Infamous Kruger National Park – South Africa!

Posted on April 6th, 2020 by Overland Africa

Infamous Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is arguably the oldest wildlife reserve in the world.  It was proclaimed in 1898, made a World Heritage Site in 2001 and today covers an area the size of Wales. The ‘Kruger area’ and a ‘Kruger safari’ comprise the massive national park itself (it spans a colossal 19 500km² / 7 500mi²) and the park’s surrounding private reserves.

 

Reasons to Visit The Infamous Kruger National Park:

 

Best Time of the Year to Go to Kruger

The safari is controlled by rainfall. The Kruger falls in the Lowveld, which has a rainy summer (October to May) and a dry winter (May to October).

 

SUMMER WINTER
WHEN About October to May About May to October
SEASON Green or low season Peak or high season
RAIN Yes, late afternoon thunder showers No
MALARIA Low risk Very low risk
COST Best rates available Premium rates
AVAILABILITY – BOOK BY 3-6 months before travel 9-12 months before travel – top lodges book out fast, especially over July and August

 

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Where to see…. Leopards in Africa!!

Posted on April 3rd, 2020 by Overland Africa

Where to see…. Leopards in Africa!!

 

Where to see…. Leopards in Africa, It is the question safari guides across Africa dread the most: ‘Will we see a leopard?’It is the question safari guides across Africa dread the most: ‘Will we see a leopard?’ The answer is difficult because although the leopard is found from the lush Cape Winelands in the south to northern Kenya, the leopard’s mastery of camouflage and stealth makes it extremely elusive.

A leopard’s beautiful coat has captivated us for millennia, its rosettes are still in fashion from Paris to Zululand. Leopards radiate a muscular feline grace and move like liquid gold – seeing one of these magnificent creatures wild and free in their natural environment transforms a game drive into a lifelong memory.

Which brings us back to whether you will see one – or not. Diverse in their choice of habitat, leopards are part of the Big 5 club and many parks and reserves promote themselves as home to the full complement. For the very best chances of seeing them, you need to be in prime habitat where concentrations are greatest. Ultimately, a leopard sighting, especially a good one, is usually about luck. But you can shorten the odds considerably at these places.

 

Where to see…. Leopards in Africa!!

 

Kruger National Park – South Africa

 

If you have to see a leopard then go to the place where their populations are the densest in Africa – and that means the Sabi Sands, a collection of exclusive-use private reserves on the Kruger National Park’s western boundary.

 

Moremi Game Reserve – Botswana 

 

Moremi protects much of the Okavango Delta, Botswana’s wildlife showpiece. The temptation is to head as deep as possible into the Delta but you are far more likely to see leopards on its fringes.Water collects in shallow lagoons and fills grassy floodplains; tall forest and thick bush dominate drier ground. Antelope, birds, monkeys and rodents honk, whistle and squeak from every corner. Perfect leopard country.

How to do it: choose a lodge that focuses on game drives rather than boat-based activities. It does not matter if you stay in the reserve itself or one of its adjoining private concessions.

 

South Luangwa – Zambia 

 

Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is rumoured to have Africa’s greatest number of these elegant big cats. A wide and fertile plain nourished by the Luangwa River, the park’s animals range from aardvark to zebra and it has long been known for its dense concentrations of predators, especially lions and leopards.
South Luangwa’s lodges are scattered along the riverbanks or overlook ox-bow lakes, making leopard sightings possible from camp let alone when you head out on game drives. Unusually for a national park, night drives are permitted, and do not skip a walking safari.

 

Samburu & Masai Mara reserves – Kenya 

 

Images of snorting wildebeest migrations and flamingo-covered lakes are probably first to mind when thinking about Kenya’s wildlife but the Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserves have reputations for excellent leopard sightings.

You’ll be going a bit off the beaten path at Samburu but it is worth it. An area of barren woodland decorated with rocky outcrops and thick riverine bush, it lays claim to the title of the best place in Kenya to see leopards, something fans of the Masai Mara may dispute. Although much of the Mara is open rolling grassland more suited to cheetah, lion and hyena, there is prime leopard habitat along its rivers; it is not for nothing that the reserve and its private conservancies were chosen as the location for the BBC’s Big Cat Diaries.
Memories of game sightings fade. Photos of lions and elephants are met with puzzled expressions (‘now where was this taken?’) but leopard sightings are remembered like they were yesterday. Each one was like falling in love for the first time – and that is no bad thing.

