Our Africa travel blog

A Room With A View

We may have shamelessly stolen E.M. Forster's title but fear not, we're not embarking upon a literary critique of 20th Century English society (that's next week). We've instead been pondering the very best views from some simply spectacular hotel rooms across the planet… a guaranteed bestseller, you'll agree. And whether you're jetting off in search of a great holiday adventure or simply looking forward to some much deserved R&R, nothing says 'holiday' quite like luxuriating in the new surroundings of your hotel room and gazing out on the scenery you'll soon be exploring. Our team of experts has scoured the globe one panoramic vista at a time (tough gig) and compiled a list of our very favourite spots…

Use it or Lose it

It's that time of year again: the time when you realise that Christmas is just 78 short days away but you haven't actually managed to take all of your annual holiday allowance. Something must be done (hint: that's where we come in). Surveys keep coming out claiming that us Brits remain stubbornly resistant to taking our full holiday allowances. The double whammy is that we get fewer days than most of our Euro-chums and yet still take, on average, only 77% of our entitled leave. So we're giving you an ultimatum: use it or lose it. And if you do use it, we've very handily come up with some destination inspiration…

Discovering North Sudan Part II: Karima and Meroe

Northern Sudan is probably not at the top of everyone's wish list of places to visit but, looking back on a whirlwind week there, I can highly recommend that it should be. In this blog I describe part two of my tour around the golden country that's brimming with culture.

Discovering North Sudan Part I: Khartoum

Northern Sudan is probably not at the top of everyone's wish list of places to visit but, looking back on a whirlwind week there, I can highly recommend that it should be. In this blog I describe part one of my tour around the golden country that's brimming with culture.

Best Honeymoon Destinations in Africa

There is no doubt that Africa is a sought after destination for honeymooners. Whilst weddings are a once in a lifetime celebration, the honeymoon could be considered an investment and Africa provides the goods. Epic landscapes, experiential safaris, fascinating culture and some seriously slick camps, the continent is as three-dimensional as it is complex to navigate, especially when the stakes are high. Which country? Which camp? What route? The mind boggles.

Hot Off The Press

The thrill of the new. Nothing quite beats notching up a new destination or experience on the bedpost of life and, here at Original Travel, we're only too happy to help out by keeping you up to date with what's happening in the travel world. And we're in for an Autumn of new beginnings, with several hotels from some of our favourite groups opening around the globe. So if you want to not only keep up with the Joneses but surpass them entirely, here's where you should be heading to next…

Find Your Inner Olympian: Sit-Down Sports Around the World

The Olympics are in full swing and that means just one thing: as a nation we're collectively glued to our telly boxes. We're all suddenly experts on fencing ("excellent use of the appel there") and can't tear ourselves away from the table tennis ("did you see that slow spinny topspin?"). And while we've all been cheering on Team GB to gold medal glory, something of a trend has become apparent: we're awfully good at sitting down. Cycling, rowing, dressage, sailing - the Brits really do excel at the sedentary sports. So the team here at Original Travel took a leaf out of Sir Ben Ainslie et al's book and had a good sit down and a think about the best places on the planet to partake in such derriere-dedicated activities. If only sitting on the sofa and having a cuppa qualified for the Olympics…

Our Top Six Cities Around the World

When asked to picture their perfect holiday, many people's minds immediately hit the beach; warm white sand between the toes, sparkling azure waters and someone rather good-looking fanning you with a large palm leaf. And who are we to deny such glories? But here at Original Travel we're also partial to something a little more… rousing. That is to say we love a good city. Oh yes, we rub our hands together in veritable glee at the prospect of bustling markets, burgeoning foodie scenes, street art, botanical gardens, booming nightlife and incredible architecture. And whether you're in need of a short sharp hit of culture with a classic weekend city break or are exploring as part of a longer trip, we've got the inside track (and a network of concierge contacts), to ensure the ultimate city adventure…

Do You Suffer From FOMO?

FOMO. Otherwise known as fear of missing out - a modern-day interpretation of keeping up with the Joneses, if you will. Yep, this is is how trends start, be that donning the latest fashion item, brunching at the newest hotspot or exploring the destination of the moment. And when it comes to preventing holiday FOMO, we've got you covered. We're here to give you the inside track on the best 'it' destinations at the moment, and a couple that will make you a real trend-setter...

Delightful Dunks

You know you're officially on holiday when you dive head first (or climb gracefully, or bomb, you get the picture) in to the cool, refreshing water of the hotel's swimming pool. And we're not talking about any old 25m situation, we're talking infinity pools with beautiful views, romantic private plunge pools and child-friendly pools to keep the little monsters busy for hours. So without further ado, here are seven of our favourite hotel swimming pools around the world...

Family Africa: Where to Take the Kids this Summer

Time away with the family is a precious commodity and making sure you find a destination with the perfect blend of relaxation (for tired parents) and fun activities (for curious kids) can be (understatement alert) something of a challenge. Well, that's where we come in and if you're looking for a family getaway this summer then you should look no further than the wonder-continent that is Africa. A place of tremendous beauty, culture, adventure and wildlife, we could wax lyrical all day long about the glories of Africa but unfortunately there simply aren't enough superlatives. But here we go, our favourite African adventures for families this summer…

Five of the Best: Spring Breaks

Let me take you back to where it all began for Original Travel, not with the US phenomenon of a week of wild partying during 'Spring Break' (although I can neither confirm nor deny that kind of behaviour), but with the Big Short Break. Pocket-sized adventures for those who are short on time but in search of a big experience because there's a whole world of, well, world out there just waiting to be explored in easily digestible, bite-sized time slots. And luckily, there are two such bite-sized time slots approaching in the form of the May Bank Holidays. How convenient. So here are a few of our favourite Big Short Break destinations this May...

