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Hot on the heels of winning a medal in the 2014 British Travel Awards, we are delighted to say that we have been nominated again, in the category ‘Best Safari, Wildlife & Nature Holidays Company’

Obviously we will only win if we receive enough votes so please do vote for us here

The category we are nominated in is under ‘Who are the best holiday companies for specific types of holiday?’. The safari option is number 14, at the bottom of this list

Our 2014 awards as below:

Please vote for us Please vote for us

The Ultimate African Gap Year

This is the Ultimate Gap Year – especially for those who have just sold their business, come into money, or generally want to see Africa in style and is about as far removed from a usual Gap Year as it gets!

We’ve put together an itinerary which takes in the very best of this incredible continent, spanned over 365 days and at a cost of £114,000 per person. This truly is a once in a lifetime trip and will allow you to get to know Africa like no other.

The graphic below shows the amazing route you will follow from Marrakech to Cairo, along with some of the many highlights you’ll come across en route.  This incredible trip takes in the highlights of this amazing continent, and would cost about £114,000 per person !

The Ultimate African Gap Year


As you can imagine, in 365 days you stop off in a fair few stunning spots, but we’ve highlighted a few particularly special spots below:

The Okavango Delta


Mount Kilimanjaro






Sossussvlei Dunes


Cape Town


Chobe National Park


Victoria Falls


Lake Malawi




The Serengeti




The Sahara Desert



Whilst on the trip as well as seeing some breathtaking places you’ll also get to experience some once in a lifetime experiences, including those below:

Microlight over Victoria Falls


Meet Gorillas in Rwanda and Congo


Cruise along the River Nile


Trek up Mount Kilimanjaro


Canoe Safari in Zimbabwe


Go diving in Lake Malawi


Quad biking across the Kalahari


Wine Tasting along the Garden Route in South Africa


Watch the Great Migration, one of the world’s most incredible sights


The Tides of change

As United States president Barack Obama visits Kenya, a month after the lifting of travel restrictions, one of our favourite stretches of African coastline is filled with new hope, finds Gill Charlton

Elton Munyore has been selling safari excursions to tourists on Bamburi beach, north of Mombasa, for 19 years. “The last year has been very difficult,” he says. “My family shamba [smallholding] gave us enough to eat, but nothing more. Fortunately I had some savings, but that’s all gone now.”

Along with every hotelier, boat captain and beach trader on Kenya’s coast, Munyore – known to everyone as Elton John, a nickname bestowed by British tourists years ago – breathed a huge sigh of relief when Britain last month lifted its ban on travel to Mombasa and the adjacent coast, from Watamu southward to the border with Tanzania.

“Before the advisory, six out of 10 of our guests were from Britain,” says Mohammed Hersi, CEO of Heritage Hotels, which runs Voyager, a popular all-inclusive resort on Nyali beach. “The entire community’s livelihood has been affected. It’s been a big wake-up call; now everyone knows what’s at stake. We need to make sure that what happened in Tunisia could never happen here.”
This weekend’s visit by Barack Obama to open the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is much talked-about on the beaches. For small-time salesmen such as Elton John, the arrival of the American president to promote young entrepreneurs can only be a good thing, a sign that there is international confidence in Kenya and its future in spite of the security issues.
• Why you should travel to Kenya now

The Old Town of Mombasa
The British have visited the Kenyan coast in large numbers since the Eighties, drawn by the dazzling white sandy beaches, the friendly hotel staff, and the chance to spend a thrilling night or two on safari in the national parks of Tsavo and Amboseli.
Sharing a border with Somalia has always been problematic, however. In the past couple of years, extremists linked to the militant group Al Shabaab have carried out a number of attacks in Lamu and Tana River counties on the border with Somalia. As a result, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still warns against all but essential travel to these areas and to within 60km (37 miles) of the Kenya-Somalia border.
• Kenya’s coast reopens
In the wake of the sectarian violence, Britain and the United States have been providing military hardware and training as part of a raft of measures put in place by the Kenyan government to help secure the region. In coastal communities where the travel ban has been lifted, there is a renewed vigilance and a determination to preserve the open-minded tolerance for which the Swahili culture has long been known.
In his role as chairman of the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA), Mohammed Hersi has set up customer service and security training courses for beach traders all along the coast. “There’s no more ‘them’ and ‘us’,” says Hersi. “The curio sellers, masseurs and safari sellers are valuable extra eyes and ears on the beach and in the local community.” The KCTA has so far trained more than 500 of these beach operators (the term “beach boy” is no longer used) and it seems to be paying off in many ways.

