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Botswana

BOTSWANA - LAND vs WATER

Botswana is a country of vast open space, prolific wildlife and although landlocked between South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia, it also boasts one of the largest inland deltas in the world; The Okavango Delta. So the question is. Do you choose a land-based lodge or a water-based lodge for your Botswana Safari experience?

The Kalahari Desert makes up over 70% of Botswana’s land mass while the Okavango Delta stretches over an area approximately 15000 square kilometers and was declared one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Africa in 2013.

It’s home to a wide variety of wildlife, some of which stay in the area permanently while some species use it merely as a seasonal home, leaving with the summer rains only to return again as winter approaches. Beside the desert and delta regions, Botswana also has vast tracts of grassland and savanna which attracts animals like the blue wildebeest and other ante-lopes and birds, and it also boasts one of the largest concentration of elephants as well as large packs of the endangered African wild dog.

There is a wide variety of choice of accommodation available in Botswana including campsites, guest houses, luxury lodges, and top class hotels. Whether land-based or water-based each offers travelers a unique perspective on Botswana.

Why land-based?

  • From the land-based lodges, game drives in open 4 x 4 vehicles allow visitors to experience some of Africa’s best Big 5 game viewing opportunities.
  • They provide an opportunity to get closer to sightings n Some lodges offer game walks as an alternative to a drive thereby allowing you to experience the bush more intimately
  • You get to explore a bigger range of habitats
  • Some of the camps allow for off-road exploration
  • The downside of a land-based lodge is that many of them don’t offer any water-based activities.

 

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Hot Air Ballooning

HOT AIR BALLOONING

Peace and tranquillity, a feeling of warmth as the early morning sun caresses your skin and panoramic views as far as the eye can see are your rewards for embarking on a fantastic hot air balloon adventure.

The sun’s gentle rays slowly start peaking over the horizon as you sip on a hot cup of coffee watching  in anticipation as the balloon (also called an envelope) begins to inflate. Slowly the balloons’ incredible array of colours are revealed and the feeling of excitement at your next adventure starts to grow.  

One of the oldest forms of flying known to man, hot air ballooning can only be described as a magical experience. The first hot air balloon flight was undertaken by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes on the 21st of November 1783 in Paris. The Montgolfier brothers created their balloon and the flight lasted approximately 20 minutes.

Hot Air Balloons were formerly used in South Africa for military purposes during the Boer War. They used hydrogen gas balloons as a means of locating enemy camps. It wasn’t until 1969 when the first hot air balloon able to carry passengers arrived and in 1972 the first international balloon race from Johannesburg to Durban took place.

The envelope made out of single layered ripstop nylon has an opening at the bottom (called the throat). A burner mounted in the centre of the throat, above the basket and fuelled by propane, releases flames into the envelope thus heating the air inside and causing the balloon to inflate.

The baskets or gondolas made out of a woven wicker or rattan are usually rectangular in shape. Small holes are woven into the side of the basket for passengers to use as a foothold when climbing into the basket. Some of the baskets, especially the larger ones may have internal partitions which act as a structural brace as well as to compartmentalise the passengers.

Let the adventure begin

With the magnificent gentle giant, which can reach up to eight storeys high, now fully inflated and the safety briefing completed it’s time to climb into the giant wicker basket which can accommodate anywhere between 4 and 18 passengers.

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South Coast

KZN’S SOUTH COAST - A year round family holiday destination

Long, wide sandy beaches, the warm Indian Ocean and charming seaside towns dotted along the 140km stretch of sub-tropical coastline ensure that the South Coast of KZN remains a favourite family holiday destination.

Situated on the East coast of South Africa, KZN’s South Coast stretches from Amanzimtoti in the north to Port Edward in the south. Quaint little villages like Umkomaas, Scottburgh, Shelly Beach Margate and Port Edward attract thousands of holidaymakers every year.    

Accommodation

Accommodation options along the South Coast cater for all budg-ets. Numerous caravan and camp-ing sites dot the coastline and provide affordable accommodation in laidback and tranquil settings. Thandulula luxury tented accom-modation offers an unusual, amazing “bushveld by the sea” experience while a variety of self-catering cottages, bed and breakfasts, guest houses and up-market hotels are also available for visitors looking for some added comfort and luxury.

Sardine Run

Considered one of the main attractions of the South Coast the sardine run takes place every year between May and July. Millions of sardines hug the shoreline as they move along the east coast to spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank. The shoals reach depths of up to 40m and can be as long as 7km and 1.5km wide. Dolphins round the sardines into bait balls and once they have rounded the silvery fish up, hundreds of birds, sharks, whales and dolphins come and gorge themselves on them in a feeding frenzy lasting about 10 minutes.

Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks

The Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks are two famous dive sites and well know for their large shark populations.

Aliwal Should is situated just off Umkomaas and Scottburgh is rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive spots in the world. First dived in 1950 and approximately 5km in length, the shoal is home to an enormous array of fish species as well as rays, turtles, manta’s. It’s also one of the best sites to dive with sharks.Diving with ragged tooth sharks is extremely popular and for those less experienced, cage diving is also offered as an option.

Protea Banks is situated 7.5km off the coast from Shelly Beach and lies at a depth of between 27 and 40 metres. This fossilised sand bank is one of the richest tuna grounds in the world and thus the reason it is frequented by Zambezi sharks patrolling the reef in search of food. Due to its strong currents, this dive site is only recommended for experienced divers...

 

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Win 2 Nights at Springbok Lodge

Win 2 nights at Springbok Lodge

Answer the question below to stand in line to win a two-night midweek stay for two persons at Springbok Lodge valued at R8 980. The prize is includes accommodation at Springbok Lodge in their luxury safari-style en suite tents with breath-taking views of the reserve from your deck, all meals, hot beverages from the tea and coffee station and two big 5 game drives (your arrival time and weather dependant). Question: Name two activities offered at Springbok Lodge.

Subscribe to, or purchase Wildside Magazine to find out how to enter this competition.

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Win a One Night Stay at Duma Manzi

Win a one night stay for two at Duma Manzi

Win a one-night stay for you and your partner, valued at R4000, in one of the Luxury Sandstone Rooms at Duma Manzi Eco Lodge & Spa. Prize includes a welcome drink on arrival, brunch, afternoon tea and a candle lit dinner. Plus two scenic games Two scenic game drives: one is on arrival as transfer to the Boutique Eco Lodge and Spa (+/- 40 minutes) the second scenic drive is on your day of departure, from the Lodge to Hilltop Reception.

Subscribe to, or purchase Wildside Magazine to find out how to enter this competition.

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