Destinations

  • andBeyond Mnemba Private Island

    Lesia
    October 4, 2017

    andBeyond Mnemba island is a private island paradise considered to be one of the most unique, luxurious and expensive hotel you can find on the Zanzibar archipelago.

    Intrigued, the Shadows of Africa team was wondering whether the property lives up to its hype and its hefty price tag and decided to check it out for themselves. Julia and Lesia from our Ukrainian office had a short stay in the lodge and were blown away by their experience.

    mnemba island

    Location

    andBeyond Mnemba Island is a private island located not far from Unguja, the largest island of Zanzibar.

    It takes around twenty minutes to get to Mnemba by boat from Muyuni Beach. During the trip you will enjoy the view of Mnemba, traditional dhow boats and the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

    The resort is an exclusive one and you’reonly allowed to set foot on the island only if you have booked a room in the resort.

    rooms-mnemba

    bathroom-mnemba

    Rooms

    When the ladies arrived on Mnemba, they were met by the management and got a short briefing regarding their stay. The chef came out to greet them and to double-check all their dietary preferences. After welcome drinks, they were escorted to their luxurious room.

    AndBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge has ten beachfront bandas with no windows or doors. This gives guests a truly exclusive feel to their vacation, with approximately 20 guests can stay on the island at any onetime. Each of the bandas sit apart from one another, promising you maximum privacy.

    Each of the bandas is surrounded by tropical forest and has a spacious veranda with easy access to the pristine beach. Guests get their own lounge zone and traditional Zanzibari sunbeds. A covered walkway will bring you to a shuttered bathroom with a huge shower. Basically, in the bandas you will find everything that you would expect to find in a luxuryhotel, all while maintaining that feeling of connection with nature. Julia and Lesia felt that they got a truly decadent Robinson Crusoe experience.

    mnemba-food

    view-mnemba-tanzania

    Food

    The chef took care of a tasty lunch with a choice of different starters and main courses. The food was so good that the ladies even broke their rule and ordered dessert. The sorbet with cardamom and pineapple looked too attractive to refuse!

    If you have any special dietary requirements, the hotel will take care of it in advance.

    Dinner in Mnemba is usually served on the beach. You will get a beautiful set up surrounded with lights. You’llbe served by your own butler. After a delicious meal,the staff of the hotel did a birthday surprise for Lesia - a beautiful cake decorated with fruits and candy!

    Breakfast on the island is served with a variety of fruits, seeds, and natural jams.The chef and your butler will follow all your preferences. The guests dine in the main restaurant admiring the view of the ocean. Though, you can always request it be served in your villa and enjoy some privacy.

    dinner-mnemba

    Activities

    Sleeping in Mnemba is a very unique experience. Your bed faces the ocean and the absence of a door lets the gentle crash of the waves lull you to sleep. You’ll rest safe and sound beneath a mosquito net in your huge, comfortable bed and wake to the sound of birds singing their dawn greetings.

    In the morning, the ladies decided to explore the island. Mnemba Island is surrounded by a coral atoll which has been declared as a Marine Conservation area. It is a great spot for divers and snorkelers.. As it’s a house reef, you don’t even need a boat! Just walk into the water and explore the marine life. If you have a PADI certification two dives per day are even included in the package!

    You can also go kayaking, wind-surfing or go for a sunset dhow-cruise. There are three dolphin species around the island, whale sharks, and around 600 species of coral reef fish. If you are lucky, you might even spot humpback whales! The beach of the island is also a nesting place for Green Sea Turtles, which you can see from February to September.

    Besides the stunning beach, the island can boast a tropical forest with some rare antelope and bird species. Here you can meet the suni antelope and even the highly endangered Ader’s duiker.

    mnemba-villa

    Privacy

    Julia and Lesia experienced privacy in full in Mnemba. Guests of the island might meet each other sometimes during lunch or walking around the beach, but you will definitely get a feeling this island is just for you!

    andBeyond Mnemba Island is not a place for party people, who like to interact with other guests, enjoy shows, and participate in extreme activities. It is perfect for that travelers who would like to get some relaxation and time for themselves, who wants to forget about the work and their problems, connect with a nature and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is also for that once who appreciates great service and barefoot luxury experience.

