Top 5 books for Travelling to Africa

This week as we explore the wanderlust continent of Africa and with bank holiday weekend looming we thought we’d suggest another batch of virtual travel material…

 

Whether you’re seeking inspiration for a trip to Africa or want to venture there for an afternoon or two then download/order one of these books:

 

1. AFRICA: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

by Richard Dowden

“I write chiefly for outsiders, those who have not been to Africa but would like to know more about it.” – For the past three decades or so Dowden has travelled this vast and varied continent, listening, learning, and constantly re-evaluating all he thinks he knows. His readers journey with him country by country, as he has sought out the local and the personal, the incidents, actions, and characters to tell a story of modern sub-Saharan Africa – an area affected by poverty, disease and war, but also a place of breathtaking beauty, generosity and possibility. The result is a compelling, illuminating, and always surprising Africa insight.

2. Dark Star Safari

By Paul Theroux

Theroux earned his reputation as one of the all-time great travelogue writers because he lives every word that he writes. Dark Star Safari takes readers on his voyage from Cairo to Cape Town. He endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances which make for quite the page turner. It’s an honest account of his epic and enlightening journey and a refreshing take on overland travel in Africa.

3. Ivory, Apes and Peacocks: Animals, Adventure and Discovery

By Alan Root

Root’s personal account of childhood and professional life is a fine African memoir, taking his readers from the adventurous innocence of wildlife-filming in colonial Kenya to the complexities of recent years, in particular the murder of his wife Joan in 2006, which we are lead to believe is because of her anti-poaching campaign.

4. Savannah Diaries

By Brian Jackman

This book collects Jackman’s accounts of game parks, including meetings with legendary safari guide Robin Pope. The first is when Pope is a rookie, apprenticed to Norman Carr, the grand old man of the Luangwa Valley; the second takes place 30 years later, when Jackman joins Pope for a walking safari.

Having written about the animals and landscapes of Africa for 40 years or so you can really explore with Jackman and his attention to detail.

5. The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence

Conservationist Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to protecting the world’s most endangered species. The Elephant Whisperer depicts his time bonding with a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants, which he saved from being killed by taking them in as his ‘family’ on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand. This really is an energetic firsthand reportage from the heart of the African wild.

This book may make you cry, laugh and have you completely absorbed, but it will also have you planning your next safari trip straight away…

 

Happy reading!

If you’d like to chat Africa or plan a trip please get in touch: [email protected]

Virtual Travel

Virtual travel, travelling virtually, whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is we aren’t going anywhere at the moment. Sobs aside, we can certainly still plan for freer times and daydream about far flung destinations…

Let’s travel virtually with our top pick of films and TV programs that transport you somewhere further than Costa del backyard.

1. The Beach

It might reaffirm your desire for a nice hotel over a hostel, but Leo’s journey to a hard-to-reach island, described as the ultimate paradise with white sands and clear water should makes for a nice couple of hours in Thailand.

 

2. The Motorcycle Diaries

Visit Latin America on a road trip with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and his his pal Alberto Granado. Filmed through major landmarks in South America, as per Che’s memoir, from the Andes mountain range to Machu Picchu and even a leper colony in San Pablo.

 

3. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Grab and a gin and tonic and hunker down for an evening in Jaipur with a pleasing ensemble cast (including Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, and Bill Nighy), who prove how deeply travel can stir us, at any age.

 

4. Out of Africa

The film is timeless and should be on everyone’s travel film list. If it doesn’t tempt you to Kenya I don’t know what will…

5. The Bucket List

This is a heart warming film that will inspire you to tick one or two things off your travel wish list. Filmed in various locations in India, China, Egypt, Tanzania, France and the US there’s no shortage of places to virtually travel to.

 

6. March of the Penguins

Any time is a great time to revisit this cuddly classic filmed in Antarctica – but now seems particularly good. Morgan Freeman narrates the story of a year in the life of the Emperor penguins, who waddle across glorious but perilous icy landscapes on an annual trek for mating season. Plus with solar eclipse next year it’s a good time to think about booking an Antarctic adventure.

7. Street Food

Experiencing street food culture is one of the joys of travel. This inspiring series from the makers of Chef’s Table is as much about the compelling survival stories of these talented street chefs as it is about their signature dishes.

Including countries: Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam

7. Virunga

The Oscar-nominated heart-rending true story of the rangers risking their lives to save the Congo and its endangered gorillas.

