With your children getting older, is it time to start thinking of a more adventurous family holiday? Or after a long career is a sabbatical on the cards? Or maybe you would like to take advantage of the longer school summer holidays to do an extended family trip?
These were all considerations for one of my long standing clients who asked me to organise a four week trip last summer for him, his wife and three teenage sons. But what were the main ingredients? The family wanted guaranteed warm weather, a chance to relax on a beach or two, a mix of activities to keep mum, dad and kids entertained, amazing hotels and limited rain, which isn’t easy to find if you’re looking for an adventure in an exotic location in our summer months.
After our amazing time getting up close and personal with wild animals in Kenya (read about that trip here), Julian and I flew to Zanzibar for a few days of culture before our beached out bliss.
Ever since I was young, the name Zanzibar has always sounded so exotic and conjured up images of streets filled with spice traders and intrepid adventurers arriving on dhows with billowing sails. In reality, the traders and adventurers were actually on the hunt for gold and power and Zanzibar was, at one time, East Africa’s main slave-trading port.
Today there are no slaves but the waves of Swahili, Portuguese, Omani, and Chinese traders who passed through the island over the centuries have left their cultural mark. This is most evident in Zanzibar’s capital, Stone Town, where elaborately carved doors, forts and ornate traders’ houses reflect layer upon layer of its past heritage, all weather beaten by the sea breeze. Read more
I don’t know about you, but I’m of the view that life is way too short not to celebrate every occasion. So, when Julian and I were approaching our 10th Wedding Anniversary, we decided we wanted to celebrate with a special trip; one that followed a similar pattern to our honeymoon – Cape Town, Kruger safari and Mozambique beach – but also ticked off a few things on our Travel Bucket List.
The question was: where to go? To be honest, I knew the beach section had to involve a stay on an island I’d wanted to visit for such a long time, Mnemba, which sits on the north-east coast of Zanzibar.
As for the safari, Julian and I had always wanted to experience a river crossing during the Great Migration. So, looking at the route of the Migration in September, our best chance of seeing this phenomenon was around the Mara Triangle in Kenya. So that was the safari sorted.
Finally, as we had to pass through Nairobi, I had the chance to tick a third item off my Bucket List, a stay at the legendary Giraffe Manor.
Here are the highlights of the first part of our trip, with Zanzibar and the beach section to follow next month.
The answer to this question is never easy, especially when the one flight is from Manchester. But here’s a secret. Tucked away on a secluded beach cut off from the world by the craggy Hajar Mountains you’ll find a very special place, Zighy Bay. On Oman’s wild and wonderful Musandam Peninsula, you feel a million miles away from its ritzy, glitzy neighbour, Dubai, and yet it’s only a two hour drive. Arrive early in the morning on the A380 from Manchester, snooze in your 4 x 4 and then have lunch in paradise.
Even the arrival is spectacular. A bit of dusty off road action. Then a climb up, up, up on a winding road until the last bend when the view opens up and you finally see the resort way down below. From there you can decide to continue your journey by road or, if you’re feeling brave, you can opt to tandem paraglide down landing on the beach – surely there aren’t that many resorts where you can make such an entry?
Despite only being the second week in September, from the telephone calls I’ve had recently with clients, for some of you the summer holidays are starting to feel like a distant memory.
I’m already working with a number of clients on lots of great trips for 2017. Some far afield, others closer to home, but all with that little “la Concordia touch” which means that they are going to be perfectly executed, stress free and seamless from start to finish.
One place that Julian and I visited recently which I’m raving about to clients is the island of Ile de Re, a gorgeous place on France’s Atlantic coast. I’d wanted to visit for such a long time and this year I finally got my wish, and I have to say, it certainly didn’t disappoint. It ticked all the boxes: short flight (1½ hours from Manchester to La Rochelle); no jet lag; great food and wine; no driving; and lots of time spent outdoors.
In fact I’d go as far as to say Il de Re is an ideal holiday destination whether you’re a family looking to keep everyone entertained or a couple wanting a short break. Read more