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EDITION 34

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Ready to run with a different herd? The Wildlife & Safari Travel Show is the new consumer gathering place for clients interested in uncovering original wildlife, safari and conservation travel experiences. Exhibitors will connect with a high-end audience of discerning travellers, keen to be inspired to book their next adventure with you. The show will be bursting with engaging content to excite and educate. So for visitors, it will be the natural first step of what will become their experience of a lifetime - observing wildlife with our fantastic collection of expert exhibitors. We’ve already attracted a host of leading specialist tour operators and tourist boards to exhibit, but here’s your invitation to join us. See wildlifesafarishow.com for more details or contact Chris Erasmus via chris@convergeexhibitions.com for exhibiting rates.

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EXHIBITORS INCLUDE:

Africa Collection Art Safaris African Star Botswana Tourism Close Encounters Travel Destinology Exsus Mahlatini Pioneer Expeditions Rainbow Tours Real Africa Travelling Naturalists Uganda Tourism Undiscovered Destinations Wild Frontiers WildFoot Travel Wildlife Worldwide Zambia Tourism


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Swa zilan d is n ow Eswatin i pAg E 3 9

The Great T r a de S h ow D e bat e Cap turin g #MyUgan da

It’s just a few weeks since the latest addition to the trade show calendar came and went...

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Experience Africa by Atta, in London, certainly promised much and with over 100 exhibitors, the product was certainly on offer. But did the UK’s Africa travel trade respond in sufficient numbers? With a three day event, to keep all your exhibitors happy, EA needed to serve up ‘200 buyer days’. With just over 200 companies to aim for, that’s either 100% penetration or say, 50% of companies attending for 2 days each. Either way, that’s a big ask. So far, I’ve had mixed reviews from attendees on both sides of the fence – but if the lessons of year 1 are learnt, year 2 could be very interesting! Personally I want it to be a real success and become a must-attend event in the future.

Return to Jinja

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Kamageo’s own Safari Roadshow will be running in March again next year – in the week before ITB Berlin. As we did this year, you’ll be able to meet with exhibitors from Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania in different country ½ day sessions. We might even add in a 4th session – so who else would you like to see? A ‘pan-Africa’ session? Zimbabwe? Botswana? Namibia? Or somewhere completely different? We will be visiting Manchester, The Cotswolds and London. Keep an eye on safari-roadshow.com for more details and to see a video of last year’s event.

Safari is a dedicated travel trade magazine from:

To contact us call +44 (0)1664 823 750

2018’s most magical moment for me so far I’m guessing that we’ve all seen the American guy at a lodge in Bwindi when the visiting gorilla family decide to crawl all over him? If not, search “touched by a gorilla” on YouTube. I had my very own “touching moment” in Uganda. Everyone else seemed captivated by the mother gorilla clutching a young baby, but I was taking a breather around 30m away. The next moment, out from the bushes ambled a young female gorilla, completely disregarding the 7-metre rule to sit on my feet! Unafraid, but unsure what to do, I stood perfectly still whilst she began casually munching on the local vegetation. I’m delighted that the moment was captured on camera but I promise never to ignore my safety briefing ever again! 3


Northern Tanzania with Takims Holidays Approximately a quarter of Tanzania’s 938,000 sq. km is reserved for game and national parks. Northern Tanzania, in particular, is a land of superlatives – from Africa’s highest mountain and the haunting landscapes of the Crater highlands; to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet. Mike Bride from Distinctive Africa joined Takims Holidays for their Northern circuit fam-trip in March 2018.

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On a seven-day itinerary, Mike visited a selection of the best national parks and attractions in Tanzania including: Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti all in search of the great migration. Along the way, activities included safari game drives, ballooning over the Serengeti and visiting some of the endless lakes found in Tanzania. The accommodation that Mike stayed at included a combination of luxury lodges, farmhouses and camps that were scenically positioned along the journey.

My recent educational trip with Takims Holidays was my first experience of Northern Tanzania. I really enjoyed the compactness of this area with so many beautiful wildlife-filled parks just a short drive from each other. Iconic landscapes and superb game viewing made for a memorable week. The nature of this trip also reminded me how important the quality of the safari vehicle and guide is to a safari in this part of Africa and emphasised the need for a quality DMC.

The Takim’s 4x4 game-viewing vehicle that we drove in was spotless every day of our trip and always stocked with cold bottled water, quality binoculars and handy fly-swatters. It was also easy to charge phones, tablets and cameras. A guaranteed window seat and pop-up roof ensured topquality wildlife viewing throughout. Our driver-guide Nixon was experienced and knowledgeable. He had a warm and patience personality that instantly made me feel at ease and in safe hands. During this week long trip, we also stayed at an interesting variety of properties. From the lodge-based luxury of the Four Seasons in the Serengeti to the intimate and authentic Kichuguu Camp in Tarangire, the diverse nature of the accommodation really showcased that Tanzania can work for clients with differing requirements, budget and tastes.

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It was overall a fantastic itinerary and ran like clock-work. It was good to be able to see all of the main national parks and conservation areas in Tanzania within the trip. This therefore inevitably involved a fair bit of driving, but it never seemed as though it was too much. I thought the actual itinerary was excellent with a good balance of site inspections and activities.

The seemingly endless plains of the Serengeti and the drawdropping beauty of the Ngorongoro Crater are rightly seen as the big draws of Northern Tanzania, but I also found on my recent visit that the less visited Tarangire National Park that I visited on day 6 of my trip had a beauty and subtlety that both surprised and delighted me. On the game-drive that day I saw herds of elephants scorched an almost reddish-tint from rolling in the rust-coloured soil and huge and rather mystical-looking baobab trees that added an almost timeless and distinctly African feel to the landscape.

We stayed in a diverse range of lodges and camps – all highly recommended. I couldn’t fault the trip or Takims – this trip will be really helpful in selling Tanzania in the future. I was very impressed by how friendly and professional all of the Takims staff were. I was also impressed by the head office in Arusha and all of their vehicles – all of which were spotlessly clean and seemed of a very high standard and well maintained, particularly when compared to other vehicles that we saw. It’s a very professional operation.” Takims Holidays are a family run, DMC with over 65 years’ worth of experience of providing outstanding tours that showcase the very best of Tanzania and Zanzibar. Specialising in private, tailor made safaris, they always ensure complete flexibility. These true Tanzanian pioneers provide exceptional itineraries, experienced guides and high quality service standards along the way. Originally starting out as a travel agency in 1950, Takims Holidays was a pioneer in helping to establish the country’s very first licenced safari operators in 1980. Since they began Takims Holidays has been intimately involved in developing Tanzania’s safari and tourism industry with passion being one of their greatest strengths.

My home for the night was the delightful and intimate Kichuguu Camp which offered a friendly, personal service and spacious tented room in the heart of the park. The sounds of lions outside my tent at night will stay with me for quite some time!

To find out more about Takims Holidays and upcoming Fam Trips, please contact kristina@kamageo.com

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We’ve long felt that Mbali Mbali (meaning “far, far away”) is one of the best names in the safari business. And recognising its strength, the new management team at the Tanzanian-based lodge group has decided to change the names of each of the lodges, to incorporate the brand. Goodbye Katuma Bush Lodge, hello Mbali Mbali Katavi. Farewell Nyungwe Forest Lodge, welcome Mbali Mbali Mahale.….you get the idea. A fresh, new corporate identity has also been unveiled by Sales & Marketing Director, Ed Steyn who has tirelessly worked his say through some many trade shows in recent months - ITB, Indaba, WTM Africa, We Are Africa, Safari Roadshow, Experience Africa and KiliFair. But new names and logos are an almost superficial change by comparison to the real metamorphisis that is taking place in the camps. Every property is being re-invented, capitalising on existing outstanding locations. By the end of this season, each of their camps – in Serengeti, Mahale, Gombe, Katavi and Tarangire will have had at least a soft refurb, but in most cases far more.

Mbali Mbali Mahale - a gorgeous new main area is being introduced, with all new furniture, plus a lounge deck to the side which is fitted with swings for total relaxation. The existing jetty is being extended with a T-shape to the front.

Mbali Mbali Tarangire –

Comfy new furniture and luxurious new linens are set to arrive any day.

Mbali Mbali Gombe – a fabulous soft refurbishment, but no major structural changes at this stage…but why would you? It’s great as it is…and Jane Goodall’s favourite chimpanzees are just next door!

In the guest rooms, the floors have been re-done with a new back wall added with double basins behind. There is now a separate shower and toilet in the rear of the tent, which will have brand new furniture and matresses and roll down canvas blinds. The decks to the front of the tents are being extended with hammocks and all new lounge furniture. All rooms will have brand new roofs with sliding doors (now with netting as opposed to glass). A new dhow boat is also on route.

Mbali Mbali Serengeti Soroi – In the guest rooms, there’s been a general maintenance overhaul, with new doors, new decoration, new linens, bed throws and cushions all added. Outside the luxury rooms, there is new furniture, too. In the main area, there’s stylish new decking and stairs, whilst the infinity pool has been re-tiled and provided with new loungers. The inside floor has been sanded, re-varnished and looks like new. There’s new furniture outside, whilst the popular director chairs have new canvas fittings. The former lounge area is now designated as the drinks area with new furniture and there’s now a new ‘meet and greet’ area at the base of the main stairs, not in the drop-off area.

You might have overlooked Mbali Mbali in the past, favouring more famous-name neighbours. But not only do Mbali Mbali provide an outstanding value-price option, they are increasingly stylish in their own right. This is a brand name to watch.

Mbali Mbali Katavi – new main decking, with stairs at the centre front, leading to a permanent lounge with all new furniture; The guest tents will have new furniture, linens, carpets and throws plus two new deck chairs and a side table. The new management couple are ex-&Beyond – she was camp manager, whilst he was an andBeyond guide.

We’d encourage you to talk to either Ed (edwin.steyn@ mbalimbali.com) or UK representative, Steve Ody (steve@ kameric.com) to discuss short term deals that could provide you with some amazing opportunities in 2018.

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Humble Beg i n n i n g s for Ba se cam p ex p lo rer Basecamp Explorer embraces the authentic African safari within their lodges, with a desire to support and inspire the local community. They have just won an African Responsible Tourism Award. Safari Magazine takes a look at the company’s humble beginnings. Svein Wilhelmsen founded Basecamp Explorer in 1998, following a life-changing meeting with an old Maasai Chief named Ole Taek. While sitting around the fire one evening, the respected Maasai member told a worrying tale about the threats facing his people.

three other camps are located. The close relations between Basecamp and the Taek family have persisted, even after the death of Ole Taek. After Ole Taek passed away the family land was divided between his children, whom continue to keep close attachments to the Basecamp family.

Svein was inspired by his concern and decided to create a company that would care, a company that would leave a positive footprint wherever it operated and would have a positive impact on the people it worked with. This marked the beginning of a friendship between two men from completely different worlds; a friendship founded on mutual respect and shared ambitions.

In addition to owning the land Basecamp is built on, the Taek family members are linked to Basecamp in various ways. One example is Ole Taek’s daughter, Mama Ntete, who works in the laundry department at Basecamp Masai Mara twice a week. Mama Ntete is also included in the Basecamp Masai Brand project, a handicraft initiative that gives Maasai women a much-needed income in a rigid patriarchal society. In addition to Mama Ntete, the late chief’s youngest son, Tonkei, is a Head Guide at Basecamp and the main representative of the family.

Therefore, from the very beginning their uppermost priority has been to sustain a close relationship with the Maasai people and to help them preserve their culture under increasing pressure from the modern world. Recognising the vital importance of land, Basecamp co-operated with the Maasai community in establishing Naboisho Conservancy, a community-owned nature conservancy within which their

When asked, Mama Ntele discussed how Basecamp provides her with a secure income and allows her to take care of her children. “Without Basecamp Explorer it would be nearly impossible for me to find a job.” 10


Basecamp Explorer have continued with their focus and passion for a sustainable future in Kenya, not forgetting where they started from. The Basecamp Explorer Foundation was set up directly to benefit the local community and over the last 15 years has supported numerous projects including upgrading local primary schools and building medical clinics. They have also continued to support and empower the Maasai women through selling their fair-trade products in their camps across the world. With more than 150 Maasai women directly benefiting. Today Basecamp Explorer employs over 230 people in eight camps in Kenya and Spitsbergen, with 100% of all operations in Kenya all ran by locals. To date, more than 270 Maasai students have graduated from Koiyaki Guiding School, a capacity building institution supported by Basecamp. Of these, a third tend to be women thus setting a precedence for gender equality in Masai Mara. They also provided sponsorships to a number of children in the Talek region to make sure that more children complete secondary school, so it’s safe to say that Basecamp Explorer’s legacy continues. For more information on Basecamp Explorer please contact Kristina Harlow, kristina@kamageo.com. 11


Mountain gorillas: population now 1000+

Whilst there is still more work to be done, the first phases of the comprehensive 2018 Mountain Gorilla Census are now complete, with hugely encouraging interim results being announced. give an accurate count of the number of individual gorillas in the population. Samples have also been preserved so that Gorilla Doctors and collaborators can study the gorilla gastrointestinal microbiome, and to study the genetics of parasites in gorillas. Researchers have not only been analysing the status of the population, but also assessing the impact of threats and evaluating the effectiveness of conservation strategies. The latest survey of the gorillas involved two entire ‘sweeps’ of the strenuous forest terrain, in a technique known as “capture-mark-recapture.” By comparing the gorillas that were identified in the first sweep with those that were found in the second sweep, experienced researches can get an understanding of the number of gorillas that were missed in the initial investigation. They then use this important information to get a more accurate estimate. The total wild population of mountain gorillas is now confirmed at more than 1,000 and this suggests that they are the only great ape species to be increasing in number.

