Southern Africa Safari

 

 

To be able to explore three different countries whilst taking in multiple experiences without rushing… Sound impossible? Not when you have your own aircraft, amazing destinations and experienced guides to lead you through a magical safari experience.

 

The Safari Architects team spent the festive season doing just that – being festive, whilst on an epic safari with an incredible family through the wilderness of Southern Africa. Our destinations included South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Starting in the beautiful icnoic Sabi Sands, moving up to the waterways and islands of the Okavango in Botswana, exploring the desert dunes of Namibia, and ending in the famous Cape, this safari was sure to be a truly memorable one.

Mala Mala was the first stop on our journey, and with a global reputation for some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa, it did not disappoint. What we experienced in three days was beyond incredible and thoroughly surpassed our expectations. Mating leopards and a cub, wild dog chases, lions (including a four-male lion coalition) rhinos interrupting drink stops, elephant herds, grumpy buffalo bulls, striding giraffes, zebras and so much more. It is difficult to put into words the effect these sightings had on all of us, therefore to help illustrate the magnitude of these experiences, we have put together a few photographs from our time at Mala Mala.

A pair of mating leopards. An incredibly rare sighting to witness, and ironically the first animals we saw at Mala Mala.

Sunsets perched a top a granite rock, overlooking the whole of Mala Mala.

Wild dogs and a leopard… WOW! They chased her off a well earned kill and right up a tree.

As soon as the wild dogs were far enough from the carcass, she flew down the tree to retrieve what was left.

She dragged it off and took it up another tree, safely away from other predators.

It’s not often that you get to see a klipspringer antelope up close and personal. We watched a family of three for ages, chasing one another around their rocky outcrop.

The next morning we bumped into the male leopard who we had seen mating the evening before. This time alone, no female in sight.

A true highlight from our time in the Sabi Sands was a sighting of the Mantimahle male lions, who are becoming a formidable force in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Mala Mala. They sauntered in from the Kruger National Park during the night and once we got the news, we knew we had to find them! We were treated to a fantastic sighting, the males walked slowly through open clearings on a mission down to the Sand River. Our experience only became more exciting as the lions approached the river. There, they bumped into a small group of buffalo bulls which caused an interesting game of “cat and buffalo” to ensue.

The Mantimahle male lion coalition. It is something to behold when you see four beasts in their prime, sauntering through their territory in a way that leaves no doubt as to who is in charge.

After attempting to hunt some buffalo bulls, they settled in the open next to the Sand River.

For any guide with many years of experience, seeing a leopard cub is a privilege. However, to find them in a den with their mother at only eight weeks old is extremely rare. Therefore, being able to share this with guests who are visiting Africa for only a brief time was something extremely special. This small cub entertained us for almost an hour, nursing from its mother and then being left to play on its own. Climbing rocks, chasing a butterfly and finding its way into the flimsy branches of a nearby Bushwillow tree. It was a spectacle we will hold dear to us forever.

A sighting of a lifetime! A nine week old leopard cub playing around it’s hidden den site.

After a magical few days at Mala Mala, we enjoyed our last evening game drive with a drinks stop in a quiet and serene grassland in the northern reaches of the property. Whilst quietly enjoying our drinks, we were enthralled to see a female rhino and her calf slowly making their way towards us. In the distance, a lone hyena was strolling across the open plains. Moments like these are priceless and we feel so fortunate.

On our last afternoon we stopped for an early Sundowner and were joined by a crash of rhinos and a hyena. See if you can spot the hyena…

Drinks in hand, we celebrated the magical moments at Mala Mala.

The next leg of our adventure saw us leaving South Africa and making our way toward the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Little Vumbura Camp was our first stop, located on a tiny island surrounded by the waterways and channels that make this place so glorious. A plethora of wildlife lives in this magical place and the best ways to experience them are through a combination of boats, mekoros (dugout canoes), game vehicles and helicopters. The crystal clear waterways of the Delta have an immediate cleansing effect on one’s soul. There is nothing that compares to the magic of this unique wildlife spectacle. Teeming with wildlife and birds in abundance, in addition to being as remote as one can be, there is no guessing why this is considered one of the top wildlife destinations of the world.

Little Vumbura camp from the sky.

Water lillies and their flowers. Quintessential Okavango beauties…

The peace and serenity that is the Okavango Delta. Best explored… by any means possible.

