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African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

Inspire Worldwide: Support For UK Student Travelling to Malawi To Do Volunteering Work

PaulCampbell - October 8, 2014

Given the long association that we at Travel Butlers have had with Southern Africa, we were delighted to hear that Conor Dickson, the nephew of Paul Campbell of Travel Butlers, is going to Malwai next year to do some volunteer work with Inspire Worldwide.

The aim of the project is to work closely with rural and township communities in Malawi to help develop and improve living conditions for Malawian children and their families.  The volunteers, including 14 year old Conor, will be providing support to communities in the rural areas surrounding Blantyre in Malawi, and helping them renovate a crumbling feeding and community centre which currently provides the orphaned children with their one meal each day.

As with all trips of this nature, the volunteers need to raise funds to cover the cost of their own transport and living expenses, in addition to raising money to donate to the local charities in order to fund the work they will undertake.

conorConor’s target is £2700, and so far he has raised money through cake sales, a raffle and car boot sale, as well as earning money from family and friends for car washing, gardening etc. But he still needs to raise another £1000, and as Conor says “Now it’s time for me to quite literally ‘get on my bike’ and cycle the width of Lake Malawi, approximately 46miles. I will do this by cycling from my home to Eastbourne (41.5 miles on the cycle paths) and then along the seafront to cover the additional miles. This will take place on Saturday 25th October.”

Conor continues “I am hoping the local press will cover my story and I will be sure to promote any businesses and organisations that are kind enough to sponsor me.  I would also be happy to discuss the trip with a upon my return next year, as I’m sure there will many experiences to share. ”

We think this is a fantastic cause, and Paul Campbell of Travel Butlers adds, “School trips were certainly not like this in my day! I am very proud of the generous and adventurous spirit that Conor shows in doing this amazing trip, and we are delighted to sponsor him to help him on his way. I know that any other donations that our friends in the industry are able to make would be greatly appreciated, and please get in touch with me or your usual contact at Travel Butlers if you would be interested in making a donation or sponsoring Conor in any way.”

conor2

Seven reasons to get stranded on the Seychelles

PaulCampbell - October 2, 2014

The islands of the Seychelles are little slices of heaven on earth. Scattered throughout the remote reaches of the Indian Ocean, they’re the place to live out all of your desert island daydreams. The beaches really do take the tropical biscuit, but there’s so much more to the Seychelles than their silky white shores. Scratch beneath their perfect sandy surface and you’ll find fascinating culture, untamed jungle, endangered wildlife and the world’s sexiest nut!La-Digue

There are hundreds of reasons to hop on the next plane to the Seychelles, but, to keep it simple, we’ve whittled it down to seven. So, here you have it, whether your are looking to go island hopping or include these magical islands as part of a safari and beach holiday, here are seven reasons why you’ll be in seventh heaven in the Seychelles:

1. MIND-BOGGLINGLY BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
You won’t be sorry to be stranded in the Seychelles. The beaches are more perfect than you can possibly imagine, with powdered ivory sands sliding into crystal clear waters and coconut palms rustling in the warm breeze. Dotted across the coastline of every tiny island, you’ll find sun-kissed coves giving way to blue lagoons and pastel pink boulders hugging the edges of the beach. A handful of these pure shores are rated amongst the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. Step off the plane and you’ll soon see why.

Boy & Coco de Mer_Raymond Sahuquet2. JAW-DROPPING JUNGLE TRAILS
The castaway beaches and impossibly clear waters may get all the press, but these spellbinding islands have far more in store. If you peek behind the curtain of swaying coconut palms, you’ll find sprawling jungles bursting with strange, scented blooms. In the Vallée de Mai National Park on peaceful Praslin Island, you’ll find mist forests filled with coco de mer, the world’s heaviest (and sexiest) nut, shaped like a lady’s pelvis. You’ll also stumble across Jellyfish trees, tumbling vanilla vines, rare orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants and more. It really is paradise untamed.

3. WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WILDLIFE
In addition to the bizarre flora, the jungle-rich interiors of the Seychelles are home to some fantastical fauna. The Aldebra giant tortoise, one of the largest in the world, plods across these islands, with a whoppingly long neck that measures up to a metre. Incredibly, these tortoises can live for over a century and each one weighs up to 500 pounds. At the other end of the scale, the Seychelles are also home to the Soogloassid frog, which may well be the smallest in the world.

Not only this, but the birdlife is bountiful, with 250 species twittering in the jungle canopy. Some of the rarest birds in the world nest here, amongst them the Seychelles paradise flycatcher, the Seychelles black parrot, the Seychelles bulbul and the fruit pigeon. You’ll also find the sunbird, the Aldabra drongo and the Seychelles fody on these shores. If you’re a twitcher, you’re in for a treat.

