The African wild dog is the second most endangered carnivore in Africa, behind the Ethiopian wolf. Whilst not a member of the Big 5, like the lion or leopard, sighting a wild dog is more treasured. It is also more of a treat; wild dogs are active and playful, lazy lions lie around doing nothing 20 hours of the day.
What’s in a name?
Wild dogs are not technically dogs; they are the only living species of the genus Lycaon and differ from true canines by having four toes, not five, lacking a dew claw, and they also have different dentition. Wild dogs have a number of different names in the English language, such as Painted dog and Cape hunting dog. You might have read in other blogs, or seen on some nature documentaries that recently there has been a minor movement amongst conservationists to rename the species Painted wolf, due to the negative connotations associated with the name wild dog. Considering that wild dogs are not part of the wolf genus, this seems like a strange decision. In addition, no one appears to have asked the Wild dogs what they prefer to be called.
Wild dogs are a joy to watch should you have the good fortune to stumble across some. They live in packs and can be very boisterous and are highly sociable, communicating with squeaking noises rather than barks. Some biologists also believe that a wild dog pack is a democratic society as when it is time to hunt, each member of the pack votes on whether he/she would like to join the hunt. If not enough members vote to join the hunt, it is called off. Votes are established by sneezing.
Another curious aspect of wild dog life is that it is the females who leave the pack when they come of age, rather than the males. The males will stay with the pack they were born into. The reasons for this are not clear and it is puzzling considering that in most animal species, it is the males who are forced out of their family when they are old enough. Wild dog packs are extremely hierarchical, and in any given pack only the alpha male and alpha female will reproduce.
This is arguably a contributing factor to their decline in population over the past century. If only one female per pack is allowed to have pups, it will be difficult to sustain the population. Even if she is capable of giving birth to 10 or 11 pups at a time, it will always be less effective than allowing all the females to reproduce. The alpha female is usually the oldest in the pack, but this is not always the case for the alpha male. That said, it ensures only the best genes are used and, until human wildlife conflict and habitat encroachment decimated their numbers, this technique saw hundreds of thousands of these beautiful creatures roaming across sub-Saharan Africa. Today there are only around 6,000 left in seven countries.
Being the alpha pair obviously comes with great perks. Even though they are the only ones allowed to reproduce, they do not actually have to look after the pups all the time. The alpha male and alpha female are needed for hunts, being the biggest and smartest dogs, so the job of looking after the pups is often left to other junior females. Wild dogs are incredibly successful hunters, more so than lions. Wild dogs do not hunt like other predators you will have seen on TV. Instead of stalking and then surprising their prey, they like to chase after them in a marathon. Wild dogs are incredibly fit and are able to run their prey to exhaustion. Once this is done, wild dogs don’t suffocate their pray like other predators, but rather rip through their flesh with their sharp teeth.
This is the main reason why they have a bad reputation, because this practice has led to the belief that wild dogs eat their prey alive, which many people feel is cruel. It is also a second reason behind the decline in wild dog numbers. Wild dogs were often shot with impunity by farmers in the past because it was felt that they were excessively cruel to their prey and were seen as pests by livestock farmers.
Once the hunt is over, the prey is consumed at lightning speed, to reduce the chance of the meal being stolen by a larger, stronger predator, often hyenas. On returning to the den and the babysitters, they regurgitate a bit of the meal for the childminders and the young to eat. Whilst sharing is caring, when a poisoned carcass has been left out by a farmer, it makes spreading the toxins extremely likely to wipe out a pack.
Where to find these misunderstood and beautiful animals?
Southern Africa is the best place to find Wild dogs, particularly in Botswana and South Africa. In Botswana, we have regularly spotted wild dogs in the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai, Linyanti, Savuti and Chobe National Park. In South Africa, the best places to see them are in the Greater Kruger Park, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Madikwe, and Manyoni. We have also had good luck seeing wild dogs in South Luangwa in Zambia, which is also home to one of the densest population of leopards in Africa. Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, has the most-publicised population, thanks to the BBC’s Dynasties episode.
Please remember that wild dogs are an endangered species and even if you visit every destination in this list, you will still need a bit of luck to find them. If you fail to spot any in the wild, the next place to go is the Painted Dog Conservation centre in Hwange, Zimbabwe, which we sponsor annually.
In our experience of travelling across Africa and selling holidays to intrepid adventurers, we have come to see that KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa is underappreciated and underbooked. It is often overlooked in favour of the big name destinations, such as Cape Town, the Kruger Park, and the Garden Route.
Yet in the province of KwaZulu Natal you will find the makings of everything you could want in an African holiday - Big 5 safaris, warm beaches, mountain hikes, and a little bit of history and culture.
What's in a name? KwaZulu Natal is a strange name, consisting of two different languages mashed together. If you translated it directly into English, just for fun, it literally means "Place of the Zulu Christmas." The area was first named Natal by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who sighted the excellent natural harbour at Durban on Christmas Day in 1497. Natal means Christmas in Portuguese. In 1994, after the end of apartheid, the prefix "KwaZulu" was added, which means Place of the Zulus. The Zulus are the biggest indigenous tribe in South Africa and KwaZulu Natal is their traditional homeland.
