Lamu Islands in Kenya For Barefoot Luxury Combined with Authentic Swahili Life
Jun25

Lamu Islands in Kenya For Barefoot Luxury Combined with Authentic Swahili Life

The Lamu Archipelago is a group of tropical islands lying parallel to the coast of Kenya. It’s not quite on the “must-see” bucket list of island vibe holidays for most people, but it most certainly deserves a place. Most people don’t know about the remote archipelago. Kenya is synonymous with safaris, and it’s a world-class destination favoured by eager safari-goers wanting to see the Masai Marai and the famous migration route. But what you might not know is that Lamu is also an exceptional place to enjoy a relaxing island holiday. Lamu is the quintessential Kenyan coast life and remains a rustic, and remote destination with a signature donkey-and-cart way of life. The area hasn’t quite been overrun and marred by tourism, which is a good thing. Lamu is actually a UNESCO world-heritage site offering visitors the opportunity to explore the most original Swahili town in East Africa. A safari to the Masai Mara coupled with an island holiday to Lamu is a perfect itinerary  filled with wildlife, history, culture and barefoot luxury.  Let’s talk about Lamu. This exquisite archipelago is easily accessible via Lamu Airport, which is located on Manda Island. Flying is the safest and most reliable way of getting to the island. Manda island is not a high tourist area, and is linked to the mainland via a small channel. In terms of sought after destinations, most people head to the scenic Shela region of Lamu Island, which is a short boat ride across the channel from Manda.  In terms of culture and traditions, Lamu is conservative and is a largely Islamic Island with Arab and Portuguese influences. Lamu Town is Swahili and its roots date back to the 7th century, making it a uniquely historical destination to visit. The Swahili culture is complex in its origins and comprises a melting pot of cultures.  The Portuguese colonised the East Coast and heavily influenced the area. The Middle East slave trade route (Arabic) also influenced the culture of the area. Swahili was born from centuries worth of contact between locals and the visiting traders, mainly Arabic in origin. Roughly 20 years ago, Lamu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it even more worthwhile to explore. Narrow, cobbled streets crisscross and meander their way through significant buildings. The town centre buzzes with activity from locals selling spices and traditional fare. Find yourself transported back in time while you absorb the constant flurry of colour and the heady mix of spices wafting across the local markets. In Lamu Town you’ll find restaurants, food markets and cafes. It’s authentic and rustic, and worth a visit.  The Shela area is popular and...

Read More
Sandy Seashores and Sunsets: Ten Seaside Retreats
Apr22

Sandy Seashores and Sunsets: Ten Seaside Retreats

In an attempt to escape the changing seasons in South Africa’s chilly Autumn Cape Town, we’ve dreamed up a list of ten seaside retreats where the sand and the sea marry in a tropical and temperate embrace. Sunsets create a cascading backdrop of colour, and days are filled with walking along white sandy beaches, dipping into the turquoise waters, and dozing dreamily under waving palms. From the Maldives to the Cape’s Garden Route coast, the Indian Ocean has some of the most magnificent and romantic spots for scuba diving, sea kayaking, and siestas. Here are our top 10 picks for the moment. 1 Centara Ras Fushi Resort, Maldives What Maldives dreams are made of! Hammocks slung over the too-blue-to-be-true waters of the Indian Ocean, cradling your bikini-clad body in the perfect spot to sip on a fresh fruit cocktail and zone out under the sun. The Maldives is a popular honeymoon destination, and it’s no wonder why when this is the sort of view that greets you as you disembark your speedboat as a newlywed! This is Centara Ras Fushi Resort, and it really does bring out the beach bum in us! 2 Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge, Zanzibar Sublime is a word that comes to mind as we get lost in this image of Zanzibarian paradise. That sunset, that mirror-like ocean, that balmy breeze we can feel just by looking at it, those wicker chairs inviting us to sit down, and that beachy thatched roof reminding us we are in Africa. Chuini Zanzibar Beach Lodge is what all of our dreams are made of today. 3 Coral Strand Hotel, Seychelles An a la carte bistro on the beach in Seychelles looks a little something like this: flickering lanterns and gently lapping tidal flow on the sand, while clouds roll overheard to create moody lighting at dusk. With your feet in the sand while you gaze across the water in between delicious mouthfuls, it’s one place you’ll never forget dining at! Coral Strand Hotel on Mahé Island. 4 Anatara Bazaruto Island Resort Clear your mind and soak up the Mozambican sun as you dip your fingertips into the warm salty sea and listen to the gentle lap of the water as it dances underneath and around you. This very seductive hammock is nothing less than inviting to look at and even more heavenly to use as your daily dose of time out at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort. Of course you’ll have your ocean-view reed chalet, poolside sun lounger, or your spot on the stretch of private beach, but nothing seems quite as alluring as reclining in this simple cradle in...

