Belmond Botswana offers sweeping ground and aerial views in an exciting safari package

Wasn’t I just telling you about how innovative and exciting travelling has become these days? We have hotel rooms built inside caves, and made to defy the laws of physics and sorts of intriguing luxurious offerings. Another fun way to enjoy a break is to get the best of two worlds – the sky and earth. Luxury safari lodge in Botswana, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, is allowing guests the chance to explore the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO world heritage site, in horse-back and by air. The day trip will begin at dawn with a helicopter safari offering “uninterrupted aerial views across the delta”. This will be followed by horse-back safari, through the bush, palm-lined islands, grassy flood plains, mopane forests and clear streams.

Guides will be at hand, and safety will obviously be top-notch. This is a good way to converse with the nature, albeit in the company of people who will have a hawk eye’s view of the surrounding for lurking wild beasts. In case you would like to know, the horses are all full or part thoroughbreds including, Botswana Warm bloods, Pure Arab, Anglo Arab to Fresian Crosses. Winter break maybe?

Link to the Safari Resort

Italy’s famed Lake Como gets its first 5 star hotel

While Lake Como in Italy has been a coveted holiday destination for decades, the area is surprisingly devoid of five star hotels. However, this won’t be true for very long given that the Vista Palazzo Lago di Como will open its doors next month. This 19th-century, Venetian-style palazzo had been renovated by the Lario Hotels Group and it now offers rooms and suites that are a chic and modern complement to the stunning region.

The boutique hotel offers 18 rooms and suites which offer the breath-taking lake views that tourists crave. The rooms are spacious and well-designed boasting rich furnishings and fabrics, welcome colors and details including the hand-hewn marquetry on the wood floors. The bathrooms are spa quality with Italian marble surfaces, soaking tubs and separate showers.

While the hotel is a lesson in Italian elegance, the roof is truly where all the action is. On top of the hotel you’ll find not only a library, but also an outdoor bar and rooftop restaurant. As with other 5 star properties this one will offer personalised concierge services to ensure that your stay is as perfect as you could hope for.

Lufthansa will now use a high tech mattress topper to help business class passengers sleep better

Passengers travelling Lufthansa to and from South Africa, Latin and South America and the West Coast of the USA are in for a new treat! The airline has introduced a novel sleeping range for the business class commuters and trust us, it is beyond inviting! Christened as the Dream Collection, the new and improved sleep goodies ensure you tons of snugly goodness and some well-deserved rest!

In addition to a new pillowcase and a fuzzy, warm blanket, a comfortable mattress topper is introduced for your sweet slumber. Travelers can further find any missing comfort with the sleep shirt from Van Laack, also specially unveiled as part of the collection. The star of the new range however, is a soft and padded mattress topper that is designed in association with famous German bed manufacturer – Paradies. Made with an upper side of 100 percent cotton, and an underside of non-slip terry cloth, it ensures ideal air exchange and prevents strong heat accumulation.

To further aid environmental concerns, Lufthansa’s new sleep range is presented in paper banderoles in place of the old plastic packaging. The airline’s dream collection will soon be introduced on all long-haul flights from autumn and will also be made available on selected Asian flights, onward June. Tempted to hop on a Lufthansa plane yet?

Review: Editorial London

These are the 10 most popular hotels in the world

Now that spring is finally underway, it’s time to start planning your summer getaways. Social media has changed the way we holiday, with geotags and beautiful pictures always adding to our bucket list of places to visit. We feature in coopweration with Luxury Travel Advisor the TOP 10 Hotels in the world.

1. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
This grand staircase was immortalized in pop culture history when the Spice Girls featured it in the video for their iconic song Wannabe. If it’s good enough for Posh Spice then it’s good enough for us!

2. Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
This hotel offers unbelievable Eiffel Tower views and you’ve no doubt already seen a few dozen pictures on Instagram that were taken from gorgeous wrought iron balconies like this one.

3. Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island
The Conrad Maldives’ Ithaa undersea restaurant has been a regular feature on Instagram. If you’re visiting the island, you can’t miss an opportunity to dine here.

4. Hotel Fasano, Rio De Janeiro
Rooftop pool photos are the fastest ways to give all your followers vacation envy. This one in Rio’s fabulous Hotel Fasano offers dramatic views as well as the pleasure of poolside comfort.

Another very nice travel destination and experience

5. Jade Mountain Resort, St Lucia
You can’t be bored even for a minute when you’re surrounded by the lush beauty of St Lucia. This room in the Jade Mountain Resort combine’s the amazing scenery with the cool tropical interiors of the resort. Don’t miss a chance to soak in that incredible tub.

6. Villa Saraswati, Bali
Indonesian resorts are always worthy of the ‘gram. This one captivates with its contemporary design set against the lush greenery of the hotel’s surroundings.

