Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Geocaching tours in Southern Africa

Africa’s geocaching tours

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rangers rock the Casbah - Writen by Bev Tucker

Olive green uniforms and men in SANParks epaulettes make my mouth slam shut and my eyes open very wide. My back straightens of itself. I pay rapt attention. I feel a salute coming on. Game rangers have X-factor. Specifically, old guard South African National Parks rangers.

I know. It sounds like I’ve contracted a case of khaki fever: the flushed skin, shining eyes and light sweat that can overcome women in the presence of handsome rangers. This is understandable when they’re tall and tanned with big calf muscles and slow, sweet smiles, but I’ve met some who are squat and unmannerly and smell of three-day-old sweat so bang goes that theory.

To pour more cold water on this diagnosis, at private lodges you’ll find a version I call Richie Rich Plays Ranger. This is the kid who did a twelve-month field guide course after completing post-matric at St John’s. He is now apparently qualified to race a game-viewing vehicle through herds of Wildebeest so they’ll gallop for camera-happy tourists. Richie would benefit from what my old dad the Dairy Farmer calls a snot-klap to knock a bit of respect for the bush into him. So no, it’s not khaki fever. It’s a kind of personal awe for a breed of manliness you seldom encounter nowadays.

I’m talking old school. The real SANParks ranger has very few smooth moves. He lives an isolated, often dangerous and largely under-acknowledged life in an environment that more and more resembles a war zone. He must be at ease with weapon handling, learn to fly small planes and successfully navigate 4x4 vehicles through proper 4x4 territory rather than just lightly potholed suburban streets between home and mall. He fends off bush fires, works with really wild animals, commands regiments of field rangers and is required to be a qualified academic in his field. His job looks like the ultimate Boy’s Own adventure. He is the envy of most South African men.

Before you rip off your tie, piss in the water cooler and storm from the office screaming that you always wanted to be a game ranger and that’s exactly what you’re going to do right now - for pity’s sake, stop! There is another way.

Enter the SANParks Honorary Rangers ( the voluntary organization for the man who sometimes wonders, as he fights traffic in a city that is definitely doing its best to kill him, what his life would have been like if long ago he’d listened to his heart instead of to Uncle Lenny’s offer of a partnership in the accountancy firm. I saw this in action when I joined the HRs in Letaba for their annual AGM shindig last week.

To the casual onlooker, HR members resemble bush junkies with badges and big-time ranger envy. In fact they’re a group of unpaid volunteers who put huge amounts of time and money into supporting the national parks, which have caught the sharp edge of government spending cuts in recent years. They dress like rangers, talk like rangers, walk like rangers. They charge around in their olive ranger uniforms devouring courses on raptor identification and bush interpretation and learning the correct Latin names of lizards and grasses, rocks and eagles. They spend weekends chopping out alien vegetation and manning park gates and picking up litter for fun. While they may come across as slightly embarrassing keenies, they achieve a great deal of measurable good and there is no question they’ll be called on to up the ante in the years ahead.

The continued existence of our national parks is not guaranteed, particularly in the face of dwindling funds and clamoring land-use demands from human settlements around park borders. The Honorary Rangers help hold the line. Their efforts make the lot of SANParks rangers a little easier. This alone makes them damn fine people, even though they can’t hold a candle to a dinkum old guard SANParks game warden, but I realize that would be a big ask for anyone and I have a bias.

This man knows more about his territory - plants, insects, geology, conservation, birds, animals - than most of us ever will. His everyday knowledge is equivalent to multiple post grad degrees in any other discipline and to cap it all he works virtually for nothing. We’ve all heard the quip: rangers get paid in sunsets. Try taking that to your bank manager.

SANParks rangers work for love. To stand in the presence of this holy truth is to have your own life put rather into perspective. It makes you want to be a better person. It makes you want to find the cajones to follow your heart and to turn a deaf ear to the part of you that whispers, “You can’t. If you try you’ll live under a flyover in a cardboard box eating dog food and then die stinking of your own urine.”