Read More
Exploring the Eighth Continent: Madagascar
Jan23

Exploring the Eighth Continent: Madagascar

In our endless search to escape into nature, we’re venturing into the lesser known world of wonders, exploring where many rocks remain unturned and where some of the most unusual and enigmatic species thrive: Madagascar. One of the largest islands in the world, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, and home to thousands of unique animals that occur nowhere else on earth. 90% Of Madagascar’s wildlife is endemic to the island; most famously perhaps, is the lemur. Chameleons and butterflies decorate the island’s humid forests, tropical islands, aloes, orchids, and baobabs. Kayak through the Emerald Sea and inhale the scent of the Perfume Islands: Madagascar is our newest obsession and we will be diving right in this week. The Avenue of Baobabs – another of Madagascar’s world famous natural treasures. Imagine walking down the road at your diminutive human height and gazing up at centuries-old trees that reach over 30 metres in height and represent the stark yet powerful remainder of a once thriving forest. Madagascar, just like many natural areas on the planet, has been through human havoc and the need to adapt and survive has led to destruction of nature’s property, but today it is cherished as a unique and utterly mesmerising “Eighth Continent”; a place like nowhere else on earth.   Madagascar has 4 distinct coastlines which embody phenomenal natural make up and landscapes and scenery very different from one another. Another visually striking part of this giant island is its central and capital city, Antananarivo. This cultural, political, economic hub of the country is a bustling landscape of ridges surrounding a heart-shaped lake, populated with colourful houses and topsy turvy roof tops. Rice paddies surround the city while marketplaces occupy the narrow streets and energise this ancient populace just like the old days. Visiting Madagascar is truly a diverse and stimulating experience decorated by both natural and cultural vibrancy. Gazing into the striking eyes of Madagascar’s critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur. This is the world’s largest pollinator. It moves from tree to tree in the heavily forested region of eastern Madagascar and pollen clings to the thick fur on its face and is then effectively transported to the next tree. This great Island is home to the endemic lemur species, including the famous ring-tailed lemur and the great Indri, which calls eerily through the jungle. Madagascar is home to a spectacular array of wildlife, 90% of which you will see nowhere else in the world. The deeper we delve into Madagascar’s wild and outrageous beauty, the more we discover the surreal appearance of some of its inhabitants. This luminous lizard is a Madagascar day gecko....

