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4 Unique African Safari Holidays in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania

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From tented camps to luxury lodges, whether to self-drive or take a tour? Should you incorporate a safari with a holiday to South Africa or add on a week at the beach? There are so many different options to choose from when booking a African Safari holiday, check out my favourites.

 

When I went on my first African safari it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I know this may sound like a cliché but it was really more of a life experience than a holiday. We loved it so much that we booked a safari in Tanzania for the following year. Nothing compares to seeing wild animals in the African savanna, where you are the guest in their home. There are so many different safari experiences available and each one has a unique landscape, some with rivers, mountains and thick vegetation, while others will have wide open plains. The experience you have with each one is completely different and that is why many choose to try two or three different safari options within one holiday. Remember it is going to be a trip of a lifetime so make sure you do it right. Go in a 4×4 and not a small mini-bus, ensure you have a window seat for optimum viewing and at some stage opt for a tented camp or eco lodge to give the most authentic experience.

african safari holiday

I have teamed up with Tropical Sky, who offer a wide selection of African Safari holidays. All prices include flights, accommodation and transfers or car hire. Safaris include two game drives per day and all meals.  Here are some of my favourite African Safaris, hopefully there will be one here to suit you 🙂

 

Luxury Cape Town, Winelands & Five Star Safari, Self Drive, 10 Nights €4799

A South African safari is one of the most popular for Irish holidaymakers. It was where I was introduced to it and is ideal for first timers. Of course it is not just the safari that attracts people to South Africa. During this luxury self drive holiday you will encounter many highlights, including a four night stay in Cape Town. Climb to the top of Table Mountain, drive out to the Cape of Good Hope or spend a day in Robben Island. Evening times can be spent along the cosmopolitan waterfront or at some of the trendy bars and restaurants in Camps Bay.

african safari holiday

After an action packed four days you will go to Stellenbosch for a three night stay in the Winelands, before finishing off your holiday at the five star Shamwari Game Reserve. This has been voted the World’s Leading Safari and Game Reserve and Conservation Company for many years. Enjoy two game drives per day searching for the Big Five, (lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and buffalo) and stay in luxurious accommodation in an authentic African setting, with all meals included. As this is situated on the Eastern Cape, it is malaria free, so there is no need to take malaria tablets before you travel. The icing on the cake is that there are are no lengthy bus journeys back to the airport, as you will fly home from Port Elizabeth.

african safari holiday

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Cape Town, Garden Route & Luxury Kruger Safari, Self-Drive, 11 Nights, €2879

Another South African classic, this time incorporating the Garden Route and Kruger National Park. Start your holiday with a three night stay in Cape Town before overnighting in the wine town of Montagu. Stays in Oudtshoorn, Kynsna and St Francis will ensure an action packed few days, seeing the highlights of the Garden Route. Drive as far as Port Elizabeth where you will return your car and fly to Hoedspruit. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Thornybush Private Game Reserve. Another one of South Africa’s finest, you will be staying in a luxury tent for three nights and will experience a truly authentic African safari. You will have the opportunity to spot the Big Five from your open top safari vehicle and enjoy tasty African meals which are included the price of your stay.

african safari holiday

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Magical Kenya Safari, 4 x 4 Safari, Full Board, 7 Nights €2299

The Magical seven night Kenya Safari departs every Thursday and is one for the purists. There is a maximum number of seven passengers on each safari and you will visit the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Samburu and Aberdare National Parks. You are guaranteed a window seat in the 4×4 vehicle and if travelling as a family, you are able to pay a supplement to book a private vehicle.

african safari holiday

After a quick overnight in Nairobi you will drive North to Samburu National Reserve where you will spend two nights. The Ewaso Ngiro River here attracts elephants, zebras, giraffes and lions in large numbers. You will then drive to Aberdare National park where you will stay in the Ark Tree Lodge. There is a waterhole beside the hotel where animals come at night time; you will no doubt be viewing wildlife into the small hours. Your next stop is Lake Nakuru National Park where you will overnight. Expect to see white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Your last two nights will be spent in the Masai Mara National Game Reserve, where you will overnight in Keekorok Lodge. This world famous reserve is not only home to incredible wildlife but you will also have the opportunity to see the Masai villages, a sight that is worth a trip to Kenya alone. You will then drive back to Nairobi where you can return home, or choose to extend your stay in Mombasa, Zanzibar or even Mauritius.

