Safaris in Africa with Great Plains Conservation: Kenya and Botswana

Experience true African safaris with Great Plains Conservation to Botswana and Kenya.

Great Plains Conservation offers a range of safari camps in pristine, remote locations in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe (not covered in this Blog). Each safari camp provides guests with a meaningful and life-enriching experience and does so with a strong commitment to the lowest environmental impact and highest value safari operation.

Through their utilisation of tourism supporting the economics of conservation, their 9 camps in Botswana, 5 in Kenya, and 2 in Zimbabwe are leaders in environmental sustainability and community partnership.

Great Plains Conservation, a proud member of Relais & Châteaux and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, is continually recognised for its role in harmonising the needs of local communities and wildlife to provide havens for Africa’s wildlife and the ultimate in guest experience.

At GPC’s luxury camps you can expect 1000 square foot tents, plunge pools, wine cellars, in-room massages and spa treatments and even a Canon camera and lenses and Swarovski binoculars in each tent.

They also offer two-bedroom villas complete with their own private vehicle, guide, chef and staff; perfect for families or groups of friends wanting privacy and exclusivity. Alongside these luxury touches Great Plains’ sustainable ethos includes camps constructed from natural and recycled materials and run almost entirely off solar power.

Great Plains and its Foundation currently manages approximately 1,000,000 acres with plans to expand to 5,000,000 acres across a variety of fragile landscapes.

Established in 2006 by five individuals who, in their 50s, pooled their considerable skills and experience to create innovative, world-class conservation projects in diverse and threatened habitats throughout Africa. Two of the founders, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, are multi-award winning filmmakers and National Geographic “Explorers in Residence”. Many of their Nat Geo documentaries have been filmed on the same reserves in which the camps are based, such as the Last Lions and Relentless Enemies shot on the Duba Concession and Birth of a Pride on thee Selinda Reserve.

Okavango: River of Dreams is the latest film from the Joubert team, a three part series exploring the Okavango River as a lifeline to the wildlife in the region, described as a love letter to one of the greatest rivers in Africa.

I have dedicated this blog to the amazing experiences they have to offer on their Safaris in Africa, which includes stay at their camps in pristine locations in Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

I cannot emphasize this enough that just like their elevated and immersive experience offerings, their camps provide similar level of comfort and luxury like none other in Africa. It’s easy to rate them as Best of the Best in the regions they operate.

Alert: Safaris and stay with Great Plains Conservation is not for tourists seeking pre-packaged park-hopping multi-day packages running daily or weekly fixed departure schedules.

Great Plains Safaris is far from mass-tourism, and meant only for discerning travelers who are seeking deeper, meaningful, immersive safari experiences in the most pristine environment where nature and landscapes take precedence, and of-course who appreciate the finer things in life.

GPC’s local conservation, community out-reach and sustainability programs also set them apart from others, and gets my vote to travel with them, since you can be sure that your travels and safaris with GPC ensures a positive contribution to life of local people, communities, and of-course wildlife conservation for long term sustainability.

Return of the Safari Pioneers:

Come July 2021 (1-8 July), they have curated an amazing Journey for Kenya, creating a VIP travel and safety bubble for clients from India, with specially negotiated business class fares with their preferred partner airline Kenya Airways, and private charter flights from/to Nairobi to their camps on the itinerary in Kenya.

This Journey is named Return of the Safari Pioneers, and offers a unique, once in a lifetime safari experience in Kenya. Below is the sketch of how it looks:

8 Days / 7 Nights

ol Donyo LodgeChyulu HillsFIPool Suite3 Nights
Mara Nyika CampMara Naboisho ConservancyFILuxury Suite3 Nights
HemingwaysNairobiBBDeluxe Room1 Night

BB: Bed & Breakfast
FI: Fully Inclusive – Bed, All Meals, Fees and Activities

Upgrade to a Luxury Private Jet Safari:

There is a new way of travel today, “the travel bubble”, where you and your family intersect as little as is possible so you can experience a full and rewarding safari safely and you would do like in normal times.

GPC’s solution to this is to go private! Private jets for small parties that stay in the same camp and even more between camps together, all done privately. Private guides, private vehicles, private butlers and chefs.

You have option to upgrade “Return of the Safari Pioneers” to include a Private Jet from your country/city of origin, instead of a commercial airline and reach directly to your Camps in Kenya. The only difference will be eliminating need for an overnight stay in Nairobi, since now you are flying private from to your country of origin directly to camps in Kenya (Note: you will still have to transit Nairobi for immigration before you hop on for a chartered private air transfer to your camp).

This is how your arrival will look like:

Depart either Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or Ahmedabad in a private jet and fly directly to Nairobi. VIP Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival around mid-morning with priority access and processing through customs and health before heading into the bush on a private air transfer.

On arrival at Naboisho Airstrip, you will be transferred to Mara Nyika Camp.

You can download a sample 6 nights private jet journey from India to Kenya with Great Plains Reserve Collection HERE.

This also gives you an opportunity to select your own dates, and customize your stay as per your preferences, like adding nights to your stay at camps at either or both locations, or even adding other camp locations GPS offers in Kenya.

Like many guests may opt to spend a few days in Mara Nyika combined with a stay at either Mara Expedition or Mara Plains Camp to get exposure to all three wildlife areas, namely the private Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies and Maasai Mara Reserve. Each wildlife experience from our camps is unique and offers a different face of the incredible Maasai Mara ecosystem.

Where do you stay on this Journey:

Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills:

ol Donyo Lodge is located on the Maasai-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch, comprising 275,000 acres of wilderness between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks, bordering Chyulu Hills National Park.

This stunningly beautiful area is incredibly diverse, and often has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. ol Donyo Lodge is a harmonious blend of contemporary and rustic, merging the landscape into each suite.

Designed for a wide appeal, the lodge is a perfect getaway for families, honeymooners or multigenerational groups. What makes it a standout is its variety of activities – from cultural visits, good quality wildlife viewing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking – ol Donyo Lodge is a place to feel Africa, and get out from behind the wheel.

Add to this the lodge’s creature comforts of fine dining, massage, infinity pool, star beds and multiple lounges, and it is a place to relax and unwind for days. Each suite has a private plunge pool, and two are connected for a ‘villa’ concept, perfect for families or couples traveling together.

Constructed of local thatch and gunnite, the suites blend with the environment despite their commanding design. The lodge’s main lounge, complete with grand stone fireplace, a small library, inviting open bar and expansive verandah are the place to rendezvous with new friends, and the local staff.

The attached dining area as well as the nearby pool lounge/dining is where sumptuous meals are served, and good times abound. The main infinity pool, curio shop and office provide other diversions should exploring the area not be enough.

A maximum of 16 guests, sharing, can be accommodated in 8 Tents, plus an additional guide’s room as required.

Children from 5 years are welcome. Families with children between the ages of 5 & 15 will be accommodated in the Pool Suites.

Mara Nyika, Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Greater Mara Region:

Mara Nyika, meaning “Large Plains or Great Plains,” is an intimate tented camp set in a valley, straddling a small stream on the western side of the Naboisho Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara.

It allows guests to explore the private and exclusive 50,000-acre Naboisho Conservancy, the second largest conservancy in the greater Maasai Mara region.

Mara Nyika’s light-coloured canvas tents were designed to sit under the canopy of umbrella thorn trees while still offering guests views out over the plains. Walkways from the tents to the main area evoke the feeling of a treehouse under canvas and the camp’s ethic and inspiration is one of exploration and adventure.

