If you have any questions or would like further information on anything contained within this blog or some general advice on travel to Africa please call us on: 0044 1227 753181 or email info@puresafari.com

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

New Serena to open in Uganda

Kampala, Uganda
Serena also recently expanded its Ugandan portfolio of properties by signing a management contract for the newly refurbished Lake Victoria Serena Resort near the capital city of Kampala, to complement Serena's existing five-star city hotel, The Kampala Serena Hotel. Set on the shores of Africa's largest fresh water Lake and source of the River Nile, Lake Victoria, facilities at the 124 bedroom resort include a range of restaurants and bars, conferencing facilities, a health club and a luxury Maisha-branded spa. A 18-hole championship golf course is also being built on site and is expected to open by Christmas 2010.


Serena to open new safari camp in Soysambu

The Lake Elementaita, Kenya
Serena Hotels will commence construction of a new luxury tented camp, The Lake Elementaita Serena camp in Kenya in April 2010, scheduled to open on 15th December 2010, offering a blend of exclusivity and adventure. This tented camp will comprise 25 luxury units located along the shores of the flamingo and pelican fringed Lake Elementaita within the Soysambu Conservancy which is approximately 120km from Nairobi and 30Km from Lake Nakuru National Park.

Facilities will include a dining and lounge area, spa and swimming pool enjoying magnificent views of the Lake.


Stay Aboard Rani's Broadbill Catamaran

Pemba Mozambique
Rani Resorts has launched “Broadbill”, a specialised fishing boat, in Pemba, northern Mozambique.

The 42-foot catamaran comes with safety gear, tackle, lures and bait. There are three double cabins on board, as well as two bathrooms and air-conditioning. The boat is available for fully catered charters and has an 800 nautical mile range. The captain and crew have been trained to find the best fishing grounds based on sea and weather conditions. Broadbill offers live-aboard boat trips to the popular game fishing destination of St Lazarus Banks, an underwater mountain rising from a depth of 2,3km to within six metres of the surface.

Combinations of island hopping and fishing trips are also on offer. Guests can request video camera footage and coverage of the fishing action, while individual photos can be printed on the boat to take home.


Newly Refurbished Old Mondoro Re-Opens

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Old Mondoro has been undergoing refurbishment recently and the new and improved camp will open on 1st May 2010.

The re-furbished camp boasts:
* Larger and more spacious rooms with improved decor
* Larger decking space outside rooms providing a more comfortable relaxation space between safari activities
* An outdoor bathroom with incredible views

Abu Camp: Re-Opening June 2010

Okavango Delta, Botswana
Renowned Abu Camp has been undergoing extensive refurbishment recently and is due to re-open in June 2010. Abu Camp will continue to offer the ultimate 4 day elephant encounter. Guests, led by scientists and guides are invited to become part of the elephant herd during their stay. This unforgettable experience provides wonderful insight into the largest land mammal on earth.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Olarro - Update

Loita Hills, South Western Kenya

We have had some unexpected and delightful visitors at Olarro recently. Guests and staff alike were treated to an incredible – and for Kenya very rare – wildlife spectacle when a pack of 30 to 35 wild dogs (also known as Cape Hunting Dogs) used the woodlands surrounding the lodge as their hunting grounds. Several of the pack, which was in pursuit of an impala, followed it almost to the lodge, stopping just short of a group of lodge staff going about their early morning chores.

In total, 3 or 4 impala were taken and the dogs remained in the vicinity of the lodge waterhole for the next couple of days before moving on. The dogs looked in excellent condition and are a good indicator that Kenya’s wild dog population is coming back from near extinction.

Monday, 12 April 2010

News from Great Conservation Plains - from LLA

Following a recent soft refurbishment at Mara Plains, the Camp has incorporated a new Management couple. The area had seen over 5 inches (125mm) of rainfall by the end of February! The savannas are looking flush with green grasses and this is being enjoyed by all the antelope in the immediate camp vicinity. Needless to say the predators are taking the opportunity of the abundant wildlife right now too. Generally the game viewing is up to its usual Masai Mara "unbelievable" standard.

Regular sightings of lion, cheetah, leopard and elephants abound. Mara Plains Camp will remain open throughout May this year when the majority of Masai Mara camps chose to close. It is a bit of an oddity that camps close in May because it is actually one of the most prolific times of the year, following the seasonal rains, for extraordinary sightings.

