Whale Coast Mini Indaba

I had the pleasure of attending the Whale Coast Mini Indaba held at Hermanus organised by White Shark Projects. The main objective of the Mini Indaba was to show case what the Cape Whale Coast has to offer. They offer more than just whales as is the misconception about the Cape Whale Coast.

Tuesday 04 August 2015

Our first stop was The Stony Point Eco Centre in Betty’s Bay which is the African Penguins’ breeding ground at Stony Point. It is one of only two shore-based breeding colonies in South Africa with the more famousPenguins breeding colony at the Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town. I actually saw more penguins at Stony Point than I did at Boulders Beach two days before. Our next stop was The Marine Hotel where about 40 exhibitors from the Cape Whale Coast region where show casing their products. It was a mix of guesthouses, activities operators (shark diving, quake biking, zip lining, biking, sand boarding, etc), wine estates and many more.

Each of the participants also had a site inspection of the The Marine Hotel. What an opulent hotel. Their spa offers 24k Gold Facials, a 24 karat gold skin indulgence. Opulence redefined!

After lunch we went on a site inspection of some of the properties before we were dropped Ocean Eleven Guest Houseof at our respective hotels. I was accommodated at Ocean Eleven Guest House in their deluxe room. Ocean Eleven Guest House was recently voted in the London Times as “One of the top 20 rooms with views in the world” I think they got the numbers wrong. It should be top 10. My unbiased opinion.

I freshened up and got ready for dinner.  We had starters at Misty Waves Boutique Hotel. Misty Waves Boutique Hotel has partnered local restaurant Lemon Butta Hermanus to run their in-house restaurant.  Next stop was at La Pentola restaurant who served the main course. *Holds right hand up* I have tasted the best mature prime cut beef fillet south of the Equator at La Pentola. Our final stop for the night was The Marine Hotel for a show stopping dessert.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Our day started with a visit to Zwelihle township where Leanne from thephotowalkers.coBottlesm together with two residence of Zwelihle took us on a tour of the township. They also showed us an amazing project where they are building homes made entirely out of 2 litre soft drink bottles filled with sand. Truly a humbling experience.

We headed to Creation Wines for paired wine tasting and canapés. Creation Wines is located along the Hermanus wine route.  We had a three course canapé wine paring. Those who do not consume alcohol had tea tasting instead. I experienced tea tasting for the first time. Rich aromatic teas served in wine glasses.

I spent the night at Whale Rock Luxury Lodge in their executive suite. This is an elegant and charming guest house situated across the road from the New Harbour where all whale watching charters board.

With soo many activities to do in and around the Cape Whale Coast, the region is certainly more than just whales.

Nolwazi Maseko

Tour Consultant

SW Africa Destination Management

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Namibia self-drive – slow down!! (Treacherous road conditions!) 

Experiencing Namibia’s natural and abundant beauty on a self-drive basis, is one of the most exhilarating experiences when visiting this vast, expansive country!

Beware of loose gravel on dirt roads!

Beware of loose gravel on dirt roads!

The long and straight roads on well prepared gravel, however, often entice drivers to exhilarate in an effort to near civilization a bit faster – sometimes with detrimental consequences, as the loose gravel on the dirt roads proves to be treacherous, even on a straight. Read more… about a narrow encounter, which ended on a high note!

On a recent late afternoon, one of our repeat Namibia travelers called and advised, that he had driven his 4×4 car hire against a 15 cm high rock. On a perfectly straight road, the car skidded and careered off the road into the Namib Desert, coming to a grinding halt, against the rock. No one was injured but they had to leave the car right there, as they just could not drive it any longer. Fortunately, this incident happened just 20 km before Sossusvlei Lodge, so clients hiked a lift to the lodge with a local farmer and called the relevant SW Africa staff member.

(This car was not the one driven by our clients).

