Summer 2016 has played host to a number of great sporting events including Euro 2016, Wimbledon, the Tour de France and soon, the Olympic Games. To get us warmed up ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, in this month’s newsletter we have imagined our own Sally and Alice Travel Co. version of the Olympics, awarding gold medals to specific countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean who have, in our eyes, achieved excellence this year…
Olympic Equestrian: NAMIBIA
Namibia is probably not the African country people most associate with riding safaris, especially given the popularity of rides in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and across Kenya…but this year we have singled outNamibia Horse Safari Company‘s ‘Namib Desert Ride’ for our African Olympics gold medal on account of its uniqueness…
Namibia Horse Safari Company have been the first to pioneer a route across the Southern Namib desert and dunes – and much of the 360 km ride towards the Skeleton Coast is still relatively unchartered territory. One cannot fail to be deeply affected by spending time in the desert – to have that much space and nothingness around you is a privilege we are rarely afforded in today’s fast-paced world. The fact you can combine this introspection with adventure, game-viewing and the comforts of a top end safari operation make this ride all the more special. The company run ten rides per year, one of which is an exploratory ride to pioneer new routes. The rides can be challenging and most of the camps are wild and remote, however riders on these safaris are not spared their creature comforts - with delicious food served and five hundred thread Egyptian cotton duvet covers provided for sleeping under the stars. Most importantly the horses themselves are a joy, each one kind natured, incredibly fit and sure-footed. The thrill seeking, soul searching, intrepid explorer and just pure horse lover will all get their fix from this safari!
Olympic Diving: MOZAMBIQUE
The stunning house reef at Quilalea offers quick and easy access straight from the main beach which is perfect for a refresher or first time dive and a unique location for a night dive for qualified divers. In addition to the house reef, there are another 17 dive sites that guests can visit inside and outside of the Quilalea Marine Sanctuary, including some fantastic drop offs and coral gardens. PADI Scuba courses at Azura Quilalea range from those designed for children (from the age of 10 upwards) and beginners throughout to full certification up to Divemaster level of training; Bubblemaker, Discover Suba, Discover Scuba Diving, Scuba Diver, Openwater Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver are all on offer.
Olympic biking: KENYA
The Great Plains Foundation inaugural Ride For Lions will allow you to release your inner-Froome and take part in a six day philanthropic experience in south-east Kenya next May 2017, mountain-biking under the gaze of Africa’s lofty Mount Kilimanjaro. A ride of this nature has never been done before – until now. This exploration will take you through the beautiful Amboseli-Tsavo area of South-Eastern Kenya: home to the Maasai and a magnificence of wildlife. It is this magnificence that you will witness, experience and help to conserve.
Recent trends and events have brought about a new dawn in lion conservation, galvanising a global awareness and powerful response behind the need to save lions – there has been a staggering drop in Africa’s lion population over the last 50 years, from 450,000 to just 20,000 remaining in Africa today. The revenue generated for the Great Plains Foundation by Ride for Lions, will be equally apportioned between related community and lion conservation needs – 50% will go towards expanding predator-protected areas within Amboseli, Chyulu Hills and Tsavo whilst the remaining 50% will go into livestock compensation for the local Masaai herdsmen.
Only 2 groups of ten riders will tour together over 5 different departures between May 11th and May 15th, 2017 and the participation cost is USD 17,500 per rider (each entry must comprise of a team of two sharing). For bookings confirmed and paid prior to 31 August 2016 an early booking rate of USD 15,000 per rider is applicable, inclusive of all costs from the chartered flight to the start of the event and the return chartered flight to Nairobi. Rest assured this trip isn’t all about hard slog – it also includes a stay at one of our favourite lodges, Ol Donyo, whose suites are open plan with views our across the plains with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance…you’ll definitely want to ‘rest up’ here for a few days pre and post the ride!
OLYMPIC SWIMMING: THE SEYCHELLES
The Seychelles are granitic and coral islands, around 1,100 miles from the Tanzanian coast. They are much wilder and perhaps less glossily perfect than the Maldives, but are also the most alluring, home to some of the world’s best beaches bordered by surreal rock formations, lush forests and cerulean seas which you can’t resist plunging in to…
Every island in the Seychelles is ringed with beaches – some of our favourites include Anse Lazio on Praslin (pictured above), Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue, and the lesser known Anse Georgette which is accessed through Constance Lémuria Resort (pictured below).
Some of our favourite swimming pools can be found in the Seychelles too – honourable mentions go toRaffles Praslin, Four Seasons Mahe and MAIA Luxury Resort and Spa, but the winner has to go to this beautiful infinity pool at Banyan Tree set amongst giant granite boulders and overlooking the white sands of Intendance Bay.
The overall gold medal has to go to North Island, which is undoubtedly the Seychelles’ most luxurious island hideaway. Lush with endemic vegetation and wildlife, this private island is a veritable Noah’s Ark, and despite a constant stream of royal and celebrity guests and a long list of accolades, the island remains first and foremost a place of sanctuary and outstanding natural beauty – in particular its dazzling array of impossibly perfect paradise beaches and turquoise water.
OLYMPIC CANOEING: ZAMBIA
One of the finest ways to savour Africa’s stunning scenery and magnificent wildlife is on a canoeing safari in on the Lower Zambezi River in Zambia. Indeed it was just a few kilometres upstream of Victoria Falls that explorer David Livingstone remarked on the beauty of the area - “The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of colour and form…no one can imagine the beauty of the view from any thing witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
The first river lodge on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls, Tongabezi is a unique hideaway renowned for its secluded and peaceful setting in a tranquil grove of African ebony trees on a sweeping bend of the Zambezi River, just 12 miles upstream from Victoria Falls.
Tongabezi offers a range of canoe and boat safaris on the river, and even when it comes to dining there’s a choice of water-based venues, from a quirky picnic on an authentic dhow to your very own ‘Sampan’ floating on the Zambezi River, illuminated by the Milky Way and paraffin lamps – with every course delivered by canoe!
A canoe safari in Zambia is even more remarkable and exhilarating as you are flanked by the beauty of the Lower Zambezi National Park, where the prospects for sighting game are endless – wallowing hippos, elephant, impalas, zebra, and crocodiles basking on the river banks. Being on the water allows for an intimate and personal encounter with nature, and with just the swish of your paddle and the sounds of birds, it’s impossible to not feel a deep sense of peace.
Chongwe River Camp’s location on the confluence of the Zambezi and Chongwe rivers immediately gives it gold medal status. Guests can canoe the channel as hippos bob underwater, drift downstream on aluminium boats spinning for tiger fish (waves clanking on the bottom as crocodiles slide off the riverbank nearby!) and drink in in the scent of wild jasmine.
If you tire of watching the Games on TV and want to get out and get active on your own sporting holiday, get in touch with us at: