Green is the colour of spring and the sign of new growth in tourism.
The first signs of travel recovering coincided perfectly with spring in South Africa. I particularly love spring here because after the first rains, the trees start getting fresh green leaves, grass reappears on bare ground and most special of all, many antelope species give birth to their babies. I just love the abundance of baby impala you find on a safari in September and October. Predators love spring too because suddenly there is a bounty of easy meals. Just as spring arrived in the highveld this year, we saw the first green shoots of tourism returning and the demand for tailor made holidays from Leopard is higher than ever.
In the months of September and October, we had over 100 people (families, couples, groups of friends) book and pay for a holiday with Leopard. Most of these holidays are to be taken in the next 6 months, so people are showing a strong preference to travel as soon as they can. The Leopard team has been exceptionally busy, but we are not complaining after two lean years. In fact, we are celebrating and hoping that we can continue at this pace during in the coming months.
Charles Howie who recently joined the team, visited 10 lodges in Kruger during September and together we visited Welgevonden and Lapalala Wilderness. I was particularly impressed with Lapalala Wilderness. We had some incredible sightings there. Lapalala had no predators until recent years when lion, cheetah and wild dog were reintroduced. The predators are what attract most people, but we had some beautiful sightings of herbivores too.
We were lucky to see the incredibly rare Roan Antelope, but in unfortunate circumstances. The roan had a newborn baby with her which had sadly been caught and eaten by two cheetah brothers called the Dinokeng brothers. We arrived just after the kill and saw the cheetahs devouring the baby. A big male lion arrived on the scene and chased away the mourning mother Roan, but did not find the cheetah brothers on their kill. The lions at Lapalala were obtained from the Kgalagadi and have their strong genes and beautiful black manes. As I sat on our open safari vehicle, this massive male lion looked directly at me and held my gaze with his golden cat eyes. I found this an unforgettably moving and primal experience.
In Lapalala we stayed at Tintswalo Lapalala and Noka Lodge. If you love a traditional bush experience in luxury canvas tents, then Tintswalo is for you. If you love spectacular views, technology and modern architecture then you will adore Noka Camp.
One of our clients took her husband to Noka Camp for a special occasion and filmed this video there.
See you soon and happy travelling!
P.S. If you would like an exceptional South African wine purchasing experience, I highly recommend Singita Wine Direct. I have used them twice now, after visiting their maturation facility in Stellenbosch and I can say that they are undoubtedly the best in the business. Better yet is to visit their luxury lodges in Africa and taste their gorgeous wines in an incredible setting! Contact us for more information.
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