A Drink for Every Destination – What’s Your Favourite Holiday Tipple?

I think most of us are guilty of over indulging during our holidays abroad, and while it may not be ‘socially acceptable’ to drink a Piña Colada at 11am down at your local pub, it is almost mandatory when you are lying by the pool in an exotic destination!

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But the more I travel, the more I believe that different drinks belong in different destinations (ie. red wine just doesn’t belong on a beach!), and my favourite holiday tipple really depends on where I am going or what I am doing…

White Wine

As the sun sets over Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  Crisp, fruity, and easy to drink (too easy maybe!), white wine is a summertime drink that needs sunshine!

Red Wine

I love a good Argentinean Malbec, but a full-bodied wine needs a roaring open fire, a cosy couch, and good company!  Think the Austrian Alps (in winter), Patagonia (Chile or Argentina), and New Zealand (again, in winter!).

Gin and Tonic

Refreshing, zingy, and simplistically elegant, a Gin and Tonic is the perfect aperitif, but it tastes even better when you drink it in the African Bush while on Safari!  A ‘Sundowner’ overlooking the plains of Africa is an unforgettable experience, and a good old G&T ticks all the right boxes!

Bloody Mary

I think most people have a love/hate relationship with Bloody Marys. I happen to love them, but only if they have plenty of Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco, and funnily enough, only when I’m aboard a cruise ship!  It’s the only time I ever order one, and have yet to find another destination where a Bloody Mary belongs…

Beer

Okay, beer pretty much works anywhere, but again, a cold fizzy beverage always tastes better in warm sunny climates. The best beer I have ever tasted was an ice-cold Antarctica on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, but Dos Equis works well in Mexico, and Fiji Gold goes down well in the Fiji Islands!

Cocktails

I’m not a huge fan of cocktails, they are a little too potent for me! But the Tuesday night ‘Sex on the Beach’ special at Lee’s Roadside Grill in St Maarten is worth the flight to the Caribbean alone!

What’s your favourite holiday tipple? Let us know! Cheers

Sensational Safari Destinations for 2014 Adventure Holidays

Thrilling, exhilarating and awe-inspiring are just some of the words I would use to describe a safari holiday, and if your idea of the perfect adventure holiday includes ever-changing landscapes, luxury tented camps, and getting up close and personal with the local wildlife, Africa should be your 2014 destination!

Best African Safari DestinationsFrom the uber luxurious Botswana Safari to the affordable Kruger National Park self-drive trip, there really is a safari holiday to suit every budget, and while it certainly costs more than a week or two on the Costa del Sol, I have yet to meet anyone that didn’t think their safari was worth every single penny.

So if you are thinking of heading into the wilderness in search of those majestic creatures we only get to see in the zoo, here are some of our most popular safari destinations for your 2014 adventure:

Botswana Safari

Still referred to by many as the “ultimate” Safari destination, Botswana boasts numerous high-end game reserves where you can enjoy life’s little luxuries in the middle of the bush or the Okavango Delta.  A popular choice with honeymooners, Botswana is the perfect place for a very special holiday.

Namibia Safari

A country of rugged coastlines, sparse plains, and the oldest desert in the world, Namibia is a paradise for wildlife lovers and anyone with a passion for photography.  From the vivid red dunes of Sossusvlei to the infinite wildlife of Etosha National Park, Namibia has much to see and do, and it remains unspoilt in terms of tourism.

Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari

These neighbouring countries are fantastic safari holiday destinations in their own right, but they work even better when combined together!  Zimbabwe may have had more than its fair share of bad publicity in the past, but it is now a growing safari destination that homes the beautiful Hwange National Park, the Mana Pools National Park, and of course, the magical Victoria Falls.

South Africa Safari

The award for the most diverse safari destination would have to go to South Africa.  From the malaria-free safari zones of the Eastern Cape to the Kruger National Park and the luxurious Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa caters for every traveller and the wildlife sightings are spectacular.  The Big five are in abundance, and you can expect to see a whole host of unusual and exciting creatures during your South African Safari Adventure.

