• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

What to do in Stone Town, Zanzibar – Tanzania, East Africa

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

For those of you that are looking to add some beach after your safari and have decided to head for Zanzibar, then I would recommend that you should consider some time in the fascinating capital of the Island – Stone Town.

With history that relates to Zanzibar is reflected in the architecture and historic artefacts to be found in the museums and hotels. With the Sultans of Oman having Zanzibar as one of their main trading posts in East Africa for several centuries, indeed it was the capital of their empire for a while; there is a strong Arab influence on the island. Of course there is a huge Swahili feel along with the British and Portuguese buildings to be found, particularly in Stone Town.

I would certainly recommend that you should stay a couple of nights to allow you time to explore and immerse yourselves in the vibrant colours and culture. There are a good number of hotels to choose from, from backpackers to boutique to 5 star hotels – so plenty of choice.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

One of the best ways of getting to know the town is to take a guided walk through the maze of narrow streets, designed to be wide enough for 2 donkeys and very anti car. The buildings are in all states of repair with the Omani influence very much in evidence but the real stars to keep you reaching for the camera are the ornate doors. Here are carvings of scripts, both religious and secular, flowers and animals of all kinds and beautiful brass studs and nails. 

The walk takes you to the Sultans Palace (now a museum), the House of Wonder and the very moving museum of slavery and its statue of commemoration. Then the walk takes you in to the vibrant and hugely colourful fruit, vegetable and general market. Add in the colour of the Zanzibari women’s clothes and you have a feast for your eyes.

Alternatively catch a dhow out to one of the sandbars that emerge as the tide drops and spend a happy couple of hour’s snorkelling while your crew cook you a fresh from the sea lunch.

Everyone recommends that you watch the sun set and the received wisdom is that Africa House is the place to do this. This is a very buzzy place with all sort of travellers gathered to toast the setting sun. For those wanting a quieter location, and with the same view, then the bar at the Zanzibar Serena Hotel is just as good and has an excellent restaurant which is right on the waterfront.

Book your place to explore the doors, museums, markets, meet the friendly people and drink your sundowner watching the dhows beating their way to the harbour by contacting us at Experience Holidays.

For fuller details, please ask for Peter Ellis.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

South Africa’s Blue Train just became slower – But in a Good Way

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

In 2019 South Africa’s Blue train relaunched its classic train journey between Pretoria and Cape Town (in either direction) now making this a two-night experience. This will allow guests to relax more and soak up the scenery. The Blue Train has always been considered the epitome of luxury, hospitality and leisure.

The train now departs at 4pm and arrives at its destination at 10:30 two days later. The cabins compare well with the finest hotels, with en suite bathroom or shower (depending on level of cabin you choose) and the attention of your personal butler. The Observation Cat at the end of the train has windows on 3 sides allowing you to make the most of the passing scenery.

There is also a 2 ½ hour ‘off train’ excursion to the Kimberley Open Mine Museum and visit to the Big Hole.

This journey would make a great addition to any trip to South Africa and a wonderful way to see part of this amazing country. If you would like to find out more then please contact us.

 

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Picture courtesy of The Blue Train, South Africa

Rovos Rail is 30 Years old

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

For all lovers of iconic train journeys, a trip aboard one of Rovos Rails trains to different parts of Southern Africa is a must. As at the end this month the company will have been operating for 30 years and is offering eight trips around Southern Africa; varying in length from 48 hours to 15 days. At any given time, the Company will be offering 5 out of the 8 journeys will be running. In addition, they have taken over, and overhauled, Shongololo Express to add to their portfolio.

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

The trains are exceptional to look at, comfortable to travel in and offer a service that is second to none. You are well looked after the moment you arrive at the station of departure – bags whipped away to be unpacked in your cabin/suite while you have a welcome drink and introduction to a Rovos Rail trip. They stop at many of Southern Africa’s outstanding sites and offer you a tour around – be it the Big Hole at Kimberley or a National Park in the countries visited.

It is a perfect way to celebrate an occasion or to see a country from a different perspective. Please contact us for further details.

 

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Copyright to Rovos Rail Tours

Tips for choosing the Right Safari

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

 

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safaris are a holiday that most people want to experience once in their lives. There are several things to think about before deciding on where and when you go on safari and the following are some of the questions to ask:

  • Choose your destination with care. You will be very disappointed if your favorite animal is a rarity in the country that you choose.
  • Check the right time of the year to go. Parts of Africa have heavy rain making getting around very difficult.
  • Choose a conservancy for an exclusive experience with wildlife and not fight for position with tour buses for a glimpse of a beleaguered animal. Many of the eco lodges have the benefit of being right in the bush with the wildlife passing right in front of your tent.
  • Stay longer in each destination for a fuller experience of that Park or Conservancy.
  • If you can afford it, fly between parks and camps. This particularly applies when the alternative could see you spending 6-8 hours on the road.
  • Choose accommodation that offers the authentic African experience with the wildlife and local people at the heart of its being.
  • Pick the right time of the year to see the migrations – animals, birds and whales. There is no guarantee with wildlife but there are norms.
  • Pack with the right safari clothes and do not pack too much. Many lodges and camps offer laundry facilities.
  • Read up about your chosen destination and ask someone who knows the area well for advise re the above.

