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Maclean Family Safari

Our December family Safaris are really very special, it’s a glorious time of year, the festive season. It is summer here in Southern Africa. No white Christmas for us, it’s hot, swimming pool weather, beach weather. Cape Town is glorious at this time of year, and this is where we started. The Silo Hotel is magnificent, with only 26 rooms, its location could not be better, walk out of the hotel and into the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, for top class shopping and to soak up the atmosphere, situated alongside Cape Town Harbour, in an old Grain Silo which has been revamped into an iconic modern art museum and stylish hotel.


One never has enough time in Cape Town, for this trip we started off with what we call the Deep South, a fun day, exploring quaint fishing villages, swimming with Penguins at the beautiful Boulders Beach, massive granite boulders in azure coloured water dotted with African Penguins. Nowhere else like it on the planet. Hug the coastline back along the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive.


After spending some down time at the hotel roof top pool for cocktails, and some shopping in the Waterfront precinct, it’s time for our sundowner yacht cruise. A 2-minute walk from the hotel, and we are on the 90ft Princess Emma, heading out of Cape Town harbour and around to Clifton Beach, a stunning sunset, French champagne, and South African Methode Cap Classique, a barbeque on the boat, and fun on the SUP’s. A truly magic afternoon and evening, the sun sets around 8pm at this time of year in Cape Town and makes for even more daylight hour fun in this great city.


Next morning, we are off to Table Mountain – one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world, some hike, and some take the cableway up and down, a beautiful hike up Platteklip Gorge, too many photo opportunities and exquisite views of the city and beyond.


We are back mid-morning, for a shower and then we head off to the winelands, showing off in the stunning weather, sirloin, and chips at Rust en Vrede, sipping on delicious Syrah, chocolate and wine tasting at Waterford, and ending off with Tapas dinner on top of a building in the industrial area, Pot Luck Club, one of Cape Town’s very best.


Magical days and nights, Cape Town is one of the worlds great cities, for so many reasons, and in December it cannot be beaten, fun for the entire family, so many varied activities, young and old, left wanting more, that’s what we want!

Off to Safari! Mala Mala here we come. Our favourite game viewing destination in South Africa, a 2-hour direct flight from Cape Town, we land at Skukuza and start our search for Africa’s big game!



Best place on the African continent for up close big game viewing. No doubt. This combined with the beauty of the Sand River, the immense trees, and the exhilarating off road driving, makes it an extraordinary experience. 


First afternoon we were on it. A big male Leopard had come across a young nomadic female who had a kill, she had been feeding on for a few days. They had a squabble within feet of us, what a scenario for first hour of safari. It is quite incredible how the animals ignore the presence of our vehicle, the big green Landcruiser!


2 Leopards fighting, there were also vultures in attendance, and 5 hyenas. Welcome on Safari, this is why we love what we do!


Beautiful mornings, hot days by the swimming pool, working out in the gym, enjoying magnificent wines in the evenings and cocktails at the bar on return from evening safari.


Lions, 3 overheating lionesses, buffalo bulls, elephant sightings, babies, baby Impalas everywhere, the tiniest warthogs, Giraffes, and even Lion cubs. December is baby time on the Southern African safari circuit, and they are each cuter than the last. It is a highlight of a summer safari.


Morning 2, we caught up with a pack of African Wild Dogs, they were on the move, on the hunt, we spent over an hour with them, incredible priveledge to be moving with these animals and witnessing their behaviour.


In the end they hunted and killed, and fed, all in front of us! This was a rare moment.



Last afternoon, we finished up the Big 5 for the day! And were on the chase for some more points for the scoreboard! Jaco expertly found a Leopard, a family of White Rhino – so special. 


Our morning finale was off the hook, lions chasing Wild Dogs, Families of Elephants, a pride of 17 Lions.


Mala Mala what a special place, we are off to Singita Pamushana for Christmas eve, travelling in the Pilatus PC 12 NG, we do customs 10 mins from Mala Mala, and head to Zimbabwe for afternoon tea.


Singita Pamushana is a magnificent lodge, and the hospitality is out of the ordinary, truly a place of miracles.


We spend our first afternoon on Malilangwe Lake, surrounded by hippos, herons, storks and egrets, Nile Crocodiles. Fishing, sipping on cocktails and family photos on the shoreline, a golden sunset as we cruise back into the lodge on Christmas Eve. Local music, a traditional Zimbabwean feast. A feeling of magic, and merriment.


Christmas morning game drive and we are on the search for Black Rhino and boy did we come right, Brad our guide extraordinaire who has been guiding in Zimbabwe for over 30 years tracked down a Black Rhino Bull, best sighting! He also tracked and found 3 male lions as well as 4 Huge Elephant Bulls.



Singita is a place of miracles, we enjoyed a fantastic wine tasting on the last evening, many magic meals, afternoons at the bar, chatting, and enjoying everyone’s company, the staff are amazing, and there are surprises and moments of magic around every corner.


A place it is always very hard to leave. A good hard, a sad goodbye, until next time!




With a slight delay due to low cloud and rainy weather we head for Selinda Game Reserve and Botswana! A paradise in the wild. 


Late afternoon we are cruising over the Okavango Delta and into Selinda Game Reserve, we are met on arrival with an array of snacks, and ice-cold beer and bubbles. Our guides Obie and Rueben inform us that Lions have killed a Zebra close by earlier in the day, we are whisked off to the other end of the airstrip where a pride of Lions are feasting. We watch this all happening in the golden sunlight, back to the airstrip for our helicopter transfer into Zarafa camp. Wow wow wow! Flying in low over the water, a stunning sunset, the clouds are on fire. Never ever to be forgotten.



Zarafa camping is glamping at its best, you can hear the hippos honking through the night, Monkeys jumping on the roof, birds serenading each other early in the morning. But you have a big copper bathtub, an indoor fireplace for cold winter nights, and loads of other extras.


Its wild, its authentic, and a load of fun! Selinda offers a huge variety of habitats and excellent game viewing. We see Lions every time we go out, eating, sleeping, hunting, playing, and sleeping again.


Incredible moments with Elephants – a big family, coming right by the car. Hippos, pushing, shoving, and yawning – always entertaining. 



Flocks of birds, storks, vultures, and bee eaters. Best of all, are the silent moments, the sunsets, the sips of coffee early in the morning, playing soccer in the middle of a floodplain. Dinners around the fire, meat on the barbeques, delicious red wines, and magical Botswana music.


An incredible family holiday – maybe the best. Memories made and moments shared forever.



Laughs. Stories and tales. Culture, adventure, thrills, amazing food and wine, exotic accommodations, friendly people. And the animals! Lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos.


Safari is quite an extraordinary experience. If one can, one must.


Until next time.


Safari Architects.

Creating memories. Living the dream.