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February News

African Quiver News:

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Our Client List:

Study Abroad:
Chadron State College | Texas A&M |University of Tampa |
Columbia Business School |

Film Location Management:
Warner Bro’s Netherlands | Endemol Shine |TVN Poland |
GTNCO France

We have had a super 2016, with new friends and new destinations explored. Our year saw us facilitating study abroad tours (Johannesburg, Kruger National Park and Swaziland) as well as Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Johannesburg. The groups varied between 10 and 42 and each group had different objectives and motives but they all got the chance to view classic South African beauty and hospitality.

As an exciting spin off, we also produced a number of tailor made holidays. We have ventured into Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, while anchoring the tours around South Africa. Feel free to peruse some of our digital itineraries of current, recent and future tours:


These tours have been developed following conversations with the guests to suit their requirements. Our tours are affordable and pack in as much adventure and beautiful scenery as possible. Some of the tours drill down a little further and we visit various cultures and also to speak to experts about the social and political aspects of the dynamic South African heritage.

We would be delighted to help your friends or family put a trip together to visit South Africa – if you have a sports club looking for new territory to conquer and you fancy riding your mountain bike, hitting the trail or paddling the rivers or oceans, let us know.

We have also worked with film crews, most recently was the Warner Bro’s crew from the Netherlands and we performed an array of services for them from Location Management, Game Production, Scouting to pre and post production services.

Our tours and services are affordable and pitched at the desired level. With 10 years in the tourism industry and having travelled South Africa extensively, we have our favourite spots we would love to share with visitors from abroad.

 

Contact Mike Richardson on mike@africanquiver.co.za or Vikki Crook on vikki@africanquiver.co.za.

 

Have a look at our testimonials page for past experiences

 

Call our office on: +27 13 492 0769 or mobile / cell number: +27 83 310 5116

 

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Trip Report with Texas A&M and University of Tampa 2016

Texas A&M’s faculty of Agri-Business recently concluded a field trip to southern Africa along with students and faculty leaders from the University of Tampa. This trip was facilitated by African Quiver, a tour operation specializing in special interest tours with a strong conservation bias.

Map of our trip: 

 

Day 1-3: Johannesburg: Apartheid Museum, IRR, Soweto Bike Ride

The trip began in Johannesburg with a visit to the Institute of Race Relations, here Dr Frans Cronje provided the students with an expert analysis of South Africa’s socio/political and economic scenario. This aspect has been designed to provide the travellers with an in-depth understanding of what makes South Africa tick and learn from this unique country, whose young democracy is under scrutiny.

This seminar is followed by a bicycle trip around Soweto, taking in the epicentre of South Africa’s revolutionary period. All visitors are heartily welcomed in Soweto which bears testimony to the miraculous transformation that has occurred since 1994. A subsequent visit to the well curated Apartheid Museum further entrenches the real scale of the South Africa’s modern history.

Armed with this understanding and infusion into the workings of South Africa, the group had ample ammunition as a backdrop to perfect their Qualitative Marketing Strategy techniques, and with this we headed for the magical Kingdom of Swaziland. Read more on Swaziland here, but in short, this is where animals are to be seen, adventure is to be had and culture is to be immersed into.

Day 4: The Kingdom of Swaziland: Travel day and Ngwenya Glass visit

We entered via Ngwenya Glass, whose own story is that of a forebear to sustainable and responsible trading, while producing world class glass products, from recycled glass, powered by KFC cooking oil!

Day 5: Tree Top Canopy Tour and Meeting Nedbank

Onwards then to Malolotja National Park, a mountain reserve with few peers. The fascinating Canopy Tours were well enjoyed by all, while taking in breath-taking scenery, bird spotting and warming up next to log fires in the cabins.

This trip was followed by a visit to Nedbank where Ms Fikile Nkosi, MD, generously provided her time to explain to the group the workings of the banking system in Swaziland. Of great interest is their partnership with SWADE and a heart-warming story of rags to riches for impoverished villagers – led by a public private partnership that, well, just works!

Day 6: Museums, Shisa Nyama, Sunset Game Drive at Hlane Royal National Park

No thorough introduction into Swaziland is complete without a step on guided tour of Swaziland’s Museum and Sobhuza memorial, this interesting excursion was followed by a hearty Shisa Nyama – an opportunity to barbeque meat and mingle with the locals.

Day 7: Hlane and Village Tour

We headed down into the Lowveld to visit and base ourselves at Hlane Royal National Park. The rhino sightings at the waterhole were epic, while under the watchful gaze of the heavily armed rangers.

It was appropriate to move into second academic gear at Hlane considering the topic under discussion was the rhino poaching crisis. Swaziland’s Big Game Parks, of which Hlane is a member, has held the record for the most successful anti-poaching success and our group were to meet with the CEO and founder, Mr Ted Reilly soon after.

While at Hlane, the group went to visit an authentic village high on the Lebombo mountain range, walking past a church group singing anthems. This was en-route to see a traditional healer and to sample umcomboti.

 Day 8 SWADE site visits

We followed this excursion up with another to learn about LUSIP under the watchful guidance of SWADE and RMI. This is the project Nedbank is involved with and essentially it is about knowledge sharing, training previously impoverished farmers how to take their product to market and being able to irrigate from the LUSIP system. The travellers from the agri-business faculty found this most fascinating.

 Day 9 Mkhaya Game Reserve

Our next stop, also in the Lowveld was to Mkhaya Game Reserve, “A refuge for endangered animals”. It is also under heavy surveillance by professionally militarily trained rangers, armed with automatic weapons. This reserve has the most unique accommodation we stayed in – the open sided stone and thatch chalets at Stone Camp. With black rhino sightings, white rhino sightings while on foot, this winter viewing opportunity afforded great encounters with large animals. The visit was made more complete by the fortunate encounter of some of the conservation world’s heroes. Ted Reilly, David Cook and George Hughes. At this impromptu fireside gathering, the students were afforded the opportunity to test their interviewing skills at these masters of conservation. Much was learnt on both sides of the fire but a wonderful evening was had by all.

 Day 10: Mlilwane, Candles Factory, Roan Antelope Game Drive

Our merry band of travellers then headed up to the middleveld region, home to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and HQ of Big Game Parks. The group got to test the beehive accommodation units before settling into Sondzela Backpackers, the Wildest Backpackers in Swaziland. Mlilwane is an outdoor lover’s paradise and an opportunity to embark on personal discovery in the company of plains game – the absence of dangerous animals makes this a unique opportunity.

Days 11,12,13&14: Rock of Execution Hike, Sondzela Backpackers, Nguni Cattle Visit & Overnight Horseback Cave Trail

We sampled much of what makes Mlilwane famous – among those pursuits were a scramble up the infamous Rock of Execution – a 3hr hike that can be described as strenuous but so far accomplished by every member on an African Quiver expedition – this was followed by the overnight horseback trail where our lodgings for the night on this fully inclusive horseback trip was a cave, expertly hosted by various members of Chubeka Trails (the trailing division on Mlilwane). Some of us took to the hills via fresh trails marked for their annual Imvelo MTB Classic, we whizzed past wildebeest, kudu, warthog Nyalas, blesbok, while searching for crocodiles and hippos. Some of the group enjoyed an adventure caving experience at Gobholo caves, reputed to be the second largest chain of granite caves in the world, this was followed by wallowing in the Cuddle Puddle hot springs munching on awesome pizza.

We arranged to view the Nguni Cattle on Mlilwane, a breed endemic to Swaziland which faced extinction in the early 1980’s owing to their small size. Here we learnt about the importance of cattle to the Swazi’s as well as the different types of Ngunis. It was here again that we encountered Ted and his fellow conservationists where we had another great evening’s discussion and learning at over 150 year’s worth of hand’s on conservation experience.

Day 16, 17 and 18 Transfer to Kruger National Park

Our Intrepid group then headed for a three night safari expedition in Kruger National Park. We were based at Lower Sabie for two nights before rounding the whole trip up with a wonderful stay at Berg en Dal. Lion, Elephant, white and black rhino, buffalo were all to be seen, what remained elusive on this trip was the leopard. Next time!

See what the clients said:

 

 



About African Quiver

This trip represents an area of expertise for African Quiver, we know this area exceptionally well and thus able to tailor trips suited for specific groups. We recently conducted a similar trip for a group of 7 adventurers, also from America – stay tuned for the next trip report of the King Expedition to southern Africa.

While not on tour, African Quiver has been involved with several television productions, most notably to French and the Polish version of “Who is the Mole.” These major productions required logistical planning, accommodation and general fixing and the areas covered so far: Johannesburg (Soweto, CBD & Haartbeestpoort Dam) The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga, The Kruger National Park, Pilgrim’s Rest, Zimbali / Durban / Pietermaritzburg, the Drakensberg.

We have arranged a Botswana tour as well as extensions in and around South Africa – Lukimbi, Idube, Shepherd’s Tree Lodge, Ivory Tree Lodge as well as Cape Town…fantastic 3 and 4 day packages.

Contact us on info@africanquiver.co.za to arrange your affordable trip that is steeped in adventure, wildlife and immersion into our wonderful territory.

Mike Richardson

African Quiver

Nelspruit

+27 13 492 0769

info@africanquiver.co.za

www.africanquiver.co.za


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Child Friendly Package at Umkhumbi Lodge


There’s magic on your doorstep…

…and it is richly rewarding for both your family and your wallet. All seasoned nature enthusiasts know winter holds a wonderful opportunity to see game in action, courtesy of thinner bush as well as animals concentrating around waterholes. This also represents a great opportunity to haul out your camera. While at it, introduce your kids to the intricacies of the wild at the hands of our reptilian experts by joining us on walks to investigate the underground world of reptilian critters

Package includes:

  1. 1 evening walk
  2. game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi OR trip to St Lucia with a game drive AND a boat cruise
  3. Afternoon guided walk
  4. Sundowner Drinks
  5. Village tour with school visit (if during school time)
  6. 2 night’s dinner bed and breakfast
  • R5090 2 nights for 2
  • R1450 per child accompanying 2 pax minimum for the 2 nights
  • 3rd adult or children over 12 R2400 for the 2-night package.