The biggest reason most people come to Africa is to see the wildlife and KwaZulu Natal is home to some excellent game reserves, which have the Big 5 as well as many other species. They offer superb safari opportunities, as lower costs and with less visitors than comparable lodges in the Greater Kruger Park. The most famous game reserve is probably Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, which is also the oldest game reserve in South Africa. The reserve is famous for its operation to save the white rhino from extinction. In the 1950's and 1960's, the white rhino was virtually extinct in the wild, save for a handful in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. A highly successful breeding and preservation project was launched by the park warden Ian Player which led to the recovery of the species. All the white rhinos you see in Southern Africa today can trace their lineage back to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi. And for those interested in trivia, Ian Player is the brother of South Africa's most successful golfer, Gary Player.
Phinda Game Reserve is well known in South Africa for being one of the best curators of luxury safaris. It has its own private airstrip catering to flights from Johannesburg, which also makes it easy to get to. Within the reserve there are four distinct habitats, which makes it an excellent safari destination. One is able to experience woodland, grassland, wetland and forest. There are six 5-star luxury lodges interspersed through these habitats and the lodge is also in close proximity to the unspoilt beaches along the Indian Ocean. During your stay here, your every need will be looked after.
For family friendly safaris, we recommend Nambiti Game Reserve, located almost halfway between Durban and Johannesburg. Namibiti is home to over 40 species of animals, including cheetah, leopard, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, eland and zabra plus an array of other creatures and plants. It offers a more affordable safari experience than Phinda and is much more child friendly. Nambiti is also the only malaria-free game reserve in KwaZulu Natal.
After enjoying three or four nights on safari looking for animals, the next thing you might want to do is head to the beach for a few days of relaxation in the sun, and to do some water sports. KwaZulu Natal is roughly the size of Portugal, which means there is kilometres of coastline to choose from. Fed by the warm Agulhas current which flows from the equator, the sea in KwaZulu Natal is warm all year round and the further north you go, the warmer it gets. Durban is the most popular city South Africa for beach holidays, but we recommend heading further north into less populated areas, such as St Lucia, isiMangaliso Wetland Park and Kosi Bay. You can find fully inclusive lodges here which offer a number of activities to keep you entertained, such as snorkelling, kayaking and boat trips. The town of St Lucia is popular because its estuary is home to crocodiles, hippos and fish eagles, which makes it a fun spot to do sunset cruises. Sometimes the hippos can be seen wondering the streets of the town at night, so do be careful. And further up the coast, Kosi Bay is where you can see turtles nesting from November to January.
For the serious divers, Sodwana Bay, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks offer some world class diving. From June - July, the sardine run occurs off the coast of KwaZulu Natal when millions of sardines migrate north to warmer waters near Mozambique. The size of the sardine run has been compared to the great wildebeest migration and the sheer amount of sardines creates a feeding frenzy amongst dolphins, sharks, sea birds and humpback whales.
KwaZulu Natal still has more to offer the curious traveller. The Drakensberg Mountains is a mountain range which runs down the spine of South Africa and reaches its highest points in KwaZulu Natal, with many peaks exceeding 3000m and the highest one reaching 3482m above sea level. The Drakensberg is also home to the second highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Falls, which is 948m high. It is possible to hike to the top of this waterfall.
Close to the Drakensberg, and for this history buffs, you will find the Battlefields. KwaZulu Natal has been the battleground for a number of important battles and wars throughout South Africa's formative history, involving the British, the Boers and the Zulus. All these historically important battlefields have been well preserved and centre around the town of Dundee. Guided tours of the Battlefields are available from a number of lodges who specialise in the events. With a two or three night stay, you can relive the Battles of Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift, Blood River, Talana Hill, Spionkop and Ladysmith.
The Battle of Isandlwana is famous for being the only time the British army was defeated in battle by an indigenous army and contributed to the Zulu tribe's fearsome reputation. Although the later he same day, the Zulus were trounced at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. The British are so proud of the latter battle that they turned into a movie starring Michael Caine.
The Battle of Talana Hill was the opening battle of the Second Anglo-Boer war, while Spionkop was its deadliest battle. Peculiarly, there is a grandstand at Liverpool's Anfield Stadium named after Spionkop. Walking through the Battlefields with an experienced guide, it is easy to be transported back to the day of the battle and to pretend that you were there.
We offer a number of safaris and itineraries to all the areas mentioned in this blog, as well as some others that we couldn't find space to write about. You can find all our itineraries as well as our favourite lodges and hotels by clicking here: https://www.indigosafaris.com/kwazulu-natal-safaris-and-holidays.htlm
Bringing your children to Africa is truly a magical experience, guaranteed to capture their imagination and maybe spur a lifelong interest in nature conservation.