“We’re getting better and better at estimating mountain gorilla population numbers. That’s a good thing, but it complicates our ability to compare the most recent survey results with previous counts”

The endangered species lives in just two locations – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda and the Virunga Massif (an area which incorporates Uganda’s Mgahinga NP; the Volcanoes NP in Rwanda and the Mikeno sector of the Virunga NP in the Democratic Republic of Congo). There are more than 100 people from 13 different institutions and organisations across the region directly involved in the census, with the support of many more porters from neighbouring communities. Monitoring these numbers is more than merely headcounting. Census teams have systematically swept through the forest, following gorilla trails, counting night nests, and collecting samples of droppings. The latter are preserved so that they can be analysed for host DNA to

stated Cath Lawson, the Regional Manager for East Africa at WWF and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP). The census of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is progressing very well despite 12


heavy rains. It started on 12th March and they have now completed two 2-week phases, with teams covering over 127 km2 of forest, and they are well into the 3rd phase. There are least two more phases planned, according to Anna Behm Masozera, Director at the IGCP. She added, “It’s a long process and it’s a hard job for the field teams – but with results which help us better understand mountain gorillas and what we need to do to continue to protect them for many generations to come, its so worthwhile.” In order to get robust data for the entire population, they will repeat the process again in September 2018, with the final official results expected in late 2019 or early 2020, allowing time for the lab analyses of all the samples collected. But for now, these figures are extremely encouraging. Gorilla tourism began in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1993 and this year marks the 25th year of this incredible experience. The current number of fully habituated gorilla families in Uganda is fourteen (Bwindi 13 / Mhagahinga 1) with one further family semi-habituated in Bwindi. Bwindi incorporates Buhoma, Ruhiga and Nkuringo sectors. Mountain gorillas have survived in Uganda, largely due to conservation efforts. Their habitat has been protected and managed by UWA who have also supported local communities living in the region with better healthcare, education, sanitation and employment opportunities, all aided by tourism.

For more information on the census or about gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, please contact Tim at tim@kamageo.com 13


First timers...

Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi impenetrable Forest By Becca Kerry Habinyanja. These two groups occasionally cross paths and co-exist very peacefully within the forest. Rushegura consists of a young male silverback, other blackbacks, mothers, youngsters and babies.

“ Tears are streaming down my face as I perch on a broken tree stump. I am within seven metres of a wild mountain gorilla; happily chomping down on the leafy green delights of the forest totally unfazed by my presence or emotions.

The DMC for our trip, Adventure Vacation Safaris, drove us to the starting point no more than 5 minutes from the visitor centre where the porters greeted us. An amazing group of 15 men and women, who for $15 a trek, carry your baggage and help you on your way. In essence, they do so much more than this. The forest climb is physically demanding, steep, humid and with roots and branches at every turning, ready to trip you up. Your porter will do everything in their power to get you to the gorillas including yanking, pushing, cajoling and supporting you every step of the way and in my opinion these porters are worth their weight in gold!

Meeting at the newly built Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) visitor centre at the heart of the Bwindi community we climbed from our safari vehicle kitted out in our long sleeved shirts, walking trousers, gators, gloves and backpacks in preparation for a days trekking, to spend just one precious hour with a family of gorillas.

On the morning of our trek our group had not yet decided where they were going to settle. Our UWA guide advised us that we would be moving at a slower pace as the trackers (the people who go out early morning to find where the gorillas had slept the night before) had informed him that they were still on the move.

After a briefing on safety (ours and the gorillas), we were assigned groups based on our fitness and told which of the 11 habituated families we would be trekking. Our group ‘Rushegura’ was habituated in 2002, originally part of a much wider group until they split and formed Rushegura and

In totality, our trek for the gorillas lasted about two hours. Finally reaching the family we downed our walking sticks, bags and water bottles, armed only with our cameras we 14


Plantations surrounding Bwindi

Baby Gorilla from the Rushegura family

Briefing before the trek

descended down a thick luscious bank to be greeted with the sight of a silverback, mother and baby casually having lunch.

Guides and porters help during the trek

The emotion came rushing over me in an instant; I felt such honour to be in the presence of these outstanding creatures. Although a 7m distance is necessary for the health of the gorillas, at many points we were much closer as they get up, roam around and plonk themselves wherever that may be (and right on top of one of our group’s feet in one instance). What really moved me was watching the baby gorilla learn and mimic from his peers. From learning to swing from small branches, which could hardly support his weight, to stripping branches with his teeth and folding leaves into neat little parcels before tasting them, his inquisitive nature was fascinating to watch. We share 98% of our DNA with gorillas and this to me was never more apparent. As I made eye contact and looked into the amber eyes of a young female gorilla I truly felt like everything else melted away and in that moment I realised just how blessed I was.

remove snares, plus it helps support the local community as a percentage is donated to help with infrastructure, hospitals, schools and roads.

Gorillas have survived in Uganda due to the conservation efforts, which are directly correlated to tourism in the country. Trekking is not cheap at $600 per person for one hour but how do you put a price on a moment of a lifetime? Additionally, the fees aid conservation of the gorillas, by protecting their environment, employing local rangers to deter poaching and

So what are you waiting for? � For more information on Uganda: www.ugandaresources. com or contact Anisha, anisha@kamageo.com 15


A BIRDING

PARADISE

Over the last 18 months Bwindi’s Mahogany Springs has been transformed, with a number of updates and upgrades. As well as two new rooms; the Honeymoon Suite and River View room added back in 2016, there is now a third new suite. The new Bird Room, is ideally situated above the Munyanga river which hosts stunning views across the river and into the verdant Bwindi forest, incapsulating a sheer abundance of birdlife, making it the perfect room for birdwatchers. Sit back, absorb the atmosphere, enjoy the panoramic views and listen to the birds all whilst sipping a Gin and Tonic. Mahogany Springs offers privacy and serenity blended with optimal comfort in a spectacular setting. (Read more about a stay at Mahogany Springs on page 20)

Rates start at $240pppn, for more information contact kristina@kamageo.com

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Capturing #MyUganda Have you ever tried to video a 4-inch Malachite kingfisher from a shaky boat? Or steady a monopod on a steep wet slope in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park? Videographer Rich Whiston set about shooting Uganda’s new destination video.

and unique, whether it was on safari or on route to our next location.

The task was simple: capture as much as you can in 14 days. The itinerary included game drives and boat trips in Murchison, QENP, Semliki and Lake Mburo, chimp trekking in Kibale, gorilla trekking in Bwindi, white water rafting on the Nile and everything in between. And let me tell you there was a lot in between!

If I had to give any advice on filming in Uganda it would be; bring a tripod or sandbag to stabilise your camera, use a long lens (at least 300mm) and be patient – take your time to frame your shot and keep the camera rolling. I guarantee the moment you stop filming, the baby hippo will yawn, the African Fish Eagle will dive and the silverback will beat his chest. Wildlife is unpredictable after all.

Uganda is beautiful. So beautiful in fact, it was hard to put the camera down. Every corner seemed to reveal something new

I returned home with over 2,000 videos and after a week of sifting through hours of footage, I produced a 2-minute video entitled “Discover your Uganda”, which I invite you to watch at www.facebook.com/visitugandauk. I hope you like it!

Simply point your phone camera at the QR code to open the link. You don’t even need to take a picture! 17


, Crater Safari Lodge, Crystal Lodges Uganda

Uganda’s Western Circuit

Property Review Bakers Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls NP

Situated on the southern banks of the Nile River in Murchison Falls, Bakers Safari lodge has stunning views across the river, where guests can dine al-fresco or enjoy a sundowner whilst Hippo spotting around the firepit. A collection of 10 thatched safari tented suites, with spacious rooms and huge beds. The main lodge is raised from the ground and features comfortable areas to enjoy the bar and coffee station. Rich Whiston commented, “Bernard, the manager who gave us a private late night Hippo tour was the highlight of the stay at Bakers!”

Murchison River Lodge, Murchison Falls NP

Bakers Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls

A family owned lodge situated on the southern banks on the Nile over looking hippo pods and papyrus islands. A range of accommodation is available including thatched cottages, thatched safari tents, safari camping tents and a campsite. A comfortable stay with a lively central restaurant playing live local music and a roaring fire pit. Recently erected viewing platform provides the perfect opportunity to spot local wildlife whist a swimming pool and snug area surround the gardens.

Anisha Parmar commented “Local Africans singing by the fire was a surprising and uplifting experience”.

Primate Lodge, Kibale Forest NP Located within the heart of the Kibale Forest National Park a spectacular location where the scenery and the vibrant sounds of the forest come alive. With 13 primates knocking at the door it is not unusual to spot monkeys in the gardens whilst enjoying breakfast. Additionally Primate Lodge’s location is on the doorstep to the Chimpanzee trekking.

Primate Lodge, Kibale

Primate Lodge has 9 luxury ensuite cottages which are newly built and furnished. The rooms feature comfortable surroundings and elegant touches including hot water bottle at bedtime and binoculars for primate spotting from the individual balcony. Becca Kerry commented “A home from home with attention to detail, a very comfortable stay in an ideal location.”

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Crater Safari Lodge, Kibale Forest NP A short drive away from Kibale Forest National Park and set on the banks of the Nyinabulitwa Crater Lake. Crater Safari Lodge was designed to blend unobtrusively with the stunning Lake scenery. The lodge houses 9 deluxe cottages including one honeymoon suite with outstanding views and homely touches. Outdoor swing beds and hammocks are available on the decking of the cottages to fully enjoy the views. A relaxing main ‘lounge’ area accommodates the bar, restaurant, resting area whilst nearby is a fire pit and swimming pool for resting after a long day in the forest.

Semliki Safari Lodge, Wild Places

Anisha Parmar commented “The views are outstanding and the Lake is literally on the doorstop, I enjoyed searching for Miss Lonely, the lake’s resident hippo”

dining area for communal dining with panoramic views overlooking the riverine valley and the Rwenzori Mountains, the opportunity for wildlife viewing is fantastic. Semliki also features a patio bar and swimming pool.

Simba Safari Camp, Queen Elizabeth NP A stones throw from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Simba has a variety of budget accommodation options including 9 double/twin rooms, 2 triple rooms, 2 family cottages and 3 dormitory rooms. The relaxed and informal atmosphere makes for a laid back stay with delights such as sitting around the campfire sampling local produce such as jackfruit, sampling local beverages at the bar, or being entertained by the camp kitty – Beyonce.

Becca Kerry commented “Total relaxation in the bush, sipping on a refreshing cocktail watching the sun dip behind the mountains was fantastic”.

KyaninGa Lodge, Fort Portal Set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Kyaninga the lodge itself is perched high within the treetops. Luxury accommodation, which was carved by hand by local people. The lodge features 9 luxury cottages each with their own roll top baths and ginormous beds. All cottages are raised on individual platforms with private decking overlooking the stunning lake. A warm and welcoming main dining room awaits with two terraces for phenomenal views overlooking the Crater Lake. A variety of activities are available for guests and Kyaninga started their own dairy supporting disabled children in Uganda and sell products within their gift shop.

Anisha Parmar commented “Drinking by the fire, sharing stories with our guide in a relaxed and formal atmosphere was a real highlight!”

Semliki Safari Lodge, Semliki NP Situated in the Semliki wildlife reserve (previously known as the Toro-Semliki game reserve) it is the oldest protected area in Uganda. Semliki is a secluded and intimate lodge in both its look and feel with a variety of ‘chill out areas’ for guests to use. The lodge boasts eight tents (with plans being finalised for two additional larger tents). Featuring a large, plush

Rich Whiston commented “Stood on the balcony I felt on top of the world looking across the stunning Lake as the sun set in the African Sky”. Kyaninga Lodge, Fort Portal

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individual bandas featuring plush seating areas and 4 poster beds with stunning views over the forest and nearby stream. A large dining room with communal seating and a central fireplace bring warmth and cosiness to Bwindi. Additionally the award winning ‘Bwindi Bar’ upon the local high street serves a variety of Ugandan inspired snacks is a must visit if staying in Bwindi. Anisha Parmar commented “Loved the layout, Volcanoes Bwindi has been really well thought out. My highlight was sitting on the terrace watching the forest come to life.” Mahogany Springs, Bwindi

Katara Lodge, Queen elizabeth NP Overlooking phenomenal views of the savannah, Lake Edward and the distant Rwenzori Mountains. Katara is positioned in a beautiful location on the Great Rift Valley escarpment. The lodge has eight luxurious thatched cottages with the unique charm of wooden floors, thatched roofing and canvas which can be folded way to take in the beautiful views. Additionally, Katara has ‘sky beds’ in each lodge which they will roll out for

Mahogany Springs, Bwindi Situated against the stunning backdrop of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a serene location offering peace and privacy. Mahogany Springs (known for its large Mahogany tree growing in the lodge grounds) boasts eight stone and thatch suites with spacious rooms and very comfortable beds. Each suite is equipped with charging points/Wi-Fi in the rooms and an individual balcony terrace to take in the stunning views of the forest. A wrap around patio in the main dining area makes for ideal views whilst eating. Mahogany Springs features a wonderful bar and small gift shop.