More info on Umkhumbi Lodge as well as Map – click here:

Day 1


Settle in and relax.

Pending timings we go out for an evening walk before or after dinner.

We search for nocturnal critters including bush babies, genets and many other small creatures that aren’t often encountered like sleeping chameleons and even scorpions that glow under UV light.

Day 2


In the morning you can choose between either a game drive into Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve or a trip to St Lucia where you do a game drive through the Western Shores and a boat cruise on the estuary.

After lunch we head back for a guided walk on our conservancy where we interpret the signs of the wild and the wildlife we encounter. There is some great birding and various animals can be seen, including Zebra, Wildebeest, Nyalas, Hippos, Crocodiles, and various smaller animals that we may encounter on foot with our experienced guides.

We will have sundowner drinks down by the river before we head back to Umkhumbi for dinner.

Day 3


After breakfast head into a nearby village for an authentic modern day village tour. The community guides will take you on walk through the village, showing you a local homestead and the school if it is a school day. They will answer any questions you have and give you a real insight into modern day life in a Zulu village.

After the tour continue on to your next destination.

Interested? Contact Umkhumbi directly on +27 76 164 1134

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Trade Enquiries, please contact info@africanquiver.co.za

For more info follow this link

Blesbok at Malalotja

Swaziland Bucket List: Malolotja Nature Reserve


This week’s #SwaziBucketList must visit spot is the stunningly beautiful Malolotja Nature Reserve. This mountainous and diverse nature reserve stretches along the South African/Swaziland border in the North Western section of Swaziland between the towns of Bulembu and Ngwenya. Songimvelo Game Reserve borders Malolotja Nature Reserve on the South African side.

Malolotja Nature Reserve is a truly breath-taking mountainous wilderness area of around 18 000 hectares and was proclaimed in the early 1970’s. It is home to some of the oldest known sedimentary rock as well as Swaziland’s tallest waterfall- Malolotja Falls (89m). Some of the bigger game that call this incredible area home include Reedbuck, Oribi, Blesbok, Zebra, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Wildebeest, Leopard and Serval.

Birding is also significant in the reserve with some “lifers” being regularly observed such as breeding pairs of Blue Swallows, a Southern Bald Ibis colony regularly breeds on the cliffs of Malolotja Falls and keep a look out also for Denhams Bustard, Striped Flufftail, Black Winged Lapwing,  Shelley’s Francolin, African Marsh Harrier, Broad Tailed Warbler, Green Twinspot and African Grass Owl.

We love this reserve for the outdoor paradise experience it provides. With over 200kms of hiking trails and 17 camping spots along the routes, you are able to plan the perfect wilderness hiking route for your group or family. Take 7 days of hiking to see the entire reserve but bear in mind you will need to be fully self-sustainable for the whole period. Shorter trails as well as day hikes are also available.

If hiking isn’t your thing but would still like to see the reserve then fear not as the Malalotja Treetop Canopy Tours is also set on the reserve. This Zipline will take you gliding through the forest canopy offering views of towering cliff faces and across the forest with knowledgeable and professional guides at hand to introduce you to the natural diversity that you see beneath you. If you would like to experience Malalotja Nature Reserve contact us at info@africanquiver.co.za for further details.

Some of the photos courtesy of the Swaziland Tourism Authority

Reeds en-route to the Queen Mother's residence

Swaziland’s Umhlanga Festival Report

The 2015 Umhlanga / Reed Dance

This year’s event will sadly be remembered for the tragic road accident, the first of its kind in the festival’s history, on Friday the 29th of August where 11 maidens and 2 “Tindvuna” suffered fatal injuries. There were rumours from all parts of the Kingdom, that King Mswati III was so upset that he considered cancelling the event.


This accident revealed the fascinating dynamics that govern this tiny Kingdom. Primary of which is the way in which the numbers of fatalities were reported in South African media and even in the Dutch media, as discovered by our visiting Dutch TV crew. Over 30-odd fatalities were reported by these media houses, a number seemingly to have originated from a known Swazi detractor of a defunct trade union. This was taken on face value and repeated further afield.  Embarrassing reporting to such an extent so as to be mischievous. This dynamic has been plaguing the Swazi nation for a long time and shows no sign of abating.

The other more revealing dynamic that emerged from this tragedy is how the collective consciousness of the Swazi Nation revealed itself. For this is a great indicator of a country’s spirit. The passing of these unfortunate souls was likened, in some quarters, to losing soldiers in battle. Taking that analogy into account, the correct decision was made by the surviving comrades to dance and perform in honour of those who lost their lives. This analogy was borne out by the absolute fervour with which the festival was celebrated. It is very difficult to be expressive, sing joyously and indeed celebrate, spontaneously if you are not motivated. The spectacle that our Dutch TV crew recorded in high definition bore first hand testimony to the beating heart of a vibrant and healthy Kingdom.

African Quiver was contracted to be the fixers for this film crew and provide ground handling support to aid their documentary. We have many years of experience in Swaziland and therefore have a distinct knowledge of key customs and traditions. Our first task was to carefully manage the expectations of the crew because like many outside of Swaziland’s borders, much is misunderstood about Swaziland and the Umhlanga Festival is key among those misunderstandings. I knew the task was complete when the sound technician took umbrage to the reported headline in his own country’s respected media house’s claim that “King Mswati III chooses a new bride”. In fact the technician dusted off his twitter account to let the media know exactly what he thought about this lazy journalism.

The Dutch sought to cover the event as seen through the eyes of the maidens. To do this we had to identify a maiden who was able to explain the festival and who was participating in it. We naturally had to get permissions to do this as it is quite an invasion of custom. However, the prevailing sense of the festival is one of happiness and celebration. In fact it was very clear to see firsthand the following facts:

  1. The Festival is an opportunity for maidens to present the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi) with reeds to refurbish the wind breaks around the royal residence.
  2. It is entirely voluntary for maidens to anticipate
  3. 90 000 maidens were reported to have registered
  4. Only virgin maidens may present the reeds to the Queen Mother
  5. The festival strongly promotes chastity and reinforces moral ethics
  6. The Imbali Foundation uses this festival as an opportunity for peer counselling.
  7. The King attends and mingles with the maidens at the appropriate times
  8. Everyone involved is eligible for food parcels at the end of the event.

A major myth that the Dutch crew dispelled was that the King does not hold this event in order to choose a bride. If, in fact he has found a “bride to be” during the course of the year, he may choose to reveal her at this occasion much to the delight of the nation.

A very telling observation made by the Dutch producer was that he doubted if any of the expert event organisers in his country would willingly accept a task as massive as:

  • Collecting maidens from all parts of the Kingdom
  • Identifying where to cut the reeds
  • Organising the orderly procession of presenting the reeds to the Queen Mother
  • Providing accommodation for all involved
  • Orchestrating the intricate dance routines
  • Choreographing the movements
  • Arranging the songs
  • Arranging the dress codes
  • Safety and security for all
  • Media control / background checks and protocol requirements
  • Massive food distribution at the end of the event.

The Festival is indeed growing from strength to strength with increased reported numbers of registrations, delegations from as far afield as the Kingdom of the Ashanti in Ghana as well as Swaziland’s neighbour – the Zulus were well represented.

For visitors, the festival is becoming very accessible as well – accommodation close to the event, in the Ezulwini Valley is now under pressure. The preeminent hotels have created a super, professional and affordable food centre in an air conditioned marquee that gives respite to the long days.

But perhaps the most telling development is the emergence of Princess Sikhanyiso as a moral compass through her Imbali Foundation. At 28 she still embodies the virtues of chastity and has used her lofty position as the eldest daughter of the King to be a genuine role model. Through her and her brother, Prince Makhosonkhe – they have identified a major way of making a significant difference to the lives of the maidens. Peer education from the Princess who has an elite English University education is a powerful tool to communicate all the critical info available today as far as healthy living is concerned. That is the biggest success story – while World Vision, Medicin Sans Frontiers (Doctors without borders) and the like have brilliant causes – quite often their biggest challenges are to effectively communicate with their targets on the ground. The Imbali Foundation does just that. it is home grown well positioned and very relevant.

African Quiver has a tour set up for next year to provide excellent and comfortable access to the Umhlanga Festival and designed in such a way as to appreciate the relevance of the dances and general festivities. For more information on this tour – contact info@africanquiver.co.za

 

Article written by Mike Richardson

 

 

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African Quiver assists BNN-Vara with Swazi Reed Dance

The Kingdom of Swaziland is currently experiencing one of its most famous festivals, the Swazi Reed Dance or more accurately, The Umhlanga Festival.

A most colourful festival, it has reportedly seen the registration of over 90 000 maidens. While the festival is predominantly associated with exciting attire, it is severely misunderstood and often viciously portrayed in the international media.

African Quiver has been contracted to facilitate unprecedented access for television crews for BNN Vara whose intent it is to arrive at the festival with one set of expectations and leave with another and then portray it accurately.

To stay in touch with on the ground info from Saturday 29 August, tune into @africanquiver and follow the updates on Face Book – African Quiver Tourism

 

Boerperd

The wild horses of Kaapsehoop


Did you know that the beautiful province of Mpumalanga is home to one of the only wild herds of horses in the country?

Running free across the grass plains on the edge of the escarpment you will find a herd of around 200 wild Boerperd horses.
There is a little speculation regarding how these horses came to make this town their home but the general consensus is that they are the remnants from the gold mining days and boer war steeds that were abandoned when no longer needed.

The horses of Kaapsehoop have developed a very special relationship with the town in which they live. This is a mutual relationship whereby the altitude of the town (1712m) means that the horses are safe from the dreaded African Horse Sickness disease which plagues equines across the rest of the country. The horses in turn create a unique tourism interest bringing equine enthusiasts and photographers from far and wide to Kaapsehoop.