New Year’s Resolutions… Here We Go Again!

It’s that time of year again, and if you haven’t made your New Year’s Resolution yet, you have just a few hours left (depending on where you live in the world), to choose your resolution before setting it in concrete with a glass of Champagne on New Year’s Eve.

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The most common New Year’s Resolutions involve health/fitness and financial goals, and while both are very commendable (especially if you have eaten too much and spent too much over the festive period!), I prefer to go with a resolution that I have every intention of keeping – and that is to travel more in 2014!

If you are struggling to come up with a New Year’s Resolution that will last longer than a week, (most of us quit after 7 days apparently!), then here are a few unusual and unique resolutions I found on the internet today that might keep you interested for longer…

Travel the world and have your photo taken in front of five places you have always dreamed of visiting (Great Barrier Reef, Great Wall of China, and Table Mountain etc.)

Become a volunteer, either at your local charity organisation or abroad, and dedicate some of your time to help those less fortunate.

Skip the diet, and opt for a lifestyle change instead. Walking to work rather than driving, switching your Latte for a fruit tea, and having pizza once a week rather than twice will all make a difference to your waistline!

Try a new food / wine each week, and don’t be afraid to try the local cuisine when you are on holiday – you might find fried locust to your liking!

Spice up your life by swapping the ‘usual’ for the ‘unusual’ and don’t save anything for a special occasion – eat it, wear it, or do it today!

Add twelve items to your Bucket List, and cross one-off every month of 2014.

We would love to know what your New Year’s Resolutions are for 2014, so drop us a line and let us know!

Friday’s Photo Session – 10 Reasons to Take a South African Safari this Winter

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing wild animals living in their natural habitat, and while there are many countries in Africa that offer superb game viewing, South Africa really does have something for everyone.

In the Eastern Cape, you will find several privately owned game lodges with beautiful accommodations and great game viewing, and as it is a Malaria-free area – you never have to worry about those pesky mosquitoes!

Up in Kruger National Park, you will find a range of accommodations to suit every budget, and if you are looking for something extra special for your honeymoon or anniversary, Sabi Sands has the perfect Safari lodge for you.

I could list at least a hundred reasons why you should take a South African Safari, but here are just ten of my favourite…

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Beach Holiday, City Break, Safari Adventure… Can’t Decide? Leave it to your Hair Colour!

If you are you struggling to decide where to go on holiday this winter, and cannot choose between a beach holiday, a city break, or a safari adventure – then just take a look in the mirror, and let your hair colour decide for you!

Winter Holiday Ideas

I know that might sound a tad strange, but according to a recent survey carried out by booking engine Hotels.com, our holiday choices are fuelled by our hair colour, and not glossy travel brochures and fancy commercials shot on exotic beach locations.

So, if you want to know what holiday you’ll prefer this winter, here’s the breakdown…

If you are Ginger or a Red Head, you need to pack your bags and head off to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia or Tanzania – as according to the survey, you’ll prefer a Safari Holiday.

If, like me, you are a natural blonde (pwahaha), you are most likely to want to sunbathe this winter, so pack your itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny and jump on a plane to Mauritius, the Fiji Islands, Zanzibar or Anguilla in the Caribbean.

Brunettes are, apparently, thrill-seekers, so it looks like you will be heading away on an adventure break this winter!  Climbing Kilimanjaro, Tracking Gorillas in Rwanda, White-Water Rafting in Nepal, and Trekking Machu Picchu are just some of the holiday destinations Brunettes will be enjoying in the next 12 months…

If you have black hair, you should know by now that you will be making your way to the world’s Alpine Regions for a spot of Skiing this winter.  Austria… Italy… Canada… you decide!

Grey hair comes to us all eventually (not if I can help it!), and if you have transformed into a Silver Fox this year, your ideal winter holiday is a countryside retreat.  The highlands of Scotland, the Winelands of the Western Cape of South Africa, the South Island of New Zealand are great choices for a relaxing break.

Finally, if you have no hair at all – it’s time to dust off your rucksack and make your way around the world on a backpacking adventure!