Privacy is the key to Mara Nyika. Privacy to live, think, explore, be romantic and be pampered– all the while with one of the most spectacular backdrops Africa can provide.

Mara Nyika can accommodate 10 guests sharing, plus an additional guide’s tent as required. Children from 6 years are welcome and can be accommodated in our family suite.

Mara Nyika offers guests 3 double or twin configuration guest tents, plus 2 x 2-Bedroom family tents.

Hemingways Nairobi:

Hemingways Nairobi, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is an elegant boutique hotel situated in Nairobi’s Karen residential area with magnificent views of the nearby Ngong hills.

This 45-suite boutique hotel elevates the standard of luxury for travellers in the region. Beautiful in its symmetry and flooded with natural light, this plantation-style property is airy and spacious. Each of their 80m² suites have a private balcony overlooking the iconic silhouette of the Ngong Hills, a magical view which can also be enjoyed over sundowners at the Bar.

Photographic Safaris with Great Plains Conservation:

Great Plains Conservation was founded by world renowned wildlife filmmakers and photographers – Dereck and Beverly Joubert, so photography becomes a natural ingredient and central to Great Plains Conservation’s Safari Experiences.

Their camps are perfect for any level of photographer from professional to committed hobbyist to novice. From the Selinda Reserve’s (Botswana) herds of elephants, to sunrises over the Zambezi River at Sapi Explorers Camp (Zimbabwe) to ol Donyo’s Lodge (Kenya) two photographic hides, perfectly placed in front of a water hole that draws some of the regions last “big tusker” elephants, these camps are a photographers dream!

Their vehicles are open 4x4s with a maximum of 6 guests (private vehicles available), many of which come with stabilizing bean bags and camera mounts. Duba Plains (Botswana) is even home to a specialist photographic boat for exploring the Okavango Delta. At Duba Plains, Zarafa (Botswana), Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge (Kenya) each tent has a Canon camera and lenses for guests to use with their images downloaded on departure.

At Mpala Jena in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and at the camps in Botswana guests can book a scenic helicopter flight to capture stunning aerial shots.

For those looking to improve their photography skills at any level we have developed our Wild Studio Photography program which offers photographic tuition for all abilities taught by a professional photographer in both small groups and on a private basis.

Highlights of Wild Studio Photography Program:

    Great Plains Wild Studio is an opportunity for all levels of photographic abilities to become published wildlife photographers.
    They have designed the courses to accommodate non-photographers also, ideal for couples and families looking for different experiences.
    They provide both workshop and tailored private tuition in all our camps.

The workshops can be as short as three days making them extremely accessible to all travellers visiting different areas of the country.

    Professional photographers, who live in either Botswana or Kenya, will guide you through the technical aspects of photography, and then take you even further by developing meaningful portfolios that they will assist in publishing for you.

Example itinerary for your 3 Nights Wild Studio Safari Worskshop:

There are no fixed times during a Wild Studio workshop. In fact they are completely tailor made for you. Below is only a guidance of what you might expect.

Day 1: Arrival by light aircraft to meet your guide and specialist photographer.
Evening game drive of 3 to 4 hours.
Dinner around 8pm.

Introduction to Wild Studio
The first day is about acclimatizing to the area and planning for the next 3 days. Your Wild Studio photographer will take you through the first steps of portfolio building, which is to start with the contents page and brief of the book you will create.

Chapters might be; Soul of the Elephant, Africa’s Antelopes, The Challenge of Birds in Flight, The Predators of Botswana or even The Happiest of Hippos…..It is your story to tell and book template to create.

You will then go on a relaxed game drive to settle in and acquaint ourselves with your vehicle and camera equipment.

Day 2 and Day 3:

  • Rise to be in the field for sunrise. Typically 5am.
  • Breakfast in the bush from, around 8am
  • Morning game drive – average 5 to 6 hours
  • Lunch from 12pm
  • Image reviews and portfolio building
  • Pm game drive from 4pm to 7 pm
  • Dinner usually 8pm

After an early start you will spend the best part of the mornings searching for wildlife and photographing. You might look to focus on a specific animal as per your book chapters. The important part is to begin collecting a diversity of images to create your album.

After lunch this period gives you time to rest but also review your efforts and transfer files and backup your prized photographs before a more relaxed evening drive.

Your final evening will be to summarize everything you have learned and present some of your best shots from the workshop.

This is the fun time where you can give your book its title and write down your introduction and biography. It is also a must to have some photos of you in your portfolio.

The technical aspects of photography are there to support your creative vision of the images you are looking to get. Your Wild Studio photographer will support and guide you in your chosen course and not let the camera dictate.

Day 4:

  • Breakfast.
  • Morning game drive 3 to 4 hours prior to departure.
  • Depart for next destination from the airstrip.
  • There should always be some time to have a last game drive in the morning, you can enjoy this drive knowing you have some excellent photos backed up on your hard drives having learned new skills to use on your next adventures.

Family Safaris with Great Plains Conservation: Young Explorers Program:

Safaris with kids are much the same – a time to stimulate all the senses. Safaris open up a whole new world to us all, but for kids it is magical.

While new animals are a huge part of the excitement of safari, stepping away from everyday life in favor of spotting animal tracks and practicing your newly learnt traditional bush survival skills is an experience that kids and parents alike will cherish.

The Great Plains Young Explorers Program blends fun with conservation learning. On arrival each child receives a Young Explorers pack full of all that is needed for them to become a Conservation Ambassador. The pack includes an activity book full of interesting information including animal tracks, seTswana or Kiswahili vocabulary, facts on flora, fauna and stars, word games and a safari journal. Great Plains guides and staff seamlessly modify the level of activities according to age.

Like any vacation, a family safari is a time to connect with one another, but there is something extra special about sharing the first sighting of a favorite animal together and reliving it around the fire together each night. The freedom and purity of Africa is the ideal way to escape the everyday and bond with the land and with each other.

Download Young Explorers Botswana

Download Young Explorers Kenya

Horse Back Safaris:

Experience the magic of the bush on Horseback with Ride Kenya Horseback Safaris.

You will ride in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro with Great Plains Ride Kenya, the Chyulu Hills and the exclusive wilderness around ol Donyo Lodge is yours to discover.

With low tourist densities you are more likely to come across the paw print of a lion than the footprint of a human! Instead expect to encounter everything from elephant and giraffe, to zebra, gazelle and warthog.

The horses at ol Donyo Lodge are sourced and schooled with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment as highest priority. The horses are soft, responsive, sensible and enormously fun to ride. Not only are they ridden in the bush but they also live amongst the wildlife during the day – free and unfenced. This makes for horses that are completely at home in their environment and that are an absolute joy to ride.

Rides can be enjoyed from ol Donyo Lodge by riders of all levels from novice to advanced.

Stay at Ol Donyo Lodge: The soft volcanic soils and the variety of the terrain make this area a fantastic and very unique riding destination. The stables themselves are set within the beautiful acacia forest at the base of the Chyulu Hills and are easily accessible by all guests residing at ol Donyo Lodge.

Ride Options:

For Intermediate riders and above GPC offers 2 to 4 hour rides exploring the concession. Enjoy exhilarating medium to fast paced canters and encounters with the famous big Tuskers.

For this riding option, you need to be riding fit, confident and competent, ride with an independent seat and be able to control an easy horse at all paces over uneven terrain.

Amateur riders can enjoy a gentle 60/90 minute ride exploring the open plains.