Katara Lodge, QENP

Becca Kerry commented “Mahogany Springs perfectly prepares you for a day’s trekking with the gorillas. To come back to a warm flannel, cold drink and exceptionally comfortable bed was exactly what we needed.”

Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge, Bwindi Luxury in the forest awaits at Volcanoes Bwindi as each guest is provided with a personal butler. The lodge has been progressively refurbished over the course of 2017, with its completion in January 2018. The lodge consists of eight Bwindi Lodge, Volcanoes Safaris

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“ There is something so calming about surrounding yourself with flowing water, Wild Waters is an experience not to be missed ”

Wildwaters Lodge, Jinja

you to sleep under the stars on your own private veranda. A variety of places to relax including a large informal reception which houses the dining area and bar. Katara is a lodge focused on their environmental footprint.

sound of the Nile a stone’s throw away from your bed. The main lodge remarkably is situated on a large rock peninsula comprising of dining area, bar, large decking with views of the flowing rapids and natural swimming pool with fantastic views of the rapids and local wildlife. Water based activities are available to clients via Adrift.

Rich Whiston says “Sleeping under the stars in Africa was a real treat. Waking up to the QENP plains was the best morning I’ve had in a long time!”

Karibu Guesthouse, Entebbe A former presidential home Karibu guesthouse is a conveniently located guesthouse only a 15-minute drive from Entebbe airport and offers guests a complimentary 24hour airport transfer service. Karibu boasts 7 individually designed rooms with outstanding views overlooking their tropical gardens and of an evening a phenomenal sunset. Karibu guests can enjoy Wifi in all rooms, full use of their swimming pool and majority of the food on offer is grown in their organic garden.

Mihingo Lodge, Lake Mburo NP Set within the beauty of Lake Mburo National Park, Mihingo is a stunning property built around and on top of exquisite granite boulders which have been incorporated into the building. With panoramic views from the property onto a nearby watering hole Mihingo features 12 luxury tented rooms each with their own charm and character await, the décor has taken inspiration from African influences. Each doorway has been exquisitely build with local olive wood framing the door.

Read more about Karibu Guesthouse in the next issue of Safari magazine.

Mihingo adopts a firm stance on Eco conservation and this is apparent with their building of the lodge and use of natural solar and water efficiencies. A bright and airy central ‘living area’ with a snug, 360 degree viewing platform, dining area and bush baby platform before leading onto an infinity swimming pool.

For more information on any of the properties mentioned, please contact Anisha at anisha@kamageo.com or visit www.ugandaresources.com Mihingo Lodge, Lake Mburo

Anisha Parmar commented “Mihingo’s location and design is what really sets it apart, to shower amongst the granite stones and enjoy my morning coffee on a boulder was fantastic”.

WildWaters Lodge, Jinja Tucked away on its own private island, Wildwaters Lodge offers a breath taking view of the Nile in full flow. Wildwaters accommodates 10 timber framed rooms nestled between the density of the forest, each room has a large outdoor terrace with sitting area and roll top bath to enjoy with the thundering 21


Meeting the relatives... CHIMPanzee Trekking in Kibale forest By Anisha Parmar Those confused looks were transformed into whispers of ‘aww’, who were in awe of a lonesome baby Chimpanzee who was looking down at us curiously. His eyes lit up with wonder as he chewed at his little feet. Alex was surprised at the small chimp on his own and looked out for his mother however we couldn’t spot anything. The young chimp wasn’t alarmed by us and stared back at us curiously as we looked

“We take a short 5 minute walk down from Primate Lodge, where we had been staying over night nestled deep within the Kibale forest. The small house like rooms felt like a big, cosy, hug from home that were encapsulated by trees and all the sounds of the rain forest; the perfect stay to get you prepared for your chimp trek. On arrival to the Kibale National Park’s Kanyanchu Chimpanzee trekking centre, we are given a briefing on the habituation of the Chimps. As we are split into groups, we are greeted by our knowledgeable guide Alex, who begins taking us through the forest with a fast paced, determined walk and the 3 of us follow suit. You instantly feel as if you have been engulfed into the forest and you feel part of it. We follow a path for a while and then break off into dense vegetation, pushing branches out of our way, closely following Alex as we listen out attentively for chimp calls and movement. We suddenly stopped and Alex signalled to us to be quiet and just pointed up, and we all looked confused as we saw nothing.

Lone young chimp

3 chimps grooming eachother

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Elderly chimp resting on a fallen branch One of the chimps had a limp hand that was damaged after he forced it out of a snare he was caught in. I asked Alex how they deal with the snares in the forest to protect the chimpanzees. He mentioned the Snare Removal Project ; an a initiative started by Uganda Wildlife Authority and The Kibale Chimp Project to reduce illegal activity, especially snaring in the forest.

at him. We were so satisfied on having this encounter that we didn’t expect any more, however we stepped further into the forest, leaving the young chimp heavy heartedly behind us. We then encountered even more; it was an older chimp huddled on an opening circle of land at the base of a few trees. Initially, he took no notice of us but he let out a screech, which subsequently echoed all around us as hidden chimps in the consecutive trees all began to screech in harmony. We were surrounded by them but could only see one. I placed my hand over my mouth in total surprise, fear and pure adrenalin. This was then surpassed when the elderly chimp we had been alertly watching charged past us with all his might and climbed up a tree. I hid behind my colleague, however the experience was beyond exhilarating.

The rangers spend 26 days per month patrolling two-thirds of Kibale National Park in search of snares or signs of other illegal activities. They remove hundreds of snares per year and identify the areas where hunting and other illegal activities occur within the park.

Our next encounter was with another elderly chimp that was resting on a fallen branch that was within 10 metres in front of us. He was laid back, soaking up a beam of sunlight through a break in the trees. His relaxed face glowed in the light and the experience was truly magical as we saw how at ease he was with us despite being so close, you felt as though they were our long lost cousins as their mannerisms mimicked ours. We hear this so often but seeing this in real life and so close was fascinating.

These efforts were initially put into place to help reduce the number of chimpanzee snare-related injuries however it has benefited all wildlife in the national park as a whole. This experience was on par with gorilla trekking and to witness these beautiful animals in their natural habitat was a once in a lifetime experience�.

We were then joined by a further 2 elderly chimps, the 3 of them in line across this branch grooming each other as I watched in admiration. I decided to put down my camera and just take a few minutes to fully memorise the experience. I was enthralled by them and the comradery this troop had; they all looked out for each other.

For more information on Chimp trekking in Kibale, please contact Anisha at anisha@kamageo.com 23


Redearth Education, a UK charity and Ugandan NGO, is seeking to form a commercial partnership with a specialist tour operator.

With the sector set to grow exponentially in the coming years, Redearth wants to support tour operators in driving new business from the UK.

A corporate spokesperson for Redearth Education is keen discuss a number of opportunities, to work together to promote and market Uganda as a travel destination to UK audiences, and harness the nation’s burgeoning tourism sector to become a regional leader. Redearth Education work in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports, and District Education Offices, to improve education standards in Uganda’s emerging market and provide all children with the opportunity to thrive. Together they are creating a national knowledgebase at the forefront of quality education practices and developing hubs of excellence & expertise in teaching of both national and international significance. The tourism sector is predicted to support over 380 million jobs by 2027. It is hoped these skilled positions will be viable career options for the 60,000 children Redearth currently support through government schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education & Sports.

Please direct initial enquiries to Emma Seery: emma@redeartheducation.co.uk.

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The secrets of the dark Enjoy a night walk in Kibale Forest “I’ve seen four in the last seven years”. That was the somewhat disappointing response from our jovial and informative guide, Africano, as we entered the Kibale Forest on a night walk in search of (amongst other things), Pottos - writes Tim Henshall. Our small group clambered over tree roots like Spaghetti Junction, along well-trodden walkways aiming our amazing solar-powered torches - with a beam that surely matched 10,000 candles – into the tall trees hopeful of the reflected glow of mammal eyes. All too often we allowed ourselves to be fooled by the light of a distant star, flickering in the heavens rather than it be the orange light bouncing off the back of a tiny primate’s retina. During our 90-minute adventure we were delighted to spot two species of nocturnal galagos found in Kibale’s forest – Thomas’s Galago and a Demidoff’s Dwarf Galago, which is the smallest and sweetest of bush-babies weighing in at just 60 grams, on average. Quite some spotting, I hope you agree.

countless insects and bugs, as well as the plant-life (including one tree of more than 250 years of age, with a same species sapling alongside of just 4 feet despite being at least 7 years old).

The walk also provided a host of other nocturnal delights – moths the size of your hands (mam-moths?); glow in the dark spiders patrolling webs bigger than table-cloths; colourful, cigar-sized caterpillars and shiny millipedes with more feet than a small army.

Kibale is far more famous for its bigger primates – especially chimps, colobus monkeys and mangabeys. But a night visit was really rewarding and actually, great fun. As for the elusive potto, he wasn’t to be seen this time. I now count myself as remarkably lucky to have seen one on my last trip to Kibale and hey, I’ve a great excuse for coming back now.

The feeling of excitement was matched only by that of mild apprehension, as wandering around the forest was tinged with more than a little fear. The eerie silence of the forest was broken from time to time with childish shrieks and then raucous laughter from our little group as we encountered previously unseen spiders or swooping bats. But Africano kept all of us in check as he entertainingly educated us about

For more information on Kibale, all the activities on offer as well as the quality accomodation nearby, please contact Tim at tim@kamageo.com 25


Introducing Uganda’s Rhinos Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary A visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is unique because it is the only place in Uganda where you can see rhinos in the wild.

Following a short safety briefing, specialist guides lead you through the bush, along trails used by the rhinos themselves to find them in their natural habitat. During the walk, visitors are shown any of the signs that rhinos have left such as footprints, mud wallows, scrapes and dung heaps. On reaching the target rhino group, guides move the visitors to the best places for photographs and explain rhino behaviour. On the walk back, visitors are shown other points of interest such as medicinal plants, landmark trees, aardvark holes and termite mounds along with other wildlife and birds found in the area. For those that want to find out more about the wildlife and birds in the Sanctuary, an overnight stay is essential. In the heart of rhino territory, surrounded by bush and woodland, a haven for birds, is the mid-range Amuka Safari Lodge. Comfortable rooms, good food and friendly staff make for a memorable stay. There is even a plunge pool to cool off in. For the budget conscious, there is also a camping option near the HQ. 26


Guests staying overnight can book the rewarding ‘Shoebill and Canoe ride’ at the Lugogo Swamp with an 80% chance of seeing one or more of the rare shoebill stork and a variety of waterbirds, all explained by specialist bird guides. But if dry land is preferred, the diversity of the fauna and flora can be explored on one of the guided nature walk trails. To many the most exciting activity offered is the night walk where the sounds and often the sights of Uganda’s nocturnal wildlife can be experienced. Whatever the activity, visitors are making an important contribution to the rhino re-introduction project of Rhino Fund Uganda. It is through payment for these activities that funds are raised to run the sanctuary and employ the staff to keep the rhinos safe.

For further details visit www.rhinofund.org and www.amukalodgeuganda.com 27


Return to

Jinja

Jinja. Uganda; a place where my mother recalled memories of an innocent childhood, full of happiness: ‘the simple life with out mobiles & internet’

Jinja. Uganda; the place that makes my mother’s face light up with pride of her birth place and a place she misses dearly.

Jinja. Uganda; a reference point when meeting others, where we could be in any country in the world and my mother would happen to bump into another Jinja born Indian Ugandan with common stories and instantly a conversation with a stranger is filled with smiles and laughter. Jinja. Uganda; a place from where my family was forced to flee due to the political unrest.

Jinja. Uganda; a place I got to visit for the first time in May this year with my mother who was returning after 48 years. all perfectly. I finally deleted the map and trusted her directions.

At the end of a 2 week trip to Uganda, Kamageo’s PR Manager Anisha Parmar met up with her mother who had not visited her homeland since she left in 1971.

Our next stop was the temple where she spent a lot of her time growing up and it was just as she remembered.

On seeing Mum, I ran up to her to give her the biggest hug and her eyes welled up with tears of relief and happiness that were finally together in Jinja - something we had spoken about for years. She squeezed my hand tightly and we looked at each other like excited little schoolgirls anxious to share stories of my trip so far and plan out everything that we had to see in Jinja. Her Jinja.

The temple was the main place for social interactions and the highlight of the week for my mother and grandmother. We paid our respects and walked around whilst she recalled where she played with her friends. It was as if she was that young girl again, so full of happiness,

Mum was born 7th February 1955, spending the first 15½ years of her life in Jinja and in that time she recalls endless happy memories with her parents, one sister and two brothers, which we were now about to revisit. We were staying near the town hall, so it was just a short stroll to the centre. She instantly whipped her phone out and started videoing every moment as if she didn’t want to miss a thing, whilst recording a voice-over for every road we walked past. I asked her if she knew the way as I had secretly downloaded google maps just in case and she simply replied, ‘This is my home. I know the way, trust me!’

My mum wanted to find the home where she was born. On approaching the corner where they had lived, we discovered the area has been flattened. I could see the disappointment on her face and I tried to lift her spirit again by prompting questions to imagine what it used to look like. The realisation of the one room, shack style home was humbling. My grandad had a small tailoring store in the centre of Jinja (this building was also now unfortunately gone too), my grandmother was a housewife and my eldest uncle worked at the local cinema.

