Rwanda Gorilla Permit increases 100% to USD1500

Now more than the cost of an air ticket* to get there, the Rwanda Development Board announced over the weekend their Gorilla Permit cost has doubled in price from USD750pp to USD1500pp, which translates to approx A$2100pp, per trek to see these magnificent creatures in the wild.  Part of the increase goes straight back into the conservation fund to monitor and protect the gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park, and the balance of the permit price goes towards sustaining the local communities.  The hefty increase will undoubtedly make tourists think twice about Rwanda – they may choose to visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda instead, where the permits range seasonally from USD450 to USD630.  Unless, of course, Uganda follows Rwanda’s lead – but in the meantime, we think Uganda will be rubbing their hands with glee.

Rwanda can expect an initial drop in tourist numbers on their gorilla treks but the bucket-list experience will never lose its attraction, and the trekker numbers are sure to return back to their current levels over the next 12 months, after the initial shock has subsided.

*flying Qatar or Kenya Airways, incl taxes

Sitting with the silverback of the Mubare Gorilla family in Uganda, 2014


Luxury Cape Town & Rovos Rail Experience… 

Safari Deal: Rovos Rail - observation carriage

Delight in this 6-night special package deal for your next trip to South Africa, featuring:-

* Private arrival transfer from Cape Town Airport
* 4 nts deluxe room at the beautiful Queen Victoria Hotel on the V&A Waterfront including breakfasts
* Half-day City and Table Mountain sightseeing tour
* Cape Malay Cultural Tour with home-hosted dinner
* Full-day Winelands tour to Paarl, Stellenbosch & Franschhoek 
* Private transfer to Cape Town Central Railway Station
* 2 nts on board The Most Luxurious Train in the World, Rovos Rail, from Cape Town to Pretoria, including Pullman Class
accommodation, 5-star meals, beverages, excursions, entrance fees, 24-hour butler & limited laundry

Exclusive to clients booking through Swagman Tours
for bookings & full payment during May for stays until 31st August

Safari Deal from only 


Safari Deal: Bo-Kaap Safari Deal: Franschhoek winelands Safari Deal: Queen Victoria Hotel - deluxe room

^Priced on twin share basis for stays 02May-31 Aug and subject to availability.  Ask us for rates for other dates, singles & children.
Upgrade to Rovos Deluxe suite for $990pp and Royal Suite on request, subject to availability.  Reverse-order arrangements and other hotels may be requested, if preferred.
Swagman Tours can also help with airfares & stopovers, insurance & other Africa arrangements.

Contact us by phone 1800 808 491 or email


April Safari Deal – TRACKERS SAFARI LODGE, Bwindi, Uganda

April Safari Deal
Trackers Safari Lodge, Bwindi, Uganda

For your amazing gorilla-trekking experience, stay here, on the edge of the stunning
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, in a beautiful detached cottage, its own terrace overlooking
the lush vegetation inhabited by wild gorilla families…

Safari Deal Gorilla
Mubare Silverback

This recently completed lodge has all the luxury you could wish for, and being fully inclusive means that once you arrive,
you don’t have to worry about a thing…  Warm & friendly service;  fine dining & drinks;  pool & spa relaxation;
intimate accommodations with WiFi, comfortable beds & private ensuites… all this, less than 2km from the gate to your gorilla experience.

Safari Deal – Trackers Safari Lodge, Bwindi
April Safari Deal
Swagman Tours is pleased to offer not just one free massage, but one free massage per day, per person,
for every stay at Trackers Safari Lodge that is booked & paid for during the month of April.

Low season – Mar/Apr/May/Oct/Nov: $450 per person per night twin/double
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  + $250 single supplement

High Season –  Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep/Dec: $740 per person per night twin/double
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  + $370 single supplement

Safari Deal – Trackers Safari Lodge – Double room

Triple and family rates available on request.
Prices include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner;  house wines, beers & gin, water & soft drinks;  WiFi & full use of spa facilities.

Low season holiday airfares & gorilla permits are available in April, May & November.
Call us on 1800 808 491 for bookings & expert advice.

