What’s New in Africa

Phinda Photograph

andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge Game Reserve by dusk

These days, people are looking for a vacation with meaning. They’re also looking to depart from the standard locations of typical sun and sand for something truly memorable. So, with that in mind, we wanted to share with our readers what’s new in Africa from andBeyond and Belmond Mount Nelson to properties in Marrakech and trips to Dakar!

andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge reopened its redesigned suites and guest areas in May 2017. Dramatically set into a cliff face overlooking a deep valley, the lodge has restyled its areas with a combination of woven linens, hand-embroidered cotton, and oriental carpets. New French doors open to extended outdoor verandas and a rooftop terrace provides the ideal venue for dining beneath the stars.

Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour, Marrakech

With all eyes on Marrakech this year as the new YSL Museum opens in October, Royal Mansour recently completed a major property expansion that included an additional two acres of manicured gardens. Aptly named Le Jardin, the expanded grounds were designed using a number of traditional Moroccan reference points such as the grid of olive trees that stand at the center of the garden (a nod to the UNESCO World Heritage Agdal Gardens and palm trees).

Ahead of the upcoming release of Nelson Mandela’s new memoir “Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years” in October, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel also recently launched its first artist-in-residence program with Cyril Coetzee, Nelson Mandela’s portraitist. Guests can sit for Cyril, or leave a photograph behind to be transformed into an oil painting on canvas. For guests looking to hone their art skills, Coetzee is also available for group classes and private lessons.

Mark Williams

Belmond Mount Nelson’s famous pink facade 

Beginning in November, andBeyond Bateleur Camp will undergo a total refurbishment to be complete by 2018. The new look for this camp on the Maasai Mara will include new private verandas, deep bathtubs, al fresco showers, and fire pits, as well as the addition of two new swimming pools, a fitness center, a massage sala, and a coffee bar.

Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge will be closed for a complete refurbishment starting November 2017. Before its closure, Alexander McCall Smith, author of the popular “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” book series, returns to Botswana to host his second-annual Belmond safari. The six-night safari from September 20-26, 2017 is split evenly between Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge and Belmond Eagle Island Lodge. Alexander will regale guests with stories about his personal connections to Botswana and give an inside look to his newest books for the year ahead.

Ponant is offering a new itinerary from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain to Dakar, Africa, November 8-17, 2018. The ship ventures through the rugged, volcanic Canary Islands off Africa’s western coast and to Praia, Santiago, the largest island in the Cape Verde archipelago. Le Champlain, set to launch in 2018 and one of the new four PONANT EXPLORER ships, will also be equipped with a world’s first: an underwater multi-sensory lounge, called Blue Eye.

BLUE EYE 2 EXPLORERS (c) PONANT - JACQUES ROUGERIE ARCHITECTE 2

Pennant’s Explorer Impressive Interiors by Jacques Rougerie

Shop Like a Local

andBeyond’s Kenya lodges, Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and Bateleur Camp neighbor a local Maasai village where guests can speak with locals and buy handmade jewelry and crafts, with all proceeds given back to the community.

Guests of Royal Mansour can enjoy guided shopping trips into the souk, including a culinary-themed trip featuring some of Chef Yannick Alleno’s favorite places. Some of his favorites items include lemon confits from Bab Ftouh, olive oil sourced from the middle and high Atlas in the surrounding valleys, and dried apricots from the Mellah, the popular Jewish quarter known for its hectic atmosphere at the Spice Market.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is a short stroll from nearby Long Street, dotted with boutiques selling South African clothes and home goods. Guests can stop in Greenmarket Square to pick up some locally made crafts, such as malachite bowls, paintings of the Cape, or bone salad tongs.

Look to the stars

andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has an unobstructed and unpolluted view of the night sky in Namibia’s first Dark Sky Reserve. Resident astronomer is on hand to point out planets and constellations, and over-bed skylights provide the perfect locale for spotting shooting stars.

