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Family Vacations in Africa

February 20th, 2019, by African Travel

*Header Photo: Loisaba Star Beds

Though Africa is not always thought of as a family-friendly destination, it can most definitely be a fun, educational and safe place for children to visit. With many malaria-free areas, child-friendly accommodations and kid-oriented activities, not only is it a great place to bond as a family, but it can open a child’s eyes to the beauty of the natural world and the richness of other cultures. 

Imagine the wonder on your child’s face as she interacts with the habituated meerkats, gets drenched by the swirling mist at Victoria Falls, learns how to make African crafts, or dances with local children. These types of experiences are arguably better than anything they can read about in a textbook or see in a zoo, and definitely more enriching than spending hours buried in video games or social media!

Photo: "Bug CSI” class in the bush at Madikwe Safari Lodge


Most safari lodges in Africa offer shorter game drives, dedicated childrens’ centers, junior ranger programs and other activities guaranteed to suit the interests and attention spans of children of various ages. For example, at South Africa’s Madikwe Safari Lodge kids can learn about native insects during a “Bug CSI” class in the bush, paint their favorite animal on a rock that they collect during a game drive, or take part in a safari scavenger hunt. At Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, children can hand-feed the gentle resident giraffes that roam the grounds, and learn about what’s being done to protect them at the adjacent Giraffe Centre. Most hotels also have inter-connected or multi-bedroom suites to accommodate families with children of different ages, and many also offer amenities like special menus, cookies at turndown, mini bath robes, and babysitting services.
 

Photo: Kids feeding the resident giraffes at Giraffe Manor

 

The newly renovated Riverdene Family Lodge at Shamwari Private Game Reserve is an ideal place for families and where children can engage in the Kids on Safari program. With access to both indoor and outdoor activities, kids can enjoy ziplining, arts and crafts activites, rock climbing walls and exploring the game reserve through a network of treehouses connected by suspended walkways. 

 

Photo: Kids on Safari Adventure Centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve

 

Visiting local schools and communities is another thing families can do in Africa to further immerse themselves in the local customs and culture. It’s also an excellent way to give kids a glimpse into the lives of their peers in Africa. For example, in Cape Town families can spend an afternoon at The Amy Foundation learning about the after-school skills training and arts programs for disadvantaged youths, and even learn how to do the “gumboots dance” from local children! Or alternatively, those interested in a multi-day educational vacation can opt for the ME to WE Adventure to Kenya. During this four-day community experience in the northern Maasai Mara, guests work alongside locals on a sustainable development project and enjoy activities that let them discover the local culture, such as visiting a primary school, and fetching water and beading with Maasai “mamas.” This unforgettable journey will transform you and your children forever.

African Travel, Inc. offers numerous itineraries that are perfect for families with children, or that can be adapted to meet a family’s needs. These include some of our most popular trips in southern and eastern Africa: South African Tapestry, Best of Botswana with Victoria Falls, South Africa Natural Wonders, and Under Kenyan Skies.

 

Romance in Africa

February 11th, 2019, by African Travel

Africa is growing more popular every year as a romantic destination. This charming and quixotic continent appeals to couples who want a unique, extraordinary trip to complement their unique, extraordinary love! Africa’s combination of stunning wildlife, adrenalin adventures, urban diversions, idyllic beaches, and exotic flavors are the perfect recipe for revving up the romance, whether you’re planning a dreamy destination wedding, an idyllic honeymoon, or a passionate couples’ getaway.

 

Photo: Romantic candlelit dinner at Simbambili Game Lodge

 

Let’s start with safaris. Plenty of luxury tented lodges amp up the romance factor with amour-inspiring amenities. For example, at Simbambili Game Lodge in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve, each Morroccan-styled suite is carefully positioned to ensure privacy, and includes a private plunge pool, a patio overlooking a watering hole, in-room aromatherapy and massage, and turn-down service with candles, champagne and a bubble bath. After a thrilling day of game drives or guided bush walks, couples can also enjoy private starlit dinners in the bush. Other lodges offer uber-romantic treehouse accommodation, where sweethearts can literally sleep under the stars, surrounded gentle breezes and the sounds of nature. Kenya’s Loisaba Conservancy, for example, features Loisaba Star Beds, which command sweeping views over the Loisaba valley and its permanent waterhole. Rustically designed to complement the surrounding environment, each star bed is raised on a wooden platform and features a handcrafted four-poster bed, a sitting area and open-plan bathroom with a view.