All riders will need to have a short assessment in the arena prior to setting out to ensure you are comfortable with your horse and equipment. Plains riders will be given some instruction, a minimum requirement is a short trot.

  • All rides will be a Maximum of 6 guests accompanied by 2 experienced guides.
  • A selection of Riding hats, riding boots, breeches and half chaps are available for guests with no additional charge.
  • No riders over 95Kg.
  • For safety reasons they have an age limit of 12. All children between 12 and 15 must be accompanied by a riding parent or guardian. They offer arena riding to under 12’s, a 30/45 minute lesson or just a little bit of fun.

Other activities during your stay at Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills, Kenya:

  • Guided bush walks.
  • Hill hikes and exploration of extinct volcanic lava tubes.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Game viewing drives.
  • Night game viewing drives.
  • Lion tracking.
  • Cultural villages visits.
  • Anti-poaching tracker dog experience.
  • Amboseli day trip.
  • Scenic Kilimanjaro flight.

The Great Migration with Great Plains Conservation, Kenya:

Every year the plains of East Africa are home to one of the world’s most sought-after wildlife spectacles, the migration of more than a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle, tracked by Africa’s great predators.

Between July and October each year the Maasai Mara Reserve and the private conservancies that surround it are the best place to witness the power of this natural phenomenon. Mara Expedition Camp, Mara Plains Camp are perfectly positioned to put guests in the middle of the action.

Spend the whole day out with a packed lunch and cameras ready to capture a river-crossing or retreat to the calm of the conservancies and experience the herds without the crowds.

I need to mention that even outside of the July and October period not only is the resident game in the Maasai Mara outstanding year-round but the area is home to Kenya’s best-kept wildlife secret, a second migration!

Each year between late November and June more than 200,000 wildebeest move east to west from the Loita plains to the Mara traversing the Naibosho, Olare Motorogi and Mara North Conservancies, home to Mara Expedition, Mara Plains and Mara Nyika. This means that almost 95% of the year the Great Plains camps in the Mara are at the heart of one of these two wildlife migration paths.

GCP’s Migration Camps in Kenya:

Mara Plains

Mara Plains is a small, intimate camp located with the exclusive Olare Motorogi Conservancy, adjacent to the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Mara Plains has just 7-uniquely designed canvas rooms on raised platforms, accommodating a maximum of 14-guests.

Located on the Ntiakatek River, in the northern border of the Maasai Mara, within the 35,000 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy and being one of only five camps in this conservancy Mara Plains has the lowest vehicle density in the region.

Mara Plains has unrivalled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land, prime habitat for a vast number of wildlife species, as well as unfettered access to the 375,000 Maasai Mara Reserve.

The beautiful camp is situated in a game rich area, and at night you can often hear the sounds of lion roaring or in the morning see traces of leopard that walked through during the night. As it is in a private conservancy guests can go for bush walks and night game drives, all of which can be arranged as and when you wish. There are no set rules or time schedules allowing you to tailor your stay to your personal preferences.

Children from 6 years are welcome and can be accommodated in their family suite.

Mara Expedition Camp:

Mara Expedition is set a short distance from its larger sister Mara Plains, in the Mara North Conservancy, bordering Kenya’s Maasai Mara. With just 5 luxury tents, in the shade on the bank of the Ntiakitiak River, it is an exclusive option in prime wilderness.

This is a brand new camp, positioned on high ground in a grove of typical East African acacia trees overlooking a valley in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. It is on private land, so very exclusive but with access to some of the region’s best wildlife, the river crossings of the great wildebeest and zebra migration.

Mara Expeditions is designed for those who seek the levels of service and attention to detail of a Great Plains camp, but are prepared to forgo some of the fancier amenities. However, guests will still be pampered with fine dining, beautifully appointed tents and warm hospitality.

It is safari chic style with light, airy, and spacious canvas tents, each with en-suite bathrooms where you enjoy piping hot water from huge brass safari showers.

The camp is locally famous for its leopard residents wandering nearby and is positioned to take the best advantage of two migrations – the famous annual Serengeti migration and the green season migration from Loita Plains, an additional 50,000 wildebeest and over 100,000 zebras vying for grazing rights.

Children from 6 years are welcome.

Great Plains Expeditions, Botswana:

Great Plains Expeditions, starting in Botswana, is a 4-night experience that starts and ends in the western region of the Selinda Reserve , an area most guests have never explored as GPC’s traditional camps are located in the north eastern area.

You get to explore the entire area on foot, drives and even canoes (mekoro) when water is in the Spillway, with your private guide and the vehicle remains with you throughout.

There are 2 camps that are especially set up for this experience, and maximum number of guests on an Expedition will be only 8 sharing in 4 tents.

These expeditions will run and operate as per your schedule, and do not necessarily follow strict schedules or departure dates. You can book anytime starting from 2 guests and GPC team will plan and execute trip of a lifetime.

This perfect version of a Botswana Expedition experience begins in the Duba area, starting at GPC’s base camp (Duba Explorers, stay for 2-3 Nights). They discuss the journey with you, stock up, look at the maps and plot the expedition. Then you head out on mekoros (the dugout canoes famous in Botswana’s Okavango). You then connect to a small track aiming due north with your expedition game-drive vehicles awaiting to explore the western, undiscovered areas of the Selinda Reserve over 4 nights.

Your expedition vehicles are equipped with only four seats (instead of six-seats in normal vehicles), each with a camera or counting mount, binoculars and notebooks, everything you need for your safari mission. And that mission is to count elephants, hippos, log the GPS coordinates of dens, pangolin sightings, nests of large raptors, and note all elephant carcasses. Elephants, for example, die naturally and their presence remains as bleached bones. We need to register these sites to fully understand the area and levels of both natural and unnatural mortalities.

The style of the camps will be inspired by the golden era of expeditions, the early 19th century. But you will also have a private chef and expert staff on hand. Our communications (satellite phones and radios) make it safe and seamlessly supported.

The route is designed to connect the Okavango and the northern river systems up the Selinda Spillway through one of the highest densities of elephants in Africa, these two areas are, in my opinion, the most special in Botswana.

It transports you through an area that has some of the largest buffalo and elephant herds you would have seen, through sable antelope and roan antelope areas, and well… who knows?

The Great Plains Expeditions will bring you back to the safari origins, depicting an era but in style and safety, and an exclusive journey of discovery.

The Botswana Expeditions experience is being offered from August to the end of October this year. The season for 2022 onwards will run from from middle May to the end of October annually.

Botswana, Best of the Best with Great Plains Conservation:

It does not get better than this. A 9 Nights Safari Journey in Botswana taking you to Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve.

You stay at Great Plains Conservation best camps in Botswana, wherein you enjoy remote and pristine settings, tucked away on the floodplains of the Okavango Delta or next to secret lagoons and rivers. Blending harmoniously with their environments, they focus on a diverse game-viewing experience.

  • 3 nights Duba Plains Camp, Okavango Delta
  • 3 nights Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve
  • 3 nights Xiera Safari Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve

More about your stay and Experiences in Botswana:

Duba Plains Camp, Okavango Delta

Idyllically set in the Okavango Delta, the Duba Plains Private Reserve is one of the best places to start your African adventure. This premier camp lies on the vast, and wonderfully varied, 33,000 hectare private concession in the north of the Delta.

You can look forward to leisurely boating excursions down the tranquil rivers of the Delta, thrilling game drives and mystical night drives in the African bush to spot a wealth of nocturnal wildlife. Commonly spotted species include hippo, blue wildebeest, hyena, giraffe, elephant, lechwe, buffalo, tsessebe, and warthog. Visitors can also look forward to viewing over 200 species of bird, and enjoy a glass of wine under the African night sky after a wonderful day of animal sightings in the wild.

