Tailor-made Holidays

Tailor-made Holidays

Travel Butlers will ensure you have a fantastic holiday that is tailored to your individual interests and budget.

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

Holidays in South Africa

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!

Special Offers

Special Offers

Keep an eye on these special offers...

African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

Why we Recommend Travel Insurance

TraceyCampbell - February 18, 2015

Insurance is always a bit of a grey area and a lot of people resent having to pay for it, but you are just programmed or conditioned by society and your upbringing to do so.

You tend to accept that you have to fork out for home insurance and contents insurance, even though relatively very few people over the course of their home ownership make a claim. You also accept that you are more at risk if you own a car in something happening to it, whether it is your fault or someone else’s fault, so you will automatically take out car insurance – whether it is just third party or fully comprehensive.

So why are we not ‘programmed’ in the same way when it comes to taking out travel insurance?

As a matter of course, we always advise our customers, whether it is in the first email we send out and certainly when we are asking for a deposit payment, to take out travel insurance before they confirm any booking with us, to cover them in the event of being unable to travel – for whatever reason. Because if you do have to cancel your holiday once you have paid your deposit or balance, you will unfortunately lose some money – the percentage lost depends on how close to the travel date you cancel. And we are not alone in this – all tour operators, travel agents, airlines, guest house and hotels will operate similar cancellation policies.

A holiday is generally one of the more significant household expenditures in a year. Not only in terms of the cost, but also in terms of the time you have maybe saved up for it, or the time you have spent looking forward to it. Unfortunately, nothing in life is 100% certain, and although you have your flight tickets and holiday vouchers in your hands, nobody can actually guarantee that you will be able to go on the trip until you are physically sat on the plane! So basically, having to cancel your holiday means that all your hard-earned cash just gone down the drain, with no holiday memories or photos to show for it.

So for example, what if, the day before you were due to depart, you tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs? Or your car was hit from behind by a driver texting on their phone, and you suffered bad whiplash? These are not scenarios anyone thinks will ever happen to them (especially if they live in a bungalow or do not own a cat, I give you that), but you get my general point – ANYTHING could happen to you which would mean you simply cannot go on that holiday. Other common reasons for people having to cancel holidays are being called for jury service, finding out they are pregnant, a family bereavement, an illness, redundancy…there are many things that you would not plan to happen, but which could.

This is why we would always recommend just considering that additional peace of mind offered by a reputable travel insurance company and associated travel cover. A good travel insurance policy will cover you for having to cancel or even cutting short a trip under certain circumstances and therefore, if you lose any money at all by having to cancel (as long as the reason is indeed covered by the travel insurance), you should be able to claim this back against the travel insurance cover. And certainly at Travel Butlers, we will provide supporting documentation for you to send onto your insurance company, to help the claim go through smoothly and quickly.

Travel insurance will also cover you if you fall ill while actually away – while your credit card cover or private health cover may well offer some help, the level of cover may not always be sufficient – an emergency abroad that requires hospital treatment can be incredibly expensive. And if you need to be flown home immediately, the costs keep going up and up.

You can purchase travel insurance for just one trip, or if you are planning on having several holidays (or even one major holiday and a couple of long weekend breaks) over the course of 12 months, you can consider a multi-trip/annual cover, so every trip you make over a year is covered.

Before you rush out and purchase your travel insurance, do shop around for the best deal BUT remember that the less expensive policies often have less cover – so always read the small print carefully before you buy anything!

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

South Africa Relax Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements

TraceyCampbell - February 6, 2015

It has been a good week for Zambia tourism!

On Saturday, following the World Health Assembly on Friday in Geneva, the South African Department of Health agreed to lift the yellow fever vaccination requirement for travellers entering South Africa from Zambia. The new ruling was effective immediately.

This decision came after the World Health Organisation officially confirmed that Zambia has a low yellow fever potential exposure status – which means that anyone now travelling to Zambia, be it for a short visit to the iconic Victoria Falls or to go on safari in Luangwa, Kafue or Lower Zambezi, no longer needs to carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Tourism to Zambia has undoubtely suffered a bit over the past few years. Let’s be honest, the yellow fever vaccination is relatively expensive – I had one 2 years ago and said goodby to £80 – ouch (and ouch for the jab too, as it hurt a lot!). Many tourists who wanted to include a 2 night ‘bolt on’ trip to the Victoria Falls after their safari holiday in South Africa felt the same – and rather than not to go the Falls, they chose to stay on the Zimbabwe side instead.

For those wanting to combine South Africa with seeing the Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, you need to fly into Livingstone, which is serviced daily with direct flights from Johannesburg, taking just over 2 hours. Or, if you are ending your trip in SA with a safari in the Kruger National Park, you can also fly directly to Livingstone from Kruger Mpumalanga/Nelspruit (airport code MQP) on certain days. Which means you can begin your day with breakfast at your safari lodge overlooking the bush and end your day on an evening sunset cruise on the Zambezi! I could think of worst ways to start and end a day!

Luggage Allowance

TraceyCampbell - February 3, 2015

If you are like me, I never really give any major thought to my hand luggage when packing for a trip. I throw my Kindle, my purse, some mints and a lipstick in a bag, hoist it onto my shoulder, and walk onto the aircraft.

It always makes me smile as I am sitting in my seat, waiting for take off, when someone enters the plane carrying what can only be described as a small but bulging suitcase. And I love watching them desperately trying to squeeze it into the small overhead luggage compartment, especially if they are late and the overheads are already bulging at the seams.
All this will change soon, however, on flights in South Africa – so be warned!

