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Your tailor-made safari in Botswana

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Your footprint in Africa helps conserve the bio-diversity and create eco-tourism with benefits for the local population.

Our partners in Botswana’s Okavango Delta have been operating since 1983. They make a difference in maintaining the environment and help wildlife conservation by engaging the local communities.

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By attending the We Are Africa conference in Cape Town we soon realised how our team makes a difference. In promoting, encouraging and bringing people to Africa, we help to conserve some of the world’s greatest treasures.

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So what does the team at Indigo look for when tailoring a safari for you?

  • Exclusive access to Africa’s best wildlife areas (excellent sightings, tracking the big 5 and so much more).
  • Diverse landscapes (savannah- desert- rainforest – ocean)
  • Private concessions as they offer exclusivity, comfort, and exceed by far the experiences of public access parks. Botswana is exceptional in that it offers low volume high value with some private concessions exceeding 100,000 hectares.
  • Safari operators that own the infrastructure and manage the logistics of moving between camps.
  • A selection of camps and lodges that cover the spectrum from high-end luxury to more affordable.

Our latest visits to Botswana included:

Vumbura Plains

Comprises two premier camps with 14 suites in total. The camp is situated towards the centre of the Okavango Delta, allowing both land and water based safaris (mokoro) or motorised. Up close to elephant, hippos and alligators… amazing.

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Kings Pool Camp

Named after Scandanavian royalty, Kings Pool overlooks the oxbow shape of the Kings Pool lagoon in the Linyanti wildlife reserve, situated between the Delta and Chobe National Park.

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Kings Pool has 9 superb suites that overlook the reserve and out into the distant Namibian Caprivi Strip.

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At Kings Pool camp there is outstanding game viewing with the largest elephants we have ever seen on safari.

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So if you are looking for an amazing tailor-made safari, that has a positive footprint in Africa, call Laurie at Indigo 09 575 3272 or 0274 832561.

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11 Remarkable Vietnam Experiences

Laurie Matthews, Indigo Director, recently worked with some of Indigo’s experts in the region to discover that there are many ways to experience north Vietnam in style and with sophistication. Adding to this Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
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  1. Over 1000 years old with layers of history revealing both Chinese and French influences as seen in the iconic architecture of the region’s capital Hanoi.
    The historic city of Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. A beautiful city of lakes, tree lined boulevards and French colonial architecture. Laurie Matthews of Indigo recently got together with specialist operators to uncover how Indigo can get beyond the normal tourist route to seek unique experiences.SofitelHanoiEntranceMidRes
  2. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. The place to stay and the Raffles of Vietnam. Experience the charm and ambience of yesteryear.SofitelHanoiCafeMidRes SofitelHanoiCourtyardMidRes
  3. Good morning Hanoi. A unique experience with the locals as they begin their day by walking around the lake Hoan KIem, participating in Tai Chi and jogging. This will be followed by a coffee in a street café.
  4. Visit the Temple of Literature with a university student or professor. This was the first university in Vietnam. Originally built in 1070 and rebuilt in 2000 to educate the youth of Vietnam about studying in the ways their ancestors did.
  5. A behind the scenes visit to the Old Quarter / A Cyclo City Experience – three-wheel bicycle taxi appeared during the French Colonial Period.
  6. A visit to the Silk Village. Beginning with a drive to Gian Pagoda, built more than 500 years ago, and later get involved with the locals in dying and drying silk.
  7. Travel to Sapa in the north. 1 or 2 day easy trekking days discover the verdant valleys and ancient traditions. Take an overnight train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai. The Hilltride trek includes an overnight stay with a local family where you can experience the local way of life.
  8. Experience Halong Bay.The-Au-Co-ViewMidRes

    Launched in 2012, The Au Co is the only cruise operator in Halong Bay offering a continuous three-day cruise in a single trip through the Gulf of Tonkin, covering world-renowned Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay & Cat Ba Island. This adventure amongst the thousands of small islands and rock formations that jut out from the sea In addition to bringing the guests to the most remote parts of the area to provide them with an exclusive itinerary, The Au Co features state of the art design in safety and luxury. The fleet consists of 2 luxurious ships, boasting 32 spacious private cabins (including 4 x suites) each with fully equipped bathrooms and panoramic balconies.The-Au-Co-SuiteMidRes

