Fresh, funky & so very cool. Azura Marlin Beach to rise like a phoenix from the ashes as it reopens this July

The long awaited reopening of Azura Marlin Beach on Benguerra Island is happening in July this year. Fresh, funky and cool, Azura Marlin Beach is the newest addition to the Azura Collection of Mozambique beach lodges.

The old Marlin lodge was a firm favourite of ours and we were very sad when the old hotel was closed down 8 years ago after a fire so we are very excited it’s opening again.

There are 10 spacious villas set along the white sandy beach, they are modern and airy with 6 double villas, 3 larger family villas with space for 2 children’s beds and a Villa Vista which has 2 bedrooms, a sitting area and a private plunge pool.

 

With such a tranquil setting you may not want to move from the beautiful beach or relaxing pool area but there are plenty of activities to keep the more active busy with snorkelling and diving on the Two-Mile Reef, deep sea fishing, picnics on remote sandbars, visits to the local village and community projects and a must is a sunset sail on a traditional wooden Dhow.

Seafood is a speciality but all diets are catered for with fresh local ingredients and there is nowhere better to watch the sunset with cocktail in hand.

There are great opening prices for 2020 up until 15th December starting from US$595 pppn and half board rates are available too.

 

Single but ready to mingle – No single supplements for solo travellers

Have you always dreamt of going on safari but don’t have a like-minded partner or friend to go with you? Don’t despair a safari is the perfect holiday to travel solo.

You can have as much time on your own as you like or you can mix with the other clients at the lodges and make new friends with like-minded people.  Most smaller camps have communal dining so you don’t have that ‘no mates’ feeling you may have when dining alone. You can meet other travellers at the bar, around the fire and on game activities but you have the privacy and quiet of your own bedroom/tent at the lodge with the reassurance that the team at the lodge are on hand 24-7 if you need anything.

There is so much to talk about and exciting stories to share when on safari, so there’s plenty of chat with a drink around the fire. You can relax after the excitement of the game drives, listen to the sounds of the wild from a riverside hammock, take a swim or enjoy a tranquil massage and enjoy a little ‘you’ time.  On a tailor made holiday you are not stuck with the same group of people for 2 weeks.  Like you, other people on tailor made holidays will be coming and going, so you will meet new friends throughout your holiday.

The other concern for solo travellers are the often hefty single supplements that many lodges and safaris add on.  We can help you choose lodges and safaris who don’t charge single supplements, some all year round and others only in mid or low seasons but to be honest, these are sometimes the best times to visit.

Robin Pope Safaris: No single supplements all year round! Choose from a great range of locations in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe with classic tented accommodation through to high-end luxury.  Walking safaris also available.

Sarara Camp, Samburu, Kenya: No single supplements all year except for peak season (1st July-15th Sept, 20th Dec-5th Jan). Escape to this luxury camp in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy with sumptuous tented accommodation, swimming pool, game drives, walks, hikes, pony trekking, village visits and you can even visit the singing wells.

Fugitives Drift, South Africa: No single supplements all year.  Enjoy the wildlife of this private game reserve overlooking the famous battle sites of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. The Lodge and Guest House have commanding views of the peak of Isandlwana and offer a great insight into the history of the area.

Wilderness Camps, Botswana: No single supplement (Jan to 31st March) at their classic or adventure camps.  Immerse yourself in the beauty of Botswana with its incredible wildlife and culture.

Chiawa Camp, Zambia: No Single supplements all year.  Located in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chiawa Camp is one of Zambia’s most luxurious lodges.  Enjoy the amazing wildlife on game drive with your suburb guides as well as walking, fishing, canoeing and boating.

Lewa House, Kenya: No single supplements all year except for peak season (1st July-15th Sept, 20th Dec-5th Jan) Escape to this 7-acre luxury farm in the Lewa wildlife conservancy in Kenya’s Laikipia region. Take a dip in the swimming pool following your day filled with unforgettable game drives, guided walks and camel and horse safaris.

House in the Wild, Kenya: No single supplements all year except for peak season. (1st July-30th Sept, 20th Dec-5th Jan).  Enjoy the beauty of this this private family run boutique lodge on the banks of the Mara River with epic game drives, guided walks and you can even go fishing the Mara River!

Kwando Safaris, Botswana: No single supplement (1st Dec- 31st March).  Enjoy a safari to remember in their luxurious vintage camps set in some of the best game viewing areas Botswana has to offer from the Okavango Delta, the greater Kwando-Linyanti region, Nxai Pan National Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

For more information and to design and book your dream getaway call Vicky on 0131 315 2464.

 

Gem’s hidden gems

This was my first time in Tanzania and as my previous African adventures had been in the south or north of Africa it was a real treat to explore the east.

