MHONDORO SAFARI LODGE & VILLA in the Waterberg has launched its new Overland Safaris product, offering bespoke, guided itineraries for small, private groups of up to 14 guests, to Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and around South Africa. Currently three different itineraries are offered with set departure dates between May and September, with a Namibian itinerary to be added in 2024.
CEO Fritz Breytenbach says: ‘Mhondoro has earned a reputation as a luxury safari destination of note within the Welgevonden Game Reserve, and now offers more adventurous guests the opportunity to explore further afield whilst still enjoying the Mhondoro standard of guiding, cuisine and service, presented as a luxe, glamping wilderness experience.’
Hosted by a dedicated safari guide, chef, butler and maintenance crew, up to seven guests may be transported in each of the two custom-designed Mhondoro Landcruisers. Enclosed for longer distance travelling, these comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles have sunroofs and charging points, but also convert seamlessly into open game-viewing vehicles with raised, pop-up platforms as roof height vantage points.
Accommodation is provided in glamping tents with comfortable beds and crisp, fresh linen, set up in spectacular sites that include some unfenced, wild camping in nature reserves, complete with the basic comforts of a gas-heated hot shower and toilet facilities. Other nights may be spent in some of Southern Africa’s most famous, well-established wilderness camps, while some itineraries also include the option of stays in luxury lodges along the way. All food preparation is done by the chef on open fires with the focus on wholesome, high-end camping meals, including potjiekos, braais and fresh bread baked daily, all enjoyed along with premium quality wines and other drinks around the campfire.
Highlights of the unforgettable Botswana and Zambia overland safari that departs from Maun, includes a Ntwetwe salt pan quad-bike adventure and meerkat family experience in the Makgadikgadi region; the forest and open savanna woodland of Nxai Pan National Park in Northern Botswana; and wild camping at Khwai Magotho between the Moremi and Savuti (Chobe) National Parks on the edge of the Okavango Delta. From there the adventure continues via Kasane, the meeting point of Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe, with the option to end at Mukwa River Lodge on the Zambezi River, incorporating a visit to the Victoria Falls.
Departing from the Waterberg, Botswana itineraries can easily be added onto a stay at Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, covering Mapungupwe National Park, the Tuli Wilderness and the mighty Limpopo River, before returning to Mhondoro.
Those guests who prefer to stay within the borders of South Africa, may opt for the Cape Town itinerary which starts in Port Elizabeth, visiting the Mountain Zebra National Park, Camdeboo National Park with a traditional farm stay, the Swartberg Nature Reserve and Gamkaskloof, which is know as ‘Die Hel’, onto Oudtshoorn, Montagu and Paternoster with Cape Town as final destination.
Breytenbach says Mhondoro’s Overland Safaris will cover some of the most scenic reserves and wilderness areas of Southern Africa, as well as the ancient waterways of the Okavango Delta where itineraries will include scenic flights and boat trips, and Mokoro excursions. ‘We are pleased to offer a small selection of bucket-list itineraries for those who yearn for a true African safari experience, yet one that is guided and managed by professionals to offer a safe and hassle-free safari. Families with children older than six are welcome, along with those who have a special interest in birds, stargazing, photography, and elephants! Experiencing the local sights, sounds and the wonders of Africa’s wildlife will be the order of each day – guaranteed.’
Plettenberg Bay made world headlines recently when it was certified as an official Whale Heritage Site (WHS), one of only three in South Africa. Plettenberg Bay joins The Bluff and Algoa Bay as the third Whale Heritage Site in South Africa, and one of only seven fully accredited Whale Heritage Sites worldwide where local communities ‘celebrate, respect, and protect cetaceans and their habitats’.
The Plettenberg Hotel, widely recognized as the ‘best address’ for visitors to stay in Plett, says it has noted an increased demand from guests wanting to experience whales and dolphins in their natural habitat in an authentic and natural way. The hotel is part of The Liz McGrath Collection and a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, attracting nature enthusiasts locally, and from across the globe seeking to witness thewonders of the natural world.
Plettenberg Bay is situated between two Marine Protected Areas (Tsitsikamma and Robberg) on the Garden Route and supports a wide diversity of ocean wildlife, including iconic species like Humpback Whales, Southern Right Whales, Bryde’s Whales, Killer Whales (Orcas) and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins. The area is well known for its terrestrial and marine diversity surrounded by the Tsitsikamma Mountains, Indian Ocean coastline, indigenous forests and endemic fynbos vegetation. This Marine Protected Area serves as a crucial feeding and nursery ground for a wide variety of resident and migratory cetacean species, with the Southern right whale being one of the most notable and representative inhabitants.
Some of the most significant trends in travel seen post-Covid is a renewed interest in sustainable travel and nature-based experiences, as people become more aware of the impact of tourism on the environment and local communities. Melissa Theron, the General Manager of The Plettenberg says that the new-found Whale Heritage Site status is set to further elevate marine tourism in the Garden Route town, as it provides a clear marker for discerning guests wanting to support sustainable practices in marine culture, heritage, and biodiversity.
‘We are very proud of this accolade and look forward to more guests drawn to Plett as a responsible marine tourism destination. Apart from whale watching boat excursions, here at the hotel, our guests take great delight in dolphin and whale watching on site – from their rooms, the two pool decks or the restaurant terrace during meals. For many guests, the highlight of the day is being the first to spot a marine sighting and being able to ring our brass whale-watching bell to announce a sighting off-shore – an unforgettable experience for young and old!’