February and March in the Chyulu Hills have been a period of clear skies, perfect starry nights, uninterrupted views of Kilimanjaro and a time for the Acacia trees to flower in all their splendour! The forest was dotted with these white flowering trees and, coming seemingly out of nowhere, are hoards of bees and butterflies to partake in the pollination. Diadem butterflies, Cape Whites, Blue Pansies OrangeTips...the list of butterflies goes on. Butterflies are an excellent indicator of the health of an ecosystem, and judging by the sheer numbers in the Chyulu Hills it would seem the area is well on its way to recover after last year's drought.

At Ol Donyo Wuas', as the rainfall cycle turns, the dry period followed through March. As the outlying pans begin to dry, Ol Donyo Wuas' waterhole became increasingly busier. Throughout the day long there has been a constant stream of thirsty wildlife - tentative giraffe, brazen zebra, hot warthog in search of a mud wallow and rutting impala rams who are desperate to win themselves a harem of beautiful ladies. With the log pile hide positioned in a prime location near the waterhole, guests are loving the opportunity of observing game at close proximity.

As with Mara Plains Camp, the Management has decided to keep Ol Donyo Wuas open throughout May.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Free Visa's for Madagascar

Madagascar has announced that it will extend its offer of free visas to visitors who are not staying in the country for longer than 30 days.

The promotion will now continue until the end of December and is valid for all visas acquired on entry at an airport.

Relocation of Wildlife to Amboseli National Park - from LLA

Amboseli National Park is located in the South of Kenya, bordering with Tanzania. This beautiful park is famed for the spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro and the elephant population.

Last October 2009, the drought stroke East Africa, leaving millions hungry, littered landscape with dead and dying livestock, evaporated lakes and streams and pressed farmers from fields into slums. Amboseli was severely affected by the drought in Kenya, and even though it is now officially over, the seriousness of the phenomenon added to a long list of elements that have affected Kenya´s wildlife for decades, has lead Kenya Wildlife Services to take drastic measures in regards to wildlife in Amboseli National Park.

Last year´s devastating drought attracted many herbivores in the park that resulted in overgrazing. This led to the deaths of over 60% of the zebra and wildebeest population. These deaths severely compromised the ecological balance of the park and its surrounding areas. A census conducted in October 2009 showed that there were only 3,023 wildebeests and 2,467 zebras, a sharp drop from similar census carried out in 2007 that indicated 12,411 and 6,978 wildebeests and zebras, respectively.

Elephants, hippos, antelopes, buffalo, rhinos, even flamingoes have all been impacted. In addition, the drought took 50% to 80% of the Maasai cattle herds. Predators lost their prey base and lions, already critically endangered in Kenya, also faced starvation, so they turned to killing the few remaining cattle and other Maasai livestock. Before this drought, Kenya had been hemorrhaging between 4% to 5% of its wildlife every year. Since 1985 the nation has lost one-third of its wildlife according to the government's Department of Remote Sensing and Resource Surveys (DRSRS). This is largely due to habitat loss, but also human-animal conflicts, including poaching and poisoning have played a role—one that is increasing.

Environmentalists have been pointing fingers at policies that allow business interests to use exorbitant amounts of water, such as the flower trade for Holland. They say such policies are essentially gambling away water resources for Kenya's people, livestock, and wildlife for commercial flower production.

Kenyan Wildlife Services (KWS) runs all of Kenya's parks and reserves, but the organization has no power in Kenya's many private reserves, and when 65 percent of the nation's wildlife live in unprotected areas trends that occur outside of parks has a large impact.

Given the critical situation after the last drought, in February the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) decided to relocate 7,000 wildebeest zebras to Amboseli so as to bring restore the predator-prey balance following the 2009 drought, the fiercest in 26 years that devastated the Amboseli ecosystem, in an action that has been called “the biggest animal relocation since Noah´s ark” by BBC journalists that covered the event. The operation lasted for over 3 weeks, with the goal being to relocate the animals trying to minimize their distress and ensuring their wellbeing while being transported.

The capture of 137 zebras in the 44,000-acre Soysambu Conservancy, 25 kms from Nakuru, launched the relocation project, marking the first phase that is targeting 1,000 zebras in the restocking exercise that will run until the end of February. Subsequent phases included wildebeests which were to be translocated after their calving season. A 26-member capture team comprising a helicopter pilot, technicians, drivers, capture officers and rangers were camping in the Soysambu conservancy. They had a helicopter, three trucks and other small vehicles for the exercise. Each of the trucks was able carry up to 90 wild animals per trip. Some of the challenges faced by the capture team included change of wind direction, failure of camouflage, shortage of trucks and constant risk of injuries to staff and the wild animals.