Suite Treats

George Osborne may have declared war on sweets with the introduction of his sugar tax in this year's budget but luckily we get our kicks from the suite (see what I did there?) treats of an altogether different kind. Our suite tooth (sorry, can't help it) is rather partial to the exceptional service, magical settings and chic interiors of some of the very best hotel suites in the world. Think breathtaking views, private pools, luxurious furniture and being spoiled to within an inch of your life. So sit back, relax and spend a couple of minutes ogling at some of the very finest suites from around the world; here are a few of our favourites...

Five of our Favourite Cool Combos

Question: what do the following have in common? Gin & tonic, Rodney & Del Boy, Andy Murray & Wimbledon (and while we're on the subject, strawberries & cream), bacon & eggs and finally, a nice strong wind & Donald Trump's hair. Yes, you got it; they're all cool combos, and the same principles apply to travel as well - some destination double acts just work. With our own cool combination of insider intel on the latest flight routes and knowledge of where's hot right now (in both senses of the word), we present the following perfect pairings...

Early Summer Escapes 2016

The summer holiday: that most glorious and precious of holidays. All the more so for us Brits given that summer in dear old Blighty can be, how to put this, a bit of a damp squib (cue flashbacks of windy beach escapades, sandy sandwiches and rain, lots and lots of rain). And this year we thought we'd get on the holiday bandwagon early because between storm what's-his-chops (there seems to be a new one every week) and the fact that winter just won't go away, summer can't come quickly enough. So here are a few of our very favourite destinations for getaways this May and June - you can take the summer out of Britain but not the Brit out of their summer holiday.

Parlez-vous Anglais?

Consider the English-speaking world. Don't panic - this isn't going to be some misty-eyed paean to the age of Empire, when Britannia ruled the waves, and the sun never set, etc; but if you think about the places that speak English as their first language, they make for a pretty spectacular wish list of destinations. Visiting places like Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and the US of A means scenery, culture, wildlife, food and fun for sure, but there's another - less obvious, but no less important - reason to go.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Clever, lively, flexible - no, we're not trying to simply flatter you into booking a holiday (do let us know if that would work, though), these are in fact three central traits attributed to those born in the Chinese calendar's Year of the Monkey. Ironic really, given the cerebral association, that there's so much confusion over the various suborders of primate (ape, monkey and prosimian, so Wikipedia tells us). Anyway, the advent of Chinese New Year brings not only a good excuse for a party but also another Year of the Monkey, which got us thinking about the best places on the planet to spot these cheeky beasties. And here's a few of our favourites…

The Best African Safaris in 2016

Anyone with an iota of interest in wildlife will doubtless have an African safari on their travel to-do list. It is, after all, a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to see nature in its rawest and most beautiful form; never failing to impress even the most hardened travel nut.

Richard's Camp, Kenya

I have been fortunate enough to travel to many far-flung parts of the globe but I've never been on safari or travelled to East Africa. In December, however, I was lucky enough to visit Kenya where I headed to Nairobi briefly, before heading down to the Masai Mara to stay at Richard's River Camp. Nothing prepared me for how beautiful it would be and how much I would love the place. It came as no surprise to me that Richard's Camp has just been nominated as one of Condé Nast Traveler's Great African Safari Lodges you haven't heard of yet. I might be able to give you a little indication why…

Six of the Best: Tented Camps

Camping: one of the most divisive words in the travel lexicon. So often associated with cramped tents, dodgy Trangias and the vague whiff of wet dog. The irony is that some of the most luxurious and unique hotels in the world are tented camps; think large canopies, quirky furniture, spacious rooms and, most importantly, excellent service. So in the interest of myth-busting we've canvassed (see what we did there?) the Original Travel experts and come up with six of our very favourite tented camps around the world...

What's Hot Right Now

January is a month generally associated with New Year blues, dark days and distinctly British weather. That is to say it's not necessarily a favourite. In fact one of the only things it is good for is planning your getaways for the year ahead, and that's where we come in. Whether it's finding a perfectly secluded beach to relax on, tracking game with bushmen in the Kalahari or learning to mix the perfect caipirinha at a Brazilian beach bar, our team of experts is on hand to create your perfect holiday. And our first mission of the year is to bring you a collection of the hottest destinations for 2016 - the temperatures will be peachy and availability is going like hotcakes so it's time to get the diary out and start planning!

Fes Music Festival

The little known annual music festival of Fes in Morocco is a gem, not only because it is still relatively unknown (therefore retains its authenticity) but also because of the fantastically high standard of musicianship. In a sea of world music festivals to choose from, this one really stands out and I was lucky enough to travel to Fes in May this year to experience it over a long weekend. The festival actually last for 8-9 days but the beauty is that you can dip in and out of it - with a day pass, event pass or a whole festival pass should you choose to do so ( I'm definitely going for the latter next year).