Meeting the wild horses of Kaapsehoop is just one of our equestrians tours available. We can also take you into the heart of the bushveld to meet the Big 5 on horseback, you can experience the core of Swazi culture on a horse back ride through Swazi rural community land or how about galloping down the white sand beaches of Mozambique before taking a dip in the warm Indian Ocean waters with your steed.

For more information on our equestrian tours contact us at info@africanquiver.co.za

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2015 Reed Dance Dates Confirmed – Umhlanga Festival, Swaziland

This is Swaziland’s best known cultural event, and has a more open feel than the Incwala. In this eight-day ceremony, young girls cut reeds, present them to the Queen Mother (Indlovukazi) – ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence – and then dance in celebration. Up to 40,000 girls take part, dressed up in brightly coloured attired – making it one of the biggest and most spectacular cultural events in Africa.

The proper festivities kick off on day six, when dancing gets under way in the afternoon. Each group drops their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters then moves to the main arena, where they dance and sing their songs. The dancing continues on day seven, when the king is present. Each regiment dances before him in turn.

Little can prepare you for the sheer scale of the pageantry, with column upon column of girls advancing like vast ululating centipedes across the parade grounds of Ludzidzini, each dissolving in turn into the pulsating mass of bodies around the royal kraal. Up close, it’s an almost overwhelming immersion in noise and colour, as the girls stamp, sing and sway in step, anklets rattling, naked flesh and dazzling costume blurring into a living, chanting kaleidoscope. The warrior escorts, adorned with cow tails and clutching knob-stick and shield, are sternly intent on their duties and seem contemptuous of tourists, but the girls are all smiles. It’s Swaziland’s biggest holiday and, after days of tramping the hillsides, cutting reeds and camping out, they’re determined to party.

Today the Umhlanga is as well attended as ever. Indeed cultural historians marvel at how its ever-increasing popularity in Swaziland defies the apparent decline of traditional culture elsewhere. It offers the visitor a unique experience. There are no special visitor arrangements – except for a special grandstand to accommodate visiting dignitaries – but simply turn up at Ludzidizini and follow the crowds. Police will direct you where to go, and where to park. Officially, permits are required for photography.

The event takes place around the last week of August / first week of September. The dates for the event are released relatively close to the time as they derive from ancestral astrology. The 2015 Reed Dance will begin on the 25th of August, with the main day (day 7) scheduled for the 31st of August.

 

Day One – 25 August 2015

The girls gather at the Queen Mother’s royal village. Today this is at Ludzidzini, in Sobhuza’s time it was at Lobamba. They come in groups from the 200 or so chiefdoms and are registered for security. Men, usually four, supervise them, appointed chiefs. They sleep in the huts of relatives in the village or in classrooms of nearby schools. This is a very exciting time for the maidens.

Day Two – 26 August 2015

The girls are separated into two groups, the older (about 14 to 22 years) and the younger (about 8 to 13 years). In the afternoon, they march to the reed-beds with their supervisors. The older girls often march about 30 kilometers, while the younger girls march about ten kilometers. If the older girls are sent further, government will provide trucks for their transport.

Day Three – 27 August 2015

The girls cut their reeds, usually about ten to twenty, using long knives. Each girl ties her reeds into a bundle. Nowadays they use strips of plastic for the tying, but those mindful of tradition will still cut grass and plaint it into rope.

Day Four – 28 August 2015

In the afternoon, the girls set off to return to the Queen Mother’s village, carrying their bundles of reeds. Again they return at night. This is done “to show they traveled a long way.”

Day Five – 29 August 2015

A day of rest where the girls make final preparations to their hair and dancing costumes. After all that walking, who doesn’t deserve a little pampering?

Day Six – 30 August 2015

First day of dancing, from about three to five in the afternoon. The girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters. They move to the arena and dance, keeping their groups and each group singing different songs at the same time.

Day Seven – 31 August 2015

Second and last day of dancing. His Majesty the King will be present.

Day Eight – 1 September 2015

King commands that a number of cattle (perhaps 20 -25) be slaughtered for the girls. They receive pieces of meat and go home.

Makuleke Limpopo River Flood Plains

#KrugerBucket List – Pafuri Region

African Quiver’s weekly ‪#‎KrugerBucketList must visit spot is the ancient and awe-inspiring northern-most Pafuri region.


Arguably one of few remaining true wilderness areas in southern Africa this area is the most bio-diverse region of the Kruger National Park and is the most scenically exquisite area also. As much as 75% of Kruger’s total biodiversity occurs here in an area only slightly more than 1% of its total size.

The area spans 24,000 hectares, stretching between the Luvuvhu River and Limpopo River and is a private concession within the Kruger National Park namely the Makuleke Concession.
Named after the Makuleke community, a clan of Shangaan speakers who occupied the Pafuri Region right up to 1969 when they were forcibly removed in the interests of consolidating the Kruger National Park.

In a historic deal with the government in 1998, a resolution was reached and the Makuleke clan agreed to enter into a private-sector partnership to develop new tourism facilities in the north.

This area is a favourite winter grazing ground for vast herds of Elephant, Buffalo and Eland but Lion, Leopard and general game also call this area home. The Limpopo River accommodates countless pods of Hippo and floats of Crocodiles and the area is the best area for bird watching in the Kruger National Park with many species reaching the southernmost extent of their range here.

