Big 5

Getaway in South Africa

Catriona from Getaway recently joined Scenic Tours on an 18 day luxury all-inclusive South Africa and Garden Route tour which formed a three-part special on Southern African adventures.

Check out the start of their journey here:

Getaway to Africa with Catriona Rowntree & Scenic Tours Episode 1 of 3 from Scenic Tours on Vimeo.

The trip began in Sabi Sands, a group of game reserves next to the Kruger National Park where they set off to meet the Big 5.

Touring in a private reserve had benefits for the Getaway team. Private reserves have fewer people so it gave them the opportunity to get closer to the animals.  In addition, they were able to drive off-road for special sightings.

CatrionaSabiSandsCatriona stayed at the luxurious Lion Sands River Lodge  which is located on the banks of the Sabie River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in South Africa and home to Africa’s highest density of leopards.

The next destination involved some myth busting. Once notorious, Johannesburg is transforming into a tourist hot spot.

The team visited the Maboneng district – a neighbourhood on the east side of Johannesburg’s CBD which has been transformed into a bustling entertainment hub with vibrant restaurants and coffee shops alongside galleries, theatres, shopping and walking tours.

Whilst in Johannesburg the Getaway team visited Soweto and chatted to locals to discover the new South Africa after 20 years of democracy.

There is a huge amount of pride from Soweto residents for their hometown which includes two noble laureates – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – from the same street!

Not only that, but in Soweto people claim they have the best barbecues, known as braai, ‘this side of the Indian Ocean’.  At Chaf Pozi  under the iconic Soweto chimney stacks, customers choose their meat from the counter, which is then cooked to perfection for them!  ChafPozi

The Details
The Getaway team did an 18 day luxury journey of South Africa and the Garden Route from Cape Town to Johannesburg with Scenic Tours.

To celebrate Getaway’s visit, Scenic tours are offering  up to $200 off selected Africa tours. Offer valid until December 31, 2014.  Click here for more information,

To book, request a free brochure or to attend a free information session, visit www.scenictours.com.au or call 1300 723 642.

Getaway in South Africa

Catriona from Getaway recently joined Scenic Tours on an 18 day luxury all-inclusive South Africa and Garden Route tour which formed a three-part special on Southern African adventures.

Check out the start of their journey here:

Getaway to Africa with Catriona Rowntree & Scenic Tours Episode 1 of 3 from Scenic Tours on Vimeo.

The trip began in Sabi Sands, a group of game reserves next to the Kruger National Park where they set off to meet the Big 5.

Touring in a private reserve had benefits for the Getaway team. Private reserves have fewer people so it gave them the opportunity to get closer to the animals.  In addition, they were able to drive off-road for special sightings.

CatrionaSabiSandsCatriona stayed at the luxurious Lion Sands River Lodge  which is located on the banks of the Sabie River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in South Africa and home to Africa’s highest density of leopards.

The next destination involved some myth busting. Once notorious, Johannesburg is transforming into a tourist hot spot.

The team visited the Maboneng district – a neighbourhood on the east side of Johannesburg’s CBD which has been transformed into a bustling entertainment hub with vibrant restaurants and coffee shops alongside galleries, theatres, shopping and walking tours.

Whilst in Johannesburg the Getaway team visited Soweto and chatted to locals to discover the new South Africa after 20 years of democracy.

There is a huge amount of pride from Soweto residents for their hometown which includes two noble laureates – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu – from the same street!

Not only that, but in Soweto people claim they have the best barbecues, known as braai, ‘this side of the Indian Ocean’.  At Chaf Pozi  under the iconic Soweto chimney stacks, customers choose their meat from the counter, which is then cooked to perfection for them!  ChafPozi

The Details
The Getaway team did an 18 day luxury journey of South Africa and the Garden Route from Cape Town to Johannesburg with Scenic Tours.

To celebrate Getaway’s visit, Scenic tours are offering  up to $200 off selected Africa tours. Offer valid until December 31, 2014.  Click here for more information,

To book, request a free brochure or to attend a free information session, visit www.scenictours.com.au or call 1300 723 642.

Our commitment to Conservation

South Africa is a place of beauty and depicts so vividly the majestic nature of its wildlife. A huge part of that wildlife is the rhino and although a rhino may look quite indestructible (it’s the second largest animal on land and weighs on average two tonnes!), populations have plummeted in the past and now there are fears that the rhino is facing renewed risk of extinction. As the demand for rhino horn increases in the Far East there has been a rapid increase in poaching of the beautiful white and black rhinos.

More →

Our commitment to Conservation

South Africa is a place of beauty and depicts so vividly the majestic nature of its wildlife. A huge part of that wildlife is the rhino and although a rhino may look quite indestructible (it’s the second largest animal on land and weighs on average two tonnes!), populations have plummeted in the past and now there are fears that the rhino is facing renewed risk of extinction. As the demand for rhino horn increases in the Far East there has been a rapid increase in poaching of the beautiful white and black rhinos.