 

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Where to see…. Wild dogs

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by Overland Africa

Where to see…. Wild dogs

A pack of wild dogs (also known as painted wolves or painted hunting dogs) is one of the most thrilling sights to see on safari. Extremely rare but with a growing population, these canids show all the characteristics we think of in predators: keen intelligence, fine co-operation, excellent hearing, great strength, great vision and sheer speed. The excitement when a guide announces that wild dogs have been spotted in the vicinity is palpable!

What to Expect if You Spot Them – On the Hunt

There is nothing to beat watching wild dogs on a hunt. Individual dogs communicate by ‘sneezing’, indicating whether they are hungry, and whether they should go on a hunt. Once an agreement is reached, the pack will silently approach their prey like a Thomson’s gazelle, a warthog, a zebra or a wildebeest, carefully surrounding it to block off escape route. When the animal realises that it is being stalked, the chase begins! And what a chase it is: wild dogs can reportedly reach speeds of nearly 70 kilometres / 44 miles an hour for up to sixty minutes at a time.

In strict hierarchy, pups younger than a year eat first. They have expended huge energy on the hunt and are the most vulnerable to being killed so must keep their strength up. Once they’ve finished eating, the pack will move on immediately.

Of all predators, wild dogs are easiest to see on the chase because – like cheetahs – they hunt during the day. Pack members fan out and it’s hard to focus on all of them at the same time. Just sit and enjoy having the privilege of seeing these incredible animals putting their astounding qualities to the test. Researchers suggest that at least eighty percent of chases end in a kill – the highest of all predators.

What to Expect if You Spot Them – Resting

If you watch a pack resting, you will notice how similar they are to domestic litters and dogs. Puppies will play with sticks, practicing their hunting skills. The matriarch and patriarch (unusually, each pack has a dominant male and a dominant female) will keep an eye out and lead the pack in hunting. Pack members are also known to sleep nestled together for safety and warmth. The youngsters are very curious and have been known to approach game-drive vehicles, sniffing every inch of the tyres and body. All animals in Africa will rest during the hottest parts of the day – look out under shrubs and trees for the best chance of seeing a pack as their mottled coats camouflage them extremely well. Their gold, white and black fur melds perfectly with dappled sunlight and you need sharp eyes to spot them.

The Best Places to See Them, Where to see…. Wild dogs

Although wild dogs are found across Africa, with different sub-species in different regions, the highest known population numbers are currently in Botswana. But there are plenty of other top safari destinations where wild dogs are making a resurgence and sightings are good – let’s check them out:

Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai

Covering a massive strip of the central and eastern Okavango Delta, Moremi is a classic collection of wetland, fertile floodplains, open grassland and riverine forest. The Khwai Concession is run by the local community and borders the Khwai River and the north-east of Moremi. Wild dogs are more likely to be found in ‘drier’ camps rather than those that are almost permanently surrounded by water and on Chief’s Island. They’re fairly nervous about water, instinctively fearing crocodiles that may be lurking just under the surface of the Okavango’s water.

South Africa – Greater Kruger

The Greater Kruger area takes in not only the Kruger National Park but also surrounding private reserves like the Sabi Sands, Timbavati, MalaMala and Manyeleti. There are regular sightings of packs throughout the region, which lies to the north east of the country.

Madikwe and Pilanesberg
Madikwe Private Game Reserve was a frontrunner in the successful re-introduction of wild dogs to reclaimed farmland. The packs have been under threat from disease, but sightings are still possible. Pilanesberg, a public national park on the border of the Sun City resort, has a surprisingly good record of wild dogs being spotted.

Zimbabwe – Mana Pools
Although Zimbabwe’s wildlife area is Hwange National Park, Mana Pools has been known to see plenty of wild do. This is in fact where the BBC’s Dynasties wildlife programme was filmed, which features memorable interactions like elephants charging wild dogs that get too close.

