January is our busiest month at Giltedge Africa, which really doesn’t surprise us at all. We couldn’t think of a better way to get excited about a new year than by planning an incredible holiday! So, where do you dream of travelling in 2018?
“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa, for he has so much to look forward to.” – Richard Mullin
Perhaps it’s time to find out for yourself why Cape Town is one of the best loved cities in the world. Or how about somewhere wild and remote: a beautiful lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta or tented camp on the bank of the Zambezi River.
Settle in for some armchair travel to these (and other) incredible destinations. And when you’re ready to turn those daydreams into reality, drop us an email and we’ll do the rest!
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
One of Africa’s oldest national parks, Volcanoes was established in 1925 to help protect the highly endangered mountain gorilla. There are now 12 habituated family groups living in the high-altitude cloud forests of Rwanda’s Virunga mountains, making Volcanoes National Park one of the best places to see these remarkable creatures!
Rwanda is moving towards high-end, low volume tourism. So, while a gorilla trekking safari used to come with a certain degree of roughing it, that is no longer the case. In 2017, Wilderness Safaris opened beautiful Bisate Lodge. And, over the next two years, both One&Only Nature Resorts and Singita will open luxury lodges in the Volcanoes area.
Where to stay: Bisate Lodge has six woven villas, perched like weaver birds’ nests on the steep forested slopes bordering Volcanoes National Park. The lodge’s unique design and elegant interiors are matched by dramatic views of the Virungas volcanoes.
What to do: Spend an unforgettable hour with wild mountain gorillas! Watch mothers groom and the youngsters at play, all under the protective gaze of the silverback male.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is no stranger to ‘must-visit’ lists, a couple of the most recent being “Fodor’s Go List 2017” and Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best Cities in The World 2017”. Set against the backdrop of flat-topped Table Mountain, this laidback seaside town really does have it all: mountains, beaches, winelands, world-class restaurants, buzzing outdoor markets …
A good reason to travel in 2018 is the “Nelson Mandela Centenary: Be the Legacy”. South Africa’s great leader would have turned 100 this year, and a number of events are being organized in celebration of his life. Also, the newly opened Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), is well worth a visit. With over 80 galleries carved into the cathedral-like interior of the Waterfront’s grain silos, the building itself is a work of art!
Where to stay: The Silo sits above the Zeitz MOCAA in the V&A Waterfront. Industrial architecture skillfully mixed with plush furnishing – and those magnificent faceted windows! – have made The Silo Cape Town’s most talked-about new hotel.
What to do: Cape Town has a ridiculous number of beautiful beaches, but the most unique has to be Boulder’s Beach where you share the sand with a waddle of penguins.
Mana Pools, Zimbabwe
Mana Pools lies stretched along the bank of the Zambezi River, backed by the mountains of the Rift Valley Escarpment. The scenery here is magnificent and, during the dry season, herds of buffalo and waterbuck gather on the Zambezi floodplains. Go on game drives and walking safaris, and canoe past elephant that take little notice as you drift silently by.
In November last year, following nearly four decades of rule, Robert Mugabe stepped down as president of Zimbabwe. The air of optimism and change makes this an exciting time to visit the country. Add to that Zimbabwe’s guides (who are the best in the business), and lodges that are more affordable than next-door Botswana – and it’s easy to see why Mana Pools made it onto our 2018 travel list.
Where to stay: Zambezi Expeditions is a fantastic choice for more adventurous travellers. Tents are simple but comfortable, and the camp is unfenced so wildlife often wanders by close to the tents. Read Robyn’s first-hand review of Zambezi Expeditions.
What to do: Canoeing on the Zambezi is a must, and the area is also known for its walking safaris. The wildlife in Mana Pools is relaxed around people, and on Robyn’s walk they came within metres of wild dogs as well as three lionesses (who had luckily just eaten!).
Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Located just off the northern coast of Mozambique, the Quirimbas Archipelago dots the glittering Indian Ocean. The archipelago is home to some of the most unspoilt beaches and coral reefs found anywhere in the world. Many of the islands fall within the Quirimbas National Park, which provides a marine sanctuary for whales, dolphins and the endangered dugong.
Where to stay: Azura Quilalea has 9 seafront villas on a private island in the Quirimbas. Each villa is designed to feel like a welcoming island home where you’ll be well looked after by your personal butler.
What to do: go snorkelling straight off the main beach. Or refresh your skills at the lodge’s Padi centre, before heading out to discover one of the many dive sites nearby.
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve protects almost a third of the Okavango Delta. A patchwork of lily-covered lagoons and dry land, Moremi includes the legendary Chiefs Island, the largest expanse of solid ground within the delta. Game drives take you across grassy plains – the hunting ground of lion, cheetah and packs of wild dogs – leopard stalk the woodlands, herds of elephant gather on sunny riverbanks.
Where to stay: the newly rebuilt Mombo Camp will be reopening later this month (January 2018). The camp’s location – on the northern tip of Chief’s Island – is considered one of the best areas for wildlife in Africa.
What to do: activities here focus around twice-daily game drives. This wildlife-packed region is home to all Africa’s big cats, so look forward to thrilling sightings!