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October 6, 2017

My worst airport fiasco: forgotten perfume, luggage mix-up, irate passengers and stolen music

Washington Dulles International Airport - photo Joe Ravi

Washington Dulles International Airport – photo Joe Ravi

What’s the worst airport disaster you’ve had? Hopefully nothing TOO serious but I bet quite a lot of you have lost luggage, missed flights or been stuck at the airport due to a strike or major delay. These days, just getting through security can be a nightmare. One of my most memorable airport fiascos involved a flight to South Africa from Greece in the late 1980s. It started off badly. My boyfriend and I were flying from Athens; the old airport was on the way to Piraeus and we had left it late to get a taxi. I remember the smog-fuelled struggle to get out of the city and along the crowded, dismal road to the airport, fretting about missing our flight. We got there with just enough time for Mike to get some perfume from the Duty-Free for me and some alcohol for his family. It was not until we were getting off the plane at our stop-over that I realised I had left the bag with my big bottle of Chanel No 19 perfume AND body cream on the shuttle bus. Nice present for whoever found it …

South African Airways Boeing 747 (old logo)

South African Airways Boeing 747 (old logo)

However, the real problem was in Africa. Due to political instability in many parts of the continent, South African Airlines had to fly rather circuitous route to get to South Africa, still in the grip of apartheid. I can’t now remember which airport we had to stop in, but I THINK it was Luanda in Angola. We were one of the first off the SAA plane. We’d been told that our luggage would be transferred to the next flight on to Johannesburg and we were to wait in the airport terminal until that flight was called. In those days the airport was little more than a big shed, with lots of gun-toting soldiers who seemed to have little idea what was going on but were very big on looking important. There was a rather shabby little bar but we didn’t have any local currency so we just found a couple of rickety chairs and prepared to wait.

We’d been told by the cabin crew that the stopover would be for about an hour but that there had been some problems at the airport and we should listen out for announcements.  No-one seemed to know what was going on and there was no tannoy system. Every so often someone would shout out the name of a flight and there’d be a mad scramble of irate passengers trying to see if it was their flight that had been called. We kept missing announcements but, after about three hours our flight was called and we went to the exit to board the plane. As the flight attendant checked our ticket she said, “Did you get your luggage checked on board?” We said no, because on the plane we’d been told it was going to be loaded onto the plane automatically. “Oh no,” she replied. “Didn’t you hear the announcement? The porters are on strike so everyone has to get their own luggage and take it out to the plane.” We looked around and all the other passengers were nodding in agreement and looking amazed that we’d missed this vital piece of information. “OK, you have to go over there to that building and identify your cases. Then get a trolley and take them out to the plane.”

Luggage - old suitcases

Old suitcases

In a huge heap on the floor of a vast warehouse were hundreds of suitcases. It took us ages to find ours, wheel them out to the plane, an unnerving experience in itself and hand them over to the guys who were waiting to load them on. They’d had to hold the plane up for us. The engines were going and the pilot glared at us through us through cockpit window as we ran up the steps. Entering the cabin, the passengers were also looking really angry as we caused everyone to wait on the plane in sweltering heat for almost an hour as we had to wait for another departure slog. We slunk into our seats muttering apologies and keeping our heads well down. By the time we arrived in Johannesburg we were over fours hours late – and very tired.

At the airport

At the airport

These days, you can easily claim for flight delays and it’s worth checking before you fly what the terms and conditions are for your ticket. With airlines like Monarch going into receivership and companies like Ryan Air cancelling flights left, right and centre, make sure you have good cover.  Read my Top Tips for Stress-Free Airport Travel for more help.

PS. On the return trip from South Africa, my suitcase was broken into and all the cassettes (yes it was that long ago) of wonderful African music I’d bought were stolen. We didn’t have insurance cover … lesson learnt.

This article was written in collaboration with FlightDelayClaims4U. What’s your worst airport fiasco? Do share in the Comment below – with any tips for avoiding it in future!

