Romantic Destinations – Safarimooning in Africa

Honeymooning in Africa

Honeymooning in the unforgettable land of Africa is the perfect option for newlyweds looking to combine romance with adventure. Tailor-made honeymoon experiences take place in some of the most luxurious hotels and lodges across the African continent. Having these handpicked destinations will ensure that you begin your new life together in a romantic and intimate space that is truly unique. You’re sure to enjoy the breathtaking African landscape, teeming with lush vegetation and awe-inspiring wildlife, all from the comfort of luxurious rooms. Whether you’re cuddled together under the stars or soaking in a relaxing bath for two, your trip to Africa will be a truly enjoyable experience. Conjuring up the words of Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa—our three top countries for honeymooners—each offer unique opportunities for romantic adventure. We’ve listed our favorite destination in each country to give you a hint of what awaits you on your dream African honeymoon.

Botswana

Botswana is a premier destination for newlyweds enamored by African landscapes, as well as the country’s unique cultural heritage. It’s terrain is filled with iconic African wildlife like giraffes, African Wild Dogs, and African Elephants. Scenic national parks are spread throughout the country, from the Central Kalahari Reserve to Chobe National Park. A honeymoon in Botswana is not just about observing the beautiful landscape: You and your beloved can also immerse yourselves in the fabric of the community by participating in local celebrations.

  • Machaba Camp Named after the tree of life, this majestic lodge offers the perfect combination of luxury and pristine natural surroundings. Located in the Khwai area on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta, Machaba Camp features romantic amenities including luxurious tents, outdoor showers, and en-suite living areas. From the comfort of the camp, you’ll observe the rich wildlife that flocks to this region throughout the year. Set along the Khwai River, this intimate honeymoon destination allows you and the love of your life to wake up to a rich array of wildlife right outside your tent door.

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Namibia

Venture to the southwestern region of the continent to witness the striking terrain of Namibia. Travel across this rich country’s varying landscape for a glimpse of its stunning game, including cheetahs, black rhinos, and zebras. The Namibian Desert boasts over 31,000 square miles of breathtaking landscape and wildlife. Travel with your beloved on the Shongololo Express through the heart of the country to reach the Atlantic Ocean’s cool embrace.

  • The Sossusvlei Desert Lodge Before leaving the red sands of the Namibian Dessert, a few nights’ stay at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is a must. The lodge’s intimacy fosters a serene and relaxing environment perfect for your honeymoon getaway. From one of their commodious stone and glass villas, you’ll enjoy modern amenities including air conditioning and fireplaces, as well as vistas of the sweeping rocky plain below. The lodge offers varied activities including dune dining, captivating nature drives, and sunrise hot air ballooning, featuring glimpses of the first rays of sunlight striking the warm desert sands.

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South Africa

Arrive at the southernmost country on the continent to enjoy the rich diversity of experiences that South Africa offers. As the continent’s most developed country, it’s the perfect place for a honeymoon that balances the serenity of nature with the cultural attractions of an urban environment. Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula are ideal for relaxing along the warm ocean waters and watching surfers catch the next wave. Whether you’re seasoned adventurers or casual safari goers, the beautiful landscape of South Africa will captivate you.

  • HillsNek Safari Camp An intimate family-run lodge, HillsNek Safari Camp features stunning vistas of the South African landscape from its main lodge and four luxury safari tents. The camp’s ideal location, nestled into the award-winning Amakhala Game Reserve, promises up-close glimpses of the country’s big game, including lion, elephant, buffalo, and giraffe. Enjoy scenic drives, river cruises, and walking tours of the reserve, or retreat to your private chalet for a romantic dinner for two featuring fresh local cuisine. Take in the striking African sunset from your tent’s sweeping private deck, and glimpse the varied wildlife gathered at the edge of the Bushman’s River below. The lodge’s attentive staff delivers personalized service throughout your stay.

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Whether you’re traveling through the lush landscape of Botswana, reveling in the red sands of Namibia, or relaxing along the meandering rivers of South Africa, the continent offers countless opportunities for a truly memorable honeymoon. My top destinations balance the simplicity of nature with luxurious amenities, allowing you and your loved one to celebrate your new life together in an unforgettable way. Your African Safari honeymoon promises unprecedented experiences that you can hold onto for a lifetime.