On arrival at Kilimanjaro International airport our guide from Lifestyle Safaris was there to greet us and we made the relatively short trip to Arusha Coffee Lodge to relax before we embarked on our East African adventure.  The lodge was just what we needed – cosy individual lodges, lovely food and a warm welcome. We also took the ‘Bean-to-cup’ coffee tour and their extremely enthusiastic coffee expert (who I suspect may have had a little too much caffeine) gave us a demonstration and a much needed drink to wake us up.

We were up early for our safari to the Tarangire National Park.  In a trip filled with highlights – this was one of my favourites.  I knew it was famed for its large elephant herds but I wasn’t prepared quite how many we saw and how close and inquisitive they would be.  As an elephant lover it was a truly memorable experience. The baobab trees here are amazing with huge fat trunks and bare branches that looked like roots in the sky (it looks like the tree is upside down!) and they are everywhere here in the park.   In the evening we enjoyed the amazing view of Tarangire from the decked dining area of the Mbali Mbali Tarangire River Camp and enthused about our day over a few sundowners around the fire.

After breakfast we were back on the road and on to Lake Manyara.  Here you can enjoy the views from the aerial tree top walkway or for the braver visitor – by zip lining through the tree tops (I opted for the walkway). We then enjoyed a half day safari before making our way to Oldeani Mountain Lodge for a swim in the ‘pool with a view’ and more sundowers and safari stories around the fire.

The little visited Lake Natron was our next stop. This place really is worth every single minute of the dusty, four-hour, very bumpy journey.  The new airstrip will make it more easily accessible, but there is something about the remoteness of Lake Natron that makes it extra special (if that’s indeed possible).

The place is quite simply stunning.  Ol Doinyo Lengai, which in the Maasai language translates to “Mountain of God”, is a huge active volcano in the Gregory Rift – which makes for a awe inspiring backdrop to the beauty of the Lake and its thousands of flamingos.  This adventure lovers’ paradise offers hiking and mountain biking or you can cool off with a waterfall trek and swim (yet another highlight). Lake Natron also has ancient Homo sapien footprints preserved by past volcanic events so you can literally follow in their footsteps.  Lake Natron Camp is eco-friendly, basic but comfortable and the hosts and staff from the local village make sure guests get a warm welcome. The natural pool makes a great spot for sundowners and a refreshing dip (you will need it as it gets VERY hot here) and the resident fish will give you a thorough pedicure as soon as you dip your feet! Day six and it is time to say goodbye to Lake Natron and make our way to yet another highlight – the Ngorongoro Crater.

After a very comfortable stay at The Manor we set off early to the Crater rim.  As you begin the long decent to the crater floor the wildlife puts on a show as the animals reveal themselves from the thick forest that lines the crater walls peeking out from the mist that sits at the top.  When you reach the crater floor, you see the volume and variety of game that have made this former volcano their home. The size of the crater is just incredible and to think it once had top on it; the mountain must have rivalled Kilimanjaro. Inside the crater is a whole ecosystem so the animals don’t have to move or migrate as everything they need is here. It’s a great place for photography, it can get very busy with other vehicles but it’s definitely worth a visit.

 

It was then a game drive on to the central Serengeti and a stay at the lovely Asanja Moru Camp where we had an evening meal under the stars and the next morning surprise breakfast in the bush. The Serengeti was without doubt the most amazing game viewing experience I’ve ever had – leopards on the hunt, lions standing on a kopje (just like Pride Rock in the lion King) and the unforgettable sight of the Great Migration.  I’m not prone to emotional outbursts but I did have a wee tear in my eye at the sight of thousands of wildebeest and zebra on the run.  We were all so captivated by the adventures of the herd we found ourselves willing them on as predators came and went and at the sight of any vulnerable animals that strayed from the relative safety of the herd.  It really was high drama at its very best.  Black cotton soil nearly stopped play as we got stuck for a while in the jeep.  There was much hilarity as we all teamed up with our guide and did our best to free ourselves from the thick mud. Fortunately help was on its way and we were soon back on the road.  Like all the mini adventures you have on safari – it made for a great fireside story and many more laughs along the way.

The following morning was a very early start – but worth it as we were setting off on our balloon safari!

This really was a magical experience – from the game drive to get there – seeing all the animals going about their time-time adventures – to seeing the sunrise as the balloon took off.  I’m not a big fan of heights, so was a little nervous but that was soon forgotten as our excellent pilot gave us an extremely smooth flight, take-off and landing.  The game, views and whole experience was simply incredible.  On landing we had a champagne toast to our balloon adventure before a game drive on to a wonderful bush breakfast where we got to meet people from all over the world and share our safari stories. After a great stay at Mbali Mbali Soroi Lodge (with its amazing outdoor shower) we said goodbye to the Serengeti and our wonderful guide and set off to the airstrip for our flight to Zanzibar!  We then spent the next three nights in the luxurious Baraza Beach Resort.   Each of the private bungalows has its own private plunge pool and terrace area as well as a large communal swimming pool next to the beach with its warm water and perfect white sand.