7. Barcelo Malaga, Malaga
From the moment you enter the futuristic lobby, you won’t be able to look away from the huge steel slide that takes center stage. This might just be the coolest playground that you’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring.

8. The Icehotel, Sweden
This magical ice hotel looks like it’s been lucked right out of Disney’s Frozen. From the winter wonderland feel of the hotel, to its many sculptures and artworks, photo-ops abound.

9. Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas
This Vegas casino is an Instagram powerhouse thanks to the unforgettable fountain out front. But there’s more to the hotel than a water show, the rooms inside are a stylish display of the hotel’s luxurious aesthetic.

10. Lebua at State Tower, Bangkok
The rooftop bar nestled at the top of State Tower offers unobstructed views of the bustling and busy city. Visit at night to get an amazing photo of the Bangkok city lights.

Advertorial sponsored by: Luxury Travel Advisor

New in the Sauternes Wine Region: Lalique to Open Second French Hotel

Lalique, the renowned French crystal brand, made headlines when opening a five-star hotel in Alsace a few years ago. Called Villa René Lalique, this Relais & Châteaux hotel is home to a gourmet restaurant with two Michelin stars. Now Lalique is expanding its hospitality imprint with a new project in the prized Sauternes wine region, situated south of Bordeaux and world famous for its sweet wines.

The Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, whose wines are classified as Premiers Crus Classés, was purchased in 2014 by Silvio Denz, Chairman and CEO of Lalique and owner of five vineyards in the Bordeaux region, including Château Faugères, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé.

With vineyards abutting the legendary Château d’Yquem, the Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey has a long history: Its building is a recognized historic monument dating to the 13th century. Now this chateau will get a new lease on life as a boutique luxury hotel and gourmet restaurant. Slated to open on June 23, 2018 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, the hotel was decorated by interior designers Lady Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli, also behind the Lalique Maison collection and the Villa René Lalique project. The style is “country chic,” inspired by the surrounding Sauternes landscapes. Bien sur, there are Lalique crystals in the decor.

The Chateau will have 10 rooms and three suites, a wine cellar stocked with 350,000 bottles and a gastronomic restaurant overseen by Chef Jérôme Schilling, the former executive chef at Villa René Lalique. A native of Alsace, Schilling honed his skills in the kitchens of some of France’s best chefs (Joël Robuchon, Roger Verger, Thierry Marx). The hotel is managed by Christophe Noulibos.

Review: Edward Collins

19 Things You Didn’t Know About Namibia, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘Chosen’ Honeymoon Spot

The west coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Giant moving sand dunes. Sandwich Harbour - part of Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has chosen Namibia as their honeymoon destination, a source has “confirmed” to Travel + Leisure – an excellent choice we say.

Here are 19 facts about the staggeringly beautiful African destination…

1. There’s a lot of space

The name ‘Namib’ translates as “vast place”, which is apt given that Namibia is one of the least crowded destinations on the planet. Only Greenland, the Falkland Islands, Mongolia and Western Sahara (in that order) have fewer people per square kilometre.

2. Nearly half of the country is protected

Namibia takes conservation seriously. In fact, more than 40 percent of the country is under conservation management. It was also the first African country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution. Hence its bountiful wildlife.

3. It’s the only African country with a female leader

Namibia elected its first female leader in 2015. Saara Kuugongelwa is the country’s fourth prime minister and the only female leader on the continent. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, was the President of Liberia until January 2018, when she was replaced by former footballer George Weah.

4. More cheetahs live there than anywhere else

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the fastest land animal on the planet, Namibia is the place to go – for it is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs. Etosha National Park is probably the best place to see them, though eagle-eyed visitors might spot them throughout the country.

5. It has Hollywood connections

Namibia’s dramatic landscapes, which range from desolate deserts to shimmering salt pans, have been used as the backdrop for numerous big budget blockbusters including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Flight of the Phoenix (2006).

6. It was formerly known as South West Africa

The country became Namibia in 1990 when it was granted independence from South Africa, which had taken over the territory during the First World War. Prior to that Germany was in control, and they committed what is considered the “first genocide of the 20th century”, killing tens of thousands of Herero and Nama tribespeople during their brutal occupation. The German government formerly apologised for the genocide in 2004.

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7. The German’s inspired subversive tribal dress

In what is considered a mass act of subversion, some Herero men and women continue to dress like the German colonialists who tried to eradicate them. Tribesmen and women still cling to the 19th century apparel of their suppressors in a bid to protest and raise awareness about their bloody history.

8. There’s an intriguing story behind the country’s shape

Ever wondered why Namibia has that weird panhandle? Well, when the United Kingdom and Germany were carving up southern Africa they struck a deal: the former would give the latter what’s now known as the Caprivi Strip, in exchange for land elsewhere. The Germans accepted, believing the panhandle would give them access to the Zambezi River and a route to Africa’s east coast. There was just one problem: the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, lay in the way. The Germans, it transpired, had signed a bum deal.

