VICTORIA FALLS/LIVINGSTONE

Victoria Falls is, understandably, also known by the name Mosi-oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders. It is a constant background noise during your stay, reminding you of the power contained in the thousands of gallons of water undertaking their relentless journey.

With the decline in tourism to Zimbabwe most travellers now view the falls from Zambia, and visit the town of Livingstone.

Nomad African Travel now has a base at Liyoyelo Farm, set in 105 acres of bush on the banks of the Zambezi, just outside Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The farm is 16kms upstream from the falls, with five en-suite rooms and a swimming pool. It is an ideal locartion from which to start or end a tour, or to provide a base from which to explore the surrounding area. It takea approximately one hour to drive to both Botswana and Namibia, and 20 minutes to Zimbabwe.

The falls are formed by a drop of between 90 and 107 metres in height and are spread out along the 1.7km width of the Zambezi Gorge. If you visit in a year of high rainfall the falls will run the full width of the Gorge but if the Zambezi is low it will be more limited, but still spectacular.

Around the falls is a small unspoilt area of National Park which has its own rain forest ecosystem, formed due to the spray which rains down almost constantly. The path through the park runs close to the edge of the falls and there are many viewing points. It is recommended to view the falls at more than one time of day as the sun moves around and forms both shadow and rainbows in different places.

At full moon it is sometimes possible to view the falls by moonlight. The unique flora, a wide range of birds and occasional mammals such as vervet monkey, tribes of banded mongoose and bushbuck, are often seen close to the falls.

Livingstone is developing quickly in response to increased tourism. There are a range of restaurants in all price ranges. Souvenirs are readily available in the outdoor craft market and local shops.

There are many activities on offer from Livingstone including white water rafting and bungi jumping from the bridge over the Zambezi. You can also opt for walking, canoeing, jet boat trips, river boat trips, flights over the falls, horse riding and game drives.

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HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

As with all game parks the best time to visit Hwange is during the dry season, roughly July to November, when the animals are more concentrated. There are some comfortable private hotels and lodges on the edge of the park and within the park there are camping sites and National Parks Board chalets, which provide basic accommodation.

Unless you stay around the Main Camp area of the park you would be advised to travel in 4 X 4 vehicles as some of the roads are quite rough. The scenery within the park is very varied, including open plain, woodland and river valley.

Perhaps the most attractive area is around Sinamatella, which is situated on top of a large plateau and commands spectacular views out across the park. Game viewing can be undertaken in your vehicle and on foot, by taking a walk with one of the park rangers. There are also hides and two quite large picnic areas at Mandavu and Masuma Dams.

The wide variety of game within the park includes elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, kudu, wild dog, lion, hyena, and many smaller mammals and bird species. Hwange National Park is close enough to Victoria Falls to allow for a day trip but in order to see a varied selection of game three or four nights would be recommended.

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MATOPOS NATIONAL PARK

(Also referred to as Matobo National Park). Situated a short distance to the South of Bulawayo, Matopos National Park combines both spectacular scenery and wildlife. The landscape is dictated by the Granite rocks of the area, which have weathered into dramatic forms of seemingly precariously balanced rocks. They are made more beautiful by their pink tinge and orange/yellow lichens which grow on the surface of the rocks.

There are many opportunities to walk in this area and the surrounding hills contain numerous sites where there are rock paintings. Based on the evidence of these paintings Rhino were reintroduced into the area and white rhino in particular may be frequently seen. It is an ideal habitat for a range of mammals and birds including the black eagle, klipspringer and a more than healthy population of baboon.

Maleme Dam is the park headquarters and is the most popular area to stay. It is also possible to follow guided horse trails from here.

There is is a reminder of the colonial past of Zimbabwe at the nearby 'Worlds View' where Cecil Rhodes is buried. The view is spectacular and attention to the ground may reward you with sightings of elephant shrew and varied colourful lizards warming themselves on the rock faces.

Near to the entrance to the game park there is an opportunity to visit the curio stalls where wood carving, crochet and basketry items from the local area are on sale.

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CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

The Chobe river front is packed with game and entrance to the park is just to the West of Kasane. Perhaps the most striking populations are of elephant and buffalo. The rich and extensive grasslands of the floodplain provide ideal grazing and in the afternoon in particular the elephant move down to the waters edge and across onto the islands to graze.