    For the ultimate experience, take the float plane or helicopter into this majestic bay. On the cruise you can experience cooking classes, take Tai Chi or just relax and enjoy a swim in the emerald waters. Alternatively for the more adventurous take to the kayaking through the extensive caving areas. The best way to return to Hanoi is by float plane or helicopter but you can also drive back.. in a 4 hour private transportation.
  9. Mekong Delta – 7 night cruises takes you into Cambodia.Depending on the season, you may also consider taking in the Aqua Expeditions into Vietnam and Cambodia. Travel with the founder and CEO on a hosted journey or choose one of the culinary events cruises.reference: http://www.aquaexpeditions.com/upcoming-cruises/founder-hosted-departures/
    The Aqua Mekong offers luxury cruising on a 62.4 metre sophisticated 5 star hotel. With only 20 suites on board and a 1 to 1 staff to guest ratio, with elegantly relaxed lounging and dining areas, the cruise welcomes guests in the utmost comfort. On and off shore excursions are available throughout the cruise. Modern navigation technologies and the highest cruise standards and an experienced crew.
  10. Eastern and Oriental Express journey from Singapore to Bangkok or vice versa.
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    This is a 2-night and 3 day experience you will always remember. Wonderful staff and fantastic food. Whilst you are in the region take advantage of a wonderful journey aboard the famous train.
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  11. Silver Shadow voyages commence on 20 October 2016 with an 11 day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. These will take you through the Street of Hoi An to experience Vietnam’s most historic architecture, Ha Long Bay, Nha Trang and Ho chi Minh City.
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10 ways to begin an immersive journey to the French Riviera.

10 ways to begin an immersive journey to the French Riviera. Laurie Matthews enjoys Monaco before travelling into the South of France discovering that this is a once in a lifetime adventure to be shared.

“A visit to Nice, the market, the Caves Bianchi with lunch at Chez Pipo brought me in touch with the passion and heart felt pride of the local people”

  1. Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

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I stayed at the boutique Negresco Hotel on the waterfront. A member of the leading hotels of the world, the Negresco first opened its doors in January 18th 1913. Today, Jeanne Augier owner since `1957 has devoted her life to the preservation and development of this unique heritage.

Staying here and drinking at the Bar Le Relais is a sublime occasion and not to be rushed.

  1. Chez Pipo in the Old Town of Nice

    There are plenty of places where you can sample socca in the Old Town, but if you want to understand why so much fuss is made in Nice over this chickpea pancake, this out-of-the-way café behind the Port is the place to go. View it here.
  2. Cave Bianchi in the Old Town of Nice

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the current owner of the Cave Bianchi.

At the centre of old Nice since 1860, in the old cellars of the St – Dominique cloister the Cave Bianchi offers the faithful a carefully selected range of the best wines from Provence as well as introductions to wines. In 1860, when the compte de nice was once again made part of France by Napoleon III, the love of good wine established itself in the Cave Bianchi. This is a celebrity haven and they come here in droves for a private tasting with the owner. Learn more about the Cave Bianchi.

  1. The Royal Riviera Hotel in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat 

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A virtuoso member, This luxurious 1904 seafront hotel is 10 km from Nice and 12 km from Monaco.

The Royal Riviera Hotel commands centre-stage in this exclusive resort of Saint Jean cap Ferrat. A modern classic, this luxurious hotel provides all the intimacy of a private Mediterranean villa with the luxury and glamour of a palace. The hotel boasts a total of 94 rooms and suites, 78 of which are in the main building. Designed to reflect the landscape of the south of France, the majority of the rooms overlook the sea and gardens. The private villa l’Orangerie features 16 additional rooms and Suites decorated in the purest Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat style.

  1. Visit the markets
    Visit the markets A visit to the market is a totally immersive activity, the French are so proud of their vegetables, cheese and cured meats it was a pleasure to spend time in this magnificent place and before we leave the lovely town we took time for an Absinthe tasting at the Absinthe Museum in Antibes. The tastings arranged in the only remaining traditional tasting room in the South of France celebrates Absinthe famous participant Van Gogh.
  1. Picasso Museum in Antibes 

It would not be a visit to the French Riviera without travelling to the Picasso museum.

From 1925 the chateau was known as the Grimaldi Museum. From 1946 it became the home of Pablo Picasso and it is here that he created his finest works. Picasso himself said that if you would want to see the Picassos from Antibe you would need to do so in Antibe itself, and so here they are. It’s an impressive building with views way out to the Mediterrenean.

