The new year brings ample opportunities for you to discover parts of the world you have yet to experience: a winter getaway to The Chedi Andermatt in the Swiss Alps, a spring fling to Uganda to meet chimps with Volcanoes Safaris, a summer retreat to Santorini with Andronis Exclusive, or a fall break to see the Bolivian salt flats with Condor Travel… the list goes on and on! To help you plan your 2018 travels and make it your best travel year yet, we’ve put together our short list of bucket list worthy travels you must experience with the JG Black Book Collection!
Salar de Uyuni – A Must-See Destination in 2018 with Condor Travel: If you’re looking for a fascinating and unique destination to cross off your 2018 travel bucket list, the Salar de Uyuni with Condor Travel is just what you need.
Located in southwest Bolivia, it is the world’s largest salt flat and its untamed beauty makes it one of the most awe-inspiring places in all of South America. Although it can be visited all year round, its rainy season (from December to April) is the most popular among travelers. During these months, the flats have a breathtaking mirror effect where the water flawlessly reflects the skies, making it impossible to tell where the sky ends and the land begins. This makes it the ideal season for photography enthusiasts, since this particular natural phenomenon allows them to take amazing optical illusion shots, creating one-of-a-kind memories. And, at night, observing the star-studded sky is a true spectacle of nature, which is also the perfect moment to capture for posterity.
Other fascinating tourist attractions in the area are the train cemetery, where you can find the carcasses of old locomotive vehicles, and the salt hotels, where spending the night is an unforgettable experience. So, if you’re trying to decide on the best trip to kick-off your year, look no further: the Salar de Uyuni will be waiting to amaze you with its marvelous natural beauty.
A Stay at Azura Benguerra Island: Mozambique may not be on your current bucket list, but it should be given all it has to offer! Imagine beautiful marine national parks offering a paradise for ocean lovers, deserted beaches of pure white sand that extend for miles, sparkling turquoise seas crisscrossed by local dhows plying their trade, sunny days and star studded nights.
Azura Benguerra Island in Mozambique is nestled along one of the last undiscovered stretches of beach in the world, with all the creature comforts you could wish for, sparkling private pools, Mozambican Butlers to look after your every need, fish and seafood fresh from the ocean, a fantastic range of activities and experiences, an African spa to relax in, all at a community based project where the local islanders benefit as much as you. Azura is paradise found.
A Day of Doing Good in Africa with Micato Safaris: Many Micato travelers choose to spend an extra day in Nairobi after their safari to visit the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Center in Nairobi’s Mukuru Slum. The Harambee Center serves the community’s women as well as children, including many of the students supported by Micato-AmericaShare educational programs. This inspiring and joyful visit gives travelers a deeper look at the hope and joy that blossoms in unlikely places, and it’s an experience you can only have with Micato Safaris.
At the Harambee Centre, travelers will visit the center’s lending library and see the cottage factory where Huru International (of which Micato is a proud founding supporter) makes sanitary supply kits that allow thousands of girls to stay in school during their periods.You’ll talk and laugh with some of the brightest-eyed kids you’ll ever see. You may plant a tree, shoot a basket, or kick a ball, but most of all you’ll feel your heart swell! People come to Africa to see the animals, but leave in love with the people, and very few places are as suffused with love as the Harambee Center. A visit here is already included with selected Micato Safaris but as noted, can be easily added to many Micato journeys.
Ski Butlers at The Chedi Andermatt: The Chedi Andermatt’s unique, quirky Ski Butler service is on hand for guests’ every wish! In the morning, you will be greeted by the hotel’s Ski Butlers with fresh fruits, energy bars and mineral water to give you the perfect energy kick for a day on the slopes. The Ski Butlers will have prepared your ski and snowboarding equipment as well as preheated your boots. As The Chedi Andermatt is a Ski-in / Ski-out hotel from this winter on, you will be able to easily and swiftly get to the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun. And if you should not feel like going for a day on the slopes, you can rent wooden sledges or skates for pirouetting on The Chedi Andermatt’s very own ice rink!
A Stay at Elewana Loisaba Star Beds: The Elewana Collection believes all of their properties should be on your 2018 travel bucket list! But since we can’t talk about all of them, we have narrowed it down to one particularly unique experience at Elewana Loisaba Star Beds. As the name suggests, guests get to sleep under the endless African sky. As they lie back and look up, they can marvel at the ultimate canvas studded with thousands of glorious vibrant stars.
What makes this experience especially memorable are the unique raised platforms with handcrafted four-poster wooden beds jutting out from a thatched-roof, which are rolled out each night for guests to enjoy a most memorable night under the African sky. Poised on a rocky kopje, the Loisaba Star Beds command sweeping views over an undulating valley and a permanent waterhole, frequented by resident wildlife. Rustically designed to complement the surrounding environment, each star bed is individually built in harmony with the natural rocky features, incorporating a sitting area, and open plan bathroom with a view.
For those who like to wake up early, you can watch the sunrise from your Star Bed while sipping on a hot beverage before a day of adventure starts. As the day comes to an end, relax by the log fire in the Star Beds lounge with your favourite cocktail sharing tales of the African bush.
A Wine Tour in Santorini with Andronis Concept: Santorini Wine Tours introduces the concept of wine tourism to the unique and ancient wine-making island of Santorini. Andronis Concept’s sommelier’s purpose is simply to give guests a great wine tour experience. Andronis Concept offers a variety of wine and gastronomy tours on the island of Santorini. On the tours, guests learn about the soil and microclimate, see the vines and cultivation techniques and are introduced to the unique grape varieties, as well as the modern vinification techniques used there.
Track chimps at Volcanoes Safaris’ Kyambura Gorge Lodge: Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, in the amazing Kyambura Gorge, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, while visitors must cross the river using natural bridges to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts just 2 to 3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness!
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Volcanoes Safaris’ Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.
Soul Healing at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud: Ubud is Bali’s spiritual, artistic, and cultural heart. The perfect destination to add to your 2018 travel bucket list. It has long been known as a mystical place, rich in healing powers and important as a source for medicinal herbs and plants. In fact, it gets its name from the ancient Balinese word ‘Ubad’, which means medicine. Since the eight century, noble families from all over Bali travelled to Ubud seeking healing therapies, alternative medicines and wellness programs. Today, people from all over the world visit Ubud to find spiritual healing as well as to reconnect with nature. Discover spiritual healing and reconnect with nature in 2018 with a stay at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud.
Add More Meaning To Family Safaris with Global CommUnity: Planning a safari for a family can be a daunting task to make sure all family members get the most out of a thrilling experience in Africa. Global CommUnity offers some thoughtfully designed family safaris currently available in Botswana and South Africa, with other country options coming soon. These safari itineraries are designed with amazing age-appropriate activities and incorporate camps that are ideal for families. Global CommUnity’s special pre-trip engagement materials (including handmade dolls and story books that tell the story of a child at the destination for young children and digital download options for the whole family) really elevate an Africa trip and help you get the most out of a safari!