A Business-Class Getaway To An East African Paradise

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With increased trade relations between India and East African nations, the region is of renewed interest to travellers. Its combination of unique cultures, wildlife experiences and gorgeous new luxury hotels, make this a fabulous region to explore.

By Devanshi Mody

The sapphire seas, pearl-like in islands are now welcoming tourists with new resorts that offer a wide variety of experiences ranging from spas to unprecedented sea excursions. One of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, in East Africa you will find thick forests and golden grasslands; snow-capped peaks and volcano valleys, plains teeming with wildlife and several lakes; not to forget the marine life across its coastline. Here, 'game' in safari parlance assumes a whole new meaning.

Most of the terrain in East Africa varies largely in altitude: the higher altitudes have cooler weather conditions while the coastal areas are warm and humid. This has allowed diff erent flora and fauna species to co-exist. Until recently, African Safaris were only associated with Kenya and Tanzania, but as we ventured into the unvarnished parts of East Africa, we were taken aback with the beauty of coastline that stretches to about 16,470 kilometres. The saphire seas, pearled in islands are now welcoming tourists with new resorts that offer a wide variety of experiences ranging from spas to unprecedented sea excursions.

East Africa is emerging as a region for tourists who want to experience more than just the wild side of the continent: beach resorts, marine life centres, business hotels, trade shows, music festivals, food trails, heritage sites, and mass media are creating a wave of change in how we plan our next African holiday.

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The land of the legendary walking safaris Zambezi, attracts tourists to the Victoria Falls—the country’s tallest tourist attraction. More than twice as high as Niagara Falls, the Victoria Falls is considered one of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of the World’. Zambia is enormously rich in natural wealth, sprawling as it does three national parks—Kafue, South Luangwa, and Lower Zambezi.

Shumba means ‘lion’ and Shumba Camp is the undisputed titan of all of Zambia’s tented camps, for this one comes with four-poster beds and under-the-heavens outdoor stalls for showers. Your luxury tent never runs out of water but Zambia’s Busanga. Plains do, in dry season. They’re then inundated with starved antelope, stalked By large lusty lions. And Shumba Camp zooms you in on a view to a kill. It seems so close, you could stick your hand out and touch the drama, but you’d better not unless you want to be the lions’ supper.

Credit: Royal Livingstone

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It’s much wiser then, to live to relish dinner theater over camp feasts cooked on open fi res and served up in natty dining, and viewing decks from where you descry besides migrating antelope and the predatory lions—wild dogs, a lonesome cheetah, even hippo families, flatly cluttering the watering holes. Elephant lovers head to Chobe National Park which boasts the world’s largest concentration of elephants.

Stay on a private island, actually two, for the Islands of Siankaba Lodge, with only seven chalets, straddles two profusely jungled islands in the Zambezi River. Their restaurant is fabulous. Gorge on! But not too much for there’s only a footbridge linking you to civilisation and you don’t want to feed yourself to the crocs.

Credit: Royal Livingstone

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Business And Leisure Hotels In Zambia

Taj Pamodzi Hotel

In the heart of the business and government district of Lusaka, the fivestar Taj property boasts 193 rooms and suites, five meeting rooms including a boardroom with theatre-style setting.

Tongabezi Lodge

A quiet property on the banks of the Zambezi River, this lodge is great for business meetings in an informal, creative environment around a bonfire, or for team building exercises in an inspiring setting.

The River Club

With a board room and conference area in place, The River Club is ideal for business travelers and corporate groups. Once you wind up your workshops and meetings, go for a team-bonding excursion.

Protea Hotel By Mariott Livingstone

Laidback luxury and top notch service make this a popular choice for group travels. The hotel is a short drive from the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, and offers shuttle services too.

Kanyemba Lodge

A haven for professionals looking for a break from their hectic schedules. It comprises six stone and thatch ‘rondavel’ chalets, each with a private deck, full en-suite bathroom, and walk-in wardrobe.

Madagascar

Credit: Norman Carr Safari

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This large island on the Indian Ocean has long been disdained as the shabby cousin of its glitzier neighbors Mauritius and the Seychelles, and been derided as the place frequented by only Frenchmen with a penchant for bashlessly unadorned nature, the island’s colonial past and the allures of its local lasses. They’re quite happy to make you see Madagascar as they do and that is as a “celebration of the extraordinary; a place where Nature’s creative genius takes flight.” An ambition easily achieved by the people behind Norman Carr Safaris’ Chinzombo in Zambia, Miavana’s sister camp, who’ve invoked none other than Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the much-sought architects of North Island fame (yes, where Wills and Kate honeymooned in the Seychelles) to engineer a low-impact, high-style look for the fourteen-villa lodge on Nosy Ankao, part of a private fi ve-island archipelago where the marine biodiversity culminates.