Sunset drifting…

The most relaxing way to immerse yourself in the delta is via a traditional Mekoro.

Slow and steady, enjoy the peace and quiet of the waterways and floodplains.

An island hop off for a G & T…

Giants of the floodplains.

Wildlife viewing in the Vumbura concession is always fantastic. We were treated to every wildlife encounter imaginable, with the highlights being a male lion feeding on hippo in the middle of a flooded area, 3 tiny lion cubs, wild dogs and their pups and we were spoilt by seeing over 20 sitatunga from the luxury of a helicopter. Our time at Little Vumbura was calmly brought to an end in style with a surprise drink stop in a open floodplain. With our feet in crystal clear water, we toasted to an amazing few days.

Wildlife viewing in the Vumbura concession is always fantastic. We were treated to every animal encounter imaginable, the highlights being a male lion feeding on hippo in the middle of a flooded area, three tiny lion cubs, wild dogs and their pups and over twenty Sitatunga antelope from a bird’s eye view in a helicopter. Our time at Little Vumbura was calmly brought to an end in style with a surprise drink stop in an open floodplain. With our feet in crystal clear water, we toasted to a remarkable few days.

As we sipped our crisp G&Ts, listening to the sounds of the bush around us with Bruce Springsteen in the background, we noticed a pair of mating lions in the distance roughly about 150m away. They were totally un-phased by our presence as we stood in awe of this rare marvel.

One of the Kings of Vumbura Plains.

The future Kings emerge from their hidden den site…

A surprise drink stop in the waters of the Okavango. Feet in the water, immersed in the splendour of this watery paradise.

What it is all about… fun, family and laughter.

Mombo Trails Camp on Chief’s Island was our next stop. We changed modes of transport this time around and opted for a helicopter flip with no doors instead of our trusty Pilatus PC12 aircraft, and what a way to see the Okavango Delta in all her glory! From the air, in a helicopter, it is far easier to get perspective of the sheer size and magnitude of this watery paradise. The team was even lucky enough to see about 20 shy Sitatunga antelope feeding waist deep in water. Until now, none of our Safari Architects team have ever seen so many!

The ultimate way to see the delta is from the air, in a helicopter with no doors… The vastness of the Okavango can then be truly appreciated.

An extremely rare and up close sighting of the world’s only true aquatic antelope, a Sitatunga.

It is said that Chief’s Island is where animals go when they go to heaven. It has a diversity of habitats that is able  to accommodate a huge variety of animals, meaning game viewing here is utterly breath-taking. Having had great fortune until this point, we shifted our focus from quantity of game to specific interactions. In this case we were after black rhino and cheetah. After a few days of hard work and more lions and leopards, we were blessed with some amazing interactions and unique encounters. To start with, we experienced watching a wild dog hunt, although unsuccessful, the whole process of the most successful hunter in Africa applying their trade was fascinating. On the way home, already buzzing with adrenaline, we bumped into what we were hoping for, a cheetah literally five minutes from Mombo Camp. Gobsmacked!

Another first for Chris and Mike was the privilege of following a caracal hunt. Rarely seen and hard to spot, to even get a glimpse of one is special. She allowed us follow her for about fifteen minutes while she hunted for birds in thickets. The last creature, that had thus far averted us, was the black rhino. Having seen a hundred rhino-shaped rocks, and with two hours left of our last game drive, we still had hope. Therefore, when four (yes, four!) black rhinos emerged into a clearing, to say we were ecstatic would be an understatement. What a magical experience! An elephant joined the scene too, and after a while the short-tempered beasts were in between us. The elephants and rhinos then engaged in some interaction and from a safe distance, we marvelled at the scene in front of us.

Mombo and Chiefs Island truly blessed us! We even saw a beautiful leopardess, known in the region as “Pula”. “Pula” translates to rain or blessing in Setswana, and to include her in the myriad of creatures we saw, this title was only fitting.

The world renowned Mombo Camp and Chief’s Island. This pack of Wild dogs kept us entertained for hours.

A highlight of this part of the trip was seeing this leopardess, Pula, the daughter of the famous Legadema female.

Like a model, she posed beautifully for us.

After a good morning game drive, brunch in the shade with hammocks and couches is the perfect way to spend the rest of the morning.