On a recent safari at a family-friendly game reserve in KwaZulu Natal, it was a joy to see how excited the children were to tick off as many animals and birds as possible in their books. Many kids asked if they could sit in the front seat next to the guide so that they could ask him questions about the animals.
Africa offers something different and something new. Apart from the obvious draw of seeing wild animals, there is also the kilometres and kilometres of wide open spaces, the different people to interact with, culture, languages, and rich histories. Many parents use an African holiday as an opportunity to educate their children about different cultures and upbringings.
Now, bringing your offspring on safari requires a bit of research. Not all safari lodges are child-friendly. Some have minimum age limits, particularly the unfenced camps. They also have differing maximum age limits for child rates. For example, some lodges offer 50% off to children under 12, others offer 50% off to children under 16. You also have to think about what type of room configuration you want. Do you want to share a room with your children, or would you prefer for them to have their own room? Maybe you are even planning to make this a multi generation family adventure and need to find the best set up for grandparents, parents and children. Many lodges require children under 12 to share a room with an adult, but teenagers are often allowed to have their own rooms.
We have put together a family-friendly safari specials page, where we have highlighted the best family-friendly safari lodges in southern and eastern Africa in order to make your life as easy as possible when starting to plan your safari adventure, by showing you what the minimum and maximum age limits are for children, as well how much of children’s discount is potentially on offer.
When planning a family safari, the best way is to contact us to tell us about the size of your family, the ages of your children and what room configuration you are looking for. All of this will affect the price and we can use our expertise to find the best special and the best fit. There are a few lodges which offer children’s programmes as well, where children will be looked after by child-minders and have the chance to learn some new bush tricks and skills and become junior rangers. If you want to find out more about those then have a look at the examples of Young Explorer’s Camp in the Okavango Delta, as well as Kambaku Safari Lodge in the Greater Kruger Park.
The typical safari activities however are not the only activities available in Africa to enchant your children. They can also see the penguins in Cape Town, go quad biking in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, interact with meerkats on the Garden Route and go ziplining in Victoria Falls. All children love the beach and Africa has some beautiful warm beach destinations, for an add on stay, such as Zanzibar, Seychelles and Mauritius, where children can go snorkeling and kayaking, as well as sailing on a traditional Dhow. A few nights on safari combined with a few nights on a tropical island promises to be a memorable family holiday.
Well, first of all, they’re much more affordable than lodge safaris enabling a longer safari. Camping safaris also make travel affordable to many more people. Africa doesn’t have to remain a pipe dream. If you are willing to sleep in a tent, you will see the most fantastic sights and have the most incredible experiences which you will remember for the rest of your life.
However, the most compelling reason for doing a camping safari is for the sheer romance of it all. A trip to Africa for many people is almost a spiritual experience, a chance to reconnect with nature and a life we left behind. Many people have forgotten what peace sounds like. There is always the buzz of the traffic, the aircon, or the fridge in the background. When you’re camping, there isn’t any of this white noise to lull you to sleep. Instead, you will be lulled to sleep by the sound of hyenas whooping, jackals laughing, or lions roaring.
It’s also the best possible way to do a tech detox as there are many places in Africa which don’t have cellphone signal or wifi. These days, it seems like people are more scared of being disconnected from their friends for one day than they are of the lion roaring outside their tent. If you want a true break from work and from friends, and want to be assured that your boss will have no way of contacting you when you are on holiday, then a camping safari is the best way to achieve it. If you are lucky, the lion might even eat your cell phone.
Camping is good for your physical health. You’re outside in the fresh air, rising at sunrise with the birdsong rather than with the anxiety-inducing screech of your alarm clock. Plus you are more active. As well as doing some exploring on foot, if you choose to do a semi-participation camping safari, you will also help with the setting up and taking down of your tents.
But won’t it be itchy and uncomfortable and hard work?
There are different levels of camping safaris, depending on how much comfort you want. The first way to differentiate is between participation semi-participation, and non-participation safaris. On participation safaris, you are expected to help set up your tent and to chip in with the cooking and cleaning. on a semi, you help put up your tent , and on non-participation safaris, the guides will do everything for you. When you arrive at a camp site, everything will already be set up for you and you can just sit back and enjoy a cold beer or gin and tonic, or both.
There are also different types of tents. The most basic tent is a 2m x 2m x 2m dome tent, which is big enough for most people to stand up and lie down in. These are usually furnished with low stretchers and high density foam mattresses which are capable of providing a good night’s sleep. A level up from this is a Meru style tent, which is a larger rectangular shaped tent, around 4 metres long by 3 metres wide by 2.5 metres high. These Meru style tents are often furnished with proper beds and en-suite bathrooms. Dome tents will be found on all participation camping safaris, while Meru style tents are used more often for non-participation camping safaris and particularly for fly-in camping safaris.