  • Climbers Experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Bryan Fawcett
    September 30, 2017

    We all get told climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is amazing, that it is one of the seven great peaks to climb on your bucket list; here is some great stories of guests who climbed it recently. First, before I relate these stories to you, let me give you an overview of the largest mountain in Africa. For it has a few facts that most people get confused with. Mt. Kilimanjaro is located in the Republic of Tanzania, in East Africa, most people think it in Kenya as well just like they think the Serengeti is in Kenya too; but they are not, Tanzania is the place for these great features.

    Our latest brochure is about Mount Kilimanjaro and it explains to you what we offer and what is needed for this bucket list adventure of climbing this mountain. There are a few routes, but we mainly take our guests up the Marangu route or the Machame routes. The number of days needed to climb and get back down vary per route and per group! So when booking, make sure you know these important details, because these details will make your Kilimanjaro trek far more satisfactory and enjoyable. Below is a story from one of our guests recently.

    For the Mt Meru trek, our group of 3 were led by Amir and his team of support staff (1 cook, 1 waiter/head porter and 5 other porters). We were grouped together with 3 other companies totaling 9 clients. This was because visitors to Arusha National Park are required to be accompanied by one of their armed rangers which there are a limited number of. Shadows of Africa was noticeably more professional than the other companies I saw. During the trip briefing, Amir made sure that we all had the necessary clothing and equipment by actually checking what we brought over. Our heart rates and oxygen levels were monitored and recorded at the end of every day during the trek (something I’ve never had to do elsewhere — nice touch!). We were talking to our other fellows trekkers with other companies, and almost none of them were as well briefed as us. Some were quite unprepared clothing wise and their guides lacked professionalism (more on that below). The porter to client ratio is apparently set to 2:1 and they each have a weight limit restriction as the government is trying to dissuade operators from overloading their porters. So it’s not surprising if the number of support staff is quite large relative to the group size. My recommendation would be to do the 3D/2N option instead and ask your operator beforehand if they can arrange a car to pick you up from Miriakamba Hut and drive directly back down to the park gates.

    Our guide, Amir was an excellent guide given his experience in leading treks up to the much higher, Mount Kilimanjaro. My friend felt weak from stomach problems before the trek even started, and he provided attentive care throughout the entire trek. On the morning of the third day when we were summiting, one of the other trekkers started feeling unwell with blurred vision likely due to the effects of high altitude. As we were at the front of the group, we didn’t find out about her condition until well into the summiting trek. It’s to my understanding that her own guide (who was also the park ranger overlooking all of us) had her keep going up and barely addressed her concerns. Amir had to step in and lead her hand-in-hand safely back down. I’m quite disappointed on how the guides from the other companies handled the situation as they barely provided any help. Even though the girl wasn’t their own client, they somehow didn’t find it in them to even provide words of comfort. They just stood off to the side. I’ve been on many treks before where the guide doesn’t really play an important role but after this incident, I now realize how important it is to have an experienced guide. Amir saved the day! I highly recommend requesting for him for trekking tours with Shadows of Africa.

  • Traveling to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

    Bryan Fawcett
    September 28, 2017

    Recently, some of our team had the pleasure of exploring Zimbabwe and its great sights and National parks. Present was Jake and Stacy from the USA office and Bryan from the Zimbabwean office. Exploring a country like this is truly a delight that must be on one's bucket list. Arriving at the new Victoria Falls International Airport was a welcoming moment, as you walk out men dressed in traditional animal cloth, sung welcoming songs for us in Shona and Indebele. It takes roughly 20 mins from the airport to the town, Victoria Falls, itself. The town is quaint, much smaller than you would imagine. Victoria Falls is the tourism hub of Zimbabwe, the majority of the people visiting here will pass through this little town.

    Now on this particular visit, we crossed the border and stayed at two hotels on the Zambian side, the Avani Hotel and the Royal Livingstone. Crossing the border these days as a tourist has become one of the easiest things possible, mainly due to the existence of the Kaza Visa – a visa that allows for unhindered travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia. A detailed blog post will follow explaining all the details regarding this visa. Over the next few days, they travelled frequently across the border without any hassle.