We came to a small shop where she recalled attending sewing classes, as a young girl, “This is where I learnt my fashion – Anisha.” As we walked further she was naming all the streets and I double-checked on my map, proving she remembered it 28


Mum recalled seeing her oldest brother having a break from work in the projection room where during his break, he used to smoke outside of the top window that looked over the house. With some prompting we convinced a local to take us inside the derelict cinema which was now tarnished in everyway possible. However you could just imagine the retro charm it must have once had.

We walked further into the centre, stopping for an Indian lunch at Aaswad Forever, which was delicious, ran by recent migrants from India. It was interesting to learn that most of the Indians that were now settled in Jinja were recent migrants, rather than from my mother’s era and how welcome and safe they felt. It was almost as if Uganda has gone full circle since the fateful Amin days.

My mum’s side of the family are big Bollywood fans and I can imagine a family day out to the movies in their best clothes, tailored by my grandfather, of course. We then walked up to mum’s old primary school; a collective of buildings that have stood still in time. We were welcomed by the staff and students, free to go into classrooms and interact with students. The way all the places we were visiting, seamlessly flowed into one another was beautiful. Each place had a deep rooted link that shone light on how the ‘simple’ life they had in Jinja was one of sincerity and love.

Mum led me to the dry cleaners where she worked just before they left, now a grocery shop also ran by a recent Indian migrant. It was here where she told me a shocking story I had never heard before. I could tell she had to prepare herself before she began to recite this memory. On the day in 1971 when Idi Amin had overthrown former President Milton Obote, mum was working at the dry cleaners. She recalled the army marching through Main Street and coming into the store where she was behind the counter. They point guns at her, because she didn’t understand that they wanted the former President’s photo removing from the wall behind her. Two soldiers barged to the back of the store to tear the frame off the wall, hurling it on the street and trampling all over it. My grandmother was watching from the balcony of their new home – a onebedroom flat, located opposite the store and my grandmother watched from the balcony - as her 15-year-old, youngest daughter was petrified by the soldiers. This was the turning point for my grandparents, as they realised they had to leave Uganda, their home and join my mother’s siblings in the UK. I was amazed to hear new stories that Jinja conjured up in mum’s memories, from the various places they lived, going to her school, to the last place she lived and worked before they left everything behind. My grandparents had already left their home of India to seek better opportunities in Uganda. Now they had to up root the life they had strived for once again to move the UK. I feel proud knowing how my family has continually adapted and thrived as well as how business savvy they have been even through their migrant journey to new countries. I feel for many Ugandan born British Asians, the excitement of going back to Uganda is something they have dreamt of since the day they left. When talking to them about the memories created in Uganda and Uganda itself they exude with pride. Having visited more of Uganda than my mother ever had the chance to during her time living in the country, I can now say that I feel this same pride. The pride of the most welcoming, loving and happy people, the sweet smelling Ugandan air, the deep red land against the luscious green fields, the sounds of fleeting music as we drive through the village streets, the animated waves of young children, the vibrancy of pattern and colour all around, the memories of my mother and the country I have truly fallen in love with.

For more information on Jinja or putting together a homecoming itinerary to Jinja, please contact Anisha at anisha@kamageo.com 29


The ‘not so elusive’

Shoebill Kamageo’s CEO, Tim Henshall, returns from his surprising first visit to Semilki Wildlife Reserve in Uganda full of hope and enthusiasm for all those wanting to spot the rare Shoebill Stork. “There’s an old anecdote I’ve quoted many times, regarding an intrepid explorer back in Victorian times, who returned from Uganda to the Natural History Museum in London. Tucked under his arm was a (dead) Shoebill. Back in those days, there were handsome rewards on offer for unique specimens along with the chance of a sense of ‘immortality’ if the species was tagged with your name. But sadly, he (along with the man who brought a Duck-Billed Platypus all the way from Australia) was turned away at the door, advised that he should “pull the other one” as his sample was deemed to be a fake, with something looking like an old shoe forced into the head of a more common stork species. Standing at over 4 feet tall, Shoebills make for quite a scary sight for us, so imagine what they look like to things like frogs and their favourite meal, the mudfish. But they have huge appeal not only for twitchers, for whom they are a mega-tick, but also to general wildlife fans, such is their size, rarity and general demeanour.

LAKE ALBERT offers the best sightings

Few enthusiasts leave without at least a glimpse of a Shoebill in Lake Albert’s swamplands, arguably making it the most reliable place in Africa to spot these incredibly prehistoric looking birds. The lake is easily accessed from Semliki Safari Lodge, although most good properties in Murchison Falls offer either half- or full-day trips to the area.”

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Savannah Chimps The plain truth why you must include Semliki

“savannah” chimps pick and eat in one movement, remaining standing throughout. Where as the Kibale chimps take individual larger fruits and consume them one at a time often whilst sat. Over time this has seriously impacted upon the bone structures in the legs of the two chimps.

Like many, I had previously discounted Semliki as a serious chimp viewing location, giving preference to Kibale, Kyambura and Budongo where the quality of sightings are often reported as being far better. But learning of the Semliki Chimpanzee Project, I now thoroughly recommend including the area within itineraries for those with a real interest in the most fascinating of apes.

Studying the skeletons of five adult “savannah chimps”, Prof. Hunt noted that their hip bones were longer and the legs more knocked kneed than those of Kibale chimps. In fact they were far more similar to the bones of Lucy, the first upstanding hominid, discovered in Ethiopia. But the similarities didn’t end there. The jaws were similar too. Because the Semliki chimps spent far longer chewing on nuts, the jaw was shaped differently – again like Lucy.

For the last 20+ years, Professor Kevin Hunt of Indiana State University has been researching the chimps within the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, closely monitoring their unique diet, behaviour and habitat- and he’s made some startling discoveries. In fact at one point, it seemed he may have discovered an entirely new species – the Savannah Chimpanzee.

But perhaps, in a way, disappointing, genetic tests have proved that the chimps of Kibale and Semliki are in fact the same. Available food has simply changed both the behaviour and bodyshape of chimps in Semliki. Prof.Hunt describes the community as ‘semi-habituated’, although the apes within Semliki Safari Lodge’s regular viewing areas are far more comfortable around humans. The professor expressed frustration that over the years he has fully-habituated the chimps three times, only for this work to be undone by bushmeat poachers.

Within the community of chimps studied, he soon became aware of their propensity to leave the forest and head onto the plains of the savannah, in search of different food types. Discovering that whilst they did so on a frequent basis, it was equally apparent that they were never fully comfortable and relaxed – a clear throw-back to the times when they have been hunted as bushmeat by man. Prof. Hunt argues that the chimps don’t like the plains, they simply go there to gather food, retreating to the trees for safety and to sleep. Surprisingly when encountering leopards, the chimps were observed to remain relatively calm, but even the sound of dogs (used by man when hunting) causes the chimps to become hugely panicked and distressed.

Meeting with this hugely somewhat eccentric but passionate researcher provides a fascinating insight into the behavior of chimps and regardless of whether close up encounters with these primates occurs in Semliki it does ensure that seeing chimpanzees elsewhere is even more rewarding.

Savannah fruits are often smaller and hang lower, which impacts on the chimps posture when collecting food. Frequently more bipedal that their counterparts, the

Semliki Safari Lodge offers standard chimpanzee trekking within their private concession and can arrange visits either to the research centre or for the Professor to visit the lodge. 31


Uganda fam trip 2018

Have you experienced Uganda for yourself? It offers experiences like nowhere else, so selling the destination can depend on you having visited. Come face-to-face with our close relatives – gorillas, chimps and numerous other primates; get drenched at stunning waterfalls; gasp at the beauty of the crater lakes; enjoy safaris viewing plains game; or gain a surprising enthusiasm for birdwatching! Uganda has all this and more.

November 2018 : Western Circuit / Murchison Falls, Kibale, QENP, Bwindi and Lake Mburo. Birding special / Kibale, Kasingha, Bwindi, Lake Mburo and Lake Albert. Kidepo + / Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Sipi Falls

December 2018 : Western Circuit / Murchison Falls, Kibale, QENP, Bwindi and Lake Mburo Kidepo + / Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Sipi Falls Ask us about potential trips to the Ruwenzoris, Jijna (Adventure) plus Religious Tours and Heritage Tours. To apply for one of our series of fully-funded fam trips (ground costs, including permits and park-fees), send an email to tim@kamageo.com

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New camping option in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley Omo Valley is one of Africa’s most fascinating regions as it is home to numerous indigenous tribes. Visiting their villages provides clients with the opportunity to gain a much deeper understanding and interest in their differing cultures and history.

NEW TENTED CAMP

PHOTOGRAPHIC TENTS

Where as most accommodation in the area is basic (excluding Dinknesh’s own Buska Lodge), there’s now a new mobile camping experience provided by Dinknesh. They have invested in comfortable walk-in canvas tents with verandas with en-suite shower, dressing / storage area and private toilet. Camping offers not only a good budget option, it is also delivers convenience, by being located deep within the tribal homelands.

As the Omo Valley is considered by many to be a photographers’ paradise, the camp also has a tent dedicated to photography, with a host of specialist facilities, including an exclusive power supply.

THE TRIBES OF THE OMO VALLEY Fascinating tribes include the Suri, the Karo, Dassenechs, Mursi, Bena and Hamars – all living in close proximity but adopting hugely different cultures. For example, the Karo people - one of the smallest ethnic groups with only c2000 individuals - are famous for tattooing, scarification and body painting.

THE SOUTH Ethiopia’s Southern Circuit also includes the famous Bale Mountains and the Sanetti Plateau for numerous endemic bird species, plus the Mountain Nyala and the unique Ethiopian Wolf - the world’s rarest candid. A boat-ride on Lake Chamo serves up the greatest concentration of huge Nile crocodiles, plus countless hippos and an array of water birds. Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours provide exceptional service to both groups and tailor-made. They thrive on their attention to detail, experienced guides and excellent service standards.

For more information on Dinknesh or to find out more about fam trips to Ethiopia, please contact kristina@kamageo.com.

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Ethiopia fam trip 2019

Experience the best of Ethiopia with leading Ethiopian DMC, Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours. You have the choice of either 6 days in the North for $1577, 10 days in the South for $1188, or a combination of both (16 days) for $2765. Highlights include Merkato, the largest openair market in East Africa, a boat trip to the monasteries on the Zege Peninsula, the Simien Mountains, the churches of Lalibela, the Bale Mountains and the tribal villages in the Omo Valley. NB: This tour will be provided free of charge by Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours for serious operators who are willing and going to work with Dinknesh in the future. Cost: $1577-$2765 depending on itinerary. Date(s): March or July 2019 For more information and to register your interest, please email Kristina at kristina@kamilisafaris.com. 36


“As we are aware, the name Swaziland was inherited from the British. If we are to give true meaning to our independence, time has come to give our country a name of its people. It must be said that this process is long overdue... Therefore, I have the pleasure to present to you, on this historic day, a new name for the kingdom. Our country will now be called Kingdom of Eswatini”.

During the exciting and colourful 50/50 celebrations in Swaziland last month, King Mswati III made an historic announcement that the country’s name would change to ‘The Kingdom of Eswatini’. Meaning “place of the Swati people”, Eswatini reverts to the siSwati language name for the Kingdom. According to Lonely Planet: “In short: big things come in small packages. The intriguing Kingdom is diminutive but boasts a huge checklist for any visitor. Rewarding wildlifewatching? Tick. Adrenaline-boosting activities such as rafting and mountain biking? Tick. Lively and colourful local culture, with celebrations and ceremonies still common practice? Tick. Plus there are superb walking trails, stunning mountain and flatland scenery, varied accommodation options and excellent, high-quality handicrafts.

Most former colonies in Africa changed their names immediately on gaining Independence - The Gold Coast became Ghana, Basutoland became Lesotho and Nyasaland became Malawi. Although the Kingdom has made this change in 2018, 50 years after its independence, it is no less important, and marks a significant moment in the country’s history. Those of us responsible for promoting the country’s tourism will be adopting Eswatini from now on, though it will take time for those changes to be implemented across all platforms, so please bear with us while that happens. In the coming months, a brand new, mobile-friendly website will be launched on www.thekingdomofeswatini.com and new Eswatini promotional literature will replace existing stocks as they are used up.

Unlike South Africa, it has managed to hold on to that slowdown-this-is-Africa feeling, and that’s why it’s gaining in popularity. Everything remains small and personable, and the atmosphere is remarkably relaxed.”

For more information on how this will affect you and your business or for any more information/ itineraries regarding Eswatini, please contact Kelly White via kelly@kamageo.com

Described by Selling Travel Magazine this month as ‘a microcosm of the best Africa has to offer’, this fascinating and exciting Kingdom has been emerging strongly in recent years as a stand-alone destination that, despite its size, packs in an extraordinary variety of riches. 37


Celebrating 50/50 with 5 days in e’Swatini

Most visitors are often in e’Swatini (Swaziland) for just 2 or 3 days, when travelling through the country, but for our elite band of journalists, we treated them to an action-packed five day itinerary, which changed the minds of all involved. 2018 is such an exciting year for e’Swatini - not only is the country celebrating 50 years of independence and King Mswati’s 50th birthday, but the rich and colourful 50/50 event also witnessed a piece of history when the King announced the country’s new name. Witnessing this spectacle was a group of fortunate UK travel writers, who went Swaziland to returned from e’Swatini! e’Swatini is fast emerging from the shadow of South Africa as a country that has a remarkably broad variety of attractions, sufficient for it to be a stand-alone destination. With stunning scenery, thrilling activities, and some high quality safari experiences to back up the rich cultural interactions for which it is famed, tour operators are now offering more and more days in the country, and an increasing number of e’Swatinionly tours. In partnership with South African Airways, Kamageo was able to give the journalists a true taste of e’Swatini, causing them to return hugely enthused and excited about this charming and less-visited African gem. 38


Day 1 North West Swaziland - Highland Adventures • • • •

Ngwenya Glass. Watch highly skilled glass blowers from the balcony, and find the perfect chalice for your G&T. Visit the world’s oldest mine - Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine and see the vast crater created by iron ore mining. Visit Malolotja Nature Reserve to experience a thrilling Canopy Tour. Stay at Phophonyane Falls and Eco Lodge, a surreal lodge located in the Swazi highlands and overlooking a dramatic valley. Enjoy bird watching or a walk to the falls before dinner.

