Sunday
Sep212014

Mwiba River Lodge

Mwiba Lodge, the newest addition to the Legendary Expeditions’ portfolio, is set among massive stone boulders, ancient coral trees and acacias, which overlooks a rocky gorge on the Arugusinyai River.

The interiors of this stylish destination are a collaboration of both traditional and modern design elements with layer upon layer of textured creams paired with natural suede, tans and accents of black and charcoal. From the linen dressed slope-armed sofas to ornately carved wood leg tables and cascading lighting, the eight double suites all give way to a wide-open layout where each room flows to another.

The philosophy for the bath is one of nature, traditional canvas walls accented with copper fixtures, large soaking tubs with private outside showers, all with transporting views from hardwood plank decks. The grey slate lined infinity-edge pool overlooks three springs where guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of a constant parade of wildlife. Vast and privately controlled, this exquisite 126,000 acre wildlife reserve is lush with color-infused botanicals, saturated with wildlife and features 33 freshwater springs.

Wednesday
Aug202014

Wild Dogs

 

Wild dogs must be one of the most under appreciated of Africa’s large predators. So often when on safari the guides will get so excited when they find them and the guests will say “Wild dogs - what are those?” 

A Wild Dog is about 35 inches tall and weigh about 60 pounds. They are one of the rarest canids in the world, only a few a few thousand left. Once roaming through most  of Africa, today their strong holds are limited to wilderness areas of Botswana and Zimbabwe, threatened by loss of habitats and diseases associated with domestic dogs.

 

Wild Dog are remarkably efficient hunters, being successful in as much as 80% of their hunts, comparatively lions are successful about 30% of the time.

The best time and places to experience these remarkable creatures is in Botswana and Zimbabwe in June through July when they are expected to be denning as their puppies anchor them to an area and they trade in their nomadic lifestyle to rear their pups. They can have as many as 16 puppies, typically from one alfa female and fathered by one alfa male.



Tuesday
Jul012014

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

In June this year I guided two safaris, that took us through Hwange National Park in North Western Zimbabwe. With the first couple we went to Little Makalolo and then we went to Somalisa with a family 9 we went to Somalisa.

This was my first time back to this park in a number of years and we were rewarded with great sightings. 

Covering over 5,000.00 square miles, Hwange is a massive National Park, 2/3rd of which are undeveloped for tourism. With an estimated 35 thousand elephants, Hwange is one of the last strongholds for these massive creatures but the park is also home to over 100 other larger mammals. Hwange’s meager rains fall between November and April and so as the dry season progresses, these animals congregate around the few remaining waterholes bringing to life a rich abundance of wildlife experiences. Below are a few photographs taken over the space of just a few days.





Wednesday
Jan152014

Private Guide Profile: Mark Homann Posted by EJAfrica Blog on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 

Mark Homann is one of our favorite private guides to work with. Mark grew up in Zimbabwe and has spent the past the past 20+ years in the safari industry, managing camps and guiding clients throughout East and Southern Africa. He now lives in the US (one of only two fully qualified Zimbabwe Professional Guides based in the United States) with his wife Maria and their two young children, and continues to guide safaris through out Africa.

We got him to answer a few questions for us about his experiences as a private guide.

 

When and why did you become a guide?

I started guiding in 1992. I grew up out outdoors, as many children did in Zimbabwe in the 70s & 80s. Even our schools were in rural areas and they had a strong focus on wildlife and natural history. So with a passion for wild places from a young age, it was hard to imagine doing anything else. I have to say that I have been very fortunate to have never looked back and have loved every minute.

Somewhere you have always wanted to take guests but never have?

Wilderness Safaris new camps in the forests of Odzala National Park (you can read more about lowland gorilla tracking in Odzala here)

What’s on your bucket list?

Without question the forests of Gabon and Equatorial Africa.

2 things you always tells your guests to bring when traveling

Enthusiasm and an open-mind.

2 things you think guests should know about Africa

It is safe and it will be the best experience you could imagine.

Camera or binocular recommendations?

There are many great brands available but for a good camera, Canon or Nikon with a good lens. For binoculars I prefer Swarovski Optiks but there are many good options as long as they are 8 x 30 or 10 x 40.

Do you have a specialty?

It is hard for me to have a specialty as a guide as I have visited so many different places across Africa and there is always more to learn and discover in so many different fields. I love history, people, photography, Africa and wildlife, what else is there?

Your most memorable experience as a guide

Probably spending time with the large herds of elephant that congregate around the waterholes in Hwange National Park at the height of the dry season are some of my most memorable experiences. It is easy to sit for hours marveling at their shear magnificent presence. But walking through the Malilangwe Hills, sitting with gorillas in Rwanda or floating down the Lower Zambezi in a canoe are all close seconds!

Safari moment you were most thrilled to have helped a client experience

People are the most important facet of being a guide. Seeing your guests feel the emotion of Africa is the most thrilling and rewarding aspect of what we do. To see the wonder in people’s eyes as they experience the thrill of a 100 thousand wildebeest pouring across the Mara river or the joy of watching wild chimpanzees interact all around you. Africa is a feast for human emotions and experiences that will touch even the most distracted mind.