Bathroom facilities vary and that is part of the adventure and a sure fire way to get you out of your comfort zone, if the honey badger sniffing at your tent hasn’t accomplished that already. Sometimes you will stay in established campsites with proper communal ablutions. Other times, you will be out in the middle of the bush, far away from any semblance of plumbing infrastructure. The shower will be a bucket shower, which is a actually lot nicer than it sounds. The bucket has a proper shower head at the bottom and the water will be warmed on the fire before you stand underneath it.
Toilets will either be a long drop hole with a proper toilet seat placed over it, or a chemical toilet. The scenery in the bush toilets is fabulous, although not always for the shy, as passing animals will stop and stare. Best hit the gym before your camping safari.
Where should I go?
The most popular countries for camping safaris are Namibia and Botswana. We offer a number of camping safaris in both countries, which you can find here and here. In Namibia, you will be camping in the desert underneath the stars seemingly in the middle of nowhere. You will also get to see sights such as Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon, the Skeleton Coast and Etosha National Park.
In Botswana, it is all about the animals. Camping on the island in the middle of the Okavango Delta will get you as close to African wildlife as you could hope to get. Most of the campsites are unfenced, so you might even have an animal wonder in to say hello. Add on the bush walks, mokoro rides, boat cruises and game drives and you have the makings of an exciting and fulfilling holiday. In addition to the wilderness, you can also camp in the Kalahari Desert where you can meet the Bushmen, or in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
You may be in places without wifi or cell phone signal, but this doesn’t mean you won’t have electricity. You will be able to charge your cameras and other devices in the cars. But if this is too much for you and you truly want to escape from any semblance of civilisation and consumer culture, then look no further than the Wilderness Primitive Trail, operating in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. This trail is aimed at the outdoors enthusiast who would like to combine a wilderness experience with backpacking and sleeping out under the stars. The trail provides the ultimate basic living experience, with a minimum of equipment but with adequate water and food. Water is collected from springs or rivers in the wilderness area, and bathing is done in the river wherever possible. A very important part of the trail is spending time alone on watch at the fire at night. In this way one gets to embrace silence and solitude, qualities that are difficult to find in today's world. Trailists are required to leave their watches and cellular phones in their cars in order to experience greater freedom from time constraints and deadlines which rule our lives today.
But I don’t like other people
Camping safaris don’t necessarily mean group safaris. We can run the Primitive Trail on a private basis and also offer this Botswana camping safari on a private basis. In addition, any camping safari which you see on our Namibia pages can be turned into a private safari with our local guide, Tulimo.
Come to Africa and do a camping safari. You will experience something you have never experienced before and you will return home feeling more refreshed and invigorated than if you had just done a spa weekend in Budapest. And you will also return home with savings in your account because there is nothing to spend money on in the middle of the African bush.
We have some fantastic deals for liveaboard trips to the Galapagos, the Maldives, the Red Sea, and the Caribbean.
The trips on the Explorer Venture boats equates to 2 Pay 1 Free, 4 Pay 2 Free, 6 Pay 3 Free, or 33% off per person.
The Blueforce trips are a monetary saving on the regular price, plus an extra 25% for back to back bookings.
AND, on top of these deals, we have a little Indigo Safaris bonus, depending on the trip. Email us to find out the specifics.
EXPLORER VENTURE FLEET SPECIAL
GROUP SPECIAL DESTINATIONS & DATES
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CARIBBEAN EXPLORER II - SABA/ST KITTS
July 24-31, 2021 (St Maarten-St Maarten / Diving around Saba only)
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HUMBOLDT EXPLORER - GALAPAGOS ISLANDSJuly 12-16, 2021
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TIBURON EXPLORER - GALAPAGOS ISLANDSJuly 31-August 7, 2021
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EMPEROR EXPLORER - MALDIVES August 15-22, 2021 (Best of Maldives)
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BLUE FORCE RED SEA - 2 BOATS
Last Thursday was World Earth Day, and Joe Biden has been making a concerted effort to get the US back on track and in sync with other international leaders on meeting climate change goals crucial to the survival of the planet for future generations.
But it shouldn’t just be down to governments to act. If they are meant to do our bidding, we should be setting the example. It’s not just industry that causes climate change, we all do, every day, depending a multitude of choices we have made and continue to make as consumers.
I have been offsetting my carbon footprint, both my domestic use and business travel, for the past decade. Every few years I would review the options available and offset by making a financial contribution towards projects that have a positive impact on climate change.
Not all the schemes are about planting trees. There are many more ways to effect positive climate change and reduce carbon footprints, notably renewable energy projects, solar cooker distribution to reduce wood burning, energy efficient lighting, water well drilling and water purification, habitat protection, clean transport and more. The United Nations Sustainable Development goals website has more details here.
How I offset
I calculate my carbon footprint here.
Then I choose one of the many carbon offsetting programs around. The carbon footprint calculator site suggests some schemes that they have vetted, Investopedia recommends other schemes based on different criteria here.