Ready to book your romantic safari honeymoon? Make sure you check out Soul of Africa Travel (SOAT) or contact the author, Richelle Lavin directly at Richelle@soulofafricatravel.com.

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Leading up to the holidays, what is the best gift for families? A journey together to Africa, of course!

Imagine the sun rising over the African bush, its warm light illuminating individual blades of grass and bathing the plains in an orange glow. Your children begin to fully awaken, rubbing their eyes as they soak in the expansive scenery. Your youngest takes your hand and watches in awe as a flock of herons takes to the sky, their wings pressing majestically against the cool morning air. A herd of elephants roams lazily in the distance. You’ve wanted them to experience this ever since they first saw the majestic lions on Animal Planet. Seeing the genuine smiles on their faces only confirms that you’ve made the right decision, one that you know in your heart has only deepened your family’s bond.

Bringing the Family Together

“We are constantly bombarded with new technologies/gadgets that distract us from connecting with our families,” Richelle Lavin, owner of Soul of Africa Travel said. “Creating a memorable trip with all generations allows us to not only connect but to make lasting memories.”

Though it may feel like technology can bring us closer together, nothing can replace the memories made during a family adventure. So why wait? It’s undoubtedly crossed your mind at least once how “time flies” and how the kids are getting so big already. They’re going to grow up with or without you, so you might as well enjoy every experience with them while you have the chance. Plus, teaching kids the ethos of conservation and introducing them to wildlife in its natural habitat from a young age is one of the best investments in their future that you may ever make.

“Family travel to Africa has steadily grown over the years and 2015 is set to become the busiest season for multigenerational trips yet,” Lavin shared. The kids aren’t the only ones who will thrive on your adventure. These days, more families are enjoying the benefits of vacations that include not only mom, dad and the kids, but grandma and grandpa as well. These multi-generational outings allow everyone to break free from the grip of the digital age and renew spiritually and emotionally through a shared experience in a new environment. You and yours will revel in an unforgettable journey into Africa, where everyone has a chance to learn a little more about themselves and each other.

Something for Everyone

An international itinerary doesn’t have to be complicated. With so many options for exploring the African wild, there’s an activity that’s sure to please every member of your traveling family. Many Safari camps offer the untamed beauty of Africa in a relaxed, safe way that makes it enjoyable for the whole family. From leisurely strolls to face-to-face encounters with wildlife, you will be enthralled every moment of your stay, no matter what destination you choose. Some of the top family activities include:

  • Exciting safaris into the natural habitats of many of Africa’s most popular beasts
  • Hiking excursions designed to experience nature’s wonder
  • Cooking and storytelling activities that bring fun to the whole family

Family-oriented rangers make sure that fun is had by all, providing kids with special Ranger Bags upon their arrival, and engaging them on game drives so that even the youngest children are engrossed in their hours-long safari outing. Even when they’re being tucked away at night, special homemade treats and authentic African bedtime stories await them. “A family safari will be one of the most rewarding and exciting vacations you’ll ever take,” Chantelle Cook of HillsNek Safari Camp in South Africa proclaimed. “Safari memories will resonate with children for years to come, and instill in them a level of understanding and appreciation of our wonderful natural world.”

What are you waiting for?!

With the holidays almost upon us, don’t try to compete by purchasing the latest passing technology that will be obsolete within a year. Instead, give a gift that cannot be matched for years to come: A multi-generational family trip to Africa.

Don’t let another moment slip by. After all, experiencing what the world has to offer with loved ones is what life should truly be about. Put down the digital devices, make a space in your calendars and write a new, unforgettable chapter in your family’s story with a journey to Africa.IMG_3614 IMG_3612IMG_3220

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Adventure Hungry? South Africa and Beyond delivers.

 

South Africa welcomes a variety of travelers, and those with a burning desire for exploration are certainly not excluded. Travelers who enjoy taking the unbeaten path and who would rather travel by bicycle than by car will find that Soul of Africa Travel offers many adventurer-friendly activities in South Africa that will bring out the explorer within.