(This car was not the one driven by our clients)

We called one of the emergency mobile numbers for Budget/Bidvest and immediately had access to exactly the person, who had delivered the car to the clients in the morning in Windhoek. After describing the situation to him, John advised, that he would consult with his manager and get back with details as to how they would proceed but in the meantime, no-one should worry about the car by the side of the road – ‘Namibia was different to other countries in Africa’ – ‘more positive’,’better people’ he said :). As a Namibian, I had to chuckle about this comment and prayed that John may be right.

10 minutes later he called and advised, that the car would just have to be left where it was, in good faith, as their towing vehicle was up north in Namibia, where another car of the same category had hit a rock with the same results. They would replace the car with a Nissan X Trail, a higher category car, without an additional charge to the client; the car would be delivered later the following day.

The following morning, John called and let us know, that they had already sent the X Trail on its way the previous night and that the car would be delivered this morning. According to our client, at 6h30 in the morning, he had a new car on his door step! Great service all around, which has left the client confident to continue his self-drive itinerary through some of Namibia’s remotest areas.

The reason we are sharing this incident with you, is to please warn and warn your valued travelers to Namibia, to heed this warning – DRIVE SLOWLY on a well maintained dirt road in Namibia. The loose gravel on the road has the very same effect on a car as an iced up tar road overseas!

Thank you to Bidvest car hire in Windhoek for an outstanding emergency service!

Iris Himmel

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Exotic Zanzibar

Oh, what bliss! I recently had the privilege to spend a relaxing week on beautiful Zanzibar,11150826_10153784751017995_1870223532989804119_n the magical island off the coast of the United Republic of Tanzania – the largest country on the east coast of Africa. Zanzibar is actually not one island but an archipelago, consisting of Unguja, Pemba and a host of smaller islands, in the Indian Ocean. I flew from Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam on South African Airways and then to Zanzibar on Precision Air, but there are many ways of getting there.

My friend Ylva (who joined me from Sweden) and I stayed at the 5 star Bluebay Beach Resort & Spa, which is located in 11337019_10153912325467995_8868275836620590819_oKiwengwa on Unjuga on the North East Coast, less than an hour’s drive from the airport. The resort (which has 112 rooms) is on the most beautiful 30-acre site with its bedroom cottages located on rising ground overlooking verdant gardens, the public areas, the pool, the more than 1,000 beautiful palm trees, the sparkling white beach and the azure seas beyond. We stayed in a very comfortable Superior Room complete with a balcony, a bathroom with shower, air conditioning, TV, tea and coffee-making facilities and mosquito nets.

We started our days with delicious 11427217_10153912312707995_3250719490452018975_nbreakfasts, went on to read books in the shade of a palm tree, had lovely swims in the Indian Ocean and the resort’s big pool, walked on the long beach and indulged in divine buffet style lunches and refreshing drinks (we were on an all-inclusive package which included all meals and most drinks11196242_10153793615457995_4191963180672215843_n). We also treated ourselves to a couple of relaxing spa treatments. Every evening had something special in store for us to enjoy like a Masaai performance, dancing groups, bands etc, while we were having dinner.

Ylva and I went snorkeling with a group of other guests and instructors to Mnemba one morning, which was just amazing! Mnemba is famous for its rich and diverse marine life. A stunning excursion!

Zanzibar has an interesting history as it has been ruled by Portugal, Arabia and England. The island was famous worldwide for its spices and its slaves. I strongly recommend going on a guided day tour to Stone Town, where you can learn more and explore the 1978538_10153912314832995_2987993198414574485_onarrow streets and crowded markets, it is quite an experience for the senses!

I have been back home in Johannesburg for a while after this trip, but often think back on this utterly relaxing, energy boosting week – away from school lifts, homework and the packing of lunch boxes – in my case made possible by my always helpful mother in law and of course my lovely husband!

Please contact SW Africa if you are interested in finding out more about holidaying in Zanzibar.