Day 2 King’s Birthday and Jubilee Celebrations • •

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Take a tour of Manzini city and Manzini Market and sample some local food. Visit the Mavuso Trade & Exhibition Centre where the King’s celebrations take place - (his Majesty the King, The Queen Mother, the Entire Royal Family, Both Houses of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Guests were all present. All Swazis were invited). Stay at Happy Valley Hotel.


Day 3 Central and Cultural Heartland •

Visit the National Museum to see the King Sobhuza 11 Memorial Park and learn more about the history of Swaziland in yester years. Visit the Mantenga Cultural Village and be immersed in traditional dances and learn more about the typical Swazi way of life. Visit Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary to experience the Mphakatsi Cultural Experience, horse riding and game drive to Reilly’s Rock. Have close encounters with small game such as mongoose and aardvark. Take a walk around Swaziland’s only registered Botanical Gardens, Summerfield Botanical Gardens and Resort.

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Day 4 Central Swaziland •

Visit Swazi Candles, one of Swaziland’s premier creative hubs and partake in the process of making the candles from scratch. Stop off at Malandelas, which is home to House on fire Art studio, Gone Rural, All out Africa and the eccentric Bushfire Festival- one of the top seven festivals in the world. Visit Mkhaya Game Reserve, home to four of the big five including Black Rhino.

Day 5 The East of Swaziland • • •

Make sure you have all the souviners you need! Go horse riding at Foresters Arms Hotel. Spend the evening reflecting on your time in Eswatini and what you want to do on your next visit.

“It was really special to be able to be at the King’s 50/50 event and hear about the name change of the country directly from the King himself!” - Alessia Andretta, SAA

“Overall, it was an eye-opening, activity-packed glimpse into a small, adventurous and very friendly country that’s very much off the beaten track, and it was great to be on the ground as history was being made.” - Chris Fitch, Geographical Magazine

“Swaziland exceeded my expectations in every way: the drama of the landscapes, the concentration and variety of the wildlife, the richness of the culture, and the warmth of the Swazi people. And with South African Airways’ direct flight to Johannesburg, Swaziland is a remarkably easy destination to reach.” - Sophie Ibbotson, Freelance For more information/itineraries regarding Eswatini, please contact Kelly White via kelly@kamageo.com

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A Tuli relaxing & rejuvenating retreat Tuli Safari Lodge recently became the perfect wellness retreat after partnering up with Exotic Yoga Retreats, with guests leaving the lodge feeling truly revitalised. At Tuli Safari Lodge guests combined nature, walking and driving safaris with yoga and meditation. All had incredible outcomes, with guests enthused by the incredible experience they had at the lodge. surroundings with game drives offering unforgettable photographic moments. They also took part in gentle paced bush - walks where guests enjoyed a multi-sensory experience of Africa at ground level.

The breath-taking landscape and peaceful surroundings made for a perfect setting for the guests to enjoy yoga, whilst watching elephants pass by and listening to the sounds of local wildlife. Where Tuli is situated on the easternmost corner of Botswana close to the Limpopo River, guests were made to feel as if time has stood still. The lodge’s unique relaxing atmosphere, laid back attitude and spacious gardens shaded by ancient trees, meant that it was easy for guests to roll out their mats and join in with the classes.

Tuli’s scenic surroundings and large swimming pool allowed guests to “be in the moment” and take some extra down time. The nearby waterhole and hide offered another chance for guests to get closer to wildlife. An ideal wellness retreat in its own right, with a natural slower pace and idyllic environment, guests found themselves wanting to spend more time chilling at the lodge itself outside of other yoga and safari activities.

The wilderness retreat at Tuli provided guests with the right balance of mindfulness and relaxation. Alongside the spiritual elements of the trip, guests explored their African

One other activity that the group participated in during their stay was a community visit, where they experienced life in a Botswana village and marvelled at ancient rock art. Guests also learnt all about the recent community projects that Tuli Safari Lodge supported, seeing them in action was an eye opening and enriching experience for the whole group. The founder of Exotic Yoga Retreats described the group’s trip to Botswana “as an incredible experience that the group have shared in this beautiful country together. This holiday was immensely spiritual, rejuvenating and unforgettable” Tull Safari Lodge, has just 10 suites (eight tented and 2 classic) 42


I didn’t know what to expect on a yoga safari. All I can say is, the experience was beyond my imagination! I think hiking, meditating and doing yoga in nature made me feel one with nature and connected with myself in a way I never knew before. It was an experience I will bring home and try to keep living!

” Tuli’s green idea Tuli Safari Lodge has realised over the years that by investing in sustainable practices, the beautiful landscape in which the lodge thrives will live on for generations to come.

nestled throughout large, landscaped gardens. Providing an intimate and peaceful escape, all of the suites are open plan and furnished to a high standard, decorated with a modern take on the classic ‘Out of Africa’ decor.

A simple but effective idea the lodge has chosen to promote is the introduction of all new refillable room amenities including shampoo, conditioner and body wash to reduce waste. This also introduced individual refillable water bottles for guests to reduce plastic usage, and can be taken home as a memento of their time at Tuli

After the success of their previous trip, in April 2019 Exotic Yoga Retreats will be organising another group yoga trip for their clients with Tuli Safari Lodge. To book your clients to stay at Tuli Safari Lodge rates start from $460 pppn, for more information, please contact Kristina Harlow, kristina@kamageo.com.

However, the most interesting project by far is the introduction of their very own vegetable garden. The nearest vegetable supplier is over a three hour round trip away and can be somewhat unreliable, therefore Tuli Safari Lodge decided to take matters into their own hands. The lodge aims to produce many organic vegetables to sustain the lodge guests and supplement the staff onsite. This has been a fantastic initiative that has supported the community with around 50% of the harvest being given to staff and their families. With no wastage, as all excess stock is also sold to neighbouring properties, this project has become a huge success! Tuli Safari Lodge’s garden currently includes herbs, salad vegetables, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, squash, cauliflower, sugar snap peas and even watermelon, with lots more in the pipeline, including specialties such as mushrooms. This project has inspired the lodges staff members, who are even planning to build their own gardens to supply their local communities and schools with fresh vegetables too. 43


A voyage of discovery with Muchenje Safari Lodge Muchenje Safari lodge consists of eleven exquisitely furnished, en-suite thatched cottages, one of which is specifically tailored to large sized families, therefore an ideal place for multi-generational family breaks. With a tranquil and secluded feel the lodge allows guests to appreciate and take in the areas natural beauty. The lodge includes an array of facilities including a dining area, a bar and viewing platform and a swimming pool that provides endless views over the flood plains. Being only a 2-hour drive from Livingstone and Victoria Falls, Muchenje Safari Lodge is a great extension to Botswana and Zambia itineraries.

Grab your camera, sit back and observe the wildlife, herds of elephants, hippos and other mammal activities unfold at the water’s edge. Rising flood waters have paved the way for a brand new boat activity launched at Muchenje Safari Lodge, situated within the Chobe Forest Reserve on a remote stretch of the Chobe River. The lodge’s endless views, hilltop cliffs and peaceful surroundings provide the perfect back drop for an exceptional safari experience. After five years of deliberations the jetty, located at Ihaha has been constructed and the boat, exclusive to Muchenje, has taken its maiden voyage out on the Chobe River. As Chobe is well-known for its prolific wildlife, with over 450 species and large concentrations of game, this all new boat activity allows guests to enjoy the boat trip as part of a full day safari excursion. Guests can also indulge in breakfast on the Chobe; a leisurely boat cruise, Sundowners on the river and, of course, a lunch cruise – all of which provide them with the opportunity to experience fantastic sightings of elephants, hippos, crocodiles and buffalo, whilst floating on the river. With Chobe National Park being the most biologically diverse National Park in Botswana, the game viewing along the 60km stretch of river, is unrivalled. With only four berths allocated to the quieter western side of the National Park, the jetty is very private and allows Muchenje the opportunity to offer exclusive river safari activities by boat.

Rates for Muchenje range from $435 - $725 for more information on Muchenje Lodge and their other unique activities, please contact kristina@kamageo.com.

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BOTSWANA fam trip 2018

Add a few nights in Chobe National Park to your Zambia or Botswana FAM Trip itineraries with a stay at Muchenje Safari Lodge for just $150. Located on the western side of Chobe, Muchenje is the only lodge in this area and offers unique and prolific game experiences. Price includes game activities, all meals, park fees, government tax and return transfers to and from Kasane Airport. Cost: $150 Date(s): Numerous, please contact us to discuss futher. For more information and to register your interest, please email Kristina at kristina@kamilisafaris.com.

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Zambia fam trip 2018

On this 5-night trip, you will spend 3 days in the stunning South Luangwa National Park and 2 nights on the banks of the great Zambezi River. You will join Kafunta Safaris’ at their three stunning camps; Kafunta River Lodge, Island Bush Camp and Three Rivers Camp and end the trip at River Farmhouse, only 40 minutes away from Victoria Falls. Highlights of the trip will include game drives and walking safari, rhino walk, village visit, Livingstone Island and a helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls. Cost: $300 Dates: August-October 2018 For more information and to register your interest, please email Kristina at kristina@kamilisafaris.com.

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Zambia makes a big splash on ITV

@bentaggartworld: “Tomorrow is safari day which is going to be, I’m sure, the best days work I’ve ever done after 20 years in the filming game”

With the help of Kamageo, the most watched breakfast show on UK television broadcast live from Zambia’s Victoria Falls on Monday 25th June. Presenter, Andi Peters chose Zambia as the destination he’d most like to visit on the planet and he was seen broadcasting live in front of the iconic waterfalls at 06h58 and again at 08h15 BST. When the programming switched to popular chatshow, “Lorraine”, ITV again cut back to Andi live from Zambia at 08h57. Zambia appeared over 80 times across the following 10 days on these two programmes, as well as “This Morning” with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. This generated an amazing £2,500,000 worth of free coverage for Zambia!

@Andipeters: “Filming in Zambia for @gmb and @lorraine @itv. Africa is such a beautiful continent. It’s amazing to see the wildlife up close. Victoria Falls is also a must see if you ever visit”

Thanks to the David Livingstone Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Waterfront, Safari Par Excellence, the Elephant Café and Kenya Airways, for their help. In conjunction with a huge cash prize and the concept of using the cash to go anywhere in the world, presenter Andi Peters chose Victoria Falls in Zambia to showcase where he’d always wanted to go. Whilst the crew were out there, they took part in various activities including boat cruises on the Zambezi river, game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya NP and a visit to the popular Elephant Café, much of which was featured as pre-recorded footage. The ITV crew shared their Zambian experience on their own personal social media accounts including Andi Peters, which in itself, is great exposure for Zambia; and it’s safe to say they loved every second of it!

@Bentaggartworld: “What a way to wrap up an amazing & truly incrediable shoot in the stunning Zambia. Live from the largest single curatin of falling water, dropping 500l per minute. What a week!”

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Wildlife numbers are up in Kafue Ten years of wildlife increase in the busanga plains Wilderness Safaris has been present on the Busanga Plains in the northern sector of Kafue National Park since 2006. This part of the Kafue is home to a staggering 24 ungulate or hoofed mammal species from the diminutive blue duiker up to the buffalo at the heavier end of the spectrum. By contrast, the best game viewing areas of the Okavango or Hwange have around 17 or 18 species. In the last 12 years Wilderness Safaris have been operating in this sector, they have seen the area resurge due to a frontier ecotourism presence generating revenue for the park’s operational budget and serving as a catalyst for a variety of conservation and community projects. October 2017’s aerial survey (ten years after their first in 2007), revealed significant growth in the populations of a variety of species occupying the different habitat zones.

Red Lechwe 487% + (Wetland Species)

Among the woodland species the Lichtenstein’s hartebeest has increased by 78%, among the dryland species such as the Blue Wildebeest, they have grown by 113% and for the wetland species, the population of Red Lechwe has increased by a massive 487% since 2007.

Blue Wildebeest 113% + (Dryland Species) Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest 78% + (Woodland Species)

Wilderness have two camps situated in the Busanga Plains, the luxurious Shumba Camp and the more intimate Busanga Bush Camp, their adventure camp.

Busanga Bush Camp Shumba Camp 48


more elephants in kafue According to the results of the Great Elephant Census 2017 (GEC) (www.greatelephantcensus.com), the overall population of Africa’s Savannah Elephants is down 30% from 2011. GEC counts Zambia’s population of elephants at 21,758 with a stable population in the Luangwa ecosystem. However in the past 10 years the population of elephants in the Kafue ecosystem has increased by 3% meaning its now home to the second largest population in Zambia with more than 8000 individuals within the park. These numbers prove good news for Zambia’s wildlife conservation as well as tourism promotion for the relatively undiscovered Kafue.