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Taste of Tanzania Safari & Zanzibar, 12 Nights, €3349

Safaris in Tanzania are so diverse. From the wide open plains of the Serengeti to the natural wonder of Ngorongoro Crater, it has been almost 20 years since I visited, but it is a holiday experience I will never forget. For anyone who has been following me, you will know that my safari in Tanzania was the best holiday experience I have ever had.  This once in a lifetime trip combines the Taste of Tanzania tour with a stay in the paradise island of Zanzibar. Your holiday will include over-night stays in Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Serengeti National Park, as well as a game drive through Lake Manyara, in search of the iconic tree-climbing lions that frequent there.

african safari holiday

You will have picnics in the bush and stay in unique accommodation. You can opt for luxury tented camps which offer a more immersive experience or luxury lodges with stunning views. After your five night safari tour you will be flown to Zanzibar for a seven night stay in the luxurious Dream of Zanzibar resort. Chill out on the beach, scuba dive in the Indian Ocean or explore the sights and sounds of StoneTown.

african safari holiday

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The above are just a small sample of the African safari holidays that Tropical Sky feature. They can add on stays in cities, at the beach or even combine safaris in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana. Call Tropical Sky on 01 6649999 or click here for more details.

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by TropicalSky but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

 

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A Safari in Tanzania

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I’m often asked what was my favourite holiday and the answer always surprises people – a safari in Tanzania.

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I have travelled to many far flung places but there was something magical about Tanzania that makes it stand out in my mind. It was a life experience as well as a holiday. There was no wifi, no email, in fact hardly any phone coverage, I really felt like I embraced nature at its best. I think the longing to go there came from a trip to South Africa the previous year, where I went on a safari in Kruger National Park – I was hooked! I am somewhat of an animal lover anyway and safaris for me are one of life’s amazing experiences. I decided to try a real authentic safari, and we set off for Tanzania.

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

Whilst a South African safari is great, there is a difference when you step out on to the Serengeti plains or the Ngorongoro Crater. The area is so vast and the density of animals is staggering. There are no fences and the animals travel from Kenya to Tanzania and back again. In fact on any given day you really have no idea what you will see or what to expect. I flew into Nairobi and stayed two nights at the luxury Tortillis camp in Amboseli National Park. Morning coffee is delivered to your tent so you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the elephants at Mount Kilimanjaro, before setting off on a game drive. The guides are so knowledgeable, you feel very much at ease. I never felt anxious, even when a lion decided to have a nap behind our back wheel! On one of our drives we witnessed a pride of lions killing a wildebeest beside our jeep. It was both distressing and exhilarating, to watch nature at its purest, with the hyenas and vultures waiting idly by for the left overs.

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

I then moved on to the Ngorongoro crater, one of the worlds most breathtaking natural wonders. It’s hard to describe the feeling as you stand on the rim of the crater looking at the various wildlife in their natural habitat. It really is a feast for the senses. The stunning views, the animal sounds, the aromas, are almost tangible. I was once told by a friend of mine to take a ‘mental’ picture when you are somewhere special, and that I did. I think that memory will stay with me forever. I was fortunate to stay at the Ngorongoro crater lodge, a stunning 5* hotel, probably one of the best in Tanzania, if not Africa. The hefty $1000 per person per night price tag gets you a personal butler who will have a hot bath and your drink of choice ready for you after your game drives! (Easily know I went pre – recession! ) It really is a once in a lifetime experience and definitely one that should  be on everyone’s bucket list!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

After trying a luxury tent and a luxury hotel I decided to ‘rough’ it a bit and stay in a small lodge in Tanzania’s most famous National Park, Serengeti. The vast open plains are an amazing sight, they seem endless, and were a complete contrast to Amboseli and Ngorongoro. Famed for the annual migration it actually offers so much more. It has one of the best game viewing in the world as there is so little vegetation. I have one regret – not taking the hot air balloon ride over the plains – I guess I’ll just have to go back!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

My trip might seem like a lot of travelling but believe me, it is worth it. If you want to experience Tanzania at its best, take the time to try different parks. Prebook a private guide to drive you where possible, and take the internal flights for the longer journeys. As you drive through the countryside you will witness every day life in Tanzania. Masai will stroll past with a weeks supply of groceries balanced on their heads while kids play football in their bare feet. Don’t be put off by the internal flights, they are like buses, with dirt tracks for runways. There is no check in times, or passport control, its hassle free. And when you are exhausted after all that travelling and the adrenaline rush, what better way to end your holiday, than chilling out in the exotic island of Zanzibar!

A safari in Tanzania by The Travel Expert

It really doesn’t get much better than that! This holiday won’t be cheap, in fact it’s probably one of the most expensive trips you will take, but believe me when I tell you, it will be an experience that will have memories that will last a lifetime.

Tempted? Click here for sample prices or email sarah@thetravelexpert.ie for personal quotations.

 

Sarah

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In The Media

Talking with Marian Finucane

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I was on the Marian Finucane show recently talking about holidays of a lifetime. The holiday I enjoyed most amidst all my travels was a safari in Tanzania.