9. It’s home to the world’s oldest desert

We’re talking about the Namib Desert, which, at 80 million years old, is the most ancient desert on the planet.

10. It has the highest sand dunes

Namibia lays claim to the highest sand dune in the world. Rising dramatically from the Namib Desert, the impressive mound – known, rather boringly, as Dune 7 – tops out at around 383m. As a point of reference consider this: The Shard in London is 310m tall.

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11. And the largest underwater lake

Dubbed Dragon’s Breath Cave – on account of the humid air that rises from its entrance – this gargantuan grotto is home to the largest non-subglacial lake in the world. Discovered in 1986, the cave can, alas, only be explored by professionals because of its treacherous typography.

12. There’s an eerie ghost town

Once a well-heeled mining town, Kolmanskop was abandoned in the Thirties when the diamond rush took prospectors elsewhere. The Namib Desert slowly started to reclaim the middle-of-nowhere outpost, which is now a popular tourist attraction.

13. And a spooky Skeleton Coast

Few places provide such a stark reminder of the power of nature than Namibia’s Skeleton Coast; a brutal place where the roaring swell of the Atlantic Ocean crashes into the vast nothingness of the Namib Desert. The bushmen hunter-gatherers who once roamed light-footed over these bone-dry gravel plains and shifting sands called it “the land God made in anger”.

The coast here is littered with rusting shipwrecks, which were surrendered to the desert by the broiling swell of the sea. But pockets of it are being tamed – a luxury  hotel shaped like a shipwreck is coming to the area soon.

14. The capital has some interesting street names

The highways of Windhoek pay homage to both communist dictators and controversial African presidents with the likes of Fidel Castro Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue.

15. It looks incredible from space

The Namib is littered with impact craters, such as Roter Kamm – shown here – created by a meteorite the size of an SUV that struck between four and five million years ago. They look pretty awesome from space.

So too do the desert’s vast dunes.

16. There’s an epic train journey

The Desert Express covers 220 miles from Windhoek through Namibia’s central highlands, across savannah, desert and gravel plains to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. A longer safari option includes Walvis Bay and game drives in the Etosha National Park. Book through Expert Africa.

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17. Pedestrians can be breathalysed

Pedestrians in Namibia were once warned not to “drink and walk” after it was revealed police will breathalyse anyone involved in a collision with a vehicle. The Windhoek City Police announced it would start treating pedestrians in the same way as they would drivers in a bid to crack down on alcohol-related accidents.

18. It’s one of the thirstiest nations in Africa

Namibia is one of the thirstiest nations in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. By its reckoning only Gabon and South Africa record higher rates of alcohol consumption – although it must be said Namibians tuck away much less booze per capita than most European nations.

19. Donald Trump can’t pronounce it

Last September, the US president incorrectly referred to the country as ‘Nambia’ not once, but twice, at a meeting in New York which consisted of leaders from Ghana, Namibia and Uganda. He was promptly torn apart on social media as a result of the blunder. Oh, Donald.

This article was written by Telegraph Travel from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network and sponsored by The Telegraph.

Wilderness Safaris Offers Hot Air Balloon Rides in Botswana

The hot air ballooning safari season has kicked off at Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. From April 1 until October 14, 2018, guests who visit these areas will be able to experience Wilderness Safaris‘ hot air balloon safari, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the 148,263-acre Vumbura Concession.

A maximum of eight guests can enjoy a hot air balloon safari at any one time, ensuring a personalized journey. After approximately 45 minutes in the air, guests will be met with a celebratory glass of champagne upon landing, before returning to camp for brunch. Guests can make the excursion a full “air safari” by taking a scenic helicopter flight to or from the balloon launch site (or both). This offers more of an opportunity to explore the Delta in search of wetland species.

The balloon safari and helicopter flights add to the list of activities on offer at Vumbura, including mekoro (dug-out canoes), boating, game drives and nature walks led by Wilderness Safaris guides. The Vumbura Concession comprises a varied mix of mopane, acacia woodland, floodplains and permanent swamp. Key mammal species include herds of elephant and buffalo, sable, zebra and wildebeest. Cheetah, spotted hyaena, lion, leopard and wild dog can also be seen.

Vumbura Plains is composed of 14 rooms, while Little Vumbura is a six-tented camp; both are bases from which to explore this wilderness area. The camps are also committed to Wilderness Safaris’ “4Cs:” Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation.

The Vumbura Concession is leased from five villages, through the Okavango Community Trust in a partnership that ensures that the benefits of ecotourism are shared with its neighboring rural stakeholders—this forms part of Vumbura’s Purpose, which is ultimately tied in to Wilderness Safaris’ vision: “To conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action.”