Each of the Belmond Safari lodges – Belmond Khwai River Lodge, Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge, and Belmond Eagle Island Lodge – allows guests the opportunity to experience the vast dome of Botswana’s uninterrupted night sky. Guests will learn how the local tribes used the stars to direct them.

Guests at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve can spend a magical night under the stars. After a leisurely afternoon game drive, guests arrive at a romantic setting in the middle of the bush – complete with comfortable beds with duvets and warm blankets draped with billowing mosquito nets, inviting chairs surrounding a blazing campfire, and twinkling lanterns hanging from the trees. (Secure in the knowledge that an armed guard will patrol the site throughout the night.)

At the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, guests of Royal Mansour can enjoy a starry night away from the busy lights of Marrakech. Following a private tour on 4×4 vehicles, guests can indulge in sunset cocktails and a gourmet dinner in their own private camp, served with just the glow of candles, torches, and a blanket of stars above.

Advertisements

The Top Sailing Destinations Around the World

This week, Guest Contributor, Nicole Noel, shares her Top 7 Most Fabulous Sailing Destinations around the World with our Jaunt Magazine readers.

The fact that you love to sail speaks volumes about you. That is what you will find if you listen to the experienced sailor, Super Calin. He states that, according to his experience, people who enjoy sailing are smart and confident. They are adventurous and they know how to enjoy life (Super Calin, January 2015). All these traits are enhanced if you try to enjoy sailing at some of these seven amazing places.

Capri

Capri, Italy

1. Capri, Italy

One of the most amazing things happens in Capri. It is the annual Rolex Sailing Week. It takes place in May because of the amazing sailing weather. Enjoy the view of inshore racing around the volcanic sceneries and Aeolian Islands. If you have what it takes, join the races and make the most o this event.

French Riviera

Who doesn’t love the French Riviera?

2. French Riviera

The charm and the luxury of the French Riviera are reserved for those that enjoy the luxury. The Gulf of St. Tropez needs to be a part of your itinerary. Explore the lagoons and visit the Medieval Cogolin. You can also just stay at the port and admire the stunning, luxurious yachts docked there.

Croatia

Croatia

3. Croatia

You will pass thousands of islands once you enter the waters of Croatia. You can take your pick and visit the great, history packed city of Dubrovnik, or you can opt for some small, village taverns. Let the locals show you their fish specialties and do not forget to ask for a glass of a homemade Dalmatian wine.

Turkey

The Turkish Coast

4. Turkey

Definitely start at Olympos and head to Gokkaya Bay. The waters are amazing and everywhere you chose to make a stop, the Turkish cuisine will spoil you for any other. Two stops are necessary, though: the sunken city will be underneath you as you sail over the ruins of the city that was destroyed 2000 years ago. It is the part of the World Heritage. Also, dock and go to explore Simena Castle, once you reach it.

Whitsunday

Whitsunday Island, Australia

5. Whitsunday Island, Australia

This place is famous for its amazing white beaches and jaw-dropping color of water around it. It is a secluded place where people come to relax and spend a day in perfect nature. You can make this a perfect chance to let somebody do your boat detailing while you spend a day on this beach. That is why you need to make this a part of your trip. Forget about activities and adrenaline rushes and let the nature itself amaze you. It is a tropical paradise of peace.

TahitiS

French Polynesia

6. French Polynesia

Tahiti and Bora Bora are the destinations where the rich and famous go for their honeymoons and hedonistic trips to unwind and relax. The nature and the waters are awesome and full of wildlife. If you want to get in close touch with the nature, seek for a guide that will give you the shark feeding experience. That definitely adds to the thrill of sailing at this natural paradise.

Nile

Sailing the Magnificent Nile

7. Nile, Egypt

The Ancient river of Nile is the cradle of all life. Just by going down this river, you can meditate on that fact alone. However, to experience the ancient culture, make a stop in Sudan. Visit the wonderful ancient Meroe Royal City. You will see the tops of over two hundred pyramids. This was the ruling place of the Black Pharaohs.