With a strong population of buffalo comes a healthy lion population and early morning is the most likely time to see the big cats. The puku is one antelope unique to the riverfront area, whilst in the forest there are warthog, giraffe, impala, roan antelope, zebra, baboon, vervet monkey, banded mongoose and leopard. Birds of note are ground hornbill, wood hoopoe and martial eagle.

One of the best things to do in the afternoon is to take a boat trip on the river, but don't choose a power boat please, they are completely at odds with the atmosphere of the river. On the boat, in addition to elephant and buffalo, you will pass close to hippo, crocodile and monitor lizard. A huge array of birds can also be seen including spoonbill, open billed stork, pied kingfisher, coucal, little egret, spur winged goose, Egyptian goose, jacana, sacred ibis, African darter, squacco heron, hammerkop, fish eagle and many others.

From Chobe the journey through to Maun via Savuti can be made.

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SAVUTI

It is possible to enter Savuti either travelling from Chobe River front in the North, or from Maun to the South. Either way the roads are unmarked and a 4X4 vehicle is required to negotiate the combination of bumpy roads and deep sand.

The Savuti and Mababe Dam Depression was once a large lake and until relatively recently water was present in the Savuti Channel, but now the water is only present with the seasonal rains and at a few waterholes.

The public camping site at Savuti Channel (like all sites in Chobe, Savuti and Moremi) is unfenced and with only basic facilities, but staying in them really puts you in close contact with the bush.

Elephant and hyena will regularly visit at night and during the day you could almost game view from your camp chair. All provisions should be carried into the park as there is nothing to purchase in the area. An alternative is to stay in a private camp.

The waterhole near to the camp office draws large herds of elephant, especially at sundown. In the dry season as it shrinks in size this can lead to much competition to drink.

Apart from the Magwikhwe Sand Ridge most of the Savuti area is a flat plain, with open grassland, forest and areas of dead trees. When grazing is good large populations of zebra and impala are drawn to the area. Elephant, giraffe, hyena, wildebeest, tsessebe, bat eared fox and black backed jackal are also numerous.

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MOREMI GAME RESERVE

To the South West of Savuti and extending into the Okavango Delta is the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. You can travel to this area from the North, via Chobe and Savuti, or from Maun in the South. Either way all provisions should be carried into the park as there is nothing to purchase in the area.

It is our opinion that, along with the Delta, parts of Moremi Wildlife Reserve are the most beautiful areas for game viewing in Southern Africa. On one day in 1997 one of our tailor made guided parties experienced perhaps the most extraordinary day of game viewing that the enthusiast could ever wish for. In the morning they were witness to a pack of around forty wild dogs hunting. The dogs chased impala into the water, one was taken by a crocodile, whilst another ran into the path of a hippo.

Throughout the morning they were able to observe the drama of pack hunting and social behaviour unfold. In the afternoon of the same day they also saw a family of five cheetah.

The Moremi area has a wide variety of environments including dry savanna, woodland, grassland, dramatic areas of dead trees, picturesque lagoons, floodplains, marshes and permanent waterways. Hence the birds and wildlife are extremely varied.

Once again elephant form a large presence, with many breeding herds. Along the permanent waterways there are also large populations of hippo and crocodile. The abundance of game supports a healthy lion population and herbivores include zebra, impala, giraffe, water buck, red lechwe and kudu.

It is not recommended to visit the area unguided unless you have good maps and a suitably equipped 4X4 vehicle.

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OKAVANGO DELTA

The Okavango Delta is at its best when the waters, which fell in Angola many months previously, have reached their highest levels. This varies from year to year but is usually from May/June to September. It is still worth visiting at other times but mokoro trips may be replaced by walking with your guide.

You can visit the Delta and stay in camps with all comforts provided, but if you are more adventurous a minimum of two nights bush camping is highly recommended. For this experience your local guide will take you by mokoro to establish a bush camp on one of the Islands. You will take all your provisions with you and cook on the open fire. Fresh water will be collected from the delta for you to drink and wash and a shovel is provided, along with instructions for environmentally friendly use!