The geography and climate of South Africa makes it the perfect spot for adventure. When you visit the natural beauty of South Africa’s grasslands, mountains, and beaches, you will catch a glimpse of the untouched natural world. South Africa is home to many nature reserves, bays, beaches, canyons, and valleys, offering visitors surreal mountain vistas, sightings of beautiful wild animals and views of exhilarating ocean life. Whether you plan to fill your SOAT itinerary with exciting outdoors excursions or choose to fit only an activity or two into your more leisurely travels on the continent, you will find thrill and adventure in the following South African regional explorations.

 

Cape Town

The Cape Town area offers a wide range of activities for adventurers of all ages. Nearby Cape Point has attracted hikers, cyclists, and surfers for years. At the southwestern most point of Africa, the views are spectacular, with rugged mountains towering high above crashing ocean waters. Another attraction worthy of a visit is the neighboring False Bay, which offers scenic coastline views and is home to tiny seaside villages – a great location for cycling or swimming.

Also in the Cape Point area is Boulders Beach. This hidden beach has become popular among visitors to South Africa for the colony of penguins who reside here. A colony of African Penguins first settled on Boulders Beach in 1982, and they continue to live there today, free to roam in this natural protected environment. This is a real treat, considering Boulders Beach is one of the few places where African Penguins can be observed up close in the wild. Your adventure will continue (and get a bit more rigorous) once you arrive at the Cape Point Reserve and the Cape of Good Hope. Hiking up these two trails is a steep but invigorating journey. The trek is well worth the effort, as ocean view panoramas, secluded beaches, and diverse wildlife—lizards and ostriches among them—await you.

Once you head back inland towards Cape Town, be sure to pay a visit to Table Mountain, a flat-topped landmark 1,000 metres above sea level located in the heart of the city. Getting to the top can be achieved in one of two ways: by quickly taking a cable car right to the top, or by ascending the mountain by foot (best accomplished with the guidance of a mountain guide). At the top, you will discover incredible vistas, majestic waterfalls, secluded valleys, and serene forests.

Travelers seeking a real adrenaline rush will definitely want to head to Gansbaai to experience the exhilaration of shark diving. This small fishing village is located about 160km from Cape Town, and is famous for its great white shark population. You can choose to get right in the water with sharks—in a shark diving cage, of course—or for those who prefer to keep their distance, viewing the sharks from the safety of the boat is equally as thrilling.

Cape Town Points of Interest:

  • Cape Point
  • False Bay
  • Boulders Beach
  • Cape Point Reserve/Cape of Good Hope
  • Table Mountain
  • Gansbaai

 

Johannesburg

There are plenty of exciting attractions in and around Johannesburg. One of these is Umlani Bush Camp, located in the Timbavati Nature Reserve in Kruger National Park. This camp has become ‘South Africa’s ultimate safari destination.’ The bush camp offers exciting safari tours, emphasizing nature and simplicity in its accommodations. Visitors can expect to see a variety of wildlife up close in this natural environment.

Adventurers will also want to see the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga, about 400km east of Johannesburg. This reserve is the third largest canyon in the world. Here, you can visit striking observation points such as God’s Window and Three Rondavels. Views as far as Mozambique and Kruger National Park are even visible on clear days. While trekking through this reserve, be sure to visit Bourkes Luck Potholes, incredible rock formations created from the convergence of the Blyede and Treue rivers. Each of these attractions can be reached by one of the beautiful hiking trails that traverse Blyde River Canyon. Exploring the reserve, you will see natural waterfalls, a variety of birds and animals, and geological wonders.

Also near Kruger National Park are Sabie River Valley and the town of Hazyview. Natural forests and beautiful waters make the Sabie River Valley a perfect place for adventure. The activities offered here are endless. Choose from guided tours such as river rafting, ziplining, quadbiking, and mountain biking. The more adventurous might also want to try abseiling, also known as rappelling, where you can descend down a cliff or rock with a rope.