 

I was chatting with the the travel journalist Karen Creed and the Irish Times reporter The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery is on air with Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One.Peter Murtagh.

If you missed it you can listen back by clicking the button or read my post on here.

I spoke about my time in Africa, visiting the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro crater and Amboseli National Park. If you get a chance to listen, I hope you enjoy it….

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

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Top Ten Romantic Destinations

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It wasn’t easy trying to come up with a list of the top ten romantic destinations – let’s face it Italy probably has ten on it’s own! I had to narrow it down to my personal favourites so I hope you like them…

 

The world is full of romantic places but sometimes it’s what happens in a particular place that makes it romantic. Let’s face it The Eiffel Tower doesn’t look particularly romantic, but proposing in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, is one of the world’s most romantic places to propose. Hopefully you can take some inspiration from these romantic destinations and plan you own romantic getaway.

 

 

 

 

Paris

It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and sip champagne from the bar at the top. As I mentioned previously, it is one of the most romantic places to propose! If that’s not your thing, take a stroll around Montmartre and enjoy the views from the Sacré Coeur, or relax and absorb the city from a boat trip on the Seine. Finish off your day with some classic French cuisine in one of it’s many brasseries – formidable!

Paris one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Whitsunday Islands

My trips around Australia led me to some pretty spectacular places, but the one place that stands out in my mind is Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. It is still probably the best beach I have ever seen, and one that I will find it hard to beat. The sand is amongst the purest in the world, it is so fine you can even use it to polish your jewellery!

Whitsunday Islands one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Tuscany

The Ponte Vecchio bridge n Florence is full of couples browsing it’s jewellery shops – just looking for the right one, and Florence’s Duomo is one of the most impressive I have ever seen.  The city is so easy to navigate, and even a casual stroll taking in the Italian style is enough to bring out the romance in you. If you have time, take a trip to the Tuscan countryside and visit Siena, San Gimignano or the Chianti wine region. In fact Im struggling to decide which is more romantic, Florence or the surrounding countryside…. For more info on Tuscany, read my blog.

Florence one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Venice

A trip on a gondola and a coffee on St Mark’s Square – it has to be done right? Ignore the expense (they both cost a small fortune) – the views from both are breathtaking. The small winding streets and bridges are a pleasure to explore. Where else will you find a city of such scale and beauty built on water?

Venice one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Maldives

White powder beaches, year round temperatures of 30 degrees, each resort is on its own island and you generally arrive at your hotel by seaplane – the Maldives is pure paradise! The laid back atmosphere means that even in deluxe hotels, the dress code is casual – so girls, no need to pack ten pairs of heels!

Read about my magical stay in the Maldives

Maldives one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Hawaii

This multicultural paradise is vastly different from the paradise islands of the Indian ocean or South Pacific. You will see college students on gap years, mingling with honeymoon couples in five star resorts. There are six main islands, each offering something different. The combination of rugged landscapes, waterfalls, volcanoes, superb beaches, and the relaxed vibe, ensures a holiday in Hawaii will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Hawaii one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Bora Bora

I debated between Bora Bora and Tahiti – both in French Polynesia and both absolutely world class romantic destinations. No matter which island you choose, you just have to have an overwater bungalow. I think it was the Four Seasons Hotel in Bora Bora that won it over for me –just take a look!  

Bora Bora one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Lapland

Lapland is not all about Santa you know! If you like the snow then there is nowhere better. It really is a winter wonderland and will definitely fill you with child like wonder. From late August to late April this is the best place to watch the Northern lights. Why not stay in a glass igloo and watch the Northern lights from the comfort of your cosy bed.

Read: How to see the Northern Lights through your own glass igloo.

Lapland one of my top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Santorini

Santorini has to be on everyone’s bucket list. That picture postcard that you see on almost every advertisement for Greece – how could you not want to go there? Every time I see it, I picture myself sipping a cocktail in a small Greek taverna, watching one of the most amazing sunsets. One of the world’s most romantic destinations – absolutely.  Top Tip: Try to avoid peak summer months, the crowds might ruin the romance…

Santorini, one of the top ten romantic destinations by The Travel Expert

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Tanzania

Despite travelling to over 50 countries in 30 years, our holiday in Tanzania is still my favourite travel experience. The deluxe tented safari camps and the most spectacular game viewing – we experienced nature at it’s very best. And then we finished off our trip of a lifetime by relaxing on the beach in Zanzibar – pure bliss! 

Read about my safari in Tanzania here

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I would love to hear your favourite romantic destinations – please comment in the box below.

 

 

 

Sarah

 

The Travel Expert

 

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