Seven of the Best: Boutique Boltholes

What do the words 'boutique hotel' mean to you? Perhaps it's the independently owned and run element? Few rooms, bespoke interiors, secluded locations, impeccable and personal service? - They're all on the list. And it has to be said that the place you rest your head at night is a hugely significant part of your holiday, whether it's a tented camp in the middle of the desert or a secret hideaway in the heart of a city. While the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of a place are the stuff that treasured memories are made of, the hotel could, and should, take your holiday to the next level. So here they are, seven of our favourite boutique boltholes in the world…

8 of the Best Places on the Planet to Throw a Rugby Ball Around

Let's be honest - rugby is not for the faint hearted. It's a game of fervent patriotism, fierce rivalry and tough men running around hitting each other (a highly technical assessment, we think you'll agree). And with the Rugby World Cup gathering pace, it's hard not to get swept up in the excitement. Which led us to think (always dangerous) about the very best places on the planet to chuck a rugby ball around, from beautiful beaches to frozen lakes, and everything in between. So here goes, eight of the best places on our dear earth for a casual game of rugger…

The Fairy Tale of Zanzibar

It is hard to describe my experiences of Zanzibar in so many words. I remember returning to England and explaining to everyone that I had caught the 'Zanzibar bug'. Baffled, and alarmed that I had managed to catch some kind of horrendous stomach bug on my travels, my family and friends, as well as keeping me well at arm's length, asked me to explain this mysterious 'bug.' I did then, and still do now, struggle to explain it. Of course I could talk of white sand, turquoise waters and mouth-watering food, as a simple and rather obvious reason to why people can become drawn in to Zanzibar's infectious allure. But, as with many things in life, we can find them difficult to sum up, at least without sounding dull and repetitive, so we turn them into stories. Therefore, let me tell you a story of cinnamon, monkeys and wives, and of the fairy tale of Zanzibar. A place who's name alone feels sultry and exotic to the lips.

Where We've Been in 2015

'Twas a crisp and icy morning on the 6th of January 2003 when Original Travel was officially brought into the world. Its mission? To make sure you have the most wonderful holiday experiences imaginable, down to the very last detail. And 12 years, 8 months, 3 days and a few hours later that statement still stands. Which is why our team of destination experts regularly pack their suitcases, grab their passports and selflessly jet off around the globe in search of the best destinations, hotels and experiences out there, whether getting off the beaten track and exploring a newcomer to the luxury travel world, or revisiting an old favourite. It's a tough gig, but someone's got to do it, and here's just a few of the places we've been to in 2015.

Where You've Been in 2015

As your travel guardian angels we often write about and share our experiences of the destinations we've been lucky enough to visit, but enough about us, let's talk about you. Let's talk about the amazing places and experiences we've organised for our lovely clients this year. We're talking intrepid honeymoons, adventurous sabbaticals, secret beach breaks, fun-filled family getaways, cultural escapades and much, much more. We've sent people to over 100 countries so far this year (102, to be precise) and here are just a few of our favourites...

Let's Talk "Deep Cuts"

Nope, we're not making a political commentary on the state of the economy and we've not been listening to too much Cat Stevens (obviously that's not possible). We're talking about the Urban Dictionary definition (which technically pertains to music… but let's not dwell on that): true gems that are found later in an album. To put a travel spin on it, we're talking about destinations and experiences that offer a similar vibe to some of the most loved places on the planet but are more under the radar. That is to say, they are the deep cuts of the travel world. So if you're a 'been there, done that, where's next?' kind of traveller, or are just looking for somewhere a bit different, here are a few of our favourite deep cuts...

Mozambique, the Escapist’s Dream

Mozambique is something of an underrated gem. While it may not be the first African destination to spring to mind due to its lack of safari options at present, the coast offers some of the best beaches on the continent and is something of an escapist's dream. So why not close your eyes and dream yourself away to Mozambique (and then promptly open your eyes so you can read why!)

Christmas Getaways: Time To Start Planning

Talk of Christmas already?!? Before you think we've gone all Argos on you, the majority of great festive season holiday spots do get booked up well in advance and as travel guardian angels we naturally only want the best for you. So, if the thought of doing one of Nigella's coke soaked hams (now, now) is not on the agenda this year then why not think about jetting off to pastures new? Whether you want to embrace yuletide traditions or get away from them, here's a little selection for you.

Our Favourite Festivals Around the World

This past weekend nearly 200,000 revellers descended on a field in Somerset, flowers in hair, wellies on feet and tents in tow. There was mud, there was body paint, there was tie-dye and, oh yes, a spot of music too. You guessed it - Glastonbury. And once we'd heartily discussed (read: all got a bit shouty at each other) the pros and cons of a certain Kanye West being the headline act (the greatest rock star on the planet? Really?) we got to thinking about festivals in general. They do, after all, take you straight to the heart of a place, be it through music, culture, history, food or myriad other forms. So after much debate (there's a lot of festivals out there) we've compiled the Original Travel Ultimate Guide to Festivals Around the Globe. Revel away…

Our Top Five Luxury Safari Lodges in Tanzania

I first visited Tanzania 13 years ago and it's fair to say the country has upped its luxury safari lodge game in the intervening years. While the term 'luxury' can be defined in myriad ways, whether you have a penchant for opulent gold taps and marble bathrooms or go batty for small, thoughtful touches and impeccable service, the array of luxury lodges in Tanzania means there's very much something for everyone. So, without further ado, here are our top five luxury safari lodges in Tanzania.

Botswana by Horseback: The Best Way to Explore the Bush

Channelling your inner cowboy and heading off on a riding safari in Africa is one of the ultimate safari experiences, particularly given the variety of truly stunning landscapes available for exploration. It's also an incredible way of getting up close and personal with the game in a way that just isn't possible in a traditional 4x4. You won't just be on a safari, you'll be in it. Botswana is the home of the riding safari and with both the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and Okavango Delta in its safari arsenal, it's not hard to understand why Botswana remains such a popular destination for this style of safari holiday.

Botswana's Zu'Hoasi Tribe: an In-Depth Look

Dry but rich in water. Desolate but full of life. Extreme in every sense, from endless skies to enormous trees. Welcome to the otherworldly magic of the salt pans of northern Botswana where the Zu'hoasi tribe live. The Makgadikgadi Pans is a vast system of salt pans in the northern Kalahari, the remains of a giant 'superlake' that once covered the region. The entire Makgadikgadi ecosystem is said to be the size of Portugal. When the rains come, the pans fill with water and 700,000 flamingos come to feed on shrimps; the larvae of which have lain dormant in wet clay beneath the salt crust. Zebra and wildebeest move in, the second biggest 'great migration' in Africa. But in the dry season, the dusty pans form an austere lunar landscape, surrounded by the golden grasslands of the Kalahari. It looks and feels hot and tough (Makgadikgadi means 'dry, dry') but the Bushmen know how to live here - and they're far from alone.

Africa's Next 'Big Three' Safari Lodges

With three pioneering new safari lodges opening this summer, wildlife and adventure is very much on the Original Travel agenda this season. So here is a round up the newest safari hot-spots for the 2015 season.

Adventure in South Africa: Our Favourite Activities

After a whistle stop tour of the Waterberg, Cape Town and the Winelands I am just catching my breath and reflecting on the experiences I packed into eight glorious days in South Africa. For anyone looking to inject some adventure into a holiday, South Africa is the destination for you.

Five Ultimate African Safari Experiences

The Swahili word safari, meaning long journey, was first introduced into the English language in the nineteenth century. Fast forward to 2015 and the term has come to represent a whole raft of bucket list experiences, from walking safaris to canoeing, horse riding and even flying. Discovering wildlife from giraffe to lion, lemur to leopard and everything in between. While a safari holiday may represent a significant investment, it is a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to see nature in its rawest and most beautiful form; never failing to impress even the most hardened travel nut. Speaking of travel nuts the Original Travel Africa team have compiled their own ultimate safari experiences, from their favourite parks and reserves to the very best guides, lodges, activities and beaches to combine with, just to whet your appetite…

Beach Holidays in Mozambique

Lesser known than its African contemporaries, Mozambique's beautiful coastline is nevertheless perfect for a luxury beach break. Think endless unspoilt beaches and a feeling of utter tranquillity; you'll often feel like the only people for miles and miles. The famous African custom of smiling is apparent wherever you go and is completely contagious. Mozambique's southern coastline, which I've just returned from, has a particularly friendly feel which spreads across to the many islands that form the Bazaruto archipelago. This area is the picture perfect end to a safari if you're looking for an ideal bush and beach combo but it's also an idyllic spot for a relaxing holiday in and of itself.

Ethiopia Dancing

Ethiopia - a land where the cradle of Christianity, the birth of the coffee bean, and some of the best dancing I have ever seen come together.

Our Top 10 Hotels for a Luxury Safari Holiday

Anyone with an interest in wildlife, habitats and adventure will have a safari on their bucket list. Whether you're in search of the big five in Africa, evoking memories of the jungle book in India or seeking exotic wildlife in Latin America, we know the very best luxury hotels, camps and lodges to stay in. Here are our top 10 hotels for a safari holiday:

Our Top 10 Hotels for a Big Short Break

Let me take you back to where it all began for Original Travel, with the Big Short Break; pocket adventures designed specifically for those who are short on time but in search of a big experience. From a three day trip of cultural immersion in Istanbul (and baklava eating, obvs) to a seven day safari in Botswana's Okavango Delta, there's a whole world of, well, world out there just waiting to be explored in easily digestible, bite-sized time slots. And here are our top ten hotels for just such an adventure.

Our Top Ten Honeymoon Hotels

Everybody loves a list, and anyone planning a honeymoon needs this particular one in their life. After much deliberation the team at Original Travel have come up with their Top 10 Honeymoon Hotels from around the world. Editing the list down to a mere ten proved mighty difficult, and more than a little contentious, but we like a challenge, so here goes with the finest post-wedding wonders…

The Best Family Holidays

From adventurous safaris and relaxing in the sun to fun in the snow and exciting city breaks, here are, in our opinion, the best family holidays.

Africa: a Continent in Crisis?

