Drumbeat Autumn 18

I saw a quote the other day that went along the lines of ‘if you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.’ It made me think about the many conversations we have during the planning stages of our holidays. There’s nothing routine about a safari but the adventure element can be as much or as little as you like. Something perfectly captured by the range of articles contained in this newsletter. Whether you want to take your family for the first time, plan a romantic honeymoon, or fancy a beach holiday there’s something here to tempt you. We’ve a fun Q&A with one of our favourite guides in Botswana and Alice rounds up Zimbabwe’s highlights. It is Jess’s turn in the ‘ask the expert’ hot-seat, Louisa reports on out of season Kenya, and we’ve a jaw-dropping primate and wildlife safari combination to suggest. The show season has been as busy as ever and thanks to everyone who dropped by the stand. Two future diary dates are a day out Christmas shopping at the Art Fund Autumn Fair on 3rd October at The Grange near Alresford, and an evening with TV presenter, ocean rower and world record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont near Hungerford on 25th September. If you would like to come to the latter please give us a call as soon as you can and we will try and slot you in. There are plenty of autumn travels in the pipeline so keep an eye on the blog for updates on new ideas and camps. In the meantime we look forward to chatting to you about all things safari. Welcome to Aardvark Safaris’ Autumn 2018 Newsletter www . aardvarksafaris.co.uk l P1 Richard Smith Life in the Wilderness P13-14 Aardvark Safaris – The family safari specialists P5-6 Highlights: Seven gems in Zimbabwe P9-10 Low season Masai Mara On landing at the airstrip during my trip last November I was amazed by the amount of wildlife dotted over the plains. Considered low season and when the short rains arrive in the Mara, I was expecting the wildlife sightings to be a little sporadic. How wrong I was. Within minutes of leaving the airstrip we came across a pride of lion munching on the remains of a topi, and two of the biggest tusked elephants I have ever seen. This continued throughout my five night stay; I saw more lion, including plenty of cubs, than I can count, a leopard and cub, masses of elephant and huge numbers of wildebeest, giraffe, zebra and antelope. Perhaps the best part of it all was how few people were around. On most occasions we enjoyed sightings by ourselves and only rarely did we come across other vehicles while on game drives. With camp rates generally 20-25 % less than in peak season, it not only feels exclusive but is incredible value too. The downside? Well, there is a chance of rain but this is usually in the form of a dramatic afternoon shower, often accompanied by crashing thunder and impressive lightning, all of which is quite spectacular to watch over the vast Mara plains. Even if you do get caught in the rain on a game drive, the vehicles are kitted out with waterproof sides and cosy ponchos so you won’t get soaked. While I travelled in November, other times to consider outside peak season are January to April when the wildlife is similarly superb, the skies are clear, and the weather is generally warm and dry. June, when the plains are beautifully green after May’s rain, is also wonderful for wildlife viewing and seeing plenty of flowers in bloom. The plains are largely devoid of vehicles during these months so you have the best of all worlds: lower prices, amazing wildlife, and scarcely anyone else in sight. The Masai Mara is renowned for its teeming wildlife and from July to October is home to the famous wildebeest migration. This is, of course, a popular time to visit but it certainly isn’t the only time to go to this famous reserve. REPORT BY LOUISA