As a single white female, I would normally have been mobbed walking alone on Bamburi beach. But after a gentle rebuttal to a man who tried to sell me a boat trip, and another who wanted to be my “friend”, I walked down the beach unmolested. Occasionally a curio seller called out, but there was a level of politeness on the beach that wasn’t there before. And the beach itself was a lot cleaner: the flotsam and jetsam dumped on Kenya’s beaches in summer by the Indian Ocean monsoon had been cleared up, even on stretches where there are no hotels.
Despite the big drop in revenues, the coast’s large resort hotels have been keeping up their maintenance programmes. The buildings are freshly whitewashed and the lawns and flower beds have been clipped and weeded to perfection. Necessary upgrading work has also continued, creating the more spacious bedrooms demanded by today’s holidaymakers.
• Is it safe to travel to Kenya?
Whitesands, a collection of handsome low-rise buildings set in 22 acres, has undergone a major renovation to increase the size of its rooms and install swish contemporary bathrooms. On Saturday mornings the hotel allows the beach traders to set out their wares on its lawns. “It’s a new initiative,” says Joy Morai, the hotel’s sales manager. “It’s our thank you to them for making sure the beach is safe and clean.”
Like all hotels along the coast, Whitesands has visible, but unarmed, G4S security staff at its entrances from the road and the beach. This is nothing new, but now there are plain-clothes officers, too. Even so, the beach operators are the front-line troops. “We know everyone on this beach,” said Elton John. “We’re alert for intruders and we know what to do. The police have told us that it’s better to report something suspicious and get it wrong rather than let it go.”

It is hoped Obama’s visit will give an air of security to the country Photo: Getty
This was a mantra I heard from people up and down the coast. In Watamu, 70 miles north-east of Mombasa, they have tested the reporting system three times so far. “It worked really well,” said Damian Davies, manager of the Turtle Bay Beach Club, a popular budget choice with British families. “The police response was swift and efficient and, of course, they were all false alarms.”
Kenya’s most beautiful beach – in my view, one of the world’s best – is Diani, a long strand of soft white sand running south of Mombasa. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advisory never included this area, as visitors could fly from Nairobi to Ukunda, the local airstrip, but it has suffered badly all the same.
• A beginner’s guide to safari in Africa
This area was once a popular retreat for Britons living in Kenya, and many of their beach houses have been turned into smart boutique hotels. The Sands at Nomad, run by Richard Glaser, is something of an institution, serving up delicious fish and seafood fresh from the boats in its open-air beach dining room. He is optimistic about prospects for filling his 18 rooms over the winter season. “I’ve already signed contracts with Somak and Thomas Cook,” he said. “Thomson has come knocking too. It’s such a relief.”
Down on the beach, I was beckoned over by the curio sellers. They’d had their customer service training, but had it worked? “Please welcome. What is your name?” asked an older man wearing a big smile. “I will carve it on this wooden key-ring. It is a free gift and you can collect it tomorrow.”
It was a clever ruse, meaning I had to pay a second visit. The sellers speak good English; lengthy bargaining is required for the simplest purchase. It’s the custom, they told me. A discount of 50 per cent is usual.