Let's be honest, it's been something of an annus horribilis for Africa. Kenya, Mali and Algeria (and others) face ongoing security concerns and the Ebola virus has dominated headlines, while the Oscar Pistorius trial became another negative media circus, all making 2014 a year Africa would like to forget in a hurry.

36 Hours in Marrakech

Picture this: you are slowly making your way through the sprawling labyrinth of alleyways that make up Marrakech's famous souq, all hope of finding your way back the way you came is lost. It's now just a case of going with it and soaking everything up because 36 hours in Marrakech is, essentially, an exercise in sensory overload. Street vendors spout their merry manifesto from every direction, invading your ear drums, the noise so omnipresent it feels like it's somehow reached your soul. The atmosphere is punctured by mingling aromas of incense, leather, spices and myriad other unknown fragrances while sparks fly overhead from a nearby ironmonger as you meander and wind your way past craftsmen, snake charmers and soothsayers. Anyone hoping for muted tones and unassuming sophistication is either never leaving the hotel, or has boarded the wrong flight…

Late Summer Sun

If you've not managed to get away this summer and you're tiring of sun-kissed colleagues and friends, September and October are perfect months to soak up some late summer sun. Whether you want to jet off to somewhere in Europe for a long weekend or fly and flop further afield, we can arrange it all. Maybe you've already had your fix of vitamin D this summer and just fancy topping up your glow? Who knows…what we do know are the destinations that will make perfect SUNNY getaways.

Best Places to Watch the Sunrise

Seize the day! The early bird catches the worm!.. you get the picture, and if you can drag yourself from peaceful slumber, here's our top 5 places around the world to watch the sunrise.

Zimbabwe is Back!

"Zimbabwe is back!" says my guide Michael, with a huge grin. And his message was echoed just as brightly by every Zimbabwean I met on my 10 day trip of this beautiful country. And judging by all the visitors I saw, it seems it is indeed back. On the tourist map at least.

Batty About Botswana

Here at Original Travel, we're delighted to announce the arrival of Louise FitzGerald onto our amazing Africa team. Louise is a real specialist when it comes to Botswana and her first blog explores her unique insight into a safari holiday here.

Discovering Magnificent Madagascar

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and a mere 250 miles off the coast of mainland Africa but it still remains a largely undiscovered corner of the continent. I've just returned and can really only describe it as the most fascinating and beautiful country I've ever been to. It is a place that completely has its own vibe; it's not African, or Asian or European but then, at the same time, it is all those things...

Challenge Accepted!

Who watched the London marathon at the weekend? I went along to cheer on a friend and as I stood there, chocolate bar and fizzy drink in hand, enthusiastically cheering (and consequently spilling most of said fizzy drink all over the poor man in front of me) as hundreds of super-fit (and frankly super-human) people sweated it out over 26.2 miles, I had something of an epiphany. I may have missed the boat on the marathon front but there is no time like the present when it comes to challenging yourself and, in this instance, the world is well and truly your playground. So put down the cake, get off the sofa and get active people! Here are my top 5 challenges and activities around the world.

Our Little Black Book of Travel

Percy Shelley once wrote "Soul meets soul on lovers' lips." However, at Original Travel we like to think that soul meets soul on a far flung holiday... Spring is in the air and we've cast our favourite romantic holidays as characters in our very own Little Black Book. Don Juan, this one's for you! Here are our Top Five romantic destinations for 2014.

The World on Sale

So what's up? It's more a question of what's down, and particularly against the Pound, thanks to a resurgent British economy. The rest will inevitably catch up (we're good sports like that) so the exchange rate bonanza won't last, but in the meantime there are bargains to be had. The World's on sale - get shopping!

Which African Safari Are You?

African safaris are not, in our humble opinion, marmite scenarios; rather something absolutely everyone should try and will, undoubtedly, love. Even if you're a seasoned safari-pro, there's still more to try and if you've never done it before, there's no time like the present. So, what type of safari animal are you?

Our Top 3 Non-Safari African Adventures

We say Africa, you think safari right? Wrong! A safari holiday may be the first thing to spring to mind when imagining Africa but it's not all there is to this fabulously diverse continent. As such, we've picked our top 3 places to visit for a non-safari adventure in Africa...

Sacred Landscapes of Ethiopia

Simoon Travel's Amelia Stewart has been getting to the heart of Ethiopia by seeing the country from the ground. In her first blog of the series, Amelia explores Ethiopia's sacred landscapes, and discovers the odd nit-picking baboon along the way...

Cool Destination Combos

Like a maxi dress and wedges, or jeans and a jacket, some combos just work. Behold, our favourite tailor made, two-pronged trip ideas. After all, the best things do come in pairs...

Fourteen destinations for 2014

14 for '14? Sounds like a set of Mitchell Johnson's bowling figures from the recent Ashes debacle (one for the chaps there) but on this occasion referring to our predictions for the 14 destinations that are going to be big news in 2014.

My First Holiday in Morocco...

From colourful souqs to beautiful riads, Africa Expert Fiona's recollections of her first ever bespoke holiday in Morocco paint a vivid picture of a unique country...

Our Top 5 Winter Sun Holiday Destinations

As the weather gets colder, it's only natural to think about jetting off to somewhere warmer. Here are some of Original Travel's picks for well-earned and completely unique 'winter sun' holiday...

