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Tailor-made Holidays

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

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

Love is in the Air

TraceyCampbell - February 11, 2015

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it got us thinking about the romance that Africa can offer you. Here is our shortlist:

Proposing on the top of Table Mountain – One of the most iconic destinations in Africa, if you want your proposal to be memorable then going down on one knee here will not fail to disappoint – and hopefully elicit the answer ‘yes’ from your bride-to-be!

Table Mountain

Little Kulala – with the desert and towering red sand dunes as your vista, your private thatched ‘kulala’ (the word means ‘to sleep’) offers not only stunning accommodation but also a private plunge pool, indoor and outdoor showers and a rooftop star bed for romantic star gazing. Truly one of the most romantic places I have ever stayed at, in all my years of travelling around Africa.

Little Kulala

Msambweni House – spacious rooms with private verandahs, a luxury tented room or private villas facing the ocean with private pools and jacuzzis. Whichever accommodation type you choose, end your day with a dip together in the infinity pool then walk down the winding jetty hand in hand to enjoy the perfect sundowner spot on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. What could be more romantic?

Msambweni House

Sleeping out under the stars – For the hopeless romantic, nothing can beat a luxury safari sleep out. Imagine falling asleep in the middle of the African bush with a blanket of stars above you, surrounded only by flickering lanterns and listening to a bedtime lullaby of roaring lions, crying jackals and laughing hyenas.

Lion Sands Chalkley TreeHouse

Or for those not feeling quite so adventurous, then enjoy a luxuriant bubble bath on your private safari deck as the sun sets over the African bush. Either way, it is romance at its best!

Sanctuary Baines Camp

Denis Island – your own private Robinson Crusoe retreat, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Step out of your villa onto the deserted white sandy beach. Barefoot escapism doesn’t get better than this.

Denis Island

Singita Sabora – situated in the Grumeti Reserve in northern Tanzania, this intimate 1920s-style explorer’s tented camp is steeped in character and romance. Playing host to the annual Great Migration is just one of the reasons to stay here.

Singita Sabora

Sunrise balloon ride over the safari plains – despite the early start, drifting slowly over the African plains as the sun rises, with a birds-eye view of the wildlife below is a wonderfully unique and romantic experience. Upon landing, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before heading off for a bush breakfast – a memorable finale to your adventure.

Balloon Safari

Helicopter ride followed by romantic meal on top of a mountain – only in the private Entabeni Concession in the Waterberg area of South Africa can you combine a short but exhilarating helicopter flight with a romantic meal on a secluded mountain top – with just the two of you left alone to enjoy the indescribable natural beauty of the landscape beyond you.

Entabeni Safari Conservancy

Luxury Train Journey – journey aboard the Rovos Rail and take a nostalgic step back in time to the romantic days of privileged, decadent rail travel.- an unbeatable way to experience the epic and ever-changing landscape of Africa.

Rovos Rail

Aanari – A Calm Hideaway

TraceyCampbell - December 17, 2014

Aanari Hotel sits in the heart of Flic en Flac, a holidaymaker hotspot in Mauritius. Hugging the West Coast of the island, the beach is bright, white and wide, with plenty of space to stretch out in the tropical sunshine and watch the local kids playing football on the sand. The whole town breathes a lighthearted holiday feeling, with small live music bars, coffee shops, rum shacks and restaurants lining the street opposite the beach. It’s an ideal base on the island for anyone after a more lively experience in Mauritius.

Flic en Flac isn’t for everyone, and if you’re in the market for a quiet castaway break in Mauritius, this isn’t the beach for you. However, it has a charm all of its own with plenty of local flair. The crowd here is slightly younger than you’ll find in most Mauritian resorts, so there’s a unique energy to the place that isn’t so easy to find elsewhere on the island. You’ll find a vast range of restaurants, a casino, a supermarket and a shopping complex right on your doorstep. For fun as well as sun, it’s a real winner.

The hotel itself is a calm little oasis amidst the hub of Flic en Flac activity. It has a laid back and welcoming aura, with design influenced heavily by Mauritian tradition and its Hindu heritage. There’s almost something Balinese about the place. Natural materials have been used wherever possible, giving the hotel an earthy, organic atmosphere. The outdoor bar and dining area are filled with tropical plants, coconut trees and tiny ponds, making it brilliant for long, lazy breakfasts and indulgent afternoon cocktails.