Conservation efforts in camp Konkamoya recently helped to save a 12 year old bull elephant, caught in a snare trap planted by poachers. “We met him almost everyday last October for about two weeks” - explained Laura Sommariva, from Konkamoya Lodge “Seeing the poor elephant suffering but fighting to stay alive was really heartbreaking.

He was hanging around from the bush to the lakeshore, finding enough water and food to survive but, unable to join his herd, he was forced to stay alone, occasionally plunging the wounded leg into a pool for relief. We were determined to help him!

Sustainable tourism plays a major role in the funding of projects and the protection of habitats and its inhabitants and small camps are incredibly powerful for protecting large and endangered parks like the Kafue. Konkamoya Lodge is the only camp situated on Lake Itezhi Tezhi in the south of Kafue NP, with its nearest neighbour a 3 hour drive away. Daily patrolling of the area with game drives, employing local people and providing funds for the salaries of the park rangers, all stem from the day to day running of the lodge and its tourism. A consistent part of Konkamoya’s rates and all the bed levies contribute directly to the economy of the park, funding the Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) for protection and anti poaching operations.

Laura sought veterinary intervention from the Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DPNW). After a long couple of weeks, Dr. Innocent N’gombwa finally arrived, tracked down the bull and within minutes had him darted. Just an hour later the snare was removed and he was thankfully up on his feet again. “During the rainy season he joined back with his herd and we wish to see him many years to come around our camp” added a very satisfied Laura from Konkamoya. For more information on Kafue or any properties contributing to conservation in Kafue National Park, please visit www.zambiatourism.co.uk

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Luangwa Live Shenton Safaris re-launch their Live Webcams In time for the 2018 season, Shenton Safaris have relaunched their incredible live webcams that are located on their network of photographic hides, allowing you to experience South Laungwa from wherever you are in the world.

The high-quality webcams are installed on their Hippo Hide, which views a pod of hippos in the Luangwa River, plus their new installation overlooks a site known as the Last Waterhole, which is proving a great success. Last year Shenton Safaris introduced live webcams to not only make the hides accessible for people to view all over the world, but also to monitor and analyse animal behaviours. The time-lapse feature even gives viewers the opportunity to gain a quick fix from the last 24 hours of the hides’ activity,. This often proves to be a fascinating watch.

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These unique photographic hides are of founder Derek’s own design and are a special feature of Shenton Safaris. The hides are sure to get observers close to wildlife without disturbing them in their natural environment. Guests have the chance to take more authentic and raw photos of animals’ day-to-day interactions from close proximity, in complete safety. The hides have often been used by National Geographic, BBC and the Discovery Channel for numerous photographic shoots and for collecting video footage for wildlife documentaries, so it’s fantastic that guests and photographers (both professional and amateur), have the opportunity to experience this too. Shenton’s network of hides is made up of 3 permanent hides and 3 seasonal hides. The Hippo and Elephant Hides are exclusive to guests staying at Kaingo and the Last Waterhole Hide is exclusive to guests staying at Mwamba, whereas the Carmine bee-eater, Wild dog lagoon and Mobile Hides are accessible from both Camps.

Simply point your phone camera at the QR code to open the link. You don’t even need to take a picture!

Mwamba Bush Camp’s ‘Last Waterhole Hide’ Simply point your phone camera at the QR code to open the link. You don’t even need to take a picture!

Kaingo Camp’s ‘Hippo Hide’

For more information on Shenton Safaris and their hide activity, make sure you follow them on Facebook and check out their blog at www.kaingo.com 51


Lion Camp is open for the season Over the past 10 years Lion Camp has been delivering truly memorable safari experiences in South Luangwa. After a complete renovation, the camp now comprises of 10 rooms joined by a central winding walkway. All the rooms have spectacular panoramic views of the plain with plenty of wildlife passing through which guests can view from the comfort of their own deck.The rooms are spread out to create more privacy, and they have introduced two new ‘suites’ to maximise prime positions. Lion Camp also has adopted a fresh focus on sustainability and maintaining the ecological balance. The extensive refurbishment project has presented the perfect opportunity to review what they do and why they do it. Their partnership with Mantis promises to build on their past work and take the camp forward to a more sustainable and successful future. The camp is fully committed to preserving the pristine eco system that surrounds the camp, by working with local organisations and directly with communities. Lion Camp is located in the northernmost reaches of South Luangwa National Park, away from the park gates providing abundant game viewing and few other vehicles. For more information or to keep up to date with Lion Camp this season, visit www.lioncamp.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 52


Opening Zambia up to the wider world It’s clear that Zambia has developed with regards to tourism over the years and is now a more sought after safari destination than ever. When Nick Aslin, founder of Zambian Ground Handlers, discovered his love for Zambia, he made this his mission. safaris from around the world needs to have several Zambian itineraries, if not front and centre on their websites, then at least up their sleeves and preferably somewhere fairly close to hand. And with that many people selling Zambia, it stands to reason that not all are going to be able to regularly visit the country first-hand, so this makes the co-ordinating role and assistance offered by a local destination management company, all the more essential.

Nick arrived in South Luangwa National Park early in 1992 to work under the late, legendary Norman Carr. By his own admission he was somewhat clueless about the African bush but keen to learn and up for the challenge. Within a few years, Norman had asked him to run the company and from that moment on, Nick has never looked back. By 2009, Nick and his wife were living in Lusaka, where he became keenly aware of a gap in the Zambian safari market. Whilst there were an increasing number of in-bound ground handlers in Africa, there were not many with any great specialisation and none in Zambia. Zambian Ground Handlers was duly born, introducing a change in the way the destination was promoted around the world.

Help with booking Zambia is needed all the more as the variety on offer in the country increases and people are wanting to explore more of the its hidden secrets. In the early 90’s Nick recalls that there were two scheduled flights a week between Lusaka and Mfuwe in the South Luangwa, there are now two and sometimes three a day. The complexity of moving tourists on and off their international flights and through the country seamlessly is verging on an artform and it’s an art that is taken very seriously at Zambian Ground Handlers. In a business world seemingly full of diversification, Nick has decided that specialization will be his formula for success. He admits that the name of his company is seen by some as rather short-sighted and limiting, but he believes that it ensures that his focus remains exactly where he wants it. Zambia is his adopted home and there are few people in recent years that have done more to enhance its tourist offering.

Nick believes his timing was lucky, coinciding with the coming together of two other vital factors. Firstly, tourism products in Zambia had been improving over the years with increasing investment from the outside and secondly, the travelling public from around the world, more specifically in North America, were broadening their horizons and destinations like Zambia, once regarded as being suitable only for wellseasoned safari travelers, were being sold as often to first time Africa visitors.

From its modest beginnings, Zambian Ground Handlers has evolved into a company that now fills the gap spotted by its founder almost a decade ago. Its growth has mirrored that of the industry it serves. It could be argued that when it comes to selling niche destinations, for that is what Zambia used to be, there is call for some specialist knowledge.

This increasing interest in Zambia has meant that in recent years it is not only those “in the know” that are selling the destination, any self-respecting agent promoting African 53


Celebrating 20 years of kafunta safaris Kafunta Safaris has come along way since the opening of their first lodge in South Luangwa in 1998. Owners Anke and Ron Cowan have seen first hand the progression of the Luangwa Valley and its tourism and this year marks their 20th anniversary. So there’s much to celebrate. Now sole owners, Kafunta River Lodge has been the Cowan family home since 2000 where they have raised and homeschooled their son Luke, for much of his childhood. Whilst now studying in Australia, “the bush” remains Luke’s home.

For Ron and Anke it all started in Australia 1988 , when they met whilst Anke was holidaying from her native Germany. They bonded over their passion for travel, eventually leading them both on an adventurous trip to Africa and falling in love with the Luangwa Valley. In the early 1990’s, the changed government offered many investment opportunities in Zambia so they decided to build their own camp - ‘Wildlife Camp’, a self-catering and camping lodge. By 1996, they’d bought more land and started construction, with the eagerly awaited opening of Kafunta River Lodge on July 3rd 1998. Many people from the local area were hired to work on the build and were eventually re-trained to become staff members - exchanging their construction helmets for chef’s hats and guide’s caps. Some of those first staff are still working amongst the 70 people employed at the lodge today!

Tim Henshall says, “I first visited Kafunta as a paying guest back in 2005, before the idea of starting Kamili had even surfaced. Even then, Anke and Ron had a very special little corner of South Luangwa and a stay there felt very special. Whilst the accommodation standards at their (now three) properties have slowly but surely moved more and more upmarket, the genuine warmth of the welcome is exactly the same”.

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Zambia - Kafunta

“ The team is like family to us. We have been together for so long and that is how we’ve achieved such a personal and individual atmosphere. ” Kafunta River Lodge has since expanded into what it is known today as Kafunta Safaris. Their adventure bush camp, ‘Island Bush Camp’, was introduced in 2001; more suites added to the original Kafunta River Lodge in 2005; and an entire renovation of the main area took place in 2014. Their third property, Three Rivers Camp opened to outstanding reviews in 2017, offering an alternative perspective of the Luangwa, with private star beds uniquely attached to each room. It’s safe to say that Kafunta has moved from strength to strength which has lead to a continued increase in customer satisfaction over the years. Being situated in South Luangwa for so long, Anke and Ron have watched the landscape change both physically and in terms of tourism. “We’ve seen the changes in the Luangwa Valley over more than 20 years. The game viewing has increased but so has human settlement in the area. We’ve seen a change in tourism, some camps have gone, others changed ownership and new camps have been built. Few have stayed the same!” says Anke Cowan. For more information, rates and images for Kafunta Safaris, please contact Rich at rich@kamageo.com or visit www.zambiatourism.co.uk 55


Zambia for families Zambia, one of southern Africa’s most rewarding safari destinations, is often referred to as the ‘connoisseur’s’ destination as it’s best suited for the experienced safari-goer and for those seeking somewhere a little more adventurous and ‘off-the-beaten-track’. Zambia still offers this authentic, raw safari experience along with the high quality guiding the country is famous for. However many camps have introduced a more family friendly approach, making Zambia an exceptional safari destination for families.

Lower Zambezi Lower Zambezi National Park delivers an authentic African experience. The park offers a diverse range of activities to entice and stimulate children including boating and fishing on the Lower Zambezi River, although canoeing and walking safaris are restricted to children aged 12 years and over. The whole area is a huge wildlife sanctuary with the opportunity to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels. Potato Bush Camp is an exceptional family safari camp for children as young as 4 years old, hosting specialised activities such as ‘Children’s Game Drives’. Even the youngest guests get the chance to spot wildlife, (including the smaller creatures), learn how to track buffalo and dig for water just like elephants. These drives are shorter than the adult drives meaning other stimulating activities are available on return such as survival skills in the bush, weaving palm mats and toasting marshmallows. Outside these activities children can partake in inter-camp bush walks, fishing from the camp deck and stargazing after dinner. In camp, there is a large family safari tent with a large central living area, dining and balcony area, two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a large plunge pool. Chiawa Camp is a family owned safari camp set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Alongside its luxury tents, the camp also offers a ‘Safari Suite’ which welcomes families with children 5 years and older. It’s set over almost 220 square meters and is about 3 elephants high above the Zambezi so the views are simply breathtaking. The suite compromises of a bedroom, bathroom, (with balls and claw bath), and lounge with couches and daybeds that convert into extra beds to accommodate a family. A diverse range of activities is available such as game drives and boat cruises although most are suitable for those age 8 and over. Those above 12 can partake in the more adventurous activities such as walking safaris and canoeing.

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menu. Visiting the local village is often popular with families where children get to play football with the local community.

Amanzi is a small intimate camp with 4 traditional, luxury safari tents all on raised wooden decking allowing game to wonder around freely so for more cautious families, this will suit. Accommodating for families with older children, (12 years+), the camp has a family unit and with the sun deck and pool overlooking small islands home to a herd of elephant bulls, families have nothing less than viewing pleasure.

Mfuwe Lodge is The Bushcamp Company’s family hub, welcoming children of all ages. It overlooks two lagoons in the game rich Mfuwe area, meaning families can lounge on the open deck or take a dip in the swimming pool with a breathtaking view. Children are welcome on game drives and a major draw for all visitors is witnessing the elephants that wander through the lodge’s lobby in search of mango trees every October to December. The lodge has family rooms with extra sleeping areas and can also arrange babysitting.

South Luangwa National Park Arguably the most game-rich national park in the whole of Africa with high concentrations of wildlife, the majority of lodges and activities are generally suitable for children aged 12 years and over. Those eligible can be led on one of the park’s famous walking safaris by some of the top guides in

Remote Africa’s Tafika Camp is their most suitable family friendly property. Hosting exciting activities including game drives and mountain bike safaris, it’s their best base for game viewing, especially leopard sightings. The camp offers a family suite with two rooms including a king size bed and two double beds and under 10’s are accepted in camp at management’s discretion.

the country. Flatdogs Camp claims to be the ‘most family-friendly camp in the Luangwa’, consisting of 4 chalet rooms perfect for families, including a larger family chalet with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and upstairs viewing deck. All chalets have thatched roofs and thick walls, good for cooler nights in the hotter months. The lodge itself has plenty of space for children, offering a pool, (with waterslide!), flexible dining times and a children’s

For more information on these camps, please visit www.zambiatourism.co.uk 57


The Royal Family Royal Zambezi Lodge is no ordinary lodge located on the banks of the Zambezi River just minutes from Lower Zambezi National Park. Their head of marketing, Lauren, talks about what exactly makes the lodge so special and the characters behind the scenes that make a stay at Royal Zambezi Lodge so memorable.