Credit: Norman Carr Safari

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But it isn’t enough nowadays to announce sands as white as virginity and blue, blue waters that lap right up to The easiest way to travel to Madagascar is via Johannesburg: You can book non-stop flights between the two on south African Airways and Air Madagascar. For those travelling from the West Coast, book direct flights from Guangzhou and Bangkok. madagascar-tourisme.com the door of your luxury villa from where you could snorkel and scuba dive. You need to be radical to get attention in the blasé world of luxury travel and Miavana manages to by shipping the land safari to the oceanic wilderness with their ‘Blue Safari’ guided water activities designed to provide fascinating insights. They hope to protect and conserve the island’s vulnerable natural resources and provide employment for locals. Think chopper rides, lemur trekking, whale watching, fly-fishing, deep-sea fishing… If you’ve had too much sun and see then they’ll take you on a Rainforest Hike on the mainland after which you’ll no doubt need to avail of their spa.

Miavana Island Sanctuary 

But perceptions are changing with the much hyped, much-awaited launch of Miavana Pvt Island or Miavana Island Sanctuary as they rather call themselves. All’s set to make Madagascar hotter than its tropical climate could! But Miavana has less blazing ambitions.

Credit: Miavana Island Sanctuary

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Know Madagascar Better

Lemurs are sacred here

The over 100 species of lemurs are considered a sacred animal in the country. Remember the lemur King Julien from the movie Madagascar who likes to 'move it! move it'!

Strong human right protections

Human rights are protected under the constitution. Family, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities are legally protected, and freedom of assembly is also guaranteed.

Unique species

Most animals native to the country are in fact, not found anywhere else in the world. Madagascar was also home to extinct species like the giant flightless birds and dwarf hippos.

Malagasy fashion

Whether it's women, men, children, or elders, everyone in Madagascar wears the same style of clothing called the Lamba. Made with different fabrics, it is similar to a wrap skirt.

Literature

'Hainteny' is a Malagasy oral tradition, that translates to 'knowledge of words'. It heavily uses metaphors, folktales, fables, riddles and historical poems to convey simple messages.

Zimbabwe

Why would you spend almost `1,00,000 a night to stay at Singita Pamushana, that too in a lodge that looks like an extension of the jungle. Well, if you have ever stayed at a Signita, you know the level of safari grandeur they are capable of. The lodge sits atop a densely forested mountain from which it glances down haughtily upon the Malilangwe Dam. Amidst delicious seclusion, six luxury gardened suites come with private plunge pools in which to sip champagne as you imbibe astonishing views. But wouldn’t you rather be on those twice daily game drives in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve or on the San Bushman Rock Art tour to see 2,000-year-old monuments? There’s also a sun-downer cruise after which you could dine romantically in the jealous embrace of the forest with views of the river and sandstone hills beyond. For those who think there’s nothing beyond Singita, & Beyond thinks otherwise. And they’ve just procured 15 kilometres of private Zambezi River frontage at the & Beyond Matetsi River Lodge which off ers both land and water safaris. But rippling the savannah with expert safaris is Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp.

If you didn’t know, Wilderness Safaris think or rather know that they are beyond anything else in safari realms. Conservation is an obsession and they’re equally known for savagely sexy camps that titivate the safari without adulterating the wilderness. With three of the biggest players on the safari circuit tearing like lions for supremacy of the Zimbabwean jungle this oft-ignored wildlife destination is fetching celebrity. But if you’re weary of embarking on wild goose chases after that elusive leopard then go put your feet up -on a canopied four-posted bed at that at the Victoria Falls Hotel. It seems like it’s been around for ever, but it’s actually Edwardian and is as much an Edwardian museum as a stately abode in which to relive Zimbabwe’s colonial past. Rooms even have original tubs. There are also lush English lawns you’d expect Alice to suddenly manifest on and teetering platters of traditional English Tea to be had with champagne. Lots of it!

Credit: Linkwasha Camp

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How To Reach

Very few airlines fly directly to Zimbabwe. You can fly to Johannesburg and from there connect to VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT (VFA) on the same day. Continue from there by vehicle or charter planes. zimbabwetourism.net

Business Opportunities In Zimbabwe

Gold mining industry

Zimbabwe is rich in gold, and has a flourishing gold mining industry with mining businesses and investors, however the opportunity to collaborate with a these business is still untapped and can be very profitable.

Media

From privately owned radio stations to new TV channels, media in Zimbabwe is at a nascent stage with immense growth potential for investors and professionals. Their digitization process has given the people access to international media, especially in the e-commerce sector.

Mobile banking

With technology on the rise, more and more people in the country are relying on smart phones for banking and this has opened doors for mobile service providers to launch their service centers and stores in the country.