During the day you will undertake walking safaris, seeing, hearing and experiencing the Delta environment with the company and extensive knowledge of your guide. The nights provide unsurpassed stargazing opportunities and a chorus of frogs and other night sounds.

Travelling by mokoro you are close to the water, drifting quietly through reeds and water lilies. It is a peaceful and relaxing means of travel which allows close contact with bird life in particular and excellent views of the beautiful environment of waterways, palms and islands. Walking on the islands in contrast does not allow you to get so close to the animals but the excitement of seeing giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and possibly predators such as lion and hyena whilst on foot, tracking them and reading spoor, is a unique experience. In addition to this insects, birds, plants and trees add further interest.

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MAKGADIKGADI PANS

The Makgadikgadi Pans area is an extraordinary landscape of desolate salt pans. These were previously lakes which now only contain water during the rainy season. It should be noted that during the wet season it is a hazardous environment for the inexperienced driver as what looks like a firm dry surface can, under the surface, be deep clay mud in which a vehicle can sink to a stage where it is permanently lost.

Despite this it is an area of contrast and at times abundant birdlife. In the dry season dust devils race across the surface of the pan as it stretches like a desolate mirage into the distance. A visit at this time of year will not reveal much game, perhaps the occasional springbok, but when the pans fill with water the attraction is the flocks of flamingo, pelicans, geese and ducks which arrive to feed and nest by the lake.

At Nata lodge there is an ostrich farm and at night bush babies spring from the trees in order to to take the fruit which has been placed on feeding tables for them.

In addition to the pans the Makgadikgadi Pans game reserve stretches along the road between Nata and Maun. It is possible to drive into the reserve, which is characterised by open plains and undulating low grassy dunes. The reserve is not fenced and therefore game can also often be seen along the road, especially giraffe and ostrich. Zebra and wildebeest can be found further into the park and elephant frequent the area of the Boteti river on its Western border, where the game concentrates in the dry season. The game moves between this area and Nxai Pan to the North. An area of Nxai Pan worthy of a visit is Baines' Baobabs. There are also herds of springbok in the area and predators include lion and wild dog.

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CENTRAL KALAHARI GAME RESERVE

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has only recently started to open up to tourism and is still an undeveloped pristine area requiring a 4X4 vehicle which is fully equipped with camping equipment, food, fuel and water. The attraction is knowing that in some of the camping areas you are the only people for miles and the areas that allow more than one group are organised so that you do not see the other people who are close by. This is a rare experience in an African game park today.

The area became famous through the work of Mark and Delis Owens who undertook research into brown hyenas and Kalahari lion, which was written up in the book "The Cry of the Kalahari". It gives a vivid insight into the life and commitment of the researchers and the politics of the area at the time.

Although the reserve has not changed much the descriptions of towns like Maun are now more interesting from a historical perspective due to the huge changes and increase in wealth which has accompanied the tourist industry.

The Reserve is characterised by low rolling dunes of Kalahari sand which have been stabilised by grasses and scrub woodland, whilst the mainly dry river valleys provide open tracts of land where, during the rainy season, herds of springbok, wildebeest and zebra drop their young. Ground squirrel are plentiful, steenbok are frequently seen and large numbers of gemsbok also live here. If you are really fortunate you might see black maned Kalahari lion, caracal or brown hyena.

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POPA FALLS

When travelling through from Botswana to Namibia an attractive and convenient place to break the journey is at Popa Falls. The falls is not as you would expect, merely some rapids in the river.

Much of Botswana and Northern Namibia offers a subsistence existence for its population, many of whom live near to the river. Houses are built from wood, thatch and mud in the traditional style, with each family owning a few goats, sheep and chickens. The passing tourist trade has brought some income to the area leading to an expansion of the one supermarket and the building of a new garage. There are a few places to stay and the camping site is very attractive, with wooden chalets, well tended gardens and a shady lawned area beside a small stream, where giant kingfisher can often be seen fishing. Care should be taken whilst walking in the area as snakes are frequently seen. The nearby Mahango Game Reserve is well worth a visit.

