zambia

Gloriously wild amidst raw nature and with decadent wildlife viewing—southern Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven of hippo, elephant, and birdlife. Less frequented than its neighbor, Tanzania, Zambia’s national parks are the essence of wilderness. South Luangwa spawns symmetry of exotica and expanse.

Don’t Miss: Camps are drizzled along the immense valley’s tranquil riverbank.

The Royal Zambezi Lodge Bush Spa is enveloped within nature’s embrace. Try post-safari canoeing or fishing. A quick dip in the pool before a sunset massage at Royal Bush Spa completes a perfect day. Lilayi in Lusaka is a haven for horseback and bush walk safaris.

9 tanzania lamai serengeti camp safari 1 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Where: Tanzania

Arguably the most magnificent park in Africa, the Serengeti basks in prolific amounts of game and is invigorating in its sheer vastness and dramatic staging. Annually, 1.5 million wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra migrate through. Prides of lion thrive here, upwards of 3,000, spotted lazing on ‘kopje’ outcrops. Grumeti River houses some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.

Insider Tip: Even non-campers can tent overnight without omitting creature comforts. The Lamai Serengeti nestles among rocks of a kopje with expansive views. The elemental theme ensures a back-to-nature feel. Kirawira Serena Camp makes it a glamorous affair with Persian rugs and carved rocking chairs.

10 mozambique girassol gorongosa lodge safari 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Mozambique

With more than fifty coral islands and abundant marine life, the Quirimbas Archipelago has recently been designated a national park. The islands remain an unexplored underwater safari sanctuary.

Gorongosa is the country’s flagship reserve. It once attracted more visitors than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined, but the harshness of war left resources depleted. Hippos, lions, and elephants have recovered following restocking, helping Mozambique regain its reputation as a game-viewing destination.

Insider Tip: Explore Gorongosa leads expeditions on foot or by car. Girassol Gorongosa Lodge & Safari ensures uninterrupted experiences between you and wilderness. The Azura at Quilalea, a private island luxury resort, boasts world-class diving and snorkeling straight off the beach.

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