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White Shark Projects

In 1994 Mandla Ngazini arrived at White Shark Projects on his bicycle, seeking mandla 2employment. Having just arrived in Gansbaai from the Eastern Cape, Mandla had never worked on the ocean before. Craig Ferreira, the owner of White Shark Projects at the time, told Mandla to come back the next morning when they were going out to sea. Not expecting to see Mandla ever again, Craig was very surprised to find Mandla waiting for him, ready to go out to sea. Mandla had no training when he started with White Shark Projects. Now he is a registered tour guide, is an open water diver, has his driver’s license, has done a computer course and numerous life-saving and firefighting courses. Mandla was also the first black skipper trained for a commercial vessel. Mandla currently holds a leadership position in the company and is respected by his fellow crew members. He proudly provides for his family and Mandla is an esteemed member of his community. Thanks to him, there are now educational and upliftment projects running in Masekhane. White Shark Projects backed him and these projects to ensure their sustainability. Mandla took it upon himself to take children from his community on explorative trips to the tidal pools on his off days -teaching them about the ocean and its creatures, how to conserve them and that they shouldn’t just take from the ocean but that they should also give something back. When Mandla was asked how he has adjusted to the Western Cape he said: “When we swim in the Eastern Cape, we swim with our eyes closed. When I swim here in Gansbaai, I swim with my eyes open.”

White Shark Projects is about more than shark cage diving. Their 21 staff members have a wsp30range of qualifications that enables them, as a team, to effectively co-ordinate activities around Great White Sharks which include:

  • service delivery
  • conservation
  • education and
  • research

“We are committed to working in harmony with our natural and social environment. The expectations of clients are met by excellent customer service, good value, and operational efficiency.

Our crew and staff are distinguished by their functional and technical expertise, their slide-2hands-on experience and their passion for one of the ocean’s greatest predatory forces.

Our knowledgeable and efficient boat crew operates with the benefit of 15 years’ experience in Great White Shark research, conservation and ecotourism”.

Contact SW Africa for any inquiries or to book a shark-diving trip with White Shark Projects in Gansbaai.

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Mpumalanga Educational 26–28 February 2015

Mpumalanga – “the place where the sun rises” – is undoubtedly my favourite of the 9 provinces in South Africa. So I was over-joyed to have been able to arrange and participate in the educational tour for hosted buyers who were attending Meetings Africa 2015.

As most educational trips go, this was to be a whirl-wind affair. This trip lasted a image6 (2)whopping 3 days! But the point of any educational trip is to showcase as much as possible for the agents to see and experience so that they can market the product/ destination more effectively. And this was exactly the brief that we received from the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency whom we collaborated with for this trip.

Our tour began in Johannesburg, with all the agents then departing to fly into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit. On arrival we were met by a driver and Guide who escorted us to an air-conditioned vehicle. We then proceeded to Hazyview. Our first stop was at Perry’s Bridge Hollow where we were taken on a quick site inspection of the property and its facilities before enjoying a relaxed lunch at Kuka Restaurant. We then groupcontinued to Elephant Whispers, a research and education centre that works to protect Elephants and educate the public on these gentle giants through interactive programs. Our group was treated to a very informative and interactive lesson on elephants, after which the agents were all treated to an elephant back ride.
The group was then transferred to Umbhaba Lodge where they spent the evening at leisure.

After breakfast the next day we were all transported to Hippo Hollow, where the group image3 (2)was taken on a scenic helicopter flight over the Blyde River Canyon and its surrounds. While the weather had started off very grey and dull, it cleared to ensure that our guests were treated to breath-taking views of the Panorama route. After a quick refreshment break, all guests boarded the vehicles that would transport them to the private lodges in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Unfortunately due to availability the group had to be split between 2 lodges, that being Ulusaba Rock Lodge and SabiSabi Bush Lodge respectively.

Once at the lodges though, all guests were treated to the 5 star service that has come to be expected from these fantastic properties. The groups were also treated to site inspections of the properties and the different lodges within each private reserve. Game drives were image7 (2)very fruitful as all guests got to see the big five and more! And the food was divine…feeling hungry just thinking about it.

After a hearty breakfast the next day we were collected from our respective lodges and transferred back to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport for our flight back to Johannesburg. I bid farewell to the agents and they all continued to their respective onward flights.
A short but eventful educational and one filled with moments that will hopefully bring the agents (and their clients) back to our shores!

