Archive for the ‘africa travel’ Category

A Modern Safari Fit for a King or Queen

The latest Netflix series on our minds (and ‘recently watched’ lists) has without a doubt renewed an interest in the royals and their connection to Africa. andBeyond has created a safari to give guests a taste of the royal treatment…

Kenya and The Crown

cottars-1920s-camp

Cottars 1920s Camp

Home of the classic safari, Kenya has an undeniable connection to Britain’s colonial era with its historical aura of elegance and grandeur. In fact, as documented in the recent television series, it was in Kenya that Queen Elizabeth first received the news of the death of her father, King George, and of her ascension to the throne. Inspired by this and the many other connections between the royal family and this former colonial stronghold, andBeyond has created a modern safari fit for a queen called Kenya and the Crown.

kenya-safari-masai-mara-tours

Lunch with the Masai Mara

This grand itinerary visits places made famous by explorers and royals of old, including special touches like vintage vehicles, which will take the intrepid traveler on a journey far back in time.  andBeyond, one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, has designed personalized high-end tours in 15 countries in Africa, five in Asia, and four in South America. The company also owns and operates 31 extraordinary safari lodges and camps, which positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land . Taking exceptional care of its guests in order to make a difference; its commitment to sustainable responsible travel, conservation and community empowerment has been globally recognized with multiple awards over the years.

kenya-masai-safari-tours-migration

A Kenyan Migration Adventure

Highlights of the itinerary:

  • Stay in the famous Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, host to characters such as Theodore Roosevelt on his epic 1909 safari Walk in the footsteps of legends on an historical tour of Nairobi, visiting sites such as the Railway Museum and Karen Blixen’s home.
  • Relax in the lovingly maintained colonial mansion of Giraffe Manor.
  • Experience the wilderness of Tsavo from the luxury private camp inspired by none other than the honorable Denys Finch-Hatton of ‘Out of Africa’ fame.
  • Feel the thrill of walking where the Tsavo man-eating lions once roamed.
  • Ride in a Vintage 1928 International SS motor Truck as driven by Robert Redford in the film ‘Out of Africa.’
  • Explore the Masai Mara celebrating the era of classic luxury at Cottar’s 1920 which is reminiscent of the 1920s.
  • Enjoy a Heliflip to Lake Rutundu for a champagne breakfast where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.
  • The obviously excellent photographic opportunities throughout this historical journey.
luxury-africa-safrai-kenya-lewa-downs

The luxurious accommodations of Lewa Downs

Rates:

  • January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017    
  • Starting from $19,551 USD per person sharing
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights

Make the Most of the Adventure:

Guests can add to this Kenyan adventure by hopping across the border to Uganda, putting them within reach of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of tracking Gorillas and taking them to the end of the ‘Lunatic Line’ in Kampala.

Complement the Northern section by spending a few nights on Lake Victoria – andBeyond’s travel experts can tailor-make the itinerary.

Specially Created for:

  • History buffs
  • Romance
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Avid photographers

A Luxurious Kenyan Safari fit for a King or Queen

Pure Luxury: The Million Dollar Safari

Spot of tea on safari, anyone?

Spot of tea on safari, anyone?

This is pure luxury. Africa-style. Picture this: A 36-day adventure, complete with your own private plane and expert guide to take you through some of the most breathtaking experiences some may only dream of: Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Big Five game-viewing in the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti, a visit to Victoria Falls and South Africa’s Winelands.  Extraordinary Journeys offers the ultimate “Million Dollar Safari, starting at a mere $809,600 for four people, affording travelers with the utmost in luxurious accommodations at lodges and camps all throughout Africa and exclusive access to once-in-a-lifetime bush experiences. 

For a price tag this rich, I truly hope that kind of money helps build a school or save a pride or two! I can’t tell if this is CRAZY, or brilliant.

Linyanti

Linyanti

Renowned private guide Mark Homan, who with 18 years of expert experience, will lead travelers on a full immersion safari, providing them with first-hand knowledge of life in the wild.  Travelers will visit exclusive areas where the ordinary dare not venture: Rwanda (Ruhengeri/Kingi)Kenya (Nairobi and the Maasai Mara), Tanzania(The Serengeti and Lake Tanganyika), Zambia (South Luangwa and Victoria Falls), Botswana (Linyanti and Okavango), South Africa (Cape Town and Winelands) and Mozambique (Quirimbas Archipelago).