This ancient area is also one of South Africa’s most anthropologically rich regions and home to one of our earliest stone age sites. Large stone hand axes from the site are believed to be around 1,5 million years old! Ancient burial grounds, rock art sites, pottery and stone tool manufacturing sites are also present.

We love this area for its vast mature fever tree forests which stretch out across the Limpopo floodplains and ancient Baobabs trees which still stand as they have for the past 5000 years.

There is nothing quite like sitting quietly among the Fever Tree forests waiting for an old bull elephant to amble past while the baby-like cry of the Trumpeter Hornbill’s echos eerily through the forests and out across the mighty Limpopo River.

If you would like to book a trip to this incredible region, get in touch with us on info@africanquiver.co.za

 

The annual Rhino Conservation Awards

The annual Rhino Conservation Awards, which were founded by Dr Larry Hansen, are held in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) of South Africa and the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA). Co-founder of the Awards, Ms Xiaoyang Yu, founding partner of China New Enterprise Investment (CNEI), co-sponsored the Awards with ZEISS. The awards were held in the same week as World Ranger Day, which is celebrated on the 31st July. – See more at:

The recent Annual Rhino Conservation Awards held at the Montecasino represent, on face value, a thorough appreciation of the plight of Rhinos. By delving a little bit, the organisers have unearthed unsung heroes and thereby provided a rare insight into the complexities of conservation. Most often, it is unglamorous and dangerous. In some instances there is serious political interference that would make even the hardiest conservationist hesitate over the extent to which he or she will protect their asset.

Conservation has to contend with economics as well as human and animal rights. These are burning issues for any range state, especially those that have serious social issues to address.

While all the winners at these awards are deserved, special mention must go to the pocket rocket nation of The Kingdom of Swaziland. To have achieved such results as they have requires a closer analysis. Swaziland is infamous for her alarming HIV infection rate, infamous for the “ruthless dictator, “ King Mswati III yet, look at how important the rhino and indeed conservation is for the King and his Kingdom. Stepping ever so briefly away from the issue at hand – I find that such an award reveals something about Mswati and the way he is portrayed. It leads me to conclude that the major issues we hear emanating from that tiny, landlocked country deal mainly with ideological issues. Mahatma Ghandi is credited for saying “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

What does this award therefore REALLY say about King Mswati and Swaziland? It shows, according to Ghandi, that Swaziland’s moral progress is leaps and bounds ahead of most countries!

To further that claim, King Mswati has been unwavering in his father’s legacy of being staunch supporters of conservation. King Sobhuza II is recognised as the enabler of conservation in Swaziland and that was no mean feat. He called the Nation to hear him declare the might with which he was prepared to protect and assist those involved in conservation and he sounded a warning to poachers to cease and desist. In fact, it may be argued that continuing this legacy has been more difficult for the reigning monarch who has to contend with a potent wave of supposed human wildlife abuses while protecting the dwindling natural habitats of Swaziland and balancing that with the needs of the poorer rural areas.

Fortunately the constant between the two monarchs has been the Reilly led, Big Game Parks of Swaziland. Formerly, Ted Reilly helped craft legislation with the Monarch’s approval that today has resulted in the records recognised by the Rhino Conservation Awards. Ted and BGP have lived this ethos, and with the new generation of leaders at BGP, with the Reilly influence still true to the founding principles, many range states can look with envy at Swaziland who have managed to combine, legislative support along with practical support for the very serious issue of conservation – the rhinos and elephants of Swaziland in particular being the greatest beneficiaries.

Well done to the organisers of these awards and to HM King Mswati III for being recognised as the most efficient conservationist today.

 

Mozambique Bucket List- Maputo Special Reserve


This weeks ‪#‎MozBucketList‬ must visit spot is the breathtakingly beautiful Maputo Special Reserve.

The reserve lies on the South Western side of Maputo Bay and is half way up the peninsula which protrudes north to Inhaca Island. The reserve is around 77,400 hectares and was proclaimed in 1932 in a bid to protect the last of the elephants in Southern Mozambique.

After a turbulent past and with poaching taking a major toll, the reserve today proudly shows an increase in wildlife numbers and the Elephant population today is over 350 animals.

Although shy and often very elusive, a wide range of wildlife call this reserve home, African Elephant, Hippo, Reedbuck, Impala, Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, Wildebeest, both Grey and Red Duiker, Vervet Monkeys, Samango Monkeys, Bush pigs, Crocodiles, Leopard, Jackals, Suni, Steenbok, Warthog, Nyala, Waterbuck, Serval, Honey Badger and Porcupine to name a few of its inhabitants.

The reserve has also been identified as one of Mozambique’s 16 important bird sites by birdlife international and has in the region of 350 different bird species in the area.

A solid 4×4 is needed to travel around the Maputo Special Reserve due to the deep sand roads being difficult to navigate.

At present the only accommodation option is camping at Ponta Milibangala. You will need to be fully self-sufficient due to next to no facilities within the park itself. The camping area has pit latrines available and a water tap is present, however the water is for washing only and should not be used for drinking.