     

    The Avani Hotel and the Royal Livingstone though owned by the same company are very different and cater for very different people. From medium to super luxury you certainly will get catered for with comfort! These two great hotels are located along the Zambezi River, you can have sundowners right on the edge whilst watching the sunset in the mist of Victoria Falls! It takes just a few minutes walk before you are at the edge of the falls, we highly recommend the walk early in the morning as you will get to see the sunrise over the falls! You will definitely tick off some of your greatest memories ever made! Further up the River, there is Thorntree Lodge, a medium to luxury lodge, that will blow away your mind. It is also located right along the river so you can sit in your room or private pool and admire the river life right before you.

    Bryan had previously been to Victoria Falls in 2016, and his excursions there will tell you that this is the adrenaline capital of Africa! The activities here are rated in the top 5 in the world, you will not leave disappointed. From bungee jumping and gorge swinging above the Zambezi, white-water rafting on the Zambezi to the flight of angels above the falls; you cannot go wrong coming here. Other activities like the lion encounter, games drives in Zambezi National Park, boma dinners, the devil’s pool, sunset cruises and dinners, the elephant encounter, will keep you occupied from dawn till dusk every day that you are here.

    Great hotels and lodges on the Zimbabwean side like the Explorers Village, The Victoria Falls Hotel, Vic Falls River Lodge, Vic Falls Safari Lodge, and many others will keep you satisfied during your stay in this great little town.

    Watch our website for information about all these activities and accommodations in this region, email us if you have any questions.

  • A Weekend Visit to Oldeani Mountain Lodge

    Bryan Fawcett
    September 25, 2017

    This past weekend, a few members of the Shadows of Africa team visited Oldeani Mountain Lodge just outside Karutu! This is located near Ngorongoro Crater. Rated as one of the most luxurious lodges in the region, it is truly a splendid lodge to stay at whilst exploring this breathtaking area. If you want a place where you can relax and freshen up in comfort, this is definitely the place to come to.

    The team arrived just before lunch after a 2-hour drive from Arusha. Once inside the gates, you can truly feel that you step out of the bush into luxury comfort! The greetings by the staff and the Maasai women were warm and welcoming! The design is modern African with a western touch. When one walks inside, you cannot help but let your eyes wander at the pictures and the ornaments displayed – most are of local African design or of wildlife from the area. The air is filled with sounds of birds, the most common being the Fisher Love Bird, they add to the atmosphere of the place. As you walk out onto the veranda the infinity pool extends out and you can see Oldeani right in front of you!

    oldeani ngorongoro

    The rooms are beautiful and whether you are in a suite or a twin, you can certainly be treated to all the delights of the luxury hotel. Those that want to get in touch with nature can shower outside – privacy though is guaranteed. The beds are soft and comfortable, air conditioning is available for those that want it, The hot water is hot and there is lots of it! In the mornings you can open the sliding doors and allow the sunshine and fresh morning air to flood the room. After being in a safari truck all day, this is exactly what you need! Relax, this place also has an upcoming spa where you can take it one level further in achieving a relaxed state.

    Inside the main area, there is the lounge and bar! The lounge is supplied with great board games to amuse children and adults alike. A billiards room is located on the on the corner to entertain the more active person. Don’t worry the bar has you covered, and drink they can conjure up for you by a there plentiful array of alcoholic beverages. The food served here is tantalizing, the team was certainly happy with all the choices on the menu. The chef is definitely really good, you will be filled up in a healthy way. Those that want to maintain a healthy lifestyle you may go to the gym are relieve your body of those extra calories gained whilst on safari. A children’s club is located on the ground floor where they can amuse themselves for hours, with a movie theatre right next to it as well. People travelling on a more serious note can have board meetings etc in the boardroom located within the main building. I can say this place is a great location for a company retreat, and team building retreat!

    oldeani pool lodge tanzania lodge oldeani lodge-oldeani

    With outstanding day trips close by, this lodge is in a prime location for the luxury traveller. If you have any more questions email us at info@shadowsofafrica.com

  • A Day Excursion in Nairobi

    Lesia
    September 21, 2017

    What is there to do in Nairobi if you have just a one day layover? When visiting Kenya, proceeding on safari to the famous Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru or even Ol Pejeta is quite common; as we know Kenya is one of the most accessible countries in East Africa. Yet, if you have just a one night transfer in Nairobi for business and don’t have lots of time for the long safari carry on reading.

    nairobi-national-park-safari

    We have a solution for you! The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, can boast an opportunity to see wild nature without even having to go out of the city. Recently, our youngest team members loved their visit to Nairobi National Park, the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center.