Highlights include:

·  Two-day gorilla trekking  through the Volocanoes National Park

·  One-on-one with giraffe at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi

·  Hot air balloon ride at Sasakwa Lodge

·  Swim in the Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls

·  Tour of Robbin Island (where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison)

·  Taste South Africa’s best wines on a visit to the Winelands

·  Relax on your very own private beach on Vamizi Island

Pricing for the 36-day “Million Dollar Safari” begins at $202,400 per person ($809,600 for a family of four), and includes luxury accommodations at renowned lodges and camps, private plane from the U.S. and tour guide, all meals, drinks, game drives, activities per the itinerary, 4×4 vehicles and entrance fees to game parks.

For a detailed itinerary: http://www.extraordinaryjourneys.net/blog/million-dollar-safari/

Go on an Eco-Expedition!

Welcome back from 2012, kiddies. We’ve been in hibernation mode, but we’re back in action now. We hope you got over what felt like a funky 2012, to welcome what is sure to be a better 2013. We can feel it. How do we know? Because we WANT it, guys. To that end, this just in…

Earthwatch volunteers use a dugout canoe to access parts of remote Kirindy Mitea National Park, on Madagascar. The volunteers are helping Dr. Luke Dollar (Pfeiffer University), a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, research the ecology of endangered carnivores on the island

Earthwatch volunteers use a dugout canoe to access parts of remote Kirindy Mitea National Park, on Madagascar. The volunteers are helping Dr. Luke Dollar (Pfeiffer University), a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, research the ecology of endangered carnivores on the island

Earthwatch Institute, the international environmental nonprofit and pioneer of “citizen science,” is launching six new expeditions in 2013. Whether you’d like to track chimps through the Ugandan forest (who wouldn’t?), climb aboard a boat to photograph dolphins of Costa Rica, or help unearth the ancient artifacts of Colorado’s earliest inhabitants, Earthwatch offers new ways to get involved in critical scientific research around the world. Earthwatch also offers hundreds of expeditions to about 60 research projects across nearly 40 countries. Since 1971, they’ve enabled people from all walks of life to join leading scientists in making a real contribution to the long-term research that is necessary for a healthy planet.

Earthwatch Expedition: Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve

Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve

Earthwatch inspires connections between people and the environment and provide a source of funding and people-power to those scientists carrying out crucial environmental research. For more than 40 years, they’ve pioneered the involvement of people from all walks of life in peer-reviewed scientific research worldwide, and inspired changes in mindset and organizational culture based on hands-on field research experiences.

Among the new expeditions is Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve. On this 12 day experience, you’ll walk among elephant and eland – and perhaps even rhino or lion – in this spectacular ecosystem of savannah, woodland and rivers. You’ll track and count animals and assess predator-prey relationships to understand the effects of animal reintroduction and Reserve management.

Cynthia Evans, who joined Earthwatch expedition Trinidad’s Leatherback Sea Turtles in 2012 said, “This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I cannot wait to get my passport renewed and start planning my next expedition!”

Hanging with the sea turtles in Trinidad (c) All rights reserved by ubcgrs

Hanging with the sea turtles in Trinidad (c) All rights reserved by ubcgrs

Tom Wyatt said of Canopies, Climate, and Critters of the Ecuadorian Rainforest, “Like all valuable experiences, the best are the unexpected and unpredictable, from stumbling across a brace of toucans, to playing multi-lingual football in the clouds.”

A full list of new projects include:

  • Animals of Malawi in the Majete Wildlife Reserve
  • Tracking Chimps Through the Trees of Uganda
  • Safeguarding Whales and Dolphins in Costa Rica
  •  Investigating Whales and Dolphins of the Norwegian Arctic
  • Uncovering the Mysteries of Colorado’s Ancient Basketmakers New
  • Wildlife of Australia’s Cloud Forest

http://www.earthwatch.org/requestguideform

Some teen teams are available in addition to the standard teams, but for those looking for something truly unique… this is your jam.

Horsing Around the Masai Mara

Galloping across the plains while dodging the obstacles takes serious concentration

Richard Powell joins a gonzo riding outfit to trek across Kenya’s epic game reserve, camping beneath the stars and hanging onto his horses…

“It’s like the Garden of Eden,” our guide says, “just beautiful…” and we draw up our reins to marvel in silent reverence at the vast landscape, dotted with every wild animal we could have hoped to see. Across this lush, buzzing vista, buffalo herd around impala, eagles soar above wildebeest and elephants charge fruit trees while lions wait patiently in the tall savannah grass, deciding which to eat for dinner.

