Around the Next Corner & Other Tales

Projects we love: Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Posted 2022-08-31

Reteti raises orphaned and abandoned elephant calves for release back into the wild herds surrounding the Sanctuary in Namunyak Conservancy. The orphaned elephants, cared for by the Samburu community, are symbols of a new wave of thinking about wildlife and the environment that goes far beyond traditional conservation methods and dives deeper into the core value of what nature represents. It embodies the communities standing up united for wildlife, in recognition of the value that they can cultivate.

An ever-growing grass roots movement, community focused conservation is gaining huge momentum in Northern Kenya, and a new wave of wildlife protection is emerging. Once heavily poached and severely degraded, the northern rangeland is now restoring itself through transparent, self-governed community conservancies that promote the preservation of natural resources in order to create stability, employment, and revenue. Since 2012, there has been a 53% reduction in elephant poaching in Namunyak and partner conservancies due to this changing mindset.

All the keepers are from the local Samburu community and are formally trained in the care, rehabilitation, and release of elephant calves. An elected board from within the community oversee all operational aspects of the Sanctuary. The operations also include a mobile elephant rescue team that works daily on elephant rescue, community awareness and the mitigation of human/wildlife conflict.

Opportunities are being created, livelihoods are improving, and wildlife is returning, proving that nature can provide a sustainable economy for the populations that occupy its magnificent ecosystem. On a fast developing continent where space is at a premium, the Samburu community that occupy the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is reversing the trends and securing their wilderness landscapes, returning to a learned, age old history of wildlife tolerance and co-existence.

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Projects we love: Cheetah Conservation Fund

Posted 2022-08-31

Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.

CCF’s vision is to see a world in which cheetahs live and flourish in coexistence with people within a sustainable system that is protective of the environment, socially responsible, and economically viable.

Their holistic conservation strategy is the key to success in saving the cheetah and its ecosystem. CCF works to develop best practices that benefit the entire ecosystem upon which the cheetah depends. CCF’s programs address the concerns for wildlife populations and the human communities that share the landscape.

Livestock Guarding Dogs

CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) program is proven to reduce livestock losses to predators. According to multiple long-term scientific studies, farmers with an LGD are less likely to trap or shoot cheetahs. LGDs are a major part of CCF’s holistic conservation strategy. CCF breeds Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to become LGDs. Now, and for thousands of years, the breed is used to guard small livestock against wolves and bears in Turkey. LGDs are placed with Namibian farmers as puppies. The puppies bond with the herd or flock. As they grow up, their size and loud bark help to scare predators away.

Conservancies

CCF breeds Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to become LGDs. Now, and for thousands of years, the breed is used to guard small livestock against wolves and bears in Turkey. LGDs are placed with Namibian farmers as puppies. The puppies bond with the herd or flock. As they grow up, their size and loud bark help to scare predators away.

In Namibia, areas governed by conservancies are more resistant to poachers. The Greater Waterberg Landscape is the conservancy and economic development area in which CCF participates. CCF works with communal farmers and people living around the Waterberg plateau as part of our holistic conservation strategy.

Biomass Technology Development and Bushblok

In 2001, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) collaborated to find a habitat improvement program that would be good for both the ecology and the economy.

CCF is working on a long-term research and development project to restore habitat while developing a renewable fuel source. Overgrown thorn bush is harvested and made into high-heat, low-emission, fuel logs for consumer use. As part of CCF’s programs, CCF Bush (PTY) Ltd. leads our Bushblok program. As the Bushblok program grows, CCF creates new biomass energy potential. As of 2017, CCF operates a biomass technology research and education program at the Biomass Technology Demonstration Centre.

Livelihood Development

The key to securing a future for the cheetah, is to secure the livelihoods of the people who share its habitat. Through livelihood development, CCF assists the communities living in cheetah-country. People learn the skills to expand their income at our Model Farm. CCF helps local artisans by promoting their jewelry craft and cultural art pieces in our on-site gift shop.

The Dancing Goat Creamery creates and sells dairy products made from CCF’s goat milk. The Creamery serves as an example for small stock farmers. Farmers learn how to expand their income by creating new and marketable products. CCF produces honey at our apiary and grows grapes for wine making. CCF continues to develop new ways for communal farmers to boost their income.

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Projects we love: Fallen Rangers Fund

Posted 2022-08-31

The Fallen Rangers Fund was established to provide critical support, employment, and training to the widows and children of those Virunga Rangers killed in the line of duty. Since the establishment of Virunga as a national park in 1925, over 200 Rangers have lost their lives protecting the wildlife and habitats within the Park, as well as the people living around the park’s boundaries. Before the fund was in place, widows received little to no financial support, with their families often becoming severely impoverished.

In 2007, Park management set out to find every widow of a fallen Ranger. Since then, the team has managed to identify nearly all of those Rangers’ families, dating back to 1991, when the regional conflict began. After the tragic loss of a Ranger, a private fund is immediately established to garner support from our community and all donations towards that fund are given directly to the Ranger’s widow.