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MAHANGO GAME RESERVE

Although relatively small this reserve is rarely crowded and invariably offers an opportunity to see roan and sable antelope. It also contains a variety of other species including kudu, impala, giraffe, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, zebra and large herds of elephant. One of the attractions of the park is that you are permitted to leave your vehicle at designated spots along the wide flood plain, where approaching animals can be easily seen.

The park is good to visit just before sunset, when the animals are moving away from the river and into the safety of the woodland, crossing the road in the process.

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ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Etosha National Park is located in the North of Namibia. A huge central area of the park consists of a salt pan, which is inaccessible to the tourist, but around its edge are woodlands and waterholes where the game is plentiful. There are three main camps within the park, Namutoni in the East, Halali, placed centrally, and Okaukuejo to the West. The advantage of staying at these camps is that game viewing can be extended into the night because they all have floodlit waterholes. This can lead to sightings of animals which would either rarely or never be seen during the day, including leopard, honey badger, African wild cat, genet, hyena and family groups of black rhino. At Okaukuejo up to nine rhino have been seen drinking at one time.

Each waterhole also has its resident pride of lion and the harsh environment of Etosha makes these lion particularly resilient and successful, indeed they are often relocated to add genetic strength and diversity to other lion populations.

The open grassy plains of Etosha host huge herds of zebra, wildebeest and springbok and suit the hunting tactics of the cheetah.

Gemsbok are well adapted to the arid areas of the park and other herbivores include hartebeest, giraffe, black faced impalas, steenbok and dik-dik. There are successful breeding herds of elephant and, after a dust bath you may see a white elephant (or at least a very light grey one).

A wide range of birdlife is present including ostrich, black korhaan, secretary bird, kori bustard, pied crow, bataleur eagle, sociable weaver, yellow billed hornbill, eagle owl and many others. In the rainy season Etosha Pan can fill up with water, also attracting a range of migratory species.

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WATERBERG PLATEAU PARK

The Waterberg Plateau Park is an ideal place to break your journey between Etosha and Windhoek. The Plateau itself is home to a variety of game and on our visits we have seen leopard, white rhino, eland, impala, rock dassie and sable antelope. Bird watching can also be very rewarding, especially in the rest camp.

The red Sandstone Plateau itself is flat topped and steeply rises to a height of 150 metres above the surrounding countryside. Nearly 50 km long and up to 16 km wide, its sheer sides serve to contain and protect the game that lives there. Pleasant days can be spent walking around the base of the plateau and it is also possible to walk up to the top from the rest camp. The Parks Board organise morning and afternoon game drives in open topped vehicles on top of the plateau, but it is not possible to game drive in your own vehicle. Another alternative is a four day walking trail on the plateau. This takes place in small groups, all supplies must be carried and advanced bookings must be made.

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TWYFELFONTEIN

Situated in the Northern part of Damaraland, between Etosha and the Skeleton Coast, Twyfelfonteins main attraction is its spectacular assortment of rock engravings and paintings. However they are not the only attraction as the mountain scenery itself has fantastic rock eroded formations which are a landscape photographers dream.

The engravings and paintings are a National Monument and information boards explain their history and discovery. Many local people make a small living by guiding tourists through the hills to ensure that the most exciting engravings are not missed. Here we find pictured elephant, giraffe, rhino, lion, wildebeest and a variety of other creatures and their footprints. The majority of the images have been 'engraved' by pitting the surface of the sandstone rocks with chisels of the harder quartz mineral. Desert elephants also live here and although it is unusual to see them their fresh tracks, especially around any water supplies, are regularly seen.

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CAPE CROSS SEAL COLONY

Despite the noise and the odour a visit to Cape Cross is not to be missed. It is situated to the North of Swakopmund and a day visit is an easy drive. This is a breeding colony but it should also be remembered that seal products are sold in a small shop near the colony. The parking area has a low wall around it and just on the other side of this wall the seal colony starts, you must obviously not climb over the wall and certainly would not need to in order to view the seals at close quarters. Tens of thousands of Cape fur seals cover the rocks, which they have worn smooth and swim in the sea beyond, feeding on the fish brought by the cold Benguela current. Occasionally opportunistic black backed jackals patrol the beach and you may frequently see flamingos and pelicans along the shoreline.