Guests come into the reserve on a Cessna 208, offering spectacular views

Getting here is not easy… it takes days of hard riding to earn a seat at this show.

Our journey begins in the capital, Nairobi, where we transfer through gridlock traffic to a domestic airport and board a 12-seat Cessna, heading south-west over the Loita Plains, above the Kikuyu Highlands and past the volcano-studded Great Rift Valley.

An hour later we’re bumping down on a dirt-strip that doubles as a gateway to the reserve and a social hotspot for colourfully-dressed Masai warriors. With no phone signal and no electricity from here on in, it also represents the eye of a needle through which few First-World foibles may pass.

A hard morning’s riding is rewarded with an open air breakfast

From here, a Land Rover bumps us along remote red dirt roads to a campsite set in a grove of acacia trees. This would be the first of three such sites, and traversing between them for up to six hours a day on horseback will require every inch of riding skill I have.

There’s barely time for a cold Kenyan Tusker beer before we’re heading out on our first ride when the sun hangs low enough to bring the wildlife out to feed. Here the guides quietly make their assessments about our riding abilities and how closely they need to stick to us, and whether we’ve been paired with the right horse.

Some things are best seen from the safety of the jeep roof

They’re an international bunch; a half-Argentinian, half-Austrian lifer (he started working with Offbeat at 18, and he’s still there aged 33), an Australian polo player from Dubai, a British safari guide from Botswana, and a student volunteer and hunter from England. The guests were from the UK, US, Germany, Italy and Australia.

The horses are Abyssinian, thoroughbred and cross-thoroughbreds, reared on the owner’s farm, and brought into the reserve via a seven-hour horsebox slog. Mine was a pristinely-turned-out, polo-playing gelding named Blondie, looking decidedly bling with his dash of gold flecks and bright yellow mane. After half an hour of sizing each other up at the beginning, we knew we’d get on fine.

Being confident on your horse could be the most important part of this adventure. Over the next week, we would inch – day-by-day – ever closer to prides of snarling lions, square up to scrappy elephants and push back short-tempered bison… any of which could outrun us, if they wanted to.

Before you know it, you’re hacking out among the animals

Being comfortable riding in English tack is important too, as I noticed the countryside Californians in our group had a hard time adjusting to the bolt-upright British saddles at odds with the Western-style ‘armchairs’ they use back home.

The most accomplished riders tail the lead guide as he opts to take the most daring routes, jumping over felled trees left by head-charging pachyderm and playing chicken with lions which may or may not have eaten that day.

Every two to three days, camp packs up and shifts by truck; with its canvas dining tent, shower, sleeping and toilet tents resembling a well-appointed commune when pitched at each of the three stunning oases.

On every ‘moving’ day, there is an epic ride to reach the next site, which can be up to 50 kilometres away. That’s a lot of riding – at high altitude – across challenging terrain, galloping across plains pockmarked with aardvark holes and rocks, and cantering through stone-bed rivers with vertigo-inducing banks.

Masai warriors love to put on a show for the (lady) guests

Along the way, animal burrows are a constant hazard. But if you’re lucky enough for the person in front of you to spot one through the dust clouds, avoid it and shout “HOLE!” in time, you might not fall down it.

Organisers encourage guests to take out medical insurance prior to arrival, but they also have their own public liability insurance and membership to the Flying Doctors organisation, in case of serious injury requiring evacuation. Nevertheless, there’s a lot that can go wrong in the middle of nowhere. The riding sections will undoubtedly push you to your limits of self-preservation, whether you opt to take the easy option and stay back, or throw caution to the wind and try to keep up with the lead guide. Bullwhips protect guests from animal attacks, with guides normally carrying little else. The Land Rover variant of the trip, for non-riders, encourages guests to get out and walk on the reserve, and here, they are accompanied by a guard carrying a rifle.

The one occasion we went out armed was to a mountain we climbed first by car, then by foot to reach its spectacular peak. Its nooks host several families of cheetah and leopard, which we were warned to be on our guard against, although we didn’t see any as we clambered about on its slopes.