“ At Royal Zambezi Lodge our motto is “Where Luxury Meets the Wild” and our guest experience is testament to our efforts in ensuring every single visitor is not just wrapped in the lap of luxury, but that they are also treated like one of the family. This, of course, would not be possible without the warm, welcoming characters that make up our very own Royal Family. Royal Zambezi is the only lodge that is open year-round in the Lower Zambezi, and this was a choice made for two reasons. The first, being that our Royal Family is our most important asset; they rely on us for their employment and running during the Secret Season is a way for us to help them support their families at a time of the year where most things grind to a halt.

“One of the most memorable moments

The second is the Secret Season; a time of bounty that gives our guests an opportunity to see the African bush at its most fertile. When most wildlife species give birth and the vegetation blooms into a splendid kaleidoscope.

for me, is my husband, Ewan, proposing

Behind the curtains of Royal Zambezi Lodge, you will find a handful of funny, charismatic people that make the lodge as successful as it is. So, we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to some of our most-loved characters, what makes working at Royal so special, and the best bits about being in one of Africa’s most pristine wildernesses.

day. We were married at Royal where we

to me at our favourite waterhole, which is suitably named Proposal Puddle to this shared our love with all our closest friends and family, as well as the rest of our Royal Zambezi family.” Natalie Black, General Manager

The Romance Royal Zambezi is known for its private plunge pools on the Zambezi’s banks, its secluded rooms, tangerine tinted sunsets, and the overwhelming sense of belonging that exudes from the African bush – it’s undoubtedly one of the continent’s most romantic spots…

One of the members of the Royal family, Martin Muchindu (housekeeper extraordinaire) had an entirely different view on the romance of the occasion; “When we witnessed Ewan and Natalie’s wedding - the dancing which was taking place and Mr Clark (Natalie’s father) wearing a skirt of many colours (a kilt)! I have never seen that!” 58


Natalie, who’s managed the lodge for nine years now, remembers how she had the privilege of naming a very special little hippo, “Ian from CLZ called me to come over there to see that they had rescued a baby hippo that had lost his mother. I named him Douglas and they allowed me to spend the next few days with the team helping them take care of him. What an absolute privilege!” Leo Chemidza is our passionate and witty professional game guide, he says that, “Walking safaris are my favourite, it gives me more time to talk to the guests about the little things like the Small 5! The Fauna and Flora and the mighty Zambezi River, all those combined, makes the Lower Zambezi one of the best places to visit in Africa. Once we were watching a clan of hyenas taking an impala from a leopard and they all started laughing… This made us all laugh too... I felt quite sorry for the leopard – all the people and the hyenas were laughing at it.”

The Best Fishing on the Lower Zambezi At Royal, we are known for our exceptional fishing guides and professional boatmen. They know the best spots to land the much sought after Tiger fish and the perfect places on the Zambezi for sumptuous sunsets.

The People Of course, it’s the people that make the place! The most common theme we found throughout was the appreciation for the close-knit family unit that the staff have formed at the lodge.

Shadrack, who’s been at the lodge for 10 years, and handles the ambitions of many overconfident fishermen remembers: “My most memorable moment was with this guest, who is a big time fisherman - James Chance! He always hopes to catch something decent, but it’s not always so. But today was the lucky day! They caught a 21 LB tiger and 18 LB tiger. Every time I go out fishing now I always try and go to the same spot because it has such a good memory. It was a real bonding moment for the both of us. I will always value that day.”

Shadrack says that what he loves most about the Lower Zambezi is “The lodges that have established themselves here because they have employed us, we have raised our kids, it puts food on our tables, lets our kids go to school. I am so thankful for lodges like Royal who have established themselves here because they are saving peoples lives in the village.”

Not all fishermen are as skilled (lucky) as Mr Chance, and our other fabulous captain of the water, Vincent Chavunga, recalls the moment when he rescued a man whose wife had perhaps emptied the cooler box while he attempted to catch a fish. “My funniest moment was in 2013, while fishing, seeing a man from another lodge fall into the river, he was about 50 metres from my boat, so I quickly went and rescued him – his wife was very drunk and hadn’t realised he had fallen off the side while she was driving their boat.”

Leo Chemidza, barman-turned-game-guide explains,

“It is about the way I started my guiding career and how the management helped me both financially and materially, this is unforgettable to me.” As the General Manager, Natalie is particularly fond of all the special people she gets to work with every day at the lodge. When asked what she loved the most, she responded “I am so privileged to have my husband as my managing partner at Royal and we are blessed with two children. It would be amiss of me not to mention the staff, whom I have worked alongside for many years. They are very much family to me at the Royal home we all share in the Lower Zambezi.” As you can see, behind the luxury and the exclusivity that is the face of Royal Zambezi Lodge, lies a truly African core that is bound together by friendships, family and love of the bush. We are so passionate about our guests because of the experiences we have had here, together - as a team - which have helped mould us into the incredible lodge we are today.”.

The Wildlife For more information on Royal Zambezi Lodge itself and all it has to offer, (including their award-winning ‘Royal Bush Spa’) visit www.royalzambezilodge.com

The Lower Zambezi is one of Africa’s least explored wildernesses, and as such it is still incredibly wild and at Royal Zambezi Lodge we get to see the beauty and brutality of nature played out on our doorstep every day. 59


The future made bright by Tukongote Since 2009 Waterberry Zambezi Lodge’s Tukongote Community Projects have improved the educational opportunities in nearby villages. What initially started as a single pre-school has now evolved into a growing educational hub for both children and adults. Waterberry’s nearby villages are full of people who want to learn - from basic reading, writing and mathematics, to skills that will help them earn a job. The demand is high, so they have recently created a new study centre and library.

The new Preschool building has been joined by the first two classrooms of the Primary School, which will expand up to Grade 7. For secondary schooling, 29 children have been sponsored by generous guests of Waterberry who promise to pay for 5 years of education at partner school Kazungula this year.

The main aims are to support higher primary school and secondary school students with extra tuition; to offer a community library with a wide range of books; to offer basic skills training such as sewing and gardening (with future plans to extend to areas such as carpentry and computer skills), and to introduce an Adult Learning Facility offering adult literacy classes. Since opening in February, the interest from all groups has been extremely positive with one of the most successful groups being the adults. It is apparent that many of the mothers of children attending the preschool wanted to learn to read especially in order to help their own children. One 60


From hundreds of piles of boxes full of books (above), to an orderly, finished library (left)

Parity, who teaches reading, summed up his perception of the work being done at Tukongote,

“Everything has improved so fast and seeing adults that are now able to read and write is a beautiful thing”. The Tukongote project is providing materials and training teachers in 4 other nearby schools, with a total responsibility for more than 400 pupils Reading pods for outside classes and adult reading groups

Guests are always pleased to discover that Waterberry’s owners fund the building and administration of Tukongote Community Projects so that 100% of donations go directly to the schools and adult training centre.

mother stated, “I want to be able to help my child at school, so for that I need to go back to school too”.

Waterberry Zambezi Lodge is a small, informal, friendly lodge situated 35 minutes from Livingstone. The lodge is set in a secluded position on the banks of the spectacular Zambezi River with views to the Zambezi National Park on the opposite bank. River Farmhouse is located within walking distance from Waterberry Zambezi Lodge. The farmhouse was built with family holidays and groups of friends in mind on the site of the old colonial farm.

The new community library is a focal point for the groups. Waterberry shipped 27,000 books to Zambia from the UK charity Books 2 Africa. They arrived in dozens of boxes and were unpacked by Waterberry tutors and two brave Scottish librarian volunteers who set up and catalogued the library and trained staff to manage the library which will be accessible to the whole community. The library opened in June.

For more information, visit www.waterberrylodge.com

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A TASTE OF THE WILD THE ELEPHANT CAFé Rated as Zambia’s top restaurant on TripAdvisor, The Elephant Café is located in Livingstone, built on a deck sitting over the Zambezi River about a 25-minute boat ride upriver from the famous Victoria Falls. A speedboat adventure upstream through the islands and channels of the Zambezi River takes guests to an enchanting riverside location, met on arrival by members of a magnificent herd of rescue elephants. Guests experience a unique encounter, viewing the herd around the vicinity before being welcomed to the café on the banks - a unique dining experience. Road transfers are also available as an alternative method of transport to and from the café. The Elephant Café offers African fusion food, created with wild and locally sourced ingredients, inspired by European, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The menu changes according to the seasonal ingredients available at any given time. They pride themselves on offering unprocessed, preservative-free food that is produced in Zambia, supporting local Livingstone growers, as well as the river communities who help to forage for wild ingredients. This “bush gourmet cuisine” is unique to The Elephant Café and many of the wild nuts, fruits and leaves we use are also much loved by elephants themselves! The main attraction however is the very special family of elephants that call the Elephant Café their home. The oldest ones were originally rescued from a drought in Zimbabwe decades ago and over the years these elephants have been joined by young born within the herd as well as the special addition of a lone orphan from the wild. These elephants have grown up with safe human support providing unforgettable experiences for guests to meet these gentle giants in close proximity. For more information on The Elephant Café visit their website at www.elephant.cafe and for more information on nearby lodges please contact rich@kamageo.com 63


NEW Adventure rooms at Victoria Falls Waterfront Adventure on a budget Livingstone is known as the adventure travel hotspot of Africa for good reason, as so many safaris start, end, or go through Victoria Falls. distribution centre for ‘Pack For A Purpose’ whereby clients are encouraged to use available space in their luggage to provide supplies for the community.

The Victoria Falls Waterfront is renowned as the adventure hub of Livingstone. As Safari Par Excellence’s headquarters, (pioneers of adventure activities in Livingstone since 1988), it’s where white-water rafting, canoe safaris, speedboat adventures, river cruises, safari drives and cultural tours start and finish.

The new Adventure Village Rooms rates from just $70.00 pp including complimentary WIFI and a full English breakfast.

Waterfront is a popular overnight stay for more budgetconscious clients as well as self-drivers and plays host to annual events such as The Zambezi Whitewater Festival and Tour D’Afrique. It’s located within the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, only 3km upstream from Victoria Falls. The Victoria Falls Waterfront is currently expanding to include 16 Adventure Village Rooms in addition to their 20 chalets, 20 tents and 3 suites. Located in the garden these new individual rooms all have a large ensuite unit with air-conditioning, free Wifi and all modern amenities, and include all the facilities of the main property at your clients fingertips. All guests may enjoy the use of two swimming pools, a festive bar, a restaurant with an unbeatable view of the Zambezi River and Peppino’s Pizza Oven. The Victoria Falls Waterfront is also a

For more information on Victoria Falls Waterfront and Safari Par Excellence, please visit www.safpar.com

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PROFLIGHt boosts conservation education

Zambia - Proflight

initiatives that enlighten our communities on the issues of environmental and wildlife preservation,” added Capt. Lemba.

Twenty-five excited children recently had a school trip to remember when they joined Proflight Zambia on a trip to the Lower Zambezi to learn about conserving the environment and wildlife. The children from Luangwa Boma travelled ahead of World Environment Day on June 5 to participate in a Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) programme aimed at creating a greener, healthier world through better ways of living.

Some activities undertaken by local communities have continued to have negative effects on the environment, including air pollution, cutting down of trees without replanting, incorrect disposal of hazardous waste like plastics, and poaching.

Proflight put on free flights in two aircrafts for the children, accompanied by three teachers and a CLZ representative, to return from the three-day training workshop in the Lower Zambezi.

Once the children arrived at the CLZ camp they learned about threats to the Lower Zambezi, sustainable living, wildlife and forest preservation, family health, the Zambezi food web and wildlife trafficking.

“Proflight cares about the environment and the children of today as they are the key to having a greener future world. Proflight has always been there to support the school children’s programme,” said Proflight Director of Government and Industry Affairs Capt. Philip Lemba.

The children were also given an opportunity to learn about wild animals on game drives and boat cruises in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Proflight, through its support to CLZ’s environmental education programme, has helped to inspire more parents to send their children to the workshops enabling families to benefit, leading to sustainable behaviour change upstream and the communities.

Proflight believes educating the children of today about the environment, wildlife and conservation will make better, more informed future citizens. This is the fourth year the airline has provided flights for the programme. “As we celebrate this year’s World Environment Day with the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ we want to get this message across through supporting educational programmes and

Proflight Zambia is Zambia’s leading domestic airline. For more information visit www.proflightzambia.com 65


NEW TO ZMG It’s our pleasure to welcome two new members to the Zambia Marketing Group in its second year; the beautiful David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa located in Livingstone plus Jeffery and McKeith Safaris located in the remote Kafue National Park, (who are definitely ones to watch!) Two very different partners, offering two very different sides of Zambia.

David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa If you’re looking to include adventure and romance in your itinerary to Zambia, The David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa offers just that. A beautifully appointed thatched lodge oozing with charm set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi and named after the intrepid traveller, David Livingstone. After a busy day of adrenaline activities at Victoria Falls, guests can relax in a suite with its own private Jacuzzi or have a massage in their award-winning Spa.