Fashion

Recent times have seen a surge in shopping malls that house international fashion and beauty brands. The Zimbabwe Fashion Week is a popular event for indigenous and international designers to work with local craftsmen to create modern ensembles.

Hospitality

The younger population, the go-getters are entirely consumed by their work life, and look forward to eating out at fast food chains or restaurants, and holiday in wellness resorts that offer personalised services.

Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park has also been called one of the planet’s indisputable gems that presents you nature’s most operatic display as you watch the circle of life complete itself on a guided safari. It has further been said, when it dawns on you that what you’re watching is essentially the universe’s fi ercest buff et, head back to the resort for some dining of your own. And there are ravishing resorts aplenty in the Serengeti to dine, stay and play at. Singita has its following no less fi ercely faithful to the brand than the ‘Aman Junkie’ and they’d scarce venture elsewhere. But Serengeti Migration Camp has encroached Singita territory and dares to price itself as steeply as Singita’s premium camps.

They would when they off er twenty elevated, ample tents handsome with massive beds, leather arm chairs, sunset-viewing deck capturing Ndasiata Hills and the Grumeti River and a retinue of staff arching to please. Best of all, the location is insuperable to watch the Serengeti wildebeest migration, the largest mammal migration on earth. Ensure you’re not having your champagne picnic in the path of a billion wildebeest stomping past! There’s more than one migration in the

Serengeti lately now that Namiri Plains has relocated here, having been banished by rebels from agitated Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. It’s a place for big cats and bigger fossilised bones of prehistoric giraffe. The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater just got more glamorous with the coming of Highlands of Ngorongoro Crater, edgy at the fringes of a crater marvellously overlooking the landscape. Chem Chem Lodge introduced the ‘slow safari’ and it’s new sister Little Chem Chem with only five tents is the lavishest thing skirting Tarangire National Park. There’s more to Tanzania than safaris and more islands in Tanzania than Zanzibar, neighbouring which the tranquil jungle island Pemba has gained fame since The Aiyana opened. All’s local and natural at their Maji Spa. If mehemsahib feels she’s begun looking like maaji, rejuvenate at Aiyana’s spa and then look without trepidation at the aiyna.

How To Get There

There are direct and one-stop flights to Dares Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar Island. Arusha town is the starting point for the Northern Safari Circuit. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated 46 kilometres off Arusha.

Credit: Marko Balenovic

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International Events Hosted In Tanzania

Swahili fashion week

The year 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the famous Swahili Fashion Week that showcases international, domestic, and emerging fashion designers.

Tanzania trade show

The trade show is held annually in November. It's an ideal platform to interact with professionals from the Automotive, Hospitality, Printing, IT, and Pharmaceutical industries etc.

Sauti Za Busara

Sauti Za Busara is an annual music festival held in Tanzania to propote musical talents from across the continent. It is a 100 percent live show with over 400 participants.

20th food agro africa 2017

International Trade Exhibition on Food, Hotel & Kitchen is the largest event held annually in Tanzania, concurrently held with East Africa Trade Exhibition

Zanzibar international arts festival

ZIFF is East Africa’s largest multidisciplinary art and cultural festival bringing together arts from film, music, and arts industries for a Zanzibar Tamasha.

Mozambique

DID you think the Maldives alone had piercing blue waters, blazing white sands and paradisal private island resorts? Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa is no masterpiece of photoshop chicanery. It exists. On a private island off the Mozambique Coast. Besides the luxuries Maldives off ers you’ve something the Maldives hasn’t—horses to ride on infi nite stretches of beach with sands as white as the clouds and as soft to the feet. Besides, Mozambique has inimitable African hospitality.

Credit: Mozambique

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Whilst private island resorts like Anantara are a rare luxury still in Mozambique, big brands like & Beyond have just set up camp with the Benguerra Island Resort and further glamorised the destination. They’ll fl y you in on a chopper if you like that. And you’ll certainly need a chopper to Azura Quilalea, the second luxury Indian Ocean retreat from Azura Retreats- it’s a hidden gem, a private, wholly uninhabited island haven surrounded by the pristine waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago marine sanctuary. Azura’s trademark African-chic style is stamped on it. The marine life amazes but romantics still prefer Azura Benguerra Island, Mozambique’s first eco luxury boutique resort hand-built by the locals. It’s more private than a private island with only 20 gorgeous villas each with an infi nity pool, thatched roofs like a long shaggy wig and private butlers. It also seems to have an in-house genie that fulfils your every wish- be it excursions on or in the ocean or a fantasy supper under sparkling skies.

Credit: Tom Richardson Africa

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Romantic Mozambique

Secluded beaches

Over 2,500 kilometres of beaches in Mozambique are un-spoilt and preserved as they were thousands of years ago. The Quirimbas Archipelago is a string of gorgeous islands with marine ecosystems, miles of sandbar beaches and stunning coral reefs.