Johannesburg Points of Interest:

  • Umlani Bush Camp, Timbavati Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park
  • Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Mpumalanga
  • Bourkes Luck Potholes
  • Sabie River Valley/Hazyview

 

Livingstone, Zambia

If you are able to make the time and accommodations to travel outside of South Africa to continue the adventure, Zambia is another incredible African country that offers breathtaking scenery and surreal natural wildlife. Livingstone, Zambia is most famous for Victoria Falls, the enormous waterfall on the Zambezi River. In addition to viewing the incredible landmark, risk takers can experience the thrill of swimming in Devil’s Pool, a naturally formed pool just a few feet away from the edge of the falls. The Zambezi River is a must-see destination for adventurers as well. Deemed the best white water river rafting spot in the world, rafters can experience the rush of riding the rapids of Zambia’s infamous river at high speeds, water splashing through the air.

Livingstone Points of Interest:

  • Victoria Falls
  • Devil’s Pool
  • Zambezi River

 

Don’t think that by traveling to South Africa, you will be confined to a safari Jeep or city bus tour. SOAT is devoted to incorporating as much adventure as possible into your African travel experience. This land caters to the adventure-seeking explorers, and is never short on exciting activities that expose you to some of Africa’s most untouched natural gems. Let SOAT start planning your adventure today!

 

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Spotlight: Birding in Namibia, Africa

Birding Namibia

 

Namibia, a bird lover’s paradise… with its diverse range of climates and habitats, and over 20 species that are endemic to the region, birders will not be without breathtaking vistas of birds taking flight. Whether it’s Dune Larks soaring over the great Namib Desert, or Ruppell’s Parrots perching atop the canopy of the Mopane Woodland, Namibia’s winged wonders enthrall its visitors with their beauty and grace.

Tips for a perfect Namibia birding safari:

  • The summer months (Nov. – April) are the perfect time for viewing the widest range of native bird species. This is also the offseason, meaning more affordable rates and less crowds.
  • To truly appreciate the diversity Namibia has to offer, plan on visiting several different habitats. If possible, try to hit at least three different parks during your visit.
  • Consider including the Namib desert as one of your safari destinations. The desert is thriving during this season, full of breeding species and their recently born young.
  • The freshwater habitat of the Kunene River is also a must-see during the summer months, when the river is at its highest. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy a boating trip and take in the picturesque beauty of numerous bird species along the river’s edge, including the Goliath heron and the Black crake. Serra Cafema is the best (and only) option for lodging in this area. Because of the scarcity of rain during the summer months, the few green areas in this river region are teeming with wildlife, increasing your chances of glimpsing that elusive species you’ve been dreaming of seeing in the wild.

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Settling on the One: How to Discover your Ultimate African Safari Destination

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So, you’ve finally decided to do it: you’re actually going on that African safari you’ve been dreaming about for years, if not decades. But wait, despite the fact that you’ve been longing for this romantic African odyssey ever since you can remember, you suddenly realize that you don’t know anything. Yes, you’ve seen the majestic portraits capturing cheetahs mid-stride and herds of stately elephants lining riverbanks at dusk—that’s what made you want to visit so badly. However, it suddenly dawns on you that you don’t know any facts. Where should you go? How long should you go for? What season should you go in? How should you settle on the ideal type of safari for you and your companions?

Here at Soul of Africa Travel, we have an intimate appreciation of your baffling quandary. We’ve been there too. And since we’ve been in the same position, we know just how overwhelming the endless options for safari travel in Africa can seem. That’s why we’d like to offer you some helpful insight into the safari adventure. Our main aim is simply to help you narrow down your options and settle on the one—the specific safari that will fulfill your lofty dreams for your first visit to this ancient and fascinating continent. Let’s begin by considering a few important questions…

  1. Which wildlife are you most interested in viewing while on safari? If you have your heart set on glimpsing a grand lion or an elusive leopard, you will need to head straight to one or two specific parks. In Namibia, for example, those seeking out leopards or lions should make Etosha National Park and/or Ongava Game Reserve their primary destination(s). The aspirations of bird enthusiasts and seekers of the Big Five alike are best met during the summer months, which is the dry season in southern Africa.
  2. What is your preferred budget? Knowing how much money you feel comfortable spending will help you narrow down the best options for you and your fellow travelers. For a more affordable trip, consider planning a shorter, 7 to 10 day safari with a total of one or two destinations. Opt for a less customized safari adventure to stay within your budget. And don’t worry, no matter what your budget is, you’ll still have the time of your life!
  3. How many people will be accompanying you on this trip of a lifetime? If only one or two other people will be travelling with you, it will be easier and more affordable for you to sign up for an established safari. If this trip is the perfect opportunity for a large family reunion (groups of more than 5 or 6 people), or a group adventure with old college friends, it would behoove you to consider a bespoke (customized) safari.
  4. What type of landscapes and habitats would you like to see during your stay? Are you conflicted between connecting with the striking beasts of the savannah and communing with the awe-inspiring jungle gorillas? Then a longer safari with multiple destinations might be for you. Does your African dream solely entail witnessing the great elephants up close? Then you might prefer a shorter trip focused in one geographic area.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Other things to consider when planning your safari include your time constraints, health issues, and your preferred comfort level while travelling (do you prefer a 5-star hotel, or an open-air canvas tent?). Stay posted, as we’ll carry on this discussion in our upcoming posts. Until then, here’s a sneak preview: once you’ve narrowed your destination down to one country, you will be better able to determine the ideal timing and region/park for game viewing. More tips to come soon!

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Locally-based Soul of Africa Travel Agency Debuts New Website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Locally-based Soul of Africa Travel Agency Debuts New Website

Date: September, 2013

Laguna Beach, CA – Soul of Africa Travel is dedicated to providing an exciting and invigorating African experience to each and every one of its clients, now making the journey even easier with the launch of its newly redesigned website. Founded in and run out of Laguna Beach, California, the young, family-oriented company devotes itself to exposing the SOUL of Africa, creating personalized experiences that cater to the traveler’s individual desires. Soul of Africa Travel takes pride in designing both affordable and luxurious trips to Africa that their clients will remember forever.

Soul of Africa Travel founder, Richelle Lavin, embodies the heart of Africa. Born and raised in South Africa, Lavin has maintained a strong connection with her roots and harbors a passion for true African adventure. One of her goals for Soul of Africa Travel is to redefine the idea of travel as a pre-packaged, impersonal experience designed for mass consumption. Lavin instead takes pride in customizing trips that will generate special connections between visitors and the awe-inspiring land of Africa.

“Our name, Soul of Africa Travel, symbolizes the ultimate life experience,” Lavin explained. “We integrate personalized travel to a special land that will scintillate each of our client’s senses and invigorate the soul.” Lavin creates these experiences with the help of her sister, Chantelle Cook, a South African resident and 11-year South African travel and hospitality expert who runs the agency’s local services on site. Lavin has been successful in creating enlightening African trips for her clients, shaping experiences that generate a true appreciation of this ancient continent rooted in diverse cultural and social traditions. Lavin encourages her clients to engage with Africa on all levels, through the faculties of thought, action, and emotion.

Soul of Africa Travel invites clients to place their fast-paced lives on hold and dive into the soothing landscapes of Africa, from the Serengeti Plains and the Okavango Delta, to the lush oasis of Lake Victoria and Victoria Falls, or the pristine coastline of East Africa. “Visitors will return re-charged and forever changed,” guarantees Lavin. The agency’s new website is the perfect resource to help clients prepare for the unforgettable experience that awaits them on the other side of the globe. The site features a “Just for Kids” page for the young adventurers in the family, a dynamic blog with informative posts about African travel, as well as an exhaustive list of FAQs. “We tried to think of anything a traveler planning an excursion to Africa would need to know,” Lavin explained, “our new website is overflowing with valuable information.” Lavin and her staff extend the notion of personalized service a step further by taking the time to personally communicate with prospective customers via telephone, Skype, or in-person meetings. “This is more than a business for me. It is a passion and a mission,” the agency’s founder concluded.

To learn more about Soul of Africa Travel and how to discover the heart and beauty of the planet’s second-largest continent, visit www.soulofafricatravel.com, or contact the organization directly at info@soulofafricatravel.com.

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