A crazy afternoon of game viewing ended with wild dogs hunting…

A rare cheetah on the way home was the proverbial cherry on top.

A relaxed caracal. Such a unique and rare sighting. This female let us follow her while she hunted.

Mombo madness consumed. We searched all over, and in our last hour at Chief’s Island, we were blessed with this… four black rhino and an elephant!

After nine days on safari between the Sabi Sands and the Okavango Delta, our guests were in for a real surprise at our next destination. In complete contrast to our experience thus far, we headed west toward Namibia and the desert of endless sand, Little Kulala in Sossusvlei. Completely different terrain than our destinations before, the harshness and ruggedness of the land exuded a unique kind beauty. Adventure awaited, and we were here to explore! The famous Deadvlei of Sossusvlei, climbing the world’s largest sand dune aptly named “Big Daddy”, to quad biking in the reserve and magical sunsets with views overlooking this vast red utopia.

Namibia has the best sunsets. Period!

Taking in the last rays illuminating the desert landscape.

Taking on “Big Daddy” overlooking Deadvlei.

Beauty and the Beast… That’s the pinnacle of Big Daddy and Deadvlei below.

Nearly there, taking in lots of water.

Success!!!

It takes 2 hours to get up, but 5 minutes of exhilarating dune running to get down. So much fun!

The team in Deadvlei, amongst petrified ancient tress.

Hot air ballooning over one of the oldest desserts on the planet at sunrise is one of those ethereal moments in one’s life. On our last morning, the team floated up at sunrise and got a chance to see the rolling dunes and vistas in the magical photography hour. The morning light caught the tips of the fire coloured dunes perfectly, which Mike truly managed to capture effortlessly and beautifully!

Hot air ballooning over the dunes to finish our Namibian adventure.

Colours, contrasts and a collection of drifting memories.

Our chariot, the trusty PC12 NG Pilatus aircraft.

Bidding farewell to the dunes, we boarded our aircraft and after a quick flight from Namibia to South Africa, we were in Cape Town. An action packed few days awaited us with the team from African Lynx travel. On our first morning in Cape Town we were greeted by our guide, Rodger, and off we went on our new adventure. This was going to be a true all round experience of what the Cape has to offer. An informative drive led us to a viewing point over looking Kalk Bay and then a short walk down into the village. We stopped for coffee and pastries at the Olympia Café & Deli, now an institution within the Kalk Bay community. The old fish-and-bait shop, once simply named Olympia Cafe, was renamed in 1977 to Olympia Café & Deli and to this day welcomes pastry loving patrons from all over the globe.

With our appetites satisfied we headed to Cape Point to enjoy views that only the Cape can offer. Stopping at a secluded private bay, we put our feet in the ocean, had some fantastic local coffee and told endless stories of our travels so far. Rodger then entertained us and told us to save our energy as we would be climbing Table Mountain later that afternoon. After a short break and downtime at our hotel, The Cape Grace, we headed out to conquer one of the new seven Natural Wonders of the World. A little tougher than one would think, we ascended Platteklip gorge. With our heads down and the motivation of a cold beer at the top ringing in our minds, we eventually made it! On a clear day, the view can rival or beat any on the planet. We took it all in, had a few laughs and reflected on our magical trip.

Cape Town adventuring…

The iconic Cape of Good Hope.

A secret spot to have a break and put our feet in the ocean.

The view from the top of Table Mountain. What a perfect day and view!

Mike and the kids looking over the Twelve Apostles.

The last experience for us, on our final evening together, was shared at The Pot Luck Club. It was an evening of reminiscing, storytelling, laughter and great fun. We spoke in length about each new experience we had had and the trip’s highlights whilst indulging in some world class cuisine. The evening and the entire safari was characterised by the laughter and never ending banter between this special family and our guides. Two weeks together and we truly felt like one big family!

From our Safari Architects team, thank you to the Gallea family for allowing us to plan and host you on this adventure and for being so open to what Africa has to offer. You welcomed her into your hearts with open arms, and she left with you a piece of herself that we hope will stick with you forever…

Chris, Mike and the Safari Architects team.

The year in review

It’s December and time to reflect upon the most successful year Safari Architects has had since its inception. 2017 has been a fulfilling year on all fronts – we’ve had fantastic guest feedback on some great safaris, increased our staff complement, been humbled by the incredible work done in conservation efforts and had lots of fun in between.