Tanisha Pillai

Senior Consultant

SW Africa Destination Management

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Journey to the Roof of Africa

I can’t quite explain exactly why I wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
I remember hearing about it, watching a program about it on TV and reading several articles. All of them pertaining to taking a rather long walk up a very large hill. To most this is hardly the perfect holiday nor the most adventurous. But to me, it was a trip that I had wanted to take for half my life.

Having found my ultimate adventure buddy and partner in crime (my husband), I made the decision to attempt to tackle this ‘hill’ before I reached my 30th birthday. A milestone moment to mark a milestone birthday, what a lovely thought. And that’s pretty much as far as it got… But the process had been put in motion, albeit all in my mind, and it gave birth to a fiery determination to try and make the trip the following year.

My adventure buddy was up for the challenge too so off we went, all wide eyed and full of awe, to a talk about climbing the mighty mountain. And what a talk it was (we mainly listened)! They gave us a detailed account of what would be required from start to summit, as well as all the bumps in-between. While the end result was to get us to book, they made sure to advise us on all the knarly bits which was greatly appreciated as I prefer having as much info as possible upfront. After ensuring we had enough funds for the trip (be warned, this is not cheap), we forged ahead and finalised the dates for our trip for September and confirmed our booking accordingly. We planned to summit on the 9th of September 2014 as it would be a Full moon.IMG_0068

We then spent the next five months training by slowly building up our stamina and strength. There are many guidelines on what the best forms of exercise are to assist you in preparing for the climb, but ultimately, being able to walk and hike for hours at a time is the best training that you can do. People have successfully prepared for the climb in eight weeks, however they had to follow strict and gruelling training schedules of at least two hours of training per day, six days a week with a hike of at least three hours on the seventh day. We chose to pace ourselves.

A friend of ours, who had successfully summited Kilimanjaro in 2013, advised us to climb stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. So that’s exactly what we did – we bought a stair machine! We combined this with yoga to stretch out our muscles and went for a hike every weekend. In the last two months before our climb, we also started hiking with weighted backpacks to simulate the conditions that we would be hiking in, as well as increased our hikes by doing back to back treks of at least five hours or more. For the route that we had chosen, the most ground that we would cover in one day would be 18 kilometers, so we worked on ensuring we could cover that distance comfortably, and in so doing ensured we would be able to navigate the shorter stretches with ease.

We already had most of the winter gear required for our climb from previous adventures so thankfully we did not need to fork out for all of that as well, as the gear on its own is quite costly. But when your gear is all that stands between yourself and the elements, it becomes a worthwhile investment that needs to be taken into account.

Come September, we were all prepped and ready to go! And extremely nervous…
While we had spent our time productively preparing for the trek, there is only so much that you can do when faced with an obstacle called Acute Mountain Sickness (also known IMG_0200as altitude sickness/ AMS). This can affect even experienced climbers, and while certain precautions can be taken (drinking lots of water, pacing yourself, medication is available to help ease the effects) there is no guarantee that you will be less prone to it or suffer less from the symptoms. It’s the leveller that can hinder the most experienced explorers and flatten the newbies such as ourselves. The words of ‘encouragement’ that we received from some of our friends and family did nothing to comfort us (You only hiked 15 kms today?! That’s not enough! You need to do 50 a day. / If you can’t run for 20 mins non-stop, you not ready to climb the mountain. / If you get frostbite – which toe would you prefer to lose?). So we started our climb filled with excitement and anxiety in equal measure.

There are five routes on Mount Kilimanjaro leading to the summit. The two most popular are the Marangu (Coca-Cola) and Machame (Whisky) routes. Both of these see climbers ascending and descending on the same route, and are also the two routes that all climbers descend on. There are then the Umbwe and Lemosho routes which ascend from the South Western quadrant of the mountain, with each later joining the Machame or Marangu routes for the second half of the climb and descent accordingly. The last trail is called the Rongai route which ascends from the North Eastern side of the mountain bordering Kenya, and descends on the Marangu route. We chose to do the Rongai route, as it would allow us to see two different sides to the mountain as well as not repeat the same route going up as coming down.

