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

When you are in Victoria Falls

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Vicki Tester

 

For something extraordinary to do while staying at Victoria Falls, consider catching the Bushtracks Express. This is a step back in time as you board the steam train and travel out on to the famous bridge that links Zimbabwe to Zambia.

The train stops on the bridge to allow you to enjoy a 5 course dinner as the sun sets and the African night closes in – with the sound of the Victoria Falls in the background. You will have time between courses to step off the train to take photos of the Batoka Gorge and the stunning scenery about. Around 9.30 the train steams back to the Zimbabwe station and a short walk or drive will have you back at your hotel.

The same company provides river safaris on the Zambezi above the Falls. As they use shallow drafted boats with jet propulsion you can venture closer to the Falls than any other boat can – quite safely. A wonderful way to see the African sundown with a chance of an elephant or two coming down to drink their sundowner at the same time.

To find out more about these amazing tours and making them part of your own bespoke tailor made holiday please contact us

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

New Train to Machu Picchu, Peru

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Vicki Tester

 

Catch the new Inca Rail to Machu Picchu from either Cusco or Ollanta and experience the “extra” view now available. The carriage high, wide, domelike windows give you panoramic vistas as you climb towards this amazing World Heritage Site. The seats are roomy and comfortable, with device charging points and gourmet meals made from local produce are on offer.

 For even better views, make your way to the open air Observatory Lounge which offers fresh air as well as the very best of views on this iconic train journey.

For those who don’t know, Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel that is set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. It was built during the 15th century then later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without any use of mortar, with intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. Its exact former use still remains a mystery.
  
If you would like more information then please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

A Hidden Gem in Botswana

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Vicki Tester

 

The Mashatu Game Reserve, in the Tuli Block, Botswana has a wealth of experiences to offer the adventurous traveller and has just become easier to get there. They now sponsor connecting flights from Johannesburg and Maun every Wednesday and Saturday. Just one hour from Johannesburg has you landing in “the Land of the Giants”.

The name comes from the locally revered Mashatu Tree that frame the Limpopo River, the big herds of elephants and iconic baobab trees. You have the choice of staying in a lodge or tented camp, both with active waterholes that will keep you entertained. The guides also offer you different ways of experience Africa unchanged.

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

You can opt for the traditional game drive in 4×4, take to a mountain bike for a closer contact with the wild or perhaps go for the walking safari with sleep outs. Whichever way you choose your guide will ensure your safety, comfort and tailor the safari to the fitness of those involved. For those that are competent horse riders then there is the chance to ride along with the plains animals.

For lovers of history then there is evidence of pre-historic man, the Great Zimbabwe period and the more modern times of colonial rule through to now. Find out from the locals with a trip to a nearby village to learn about life in the Tuli Block.

A different African experience within an hour of one the hub airports of Africa, Johannesburg. For more information please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

The Best of Madagascar….

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Madagascar is the Earth’s fourth largest island, geographically isolated for some 80 million years. It is known to Westerners today as one of the most species-rich places on the planet, it is also one of the world’s most humanly impoverished countries. Madagascar holidays are best spent exploring the island, visiting the attractions, shopping and trying the many activities available here such as snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, bird watching and so much more…..

Some of the must do’s are………………

 

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whale Watching
Every year between July and September, Baie d’Antongil, just south of Maroantsetra, is the site of the migration of hundreds of humpback whales. The whales make their way from the Antarctic northward to the warmer waters around Baie d’Antongil, where they spend the winter months breeding and birthing before the long journey back to Antarctica.

Underwater Beauty
Diving in Madagascar is a real treat; the warm Indian Ocean is attractive to both people and marine life. In these turquoise waters diver can see up to 30m ahead. And what a sight awaits you! A dazzling variety of pristine coral reef, as well its many colourful inhabitants like tropical fish and the rare turtles are a definate highlight. The best times are between December and April. For snorkelling, Nosy Tanikely is great and for diving Tulear, Nosy Be and Sainte Marie are ideal! Either way snorkelling or diving in Madagascar is something that shold not be missed.

