If you don’t subscribe to our quarterly eNewsletter but want to know what we revealed in the recent summer edition… read on!
Welcome to the Summer 2013/14 edition of our e-newsletter. It’s difficult to grasp the fact that another calendar year is soon to end. 2013 has been an absolutely remarkable year in many ways, producing some interesting milestones, exciting new developments and one constant – exciting safari travels for our guests.
For Danica and I, the most joyous development was having our son, Aidan and watching him grow and develop into the adventurous and head strong little toddler he is today. The employment of an Office Manager, Laura has also been brilliant for us as a business, allowing our customer service process to strengthen even more.
It was 5 years ago almost to the day that we arrived into Australia and worked hard to set up and slowly, but surely develop our business into the shining sun it is today.
It is with much excitement that I can announce to you our biggest development and that is the employment of a specialist and establishment of an office in Johannesburg which means we will truly offer 24/7 service in Australia and Africa. Bronwen comes from exceptional stock, having worked at Pulse Africa for many years as a senior Africa Specialist. We will be working with and training Bronwen over the Christmas break so she is up to speed with our database and systems and ready to hit the ground running in mid January 2014.
2014 looks bright as we head off on the annual Travel Show journey, this time visiting Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne.
Last but certainly not least, a huge thank you for your positive praise and recommendations that have seen a huge increase in word of mouth – it is lovely to know that your family and friends trust Encompass Africa to design their dream Africa safari experience. In 2014 we will launch our new word of mouth reward system that sees you benefit in ways that you choose – be it gift vouchers, donations to charity or discounts off your next trip.
From all of us at Encompass Africa, enjoy the summer festive season and I look forward to seeing you in 2014.
In Gail’s Shoes
Gail has just returned from three weeks in Tanzania and Zanzibar, visiting our favourite properties, inspecting new ones and meeting with our partners. Here’s an overview written by Gail (thanks Gail!)
I recently had the opportunity to join 12 other Africa specialists from around the world on an Asilia Famil trip to Tanzania & Zanzibar.
I spent seven amazing nights in Tanzania, a night on arrival at Arusha enjoying the tranquility of Rivertrees Country Inn. My actual safari adventure then started next day with the lesser known and visited Tarangire National Park. What phenomenal game viewing, from large herds of elephants making their way through Silale swamp, a cheetah on a kill, to a large python up a tree shedding it’s skin. Staying at Oliver’s camp for two nights was a real safari treat, Jackie and Justin the current camp managers really looked after us so well. The camp is located deep in the Tarangire National Park and we never saw another vehicle for hours! So it gets a big tick for a remote, authentic tented safari experience.
Next stop was the Ngorongoro Crater where the views from the rim are spectacular and the wildlife on the crater floor superb. I witnessed three lions that had killed a wildebeest and ten hyenas trying to get their piece of the action! We then headed to the Central Serengeti for a night at the beautiful tented Dunia Camp. It was another sensational tented safari camp that offered friendly, attentive staff, very comfortable and dare I say luxury tented rooms that each boast beautiful views over the famous Serengeti plains. I could have happily stayed here for the entire time. But our journey continued and the next day was a long one up to Northern Serengeti. We would usually slow down the pace or fly clients, but for us it was about seeing the landscapes and inspecting other properties along the way.
The Northern Serengeti really is a piece of paradise. It was awesome in terms of scenery and wildlife along the way and once there, we really were spoilt for sightings! My favourite was two leopards up a tree and not too far from them, their prized possession – a wildebeest carcas that had been dragged up the tree to slowly be devoured. I must say, nothing beats waking up in the morning at Sayari camp to find wildebeest and zebra’s right in from of our tent. Tent isn’t really the best descriptor for this accommodation. It’s more like a chalet with canvas roof. There are glass sliding doors which afford uninterrupted views, warmth and safety. By day it’s safe to slide them open but at night, it’s best to close. The only downer is blocking out the intensity of sounds in the African night time.
Now I could have spent hours on safari in the northern Serengeti, not only for the great game viewing but the beautiful scenery of granite kopjes, hills and open plains that stretch as far as the eye can see. Perhaps my wildlife trip highlight was here, seeing a mother and baby Rhino which is rare for the Serengeti. Did I mention amazing big cat sightings everyday and wildebeest, more wildebeest and even more wildebeest both dead and alive. The circle of life was evident every day.
Next stop, a light aircraft flight for Lake Victoria, landing at Rubondo Island where we were warmly greeted by our guides who quickly spoilt us with perfectly chilled champagne and nile perch all savoured on the runway no less! From here, we boarded a boat and sped along the lake to our beautiful small camp that boasts just eight rooms and such wonderful views over Lake Victoria. We spent two hours in the afternoon walking through the thick forest on the look out for elephant, giraffes, pythons and listening to the chimps calling!
Two relaxing days were spent at Rubondo Island and it was a huge lesson learnt for me as I’ve not been before. It provides a fantastic safari finale and chance to unwind, slow down the safari pace and really soak up the beautiful surroundings.