Tanzania – Selous
One of the world’s biggest conservation areas, Selous Game Reserve offers vast areas of land for a limited number of travellers to explore. Because it is so big, wildlife has plenty of space to move around.

Southern Serengeti
Predators thrive in the Southern Serengeti because this is where hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra drop their babies at the beginning every year to benefit from the lush grazing and plentiful water. Lions take over the savannah, but wild dogs are also known to make the most of easy pickings here.

Kenya
Much more arid and hilly than the Masai Mara, Laikipia and Samburu are two lesser-visited areas of Kenya but still offer incredible game viewing. You may be lucky enough to spot wild dogs but also look out for the Samburu Special 5, endemic species found only here (reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, long-necked gerenuk and Grevy’s zebra).

Why are Wild Dogs so Rare?

There are many reasons, including those happening to all wildlife across the world such as habitat loss and vulnerability to diseases, specifically rabies and canine distemper. Lions are ruthless in destroying any wild dog puppies they come across and have been known to kill all the pups in a den. Today there is thankfully a massive conservation drive to save the remaining wild dogs and packs are slowly resurging.

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The 6 Best Places to See Lions in Africa:

Posted on March 30th, 2020 by Overland Africa

Best Places to See Lions in Africa:

Best Places to See Lions: Lions are the undeniable kings of the African bush and one of the most sought-after sightings on a safari. Thanks to their reassuringly feline name Panthera leo we know we are technically dealing with ‘cats’ but lions are startlingly huge, almost bear-sized. Their muscular, barrel-chested bodies and jutting chins let everyone know who the boss is – and it’s not the 2-legged creatures wearing sunglasses!

Lions are Africa’s top predators and prey on big animals such as zebra, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and even young elephants. If you catch lionesses on the hunt, it’s heart-in-mouth stuff and their entourage of hyenas, jackals and vultures always makes a fascinating sideshow. The same colour as the savannah they live on, lions are as much part of the African landscape as its flat-topped acacia trees and red, crumbly earth. Regal not only in stature, hearing their booming roars ring out at dusk as they gather to hunt is a never-to-be-forgotten experience. Their calls are also a spine-tingling reminder that the wilderness still belongs to them.

Best Places to See Lions:

1) South Africa – Best For: Diversity of LionsKruger National Park

Home to most of the country’s wild lions, the Kruger National Park has always been South Africa’s premier destination for a lion safari. But Kruger is the size of Wales, and the distribution of its 2 000 lions is at the mercy of geography and climate. Areas of richer, grassier soils and higher rainfall support more animals to prey on, and so lion densities there are higher. Hot and dry northern Kruger is home to around five to six lions per 100km² (39 square miles), but the wetter and greener southern Kruger has more than twice that number.

2) Namibia – Best For: Desert-adapted Lions

The lions of northern Namibia are some of the most captivating on Earth, surviving in an unyielding landscape where vegetation and prey are few and far between. The lions that roam the Namib Desert have adapted amazingly to this barren environment and are known as ‘desert-adapted’ or ‘desert lions.’

Okavango Delta

Everyone knows that cats don’t like water, but the lions of Delta Plains in the northern Okavango Delta have learnt to prosper in it for good reason: nutritious grasses and permanent water make the area perfect habitat for buffalo. And lions just love buffalo. Thanks to the constant workout they get running through shallow water and wrestling with enraged buffaloes, the lions here are around 15 percent larger than normal. They’ve also adapted to hunting during the day (usually prides hunt at night and sleep during the day) when the buffalo herds are grazing on the exposed floodplains, which translates into epic game viewing for safari travellers.

Savuti

Chobe National Park’s Savuti region is the famous stage upon which lion prides regularly clash with hyena clans for food and territory. This remote area is also known for its well-documented, powerful lions that take down Africa’s biggest mammals like buffalo, giraffe and even elephants. One of the best places in Africa to witness the most dramatic predator action, Savuti will appeal to all wildlife enthusiast.

4) Zambia – Best For: Tracking Lions on Walking Safaris

South Luangwa National Park 

Zambia’s huge reserves are home to a significant proportion of Africa’s lions and most of them live in the Luangwa Valley, a wildlife haven and home to the South Luangwa National Park. It was here that walking safaris were founded. Animals crowd the banks and oxbow lakes, becoming easy targets for Luangwa’s lions.

