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

Did You Know? C is for Caracal

TraceyCampbell - August 30, 2013

Amaze your friends and family with these 10 facts about the Caracal.

1.  The caracal is also known as the desert lynx.

2.  As well as the usual ‘cat-like’ sounds of hissing and purring, they also make a barking sound.

3.  They have long black tufts of hair on the tips of their ears.

4.  Leading on from Fact 3, the name ‘caracal’ comes from the Turkish words ‘kara kulak’ – meaning ‘black ear’.

5.  Whilst they favour small prey such as spring hares, mice and birds, they have been known to take down a springbok or a steenbok.

6.  They can catch birds by leaping 2-3 meters or more into the air from a standing position.

7.  Fur colours varies from reddish-brown to tawny-grey, and occasionally you may find a rare all-black caracal.

8.  Caracals are usually solitary animals.

9.  Females can give birth to as many as 6 young.

10.  Caracals in captivity have been known to live up to 16 years.

caracal

Things you never knew about South Africa

Paul Campbell - August 27, 2013

South Africa is an amazing and diverse country, and is steeped in history and culture. From penguins to windmills to vast national parks, there is so much to treasure about this wonderful country.

Amazing Things That You Never Knew About South Africa

Amazing Things That You Never Knew About South Africa

Vote For Travel Butlers in the SATOA Travel Awards

Paul Campbell - August 22, 2013

We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated for this years SATOA Travel Awards in the Tour Operator category.

SATOA2013-Nominee-ColourSATOA are the industry body that promotes travel to Africa and the Indian Ocean, and they are running this award in recognition of companies who provide outstanding products and services to their clients.
We were immensly proud when we won this award last year, and many thanks to the peeople that have nominated us again this year.Fingers crossed, and we look forward to seeing the great and the good of the African Travel industry at the Awards Ceremony in central London on the 19th of September.

 

Did you know? B is for Bushbaby

TraceyCampbell - August 21, 2013

One of the cutest and smallest creatures of the African bush, the bushbaby is native to more than 25 African countries. Their name comes from their distinctive call, which sounds just like a baby crying.

They are nocturnal animals, but often the sharp eagle-eyes of the tracker or ranger can spot a bushbaby lurking in the branches of a tree, and guests are treated to a unique viewing with the aid of the night game-drive spotlight.  This has also led to their South African name of ‘nagapie’, which means ‘little night monkey’ in Afrikaans.  For anyone learning Afrikaans, you pronounce this nark-ahh-pees (not nag-a-pie, which is the mistake I have just made in front of my South African work colleague).

The most commonly seen bushbabies are the Thick-tailed Bushbaby and the Lesser Bushbaby – with not surprisingly, the Lesser Bushbaby being the smaller of the 2 species.  The Lesser Bushbaby has a body length of just 15 cm, but its tail is 20 cm.

They are very particular about their appearance, and will groom themselves fastidiously before embarking on a night of foraging for insects, lizards, small birds and fruit.

The eyes of a bushbaby are incredibly large which give them their excellent night vision, but they cannot their eyes swivel in the sockets, so they are forever moving their heads when searching for prey, giving them a further comical appearance.

Their large ears give them very acute hearing, and their strong hind legs enable them to jump high – the highest recorded jump was 2.25 metres.

Despite their good eyesight and hearing and jumping skills, they do still have to be careful when out, as they are favourites on the evening dinner menu of owls, snakes, servals, African wild cats and genets.

Bushbaby

Kenya’s Beach Traders – Good or Bad?

TraceyCampbell - August 19, 2013

There is a current rumour that Kenya are once again looking at banning beach traders from their beaches.

True, sometimes these people can be annoying, and in some cases, a bit intimidating. You are out for a quiet (and possibly romantic) beach walk, and you do not want to be hassled by someone trying to sell you a pair of fake RayBan sunglasses, or a hand-carved giraffe, or a camel ride. They are certainly persistent – I have been followed for about 15 minutes in the past, and no amount of saying no seemed to get through to them.

I initially used to try speaking in a different language to them.  The first time I encountered a beach trader, I was young and very naive – only 21 so a wee baby really – and on my very first long-haul holiday to Mombasa. The young guy hawking his wares obviously realised I was not African (’twas not difficult, I was pasty white and blonde then), so they approached me and my partner and asked in English if I would like to buy whatever – I think it was a necklace. I replied in French (I had vaguely studied French as part of my college course) to say I did not speak English. He immediately replied in perfect French.  Which threw me.  As I had no idea what he said.  So I tried saying in Spanish that I did not understand him. Dammit if he then didn’t reply back in Spanish. I think if I had tried Japanese he would still have had an answer. Which, to be honest, you have to admire. These guys may not have a University degree nor do they have a well-paid full time job, but they can speak more languages than the majority of tourists to Kenya.

Back to the subject in question, however, as I have digressed slightly.  The reason for the new move to ban the beach traders is that the Kenya tourism ministers ‘want to ensure that tourists enjoy their time outside hotels instead of worrying about beach boys and girls who hassle them or steal from them’.

Now, I must admit, I have never worried that these people would snatch my camera or purse and run off, but I do resent the ‘in your face’ intrusion. And I am aware that I do have a quick temper, so when pushed with something like this, I do have to really control myself and not shout at them to go away.

I find now the best approach is to act completely deaf. If you totally avoid all eye contact, and do not respond at all (and yes, we are all brought up not to ignore people as it is rude, but this does seem to be the only approach that works), they will soon get bored with trying to engage you in a conversation, and wander off to find another tourist who may not be as resolutely stubborn as me.  Even if you say ‘no thank you’ you have engaged them in a conversation – so you are ‘fair game’ for them to try to elicit more words out of you.

Personally, I think that beach traders do have a place still on the Kenyan beaches.  As long as they learn to respect that if they are ignored, to just go away. Sometimes, they may be selling something that people would want as a souvenir, and having bought from someone local and bartered on the price is more of a souvenir and holiday experience than buying it from the hotel curio shop would be!  It is their livelihood too, so by banning them they will either only go and sell somewhere else, or heaven forbid, they may turn to other ways to ‘make’ their income.

Maybe one solution would be for hotels to have licenced operators on their private stretch of beach, and inform their guests that this is the case – which would maybe stop tourists feeling they are being threatened if approached – the traders are just an ‘extension’ to the hotel services. And the traders work to rules, and anyone who breaks these rules is not allowed to trade with the hotel anymore.  I understand that this approach is also being considered as an option by tourism ministers, so fingers crossed this could be the answer.

Beach traders