Being in the presence of people who work for love will do this to you. The world would be a better place if there were more men like these and, if it wouldn’t make them roll on the ground laughing, I’d let rip with that salute in pure admiration.
  Author: Christian Fourie on Google+

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Best African Camping Safaris

Southern Africa is one of the most rewarding and safe continents to travel in. African camping safaris is an affordable and exciting new form of travel allowing passengers to meet like-minded people in a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere.

These Africa safaris touches the soul within all of us, and is a unique experience that will never be forgotten. Africa trips is both intriguing and humbling, created by the beautiful balance between the wildlife, the landscapes and cultures.

The secret is in finding a professional Free-lance Ranger Guide for a private safari. By cutting out the middle man and the travel agencies, you can save up to 40% on your overland travel.

The most important thing is to make sure that all the essential things associated with the safari are included in the quoted price: ground transportation, accommodation, meals, excursions, guide/driver service and transfers. Some Safari tours operators tend to confuse the issue with a very low up-front quote for a bare-bones overland trip that is not what you want and not what you end up paying for, once all the ‘extras’ are added in.

One of the highly recommended places to look for advice will be at Gateway Africa Safari Tours.
Feel free to contact any of their Ranger Guide will be pleasantly surprised with their willingness to help and share information.
  Author: Christian Fourie on Google+

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

African Overland Camping Safaris: The Ultimate Adventure!

African continent is immense and holds many mysteries and wonders that can make camping safaris in Africa a marvelous experience. Many African countries have wildlife parks and reserves that also boast fine camping facilities. In addition, there is also a vast selection of campgrounds that can be used as a base for safari travel excursions, which are affiliated and located near major hotels, lodges and resorts in a number of countries. Go to our overland travel section for more information.

Camping safaris are a very common choice for safari holidays partly because it tends to be less expensive than staying at the fine lodges and resorts, although there are also some luxury safari options for camping out in Africa as well. In general, travelers who are planning to take in the sights and sounds of Africa while camping have the option of either arranging for a private camping safari or a group camping safari.

Ranger guided camping safaris that are geared toward private groups are designed around any group of two people or more who are traveling together but who are not especially interested in sharing their experience with those they don’t know, outside of the safari guide. These private groups travel in a vehicle separate from any other tour groups and have separate camping facilities for their private use.

Those who prefer a private camping safari will also be exclusively sharing any facilities of the campground and all of the meals are also shared amongst themselves. Guests who are on a private safari won’t be joined by any others who are on the same safari tour or who might have a similar itinerary. Throughout the trip, they travel exclusively together.

The standard group camping safaris are for individuals or groups who feel that part of the experience of safari holidays is traveling with others and getting to know them during the adventure, so that by the end of the safari travel they no longer consider each other as strangers. On this type of safari travel the whole group travels together in the safari vehicles and they share their meals and the entire camp facility, and in some instances will even share larger, community types of tent accommodations. Refer to african adventure tours for more information.

A small group camping safari is not only a good way to get to know others who share interests in adventuresome safari travels, but it is also a very effective way to reduce the cost of an African safari. This can make such a trip more affordable and feasible for people who might not otherwise be able to bear the expense of private camping safaris.

Some camping safaris take place at a permanent campground where the safari tour group will stay at a fixed “under canvas” camp. These are essentially tent “homes” that are primarily found in game reserves or at national parks. These camps have “permanent” tented sanitary facilities and a dining hall that is shared by all campers. These kind of camping facilities are popular and can serve as a base camp for walking safaris.

There are also mobile camping safaris which entail having the entire group traveling together with their all of their equipment and supplies in the safari travel vehicles. This gives the group an opportunity to cover greater distances and go deeper into the wilderness and gives the flexibility of stopping at sites that attract their interests.

No matter what type of camping safari you choose, you will be sure to return home with memorable experiences emblazoned in your memory. Visit overland African safari tours for further information.

  Author: Christian Fourie on Google+
Ranger, Guide Specialist for Southern Africa

Friday, January 7, 2011

Basic African Safari Vacation Trip Planning

You and your family intend to go on your first African safari trip together. But you have no idea yet how to go about the planning process. Even though you are new to this, you know that proper planning and preparation is crucial for the trip's success. This is why you try your best to know everything there is to know so that you will have the perfect safari with your family. Here are the things that you have to know about planning for a family vacation.