Exploring on Foot
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore any area, and in Madagascar it’s probably one of the best ways to experience the magic of this often overlooked holiday destination. The Andringitra Mountains, located in the South East of Madagascar, are a breathtaking feast for the eyes. When hiking you can expect to see many natural wonders. The Andringitra National Park boasts an impressive assortment of wildlife. Over 100 species of birds, 54 species of mammals including lemurs and bats, as well as many reptile species call this area home. The higher lying areas of the park are blanketed by tropical rainforest. The lower lying areas are home to some local settlements. Hiking is the only way to reach the more remote areas of the Andringitra national park. Few hikers attempt to summit the impressive 2600m peak, but the surrounding area is so beautiful its well worth a try!

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpsing the flying beauty

Madagascar’s uniqueness is legendary and this is well reflected in its birds. Of the 280 species known from the island, an incredible 100 plus are entirely endemic to Madagascar and a further 20 or so are shared only with neighbouring South West Indian Ocean islands. Some of the best spots to observe the water birds are along the remote areas of the western and south western coast such as Lake Tsimanampetsotsa. For anyone who loves bird watching then this is an amazing getaway and a truly fantastic destination.

So if Madagascar sounds like that place for you or you would like to build your own bespoke, tailor made holiday with any of the above included, please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Holidays Closer to Home

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Vicki Tester

 

Did you know we also offer holidays closer to home?

Whether it is a short break to a classic European city or a week in the Mediterranean sunshine we can help you create your perfect holiday.

We work with a variety of well established companies giving us the ability to offer our clients a wide choice of destinations including the Channel Islands, Croatia, Greece, Iceland and Spain, to name but a few. If a journey on the Orient Express or a cruise along the Norwegian Fjords on an expedition ship is more your cup of tea we can help you plan all of these amazing trips.

Our expert staff can create the perfect holiday tailored to your own personal requirements, arranging travel by any combination of air, rail, car or ferry. So, if you are considering a holiday nearer to home this year please do get in touch so we can start planning your next trip.

Contact us here

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

Picture courtesy of Sue Riggs

 

Region: Hawaii

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Vicki Tester

 

Hawaii Islands are full of beautiful beaches, lush forests, active volcanoes and wonderful scenery.   With typically small variations in temperature between the seasons of summer and winter, this is a year round destination and is sure to have something to offer everyone.

Akaka Falls (Big Island) Island of Hawaii Credit Visitors Bureau Larry Marshalln

Waikiki Credit Hawaii Tourism Authority Tor Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tijara Beach – Kenya Coast

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Tijara Beach has a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor. As this is an award that is solely in the hands of their clients, it reflects the outstanding service and location of one of our favourite places on the Kenya Coast.
There is an belief that the Kenya Coast is all about big hotels and busy beaches, but Tijara (and others we know about) can give you an experience second to none for a tropical beach holiday.

If you like wildlife and have been on a safari, then a few days unwinding at Tijara will be the perfect end to a holiday to remember. It is not just lazying on the beach as you can join a guide to show you the colourful coral and fish on the reef and explore the caves on the coral headlands.
A day trip to Mombasa is always interesting and if you need to top up your wildlife viewing, then a day or two at the Shimba Hills National Park will give you another chance to see the animals, birds and flora of the region.
With only 4 double rooms, Tijara fills quickly, so get in touch now on Tel: 01232 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

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Caves – courtesy of Tijara Beach

Kenya – the ultimate safari destination!

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Vicki Tester

 

The word ‘safari’ is synonymous with Kenya, and with good reason. Not only was it the first safari destination for tourists, but it’s also one of the best with phenomenal game viewing opportunities, breath-taking landscapes and fascinating people. Combine this with the soft white sands and turquoise seas of the coast, and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable holiday.

With such a fantastic reputation, it’s easy to think that Kenya would be expensive and in truth, there are certainly some luxurious, exclusive options that don’t come cheap. However, there are also options for those keen for the exclusive experience, but without the exclusive price tag.

