A very big thanks for all of you who voted for us in the British Travel Awards
We are delighted that we received a bronze medal both in the ‘Best wildlife, safari and nature holiday company’ and ‘Best holiday company to Sub-Saharan Africa’
Located in Tanzania’s remote Mahale Mountains National Park, Nomad Tanzania’s Greystoke stakes its claim as one of the finest camps on the continent. A worthy contender for the most striking design of any camp, Greystoke sits on an idyllic beach at the bottom of a chimpanzee filled mountain range on the edge of Lake Tanganyika. Greystoke is one of Africa’s most iconic lodges. Offering an experience that of an exceptionally high quality, yet one that cannot be described as overtly luxurious, Greystoke is a camp that epitomises the adventure of African travel. Amazing sunsets and the clearest possible skies are the norm here whilst the chimpanzee viewing is the finest in Africa.
The Luangwa Valley is the National Park that safari enthusiasts savour the most. High quality camps, superlative guiding, high game densities and the best walking safaris in Africa tick the boxes for what, makes one safari park better than others. The company that epitomises the Luangwa valley is John Coppinger’s Remote Africa. One of the very few owner run companies left in Africa today, Tafika is Carol and John Coppinger’s home. This beautiful camp has a team of exceptional guides operating some of Africa’s finest walking safaris into the North and South Luangwa at Crocodile Camp, Chikoko and Mwaleshi.
Sitting up in the hills in the Northern sector of Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, Beho Beho is the first of our truly luxurious camps in the top ten. With sweeping views across the valley below, Beho Beho’s stone cottages are quite unlike any other property we work with. Individually crafted from local stone and thatch, the rooms have antique furniture and open fronts along with outside showers and a meticulous attention to finer details. Quite simply, this camp is utterly beautiful yet manages to retain that personal, unpretentious charm that Africa’s remote Wilderness areas deserve. Amazing guiding and some of the best walking anywhere, Beho Beho backs it all up with superb food and service. All of this in the Selous itself – Africa’s oldest and largest Game Reserve; a vast, beautiful area of true wilderness.
With only four rooms, Old Mondoro is one of the smallest camps to make our top ten. Situated on the banks of the Zambezi in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, Old Mondoro looks out over an island in the middle of the Zambezi and across to Zimbabwe beyond. Striking the perfect balance of comfort and respect for such a wild and beautiful location, Old Mondoro offers some of the best boating and canoeing on the continent as well as great game drives at day and night and also superb walking. In short, this little camp offers a huge number of different activities in a stunning location.
Located in the North of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Duba Plains is famous for its incredible lion and buffalo viewing. Trapped on a large island, approximately 1,200 buffalo face the daily challenge of being surrounded by one of the highest concentrations of lion anywhere in Africa. Filmed by National Geographic and made famous by Derek and Beverley Joubert’s two films, the lions of Duba have taken on an almost mythical status. The lions here are diurnal hunters and guests staying in this lovely little camp have the opportunity of witnessing these two beasts of the African savannah at their most ferocious.
Wilderness Safaris’ fantastic Savuti Camp is located in Botswana’s Linyanti Reserve. As with Duba Plains, Savuti Camp is located in one of Africa’s finest private reserves. Paying the high prices of Botswana’s private reserves guarantees you exclusivity; huge tracts of pristine wilderness all to yourself. Savuti sits on the banks of the Linyanti river, flowing again for the first time in 25 years. The camp has an unexplainable charm and a location in a phenomenally good game viewing area. One of the best small camps in Africa, without any doubt.
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is the mother of all safari parks. Justifiably famous for the mobile camps that follow the Great Migration herds throughout the year, no list of top ten camps would be complete without a Serengeti mobiles. Alex Walker’s Serengeti Serian is our pick of the bunch, especially from December through to March when the camp offers guests the opportunity of exploring the Rift Valley and untouched tribes, as well as thousands of acres of untouched short grass plains filled with the largest herds on the planet. What we love about this classic camp however is Alex’s determination to keep guests guessing about what they are going to do the next day.
Generally regarded as the finest safari camp in Africa, it came as a bit of a surprise that Mombo Camp didn’t simply cruise into our top ten! Debate raged in the office about whether this camp deserved its place given that the activities from Mombo are so limited; no night driving or walking is permitted and due to the shallow flood plains, no boating is possible either. However, no one was arguing about was the sheer quality of game viewing on offer here. This is the ‘predator capital’ of Africa. And what a beautiful camp. Our conclusion: rightfully in the top ten.