Our travels took us to no less than 11 African countries where we encountered some unforgettable sightings, the highlights of which speak for themselves.

2018 is going to be a special year as we look forward to trips with exceptional itineraries for incredible people. 2019 is already filling up with numerous safaris locked in so, if you’re a person who enjoys the finer things and is still deliberating, now’s the time to get in touch to plan your 2019 experience.

It’s easy to see why we do what we do but there is a lot of hard work that goes into making sure we give our guests the best African experience they can hope for. I would like to thank our whole team for their commitment, drive and hard work towards growing this business.

The journeys I took to the USA and Europe were very successful and thanks again to our amazing clients for their generous hospitality.

Finally, I would like to wish each and every one of you a fantastic festive season and also extend our grateful thanks to all for the support you have given Safari Architects this year.

We look forward to planning for, hosting and flying you somewhere in Africa soon…

Brad and the Safari Architects team

50 Moments from 2017

2017 has been one of our most productive years at Safari Architects. We have travelled across the African continent and have provided lasting experiences for all of the guests who chose to travel with us.

From the Cape to the Sabi Sands and the Timbavati. The Kalahari, the Namib and the Skeleton Coast. We have ventured over the swamps of the Okavango Delta and along the spillway of the Selinda. On foot with Elephants in Zimbabwe, chasing wild dogs in the Luangwa and anti-poaching in Tsavo. We have been face-to-face with the gorillas and chimps and on journeys through the vast plains of the Serengeti. From an aircraft to a safari vehicle, hot air balloon, horse back or helicopter, we have done it all!

Our adventures have been captured in moments that we would love you all to see. Here are our Top 50 moments for 2017.

The silhouette of a perfect cat. Londolozi, South Africa.

Precious moments with the Elephants of Tsavo. Ithumba, Tsavo East.

Mud-bathing during the heat of the day. Ithumba, Tsavo East.

Bush dinner under the stars. Londolozi, South Africa.

Sailing down the Selinda Spillway. Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Reserve.

The San bushmen of northern Botswana. Selinda Reserve.

Unique moments captured in Botswana. Little Vumbura, Okavango Delta.

Wild dogs hunting through the Spillway. Selinda Reserve, Botswana.

Waking up on the moon. Londolozi, South Africa.

A moment of protection within a herd. Little Ruckomechi, Mana Pools.

Once in a lifetime experience, on foot with elephants. Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools.

Campfire stories at the end of a day on safari. Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools.

Some down time between game drives and walking. Little Ruckomechi, Mana Pools.

With giants in the blue forest. Mana Pools.

A family portrait. Singita, South Africa.

A wild baby elephant, from an orphaned mother. Ithumba, Tsavo East.

Elephant encounters whilst canoeing down the Zambezi River. Little Ruckomechi, Mana Pools.

A quintessential moment on the banks of the Zambezi River. Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools.

Hot air ballooning over the Namib desert. Little Kulala, Namibia.

The keepers and their elephants. Wild and orphaned. Ithumba, Tsavo East.

A leopardess strolls nonchalantly down a road at Kirkmans Kamp in the Sabi sand Game Reserve.

Benjamin and his elephants. Head keeper and an all round leader, he is given respect by all. Ithumba, Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

Watching the fastest animal on earth on the open plains of Serengeti, Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

Jumping for joy on the last night of an epic safari. Kings Pool, Linyanti, Botswana.

A majestic giant, Tarangire region, Little Chem Chem.

The last white lion, Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park.

A unique individual, standing out of the crowd, but part of a family. Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park.

A heart wrenching scene and the result of a hunt. Life and death and its most raw. Kings Pool, Linyanti, Botswana.

A pride of lions crosses the Sand River in response to a few wildebeest grunts. Mala Mala, Sabi Sand, South Africa.

A pair of adolescent male lion kill and fight over a warthog boar. Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana.

A herd of Lechwe witness a golden sunrise. Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Sunset with a king of the grasslands. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

A privilege to dance with the Masai on the banks of Lake Manyara. Chem Chem, Tanzania.

A lioness creeps out of the darkness and slakes her thirst after a dry Kalahari summers day. Tswalu, South Africa.

The dominant male lion of the same pride follows suit. His Kalahari genes showing in his immense size. Tswalu, South Africa.

A herd of elephants drinking in dwindling Athi River below the Yatta Plateau. Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.

A young and inquisitive gorilla explores his environment emboldened by the comfort of his father. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

A dazzle of zebra contrast with Lake Burunge. Little Chem Chem, Tanzania.

A lioness, draped across a fallen branch, stares at an approaching male. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

A cruel yet incredibly exciting story unfolds on the plains of the Serengeti. An unfortunate outcome for the Thompson’s gazelle, but an amazing sighting. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

A leopardess yawns on a fallen tree, while her hidden cub feeds on a carcass nearby. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

A leopard scans her horizon, using a slightly elevated position much like a cheetah. Singita Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania.

A million animals moving across the grasslands, makes for an old movie scene. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

One of many… The biomass of the great migration is truly hard to comprehend. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

A friend and guests stares in awe at a once in a lifetime opportunity. Greystoke, Mahale, Mahale National Park, Tanzania.

Photographed by: Mike Sutherland and Chris Renshaw

The finer things…

 

 

The finer things that can be appreciated at luxury safari lodges is a facet of our business that adds to the complete picture of what we do. Wildlife viewing and the game experience is what brings us to Africa and the reserves, but once we are there we realise there is so much more. We take you through our thoughts on how we feel this adds to the overall experience.

Immaculate spaces

Waking up and falling asleep at your lodge should be just as beautiful an experience as being out in the wild plains. Your room, along with the rest of your abode, should effortlessly boast a peaceful space filled with elements which connect you to the outdoors even whilst being inside. That being said, we are proud to say that the lodges we frequent with our guests are of this belief and have it implemented down to an art. The balance between creating a space with the comforts of home but which can also simultaneously transport you to a world beyond imagination, is imperative to the experience these lodges aim to create. Every individual holding in its own respect represents a different sentiment and style, some encapsulating an era, others a feeling, but always an experience. Some boast vibrant bright colours with a modern edge, whilst others transport guests to another world, usually one long before their time, evoking a delicate sense of mystery and wonder. In this way, they can become exquisite time capsules which leave guests feeling nostalgic for something they have most probably never even experienced before.

Certain lodges have also been crafted to seamlessly and naturally blend right into their surroundings, fully immersing guests within a wilderness experience in every way. Bathtubs on the deck, showers under the trees, bedrooms surrounded by clear glass walls, open-plan lounges with an uninterrupted view of the plains, dining tables on the balcony and everything else you could ever desire all contribute to the feeling of undergoing a full wildlife immersion. At many of these camps, animals such as zebra, elephants and even leopards wander freely in the open area around these luxury holdings. Guests can sit on their balconies or even just look out of their windows to see breathtaking wildlife close up and in full view. There is a feeling of real involvement and engagement when you visit lodges such as these, it is no longer us and nature, it is us with nature, promoting a true and genuinely wild-at-heart affair

Abu camp in the Okavango Delta. A contrasting design between texture, fine lines and “old” leather.

Singita Sweni lodge. The newly renovated lodge has a funky design unlike any other. It has to be seen too be truly appreciated.

Singita Sasakwa. Perched atop a hill overlooking the Grumeti concession,Tanzania. The view alone is with it. The colonial yet modern design screams opulence and decadence.

Zarafa Camp in the Selinda reserve, Botswana. The open design with wood finishes makes it truly unique and guests feel right at home whilst seemingly fading into the bush.

Londolozi private Granite suites in the Sabi Sand Private game reserve. Modern, private and utterly beautiful.

Singita Ebony lodge. A mix of new with the old. The complete union of an older style lodge, but with new and interesting finishes.

Singita Castelton. An old farm house brought to life by modern concepts and a new twist on colonial bush living.

Fine wine and dining with a twist

Luxury lodges are becoming far more aware of the significant role which the food they present plays in the overall experience of their guests. Yes, food has always and will always be an important factor when hosting lodgers, people need to eat! However, the simple kitchen-to-plate approach has recently undergone a far more in-depth thought process by the top-class chefs who run these wilderness kitchens. The thought process in question is one which acutely considers the surroundings of the location: the colors, the sounds, the aromas, the flora and of course the wildlife. In bringing elements to the plate such as shades and textures inspired directly by the particular setting of each camp, the diners are not only experiencing the outdoors whilst outdoors, but are also enriching their experience while they dine. The plate becomes a reflection, a picture almost of the vast habitat they are visiting. This incorporation allows chefs to become more involved and share another perspective of the journey with the guests. They become the bush guides of the kitchen, bringing to light and sharing the beauty of the site within a dish instead of from a game vehicle. You don’t need to stop at just seeing the wilderness, you can fully consume it (quite literally!)