Step 1 - Do ample research and do feel free to ask the safari experts

First, you have to study about the country, region, or specific destination. Get to know about basic information such as how to get here, what attractions to see, the best times to visit, and what the local customs are. This is to ensure that you can plan the things to do accordingly and that you will have a smooth sailing vacation. You would not want to arrive in an attraction only to find out that it's already closed or that the admission fee is so expensive that it's beyond your travel budget.

Step 2 - Formulate travel budget

Speaking of money matters, you need to plan your budget well so that you don't spend beyond what you should or what you can afford during your trip. List down all the expenses for your African trip and allocate amount of money that you can spend for each of these. Then research on ways to save money so that you can make the most out of the vacation without having to break the bank.

Step 3 - Process travel papers

Allot sufficient time for processing travel papers since these may take a lot of time. If the country of your destination requires a visa, you need to apply for one at the local consulate in your area 3 to 6 months before your travel date. The passport, meanwhile, should be at least 3 months from the date of expiration when you go on your vacation. You also need to get visitor health insurance or temporary health insurance to protect you from health problems that you may have during your Africa trip. Insurance policies like temporary health insurance and visitor health insurance can be purchased online.

Step 4 - Create travel itinerary

Next thing you have to do is to create a travel itinerary based on the information you have gathered. This is important so that you can maximize the time that you have during your vacation. Unless you have a large budget, chances are your vacation will be about a 10 to 14 days in duration. Because of that, you need to plan a daily itinerary that will allow you to see most of what the place has to offer without rushing you or sacrificing the quality of the trip. All this planning could easily be done by your chosen Africa safaris expert.

Step 5 - Book for vacation needs

Once you know how you're getting to your safari destination and you've got necessary documents ready, you can now start booking your vacation plans. Find a nice safari package that will give you great value for your money. Then arrange for the air travel or transportation services that you need for getting around. You may also want to arrange additional pre and post safari accommodation in advance to save time and money.

For more tips and information about African safari trips and visitor health insurance please visit:   Author: Christian Fourie on Google+

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Affordable, Luxury Safaris to Namibia and Botswana

To many, the thought of Africa as a continent brings to mind all sorts of wonderful touring opportunities and a chance to see the fabled “dark continent.” Well, luxury safaris in Namibia and Botswana are certainly a couple of ways to go about seeing all the best that Southern Africa and these two countries have to offer. So take a chance and see the continent now, before the march of time and progress makes it more difficult.

How do you go on African safari trips? Safari, in the Swahili language, means “travel.” Africa safaris are not hard to either go on or to get to, if you’re of a mind to do so. Real safaris introduce you to a vast array of nature, people and game areas teeming with every sort of African species in both Namibia and Botswana. What’s marvellous is that you safari throughout the day, and then retire to a luxurious in-park or nearby safari lodge which caters to your every whim.

Where are the best places to safari these days? As a part of Southern Africa, both Namibia and Botswana have put aside enormous land areas that offer fine safari and touring environments. Each country has an abundance of natural resources, including animal species, and vibrant and lively local cultures, and above all, are safe and affordable.
In Botswana, the parks in the northern area of the country must be seen, if at all possible. And the world-famous Moremi and Savuti, of so many books and movies is tantalizingly close by.
Touring in Namibia is the best safari opportunity around. From its earliest colonial days, safari as an activity has always been on every explorer or tourist’s list of things to do. Namibia has made luxury safari travel as easy as possible with its focus on tourism and preservation of natural resources. In the Etosha National Park, for example, you can safari all day and then spend the evening in fine style in any one of a number of travel lodges located in, or around the area. And you can roll your Namibia tours and accommodations into one single luxury package.

You can combine both countries into one tour. On the market today, there are several different tour companies offering luxury safari opportunities into both Namibia and Botswana. All include luxury accommodations at any number of unique and visually-stunning lodge environments, with day trips to a number of beautiful and memorable destinations.

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a prime spot. From Maun, you journey through the stunning Moremi and spend a day and an evening exploring and staying inside the Delta, at any one of several luxury lodges.