I enjoyed talking to the beach operators, and finding out about their lives, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. For greater privacy, though, head south to where the metalled road runs out and the rural Africa of old reappears. The village of Msambweni is a delight. Traditional coral-stone houses line its grid of mud streets, which are also home to mango stalls and a great many hairdressers. Beyond the village lies Saruni Ocean, a new boutique hotel built in an attractive cuboid Swahili style. It is run by Luca De Marchis, a Roman chef, and his wife, Guilia, a marine biologist.
Over a lunch of carpaccio octopus and crab linguine, they told me that they had made a conscious decision to hire all the staff from the village. “It has taken a lot of training but we were determined to do it,” said De Marchis. “We need the villagers to see the benefits of helping us keep the beach clean and safe.”
Walking the beach here was an unfettered pleasure. An old lady watched a group of teenagers play football on the sand. In the shallows, younger boys were gutting eels and searching rock pools for more. At the reef’s edge, their fathers loaded nets into square-rigged dhows for the night’s fishing ahead. Occasionally I exchanged greetings: “Jambo”. “Habari”. “Nzuri sana asante”. I didn’t realise that beaches this unspoilt still existed in Kenya.
Back in Diani, I collected my key-ring. As I turned to leave, a man quietly asked if I would buy one of his bead necklaces. “Choose any one and just pay me KSh100,” he said. They’re worth more than 70p, but he was clearly desperate to make a sale.
“Why the bargain?” I asked.
“I just need to sell something. To feel good. To believe that things are going to get better again.”

Where to stay
All package prices quoted below are per person for one week including flights from Britain, unless otherwise stated. Most hotels have extensive spas, watersports facilities plus diving and snorkelling on protected reefs.

South of Mombasa
● The Sands at Nomad
Thirty-seven rooms, including two-bedroom suites and beach cottages, on the loveliest stretch of Diani. Superb restaurant and sociable bar popular with expats. From £770 b & b; child sharing £539 (thesandskenya.com).
● Leopard Beach Resort
Set in 37 acres on a small bluff above two small coves north of Diani. Bright spacious rooms and new villas (the Residences) with a choice of places to eat. Adults-only pool and beach as well as family entertainment and pool areas. From £835 half-board; child sharing £699
A room at the Saruni Ocean Resort
● Kinondo Kwetu
A family home turned boutique retreat run by the Andersson family from Sweden. The 15 rooms are arranged in villas filled with antique pieces beside a private beach. Horse-riding and tennis on site with tuition. From £2,819 all inclusive; child sharing £1,899 (kinondo-kwetu.com).
● Saruni Ocean
A stylish contemporary hideaway with 10 suites, a large infinity pool and fine dining under the stars. Charming Italian hosts speak English. From £2,055 full-board; child sharing £1,179 (saruni.com).
North of Mombasa
● Whitesands Beach Resort
Stylish sea view rooms and suites renovated over the past three years. Well run by a very friendly, efficient team. From £845 half-board; child sharing £765 (sarovahotels.com).
● Voyager Beach Resort
The best family-oriented resort on the coast and a big favourite with Brits: spotless rooms, professional kids club, beautiful gardens, themed buffets and entertainment. From £900 all inclusive; child sharing £599 (heritage-eastafrica.com).
● Serena Beach Resort
Set in beautiful grounds by a quiet 1.2-mile beach bounded by cliffs. Intimate despite its 164 rooms: many recently enlarged with new bathrooms to create more space. Its Elemis spa is the best on the coast. From £1,025 half-board; child sharing £699 (serenahotels.com).
● Travellers Beach Hotel
A great three-star option with a particularly welcoming atmosphere. Good air-conditioned gym. From £690 half-board; child sharing £599 (travellersbeach.com).

● Medina Palms
While Watamu’s leading hotel, Hemingways, remains closed the neighbouring Medina Palms is the luxury alternative: one-bedroom apartment sleeping two from £210 per night half-board (medinapalms.com).
● Turtle Bay Beach Club
The oldest all-inclusive on the coast, it has loyal repeat customers and good food, though rooms are looking a little tired. From £975 all-inclusive; child sharing £599 (turtlebaykenya.com).
● Shwari House
Fully staffed beachfront villa with six en suite bedrooms and infinity pool. Rents for £700 per night

Prince Harry heads to Africa

Prince Harry ended his 10 year Army career today and next week will be packing his bags and following in his brother’s footsteps by heading out to Africa for a 3 month stint on the ‘front line’ on wildlife conservation travelling across Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana where the emphasis will be focused on Rhino and Elephant protection.

His brother William is a patron of the charity Tusk and shares Harry’s passion for the conservation of the continent, and this year has escalated the poaching crisis on the agenda of the presidents in the US and China. He has also had numerous trips to Africa including his proposal and honeymoon in Kenya and North island in the Seychelles respectively.

