Category Archives: Africa

Sleek & Chic Afloat | Zambezi Queen Luxury River Cruise, Africa

By Dian Hasan | July 15, 2010

Fresh on the heels of FIFA World Cup 2010, everything African seem to be in vogue. The continent which offers so much natural beauty is finally getting the exposure it deserves, with travel getting the immediate boost. The continent that invented the safari, is now spearheading hospitality design and responsible tourism into a bold new direction: eco-friendly designers digs, whether in tents, more permanent accommodations, and now… even on water. Design is the new catchphrase!

Africa’s first luxury river safari has been launched: The 135-foot-long Zambezi Queen is the first eco-friendly, floating boutique hotel in Southern Africa. Its inaugural journey a few weeks ago in Botswana marks a major departure in high-end river experiences and a landmark event in African tourism.

The state-of-the-art ship takes guests along Botswana’s great Chobe River, which boasts one of the densest populations of wildlife on the African continent. The chic, contemporary design of the Zambezi Queen set against the backdrop of the African wilderness creates a unique experience. All fourteen suites are tastefully furnished with either a double or two single beds. Private balconies in all rooms offer unparalleled views of the African wildlife along the river.

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Filed under Africa, Botswana, South Africa

Chic & Sleek | The Majlis, Lamu Island, Kenya

By Dian Hasan | May 29, 2010

The Majlis Lamu is a small, luxury beach resort located on the exclusive Manda Island facing the world-renowned Lamu archipelago on Kenya’s North Coast (East Africa). The Majlis combines 25 superbly-appointed suites in 4 villas, in understated elegance reflecting Lamu’s rich local tradition and style. All villas boast large bedrooms with a king-size bed draped in netting, generous en-suite bathrooms, private veranda, air-conditioning, electric fans, safe, and internet key connection (available upon request). Each villa opens onto the white sand beach and boasts a private veranda with panoramic sea views.

Accessible only by boat, a 10-minute ride from Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Majlis feels more like a private villa in Bali, what with the swaying palm trees, the smell of fresh ocean air and the tropical breeze. A wonderful ambience matched by an equally captivating people with their age-old and deeply-rooted culture of hospitality.

Rooms are spacious with traditionally high, beamed ceilings, large windows and terraces with spectacular views of the beach, garden, swimming pools and Indian Ocean. Each villa was constructed making use of the archipelago’s natural resources, combining white coral blocks with hand-carved timber. Particular attention was paid to integrating the villas among the indigenous trees and plants, to enhance the preserve the beauty of the local surroundings.

The Majlis offers everything needed for a perfectly relaxing and peaceful holiday, from the open-sided restaurant serving outstanding international cuisine, to the bar, the beautiful pools and the Spa treatments.

Over a thousand years of East African, Omani, Yemeni, Indian, Portuguese and Victorian British influences have all left their mark on Lamu Island, in the architecture, the language and the very essence of the place. In bustling Lamu, winding alleys lead past the intricate carved doorways of white stone houses –some of which are truly majestic and still home to the very wealthy. And, because the alleys are too narrow to be negotiated by cars, the modern world has had little visible impact on this historic town.

Life appears little changed since Lamu was a busy port town in the 14th century, donkeys remain the preferred local mode of transport, and the streets are lit by lanterns after nightfall. Spices and the smell of grilled food scent the air around the markets, mosques, museums, fort and ancient houses, and exploring Lamu on foot – or donkey – is a treat for all the sense. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Kenya

Mozambique Magnifique ~ discover undersea wonders

By Dian Hasan | September 20, 2009

marine mammal

Mozambique has broad variety of natural attraction,  including a string of sub-tropical islands, coral lagoons, spectacular beaches, and a coastline stretching 2,500. Among her star attractions is undoubtedly the Bazaruto Archipelago

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Filed under Adventure Travel, Africa, Mozambique, Unique Travel Destinations

Surfing with Dolphins ~ Jeffrey’s Bay, South Afrcia

Surfers dedicated their lives to achieving perfection in the water. ~ Richard Attenborough, BBC “Wilflife on One”

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Green & Chic ~ Adrere Amellal, Siwa Oasis, Egypt

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It used to be that adventure travel was the exclusive domain of a few intrepid individuals on a scientific mission to explore the far corners of the world, courtesy of organizations such as National Geographic, The Smithsonian, or Jacques Cousteau. And while this still holds true, opportunities for today’s avid traveler abound (just as daring a traveler, I might add!) in seeking adventures that are as simple as the journey of reaching a hotel. Such is the experience that awaits you at Adrere Amellal, a luxe eco-retreat in the Egyptian desert that defies categorization.

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Filed under Adventure Travel, Africa, Ecotourism, Egypt, Green Hotels & Resorts, Responsible Travel

Out of Africa… in style ~ The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, Laikipia, Kenya

By Dian Hasan | August 22, 2009

The Sanctuary of Ol Lentille_Kenya_photo_Paul Joynson-Hicks_3965_file_ol_lentille_lunch-1

Perched on the flanks of a rock kopje or rocky outcrop in the heart of a private conservation area, is The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille, a collection of 4 private, serviced and staffed houses, about 75 km north of Mount Kenya, in the Laikipia region which is an area known for its rich biodiversity and culture. This luxe safari lodge is available either individually or as exclusive use of the whole property. With each comes a personal Masai guide and safari vehicle.

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Filed under Adventure Travel, Africa, Green Hotels & Resorts, Kenya

Ellerman House, Capetown, South Africa ~ a familiar face with a new atittude

Ellerman House_Capetown_ZA_cape-town-9-W05-fbAs more of the world discovers the natural beauty of Cape Town, putting her in a league of other gorgeous cities with similar assets like Sydney, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Vancouver, her hotel scene is also put to a test. Luckily Cape Town has never experienced a shortage of luxury hotels. But rare is the degree of historical character on display at Ellerman House. It’s almost a century old now, and looks every bit as old as it is — which, in a business that’s increasingly obsessed with youthful looks and modern design, is a sure-fire way to distance yourself from the crowd.

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Filed under Africa, South Africa