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Safari Hotels / Africa Hotels / Wilderness Safari / Zimbabwe Hotels / Hwange National Park / Linkwasha / → All Tags
Wilderness Safaris runs about 50 camps and lodges across Africa in Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Each camp differs not only in its appearance and location but in its target market. Some, like Ruckomechi, are rustic and aimed at adventure travelers, while others, like the brand-new Linkwasha, are built to entice luxury travelers into the bush. Last month, we were one of the first groups of guests to stay at the latter as it kicked off its first season of operation.
Linkwasha translates to mean an “elephant game route,” and the name makes sense for a place built in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, as it has what you might call a bit of an elephant infestation issue. In 2003, there were 19,000 living in Hwange. Today, there are 45,000. While the population growth is not such great news for environmentalists (elephants are extremely destructive), it is a welcome boom for tourists. Linkwasha’s property is built adjacent to a watering hole with a deck, plunge pool, and fire ring. In this sense, the camp is built directly into the bush and encourages guests to interact with it.
Before even laying eyes on our African safari camp in Kenya's Masai Mara region, we had quite a few beliefs and expectations for the property. We had heard so many terms to describe them - "glamping" comes to mind - and given the price tag that sits between $500-$1000 a night, we figured we would be completely out of touch with the wilderness, whisked away from reality and into another world as it tends to go at high-end luxury hotels in cities.
But that turned out to be far from the truth, and a few things surprised us about our stay at Mara Plains Camp.
There is a process that goes along with writing about a hotel, and the photos we present on the site are a big part of it. We always strive to use original photos that we personally took, but because the most important thing is to show the hotel as accurately as possible, this travel writer also peruses the website of the property as well as the rest of the Internet to see if there is something that would better accomplish that goal.
So with a story in mind about the Giraffe Manor Hotel in Kenya, I made my way onto social media to look for some good photos.
Yet the problem most of the time with stock photos of hotels is that they don't represent reality, typically involving dramatized situations, like a woman whipping her hips across the edge of an infinity pool, a rose-petaled bedspread, or a picture of a random plant. They try to tell a story, but you can just feel the phoniness. The same goes for a hotel's social media pages since most hotels just repost whatever is on the website.
When I began to browse the Giraffe Manor's Facebook page, the interaction between the guests and the giraffes seemed so overdone. Until I looked up towards the right hand corner and realized the photos had all been posted on the hotel's wall by guests. When I figured out that they are real and taken by a regular person and not a photographer hired by the hotel, I had trouble holding back a smile. I am not a big supporter of zoos or animal captivity, but it helps that the manor was originally set up as a breeding center for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe.
Safari Hotels / Kenya Hotels / Africa Hotels / Laikipia Hotels / Sanctuary at Ol Lentille / → All Tags
The first thing you'll notice upon arrival at the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is the panoramic view of the Northern Kenya landscape. Filled with rolling hills and acacia trees, the camps of the Laikipia region offer travelers the chance to look down on a safari region, an incredible perspective that differs greatly from the scenery found on the flat savannas of the Masai Mara (see our bro Jaunted's breakdown of the two regions).
Because Laikipia is dry and hilly, it is unsuitable for many animals, such as lions. But what it lacks in wildlife it makes up for with sweeping views and cultural experiences not as easily accessed in other safari regions. Specifically, we're talking about the direct connection between the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille and the Maasai Tribe that inhabits the area.
Earlier this week, we gave you a look inside the Medina Palms on the coast of Kenya, showing photos of its beautiful property and relaxing rooms.
The sight of the ocean through the arch beyond the pool is impressive and could be considered a killer view, but the best view as far as the ladies are concerned is found inside the small fitness center at the north end of the property, where a former "Mr. Kenya" bodybuilding champion, Salim Kazungu, helps guests stay in shape.
The mention of "Kenya" understandably raises thoughts of a safari vacation for travelers from the States, but the country's coast is also a popular destination amongst locals and European travelers, from Lamu in the north down to Kilifi in the south. Our recent adventures took us to a town just north of the latter, Watamu, where we made our home at property called Medina Palms, designed after the atmosphere of an ancient walled village.
The property's primary focus is a residential one with privately-owned villas and suites, but when the owners are not there, the units are rented out to visitors. The decor is very clean and modern, the rooms featuring highlights of color against a mainly white backdrop. Room types include garden-view suites, penthouses with inner courtyards, and beach villas. All accommodations have separate kitchens, lounge areas, a veranda, and wifi.
This week, HotelChatter's Will McGough is touring around Kenya to check out the latest happenings at some of the safari camps throughout the country. The tour started and will finish in Nairobi, but there will be visits to the Laikipia, Masai Mara, and Watamu (Mombasa) regions along the way.
