TRAVEL IDEAS: MAY
For African beaches and amazing blue waters, Mozambique is a good choice in May. In Western Australia it's the middle of whale shark season (which runs from March to September) so it’s a great time to visit Ningaloo Reef and from March 2018 onwards there will be a new direct Qantas flight that will link London to Perth in 17 hours, a great excuse to explore Australia’s most remote city. Temperatures in Morocco will still be comfortable before the searing heat of the summer months set in,and Namibia will be dry, not too hot and ideal for a self-drive, flying safari or walking safari (Ultimate Safaris have just introduced HUAB TRAILS, a multi-day naturalist guided walking adventure as an optional element of a three night stay at Huab Under Canvas). It's also the start of the walking season in Ladakh, India.
An impressive 42% of Namibia has protected wilderness and the country boasts some vast, spectacularly beautiful landscapes of which Kaokoland may be the most incredible of them all. It’s a land characterised by rolling dunes, rocky mountains and desert plains all crisscrossed by ancient, dry riverbeds - the roads of the area and temporary Himba settlements dot the landscape. In a new joint venture between Natural Selection, the local communities and Dr Julian Fennessy, Africa's foremost giraffe expert, Hoanib Valley Camp will open in May 2018. Located in the Sesfontein Community Conservancy, the camp sits on the banks of the Obias River, just outside the private 500 square kilometres Palmwag Concession and overlooks the ephemeral Hoanib River that teems with resident elephant. From camp, guests can track elusive desert-adapted lion, elephant and black rhino, enjoy cultural experiences and discover more about Fennessy‘s work at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Hoanib Valley’s six guest tents will be raised on large decks, all with views out to the Hoanib River valley beyond (artist rendering below). Natural Selection have sourced locally wherever possible, working with local craftsmen from the Rundu carpenters, Himba carvers and basket weavers via the Omba project in Windhoek. We are also super excited about Ultimate Safaris newest venture, SOSSUS UNDER CANVAS, an 8 tent exclusive use camp set to open in April in the Greater Sossusvlei-Namib Landscape. Located on the private 24,000 hectare Neuhof Nature Reserve, only 30 minutes’ drive from Sossusvlei, it is home to some of largest concentrations of wildlife in the area, including Oryx, Springbok, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Burchell’s Zebra, Kudu, Hartebeest, Giraffe, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, and Aardwolf, as well as predators such as Leopard, Cheetah and Spotted Hyena. Activities will include visits to Sossusvlei and general exploration of the private Neuhof Nature Reserve on walks and nature drives, magic moments in desert pools, star gazing, the stellar escape sleep out, as well as a trails camp offering a multi-day walking safari.
2018 must surely be the year for Zimbabwe to finally wrest back the spotlight for its more positive attributes, such as the incredible game-rich Hwange National Park, where Verney's Camp is a new property due to open in May 2018. Operated by Machaba Safaris, Verney's Camp will act as a sister property to Machaba Camp, Little Machaba and Gomoti Plains Camp in Botswana, which we have always been impressed by (Verney's Camp will be constructed in a matching style to these camps, with 10 large tents elevated on wooden decks). The camp will be located in the central eastern end of the park, based on a private concession within the boundaries of the national park. The activities on offer will be game drives and walking safaris with armed guides, and the 10,000 hectare private concession that surrounds the camp will also allow for night drives and stargazing in the evenings. Our sources also tell us that Great Plains Conservation will be introducing their Zimbabwe walking trails in May - a 6 night walking trail from Mana Pools to Sapi Reserve, a 120,000ha private concession adjoining Mana Pools which Great Plains Conservation has taken over from hunting. Here they will be developing two new camps similar in style to Duba Expedition / Selinda Explorers - one camp will be on the Lower Zambezi River and the other will be inland. The future is bright in Zimbabwe!
Ladakh is often referred to as ‘Little Tibet’ nestled in the far north of India scaling over 3,500 meters with picture perfect snow capped mountains and deep turquoise lakes. Come May, the cold winter draws to an end, bringing in clear skies and bright sunshine. A village walk with Shakti Ladakh takes you on a journey into the heart of rural life in remote mountain regions, along with local porters and your guide, staying in traditional (yet comfortable and stylish) village houses along the way. Itineraries start from Leh (a short flight from Delhi) and once acclimatised it’s off into village life taking in mesmerising mountain scenery, charming monasteries and winding rivers leading into glacial streams.