Luxury lodgings at Sosian are in stark contrast to wild Masai camping

We did not have to wait much longer before we did, though…

On our first night at the third campsite, while drinking beers around the fire on the banks of the Mara River, our lead Masai guard, Nati, came over saying he’d spotted a cheetah and asking if we wanted to see it. Several seconds later we were careering around the site in the Land Rover, shining a spotlight until suddenly we caught a flash of markings bolting into a bush. Nati picked out an impala with the light, leading the cheetah out into the open to its quarry. The kill was artistic and eloquent in its execution and despite the graphic scene; we drove over, clutching our beers on the roof of the car, and sat transfixed to watch it feed. Other night-time highlights included Masai warriors demonstrating their mating dance around the fire (a hit with the ladies); driving out to party on the plains after dark with James Brown booming from the stereo, and running semi-clothed out of my tent at 4am as an elephant pushed down a nearby tree.

The camp’s 15-strong domestic staff of men from various local tribes went above and beyond to give the safari an extravagant feel…

Returning to my tent after dinner each evening, I would without fail find my riding boots cleaned and polished to perfection and my laundry scrubbed, pressed and folded as if at a top-notch hotel. The food and drink was impressive too, an array of cuisine cooked up from fresh, imported and locally-produced ingredients… ‘Would you like your steak rare or well-done… with a nice Malbec or a Bloody Mary?’ and ‘Breakfast eggs fried, scrambled or poached?’

Too close for comfort? Guides like to demonstrate their bravery

Riding for hours from the crack of dawn to emerge over a hill and find the camp’s chef cooking breakfast for you, and baking fresh bread – in the middle of the plains – also ranks, for me, as a new definition of decadence.

And our midday siestas in shady glades after picnic lunches were something to savour too… like falling asleep on the classroom rug after having your fill of milk and biscuits at kindergarten. At the end of the week, it was with some sadness that I watched my fellow guests leave; while I moved on to see the company’s guest lodge, another hour’s flight west. The lodge at Sosian, the Samburu word for ‘Wild Date Palm’, combines the tame with the wild. It’s certainly a stark contrast to Masai camping; with its solid stone guest houses, swimming pool and main house that harks back to colonial days with a snooker table, grand piano and library.

Where the riding trip guests were in their 20s and 30s, the game lodge guests were mainly parents in their 40s and 50s with young children.

I immediately missed the unashamedly gonzo set-up of the anarchic riding outfit, with its unpredictable, scruffy lead guide riding in flip-flops, nights spent dancing around the camp fire and rock-hunting by moonlight on the plains to shore up the Land Rover’s wheels after we’d hit a hole… (Cue the Australian guide: “Let’s have a party, then fix the car!”)

For many visitors, Sosian will perhaps be the better-fitting choice; offering a quieter, safer and more luxurious bush experience on its 24,000-acre private working ranch, set on the Laikipia plateau.

It’s a beautiful area that offers more than 250 species of birdlife and an abundance of game species with four of the big five species being found there, plus other rarities such as wild dogs, Jackson’s hartebeest and Grevy’s zebra.

Nonetheless, I’d be back on the mad travelling horseback safari circus any day… at least for another few years.

Cross the Masai Mara with Offbeat Safaris on horseback over 7 nights from $5,550/£3,550/€4,400 or 10 nights from $7,700/£4,900/€6,075 per person (Jan-Mar, Jun-Oct & Dec), excluding international flights. Non-riders can take a Land Rover safari from $6,500/£4,050/€5,020. Or stay at Sosian Lodge from $4,500/£2,800/€3,470 per week, per person.

Richard Powell – Reporter

Richard is a one-time journalism grad who started a Public Relations company after leaving BBC News. His company Presswire provides Press Release Distribution and Media Monitoringservices. As a freelance reporter, he provided correspondence from Kosovo, Northern Iraq, Sudan, Liberia and Beirut, but now concentrates on Travel writing and Reportage.

Get Off the Beaten Path Without Roughing It. Say Hello to Guyana and Madagascar, my little friends…

Ah Guyana...

Not too long ago, satisfying your craving for destinations that offered under-the-radar appeal, active excursion options and authentic glimpses at the local culture meant bunk beds, hostels or dragging your tent from place-to-place. While they still adventure and a deep sense of discovery, today’s discerning travelers have less time and higher standards. That’s where nature travel pioneer International Expeditions comes in, handling all of the logistical details for intrepid explorers in remote destinations like Guyana, Madagascar and beyond. You enjoy an upscale adventure to spot exotic wildlife, hike pristine trails and sample tantalizing cuisine in destinations where few other tour operators go. Plus, IE takes care of details like your transfers and tips to ensure a seamless vacation. Phew! (Since that part can be a real pain in the butt, sometimes)

In Guyana & Trinidad, you spend 10 days deep into the heart of one of Earth’s last untouched tropical rainforests and have the chance to spot more than 800 bird species. The 10-day tour starts at $5,598 per person and includes accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, bottled water, entrance fees, transfers, and tips to porters, local guides, drivers and to waiters for included meals.