That is all there is to it!

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Gorgeous Gorillas of Uganda

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Peter has been off on his travels again, this time he visited Uganda. Our local agents in Uganda, Great Lakes Safaris, are currently celebrating as the Mountain Gorilla’s status has now been moved from Critically Endangered to Endangered. This is thanks to conservation efforts from the wildlife authorities of Uganda and its neighboring countries Rwanda and Republic of Congo.

In 2008 the Mountain Gorilla population was about 680 individuals and now, as of November 2018, this has increased to over 1000 the highest ever recorded. So now is a better time than ever to visit Uganda and their Mountain Gorillas. Uganda is an amazing place and a wonderful holiday destination with so much to see, why not contact us and start your safari amongst the Gorillas? Peter will be sure to write up about the great tails from his trip and we look forward to sharing them with you all very soon.

Picture courtesy of Bethan Evans
Picture courtesy of Uganda Tourism UK

Winter Sun in Kenya

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

It has just been announced that Qatar Airways is offering flights to Mombasa via Doha at very reasonable prices. This makes some winter sunshine very affordable and the chance to add a short safari to your itinerary as well – speak to us about the choices or take a look at our suggested itinerary.

Mombasa and the Kenya coast has long been an option for a winter getaway and Qatar have just made it a destination to consider.

Photos courtesy of Peter Ellis

Swaziland becomes ESWATINI

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

King Mswati, while celebrating the 50th. Anniversary of the country’s independence at the beginning of July, announced that the country will now be known as the Kingdom of Eswatini. This means “place of the Swati people in the Swazi language”.

Eswatini remains a year round destination for stunning scenery, fascinating cultural experiences, safaris and adventure activities.

A new name to add to your bucket list!

 

 

Flag_of_Swaziland

Uganda, new destination video

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Here is a short clip featuring a number of Uganda’s unique attractions including Murchison Falls, Kibale, Bwindi, Lake Mburo, Lake Albert and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Another and Quieter side to Tanzania

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Most people know about the plains of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater and the wildlife spectacle to found there. But there is so much more to explore in Tanzania and much of it is untouched and incredibly diverse.

If you would like to see and hear Africa at its unspoilt best then consider heading to places like the Gombe Stream National Park and walk in the footsteps the British primatologist, Jane Goodall, in search of the descendants of her favourite chimps – Frodo, Merlin and David Greybeard.

On the banks of Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa, is Mahale National Park, another place to see primates such as chimps and Colobus monkeys in their natural habitat. End up on your own private beach to cool down and then around the camp fire with more stars above you than you could imagine.

Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest Park, is ideal for the traveller looking for a truly remote experience away from regular tourist routes. In this park, you will find animals curious and unfamiliar to human contact. Herd sizes of buffalo and other plains animals are massive, often in the thousands and this in turn brings in good numbers of predators. With hardly anyone else around and a great lodge to retire to, you will feel like a true explorer.

For more details please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

More reasons to visit Namibia…

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Namibia is a destination that has so much to offer tourists, particularly if you like your wildlife, geology, spectacular scenery, sea life and adventure. With 4 different deserts, each with its own ecosystem that would keep most desert lovers happy.

But here are some new ideas for when you are there and a new camp on the Zambezi River in the Caprivi Strip.

Firstly, the Zambezi Mubala Camp and Lodge are located under tall, shady trees on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, about 40 km east of Katima Mulilo. Eight safari tents, equipped with four beds each, ensuite bathrooms, self-catering kitchens and verandas invite you to linger along the river. Traditional campers are also welcome to pitch their tents on one of the ten campsites with private sanitary facilities.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Guests to Zambezi Mubala Lodge are transferred by boat from Zambezi Mubala Camp to the lodge. As they are only allowed to do transfers on the Zambezi River during daytime, guests are kindly require to arrive at least one hour prior to sunset.

The next adventure gives you a bird’s eye view of the Namib Desert. As from 1 May 2018, the Namib Desert Lodge offers Powered Paragliding to its guests. The Gondwana Collection partnered with Wild Air Safaris to provide guests with an adventure of a lifetime. The 20-minute flights can be booked and paid directly at the Namib Desert Lodge and are subject to availability. Safety is our priority and flights are only offered on the motorized paragliding flights in perfect weather conditions.

Walking part of the Fish River Canyon (the World’s Second Largest Canyon).  On 20 April the 12 participants of this season’s first Klipspringer Trail made their way through the Fish River Canyon in the wilderness area north of the main viewing point. Luggage and equipment are conveyed between the overnight camps, so participants only need to pack water and snacks for the day’s hike. Each overnight camp offers cooking and bathroom facilities. The self-guided Canyon Klipspringer Trail (4 nights/3 days) covers altogether 30km, hikers are equipped with a detailed map.

For fuller details or to learn more about Namibia, please contact us.

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

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