The waters will take you to the most amazing places if you let them. Exploring the world from the sea is a perfect way to learn more about nature, history and world in general. Therefore, take that chance and make this list your checklist for the future.

Nicole

Nicole Noel

 

Nicole Noel is an avid traveller. She enjoys discovering different cultures, exploring new things, and sharing her ideas with others. You can find her on twitter and FB

A Luxe Yoga Cruise From Chile to Tahiti!

Guests practice yoga in Crystal's Feng Shui Yoga Room

Guests practice yoga in Crystal’s Feng Shui Fitness Center

Alas… one of our favorite luxe cruise lines, Crystal Cruises, has just announced that they’re inspiring their guests to relax, refresh and recharge with a new Mind, Body & Spirit-themed exotic cruise through some of the most exquisite waters in the world.

Crystal Symphony’s first voyage of the year, a 12-day “Southern Seas Soliloquy” itinerary, begins January 8th, 2014 in Valparaíso, Chile, and sails across the southern Pacific to the Society/Tahitian, Easter, and Pitcairn Islands (the latter of Mutiny on the Bounty fame).  On the roster are a guest yoga instructor, extreme athlete, health and wellness expert, and ZUMBA® teacher, as well as a repertoire of active excursions and a host of complimentary fitness classes.

The 12-day cruise sails from Valparaíso to Easter Island, Chile; Pitcairn Island/Adamstown, UK; and Moorea, Society Islands before ending with an overnight in Papeete, Tahiti. 

All-inclusive cruise fares start at just $2,975/person, with $1,000 in savings if booked by August 30. 

Among those scheduled to motivate travelers are:

·         Dane Rauschenberg: Extreme athlete who ran 52 marathons in 52 consecutive weekends. I’m tired just thinking about it, but damn… good for Dane!

·         Dr. Barbara Udell: Health and wellness expert who’s helped guide the Pritikin Longevity Center, Weight Watchers, and the Diabetes Research &Wellness Foundation.

·         Lisa Goodwin: Transformational yoga instructor skilled at teaching both beginners and seasoned practitioners. I. Need. You.

·         Annie Hoefel: High-energy motivator leading ZUMBA classes on board for guests of all ages. Because Zumba… who doesn’t want to shake it, shake it?

Crystal Symphony State Room

Crystal Symphony State Room

In addition to the above, complimentary fitness classes and programs onboard include Spinning, Pilates, dancing, stretching, circuit training, Nordic Walking, and Walk-on-Water weight vest power walking on the ship’s 360-degree promenade deck.  Can you imagine getting on shape and eating well during a cruise through beautiful islands? I can! Also on the agenda for brainiacs like us:  experts to stretch travelers’ minds with talks about space exploration, world affairs, and Leonardo da Vinci.

ATVing in French Polynesia!

ATVing in French Polynesia!

In port, Crystal Adventures also offers snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV-ing, four-wheeling, volcano trekking, helicoptering, and jet skiing with stingrays.  Numerous excursions also take guests to ancient Polynesian temples and ceremonial grounds, including Easter Island’s famous Moai statues.  When anchored outside Pitcairn Island – considered the most remote and smallest inhabited place in the world – local residents will come aboard, allowing guests to liaise with the mutineer descendants and see their traditional crafts. I was sorta of obsessed with this movie so I’m daydreaming about mutiny right now…

Add massages, treatments and scrubs and there’s really nothing left to need.

Crystal Serenity’s first cruise of 2014, sailing through the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles starting January 5, also offers a “Mind, Body, Spirit” focus, with all-inclusive, “Book Now” fares of $4,675/person for 13 days so check out the website below and let us know if you have any questions.

www.crystalcruises.com

Former Heads of State, CIA, & NASA Come to Crystal Cruises in 2013

General Michael Hayden

General Michael Hayden

Take sail, take flight!

Imagine this… The two-term former president of Switzerland, NASA’s lead flight controller for Apollo missions, and a general who was once the highest ranking intelligence officer in the United States Armed Forces. Now, imagine yourself hanging out with them while on a sophisticated exciting cruise. Yes, dreams do come true. These powerful men of sleuth and science will be bringing their considerable clout aboard luxury cruise outfit, Crystal Cruises, this year.  The guest speakers are part of a distinguished lineup of internationally influential, preeminent leaders set to present complimentary lectures and interactive Q & A sessions on several of the line’s ultra-luxurious voyages, including:

  • General Michael Hayden – The retired Director of both the CIA and NSA, and four-star U.S. Air Force General, brings a wealth of knowledge and intelligence from his nearly four decades of military duty and national service (September 19, Venice to Monte Carlo, President’s Cruise with Crystal President Gregg Michel);
  • Kaspar Villiger – Formerly the president of Switzerland, as well as the chairman of UBS Bank, Villiger is one of the world’s leading authorities on business, government and finance, whose influence and leadership has affected global economies (September 2, London to Barcelona);
  • Sy Liebergot – The lead controller at NASA’s Mission Control served during the legendary Apollo program (November 23, Miami to Rio de Janeiro);
  • Norm Mineta – The ex-U.S. Secretary of Transportation and congressman is also the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Medal for his civil rights efforts (September 11, Barcelona to Venice); and
  • Nando Parrado – The ultimate survivor, Uruguayan rugby player-turned-motivational speaker was aboard the ill-fated flight over the Andes that later became the subject of the film Alive (July 6, Istanbul to Rome).

The speakers join an already-extensive roster of leading experts set to enlighten guests sailing Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity in 2013, including a U.K.-based celebrity florist, award-winning photographers, show business veterans and a bevy of historians and professors.  Crystal often brings expert minds together on their “Ocean Views”- themed cruises, with speakers debating current issues with each other in a live panel that includes audience participation so we think this is pretty darn cool.

“Our guests are worldly, well-educated travelers who seek not only new adventures while on vacation, but also new information and perspectives on topics that affect the world we explore,” says Bret Bullock, vice president of entertainment.  “With such fascinating experiences and knowledge to share, these presenters are certain to spark some stimulating discussions on board.”

The Crystal Symphony

The Crystal Symphony

Bret, we’re so on board with you.

Crystal’s award-winning, luxe offerings always include a diverse selection of thought-provoking, scholarly, and sophisticated enrichment activities that provide extensive on-board choices for cultured world travelers so take to the seas and make your ocean-exploring adventure one for the mind and seas.

www.crystalcruises.com

Family Cruising in All its Splendour

 

Barbados, Baby!

Barbados, Baby!

When it comes to lavish getaways, we love jaunting to the islands and, for those who want to see a lot in a short amount of time, or simply want a lot to do without having to think hard about it, few holidays can beat a cruise in terms of spectacular scenery, indulgent lifestyle, and downright luxury. With all of those gorgeous destinations and first-rate onboard facilities rolled into one, not to mention the exquisite dining and professional entertainment, it can feel like you’re living the millionaire’s lifestyle (and eating like one too).

And if you really want to push the boat out, what better way to do it than on a Caribbean cruise?

The Splendor of the Seas

The Splendour of the Seas

Let’s face it, Caribbean cruises bring new meaning to luxury holidays. As if the lavish onboard lifestyle and all that wining and dining isn’t quite enough, a cruise around the sizzling Caribbean islands really bumps the luxury factor up a few notches. Whether you opt for Barbados or the Bahamas, St. Lucia or St. Kitts – or perhaps the whole shebang – a Caribbean cruise is really quite special.

One popular cruise operator that specializes in making sure Caribbean cruises really do have that X factor is Royal Caribbean International, and they have dozens of luxurious liners ready to take you there. One particular liner that ramps up the luxury stakes is Splendour Of The Seas – and it’s not hard to see why.