Snapper Seychelles_Tony Baskeyfield4. A MATCHLESS MARINE WORLD
The land-dwelling wildlife of the Seychelles is certainly eye-popping, but the underwater world is equally as astounding. You can swim with wild dolphins, snorkel through coral reefs amongst hawksbill sea turtles and dive into sea caves filled with gorgonian fans and sleeping nurse sharks.

There are over 2,000 different species of fish swanning about in the translucent waters of the Seychelles, including parrotfish, angelfish, pufferfish and moray eels. And, when you need a break from exploring the world beneath the waves, you can wash up on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches for a cocktail or two. Bliss.

5. MAGICAL MULTICULTURE
The Seychelles is a magical melting pot when it comes to culture. With a mottled history of slavery, piracy and spice traders, the Seychellois people have ancestry drawn from all four corners of the earth. It’s fascinating stuff. First French, then British and now Creole, the islands are a colourful collage of international influences. Troublemakers from the British were sent here in exile, pirates hid their bounty in these jungles, spice traders stopped here between India and Africa and Europeans settled here to restart their lives in a peaceful paradise. The diversity, and especially the harmony, is inspiring.

6. FANTASTIC FUSION CUISINE
With such a rich cultural patchwork, it’s no surprise that the Seychellois cuisine is deliciously diverse. A mix of spicy, fruity, tangy and fresh flavours, it is sure to take your tastebuds on a wild ride. There are coconut curries, vibrant green papaya salads, giant crab soups and an overwhelming choice of fruit chutneys. Fresh fish is served in a thousand different ways – grilled with garlic, curried, poached in Creole sauce or spiced and baked in a banana leaf. There are also some startling delicacies on the menu, such as Rousettes (fruit bats), shark chutney and Seychelles beef (sea turtle).

7. THE SUN-KISSED SIMPLE LIFE
The Seychelles really is the place to let time slow down and get back to some serious basics. It’s all about nature and nurture, so just succumb to the magic. soak up the sunshine and snooze in the shade of a coconut palm. Many of the islands, La Digue, for example, have few roads or none at all. Luggage is ferried about my horse and cart while the locals get around on bicycles. The Seychelles is the perfect place to switch off the iPad, get lost offline and take a much-needed break from modern life. It’s rare, barefoot bliss that is harder and harder to find in our hectic world. So enjoy it.

IMG28 Anse Source d'Argent

What Documents Are Required For Kids Travelling To South Africa?

PaulCampbell - September 25, 2014

Our friends over at SATOA have prepared a handy printable guide to the new Regulations For Travelling To South Africa With Children.

The new rules affect everyone who has children younger than 18 years when travelling to or from South Africa after 01 June 2015, and the requirements apply regardless of nationality. The highlights are:

Effective from 1 June 2015.

Requirements apply regardless of nationality.

Parents travelling with children into or departing from South Africa must produce an unabridged birth certificate (ie providing full details of the child’s parents) for the child (certified copies are acceptable).

If both parents are not travelling, the one travelling parent must show an unabridged birth certificate for the child, and consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent, or a court order, or (where applicable) a death certificate for a deceased parent.

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, he/she must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child (certified copies are acceptable), affidavit from the child’s parents or legal guardian giving consent and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents or legal guardian.

There are also additional rules for unaccompanied minors – available on request.

For more information see:

SATOA guide to the new Regulations For Travelling To South Africa With Children

Guide to getting a duplicate birth certificate for births registered in the UK

For more information, contact the South African High Commission (http://southafricahouseuk.com/) or the South African Department of Home Affairs (http://www.dha.gov.za/).

Picking The Perfect Safari And Beach Holiday

PaulCampbell - August 20, 2014

Mixing a Big Five safari with a stint in the tropical sunshine is a hard-to-beat holiday cocktail. Bush and beach holidays really do offer the best of both worlds, whisking you off into a world of wildlife and then delivering you straight into a comfy sun lounger. It’s a perfect balance, giving you both a safari adventure and a blissful chance to recharge your batteries before returning to reality. They’re twin-centre trips with a toe-tingling, tropical twist and we can’t get enough of them ourselves.

While you’re on safari, you’ll set off at sunrise each morning, racing across the savanna in search of the Big Five. If the crisp morning air doesn’t ping your eyes wide open, a herd of elephant gathered around a waterhole will do the trick! You’ll get closer to the wildlife that you would ever imagine possible, sending your adrenaline soaring and your camera working overtime.

You’ll head out again at sunset, stopping for an atmospheric sundowner in the bush and looking out lion in the long grass. At night, you can stand around a traditional blazing boma – bonfire – and gaze up at a blanket of stars. Whether you opt for a thatched chalet perched on a riverbank, a tented lodge in the heart of the wilderness or a treehouse up high in the forest canopy, you’ll feel millions away from the working world.