To start our climb we needed to first be transported to the main gate at Marangu to sign in IMG_0086(our guide finalised all the paperwork and permits accordingly) and then travel by road for approximately two and half hours around the base of the mountain to the starting point for the trek which goes through the Rongai Forest. We then had time to relax while our guides and porters sorted out all the luggage and gear that was to be carried up the mountain. We were served a hearty lunch consisting of a hot cucumber soup, fried chicken, avocado sandwiches and fresh fruit before we began our trek at around 14h00. Very different from the other routes where climbers begin trekking first thing in the morning.

My husband and I were the only two climbers in our team (unfortunately none of our friends or family were interested in joining us on this adventure) and even though we were happy to have strangers join our group, there were no other takers for the same dates as ourselves who had booked through the same company. However we were far from lonely. For every climber there has to be an experienced guide who accompanies them up the mountain. We also had a cook who prepared all our meals, porters to carry all the baggage (our main luggage as well as the tents, mats, chairs, tables, cutlery, crockery, etc – our team were well prepared) and an extra man to carry the portable toilet that we hired for our climb. Altogether we had 12 people with us!

While our two guides stayed with us the whole time during our trek, the rest of the team IMG_0181goes ahead to the campsites and begins to set up for that evening. Even though we did spend our trip camping, we were definitely taken care of and our team ensured that we were as comfortable as possible.
We were served three hot meals a day and were also welcomed to the camp at the end of each day with fresh popcorn or roasted peanuts served with your choice of tea, coffee, milo or hot chocolate. We did not need to collect our daily drinking water either as the cook would refill our water bottles each day with water that had been boiled. However we did take the extra precaution of using water purification tablets as well. Being first time climbers we also decided to err on the side of caution and booked an extra night to acclimatise on the mountain at Mawenzi Tarn, which had been suggested to us by the Operator that we had booked through.

Following the advice of those who had gone before us, and listening to our Guides IMG_0238definitely paid off.
On the 9th of September 2014, after five and a half days of trekking, my husband and I successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro, reaching Uhuru Peak at 06h15am. The elation and pride that we felt at the top, having achieved what we set out to do on our very first attempt, cannot be described in words – and that’s saying something as I’m not exactly short on vocabulary…!

My first view of the Uhuru Peak signpost will forever be etched in my mind – a large rusticIMG_0233 looking wooden signboard perfectly sandwiched between a setting moon on the left and a rising sun on the right. And the views were breath-taking! Although I admit that could have been the short supply of oxygen at that altitude… Which is also why you don’t get to spend much time at the summit. Even our experienced guides admitted that they start to get headaches (one of the first signs of AMS) if they are at the summit for more than 20 minutes. We were allowed approximately 10 minutes, just enough time to jostle for position at the sign (be prepared for a bit of a fight as its very busy at the top – we were surprised to see that many people there), snap a few pic’s of the Hans Meyer glacier (a permanent glacier at the top of the crater which has been steadily decreasing in size due to global warming) and of course a few pic’s of ourselves (most important!).

And that’s it.
You then begin to retrace your steps back down the mountain, first to your base camp (from where you departed the night before) and then onwards to the next camp site which for us was an approximate eight kilometres further down the mountain. We would then have spent one more night on the mountain, making our way out the gate the following day. If everything went according to plan…

Life does tend to throw you a curveball every now and then. For us, it was my husband experiencing problems breathing while we descended the mountain. Everything had been going fine on our descent up until we reached Stella Point which was when he started to notice that it was becoming painful for him to breathe. By the time we got to Gillman’s Point, it was apparent that it was only getting worse. We slowly made our way back to Kibo, which was our base camp from the night before, and our guides allowed us to rest for about three hours to see if that would help. Unfortunately it was not getting better and the decision was made to evacuate him.