September 22, 2017

Quirky Travel Photo: Little African boy by a stream in Rwanda

Little boy by the road in Rwanda - photo zoe dawes

Little boy in Rwanda

On a very long coach trip through Rwanda from Kigali up to Volcanoes National Park, we stopped en route for a ‘comfort break.’ As soon as we got off the bus, we were surrounded by a gaggle of children and adults who seemed to appear from nowhere. All curious, some holding back and others venturing closer, they wanted to say ‘hello’ and see what we were wearing and holding. This little boy caught my eye with his delightfully shy smile and, as I crouched down to talk to him, he came closer and closer. Finally he reached out a tentative hand to my camera so I handed it to him to have a look. Another member of our group came up and called to him to have his photo taken.

Little boy being photographed Rwanda - photo Zoe Dawes

I stepped back, clicked and got this shot. He sums up the warm welcome and friendly faces we saw throughout our memorable trip to Rwanda with Uber Luxe Safaris, a country coming to terms with a tough past and and embracing an exciting future.

Read more on Rwanda

Up close with Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

5 great reasons to visit Rwanda

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Little boy in Rwanda Africa - Pinterest poster Zoe Dawes

May 25, 2016

5 compelling reasons to visit remarkable Rwanda

Nyungwe Forest Lodge view Rwanda - image zoedawes

Rwanda hills

Known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills‘, Rwanda is quite simply one of the most beautiful countries I have visited. Its landscape is captivating, its lush, green hills rolling endlessly across the country, its lakes flooding out across fertile plains, its rivers flowing powerfully through the land and its forests home to some of the most impressive animals on our planet. I spent ten days exploring some of Rwanda and it’s won a place on my Top Ten Countries in the World to See before you pop your clogs!Things to do in Rwanda

Nestled in the heart of Africa, Rwanda is landlocked, with 23 lakes, many rivers including the mighty Nile and the Congo, five volcanoes, 23 lakes and many mountains and hills. It’s rated as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa and its people are welcoming, warm and friendly. Here are 5 reasons why you should visit Rwanda at least once in your life.

1.  Get close to Mountain Gorillas

Baby gorilla eating bamboo in Rwanda - image zoedawes

Baby gorilla eating bamboo

NOTHING can prepare you for the your first sight of a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen David Attenborough rolling around with them or John Bishop’s awed whispers, when you finally get to see one, your heart does a happy dance and you feel blessed. Having trekked uphill for some time you are more than ready for one of the best wildlife encounters you’ll ever have. Rwanda is the world’s top destination for seeing mountain gorillas. Living up in the dense bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains, these gentle giants were in danger of extinction, but due to the visionary dedication of Dian Fossey and now the excellent conservation work done on a daily basic, their numbers have stabilised and are starting to grow.

Silverback mountain gorilla in Rwanda - image zoedawes

Read about my memorable encounter with Mountain Gorillas here.

2.  Discover Rwanda’s traditions in a unique village

Iby'iwacu village wedding Rwanda - photo Zoe Dawes

The sound of a lively group of Rwandans laughing as they parade towards a traditional hut, carrying a bride aloft in the pouring rain is one that will stay with me for a long time to come. In Iby’iwacu Village you can meet poachers-turned-dancers. In a ground-breaking project, the aim is to improve ‘the lives of reformed poachers and communities around Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park through provision of conservation incentives, supporting community enterprise development and livelihood based projects.’  The gap-toothed Master of Ceremony, a lively little guy, was a member of the Batwa pygmy tribe, used to hunt gorillas and i snow gainfully employed entertaining tourists. You can watch a marriage ceremony, see a ‘witch doctor’ preparing his potions, the grinding of bread and making of pots and extremely energetic dancing, all performed in high spirits, whatever the weather!

Iby'iwacu village dancers Rwanda - photo Zoe Dawes

3.  Explore Rwanda’s lush Montane Rainforest

Nyungwe Rainforest trees Rwanda - image zoedawes

Nyungwe Rainforest

Though much of Rwanda’s ‘montane rainforest has disappeared you can still find the last remnants in the vast Nyungwe National Park, a vast expanse of primary rainforest. With over 1,000 ha, it’s home to over 300 bird species,  numerous orchids and exotic plants, plus 75 mammals including species of 13 primates, about a quarter of all Africa’s primates. During my stay at the luxuriously tranquil tea plantation Nyungwe Forest Lodge, I spent some time exploring a tiny part of this huge area.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge Rwanda - zoedawes

Nyungwe Forest Lodge

I glimpsed energetic colobus monkeys leaping from tree to tree; they come very close to the Lodge most days. There’s a rope walk to experience the forest from on-high and plenty of walks, varying from relatively easy (you need to be quite fit even for these) to strenuous. Waterfalls and rivers flow through sunlit valleys and the sounds of bird call and monkeys screeching adds a sonorous soundtrack to your walk.

