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A luxury eco experience in the Kalahari

December 20th, 2014

South Africa is famous for its game reserves and national parks and rightly so.Massive tracts of grassland, acacia woodlands, and savannah have been set aside that protect populations of some of Africa’s rarest animals such as the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, and two species of rhinos. Tourists visiting these parks on wildlife viewing safaris hope in particular to see the famous “Big Five” of Africa; the African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Lion, Cape Buffalo, and Leopard.

Kruger National Park is a good place to get the Big Five and have a fantastic African safari experience but people who can afford to stay at the Tswalu Game Reserve (another place to see the Big Five) say that game viewing at this luxury reserve just doesn’t get any better. Accommodations and food are excellent but a good portion of the 1,000 dollar a night price tag pays for privacy. With a maximum capacity of 30 guests within 100,000 hectares of restored Kalahari desert grasslands, elbow room isn’t really a concern.

Guests stay in the middle of nowhere in comfortable, traditionally designed housing with waterholes located in front of the buildings for fantastic wildlife viewing right from their front porches. They also enjoy horseback rides that allow close looks at animals such as Burchell’s Zebra, Sable Antelope, and Lesser Kudu (equestrian guides wisely keep away from the huge black-maned Lions that occur in the reserve), and look for animals on expertly guided walks and from Land Rovers.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Tswalu Reserve, though, is the fact that all 100,000 hectares is restored Kalahari Desert habitat. It’s hard to believe how denuded the wildlife rich grasslands and desert landscapes were only a few decades ago when the land for the preserve was a smattering of severely overgrazed farms. As these properties were purchased, one of the largest restoration projects in the world commenced with the razing of all human-made structures and by simply leaving the land alone. Since then, a chunk of the Kalahari Desert grasslands have been brought back to their former glory and even if only the richest of eco-travelers can visit it, it’s still good to know that this piece of wilderness exists.

Lions and leopards and rhinos, oh my

December 17th, 2014

Africa Leopard Leopard Tracks SafarisThere are few places or experiences that conjure up the vision of freedom and wildness of an African safari. So instead of trying to find something that compares, just give in to your wild side and experience the real thing. Go on safari with Leopard Track Safaris.

Start your three day excursion in Duban and drive up the Kwazulu Natal Coast passing sugar plantations that give way to small Zulu settlements. Enjoy lunch in the small village of Hluhluwe while taking in the sights before proceeding to the game reserve and Hilltop Camp. Wen evening falls you’ll go on a game drive that will take you to some of the more remote areas of the reserve and find the amazing animals the reserve is known for.

On day two head south into Imfolozi area and enjoy a bush barbeque on the banks of Black Imfolozi River. The area is famous for helping bring two rhino species back from the brink of extinction in the 1930s and 1940s. These days you’ll see those two rhino species as well as the elephant buffalo, giraffe and several species of antelope. Keep your eyes open for lions or leopards which may make an appearance.

Relax for dinner in the fresh evening air and watch the sunset in anticipation of the following day’s exploration of the waterholes where animals like kudu and nyala come to drink.

Leopard Track Safaris will take you on a tour of South Africa and Botswana like an insider. Guide Allen Hallett has 35 years of experience in African wildlife. Those years have given Hallett experience with big game so he’s got plenty of stories to share around the campfire as you anticipate the next day’s adventures.

Get a little wild. Visit the Leopard Track Safaris’ website and schedule your tour.

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