The swimming pool is small and surrounded with a smattering of comfy loungers. It can get a little crowded as the day goes on, so it’s best to get there early. However, while the pool may be on the small side, it’s perfect for a refreshing plunge. And if you can’t nab a spot by the pool, do not despair. There are plenty of other chilled out pockets across the hotel, with a couple of sun beds scattered here and there amongst the shady rooftop gardens. The beach is merely footsteps away, so you can spend your days happily hopping between the two.

Flic en Flac is awash with local companies offering island-hopping trips and sightseeing tours, making the Aanari Hotel an excellent strategic base for exploring Mauritius. The tours are affordable as well as exciting, giving you the chance to visit rum distilleries and sugar factories, see the stunning Seven Coloured Earths, take a walk around the Sacred Lake and drop in on some unbelievable islands, such as the Île aux Cerfs and Îlot Gabriel. Sundowner cruises leave every evening while dolphin-spotting trips leave each morning. Suffice to say, you won’t be short on options.

The rooms themselves range from basic to brilliant, and it’s definitely worth paying for the upgrade. While the Superior and Deluxe are kitted out with everything you’ll need to make your stay comfortable, the 15 Clubrooms come complete with balconies and a more generous sense of space. If you’re planning on spending some real time in your room, opt for a Club and you won’t be sorry. They’re far more inviting places to while away some sun-drenched time. Clubrooms also include free entrance to the spa area of the hotel. This is a major perk.

The spa area is a dreamy patch of the Aanari Hotel. Up on the rooftop, far from the bustle of the street below with views across to the mist-swirled hills, there’s no better place to relax. As well as a full-range of massages and body treatments, the spa areas boasts 2 jacuzzi baths with panoramic backdrops. Grab something bubbly to sip on, head for the spa and spend a few hours in jacuzzi-soaked bliss. While Clubroom guests can use the jacuzzis free of charge, other room types will need to book a treatment or pay an entrance fee to the area. It’s worth it either way. Trust me.

Evenings are an upbeat affair at Aanari, with live music playing almost every night and a really varied buffet to boot. The theme of the buffet changes on a weekly basis, so if you stay for seven nights you’re guaranteed a surprise every day. Breakfast is beautifully laid-back, with a wide range of choices and local coffee that will certainly set you up for the day. The quality of cuisine across both dinner and breakfast is unwaveringly tasty, so you’re sure to eat well. Don’t forget to try the local favourites – the coconut tapioca is to die for.

So, while you might not get postcard-perfect peace here, the beach is inviting, the water is warm and the hotel is brilliantly affordable. If you’re after serenity, you’ll need a different stretch of sand, but fun-loving couples, groups of friends and good-time travellers will have a blast staying here. While Flic and Flac might be a love or hate destination, Aanari is a great choice for all. It’s a calm hideaway in a otherwise hedonistic setting, and a lovely place to rest your head.

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Sofitel So – The Lap of Lushury

TraceyCampbell - December 11, 2014

Hidden amongst the untamed beaches of Bel Ombre in Southern Mauritius, Sofitel So has to be one of the most lushurious places on the planet. And that’s what it’s all about – lushury – a term coined by Sofitel themselves. Sophisticated luxury in a wild and natural setting – the very best of both worlds. That’s why, as the hotel claims, life here really is magnifique.

The backdrop is all kinds of beautiful. Bel Ombre is an untouched swathe of sparkling coastline dotted with palm trees that create calm, private coves. The hotel lets the landscape speak for itself, leaving the beach to bask in its raw, natural glory. Loungers, romantic daybeds and coconut-thatched parasols are sprinkled throughout the secluded spots, giving you the chance to laze in undisturbed tranquility.

The water is a series of clear, turquoise stripes and it’s possible to swim and snorkel straight off the beach. There’s a jetty for boat trips and fishing adventures, and the best part is that you’ll feel almost alone. It’s pretty much your own private paradise. The hotel has even created a zone of complete ocean hush offshore, with no motorboats, hawkers, dogs or noise pollution to be heard. Even mosquitoes are banished from the hotel grounds by daily fumigation. The peace is total.

Designed by Kenzo Takada of highly-scented fame, this 5* oasis seamlessly slides its fresh, contemporary lines into the tropical landscape of the island. The blend is beyond perfection. Every tiny detail, angle, texture and shape holds a story of thoughtful design. It’s these careful considerations that set the hotel apart – a loving fusion of first-class luxury and local flavour. As such, Sofitel So is so much more than somewhere to rest your head. It’s a work of art.

