Monday, 28 November 2011

We've found the ideal sustainable Big Five lodge for OTS

Over the last couple of weeks Will and I have been looking at more big five lodges to add to our safari itineraries for 2012. Of-course conservation and an environmentally sympathetic ethos are essential for each venue, but moreover its the feel of the accommodation has to be right for our guests. We look for high quality game viewing obviously (that goes without saying), on well established reserves, but also the lodge needs have the intimate, relaxed and friendly atmosphere that one expects from an On Track Safari.

Last week during a visit to the famous ThornyBush game reserve we found just that at Tangala Safari Camp. Spectacular game viewing on 12,000 hectares (with another 4,000 being added next month) and a lodge that ticked all the boxes. A lovely sedate bush atmosphere, with personal and friendly service, we were in heaven. No power lines to polute the skyline, Tangala maintains sustainable sources for power and lighting, which is not only eco friendly but as importantly enhances the bush experience. Solar power is available to charge camera batteries etc and the rooms and walkways are lit using paraffin lamps, bringing a magical sparkle to the lodge each night. As you disembark from your afternoon game drive the lodge is bedecked with twinkling lanterns, leading to the main lounge where a lovely glass is waiting for you as a pre dinner aperitif.
Wood that has fallen or been removed on the reserve for land management purposes is burned in old fashioned geezers to heat water for your bathroom. A renewable source of fuel that augments the sustainable ethos that prevails. Below I've added a photo of the wood burning water geezer that heated water for our room. Old fashioned it may be, but efficiency isn't necessarily a new invention.

Written by Carol Fox

Thursday, 10 November 2011

School awards - thanks to all our safari guests who have helped make a wonderful day.

I have just enjoyed a great time at the achievers awards day at Bosfontein Primary School. On Track Safaris  helps to support this rural farm school throughout the year but the achievers day is something very special. It's a wonderful occasion with much laughter and one we always look forward to.
I have to say that (rather cheekily) we don't always follow schools recommendations to provide reference books and dictionaries as prizes. Instead we bring along mobile phones, bicycles etc which are always popular and add to the fun as well as bringing a smile to the teachers faces.
I'm pictured above with Cindy who has done very well in all academic subjects this year. She is lucky to have both parents at home who are helping her to progress to higher education, which is great news.
For the first time this year we have included prizes for the outstanding sports achievement. You may remember that with help from UK professional soccer team Middlesbrough FC and Virgin Atlantic, we managed to arrange sponsorship of soccer kit for forty players. This kit is not only used for soccer but every other sporting activity. In a poor school 'needs must' and sports kit has multiple purposes. The curious effect has been that since receiving the kit the school has started to do well in a whole host of sporting events. Proof that a little self belief and encouragement can go a long way.
Pictured below is Jacob who has done very well in long distance running, reaching the provinital finals which is the first time anyone from Bosfotein has competed at that level alongside the more afluent schools.

On behalf of OTS, we want to send a big well done to all the children. We'll continue to support this and other local schools and with the help and generosity of our safari guests we hope to be able to provide more support in 2012.

Written by Carol Fox
OTS Manager

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thanks for your company, you make it all worthwhile

Sundowners and Ele walking past - perfect

Many of our guests have been very kind and written some great reviews about their recent Safaris. The full reviews are being published by Responsible Travel  but here are a few comments that have been said about our safaris this week:

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing the big 5 on one morning on safari was a very good extra with a good guide Anton . 
Nothing is to much trouble. The school visit was very good.

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Trust On-Track Safaris with your itinerary - it was perfect.

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
We have been to South Africa 5 times. This was the best. As we got close to the people and the country side. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

A big thanks to everyone who has reviewed our safaris. 
You know...... we have great jobs. Not only do we meet some amazing people but we also raise funds for our conservation work at the same time. 
It always gives me a boost to know that our guests started out as clients but even before they arrived have become friends. All members of our extended Ingwe family. We are very fortunate to meet some wonderful people, share some great wildlife experiences and enjoy their company and laughter. And long may it continue. We're all looking forward to 2012 safaris and once again sharing some great wildlife experiences with our safari guests. 

I've added a picture below that was taken of Anton, which will join others that have been sent to us on our website. Reminders of great times.

Written by Carol Fox