Nosy Iranja is a small tropical island located off the Northwestern coast of Madagascar, 45km (28 miles) South of Nosy Be, a slightly larger and more popular island.

While island life takes on new meaning in Madagascar, where lemurs cavort in the shade offered by lush forests and charming Malagasy people welcome you to Earth’s oldest island. On IE’s newMadagascar safari, guests spend 17 days on naturalist-guided hiking, snorkeling and boating excursions. Accompanying guests is a seasoned IE expedition leader joined by a Malagasy expedition leader and local naturalists. Why so many guides? Travel to Madagascar typically involves flight delays and last-minute schedule changes, and the IE expedition leader and guides are there to Sherpa you through these changes. This 17-day tour starts at $7,598 and includes accommodations, soft drinks/local beer at lunch and dinner, most meals, ground transportation, transfers, and tips to porters, local guides, local expedition leader, drivers and to waiters for included meals

IE also offers a way to harness your inner “backpacker” with a fully customized trek on the Salkantay Trail. A less-touristy alternative to the Inca Trail, Salkantay passes through stunning Andean scenery before ending at Machu Picchu . Although the surroundings are reminiscent of rugged mountain climbs, the accommodations are anything but rustic. After a day of guided hiking along the trail, you spend evenings at boutique mountain lodges, with a warm shower and cold drink. Prices vary based on length of trek.

www.ietravel.com or 800-234-9620


In the mood for the exotic? Welcome to Zanzibar, baby.

Zanzibar's Northeast Shore - Essque Zalu

We could wax poetic about a few photos we saw of Zanzibar, but hey… sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words, no?

Infinity Pool? Check. Africa? Check.

http://www.jetsetter.com/sale/essquezaluzanzibar/essquezaluzanzibar

 

Discover Tanzania’s Last Tropical Coastal Resort

The View at Ras Kutani

Africa is full of surprises and many of them can be found in the tranquil country of Tanzania. Situated on the relatively undiscovered southern Tanzania coastline, just 35km south of Dar es Salaam, Ras Kutani is one of them. A unique boutique beach retreat (which also happens to score an impressive 5 stars out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor), sits within 100 acres of lush tropical, coastal forest and, as much of Tanzania’s coastline has suffered heavy deforestation, this is truly a hidden Tanzania hotel gem offering a rare opportunity to explore one of the most bio-diverse indigenous coastal forests in East Africa. The forest contains 132 different species of trees, including mango trees (famous for their spectacular fruit) and the Marula tree (prized for its rich bounty of fruit, and the oil from the kernel, which is used to make moisturizer).

The marula tree prized for it's moisturizing nut

Guests can also, of course, enjoy watching the antics of four species of monkey, including the spectacular black-and-white colobus, as well as many species of birds, baboons, wild pigs, the elusive Civet Cats and other wildlife. All of this can be experienced whilst taking the ‘From Tree To Tree’ self-guided tour which steers guests through this eclectic ecosystem on an easy, fascinating walk.

Here little civet cat...

Ras Kutani promises the epitome of barefoot-luxury and a hideaway for those seeking solace, luxury and tranquillity. The luxurious accommodation comprises nine open-fronted spacious, charming cottages, each with en suite bathroom, large verandah with a covered sand floor, seating area, hammocks and views of the clear lagoon, beach and Indian Ocean. Ideal for water babies, the temperate seas and proximity of coral reefs ensure a wealth of marine life with the chance to see colourful fish, dolphins, whales, turtles and even a shipwreck.

Ras Kutani chill area

Complimentary snorkelling equipment, kayaks and boogie boards are available for those that wish to venture from their hammock or beach bed. And in season, turtles come to nest along the beach and guests are invited to get involved in projects that look out for their welfare. I mean, how great is that??

But wait… there’s more!

A cottage at Ras Kutani

Right now, Africa Odyssey is offering seven nights at Ras Kutani, followed by a three-night sophisticated safari experience at the boutique Selous Safari Camp from $5,611 per person (saving $1,400 per person).

Valid for travel throughout June and July, the price includes international flights from various US airports, internal transfers, full board and most activities.

http://www.selous.com/ras-kutani

Toll Free 1-866-356-4691

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