The issue of hunting has recently come to the fore when an elephant was shot multiple times before it died. At Viva Safaris we believe that there should be a total ban on all hunting in the private reserves adjoining Kruger Park.
On Olifants West Reserve, on which Tremisana Lodge is situated, the authorities see fit to issue permits to various landowners to remove some of the more common species such as impala and kudu. We disagree with this policy. Nature will sort these matters out without human interference.
When we did our first game drives on Olifants West almost 30 years ago, we would find numerous herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck and Kudu. Sightings of the secretive Aardvark were common. At Tremisana we had regular sightings of the very uncommon Bushpig. When the fences came down and Olifants West became part of the open system, we were thrilled to see lions. What we did not know then was that the lions would take out our aardvark and bushpig population and severely impact the wildebeest and waterbuck populations. In fact, it happens on almost every safari that the first wildebeest our tourists encounter is not on Olifants West but near the Orpen Gate from where we enter Kruger proper.
One of the biggest advantages of booking a Viva Safaris package is that we conduct game drives on Kruger Park proper as well as the private reserve. The diversity of animals in Kruger is what makes it so special and our tourists often see species not regularly encountered on the private reserves. Despite not being allowed off road in Kruger, these animals are very often found on the roads as evidenced by the photos sent by our rangers.
GAME VIEWING REPORTS FROM OUR GUIDES
LUKE, Head Guide, sent the following report and photos:
This month was packed with wonderful sightings on both the walks and the game drive. A stand out moment had to be a lion sighting near Tremisana Lodge.
We headed out early for our morning bushwalk, while getting onto the game viewer we heard a loud roar. We zoomed off in excitement, hoping to locate the culprit.
It didn’t take us long to find the big male lion , moving towards Tremisana dam. He was on a mission so we slowly followed behind him, we soon found why. He was looking for a lioness who had been resting in the long grass listening to his calls.
The month ended with our first thunderstorm after a long dry period during our winter months, soon the bush will be green and full of summer flowers.
Definitely something to look forward to for our bushwalk experiences.
ANDY now operates only in Kruger proper has sent the following photos, all of animals on the roads:
GEORGE had some great sightings of lions at Tremisana Lodge and Rome 4 property:
RAYMOND had brilliant sightings of predators on the Orpen-Satara road in Kruger Park :
NADINE, trainee guide, took these photos on Campfire property :
VICTOR, as always, had some brilliant sightings:
TOLLI conducted a safari to Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Reserve and St Lucia and sent his always brilliant photos :
PIERO, accompanied by son, Marc, spent a weekend at Tremisana:
ROCKY sent the following:
ELIAS aka SMILY:
QUINTON sent the following:
CHARL has been on leave and has done only a few walks and drives.
He sent a photo of a newborn nyala lamb:
NEWS FROM OUR LODGES
NYARAI sent the following :
Tremisana Report September 2023
I love the month of September because we get to celebrate the cultural wealth of South Africa. Heritage day was on the 24th of September. It is also known as braai day.
The beauty of this land is the diversity. A country with eleven official languages, so many different dialects. I am proud to say over the years I have perfected my Xhosa and Zulu. I am secretly learning Tsonga and Tshivenda.
We have so many traditional attires each identifying a different tribe. The intricate bead work, the vibrant colours, always a beautiful sight. I love dressing up and the joy I get is unspeakable.
The gift shop at Tremisana stocks a variety of handmade traditional crafts. On a side note did I mention it’s always braai day at Marula Boma. We serve traditional pap, braaied meats and Sheba which is a tomato and onion relish as well as salad. The best meal to start an African safari.
This month has been very busy. The numbers have significantly increased. We have had a number of repeat guests as well.
We had our first rains. The balule plains were really dry and dusty. I am sure has the weeks progress we will get more rain mixed with days of brutal sunshine. The weather here does get a bit confusing . From wearing summer clothes yesterday I am writing this clad in winter clothes. Packing a jacket is always essential it seems
Looking forward to the new month. As always it’s going to be fantastic .
Stay safe and take care
CHARL sent the following:
The bush is extremely dry at the moment as we wait for the first rains of the year. Our breakfast dam is a big attraction for all the wildlife in the area due to the fact that other dams are drying up. The guest get to enjoy some beautiful sightings of animals in the early morning while enjoying their breakfast. Even while we have been out on our morning bushwalks we see lots of tracks of the animals who have been coming through the camp at night for a drink.
KATEKANI TENTED LODGE:
Our resident hyena is back at the the camp we where fortunate enough to have him join us a few times this month for dinner. On the one occasion he walked right up to the screen door and lay at the door looking in at the guests having dinner he has never been fed by us but due to the number of other lodges in the area we cant grantee that one of the other lodges are feeding him.