Our 2021 choices
For 2021, I have chosen Sustainable Travel International and Ecologi to offset my personal carbon footprint, and that of my business travel, and the carbon footprints of Indigo Safaris’ staff. Sustainable Travel International’s goals and methods fit very well with my travel philosophy. Ecologi, whilst the website boils everything down to the number of trees planted, actually has a wide range of projects across different continents.
Our Safari Clients' Footprints
We are currently conducting research into how we can offset clients’ safari game drives and transfers, working out an average carbon footprint per day on safari, and will be doing this for all safaris in the near future.
We will also be encouraging clients to offset their flights, if they don’t already do so. Many airlines now offer this as part of the booking process, but it is also possible to do this and give your offset money to a project of your choice. You can work out individual flight footprints on the calculate I linked to above, and also on the Green Seat website, allowing you to compare the cost of the airline’s offsetting schemes with other options.
Check out these amazing deals, book with us and get an extra discount. Email email@example.com for more details.
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December 4-11, 2021, Caribbean Explorer II – Northeastern Caribbean. Save $600! $1695 pp after discount.
December 12-19, 2021, Emperor Explorer – Best of the Maldives. Save $650! $1890 pp after discount
December 18-25, 2021, Turks & Caicos Explorer II – Turks and Caicos Islands. Save $600! From $2095 to $2495 pp after discount.
December 18-25, 2021, Tiburon Explorer – Galapagos Islands. Save $900! $5995 pp after discount.
December 20-27, 2021, Humboldt Explorer – Galapagos Islands. Save $800! $5195 pp after discount.
** Terms and conditions: 2021 Year of Savings Specials are valid only for new reservations booked and deposited after January 8, 2021. The specials cannot be combined with other discounts, credits, or group policy. Not applicable on existing bookings made before January 8, 2021.
Explorer Fleet Covid Booking Guarantees
We’d like to assure all of our guests that, if any of the following conditions apply within 2 weeks of departure and you are not able to join your scheduled trip, we will provide you with a 100% credit of the amount paid in order to reschedule your trip aboard another departure on the same vessel/itinerary within the next 24 months:
Check out these fleet savings. Take another 5% off when booking through Indigo Safaris.
JANUARY - SAVE UP TO $1000 ON CARIBBEAN & $2400 ON GALAPAGOSJan 2-9 / $1000 off - Turks & Caicos Explorer II, Turks & Caicos Islands / $1695-2095 pp after discount
Jan 9-16 / $800 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1495 pp after discount
Jan 11-18 / $2200 off - Humboldt Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $3295 pp after discount
Jan 23-30 / $2400 off - Tiburon Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $3995 pp after discount
Jan 24-31 / $500 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2040 pp after discount
Jan 30-Feb 6 / $800 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1495 pp after discount
FEBRUARY - SAVE UP TO $700 ON THE CARIBBEAN & $1040 ON MALDIVES
Feb 13-20 / $700 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1595 pp after discount
Feb 17-24 / $680 off - Emperor Explorer, Deep South Maldives *domestic flights incl / $2695 pp after discount
Feb 20-27 / $700 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1595 pp after discount
Feb 24-Mar 6 (10N) / $1040 off - Emperor Explorer, Deep South Maldives *domestic flights incl / $3545 pp after discount
Feb 27-Mar 6 / $700 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1595 pp after discount
MARCH - SAVE UP TO $600 ON CARIBBEAN & $1900 ON GALAPAGOS
Mar 6-16 (10N)/ $1040 off - Emperor Explorer, South Central Maldives / $3255 pp after discount
Mar 13-20 / $600 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1695 pp after discount
Mar 13-20 / $1900 off - Tiburon Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $4495 pp after discount
Mar 20-27 / $1900 off - Tiburon Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $4495 pp after discount
Mar 20-27 / $600 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1695 pp after discount
Mar 22-29 / $1700 off - Humboldt Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $3795 pp after discount
Mar 28-Apr 4 / $680 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2035 pp after discount
APRIL - SAVE UP TO $600 ON CARIBBEAN & $1900 ON GALAPAGOS
Apr 3-10 / $1900 off - Tiburon Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $4495 pp after discount
Apr 3-10 / $600 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1695 pp after discount
Apr 17-24 / $600 off - Caribbean Explorer II, St. Maarten - Saba / $1695 pp after discount
Apr 25-May 2 / $500 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2040 pp after discount
Apr 26-May 3 / $1700 off - Humboldt Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $3795 pp after discount
MAY - SAVE UP TO $600 ON CARIBBEAN & $1900 ON GALAPAGOS
May 1-8 / $600 off - Turks & Caicos Explorer II, Turks & Caicos Islands / $2095-$2495 pp after discount
May 1-8 / $1900 off - Tiburon Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $4495 pp after discount
May 2-9 / $300 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2335 pp after discount
May 8-15 / $600 off - Turks & Caicos Explorer II, Turks & Caicos Islands / $2095-$2495 pp after discount
May 9-16 / $300 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2335 pp after discount
May 16-23 / $300 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2335 pp after discount
May 23-30 / $300 off - Emperor Explorer, Best of the Maldives / $2335 pp after discount
May 31-Jun 7 / $1700 off - Humboldt Explorer, Galapagos Islands / $3795 pp after discount
Roatan Aggressor 50% off save up to $1648 on a master cabin
Jan 9 - 16, 202, Jan 16 - 23, 2021, Jan 30 - Feb 6, 2021, Feb 6 - 13, 2021, Feb 13 - 20, 2021, Feb 20 - 27, 2021, Feb 27 - 6, 2021
Was $2995 now from $1498 in a standard cabin
Belize Aggressor III SAVE 50% Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Cay, and Turneffe Reef
9 Jan - 16 Jan 2021
Was US$3,195 Now US$1,598
Bahamas Aggressor SAVE 50% Exuma Cays and Southwest Eleuthera
2 Jan - 9 Jan 2021, 9 Jan - 16 Jan 2021, Jan 30 - 6, 2021m Feb 13 - 20, 2021
Was US$2,895. Now US$1,448
Pay 7 Stay 10 in the Caribbean from $2895
Turks & Caicos Agg II: Sept 11 - 21, 2021 • Sept 22 - Oct 2, 2021
Bahamas Aggressor: Sept 4 - 14, 2021 • Sept 15 - 25, 2021
Belize Aggressor III: Aug 28 - 7, 2021 • Sept 8 - 18, 2021
Red Sea Aggressor III US$1800 off!!