In order to fully execute this exciting dining concept, many of these premier chefs also take extra care to ensure their produce is always fresh and honest, many of them even being hands-on in the growing and harvesting process. This, many of them say, brings them the greatest joy in knowing that they have seen the ingredients flourish and have then worked them honorably into the marvelous story-telling creations which end up on the guests’ plates. Being able to build these immaculate displays with such exquisite ingredients and skill allow chefs the opportunity to take the breathes of the guests away too, much the same as a cheetah hunt on the plains would.

Considering the immensely remote locations of these camps, the quality of the food offered is truly outstanding. Whilst travelling to these lodges from the outside world and realizing more and more just how secluded they are, the expectation of world-class luxury cuisine is most likely not big on one’s mind. This, in fact, is the element of surprise the lodge chef’s love to play on, presenting their guests with a spectacular meal they never could never have imagined within such isolation.

Chef Liam Tomlins’ influence at work at all the Singita lodges.

Fine dining setup with new cutlery concepts,

Tapas style!

Local cuisine and game meats on offer along with creative ideas on sides and sauces.

Baristas serve the freshest and finest coffee.

Wine is the quintessential partner to complete one of these impeccably crafted meals. It takes these servings to another level and adds an element of learning and discovery to every bite. The world-class Sommeliers stationed at these lodges carefully select the perfect pairing, which not only brings about another dimension to the meal but also offers guests certain insight about the country being visited or, if not the same, the region in which the wine has come from. Each sip tells a story, a story perhaps not directly tied to the exact area the guests are exploring, but to a region which is ultimately connected to their overall experience on the African continent. A merlot crafted to perfection can beautifully compliment a piece of game reflective of the wildlife in the area, whilst similarly a crisp chenin can bring to life a piece of fish fresh off the East African coast. It awakens the diner to the true beauty of the food presented. Wines of course don’t only have to be enjoyed with a meal, but can be appreciated on their own whist watching the golden sunset or after coming back from a long day in the bush. Many of the sommeliers say that what they enjoy most about working out at these lodges is being able to interact with people from all over the world. They are able to educate them about our country’s outstanding wine varieties and show them how they are all unique to any other wines in the world.

Most of the clientele are familiar with a long list of international wines crossing their palette, but few are educated about the magic that happens within the African winelands. In each sip, they can taste the essence of our continent, the rich land in which the grapes were grown and the fine flavour instilled by the nourishing sun. This is an extremely rewarding experience for the sommeliers and one which they can give to guests in the most beautiful and quintessential of African settings. Special pairing dinners in the remarkable cellars and sundown deck tastings are also available and are sure to develop the most memorable wine appreciation within the guests.

Wine tasting with top sommeliers and wine from South Africa’s best vineyards.

Wine pairings to match some of the finest bush cuisine is always on offer.

The personal bar experience at these lodges is also a wonderful component worth discussing. A bar is a place where people generally come together to share their experiences, to swop stories and to reflect on the day that has passed. This is the focal idea lodges want to play on, especially as the guests are most likely having many and daily first-time experiences. At the end of a full day of exploring their surroundings, guests can come together in this familiar setting and reflect together. Sipping back on a carefully crafted cocktail, a crisp gin & tonic or anything else you desire made by the expert bartenders on site, lodgers can sit together and reminisce on their day (or night) inside around the counter top or outside under the African sky just beyond their doors.

The private bar is an element becoming more and more popular in luxury lodges. There is no queue or waiting in line, nor is there just the option to have a glass of wine or a basic spirit and mix, instead the options are limitless and reflect a true ambiance and drink variety seen in top-class bar lounges anywhere in the world. The idea is to bring worldly luxury into the wild, a place people may not expect such luxury to reside. It is this element of surprise and a joy which lodges hope will delight guests and hopefully make for a truly special and unexpected lavish experience.

Cocktail hour, with a rather splendid background.

Virgin or alcoholic, the choice is yours.

