Travel gives us the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in cultures different than our own. It gives us the chance to open our eyes and our minds to the amazing opportunities the world and its civilizations present. Whether it be through visiting an iconic landmark in ancient Rome, making an impact through authentic experiences with tribes in Africa, or finding gold while mining in the Finnish Lapland, your quest for discovery with the JG Black Book Collection promises to be extremely rewarding. We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite experiences below.
The Chedi Muscat
For a bright and shiny cultural experience, drive from The Chedi Muscat through the Hajar Mountains to the old capital of Oman and visit the 17th-century Nizwa Fort and traditional silver, spice and pottery souq. The old Omani architecture provides an illustration of the way locals used to live in ancient times. And right at the doorstep of the fort is one of the oldest, most authentic market – the Nizwa Souq. Early each Friday morning, this timeless market hosts a lively auction of cows, goats, and sheep, where the stubborn behavior of the animals provides great amusement for the spectators. At the souq, you can admire the enticing local produce, pick up traditional handicrafts, watch silversmiths hammer patterns into the hilts of khanjars and encounter women wearing glittering, embroidered burka.
What many consider to be Europe’s last wilderness, Finnish Lapland is truly a land of hidden opportunities with its legendary gold fields and the only gold mining village in Europe. Gold prospectors have been searching for gold in Lapland since the 1870s, and with Jávri Lodge, you too have an opportunity to join this unique local adventure and learn the secrets of gold panning and the history of Lappish Gold. Every now and then, some are lucky to find a nugget or two, and most importantly, what you find is yours to keep! Even today, in a legendary local pub in Saariselka Village, you can still pay your bill with a real nugget just like old gold miners did. Gold fever is real!
47 Boutique Hotel
A special day dedicated to adventure and discovery awaits in ancient Rome with 47 Boutique Hotel! Strap on your helmet, hop on your bike and start peddling toward Circo Massimo, one of the biggest stadiums in old Rome, dedicated to public entertainment and chariot races. Your bike ride continues along Appian Way, one of the earliest and most important Roman roads that was once used as the main route for military supplies. Don’t forget to look up and see the most popular tombs in Rome, Mausoleums of Cecila Metella and the Equinoxes. The last stop of the day during your Roman bike riding adventure is to the mansion, Villa Quintilli. This mansion was so beautiful that it triggered Emperor Commodo’s envy, and he had his brothers killed for it. Since the day of their death, it is said that the brothers’ ghosts appear after the sunset.
The Stafford London
A compelling history lies beneath The Stafford London in its 380-year-old wine cellars. Built in the 17th century by Lord Francis Godolphin, the cellars have had many uses over the years. Much later in their history, the cellars housed the famous Madame Prunier wine shipping company and acted as an air-raid shelter during WWII. Today, along with a fascinating informal “museum” of artifacts left behind by American and Canadian officers during their time at the hotel, the working cellars house up to 8,000 bottles of the finest wines, including many rare and precious vintages. The Stafford London’s vaulted wine cellars are a perfect backdrop for a prestigious event, an exclusive private dining experience or unique wine tastings for wine lovers of any level.
On every Micato Africa safari, guests are guaranteed a seamless, cultural experience with their Safari Director. Micato Safaris Directors are Africans, born and raised, and bring Africa’s story to life through a delightful blend of guiding in the bush, lecturing in camp, conversations over meals, and enlightening anecdotes in between. These guides preside over what is a complete and satisfying local immersion for all Micato guests. And along the way, Micato guests often visit Maasai villages, where travelers get the pleasure of meeting tribal elders and their families, learning about the day-to-day activities, such as how to make a fire and have meaning conversations about ancient Maasai traditions, culture, unique coexistence with wildlife, and other topics that are as fascinating as they are educational.
At Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, guests have the opportunity to visit Shanga, a cultural experience which embodies innovation using the best of Tanzanian design and inclusivity. Shanga is a successful social enterprise which employs people with disabilities to create unique, high-quality, handmade jewelry, glassware and homewares that incorporate recycled materials. At Shanga, the focus is “ability over disability”. Amazing products are made from discarded materials to contribute positively to the sensitive Tanzanian environment while producing creative pieces that celebrate Tanzanian culture.
Combining an uplifting local community project with unique artistic activities and opportunities to purchase handmade gifts, Shanga has been a favorite Arusha tourist destination since its inception in 2007. A visit to Shanga can comprise your choice of free workshop tours, activities, information sessions and shopping. Shanga can be experienced as its own destination or combined with a meal at one of the exceptional Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge dining venues. Over the years, Shanga has grown to employ more than 60 people with a range of disabilities to make creative products including weaving, glass blowing, beading, papermaking, and metalwork, using recycled materials wherever possible.