For six months after the Ranger’s death, the Park continues to pay the Ranger’s full salary to his widow. After six months, the widow receives a pension to provide additional support as the family adjusts to their new way of life. Widows and their children receive free medical services and schooling which are provided through park facilities.

As well as financial support, Virunga endeavors to provide young widows with opportunities for personal development via work-based training within Virunga’s various departments. Having taken advantage of the scheme, which aims to empower vulnerable women, one electrical engineering graduate now works for Virunga Energies, supplying sustainable power to homes and businesses across the region. There are four women currently being trained as chocolatiers in the Virunga Origins chocolate factory, with a further two being equipped with the knowhow for marketing the end product in Goma. In the tourism department, one lady is learning the ropes as a pastry chef while a pair of trainees delve into the world of gastronomy, readying themselves for waves of hungry travelers on the lookout for gorillas.

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Projects we love: Painted Dog Research Trust

Posted 2022-08-31

Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) was founded in the strong belief that good conservation must be underpinned by sound science. Based just outside of Victoria Falls, PDRT is situated in a landscape mosaic of national parks, forestry, private safari area and communal lands. The field-based conservation ecology center for data driven trans-boundary research serves as the headquarters for PDRT.

With the Pan-African population of painted dogs declining from 500,000 individuals to less than 5,000, the painted dog is listed by IUCN as endangered. Zimbabwe links the populations of all five neighboring countries making it a keystone corridor for this species. Continuation of long-term research and monitoring within this corridor is crucial to the continued survival of painted dogs.

They give particular attention to monitoring those painted dog packs that are most vulnerable and where possible, take action to reduce mortalities attributable to anthropogenic causes such as cars, snares and shooting by ranchers. This entails being in the field and living in a vehicle for weeks at a time whilst they follow packs and collect data such as: disease (from blood, skin and fecal samples), hunting success, daily movements and predator/prey interactions. An identity file is made for each individual dog.

Problems for dog populations are identified and solutions are formulated based on the work done in our field research. For example, they have identified blind spots where “Painted Dog - Slow Down” signs should be placed to help decrease the senseless death of painted dogs caused by careless and speeding drivers, and then they erected and posted them. They also designed and produced anti-snare collars and retroreflective colored collars picked up by car headlights, saving dogs from collateral death by snares and road accidents.

They collaborate with government ministries, local councils and planning development communities to try and introduce protections for the dogs and their habitat. Amongst these efforts is education with the local communities. It is vitally important to dispel myths about carnivores such as painted dogs and emphasize the important role they play in ecosystem management. Whether talking to school children, community leaders, farmers, or regular everyday people, changing their hearts and minds requires thoughtful, honest communication backed by evidence.

They aim to educate and inspire people to take conservation action. If people don’t know what is happening to animals and habitats, they won’t care enough to do anything about the threats facing them. If they remain unaware of the impact of human activities, they will not change their own behavior nor advocate for change in governmental/corporate/community/individual practices. They teach people to care enough to act, for without action, conservation cannot occur.  Connecting the community with animals and nature will increase awareness and appreciation for biodiversity, causing them to care about conservation issues and increase the likelihood of supporting conservation efforts.

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Our Top 10 Trips of 2022

Posted 2022-01-26

It's our favorite time of the year! We're thrilled to announce our Top 10 Trips of 2022. There are so many fun ideas in this collection to jumpstart your inspiration for your 2022 travels.
 

As the whole world finds its new normal, the travel industry is no different. Over the past two years we've perfected the imperfect art of planning trips in the age of covid and the results speak for themselves. Last year we had clients exploring everywhere from the banks of the Nile River in Egypt to the Okavango Delta of Botswana to the river crossings of Tanzania and beyond.
 

As clients returned from their adventures, there was no shortage of smiles and people who came back shouting from the rooftops how AWESOME it is out there right now. The pandemic can feel all-consuming and travel is exactly the escape we all need. 
 

Crowds are still a fraction of what they normally are, and all the camps and guides have finetuned their offerings for optimal safety. With the world likely to continue existing for several years in some form or another of this new reality, it's time to get back out there and dive headlong into exploring the world. The possibilities are endless!
 

Dust off your passport and pull out your suitcase...

ESSENCE OF AFRICA

South Africa, Botswana, Zambia & Rwanda

Pairing the natural wonders of Southern Africa with a trek to see Rwanda's mountain gorillas, this itinerary celebrates the highlights of Africa. Start off by exploring the fascinating cultural and natural landscapes of Cape Town, including curated privately guided touring. Spend a week on safari in the highly coveted Okavango Delta, a highly unique ecosystem and one of Africa's premier wildlife destinations. Visit the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, nicknamed the 'smoke that thunders' by the locals. For a grand finale, trek through misty volcanic rainforests to see mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in the wild. 