We love this reserve for the vegetation diversity and breath-taking scenery that it offers; inland lakes, wetlands, swamp forests, grasslands, mangrove forests, coastline, dunes, sandveld and endless kilometers of beautiful deserted beaches, it has it all! And due to the reserves location it is also possible to visit on a quick break away or long weekend.

#SwaziBucketList- Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary


Our weekly ‪#‎SwaziBucketList‬ must visit spot is the exciting Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland’s pioneer conservation area and was formerly a farming and tin mining area, the area has been rehabilitated and is now Swaziland’s most frequently visited reserve.
Covering 4,560 hectares this mountainous reserve comprises a southern section and northern section. The southern section’s grassland plains stretch up to the striking and historic Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak known as the ‘Rock of Execution’.

Mlilwane is famous for its habituated and mostly non-dangerous wildlife, which makes this reserve an ideal playground for the whole family to get up close and personal with a wide range of African Game while having fun on a variety of different activities which are suited to both the young and old. Any outdoor lover will be gripped by the reserve with the variety of activities to choose from, including Mountain Biking, Horse Riding, Hiking, Game Drives, Guided Birding tours and Overnight trails.
The wildlife you are likely to see while visiting are Blesbuck, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Kudu, Nyala, Hippos, Warthogs and Vervet Monkeys to name just a few. It is the chance to view these habituated game species at very close quarters which also make Mlilwane a great wildlife photography venue.

We love this reserve because of its unique ability to cater for pretty much everyone and any budget, you can choose from Camping, Beehive Villages, Rest camp Huts, Self-catering cottages, the affordable Sondzela Backpackers and the luxurious Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge.

To arrange your visit to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, drop us an email at info@africanquiver.co.za

(photo courtesy of thekingdomofswaziland.com)

MachLodge-over-Reserve

Mozambique Bucket List: Machangulo Beach Lodge

Our weekly ‪#‎MozBucketList must visit spot is the breath taking and luxurious Machangulo Beach Lodge.


Machangulo Beach Lodge is located on the channel between Inhaca Island and the Santa Maria peninsula. 
This prestigious lodge features 17 private luxury chalets. Each chalet has an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, mosquito nets and private deck.

Imagine lazing the day away on a white sand beach paradise in the tropical warmth of Mozambique. Having your own waiter bring you exotic cocktails on the beach while you take the odd dip in warm crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. But if this isn’t your thing, then don’t despair! Machangulo offers a wide variety of activities too.

You can choose from- Snorkeling (the island marine reserve is famous for its incredible coral snorkeling which will expose you to literally hundreds of species of fish in every colour you can imagine!), spa treatments, Deep Sea Fishing, Scuba Diving (you are able to dive untouched and forgotten ship wrecks), village trips, kayaking, Island picnics, Dhow sailing safaris, and much more.

We love this lodge for the uniqueness of its location and the bio-diversity of this particular area, there isn’t much that this area doesn’t offer! From Indian Ocean, sand dunes, indigenous coastal forest, fast flowing water channel, island vegetation, mangrove forests, a quiet bay and coral gardens, it has it all! and not to mention the wildlife and bird life that comes with it. 
In season, you can expect to see humpback whales frolicking around in front of the lodge, Common Bottle Nose Dolphins, Humpback Dolphins and even the elusive Striped Dolphins. At night the coastal forest comes alive with the calls of Greater Bush babies echoing through the forest while Genet’s scuttle about in the undergrowth.

The point of this peninsula also marks the end of the longest uninterrupted turtle nesting beach in the world, so in season you can also expect to see, Loggerheads, Leather-backs, Green Turtles, Hawksbills and even Olive Ridley turtles can be spotted coming up onto the beach to nest.

If this sounds good to you, drop us an email at info@africanquiver.co.za

Kruger National Park Bucketlist: Biyamiti Weir

#KrugerBucketList

 

Eye-Level with Hippos at Biyamiti Weir, Kruger National PArk
Eye-Level with Hippos at Biyamiti Weir, Kruger National PArk

African Quivers weekly ‪#‎KrugerBucketList must visit spot is the Biyamiti Weir.
We love this spot as you are able to get eye level with wild hippos and crocs going about their daily business. It is located on the S114 dirt road between Skukuza Rest Camp and Afsaal Traders Rest. The weir is a wonderful place to visit in winter months as it is on a game migration route and one of the few places that will have water during the dry months which in turn attracts large numbers of game.