This was done Kili-style : he was cocooned in a sleeping bag and then strapped to a metal IMG_0259stretcher with a wheel which was then pushed down the mountain by porters and a park ranger to the next camp (I had to run after them playing catch-up). One of our guides were always with me and kept me posted on the progress regarding my husband, emergency services and our arrangements in town. Once we had reached Horombo Camp (where we would have spent the night) we were collected by the park emergency services vehicle and driven out to the park main gate. Our guides had liased with the park as well as their company’s operations office in Moshi town to ensure that once at the gate, there was a vehicle waiting for us to take us to the hotel. Our additional night’s accommodation had also been arranged for us by the Operators head office and their head of operations met us at the hotel to make sure we were okay.

My husband was already feeling much better by the time we had arrived at the hotel in Moshi. We were told that this was due to the ‘shake, rattle and roll’ of his trip down to Horombo Camp (which had him coughing up quite a bit of phlegm) as well as being back at a normal altitude. He therefore opted not to go to the hospital that evening and rather to rest at the hotel, a decision which the guides agreed to as his vitals were all stable and we had a general antibiotic with us as well. We also made arrangements to meet the guides and all the porters at the hotel the next day to be able to thank them for all their hard work and helping to get us to the roof of Africa.

By the next morning, my husband was back to normal and it was me who was suffering! My legs were aching from chasing his stretcher down the mountain (I’ve never been a runner and after that I don’t think my body is made for it either)! We capped off our trip with drinks with the whole team in the afternoon where we were also presented with our certificates for summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. All in all it was a fantastic experience, one that I will never forget. I actually can’t wait to go back…although next time I’ll take the Kili-stretcher Thanks!

Tanisha Pillai
24 November 2014

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Wild Horizons Victoria Falls Educational

Date : 14 – 16 June 2014
Organisers : Wild Horizons
Attended by : Nolwazi Maseko, SW Africa Destination Management

14 June 2014
Six agents including myself from the Travel Smart Crew consortium plus Wilma from Wild Horizons met at OR Tambo International. After going through customs we had breakfast at Mugg and Bean where Wilma told us our itinerary for the weekend. You should have seen us screaming like little girls. The more she told us the more we screamed and shrieked like little girls. We couldn’t hold our excitement; we were it for a real treat! 11:30 we boarded the British Airways Harry Mwanga International Airport bound flight.

On arrival in Livingstone we were met by our Wild Horizons Zambia representative who drove us to Zimbabwe. Going through the two borders Victoria Falls Border posts Zambia and Zimbabwe was quick and hassle free. Due to legislation Zambian vehicles are not allowed further that Vic Falls Town, we changed vehicles and drivers/guide at Wild Horizons Vic Falls Town offices. Wild Horizons can organise special permits at an extra cost for your VIPs not wishing to change vehicles.

Our driver/guide of the next two days was Michael. He drove about 45min to Kazungula eBorder Post where we were met Imbabala Zambezi River Lodge General Manager, Brad and excellent ranger Richard. Imbabala Zambezi River Lodge is +-5min from the Kazungula Border. The drive is also a game viewing drive. We saw elephants and impala all whilst transferring to the lodge! What a welcome ☺. On arrival at Imbabala Zambezi River Lodge we were welcomed by Annie and the rest of the staff. Welcome drinks, standard.note

All of us were allocated single rooms☺. I occupied room no. 3. The room has twin ¾ beds with mosquito nets, tea and coffee station, safe and a shower. What stood out for me was the personalised welcome note, quite different from your normal hotel/ lodges welcome note.

After freshening up we were off on a +-2hr afternoon game drive. I didn’t expect to see buffalomuch and my goodness was I mistaken! We saw a couple of crocodiles on the Zambezi River bed, hippos, baboons or is it badboons as Richard likes to call them, a male giraffe, impala or the McDonald’s of the wild as Richard explained, elephants and a herd of buffalo. We had sundowners – drinks and snacks on the banks of Zambezi River. Imbabala Zambezi River Lodge has just recently introduced a Spa treatment room and their therapist was on hand to give us SAM_0183back and neck massage. Brilliant!