See more here

 

ICONIC WILDLIFE OF EAST AFRICA

Rwanda & Tanzania

East Africa is home to some of the most iconic wildlife the entire continent. This itinerary brings together these extraordinary experiences into one trip of a lifetime that any traveler will love. Great apes thrive in the lush forests that carpet the hills of the Great Rift Valley. From the majestic mountain gorillas of Rwanda to chimpanzees in the same region where Jane Goodall did her research, you will glimpse the lives of these complex creatures so similar to us. Paired with the magnificent wildlife displays of the Serengeti, this is a trip that truly dazzles.

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ULTIMATE FAMILY SAFARI

South Africa, Zambia & Botswana

For the ultimate family getaway, it doesn't get better than this. Blending adventure galore, diverse activities and the finest luxury, this itinerary will please the whole family. From the leopards and rhinos of the Sabi Sands to the habituated meerkats of the Kalahari, your family will get to experience it all. Stay in gorgeous camps and lodges situated in the heart of some of Africa's most coveted wildlife areas. Family tents let you experience the magic of the bush together, while still giving parents some privacy. 

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MOROCCAN ODYSSEY

Morocco

This is a celebration of the fascinating culture and history of Morocco. Discover the ancient city of Fez, a haven of traditional ways and artisan souks that continue to thrive to this day. Spend a night under the stars in a Berber-style desert encampment, complete with white canvas tents and sunrise camel ride through the dunes. Tuck your away into a tranquil palm oasis in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains for a few days of relaxation. Venture to the lively city of Marrakech, where Morocco's diverse modern culture has given rise to a vibrant dining and fashion scene. 

See more here

 

PRIVATE EAST AFRICA

Kenya & Tanzania

For those seeking a connection between family, friends and Africa, this itinerary visits secluded places teeming with wildlife. Feel the untouched beauty of nature and ancient cultures. With destinations from vast plains to highlands plateaus, this itinerary delivers a diverse and enriching taste of East Africa’s top safari destinations. Meet playful baby elephants, watch The Great Migration and reflect on your grand adventure on the beaches of Zanzibar. 

See more here

 

GREAT ESCAPES NAMIBIA

Namibia

Spend wild days in some of the most remote corners of the planet exploring secret valleys exploring as a family. A land of striking contrasts and surprising diversity, Namibia is an enchanting destination for those who love adventure. Sip coffee watching wildlife meander around the lively water holes in Etosha National Park. Capture some spectacular landscapes on scenic flights and a memorable sunrise over the tangerine dunes of the Namib-Rand Nature Reserve. Visit a remote village of the nomadic Himba tribe and discover the rugged Skeleton Coast. 

See more here

 

THE CAPE, DELTA & FALLS

South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe

A land of natural wonders, Southern Africa is ripe for exploration and adventure. From rugged coastlines and the iconic Victoria Falls to the world's largest in-land delta, the region is outstandingly diverse with something for everyone. Discover its wonders with this itinerary that delivers big on experience while staying affordable. Stay in all of our favorite hideaways, from a charming boutique hotel on the lower slopes of Table Mountain to intimate bush camps in the heart of prime wildlife habitat. 

See more here

 

GRASSLANDS OF TANZANIA

Tanzania

Tanzania is a wonderfully diverse country that offers travelers a wide range of ecosystems and safari experiences to discover. See the famed Serengeti National Park, explore the unique Ngorongoro Crater region, walk with the Maasai in their sacred homeland and venture through Tarangire National Park’s rich wildlife habitat. For those who seek a blend of wildlife and ancient cultures, this is the perfect itinerary for you.

See more here

 

SHOESTRING KENYA & ZANZIBAR

Kenya & Tanzania

When you want to discover the amazing offerings of East Africa, but want to stay on a shoestring budget, it doesn't get better than this! We have tapped into our favorite budget-friendly properties to create this fantastic itinerary that delivers big on experience. These intimate camps will offer you access to the best wildlife areas and all the creature comforts you need with nothing extra. Reflect on your once-in-a-lifetime safari from the silky white sands of Zanzibar where Swahili culture brings a vibrant flavor to your trip. 

See more here

 

NATURAL WONDERS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

South Africa, Botswana & Zambia

From Table Mountain to the Okavango Delta to Victoria Falls, this itinerary celebrates the many highlights of Southern Africa. It is jam-packed with diverse activities, including curated private tours in The Cape, a sunset boat cruise on the Upper Zambezi and a guided tour of the iconic falls. In the delta's prime wildlife habitats, water-based activities like boat safaris and mokoro rides (traditional wooden canoes) complement classic game drives and walking safaris.  

See more here

 

Let's chat about your own epic 2022 adventure!

Tel: 503.282.9009
Email: info@mangosafari.com

 

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9 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Go on Safari

Posted 2021-10-01

If you are a traveler like me, the last 18 months have been stifling, almost claustrophobic, at times. As you reach the breaking point, it is time to plan your next travels. Hit the road with some calculated confidence and limited risk. My passport is out of the safe and I am not letting it burn a hole in my pocket any longer. This is why now is the time for Africa.