Pristine dive sites

Mozambique has some of the most pristine dive sites in the world. The reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago are home to over 1,200 species of marine creatures including the rare Dugong—a medium-sized marine mammal that looks like a seal.

Fresh seafood

The country has some of the best seafood in the world. The Portuguese influence is felt in dishes such as the fiery Peri Peri chicken. A local dish without any Portuguese influence is Matata which is a seafood stew, usually made using clams in a peanut sauce.

Artwork

The sculptures produced by the Makondo people in Northern Mozambique display craftsmanship at its best while depicting traditional beliefs, the struggle for independence and the civil war.

Gorongosa National Park

Revenue from the tourism is aimed at making Gorongosa a self-sustaining African park. Some of the activities that you can look forward to here are hike to waterfall, guided game drive at dusk, trip to Vinho Community, sundowner at Bué Maria.

Anantara Bazuruto Island Resort & Spa

Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa is no masterpiece of photoshop chicanery. It exists. On a private island off the Mozambique Coast. Besides the luxuries Maldives offers, here you have something the Maldives hasn’t—horses to ride on infinite stretches of beach with sands as white as the clouds and as soft to the feet.

Credit: Mozambique

Photo of Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, Inhambane Province, Mozambique by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

How To Get There

There are several flights daily from Johannesburg to Maputo, operated by South African Airways (SAA) and the Mozambican flag-carrier Linhas Aereas de Moçambique (LAM).

Kenya

JUST when you said dismissively “Kenya, been there, done that,” this sultan of all safari destinations like a wily cabaret dancer pulled up its skirts a little further to keep you enticed. Yes, Kenya has been seductively unveiling unimaginable nooks (and “nook” in Kenya means endless wild expanses) of seldom-explored territories that change so dramatically so rapidly that you wonder if you’re in the same country.

And just when you thought you’d done the Masai Mara (if it’s possible to!) Great Plains Conservation lures you back with their latest little number Great Plains Mara Expedition Camp, a more intimate interpretation of its celebrated Mara Plains Camp, the classiest safari camp on earth, surely. Ensconced on a riverbed where throbbing forest and savannah meet Mara Expedition quite simply enchants, casting you back to Africa’s romantic safari era.

Experience camp life à la Africa’s original explorers. Exclusive and exquisite this camp has but 5 tents and the best food on safariwe don’t mean in the wild (don’t feed the animals and don’t feed on the animals or in these parts you’ll have more than the RSS baying for your blood). Great Plains’ most unique feature is that they’ve hand-picked the best guides in the business- they’re savvy, funny, sharp, they can spot a leopard a lightyear away and tell a tale with as much drama as Willi Shakespeare and with more wit. Mara Expedition’s attractions include access to two migrations—the renowned Serengeti migration and the green season Loita Plains migration. Moreover, leopards famously slink its riverbed so you needn’t squat around a month to spot the clandestine spotted creature.

Find the heights of luxury at Angama Mara precipitously perched on a ridge. It’s new, has too many famous names behind it to enumerate and Rift Valley views to make your jaw drop 1,000 feet down to the Masai Mara below. Finch Hattons in Tsavo National Park has fi nally re-emerged and sports a sensational new look. They’ve tiered tents so big you’d get lost in them but it’s best not to if you want to make your way to the chandeliered, silvercandelabrad dining hall where 7-course suppers still unleash. And if you didn’t know Laikipia then you will now that Elewana Collection has launched Loisaba Tented Camp by Elewana, one of the most exciting new properties in Kenya with ten suites fl aunting contemporary African elegance. Loftily swaying on an escarpment, the camp off ers uninhibited views across Laikipia’s variegated landscape straight to Mt Kenya.

Credit: Mara Expidition Camp

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Top 5 Things To Do In Kenya

Breakfast with Girraffes

The Giraffe Manor is home to a herd of the Rothschild's giraffe. Don't be surprised if you find them craning their necks through the large windows to eat your breakfast.

Foster an elephant

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi rescues orphaned elephants and rhinos. You can play with baby elephants during their mud-bath sessions every morning.

Ol malo ranch

A privately ranch owned by the Francombe family, Ol Malo is a game sanctuary right in the centre of African bush. The ranch is also known as a popular proposing spot for lovers.

Cheese tour

The award-winning Brown’s Cheese factory has won many accolades, including the South African Dairy Championship and awards from the East Africa Cheese Festival.

Ali Barbour's cave restaurant

This cave restaurant in Diani is thought to be around 1,20,000 to 1,80,000 years old. The seating is 10 meters below ground in an open-air coral cave. The restaurant specializes in seafood.

Credit: Finch Hattons

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How To Get There

You can fly directly from New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO). Many airlines including KLM, Etihad, Jet Airways, Emirates and Kenya Airways fly directly to Nairobi.

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