The operations started everyday as early as 5.30 am, the Kenya Wildlife Service helicopter rounded up zebras and drove them into a cleverly hidden funnel; objective was to capture and transport 50 zebras per trip. After being rounded up and driven to the hidden funnel, the same was closed with curtains behind the zebras. The zebras were completely confused at that point but not panicked. They settled down until the chute and trucks were in place. The Rangers then made noise banging the floor and sides of funnel with sticks to move zebras into the chute. Zebras run from funnel into the chute and directly into the waiting truck.

KWS rangers and veterinarians counted the individuals and made sure all was going according to plan. Captured zebras were compartmentalized in the truck in groups of 10. KWS senior scientists said that the initiative will ensure the preservation of the ecosystem in the Amboseli National Park. They pointed that despite the heavy expenses, the project was crucial both for preserving the country’s wildlife and bringing in revenue, trying to make sure that Amboseli as an eco-system does not collapse.

KWS emphasized that by re-stocking the park with these two key species, they will be assuring Kenyans of a continued functioning of the ecosystem as it were. The actual migration of the Zebras and Wildebeests is normally influenced by the prevalent weather patterns. The rainy season normally affects the supply of standing water and grass and the wildebeests and zebra will react accordingly. Unusual weather patterns will cause the herds to move in unpredictable patterns, back-tracking or bypassing areas they may have visited in a previous year.

The main body of the migration generally follows a roughly similar route on an annual basis, but the timing can vary. There are also lots of subsidiary movements of herds as the migration splits, rejoins, spreads out or congregates. It is a fluid motion that is not completely predictable and drastic weather as a result of global warming also plays an important part in future migration patterns.

Migration Update from LLA

The migration has moved in search of richer pastures and the majority of the wildebeest are now found in the Moru Kopjes area. Our guides and clients have spotted many predators and most of them with young cubs. They even saw a cheetah with 4 cubs and a leopard with 2 young.

The rain still persists and everywhere is lush and beautifully green. We are now in wait of the wild flowers to start blooming.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Palacina, The Residence & The Suites

Nairobi can now finally offer a world class boutique hotel that offers all a sophisticated and stylish alternative to hotel living.

Palacina is Nairobi’s first boutique hotel which offers all the facilities one would expect in a world class hotel, without compromising on warm hospitality, originality and charm. The Suites feature award winning interior design in calming natural tones with coconut fibre lamp shades, spacious terraces and Jacuzzis in every room. Thoughtfully laid out and exquisitely decorated, they are the perfect space for safari guests or business travellers alike to unwind.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

March Itinerary suggestion: - Simply Singita

South Africa and Zimbabwe
The 8 night 'Singita Southern Africa Safari' package offers excellent value and includes a 2 night stay at Singita Kruger National Park, 2 nights at Singita Sabi Sand and 3 nights at Singita Pamushana. All internal flights between the lodges in South Africa are complimentary. Also enjoy one night at The Saxon en route to Singita Pamushana with return airport transfers included.

Please call 0044 1227 753180 for more info.

Singita Grumeti introduce extended migration excursions.

Singita Grumeti Reserves, Serengeti, Northern Tanzania
Singita has introduced day excursions to the Northern Serengeti. This will provide guests with the opportunity to follow the annual wildebeest migration even after it has moved through the 350 000 acre (140 000ha) Singita Grumeti Reserves. Migration excursions will be offered 3 times/ week from September to end November and will include a 20 minute flight from Singita Grumeti Reserves to Kogatende landing strip.

Delaire Graff Lodges and Spa - Opens May

Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Situated in one of South Africa’s most extraordinary natural settings on the highest crest of the magnificent Helshoogte Mountain Pass, the Delaire Graff Lodges and Spa are due to open on 17 May 2010. The Lodges will offer exceptional accommodation, views, art, design, food and wine.

Kenya Airways - Flight Cancellations

Due to a shortage of Kenya Airways (KQ) aircraft, flight KQ 762, from Nairobi to Johannesburg and return flight KQ 763, scheduled for departure on April 1, 2 and 3, will be cancelled.

Passengers will be transferred to KQ 760 and KQ 761 respectively, which will operate one hour later than originally scheduled.

KQ apologises for any inconvenience caused.