March Safari Deal – Gorillas & Masai Mara Tours

Coming face-to-face with a mighty silverback & his gorilla family in the middle of a mountainous jungle is an experience like no other – challenging, wondrous, exhilarating…. Take advantage of our great holiday airfares, low-season gorilla permit prices, and/or the latest tour discounts to lock in this dream holiday for 2017!




Discounted package prices for departures from Australia  on 30 Mar, 10 Apr, 20 Apr, 01 May, 11 May, 06 Nov, 16 Nov

Tours start and finish in Nairobi and highlights include the world-famous Masai Mara National Park, Lake Nakuru, Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Central Forest to see the chimpanzees, Nyombi pygmy village, Bwindi Forest gorilla trek, Jinja

Flights, taxes, transfers,1 pre- and 1 post-tour night’s hotel accom, 13-night camping tour, most meals, activity package and gorilla permit
from only $5850pp twin share*

*Must be aged 16 years or over.  Price based on CURRENT & AVAILABLE fares to match tour departures – we will check the best fare that suits your needs which may reduce or increase the package price.  Excludes Kenya/Uganda combo visa AUD140, tips, drinks, extra meals & personal expenses. Yellow fever injection is required.

Extensions and variations can be arranged, just ask.





February Safari Deal


Masai Mara, Kenya

February Safari Deal  MARA BUSHTOPS, Masai Mara, Kenya.
Enjoy luxurious accommodation and your own private game vehicle on safari in East Africa

February Safari Deal - Mara Bushtops view

Mara Bushtops luxury camp is a destination in itself, with amazing views over the Mara Plains. It lies on a hill at the heart of its own private conservancy – a protected wildlife haven bordering the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve.  This private camp assures you of the most flexible and intimate of safari experiences including walking and night safaris – something that can’t be done in the National Reserve. This unique experience is definitely something you should try – goosebumps are guaranteed!  During daylight hours, antelopes, gazelles, ostriches, zebras, buffalos, giraffes and elephants are the stars on stage in the Masai Mara. But after dark, the fauna changes completely. It is the time of hunting lions, leopards and hyaenas. And you’ll also meet a whole host of bizarre creatures like porcupine, springhare, owls aardvarks, the banded mongoose, bat-eared foxes and many more.

Mara Bushtops is blessed with having the only salt lick in the area – the focal point of the camp and the reason it was built in this particular location. The minerals and water hole attract regular visits from elephants, buffalos, and general game which, in turn, draw visits from a variety of predators – lions, leopards, hyaenas and jackals, providing a year-round spectacle.

Of course, there is no substitute for the excitement of greeting the dawn with a trip into the bush in one of Mara Bushtops’ superbly-equipped Land Cruisers. That’s when you are most likely to seek out the Big Five ­– lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo and elephants. However, the ideal complement is to simply equip yourself with a camera, binoculars and a glass of wine or beer, sitting quietly on the lawn or restaurant terrace overlooking the salt lick, and listening to the sounds of the African bush…

As if you need another reason to visit, the recently-voted “best safari spa in Africa”, the Amani Spa, is a haven of beauty, relaxation and tranquillity. You could be pampered with natural Terre d’Afrique products as you luxuriate in rejuvenating massages, hydrotherapy and a range of holistic skin and body treatments.  The spa includes a fitness facility (complete with high-tech cardiovascular and weight training equipment), sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, and the infinity pool – well…!  Marvel at the use of fibre optics – we copied the Orion star constellation onto the bottom of Amani’s beautiful pool, giving a unique addition to a moonlight dip – the heavens above mirrored in the heated waters as you take a relaxing night-time swim after your day of exploring the best wildlife the Masai Mara has to offer.

 Mara Bushtops will exceed your expectations – book now for an experience to be forever cherished.
Rates are fully inclusive of luxury accommodation, game drives & walks, all meals and soft & selected alcoholic drinks, laundry, wi-fi (excludes MMNP entry fees at USD80pppd)
Private game vehicle guaranteed for all 2017 Mara Bushtops stays for bookings made during February 2017 (usually AUD500 per day).