Exclusive Winter Sun Offers

So far so mild, but you just know that a good (c)old British winter is coming down the line, and when it does, you want to make sure you're as far from it as possible. Oh, and ideally staying somewhere with a juicy special offer. As luck would have it, here are a few of our latest, exclusive autumn/winter sun offers.

My Amazing Zimbabwe Safari

Having heard so much about how wonderful a Zimbabwe safari was in the good old days, and how they are soon to become the holiday of a lifetime destination once again, I was intrigued at long last to experience one for myself - and it didn't disappoint!

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

In need of some inspiration for your honeymoon? We are here to help! Want to know where in the world is best at a particular time of year? Or where you can dine alone on the beach at sunset? Or even where you can be pampered at a spa under the sea? We are here to help you create a completely bespoke luxury honeymoon. Give us a starting point and we will guide you through the process with your own personal travel consultant. Here are our top 10 honeymoon destinations...

Last Minute Escapes

Don't Panic! If you know where to look, there's still availability in some of the hottest (in all senses of the word) spots in Europe and around the Mediterranean. Here are just a few ideas for luxury last minute holidays…

October Half Term Holidays

October half term is a fantastic time to get away with the family and catch some last minute sun before winter sets in. Here are our top luxury October half term holiday destinations, guaranteed to amaze you and your family and take your minds well and truly off the stresses at home…

Best Holidays for Teenagers

Are you having difficulty trying to think of a holiday destination to take your teenagers? Wondering how on earth you are going to tear them away from technology and encourage them to hang out with their parents for a week or two? Look no further, as we have come up with a list of the best holidays for teenagers which we believe are guaranteed to turn your youths into the perfect travelling companions!

Travel essentials: Eddie Harrop Bags

Designer Eddie Harrop has just launched a new range of travel bags. Our guest blogger takes them for a spin in Morocco and discovers that the luxury holiday destination and the luxury travel essential make a perfect pair...

Summer Honeymoon Destinations

There are a whole plethora of places to jet off to once you've tied the knot and here are just a few of OT's top places to escape to in the summer season...

Affordable Luxury Holidays

Didn't think it was possible to do a luxury holiday in an affordable price bracket? Think again. These are our favourite exclusive holidays that don't come at eyewateringly exclusive prices...

Christmas Breaks: Embrace or Escape Santa

Whether you're a lover or a hater (of the festive season, that is) there are many wonderful places to spend the holiday. If you want to embrace or escape Father Christmas and all that he brings, allow us to suggest a few luxury getaways; from quiet couples escapes to large family get-togethers, low key retreats or celebratory breaks…

Top Honeymoon Destinations

Original Travel's honeymoons, be it a pampering mini-break or a far-flung exotic escape, will provide a welcome respite from wedding stresses and prove the most happy of starts to life as man and wife. Here are just some of our top honeymoon destinations …

Relaxing Holidays: Fly and Flop

If day-to-day life is a whirlwind of chaos, long hours at work and too little sleep, you'd be forgiven for wanting to do absolutely nothing when on holiday.

10 Best Explore Holidays

If fly-and-flop holidays just aren't your thing, consider one of our best explore holidays. Not only do they give more structure to your time away, but new skills can be learnt and developed along the way, making them truly unique holiday experiences. Many of the active trips we offer are open to all abilities, and can be enjoyed alone, in couples or as families.

Top 5 Safari Parks in Africa

Africa. The name alone conjures up images of vast horizons, seemingly endless plains, and herds of wild animals. It's of no great surprise, then, that safari holidays and national parks are some of the greatest appeals to people visiting the many countries of Africa.

The Best Places to Get Lost and Try Something Different

From remote wildernesses to hectic metropolises, often one of the greatest experiences to have whilst travelling is to lose all sense of time and direction and get thoroughly caught up in your new surroundings. Enter one of our areas of expertise - unique holidays - and some of our absolute favourite places to get lost and try something different…

Experience True Bliss with an African Honeymoon

Beautiful beaches? Tick. Uber-romantic and remote lodges? Tick. Super-spoiling service and the potential for post-wedding pampering? Tick. The chance for a bit of adventure should the mood take you? Tick. On the face of it Africa has a lot going for it as a potential honeymoon destination, and it gets better. There's something for honeymooners in every month of the year, be their nuptials while nervously praying for clear skies in June or winter weddings in deep snow. So given you can consider African honeymoons at any time of year, where would we recommend? Starting at the continent's tip, South Africa has the alluring combination of Africa's' slickest city, Cape Town, with the beautiful and bounteous Winelands in easy reach and some seriously bling safari lodges to boot.

Holidays for Couples in Africa

Luxury holidays in Africa aren't hard to come by - and the continent has many idyllic places to offer for those couples searching for an ultimate bespoke romantic holiday. These are Africa consultant Millie's favourite tailor made trips best suited to couples...

10 Reasons to Love Africa Holidays

Aside from being the second largest continent on earth, Africa is also one of the most diverse and beautiful. Here, we show you our 10 Original reasons to love bespoke Africa holidays, and prove that there is so much more to this amazing region than an archetypal safari...

Best Beaches in the World

The world has countless breathtaking beaches, but which one should definitely not be missed? Here is our selection of the best beaches in the world, ranging from the UK to Australia.