Duba Plains Camp is a wildlife connoisseur’s getaway to the Okavango Delta. Built on a wooded island, connected to the prolific wildlife area by an elaborate set of bridges, the camp is the base of many famous wildlife documentaries by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

The intimate camp consists of 5 traditional-style tents and the 2-bedroom Duba Plains Suite. All sit on raised decking, each with views of the surrounding floodplain and the steady stream of wildlife parading past. Each tent has a lounge area, a private veranda, beautifully appointed en-suite facilities consisting of flush loo, double basins and indoor and outdoor showers and luxurious baths.

You will be able to enjoy their own private plunge pool and outdoor under cover sala/day rest area. The main area consists of a large raised dining room, and a comfortable lounge with private dining areas, wine cellar, library, and chef’s kitchen with ample space for guests to either find privacy or come together.

The camp’s centre-point is the gathering place of all bush experiences, the fire place on an extended deck into the swamp. Duba Plain’s Toyota Land Cruisers are aptly named ‘Swamp Vehicles’ due to their extra-high suspension and absolutely huge tyres uniquely designed to traverse the floodplains.

Duba Plains offers Botswana’s best land safari as well as an Okavango Delta experience, from wildlife viewing and birding or fishing from the boat, to walking and exciting drives with knowledgeable guides and friendly hosts.

Children from 6 years are welcome.

Selinda Camp, Selinda Reserve:

One of Botswana’s most exclusive camps, the recently rebuilt Selinda Camp lies in the pristine private paradise of the vast 130,000 hectare Selinda reserve between the Okavango and Chobe.

It is set in one of the most pristine wilderness areas left on our planet, it rests on the banks of the Selinda Spillway, as it enters the Linyanti River. The private reserve boasts elephants by the thousands, regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs as well as the famous Selinda Lion Pride featured in the National Geographic film “Birth of a Pride” by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. The area has a sense of remoteness, a true spirit of Africa, and is a great example of the Botswana bush embodying a variety of species and rare animals.

Its architectural design elements center around Water, Air, Earth and Fire, all of which ground the design.

The camp has 3 expansive guest tents, each covered under thatch and with large en-suite bathrooms, large private veranda and private swimming pool. Each guest tents is unique, designed with its own colour palette and theme.

In addition to the three main tents, the Selinda Suite consists of a two-bedroom tented villa. The Selinda Suite operates exclusively, as guests enjoy their own private vehicle, safari guide, chef, manager/butler and entrance to their residence.

The safari drives, walks, boating, tracking, birding and other bespoke viewing activities are designed to place you in front of the best wildlife the area has to offer for a unique one on one life changing experience, from leopards to elephants and hippos and aim to tick off as many as the 200 or more bird species in the area.

Children from 6 years are welcome.

Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve:

Zarafa Camp is one of the finest camps in Botswana, occupying a stunning position overlooking a permanent lagoon on the vast and exclusive Selinda Reserve, a pristine 130,000 hectare reserve between the Okavango and Chobe/Savute corridors. This is a very special camp, and Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property, it offers an intimate and exclusive safari experience with just four tented rooms.

It also offers a separate villa, the Dhow Suites, which consist of two tents with a private main area and operates entirely independently of main camp.

The camp overlooks the crystal waters Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the famous Savute Channel, every area of camp has a magnificent view. The lagoon is also the water source for a tremendous population of wildlife – dry season sightings boast buffalo and elephant by the hundreds.

Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suites are the brainchild of the founders of Great Plains Conservation, who pooled their collective experience on safari to create what they deemed to be the best and most environmentally innovative camp. As a consequence, Zarafa may in fact be the “greenest” luxury safari camp on the continent. Only recycled hardwoods and canvas were used in the construction and all the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm while a ‘bio-gas’ system recycles vegetable waste into usable cooking gas.

The Zarafa Camp guest tents, 1000 sq. ft in size are under beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceilings and completely open (yet netted) sides. Each tent has a full lounge and a gas fireplace. The large bedroom is connected to an open layout bathroom with impressive copper claw foot bath, indoor shower, separate loo and double basins.

Decking around the tent leads to the private plunge pool and outdoor shower, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness.

Under an impressive canopy of African ebony trees, the camp has a sizable main lounge, with adjacent library and dining area.

With a maximum of just eight guests, Zarafa Camp offers complete flexibility. While drives do focus on the most comfortable and productive times of day, early morning and late afternoon, full day drives, walks and boating (water level dependent) are great ways to fill the day at Zarafa.

Children from 6 years are welcome.

Xigera Safari Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve:

Xigera Safari Lodge is located in the Moremi Game Reserve with private access to a 4,500-hectare (11,120-acre) wetland paradise in the heart of the Delta.

Situated on one of the Okavango’s key waterways, Xigera Safari Lodge is surrounded by picturesque papyrus swamps and wooded islands and is renowned for its very high density of sitatunga antelope. The area is known for remarkable mammal sightings including red lechwe, spotted-necked otter, elephant, buffalo, reedbuck and tsessebe.

Predators include lions, spotted hyenas and leopards. Guests are sometimes treated to close-up views of lions or leopards using the footbridge connecting Xigera to the next island!

This concession lies in an International Birding Area (IBA) with many ‘Okavango specials’ being present, including Pel’s Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Brown Firefinch, Greater Swamp Warbler, Wattled Crane, African Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana.

This extraordinary new safari lodge, located in the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, is a bold new statement, reinventing what it means to experience the African bush.

Xigera Safari Lodge offers just 12 beautiful suites and an exceptional Baobab Treehouse, each resting effortlessly in this wild landscape. Amid this remarkable setting, Xigera’s design aesthetic is wholeheartedly dedicated to celebrating African art, design and creativity.

Children 12 years and older are welcome at Xigera.

How to Book:

You can book your once in a lifetime safari experience with Great Plains Conservation through their Delhi based preferred agent – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd. They are safari experts, and benefit from local knowledge and long established connections with GPC’s safari team in Africa to plan and execute your safari in Africa experience.

– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

Bucket List Travel: Post-Covid Trips to plan in advance for travel in 2022 and 2023

As we navigate ourselves through the Pandemic, a positive hope and ability for safe vaccinated-travel in near future is looking a possibility, with destinations slowly and cautiously opening borders, global vaccination drives, and with overall infections on decline, we hope to reach herd immunity sooner than later.

This is the time to start planning your bucket-list travel for 2022 and 2023. Infact the trips listed below (pandemic or not) have always required advance planning at least 12-months out due to limited availability, exclusive access, and complexity of itinerary and experiences.

We’re talking about those places with strict tourism caps; events that happen just once a year or once in a few years or even a lifetime for that matter; or the fabulous multi-stop journeys or family reunions that require elaborate coordination to pull off. For these trips, you want to start planning well in advance. Infact now we have got all the time to do just that.

The Golden Eagle and Naadam Festivals in Mongolia:

Golden Eagle Festival: Each year, Kazakh hunters from near and far attend the festival for competitions based on the speed, agility, and accuracy of their magnificent hunting eagles. This festival celebrating the Kazakhs’ honored golden eagle is also a celebration of Kazakh traditional heritage and is organized by the local Kazakh community and the Berkut Association.

Trip Dates: Sep 28, 2022 – Oct 4, 2022

Naadam Festival: This exciting Mongolian journey takes place over just 6 days but will fill your heart and spirit with a lifetime of memories.