1. You’re always outside

Even with extensive safety measures, the safari experience remains largely unchanged since they’re already covid-friendly by nature. You’re always outside – eating al fresco, going on open-air game drives, on walking or boating safaris or sitting around the campfire.

2. Private accommodation

We only use intimate camps and lodges with a small number of tents, so it never feels busy, and you’re always able to social distance from other guests in the open-air common areas.

3. No crowds

With the low number of travelers, you practically have these iconic natural parks to yourself. Your sightings will be uncrowded, and you can always get great positioning for photos. These special times won’t last with more people traveling every month, so now is the time to go!

4. Last minute bookings are actually possible

Normally we recommend safaris be booked at least a year in advance to get space in all your top-choice camps, but right now it’s possible to book last minute trips and still get the best of the best.

5. The safety precautions measure up

Americans have flocked to destinations such as Hawaii because of the sense of safety testing that requirements have given. Africa has been operating under the same measures since the pandemic started, so travelers can go there with just as much confidence.

6. In-camp safety measures don’t feel disruptive

Masked staff, hand sanitizing and contact-free temperature checks feel common place these days, so you’re unphased by their presence and the experience is uninterrupted.

7. Vaccination rates are high amid tourism workers

Most African countries have also been prioritizing tourism employees as essential workers so vaccination rates are excellent amid the staff.

8. The communities need ecotourism back

With hundreds of thousands working directly or indirectly in ecotourism across Africa, countless families are banking on traveler numbers going up.

9. Wildlife conservation needs us

Conservation groups are reliant on ecotourism to fund their efforts to protect endangered species. Without travelers visiting these precious national parks and private reserves, they cannot pay rangers, fund habitat restoration projects nor endangered species breeding programs. The return of ecotourism means these efforts can resume at full force in an age when every month counts.

If it all boils down to the numbers for you, then consider this: Thanks to consistent safety measures from entry testing to temperature checks, the Safari Professionals of America have sent nearly 6,000 travelers to Africa in 18 months with only 16 people testing positive – that’s a mere 0.002%. By comparison, over one-third of Americans have tested positive. Numbers don’t lie – if you’re comfortable traveling, Africa is a safe bet. The guides, camps and animals can’t wait to welcome you back and there’s never been a better time!

 

 

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Featured Favorite: Thorntree River Lodge

Posted 2021-02-18

THORNTREE RIVER LODGE

Livingstone, Zambia

Who it’s best for:

Luxury travelers, those seeking a little pampering, honeymooners, families and those wanting a variety of Victoria Falls activities

Activities:

Offered at Thorntree River Lodge: Tours of Victoria Falls, sunset river cruise on the Upper Zambezi, catch-and-release fishing, canoeing, game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, rhino tracking experiences, birdwatching, cultural visits, the Livingstone Museum, spa treatments and the Ngwana Club for children

Additional Livingstone activities that can be booked: guided rainforest walks, bungee jumping and helicopter or micro-light flips over the falls

Why we love it:

In a destination as popular as Victoria Falls, the accommodation options are endless, but not all spots are created equal. We love Thorntree River Lodge not only for its gorgeous, Afro-modern design but also for its waterfront location, wide variety of activities and ownership. It’s part of the African Bush Camps portfolio, which is founded and owned by Beks Ndlovu, a leader in the safari world who was born and raised in Zimbabwe.

The Smoke that Thunders

Victoria Falls is perhaps one of the most iconic places in the whole of Africa and for good reason. Spanning the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this magnificent cascade spans 5,600 feet across and 355 feet tall. When it’s at peak flow, there are few sights more spectacular. Voluminous clouds of mist billow skyward from the falls, inspiring their traditional name ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, or the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. While touring the falls, be ready to get wet if you visit during the months of peak flow. The spray drenches the forests that line the banks of the river and many of the viewpoints. You’ll never feel more alive than when thunder fills your ears, your hair soaked with spray and rainbows shimmering in the mist filled air around you.

No matter what time of year you visit, it will be memorable. The flow is high from February to June, with the peak flow in May and June. During this time, the falls form the largest continual curtain of falling water on Earth. We love pairing a stopover at Victoria Falls with a wildlife safari in Southern Africa and time in Cape Town. Whether we use it as a soft landing into Africa, a dip into civilization in the middle of a long trip or a grand finale, it never fails to impress.

Experiencing the Falls

Staying at a small, intimate camp such as Thorntree River Lodge gives you the flexibility to shape your days how you please in a way that the larger hotels in the area can’t offer. On any given day you can choose what activities you want to do, so your time there feels more relaxed and less scheduled – just like the river, you can go with the flow. Though the falls are the primary focus of any stay at Thorntree River Lodge, there are plenty of other activities on offer that let you appreciate the full breadth of the area.

