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  • Cape Town – Cablecar Closure
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    Cape Town – Cablecar Closure
    The Cape Town Cableway will be closed for annual maintenance from 18th to 31st July. Weather permitting, it is set for re-opening on 1st August.

    This does not mean ‘the mountain is closed’, you could alternatively enjoy a Table Mountain hike. Table Mountain National Park has exciting trails for all levels of walkers from the super-fit to the casual stroller. There are many routes to choose from, all offering spectacular views of Cape Town, rugged mountains and deep blue seas. Most of the popular hikes such as Platteklip Gorge (north face), Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge (the latter two being accessible from Kirstenbosch) are fairly strenuous, while Silvermine, the Cape of Good Hope and the Constantiaberg offer easier options.
  • The baobabs of Tarangire
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    The baobabs of Tarangire
    Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is home to some of the oldest trees in the world; baobabs. Sometimes called the “upside-down tree” because of their unusual root-like branch formations, baobabs are extremely long-lived. They are thought by local tribes to contain mysterious powers because they can be hacked, burnt, have their bark removed and people can even move into the trunk and they keep growing. A great example is Sanctuary Swala Tented Camp whose tent number 5 is built around an old tree which, hundreds of years ago, had a love seat carved into it!

    In Tarangire at the turn of the 20th Century a group of 6 poachers lived in the trunk of a baobab for many months. They outfoxed the rangers chasing them and were only caught when they had an argument one day and a passing patrol happened to hear them!

    www.hartleys-safaris.co.uk/Tanzania-Tarangire-Sanctuary-Swala-Camp
  • Mark Todd Safari Special
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    Mark Todd Safari Special
    African Horseback Safaris have announced that double Olympic Gold medallist eventer Mark Todd, CBE, will take a brief break from preparations for London 2012 Olympics and will be escorting rides from Macatoo Camp between 2nd and 7th December.

    Named as Rider of the 20th Century by the International Equestrian Federation, Mark took gold at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympics, won the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials on three occasions and the Burghley three-day event five times.

    As a member of New Zealand’s Eventing team he won gold medals at the World Championships in 1990 and 1998, the European Championships in 1997, plus 20 or more other international events, and numerous other international individual and team titles.

    Eight years after retiring from evening following the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Mark announced his return to the sport he has dominated for most of his career.

    Limited space is available on this escorted safari at Macatoo Camp between 2nd and 7th December 2011 (5 nights) so book now to avoid disappointment.

    Price: £ 2,280.00 per person sharing, fully inclusive of all accommodation, activities, meals and return flights from Maun to Macatoo.
  • Kenya Visa Fees
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    Kenya Visa Fees
    The Kenya Immigration Office has advised that with effect from 1st July 2011, the Kenya Visa fees have increased to US$ 50.00 per passport holder – includes all adults and children.

    British passport holders can obtain additional information regarding the Kenya visa prices and requirements from the Kenyan High Commission website where they can also download a visa application form.

    http://www.kenyahighcommission.net/visa.html
  • Horn of Africa drought
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    Horn of Africa drought
    With all the recent reports in the local and international press & TV media about the severe drought situation in the Horn of Africa, we are aware that this must be causing some concern to travellers intending to travel to East Africa, and throwing some doubt on whether or not this will affect their safari.

    We wish to clarify that the drought ravaging parts of the country is very much localised and there are several regions within East Africa that have received adequate rainfall and expect a normal harvest.

    We wish to re assure guests intending to embark on a safari during this time, that neither themselves nor their safari will be affected or compromised by the drought. The key areas where most tourism activity takes place have not been affected by the drought and there is fantastic game viewing in the Parks, Reserves and Conservancies. For instance there has been a phenomenal migration this year.

    There are a large number of East Africans who depend on tourism, directly and or indirectly, as a means of livelihood. This includes communities living around Parks and Reserves and those who operate community owned conservancies as an alternative to pastoralism and it is therefore important for us to continue as usual.

    H.E. Mwai Kibaki the Kenyan President declared the drought a National disaster. Efforts have been stepped up to provide relief supplies to those affected by the drought, and reports are coming in now that aid is finally reaching the ravaged areas.
  • Singita Grumeti Introduces African Tasting Menu
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    Singita Grumeti Introduces African Tasting Menu
    Singita Grumeti Reserves has introduced an interesting new culinary option that integrates international cuisine with the authentic traditional foods of East Africa. Chief among the epicurean influences is Swahili cuisine, featured on the new African Tasting Menu that is served at the 1920’s-styled Singita Sabora Tented Camp.

