Tailor-made Holidays

Tailor-made Holidays

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Safari and Beach

Safari and Beach

Combine Africa's amazing wildlife with the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean for the perfect holiday

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Holidays in South Africa

Cosmopolitan cities, stunning wildlife and deserted beaches - South Africa has it all.

Tanzania Safari And Beach

Tanzania Safari And Beach

Migrating wildebeest, idyllic palm-fringed beaches, and snow-capped mountains ... these could be YOUR Tanzania holiday memories!

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African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

Seychelles and Mauritius are now free of Covid-19

Paul Campbell - May 22, 2020

The island paradise of Seychelles has become the second country in the Indian Ocean to become free of Covid-19. The nation of fewer than one hundred thousand inhabitants reported 11 cases in total, and the last infected patient has tested negative for a number of consecutive days and is now considered to be fully recovered and virus free.

Earlier in the month, Mauritius declared total recoveries from coronavirus infections on May 11, 2020. The island nation’s official COVID-19 page said 322 people had recovered out of the 332 confirmed cases, with 10 people unfortunately passing away.

Both of these countries acted promptly to close borders and restrict internal movements in order to control spread of the virus.  Whilst there will inevitably be some new social distancing procedures and additional screening to ensure the virus is not reintroduced to either country, both are able to lift internal restrictions and start to look forward to reopening their borders to overseas visitors.

Seychelles International airport will reopen on June 1, 2020, and we expect to have confirmation of when the airport in Mauritius will open fairly shortly.

Hopefully this is indicative of a turning point in the battle against this terrible disease.  Namibia and Botswana have only had a handful of cases each, and will be hoping to be amongst the next countries to declare themselves virus free.

In the meantime, here are a few of our favourite places in Seychelles and Mauritius…it might be time to start planning your next holiday!

View of Le Morne, Mauritus
Setting out the lanterns, Lux Le Morne, Mauritius
The stylish and romantic Heritage Le Telfair, Mauritius
View from the deck at The Residence, Mauritius
Le Digue, Seychelles
Beach at Constance Ephelia, Seychelles
Hilton Northholme, Seychelles

Victoria Falls In Full Flow

Paul Campbell - May 13, 2020

In a timely reminder that nothing lasts forever, reports from Zimbabwe and Zambia are showing that Victoria Falls has staged an epic recovery and are now in full flow just a few months after widespread reporting that the waters were at a historically low levels due to seasonal drought. In December of last year, stories about the drought were accompanied by alarming pictures showing the bare rockface of the Falls, but by April 2020 the waters had returned and the Falls were back at their magnificent best.

Of course, in the intervening period events in the wider world have temprarily shut down international tourism, so at the moment only residents of the towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone in Zambia are able to enjoy this spectacular sight. But nothing last forever, and as Zimbabwe and Zambia have both been relatively unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic they are begining to ease their own internal lockdowns, and at the momenty the hope is that international tourists will be able to return to the Falls later in the year.

Hopefully the waters will still be close to their current spectaucular levels when international tourists do return, but even if the levels have dropped somewhat from their current highs there is plenty to attract visitors to the area.

Over the years the area around Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border has developed into one of Southern Africa’s leading adventure tourism destinations.  Clearly the main attraction of the area is still a visit to visit the Falls themselves, and for most visitors this will take around half a day if they do this with a guide and visit both the Zimbabwean and Zambian side of the Falls.   The evening cruises on the Zambezi are also immensely popular, and then after that we find a whole host of activities from microlight flights to white water rafting that are sure to provide spectacular memories for those brave enough to take them on.

1. Microlight flight over the Falls

Whilst the popular ‘Flight Of Angels’  helicopter flights offer wonderful views over Victoria Falls, a trip in a microlight offers a more exhilarating way to see the Falls from the air.

As with the helicopter flights, there are both 15 minute and 30 minute options available, however the fact that you are completely exposed to the elements in the microlight make this feel like a very different experience.  The microlights fly lower and slower than the helicopters, meaning you feel the spray on your skin, and as they are slower moving the 15 minute flight will stay closer to the Falls for the majority of the flight.  One thing to note is that you are not allowed to take your own camera on the flights due to safety and insurance issues, however there is a wing mounted camera that is operated by the pilot, and you can buy digital  copies of these pictures at the end of your trip.