For me the journey continued to Zanzibar for another five nights, a real treat I have to say. With private vehicle and driver, I spent each day visiting our favourite properties and many news ones. Along the way I met lovely, friendly people, enjoyed fantastic spices and seafood and stayed at four beautiful beach properties including Matemwe Lodge, Pongwe, Breezes and the uber luxury Baraza Hotel. My last night was in Stone Town where I stayed at ….. I arrived, checked in and quickly ventured out with my guide for a walk through this maze of small alleys. Along the way I got to see some fun, quirky and luxurious hotels before spending two hours on a Stone Town City Tour, which I will now recommend to all of my guests because it really does give you an insight into this fascinating city steeped in history, with a melting pot of cultures and inspirational architecture that dates back to the 1800’s.
So my top ten Tanzania tips:
1) Realise that Tanzania is large, transport is in private 4×4 or flying from place to place if your budget allows
2) Don’t miss Tarangire National Park (time of year depending of course) for large elephant herds, great diversity of landscapes and of course Oliver’s Camp
3) Take time out on the rim of the Crater to marvel at this natural phenomenon
4) Get onto the Crater floor early, it does get really busy and becomes a bit zoo like because it’s a cauldra floor
5) Savour at least two regions of the Serengeti to ensure you witness as much wildlife as possible. We cannot predict the exact timing of the migration, so if we spread the risk over a number of days and two properties your chances increase!
6) Include Lake Victoria in your itinerary or head over to Zanzibar. It’s more than an Aussie beach because of its history, cultures and for me, fascinating stories
7) Allow at least 2 weeks
8) Experience at least one tented camp if not more!
9) Remember the Maasai culture of the country and it’s worth a village visit or cultural experience
10) If gems are your thing, don’t miss the chance to buy a Tanzanite! There is a gem store at Arusha Coffee Lodge and you get a certification and valuation to prove it’s legitimate
New Properties in 2014
There are a number of new properties that have just opened or are currently being built to launch in 2014 and we wanted to share a few of these with you.
Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp is located within the eastern boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park in the game-rich Mushika region and on the site of the former Ana Tree Lodge. The property is divided into two stylish camps, an eight room River Lodge and a four room Little Anabezi. Activities on offer will be game drives in open sided vehicles, walking safaris, canoeing and boating.
**Special Offer** Book before 1 May 2014 and qualify for their opening special, stay 3 pay 2 which applies to all 2014 bookings.
Lilayi is a boutique lodge style accommodation just 30 minutes from Lusaka city, an hour from the airport by road or a 10 minute short plane ride which costs approximately $55 per person each way. It was recently renovated and reopened to offer guests an intimate stay with no compromise on style and comfort. There are just 12 chalets (10 deluxe and 2 family suites) nestled on the 650 hectares of unspoilt grasslands where you’ll find 20 different mammal species and in excess of 300 bird species! Deluxe chalets boast open plan ensuite bedroom and lounge. The bathrooms have soaker baths and showers whilst the room’s folding bay windows open out to a private wooden deck. The family chalet has two double bedrooms each with ensuite and lounge. Lilayi is home to the Lilayi Elephant Nursery which is managed by Game Rangers International and established with ongoing critical support from the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. It rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephant calves who can be viewed daily from a platform near the lodge. Guests can also enjoy game viewing on foot with a guide or on horseback for the more adventurous.
Due to open in February 2014, Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa will bring a new concept of luxury accommodation to Zanzibar. Located on the pristine white stands of Paje beach, Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa will have 11 villas – each with a private swimming pool, outdoor bathtub, 600 square metres of private recreational area and view on the beach. Spread over four hectares of land, the unique buildings were designed by renowned architect Neil Rocher to provide guests peace and intimacy within a stunning setting. The five 1 bedroom villas, five 2 bedroom villas and one 3 bedroom villa will be perfect for honeymooners and families alike.
Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa actively invests in renewable energy and processes. A state-of-the-art wind turbine has been erected and photovoltaic panels ensure usage of solar energy. Environmental involvement includes recycling of materials, support of local initiatives and protection of the landscape. The restaurant will feature freshly caught fish, tropical juices and a fine cuisine mixing local Zanzibari dishes with an accent on international taste. Fruits and vegetables are homegrown in the private plantation for a controlled quality and environmentally friendly conditions. There will be an onsite spa offering a wide range of treatments and the Zanzibar Kite Paradise, a high end Kitesurf club that is on the resort’s property unobtrusive to guests.
Facebook Competition Update
We trialled three fantastic competitions on Facebook over the past few months and it proved hugely successful with brilliant interaction and an increase in ‘traffic’ to our page and website.
We are researching into options for 2014 and would love your thoughts. Would you enter a photographic competition and submit a pic you captured from your Africa holiday? Of if you’ve not travelled yet, is it worth extending the competition’s parameters so it’s a wildlife photograph that does not have to be just from Africa?