Many of Africa’s finest experiences are more basic than one might expect and the Schoeman’s Kunene Camp on the Kunene river in Northern Namibia is no exception. This camp does not offer bells, whistles and chandeliers, but a simple camp that’s located in the absolute middle of nowhere. Privately guided by one of the Schoeman brothers themselves, your hosted stay at Kunene Camp offers an experience that will genuinely take your breath away, on numerous occasions. Located on the top of a cliff directly above the Kunene river itself, Kunene camp is Africa’s most remote camp, in one of the most extraordinary locations we have ever seen.
The Serengeti’s most expensive lodge, Sasakwa easily makes the top ten. The lodge is as luxurious as any we’ve ever seen, and the sheer volume of cash that is going into the Grumeti Reserve itself (courtesy of an American philanthropist/hedge fund owner) has resulted in a huge protected zone where the Great Migration and the Serengeti’s immense predator concentrations roam free. The lodge is also one of the most brilliantly run properties we have ever seen and offers a huge range of activities including riding
Below some links that you may find useful:
Pack for a Purpose: Use available space in your luggage to provide supplies to communities you visit. For 5 pounds (2.27 kilos), you can bring one of the following:
400 pencils, 5 deflated soccer balls with an inflation device, a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and 500 band-aids
The Safari Store: For all your safari packing needs
Travel Directory A worldwide travel directory featuring travel deals, travel photos and travel blogs.
Seven Wonders Discover, explore and learn more about the seven wonders from around the world.
Reproduced from Hello Magazine – 28 JULY 2014
Four times Olympian Chemmy Alcott had always dreamed of a safari honeymoon and last month, following her idyllic wedding day at London’s Syon Park, her wish came true. Here the alpine skier writes exclusively for HELLO! Online on why the trip has left the newlyweds on top of the world.
“There is a lot of pressure for honeymoons to be good. I mean, more of-ten than not, they start within 24 hours of the best day of your life! The fear of an anticlimax after a big and amazing event is always there. The pressure to enjoy your first days as man and wife is colossal.
Almost 8 years ago when Dougie and I went on our first dates we joked that if we were ever to get married we would go on a safari honeymoon. Now that was coming true. We flowed frantically through the busy happiness of our wedding day, leading such a fast paced life (we both race at around 80mph on a weekly basis) it is the norm. And because there is no time to stop your body and mind becomes used to all the excitement. By the time we landed in Tanzania we were ready for this incredible country to wow us.
Having been frantically caught up wedding planning, we handed all our trust over to Africa Odyssey andBeyond to make the honeymoon a holiday of a lifetime. So nervously landing at Kilimanjaro we realised that we had no clue how we were getting to our first stop. Breathing a big sigh of relief when we saw a lovely man holding a sign with our name, we started our trip.
I have to admit the itinerary had daunted us at first. There seemed so much travelling. However, safari travel isn’t really travelling – I have heard the Chinese proverb – ‘the journey is the reward’ on many occasions but travelling every second day to a different part of this amazing African country, I finally got it. From the internal, tiny planes where Dougie sat in the co-pilot seat, to the 4 by 4s that snaked through the woods, which weren’t merely methods of getting from A to B – they were an experience in themselves. We will never forget the birds-eye view of perfectly round Masai villages dotting around the country side (one actually was a heart – we saw this as a sign!) to the vast, pink illuminated waters of Lake Manyara (we later found out this wasn’t the sunset but millions of flamingos), nor the rough landings on rustic, dirt packed runways!
Embarrassingly we didn’t even make it into the first national park be-fore we shrieked in excitement asking the guide to pull over so we could take a photo of one lone family of baboons sitting at the side of the road. That ‘airport pick up’ alone we were spoilt by sightings of giraffes, hippos, zebras, wildebeest, ‘Pumba’ (warthogs), flamingos, impala , buffalo and dik-diks.
Exhausted, but buzzing from the animal sightings we arrived at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge – a perfectly hidden, unintrusive gem in the middle of the bush. In terms of being at one with nature and living amongst the trees you couldn’t get any better (although Dougie pointed out it was bizarre that we were staying high up in a tree house in the one area famed for tree climbing lions!)
Giggling like teenagers when we were told we had our own butler for the stay – we felt like we had sneaked into someone else’s life – that evening we were spoilt by a lovely, romantic, candle lit bubble bath (the first of many our butlers would prepare for us). I had been warned be-fore leaving not to expect too much of the food whilst on safari. Well for us at every andBeyond lodge we visited this warning was redundant – the food was not only fresh, it was spectacular – from the marinades to the perfectly tender meats cooked in outside, clay tandoori ovens.