Batoka Sky microlight over Victoria Falls

2. The Devil’s Pool

The Devil’s Pool in only accessible when the Falls are at their lowest, between late August and early January, and this natural wonder provides an unforgettable vantage point with spectacular views of the Falls. For those who think they might be washed away as soon as they enter the water, fear not, as there is a natural rock wall that stops any anyone from being swept over.

The Devil’s Pool can only be reached as part of an organised trip, and these depart from the Royal Livingstone Hotel, and start with a short boat ride towards Livingstone Island in the middle of the river right by the edge of the Falls.  From here you will walk to a viewing point overlooking the Horseshoe Falls and the 108 meter drop of the Rainbow Falls,  and then you are taken to an area where you can see the Main Falls from a completely different angle that that seen from the visitor center on the other side of the gorge.  

Looking over the edge of the Devil's Pool (Zambia Tourism)

With only a sheer drop and the rushing waters of the Zambezi around you, Devil’s Pool will showcase the unparalleled beauty and power of this natural wonder, giving you memories that will last a lifetime.

3. White water rafting on the Zambezi

Setting off at dawn with your fellow rafters, guests will all be taken up river for what will be one of the most incredible and exciting activities they’ll ever do.  From the drop off point, it is a short hike down a valley to the river, walking along small paths and having to climb down in some areas, making everyone feel like a true explorer. When everyone is down, no time is wasted in getting onto the river and letting the fun begin. The guide will give you some instructions and tips about safety, and then with a roar from the team, the adventure begins.

You will hear the roar of the rapids before you see them, and you won’t be disappointed with what lies ahead. As the adrenaline kicks in, and the water crashes around you, remember to keep paddling, and then before you know it, you are through and in the calmer water… that is until you tackle the next one!

White water rafting down the Zambezi at Victoria Falls with Wild Horizons

After conquering that final rapid, guests will be left feeling exhausted, but it won’t matter. With a huge smile on your face and a new group of friends besides, have a look back at what you have just done with a feeling of amazement and satisfaction.

4. Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge

Whist there are bungee jumps all over the world, there will be very few betters place to try out this incredible activity than at Victoria Falls. With the Zambezi River below you, and the falls thundering constantly in the background, guests will have to go a long way to find anything more dramatic.

Waiting in the queue on the bridge, watching as each person is given the countdown and then jumping, can be daunting at first. As you get closer and closer, the mind is racing and there is so much adrenaline that you cannot keep your feet still, until finally its time. With your feet just over the edge and nothing in front except one of the best views of the river, all anyone hears is the countdown. With your heart racing and arms out either side, you conquer the fear and jump, and everyone always does. With the river rapidly approaching suddenly you start to slow down, before going up, and then falling again. In that moment, the elation and joy of what you have just accomplished takes over, knowing from then on, if I can do this, I can do anything!

Jump into the unknown with Shearwater Bungee, Victoria Falls

5. Victoria Falls gorge swing

Whilst nearly everyone knows about the famous bungee jump, the gorge swing can sometimes pass under the radar, but don’t be fooled as it offers an adrenaline fix rivaling all of the activities at Vic Falls.   When the guides have walked you through the safety procedures, a harness attached to the rope swing will be attached to the jumper.  With the guide offering some steady encouragement the jumper can walk to the edge of the platform, before getting ready to make the most memorable jump of their lives. 

Breaking free from the fear that was holding them in place, the feeling of free falling before swinging out over the raging waters below is something that is near impossible to describe, and it will take something very special to get a better rush of excitement anywhere.

The gorge swing at Victoria Falls

Introducing the Ngala Treehouse

Paul Campbell - February 7, 2020

AndBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserve has an exciting new addition to its impressive list of safari experiences, with the introduction of the Ngala Treehouse.