Next week, we'll feature a few properties and give you the scoop on what to expect in terms of lodging within the different regions. We'll also pass on anything unique about specific properties, from service to decor, and of course have plenty of photos. But for now, feast your eyes on this incredible view from the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille.
Hotel Openings / Kempinski Hotels / Hotel News / Lists / Africa Hotels / China Hotels / Lebanon Hotels / Egypt Hotels / → All Tags
Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski Riyadh
Yet another list of hotel openings to get excited about. Today, we have a short list of Kempinski Hotels opening this year. Actually, it's kind of a long list when you look at it. Kempinski is Europe's oldest independent luxury hotel group which now operates 75 hotels in 32 countries. They'll be adding 11 new hotels across Africa, China and The Middle East (along with one serviced residences property in Switzerland) by the end of 2014. Starting with...
Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo Kinshasa (Republic of Congo)
Opening Date: Opened on March 01, 2014
Highlights: 237 rooms and suites, views of the Congo River, three restaurants, three bars, outdoor tennis courts, swimming pool and billiard and snooker rooms.
Burj Rafal Kempinski Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
Opening Date: Opened on March 02, 2014
Highlights: First hotel in Saudi Arabia for Kempsinski, closest luxury hotel to King Khalid International Airport, 349 rooms nd suites, a cigar lounge, three cafes, two restaurants, and a Resense spa with separate wellness centers for ladies and gentlemen.
Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski, Kigali (Rwanda)
Opening Date: Q2 2014
Highlights: Made famous in the movie, "Hotel Rwanda", the Hôtel des Mille Collines will be managed by Kempinski; 112 rome and suites, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness center Located in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and made famous in the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, Hôtel des Mille Collines managed by Kempinski features 112 rooms and suites, meeting and conference facilities, including a conference room for 120 people, an outdoor swimming pool, six boutiques and a fitness centre.
Hotel News / Aman Resorts / Amanresorts / Luxury Hotels / Caribbean Hotels / Dominican Republic Hotels / Africa Hotels / → All Tags
Amanyara, Turks & Caicos
We might have only gotten two out of four hoped-for openings from Aman Resorts last year (that would be Aman Canal Grande in Venice and Amano’i in Vietnam), but despite the wait for Lijiang (China) and Jordan, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for anywhere else Aman might be popping up in the (near) future.
One likely destination is the Dominican Republic, which would make it the second Aman in the Caribbean, next to Amanyara in the Turks & Caicos. Rather than the popular eastern region of Punta Cana, the hotel will be part of the Playa Grande development on the northern coast, east of Puerto Plata and kitesurfer’s paradise Cabarete.
We've lusted after the exotic and luxurious safari hotels found in Africa for quite some time now. But if you're seriously considering a trip to Africa, you might be overwhelmed by the different places to go and things to do.
Here comes followme2AFRICA to the rescue. followme2AFRICA is staffed with travel experts who are dedicated to helping you decide on the best itinerary for your trip. Want to go on safari? They can tell you which one is best and book it for you. Same goes for luxury train travel in South Africa, road trips through the winelands and hotel accommodations.
You can peruse all the destinations in Africa that followme2AFRICA serves here. In the meantime, the folks at followme2AFRICA have given us a Top Ten Travel Tips for Africa with a majority of the advice focusing on travel to South Africa. Hopefully, this should help in your planning. And remember, wherever you end up, let us know about it!
The beachy-cool Cape Verde region will see a Viceroy in 2017
At the time, when we asked VHG CEO Bill Walshe to confirm the tip, he was a bit coy, and wouldn't give a solid yes or no.
Well, that changed yesterday when we received official news that the Viceroy Cape Verde will open in 2017 on Santiago Island, in an area minutes from capital city, Praia. The plan is for a 150-room beachfront resort spread out over 12 square-kilometers, with three restaurants, a children’s club and a state-of-the-art water sports center.
The sports center is quite important as the island offers awesome scuba diving, big-game fishing, paragliding, and other water-focused activities. The interior mountain area is a birdwatchers paradise, thanks to the verdant forestry.
While 2017 seems to be lifetime away, it's uncanny how quickly construction can progress, so we're looking forward to seeing first renderings in the not-to-distant future.
The opening of the behemoth 77-room Four Seasons Serengeti dominated the African safari headlines yesterday, with much of the talk surrounding its three restaurants, wine bar, spa, fitness center, and outdoor infinity pool overlooking the wilderness.
The price? Expedia shows rooms for two starting at about $1,200 a night. When you add in the cost of the food and a few select African wines, you're probably looking at around $1,500 a night.
Albeit more quietly, the smaller six-tent Singita Mara River Tent Camp also recently opened for business in the Lamai Triangle, a six-tent East African safari camp run entirely on solar power. The cost of a night there? $1,200 per person. The rate is all-inclusive, but that still leaves a couple paying $2,400 a night. Now that's a lot of cash.