The one thing about safari that we underestimated was how exhausting it is – and as professional athletes we can handle early morning and full days on the mountains. But you don’t want to sleep in. Dougie and I both suffer from F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) so every morning, how-ever sleepy we felt, we always dragged ourselves out of bed. Watching game waking at sunrise is magical. One of my favourite moments was watching two young zebras playing around. Each in turn would sit down and pretend they were finished playing, to tempt the other to rest as well and up would pop the first back onto its hind legs to be tall, strong and powerful.
Being able to have the chance at Lake Manyara to cycle to the local village and chat amongst the people who live there was unforgettable. Cycling to the school and, despite not fully understanding each other, put-ting on performances (they sung beautifully to us and Dougie and I showed them some pairs circus yoga!) we had an amazing time, which ended in a local football match on the banks of the Lake where Dougie and another family we met challenged all the young children to a game!
Another opportunity to delve into the culture was our visit to the Masai Village where we became the lead in a girls vs boys jump off competition. Being the youngest to take part by a fair few years and also having spent 20 years training in the gym professionally, I enjoyed the admiration and laughs I received when I just kept jumping! The Masai live a very unique life in their family villages but what resonates from the experience is that whatever they do, however they live, it makes them all very happy, as they spent the whole time we were there smiling and laughing! I have travelled the world and been very lucky to be invited to some truly magical locations but andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is definitely the most wondrous place I have ever been to. Warm, opulent, extravagant and yet very comfortable with absolutely breathtaking views across the huge expanse of the sunken volcano. In fact on arrival, whilst indulging in another incredible lunch, we dined just next to a few zebras who had climbed right up to the luscious grass of the lodge to feed.
Whilst the animals on safari wowed us, the staff and the lodges made our honeymoon incredible, and we will never forget some of the amazing dining locations – from poolside candlelight in the jungle, to a private alcove on the white sands of Mnemba Island, to taking in room dining to a whole new level (log fire roaring, hundreds of rose petals decorating the floor!)
Leaving the animals to go and spend 2 days at the beach sounds like a cop out but with all the crazy wedding preparations followed by the fantastic but emotional day itself, we relished the idea to stop. To stop on a beautiful private island like andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge was the icing on the cake!
When I say ‘stop’ I mean having a great day scuba diving with turtles, free diving with dolphins, paddle boarding around the island and some epicly competitive games of ‘boule’! And then when we felt lazy we just went snorkelling on the unbelievably colourful reef just 1 metre below the surface and only about 50 meters in front of our bed!
The most incredible part of our time on Mnemba though, was when a nest of 103 baby turtles decided that they needed our help to survive. The odds on baby turtles becoming fully grown is only 1 in 1000 So, when the nests are ready, the staff ask guests to help clear the beach and protect the babies from birds and crabs to give them the best possible chance of survival. Since we were on honeymoon we were allowed to escort the first baby turtle to the water where we named him Syon (after our wedding location) and wished him all the luck in the world as he awkwardly battled the shore breaking waves. It was such an incredible experience to witness the first moments of life of these amazingly cute little creatures!
You know a holiday is good when you are already thinking of reasons and excuses to return before you have even left! Well, maybe when I am pregnant, maybe our ten year anniversary or maybe when our children have grown and left home; for whatever the occasion I know we will be back.”
www.africaodyssey.com tel 020 8704 1216 Two nights at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, two nights at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and two nights at andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge from £4,824 per person on an all-inclusive basis. Price based on two people sharing and includes international and domestic flights and all game viewing activities.
We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated for the prestigious British Travel Awards in 2 categories. If you enjoyed your holiday with us, or our advice at the planning stage, please do take the time to vote for us! There are some great prizes to be won for taking part.
How to Vote?
In the first section (‘…best holiday companies for specific types of holiday’), we are listed under ‘Best Safari, Wildlife and Nature Holiday Company’ (at the bottom).
Under the fourth section (‘…best holiday companies to Africa and the Middle East’), we are listed under ‘Best Holiday Company to Sub-Saharan Africa’, (in the middle).
The easiest method is to quickly find ‘Africa Odyssey’ on the survey page, (using Ctrl F on a PC or Command F on a Mac); we are listed twice.
Short on time? Don’t worry, you do not need to vote in any other category, or fill in the survey afterwards; Just leave it blank, scroll to the end of the page and click ‘submit survey’.
Please see the screen grab below for more help, and click on this link now to vote
Sadly only those with a UK postcode are eligible to vote, Good Luck !
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