Brothers, Daedalus, Elphinstone 26 Dec - 2 Jan 2021
Was US$2,499, Now US$699. Only a few male share spaces left
Other trips at $999
Red Sea Aggressorr III
Feb 20 - 27 • Feb 27 - Mar 6 • Mar 6 - 13 • Mar 13 - 20
Mar 20 - 27 • Mar 27 - Apr 3 • Apr 3 - 10
Red Sea Aggressor II
Dec 19 - 26 • Dec 26 - 2 • Jan 2 - 9 • Jan 9 - 16 • Jan 16 - 23 • Jan 23 - 30
• Jan 30 - 6 • Feb 6 - 13 • Feb 13 - 20 • Feb 20 - 27
Galapagos Aggressor III Save US$2000 per person Galapagos Islands with Wolf & Darwin
14 Jan - 21 Jan 2021, 11 Feb - 18 Feb 2021, 18 Feb - 25 Feb 2021
Was US$6,595 Now US$4,595
Maldives Aggressor II
Save US$1000 per person
Best of Maldives 20 Dec - 27 Dec 2020
Was US$2,975 Now US$1,975
Maldives Blue Force One SAVE 15%
Central Atolls Classical Route
9 Jan - 16 Jan 2021, 23 Jan - 30 Jan 2021, 30 Jan - 6 Feb 2021
Was US$1,990 Now US$1,690
DIVE THE WORLD 25% OFF ALL THESE TRIPS - email for prices
April 24 - May 2 Socorro Aggressor
May 1 - 8 Roatan Aggressor
May 2 - 9 Maldives Aggressor II
May 20 - 27 Galapagos Aggressor III
June 17 - 25 Socorro Aggressor
July 15 - 22 Indo Aggressor
July 17 - 24 Kona Aggressor
July 23 - 30 Indo Aggressor
Aug 7 - 14 Roatan Aggressor
Aug 14 - 21 Belize Aggressor IV
Aug 15 - 22 Palau Aggressor II
Aug 21 - 28 Bahamas Aggressor
Sept 4 - 11 Philippines Aggressor
Sept 12 - 19 Rock Islands Aggressor
Sept 18 - 25 Belize Aggressor III
Oct 16 - 23 Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
Dec 4 - 11 Kona Aggressor II
Dec 9 - 16 Galapagos Aggressor III
Dec 18 - 25 Belize Aggressor IV
Dec 18 - 28 Okeanos Aggressor I
Dec 25 - Jan 1 Turks & Caicos Aggressor
This is our blog which we try to keep updated about the Covid19 entry requirements for African countries, as well as any other rules and regulations.
What has emerged as standard in Africa is that all countries require a negative PCR test before you are allowed to travel to them. This means that if you are visiting multiple countries, you generally have to get a new PCR test every time you depart one country and head to the next.
For other popular countries and destinations, we will tell you how it easy to get tested inside each country, but first, we have made a table to show what the requirements are for you to enter the various countries in the first place.
A useful tool we have found for telling you the latest requirements to enter a country is this one: https://www.traveldoc.aero/
But the requirements can change without warning and should always be checked on each country's government website.
South Africa is the biggest country in Southern Africa and the economic hub of the region. It is also the transit hub for Southern Africa as many flights to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique transit through Johannesburg. This means that these other countries are often dependent on South Africa for getting travellers through to them and back out again, which made it important for South Africa to be able to offer speedy and easily accessible PCR tests.