5) Tanzania – Best For: Lions Hunting during the Wildebeest Migration

Ruaha National Park

Chances are that you’ll have lion sightings completely to yourself at Ruaha. Hidden away in southern Tanzania, Ruaha National Park sees fewer than 6 000 visitors a year – or about 16 a day – which makes it one of Africa’s hidden treasures. Its wildly beautiful scenery and impressive biodiversity is home to 10% of the world’s remaining lion population – In fact, it’s second only to the Serengeti in terms of absolute numbers.

Serengeti National Park

Look at it from a lion’s perspective: if your survival depends on the availability of suitable food, how does a million wildebeest sound? Joined by tens of thousands of zebra and gazelle, that’s how many wildebeest grunt and gallop their way around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, a circular migration so magnificent it spans two countries and takes most of the year to complete. The Grumeti Game Reserve in the west and the central Seronera region are some of the best spots in the Serengeti National Park to see lions.

Ngorongoro Crater

If you’re looking for some of the easiest and most rewarding game viewing in East Africa, then head down onto the floor of the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera. Home to about 30 000 animals – including powerful lions – the Ngorongoro Crater delivers an incredible Big 5 safari experience in an extraordinary setting.

6) Kenya – Best For: Abundant Lion Sightings

Masai Mara National Reserve

In Kenya’s Masai Mara, the lions are so prolific that they once had their own BBC nature documentary series, Big Cat Diary. From about July every year, two million wildebeest cross the Mara River into the Masai Mara National Reserve to feast on fresh and succulent grass – under the watchful eyes of hungry lions. A bonus of the Mara’s flat, wide and open plains is that cheetah are perfectly adapted to it and this a great place to watch these lightning-quick cats chase down their prey.

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Johannesburg: Our Top Recommended Experiences / Tours for travel to Africa in 2020

Posted on February 6th, 2020 by Overland Africa

Johannesburg Activities if you plan to overnight in JHB before or after your overland tour we can highly recommend the following day tours – Southern Highlights Adventure
Soweto Tour – South of Johannesburg is Soweto, the world’s most famous township and important monument to Apartheid. A sprawling, self-sufficient home to millions, Soweto grapples with democratic change, but its spirit resonates in a plethora of shebeens. The focus on this tour is more on community projects & sustainable tourism. The Soweto Fair Tour includes: Nelson Mandela & Hector Pietersen Museums, a visit to Handiworx or the Soweto Green plus a view of Baragwaneth Hospital and an informal settlement. Also included is a cycle tour from Phomolong & visit a day care centre (also available without cycling).
Johannesburg City Tour – The tour includes a panoramic view of the city, a drive within the business district, visit to traditional African shops, the bohemian Hillbrow and Museum Africa in Newton, the cultural district of Johannesburg. Extend to 8 hours & include Constitution Hill, SAB World of Beer & more.
Soweto & Johannesburg Combo – Combining the Soweto & Johannesburg City tours will give you a great overview of the area.
Apartheid Museum – The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era. Through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. Examine the rise of black consciousness, the armed struggle & finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which finally led to the final negotiations for peace. The Apartheid Museum experience is one of upliftment and liberation both personally & socially and leaves each visitor with a feeling of hope for the future, unburdened by the ills of the past.
Cradle of Mankind – The tour visits both the Sterkfontein caves, where the oldest hominid fossils (dating back to over 3 million years) in the world were found & Maropeng where you can experience the fascinating, interactive representations of the origin of Earth & all that lives on our unique planet. Interesting to both adults & children alike, this is a must visit on anyone passing through Gauteng’s itinerary!
Pretoria City Tour – Pretoria generates a multicultural energy from a harmonious blend of traditions, culture and architecture. Pretoria has historic value extending to that of the British Empire and Apartheid. The tour includes the either the Voortrekker Monument or Freedom Square, the Union Buildings, Kruger House, Church Square, Mirramen Hindu Temple and thousands of Jacaranda trees. Extend to 8 hours and include both the Voortrekker Monument & Freedom Square as well as the Transvaal Museum. Lunch in Pretoria
Panorama Route: 5 Day Kruger Classic Safari – South Africa
Panorama Route – Our full day Panorama Route tour covers the best sights. Our 5 day Classic Kruger Safari is a popular choice, providing the right balance between activities and time spent on safari to see an amazing variety of wildlife that the Kruger National Park has to offer. One of Africa’s most famous national parks, there are 147 mammal species found in Kruger, more than any other wildlife reserve in Africa! Of these the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant) are of course included. On this safari we include open vehicle drives, a sunset drive and a walk. This safari gives you a complete African wildlife experience. Prepare to be amazed….

