Excuse us if this seems a little like we are blowing our own trumpet, however we are delighted to hear that we have just won a Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award based on independent reviews by our customers on Feefo.com.
As a company we always strive to offer the best possible service, advice, and support to our clients, and it is always a real highlight of the week whenever we receive positive feedback from a client…so you can imagine how much this award based on all our reviews over the last year means to us.
Our heartfelt thanks to all the clients that have given us such lovely reviews on Feefo, and also to the outstanding safari lodges, hotels, guest houses and transport companies who deliver such exceptional experiences to our clients and are always there to work with us in the event that something goes awry.
I think I’d better stop here before I start sobbing like a Hollywood A-Lister and thanking my mum and cat…
Regular readers of our blog will know that we are huge fans of South Africa as a holiday destination, and we believe it offers amazing variety and great value for money. From the bustling heart of cosmopolitan Cape Town (regularly voted one of the most beautiful and characterful cities in the world) through to the amazing wildlife of the vast Kruger Park area, there is so much to see and do, with safaris, accommodation and transport options to meet all tastes and budgets.
To give you an example of the range of properties available, in the Kruger area there are lodges such as Shindzela that offer a safari including game drives, accommodation and all meals for little over £100 per person per night, however if you have the budget and nothing but the best will do, the beautiful and recently refurbished Lion Sands Ivory Lodge will set you back over £1000 per person per night. Incidentally, we have stayed at both and this they are both great, although it is unlikely that they will appeal to the same potential guests!
To make this wonderful and diverse country even more appealing, Travel Butlers is running a special offer with deposits starting from only £100 per person on new bookings for accommodation and road transport in South Africa.
This offer will automatically be applied to qualifying bookings, and you can get some inspiration for your own trip on our South Africa holiday pages.
The offer is valid for new bookings confirmed before 28 February 2017, and the balance will be due 60 days before travel as per our usual terms and conditions.
The £100 deposit per person (or equivalent amount in USD, EUR or ZAR) will secure your safari lodge, hotel bookings and road transport in South Africa. There will be a few exceptions for larger group bookings and particular properties that require a larger deposit, and if you would like to book international or other scheduled flights with us, we’ll need to confirm the prices and payment terms for these at the time of booking as these are set by the airlines
500 elephants are being moved in Malawi in an attempt to preserve the current dwindling numbers – it is estimated that there are now fewer than 450,000 African elephants remaining, as a result of excessive poaching and habitat loss. The exercise, a collaboration between African Parks and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, will be one of the biggest events ever to happen to Malawi’s wildlife Tourism.
Malawi have been very successful with their anti-poaching and ongoing management of human-wildlife conflict, which has resulted in a population surplus in Liwonde National Park (home to Malawi’s largest population of elephants at 800 strong) and Majete Wildlife Reserve, which are protected areas,
The huge relocation starts this week in Liwonde National Park. Helicopters will be used to dart the elephants, who are then lifted by crane onto trucks to start their 300 km road journey to a newly created 16,000 hectare sanctuary at the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, close to Lake Malawi – which currently is home to 100 elephants. The arriving elephants will be kept safe and secure in the sanctuary before being released, after time, into the main reserve. There are also plans to relocate other wildlife into the reserve, to build up the wildlife here again.
This is an extremely hopeful story for not only elephants, but for conservation and also for Malawi. Kelly While from Malawi Tourism says “We are delighted with African Parks’ plans to relocate and reintroduce species into Malawi’s Parks. If Malawi had a perceived weakness in tourism terms, it was that some of its neighbours offered a ‘better’ safari experience. But, as well as helping to safeguard the future for these magnificent animals, these developments will result in a total transformation of Malawi’s wildlife and safaris. Malawi will become one of the most complete destinations in Africa – Lake, Landscape, Culture and now Wildlife experiences of the very highest quality. Warm, welcoming and unspoilt, Malawi really is just waiting to be discovered.”
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With the continued increase of rhino poaching in South Africa, Shamwari Game Reserve have added what they describe as “K9 tracking capacity” to their Rhino Protection Unit.
Now to geeks of a certain age this will have conjured up images of Doctor Who’s robotic dog from the 1970’s going into battle with the poachers, however the dog in question is actually an 18 months old Belgian Shepherd called Blade.
Blade was identified as being the ideal candidate for the role as Shamwari by the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF), who have successfully supplied trained dogs for rhino protection elsewhere in South Africa during 2014 and 2015. He was trained off site before moving to Shamwari in April to finish his training with handler, Cabous Pretorius, and he has also had to adapt to living and working in a challenging Big Five environment – which he has done perfectly.
Shamwari Group General Manager, Joe Cloete comments that “Blade will be a valuable asset in the fight against rhino poaching and will primarily be utilised to locate and apprehend rhino poachers. We sincerely thank the Chipembere Rhino Foundation for arranging Blade to come and work at Shamwari Game Reserve.”
Blade started work at Shamwari following completion of his final exams at the end of May, and we wish him and Cabous every success in the fight against rhino poaching.
Shamwari Game Reserve Introduces K9 Tracking
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As of today (01 September 2015), it is no longer possible for tourists to Kenya to obtain a visa upon arrival at their port of entry. It is now compulsory to apply online for your visa via the eVisa portal https://www.ecitizen.go.ke/.
It is quite a simple process:
Click on the eVisa tab
Click on ‘Create an Account’
Fill in the application form – you need to upload a digital passport photograph (maximum size 500 px by 500 px), a scan of the main page of your passport (with your name, date of birth and other information), and a copy of your confirmed itinerary
Pay securely using a Visa or MasterCard
Log out of your account, then set a reminder to log back in in 5-7 days time, by which time the eVisa should have been approved
Download the eVisa PDF from your account and print it out
Remember to take this with you when you travel and present it to the Immigration Officer at your point of entry into Kenya, along with your passport
Please ensure that you apply at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your proposed travel dates as approvals may take up to 7 working days to process. Once the eVisa is issued, it is valid for 3 months.
A full list of the nationalities who qualify for an eVisa can be found here: http://evisa.go.ke/evisa-faqs.html. If your nationality does not qualify for an eVisa, please contact your local Kenyan High Commission or Embassy.
The following 2 eVisa types are available:
1. Single Entry – Allows you to enter into Kenya once – current cost US$50.
2. Transit – Allows a short stop over (up to 3 days) in Kenya – current cost US$20. This is ideal if you want to leave the secure area of the airport, for example for an overnight stay inbetween flights, or for a period not exceeding 72 hours. No visa is required for a direct transit (not leaving the secure area of the airport, aka staying ‘airside’, within the airport terminal) between 2 flights.
All costs quoted are subject to change.
Your passport should also be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Kenya.