The Prince will be working alongside all aspects of conservation from being part of the rapid response units, heading out in search of the poachers, to working together with the Vet and support staff who help to save animals that have been victims of poaching attacks and now also looking at how new technology can be used to aid the park rangers catching the culprits with drone technology.

This will be no holiday for Harry, sleeping out in the wild and living in basic accommodation but his hands on experience and great audience will hopefully help the current conservation troubles that Africa are in and together both Harry and William can make a difference to the growing poaching crisis.

Tanzania voted best safari country in Africa

Tanzania voted best safari country in Africa
A new poll crowns the East African country the king of safaris

Tanzania is the best place for a safari, according to a new poll.
First problem when considering a safari — where to go.

Zimbabwe has the majestic Victoria Falls, South Africa great boutique reserves.

Kenya offers chances to see big cats and Botswana is a leader in eco-friendly tours.

But you’d be best off selecting Tanzania, according to a recent poll on safaribookings.com.

The Netherlands-based website polled 1,000 safari tourists and 756 experts, including guidebook authors from Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Bradt and Footprint, over two years.

The result: Tanzania is a clear favorite for novice and veteran safari-goers alike.

“Tanzania is home to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater,” wrote Tim Bewer, a Lonely Planet guides author and one of the experts polled. “This alone makes a solid case for declaring it Africa’s best safari country.”

Adventure calls

Tanzania has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including safari favorites the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, home to millions of wildebeest that form one of the world’s most spectacular sights as they migrate the area year-round.

The country is also home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

Tanzania’s only drawback, according to Safari Bookings, is that there are “too many highlights to fit in one safari.”

The news comes as welcome affirmation of the country as a tourist destination, after a recent bombing at a rally that killed two in Arusha. That event sparked anxiety among visitors.

Ratings out of 5 of Africa’s top safari countries

As voted by tourists and safari experts

Tanzania – 4.84
Botswana – 4.75
Kenya – 4.66
Zambia – 4.58
South Africa – 4.55
Namibia – 4.54
Uganda – 4.16
Zimbabwe – 4.14

Tanzania Safari – the Perfect Family Holiday

Planning to venture out on a holiday with your family members is always enthralling. You’ll get to experience a whole new world, and you’ll have plenty of time with your family memberstime with your family members. Pamoja Tanzania safaris are a terrific way to bond, and chances are you won’t regret that you decided to embark upon this journey.

Tanzania Safari   the Perfect Family Holiday

Plenty of Fun
When you are picking a place to go on holiday, you want to ensure that all of your family members have fun. With people of all different ages, and interests, selecting a spot, and appropriate activities, can be more than challenging. Fortunately, a Tanzania safari has plenty to offer to most members of your group. Before booking such a trip, you need to see if certain requirements exist in terms of physical condition and age.

Tanzania Safari   the Perfect Family Holiday

Excellent Food and Weather
Going on holiday often means that you want to escape your current cold climate or that you are looking forward to trying out some new restaurants. When people think of a safari, they might not immediately consider the weather and food, but you really should. You’ll get to try delectable cuisine from the area. Also, you can enjoy the warm sun shining down upon you. For those of you are tired of a long winter, going out on a Tanzania safari is just the cure you need.

plenty of fun

Sightseeing and the Animals
As you go on safari, you are going to see all of the beautiful landscapes and scenery in the area, and most of all, you are going to observe animals in their natural habitat. Not too many people get the chance to do that. Seeing animals where they live is a much different experience from going to a zoo or another type of such habitat. You get to see the freedom they experience every day, and you might be motivated to pursue your own goals from this outing.

Sightseeing and the animals

An Educational Experiences
When you book a family holiday, you often hope that some educational experience will emerge. Some like to book activities that are specifically educational while others are interested in a more natural education that organically arises from the activities in which one engages. With a Tanzania safari, you have both of those experiences rolled into one. The safari is going to provide you with fascinating information about the animals that you see, but your family is also able to observe how animals in the wild live when human beings do not interfere. A new hobby, or even a career, might come into fruition because of your journey.

Deciding to go on a safari is an excellent idea because the trip truly offers you something new and exciting. On top of that, your family has the ability to learn together in a way that you likely have never experienced in the past.