10 Best Big Short Breaks

Way back in the mists of time, or on January 17th 2003 to be exact, Original Travel launched on an unsuspecting world with its natty new concept, the Big Short Break. The portfolio of trips were designed to provide what A A Gill called an 'espresso break' - a short, sharp hit of travel that provided a change of scene and mental refreshment. Minimum time, maximum experience, basically. The Big Short Break concept has gone on to win us multiple awards, and the trips have remained remarkably similar over the intervening decade. On that note, here are our 10 best big short breaks (see what we've done there?).

Africa Holidays with a View from the Tub!

Known for its vast wilderness, Africa has some truly breathtaking views. And what better way to enjoy than from a relaxing bath?! Here are our luxury holidays in Africa with a view from the tub...

Top Holiday Destinations 2013

Discover our top luxury holiday destinations for 2013, ranging from the culturally rich Sudan to the glittering coastlines of Greece's Peloponnese…

Africa Hotspots 2013

Whilst Africa is more about being in the bush or on an endless white sandy beach, sub-Saharan Africa is seeing some increasingly impressive and contemporary city hotels for those odd nights when you need to be near the airport. Next year is set to be a big one for Africa; from a total eclipse to Michelin star dining, fashionable boutique hotels opening and more, here's our guide to Africa Hotspots 2013.

Christmas Holiday Destinations for Celebrations with a Twist!

Whilst Christmas isn't celebrated everywhere, those countries getting in to the festive swing of things have surprisingly different traditions, customs, and even dates of merriment. Here's a quick look at some of our favourite Christmas holiday destinations, both around the globe and a little closer to home!

Top 5 New African Safari Camps

2012 has seen lots of exciting new developments for safaris and camps around Africa. After a turbulent time for Kenya, things are definitely on the up. So promising, in fact, that two of our absolute favourite new African safari camps are in Kenya. Read on to learn more about our luxury holidays to some of these exclusive spots...

Botswana Safari: What to expect

Ever wondered what it's like going on a luxury Botswana safari? One of our devoted customers, Ian Scott-Gall, has been kind enough to share his beautiful photos from his tailor made safari holdiay, giving us a taster of what he got up to...

Lovely Lamu

Lamu, on the Kenyan coast, is a little like stepping back in time. Africa expert Millie took a trip and found it to be as relaxed and friendly as ever.

Zimbabwe: Ten Years On

Once in a life time holidays don't come better than in a safari capacity, and a lot has changed in Zimbabwe over the past decade. Now, find out why it's on the up...

Best Holidays for Teenagers

Our resident family expert Lydia Gard returns, this time recommending her best holidays for teenagers.... I recently spent a few days in a villa with a friend and her gorgeous teenagers. The boy, 14, goofed around with the toddlers all day long, and held his own with the adults during the dinnertime banter. The girl, 16, was a silent hormone casserole wearing an iTouch. Leave me with a toddler and I can entertain them effortlessly. Leave me with a teenager and it turns out I revert.

Top 5 Toddler Holidays For Your Little Terrors!

Lydia Gard is a freelance writer specialising in luxury family travel, since having two boys she is determined to find truly luxurious places that celebrate rather than simply tolerate young families. In her first of 6 blogs Lydia talks us through the her top 5 toddler holidays...

The Timkat Festival in Ethiopia

Perhaps one of the most joyous occasions in the Ethiopian calendar is Timkat, and for me it embodies so much that is wonderful about this country: an unadulterated joy and religious fervour, a purity of mind and body, and an overwhelming tangible happiness that is quite difficult to put into words.

Big Cat Safaris: Go Wild!

After a once in a lifetime holiday? Nothing beats spotting a big cat. Yes, yes, we all love a lumbering elephant or a cute orang-utan, but for the ultimate in wildlife watching it has to be one of the magnificent moggies that prowl around the wilder parts of almost every continent on Earth. Here are our favourite big cat safaris to see these, the ultimate predators, in all their glory.

The Best Cities in the World

As well as great loves, scandals and tragedies, the cities that set the scene in literature often tell their own story. They also make amazing starting points for the holiday of a lifetime. From the romance of St. Petersburg to the magic of Uttar Pradesh, here are our best cities in the world…

Where is Djibouti?

Whale sharks, limestone chimneys, salt lakes and a glorious coastline of sandy bays - there's a whole lot more to be said for Djibouti than you might originally think. 'But where is Djibouti?' I hear you ask. All shall be revealed...

80 Senses: #62 - The Monks of Lalibela

Rock hewn churches and yellow robed monks. We may be becoming an ever more secular bunch, but whatever your religious (dis)inclinations there's no denying that many of the world's most beautiful and awe-inspiring buildings and art treasures have been created in the name of God or Gods. Leaving aside the millions of deaths also directly attributable to religion for a minute, we want to celebrate one of the absolute highlights of a country more defined than most by its religious history.

80 Senses: #55 - Carthage Tunisia

The forgotten city... Quick history brush up - according to legend the city of Carthage Tunisia was founded by Dido (not the bland/blonde balladeer) who, fleeing into exile, arrived on the North African coast in around 800 BC. She pleaded with the locals to be allowed as much land as could be encompassed by a cowhide, to which they agreed (presumably while nodding knowingly to each other and making loony signs behind her back), and she promptly cut said hide into extremely thin ribbons and laid them out to encircle an area big enough for a permanent enclosure. Clever lady.

