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©Wolfgang Kaehler

2016 Africa – Wine and Wildlife Safari

May 20 - June 4th 2016

2016 Africa – Wine and Wildlife Safari will be an unforgettable journey to Cape Town, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia.  Come with me to taste premium wines in private wineries, some are not open to the public.  From penguins, lions, elephants and hundreds of birds, you will experience African wildlife on a wildlife safari you will remember.  I have been going to this part of Africa since 1994 and for me it is the best of Africa.  Being in a small group makes the difference.  Knowledgeable guides will help you to understand this unique Eco-system and teach you about their country.  This trip is for everyone, the non-photographer or the professional.  As long as you are interested in culture, nature and wildlife, you will love it.

Few places on the African continent offer such exquisite wildlife photography as southern Africa.  My trip in 2014 was filled with some amazing sightings:  Rhinos, Wild dogs, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs and lots of other animals.

The trips starts in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa where we will spend several days watching African penguins along the coast visit Table Mountain, the Cape and have a special session with my friend David at his winery Old Constantia.

 

Our small group will fly on to Malawi, visiting several national parks and reserves.  These parks offer great herds of elephants, zebras, buffalo, big cats such as leopards and lions and an array of unusual birds.

 

Onto Zambia and the beautiful Luangwa National Park.  Luangwa is another place to see different species you don’t commonly see in other parts of Africa:  Thornicroft giraffe, the Puku antelope, Crawshay’s zebras to name a few.

 

I really hope you’ll join me on this very special safari. And, while photography will be our main goal on the trip, non-photographers who would like to spend more quality time viewing wildlife are always welcome.

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TOUR CLOSED. Please email us at photos@wkaehlerphoto.com for information about future editions of this tour.

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Trip Details

Day 1: May 20th

Leave home

Day 2: May 21st

Arrival day, city tour or Kirstenbosch (vehicle hire included on this day). D

Cape Town is one of Southern Africa’s most cosmopolitan cities, retaining a strong European flavor with its historic colonial buildings, beautiful public gardens, eclectic cuisine and Mediterranean climate. The scenery is superb and the views from Table Mountain over the rugged coastline of the cape and the historic waterfront are truly spectacular. From the city it’s easy to explore the surrounding countryside, renowned for its distinctive Cape Dutch architecture and elegant wine estates. The beaches are dramatic and the sea invigorating, though swimming on the Atlantic coast is not for the faint-hearted. Cape Town is the perfect base for anyone wishing to explore this part of South Africa, for those in search of a little modern African luxury – and for fabulous food and wine.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Optional afternoon activity): The beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens cover an area of 528 hectares with 36 hectares of cultivated garden. The gardens are a celebration of South African flora – showcasing only indigenous South African plants. Fynbos, proteas, cycads and rolling lawns are intermingled with streams and ponds and well-laid out pathways for easy walking. A great variety of birds inhabit the gardens and the sweeping views from the upper slopes are spectacular.

Day 3: May 22nd

Table Mountain, Cape Point & Boulders B, L, D

Table Mountain: Table Mountain with its flat top is one of the most noticeable and popular attractions of Cape Town. Known as the city’s landmark, the mountain is a part of the Table Mountain National Park, which stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point. The top of the mountain offers fantastic views of the city center, Lions Head, the former prison island “Robben Island” and the southern suburbs. Table Mountain is also well known for its diversity of indigenous plants. The mountain, consisting of sandstone on the upper part, is home to more than 2000 species of plants. Many of these are endemic, including the Cape fynbos, the Silver Tree and different kinds of proteas. The cable car rotates slowly when going up and down; you can enjoy great 360° views during the trip.

 

Cape Point – Cape of Good Hope: The legendary Cape of Good Hope is the southwestern tip of Africa and is also part of the Table Mountain National Park. When the Portuguese explorer and navigator Bartolomeu Diás reached the southwestern tip at the end of the 15th century, he described the coast as the “Cape of Storms”. Today, Cape Point is not only known worldwide for its history, but also for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique flora and fauna. Part of the journey leads you along the coast and the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, a famous coastal road with breath-taking views.

 

Penguin colony at Boulders Beach: Situated on the False Bay coast and on the outskirts of Simon’s Town you will find the famous African penguin

Day 4: May 23rd

Full day wine experience B, L, D

Cape Winelands: We will explore the historic wine regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Constantia, with David van Niekerk as our host on tour for the day. David van Niekerk is the winemaker and owner of High Constantia Winery & Vineyard. David will introduce us to the winemakers, estate owners and personalities at some of South Africa’s premier estates. We will learn first-hand about this vibrant industry, its colorful history and traditions and savor the wonderful wines that showcase the unique terroirs of the Cape in a myriad of styles, from classic old world favorites to fruit-driven “early drinking” new world wines. Our unique wine tour includes wine tasting unavailable to the general public at private premier wine estates not generally open to the public –which will ensure an insiders’ view into some of the best estates in the area.