In the heart of Nyungwe Montane Rainforest Rwanda - zoedawes

Relaxing in Nyungwe Rainforest

4.  Discover how well Rwanda is recovering from tragedy

Kigali Genocide Memorial grave Rwanda - zodawes

Kigali Genocide Memorial grave Rwanda

1994 is a year that will live in Rwandan memory for generations. The country suffered a horrific genocide as the Hutus carried out mass killings of the Tutsi tribal members and moderate Hutus. The story of this awful time is told in moving imagery and personal accounts in the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where more than 250,000 victims are buried. Within its walls, in the heart of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, you will learn the meaning of reconciliation as well as tragedy. Everyone you meet will have been touched by this tragedy, yet Rwandans have worked hard through legal and personal ways to reconcile themselves to what happened and move forward into a better future. With a thriving economy, a vibrant tourist industry and a philosophical approach, the future look very positive for the people of Rwanda.

5.  Make friends wherever you go in Rwanda

Children admiring a camera in Rwanda - zoedawes

Children admiring a camera

Rwanda has to be one of the friendliest countries in Africa. Wherever you go in this beautiful country, people smile, wave and say hello. Not having been too exposed to tourism, the local people retain a friendly curiousity about visitors. If you’re driving across the country, you will have regular opportunities to engage with Rwandans, whether it’s a roadside market, a photo stop or just along the road.

Woman in Kigali Market Rwanda - image zoedawes

Woman in Kigali Market

Everyone seems to be carrying something; with public transport limited, most people walk or cycle everywhere. Elegant women carry balance heavy pots, enormous bunches of bananas or bowls of washing on their heads, men have arms full of wood, bicycles are loaded up with groceries and children lug huge bundles of sticks up steep mountain tracks.

Boy selling fruit by roadside in Rwanda - image zoedawes

Boy selling fruit by roadside

I traveller to Rwanda courtesy of Uber Luxe Safaris, experts in organising tours to this lovely country. You can find out more about holidays in Rwanda here. I’d love to return – and I do hope you get the chance to visit one day.

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Up close with Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

Quirky Travel Photo: Little boy by a stream


Visit Rwanda Pinterest - zoedawes

February 12, 2016

Up close with mountain gorillas in Rwanda

He gazed down with resignation and a dash of superciliousness, as if to say, “Oh no, not you again. I thought I’d avoided you lot up here. Can’t a guy have his lunch without forever being interrupted and photographed?”

Male mountain gorilla rwanda - zoedawes

Male mountain gorilla

He had a point. A group of us had been watching a family of mountain gorillas in Rwanda eating and playing a little further down the forest but when they dozed off, a couple of us had followed one of the guides higher up the volcano to see this fine fellow. He clearly thought he’d escaped the hoi poloi, so was not very pleased to see us …

Male mountain gorilla in bamboo rwanda with zoedawes

Gorilla he say, ‘I want to be alone …

As soon as we started clicking away with our cameras, this massive gorilla turned his back on us and shifted higher up in his tree.  When we stopped taking pictures, he peered back round to see if we’d gone, realized we hadn’t and turned his back again. No body language could be clearer. But, oh, what a privilege to be this close, to see such a splendid creature in his own habitat, understandably not as thrilled as we were, but totally at ease and behaving as naturally as possible, given that we humans were in the middle of his territory.

Baby mountain gorilla rwanda - zoedawes

Baby gorilla in the mist

“There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than with any other animal I know. Their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell are so similar to ours that they see the world in much the same way as we do. We live in the same sort of social groups with largely permanent family relationships. They walk around on the ground as we do, though they are immensely more powerful than we are.”

David Attenborough ‘Life on Earth’ BBC TV

David Attenborough mountain gorillas rwanda

No-one who has seen the moving TV footage of Sir David Attenborough can forget the sight of the world’s most respected wildlife specialist grinning with delight in the midst of a family of lively gorillas. I certainly couldn’t, so when Uber Luxe Safaris invited me to see the magnificent mountain gorillas in Rwanda, East Africa, I leapt at the chance.

