We can’t introduce Kenya without mention of the oscar-winning film ‘Out of Africa’. Whether you saw it back in 1985 or have watched it since, it will have left you with an adventurous feeling of falling in love with the country’s stunning landscapes. The gorgeous Maasai Mara savannah, romantic picnics, and breathtaking sunsets spring to mind. Go here if you’re looking for one of the best safaris you’ll ever take; seek genuine ‘once in a lifetime’ encounters with the fascinating Maasai people; or love dramatic, natural scenery. Nairobi, a vibrant, multicultural and modern city with skyscrapers, fine dining restaurants, theatres and shopping malls, is where most holidays in Kenya begin. Spend a night or two relaxing and exploring. Start with the Karen Blixen Museum, the former home of author Karen Blixen whose memoirs were the basis for the famous film, ‘Out of Africa’. And meet the sweet little orphaned elephants at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that are carefully nurtured before being released back into the wild when they’re ready. The main event in Kenya is a safari. And the Maasai Mara Game Reserve is one of the best places in the world for this because of the sheer variety of species you’ll see. Take game-drives in search of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo) and the hippos and crocs that wallow in the Mara River. Between July and October is a fantastic time frame to come if you’re looking to witness the annual migration of around one and a half million wildebeest, along with antelope and zebra — and their predators — rightly referred to as “one of the greatest shows on earth”. For an insight into Kenya’s rich tribal culture, join a tour with one of the red-cloaked, famously tall, Maasai warriors. He’ll show you around the local village and you’ll see the tribeswomen crafting colourful beaded necklaces. Their way of life has been beautifully preserved and time spent with the Maasai will never be forgotten. More off the beaten track is Laikipia, which has the second highest concentration of wildlife after Maasai Mara. From here, visit remote and unspoilt pockets of our planet. Take to the skies by helicopter for a trip over Mount Kenya’s extinct volcanic peaks, glaciers and forest covered slopes. Or get to feel like a true explorer in the Great Rift Valley, where Lake Baringo is famous for its flocks of flamingos and the Njemp fishermen who continue to live the same traditional lifestyle they have for over 200 years. Meanwhile, Lake Bogoria attracts Greater Kudu, buffalo, zebra and smaller plains game, but it’s the geysers and hot springs along the shoreline that make this place spectacular. Wherever you go in Kenya, it’s still possible to find some of the last remaining, unchanged wildernesses of the world.
South Africa is a destination that instantly propels you from everything that’s familiar to a world of adventure, wild scenery and vibrant culture. Authentic, unique and inspirational experiences abound. Enjoy wildlife encounters on safari, historic journeys in Cape Town and Johannesburg and fabulous gastronomic moments in some of the world’s most renowned wineries. At its heart is the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town. A popular sightseeing destination, you can easily spend a few days here. The cable-car ride up Table Mountain – camera in hand – is almost expected, while shopping and lunching at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a delight and a trip to Robben Island prison is certainly thought-provoking. To feel the sand between your toes, head for one of the beaches such as Camps Bay. It’s an affluent suburb and a nice place to enjoy the Atlantic, meet the locals and sample some beachside cafes. There’s whale-watching along the Cape too, or enjoy a round of golf on one of the fine courses. From the city, drive out along the Garden Route – a stunning ensemble of floral beauty – passing wild beaches, sparkling lakes and rolling hills en route. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, horse riding, penguin-spotting and more. If you enjoy the gourmet food scene, the Winelands are a must. Begin with a vineyard tour, then savour a special lunch of fresh Cape cuisine accompanied by a select bottle of wine as you gaze out at the picturesque valley scenery. At least once in your lifetime, a safari is highly recommended, and Johannesburg is often the place to embark on an onward adventure to the bushlands. The city has shaken off its reputation as somewhere to pass through as quickly as possible, and a couple of days can be spent exploring the arts scene, political heritage and local townships such as Soweto. It’s a springboard to top wilderness destinations including Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The winter months of May to September are good for game drives and tracking animals, including lions, elephants and rhino, and with the help of an expert tracker it’ll be one of life’s most thrilling experiences. Along with birdwatching, stargazing, sundowners and dinner around the boma, this part of the world will leave you with memories that will last for ever.
The lure of the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro – otherwise known as the Roof of Africa as the highest peak on the continent – will, without a doubt, instil boatloads of excitement as you plan your trip to hike the peaks and visit with the Big Five. Then there’s the beaches, the friendly people, fascinating culture of Dar es Salaam and the Zanzibar Archipelago. Tanzania has all this and more wrapped up in one adventurous and enticing package. Furthermore, if you plan to visit Kenya and Uganda on the same trip, visa re-entry fees will be waived if you’re travelling between the three countries as long as your single-entry visa remains valid for each destination. Spend a few days in Dar es Salaam when you arrive. It’s the country’s largest city, although not it’s capital. The cultural sites, museums and zoos are worth exploring, and the seafood is certainly worth sticking around for. Plan to come between July and October, the driest time of the year. It also happens to be when millions of wildebeest and zebras thunder across the Serengeti during the annual Great Migration. About a 23 mile hop from the shore is Zanzibar by ferry, the semi-autonomous archipelago otherwise known as the Spice Islands. Life here is different in all aspects of life. Ruled by the Sultanate of Oman for centuries, it was a base for traders from the African Lakes region, India and the Arabian peninsula. Today, it’s a fascinating destination, and the ancient city of Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site well worth discovering. Whatever you do, don’t leave Tanzania without a tanzanite or two, for yourself or someone special. The purple and blue precious gemstone comes from a location at the foothills of Mount Kilamanjaro, the only source in the world.