As part of this exceptional journey, participate in the celebrations surrounding Naadam, Mongolia’s national games. Wrestling, horse racing, and archery are the three age-old competitions traditionally used to measure the courage and strength of nomads and warriors. Contemporary Naadam Games showcase the abilities of local men, women, boys, and girls, and are also a time when family and friends get together to celebrate the short, joyful summer season.

Trip Dates: Jul 9, 2022 – Jul 14, 2022

Trans Siberian Rail Journey by Luxury Train, Russia, Mongolia:

Rail cruising is a fantastic way to absorb the rich culture and cinematic landscape of the country.

Golden Eagle Luxury Trains is the world’s leading operator of exclusive, long-distance rail tours. They offer guests first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the world’s most remarkable sites and a room with a view that constantly changes. Aboard this luxury hotel-on-wheels you can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining and elegant surroundings – no matter where you choose to explore.

The Journey (Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Ulaan Baatar Express, 11 Days), is a compilation of some of the most intriguing and stimulating elements of the world’s greatest railway journey and you will understand the appeal of the Trans-Siberian Journey.

Dates in 2022: May 1, July 24, August 21


Beluga Whale Photography tour at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Canada:

Trip Dates: Jul 20 – Jul 29, 2023

Led by the team at Weber Arctic, embark to photograph one of the most unique beluga congregations on earth – 2000 whales every season in the shallow waters of Cunningham Inlet near Arctic Watch to nurse, molt, socialize and feed. This expedition is limited to 8 guests.

800 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is your basecamp as you set out to photograph one of the last beluga nurseries on earth.

The adventure focuses on spending time at the mouth of the Cunningham River where mothers and young congregate in the shallow waters. We want to take time to teach and show you about the belugas moments, behaviours and really immerse yourself into their world. We will take opportunities to explore the coastline and photograph the whales as they travel in and out of the inlet and along the Northwest Passage; capturing all aspects of their journey as they play in Cunningham and travel the ice of the Northwest passage.

Stay at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge: Located 800 km north of the Arctic Circle on the shores of the Northwest Passage is the most northerly fly-in lodge on earth – Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Years ago, travel to the high Arctic meant a tent on the tundra. The construction of the lodge in 1992 changed all that – and now both our locations set a high standard for guest accommodation and comfort in Nunavut.

World’s Next Great Safari™ – Polar Bears in Arctic Canada:

Join the World’s Next Great Safari™ and take a walk on the wild side deep in the heart of polar bear country! Meet polar bears face-to-face and view beluga whales, all while enjoying world-class service, accommodations and cuisine from the comfort of the only permanent ecolodges on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast.

Churchill Wild owns and operates 3 remote ecolodges on the Hudson Bay coast, which is home to the largest and most accessible polar bear population on the planet. They pioneered Polar Bear Walking Safaris in 1993 and have been offering up-close polar bear encounters from July through November ever since with a 99% success rate, due to their wildly exclusive locations. They specialise in ground-level walking tours through the polar bear inhabited regions of Arctic Canada.

But you have a very short window to be able to experience this since the Churchill Wild Lodges are open in the summer and fall, with Seal River Heritage Lodge’s season running from July to November and Nanuk’s lasting from August through November.

They offer 5 months of polar bear viewing on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast at their three ecolodges, and during those 5 months there are 12 different polar bear tours and safaris to choose from.

It’s recommended that you start the booking process 12-18 months in advance, especially if you’ve got your heart set on a certain trip or departures. Bookings are now open for season 2022.

Land Expedition to Antarctica: Meet Emperor Penguins and visit the Geographical South Pole:

Trip Dates: Multiple Trips (no more than 10 trips in each season) November – January in 2022 and 2023)

The journey (limited to maximum 12-persons each expedition) is a luxury land based expedition, using a private jet Gulfstream G550 from Cape Town, South Africa, flying directly into Antarctica using a private air-strip at Wolf’s Fang Runway. This trip changes the entire perspective and approach to exploring Antarctica and presents you with an opportunity to visit the Atka Bay Colony of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, which hosts almost 24000 of them, and till date no trip has been cancelled or unsuccessful to visit the Penguin colony.

All this is achieved in no more than 08 days, so it’s quick but experiential and takes you to the heart of the continent and sites which are life-changing.

Then it’s on to the southernmost point on earth – the South Pole!

The South Pole, the bottom of the earth and the holy grail of early explorers. At the designated marker there is no more east, south or west on the planet, only north, and you will be able to walk around the world in just a few paces!

Even now, reaching the southernmost point on earth is a feat that very few people have achieved. During the 7-hour internal flight within Antarctica on board the Basler BT-67 aircraft, we visit the South Pole, where you will have lots of time for photos and a chance to stamp your passport before flying back to 83º South Camp to rest and overnight on the plateau.

You stay at the Whichaway Camp (70º 45’ 49” S 11º 36’ 59” E), the only Luxury Expedition Camp in Antarctica, is unique and the perfect place from which to base your adventure.

There are 7 state-of-the-art sleeping pods that are heated and designed for two people in each. At just over 6m (20ft) in diameter, they are also spacious with a writing desk, wash area and toilet.

The rest of the camp comprises a shower pod, kitchen and three centralised pods that make up the reception, lounge and dining room. While the exterior is made from cutting edge materials, the interior has an old-world feel with rich textures. Here you can relax and enjoy the food from the award-winning chef.

Land on the North Pole in the World’s largest flying aircraft:

A historic endeavour. Never in history has an airship landed on the North Pole. Route from Svalbard to 90° north. A 36-hrs expedition to one of the most inaccessible place on Earth in the revolutionary Hybrid Airship: the Airlander.

Ocean Sky will take you on a pioneering expedition to land on the North Pole, as the first hybrid aircraft in history. A limited amount of tickets will be available for the true Pioneers of the world.

Expeditions launching in 2023/2024 (Trip duration is 36 Hrs).

OceanSky founded in 2014 is the company behind this exclusive expedition, from the conception to it’s final execution, is offering a unique itinerary to land with a hybrid aircraft on the North Pole. The crew and expedition leader have been handpicked for this Arctic experience, with knowledge about the exceptional flying conditions of the North and prior work in exceptional high-end experiential travel.

OceanSky has selected Airlander 10 as their preferred aircraft. The Airlander 10 is unlike any other aircraft. It is the world’s largest flying vehicle and it uses innovative technology to combine the best characteristics of fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters and static lift by helium. The combination creates a new breed of hyper-efficient aircraft with abilities to explore the Arctic in a completely new way.

Passengers on the Airlander 10 can enjoy luxurious, private en-suite bedrooms and horizon-to-horizon views in the aircraft’s Infinity Lounge. The Altitude Bar will offer drinks with the ultimate view, and guests can enjoy fine dining in the skies.

Greenland: Glamping in Wilderness:

It’s said that once a traveller has seen the rest of the world, , there’s always Greenland. But with climate change undoubtedly stirring things up in this part of the world, I don’t think you should wait that long. Nature, at its most raw and powerful, calls the shots here, the world’s biggest non-continental island is actually more than 80% icecap, leading to the worlds sparsest population.

Greenland’s summer season has a short window from June till September each year, and with limited high-end properties and inventory to just a handful, you need to book a journey to Greenland in advance. So I am already proposing booking a tailor-made private journey for season 2022 or 2023.