A sunset river cruise on the Upper Zambezi is a must – there’s nothing more magical than sipping cocktails while the coral sky reflects off surface of the water. Stop off at an island in the middle of the river for the ultimate sundowner experience. Because Thorntree offers private cruises to only their guests, you will depart right from your lounge area instead of driving to a shared dock. The experience is much more relaxing and intimate as a result, which we love.

Canoeing or catch-and-release fishing are other great ways to immerse into the river setting. Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy yourself is simply relaxing on the gorgeous floating river deck that makes Thorntree so special. Watch as fish eagles hunt right in front of you, listen to the distant rumble of the falls and watch as dragonflies dance through the air.

In nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, you can go on classic game drives in search of big game, go birdwatching or spend time tracking rhinos. For those that just can’t get enough wildlife during their trip, this is a great option. A cultural experience or a visit to the Livingstone Museum are also worthwhile if you have the time during your stay. Livingstone is charming little African town that offers a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. Donkey carts pulling a farmer’s haul amble past your vehicle. Women catch up together as they do their shopping and men sip cold cokes in the shade of a tree.  

Riverfront Bliss

Stretched along a peaceful section of the Upper Zambezi River, Thorntree River Lodge is all about riverfront living at its best. Panoramic views and understated luxury define the ambiance of our favorite Victoria Falls accommodation. Since Thorntree is located 20 minutes upstream from the falls and the bustle of Livingstone town, it feels like a safari camp instead of a hotel as many of the options in the immediate vicinity of the falls do. We love that its safari-like atmosphere gives it an effortless flow between your time in the bush and there.

With the chic, organic design and plethora of creature comforts, you’d never realize it’s an eco-conscious retreat that works in harmony with the natural setting. ­The clean lines of the design contrast with the fluidity of the river while a neutral color palette lets the setting shine as the real star. Plush linens, floor-to-ceiling open air design, roomy suites and thoughtful touches create a barefoot luxury that we adore.

It has all the creature comforts you’d expect from a high-end camp, such as a spa, private plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers overlooking the river, private decks, soaking tubs and a large pool and campfire area. However, thanks to its location near a town, it can offer elevated amenities that you don’t normally find in off-the-grid bush camps. While at Thorntree, you can enjoy extra perks such as a gym, hairdryers, wifi and air conditioning.

The service offers a blend of polished and relaxed feels-like-family hospitality – think freshly baked scones and piping hot coffee delivered to your suite in a butler’s pass-through at your desired wake up time. Simply put, life is good when you’re at Thorntree.

Families at Thorntree

With years of experience taking his own children on safari, owner Beks Ndlovu knows exactly what families need and want in a safari camp. The spacious family suite is connected by a walkway, so parents are close to their children, but still have their own space. With both a private plunge pool and a large main pool, kids will love it. The Ngwana Club for children offers nature walks around camp, arts and crafts projects, cooking lessons and other specialist activities that will keep them entertained. If parents want some alone time, Thorntree also offers childminders on request.

Ecotourism at Its Best

A big reason we love Thorntree River Lodge is what it represents in the wider world of ecotourism. We are deeply committed to supporting any camps, reserves and projects that truly embody the ethos of ecotourism – sustainability, community development and giving back. We’re not the first people to celebrate Beks Ndlovu and his company African Bush Camps, and we won’t the be the last.

He is a born and raised Zimbabwean who has founded one of the most successful luxury safari companies in Africa. With his roots as a professional safari guide in his native Zimbabwe, he saw the opportunity to start his own company in 2006 and has skyrocketed to success from there. With camps now spanning Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, he represents the future of community-led ecotourism that keeps a higher percentage of tourism dollars in the immediate economies. We hope to see more and more of these operations emerge in the footsteps of Ndlovu and look forward to supporting them as enthusiastically as we do African Bush Camps.

Visit Thorntree River Lodge for Yourself!

If you’re looking for the embodiment of riverfront bliss, Thorntree River Lodge is the place for you. Bringing chic style and a refreshing tranquility to this world-famous destination, you can escape the crowds and enjoy Victoria Falls at your own pace. This is the perfect complement to any safari and a must for first-time visitors to Southern Africa.

Check out our Natural Wonders of Southern Africa itinerary to pair a stay at Thorntree River Lodge with time at a luxurious Cape Town boutique hotel and two diverse areas in the coveted Okavango Delta-Linyanti ecosystem. After the vibrant cultural scene of the city and an action-packed wildlife safari, a relaxing finale at Victoria Falls is the perfect way to reflect on your big African adventure.

Begin Planning Your Journey Today

 

 

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Top 10 Trips of 2021

Posted 2021-01-09

After an intense year, travel is the escape you need right now. With numerous promising vaccines now on the market, we can once again dive head first into planning trips to dreamy far-away destinations.

Have you missed the thrill of anticipation and excitement leading up to a trip? The moment you first step off a plane in a new country - full of possibility and experiences waiting to be had? The rush of new sights, smells and sounds engulfing your senses and setting your soul on fire?

We know we have. 