A stateroom on the Splendour of the Seas

A stateroom on the Splendour of the Seas

Following an extensive makeover in 2011, this impressive ship has been fine-tuned and polished, ready to whisk holidaymakers off to some of the most beautiful locations in the world. Among the new features are an onboard art gallery, outdoor movie screen, a nightclub, a swish new cocktail bar, several new restaurants, and a lively new entertainment area in the five-storey atrium complete with high-flying antics and aerobatics.

In addition there are scores of other things to see, do and experience onboard the Splendour of the Seas including mini golf, rock-climbing, full-sized sports courts, fitness centre, a vast array of kids’ attractions and of course plenty of entertainment for the adults once the sun goes down.

Whatever tickles your fancy, there’s something for everyone. Talk about cruising in all its splendour…

Here are some: great Caribbean cruise deals!

Istanbul: A City of Many Colours

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Istanbul: A City of Many Colours

For travellers, Istanbul is so much more than a bargain hunter’s dream. Throughout history, Turkey’s former capital city possessed all the power and status of a cultural and political superpower at the heart of both the extensive Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These days, Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage is combined with the frenetic activity of a modern, cosmopolitan city. Tourists can explore ancient city walls and traditional mosques and churches by day, and enjoy an exhilarating social scene by night.

Istanbul's Galata Tower

Crusin’ down the Bosphorus in front of Istanbul’s Galata Tower

Some Revision

History buffs will tell you that the city of Istanbul was originally known as Byzantium. Colonised by Greek settlers in approximately 680 BC, the city had a seaside location that soon meant that it became an important centre for trade. This was especially the case for luxury goods such as silks and exotic spices that passed through the city on their route from East to West. Captured by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 196, Byzantium was integrated into the Roman Empire. The city flourished as a centre for arts and culture and quickly became the political capital for the eastern half of the Roman Empire. It was renamed Constantinople (Constantine’s city) under the rule of the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, and became an important centre for Christianity; the world’s largest cathedral, the Hagia Sophia – transformed into a mosque, and now into a museum – is still open for tourists to visit in the present day. Economically weakened by the crusades, Constantinople was inevitably conquered by the Turkish nobleman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453 and renamed Istanbul. The Sultan founded an Islamic dynasty – the Ottoman Empire – lasting over 600 years.

The Grand Bazaar!

The Grand Bazaar!

Modern Istanbul is a cultural melting pot of both Christian and Muslim heritage and architecture. Though Ankara is now the capital of Turkey, Istanbul continues to be an important city for trade and tourism. Sitting at the crossroads of two continents (Europe and Asia), the city is divided by the Bosphorus, a strait of water frequently navigated by ships on a European cruise as well as by trade ships on their way to Asia and the Black Sea.

Enough. Markets!

Now you’ve swatted up on the history, time to get yourself out and about for that authentic Istanbul cultural experience.  If you’ve already checked out the Galata Tower, Rumeli Hisari, Topkapi Palace (where you can also grab a bite to eat and have some Cherry juice… yum!) and the Blue Mosque and still don’t have flagging feet, what better way to get to know the city than by shopping? The Grand Bazaar is just the place to do just this – everything from traditional spices and silks to handbags, shoes, and jewellery, to lamps, shishas, vegetables and sweets are on display and ready for you to buy. Haggle to your heart’s content as there are no fixed prices – those prepared to pay the price tags’ face value are missing out a valuable lesson about Turkish culture, as well a great deal!

Live Music at Arpa Bar

Live Music at Arpa Bar

Now take a break at one of the street cafes or shisha bars offering refreshing mint teas, baked goods just dripping with honey, and real Turkish Delight. Café Meşale just behind the Blue Mosque has live Turkish music and dance performances to accompany your meal.

