HELLO AFRICAN WILDLIFE AND LANDSCAPE LOVERS
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Here is our (my wife and I) story and plans for near future; 2019…
After 20+ years of professional experience (I as an Architect as well as an instructor / lecturer at the university, and Deniz as a human resources consultant and executive coach working globally across different geographies), we have decided to get out of our comfort zones and daily routines and move to Botswana in quest of a new challenge in life.
After more than a decade of exploring and experiencing Southern Africa’s bush first hand, it has become our ‘happy place’ and we have come to realise that we have been spending increasingly more time in Africa than we do at home, especially as of late! As such, we have decided to conduct, with the contribution of our local partner (a highly experienced FGASA Licenced professional guide), “Wildlife and Landscapes Photographing/Viewing Safaris” within the Botswana-Namibia-South Africa-Zambia square starting from May 2019.
In our first few months, we will be testing ourselves, our equipments, tools, menus as well as new ideas to weed out possible inefficiencies and identify ways to make sure we are able to please our guests to the extent possible. To gather this valuable intelligence and fine tune our services, we need “test groups”; real guests who will join us from the second half of May onwards and give us real-time constructive feedback, in exchange for a discounted rate This is why we have started sharing this announcement with our close friends and Instagram friends with whom we believe we share the same passion and perspectives. We would like to ask you to become our “test groups”.
As you probably know already, Southern Africa has become an increasingly popular destination over the past years; fortunately / unfortunately, the supply of (quality/popular) accommodation options has not grown as steeply as the demand. Bookings for those “good spots” in national parks and reserves start 11 months in advance. If you would be interested to travel with us as per the brief below, we will need your confirmations as soon as possible so that we can secure those select locations for you. We will not be asking for or expecting any down-payment / deposit at the very early stages, not until the itinerary is mutually agreed and reservations are made.
We have prepared the below brief based on the questions we have received from various friends to date. Let us know if you have any other questions!
- ‘Wandering’ across unique landscapes and distinctive wilderness areas of southern Africa with
our guests (friends); sharing moments and creating new memories
- Camping in the wild bush (which we believe is the best way to feel Africa!)
- We will be working on building the best itinerary possible based on what our guests would like to see and experience, factoring in “seasonality” in terms of animal behaviours and possible activities. For example, if you are a birder and are considering travelling with us during the winter months of southern Africa (June-August), we will openly tell you that migratory birds will be arriving from September onwards and that during the same period, the raptors (birds of prey) will not be very active either as their main food sources will be in hibernation. The last thing we want is to mislead our guests and create false expectations.
- Our safari vehicle is custom designed to very comfortably accommodate four (4) guests; we want to offer you the broadest “space” possible for photography and wildlife viewing.
- One other reason we have chosen to keep the seats limited is so that you can form your own group of four (friends, couples, families). In case you are a solo traveler, we would do our best to bring together people with similar interests in wildlife and landscape viewing as you, i.e. big cat lovers, birders, landscape lovers... (Thank you Instagram, thank you social networks!)
- In case you don’t want to form a group of four and don’t want to join others either, we can still go ahead with the trip but preferably with a minimum of two guests. We love being in the wilderness, we love discovering, and we will love it more with you in it!
- As you all know, we can not guarantee good sightings with the mammals, birds, and reptiles of Africa as they all have their own agenda, but we can guarantee good food, good wine, good service, comfort, and good spirits around the bush fire at the end of the day.
We prefer to be in parks and reserves where we are allowed to set up mobile camps and run safaris. Only a few Private Game Reserves allow camping while most require lodging with them, which, frankly speaking, can be quite expensive.
Botswana – Okavango Delta, Savuti, Linyati, Chobe National Park as Northern Botswana; Nxai Pan National Park, Makgadikgadi National Park, Sua Pan and Kubu (Lekubu) Island, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Nata Bird Sanctuary, Elephant Sands, Khama Rhino Sanctuary as Central Botswana; and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park as Southern Botswana;
Namibia – Namib-Naukluft National Park, Skeleton Coast Park, Dorob National Park, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Caprivi Strip, Luderitz, Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Fish River Canyon, Khaudum National Park;
South Africa – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Kalahari), Kruger National Park, Great Kruger Area; Zambia – Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) National Park, for now; as, we will be conducting tours to South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi National Parks in following years as well as Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Hwange National Parks.
- We plan to conduct 6 to 14 day tours. The length of the excursions will basically depend on how much time you have and where you want to go.
- Our safaris will be conducted in our custom-made vehicle, a 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser V8 Single Cab converted-modified into a closed frame safari vehicle.
- “Why closed frame?” you may ask… We prefer a closed frame rather than a full open safari
vehicle for “climate control”; we have witnessed many visitors looking miserably cold under layers of blankets or excessively hot under the blistering sun, and even some who were dismayed at having caught the afternoon rain. We want to protect not only you, but also your precious photography/videography equipments from weather conditions and undue dust while travelling from one location to another.
- While the car mechanics may call it a “closed frame”, the vehicle is in fact not closed at all! It has huge side windows as well as a pop-up sunroof for better viewing/photographing purposes. Please see below attached photo. However side windows will be modified to slide down fully rather than sliding sideways;
The four guest seats will be distributed somewhat diagonally rather than side by side so that everyone has maximum access to the side windows for better viewing and photography / videography purposes. (Five is possible though, please read the next paragraph). Below is the drawing of the seating plan under conversion;
- We are working on building a second 4x4 vehicle as a ‘Back-Up Car’ in case of unwanted
circumstances such as break-downs or getting stuck in mud pans during the rainy season – with a second car in place, we will be able to open up space for a 5th possible guest in the main safari vehicle (which currently accommodates one of our crew members).
- We are deviating from the “industry standard” with respect to guest seats; each seat will be custom built for a snugger fit and a form-fitting back support to ensure maximum comfort during long drives over corrugated roads.
- Each guest seat will be equipped with USB and 220V chargers so that you can charge your phones, laptops, ipads and/or the batteries of photography/videography devices on-the-go.
- Each guest seat will have its own “box” where you can store and protect your photography / videography equipments while on the road.
- We will provide each guest with a “welcome to the bush” kit consisting of binoculars, reusable insulated water bottles, and headlamps to be used during your stay with us.
- We are also looking into integrating a satelite dish to the main vehicle to secure continuous telecommunication and (hopefully) wi-fi access so that you can “stay connected” should you choose to, check your e-mails and social media accounts or post your stories and captures. We will keep you posted on this issue.
- There will be a fridge in the main vehicle for cold beverages and snacks, and ample food for picnic lunches for the days we do not return to the base camp for lunch.
- Speaking of food: we will have two more fridges in the trailer (which will preferably be towed by the ‘Back-Up Car’) which will be stocked with good quality fresh ingredients, dairy products, soft drinks, beer, crisp white wines, and ice for sure!
- There is a roof top tent on the trailer which can be extended to form a closed / semi-closed unit. We plan to use this area as a “media center” for guests interested in photography/videography so that they can work on their captures during the breaks at the campsite. We will be adding a sizeable side awning to this set-up to create additional working / socializing space and ample shade.