As an avid reader, I have read all of Ernest Hemingway's novels, short stories and memoirs that take place in Africa, as well as Isak Dineson's Out of Africa, but for some reason, visiting Africa has never been something that was very high on my bucket list. Well, after the morning at Travel Week I spent "in Africa", it has suddenly moved right up to the top of my list!
There is so much to learn about travel to Africa...where to begin?? The travel professionals from Africa who attended Travel Week are the top experts in their field and know all the ins and outs of planning a trip to Africa.
One of the things that stunned me is the amount of open space in Africa...there are millions of acres of land in conservancy and the amount of people allowed to go on safari at any one time is limited, which offers the opportunity for an intimate "oneness" with nature. In a world that seems all too crowded, the chance to be alone on the vast plains of Africa is awe-inspiring.
Another delight was the luxuriousness of the camps - even the tented camps are over the top luxe. This is hardly roughing it...and the word "tent" and "camp" have a whole new meaning to me now!
Here are a few of my "best of the best" in Africa...
Lion Sands, South Africa
Where else can you stay in your own tree house above the bush?? Talk about being one with nature! On the banks of the Sabie River, Lion Sands is in an area that has one of the highest densities of wildlife per square acre in the world.
guests accommodated at one of the Mala Mala
enjoy the 33,000 acres of privately-owned game land - with only two
safaris per day in vehicles holding no more than six people. The main
camp is perfect for families - they even offer a "Junior Ranger"
experience; while the adults only Rattray's on Mala Mala offers an elegant and
timeless “Out of Africa” setting and promises the ultimate exclusive safari in
style, privacy and sublime comfort.
The Blue Train
I have always been enamored with the idea of classic train travel. The Blue Train runs between Capetown and Pretoria - a 27 hour, 994 mile journey. Add five star luxury and a route through some of
the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African
sub-continent and I am ready to hit the rails!
The Royal Livingstone, Zambia
Imagine arriving via water taxi on the Zambezi river and having private access to one of the seven wonders of the world - Victoria Falls - only a 15 minute walk from your hotel...The Royal Livingstone Hotel is a classic British colonial hotel on the banks of the Zambezi and the closest hotel to the falls.
Fregate Island Private, Seychelles
Yes, Virginia, we are in Africa...actually the Seychelles (an archipelago in the Indian Ocean just off the eastern coast of Africa). With 160 staff for just 16 villas, the level of service at Fregate Island is clearly above and beyond. The island has seven beaches to make your own...and is home to over 2,000 Aldabra giant tortoises which roam the island.
Made up of 53 two story riads (or villas), Royal Mansour
is more like a small luxury village than a hotel. Over 1500 Moroccan
artisans were employed to create the delicate tile work, marquetry and
other craftsmanship seen throughout the property. With a staff of over
500, guests will feel like royalty.
I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of Africa is quite limited...but I love that I have a team of amazing experts, which I can call upon to share their resources, at my fingertips...and, I hope that at some point, I can learn more about Africa first hand! Have you been to Africa? Is it on your "bucket list"? I would love to hear more!!