    The Elephant Orphanage only allows visitors strictly between 11 and 12pm. Julia and Lesia from Shadows had adopted two young elephants in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust about six months ago. It gave them an advantage to visit at 5pm when these cute creatures were getting ready for sleep. That is why they planned their day accordingly.

    david-sheldrick-wildlife-trust Wirh adoption certificates, February 2017

     

    At 8am, after a refreshing breakfast, they headed to Nairobi National Park for a short game drive and to be in time for the giraffe and elephant visits. It is quite a short drive to the park, but when it concerns Nairobi, you may need to be ready to deal with heavy traffic. Realistically, it takes around 40 minutes to get there.

    The most special thing about the Nairobi National park is the opportunity to observe wildlife right in front of the skycrapers. Just a short distance from the entrance, you can see zebras, giraffes, antelopes and African buffaloes. If you are lucky enough, you will get to see at least a couple of lions and even the endangered black rhinos. The ladies were more than surprised to observe around 7 rhinos at the same time! Elijah, from our Nairobi office, explained that in Nairobi National Park it is possibly the best place in Kenya to view these rare and endangered species. In stunning Nakuru National Park, you may only get a slim chance at seeing such a big group.

    rhinos-safari-kenya

    nairobi-rhinos-kenya

    The team also paid a visit to the Ivory Burning Site Monument, where more than 100 tons of ivory was burnt to hinder poaching.
    It was the largest ivory burn in history.

    After the game drive, the ladies visited the Giraffe Center, which is open from 9am up to 5pm. The center allows visitors to touch the giraffes and even feed them; but you need to be careful, these proud animals can hit you with their heads.

    giraffe-center-nairobi-kenya Julia in the Giraffe Center

     

    Finally, the most exciting part of the trip for Julia and Lesia was the visit to their adopted elephants Jotto and Malkia. They were saved by the David Shelrick Wildlife Trust and will be re-introduced back into the wild at the mere age of three. Any visitor of the orphanage can choose an elephant to sponsor. The minimum donation per year is just $50! This helps the foundation to supply babies with milk, food and to save more animals all around the Kenyan National Parks.

    elephants-orphanage-nairobi In hurry to get some milk

     

    The Trust is not just hosting elephants, but as well as warthogs, rhino and a giraffe. This is a great chance for you to be a part of rescuing and saving african species from extinction. Some of the guests adopted more than 5 babies and come regularly to visit them. There is even an opportunity to adopt elephants online; this means that you can make an appointment to visit your baby at 5pm, when there are not that many tourists around. Thereafter, they spent a fanstic evening enjoying the restaurants of Nairobi.

    Nairobi is definitely a city of contrasts. Here you will find everything - skyscrapers and slums, wildlife and traffic, a mix of nationalities and cultures. It is one of the most modern African cities with its own atmosphere.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Safari in Tanzania

    Chris Walker Bush
    September 13, 2017
    Planning your dream Tanzanian safari can be a daunting prospect. Our Ultimate Tanzania Safari Guide is here to answer all of your questions and give you some inspiration.
  • Ten Animals You'll Only Find in Ethiopia

    AdminSoa
    July 19, 2017
    Ethiopia isn't known as a safari destination, but check out these ten animals you'll find nowhere else in the world!
  • The Ultimate Safari Packing List: What to Pack for your African Safari

    AdminSoa
    July 4, 2017
    When it comes time to pack for your safari, we've got the ultimate packing list as well as a guide to how to dress for safari.
  • 10 Reasons to Visit Cape Town

    Chris Walker Bush
    June 12, 2017
    Cape Town is one of South Africa's most popular tourist destinations with good reason! We highlight ten reasons why you shouldn't overlook this stunning city.

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