Want African Quiver to take you here and introduce you to some of our other favourite Kruger must see locations? Then you can contact us at info@africanquiver.co.za to book a tour today

Web Presence Maintenance Plan

Web Presence Maintenance Plan

 (after the 3 month contract African Quiver can implement the maintenance plan which comprises 6 modules)

Ongoing Social Media

Facebook

  • Manual Boosts
  • Weekly Posts
  • Increase Reach
  • replies to messages and enquiries
  • Report on Status

Twitter

  • association with relevant industry leaders
  • generate content for weekly tweets
  • increase reach
  • replies to messages and enquiries
  • report on status

Continuation of Monthly Newsletter / blog

Analyses of booking sites (continuation of initial work done)
continuation of tripadvisor and replying to all reviews
ongoing improvement of ranking within booking websites, this requires establishment participation, eg promotions and news
assess marketing and advertising opportunities

  • internet
  • print
  • copy writing

Web Presence: What we do for you

What we do:

  • Ensuring your accommodation is accurately listed on major South African marketing and directory websites (the best ones offer commission structures)
  • Social media set up and management
  • Communication strategy development

Our service offers an initial 3 month period which includes:

  • Property Audit
  • Current internet reach
  • Social media reach
  • Consumer generated content (TripAdvisor in particular)
  • In Depth Report to establishment owner

The second element delivers remedial actions to get the basics on track

  • This includes contacting the major players and updating your establishment info as per the initial site audit
  • It includes understanding and executing the plan required to improve your rankings on their site
  • Final element assesses the changes.

This is ongoing, we compare the analyses on a monthly basis which inludes:
o    marketing website performance
o    establishment listing
o    facebook likes
o    twitter followers and interaction
o    recommended tripadvisor replies

Digital Marketing
Additional services included

  • Twitter Account and Management
  • Facebook Account and Management

Optional Extras:

  • blog / copy / newsletter
  • marketing and sales strategy
  • operational consultation

Web Presence Maintenance Plan

watermarkSymmTree

Pretoriuskop, Kruger National Park

Texas A&M takes in the iconic Kruger National Park

What’s a Study Abroad Trip to South Africa without a visit to the iconic Kruger National Park? African Quiver decided to pay homage to the oldest camp in the Kruger. Pretoriuskop is very accessible and being situated in the south west region of the Park offers some of the most dramatic scenery – rocky outcrops overlooking pristine bushveld. This varied landscape therefore produces habitats suitable for a broad spectrum of animals. Notable for buffalo territory, this habitat is ideal for the elusive leopard…countless visits to the Park yield super check lists, however, they often exclude this famed feline. Having trawled the Voortrekker Road leading to Pretoriuskop twice with limited success, African Quiver’s guide, Vikki Crook mustered the troops for an early morning assault on the Shabeni Loop (see pic above). Barely one minute out of the Pretorisukop Camp, Vikki’s eagle eyes caught movement in a huge Marula tree off to our left.

 Leopard!
Slightly obscured, 2 leopard are actually visible
Slightly obscured, 2 leopard are actually visible

This had the Texas A&M students craning their necks and squinting their eyes into the dawn darkness, thinking that Vikki was hallucinating. Yet, there! The tree shook and as the sun gradually illuminated the tree, the distinctive tail came into sharp relief. But wait! She also had a kill! All Texas A&M eyes were now focused on that tree, and with crowds of vehicles (some might say a “lot”of cars…or even a “clutch of cars”- thanks Gemma!) arriving, more was revealed like an exciting Christmas present being revealed as the paper is gently removed. For at the base of the tree, two young leopards were gallivanting around, oblivious to the carnage and mayhem that must have played out only minutes before our arrival. For Mother Nature had just orchestrated the recurring great drama, predator vs prey. With absolute silence in our Sprinter, the scene had transfixed all and sundry. The heightened excitement elevated once more with a 4th young leopard zealously tugging at the precariously held prey. 4 leopard in one sighting – what a humbling experience that touched even the most hardened city slicker in our group.

Pretoriuskop was very well appointed with a number of levels of accommodation – from backpacker / dorm types to the more exclusive chalets with modern finishings, the Kruger National Park is fast becoming an all-round global conservation blue-print

African Quiver Web Presence Management 

  A bit about marketing websites:

African Quiver Web Presence Management has been designed for owner managed establishments that don’t have the time to attend to an annoying yet critical element of their marketing: how your establishment appears online.

African Quiver has through experience and research determined where the critical websites of the internet live and continually monitor them as it is a very dynamic environment

A bit about marketing websites:

These are entities that spend thousands of Rands and Dollars every month competing in the incredibly competitive “accommodation in…”google slugfest. It has become apparent that no small establishment could hope to compete in that key phrase bidding war. These websites all aim to improve their global ranking which in turn presents them increasingly higher on each search engine results page and this is partly where you as the establishment must take note. It is one thing for your marketing site to rank at the top (first page for that search query) but it is then another element to be ranked high up in that marketing site’s own listings.

These marketing websites have varying business models, mostly, they simply look for a commission on the booking fee. This is an ideal scenario, as aside from the time cost to ensure your data is correct on their website, there is no cash payment for being in their shop window.

Key to this continuing success is what Google picks up on the internet communication lines – Google prefers establishments that have fresh news online and ranks them higher up, the same is true for the marketing websites, to a lesser extent. This is where social media plays an important role.

What we do for you:

 For a printable version click here

Getting the run down of how Soweto came to be

Study Abroad in South Africa and Swaziland teaches Market Research

Texas A&M University as well as the University of Tampa designed a field trip to give students the experience and skills needed to participate in rigorous market research that recognises the context of the consumers and the products and services being marketed

 Trip report by Dr Victoria Salin

 

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