Ngala Treehouse

For guests who will be staying at either AndBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge or AndBeyond Ngala Tented camp, this luxurious private sanctuary adds a unique overnight wilderness experience that will create memories to last a lifetime.

Taking bookings from the 10th February, this beautiful retreat will provide the ultimate sleep out under the stars, right in the middle of the reserve and far away from any distractions or interference from the outside world.

Luxurious Bedroom

The Treehouse consists of 4 levels and 2 sleeping areas. The ground floor contains an open-plan dining area, where you can settle down to a delicious picnic or tapas style dinner.

If you continue up the stairs you will come to the bathroom. Here you will find a hot running walk-in shower, and a charming dressing table with a single vanity. There is also a separate W/C.

The third level has a kingsize bed surrounded by glass panels so you will always have a view to enjoy. The elevated sleep-out platform is at the very top under a retractable awning, surrounded by the bush and tree top canopies. The platform also acts as a comfortable open-air lounge during the day.

Ngala Treehouse Bathroom

Ngala (meaning lion) is home to all of the Big Five, and is particularly well known for its large prides of lion. Along with the occasional sightings of wild dog, there are also large herds of elephant and buffalo.

This private reserve shares an unfenced border with the famous Kruger National Park, and consists of 14,700 hectares.

In the heart of the Reserve

Enjoy the exclusivity of game drives within this concession area, along with the flexibility of day and night drives. For the more adventurous, guided bush walks are an excellent option.

Surrounded by home comforts including a well stocked bar and a selection of tasty treats, finish the day with a sundowner and toast the sunset, before settling down to a starlit picnic dinner.

First Lion Cubs born in the Samara Private Game Reserve

Paul Campbell - December 19, 2019

The Samara Private Game Reserve, in the Great Karoo, is proudly celebrating the birth of their first litter of lion cubs, less than one year after they first introduced a new pride of lions to the reserve. This is a significant milestone for the reserve, as these are the first wild lions to roam and breed freely in the region for over 180 years.

The reserve first re-introduced lion at the beginning of 2019, which was one of several initiatives undertaken by the managment team here to restore the Great Karoo’s incredible biodiversity. This huge step also meant that the reserve is the first Big 5 private game reserve in the Great Karoo.

Speaking about the recent birth, founder Sarah Tompkins says “It’s a sign that our move to develop the landscape to create the conditions for new lion populations has been successful.”

Now home to over 65 species of mammal, 220 species of bird, 50 types of reptile and amphibian, the reserve’s growing wildlife diversity has been a true success story.

In 2017, elephants were reintroduced, and the herd was completed thanks to the introduction of 2 elephant bulls in November 2018.

Other notable species in Samara apart from the Big 5 include zebra, giraffe, aardvark and cheetah.

The reserve itself is located in the Graaff Reinet region of the Eastern Cape and encompasses 27,000 hectares of spectacular malaria-free Karoo wilderness, incorporating dramatic mountain terrains, sweeping plains and ancient rock art.

For more information or if you’re interested in staying here, check out our webpage in the link below.

https://www.travelbutlers.com/south-africa/safari/eastern-cape/samara-private-game-reserve/

Home in time for Christmas

Paul Campbell - October 3, 2019

With Christmas just around the corner, why not treat yourself to a well deserved break and enjoy 12 nights away, soaking up the summer sun and exploring the beautiful Cape in South Africa!

This magical journey will have you exploring the top of Table Mountain, feeling the warm sands and fresh Atlantic water inbetween your toes, tasting award winning wines, and coming face to face with an ostrich – all the while being captivated by the charm of the region’s small villages.  After taking in the breathtaking sights of the Western Cape, and the endless views of green landscapes and blue oceans, you head off on a 2 night safari in a private game reserve – home to Africa’s Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

Taking place from the 12th to 24th December, this itinerary includes return flights from London on Ethiopian Airlines (or a similar airline), 3 nights in Cape Town, followed by a 5 night Guided Tour along the Garden Route with an English guide all the way to Port Elizabeth, where finally, you will finish with 2 nights on safari at Amakhala Woodbury Lodge in the beautiful Eastern Cape.