Young mountain gorilla feeding rwanda - zoedawes

Young gorilla feeding

Rwanda leads the way in mountain gorilla conservation; there are less than 900 left in the world. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, founded by Dian Fossey in 1978, is, “… dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. We are committed to promoting continued research on the gorillas and their threatened ecosystems and to providing education about their relevance to the world in which we live.”  Eight mountain gorilla families have been ‘habituated to humans’ in Rwanda (other families have been left to their own devices) and each family has no more than 8 visitors plus 2 guides for a maximum of one hour a day. Everybody needs a permit ($750 in 2016), ensuring a significant amount of money is raised each year to help fund conservation.

Guides for Agashya Group gorillas rwanda - zoedawes

Patience and Mr D

Trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda

Our group was led by guides Patience and Mr D. My porter was a lovely man called Jean de Dieu, who helped me to clamber up Mount Sabyinyo in Volcanoes National Park, much needed as the path was often muddy and steep. Altitude made the trek harder; we all needed regular stops to catch our breath and get our energy back. Trackers had gone on ahead to find the Agashya Group (originally called Group Thirteen) which are supposedly one of the easier groups to trek to. Well, no-one had told them; on the day we went they had decided to hike much higher up the volcano and it took us over 2 hours of fairly tough climbing through bamboo forests to reach them. We were joined by an armed guard, a member of the Volcanoes National Park Security team. (His gun was to protect us against wild buffalo, NOT to shoot gorillas!)

Porter Jean and guard Rwanda gorillas - zoedawes

Porter Jean and guard

When we got close to the gorillas (at about 9,000′), we had to leave all our belongings, walking sticks, food and drink with our porters and just take our cameras, following the guides up the final trek. Getting closer we could hear them breaking branches. I glanced around and saw a shadowy shape hidden in a bamboo bush. “Oh there’s one,” I whispered. Mr D just smiled and said, “Wait and see – there are plenty more ahead.” We entered a densely overgrown clearing and there, right in front of us, was a huge silverback, two youngsters and a female. They glanced up as we oooohd and aaaahd, but quickly went back to munching their bamboo sticks.  Mr D made a grunting noise and the silverback grunted back, apparently telling him we were welcome to join his family …

Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda - zoedawes

Mountain Gorilla family

We sat down on the ground and got our cameras ready to take pictures. Almost immediately, the young ones, no more than two years old, started a mock fight. Their father, the huge silverback Agashya, ignored them completely as they crashed about, beating their little chests and every so often checking to see if we were looking at them. The only problem was, from where I was sitting, the bamboo kept getting in the way of the scene, so I gave up trying to get a photo and just enjoyed the show. After about 10 minutes they stopped and one of them flopped on the ground, put his arms behind his head, waved his legs in the air and gazed at us, seeming to say, “There you go. That what you came for?”

Young gorilla lying down Rwanda - zoedawes

Chillaxing gorilla

Above us, there was a great deal of noise as another gorilla swung about in a tree, which swayed precariously over my head. I was concerned that it might break and I’d get a rather closer encounter with gorillas in Rwanda than I had bargained for, but Patience assured me I was safe. Suddenly there was a rustling in the bushes to our left and a female gorilla emerged. Mr D ‘spoke’ to her and then said we were fine, to just keep back as she went past. As you can see from this photo, she came VERY close, stepping over my feet as she walked by. Her thick black coat was just inches away; the temptation to stroke her as she passed was almost overwhelming …

Female gorilla going past Zoe rwanda - photo davidcraig

Female gorilla – photo David Craig

Eventually the family seemed to have had their fill of bamboo and one by one they settled down to have a little rest. Gorillas sleep in trees, making ‘nests’ to curl up in during the night, but in the daytime they take regular naps in between eating huge amounts of tree stems, bamboo shoots, fruit and the occasional ant, caterpillar or termite to vary their diet. Adult male gorillas consume up to 40lbs (80kgs) of food a day and can weigh up to 440 pounds, reaching a height of six feet when standing on two legs. Mature male gorillas are known as “silverbacks” for the white hair that develops on their back at about 14 years of age. They share over 98% of their DNA with humans.  Females have a gestation period of 8.5 months and nurture their young for several years. Generally, females give birth to one baby every four to six years. Only a few days before we arrived in Rwanda, TWINS had been born to one of habituated groups; really good news for the survival of the species.