More →

Sabi Sabi Ranger Story – Ultimate Walk

It was a sunny morning at Selati Camp when we started off on a walking safari. My guests, Ian and Heather MacPherson (father and daughter), as well as a honeymoon couple, Neil and Tracy Bantleman, who had been staying with us for 3 nights, were unaware of the extraordinary walk they wer about to experience.

They were all wildlife enthusiasts and loved their walking safaris, so I asked them whether or not they would be interested in doing a longer walk than usual. They were excited at the idea.

After having a wonderful breakfast in the comfort of the camp, we all set off with our backpacks, water and walking shoes. The sun was getting higher in the sky and the temperature was beginning to soar. This meant that the animals were most likely starting to take to shady spots to keep themselves cool. That would make also make it harder for us to find them.

Shortly after leaving the camp, I found up some fresh Giraffe spoor. The tracks were larger than normal, which suggested that they were from a big male. I estimated that he had walked there within the past hour. My guests were very keen to see the giraffe, so off we went to track him.

Sometimes people think that because Giraffes are so tall they are easy to spot, and it always amazes them just how camouflaged the tallest animal in the world can actually be. We followed the tracks through an Acacia thicket, and into and out of a small drainage line. As we came over a small hill, there, 50-60 meters away was the Giraffe we had been searching for. He was a nice big male, with a darker than normal coat. I tried using the cover of trees and bushes to get closer in order for my guests to get some good photographs, but with the Giraffes keen eyesight he spotted us creeping towards him. We still managed to get within a short distance of him, while he stared at us with a cautious eye. We got some great shots and Heather was amazed at just how tall the Giraffe really was. When you are sitting in a vehicle, it can give you a false sense of the size of animals, but by going on a walk, you become fully aware of just how big they really are. That’s one thing that makes a walking safari so worthwhile, as you are now on foot in the animals kingdom, walking on their terms.

During the walk Tracy started talking and asking about scorpions. I decided to head towards a rocky outcrop which is usually a good place to look for them. After scouting out a couple of rocks, I found the perfect one. Rock scorpions normally like to hide under rocks that are fairly large, ones that baboons will find difficult to lift as they search for their scorpion snacks. With a bit of effort we managed to lift the rock just far enough off the ground for me to be able to get a good look underneath. There lay a medium sized rock scorpion. I picked it up by the small tail and began to explain to my intrigued guests just how advanced a scorpion’s senses are. With tiny little hairs called trichobothria, they can detect a termite walking 40cm away, and they can feel the vibrations of thunderstorms still hundreds of kilometers away. Every animal big and small is just so interesting in its own way, which makes my job one of the best in the world. We managed to get some great photographs of our arachnid friend before placing him back underneath its rock home.

We carried on with our walk looking at all sorts of interesting trees, plants and tracks while I shared as much knowledge as I could. After some time we stopped under a big shady tree, where we drank water and took in the peace that the bush has to offer. We saw some fresh buffalo tracks and we could hear the lone bull disturbing all the dry, fallen leaves on the ground as he moved off in the far distance.

After rehydrating ourselves, we put our bags back onto our backs and began to make our way back to the camp which was still about an hour away. We were walking across a big open area, when Neil spotted a beautiful pinkish flower. It was an Impala lily, which even for a colour blind person like myself, is really just so beautiful. We moved closer to it to take some photographs. Ian hadn’t brought a camera, so he stood a few meters away from us, looking around with his binoculars

Sabi Sabi Ranger Story – Ultimate Walk

It was a sunny morning at Selati Camp when we started off on a walking safari. My guests, Ian and Heather MacPherson (father and daughter), as well as a honeymoon couple, Neil and Tracy Bantleman, who had been staying with us for 3 nights, were unaware of the extraordinary walk they wer about to experience.

They were all wildlife enthusiasts and loved their walking safaris, so I asked them whether or not they would be interested in doing a longer walk than usual. They were excited at the idea.

After having a wonderful breakfast in the comfort of the camp, we all set off with our backpacks, water and walking shoes. The sun was getting higher in the sky and the temperature was beginning to soar. This meant that the animals were most likely starting to take to shady spots to keep themselves cool. That would make also make it harder for us to find them.

Shortly after leaving the camp, I found up some fresh Giraffe spoor. The tracks were larger than normal, which suggested that they were from a big male. I estimated that he had walked there within the past hour. My guests were very keen to see the giraffe, so off we went to track him.

Sometimes people think that because Giraffes are so tall they are easy to spot, and it always amazes them just how camouflaged the tallest animal in the world can actually be. We followed the tracks through an Acacia thicket, and into and out of a small drainage line. As we came over a small hill, there, 50-60 meters away was the Giraffe we had been searching for. He was a nice big male, with a darker than normal coat. I tried using the cover of trees and bushes to get closer in order for my guests to get some good photographs, but with the Giraffes keen eyesight he spotted us creeping towards him. We still managed to get within a short distance of him, while he stared at us with a cautious eye. We got some great shots and Heather was amazed at just how tall the Giraffe really was. When you are sitting in a vehicle, it can give you a false sense of the size of animals, but by going on a walk, you become fully aware of just how big they really are. That’s one thing that makes a walking safari so worthwhile, as you are now on foot in the animals kingdom, walking on their terms.