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Cape Town: Our Top Recommended Experiences / Tours for travel to Africa in 2020

Posted on February 6th, 2020 by Overland Africa

Cape Town Activities and must do’s when you visit the Mother city – 18 Day South Africa Explorer
Half day Township tour: District 6 and museum; Langa; Community school; Shebeen; Kayalitscha;3 ½ hours
Robben Island: 3 ½ hours; boat ride to the Island; drive over the island; visit of the prison; boat ride back;
Hop on – Hop off bus: Red route through the V&A Waterfront; City; District 6; cable way; Camps Bay; Sea Point;2 hours non stop
Hop on – Hop off bus: Blue Route to V&A Waterfront; Kirstenbosch; Hout Bay; World of birds; Camps Bay; Sea Point
Full day Peninsula tour: Clifton, Camps Bay, Twelve Apostles, Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak, Noordhoek, Ostrich Viewing, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Cape Point, Penguin Colony, Simons Town, Muizenberg, Constantia, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens:
Full day Wine route: Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek
Full day whale watching trip to Hermanus
• Abseiling off Table Mountain
• White shark diving
• Tandem Paraglide from Lions Head
• Helicopter flips
• Horse riding in Hout Bay
• Historic walking tour through the city

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Questions asked about overland: Can my family reach me while on tour?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

Can my family reach me while on tour?

Please keep in mind though that this is an adventure tour and that there still might not be reception in a lot of the areas we travel through. Although you may not be able to contact the outside world easily while you’re on tour, we track you constantly and are always able to find you. Feel free to provide your family with our contact details and should there be an emergency of any kind at home we will be able to contact you almost anywhere. Please inform your families that although we can find you – it must be a real emergency – as we will not be sending one of our local contacts 500km over terrible roads to remind you to change your underwear regularly! We advise that you should also contact family and friends before leaving and tell them that you are on an adventure tour and that you will probably be out of contact for that time.
There are telephones in some places but do not count on these being all that reliable! In East Africa you can expect to pay up to USD 3 per minute for a phone call. E-mail facilities can be found in major towns and city centres, but it is often very slow and expensive.

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Questions asked about overland: Is it safe to drink the water in Africa?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

Is it safe to drink the water in Africa?

It is safe to drink the tap water in most African countries. Tap water in hotels and at other lodges in Southern and East Africa is also safe to drink, but bottled water is available in shops if you prefer. If you are ever in doubt, stick to bottled water. Bottled water is supplied at all the main camps and lodges.

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Questions asked about overland: Is there internet in Africa?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

Is there internet in Africa?

Certainly. Most city hotels will have either internet connection in the bedroom, or a business centre where you can spend time online. Some safari lodges and camps in South Africa also offer this facility. In remote areas, however, there is no internet.

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Questions asked about overland: Do mobile phones work in Africa?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

Do mobile phones work in Africa?
Yes, there is extensive coverage throughout Southern and East Africa. In some countries, this may be primarily in and around major urban areas. However, in South Africa, networks cover all national roads, towns and cities. Before traveling, ask your mobile phone service provider to open your phone to allow international roaming.

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Questions asked about overland: Do I need travel Insurance?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

Do I need travel Insurance?

YES! Make sure your insurance covers being airlifted in case of serious illness/injury as good hospital facilities are often a long way from where our tours travel.

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Questions asked about overland: What are the health requirements?

Posted on December 27th, 2019 by Overland Africa

What are the health requirements?

All people who join an adventure tour need to be in good health. Medical facilities are not always available. If you have a specific medical condition it is compulsory for you to advise us before departure.

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