Unique Stays in Greenland:

In a territory with no five-star hotels, Camp Kiattua, with only 5 tents, is Greenland’s first real luxury offering. Set amid sheer cliffs and waterfalls, high-spec tipis are bedecked with furs, sheepskins and Scandi furniture, and boast glowing wood-burners and hot showers. Initially conceived as a one-off holiday camp for a wealthy friend of Elon Musk, Camp Kiattua has since welcomed guests including the Jordanian royal family.

Ilimanaq Lodge:

Newly built in the summer of 2017, the huts of Ilimanaq Lodge are situated on the edge of the coastline in harmony with nature in the first row, with unique vistas of majestic icebergs and impressive whales.

Ilimanaq Lodge comprises of 15 luxury huts with adjacent gourment restaurant and facilities. At Ilimanaq Lodge you’ll be right out there experiencing this little Greenlandic village in a comfortable setting.

Glacier Lodge Eqi:

Glacier Lodge Eqi is placed at the very spot where the French polar explorer Poul-Emilie Victor started his expeditions in 1948 to 1953. Since that time the glacier has receded somewhat, but the panorama and thundering sounds are certainly not lacking!

There is a total of 14 huts and 5 wilderness tents in Glacier Lodge Eqi. All huts and tents have private terraces and fantastic views of the glacier.

Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice

What’s really waiting for you in Iceland is a warming mix of black sand beaches, deep-green landscapes, vast glaciers, lively active volcanoes, spurting geysers and deafening waterfalls.

Why Iceland:

The scenery
Jaw dropping scenery around every corner! Rivers, Lakes, Black Sand Beaches, Volcanoes, Glaciers… the list goes on.

Action and Adventure
There is always something to do in Iceland, even if you don’t want to do anything! Take a gentle Horseback Ride on the famous Icelandic Horse, glide across the glacier on a Snowmobile or put on your crampons and hike across the glacier.

In the summer, you can visit the inside of a dormant Volcano, or for a more relaxed pace take a helicopter flight across a more active one! And no trip to Iceland is complete without taking a relaxing dip in a Geothermal pool.

The Northern Lights

Midnight Sun – long days where the sun does not really set, and night time is just a distant memory! This gives you the best opportunity to make the most of the long days and experience as much as you can.

Click on this Blog link on Iceland for full details on Experiences in Iceland.

In search of Santa Claus and Northern Lights, Finland: Private & Exclusive:

Discover authentic, Finnish Christmas with an exclusive, tailor-made Christmas and Northern Lights Adventure in December 2021 or 2022:

Specially designed for families that wish to experience something truly different, this Adventure Journey will introduce you to some unique Arctic activities including the Northern Lights, stay in Glass Igloos and take you on a journey in search of Santa Claus.

Lapland is the largest, northernmost region of Finland. Its unique nature, range of activities and fascinating attractions offer unique experiences throughout the year.

In winter there are plenty of opportunities for skiing, snowmobile driving, husky ride, reindeer sleigh rides, snowshoeing and of-course meet Santa Claus and his reindeers at his hometown.

Portugal: Experience the Life of a Spy (An Extraordinary Journey):

An exceptionally curated and challenging experience (infact it’s a 7 days Journey) based on True Facts that occurred in Portugal through the second world war.

This amazing travel experience in Portugal, allows you to live the life of a real spy, without compromising the comforts and luxuries of 5 star hotels and private services.

The Spy Games, does not intend to be the exact reconstruction of facts, but rather a meticulously prepared experience that takes you to live the life of a real spy… without forgetting the suites in the best 5 Star hotels, meals prepared by the most prestigious chefs, stylish shows, and adrenaline.

Below is an overview of what all is included in this experience:

  • This mission lasts 6 nights and 7 days, from the infiltration to the extraction day.
  • Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners are included, as well as most drinks, except lunch on the sixth day, where after your mission is complete, your chauffeur will be available throughout the day, for your team for A La Carte visits, for shopping day in style. Or… Anything you wish within the greater Lisbon area.
  • All means of transport necessary to carry out the missions.
  • The accommodation provided, is meticulously selected, and worthy of James Bond movies.
  • You can expect to be toasted with champagne bottles, but for that, you’ll have to be the winner of each day, and be the first to finish the day.
  • All expenses associated with the game itself.
  • You can expect to be toasted with champagne bottles, but for that, you’ll have to win each stage, and be the fastest to finish the day.
  • One Spy Kit per team.
  • Arrival and departure transfers to and from Lisbon Airport.
  • … A lot of surprising experiences.

Dates: Only a selection of dates in 2022. Refer to “How to Book” section of the Blog below for more details.

The White Truffle Festival in Piemonte, Italy

Located on the bank of the Tanaro river, in the heart of the Langhe and Roero wine district, Alba is a charming town famous for being home to a renowned international truffle fair, as well as the birthplace of delicious chocolate, spread Nutella.

The beating heart of Piedmont is the Alba White Truffle Fair, which takes place every October and November.

The white truffle season in Piedmont officially begins on 21st September, and from this date, the truffle hunters (trifolao) and their dogs are officially able to harvest. Part of the charm of the truffle is the knowledge of the hunt; the highly-skilled dogs must sniff out the unique fungal aroma, leading the trifolao to the source, where they then delicately extract the truffles before re-compacting the soil, completing the extraction.

For truffle lovers, the chance to visit the Fair is certainly one for the bucket list, and this trip offers that very opportunity. Piedmont is also home to incredible rich red wines, and on this tour, you’ll explore the Fair as well as the wines of either Barolo or Barbaresco as preferred!

At the White Truffle Fair, The ‘World Market’ is home to many stalls selling the best truffles from the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato Woods. With cheese and truffle fondue, pasta with shaved truffles, and many more delicious options, trying the food within the Fair is always recommended, and there will be plenty of opportunities to buy too!

Alba Truffle Kids: The fair offers a dedicated children’s area equipped with educational games made of wood and natural materials; a place to play where, together with their parents, the little visitors can discover, while having fun, our land, our magical hills which are UNESCO World Heritage, where “it’s nice to look at the moon”.

Then comes the experience of a lifetime, an emotional truffle hunting in the woods, following silently the expert “trifolau” (truffle seeker) and his faithful dog, and an awesome truffle based dinner in an enchanting restaurant with an unexpected panoramic view over the vineyards.

And to wrap it up comes this unique experience, focused on truffle, starts with an enjoyable cooking class in an ancient castle, preparing the typical dishes that better pair with the truffle, from raw meat to “tajarin” (eggs hand-made pasta).

Two of the region’s most grand properties are both part of the Relais & Châteaux collection. About 20 minutes north of Alba in Guarene sits Hotel Castello di Guarene , a medieval and Baroque castle that, in 2011, was restored into an opulent 15–guest room hotel and spa. And then there’s Relais San Maurizio, a former Franciscan monastery about a 30-minute drive east of Alba. In 2002, the compound was restored, now boasting a salt cave–equipped wellness center, a Michelin-starred restaurant with an organic garden, and 36 plush rooms and suites that once served as monks’ quarters.

Flowers and Tulips in Holland:

Holland’s once-in-a-decade World’s Fair of horticulture will run from 14 April to 09 October in 2022, with exhibitions from close to 40 countries.

Floriade Expo 2022, the World’s Fair of horticultural shows, will be the largest public event in the Netherlands. The exhibition, which takes place only once every 10 years, will make its third appearance of the 21st Century from April to October, 2022.

It is the park to enjoy the scent and colour of flowers, plants, vegetables and fruit. The Expo will offer inspiring country presentations, a spectacular greenhouse complex, a cable car over the Floriade park, pavilions with sustainable innovations and a vibrant arts and culture programme.