Review: Diana Herrick

Egypt to Fine its Own Traders £400 for Harassing Tourists

Tourists could be saved from over-zealous touts at Egypt’s most popular archaeological sites after the country’s government approved a new fine of to 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£406) for those caught overstepping the line.

The new rule, part of the broader Antiquities Protection Law, will target those in and around tourist sites or museums such as the pyramids of Giza, selling goods or offering services in an aggressive manner.

“There is no deterrent so far for those who carry out such acts that badly affects tourism,” said minister of archeology Khaled al-Anani.

Oscar Saleh, who offers camel rides at Giza, told the Guardian the fines were addressing a problem that wasn’t there. “Go visit the Egyptian Museum, go visit the pyramids – no one will bother you,” he said.

However, the government thinks differently, with some MPs proposing heftier fines of up to 20,000 Egyptian pounds.

The British Foreign Office warns visitors to “high-profile sites” that they may be “confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi. Visitors using a pre-booked guide, or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties”.

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 In 2008, the Giza pyramids were given a £14 million makeover that included a new security fence to prevent hawkers from selling camel rides and trinkets.

Before then, traders were given free rein of the area outside the Wonder of the World, prompting Egypt’s then-chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass to describe the area as a “zoo”.

Many see such tourist bothering as part and parcel of visiting key visitor sites in the north African country, but the government is keen to clamp down on such negative experiences as it struggles to sustain the country’s fragile tourism industry.

With Sharm el-Sheikh still practically off-limits to British tourists following the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in 2015, the country’s tourist board has been promoting Hurghada and Marsa Alam.

Egypt has experienced a small revival with the number of global visitors rising from 5.4 million in 2016 to 7.5 million last year.

This week Thomas Cook, too, said its customers were returning to the country, despite Sharm el-Sheikh remaining out of bounds. Bookings to Egypt are up 89 per cent year on year, the tour operator said.

This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network and sponsored by Egypt Tourism.

Natural World Safaris Debuts NWS RAW Itineraries

Bespoke travel outfitter Natural World Safaris has launched NWS RAW, a safari concept that reveals a different side to often-visited destinations. This is the newest addition to the NWS Select services, providing travel experiences that explore the last wild frontiers.

Responding to the desire from seasoned travelers to move beyond bucket-list destinations and delve deeper into a location, NWS RAW navigates unsung wildernesses and lesser-known areas. Clients will take a step off the beaten track to discover a country’s raw side with the support of an expert team and structured itinerary to safely explore the new regions.

Some of the NWS RAW itineraries include:

Bears, Wolves and Snow Leopards of the Himalayas

This itinerary takes guests deep into the Indian Himalayas in search of wolves, brown bears and the snow leopard. The high-altitude locations visited on this itinerary are cold, harsh, mountainous, and rarely traveled. Along the way, experience seldom-visited Ladakh region. The 11-day itinerary starts at £5,545 (about $7,621), excluding international flights.

Journey into the Maliau Basin, Borneo

Venture into the heart of one of Borneo’s most untouched wildernesses, the Maliau Basin. Ringed by a huge escarpment, this conservation area measures approximately 230 square miles and contains rivers, waterfalls, vast tracts of forest and a large amount of biodiversity. Strap on hiking boots and discover this rarely-seen wilderness on an active trekking safari. A five-day safari costs from £995 (about $1,367) per person, excluding international flights.

Uganda Kidepo by Air

Kidepo National Park gives African enthusiasts the chance to experience a lesser known part of Uganda for intimate, remote wildlife encounters with an array of game and bird life. This short-fly in safari allows guests to explore via game drives and nature walks to take in the park’s landscapes and capture wildlife photography. A five-day safari costs from £2,310 (about $3,175) per person, excluding international flights.

Review:Robert Nilson

Seabourn Takes Delivery of Newest Ship, Seabourn Ovation

Seabourn took delivery of its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, during an official handover ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. Seabourn Ovation is the fifth ship in the line’s fleet. It finished its final round of ocean trials on March 14.

Seabourn Ovation will expand upon the cruise line’s Odyssey-class ships. A sister ship to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation has 300 all-oceanfront suites with the line’s high ratio of space per guest and contemporary interiors by design icon Adam D. Tihany.

The all-suite, all-veranda ship will offer a comfortable living area with sofa seating and a desk/dining table, elegant bedding, a walk-in closet, in-suite entertainment options, and a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower and luxury bath products. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to guest preferences, coordinated before arrival.

Seabourn Ovation will also have a number partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals, with programming that includes An Evening with Tim Rice, Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, and The Grill by Thomas Keller. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes such as table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes. There are four additional full-service restaurants, as well as numerous other dining options available onboard.

Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season with an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship’s naming ceremony will take place on Friday, May 11, in the baroque harbor of Valletta, Malta. Elaine Paige will serve as godmother and will name the ship during the ceremony.

The ship will spend the majority of its maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

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