Read More
Magical Coastline Destinations in Tropical Mozambique
Oct20

Magical Coastline Destinations in Tropical Mozambique

Dreaming of a palm-strewn, tropical beach vacay? Same here. Our travel day dreams took us to to the sandy shores of Mozambique where this little wooden bungalow is shaded by thatched roofs and cooled by the ocean breeze. Nyati Beach Lodge is quite simply the beach getaway we’ve been yearning for. It is located near the popular town of Vilanculos, on a private stretch of beach front, and perfectly equipped to see to every beach bungalow desire. We’re going to the beach this week – join us here as we post our favourite Mozambique destinations! Santorini Mozambique is drenched in the liquid glow of the sunrise, as it faces the broad horizon and welcomes the sun each morning. Stretching from one end of the earth to the other, the views on display from your private villa patio are seemingly endless. This seaside paradise is one for the books. There is something for families, honeymooners, and couples travelling together, and it is only a 20-minute drive from Vilanculos airport. This week is all about Mozambique – the perfect place to include in a beach and bush safari adventure – and Santorini Mozambique is one of our favourites. Words that come to mind when we think of Azura Quilalea: warm, tranquil, romantic, earthy, remote. What a place to be, relaxing at the seaside, soaking up the Northern Mozambique sunrises and sunsets from the comfort of a rustic wooden verandah only steps from the gently lapping waves. This piece of paradise is one of 9 private villas on a private island in these glorious Indian Ocean waters, and we want to be there. Mozambique’s coral pink skies bloom overhead as guests settle down on the private shores of andBeyond Benguerra Island. It’s sunset, and the world has blossomed into delicate floral colours while the wash of the water on the sand gently lulls us into an even further state of relaxation. This sublime setting is what makes a seaside sanctuary so alluring, and andBeyond’s revered reputation in the safari world translates flawlessly to their phenomenal beach locations. Luxury, privacy, serenity in nature… Take us back! That island life: palm trees, blue seas, traditional cabanas, the golden sunset glow, and fine, soft sand beneath your feet. It’s no wonder the seaside beckons when we’re in need of rejuvenation and revitalisation. The Big Blue moves in tides, entirely in tune with nature, and its warm, gentle Mozambican Current invites us right in. This private island is Azura Benguerra; it is a seaside villa paradise, with locally built beach suites right on the sand, lulling us into that dreamy state of natural relaxation. Forget blue...

Read More
Explore the World’s Best Luxury Water Villa in the Maldives
Oct08

Explore the World’s Best Luxury Water Villa in the Maldives

Exclusive wooden villas jutting out into the perfect crystal clear warm Indian ocean, complete with private pools and viewing decks that provide the perfect diving board to plunge into the turquoise depths below. This is paradise found. This looks like a pearl that has risen straight out of the middle of the ocean and wowed its onlookers with its peaceful presence. If you have the budget, this place is tropical paradise in the Maldives is worth the experience. Located on Lankanfushi Island, North Malé the Gili Lankanfushi Water Villas boasts a whopping  45 over-water villas. There are 24 villa suites, each with an open-air living room and dining area, daybeds and a rooftop terrace. Of course, there’s a sundeck over the water complete with sun loungers. The bathrooms are open air with glass walled shower areas, but are private. If the villa suites don’t suit your needs, then you have a choice of 5 lagoon suites which are similar to the villa suites but are 210 sqm in size complete with rooftop terraces, a dining area and overwater sundecks. 6 luxury villas are suspended over the Indian Ocean, and they’re slightly bigger than the other villas, by 40 sqm. The difference in these villas is the presence of mini-wine cellars The exquisite lagoon residence is located at the end of the jetty and comes complete with all the amenities of the above villas, and also has its own hammock suspended over pristine ocean. There are 7 stand alone villas called the Crusoe Residence. To access the island, you will be escorted there by motorized boat or pontoon. Each villa has large daybeds, rooftop terraces, air-conditioning, private over water hammocks and even wi-fi is available upon request, but with such exquisite surrounds – will you ever need it? The 2 bedroom family villa is spacious and ideal for a large family. Boasting a space of 350 sqm, the villa comprises a master bedroom with outdoor shower, two living rooms with sofa bed (one of which converts into a second bedroom), kitchenette, rooftop terrace, steam room, mini wine cellar, television with satellite, jacuzzi and spa beds for private massages. The Private Reserve gives you the opportunity to hire out the largest over-water villa in the world. The azure ocean hugs this decadent palace that is nothing short of grand. There’s even an infinity pool on one of the viewing decks, a private sauna and steam room and a 2 person bathtub built over a coral reef. There’s plenty to do in this paradise, and activities include : Spa treatments with a view Yoga sessions Organic gardens on the “mainland” that provide the produce for exquisite meals. Snorkelling outside your...