During the walk Tracy started talking and asking about scorpions. I decided to head towards a rocky outcrop which is usually a good place to look for them. After scouting out a couple of rocks, I found the perfect one. Rock scorpions normally like to hide under rocks that are fairly large, ones that baboons will find difficult to lift as they search for their scorpion snacks. With a bit of effort we managed to lift the rock just far enough off the ground for me to be able to get a good look underneath. There lay a medium sized rock scorpion. I picked it up by the small tail and began to explain to my intrigued guests just how advanced a scorpion’s senses are. With tiny little hairs called trichobothria, they can detect a termite walking 40cm away, and they can feel the vibrations of thunderstorms still hundreds of kilometers away. Every animal big and small is just so interesting in its own way, which makes my job one of the best in the world. We managed to get some great photographs of our arachnid friend before placing him back underneath its rock home.

We carried on with our walk looking at all sorts of interesting trees, plants and tracks while I shared as much knowledge as I could. After some time we stopped under a big shady tree, where we drank water and took in the peace that the bush has to offer. We saw some fresh buffalo tracks and we could hear the lone bull disturbing all the dry, fallen leaves on the ground as he moved off in the far distance.

After rehydrating ourselves, we put our bags back onto our backs and began to make our way back to the camp which was still about an hour away. We were walking across a big open area, when Neil spotted a beautiful pinkish flower. It was an Impala lily, which even for a colour blind person like myself, is really just so beautiful. We moved closer to it to take some photographs. Ian hadn’t brought a camera, so he stood a few meters away from us, looking around with his binoculars

Top 5 Best Places to visit in South Africa

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5. Hermanus

A popular seaside down situated two hours from Cape Town on the Western Cape, Hermanus is most famous for being a whale watchers dream. Between August and November, whales can be seen every day along the coastal area of the town. If whale watching is too serene for your tastes, try your hand at cage diving with Great White Sharks on the nearby Dyer Island!

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4. Garden Route

One of the most beautiful scenic routes in South Africa, the Garden Route is located on the south-eastern coast between Mossel Bay and Storms River. The route is home to ten different nature reserves that house almost 300 species of birds as well as seals, dolphins and whales. The best way to experience the trip is to hire a car, although you could also catch a ride on Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train, the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe.

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3. Kruger National Park

Kruger is Africa’s oldest wildlife park, established in 1898. If you’re after a classic safari tour, the park boasts the highest variety of wildlife in Africa including hippos, giraffes, cheetah, crocodiles and more. If you’re after a camping experience, there are plenty of camp sites and bushveld camps to set up at or if you’re looking for more civilized accommodation, a chalet or cottage could be your ticket.

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2. Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch was established in 1679, making it the second oldest town in South Africa. One of the main reasons it made this list was due to the incredible wine route it contains – 44 cellars can be found in what has been dubbed ‘Cabernet country’. If you’re a fan of wine, be sure to stop by some of the cellars to experience tastings and fine dining within the beautiful gardens.

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1. Swartland

Tucked away within a secluded stretch on the Western Cape, Swartland houses one of the most extensive and pristine beaches in South Africa. The area is also well known for its vast vineyards and the sparse fields that burst into wild flowers during the spring, which have become something of a tourist attraction.

Top 5 Best Places to visit in South Africa

Photobucket

5. Hermanus

A popular seaside down situated two hours from Cape Town on the Western Cape, Hermanus is most famous for being a whale watchers dream. Between August and November, whales can be seen every day along the coastal area of the town. If whale watching is too serene for your tastes, try your hand at cage diving with Great White Sharks on the nearby Dyer Island!

 Photobucket

4. Garden Route

One of the most beautiful scenic routes in South Africa, the Garden Route is located on the south-eastern coast between Mossel Bay and Storms River. The route is home to ten different nature reserves that house almost 300 species of birds as well as seals, dolphins and whales. The best way to experience the trip is to hire a car, although you could also catch a ride on Africa’s last remaining passenger steam train, the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe.

 Photobucket

3. Kruger National Park

Kruger is Africa’s oldest wildlife park, established in 1898. If you’re after a classic safari tour, the park boasts the highest variety of wildlife in Africa including hippos, giraffes, cheetah, crocodiles and more. If you’re after a camping experience, there are plenty of camp sites and bushveld camps to set up at or if you’re looking for more civilized accommodation, a chalet or cottage could be your ticket.

 Photobucket

2. Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch was established in 1679, making it the second oldest town in South Africa. One of the main reasons it made this list was due to the incredible wine route it contains – 44 cellars can be found in what has been dubbed ‘Cabernet country’. If you’re a fan of wine, be sure to stop by some of the cellars to experience tastings and fine dining within the beautiful gardens.

 Photobucket

1. Swartland

Tucked away within a secluded stretch on the Western Cape, Swartland houses one of the most extensive and pristine beaches in South Africa. The area is also well known for its vast vineyards and the sparse fields that burst into wild flowers during the spring, which have become something of a tourist attraction.