8. Magical Andes

From Argentina to Colombia, this inspiring documentary follows five characters who share their deep connection to South America’s majestic mountains.

9. Travels with My Father

Jack and Michael Whitehall are bonded by blood and not much else. They take us on comical journeys with them through South East Asia, Europe and the US.

10. Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti

She’s one of our favourite tour guides, and this time she leads us into a lesser-seen side of the Caribbean in her new two-part documentary, Joanna Lumley’s Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti, which begins in a boxing gym in the lively Cuban capital.

 

Give the Gift of Travel

I’m one for leaving the for the obligatory Christmas shop until the 24th December, and before I get scrooge heckled at me – I simply enjoy everything else to do with Christmas aside from gift purchasing. Over the years it has meant friends and family have been treated to an assortment of questionable gift vouchers.

This year, if like me, you fancy doing the same then Pippa Rose Lifestyle are fashioning some lovely gift vouchers.

We don’t believe in plastic so you can either receive a hand written gift card or an electronic one.

You may chose to gift a sum of money or a pre-booked jaunt (be it a city break or luxurious train voyage).

Here are a few of our suggestive festive treats:

Venice Simplon Orient Express

Journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London for a luxurious overnight trip to Venice, where you arrive late afternoon the next day just in time for an aperitivo!

  

Priced from £2,573 per person (for more details of the journey and what is included please get in touch)

The Newt, Somerset

Sister of the infamous Babylonstoren in South Africa, The Newt is one of the most exquisite country house hotels Britain has seen, and nothing says gift of the year like a two night stay at this sought after bolthole.

  

Priced from £255 per person for a two night stay including breakfast, cyder tour, garden tour & spa access (we will even throw in a gorgeous bottle of Babylonstoren wine)

*  We can also arrange a two night stay at Babylonstoren priced from £400 per person.

Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam

Treat someone to the experience of timeless elegance at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on the UNESCO ‘Gentlemen’s Canal’.

  

Priced from £550 per person for a two night stay including breakfast, $100 spa credit & complimentary upgrade subject to availability

Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley

Like any Six Senses property this luxurious eco friendly estate is pure holistic hedonism. Everything one might want after the indulgence of the festive season…

Priced from £270 per person for a two night stay including breakfast, $100 spa credit & complimentary upgrade subject availability

Corral Del Rey, Seville

The Queen of foodie city breaks, this Andalusian gem is hidden down cobbled streets within minutes of top tapas restaurants!

Priced from £200 per person for a two night stay including breakfast, some delicious olive oil & a Pippa Rose Lifestyle guide to the city

Sun Rocks, Santorini

Christmas is a time for SANT-orini (the destination is far better than my ill use of puns). This great little boutique is ideal for honeymooners, couples, mother daughter trips or friends so it really is a safe bet on the purchasing front.

Priced from £760 per person for a two night stay including breakfast and a bottle of crisp white vino

Alexa J, Greece

Go over board the Christmas and give the gift of this thoughtfully designed sailing yacht with the facilities and craftsmanship of a large super yacht, coupled with the highest levels of personal service (including your own spa therapist- fancy!)

 

Priced upon request…

If you’d like to arrange a tailor made gift or voucher please get in touch with the team: [email protected]

September Sun

If like me you’ve had a rather hectic summer or aren’t quite ready for knit wear, then a dose of September sunshine is just what you need. Having based myself in Portugal for well over a year now, and yes call me biased, but the glorious home of custard tarts and silly Ronaldo haircuts is just the place to go; beaches and towns are quieter in September, the temperatures in the south are in their late 20s, restaurants and bars are still in full swing and the Country’s notable wine producers go in to harvest for September and October (very key decision maker).

I could wax lyrical all day long about how much I adore Portugal but I’ll spare you the laborious read and suggest a few of my favourite September getaways.

 

Areias do Seixo, Santa Cruz

This hotel is total tranquility. Only an hour north from Lisbon this eco friendly foodie haven is just about one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. In terms of style of the property think suspended fireplaces, large sea-facing terraces, herb gardens and eclectic art pieces. You feel slightly like an extra in a Boden catalogue as you board the hotel’s VW campervan down to Noah – its ever so cool and trendy surf shack, that’s if you fancy leaving the hotel for a jaunt. If you don’t, and who can blame you, there is so much to do within eco mecca – a notable experience being the Garden and Cookery experience where you are taken by the gardener to learn alongside picking your fruit, veg and herbs for lunch. Then it’s back to the kitchen for a cookery class with the chef. I’m hesitant to say too much as much of the allure of this place is the ambiguity.