Stay 4, pay 3 current offer also valid for stays until 31st May.
And/or combine your Mara Bushtops experience with Zanzibar – Stay at Baraza Resort and get 1 night free, also with complimentary Stone Town guide and Spice Farm visit.
Rates from AUD990 pp twin share per night at Mara Bushtops.
Families welcome, ask us for children’s rates.

Call your travel agent or book direct with Swagman Africa on 1800 808 491.




We know about the plight of the lion, the rhino, the elephant, but you may not have heard that the giraffe, an equally iconic African mammal (a tourist favourite and our webpage back-drop image), has entered the endangered species list.  Almost 40% of the overall giraffe population has disappeared over the last 31 years, due to dwindling habitat.  This silent extinction may take you by surprise and is another wake-up call for us all to be more considerate about our environment.

Read more here in this article from the Smithsonian from December 2016.

Great Plains Photographic Safaris on Special

Great Plains Photographic Safaris on Special

Great Plains Photographic Safaris

“Because of our careers in photography, many guests and travellers to our camps expect something photographic, a cut above others.
“Often, very keen photographers want to learn more, or improve upon this amazing craft. With this in mind, we have introduced the ‘Great Plains Conservation – Wild Studio’ “

Dereck Joubert
CEO, Great Plains Conservation

Following the successful Great Plains Conservation’s Wild Studio 2016 set-date photographic safaris programme, in 2017 Wild Studio goes completely flexible to dates that suit you. Take a look at our amazing rates for January-March 2017 below. Similarly low rates for the photo-season from November 2017 to March 2018.

Selinda Camp, Selinda Reserve –  $2850pp  – 3 Nights
Duba Expedition Camp, Okavango Delta – $3350pp  – 3 Nights

Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills – $3990pp – 3 Nights

Prices include accommodation, meals, drinks, game drives & photographic instruction. All other dates and rates available on request.

Great Plains Wild Studio
is an opportunity for all levels of photographic abilities to become published wildlife photographers.
We have designed the courses to accommodate non-photographers also, ideal for couples and families looking for different experiences.
We provide both workshop and tailored private tuition in all our camps.
Professional photographers, who live in either Botswana or Kenya, will guide our photography guests through the technical aspects of photography, and then take them even further by developing meaningful portfolios that we will assist in publishing for them.
Quite simply we work backwards! On day one we will design the contents page of the portfolio for a book, social media album, printed photos for your dining room wall or for a published calendar to give to your friends.  All we have is a one-page contents page as your destination, which will be the flexible guide for the rest of the workshop. The chapters could be birds in flight, soul of the elephant, zebras in action, the predators of the savannah. We let our creativity go wild.
The concept draws on the strategy used by professional and National Geographic photographers. Having a brief allows us to really hone our skills in a focused way rather than scouting the reserves randomly. It will help us produce better images.
Once we know what we would like to create we learn the skills needed to create the vision.  We don’t let the camera drive us but learn how it can be used to create our vision.
Your ‘image-capturing device’ can be a smartphone, GoPro, compact right up to the professional SLRs. It does not matter: they can all capture an exposure of your subject to tell a story.
The most recent Wildlife Photographer of the Year image was taken on a GoPro.  Could the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year be You?

Great Plains Photographic Safaris subjects

Take advantage of this exciting opportunity.  Book your seat now on one of Great Plains Wild Studio Photographic Safaris by calling us on 1800 808 491

Travel Insurance – it IS all about you

When it comes to Travel Insurance, we have your best interests at heart. It is not an issue we take lightly.  Cynics might think Travel Agencies treat Insurance like a profit add-on or upsell (“Would you like fries with that?”) to make an extra buck – but believe me, we want to ensure you get the best possible cover for what are probably highly unlikely situations…  Accidents do happen to regular people, so if you were thinking of dumping or scrimping on your travel insurance, think again….

Travel Insurance - traveltalk magazine 13jan17

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