Fun, recreation and relaxation

Although game drives are standard at these lodges, the amount of additional activities are infinite. Recreation plays a huge role in making guests feel as though they are truly on holiday, away from the stresses of everyday life. These activities range from sports such as tennis on the beautifully constructed lodge courts, or fishing in some of the most bountiful rivers in Africa. The rivers in Botswana also make the perfect pathways for traditional Mekoro rides down the glistening channels of the Delta (dugout canoes whereby you are propelled along by a local polar) Other available sporting activities include quad-biking and hot air ballooning, both superbly experienced riding over or floating above the colossal red-faced dunes of Namibia or over the vast herds of migrating wildebeest and Zebra in Tanzania. Additionally, if you love being in the air, a bird’s eye view from a scenic helicopter ride can also serve as the ideal way to view the beauty bustling below.

Fully equipped gyms are another facet which many lodges are implementing, an element which allows visitors the comfort of being able to continue their normal exercise routine. If this is a daily activity guests partake in back home, lodges understand that some visitors may feel uneasy should they not have that outlet (even on vacation) Therefore, they make sure everything they need is at their disposal. And of course, let us not forget what is most important on these trips – relaxation. Luxury lodges are no stranger to the finer things and you can certainly expect to be looked after on your visit. Spa facilities, hot tubs and full body massages are on demand to make sure you are never out of reach of indulgence.

All staff are professionally trained and on-hand to guide you, teach you, look after you and pamper you to your hearts’ content. Any activity in which you wish to partake, someone will be there to make sure you are always safe, happy and entirely satisfied.

The backbone of these luxury lodges are the people, in every department and at every level. It is their greatest pleasure to create for you a world in which you find only peace and beauty. Their hope is to make sure that in every aspect of your stay you find a little bit of magic, a whole lot of lavish luxury and, most importantly, a head and heart full of unrivalled memories… forever.

A private gym and tennis court at Singita Castleton. A gin and tonic and a set…

Private bush dinners are setup under the stars and in the wilds of the African bush.

An old school full size snooker table for some after dinner fun.

A variety off lodges offer some recreational catch and release fishing. Always a great activity for both the kids and adults alike.

A scenic chopper flight at sunrise over the Okavango Delta.

A spot of reading in the shade of a tree overlooking the Serengeti plains.

Some of the most scenic gyms on offer to work off the extra indulgence that is bound to be had.

Beauty, Spa and that feeling…

Private spa treatments on your deck…

Pool, spa treatments and a luxurious bath are always just a call away.

All the best amenities on hand.

Hot rock massages and zen music are the perfect way to unwind.

 

A bath tub with a special view.

Whatever your indulgence or pleasures are whilst on safari, the finer things on offer will immensely compliment to your stay. Of course, the bonus of seeing a leopard and a cub or watching elephants frolicking in a river is what we come for and a cracking glass of wine to the end the day makes it all the sweeter.

Images courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Londolozi, Royal Malewane, Singita, and Wilderness Safaris. 

Safari Architects – Why we do it?

Have you ever thought about travelling to Africa? Or have you been before and now thinking about your return? If either of these questions resonate with you, you may want to continue reading…

We are often asked: “What do you guys actually do?” As if our stories and pictures of the bush are too good to be true, and this certainly can’t be our full-time job. The idea of living out one’s passion every day and making it into a career is unfortunately a foreign concept to many people.

We have been lucky enough to turn what we do into our career. To experience the beauty of Africa with people from all over the world, some of whom are first timers and some whom can’t help but come back, is extremely rewarding. To be able to share these beautiful areas with like-minded people and revel in each day’s new adventure is the ultimate gift.

To clear up any suspicion, we’d like to shed some light on who we are, what we do and why we do it.

Who we are

For the past nine years, Safari Architects has been designing bespoke luxury safari experiences for guests from all over the globe. From discovering the magnificent wetlands of the delta to exploring the wide-open plains of the Serengeti, no one trip is ever the same!

One of the private aircraft used by Safari Architects on our safari’s.

Sunsets in the Sabi Sands. Londolozi.

What we do

Safari Architects, with ‘architects’ being the operative word, builds guests’ experiences from scratch. A trip is designed with each individual guest in mind. Some have dreams to see leopards for the first time, some long to interact with a troop of mountain gorillas, whilst others may want to tick hot air ballooning over the great migration off their bucket list. Our job is to ensure that all these diverse dreams come true as well as everything in between.