Travellers departing from OR Tambo Intl airport in Johannesburg may now get tested and collect their PCR certificate at the airport prior to departure. Next Pathology has opened a rapid PCR testing lab in the Kafue Room of the Intercontinental Hotel, just outside the international arrivals hall. The lab promises a turnaround time of only 2 hours for test results and is open between 16:00 - 22:00 as it is specifically targeting those doing overnight international flights. The price of the tests is ZAR2,000 per person.
One of our preferred guesthouses in Johannesburg, Safari Club SA, is now offering day rooms to all travellers waiting for their PCR test results. Guests will be allocated a room for the time they are at the hotel and will have access to all the hotel amenities including bar services, swimming pool, use of the garden and ordering of meals. Transfers are included in the day room rate.
For guests heading to Cape Town, the situation is a bit different. Of course, you can book your flight home via Johannesburg in order to get tested at OR Tambo Airport, but it is also possible to take a few hours out of one of your days in Cape Town to head to the nearest clinic and get tested. Rates differ depending on the clinic, but prices of between ZAR600 – 1000 can be expected. We will be happy to show you where the nearest clinic is to your hotel.
In the Greater Kruger Park, South Africa’s wildlife gem and one of its most popular destinations, PCR testing is also possible now. A PCR clinic has been set up in the town of Hoedspruit, which is the nearest town to many lodges within the Greater Kruger Park. Lodges are able to transfer guests in between safari activities to the town of Hoedspruit to get a PCR test done. The cost of the test is ZAR850 per person, while the cost of the transfer will differ depending on the lodge you are staying at. Some lodges have gone a step further and are able to offer PCR tests in your room. Please ask us for an updated list of which lodges can do this.
Botswana is one of the most popular destinations for a wildlife safari due to the exquisite unspoilt nature of its wilderness. However this vast wilderness and lack of infrastructure which many people fall in love with also originally meant that getting a PCR test done would be difficult.
Several luxury bush camp and lodge operators have come together and are now able to fly clinicians into camps to take samples for testing. The samples will then be sent to the nearest major town for testing, with results to be expected back the following day. The results will then be e-mailed to the camp and can be printed out for you to take with you. The cost of this service ranges from +-USD275 - USD330 depending on the camp you are staying at.
If you do not wish to be tested in camp, it is possible to be tested at the airports of Maun and Kasane at a cost of BWP850 - 1100 (+-USD110.) The test results will be ready in 24 - 48 hours, so it is recommended to spend a night in Maun or Kasane while waiting for results.
Please note that you need to have a negative PCR test in order to depart Botswana, irrespective of where you are travelling to. It is not officially in the regulations, but the overly efficient border guards are asking all travellers for them and it is not wise to start an argument with a border guard.
The testing will be offered between 07h30 - 16h45 every day and Sundays from 10h00 – 12h45
Due to limited testing on weekends, the timing of your journey is important.
The primary destination of choice for any traveller to Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls, so this is where the government has focussed most of its efforts. PCR testing is now possible upon arrival or departure at Victoria Falls Airport, with a waiting time of 3-6 hours for the results. Alternatively, several luxury lodges offer in-house testing now. The cost of the test is US$60 per person, but this can change without notice.
Zimbabwe has re-entered hard lockdown on 08 January 2021 and travel is therefore banned at the moment.
The majority of itineraries to Namibia only include one or two nights at each destination, which makes finding the time to have tests done difficult. In addition, Namibia is a vast, sparsely populated country. Namibia has come up with an ingenius solution. As all safaris typically start and end in Windhoek, PCR test roadblocks have been set up on the two main highways into Windhoek. This means that as you return to Windhoek, you can stop off and get tested. Results take 7 - 14 hours, which means you will likely need a night of post-tour accommodation before departing, but this has to be the most simple testing solution we have come across in Africa so far. You can view more details and book an appointment here: https://www.covidtestnam.com/
Zambia updated their entry requirements in May 2021 due to increasing infections in certain parts of the world. To enter Zambia, you must have a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Passengers arriving from a "high-risk" country will be given a PCR test upon arrival and will have to quarantine until a negative result is returned. If you can produce proof of vaccination, you will not have to test or quarantine. This rule does not apply to those simply transiting through a high-risk country.
To leave Zambia, you will only need to get another PCR test done if the country you are travelling to requires it. For some reason, in addition to a negative PCR test certificate, you also have to get a Ministry of Health certification which is a separate document with an additional cost.
Many people visit Zambia to see the mighty Victoria Falls. There are testing facilities in the town of Livingstone, but is very difficult to arrange the testing on an individual basis, especially since you cannot pay for the tests with cash or credit card. Only EFT bank transfers are accepted. For this reason, hotels have stepped up to help guests arrange tests. You can pay the hotel for your PCR test and they will then transfer the payment to the Zambian health authorities. Private testing can be conducted at the hotel and the hotel will help to arrange this. The test costs between USD100 - USD150.
If you are going on a wild and remote safari in Zambia, to places such as Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, it is possible to get tested there and have your swabs flown to Lusaka for processing. This incurs quite a cost, you are looking at US$250 - US$320 and it might be cheaper just to spend a night in Lusaka at the end of your holiday and get tested there.