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SWAKOPMUND

If you travel to Swakopmund from the desert regions inland it is an almost surreal experience to arrive at this seaside town. It is colonial German in style, even down to the wonderful bread shops. There are beaches, promenades and palm trees, plus many good shops and excellent restaurants, hotels and bars. You can also pay a visit to the brewery.

A sea fog often rolls in over the town and you would not wish to swim in the sea in July and August. But during the high season, Christmas and Easter, it is a busy family resort with a variety of watersports including surfing boat trips and fishing.

A number of tours are available into the desert and you could either join an organised trip or drive out to the fascinating landscape of Moon Valley and the Welwitchia Trail. The Welwitchia plant is only found in Namibia. It grows on the ground in the gravel desert and it is believed that they can live over 1000 years. In the desert great care must be taken not to damage the fragile lichens that cover the ground, you should never drive off the roads as your vehicle will crush the lichens and the tracks will remain for many decades, as a scar on the land.

In areas of less stable dunes Quad Biking is offered as an activity and flights over the desert can also be taken.

Just to to South of Swakopmund is the town of Walvis Bay and this area is a particular attraction for bird watchers.

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NAMIB - NAUKLUFT DESERT

The largest area of National Park in Namibia is the Namib Naukluft Park, which is also the fourth largest national park in the world (4.9 million hectares). There are four sections, Southern, Naukluft, Northern and Western.

The Western section is a coastal area and includes Sandwich Harbour. It is characterised by coastal mists and accompanying unique plant species. The sea is a breeding place for fish and sharks and both coastal and freshwater birds form large colonies.

The Tropic of Capricorn crosses the park just south of Sandwich Harbour, running through the Kuiseb Canyon, which is a feature of the Northern area. Travelling from Windhoek the Kuiseb Canyon can be entered after crossing the spectacular Gamsberg Pass. The pass provides excellent views of the gravel plains between the pass and the dunes of the coastal area. The Kuiseb River flows infrequently but there are underground springs providing for animal, bird and plant life in the dry river valleys.

It is possible to camp in the rocky canyon and at other sites in the Northern area but permits should be bought in advance and there are only the most basic of facilities. All supplies should be carried with you.
The Naukluft area to the North East is a sanctuary for the mountain zebra, kudu, klipspringer and baboons. It has many narrow gorges and includes the escarpment of the mountainous area, running to the edge of the desert.

The many attractions of the southern section include the spectacular dunes at Sossusvlei and, just outside the main southern boundary on the coast, the town of Luderitz and the nearby ghost town of Kolmanskop.

The majority of the roads within the park are gravel, which is regularly graded, but there are areas of soft sand. It is important not to become over confident in your driving, keep to the roads and keep a watch out for wildlife which may cross unexpectedly in front of you. In particular there are many stories of accidents between Solitaire and Sesriem.

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SESRIEM

Sesriem is situated on the eastern boundary of the park. A variety of accommodation is available should you wish to visit the highest dunes in Namibia, at Sossusvlei. Access to the dunes is restricted in order to conserve the area and a 4X4 vehicle is needed to undertake the last 5km of road.
It is popular to visit at sunrise, when there are few footprints in the sand, but this means an extremely early start in order to travel the 65km of poor gravel road and then climb to the top of a 300m dune. It can be an area of extreme temperatures. On some days the fog might not clear until the afternoon so particular care should be taken on the roads. Foggy mornings can also be extremely cold, especially in the dry season (July and August).

If you should visit in November to March the middle of the day will be seriously hot and you must ensure a plentiful supply of water whilst walking and never stray unguided from the main path.The red dunes are spectacular, as are many of the smaller dunes on the way to Sossusvlei.
Walking up the dunes is tiring as the sand constantly moves underfoot but it is worth the effort to reach the top and see this immense sea of dunes stretching out before you. Balloon trips over the desert are possible if the weather is favourable.
Gemsbok are frequently seen in the area and in a year of good rains the vlei areas at the base of the dunes will fill with water.

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FISH RIVER CANYON

The fish River is one of the major rivers of Namibia despite only flowing permanently for no more than two months. From its humble beginnings, near Mariental in central Namibia, it is difficult to imagine that such a stunning canyon could have been produced by such an inauspicious river. The canyon itself is a deeply incised valley in an otherwise featureless, barren desert landscape and rivals the scenic splendour of the Grand Canyon in the United States.