Of course, there are certain flaws in this survey… I mean, where do you go if you can’t even remember your natural hair colour anymore…?  I’ll just go with ‘all of the above’!

Travelling Solo – Top Tips to ensure you never get Lonely!

If you like the idea of travelling the world, but don’t like the idea of doing it on your own, you will be pleased to know there are loads of different holiday options for independent travellers, where you will never be lonely or short of conversation!

Holidays for Singles

Small group escorted tours, adventure tours and sporting holidays all cater for the individual and as you can usually opt in or out of the activities and excursions included in daily schedule, you can tailor-make your holiday to suit your specific needs and requirements.

Sporting and adventure holidays such as climbing mount Kilimanjaro or trekking to the Base Camp of Everest are very popular with solo travellers, and as you are pretty much guaranteed to meet like-minded singles, couples and small groups along the way, it is easy to make new friends as you share this once in a lifetime adventure.

The same can be said for wildlife adventures, such as gorilla tracking in Rwanda and safari holidays in Botswana.  In most cases, you will share your safari vehicle with others, or trek with other guests who have a gorilla permit for the same day as you, so the opportunities to meet new people in a relaxed environment are endless.

You only have to go for a coffee in cities such as Cape Town in South Africa, Buenos Aires in Argentina or Queenstown in New Zealand, to meet both locals and travellers from across the globe, and as most travellers love sharing their top tips and travel experiences, a city is always a good place to start your world tour.

Tropical beaches provide an informal meeting point for travellers from across the world, and while you may enjoy the peace and tranquillity of sitting under a palm tree reading a book, it’s nice to know that friendly conversation is never more than a stroll away at the local beach bar!

Travelling solo is a great way to meet new people, and as the only person you have to please is yourself, it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Tailor-Made Holidays”!

 

 

 

 

Bucket List Alert – Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda!

When you think that there are only 700 Mountain Gorillas left on planet earth, the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat is one of the most special and memorable wildlife encounters one could ever wish to experience.

Almost half of the Mountain Gorillas alive today live in the forests of the Virunga Mountains bordering Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and while these areas are now heavily protected in a global effort to help these magnificent creatures survive, it is still possible to go Gorilla tracking within the National Parks.

The ultimate experience for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, Gorilla Tracking in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is a ‘Bucket List Dream’ for many, and thanks to our amazing contacts in South Africa and Uganda – Across Africa, we now look forward to sharing this life-changing adventure with our fellow travellers.

Short Gorilla Tracking trips may not give you full exposure to these amazing creatures, but if you are climbing Kilimanjaro, taking a beach break in Zanzibar, or perhaps heading to the Serengeti for the Great Migration, a short trip to Rwanda will fit nicely into your travel itinerary.

Heading into the Volcanoes National Park, you can choose to spend one, two or three days tracking these incredible primates, and while the tracking permits are not cheap (approx $750 per person), you can be confident in the knowledge that your money is going to support the habitat of Mountain Gorillas.

Here’s what you can expect to see…!

gorilla_16 tracking_pfad Gorilla Tracking Rwanda and Uganda tracking_pfad_4 gorilla_11Photos courtesy of Across Africa 

 

The Heatwave is Set to Last – Anyone for Glamping?

Oxford Dictionary Definitions:

Glamping: A form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping: Glamping is likely to satisfy any city slicker seeking a little refuge in nature – without foregoing any of life’s luxuries

Staycation: a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

The sun is shining, the temperatures are set to stay in the mid 20s all next week, and if you are one of the many Brits foregoing a summer holiday abroad this year in favour of a ‘staycation’ in Blighty, then you might want to think about a bit of Glamping!

A word still unrecognised by my spellchecker, Glamping (derived, I presume, from Glamorous and Camping) is all about adding a bit of luxury to your camping adventure, and if you find the idea of traditional camping in a muddy field with no water, a lumpy sleeping bag and an alfresco loo somewhat daunting, this could be the holiday for you!

The Heatwave is Set to Last - Anyone for Glamping?