Whilst unbelievably exhilarating, this rhythm of safari life can be a little exhausting. After a a string of dawn game drives, you’ll be hankering after some heavy-duty relaxation. This is the perfect time to escape to a barefoot retreat where your to-do-list will consist of no more than an afternoon massage and a Mai Tai at sunset. Here, you can bury your alarm clock at the bottom of your baggage and abandon yourself to unlimited beach laziness. No more 4am wake-up calls for you – just lazy days and lapping shores.

So, where are the best places for a bush and beach holiday? While Kenya has traditionally taken the top spot when it comes to safari and sun adventures, there’s a jeep-load of other options available. All of them will give you a breathtaking safari and a brilliant bronzing on the shores of the Indian Ocean. To help you set you off in the right direction, we’ve compiled our current tropical twin-centre top three:

South Africa & Mauritius1. South Africa and Mauritius

This is a killer combination, kicking off with a Big Five safari in Kruger National Park and ending up on the sun-kissed sands of Mauritius. What’s more, you can easily turn it into the ultimate triple-centre holiday by adding a few nights in Cape Town into the mix. By doing this, you’ll get wonderful wildlife, world-class culture and wow-factor beaches, all wrapped up in one unforgettable trip.

Mauritius is a beach paradise worthy of any postcard, with endless stretches of pure white sands fringed by swaying palms. It’s the perfect place for lazy breakfasts, barefoot strolls, sunset cocktails and romantic seafood meals overlooking the Indian Ocean. As safari and sunshine holidays go, you can’t get better than this…

Tempted? Take a closer look at our South Africa and Mauritius holidays.

South Africa & Mozambique2. South Africa and Mozambique

Mozambique is THE place to live out all of your Robinson Crusoe fantasies. Its quiet, castaway beaches are the sands-less-travelled, so you’ll feel deliciously marooned in a peaceful paradise. Getting away from it all doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Mozambique is a brilliant place to unwind after the excitement and early mornings of a Big Five safari. Here, you can sink your toes in the sand and lie back in your little nook of beach nirvana. The snorkelling is wonderful, the seafood is impossibly fresh and the sand is silky soft. Think secret coves, crystal waters, fiery sunsets and strictly no stress allowed.

Itching to go? Find out more about our South Africa and Mozambique escapes.

Tanzania Safari & Beach3. Tanzania and Zanzibar

If you’ve been dreaming of endless African plains packed with wandering herds, Tanzania will tick every box. Tanzania is Africa at its most epic and one of the top wildlife-viewing spots on the planet. From the sun-baked savanna of the Serengeti to the giant caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater, it’s an eye-popping, jaw-dropping choice for a safari.

A safari in Tanzania is a hard act to follow, but topping off your trip with a few days on Zanzibar will definitely do the trick. It may be pocket-sized, but Zanzibar packs a real tropical punch. It’s a sultry, romantic chunk of paradise, where traditional dhow boats sail across the horizon at sunset and warm breezes rustle through the coconut palms. Here, the only pressing decisions are sunbathe or snorkel, Margarita or Mojito, and massage or manicure. It’s a hard life eh…

Ready to pack your bags? Here’s the full rundown of our Tanzania sunshine and safari holidays.

If you’re looking to put your escape plans in motion, feel free to give us a call with any questions at all. We’ll be delighted to help send you off on your bush and beach adventure!

The Ebola Outbreak: Is It Still Safe To Go To Africa?

PaulCampbell - August 7, 2014

Given the alarming coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it is not surprising that we have had a number of people asking if it is safe to travel to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and other destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The short answer is ‘yes – you can still safely travel to Africa’, and there are three key points that lead us to this conclusion at the moment.

  1. Africa is huge, and the outbreak in West Africa is over 3500 miles away from Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, and over 3,000 miles from Botswana and Namibia. To put this into context, London is about 3000 miles from the affected area, so many of these places are further from the centre of the outbreak than the UK is.
  2. The disease is not airborne and can only be contracted by contact with body fluids from an infected person – this means that it can be more easily contained than airborne deseases, and will spread more-slowly.
  3. Most countries in Africa have not had a single case of the disease since records began. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been no reported cases of Ebola since records began in 1976 for Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia or Zimbabwe amongst others. The only case in South Africa since 1976 was a medical professional came into contact with the virus whilst treating Ebola-infected patients in Gabon and then flew to Johannesburg where the disease was diagnosed. You can see a full history of outbreaks since 1976 here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ebola_outbreaks

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those currently fighting the the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, however the safari and beach destinations of Southern and Eastern Africa are unaffected at present, and history suggests that they may well remain unaffected througout this outbreak.

Travel Butlers will continue to monitor the situation and the FCO travel advice, and if we have people travelling to an area that is considered unsafe for travel by the FCO then those people will be entitled to alternative travel arrangements or a refund.

You can read more about this on the SATOA website: Ebola – is it still safe to go to africa?

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