In honor of travel planning being back on the table, we have created our Top 10 Trips of 2021 - ten gorgeous adventures crafted for the times. You may notice more single country itineraries than in past years' selections. This is because we have adapted for the current circumstances, opting for itineraries that minimize the hassle of border crossings and additional testing requirements by staying in one country and exploring all it has to offer. These are all about a more relaxed pace of travel and diving deeper into these amazing destinations. 

 So dig those suitcases out of storage, charge your camera batteries and brush the dust off your passport because travel is BACK! 

 

TOP 10 TRIPS OF 2021

#1 CAPE TO CAIRO

South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya & Egypt 

Why this itinerary is great...

  • For those seeking to experience a little of everything this diverse continent has to offer, it doesn't get better than our Cape to Cairo itinerary
  • Discover Cape Town with our curated private touring, see the majestic Victoria Falls and meet the extraordinary wildlife of the Okavango Delta
  • Have brunch at the famed Giraffe Manor and experience magnificent wildlife displays on the plains of the Masai Mara
  • Delve into the ancient riches of Egypt, from the Pyramids of Giza to the relics of the National Museum

 

2# MANGO FAMILY FAVORITES

Kenya & Tanzania

Why this itinerary is great...

  • East Africa is a region steeped in warm hospitality and intimate camps, making it perfect a family safari you’ll talk about for years to come
  • Family tents and private houses let you experience the magic of Africa together, while still giving everyone their own space
  • Have brunch with giraffes poking their head through the window and marvel as elephants drink from your private pool
  • Watch lion cubs play together and go snorkeling in warm tropical waters in Zanzibar

 

#3 RWANDA PRIMATE SAFARI

Rwanda

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Discover Africa’s premier great ape and monkey destination on this journey privately guided by one of our world-class hand picked guides
  • Explore little known Akagera National Park, a land of fertile savannah and lakeside forests home to lion, leopard, rhino and other safari classics
  • Venture deep into the heart of Rwanda’s dense Nyungwe Forest where wild chimpanzees and rare colobus monkeys thrive
  • Trek through the misty volcanic slopes to meet families of highly endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys
     

#4 EPIC SOUTHERN AFRICA

South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Experience the best of Cape Town with a stay in a luxurious private villa overlooking the ocean and curated private touring
  • Delve into the heart of the famed Okavango Delta where the diversity and abundance of wildlife is simply outstanding
  • Stay in two of the most coveted and legendary camps in Botswana, both located in the best game viewing areas the delta has to offer
  • Explore a classic safari bushveld where elephants and predators rule the land with a stay in Zimbabwe's trendiest private house
     

#5 AMAZING BOTSWANA

Botswana

Why this itinerary is great...

  • The abundant wildlife, stunning camps, fascinating landscapes and sense of true wilderness make Botswana a Mango Safaris favorite
  • Discover the many facets of the Okavango Delta, the crown jewel in a country already marvelously rich in natural wonders
  • Be ready for world-class guiding, access to the best wildife habitats and activities that deliver big on experience and memorability
  • Stay in three stunning camps that bring the perfect contrast of luxury, comfort and service to this wild setting

 

#6 THE MIGRATION: BIRTHING SEASON

Tanzania

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Immerse into the diversity of Tanzania's landscapes, wildlife and cultures with The Great Migration as the highlight of the itinerary
  • The variety and quality of activities packed into this trip are truly outstanding, including some Mango Favorites
  • Go on a highland walk with a Masai guide, visit the Ol Duvai Gorge - the cradle of mankind, and tour a coffee plantation in the Ngorongoro hills
  • Experience the migration birthing season when thousands of wildebeest babies are born within a few weeks
     

#7 HEART OF ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Zimbabwe offers travelers so many iconic experiences from spectacular wildlife to the majestic Victoria Falls
  • Venturing from north to south, this itinerary celebrates all the highlights this beautiful nation has to offer
  • Watch lions, cheetahs and other safari icons in the classic bushveld of Hwange and feel the mist on your face from the thundering falls
  • Watch elephants on a boating safari in Mana Pools and finish your trip in style with an ultra-luxurious stay at Singita Pamushana
     

#8 ANCIENT WONDERS OF EGYPT

Egypt

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Escorted throughout by your own private Egyptologist, with exclusive access to the famous sites and a luxurious Nile cruise
  • Delve into Cairo's endless highlights, including a private sunrise visit to the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and the National Museum
  • Visit the wonders of Luxor, including the sprawling Karnak Temple and a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and Queens
  • Cruise back in time as you explore the fascinating communities that have thrived on the banks of the Nile River for millennia
     

#9 SECRETS OF THE CONGO

Republic of Congo

Why this itinerary is great...

  • In the heart of the continent lies a hidden jewel of ancient rainforests, winding rivers, lush swamps and mineral-rich bais
  • Trek to see the habituated lowland Odzala gorillas and spend hours sitting beside the bais watching the parade of wildlife stopping by
  • Take to the rivers to delve deeper into the Congo basin and truly soak in the wild magic of this Eden
  • Let this land reveal her rare secrets to you - forest elephants, bongos, bush pigs, swirling flocks of colorful parrots and so much more
     

#10 MADAGASCAR BY PRIVATE AIR

Madagascar

Why this itinerary is great...

  • Madagascar is a country truly unlike any other place on Earth and a must-go for any wildlife lovers or photographers
  • The country’s biodiversity is a celebration of the extraordinary and bizarre, and the landscapes aren't far behind
  • Lemurs leap through the treetops, chameleons tiptoe along and the turquoise seas teem with turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and dolphins
  • From bungalows hidden in the rainforest to an ultra-luxurious island finale and private planes throughout, this is the best of the best
     

It's time to refocus on the things you love with the people you love...

GET IN TOUCH TODAY
info@mangosafari.com   |   503.282.9009

 

 

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Traveling during a Pandemic: Expertise You Can Trust

Posted 2020-11-19

After an intense year, travel is the escape you need right now.

We are adapting our 21 years of expertise to the times so we can continue to bring the best travel experiences to you. With our finger ever on the pulse of the latest in African travel, we are your source for the latest updates and information. In a time with plenty of uncertainty, we are here to answer any and all questions you may have.

We’ve worked with our trusted partners in Africa to create flexible terms and conditions so you can feel confident in your options when you book with us.

We are planning trips that maximize safety and anticipate changes that may arise. From using airlines that enforce safety measures to slowing down the pace of travel for less time in busy areas and more time in the fresh air of the bush, we will craft an itinerary tailored for optimal safety and optimal enjoyment.

We’re including extra days on arrival and camps offering on-site covid testing for seamless arrival and departure proceedings. We’re using fewer stops, responsible camps we trust, and a slower pace of travel so you can immerse into the African experience rather than focusing on the hassle. We’re smartly including measures such as private vehicles and guides.

Is it safe to travel?

In short – yes. There is always some degree of risk when you travel, and that’s no different right now. We have already had clients returning to Africa and having a marvelous time! With endless fresh air, wide-open spaces and small camps, safaris are a natural fit for covid era travel. This is social distancing at its best!

Through effective leadership, Africa has achieved impressive success at shutting down covid outbreaks. The continent has consistently seen low numbers. For example, Rwanda has a population of 12 million people and has only had 5,300 total cases. They are seeing daily case counts under 25, which is almost unfathomable as we sit here in the US. 

Where can we travel?

Most of the safari-focused countries are already fully open to US citizens. Our cultural destinations in North Africa are also welcoming Americans. Entry requirements vary by country, but the vast majority require a covid-negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

When should we go?

If you are comfortable, travel between now and the end of May 2021. Flights are cheap, there are fantastic exclusive offers and you'll practically have Africa's vast wild spaces to yourself. The camps, guides and wildlife are ready and very excited to welcome you back! We have already had clients returing to Africa and having a marvelous time. 

"We still can’t believe we were able to trek mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, enjoy sundowners in the Mara, visit the singing wells and Reteti Elephant Sanctuary at Sarara, learn about rhino conservation in Lewa, and safely experience the beauty and wildlife of Rwanda and Kenya in the time of covid-19. Cheers to Mango and their partners in Africa for planning our incredible trip, dealing with all sorts of changes, and ensuring our safety and compliance with local covid-19 guidelines. Travel safe and wear a mask!"
- Ming Z. October 2020

The time is now! 

Swap Zoom meetings for game drives with leopards and baking bread for sundowners with giraffes. Swap your Netflix for a starry campfire and your living room yoga for a gorilla trek. 

We have cultivated a collection of one country itineraries that are perfect for the times. By focusing on one country, you minimize the hassle of border crossings and eliminate the need for extra testing. These trips deliver BIG on experience and thrills - wildlife galore, diverse activities, gorgeous camps and unique cultures.

Amazing Botswana   Rwanda Primate Safari   Grasslands of Tanzania   Namibia Self-Drive Adventure   Kenya Family Safari   Exclusive Egypt

It's time to refocus on the things you love with the people you love...

GET IN TOUCH TODAY
info@mangosafari.com   |   503.282.9009

 

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Featured Favorite: Mala Mala Camp

Posted 2020-10-20

MALA MALA CAMP

Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

Who it’s best for:

Wildlife lovers, photographers, videographers, families and groups

Activities:

Day and night game drives, walking safaris, special guided photographic experiences and junior ranger program

Why we love it:

Wildlife, wildlife, wildlife! The game viewing doesn’t get better than at Mala Mala. This family-owned private reserve has dedicated itself to long-term, holistic conservation, creating a haven for a diversity and abundance of wildlife that echoes the legendary tales of a bygone Africa.