Our partner in Kenya offers two excellent Adventure Camps, which bring all the benefits of staying in a Wildlife Conservancy teeming with animals but at a small fraction of the price that you’d normally pay to stay at the main, more luxurious camps. All activities are included and conducted at the same standard as is in the main camps.

Their conservancies are vast areas of pristine wildlife-filled terrain where you enjoy day and night game drives in 4×4 vehicles, bush meals and guided walks and stay in comfortable small and exclusive camps. Here guests can observe the wildlife – including elephants and all the Big Cats – where the animals are completely safe, in their natural environment and in a near exclusive setting. No Crowds.

Picture courtesy of Gamewatchers Safaris

The Adventure Camps are designed for those for whom the wildlife safari experience is more important than the accommodation and who are prepared to sleep in basic tents – 10 feet square and 6 feet tall – with sleeping bags and a foam mattress on the floor. (Private safari shower and flush wc are behind each tent). All meals are included, prepared by the camp cook. Mineral water is provided in camp and on game drives and the camp bar has wine, beer and soft drinks available for sale at reasonable prices. The Adventure Camps ensure you get all the premium activities and game-viewing normally associated with only the most expensive camps and lodges but at a fraction of the price.

A six night safari with three nights in Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli region) and three nights in Ol Kinyei Conservancy (Maasai Mara) starts at £1755.00 per person sharing in the peak season for 2018. The single tent supplement is just £108.00. Prices include Full Board accommodation, flights from and back to Nairobi, day and night game drives in 4×4 vehicles, a visit to Amboseli National Park or the Maasai Mara National Reserve, all Conservancy fees and educational nature walks with Maasai guides. These camps are open between July and October – spaces are limited as the camps are small and personal, so please do give us a call to enquire!

Picture courtesy of Gamewatchers Safaris

Prices are subject to availability and change. International flights are not included – there are plenty of airlines offering flights between London and Nairobi, some direct and others with a stop en route. For information on international flights, please do let us know your preferred dates and we can provide a price for the most appropriate option.

Consider also spending time in Nairobi prior to the tour, and perhaps time on the coast at the end to relax – anything is possible!

For more information on putting together your own bespoke tailor made Africa Safari please call us on Tel:01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Hawaii – Island Hopping

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Vicki Tester

 

This independent itinerary covers three of Hawaii’s Islands, full of beautiful beaches, Lush forests, active volcanoes and wonderful scenery.   With typically small variations in temperature between the seasons of summer and winter, this is a year round destination and is sure to have something to offer everyone.

Summary

Hawaii Island Hopping

 

Day 1: Oahu

Day 4: Big Island

Day 8: Maui

Description

Description

 

Hop between three islands by plane on this independent trip.  Relax on stunning beaches, explore the history of Pearl Harbor, drive the stunning sights along the Hana Highway and learn about the active volcano, Kilauea at Volcanoe’s National Park.

 

Day 1: Oahu                                                               

Your holiday starts with the chance of some rest and relaxation on the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu.  Home to the famous Waikiki Beach and historic Honolulu, the island has verdant forests, breathtaking valleys and beautiful beaches.  The events at Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 brought the USA into World War II and the Pacific conflict and now memorials remain.  The North Shore offers crashing waves and beaches perfect for surfing, Waimea Valley and Kualoa, Hawaii’s Private Nature Reserve.

Three nights Oahu

 

Day 4: Big Island

Today fly on to Hawaii Island, and pick up your hire car.  The island of Hawaii is often called the Big Island so as not to confuse the name with the whole state, and at almost twice the size of all of the other islands combined the name does seem appropriate.  The island has much to see, from sandy beaches to snow capped mountains, and waterfalls to the active volcano, Kilauea.

