TRAVEL IDEAS: FEBRUARY

 

In February summer is still in full swing in Australia and New Zealand but the long school holidays are over, which means less crowds and more availability. The Maldives, the Caribbean and Sri Lanka continue to enjoy perfect beach weather (it's also a good time of year for leopard safari in Sri Lanka's Yala National Park staying at the new Wild Coast Tented Lodge, pictured below). In northern Tanzania it’s an ideal time of year for safari in the Serengeti (during the wildebeest calving season) followed by some beach chill out in Zanzibar. It's also one of the best times to visit God's Own Country for backwaters and beach in Kerala, southern India... 

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Luxury safari specialist Sanctuary Retreats will launch the exclusive new Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp in Tanzania in December 2017. This new escape will be based in three set locations across the Serengeti, offering guests a front row experience of the movement of a million-plus wildebeest and zebra as they follow the fresh grasses across the Serengeti plains during the annual migration season. The stars of this seasonal path are wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelles, and the many predators that this migratory journey attracts. The Serengeti is known for having the Big Five; cheetahs are a highlight, along with wild dog, giraffe, waterbuck and impala. In February the camp will be located in the Southern Serengeti.

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If you're dreaming of drifting down Kerala's tranquil backwaters in relative solitude, wait until February. The tail end of peak season sees low humidity, practically no rain and fewer tour groups to disturb your zen-like state of mind. Whether you prefer to hide away on an elegant houseboat or enjoy southern hospitality at a local homestay, it's impossible not to fall for this state's easygoing charm. Spend your evenings lingering over delicious South Indian thalis, exploring the meandering Dutch canals of Cochin and lazing on Varkala's deserted beaches. The newly opened, ultra trendy Wayanad Wild provides an oasis of calm in the heart of Northern Kerala, surrounded by dense green forest whilst in the far north of the country, the new and improved Oberoi New Delhi will be opening its doors from January 2018, set to be the most luxurious hotel in the city.  Another exciting grand reveal in 2018 will be The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa Andaman Islands. Set on the idyllic island of Havelock, the new hotel’s design is inspired by the traditional Jarawa huts, with a pitch-roof style, in honour of one of the Andaman tribes that has called the island home for thousands of years. With just 75 spacious villas to its name, spread over acres of land, this brand new opening is set to be one of the hottest properties of 2018. Remote? Yes. But not inaccessible...With regular domestic flights now departing from Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi and Mumbai, weaving the Andamans into an India itinerary is easier to do than ever before.

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  For something a little different, Iceland is a destination which continues to see a huge surge in popularity with more exciting luxury accommodation options opening as a result. The country’s most popular tourist attraction, The Blue Lagoon, recently opened ‘The Retreat at Blue Lagoon’ with 62 rooms offering exclusive access to the man-made geo-thermal pool. Iceland’s phenomenal landscapes tempt visitors out into the wild to experience an array of outdoor activities, from a puffin safari to heli-skiing from summit to ocean on the Troll Peninsula at luxury Nordic retreat Deplar Farm. Trollaskagi Camp, a new pop-up glamping camp, will open from March to May 2018 overlooking Eyjaörður. Boasting six luxury guests domes with double beds and wood stoves, guests will be able to watch the Northern Lights from their bed and relax after a day outdoors in a Scandanvian hottub or the fully-stocked library dome.

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Alice Callander