The canyon is 161 kilometres long and 27 kilometres across at its widest point. It is 500 metres deep at some points and provides a challenge for anyone fit enough to descend and ascend the steep path. Walks can be undertaken in half a day from the top to the bottom and back again near to the Hobas scenic viewpoints.

The walk winds it way down through interesting geological structures from very hard quartzites at the top of the plateau to the much older basement granites and dolerite dykes in the valley floor. The valley floor contains pools of water, when the river is not in flow, and
these make welcoming swimming pools for those brave enough to undertake the steep walk.

A hiking trail along the the canyon floor exists between the Hobas viewpoint and the thermal springs at Ai-Ais. The trail takes four days to complete and requires booking in advance and current medical fitness certificates for all
participants. Ai-Ais provides a welcome respite to the arduous walk as thermally heated swimming pools are found at the resort. Ai-Ais, due to the very high summer desert temperatures, is closed between October 31st and March 1st.

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OKONJIMA GUEST FARM

Okonjima provides a glimpse into the dedicated work carried out by the 'Africat' team as they battle to rehabilitate, if possible, wild cats that
are orphaned or have been trapped in other areas of Namibia.

The project particularly concentrates on cheetah and leopards but many wild cats are kept including caracals and lion.

As Namibia has the biggest population of cheetah left in the world it is hardly surprising that they stray onto domestic farms throughout the country. This often causes conflict as the cheetahs take sheep and goats and consequently are either shot or trapped by the farmers. Where such animals have been trapped Africat collect the animals and rehouse them in the large, open fenced enclosures built at the farm. Some animals may have enough experience of hunting to be released back into the wild and these are often given new homes where their chances of survival are considerably improved. The other animals are tended and fed and attempts are now being made to try and teach the animals the hunting skills necessary for survival back in the wild.

Leopards are also common consumers of domestic livestock and Africat's innovation of leaving food in designated places, for the wild leopard population, has reduced attacks on domestic livestock greatly. This also allows the normally very secretive leopards to be viewed in controlled conditions and provides a rare and privileged opportunity to admire these magnificent animals.

The guest farm also provides full board accommodation and good quality cuisine making a stay here both relaxing and photographically exciting as the cheetahs, leopards, caracals and lion can all be seen at close quarters in areas that are as natural as possible.

The scenery of the area is rocky and picturesque and provides excellent walking opportunities where many of the indigenous wildlife such as dik-dik, kudu, steenbok, jackals and baboons can be seen. At night hides provide opportunities to see nocturnal species such as porcupine and occasionally honey badger.

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KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER NATIONAL PARK

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is one of the least well known wildlife havens in Southern Africa. This is somewhat surprising as it is certainly one of the best parks for very close viewing of two of Africa's most
impressive predators.

Lions can commonly be seen in early morning and late afternoon camped out by the waterholes found throughout the park. Often the lions use the roads for walking and their distinctive spoor can be tracked in the soft sandy roads after a nights hunting.

Cheetahs are also commonly sighted in family groups of up to five animals together. The abundance of springbok, their main prey, mean that the chances of seeing a chase are more common than in many of the other Southern African reserves.

Good sightings of meerkats are also likely. Their endearing behaviour and colonial life styles make them fascinating subjects to watch and photograph.

Other animals found in the park include leopard, wildebeest and bat-eared fox as well as many different antelope species such as gemsbok (oryx), red hartebeest and kudu, but the park is notable for the absence of elephant,
giraffe and zebra.
Birdlife is also profuse with an interesting raptor population featuring bateleur eagle, blackbreasted snake eagle, secretary bird and martial eagle.
Also particularly distinctive of the park is the large number of sociable weavers and their associated nests. Their nests are huge and commonly found in the camelthorn trees which line the valley floors of the park.

Large birds such as kori bustard and ostrich are also frequently seen.
Ostrich nests on the ground are frequently spotted with clutches of eggs being brooded by the male birds.