 

In the late afternoon, we will conclude our wine tour at David’s own winery and vineyard – High Constantia. The origins of High Constantia can be traced back to 1693. Today, on a small corner of the original land, David van Niekerk uses his passion and expertise to restore High Constantia to its former winemaking glory from the newly planted vineyards. High Constantia’s gracious past is echoed with renewed vigour in the variety of elegant wines once again produced by this historical estate. We will enjoy sunset drinks and canapés at High Constantia before we return to our hotel.

Day 5: May 24th

Optional excursions not included in the tour. You can choose to go to Robben Island, shark cage diving, shopping at waterfront, Kirstenbosch etc.  The vehicle can drop and collect all day long B

You may spend today at your own leisure at the V&A Waterfront near our hotel or chose an additional activity. 

The V & A Waterfront offers a great variety of attractions and things to do. You can visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, enjoy delicious cuisines from a great variety of restaurants, bars or cafés, go on a harbour tour or a sunset cruise, book a scenic helicopter flight, take a trip to the former prison island “Robben Island” or simply take a stroll through the Craft Market or watch a movie at the cinema. The

V & A Waterfront is also a popular shopping domicile with over 450 exciting shops and boutiques.

 

Additional activities can be added upon request:

SHARKCAGE DIVING: One of the most spectacular and exciting sensations is to dive with the great white shark. Shark cage offers a great opportunity to watch the sharks roaming the water from close proximity. A diving certificate is not needed as the cages are not left too deep into the water and non-divers can snorkel. To observe the sharks you don’t necessarily need to get into the cage – you can also observe the sharks perfectly from the boat.

 

ROBBEN ISLAND: Take a ferry across Table Bay to the World Heritage Site of Robben Island, formerly a prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in jail. Over and above its history, there are 132 bird species on the island including African penguins as well as small herds of antelope.

Day 6: May 25th

Departure for Malawi: CPT-JNB- Blantyre, overnight Ku Chawe Inn B, D

Malawi is a gem of a country in the heart of central southern Africa that offers a truly memorable African experience. Lake Malawi, the third largest water body in Africa, takes up almost a third of this narrow country.  Its geography is sculptured by Africa’s Great Rift Valley: towering mountains, lush, fertile valley floors and enormous crystal-clear lakes are hallmarks of much of this geological phenomenon – and Malawi displays them all. Malawi is also one of the best places in Africa for visitors to meet and interact with the local inhabitants or visit a rural community in an atmosphere totally devoid of either expectation or affectation. This is a warm and welcoming country that offers visitors wonderful beauty, fascinating parks and some of the friendliest people in Africa. It is no wonder that it is known as the “warm heart of Africa.”

Area and Location:  The Zomba Plateau is unique. A great slab of a mountain rising to 6000ft (1800m), it has vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress but elsewhere the vegetation is wild and mixed. The plateau top is crisscrossed by streams and there are tumbling waterfalls and still lakes. There are drivable tracks right round the top offering views of such splendor they were described in colonial times as “the best in the British Empire”. Ku Chawe is a landmark hotel positioned to enjoy the commanding views across to Mount Mulanje in the South and down to the old colonial Capital of Zomba below.

 

Day 7-9 May 26th – 28 th

Mvuu Lodge B, L, D

After breakfast, you will be transferred 2 hours to Hippo View Lodge in Liwonde Town. From here you will be transferred 1 hour by boat to Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park. Mvuu means “hippo” in the local Chichewa language and the name epitomises the large numbers of hippo pods that inhabit the nearby Shire River.

 

Area and Location: Liwonde National Park spans an area of 548 sq km and is Malawi’s premier wildlife destination.  Named after Chief Liwonde who had championed its protection, the park harbours very diverse landscapes including swamps, deciduous woodlands, open grasslands, mopane and miombo woodlands as well as Palm savannah and numerous baobabs. The central feature of the Park is the mighty Shire River which flows from North to South from Lake Malawi to the Zambezi River in Mozambique.

 

Wildlife: The Park has a healthy population of elephants, hippos and crocodiles. Waterbuck wade in lagoons and marshes, while the open savannah and hills of the interior attract antelopes such the elegant sable, impala and bushbuck. Rare sightings include black rhino (found in the rhino sanctuary), leopard, serval and the occasional lion. Nearly 400 bird species occur in the Park with specials such as Böhm’s Bee-eater, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Peel’s Fishing Owl and the only population of Lillian’s Lovebird in Malawi. The Park is one of the most exciting birding destinations in Africa.