Floriade will be an extraordinary experience for young and old in 2022. Don’t miss it and book in advance!

The Expo’s location will be Almere, a modern “garden city” near Amsterdam (30 mins drive) that was built on land reclaimed from the sea.

While you will be visiting Floriade 2022, it may be a good idea to combine it with a visit to Keukenhof Tulip Gardens (opens from 20 March – 09 May), and to further finetune your travel dates, it can even include the Keukenhof Flower Parade scheduled to be held on 23 April 2022.

Every year at the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, more than 7 million bulbs are planted by hand in the autumn to flower in spring. There is a variety of 800 different tulips. A unique and unforgettable experience for everyone.

The Gardens are is located between the cities of Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and The Hague and can be reached from the cities within 30 minutes by car.

Experiences in/around Keukenhof Tulip Gardens can include:

  • The flower park has 32 hectares of flowers. There are also spectacular flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens, unique artworks and wonderful events.
  • Keukenhof is also one big party for kids. They will have a blast with the treasure hunt, petting farm, maze and the playground. There is also a Miffy playground for little kids to enjoy. Visiting the flower park is a great day out for the whole family.
  • The surroundings of Keukenhof Gardens are enchanting. Many different flower fields provide a unique experience every spring, and you have different ways of experiencing the area as listed below.
  • Cycle along the flowering tulip fields.
  • Renault Twizy GPS Tulip Tour.
  • Electric Scooter Tulip Tour.
  • TukTuk Private Sightseeing Tour.
  • Helicopter sightseeing flight above the tulip fields.
  • Keukenhof boat tour along the tulip fields in Holland.
  • Visit a real tulip farm where you will see the colorful flower fields and meet the farmers. Most farms are not open for visitors but there is a great farm De Tulperij in Voorhout which is just 5 kilometers from Keukenhof Gardens, open for visitors during tulip season (March – May) in Amsterdam.

Trip Duration and Dates: I will recommend to plan your trip around the third week of April in 2022 to coincide with the Flower Parade on 23 April, Keukenhof Tulip Garden (Mar-May) and Floriade Expo (April-October), stay 7 Nights at a Luxury Hotel in Amsterdam, the best names and Hospitality brands have great offerings for your stay and experiences including The Dylan, Andaz Amsterdam, W Amsterdam, Waldorf Astoria, The Conservatorium, Hotel De L’Europe, Pulitzer Amsterdam and The Grand Amsterdam, a Sofitel Legend Hotel.

While you base yourself in Amsterdam, you can easily do private day trips to visit the Floriade Expo, Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, Flower Parade (since these locations are within 30-45 mins drive from Amsterdam) and many other engaging day trips such as Utrecht, Amersfoort, Leiden or Haarlem to discover even more about our Dutch heritage, including of course the city of Amsterdam itself.

Cruise and Floriade Expo: You also have the option of combining a Rhine cruise (from/to Amsterdam, 8 Days duration), which includes a visit to Floriade Expo, operated by luxury cruise liner Scenic River Cruises, offering Windmills, Tulips and Belgian Delights with Floriade Cruise with multiple departures between May – Oct in 2022.

Private Castle Stay Experiences in UK & Ireland:

Luxury Castle Rentals gives you an opportunity to stay in some of the most romantic and historic castles in the UK & Ireland. You live like kings in aristocratic splendor, enjoying your luxury vacation, in your private castle.

Each of the private castles on portfolio has been lovingly restored including all the modern luxuries one would expect. They are fully staffed and catered, offering world class cuisine using local organic ingredients often from the estates themselves.

The service is second to none with staff who care deeply about the wellbeing of their guests. You have choice to rent Irish castles, historic and contemporary Scottish castle rentals, castles to stay in England, or even castle hotels.

Some of the exclusive use castles are more intimate and cozy than you might imagine. Having been restored and fully modernized, they offer contemporary, modern living. They can be ideal for family vacations with a difference or a milestone celebration for a special birthday or anniversary.

The majority of them have been around for hundreds of years and have bundles of history and stories to be told as well as some very interesting facts about castles that you probably don’t know. Staying in an historic Scottish Castle is a completely unique way to re-live history. With fine portraits on the walls and beautiful antique furniture filling each room, everything tells a story and it is a first hand way to be able to experience and absorb such information.

Experiencing a vacation staying in a private house is different to staying in a hotel. It is more like being ‘lord of the manor’ for the duration of your stay. Where you will be the host to the rest of your family or friends who are with you.

The stately houses, castles are fully staffed and catered and offer an exceptional service to all their guests.

So in 2022 or 2023 if you are seeking a multi-generational family vacations, 40th, 50th and 60th birthday celebrations, then now is the right time to start scouting for your favorite Castle stay experience in UK (Scotland, Wales, England) or Ireland.

Wild Rwanda: Gorillas, Chimpanzees and the Big 5:

Photo by Richard Denyer

Experience one of Africa’s cleanest and safest countries. With lodges in parks visited by only a trickle of guests each year, Rwanda has emerged as an exciting safari destination itself. No longer is it relegated to an “add-on” to larger East African destinations like Kenya or Tanzania.

Rwanda is a unique destination in Africa which not only offers you opportunity to experience the gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys, but also the Big 5 game, making it a complete safari experience in Africa.

An inclusive itinerary to cover all of above experiences will look like staying 1 night in Kigali, 2 nights Nyungwe Forest National Park at the One & Only, 3 nights Volcanoes National Park at Singita Kwitonda Lodge or at Bisate Lodge by Wilderness Safaris, and 3 nights Akagera National Park at Magashi Camp by Wilderness Safaris. A total trip duration of 9 Nights, stay in the best Luxury Lodges in Rwanda, with lodge to lodge transfers using the convenience of Helicopters.

It takes at least a few months of planning to execute the bare bones of such a trip, from securing required gorilla trekking permits to getting availability at the above list of best lodges in Rwanda, due to limited inventory mostly in single-digits, less than 10 rooms and high-demand.

There’s always high demand to visit during the dry seasons from mid-December to early February, and June to September, when hiking conditions are best and malaria risk lowest. So book now for season from June – September 2022 or 2023. Bookings are open.

Botswana’s Okavango Delta:

There are many destinations in Africa for a safari experience. But nothing beats visiting The Okavango Delta in Botswana for a life-changing, once in a lifetime safari experience.

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the world’s largest inland deltas. While most river deltas usually lead to an ocean, the Okavango River empties onto open land, flooding the savanna and creating a unique and ever-changing inland delta.

At the start of the dry season in Botswana, around March, the water starts flowing into the Okavango Delta reaching its peak in July/August. This seasonal flooding in the dry season gives this wetland its unique ecosystem, sustaining a vast amount of animal and plant species. This is also the best time to visit the Delta for a safari.

The Okavango is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

It is made up of over 150,000 islands, some tiny, others more than 10km long. The largest island in the delta is Chief’s Island, once the private hunting reserve of a chief, it is now one of the best places to spot wildlife in the delta and home to the most sought-after luxury camp – Mombo by Wilderness Safaris.

Typically, the best time to visit is from May to September (dry season with high-water levels), and to trying availability at the best luxury camps in private concessions in the Delta can be a daunting task due to limited camp inventory, and high demand from all markets.