    Guests may savour tastings of local dishes that reflect a diverse range of flavours, including mtori,athick, traditional soup from the Kilimanjaro region made from onions, green bananas and a little meat. A choice of mezze style platters is served in the traditional Swahili fashion, comprising dishes such as dagaa mchuzi, a delicious serving of dried fish cooked in peanut tomato sauce; mchicha, a wild spinach grown locally – either blanched or sautéd with sunflower oil, tomato and onion; and kitandu cha nyama, a meat stew cooked with bitter local greens, which have a unique sour flavour with fragrant undertones of lemon.

    On the menu too are tasty staple foods that are ubiquitous to Africa such as ugali (known as pap to South Africans), but best described as a white ‘polenta’ made from finely ground dried corn caked into a stiff porridge; and popular pilau and wali (rice cooked in coconut milk served with meat and stew). Also featured is the ‘African red devil’ piri piri (Swahili for ‘pepper’) and nyama choma – a form of barbecued meat, traditionally the entree of choice in East Africa.

    Offering guests a tantalizing taste of local fare at its best, typical Swahili spices and local honey are also used extensively in the cuisine at each of Singita’s four lodges in the Grumeti Reserves. Manned by a team of expert chefs, each lodge boasts its own unique setting and quintessential charm, to combine the ultimate in savannah luxury with world-class service in a spectacular setting overlooking the plains along East Africa’s world-famous wildebeest migratory route. In addition to Singita Sabora Tented Camp, the Singita portfolio includes spectacular flagship Singita Sasakwa Lodge (a Relais & Châteaux property), unique and eco-friendly Singita Faru Faru Lodge, and the latest Singita product – Singita Explore, offering the ultimate mobile safari experience.

    Tilapia, a local fresh water fish is another popular item on Singita’s menus, as is chapatis, a type of roti, served with curries and coconut, and organic home grown vegetables sourced from surrounding villages as part of various community support projects run by the Singita Grumeti Fund. Rounding off the taste of indigenous culinary culture is a selection of local Tanzanian beers, among which Kilimanjaro, Tusker and Serengeti. Local Chai tea and Kilimanjaro filter coffee feature among non-alcoholic beverages, as does the famous East African vodka, lime and honey cocktail, called a dawa.
  • The First Zero Emissions Safari Vehicle
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    The First Zero Emissions Safari Vehicle
    Londolozi has introduced the first zero emissions, electric safari game drive vehicle. The vehicle moves guests silently through Londolozi’s 16,000-hectare traversing area in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, with a significantly lower carbon footprint than a conventional 4×4.

    Using rechargeable batteries, Londolozi has moved a step closer to more efficient use of propulsion energy. They will continue to work closely with the prototype developers to use increased battery efficiency and solar power to achieve a zero emissions status for this new technology.

    Londolozi is justly famous for its ground-breaking conservation work, and for establishing that the welfare of the land, the wildlife and the people are intertwined. Londolozi’s Dave Varty was among the first to question and measure the energy costs of a safari, and is proud to have the opportunity to help with the development of the silent, zero-emissions vehicle. The aim is to increase battery efficiency and harness solar power to achieve zero emissions and enable guests to experience the bush and its sounds.
  • “Hamba Kahle Tata” (1918 – 2013)
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    “Hamba Kahle Tata” (1918 – 2013)
    "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite" – Nelson Mandela.

    Woolies and Soweto Gospel Choir: Madiba Tribute: http://youtu.be/MHHjP7XrBq0
  • A Rhino’s Adventures in Africa by Rita Shaw
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    A Rhino’s Adventures in Africa by Rita Shaw
    As part of my first trip to Africa, I organised a week with a small group through Kenya. About six weeks before I was due to leave, I was advised that the trip had been cancelled as I was the only person booked on them – I wouldn’t have objected to being the sole guest, but I guess commerce is commerce! Because of the change, instead of doing the full week in Kenya, I flew in a small plane to just the Masai Mara for a few days. This was a wonderful introduction to the bush and, as an extra bonus, I didn’t have to be driven for many hours on a major highway which was in reality a gravel road held together by potholes.

    For my first afternoon game drive in the Mara, it was pouring with rain. I was with a couple of young English guys, also on their novice drive and, for some reason, our guide stopped the vehicle close to a strange sort of stripy orange rock. I couldn’t figure out why he was interested in this rock until it suddenly stood up, leisurely stretched, and then shook itself all over, spraying water everywhere! This magnificent male lion was obviously feeling extremely miserable about the seemingly endless deluge of water falling from the sky. It’s really tough when you don’t have any means of protection from the weather! I must say that I became extremely excited with this sighting as I had managed to video the lion vigorously shaking the water from his mane and spraying it everywhere. The guys were so busy chatting to each other that they didn’t manage to capture the moment at all.