The camp is finally filling up we have had quite a few guests who have booked the camp for the month as another alternative to tremisana as its similar to tremisana in the fact thats its a brick house. One morning while i was jusy checking up on things at the camp I found a terrapin moving around the camp I suspect that as the dams are drying up they are moving looking for alternative water sources.
Laurence sent this recent photo of big tusker Ezulwini at Ezulwini Lodge:
NEWS FOR OUR TRAVEL PARTNERS
September 2023 was good and our lodges were busy. There were days when Tremisana was overbooked and we are grateful to Bert van Es for putting up our guests at Masodini.
I am told that the authorities in Kenya and Tanzania have decided to unreasonably increase their rates by ridiculous amounts, so we anticipate a positive spinoff for Kruger Park operators like Viva Safaris.
We have always made our safari packages affordable. The range of options allow tourists of varying financial means to enjoy the great Kruger Park experience we offer. Guests can book a very affordable 3 day budget Tented Safari to the extremely pampered and luxurious experience we offer at Ezulwini. With the constantly increasing US dollar, UK sterling and Euro to Rand rates, we believe that South Africa is a great value for money holiday option.
Marco, Webmaster, has selected the following reviews that bear testimony to the appreciation our guests have of our safari packages:
Amazing experience … do it !!
Liz P, Dublin Ireland
I won’t be able to fit how amazing this experience was into words but here goes … if you are thinking about booking with Viva Safaris, absolutely do it , not only do we have zero complaints but it was an experience of a lifetime.
From a practical side, the trip was great value for money, included everything you could want, you get to see so much in a short timeframe, the schedule ran like clockwork and everything and everyone were very professional.
But from a personal side, some things money can’t buy, and that is the knowledge of all the guides, the helpfulness of everyone that works there and how they make you feel like part of a family.
Their hospitality and kindness and all the small touches were like nowhere else we have ever visited, everyone was so special in their own right, people skills cannot be bought and there are really some special people working there.
We had a lovely stay for 1 night in Tremisana and then onto Katekani for 3 nights, only wish it was more. For the price the trip cost I really wasn’t expecting it to be so comfortable, to be fed so well and for everything to be so perfect!
We also did a lovely trip to Mohololo Rehabilitation Centre which I found excellent and very educational.
If you want to , you will learn a lot from everyone here.
You guys have some great people, please don’t change!! We can’t name everyone but particularly we have to thank Smiley of course for his fun spirit and his knowledge , Andy for his wonderful manner and also great knowledge. Victor and Sully for being absolute gentlemen, Mama P and Mama J at Katekani for making us feel like part of a family and looking after us so well, these guys all work so hard and yet they are smiling all the time!
We even were invited for lunch with the managers, how nice is that, that they sat and ate with us, the hospitality as I said, is unbelievable.
But have to say a big “fair play” as we say in Ireland, to Nadine, one of the guides, she took us on one of the drives and I found her to be a superstar, I could sense her compassion for the animals, her knowledge, and her passion, which at the end of the day is what it’s all about in my eyes.
Thank you all for a wonderful experience we will remember it forever 🇿🇦 from liz and Karl, Ireland x
Hacuna Matata (No worries!) It is a WOW!!!
From the moment of a timely pick up- to the first safari 1 hour after arrival – we felt well cared for – perfectly scheduled- well fed – with guides who truly wanted to show us their bush and the creatures who live within!
The guides can find the animals! (and talk to each other about where the animals are)
The BBQ in the Bush (Braai) is unbelievable – the sunrise and sunset rides are gorgeous!
Two nights we had wine/beer while we watched the orange/red sunset and hippos came out of the river!
Rye (Naraya) manages with kindness and an eye for detail (each of us have our own program) – Luke is a master of the bush walk – Smiley Ha la la – Hacuna matata was our driver for most of our rides and he is all heart, kindness, sunshine and professional guide!
Rocky can find the leopards in the trees and did his best to find that lion roaring in the dark! Spooky!
Mama Dee makes food that is plentiful, tasty but not too spicy, and the baked goods! It is not fancy but has heart!!
An exceptional 5-star experience
Embarking on this adventure with Viva Safaris, we had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be an exceptional 5-star experience. From the get-go, transportation, accommodation, and food exceeded our expectations.