The park itself concentrates on two dry river valleys, the Auob and Nossob.
Artificial and natural waterholes line these two valleys and attract good concentrations of animals throughout the dry months of May to September. The vegetation of these valleys tend to be scrub-woodland, characterised by various Acacia species, with the camelthorn being the most common tree.
Roads crossing the park, between these two valleys, reveal the distinctive Kalahari landscape of stabilised red sand dunes and a low scrub vegetation.
These drier areas are the refuge for gemsbok and springbok. The scenic beauty of the areas is often revealed in the early morning or late afternoon, when the low sunlight reveals wonderful shadows and ripples texturing the sand dunes.

There are three camps in the park with Twee Rivieren being the main one situated at the park gate. The other camps, Nossob and Mata Mata are a half days drive, up river, on the Nossob and Auob respectively. All the camps are well facilitated and have high quality camp sites and comfortable accommodation.
The accommodation is often booked up to a year in advance and plenty of notice is necessary to secure reservations.

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CAPE TOWN

Cape Town has probably one of the most scenic settings of any city in the world. Lying at the foot of Table Mountain the city has many attractions and the surrounding environs provide fascinating flora, fauna and scenery.

Within Cape Town itself many period early colonial buildings are still well preserved. The castle, dating back to the 17th Century, has recently undergone restoration and provides an insight into the colonial past of the city. The botanical gardens, close to the Houses of Parliament, provides a pleasant place to relax and the South African museum, situated close by, provides an informative insight into the early history of the Southern African continent.

The recent development of the Victoria and Alfred waterfront area has brought a new dimension to the old harbour area of Cape Town. Many of the old buildings have been revamped to accommodate craft markets, modern shops and restaurants. A boat trip to Robben Island can also be undertaken from the waterfront. Robben Island was the prison used to incarcerate Nelson Mandela, and many other of the ANC activists during the apartheid era, and guided tours can now be taken around the prison.
Table Mountain is now much more accessible after the opening of the new cable car. The journey to the top allows a wonderful panoramic view of Cape Town, the harbour and the Cape peninsular, provided the 'table cloth' of cloud is not draped over the plateau.

The summit is covered with the distinctive Fynbos vegetation of giant heathers and proteas (the national flower of South Africa) with many rock hyraxes (a small mammal) tamely sitting on the rocks waiting to be photographed.
The surrounding ocean, due to the cold currents, is abundant in life and whales are commonly seen very close to the shore. The main time to view is September to November, when Southern Right Whales may come within 50 metres of the beach to calf. They are usually well seen at Gordon's Bay, Kogel Bay, Kleinmond and Hermanus further along the coast.

A further major attraction of the Cape Town area is the world renowned Kirstenbosch botanical Gardens. The beautifully tended gardens house many indigenous African species and the variety of proteas and cycads are among the major attractions. The gardens provides an ideal view point for False Bay and the local bird life is profuse and varied with the Cape sugar bird and other nectar feeders being a highlight of the area.

The climate of Cape Town is quite different to most of Southern Africa. From June though to August temperatures can often be cool (16 celsius) and rain is not uncommon. Once the spring (in September) arrives temperatures improve and the rainfall gradually diminishes. The best climatic conditions are in December through to April when a typical Mediterranean style climate prevails, but beware the long South African school holidays from
mid-December to the end of January when the Cape can become uncomfortably crowded.

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SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK

South Luangwa National Park is located in the North East of Zambia. The Luangwa river runs through the park and is home to the largest concentration of hippos in the world. In the dry season they share the diminishing waters with numerous crocodiles, which makes visits by other species a hazardous occurrence. Open grassland areas exist around the river whose former courses have become ox-bow lakes and lagoons. There is abundant woodland containing Natal Mahogany, Mopane and Jackal-berry.

The plentiful game in South Luangwa includes Thornicroft’s giraffe (endemic to the area) and the distinctive herds of puku. There are large numbers of elephant and the predators are well represented, with good chances of seeing lion and even leopard during daylight hours.

From June to October it is possible to take game walks with a guide and armed game scout. Throughout the year game drives are taken in open vehicles. It is usual to take a morning drive or walk, plus an afternoon/evening drive. The evening drives lead to frequent sightings of leopard, as well as other nocturnal species such as genet, porcupine, civit and white tailed mongoose.

The presence of the wetland areas also results in abundant bird species and of note are the large roosts of egrets.

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