Ampersand’s treasured travel memories from across Southern Africa
Southern Africa specialist, Charmian Supra: ‘No better way to drink your morning tea!’ – Botswana
Namibia features heavily in my most treasured travel memories and it never fails to completely capture my imagination. On one particular trip I travelled the length of the Skeleton Coast up to the Kunene estuary where Namibia borders Angola. Here I was left completely dumbfounded by the otherworldly views: enormous whales splashing in the wild Atlantic Ocean to the one side and the largest desert in the world to the other. Africa never fails to thrill and amaze me, but as a seasoned safari-goer, for me nowhere on Earth compares to the wildlife experiences on offer in Botswana – which I was reminded of on my recent visit to my second home in the Okavango Delta. Having been woken up in my super-comfy and luxurious tent with a cup of tea and homemade biscuit, I was suddenly aware of a loud ‘bark’ at which point, with tea in hand, I wondered out onto my deck and saw an impala being chased by 2 wild dog! All of this a mere 10 feet from my feet! A rare and magical treat and one which will stay with me for a long, long time.
PR & marketing, Sacha Smith-Laing: 'An island picnic on the Zambezi' – Zambia
I travelled across Southern Africa on my honeymoon and the really standout memories for me were from Tongabezi Lodge in Zambia. It is the perfect place to begin a honeymoon: a dreamy ‘Out of Africa’ oasis stretched along the Zambezi River, a short distance from the drop-dead-beautiful Victoria Falls. Straight after our wedding, minds buzzing with a whirlwind of memories, we wanted somewhere incredibly pampering to put our feet up and reminisce. After a few days relaxing at the lodge, we ventured out to historic Livingstone Island and summoned up the courage to take the plunge into Devil’s Pool – a natural pool perched 167m high at the edge of the Falls – even though my new husband could not swim! But it is the slower activities that stick in my mind as exceptionally romantic, particularly a private fishing trip we took upstream from Tongabezi ending in a private picnic on a pristine spec of an island in the middle of the Zambezi River, complete with a beautifully dressed table with a feast of delicious food and drinks, feet in the sand under the shade of a gnarly tree.
Founder & MD, James Jayasundera: 'A dip in the dunes' – Namibia
This is as far from the 'gold-tapped' notion of luxury as it’s possible to get, and yet it felt like the most luxurious experience on Earth, and certainly one of my most memorable. I was on a walking safari in Namibia in the middle of desert, hundreds of miles from the closest village. I was camping under the stars in a dip in the dunes, but sleeping in a proper bed with a bedside table, rug and oil lamp – which had all been transported there to create this completely surreal experience. In the morning I was woken up by the camp chef with a delicious cup of tea and a canvas wash basin filled with hot steaming water to wash and shave. The water had been boiled downwind so that I would not be bothered by the smoke from the fire, and carried several hundred meters across incredibly soft sand so that it could be placed at the foot of my bed. It was so thoughtful, indulgent and pampering – the type of travel memory that really feeds the soul.
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