 

 

The food here was delicious with a choice of restaurants and dining areas including beach and poolside. The water sports and trip options were also great fun with snorkelling at the lagoon, kayaking, and tours of Stone Town and the spa was a paradise within paradise.

It was then time to say goodbye to Zanzibar and the wonderful friends I had made along the way.  As I took off from Kilimanjaro airport (with Toto’s Africa playing in my head) the mountain didn’t disappoint as I had a great view of the summit as I flew over and said goodbye to Tanzania – for now.  It was the perfect end to a truly memorable trip.

 

October special in Botswana perfect for half term!

Stay with Kwando Safaris or Under One Botswana Sky at any of their spectacular camps set in Botswana’s most unique and diverse wildlife havens between 1st and 31st Oct 2020 and pay only mid-season rates!

Don’t miss out on this great offer and treat your family to the safari of a lifetime – Spend 6 nights at any combination of their camps and get this high-season deal at mid-season rates.  Terms apply.  For more information call Vicky at Farside Africa on 0131 315 2464.

Take a walk on the wild side!

Are you looking for an amazing adventure holiday which is perfect for all the family? Do you want to enjoy the wildlife of Africa and see nature as a Samburu warrior would?  Then have a look at the Karisia Walking Safaris in Laikipia, Kenya and take your loved ones on an adventure of a lifetime.

In the days of glitzy luxury lodges, and air-conditioned safari tents, it’s easy to lose touch with the things that originally lured visitors from across the world to the African bush. Karisia’s walking safaris mark a return to this, with days spent exploring the bush and walking from camp to camp as Samburu warriors lead you through their own land. Specialised in walking safaris, Karisia offers clients a unique opportunity to discover the most pristine regions of Kenya by foot, to explore Kenya’s magnificent wildlife up close and to get to know the rich culture of the Samburu in an intimate and authentic environment.

Escaping the constraints of a vehicle means that you can walk where no car will go. Every safari is tailor made to suit you and your family and every day is unique. You will track animals on foot, learn about the insects, flowers and trees, you can swim and fish in the river, climb kopjes and hills and even do some rock climbing. You can also visit local schools and markets.

The team and camels travel ahead with your mobile camp and have everything set up for your arrival, so you have time to relax, dine under the stars and find the perfect spot for a sundowner or two. There are different levels of camping from simple dome tents to proper safari tents so there is something for everyone. What is the same for everyone though is delicious food, comfortable camping and a team of Samburu looking after your every need.

The ever-changing scenery, wealth of game and the opportunity to see the smaller animals, insects, flora and fauna often missed on other safaris really sets this adventure holiday apart but we’ll let our clients tell you:

“Simply fantastic. All aspects of the safari were excellent and Gabriel (our guide) was a fountain of knowledge – even having the English premier league results to hand! Meals were outstanding given what facilities the team had to cook.” Wright family

“A memorable experience, we had to push the girls a little but it was very good for them and of course they could have a rest from walking on the camels” Grant family

“What a fantastic experience, the guides were amazing and we couldn’t believe how delicious the food was. Such a great time we all loved it. Our best family holiday” Morse family

This magical African bush adventure can be arranged as a stand-alone trip or built in to a bespoke holiday including additional safari camps then some relaxation on the coast.  To find out more – call Vicky on 0131 3152464.

 

 

Looking for the perfect honeymoon in South Africa?

Thornybush luxury Lodge Collection is offering honeymooners 50% OFF NIGHTLY RATE for the bride on selected dates in 2020.

Valid for minimum 2 night stay available on all of their stunning  lodges in South Africa’s Kruger National Park area.

Offer available during the following dates:

05 February 2020 – 02 April 2020

20 April 2020 – 31 July 2020

01 September 2020 – 30 September 2020

01 November 2020 – 18 December 2020

For more information call Vicky on 0131 3152464.

FREE NIGHT South African safari special offer

Stay 3 nights and pay for 2 or stay 4 and pay for only 3 with the Thornybush Luxury Game Lodge Collection!

Offer available at all Thornybush lodges for stays during the following selected dates in 2020:

05 February 2020 – 02 April 2020

20 April 2020 – 31 July 2020

01 September 2020 – 30 September 2020

01 November 2020 – 18 December 2020

This amazing special offer is subject to availability so call Vicky today on 0131 315 2464 for details.

Kenyan luxury beach getaway offer: Stay for 4 nights and pay for 3! 

Escape to Manda Bay on Kenya’s stunning coast. This is the perfect place to get away from it all.  This small boutique lodge sits on the tip of an idyllic island.  Kick off your shoes and relax with a sundowner after spending the day enjoying walks, swims, deep-sea fishing and kite surfing or simply listening to the waves lap the shore.

Valid on new bookings for 2020 (excluding Christmas & New Year).  For more information call Vicky on 0131 3152464.