Top 3 favorite properties

1) Singita Pamushana in southeast Zimbabwe,

2) Vumbura Plains in the Okavango Delta in Botswana

3) The Singita properties in Grumeti Reserve in the Western Serengeti of Tanzania

it is so hard to say as there are so many great camps in Africa and new properties opening all the time.  The new Mwiba River Lodge in the Serengeti is a good example of a new lodge that has great potential.

Top 3 favorite national parks

1) Definitely the Serengeti, it is the Eden I dreamed of as a child, so much to learn and to see, from the dawn of mankind to the greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet.

2) Mana Pools on the Lower Zambezi in Zimbabwe for its beauty and remoteness.

3) The greater Kalahari ecosystem of Botswana and Zimbabwe for it harsh dry seasons and huge herds of big game.

Your favorite trip

I can’t say one single safari is my favorite but it would definitely one that includes a great variety of animals, landscapes and experiences. Maybe Northern Tanzania and Rwanda or a combination of the Kalahari, the Lower Zambezi and the lowveld areas of southeastern Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Somewhere you have always wanted to take guests but never have?

Wilderness Safaris new camps in the forests of Odzala National Park (you can read more about lowland gorilla tracking in Odzala here)

What’s on your bucket list?

Without question the forests of Gabon and Equatorial Africa.

2 things you always tells your guests to bring when traveling

Enthusiasm and an open-mind.

2 things you think guests should know about Africa

It is safe and it will be the best experience you could imagine.

Camera or binocular recommendations?

There are many great brands available but for a good camera, Canon or Nikon with a good lens. For binoculars I prefer Swarovski Optiks but there are many good options as long as they are 8 x 30 or 10 x 40.

Do you have a specialty?

It is hard for me to have a specialty as a guide as I have visited so many different places across Africa and there is always more to learn and discover in so many different fields. I love history, people, photography, Africa and wildlife, what else is there?

 

Tuesday
Sep182012

A Private Retreat, by Singita Game Reserves.

If a secret had a secret it would be suite 7, the private villa at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe. A handful of the world’s most celebrated (be it in business, royalty or on the silver screen) have chosen this as their holiday destination, and it’s not hard to see why from the second you open the front door.

You step into a sumptuous lounge decorated in a forest of greens – from the beaded chandelier to the designer bamboo chair, but before you can absorb the details the room opens up onto the pool deck and the view seduces you. You’re gazing upon a vast wilderness for as far as the eye can see, and beyond. This is Africa at her wildest, most pristine and naturally beautiful – and it’s the reason this property achieved Global Winner in the Conservation category of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011. It’s a true conservationist’s paradise.

On this elevated wrap-around deck daybeds beckon, a private pool sparkles turquoise and a Swarovski spotting scope awaits should you want to zoom in on any movement below and observe the wildlife.

The west wing is given over to the master bedroom in a monochromatic theme. The original artworks and design demand attention, yet you are handed a remote control.  Press the button on it and the surround glass panels slide down vertically and disappear into a recess, taking your breath along with them. The open-air bedroom leads to an en-suite bathroom and his and hers’ dressing rooms.

Past a double-sided fireplace is what has to be one of the most extraordinary studies ever built. It too has glass surround panels that drop away, air-conditioning, high-speed wireless internet and US telephones. Elsewhere in the suite you’ll find, discreetly placed, a satellite TV and home entertainment system.

In the central area is a private dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. Personal attention is guaranteed with your own banakeli (waiter) offering discreet service and making sure your every requirement is met.  Whether for a family or intimate group of friends travelling together, meals are prepared to be savoured in the villa at any time throughout the day or night – or dining can take place in the main lodge areas.

The east wing has four double bedrooms with king size beds and en-suite bathrooms. Each one is a feast for the eyes – jewel colours dominate yet impart an atmosphere of sumptuousness and reflection. You’ll also find a guest toilet leading to an outdoor shower which has unsurpassed views.

Everything about a stay in the private villa is governed by exclusivity and tranquillity. Guests can fly in and out on private charter flights and, for the duration of their stay, they’ll have the benefit of a private game viewing vehicle and dedicated guide. With hundreds of kilometres of the most pristine wilderness to explore the only other life you’ll see is wildlife. You could choose to explore this on foot with your guide, or in a more relaxed manner, sundowner in hand, aboard the luxury watercraft on the Malilangwe Dam.

The main lodge itself is also designed with privacy in mind, with many quiet reading nooks and relaxing lounges, dining areas and outdoor decks. There is a separate yoga studio and a fully equipped gym. The spa is tucked away and offers a host of relaxing treatments and massages – and guests are welcome to request these in the villa or out on their private decks.

The private villa is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown that is Singita Pamushana – a most rare and precious jewel – and you’ll be forgiven for falling in love…