Read More
Planning a Honeymoon in Mauritius? Here are Our Suggestions
Aug07

Planning a Honeymoon in Mauritius? Here are Our Suggestions

The ocean has a calming effect on our senses and brings us closer to the raw power of nature. Beach holidays are ideal for sun seekers, lovers of water sports and die hard romantics. Mauritius is a hotspot for island holiday addicts! Located in the warm Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, this pristine tropical island gives rise to some of the most spectacular scenery. Bright blue oceans spill onto the shores of powder white sand framed by swaying palm trees. Manicured golf courses, five star resorts, lush vegetation covering mountainous regions ideal for trekking, and a culture heavily influenced by a mix of French and Mauritian Creole; it’s no surprise that Mauritius is a sought after destination for honeymooners. For sightseers there are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape), botanical gardens, mountain trekking and a variety of world-renown golf courses. The island, although a luxury destination, is not overcrowded with resorts and tourism; and still remains affordable. There’s still something respectful, untouched, real and authentic about Mauritius. Come golden hour, you will be floored at the exquisite colours possessing the sky above turquoise waters. You’ll find yourself faced with an array of activities. From snorkelling to windsurfing, water skiing and sailing; there’s plenty to do right on your doorstep. A water sport enthusiast’s dream and a beach goer’s heaven. We’ve created 2 Mauritius honeymoon itineraries specifically catered towards honeymoon couples wanting to visit the island of love, and we’ve also showcased two of our favourite hotels. 7 Night Simple Luxury at the Sands Resort and Spa, West Mauritius The Sands is a hideaway located in west Mauritius, and is the ideal destination for a host of water-sports. If you’d prefer to relax instead of engaging in anything too active, there’s also a deluxe spa venue on site. When evening time slowly rolls around, you have the choice of three restaurants offering a heady mix of cuisine. The delightful Dolphin bar has an extensive range of local rums and is the perfect place to idle away the time. Here are a few of activities on offer at the Sands Resort and Spa : • Glass-bottom boat • Kayaks – single and double • Paddleboats • Sorkelling • Water skiing • Windsurfing • Sailing Not your vibe? Then just relax on that sugar-white beach with a Pina Colada in hand. 7 Nights of beach luxury at the Oberoi, North Mauritius North Mauritius is the place to “live the high life”. Shopping, restaurants and unwinding on exquisite beaches is the order of the day in this part of Mauritius. The Oberoi is hugged by lush, sub-tropical gardens and is located RIGHT on...

Read More
Indian Ocean Scuba Diving in Mozambique and Zanzibar
Jul05

Indian Ocean Scuba Diving in Mozambique and Zanzibar

Africa’s eastern coastline is chiselled by the ebb and flow of the warm Indian Ocean, which shapes the coastal terrain into variations of rocky cliff faces and soft sand. It is where whales come to calve, turtles come to lay their eggs, and where coral reefs stretch beneath the surface, populating the sea floor with living colour. From award-winning photography, to age-old children’s animations, “unda da sea” is depicted as a world of bright oceanic flowers, creatures of both adoration and terror, and more vibrantly coloured fish and contouring coral reefs than you can imagine. Here on the east coast of Africa, we’ve got the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful underwaters of the world. Our favourites? Zanzibar and Mozambique. Take a look… Pemba Island, Zanzibar We are familiar with Tanzania as a destination of dreams – the place of the Annual Wildebeest Migration across the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Great Lakes, and its magnificent coastline, which is home to some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs and marine life. The Zanzibar Archipelago, off the coast of Dar es Salaam is a host of islands marooned in the azure expanse of the Indian Ocean only a short boat ride from Tanzania mainland. If you’re in search of the best scuba diving and snorkelling experience there is, you’d be destinated for Pemba Island. Pemba Island, meaning “green island” is part of the Swahili Coast, north of Zanzibar’s largest island, Unguja, and known as a very productive small-scale farming island. In addition to its famous spices, Pemba is a diver’s paradise. It is home to numerous dive sites with steep drop-offs, pristine coral gardens, and a broad and healthy diversity of marine life. The Manta Resort is where you’ll find the most professional and expertly guided scuba diving opportunities on Pemba. With visibility of up to 40m throughout the year, you won’t miss a fish in these deep, blue waters. A few of the island’s famous dive sites vary from the easy going Scorpion’s Secret, which is only 2-minutes from Manta Resort, to the Fundu Gap, which is an hour’s boat ride from the resort with scenes from 5m to 40m deep. There are 9 different dive sites, and each of them offers something extraordinary to behold. At Scorpion’s Secret – perfect for beginners and snorkellers – there is a gently sloping wall taking you from 5m to 18m deep with soft currents and fantastic sights of lion fish, scorpion fish, leaf fish and giant frog fish. This is where you can experience a majestic night dive under the full moon, too. Out at Fundu Gap, there...

Read More