Jeffery & McKeith Safaris Jeffery & McKeith Safaris is a small, owner run safari company based in the Kafue National Park. Phil & Tyrone, the founders, started the company with humble beginnings, initially organizing bespoke walking trails through the Kafue region and offering logistical support and guiding to wildlife and documentary filmmakers. After this they were able to explore the region further, setting up camera traps and really getting a sense of the area itself, which included many, many kilometres of exploring! They now have two camps, Musekese which is their base camp overlooking a permanent lagoon and Ntemwa-Busanga Camp which is their new seasonal ‘fly camp’ on the southern edge of the Busanga Plains. As new members they will take priority in exhibiting in the 2019 Safari Roadshow, so we’ll keep you updated on confirmed exhibitors and we’re sure you’ll be hearing more about both of these partners in the months to come.

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Douglas finds a new home Zambia - Snippets

The KAZA Visa is back

If you remember Douglas, (the baby hippo rescued in Lower Zambezi and issued a frequent flyer card with Proflight Zambia!), you would know that the 3 month orphan was located and raised at Chimpembele Wildlife Sanctuary. So here’s an update. Despite being in good hands, Douglas has had a rough few years having been attacked three times by lions and frequently by rival mature hippo bulls. However, just before Douglas’ 5th birthday, he was translocated to Langani where he is happy in a cooler climate and where the grass greener and lusher.

Good news for tourists wanting to visit both sides of the Falls, the KAZA UniVisa is back in place and is already being issued at entry ports. The visa enables tourists to move easily between Zambia and Zimbabwe as many times as they wish within 30 days. It also allows visitors on day trips to Botswana provided they return to either Zambia or Zimbabwe the same day.

Although there were no other hippos in the pond when he arrived, a few weeks later he was joined by Jackie the 2-year old female hippo who was also hand-reared in Lower Zambezi. They were both cautious of each other at first but after a few weeks they began grazing together and are now inseparable.

Zambia has started seeing an increased number of visitors and the issuance of the KAZA visa will no doubt contribute to even more tourists visiting Zambia due to its low cost of only $50. In Zambia, they can be obtained at the Harry Mwaanga International Airport, the Victoria Falls border, the Kazungula border and the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.

Don’t you love a happy ending?

‘Art’ Safari at Thornicroft Lodge The staff at Thornicroft Lodge recently visited Tribal Textiles, a hand-painted textiles company based in South Luangwa, where they unveiled their artistic side creating some traditional hand painted designs. Why not suggest a visit to Tribal Textiles to clients visiting Thornicroft or any of the nearby South Luangwa based camps? The visit provides an exciting variation to a traditional safari itinerary and being surrounded by Zambia’s extraordinary culture and wildlife, they’ll never fall short of creative inspiration!

Proflight New Route Lusaka-Harare-Lusaka Proflight Zambia are pleased to announce the start of Lusaka/Harare direct morning flights from 9th July. The route is already serviced by a number of airlines but Proflight has identified a gap in the market for early morning flights which offer the business traveller a more convenient travel time to allow for a full day’s business in Harare and allow connections from Harare onto Proflight domestic destinations within Zambia. Flights will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays departing from Lusaka at 06:45 for Harare arrival 07:55 and return flights will depart Harare at 08:25 for Lusaka arrival 09:35. 67


Malawi : Fit for families? Whilst Malawi’s overall appeal as a safari destination has never been higher, how does it rate for family holidays? you sleep, grumpy hippos may graze outside of your tent while crocodiles skulk along the shoreline. Elephants play in the river and Fish Eagles swoop to catch their breakfast. Going to sleep in the park, under lightning filled skies with the sound of hippos on the riverbank, elephants calls and distant rolling thunder, is a magical experience that we will never forget”.

Kamageo sent out two leading family bloggers to experience Malawi with their mini-clans to give us their views. Karen and Matt Beddows of MiniTravellers took along Lily (7), Isobel (6) and Eve (6), whilst Jenny Lynn and husband Jason of TraveLynn travelled with their two boys - Ezra (3) and Arthur (4). Jenny from TraveLynn wrote, “Rightfully known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, Malawi packs a lot in to its relatively small landmass; with majestic mountains rising from the tea plantations in the South, to the tropical white-crescent beaches fringing the lake, to an intimate big five safari experience. But more than anything, it’s Malawi’s people and the everyday interactions full of warmth and kindness that will make your visit so memorable. It’s a wonderful and accessible destination for families.

“ What also struck us were the breathtaking views. From the road up to the beautiful Zomba Plateau across the Great Rift Valley to Lake Chilwa the sights will leave you speechless; from the foothills of the mighty Mount Mulanje across most of Malawi; from the hills above the Setemwa Tea Estate across the southern lowlands. ”

Karen from Mini Travellers hoped that by taking their children to Malawi they would plant the seeds of interest in exploring new counties, places, ideas and cultures. “In Lilongwe, you are a guest in the animals’ domain. So while

Mini Travellers at Satemwa Tea Estate

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When David Livingston discovered the Shire River (pronounced Shy-ree), the only outlet from Lake Malawi, he could not have imagined that 150 years later tourists would still be using the same stretch of river to view elephants and hippos as part of their visit to the amazing 200 sqm Liwonde National Park. After years of poaching and neglect, African Parks is rejuvenating Liwonde and is currently reintroducing species to its protected bushland. Lions and Cheetahs are the latest additions, as the park’s status and reputation are further enhanced. Both families left Malawi with memories filled with magical moments, inspiring people and beautiful vistas. They left a little wiser, a little more patient and a lot more appreciative of the advantages of the lives they were returning to. As Karen said, “We hope that our children continue to grow and develop on the rich soil provided by the wonderful and varied experiences Malawi afforded them.”

Visit Mini Travellers blog at www. minitravellers.co.uk or simply point your phone camera at the QR code to open the link.

Visit TraveLynn Family’s blog at www.travelynnfamily.com or simply point your phone camera at the QR code to open the link. The TraveLynn Family on a game walk at Game Haven Lodge

Karen and Jenny talk about the key highlights of both their family trips to Malawi.

Game Haven Lodge Jenny : It’s not every day you find yourself eating breakfast with a zebra for company. Just a 15min drive out of Blantyre this is a fantastic kid-friendly game reserve with family rooms available. Kids go crazy in the playground equipped with a climbing wall, then cool off in the swimming pool. There are very few places in Africa where you can take young kids on a game walk. Thankfully, as there are no seriously dangerous animals here (such as lions and leopards), as long as you’re with a local ranger, it’s perfectly safe.

The TraveLynn Family greeting a zebra

Karen : The walking safari at Game Haven Lodge would be the reason to go back. We loved it. Watching my kids get up close to the incredible animals was such a lovely experience and set off our 14-day trip in an incredible way. We enjoyed seeing a 3-week old baby giraffe due to the brilliant skills of our guide who even lifted the kids up onto his shoulders so they could see better. Can you spot it in the trees? 69

Mini Travellers on a game walk


Mvuu Camp Karen : Two minutes after we’d arrived at our beautiful family tent we were encouraged back into the boat that we’d just arrived in. Danger (our guide) had spotted around 40 elephants frolicking in the water and on the opposite banks of the river. It was amazing. I have simply never been so close to that many elephants and hippos, all at the same time.

happily, and because the two were so close, we were able to keep a watchful eye too. Evening dinner was a beach barbecue with guests sat around the fire from 6pm for a pre-dinner drink. The girls chatted with a young American girl and instantly became the best of friends, as only kids can do. They all decided they wanted to sit together for dinner and so we shared a very pleasant evening with her parents, whilst the four small ones sat happily chatting and laughing at their own table. It was clear that the food at Pumulani Lodge is another of its many selling points!

Pumulani Lodge Karen : The girls happily took advantage of the pontoon just a short distance into Lake Malawi to swim out to before jumping in over and over again. That was until they saw the kayaks and decided they fancied those instead. Unlike at Domwe Island, the kids were able to kayak for themselves with us just walking alongside for safety. All day, the kids moved between the Lake and lodge’s pool very

The name Pumulani means “rest well” in the local Chichewa language, and that’s exactly what we were offered – the 70


due to leave, the girls were so enjoying themselves, it seemed a shame to move on. The team asked if we would stay and listen to the older children read from their books. Seeing my girls sat in the courtyard confidently listening to them read, gently correcting them and checking their comprehension was something that will stay with me (and hopefully them) for a long time.

ABOUT MINI TRAVELLERS Mini Travellers is a multi-award winning travel blog which is designed for parents of children of all ages looking for ideas for holiday and days trips. According to a recent reader poll Mini Travellers is “authentic and always enjoyable to read” and is “one of the few travel blogs that has covered Disneyland, Rwanda and a caravan holiday in Wales in the same 12 months!” www.minitravellers.co.uk

chance to unwind in a beautiful and tranquil setting. We collapsed into bed, very happy and content, only sad at the shortness of our stay.

ABOUT Travelynn Travelynn is a blog run by Jenny Lynn, a travel addicted mum to two boys (aged 3 and 4). As a family they try to push the boundaries of family travel and dispel the myth that adventure needs to wait until the kids are older! After a year living in India, they are now overlanding Africa in a Land Rover Defender.

The Book Bus Karen : This venture has been working in Malawi since 2010. Their local teams work with 5 schools and they also run the only community library in the Mangochi district. The Book Bus’s mission is to change lives one book at a time. We had a wonderful time at the Book Bus. The visit had initially only been planned for 90 minutes but when we were

www.travelynnfamily.com

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Who’s right for Madagascar? Whilst Madagascar in undoubtedly a highly desireable destination for many tourists, in reality it is suited to the more ‘open minded’ traveller.

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coastline, but for me to only visit here is not really seeing the best that Madagascar has to offer.

That’s not to detract from the Madagascar’s amazing attractions, but due to its less developed tourism infrastructure, transport links and accommodation options, it requires a true sense of adventure, a love of travel (in its broadest sense) and the ability to roll with whatever life can throw at you to enjoy the island to the full.

At 598,000km², its 4th largest Island in the world, with a population that’s a pot pourri of Asian and African origins - The East and The Highland are of Asian origin, the South, West and the North are of African origin.

Due to its sheer size and scale, it is nigh on impossible to see the whole island in just one visit, yet many travellers attempt to do just that. So creating an itinerary that either provides the “very best of”, or matches a client’s specific wishes is key to success.

Hely Rakotomanantsao (known, thankfully to most as just Hely) has been running ICTours for well over a decade and they’ve emerged as one of Madagascar’s very best DMCs. Malagasy born and bred, but educated in Europe, Hely has a real understanding of the needs and expectations of international travellers. She is quick to point out that there are often long road transfers between various reserves and attractions, whilst in many places the best accommodation options are often mid-range at best.

I last travelled to the island continent – often described as the Galapagos of Africa, with 80% of the flora and fauna being endemic - with a mixed group of international operators, which opened my eyes to the equally varied “reasons to visit”. The French were attracted by the francophone nature of the country, with its croissant breakfasts served in chateau-esque hotels; the Dutch appear to want to meet the locals before chilling-out at inexpensive lodges on gorgeous deserted sandy beaches whilst the Brits seem drawn by the lemurs, lemurs, chameleons and more lemurs.

But equally, she knows her island well. She knows all the very best guides in each wildlife reserve and she’s highly skilled at putting together complex itineraries to deliver the perfect trip. More than on most Africa trips gaining an indepth understanding of the clients aspirations, expectations and ‘wish-list’ sightings can be the difference between a good trip and an outstanding trip.

Of course, I am excluding those able to afford the uber-luxury of the new “resort” hotels opening along the north-east

Contact Hely at direction@ictours.mg or contact Kristina@kamageo.com 73


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Coming Soon TANTOO - short for Tanzania Tourism Organisation - is a brand new marketing initiative committed to increasing tourism to Tanzania from the UK. Tanzanian (and your business) could really benefit from an increase in marketing support and whilst this task is mainly the responsibility of TTB, for reasons beyond their control, it is unlikely that they will be able to invest heavily in the UK in the near future. So TANTOO will bring the country’s leading tourism companies together to work along with TTB, to jointly fund marketing activities in the UK. Major players in Tanzania are already on board - including Coastal Aviation, Rangers Safaris, Takims Holidays, The Zanzibar Collection, Azura Retreats and Mbali Mbali, to name but a few. Many more are set to follow. From Autumn 2018, Kamageo will market Tanzania via PR campaigns in the media; with consumers (via social media, travel shows and small-scale ad campaigns) and work closely with you, the trade to provide subsidised fam trips, product training and joint marketing opportunities. To play a part, please feel free to contact tim@kamageo.com for more information. You might also want to encourage your Tanzanian suppliers to do likewise.

www.tantoo.org

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HELP SAVE THE LUANGWA The Luangwa River has been identified as one of the longest remaining free flowing rivers in Zambia and is one of the biggest unaltered rivers in southern Africa. It provides critical natural infrastructure- its seasonal changes support some of Zambia’s most valued wildlife populations, its vibrant communities and a growing tourism industry. If we adequately protect the river, we can ensure this capital is reserved for future generations; a true treasure as the world’s natural resources become rarer. However, the Luangwa River is now under threat due to plans for hydropower development, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture. We must act now to keep the Luangwa healthy and freeflowing. Sustainable development plans for Zambia will ensure the nation maximizes growth opportunities, while

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still cherishing the natural assets that make Zambia truly exceptional. To take part in this campaign visit the WWF website at www.wwfzambia.org.zm and sign the petition to protect the Luangwa as a Water Resource Protection Area.

Help spread the word by sharing the petition on social media and use the hashtag #KeepTheLuangwaFlowing

Profile for Kamili

Safari Magazine Edition 34  

Travel Trade Magazine

Safari Magazine Edition 34  

Travel Trade Magazine