With prices from just £2995 per person this is a great way to beat the winter blues and be home in time for Christmas!

Enquire Now

Cape Town 12th–15th December

Cape Town and Table Mountain

You will depart from London Heathrow in the evening, stopping briefly in Addis Ababa before flying all the way down to Cape Town, arriving the next day in the early afternoon. After collecting your bags, you will then be transferred to Breakwater Lodge, ideally located right next to the vibrant V&A Waterfront.  Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities – with a magnificent mountain as its centre, miles of sandy beaches, a colourful and moving history, and countless bars and restaurants, Cape Town captures the hearts of visitors.

The Garden Route 16th–21th December

Today, the journey through the Garden Route and all its wonders begins with a wine tasting in the picturesque Hex River Valley, surrounded by magnificent mountains. The tour will then continue, taking you through Matjiesfontein and onto Prince Albert where you will spend the night at the charming Victorian styled Swartberg Hotel.  Enjoy a delicious evening meal in the Victoria Room, a room inspired by a history that dates back all the way to 1864.

The Swartberg Hotel in Prince Albert

17th December

After breakfast, enjoy the spectacular drive through the Swartberg Mountains to Oudtshoorn. Oudtshoorn is the “Ostrich Capital” of the world and is the largest town in the Klein Karoo region, a semi-desert place with a reputation for its inspiring natural splendour. Here you will be given a tour of one of the one of the world’s great natural wonders, the Cango Caves, followed by a visit to an Ostrich Farm. You will be spending the night at  La Plume Guest House  and once checked in, you can enjoy relaxing on the cool veranda of your room, with its sweeping view across the Olifant’s River Valley to the Swartberg Mountains.

La Plume Boutique Guest House View

18th–19th December

Moving down to the coast, the tour continues through the Outeniqua Pass to George (the 6th oldest town in SA) and onto Wilderness, before finally reaching Knysna. Nestled on the banks of a beautiful lagoon, Knysna is a bustling little holiday town with a lively Waterfront area. You can take part in a lagoon cruise to the Featherbed Nature Reserve before heading to the top of the Western Head to enjoy the panoramic views of the town and lagoon. Your 2 nights here will be spent at The Rex Hotel. The next day you will have the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Knysna area, including a visit to the Garden of Eden and the Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary. Set in a lush green forest, you will be able to see a variety of primates, roaming free. Before heading back, there is time to see the Eastern Head and Brenton on Sea.

Knysna Lagoon

20th December

Departing Knysna, the tour takes you to Plettenberg Bay (the jewel of the Garden Route) and the biggest single free flight aviary in the world, the Birds of Eden Sanctuary.  After this, you will get to see Bloukrans Bridge, home to the highest bungy jump in the world. For those who are brave enough, here’s your chance! The continues along the spectacular coastline of Tsitsikamma National Park and Storms River Mouth, where you will spend the night at the Tsitsikamma Village Inn which lies just on the outskirts of the Park.

21th December

Today, you will come to the end of your Garden Route Tour by finishing with an orientation tour of Port Elizabeth. Known more fondly as just PE, the warmth of the people have earned it the well-deserved reputation as ‘The Friendly City’. When the tour has finished you will then be taken to the Amakhala Game Reserve for an incredible safari experience.

Amakhala Game Reserve 21th–23th December

This 7,200 malaria-free hectare game reserve is home to all of the Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard), as well as cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and plenty of antelope species. It offers a range of different landscapes and  includes breathtaking views of the Bushman’s River.

Woodbury Lodge is spectacularly set against a cliff above the Bushmans River valley, offering an intimate and tranquil experience.  There are a range of activities to enjoy during your 2 night stay here, including game drives, a river cruise, bush walks and horse trails. For those interested in soaking up the African sun, recline around the pool and enjoy some quiet bird watching.

Amakhala Woodbury Lodge

On the final morning, enjoy one more game drive before returning for breakfast, before you are collected and transferred to Port Elizabeth Airport in time for your flight home. Arrive back into London on the 24th, with some incredible stories to dazzle your family and friends with over Christmas dinner.

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