Luxury Camps in Botswana in high demand offering exclusivity include Mombo Camp, King’s Pool, Vumbura Plains, Jao Camp, Zarafa Camp, Duba Plains, Selinda Camp and Jack’s Camp in Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

So the best advise is to plan a Botswana trip an year (12-months) in advance, to facilitate finding suitable availability at the preferred premium camps. Bookings are now open for season 2022 and 2023.

Namibia: A Flying Safari with Natural Selection in 2022:

Namibia possesses some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa, and a trip through the country is one of the great adventures.

The best way to experience it is on a flying safari with Natural Selection, a collection of owner-operated safari camps, united by the common aim of providing guests with unique and exceptional safari experiences and being a part of the conservation solution for Africa’s wildlife.

All camps are full of unique soul and colorful character, with extraordinary staff, located in the very heart of where the wild things are.

On a 6 or 8 Nights (with extension to Etosha) Privately Crafted Flying Safari, your first 2 nights will be at Kwessi Dunes, before you swoop over the vast Namib Desert and the towering dunes of Sossusvlei from above. You’ll touch down briefly for a beach lunch in Swakopmund, and then back to the sky for an incredible flight over the Atlantic Coastline and inland to the Hoanib Valley for 2 nights. Leave the plane behind for the spectacular drive to the Skeleton Coast where you’ll stay at award-winning Shipwreck Lodge for a further 2 nights, before you hop back in the plane for a final flight for an extension of 2 nights in the Etosha Heights Private Reserve, a 60,000-hectare private reserve that shares a border with the famous Etosha National Park.

Why you’ll love this Itinerary:

  • Wake up at dawn and climb the blood-red sand dunes at Sossusvlei, before sleeping under the desert stars in the ‘stargazer’ rooms at Kwessi Dunes.
  • Search for desert-adapted giraffe and walking through the maze of dry riverbeds and sandy plains in the Hoanib Valley.
  • Get your heart rate going with the activities on offer from Shipwreck Lodge: with quad-biking, dune boarding, 4×4 drives and dune sundowners, there’s never a dull moment.
  • Make your wildlife dreams come true and add on a couple of nights in Etosha, home to the highest concentration of animals in Namibia.

The best time to visit Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are just above 20°C and the chance of rain is low. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing, making it peak travel season with high-demand specially for unique lodges and camps like Natural Selection — so best advise is to plan in advance for 2022/2023.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climb, Tanzania (Private VIP):

Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 metres (19,354 feet) and one of the “Seven Summits” – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.

There are a few epic peaks around the world, like Everest, that you could spend a lifetime preparing to climb. Summiting Kilimanjaro, however, is a much more accessible adventure—local outfitters typically advise a 3 to 6 months training plan for getting in shape.

There are different climb styles, standard, luxury and VIP for Kilimanjaro Climbs which means we can ensure you are matched with the right level of equipment to suit you. A VIP climb is what we propose and offer, which offers a proper bed, walk-in tents, a wash tent, and a loo tent.

A VIP private climb will include below services and equipment:

CREW: Senior Mountain Guide, Assistant Guide, Camp Crew, Cook and Porters

CLIENT TENTS: Walk in Client Tent, Full Size Sleeping Cot, 3 inch foam pad with Maasai, Blanket Cover, Pillow, Sleeping Bag (rated at -18°C Comfort Level), Thermal Liner

MESS TENT: Walk in Mess Tent, Lightweight Tables, Backed Camping Chairs

SAFETY DEVICES: Pulse Oximiter, Altitude Sickness Checklist, Fully Stocked 1st Aid Kit, Custom Evacuation Stretcher, Oxygen, Portable Altitude Chamber (Only on Western Breach Ascents and Crater Camp Stays)

OTHER: Full Trip and Safety Briefing, Toilet Tent, Shower / Wash Tent.

There are numerous routes up the mountain of varying duration. I favor the longest routes to enable sufficient acclimatisation to altitude to maximise the summit success and reduce the risk of medical complications. To that end I recommend the Lemosho Route which is conducted over 7 nights and 8 days.

The best time of year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is during the driest and warmest months: January, February, July, August and September.

Planning a private VIP climb to Kilimanjaro is no easy feat, and involves lot of planning, and most importantly to secure the best guides and equipment during the high-demand months. Plan now for 2022, as demand will be high from adventure seekers due to no Climb in 2020 due to Pandemic, and even 2021 is expected to go slow, and watchful.

Helicopter Safaris in Africa:

Linking the most exciting destinations that a country has to offer, helicopter safaris in Africa are an adventure of a lifetime. Each Heli-Safari trip is unique, it offers an opportunity to explore new lands, meeting traditional people along the way, encountering Africa’s most charismatic wildlife up-close, whilst being guided by the outstanding personalities that makes Africa so fascinating and special. From the Tibesti Mountains in Chad, to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, from the summit of Mount Kenya to the depth of the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia.

An exciting Journey worth considering is an Ethiopia helicopter safari through a medieval world of historical treasures and Christian places of worship, where little has changed in thousands of years. You fly low through a range of altitudes that has given this country such ecological diversity – from the highest point on the Simiens to the Danakil Depression that lies below sea level.

It is an adventure of a lifetime visiting the monolithic rock-hewn churches of Tigray and Lalibela. Discovering the endemic wildlife in the highlands, including Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex and Ethiopian wolf. Touching down spontaneously to experience the most spectacular landscapes imaginable.

Rent your own Private Island, Tanzania:

You can always book and stay in beach front Private Villas like in Thailand, Villas or suites on Private Island resorts like in Maldives, or in Villas which are part of bigger Luxury Resorts.

But nothing beats the exclusivity of staying on a Private Island exclusive just for you and your family, with no other guests or no other resorts on that island. The island is small enough to offer complete privacy, and big enough to offer full service, facilities, activities and accommodate a multi-generational family of upto 18 guests.

Thanda Island located in the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve in Tanzania started as a dream to find a small, remote, uninhabited Tropical Island off the coast of East Africa. Today, it is one of the world’s most exclusive private island getaways, and a paradise for you to enjoy in complete privacy with family and friends.

It is a secluded island offering 1 luxury villa (with 5 ensuite air-conditioned bedrooms) and two traditional open air 2-bedroom Bandas (double storey beach chalets which make great hangouts for teenagers in the family). This makes the island a 9-bedroom destination entirely for you and your family.

Situated in your own marine reserve, you have an incredible choice of thrilling water adventures, excursions and activities, including swimming with whale sharks, scuba diving, island tennis and exploring ancient Arabic history.

The Island at the same time, also immerses you in pure, natural pleasures, like strolling along your own private 1100 metre beach, dining on ocean-fresh seafood or exploring the 8 hectare island where the only sign of human habitation is the occasional, traditional fishing dhow in the distance.

Getting to Thanda involves a 30-minute flight from Dar es Salaam to Mafia Island, then a 45-minute boat trip or you could charter a helicopter directly from Dar Es Salaam to Thanda Island, the ride takes 30-45 minutes.

Best time to book Thanda Island is from December – March, or September to October, 2022 or 2023. You can only book Thanda Island for exclusive use, need to book the full island, you cannot book on per room basis.

Afrochella Festival, Ghana:

Trip dates: 27 December 2022

Afrochella is a celebration of Africa’s diverse culture and the vibrant work of African creatives & entrepreneurs.

The festival is designed to elevate and highlight the thrilling and thriving millennial talent in Africa by introducing an interactive event that teaches, explains and explores various cultures through a pioneering approach. Afrochellans will experience art and creative activations from the continent, celebrate African music, and taste premium and cultured cuisine.

Family Safaris in East-Africa with the Elewana Collection: