Experience Africa... our 2015 brochure
Keen to explore Africa? Follow us into a world of safaris and cultural discovery as we take a look at our new 2015 Africa brochure.
A group of impala, Kruger National Park
From thrilling safaris to awe-inspiring Unesco World Heritage sites, Africa is a continent that rarely fails to captivate. Offering an astonishing level of variety, this part of the world is somewhere that holds unlimited excitement for travellers – and a well-balanced mix of famous attractions and those that are far off the beaten track.
As we launch our new Africa brochure for 2015, we spoke to Cox & Kings' product manager Louise Stanion to find out what's new, as well as to get some expert advice on tours to choose and experiences to have.
At a glance: What's new
Our 2015 Africa brochure offers a wealth of new tours, as well as a selection of interesting new hotels that will help you get an authentic taste of the continent. Louise talked us through some of the latest additions, which include:
• South Africa Safari, Ocean and Cape: This fantastic 13-day tour works as the perfect introduction to South Africa. Including a safari in the Eastern Cape, it will also lead you along the famous Garden Route and finish off by whisking you to the Cape Winelands. Unlike many introductory tours to the region, it offers two nights in a game lodge on safari, making this adventure all the more exciting.
• Classic South Africa: This comprehensive group tour is ideal for those who have a little more time to spare and want to explore as broad a range of South African attractions as possible. Lasting 18 days, it takes you around the highlights of the country, including the Kruger National Park, Hlhuluwe-Umfolozi National Park, Knysna, Cape Town and the Winelands, among many others.
Ghanian women at a festival
• In Style itineraries: Excitingly, we also have a whole new range of African itineraries called In Style, which are ideally suited for those looking for the ultimate in luxury travel. Our fabulous In Style itineraries are available for South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Kenya.
• Kanonkop House: Moving on to hotels, we offer stays in a wonderful establishment called the Kanonkop House, which stands on the edge of a lagoon on South Africa's Garden Route. Boasting a real home from home feel, it is locally owned and has an authentic South African flavour.
• Pelican River Lodge: Another new property we offer is Pelican River Lodge, which is located on the Pelican Point peninsula on the coast of Namibia. Perfect for travellers looking for something a little bit different, this converted lighthouse is wonderfully luxurious, and is a marvellous, remote spot that's ideally for spotting pelicans, watching ships coming and going, and canoeing with cape fur seals.
• Bale Mountain Lodge: Luxurious lodges are a rareity in Ethiopia, so we are particularly excited by the addition of Bale Mountain Lodge to our brochure. Located in the mountains, this eco safari lodge is an excellent base for seeing Ethiopian wolves, black-maned lions, baboons and much more.
Ethiopian wolf, Bale Mountains
What we're most excited about
When asked which of the new brochure's destinations she is most excited about, Louise picked Botswana, noting that not only is it becoming one of our best-selling destinations in Africa, but also that there are lots of new itineraries available. She also highlighted that there is a really exciting range of experiences on offer in this part of the continent, which gives it a particularly strong appeal.
For example, the Botswana In Style itinerary takes you into three separate ecosystems: a desert, river and island ecosystem. This gives you an excellent opportunity to discover a variety of landscapes and spot all kinds of wonderful wildlife – as well as enjoy watching wildlife in different ways, such as from a traditional dugout canoe.
Brochure highlights for first-time visitors
For those who have never been to Africa before, Louise suggested the Highlights of Tanzania tour, explaining that this gives travellers the chance to spot all the wildlife that newcomers to the continent typically want to see.
Travelling around the northern circuit in Tanzania, this itinerary will offer you the opportunity to see the coveted Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). Highlights include the Ngorongoro Crater, which she described as "almost like an outdoor zoo, because the animals are down there and they're in a confined area – they don't go up and down the crater edge", and the Serengeti, which offers the classic safari setting of seemingly endless plains.
"For a first timer, it's a tour that ticks all the animal boxes," she concluded.
Wildebeest, Ngorongoro Crater
Brochure highlights for return visitors
Travellers who have spent plenty of time in Africa already find they are well catered for with the 2015 brochure; indeed, Louise noted that for each destination, two or three off the beaten track areas will be included which are ideal for second, third or fourth-time visitors.
"For example, in Namibia we have a couple of tours that would suit somebody who's already been to the main sights in the country. We've got one called Namibia's Deep South, which goes all the way down to Fish River Canyon," she noted, adding that this spectacular canyon is the second biggest in the world.
Other excellent options include a self-drive tour through the Caprivi, ending at the stunning Victoria Falls, and the lesser-visited parts of South Africa, such as Limpopo Province, the west coast, the Wild Coast and Kwazulu Natal.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Off the beaten track
Louise enthused about the possibilities for getting off the beaten track in Africa, explaining that even some destinations that a particularly keen traveller might class as 'mainstream' such as Namibia can be relatively unknown outside of travel enthusiasts.
However, she noted that there are numerous countries that she would definitely class as off the beaten track, including Ethiopia, Madagascar, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and the little cluster of West African countries – Ghana, Benin and Togo.
Silverback Gorilla, Rwanda
Brochure highlights: Value
Going into 2015, Namibia and South Africa are both really stand out as excellent value destinations, simply because currently they both have such a good exchange rate. "Anywhere in Namibia and South Africa is amazing value at the moment," Louise commented, adding that this can also give travellers the opportunity to select more luxurious tours than they perhaps would otherwise.
Table Mountain, Cape Town
Cox & Kings' favourite
Ethiopia claims pride of place as Louise's favourite Africa destination. Explaining what makes her so fond of it, she said: "It's completely unique within Africa. It's actually not a traditional safari destination; it's got a lot of culture, a lot of history."
What's more, it also has incredible mountain ranges, including the Bale Mountains and the Simien Mountains, which are home to remarkable wildlife that you won't find anywhere else, such as the endemic gelada monkeys, with their lion-like manes. What makes exploring these perhaps all the more appealing is that the Simien Mountains – and indeed Ethiopia as a whole – is not a tourist-heavy destination, which gives you the freedom to see these animals up close.
Louise also praised the spectacular rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. This Unesco World Heritage Site is utterly remarkable, with vast churches having been chiselled directly from the rock. So unusual and almost otherworldly do they look, that it's often said they must have been created by angels.
"It's one of those destinations that really gets under your skin," she said.
Rock hewn church, Lalibela
Louise rounded off with a few final tips. Strongly recommending that holidaymakers pick up the phone and talk to our consultants, she explained that they have been to all the destinations offered on their tours and have a wealth of expertise that can help you find exactly the right itinerary for you.
She also suggested that it's worth looking at just how much you get for your money on tours to Africa, as when you buy a safari, you get far more than bed and breakfast alone, but often all food and drink, as well as named activities and extras such as game drives, canoeing and sundowners.
Lionesses, Serengeti National Park
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- Tags: Africa, Benin, Botswana, Cape Town, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe