Many people like to kick off the new year with lists or resolutions. We resolve to travel, and the list we have for you is our ‘Top 12 Places to Visit in 2019!’
January – Antarctica / February – Tanzania / March – Beach / April – Family / May – North Africa / June – Active / July – Western Tanzania / August – Madagascar / September – Rwanda / October – Kenya / November – Namibia / December – Botswana
No, this is not a typo – We’re starting the year off with a bang with a visit to the 7th continent via Africa! We have a couple of ways you can do it, including a day trip from South Africa. Spend a few days relaxing at Cape Town’s gorgeous and exclusive Ellerman House before embarking on the ‘Greatest Day’ – a 15 hr round trip to Antarctica. Travel on a private jet for a quick 5.5 hour flight. You’ll spend approximately 4 hours on the ground and can enjoy a host of activities ranging from completely gentle to adrenaline-fueled! We will have expert guides on hand to escort you every step of the way. As you might imagine, this is not inexpensive. If you’d like to focus on Antarctica exclusively, check out our Antarctic Adventure, an 11-night cruise that allows you to experience all that the continent has to offer.
Few would argue that one of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles is the ‘Great Migration’ of wildebeest, zebra and more in East Africa. Visiting Tanzania in February doubles down on this incredible natural show because it’s calving season when, in a two-week period, the wildebeest give birth to 250,000+ gangly calves!
Africa has an abundance of fantastic beaches and we love a post-safari beach retreat to relax and recover from safari. A beach stay is also a great addition to an African honeymoon! There’s Zanzibar for Swahili culture, exotic Stone Town and great water activities. Or you could consider Mozambique with its beautiful beaches, incredible diving and fantastic food (ask Diana about her recent visit!). Or perhaps finish your African vacation at the uber-exclusive North Island in the Seychelles or on your own private island off the coast of Tanzania. Contact us to talk about which of Africa’s gorgeous beach retreats is right for you.
Spring break anyone? Our recommendation for families visiting Africa would be to book a private villa. Your time and space are your own, and you can focus entirely on each other. We have several favorites (including staff pick Tarkuna Villa, a very high-end, exclusive “home” nestled deep in the Kalahari Desert), or if you’d like to be more be a bit more independent, you can check out our South Africa Private Villa Safari for inspiration.
This is one of the best times of year to visit North Africa. For those intrigued by Morocco’s fascinating mix of history, art, food, music and architecture, along with its incredible scenery, our Best of Morocco itinerary gives a taste of everything. For those with a bit of extra time, we recommend ending your stay with a visit to Kasbah Tamadot to relax and enjoy one of our favorite spas in Africa!
Another North African option is Egypt. Who hasn’t dreamed of the pyramids, plying the River Nile, or exploring the tomb of King Tut? A visit to old Cairo is like stepping back in time, and the myriad well-preserved antiquities and monuments makes Egypt a top-notch destination.
Zimbabwe and Zambia make a wonderful safari combination, and they’re perfect for the active traveler. You can enjoy fishing, kayaking and canoeing in the lower Zambezi, walking safaris, and Victoria Falls is home to all manner of adrenaline activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, and microlighting.
Anyone that’s had the chance to visit Tanzania’s Katavi and Mahale Mountains National Parks has had an experience they’ll never forget. Katavi is way off the beaten path, is home to an incredible amount of wildlife and sees very few tourists. Its undisturbed wilderness allows for unparalleled and exclusive game viewing, including sightings of immense concentrations of hippos during the dry season.
Moving on to Mahale – this park is just a stone’s throw from where Jane Goodall did her chimpanzee research and we think that this is one of the best spots to trek the apes in Africa. In addition to trekking, you can enjoy swimming in the crystalline waters of Lake Tanganyika, catch and release fishing, boating on the lake and more. All while staying in a lodge that looks like it was built by Robinson Crusoe!
Home to some of Africa’s most iconic views, as well as some of its most unique wildlife and warm, wonderful people, Madagascar boasts 5% of earth’s known plant and animal species which can be found nowhere else. Lemurs, sifakas and indiris, along with majestic, towering baobabs – it’s an incredible setting for an unforgettable adventure!
In addition to the famous mountain gorillas, Rwanda is home to much more wildlife. We still encourage you to trek to see gorillas, but why not add a visit to Akagera National Park – now home to the Big 5. And perhaps add on a visit to Nyungwe Forest National Park – a misty, primate-rich ecosystem that begs to be explored. With several new lodges both near the gorillas and in the other national parks coming in 2019, there’s no better time to visit.
We couldn’t make it through the year without talking about the Great Migration again. It’s an ever-changing constant spectacle, and in October, we suggest you focus on Kenya. It’s one of your better chances to witness a river crossing. We love combining the Mara with Northern Kenya and suggest a visit to Laikipia and Samburu for great game viewing along with an in-depth look at some of Kenya’s innovative wildlife conservation efforts. It’s not far from Samburu to visit the new Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, where you can learn about their work, watch the elephants’ feeding time and receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuary.
To top it all off, start (or finish – or both!) your safari with a stay at Giraffe Manor, a beautiful boutique hotel set on a 140 acre giraffe sanctuary near Nairobi.
November is a wonderful month to travel to Namibia, and in 2019 we are offering a special 6-day Desert Lion Conservation safari. On this journey you will visit Namibia’s vast, untamed Kaokoveld Desert and participate in conservation initiatives. Proceeds from the safari will benefit the Desert Lion Conservation Foundation. We strongly recommend adding on some time for sandy adventures on Namibia’s windswept and desolate Skeleton Coast – known for the more than 1,000 ships that have met their end along its rocky shores.
Beautiful warm days with green season beauty greet visitors to Botswana this time of year, along with more affordable pricing. This prime-time photography season has some of the best rates of the year if you travel before the festive season, with savvy travelers taking advantage. It’s the season where visiting exclusive camps like Mombo (one of our ’10 Safari Camps to Visit Before you Die’) won’t break the bank.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t make one more migration mention – but this time it’s a zebra migration! The Kalahari Desert is home to the continent’s second largest migration of ungulates (and its longest, at 300 miles), this time with zebra leading in numbers. It may be lesser known, but it is no less fascinating and beautiful if you’re lucky enough to see it.