Call of the Wild
Safari is back! After being sidelined by COVID-19, arrival numbers are on the upswing.
Data released by Statistics South Africa on July 27th, 2022, has shown a 122% year-on-year increase when compared with April 2021. South African Tourism Acting CEO, Themba Khumalo said that although May arrivals dipped slightly from April, South Africa continues to show a steady recovery. Khumalo states, “In the latter part of 2021, the world started to open a little more and we started to see an increase in arrivals. As things stand, arrivals in 2022 have more than doubled from the same period in 2021 and the outlook is positive for the rest of the year.”
In airlines news, Airlink launched a daily flight between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg on August 15th, United Airlines announced new direct flights between Washington Dulles Airport and Cape Town starting November 17th, and Delta has announced nonstop routes from Atlanta to Cape Town beginning December 17th, 2022.
The new Kruger Shalati offers safari with a twist! Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge (www.krugershalati.com) allows you to experience Kruger National Park along the Selati bridge, suspended over the Sabie River, positioned within the Big 5 territory for optimal viewing. It offers 31 rooms, consisting of 24 Train Carriage suites and seven Bridge House suites which are located adjacent to the bridge. This first-of-its-kind adventure provides an immersive experience in comfort and style from this historic bridge, the most unique location in Kruger. There are three pools here. Two of them are adjacent to the bridge overlooking the river, and the third is a unique overhanging pool located on the bridge with a viewing deck. The river flows year-round, attracting animals and birds for their morning drink.
Tswalu Private Game Reserve
(www.tswalu.com) will open Laopi Tented Camps in early 2023 in the Kalahari Reserve. There will be 4 one-bedroom homes and 2 two-bedroom homes, each functioning as a stand-alone, independently run mini-camp. Each home has been carefully positioned to make the most of magnificent views across the golden grasses of the arid savannah. There are no communal or shared guest areas or services, and with at least 330 feet between each home, guests are assured privacy and seclusion throughout their stay. The camps are designed as contemporary glass and steel pavilions, with a kitchen and fully stocked pantry and bar, along with a private chef. Shaded decks feature day beds for relaxation; there’s a plunge pool and a fire pit for sundowners and early morning coffee. In-room spa treatments will be offered as well as a private study with WIFI. The bedrooms are cocoon-like sanctuaries under canvas, connecting guests to the sights and sounds of nature while providing exceptional comfort and insulation from the Kalahari’s extreme temperatures.
There are three camps from Natural Selection (www.naturalselection.travel) that have either just opened or are about to open.
Dukes Camp, opened in June of this year, sits in the magical wilderness of the northern Okavango Delta. The six twin tents and two double luxury safari tents offer an under-canvas adventure.
Thamo Telele, recently opened in March 2022 is a private game reserve located on the outskirts of Maun, considered the gateway to the Okavango Delta. The lodge accommodates 22 guests and is a great retreat for a few days to enjoy its wildlife sanctuary. If you have a client that particularly enjoys bird watching, this is the place! It’s estimated to have over 300 different species in the area. There’s also a resident herd of giraffe; 20 in total that visitors get to know individually and identify by their spots. The camp is family friendly and the perfect spot to unwind and view giraffe, zebra and other plains game on foot or horseback.
Set to open in April 2023, Natural Selection is building Tawana, a very exclusive camp named after and built in partnership with Chief Tawana Moremi, one of the leading Chiefs in Botswana, who now fully owns the lease to the land. It will be located on a site that is one of the most spectacular in all of northern Botswana with its enormous ebony trees and stunning views over the Gomoti River and surrounding floodplains, offering superb game viewing.
Niarra Travel (www.niarratravel.com) has a new walking safari trip from the Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti. This 10-day, East African adventure will guide the most adventurous travelers through a slow walking safari which begins at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and ends in the Serengeti. Each night a private fly camp in an exclusive wilderness area is your resting place. This 12-mile trek is timed to coincide with the migration’s arrival in this corner of the Serengeti, encountering wildebeest and zebra as they migrate across the Grumeti River in June.