    The usual reason for people to go to the Mara is to see the annual wildebeest migration, however, by the time I arrived at the beginning of August, it was finished for 2008. Timing for the migration all depends on when the rains come – sometimes early, sometimes late, and sometimes there can be a double migration in one season. One day, I might decide to go back for a full-on migration experience … especially now that I know quite a few people who organise small group trips specifically designed to maximise the excitement of seeing the masses of wildebeest and zebra crossing the Mara River. I think, these days, that I am also more prepared for the enormity of this experience. Many visitors to Africa, as I did, visit the Mara on their first trip, without any real comprehension of the magnitude of the annual migration. Although I have watched thousands of hours of television footage of the migration, watching it in person, breathing in the dust and trying to absorb the thousands of wildebeest and zebra just doing what they do naturally, must be absolutely spectacular!

    Strangely, there were some African animals that, before that trip, I had never even thought about seeing. In the Mara, we saw a female ostrich walking near the road. Using the logic of, if there is a female walking, there is a male behind her somewhere, sitting on their eggs, my intrepid guide found him sitting on a clutch of 13 gigantic eggs. He was perfectly fine with us driving up close to him, but literally threw a hissy fit when a second vehicle came up behind us. It was amazing to watch him stand up, flap his very large wings, hiss at us, and prance around to try to scare us away – it didn’t work! My guide did panic a little though, as he thought the ostrich might try to peck me through the opening under the pop-top roof. This was a really cool sighting but, because he was so upset, we decided to leave him in peace to protect his unhatched babies.
  • Elusive Aldabra
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    Elusive Aldabra
    Aldabra has inspired ancient explorers, some of the world’s most famous scientists and now the modern travellers of today. The name itself is a mystery, believed to be a word of Arabic origin but with any number of theories about its actual meaning, which could be ‘green’ or ‘doorknocker’ or possibly the navigational star Aldebaran. Indeed, it seems there has always been a mythical aura attached to the name of the most far-flung and isolated of all the islands of the Seychelles archipelago.

    Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, is the finest surviving tropical atoll ecosystem on earth. The giant tortoises on the island form by far the world’s largest population and the marine life is prolific. The last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, the Aldabra Rail, is found only here as are many other unique land birds and it is a vital breeding ground for turtles and seabirds.

    The atoll was known for centuries by Arab navigators and was first charted by the Portuguese in 1511. The French were the first recorded visitors when Captain Lazare Picault, sent to chart Seychelles in 1742, came upon Aldabra. In more recent times, Aldabra has been the centrepiece of numerous conservation initiatives on account of its unspoilt environment.

    The unique species that have evolved over time in complete isolation on the atoll have prompted some to call Aldabra the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”. In fact, Charles Darwin himself, whose work in the Galapagos is largely responsible for that archipelago’s esteemed status as naturalist’s paradise, recognised Aldabra’s unique natural properties, as well as being the only other place in the world aside from the Galapagos where giant tortoises could be found naturally, and recommended to British authorities that they ensure the atoll would be protected from exploitation or development. Soon after Seychelles’ independence, the government granted Aldabra protected status as a nature reserve, and in 1982 Aldabra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, only a small team of rangers and scientists inhabit the island, with the limited funding but wholehearted support of the Seychelles Islands Foundation, which manages the atoll for conservation and research purposes.Despite its status as one of the world’s most strictly protected natural wonders, travel to Aldabra is still – and will likely always be – incredibly difficult due to its extreme isolation.

    This is your opportunity to be one of those few who bear witness to it’s marvels. Let Hartley’s take you there; with the MV Maya’s Dugong , a 40-metre expeditionary vessel, specifically for live- aboard cruising in the Seychelles, a handful of visitors will be able to experience the atoll of Aldabra and it’s fascinating sights and treasures as part of an in-depth 7 or 11-nights eco-tourism and diving expedition. Aldabra expedition 1: 11 – 20 Dec 2015 9 Night itinerary with embarkation/disembarkation : Assumption The program includes visits to Assumption, Aldabra, Cosmoledo and Astove. Explorer Cabin : R133 000 + 3056 taxes per person sharing Commander Cabin : R136 900 + 3056 taxes per person sharing Aldabra expedition 2: 20 – 27 Dec’15 7 Night itinerary with embarkation/disembarkation : Assumption The program includes the visits to Assumption, Aldabra, Cosmoledo and Astove. Explorer Cabin : R117 000 + 3056 taxes per person sharing Commander Cabin : R120 500 + 3056 taxes per person sharing Included: Return economy class flights to Mahe and on to Assumption, return ransfers to Liveaboard, 7/9 nights cruise as per plan of itinerary, full board meals, Professional crew on board, Diving with PADI instructor part of crew (tanks, belts, weights), Snorkelling equipment., Govt taxes and VAT Excludes: Any nights required in Mahe due to internal flight connections, personal expenses, dive and travel insurance, gratuities.

    Contact us for further information : dani@hartleysgroup.com All prices have been costed according to current availabilities and rate of exchange and are subject to change accordingly at any time and without prior notice.
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