 

On the western sunny side of the island are the areas of Kona and Kohala with their excellent beaches. On the east coast lies the island capital Hilo, with quaint downtown wooden storefronts, thriving art scene and local history.  ‘Akaka Falls state park is home to two of the most gorgeous waterfalls on all of the islands, ʻAkaka is the state’s tallest “sheer drop” waterfall, more than 2.5 times taller than Niagara Falls and sits just north of Hilo.  To the south east you will find Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – the islands premier attraction, Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Four nights Hawaii Island – We suggest two nights to the west and two nights to the east

 

Day 8: Maui

Take a flight between islands today, once again a hire car will give you the freedom to explore independently.  The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui, offers well planned tourist facilities with raw natural beauty.  Once a thriving whaling port in the mid 1800’s, the town of Lahaina is today a colourful town and hub for dining entertainment and water sports.  December to April is ideal for whale watching – the waters around Hawaii are the winter breeding and calving grounds of humpback whales. Drive the hairpin turns of the Hana highway. Starting in Kahului and snaking along 54 miles of coastline past lush vegetation and waterfalls – with 600 curves and 54 bridges, this is one of the world’s most scenic drives.  Surrounding the volcanic crater of Haleakala, Haleakala National Park dominates the south eastern side of Maui.

Four nights Maui – We suggest two nights to the west and two nights to the south east of the island.

                                                                                   

Day 12: Depart Maui

Leave Maui today for the onward or homeward journey.

Consider adding to your trip, perhaps another island, plus stays in Los Angeles or San Francisco depending on your international flights.

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority Tor Johnson

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii

Picture courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) Tor Johnson

Little Gems

Little Gems

Travel the Hana Highway.  The Road to Hana is more than just a great drive through a beautiful area of Maui. You travel through tropical rainforests, see beautiful water falls and get to experience breathtaking scenery on your 52 mile journey.  Its quite an experience.

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Panama Itinerary

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Vicki Tester

 

Panama City itself is actually three cities in one. La Vieja is the ancient ruined city that the Spaniards burned down on the approach of the pirate Henry Morgan. He still sacked the remainder of the city and stayed a month to ensure he had squeezed all the gold out of the inhabitants. Then there is Casco Antiguo with its Spanish feel, boutique hotels and excellent bars and restaurants and finally the modern city of business skyscrapers and interesting architecture.

Certainly, visit the Miraflores Lock on the old canal to learn about its construction and to watch the huge ship navigate the lock. But also head to the rainforest in a powered dugout to meet the indigenous tribes that still live their traditional lives here.

Finally, finish on a white sand, palm fringed beach on the Caribbean. Home of clear warm water and ideal for spectacular snorkelling and diving.

Summary

Panama

A country that has so much more to offer than just the Panama Canal (well two canals as the new one is up and running).

Day 1:              Panama City

Day 4:              Bocas del Toro

Day 7:              Panama City

Description

Description

 

Day 1

As you descend in to the International airport, look out for the islands and the huge number of vessels awaiting their turn to navigate the Panama Canal. The new canal takes the largest of the ships waiting. While here ensure you explore the 3 different aspects of the City – an insight in to the influence of Europe on this region.

Certainly you should explore the Casco Antiguo, the Spanish part of the city, as it is lively and has an array of good restaurants and bars. Be here for sundown and join the locals parading along the waterfront before deciding where to eat.

On another day take the powered dugout to the village of Embera Drua, well up stream and deep in the rainforest. You will be made very welcome and have a chance to learn about the tribe’s traditional way of life. Fresh fish from the river will be your lunch before you head back down river.

On the way back, stop at Miraflores Lock to watch the boats traversing the isthmus on the Canal. There is an excellent little museum here and information centre about the construction of the Canal.

3 nights Panama

 

Day 4

Time to relax on the beach or take your snorkel out over the coral reefs to see the amazing colours of the coral and all the fish here. Very much a get away from it all destination. With 7 major islands to choose from and Bocas Town being clapboard houses down by the waters edge, you are long way from the big hotel chains found elsewhere.

3 nights Bocas del Toro

 

Day 7

Back to Panama City to connect with your onward flight. Perhaps home but you could make this part of a trip that includes Costa Rica.

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Panama

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Little Gems

Little Gems

 

Enjoying the freewheeling life at the village of Embera Drua. While everything was put on for our benefit, everyone seemed so happy that we had made the effort to visit them.

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