We headed back to the lodge for dinner. The lodge offers free wi-fi so everyone could connect and inform loved ones of our safe arrival. We had a dinner braai on the lawn joined by other guests. The best braai I had in long time. Some of our group members opted for a night drive whilst I opted to go to bed. It was a long day you see.

15 June 2014 

An early morning call saw us having coffee and tea before going on a river safari on the Zambezi River. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise whilst having coffee and tea on the boat.
After the river safari we had a hearty buffet breakfast on the lawn. The sun was out, the weather was lovely and warm, perfect setting I tell you ☺

Our driver/guide Michael collected us for an activity packed day starting with Tour of thefalls Falls. He rented raincoats from the guys at the stalls which is a part of Wild Horizons CSI project. Wild Horizons bought the guys at the stalls rain coats which they in turn rent out to the public to earn extra income. Good job Wild Horizons! The Tour of the Falls takes you on an +- 1.5km trail of the Falls. The Victoria Falls, *sigh* majestic, beautiful, totally breathtaking. Words fail to describe this natural beauty. Pictures do no justice. The Falls were at peak flow so getting wet even when wearing rain coats was standard. We didn’t mind. Not at all ☺.adv

We then went to the Adventure Centre which is within walking distance from the Rain Forest. Now that place is a must visit for all adrenalin junkies. Three from our group including myself first did the Flying Fox, which is flying horizontally over the Batoka Gorge. Awesome experience.

Next we attempted conquer the 425m Batoka Gorge by Zip Lining about 100km/h xacross it. The rush of air across your face as you slide across the gorge gives one a thrill that makes you want to do it again immediately.

Well we didn’t do the Zip Line again, we did one better and we did the Gorge Swing. This is jumping off the gorge to a free fall of 70m and swinging 95m. It’s similar to bungee jumping but instead of bouncing up and down one swings left to right. Scary stuff, but totally worth it!

Next we went on the Canopy Tour. This activity has 9 different length zip lines across the forest next to the gorge. The activity takes about 2hrs and is suitable for the whole family. Felt like a modern day Jane, Tarzan would be jealous.arial

After the Victoria Falls Canopy Tour we rushed off to the heli-pad for our 13 minute Flight of Angels. We flew in a six seater helicopter which offered spectacular panoramic views of the over the raging Victoria Falls. I imagine this is how an out of body experience feels like only difference this time you see the Falls and not your body. Once again totally breath taking!

After spending the whole day swinging, sliding and jumping off gorges we headed to The Elephant Camp for a late lunch and overnight. The Elephant Camp is 10 minutes from
Victoria Falls Town situated in private concession within the Victoria Falls National Park. On arrival at The Elephant Camp we were welcomed by General Managers Basil and Petra. Our delightful lunch was waiting for us on the deck. After lunch we were shown to vipour rooms. My oh my! Those luxury tents though. Couldn’t help but feel like some VIP.
The tents are huge! Spacious bathroom with indoor and outside showers. Spacious bedroom with king size bed and an equally spacious lounge with a couch and a stocked up mini bar. Did I mention that each luxury tented suite has its own private plunge pool? Fit for royalty.

We freshened up and headed out to have sundowners – drinks and snacks and just unwind up another gorge by the Zambezi River. We headed back to the camp for three course dinner. I tried the guinea fowl for the first time, delicious.

16 June 2014 cheetah

While waiting for the rest of the group for breakfast Sylvester the cheetah graced us with his presence. He was in a good mood and didn’t mind being stroked and he posed for photos. We had breakfast on the deck before heading out to the Elephant Wallow to meet the Wild Horizons Elephants. Meeting the elephants is included in The Elephant Camp accommodation rates. Meeting and feeding these gentle giants was such a privilege.ellie
After meeting the elephants we headed back to camp to pack and be on our way to Livingstone Airport for our flight back to Johannesburg. Such a sad moment . The Harry Mwanga International Airport (Livingstone Airport) is undergoing major renovations and from what is already done, one can tell that it will look really good upon completion.

We had a wonderful experience and would like to send a big Thank You to Wild Horizons for organising such an eventful educational.

Nolwazi Maseko, SW Africa Destination Management

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