There are literally hundreds of websites dedicated to Glamping holidays, and whether you decide on a Tipi, a Yurt, an Armadilla (Google it!), or a safari tent you can be confident you will have all the mod-cons you have at home combined with a little bit of the great outdoors.

My experiences of camping to date have been somewhat limited, I once camped in the back garden as a child (until it got dark and scary – then I went to bed!), I camped for 6-nights on Mount Kilimanjaro during our climb, and I once camped in a field (minus the tent) after a music festival in Austria…

But I have to say, I quite like the sound of this Glamping malarkey, and with unusually hot temperatures like these in the UK, who needs a hotel?  I’m off to find a wigwam!

 

 

The Best Place in the World to…

The Best Place in the World to Take a Bath… would have to be in a Romance Pavillion at the Meliá Zanzibar in Tanzania.  Perched precariously on the edge of the cliff, these luxurious suites have ceiling-to-floor windows and a bathtub that overlooks the Indian Ocean.

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The Best Place in the World to Enjoy a Romantic Meal… is at the Vila Joya Hotel Restaurant in Portugal’s Algarve.  Upon arrival, you are greeted with the words “Welcome to Paradise”, and if you are a foodie, you will certainly feel like you have gone to seventh heaven!  Listed as one of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” in 2012, this Two Michelin Starred restaurant is a real treat – arrive hungry!

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The Best Place in the World to go on Honeymoon is… Africa. From romantic safari lodges and luxury tented-camps, to white sandy beaches and cosmopolitan cities, there is something to suit every taste and every budget in Africa. The perfect choice for those who are looking for a truly unique honeymoon experience, but just remember – Africa is not for sissies!

The Best Place in the World to go on Honeymoon is… Africa

The Best Place in the World to go snorkelling… Well, I have heard that Raja Ampat in Indonesia is the best place in the world for snorkelling and diving, but as I have yet to tick that one off my bucket list, I would have to go with the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji.

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The Best Place in the World to drink a Quilmes Beer… is in the Thermal Pools of Cacheuta in Mendoza, Argentina.  A wonderful place to sit back, relax and enjoy an ice-cold beer, these natural thermal pools are said to have healing properties – although I think, the beer could have something to do with that!

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The Best Place in the World to have a picnic… This is a tricky one!  So I will have to go with my favourite three… at the top of Lion’s Head Mountain in Cape Town South Africa, overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range in Queenstown New Zealand, or in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park Argentina.

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Where are your best places in the world?  Drop us a line and let us know!

 

 

The Great Migration – Sensational Game Viewing in the Serengeti Plains

As someone who lives to travel, I have a bucket list of countries to visit and places to see that is as long as the Great Wall of China, but if there is one natural phenomenon that attracts me more than any other, it is the Great Migration of the Serengeti Plains and the Masai Mara ecosystems.

The Great Migration – Sensational Game Viewing in the Serengeti Plains

You Will See a Lot More of These During the Great Migration!

A perfectly coordinated movement of some two million grazing herbivores including zebra, gazelle, eland, impala and, of course, wildebeest, the Great Migration is the ultimate ‘circle of life’, and one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world.

Precisely timed to coincide with the rainfall patterns, one could almost set their watch by this pilgrimage of wildlife, and the fact that some 500,000 wildebeest calves are born within a 2-3 week period, just goes to show how well ‘organised’ this annual event is.

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Searching for Serengeti….

Covering a distance of around 1800 miles, the wildebeest set off on their clockwise journey in April after giving their calves (born in February) the chance to build up some much needed speed and strength. Followed by packs of hungry predators, this really is ‘the survival of the fittest’, and those that manage to out run the lions still have the rivers full of gigantic crocodiles to contend with!

During the great migration, the game viewing in the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania must be quite simply spectacular – and while we didn’t manage to fit a Serengeti Safari in with our Kilimanjaro Climb last September, I am determined to cross this off my ‘to do’ list soon!

Have you witnessed the great migration in either Tanzania or Kenya?  We would love to hear from anyone who has experienced this, one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders, so please drop us a line!