The 84 lushury rooms and 6 beach suites are essentially eco-chic pods decked out in clean whites, with accents of lime green and orange, creating a calm but energising atmosphere. There’s a feeling of light and space flowing through the open-plan design of each room, with indoor and outdoor showers and private baths scattered with fragrant petals in the garden. The espresso coffee machines make a top class cuppa, and the safe comes complete with a built-in iPod charger. The genius lies in all these little things, combining to make a breathtaking whole.

The bed is the centrepiece of each room and, oh my, what a bed it is. Sofitel’s bespoke ‘My Bed’ concept is brought to life in every single room. Comfortable doesn’t even begin to cover it. The mattresses, duvets and pillows are made using a magical mixture of layers from duck feathers to down in order to create the perfect cocoon. The effect is amazing. It’s sort of like sleeping on a cloud, so you can catch up on lost sleep in true style. It may well be the best night’s sleep you will ever have.

The public spaces of the hotel are equally ingenious, all with brilliant backstories of their own. The rim-flow swimming pool that runs all the way down to the beach is shaped like a ‘panga’ knife, a traditional Mauritian tool for cutting sugarcane. Around the pool, you’ll find an assortment of loungers, citrus-coloured full-size beanbags and cosy couches, all made for sumptuous sun-soaking.

Tranquil water flows all around the impossibly high-ceilinged Flamboyant restaurant and Takamaka bar area to create a natural cooling system and preserve the sense of absolute peace. Inside and outside merge effortlessly as the tropical Mauritian air flows between the 2. The ultra-modern bar stocks all kinds of homemade rum used to make signature cocktails, often with the addition of Mauritian hibiscus flowers.  Our recommendation – try the vanilla and citronella rum.

The food itself is understated elegance, with evening buffets – but not as you know them. Here you’ll find delicately-spiced fish fillets, immaculately cooked steaks, steaming heaps of inviting vegetables and everything in between. The desserts range from dainty pots of bright raspberry soup to indulgent opera cake and traditional tapioca. Every night, the buffet theme changes, keeping things constantly new and exciting.

For more laid-back beach eats, La Playa is the place to head for lunch. An open-air restaurant spilling out onto a peaceful slice of breezy beach, it’s a great spot to unwind with a book and grab a sunny afternoon light bite. The menu, like the island itself, is eclectic, with mussels ‘en cocotte’, ruby snapper and beef teriyaki. It’s castaway cuisine at its best.

Just like the space, the experience of staying at Sofitel So is seamless. Every effort is put into making your trip to the island totally stressless. You’ll have your own personal butler to cater for your every whim, book your island tours and grant your every request. When you arrive, you’ll be whisked off to an intimate private space for a welcome drink while your admin is taken care of behind the scenes. The staff are discreet, attentive and full of easy smiles. The service level really is second to none.

For honeymooners, it couldn’t be more perfect. If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate honeymoon away beyond city bright lights, Sofitel So will tick every box. It’s deliciously sleepy and ridiculously high on romance. There are extra touches and surprises in store for honeymooners (we won’t say anymore for fear of spoiling the mystery), but mostly, you can be wonderfully, lushuriously alone. Lively it isn’t, so if you’re after an upbeat adventure, look elsewhere, but it’s certainly peaceful par excellence.

For an evening to really remember, try a magic table, possibly our favourite feature. It’s a new development, but it sounds like a real keeper. Here, to celebrate a honeymoon, or indeed, any kind of special occasion, you can book your own private themed meal on the beach – whether it’s Indian, French or traditional Mauritian. A daybed and table hidden between the palm trees will be decorated according to your theme, with twinkling lights strung between palm trees, candles and all kinds of colourful textiles. You can dine in perfect privacy under starry skies while the waves whisper in the background. What, we ask you, could be better?

While the hotel clientele is heavy on the honeymooners, it’s also popular with families, and deservedly so. Kids are welcomed here with open arms, and there is plenty to keep them occupied. The Kids Villa is every child’s dream, a house where toys reach up to the rafters with their very own inflatable-filled pool out back. The caring staff are simply brilliant, elbowing themselves into the hearts of every family with complete ease. Mauritian traditions are woven into each day, with activities like henna painting to give the kids some background on the island culture.

With the kids expertly taken care of, parents can take some serious time out. The spa is a serene setting for some supreme pampering, with a range of traditional Mauritian treatments using local, natural products. If you’re in the mood, you can even try Chinese acupuncture with golden needles. It’s all pretty darn heavenly and certainly not to be missed. Afterwards, you can lie in the sunshine with a glass of lemongrass tea and melt into the pleasures of the good life.

All in all, Sofitel So Mauritius is so much more than a hotel. It’s a state of mind and a rare chance to slow down to a sunny halt. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s pocket of total lushury that you’ll be very hard-pushed to find elsewhere on the planet. Go there. Let go. And love every minute.

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Glowing Praise for Inyati

TraceyCampbell - December 5, 2014

It’s Friday today so the team are generally in the ‘Feel Good Friday’ mood, but I received an email first thing that just really started the day off in the best possible way.

It was from a client who had just been staying at Inyati Private Game Reserve, in the Sabi Sand, and who had checked out on Wednesday having spent 3 nights there.

The client is now in Cape Town, but he emailed me to say this:

I just wanted to say what a fantastic time my daughter and I had at Inyati this week. The accommodation , people, service and of course drives were fantastic. We couldn’t fault any of it. We had a wonderful time and we would certainly recommend Inyati to anyone.  We saw so many animals, in large numbers, and great locations. The staff, and in particular George our Ranger were great.

Getting feedback like this is just wonderful!  I personally recommended Inyati to this chap, as I have stayed there many times (indeed, my mother has been on safari only once, and I took her to Inyati – that is how much I trust this lodge – only the best for my mother!) and Inyati was one of the very first lodges that Travel Butlers started promoting when we first started up all those years ago.  One of my best memories of being there was sitting out on the deck with a cold glass of wine, and looking across the river and seeing a huge male lion just strolling past, then stop and start roaring. Oh yes, and then there was the time when we tracked and watched lions mating.  And who could forget the herd of elephants in the river…and the leopard up the tree with a kill…

So thank you to everyone at Inyati, and of course George the Ranger, for making our client’s stay so wonderful.  And we look forward to sending many, many more clients to you!

Inyati room 6

 

 

Mozambique in the News

TraceyCampbell - December 4, 2014

Today in the UK’s Metro paper there was a full page in the Travel Section extolling the virtues of Mozambique.

The team at Travel Butlers will be one of the first to admit that we LOVE Mozambique! Every week, we are preparing for someone an itinerary combining a safari in South Africa with a beach stay here.

The Bazarato Archipelago is probably one of the most visited regions, as on Thursdays and Sundays, you can fly directly here from the Kruger Nelspruit Airport, which means you can go on a game drive the night before, depart the lodge early with a packed breakfast, and be on the beach in the afternoon.  Well, in theory you actually fly to Vilanculos and then you get a light aircraft, helicopter or boat to transfer you across to your island – but this just adds to the holiday fun!  Popular lodges here are Pestana Bazaruto, the newly refurbished Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort (formerly known as Indigo Bay) or the truly luxurious Azura Benguerra Island – complete with butler service and a private plunge pool in your spacious beach villa.

Another firm favourite of ours is Flamingo Bay Water Lodge, which is further south.   This normally involves an overnight stay back in Johannesburg Airport, as you need to fly from here to Inhambane in the morning.  But there are 2 things that we love about Flamingo Bay – firstly, it is priced in Rand, so you can take advantage of the current good relationship between the Rand and the Pound Sterling; and secondly they include return airport transfers from Inhambane to the lodge within their normal rates.  Flamingo Bay is ideal if you are really ‘looking to get away from it all’, and is very popular with honeymooners.

Further north, you will need to fly to Pemba, then you can explore the delights of the Quirimbas Archipelago, which consists of 32 islands that stretch for 250 km and which are pretty much unexplored and untouched.  Azura Quilalea will surpass all your dreams, or Ibo Island has a uniqueness to it and is surrounded by history.

What else do we love about Mozambique? It is a year round destination, it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the crystal clear turquoise warm water is perfect if you want to go snorkelling or diving.  The romantic dhow trips that take you out for sunset cocktails set the scene for a delicable fresh fish dinner upon your return to land, and there is nothing better than drifting off to sleep with nothing but the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.

Where’s my passport… I’m off now!!

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http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-mozambican-dhow-sunset-image2062928

Azura Quilalea 2

 

 

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