Go to a private reserve for the best in luxury travel and safaris. Both countries offer large private game reserves. Your chances to see vast beauty and wildlife are never better. You also stay in some truly fine accommodations located right in the midst of all the best wildlife trails.
Contact your luxury travel agency. There are a number of agencies specializing in luxury safaris in Namibia and Botswana. Check with them for seasonal rates and discounts, as they can vary by the week or the month.

All-in-all, luxury safaris in Namibia and Botswana can be a fantastic way to see the Dark Continent in a manner and method that lets you enjoy all that Africa has to offer while giving up none of the creature comforts we’ve come to expect.
  Author: Christian Fourie on Google+
Christian Fourie: Ranger, Guide Specialist for Southern Africa
For one of the most amazing experiences of your entire lifetime you should try luxury safaris to Namibia and Botswana.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Combine An Southern African Safari With A Beach Holiday In South Africa

Many people dream of going on an African Adventure. A safari evokes exotic destinations, amazing natural wildlife, adventure travel, a touch of danger and romance, photographic opportunities and lasting memories. African safari trips are still an unusual vacation choice that your friends will want to know all about when you get back.

In Southern Africa you can mix the idyllic experience of a tropical beach vacation on the warm Indian Ocean with an African wild animal safari expedition. Combining the two makes for a unique holiday. Part of your vacation is filled with excitement as you observe African wildlife at close quarters, while part is spent relaxing and soaking up the sun on a sandy beach.

South Africa is an exotic vacation destination offering a complete break from western city life routines with its opportunity to combine beach and African safari vacations in one trip. For couples planning a wedding, South Africa is well worth considering for a very special honeymoon experience.

Southern Africa, especially Namibia, does not yet have a high profile as a holiday destination in America, but is growing in reputation as a unique vacation experience. Europeans, and the British in particular, have less distance to travel to Africa, and have been been the mainstay of South African tourism, attracted by the unique mix of the tropical beach and African safari vacation.
Luxury vacations have become more affordable as European currencies have strengthened, prompting investment in African tourist facilities.

Namibia enjoys a near perfect year-round climate for travellers. There is an annual rainy season between November and March each year, but the rains come in short bursts that should not detract from the enjoyment of your African holiday. The Etosha National Park is one of the most diverse wildlife destinations in Namibia. With a very low poulation density and being considered the safest country in Africa, one of the little known affordable African safari secrets is Namibia.
Safaris in Africa offer an abundance of interesting activities to experience. Southern Africa is unique in being able to offer the combination of relaxing on a tropical beach resort vacation with an African wildlife safari adventure.

Most of the South Africa's beach resorts and hotels are closely located to a Airport. They offer sandy beaches and swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. There is a choice of accommodation for all pockets, from budget hotels to top level luxury five star resorts.

Safari trips can be chosen from short or long trips,and from simple to luxury facilities. South Africa's Kruger National Park are not far from the beach resorts, and you might choose just to spend a couple of days viewing the wildlife, or take longer if you prefer.

Namibia's Etosha National Park offers another safari experience. It is easily reached by traveling further north from Cape Town. You can choose from several Namibia safari tour options. There are luxury options, staying 4-5 nights in luxury accommodation built to a safari theme, that neatly match a stay in a luxury beach resort.

You are likely to see a broader variety of wildlife in Namibia's Etosha Park compared to the Kruger National Park, but either experience offers a thrilling few days viewing the abundant African wild animals in their natural habitat, guided by expert safari guides to make sure you will be able to see the wildlife from close at hand in safety. Whatever safari excursion you choose is sure to be eventful and memorable.

A Southern African tropical beach and African wildlife safari is an exciting combination to choose for your next vacation, with affordability options available from budget to luxury.

 We strongly suggests you consider the unique once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing African wild animals in their natural habitat by selecting from the exciting African Safari tours that are on offer.

Useful Sites:
- For safaris to Namibia and Botswana
- For adventure safari trips to Southern Africa
- For mid-range lodge and small groups African safari tours
- For information on all things from Africa, stories, tribes, countries
  Author: Christian Fourie on Google+