LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

My initial captivation with Africa began from the moment I watched Meryl Streep and Robert Redford on the big screen in “Out of Africa.” Her billowing linens, his eternal calm even on the hunt, that lion charging scene in the bush, their doomed love story. The chemistry they displayed amidst the spectacular African landscape was utterly breathtaking.

No doubt, the dramatic allure of Africa is certainly romantic in its representation of nature’s purity. Witnessing a lioness on the hunt to feed her cubs – you feel instantly a part of the grand cycle of life. This issue we pay homage to the South African safari and the lodges and tours which allow us to experience the wild in its most raw form.

A trip to Africa is actually no longer a once-in-a-lifetime event. Admittedly travellers usually begin their appreciation of Africa on safari but fall in love with the country as a whole to return time and time again – each trip delving deeper into Africa’s culture, religion and history. South Africa alone is an extremely complex country with its post-apartheid identity still forming. To truly understand this country, you’ll need to examine its infrastructure, poverty, the AIDS pandemic and the violence issue. For now, we highlight the ultimate safari – the best of South Africa.

For 2008, Getaway will become a bi-monthly publication, so stay tuned for the next issue which will come out April 1st. The March/April issue will be all about Club Med and their fun and fabulous all-inclusive resorts across the globe. End of February, I’m off to Mauritius to experience their brand new, first 5 trident property La Plantation d’Albion so I’ll report back with personal insight.

Now onto South African Safari!

Sincerely, Kimberly Rosbe
Marketing and Communications Manager

FEATURE

South African Safari

Zebra Crossing

“Zebra Crossing!” I holler repeatedly, amused at my hilarity much to my sister Patty’s annoyance at my incessant exuberant bellowing. On Safari in Kenya for the first time last November, our jeep explorations yielded so many zebra sightings along these dirt road paths that, incredibly, the exotic finding of these majestic animals actually became commonplace.

Africa blew me away. The rawness of the place took me off guard. I remember crying as I watched four cheetahs stalk and kill a baby gazelle as its mother watched helplessly in the distance. However my skin thickened during my days in Kenya and I quickly learned that this cycle of life and death wasn’t so much sad as necessary. In time I accepted these seemingly harsh terms and then my real safari experience began. I started asking myself serious philosophical questions like, “What is it about safari that engrosses you and changes your very being?” I became fixated on the safari experience and, in particular, those twice a day game drives. The drives became like a daily drug which fulfilled my overwhelming desire to be a part of this world.

Those 7 days in Africa definitely changed me, if only for a moment. A bona fide city-girl, my idea of wildlife was clicking through the Discovery Channel on my way to E! Entertainment Television. After a few days in Kenya, I was wearing white linen, a kakki safari hat, binoculars around my neck and aviator sunglasses spotting wildlife as if I’d done this all my life. I became completely transformed into a seasoned animal tracker, true nature lover and safari veteran. By the end I could barely recognise myself as now I can truly say I have a deep appreciation for the country, advocating its preservation and enormously respecting its way of life.

(Thank you Athina for your slice of life on Africa.)

 

Edge Favourite South African Safaris:

MOLORI LODGE & SPA

Madikwe Private Game Reserve

Moh-loh-ri means “dreamer” in Tswana and some would say this place exists only in the realm of dreams. Balancing the wild pulse of African nature with meticulous service of a manicured boutique hotel, Molori accepts only 10 guests – ideal for intimacy and privacy. Conveniently located a mere 50 minute flight from Johannesburg, the reserve boasts several prides of lion, herds of elephant, white rhino and buffalo as well as four of South Africa’s most endangered species: the Black Rhino, the African Wild Dog, the cheetah and the Brown Hyena. The suite interiors are a flowing organic space of tranquillity blending creams, light and natural materials which ooze warmth, charm and comfort. On your arrival, the staff at Molori greet you with the joyous songs of Africa. (see Family Fun for more on Molori) www.molori.co.za

ROYAL MALEWANE
Thornybush Game Reserve

Owned by one-time fashion designer Liz Biden, Royal Malewane on the western Kruger National Park border has few equals in unbridled luxury safari lodges. Visited by royalty and rock stars, the Royal Suite is the largest in Africa accommodating two couples in two separate bedrooms each with a massive ensuite. It comes with its own pool, dining area, chef, masseuse, game vehicle, driver and ranger. Picture feather-soft white sofas draped with mohair blankets atop Persian rugs on marble floors – stylish, dramatic and sumptuous all in the middle of the bush! If this all sounds too decadent, the game drives will take you right back to African reality and nature, which is ultimately why you are here. To remind you of this authenticity, after dinner each night guests are escorted to and from their suites by an armed ranger because lions are known to be found on the pathway. The ideal South African itinerary? Begin at the Royal Malewane spotting Big Five on safari, move onto Liz’s La Residence in the Western Cape’s winelands, and finish at her coastal property Hermanus for a bit of whale-watching in August. www.royalmalewane.com

THE OUTPOST

Kruger National Park

The Outpost in the Makuleke region is Africa’s first lodge in the unexplored wilderness of Kruger’s extreme north of the 2 million hectare national park. Most of Kruger’s camps are found in the south, over 400km away near the motorways. The further north you travel, the fewer safaris you encounter until you reach this remote northern corner where there is literally no traffic at all. Known for its elephant, buffalo, superb bird watching, baobab trees and the colossi of the bush, this area has never been developed for tourism. The Outpost stands isolated and solitary in the bush breaking all the rules of the traditional safari-lodge style. Built of stone, steel and polished concrete, the lodge’s 12 floating “spaces” with Italian contemporary lines hover suspended above the Luvuvhu River with limitless horizons, purple hills and thick glossy green bush as vistas. On three sides, there is nothing obstructing your grand view of the landscape besides one low, steel rail dividing the living area from the wild. This cutting edge lodge is a well-kept secret for the privileged few since its opening in 2002 ushering in a new era of safari lodges aimed to experience the rhythm, sounds and cycles of the bush in peace and quiet. www.theoutpost.co.za

NGALA TENTED SAFARI CAMP

Ngala Private Game Reserve

Get back to nature in style while giving something back to Africa at Ngala’s six elegant and exclusive tented suites on the banks of the Timbavati River in north-eastern South Africa. Ngala Lodge, run by Conservation Corporation Africa, is dedicated to luxury safaris through conservation and the involvement of local communities through initiatives like building schools, teaching local children and offering university sponsorships. Guest rooms feature retro pieces from the 50s, 60s and 70s and fine timber decks which overlook the seasonal riverbed. Meal times are always a picturesque banquet-like alfresco affair with long, white linen-covered tables adorned with china and crystal served by your personal butler. Even the game drives are an exclusive (and environmentally sustainable) experience as only 6 vehicles are allowed into the reserve at any one time. Unique to Ngala are their Night Game-Drives, viewing nocturnal predators only spotted after the sun goes down. www.ccafrica.com

BOULDERS LODGE
Singita Private Game Reserve

Singita Boulders Lodge is a Relais and Chateaux property rated the best in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, consistently given a perfect score of 100 in design and service by Conde Nast readers, and voted the world’s #1 safari destination for its location, environmental friendliness and superb accommodation. Singita is a quartet of properties within the private reserve, but our favourite is Boulders with its modern-rustic appeal, rough-hewn timber, thatch, leather and stone contemporary design. This lodge is an architectural gem that blends seamlessly into the rocky landscape – Hollywood in the bush with top-notch service and super-luxe amenities. www.singita.com

LEOPARD HILLS
Sabi Sand Game Reserve

This hilltop sanctuary lodge overlooking a natural waterhole combines the excitement of big-game viewing with the creature comforts of home – a Wellness Centre, gym, extensive wine cellar, and private plunge pools. Each of the eight glass fronted air-conditioned suites have spectacular views over Sabi Sand. Opening its doors in March 1998, this unique lodge was the brainchild of the Kruger family themselves, who remain the owners to this day. We recommend the best way to experience the raw aspects of the bushveld is by taking a walking safari just after breakfast. Be sure to bring your camera – Leopard Hills’ rangers are renowned for partaking in international photography competitions and will be happy to assist with capturing that perfect shot of wildlife. www.leopardhills.com

PHINDA VLEI
Phinda Private Game Reserve

Who needs a Land Rover when you can safari in a Phantom Rolls-Royce? One of only two in South Africa, Phinda can afford you this exquisite experience. On the far East Coast of South Africa lies 34,000 acre Phinda Private south of Mozambique’s tip. Vlei is boutique in atmosphere with its six stilted glass and thatch suites each with its own game-viewing deck with private bar and personal plunge pool. The resort boasts the competitive edge of 7 different ecosystems offering some of the most varied game viewing around. In addition to the twice a day safaris, you can indulge in riverboat cruises, canoeing, coastal flights, deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving, turtle viewing and horse riding. Tip: Don’t miss staff researcher Guy Balme’s leopard safari. www.ccafrica.com

ROCK LODGE

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Private is set in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, offering 5 star safari experience in secluded surroundings. Its Rock Lodge is built on the summit of a koppie with panoramic views of 10,000 acres across the pristine bush to the Drakensberg Mountain range. You can watch antelope and zebras stroll to their watering hole below while you lounge with a cocktail on the sundeck or take a dip in the mountain-top pool. Experienced trackers guide you on game drives into the vast bush in open Land Rovers. Here you can expect first-class treatment as only Sir Richard can provide. After your second game drive of the day, unwind at the Aroma Boma Beauty Centre specialising in Guinot treatments. www.ulusaba.com

ROYAL MADIKWE LODGE
Madikwe Private Game Reserve

The Royal Madikwe operates as a safari residence offered exclusively to every reservation. With only 5 plush chalets, this is the perfect accommodation in South Africa for families and groups with only 10 lucky guests. Located along the Marico River, the animal kingdom lives united around the residence in this boutique malaria-free private reserve. Royal Madikwe is known for absolute flexibility. With such small numbers, you can actually schedule your game drives as well as devise special meals planned according to individual tastes. Amidst spectacular wildlife encounters, the lodge embodies true hospitality. In recognition of this economically depressed region, the owners donate 20% of all profits to reinvestment in local community projects. www.royalmadikwe.com

 

EDGE GOLD LIST

Top 5 Other African Safari Countries (with our veteran African traveller Sally’s Travel Tips!)

  1. TANZANIA

    East Africa boasts the title of the quintessential safari destination due to its prime private reserves, sanctuaries and national parks, not to mention the famed Great Migration from Kenya to Tanzania. This spectacle occurs on the adjoining border of the Masai Mara Reserve and the Serengeti National Park and is the last wild migration of its kind on the planet. The migration is best witnessed by hot air balloon as massive herds of wildebeest and zebra head West across unfenced plains in search of fresh grazing grounds in the wake of the annual rains. For chimpanzee lovers, visit Mahale Mountains National Park near Lake Tanganyika to be surrounded by 700 species of chimps.

    Sally’s Tip – Stay at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge in Northern Tanzania just over the border near Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Lodge is discreetly tucked away in an ancient mahogany forest offering 10 stilted tree-houses with en suite bathrooms, outdoor showers and butler service.

  2. NAMIBIA



    Namibia is not so much about wildlife as landscape. If you are interested in safari, this is not the country for you. Renowned for its grand red sand dunes, the tallest in the world, which appear out of nowhere up to the size of Ayres Rock, you’ll get thirsty just looking outside in this harsh desert landscape. Surprisingly, in the midst of this sand blast, the fenced oasis of Etosha National Park suddenly appears in the northern part of Namibia. This 22,000 square kilometre park does have safari options. The best way to view game in Etosha is to sit quietly at a waterhole and wait for animals to come to you. Okaukuejo’s watering hole is particularly known for its black rhino activity. On the water lies the spooky Skeleton Coast with its endless shipwrecks along the deathly rugged coastline and bones scattered along its beaches. Sinister weather prevails here with chilly breezes, dense and eerie fog which blows in across the cold Benguela current. Skeleton Coast safaris are for the survival of the fittest so be prepared!

    Sally’s Tips – Stay at Sossusvlei Lodge to be surrounded by red sand and experience the deafening silence of the desert. If you are attempting to climb a dune, do so early in the morning before the oppressive heat strikes.

  3. ZAMBIA

    Zambia is considered by many as ‘the real Africa’ and the continent’s greatest kept secret. Lower Zambia has the wildest parts with an abundance of lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. Birdlife and flora are in such dramatic allure here that the area is comparable to the Amazon in species density. Zambia, of course, is most famous for their 350-foot high Victoria Falls. For insane excitement, bungee jump off the railroad bridge which crosses the falls and get drenched. For an equally intense rush, white-water through its gorge in 19 Class V rapids for the wildest one-day raft trip in the world.

    Sally’s Tip – Sip English tea and nibble on scones in the afternoon haze while watching the river flow and engaging your best British accent at the refined and very old-world Royal Livingston Hotel. As Sally said, “I felt like I stepped onto the pages of The Great Gatsby.”
    FYI – The pounding waters of Victoria Falls are best viewed from the Botswana side.

  4. BOTSWANA

    There is nowhere better to spot the “Big Five” than in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, considered one of the world’s richest ecosystems. In Chobe National Park, the varied terrain is of note – savannas, swamps, riverbanks, mopane forests – supporting an unusually diverse range of wildlife. Elephant lovers in particular are drawn to Chobe National Park as it boasts the highest concentrated population of elephants in Africa. Want a break from the land-only game drive? Try a boat safari here and spot hippos and crocodiles along the banks. In a mokoro dugout, explore the channels of the landlocked Okavango Delta and attempt to spot the shy Sitatunga Antelope which hides under the water. In Botswana, be sure to spend time learning the ways of the San (Bushmen) people.

    Sally’s Tip – Botswana has the best variety of accommodation – luxury to low end. If you want lux, stay at Chobe Safari Lodge. If you want to be one with nature, the Elephant Valley Lodge is for you with its simple canvas tents. Never fear though – they at least have flushing toilets! No matter where you stay, the safaris are universally great in Botswana, says Sally.

  5. KENYA

    Refer to Athina’s travel diary about Kenya. After your safari, head to coastal Kenya for a bit of R&R. Stay on Lamu Island in a waterfront hotel or a thatched banda on a white-sand beach and adopt the slow, laid-back life of the Swahili.

    Sally’s Tip – In the outskirts of Nairobi, in the slums of Kenya, are the most extraordinary Butterfly museums. In large netted spaces that you can walk through you’ll find every imaginable species of butterfly fluttering around you in a rainbow of colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008 BEST TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS AWARD

A huge thank you to our loyal clients for your support in helping to nominate Executive Edge for the prestigious honour as one of the Top 20 travel professionals in Australia according to Luxury Travel Magazine’s 2008 Gold List. The Gold List awards are regarded as Australia’s premier luxury travel awards and are voted upon by tens of thousands of Luxury Travel Magazine readers as well as the customers of Virtuoso – the most exclusive collection of elite travel agents in the world. Executive Edge has been highlighted as the “Best Travel Professionals” in Australia coming in at Number 15. Only two Victorian travel agencies have made the list this year, so we send out an enormous congrats to our amazing leisure and corporate consultants. We will continue to endeavour to achieve these high standards every year.

EDGE INTELLIGENCE

10 Essential African Tips

  1. Vaccinations. Each African country has different requirements, but usually the bare minimum shots are for Malaria, Hepatitis A and B and Yellow Fever. All inoculations must be done at least one month prior to the start of your trip. See your local Travel Clinic for further details on inoculations or log onto www.travelclinic.com.au
  2. Visas. Each African country requires different visas so log onto www.visalink.com.au and plug in your passport country, residence, destination and purpose to determine which visa you’ll need to enter the country.
  3. Passports. You will need to have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in each country.
  4. Travel insurance. It is strongly recommended that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance or cover for possible trip cancellation, medical and emergency evacuation, loss of luggage, documents and personal effects.
  5. Currency & Credit Cards. U.S. dollars are preferable for travel throughout Africa and can be exchanged at all banks, hotels and lodges for local currency. Major credit cards are also accepted; however, shops and villages will only accept cash.
  6. Mosquitoes. As Malaria is a concern particularly in Eastern South Africa, in addition to getting the necessary vaccinations and taking tablets, you must also use mosquito repellent. The recommended brand and its sufficient dosage is Bushman 40% Deet as anything less won’t be strong enough for Africa.
  7. Clothing. During the day the scorching sun can be quite strong while on safari, so pack casual light clothes with pale-coloured fabric which breathes such as linens and cottons. At night, however, the evenings can become a bit chilly so be certain to also balance your African wardrobe with long sleeve attire and cooler weather ware such as cashmere jumpers. Also, a safari hat is an absolute MUST as well as comfortable shoes and sunglasses.
  8. Safety. Before your trip, be certain to check the Australian Government’s travel advisory website for the latest health and safety advice for overseas destinations. www.smartraveller.gov.au
  9. Electricity.Voltage is 220-240 AC throughout Africa. An adaptor is required for appliances. Many safari lodges and camps have generators or solar power that may only operate at certain times.
  10. Airport taxes. Applicable taxes and passenger service charges will be charged in cash upon your arrival and/or departure. Check with your agent for exact country specifications.

Growing Consumer Demand in South Africa means BOOK EARLY

As the demand for safaris in 2007 reached an all-time high, ‘book early’ is the universal message from South African wholesalers. Although price rises are expected for 2008, consumer demand is nevertheless predicted to increase, so locking in your African experience in advance is more important than ever. The highest demand seems to be for the top end tours in Botswana and Namibia and those repeat travellers looking for a taste of “Raw” Africa. Despite the increase in price, the South African safari still offers good value for your money and is well worth the expense. Wholesalers are recommending consumers book through your personal travel agent up to a year in advance for a luxury African safari.

Liv’ A Little – Your Ultimate Small Group African Experience

If you really want to experience a true African cultural adventure, this is the off-the-beaten gem for you. Liv a Little is a unique small group tour operator specialising in cultural, wildlife and birding tours throughout Southern Africa. This labour of love was derived from owner and tour operator Leon Louw’s lifelong passion for nature and animals. Leon studied Nature Conservation before becoming a registered tour guide and has been leading tours throughout Southern Africa for the last 8 years to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. Their advertised price structure is based on groups of 3-4 travellers; however their prices decrease per person the larger the group size up to 8 passengers. Best of all, their itineraries are tailor-made to suit your wishes. Point of difference? No set departure dates for any of the tours, no age limits, and an all-inclusive package. Liv’ A Little has truly designed the ultimate authentic African experience.

EDGE TRAVEL

Athina’s Travel Diary on Kenya

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to Kenya on a 7-day safari at the beginning of November with Wildlife Safaris. We began our tour with an overnight stay in Nairobi at the Nairobi Serena Hotel where we were officially greeted by Wildlife Safari and briefed on our forthcoming adventure. With our highly experienced guide as our driver, the next morning we departed early in our 4wd heading North to the first of three game reserves, the very lush and green Samburu Game Reserve. Within five minutes of entering Samburu it was like the wildlife had come to the entrance to greet us. We saw a herd of elephants, the Somali Ostrich, crocodiles, dik dik, baboons, Vervet Monkeys, and Grant’s Gazelles. For two nights, Samburu Serena Lodge was our home by the rapid flowing Uaso Nyiro River. The accommodation was a comfortable bungalow with a bedroom, river-facing balcony and private bathroom. In the two nights there, we met the Samburu tribe, had three sightings of the very shy leopard and saw all the “big five” animals in this reserve – the Somali Ostrich, the Beisa Oryx, the gerenuk, the Reticulated Giraffe and the very rare Grevy’s Zebra. Samburu is a bird enthusiasts delight with hundreds of varieties of colourful birds adding to our visual kaleidoscope. On the way to Lake Nakuru National Park we stopped at Thompson’s Falls for lunch, passed through the Great Rift Valley and crossed the Equator. Lake Nakuru National Park has an alkaline lake with an abundance of flamingos and is home to the successful breeding of the nearly extinct White Rhinoceros. This park can be described as entering an enchanted forest. Whilst at the edge of Lake Nakuru and gazing at the millions of flamingos that occupy this lake, we watched a hyena stalk and kill a flamingo. The accommodation located in the national park is Lake Nakuru Lodge. Our room was a spacious comfortable bedroom with private bathroom and large bay windows that overlook the savannah plains and lake in the distance. Travelling South from here we have a long, 8-hour hard drive to arrive at Masai Mara National Reserve. Upon entering Masai Mara we experienced the vast savannah plains landscape that you most associate and see in documentaries. Masai Mara is mainly known for the annual migration of the wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s Gazelle. They are also known for the hospitable Masai Mara people – a proud, nomadic clan with traditional warrior blood and bright colourful clothing to ward off the lions. Our stay within this national reserve was at Mara Serena Lodge, situated on a hill overlooking the plains. From my room, I could see savannah plains as far as the eye could see and magical African sunsets that envelope the distant sky. The hotel looked like it has been carved out of rocks on the hill. On the last day of our safari we have an early morning game drive and then pack and prepare to take a light plane to Nairobi. In Nairobi, we are met and transferred to Nairobi International Airport to connect to our flight home.

To see the enormous array of wildlife not only every day but twice a day was simply out of this world. It astounded me at how easy it was to see all of the animals thanks to our experienced and knowledgeable guide/driver. Overall, my first safari experience was unforgettable and I highly recommend that everyone share this wildlife extravaganza at least once in their lifetime.

Sandra’s Travel Diary on the Masai Reserve

My African adventure started in Johannesburg airport before flying to Nairobi for one night. In Nairobi, my introduction to authentic African cuisine began quite dramatically. Our tour group treated us to the famed Carnivore Restaurant – an open-air meat specialty restaurant where every type of wild game imaginable is roasted on sword-like skewers over a huge charcoal pit at the entrance. Waiters carry these massive skewers of meat directly to your table to choose your cut – quite a raw experience, pun intended!

The next day we headed to The Ark (a hotel resembling Noahs Ark) situated north of Nairobi where we saw gazelle, elephants, warthogs and baboons.  After a night of wildlife spotting we turned South down to the Masai Mara game reserve around the Tanzanian border.  Along the way we stopped in tiny villages and mingled amongst the locals buying ornaments and artefacts.  Our next port of call was Lake Nakuru which appears pink from a distance due to the millions of flamingos that lavish its shores.  There we found rhino, zebra, flamingos, buffalo and many more native African wildlife.  After spending the night at Lake Nakuru Lodge, we left early for our day trip through the beautiful Great Rift Valley (parts of Out of Africa were filmed here) on our way to the Masai Mara.  This is the real Africa – baron plains with just one hill for miles.  Our drive through the Masai allows us to view all the Big Five in abundance – elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. We even saw a Black Rhino which are very rare indeed and witnessed some lions mating.  We spent the night at the Mara Serena Lodge then continue the next day to a Masai village where we witness the everyday lives and rituals of the Masai people.  We are then taken out to view prides of lions, herds of zebra and wilderbeast – we even experienced the end of the migration of the wilderbeast.  That night we slept in luxury at a five-star tented accommodation at Olonana camp where we have diner under the stars beside the Mara River.  The next day we are flown from the Masai back to Nairobi to catch our connecting flight back to Johannesburg for 2 nights of civilised comfort at the Palace of the Lost City – a huge resort for families and couples alike with water parks, movie cinemas and shops.  Although, I feared getting too close to any lions on safari – I managed to hold and feed a lion’s cub at the park. A fitting end to my eternally memorable African trip.

FAMILY FUN

Kids Volunteer after Safaris

Safaris aren’t just for grown ups anymore. And now there is a way to give back to the environment you’ve explored on safari to maintain its continuance. Imaginative Traveller has just released a new tour concept which combines family holidays and volunteer tours in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Inclusive in the safari package can be a short volunteer component in which children will have the chance to assist in conservation projects. According to the Director of Imaginative Traveller Warren Smith, there has been an increase in the number of people travelling to Africa for the second or third time because they love the continent and want to not only experience the culture but ensure its survival. Volunteering with conservation projects after a safari provides kids and parents alike a chance to help maintain the fragile natural ecosystem that they experienced during their safari holiday.

A Family Affair – Mother’s 80th Celebration in South Africa

Colin Cowie, a famous event coordinator for Hollywood, orchestrated a truly beautiful commemorative soiree at Molori Lodge and Spa in South Africa for his entire family in honour of his mother’s 80th birthday. With only 10 rooms, their family took over the entire compound for the 4-day milestone celebration. The long weekend was nothing less than magical. During the first afternoon game drive, a special friend presided over an “Eyes are the Windows to the Soul” ceremony – a traditional South African tribute ritual in the bush with the whole family standing in a semi-circle around his mother while her life’s story was told and sentimental gifts presented. Back at Molori, the family dined nightly under the stars in the boma (an outdoor dining area protected by a wall of branches and thorns to keep animals out). Each dinner was a “feast for the soul,” said Colin, as he described their long table swathed in white linen decorated with white pomanders of roses and hundreds of candles. Chef Wielie and his culinary team prepared traditional South African BBQs with oxtail and live crayfish flown in from Cape Town. On the last day, to the backdrop of the setting sun, Colin’s family presented his mother with a photo album of her life that everyone had contributed to. At the end of the book, 100 questions were listed for her to answer and fill in about her life to hand down the legacy of her lifetime to the next generation. Click here for more on this amazing idea for a family holiday.

CRUISE NEWS

Holland America Indian Ocean Odyssey to Africa

In early 2009, Holland America Cruise will offer a 36-day land/sea cruise from Singapore to Cape Town which is truly sensational. The itinerary includes experiencing the best of African safaris and allows guests to choose from the Taita Hills Game Sanctuary, the Maasai Mara Reserve, Lion Sands Game Reserve and the Phinda Game Reserve. The voyage begins on March 16th in Singapore travelling first to Phuket, Thailand then onto India for three days. You’ll get to see the Taj Mahal, the Prince of Wales Museum, colourful Chowpatty Beach, the dhobi ghats, just to name a few of India’s highlights. Then off to sea again to Dubai and Oman bound for the Seychelles. After these glorious Indian Ocean idyllic islands, head for Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and end in Cape Town, South Africa on April 21st. This incredible itinerary starts at $7,349 US. Please contact your Executive Edge Cruise Consultant for more details on this once-in-a-lifetime Travel the World cruise.

Silverseas Mauritius to South Africa

Looking for a memorable way to spend the holidays next year, search no farther than Silverseas Port Louis to Cape Town 14-day voyage on its Silver Wind ship. On December 20th, 2008 the Silver Wind departs Mauritius and heads to Madagascar then along the Eastern tip of Africa finally departing in Cape Town January 1, 2009. Highlights include The Singita Lodge (see above) which is rated the best in the Sabi Sand Reserve and morning and afternoon game drives with expert guides in open Land Rovers for unforgettable Big Five sightings. Prices start at $6,495 cruise-only. See your Edge agent for more details.