Mountain gorillas in Rwanda - David Craig

Silverback and young mountain gorilla – photo David Craig

When I came back from seeing the big male gorilla described above, we heard that one of the youngsters had put on a funny performance, swinging about on a bamboo pole, until his father had clearly had enough of the little show-off and walked away, closely followed by the rest of the family. Our hour was up and it was time to head back down the mountain and leave Agashya and his family in peace once more …

Porter Jean and Zoe Dawes Rwanda

Thank you Jean

Saying goodbye to our guides and Jean was very emotional. They had enabled me to get really close to mountain gorillas in Rwanda, a wildlife experience unlike any other, and one I will cherish for the rest of my days …

I stayed at the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge in Volcanoes National Park, north Rwanda. Thanks to all the staff for their hospitality and for the hot water bottles and fire in the hut each night; most welcome! Grateful thanks to Uber Luxe Safaris and our guides Patrick and Brian for the trip of a lifetime. If you’d like see mountain gorillas in Rwanda and explore this beautiful country, find out more with Uber Luxe Safaris here. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Young gorilla eating bamboo Rwanda - photo Zoe Dawes

Many thanks to fellow traveller David Craig for his photos from our time with the gorillas and to photographer Clare Malley for help editing my photos. You can read her invaluable Travel Photography Tips here.

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Things to See and Do in Rwanda

Quirky Travel Photo: Little boy by stream

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Mountain Gorillas Rwanda - Pinterest - Zoe Dawes

April 26, 2015

Top 5 Luxury Safari Lodges in Tanzania

In this month’s article from the Luxury Safari Company they highlight 5 unique and very luxurious Tanzania safari lodges where you can unwind in comfort and tranquility, assured of the very best Africa has to offer.

Sadly since the downturn in tourism in Kenya, luxury safaris in Tanzania have flourished, although this is not surprising as this amazing country has so much to offer people that it was only a matter of time before it started to lead the pack in terms of the best luxury safari destination.

Tanzania has many luxury safari camps but here we would like to focus on the best safari lodges, all of which are in extraordinary locations, off the beaten track and wild – but with that serious comfort that some people look for. Usually we would strongly recommend combining these with one of Tanzania's many impossibly luxurious tented camps, but if you prefer these all work well together too – here are Tanzania's top five luxury safari lodges:

 1.  Mwiba Lodge, Southern Serengeti

Mwiba River Lodge, Tanzania Africa

Mwiba River Lodge

Mwiba is a new luxury lodge and has set the safari lodge industry in Tanzania alight, since it's just eight luxury suites and has a vast area of over 51,000 acres to explore – this area has everything from rivers, waterfalls, plains, forests and hills – you are spoilt for choice. The game viewing here is excellent and the lodge is built elevated into a rocky kopje. Every enormous suite in this luxury safari lodge is incredibly luxurious with verandahs with views all the way to the ends of the earth. Mwiba airstrip itself is only reachable by private plane laid on by this extremely exclusive property, or they can collect you from airstrips outside the reserve – the reserve's tranquility is kept intact in this way,  by not allowing anyone else to enter.

2.  Lamai Nomad, Northern Serengeti

Lamai Nomad Lodge Luxury Safari - Tanzania Africa

Lamai Nomad Lodge

Lamai Nomad is one of the most romantic safari lodges in Africa, let alone Tanzania. Nothing can compare to the views of this property which stretch right across Kenya's Masai Mara. This understated but exceptionally peaceful and comfortable luxury safari lodge comes alive between July and October when the migration comes through, but is equally as good the rest of the year, especially for big cat sightings, and best of all you won't see another soul.

3. Chem Chem Lodge

Chem Chem Lodge Luxury Safari - Tanzania Africa

Chem Chem Lodge

This luxury safari lodge has wonderful views of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment and the flamingoes in Lake Manyara. This modern and luxurious option is perfect for those who want a few days soul rejuvenating bliss, enjoying bush walks, sundowners on the lake and healing spa treatments. The lodge also has delicious food and some of the best guides in Tanzania. Chem Chem Lodge's guides make the most of being able to walk with you, showing you the little things which make this African ecosystem go round.

4.  Sand Rivers Selous, Selous

Sand Rivers Selous luxury Safari Lodge - Tanzania Africa

Sand Rivers Selous

Southern Tanzania is famous for having some of the most remote and wild luxury safari lodges in Africa but this is by far our favourite. Sand Rivers Selous lodge lodge sits in one of the most remote places in the Selous in Southern Tanzania and has views of the mighty Rufiji River, and purple mountains in the background. The rooms are open and airy and you feel tranquil and relaxed as soon as you arrive. Sand Rivers offers everything from boats and fishing to day and night game drives, as well as bush walks and fly camping for those that want to get even wilder. Sand Rivers is the ideal place to have an active safari, or alternatively you could just lie by their heavenly pool all day, and not worry about a thing.

 5.  Greystoke Mahale, Mahale

Greystoke Mahale luxury safari lodge - Tanzania Africa

Greystoke Mahale

Western Tanzania is one of the most remote areas anyone can visit in all of Africa and Greystoke is the best place to stay there. This luxury lodge is relaxed and informal and sits on it's own private beach, with the jungle behind it. Chimpanzees are the highlight here, as are lazy days spent out on the lake swimming and relaxing. This quirky looking property is certainly one for the memory bank and you will never forget a stay here.

Find out more about luxury Tanzania safari lodges with Luxury Safari Company. They are passionate about Africa and provide access to off-the-beaten-track, unknown and exclusive luxury experiences, top safari camps throughout the continent and the best rates – all with friendly, professional service.

November 18, 2014

Zambia’s Top Luxury Safari Tented Camps

This month our guest blogger The Luxury Safari Company shines a spotlight on Zambia for a look at some of their luxurious tented camps. Idyllic places to relax after an exciting day out looking for wildlife.

Lion seen at Chongwe River in Zambia

Lion in Zambia

Zambia has long been known as one of the secret places in Africa to take a luxury safari, but it’s sometimes overlooked in favour of neighbouring Botswana. However Zambia has the most amazing game viewing and can often be better value than Botswana. Zambia has huge vistas, escarpments, rolling hills, vast rivers and much more so you're spoilt for choice when it comes to where you go and what you do. You can do everything from canoeing safaris to walking and everything in between. The Zambian people are some of the warmest and friendliest people you could hope to meet on a luxury safari which makes your journey there even more special. Here we outline Zambia's top luxury tented camps:

 Sausage Tree Camp – Lower Zambezi

Sausage Tree Camp Zambia

Sausage Tree Camp is located in arguably the best location in the Lower Zambezi for game viewing. With fantastic views of little islands in the Zambezi River (which are often covered in hippo and elephant) this tented camp is semi permanent with vast white tents and exceptionally luxurious interiors. The guides here are some of the best in Zambia and will get you up close and personal with lion, leopard and elephant. The game viewing here is dramatic and exciting.

Sausage Tree Tented Camp Zambia

Sausage Tree Tented Camp

Tena Tena – South Luangwa

Tena Tena Camp Lounge and Bar - Zambia

Tena Tena Camp Lounge and Bar

 Once again this luxury tented camp is semi permanent and has fantastic views of the Luangwa River below – during the dry season you will often see wildlife from your tent and will enjoy spending time under the cool canvas of this stylish and quirky intimate tented camp. Here the game often wonders through the camp during the day and you will often see elephant and much more from your room.

Tena Tena Camp Zambia

Tena Tena Camp bedroom

Chinzombo Camp – South Luangwa

Chinzombo Camp Zambia Africa

Chinzombo Camp

It is a bit cheeky to call Chinzombo a tented camp but your room is certainly made out of canvas – it just happens to be an extremely luxurious tented suite with a private plunge pool and extremely luxurious fittings and fixtures everywhere. This camp has a superb view of the Luangwa River and there are regularly hippos right in front of camp. There is also a beautiful leopard which can be seen relaxing on your verandah at night, if you keep quiet and don't disturb him.