Driving through the flooded Jao flats.

Fire-side stories from Selinda Explorers Camp.

Endless views of endless landscapes. Namibia.

Why we do it

Who would turn down the chance to create unforgettable moments, remarkable experiences and once in a lifetime memories in what we believe to be the most beautiful place on earth? In addition, when you throw in being able to share that with people who are experiencing it for the first time, it sweetens the deal even more.

It is a privilege to know that people put their dreams of Africa in our hands and give us the chance to exceed their expectations. The thrill of going above and beyond what they ever thought was possible is an easy feat when this spectacular continent and its offering never seems to disappoint.

We spoke to our two private guides and this is what they had to say about why they do what they do.

Amazing predator sightings in East Africa. Singita Grumeti

King of the beasts. Mala Mala Game Reserve.

Private dining experiences on luxury islands. Azura Benguerra.

Mike Sutherland: Safari Architects private guide & social media manager

“Why do I do what I do? It is a simple yet very tough question for me to answer. It’s not as straightforward as many people may think.

The bush has always held a special place in my heart after years of visiting as a young child on family holidays. There has always been something mysterious about the bush that captivated me.

I am driven by an unending passion for wildlife, the bush and photography and the need to share this passion with my guests. There is something magical about the bush that makes everything more tangible and allows you to reconnect with what is important. 

Being witness to the positive effect the bush has on our guests is also something that will never get old.  

My aim is to continue to make these dreams a reality for all of our guests, and give them an insight into what Living The Dream is all about.”

Enjoying drinks with our feet in the water at Vumbura Plains.

A Mekoro ride through the channels of the Delta at Little Vumbura.

Paddling the Zambezi River at little Ruckomechi, Mana Pools.

Relaxing between drives in the luxury of Little Ruckomechi.

Chris Renshaw, Safari Architects private guide and co-owner

“What drives you? What gives you joy? Are you passionate about anything and why is this so? These are the questions I ask myself daily. It is an introspective approach but something that gets me out of bed every day.

My inspiration comes from a few sources, but most notably, it comes from the people I have met along my journey in this industry. One of the most inspirational persons is an unassuming character, one who guided me through this complex yet simple world of the African bush. He was my first safari tracker, Isaac. The way he was able to appreciate the simple things in life, cherish them, smile and be happy is something that has resonated with me ever since our time together. Slow down, think, watch and take it in.

My second influence is again a tracker with whom I worked. Martin, the softest, most kindhearted man I have had the privilege of meeting. He taught me to look at each individual person in the world and not to judge him or her, but listen and always give him or her a chance. We are all different but, essentially, the core of a being human is very similar.

There are many other people that inspire me too, all sharing similar characteristics of being happy, calm and providing joy to others through their actions and personalities.

Bring this back to Safari Architects, and I can then answer the question. My “why” is the incredible joy I get from showing guests my world for the first time. Like Isaac and Martin taught me, slow down, look, listen and breathe. See what the world is really showing us. This essentially puts us on the same page for a moment in time, and this is when people really connect with each other and the environment around them.”

Reconnecting with old friends. Singita Ebony.

Sunsets in the heart of Africa. Lake Burunge, Little Chem Chem.

Moments before soaring over Sossusvlei in a hot air balloon. Little Kulala.

Climbing the hughest sand dune in the world, Big Daddy. Sossusvlei.

Enjoying a private dinner over looking the southern Kalahari. Tswalu Kalahari.

A boma feast, dining in the outdoors. Singita Ebony lodge.

On foot with giants. Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools.

Tracking leopards in the bush. Little Mombo.

Amazing wildlife viewing. Londolozi.

Precious family time. Vumbura Plains.

Overlooking Murchison Falls. Uganda.

Sunsets and silhouettes. Singita Castleton.

Bush dinners, burning fires, fueling the soul. Londolozi.

An essential way to end the day. Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools.

Whether you resonated with our story, our “why” or were just able to take some insight away from reading this, we have done our job in giving you an awareness of who we are and what we stand for.

To follow along on our continued journey, go check out our other blogs and our social media channels.

Instagram:

@safariarchitects

Facebook:

Safari Architects

Keep chasing your why!

Safari Architects Team

Written by: Mike Sutherland

Photographed by: Mike Sutherland & Chris Renshaw

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