  

 

Villa Monte Farm House, The Algarve

Long affiliated with cheap booze and football shirt wearing hooligans, the Algarve is perfect for any break, and with some gorgeous boutique hotels there isn’t a shadow of doubt that it has sophistication as a destination. Villa Monte is no exception to this – think boho chic farm house. The white washed walls aligned by orange trees and rich pink bougainvillea host a handful of lovely simply decorated rooms and suites. Food is local with fish being caught in nearby Olhao and bread freshly baked. Classic films are played each night which goes down very well with a glass of Portuguese red. Here’s one place that is cosy and fire lit in the winter and sun soaked in the summer, where you can opt to cycle to the beach or lounge by either of the two swimming pools.

  

 

Malhadinha Nova, Alentejo

Here’s one place I have enjoyed watching its success from being slightly unknown to featuring in every in the know travel publication, and for good reason. Rooms are bright and elegant in the quintessential Portuguese homestead and with just 10 rooms the place is never crowded. As its harvest season in September and Malhadinha boasts quite the wine collection this option comes highly recommended. Plus who doesn’t want to stomp around on grapes? Fine wine needs to be accompanied by fine food and Malhadinha Nova rear cattle and grow their own produce so the quality is quite something.

For a spot of R&R you can enjoy the spa, their gorgeous free flowing infinity pool, horse riding, leisurely walks around the estate and yoga classes. I feel totally at home here and that’s down to the superb hospitality of Bruno and his team.

  

 

Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley

Like any Six Senses property this luxurious eco friendly estate is pure hedonism. Everything from the spa to the in-room bathroom products are totally pure and organic and whilst it’s a shame you can’t take home such lovely bathroom goodies, I applaud their efforts to avoid single use plastic and keep green. I’m bound to love a hotel that has it’s own charcuterie and cheese room at breakfast, a long side everything you’d expect from a hotel that promotes a healthy lifestyle- fresh juices, herbal teas, homemade granola and so the list goes on. Their farm to table food concept is not a foreign concept at boutique hotels nowadays but here they make full use of the produce from their gardens and their olive oil is out of this world. The Douro Valley is on many a tourist trail because of its famed wine producing, and the Six Sense bar really is the place to do wine tasting with world class sommeliers and breath taking river views.

 

Sublime Comporta, Alentejo

Comporta is the sort of place you feel you need a guest pass to access, having had Portugal’s elite frequent it’s beautiful shores each summer, you soon learn why it might just be Portugal’s best kept secret. By no means do I mean this is a flashy area of the Alentejo coast, yet it’s the un-spoilt beaches, vineyards and hard to beat local restaurants that make it so alluring. With little to no hotels in the area Sublime Comporta is everything the name suggests. The design is simple, a handful of minimalist cabanas, which I assure you are nothing short of luxury and with an instagramable pool and social firepit for the cooler cosy evenings, what more could you want?

 

São Lourenço do Barrocal, Alentejo

A relative new comer to the Portuguese boutique hotel scene – São Lourenço do Barrocal estate has been in the same family for some 200 years, and Jose Antonio Uva has loving restored the place to be the next place on all travel aficionados wish list. As a foodie I LOVE their farm to fork restaurant Hortelao, which sits within their vegetable garden and what better way to enjoy a late summer evenings then delicious food accompanied by jazz music. If that doesn’t appeal perhaps a picnic in the countryside would? Or a holistic yoga retreat? Also being the Alentejo, another top Portuguese wine producing hub – September and October are perfect time to be here.

 

The Conrad, The Algarve

Whilst this particular choice doesn’t fall in to the boutique hotel category it makes the cut because the hotel is simply first class. There is a reason the spa has won several awards; the experienced therapists will go above and beyond to look after you and they use aromatherapy associates, which say no more and book me in! And it’s not just the Spa that has won awards – Gusto by Heinz Beck has it’s own accolades where award winning Nelson de Matos will mix up quite the cocktail. Yoga with Lulu, perhaps not the night after Nelson’s concoctions, is a must for anyone visiting, followed by a dip in any of the eye popping swimming pools. September again is ideal in the Algarve weather wise and the Conrad also have a shuttle to the beach. General manager Katharina and her team really look after you and that is something that I often find is somewhat lost in larger hotels.

 

If you’d like to book any of these for a last minute September getaway please get in touch: [email protected]