Chinzombo Camp Zambia

Chinzombo Camp bedroom


Busanga Plains Camp – Kafue

Busanga Bush Camp Zambia

Busanga Bush Camp

Kafue is one of those magical places which is not included in enough luxury safaris in our opinion. It is very wild with lots of wildlife and some of the best bird watching in Africa. Busanga Plains Camp is also incredibly special and is located in the wilds of Kafue, with game often wondering curiously through camp. Everything here revolves around wildlife and a stay here will truly and utterly set the standard for all future safaris.

Busanga Bush Camp Zambia

Busanga Bush Camp bedroom

Find out more about Zambia luxury tented camps with  The Luxury Safari Company.  They are passionate about Africa and provide access to off-the-beaten-track, unknown and exclusive luxury experiences, top safari camps throughout the continent and the best rates – all with friendly, professional service.

October 14, 2014

Africa’s Most Romantic Safaris

In this month’s article by the Luxury Safari Company, you will discover the magic ingredients that go to create the most romantic safaris, holidays and honeymoons in Africa. Start planning now!

Jack's Camp, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Botswana, - Luxury Safaari Company, Africa

Jack’s Camp – Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana

Africa and romance just go together, there is no getting away from it. Nothing can compare to being out in the bush with a loved one and seeing wildlife in its natural environment, or watching the sunset in a million colours before you. There is something about being in the wilderness which inspires even the least romantic of us all. Here we outline special options for Africa's most romantic safaris, some or all of which should be included in your luxury trip. However, should you choose not to have them ,don't worry, your safari will still be very romantic. Africa always does her bit, without any added extras.

 Star Beds

Star Beds at Loisaba camp, Kenya in Africa

Star Beds at Loisaba Camp, Kenya

Loisaba in Kenya has two sets of Star Beds. The first is located among a kopje of rocks in the eastern valley overlooking the ‘Kiboko' waterhole. The second is eight kilometres south, on the banks of the Ewaso N'yiro River. They are reached by footbridge from the opposite bank and provide the most romantic experience out in the open.  Star Beds are quite new to Africa but have taken off in a big way. These luxury raised decks with four poster beds are so comfortable and safe that you might well want to stay there for your entire safari. Waking up with the sunrise is stunning, and we now have Star Beds in every African country we offer. Loisaba is very special, but Kalahari Plains Camp in Botswana, Ol Donyo in Kenya and Lion Sands in South Africa also offer a fantastic star bed experience.

Candlelit dinners in the bush

Candlelit dinner on luxury safari in Africa - image Cheli and Peacock

Candlelit dinner on safari in Africa – image Cheli and Peacock

As a couple you will without doubt have a candlelit dinner in the bush – often this is in a unique and beautiful location where the stars twinkle down at you and you can hear lions roaring in the distance.

Elephant safaris

Elephant safari - Abu Camp, Botswana, Africa

Elephant safari – Abu Camp, Botswana

Abu Camp in Botswana offers a rare and exciting opportunity to ride elephants and learn about them as well as immersing yourself within the tame herd. By the time your trip is up, you will feel an emotional connection with this camp and the gentle elephants they have there. Camp Jabulani in South Africa also offers a wonderful elephant safari experience.

Fly camping

Fly camping at Sand Rivers Selous, Africa

Fly camping at Sand Rivers Selous, Tanzania

At Sand Rivers Selous in Tanzania, fly camping is made special as you watch elephants pass your tent in the moonlight and you look through the roof of your tent to the star filled sky above. You'll experience a strange feeling of being truly out in the wilderness with the animals although safe from any harm! It allows you to see the wilderness in its true untouched form. Fly camping is exceptionally popular and although Sand Rivers do it very well, there are numerous other areas and camps, which offer absolutely magical fly camping options. Walking out to a fly camp, and sleeping by the camp fire under your double mosquito net is exceptionally romantic.

 Night drives

Night Drive Africa - Luxury Safari Company

Wildlife on a Night Drive – Luxury Safari Company

Night drives are not available everywhere but offer a wonderful way to spend an evening. Africa really comes alive at night and there are also numerous nocturnal species which you won't see at any other time. Snuggle down under a thick blanket with a hot water bottle and wait to marvel at what the African night shows you.

This article is brought to you by the Luxury Safari Company, passionate specialists in organising specialist safaris with the personal touch.