The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has announced some new new hand luggage allowances, which came into force only yesterday. This may cause some potential delays at check in, or even at the gates – as if you manage to hide your oversized back at the check in counter, at the gate it will be scrutinized carefully, and if it does not adher to the new rules, then back you have to trot to the main check-in counter and check the offending luggage in as hold baggage.

So get your tape measure and scales out, and please make sure your hand luggage complies as follows:

• Economy-class passengers are allowed one bag plus one slimline laptop bag. Business/ first-class passengers are allowed 2 bags plus one slimline laptop bag. Thankfully, handbags are considered part of a female’s wardrobe and not as hand luggage.

• Slimline laptop bags must be of a size and thickness specifically designed to carry a laptop and charger. Bags capable of carrying other items such as documents and clothes are not permitted.

• No bag should exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm (total dimensions of 115cm) or weigh more than 7 kg per bag. Bag weight may vary according to airline specifications.
Happy travelling!

luggage

Laguna Beach – The Perfect Spot

TraceyCampbell -

Laguna Hotel is the backdrop for a brilliant stopover in Mauritius. Perched on the East Coast of the island just over half an hour from the airport, it’s very easy to reach but far harder to tear yourself away. If you’ve got just a few days to spare post-safari, it really is the perfect spot.

One huge charm of Laguna Beach is the totally tucked-away location. To reach the hotel, you’ll pass through the tiny fishing village of Camp des Pêcheurs, a heart-warming place packed with smiling, waving local people. It’s a glimpse of the real Mauritius, beyond the confines of the classy resorts and tourist-heavy towns. From the hotel beach area, you’ll see fisherman at work and local life unfolding throughout the day. This helps to break down the barriers between visitors and residents, bringing you a taste of behind-the-scenes Mauritius.

The hotel itself offers everything you could possibly need in Mauritius and a good deal more. There are 2 excellent swimming pools surrounded by rustling coconut palms, thatched parasols and comfy loungers. There’s a private beach with clear blue waters and a volleyball net to get you on your feet. The circular outdoor bar sits in the middle of this, providing an endless stream of refreshing cocktails, fresh fruit juices and ice cold beers.

At one edge of the beach, you’ll find a small jetty, which has more treats in store. Everyday at 1 pm, a free shuttle-boat takes hotel guests over to the Île aux Cerfs, a tiny castaway island with a seriously lovely lagoon. Mauritians will tell you that you haven’t seen Mauritius unless you’ve visited the Île aux Cerfs, making it a real must-do. Tourists staying all over the island travel up to 3 hours to reach the Île aux Cerfs, but from Laguna Beach the journey takes just 15 minutes. The return shuttle leaves between 4 pm and 5 pm, giving you a whole afternoon to stretch out on the bright white sand. It’s like having tropical heaven on your doorstep.

Île aux Cerfs aside, Laguna Beach also offers a wealth of ocean-based activities from its private jetty. You can hop into a pedalo, kayak or glass bottom boat and explore the lagoon totally free of charge. Snorkelling and windsurfing are also complimentary perks that are definitely worth a go. Back on solid land, there’s a pool and table tennis to keep you occupied, as well as free wifi with a reliable signal throughout.

If you fancy taking things one step further, there’s a huge menu of activities to keep you on your toes. Try parasailing, water-skiing or banana boating, take a multi-island boat trip via forested waterfalls, sail into the sunset on a pirate ship or even a fishing trip aboard a traditional Mauritian pirogue with locals from the village. If you’re a deep sea devotee, you can opt for scuba diving, deep sea fishing or the famous undersea walk, which gives you the chance to take a stroll on the seabed wearing a giant helmet. It’s simply impossible to get bored.

Inside the hotel, the restaurant lays on a brilliant evening buffet, with Mauritian specialities, griddled fish and an ‘Indian corner’ bubbling with pungent curries, dahls and stews. Breakfast is no less impressive, with favourites from all over the world to kickstart your day, as well as delicious local coffee. Tea and coffee is available free of charge at all hours, along with a variety snacks and sandwiches at the bar to keep you going. Outdoors, the seafood and meat grill is fired up for dinner on the beach twice weekly. Where dining is concerned, let’s just say that Laguna Beach Hotel has it covered.

Evenings tend to be fairly low-key, but the atmosphere is welcoming, the bar is popular and there’s nightly entertainment ranging from DJs to traditional Sega dancing up for grabs. It’s the kind of place to slowly sip on a signature cocktail, shoot the breeze and listen to waves lapping the shore. Quite often, a small local craft market sets up near reception, giving you a chance to pick up gifts for loved ones back home. Alternatively, round off an already relaxed day with a stint in the spa, which offers a long list of pampering options at surprisingly reasonably prices. If you’re looking for complete abandonment, drift away during a hammam or a honey bath. You’ll feel like a different person. Trust me.

The rooms themselves are spacious, calm and exceptionally clean with large beds and tea making facilities. The decor is chic but cosy, with clean lines, soft pillows and local touches. Each one has a private terrace with a pool or sea view for an intimate afternoon with a good book and a sneaky cocktail. The bathrooms are state-of-the-art, with powerful showers and double sink units, so they’re certain not to disappoint.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the Laguna is its wide appeal. It’s the kind of place that every kind of traveller can enjoy – honeymooners, families, couples young and old, businessmen, friends and bloggers… like me. The price is by no means prohibitive and it really is worth every Mauritian rupee. It’s a great base for a sunny sojourn on the island. More than great, in fact. I would go back in the blink of an eye.

phoca_thumb_l_laguna_sea_pool_8
phoca_thumb_l_laguna_sea_pool_10