80 Senses: #51- The baobab trees of Madagascar

Now David Attenborough has sprinkled his TV magic on the island of Madagascar we suspect the destination will see a serious hike in arrivals. If you caught the series you know the drill - separated from Africa and India as the continents gradually drifted apart, but large and diverse enough to have harboured several distinct ecosystems, Madagascar is a biologist's boon.

80 Senses: #43 - The Sounds of Senegal Music

The birthplace - in a round about sort of way - of pop.Modern pop music has its roots in the countries of West Africa, with their rhythms and musical traditions transported across the Atlantic during the slave trade to the USA, from where jazz and the blues evolved into rock'n'roll and pop music as we know it today.

80 Senses: #38 - Riads in Marrakech

Boutique chic in Marrakech... Everybody loves a boutique hotel. Small and stylish (in theory), they are the perfect boltholes from which to explore our favourite cities and nowhere, but nowhere, does boutique chic like Marrakech.

80 Senses: #34 - Ben Simpson, Pilot

Robert Redford flies again... Ladies of a certain age still swoon at the memory of Robert Redford playing Denys Finch Hatton in Out of Africa. Those same ladies, and a younger generation too, might like to know that there is a pilot currently playing his trade in East Africa who bears an uncanny resemblance to Redford.

80 Senses: #13 - Neptune's Arm, Vamizi Island

Probably the best dive in the world. Can one really, definitively, declare anything 'The Best….in the World'? Of course not, and as we've mentioned before, our 80 Senses are shamelessly subjective, but we think we might have found the world's best dive. That's dive as in scuba, you understand, not seedy bar.

80 Senses: #2 - Wolwedans Dune Lodge, Private Camp, Namibia

The NamibRand desert might be the dictionary definition of remote. Only Mongolia is less populated than Namibia, and this being a desert there aren't exactly hordes of people loitering around. Deep in this desolate but utterly stunning landscape lies Wolwedans Dune Lodge, a superslick place, and if that wasn't hermit-like enough, they have their own Private Camp, another two miles further into the bush and designed for just one couple.

Wild Walking Safari in Zambia

Luxury holidays to Zambia have never been so appealing, with 2014 being the 50th anniversary of the country's independence, and a handful of exciting new camps opening.

A Family Safari in Kenya

Planning on booking a luxury safari holiday that's family friendly? I embarked on wonderful luxury family safari holiday in Kenya with my toddler daughter and husband, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back again. I had a wonderful fortnight in Mara with my family (who live out there) for my niece's christening, taking advantage of the three days leave for 10 days holiday - thank you again Will & Kate!

A Client View... Zambia Safari

Zambia offers a great combination of wildlife, adventure activities and scenic splendour. Our client Rahuca tells us about the Zambia safari experience...

Magnificent Namibia

Namibia is one of my favourite places on earth, and having just returned from my fourth visit there, I feel no less blown away by the sheer beauty and magnificence of the country than I did on my first and very special trip there. It's a true once in a lifetime holiday destination - and these are my highlights...

A Taste of Morocco: The Marrakech Guide (Part One)

Judy James has kindly agreed to share her experiences of her travels in Morocco. Judy and her husband Robin travelled to Marrakech with Original Travel in February 2011. Judy has written a beautiful description of their trip, and Robin allowed us to use some of his stunning photography. The is an abridged account in three parts, the first focussing on their Marrakech guide, the second on their experience of the souqs and the third on their trip into the Atlas mountains.

Portraying The Real South Africa

An African wildlife conservationist by trade and artist by passion, bronze animalia sculptor Bruce Little grew up on a farm in the Drakensburg mountains in South Africa. His memories of childhood instilled in him a great love of the African outdoors and nature, and it was his experiences of the African bush that led to his ardor for sculpting...

Romantic Escapes: Love is in the air…

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so what better way to spoil your partner rotten than with one of our luxury romantic escapes? Whether it's a hot-balloon ride through the Atlas Mountains or a luxury ski retreat at the wilderness Whitepods, we can tailor make a holiday perfect for your needs. Take a look through our top five valentine breaks for some inspiration.

New Destinations: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Those famous philosophers The Clash inadvertently put a modern moral dilemma in a punk nutshell - should we really travel to countries ruled by dubious regimes? Well, in some cases the answer is a categoric and resounding no (who'd want to go to France, anyway?), but for most of these destinations the situation is a little less black and white. Consider the following new destinations you could experience.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Original Travel expert Steph recently climbed Kilimanjaro. Her conclusion? It was harder than she had ever imagined it would be. Find out more about her unique and challenging holiday experience here...

The Ultimate Africa Honeymoon

Find out all about my incredible honeymoon in Africa... Having to organise your own Africa honeymoon rather than wait for your romantic husband's surprise selection. The upside? Being able to speak personally to a bunch of the worlds best travel consultants (who happen to be sitting next to me) and asking their advice on the 'ultimate honeymoon'.

Thank you so much for organising the most wonderful holiday for us. It was the best holiday I have ever been on. Everything ran smoothly and we just loved everything. I shall be recommending you to all my friends.

Jane & Charlie

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