The journey began with a long drive to Tremisana Lodge, punctuated by a delightful lunch break. Our days were filled with unforgettable activities. Soon after we arrived at the lodge, we embarked on a sunset game drive with Luke, indulging in a Braai under the starry African sky. Smiley led us on a thrilling bush walk, Rocky took us on a sensational sundowner game drive, and Victor did a splendid job of guiding us through Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate. We spent a second day at Kruger with Raymond and had a lovely time, with the trip closing out the next morning where we had the chance to get close to a magnificent pride of lions during the game drive.
While the consecutive trips to Kruger were a bit tiring, the overall structure of the 5-day visit was excellent. Communication within the team was seamless and their attention to detail, especially in spotting wildlife was exemplary. We even celebrated my wife’s birthday, Rai and the team made it truly special with a nice surprise birthday cake made for my wife.
Special mention goes to the catering and housekeeping staff who accommodated our dietary needs – Vegan & Vegetarian. We highly recommend Viva Safaris for their exceptional service and unforgettable safari experiences. Our dream of seeing the Big 5 in person has been fulfilled thanks to them!
We saw the Big 5 and more with Viva Safaris
Joe and Alice, USA
We had an incredible time with Viva Safaris and I can’t say enough about our experience. My spouse and I had considered doing a self-driving tour in Kruger with our rental car… but if you saw where George – our guide – was driving us in Balule Private Game Reserve, no rental car could ever get us that close and personal to a hunting leopard.
We did a 4-Day Tour in late August staying at Tremisana Lodge and Marc’s Treehouse. Viva Safari was easy to work with and on-site staff kept us well-informed about our logistics, daily plans, and expectations. The August time was perfect. There was incredible visibility across the landscape making sightings easy with super clear lines of sight to wildlife all over the place.
The staff were great! The guides are really knowledgeable. Smiley, George, Quinton and our other guides were quick to answer questions and helped us learn more about the parks, animals and plants. Since it was our honeymoon, Mama C (I believe) personalized a little welcome at Marc’s Treehouse, which was just a special cherry on top to a lovely stay.
Yes, we did see the Big 5 over the course of our tour, but that really wasn’t the goal for us. We were looking to experience South Africa. Viva Safari got us close and personal with the wildlife, but also encouraged us to learn more about the overarching environment these animals are living in, and learn more about South Africa’s park system and conservation efforts. We had some very honest conversations with our guides and loved every minute!
The overarching highlight – the night drive with George. We weren’t finding much. We saw an elephant early in the drive and then everything went dark. Not a sight or sound from any animals. But then, as hope was fading of finding any animals, a leopard. George takes us over and we’re driving parallel to this leopard. We let it go so not to disturb it, but circled back to the area 20 minutes later to find the leopard on the top branch of a huge tree hunting a genet. The genet leapt out of the tree (falling about 10 meters), leopard sprinting down after it. And we watched the entire hunt. Spectacular display and we were lucky to witness it.
Incredible from start to finish
Erin and Ashley, USA
Viva Safaris was wonderful from start to finish!
We stayed one night at Tremisana and three nights at Marc’s Treehouse. Tremisana was wonderful with easy access to the Balule preserve and awesome game drives.
We really loved our time at Marc’s though! The property was vast and beautiful, the tent was well appointed, and the food and the staff/guides were amazingly hospitable and always made sure we were taken care of.
The bonfires at night and the breakfast area were perfect.
Would recommend Viva Safaris, they put together a wonderful program that is jam packed with everything on your Safari list!
Safarierlebniss voll erfüllt
Organisation 100% perfekt ! immer pünktlich!
Lodge dem Preis entsprechend OK.
Angenehme Atmosphäre. Mehrheitlich jüngere Gäste.
2Sisters2014, Kent Washington USA
Ezulwini creates family, shares beauty and encourages tranquility.
Made up of two distinct lodges, we began our stay of 4 days at River Lodge. Glory attended to our every need with joy and grace. Jeannette prepared delectable meals with memorable soups, blue cheese tarts and chicken curry with papadom! Hector and Richard conducted our safari drives insuring our sightings up close and personal with the broad array of animals in the Balule Reserve.
At Billy’s Lodge, where we didn’t 3 nights, Knox met us with his broad smile and nothing was too much trouble for him. Frans and Conrad drove and tracked us through the Bush enabling us to know the magic of Krueger. Encountering elephants, rhino, lions, leopards. giraffe and Cape Buffalo is thrilling as is just knowing their presence without sighting. The vast expanse of the land helps one breathe deeper and helps one understand one’s place in the world.
Accommodations and meals are superb in both lodges. Lauren shares her knowledge of her homeland with enthusiasm and wonder. She extends a welcome of family to all.
If one wants to see Africa with one’s eyes and heart, be sure to visit Ezulwini and you will be rewarded with a touch of heaven on earth.
Until next month,
With kind regards,