Where Predators and Photographers Abound

When we’re looking for a place that we know will consistently deliver out-of-this-world sightings, we know the Mala Mala Game Reserve will fit the bill. This is the kind of place where you’ll be dazzled by the wildlife whether it’s your first time on safari or your twentieth. To call the predators abundant doesn’t even begin to cover the experience of going on a game drive at Mala Mala. Over the duration of a client’s stay, they have a 96% success rate for seeing lions, 99% for elephants, 95% for buffalo and a remarkable 97% for the highly elusive leopard. Beyond the Big Five, there is ample plains game and diverse birdlife.

Mala Mala has the perfect blend of elements to make it such a productive reserve. It’s one of the biggest private reserves in South Africa, comprising 33,000 acres of absolutely prime habitat. That’s nearly 7x larger than any other reserves in the famed Sabi Sands region. Within the reserve, numerous different habitats create a diversity of niches that supports that outstanding diversity. The Sand River runs right through it so even during the driest months when water is scarce, wildlife is consistently drawn to the reliable water.

The best habitat would be nothing without the dedicated conservation management the team at Mala Mala have carefully carried out since the reserve was founded. They have also benefitted from being nestled right in the heart of numerous other well-managed reserves on three sides and Kruger National Park on the other. Without any fences, the wildlife is able to wander freely.

A Haven for Photographers

Many properties offer great opportunities for photographers by the sheer nature of their surroundings, but Mala Mala is one that really goes above and beyond by creating special photographic packages that are perfectly tailored to the needs of both enthusiastic amateurs and professionals. From specially trained guides who understand vehicle positioning, lighting and composition to vehicles fully kitted out for shot stability, maneuverability and ease, they have thought of it all. We have clients that return year after year just for the photography.

Back in camp, as you review your snaps of the day, you’ll find plenty of inspiration on the walls around you. Vintage photos from the earliest days of bush homesteading mingle alongside professional images captured on the reserve. The whole story of Mala Mala is told in these photos.

In case any photographers out there need more convincing: the reserve has been used many times over the years for filming prestigious nature documentaries. Russ McLaughlin of Nat Geo Wild said "Over the past 10 years I've travelled the world documenting wildlife for National Geographic, but nothing has compared to what Mala Mala has to offer. Nowhere in Africa can the scenic beauty and wildlife behavior be remotely compared to Mala Mala in any aspect and it's hands down the most remarkable place I have ever filmed in." That’s a pretty world-class testimonial if we say so ourselves.

Family Heritage

The family that owns Mala Mala are one of the original players in the safari world. They have been operating safaris in some form for over 40 years, and they bring all those years of experience to their camps today. Throughout the camp you will be able to see their family’s storied legacy and heritage. You can feel the love they’ve poured into every bit of it. From the moment you arrive onto the reserve you will be swept up into their idyllic bush life.

The entire family of Mala Mala camps have undergone an extensive renovation from the ground up in recent years. The elevated experience is now on par with the other private reserves around the area. The guest service and feels-like-family atmosphere has always been there, but now the ambiance is too. As a testament to how fabulous the reserve is though, we’ve been selling Mala Mala for years, well before the camps were remodeled, because the game viewing was just that spectacular.

It has the feel of a classic South African lodge, with a handsome design and accents that celebrate the local African culture. It feels like stepping into someone’s home; it’s cozy and welcoming with plenty of family heritage. Oversize sofas topped with cushy pillows contrast against bold geometric patterns. Handwoven baskets and local art keep the atmosphere firmly grounded in the area’s traditional culture. There are just enough sleek touches to bring a modern, updated feel without losing any of the rustic charm.

Though many of our favorite camps are fully off the grid, that isn’t the right fit for everyone, so we love Mala Mala for those looking for some more creature comforts in their camp experience. Beyond the spacious and very comfortable rooms, there is also a large communal lounge, an air-conditioned dining room, and a shady deck and traditional boma for al fresco meals. Kids and adults alike will love the big infinity pool overlooking the Sand River; while cooling off you can watch the wildlife stop by the river for a drink. You can also focus on your wellness with a session in their well-equipped gym or a relaxing treatment from their masseuse.

We love that the new design offers both wide open spaces for togetherness, as well as little nooks you can tuck yourself away in for privacy. This makes it perfect for families or groups of friends that are traveling together. There are areas for your whole group to enjoy quality time together, but also room for some breathing space so everyone can get their alone time. There are areas perfectly tailored to the needs of children – think games, a television with satellite channels, plenty of DVDs and space for kids to be kids.

Visit Mala Mala Camp for Yourself!

If you’re looking for a place that will deliver big on the outstanding wildlife moments with an in-camp experience that is laid back and packed with all the creature comforts you could ever need, Mala Mala is absolutely the place for you. For anyone who loves photography, this spot is a must. You won’t be disappointed.

Check out our Lights, Camera, Action! itinerary to pair a stay at Mala Mala with time in Cape Town and the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. Cape Town brings a lively culture and dining scene, and the Bazaruto Archipelago packs in all the idyllic beach vibes and superb snorkeling.  

Begin Planning Your Journey Today

 

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