 

Activities: Day and night game drives, boat safaris on the Shire River, guided walks, game drives in the Rhino sanctuary (extra $5 per person paid locally), local tours to Nanthomba school and bike rides to Njobvu village.

 

Accommodation: Mvuu Lodge is one of Malawi’s finest wilderness camps. Set in lush vegetation on the banks of a quiet lagoon, the lodge has 8 stunningly designed tents, each with a private viewing platform, luxurious furnishings and beautifully appointed bathrooms (including a unique outdoor shower). There is also a swimming pool available for guests’ use.

Day 10 – 12 May 29th – 31st

Chelinda Lodge B, L, D

This morning, you will be transferred 2-3 hours by light aircraft from Mvuu airstrip to Chelinda Lodge in Nyika National Park.

 

Area and Location: Nyika National Park is scenically Malawi’s most spectacular wild area. It boasts an incredible mixture of scenery and landscapes – pristine brachystegia woodland, mature mountain forest patches, crystal clear running streams and miles and miles of open rolling grassland. Being situated at a mean height of over 2,000 meters, guarantees a permanently temperate climate, which is of particular contrast to the lakeshore areas of Malawi.

 

Wildlife: Game that can be spotted on the Nyika Plateau include Burchell’s zebra, roan antelope, mountain reedbuck, eland, bushbuck, warthog, bushpig, leopard, spotted hyena, side-striped jackal and serval. Birdlife is prolific; the park is home to over 425 species of bird. Specials include churring- and mountain cisticolas, malachite sunbirds, Fulleborn’s black bou-bou, bar-tailed trogon, mountain nightjar and several species of greenbul which occur deep in the canopy of the forests.

 

Activities: Activities available range from day and night game drives to guided walks and mountain biking expeditions across the plateau. Birding and fly fishing are also available.

 

Accommodation: Chelinda Lodge provides a combination of rustic elegance and a wilderness experience that is unique to the region. The Lodge consists of 8 cabin styled chalets constructed of stone and pine, each of which is fitted with an en-suite bathroom, fireplace and an upstairs seating area and viewing deck. Fine dining can be enjoyed in the spacious main lounge or on the grand outdoor deck that overlooks the grasslands.

Day 13 – 16 June 1st – June 4th

Nkwali Camp B, L, D

Today you will be transferred 1-2 hours by light aircraft to Lilongwe where you will connect to a further 1 hour flight to Mfuwe Airport in Zambia. Here you will be met by lodge staff and transferred 40 minutes to Nkwali Camp.

 

Area and Location: The Luangwa Valley is a beautiful, untouched wildlife sanctuary of Africa. It is an extension to the Great East African rift valley, the main arm of which runs to the east of Zambia, containing Lake Malawi. The Luangwa River rises from the dramatic Mafinga Mountains in the northeastern corner of Zambia, which reach up to 7,500 ft above sea level. The flat-bottomed valley runs from northeast to southwest and is clearly defined to the west by the beautiful Muchinga escarpment. Nkwali is located on Robin’s private land, overlooking the National Park.

 

Accommodation: The chalets are large, cool and spacious, with a great view of the river. The front of the room is open during the day and then closed by grill doors at night.   The ensuite bathroom has double sinks and showers, which are open to the skies during the dry season.  The bar area, right on the edge of the Luangwa banks, is built around a huge ebony tree with fantastic views of the river and across to the park.  The open deck is wonderful for moonlit dinners.  The dining room is a simple thatched structure, by the lagoon but we rarely eat meals there – they are served under the trees by the lagoon or the river, on the deck, or in the bush!

 

Activities: The area surrounding Nkwali is superb game viewing country, with a beautiful area of ebony woodland and open grasslands. Although the camp is outside the national park we access the park by either by boat (2 minutes) or our nearby pontoon (10 minutes). And of course the main bridge is only 15 minutes away – giving us 3 options for entry.  This central area of the park is accessible all year and so the game is very relaxed and used to the vehicles.  This gives great photographic opportunities as the game allows the vehicles to get close. There are also driving loops are in this area and guests often see as much behind camp as in the park – including leopard, lion and occasionally wild dog.   This area is particularly good for elephants and Thornicroft giraffe (an endemic species) Elephants also regularly cross the Luangwa, seen from the bar, or come to the waterhole near the thatched dining room.

Day 16: June 4th

Nkwali Camp – flight home from Lilongwe via Jo’burg? B