All test results take 24 - 48 hours to be delivered. Therefore, if you are only visiting Victoria Falls for 2 nights, it would be a good idea to get tested on the day you arrive.
Tanzania has updated it's entry requirements recently to be more in line with global trends. Travellers require a negative PCR test not older than 96 hours before departure from your home country. In addition, all travellers from high risk countries will have to do a rapid antigen test when they land, at a cost of US$10pp on the mainland and US$25pp in Zanzibar. You also have to fill out a Traveller Surveillance Form within 24 hours of arrival in Tanzania. Filling out this form will give you a Unique Health Code which must be presented upon landing in Tanania. The form can be filled out here: https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/ You may need a negative PCR test to depart, depending on the country you are departing to, or the airline you are travelling with. It is possible to get a negative PCR test in Dar Es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar. Tests cost between USD100 - 120 and results can take up to 96 hours. Please note that the current government advice is for travellers to undergo Covid19 testing a minimum of 5 days prior to departure to allow enough time for results to be delivered.
*UPDATE - All travellers coming from India have to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival.
Kenya has perhaps done the best job of handling the pandemic out of all major African countries. Their testing facilities appear to be world class.
All arriving passengers on international flights must show a PCR COVID-19 negative certificate carried out within 96 hours before travel to Kenya (before departure) that has been digitally verified through the Trusted Travel (TT) Initiative or Global Haven. This will produce a QR code which travellers will be required to display to port health officials for them to be allowed to proceed to arrival immigration. From 01 January 2021, all travellers requiring a visa will need to apply for an e-visa in advance. No visas shall be issued on arrival in Kenya. For more information visit www.evisa.go.ke
UPDATE. On 28 July, the Kenyan government reduced the quarantime for UK citizens from fourteen days to seven days. All travellers coming from the UK, irrespective of nationality must quarantine for seven days upon arrival and do another PCR test after four days.
When departing Kenya, it is possible to be tested in your hotel in Nairobi at a cost of US$120 per person. Results will be ready within 24 hours. It is also possible to be tested in some safari destinations, including the Maasai Mara. The collection point for testing in the Maasai Mara is in Mararienta, close to Musiara Gate and it costs US$110. Alternatively, the test can come to your camp, for US$140 per person (*min 2 guests.) Testing in the Mara his is subject to availability and results will take 48 hours. You only need to get a PCR test done on departure if the country you are travelling to requires it.
Uganda recently updated their rules in response to the increasing amount of variants. You now require a PCR test not older than 72 hours in order to enter the country AND will have to carry out a second PCR test at your own expensive upon arrival, at a cost of US$65pp.
When departing Uganda, you also need a negative PCR test not older than 120 hours, but please bear in mind the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to from Uganda. PCR tests can be obtained in either Kampala or Entebbe. There is a 24 hours test which currently costs between US$65 - US$85, or you can pay more to have an express test done. The express test costs US$150 per person and results will be ready in 6 - 8 hours. It is probably safer to book a night in Entebbe and wait for your results.
Rwanda has a complicated set of testing standards. There is one testing standard for entering Rwanda and another one for entering Rwanda's national parks. Rwanda is implementing double testing standards. This means that you need a negative PCR test not older than 120 hours, but that once you arrive, you will be given a second test to confirm the results of the first test. The cost of this test is USD 60. In addition, you will need to upload your first test certificate to the passenger locator form link, here: www.rbc.gov.rw;
While waiting for the result of your second test, which will take 24 hours, you will need to quarantine in a hotel at your own expense.
To enter Rwanda's national parks, you need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. Happily however, you can use the test results from the second test you did upon arriving in Rwanda.
To depart Rwanda, you need to undergo another PCR test, which you are encouraged to book and pay for online at least 2 days prior to departure, here: www.rbc.gov.rw;
Seychelles is open to the world again from 31 March (except for visitors who have recently travelled to South Africa.) All you need to visit this tropical island paradise is a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours prior to departure. Visitors are strongly advised to get vaccinated before travelling, although it is not required. You may only stay in certified tourism establishments, although this shouldn't be a problem as anyone who travels to the Seychelles wants to stay in a hotel on the beach which offers a plethora of water activities.
You only need to get a negative PCR test to depart Seychelles if it is a requirement of the country you will be travelling to.
We have been working hard updating our website during lockdown and have added new pages specially dedicated to multi-country itineraries. If you are looking to explore as much of Africa as possible in one go, or tick off the biggest highlights, check out our pages for Southern Africa Combo Itineraries and East African Combo Itineraries.
Please remember that you will have to adhere to the lockdown rules of any country you are travelling to, such as curfews and mandatory mask wearing.
If you are unsure about anything, send us an e-mail or give us a call and we’ll do our best to make your ideal trip happen.
Photographer, conservationist, dive and field guide, teller of bad jokes.