For expert advice on the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles, look no further than our Indian Ocean specialists. Discover what works best for you – whether you are after a one-stop relaxing honeymoon, or an extension after an Indian adventure, our experts will guide you in the right direction.
Meet the team - Indian Ocean
My penchant for travel goes all the way back to my childhood when I journeyed across India with my father, an Indian army officer. However, it wasn’t until I set off on a biking trip in north India with a few college friends that I fell head-over-heels for travel. After obtaining a degree in Economics, I started as a tour manager for European trekking/climbing expeditions to the Himalaya. I originally climbed mountains to get the adrenaline rush, but what caught me by surprise was how much I loved meeting the people in these remote areas. This inspired me later in my career and I decided to move to the UK to pursue an MSc in Responsible Tourism and since then have settled here.
I am a trained mountaineer and have spent many years exploring the Himalaya in India, Nepal & Bhutan. Apart from having extensively travelled in India, I have rafted down most of the rivers in the subcontinent and driven my motorbike to the remote corners in India including the world’s highest road in Ladakh. I also take immense pleasure in meeting the people of the lands I visit and appreciating the customs & traditions they hold. I love the puppets of Rajasthan, food in Kerala, trekking in Nepal, mask dances of Bhutan and the ‘curd & treacle’ in Sri Lanka.
I have years of experience as an Indian Subcontinent specialist designing luxury tailor-made holidays and I won’t be satisfied until my clients are excited about the holiday. Apart from the usual sights I absolutely love to plan behind-the-scenes experiences in the narrow streets of Delhi or Varanasi, have conversations with local experts to learn secrets of traditional cooking methods, meetings with artists or musicians in the rural villages, and special private dinners in stunning settings.
My insider tip
Being open minded on a holiday and trying a few things that one normally wouldn’t do can make the holiday memorable. So surprise yourself by wandering off the usual travel guides. In India, I suggest exploring some of the narrow lanes and hidden streets of big cities by a Tuk-Tuk. These tiny vehicles weave in and out of traffic with much ease and let one get under the skin of the place. Witness sights not often seen by tourists and be part of an immersive experience.
My favourite experience
There are so many to choose from, but I’d pick a safari in Ranthambore with one of the most experienced naturalists. With an impeccable knowledge of the park, he helped me spot the rare and shy leopard (as well as two tigers and a cub), which is my favourite cat! This is in addition to about 70 species of birds we spotted on an afternoon safari. I have been to most of the national parks in the subcontinent and stayed in many lodges but this experience clearly stands out and is etched in my memory forever.
My favourite place
India is one of the most magical destinations and has enough to entice a first-time traveller whilst also keeping repeat visitors engaged in its culture, landscape, history festivals, cuisines, people and much more. It’s difficult to not fall in love with the genuineness and warm smiles of the people and the intriguing village life in every part of the country.
My favourite hotel
Shahpura Bagh, in the heartland of rural Rajasthan, comprises two restored bungalows in 45 acres of gardens with a gorgeous pool and is an ideal stop to unwind after a whirlwind tour of the Golden Triangle in north India. This heritage property is the private residence of the rulers of Shahpura who personally look after the guests. Days are spent taking leisurely walks around the estate and their private lake, visiting the nearby villages, enjoying private meals in stunning locations and bird watching during winter months. The food is the highlight and I can’t say enough about my dinner which consisted of some recipes passed down from one generation to the next one before finally appearing on my table! Shahpura Bagh is not a hotel but a destination and experience in itself.
I was born in Zimbabwe and I am half Kenyan. Travelling back and forth between both countries opened my eyes to the uniqueness and diversity of the African continent – from the beautiful morning sunrises in Zimbabwe, which make the perfect start to your day; to the rich red soil in Kenya, ideal for cultivating the world’s best tasting tea and coffee.
In Zimbabwe, I vividly recall long drives to Victoria Falls, passing via the Kariba Dam – the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume, a truly incredible site. The country hosts a large number of animals all year round, and it was amazing to see a pride of lions basking on the massive rock formations and admire the majestic herds of African elephants casually crossing the road.
As you arrive at Victoria Falls, you can hear the roars from the waterfall, there is no doubt why it has the name “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (The Smoke That Thunders). Whilst in Victoria National Park, you can admire the falls from a variety of amazing viewpoints, feeling the spray from their magnitude.
I would highly recommend taking an evening river cruise along the Zambezi River, where you can spot giraffes and elephants grazing and drinking along the riverbed – all while enjoying delicious Zimbabwean cuisine as the sun sets over Africa’s fourth longest river.
Kenya is the perfect multi-trip in-destination holiday, where you can easily combine excursions across land and sea. This vibrant country has a great culture, superb nightlife, exquisite cuisine and impressive wildlife reserves – including the famous Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks.
Pass by the world-famous Lake Nakuru, located in Kenya’s part of the Great Rift Valley, to see the greatest bird spectacle on earth, comprising one to two million birds in one seating. Witness a multitude of pink flamingos flocked over the Lake, an amazing scene. Lake Nakuru is also famous for viewing the Rothchild giraffe, white rhino and black rhino.
Mombasa is the coastal city of Kenya and the second largest city in the country. Situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, it hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, perfect for water sporting activities.
I love visiting Mombasa. The white beaches create an atmosphere of peace, and the city sure does comes alive at night. I would suggest taking a glass-bottom boat out into the sea where you can find the perfect spot for snorkelling. Take a tour of the historical UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century to gain advantage of the Indian Ocean trade routes.
My favourite hotel is the iconic Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, said to be one of the most Instagrammed properties in the world. Set on 12 acres of land, it is home to the endangered Rothschild giraffe that regularly visit in the mornings or evenings in search of tasty treats. Dating back to the 1930s, Giraffe Manor is stunning and prides itself on serving “the most unforgettable bucket-list breakfast in the world”.
I have always loved discovering new places and, having studied history at university, love getting into a destination’s background and culture, learning as much as I possibly can. I previously studied in Arizona, which provided a great base for discovering the American Southwest as well as other parts of the country. The weekend trips between studying made me an expert at cramming it all in. I have also worked in a number of hotels, which helped foster my fascination with the tourism industry as a whole. Some of my favourite places I have been able to travel to are Cuba, Hawaii, Norway, Canada, and Sri Lanka.
My favourite experience
Driving through the Transylvanian mountains in the back of an old Land Rover. I had never really thought of visiting Romania, but the opportunity came to take part in volunteer work there and off I went. Luckily, we were able to travel around the country and do some sightseeing, and I’m so glad we did. I was blown away by how beautiful it was. One particular day, we drove through the mountains in the sunshine on our way to Sighişoara, and the views were spectacular and very unexpected. We finished the day canoeing on the Red Lake amongst the amazing scenery.
My favourite place
I was lucky enough to grow up visiting family in Sri Lanka, and I think it is the perfect travel destination. There is always so much to see and do there, and I love seeing more and more of what the island has to offer. It is great for all types of people and all types of holiday, whether you want to relax on a beautiful tropical beach or go on a wildlife safari. It also has such a rich history, and the food is amazing.
My favourite hotel
For a relaxing beachy stay, I love the Jetwing Beach Negombo. It has a great combination of feeling very calming and spa-like, whilst also being on the beach with plenty to do, and each room benefits from a sea view. There is a selection of swimming pools to choose from, as well as restaurants. You can dine outside on the beach under the stars whilst trying an amazing selection of local food. There are also things to see in the surrounding area in Negombo if you get bored of the beach, such as the famous fish market.