Sundowners

Nightlife options in Istanbul are just as varied as everything else in the city; from traditional wine bars to Turkish taverns, roof bars to nightclubs, there is a wealth of experiences to be had. The bars, basement jazz cafes, and traditional Turkish venues of the Beyoğlu district provide an easy-going indie atmosphere; everyone is welcome, and will undoubtedly be quizzed as to his or her origin! Rooftop venue Kumbaracı Yokuşu has a mellow atmosphere with music and cocktails that make it the perfect place to start out the night. Follow up this up, perhaps by dropping into Arpa Bar, just a short walk away. If you’re feeling like a touch of glamour, head over to Ortaköy and attempt to get in to The Reina. An upmarket club, it hosts several different restaurants and bars. It’s exclusive, expensive, and there’s a dress-code, but it’s great for celebrity spotting.

The Best Places To Sample Authentic Caribbean Rum

Straight up, on the rocks, with a mixer, in a mojito … the possibilities are endless. Rum, both light and dark, is consumed in a huge variety of ways, and the sugary spirit is just as popular today as it was following its creation in the Caribbean in the seventeenth century. Made from byproducts of sugarcane (either sugarcane juice or molasses), many rums continue to be produced throughout the Caribbean because of the abundance of sugar plantations across the islands. Authentic Caribbean rums are considered to be some of the best quality spirits on the market, similar to Russian vodkas or Scotch whiskies.

Although Caribbean rum has become a rather generic term for rums produced throughout the region, the different islands and countries actually produce different types of the spirit, putting their own spin on a traditional recipe. There are three distinct forms produced across the region, so visitors traveling to the Caribbean hoping to sample some of its delights shouldn’t restrict themselves to just one destination. One of the most effortless ways of travelling around is on a cruise, with a western Caribbean cruise offering plenty of time to discover all the different varieties while relaxing and taking in all the sights.

Rum produced in primarily Spanish speaking countries, such as Cuba, is generally light or golden and smooth. It is reminiscent of the rums that are frequently used as cocktail bases rather than those that are consumed neat by connoisseurs. Known as añejo rums, they’re generally well-aged in oak barrels that give them a somewhat charred yet mild flavor. Choose a western Caribbean cruise that visits the port of Havana on Cuba’s northern shore to try out this type of rum.

A second type of Caribbean rum comes from the countries with English as an official language, such as Belize. These dark rums are what are considered to be ‘sophisticated’ spirits that benefit more from consumption in their simplest form rather than being mixed with liquids that could affect the rich flavor. The rums are generally quite syrupy rather than runny like other forms of the drink, and have a very subtle taste. Western Caribbean cruises which dock in Belize City are good choices, with plenty of bars and restaurants surrounding the port.

Finally, French-speaking Caribbean countries produce yet another type of rum known as rhum agricole, or rhum vieux if its been aged. This type of rum is remarkably different, made from sugarcane juice rather than the usual molasses. It is generally considered to be a purer form of more standard rums and is often much more expensive to buy. The charred taste of other rums is replaced with a somewhat spicy flavor, and although this rum is hugely popular both in the Caribbean and in the United States, it accounts for just 5 percent of the world’s rum production. Visitors can sample this in Labadee on Haiti’s north coast.

Another place that’s an absolute must-see for rum lovers is the Mount Gay Distillery in Barbados. Visitors can learn about the history of the popular brand and experience a guided tour around the factory. Visitors can see and smell the rum at various stages during the production process and see how it transforms from sugarcane to drink. The tour concludes with what is often considered the best part: the tasting! There are plenty of rum punches on offer, as well as neat shots to try.

There’s really no better place to sample the world’s best rums than the Caribbean, the birthplace of the popular spirit. With the combination of an abundance of factories with locals who take their rum very seriously, it’s a great place to learn about the different processes, tastes and styles of the different countries. Huge varieties of rum can be purchased from the factories and from stores throughout the Caribbean, providing wonderful gifts and souvenirs to take home from the trip.

So chug-a-lug-lug!