 

Photo: Enjoy sundowners at The Leopard Bar in Cape Town

 

If cities are more likely to ignite the fire of passion in you, Cape Town is an excellent choice. In South Africa’s vibrant, cosmopolitan capital you and your beloved can embrace the city’s lively blend of history, culture and geography by touring its colorful neighborhoods, dining on its distinctive Cape Malay cuisine foods, or ascending the iconic Table Mountain. Then head out to explore the stunning seascapes of the Cape Peninsula, share a kiss on the pristine beaches of Camps Bay, take a leisurely drive along the cliffs of the legendary Chapman’s Peak Drive, or admire the cute penguins at beautiful Boulders Beach. Stay overnight at the remarkable Twelve Apostles Hotel, where romance is the name of the game. Savor the breath-taking sunsets at The Leopard Bar while you sip sundowners, have a couples’ massage in the outdoor gazebo overlooking the ocean, or enjoy a romantic picnic amongst the verdant fynbos of Table Mountain National Park.

The Franschhoek Valley, South Africa’s version of the Napa Valley, is perfect for couples who want to spend all or part of their vacation indulging in award-winning wines and fine foods. Quaint towns like Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl offer literally hundreds of vineyards, cellars and family-owned specialty shops where you and your sweetie can go wine-tasting or try South African favorites such as Rooibos tea, biltong, droëwors (cured meats), koeksisters and Amarula mousse.

 

Photo: Relax and enjoy time together at Azura Benguerra Resort

 

If your idea of a romantic vacation involves lazing on a blissful beach and soaking up the sun, Africa’s got that too. Mozambique’s Benguerra island, a gem in the heart of the Bazaruto archipelago, is renowned for its pristine white sand, unspoiled coral reefs, snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing. Azura Benguerra resort, which is set within a protected marine conservation area, offers many ways for couples to connect: you can explore the underwater wonderland, sunbathe on nearly deserted beaches, savor a couples’ massage, or enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner for two with the vast Indian Ocean as a backdrop.

African Travel, Inc.’s diverse, hand-crafted itineraries encompass everything from traditional game drives, to wine-tasting, to city sightseeing to scuba diving, plus a variety of luxurious extras, from sunset cruises to helicopter rides. “African Romance” is African Travel Inc.’s most amour-inspiring itinerary. Over the course of 12 days and two countries, honeymooners are treated to, sundowners beneath Table Mountain, and soothing beachside massages at an idyllic beach resort in Mozambique.

 

Estelle Brand's Famous Fruit Cake Recipe

February 5th, 2019, by African Travel

We are proud to share the recipe of Nelson Mandela's favorite cake: Estelle Brand's famous fruit cake. The cake was smuggled into Robben Island prison by Christo Brand, who shared it with with Mandela and other political prisoners. It quickly became a sensation in the prison and was frequently requested by Nelson Mandela. 

Ingredients

  • 500g (18 oz.) mixed fruit
  • 250g (9 oz.) finely chopped dates
  • 100g (4 oz.) candied fruit
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 130g (5 oz.) butter or margarine, chopped into small slivers
  • 1 cup coffee (1 cup of hot water and 2 teaspoons of Nescafé)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 candied cherries, halved
  • 3 tablespoons of brandy

Instructions

Put the butter, sugar, mixed fruit, dates, candied fruit and coffee into a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes on full power. When it comes out of the microwave, add the baking soda and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, all the spices and salt, and then fold this into the dried fruit, coffee, baking soda and butter mixture.

Beat in the 2 eggs and fold in the 8 candied cherries and mix well. Line the base of a microwaveable bowl with baking powder and grease the sides with butter. Tip the cake batter into the prepared bowl. The bowl must be approximately three-quarters full because the cake will rise about a quarter. Bake at medium/low power for 30 minutes. When it comes out of the microwave, put the brandy over the top immediately, then leave it to cool for a few minutes.

Once you can touch the sides of the dish, turn it out on to a rack. Once the cake is cold, wrap it in foil and every second week add a further 3 tablespoons of brandy. Mrs. Brand says that it is important to make the cake on the first of October so that it can have long enough to get moist and brandy-laden by the Christmas season. Enjoy!

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