  1. Eze
    Chevredor3Eze is a medieval village perched like an eagle’s nest on a narrow rocky peak overlooking the Mediterranean. It is home to exclusive hotels, restaurants and shops and is only a 20min drive from Monaco.
  1. The local Fragonard Factory in Eze is a must visit.
  2. St Paul De Vence
    One of the oldest medieval towns on the French Rivera and home to many artists.
  3. Villa Rothschild
    VillaRothschildCapFerratBuilt on the narrowest part of the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, this palazzo is one of the finest listed buildings on the French Riviera with views over Ville Franche, the villa has 9 magnificent gardens.

 

Contact Indigo to tailor make your immersive experience in France.

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How To Really Immerse Yourself On An African Safari!

On their first Southern African Safari, Ralph and Mandy Marshall discovered a whole new world during their stay in the private camps of Camp Jabulani, Elephant Camp, Londolozi and Singita Reserves.

 “It’s difficult to express what I am seeing in this beautiful animal world. It’s incredible and enlightening. Yesterday we encountered a leopard, the Mashable Female, up a tree to enable her to scan for prey to fee her two young cubs, which she has in hiding.

Our ranger Simon and tracker Foster knew she hadn’t eaten for 5 days, so she would be desperate to make a kill.

So we sit and wait.  You won’t believe what happens next…..

Suddenly she dismounts the tree, passing by our open vehicle, nearly touching the side of the vehicle, so close to me, I could have stroked her back… I almost fainted with the disbelief of what I had just witnessed. Unbelievable”

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The Safari aspect of the Marshall’s journey commenced with unique and personal interaction with elephants at Camp Jabulani in the Kapama Game Reserve. Their experience, daily elephant backed safaris into the bush and the Endangered Species Centre in Hoedspruit.

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As Mandy recounts:

“I rode Jabulani on my elephant back encounters. On one occasion, I had taken my mobile phone with me with the idea of taking some quick shots as we moved the through the bush.  Unbeknown to me, of course, the phone slipped out of my pocket and ended up on the ground”

At four metres high, Jabulani leant over and with his trunk slowly manoeuvred as if to grab the phone from the ground. Remarkably, and somewhat clumsily he used his trunk moving the mobile phone around on the ground as he attempted to make the phone stand up to catch it like a hand. Indeed, eventually he took hold of the phone and by raising his trunk back over his back, he gave it to me. I was astounded!

I have the phone now it’s a little worn but I am using it and it is working. This is an experience I will always remember!

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After the safari was over,  I was amazed to hear that an elephant is able to remove a thorn from a foot. The story of Jabulani is really an inspiring one. Read it here.

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Special African Safari Offer for 2016 from Indigo and &Beyond

The team at Indigo and &Beyond sat together in New Zealand to create an exclusive offer for a minimum of two persons travelling in southern Africa in 2016.  Now published live: Check it out.

FREE Interconnecting Flights

We are offering you a value add of all interconnecting flights (free of charge) between your international arrival in Johannesburg return to Johannesburg or Cape Town, South Africa.  In addition to this, we are offering a ½ day private tour of Cape Town.

This is a significant benefit to any couple or larger group of colleagues travelling between the major airports and the private camps of Southern Africa and Cape Town.

Guests will need to book a min of 7 nights.

Terms and Conditions will apply.

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Experience the Ultimate Tanzania Safari

Here is the first article in a series about Africa. We start with the Rogerson’s story of a once in a lifetime bucket list safari in Tanzania.

The Rogerson’s family recently returned from Tanzania. We asked them ‘What were the highlights of your journey?’

“Why Tanzania? Ngorongoro crater, chimpanzees, Zanzibar and Stone Town, the Great Migration, tanzanite… the special special people at the luxury camps, …maybe it’s just the reaction when people ask you where you’re going?

It’s only when you get to some places that you realise that’s it’s not a ‘box ticker’ and there are already plans to return. Who knew that the only place to see chimps in their natural environment was Tanzania?”

So we asked ‘What really stood out?’

“It’s the little things like cooling off in a pool right next to a river filled with honking hippos while being served an Amarula on ice; being under full sail on a mahogany dhow sipping on a Stoney; experiencing the exotic sights and smells of Stone Town, or having breakfast cooked for you in the Serengeti as the wildebeest and zebra look on.”

Tanzania is the untamed half of east Africa, the raw safari experience that first drew explorers from around the world, home to endless savannah, volcanic mountains, the Great Migration and the towering walls of the Ngorongoro Crater. This fresh and unspoilt country is a mecca for the avid traveller. The Rogerson’s travelled into Arusha, then to the Grumeti and into the Serengeti before finishing their journey in Zanzibar.

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The east coast of Tanzania is blessed with the dazzling white beaches and warm waters of the Indian Ocean, home to world-class scuba diving and thrilling deep sea fishing.

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Colourful and exotic, Zanzibar fires the imagination with its beautiful scenery and fascinating history as a spice port. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island’s ancient capital of Stone Town hides its singular character and distinct charm within a labyrinth of winding alleyways and ornate doorways.

From its eastern coast, where the fortunate can swim with dolphins or laze on pristine beaches, to the mysterious untamed west, where chimpanzees live on the shores of vast Lake Tanganyika, a Tanzania safari is a collection of sights and scenery that make the soul soar.

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What to expect on safari in Tanzania

The essence of Tanzania safaris lies in the country’s magnificent landscapes, from skies that stretch as far as the imagination to rolling expanses of golden savannah. While tourism is well developed in the country and the facilities provided are excellent, Tanzania manages to retain much of its innocence and untouched character.

Whether you are travelling by road or by light aircraft, the sheer size of the country is staggering.  Each part of the country is vastly different and strikingly unique. Tanzania is unbeaten for sheer variety of landscape, offering majestic craters, lush forests, sweeping plains and baobab-studded bushveld, crowned by the deep blue of the ocean and its pure white shores.

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Tanzania safari holidays have developed a great deal and Tanzania safari companies have broadened their offering to appeal to a wide range of tastes and budgets. Light aircraft travel allows guests to combine far-flung destinations into shorter journeys. Accommodation ranges from simpler, cheaper options to Tanzania luxury safari. Most of the country’s national parks boast excellent big game and several are home to the Big Five, although rhino are scarce in Tanzania. Overland journeys remain popular and popular Tanzania safari packages link the gateway towns of Arusha and Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti and beyond via the craggy rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and its verdant highlands.

A safari in Tanzania can take many forms. Some safaris are designed to cater for those who desire all the comforts and convenience of home, including luxuries like air conditioning and satellite television, while other create an authentic bush experience for travellers seeking to disconnect from the modern world and get closer to nature.

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A Tanzania luxury safari usually consists of daily game drives that bring guests face to face with the majesty of nature viewed from a custom safari vehicle and introduced by an expert guide.  Those in search of a little more adventure can set out on foot or horseback, sleeping on the trail in mobile fly camps that are set up for the night and taken down in the morning but are by no means light on comfort and even a little luxury. Travellers keen for an authentic experience but not eager for roughing it might consider luxury accommodation that offers a wide range of adventurous activities, like running with Masai warriors or tracking giraffe. In the west, the forests of Mahale are perfect for tracking the fascinating families of chimpanzees that call it home. Tanzania also now has efficient flight links to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, where visitors can explore some of the best gorilla tracking areas in the world.

To experience the full Tanzania safari tour, it is best to do a comprehensive circuit of the country, spending some time in each unique area. After a night or two in Arusha (perhaps heading up to Meru for canoeing or hiking part of the way up Kilimanjaro), fly out to Lake Manyara and walk or cycle along the lakeshore looking out at the flamingos. From there, travel to the rim of the largest intact caldera in the world and explore the sheltered Eden on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater.

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Beyond that the endless Serengeti awaits and travellers can spend long sunny days in the savannah, seeking out herds of game and watching the gripping interactions between predator and prey. This massive reserve can be divided into a northern, central and western section, each of which has its own defining characteristics. Seek out the Migration on a carefully timed safari planned to intercept the slow annual progress of the mega-herd or simply marvel at the abundance of resident game and spectacular scenery. Once your longing for the Serengeti has been sated, a feast of new experiences still awaits.  Head west to the remote shores of Tanganyika or the gorilla forests of Rwanda or Uganda, east to the vibrant coast or south to the remote southern parks.

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5 Good Reasons to Travel Home to Ireland

Considering a heritage journey to Boston & New York?  You may like to begin your journey where it all started. A journey to the soul of Ireland…is a journey home.

  • It’s an addictive place to Explore – Frommers
  • Ireland has been voted one of the world’s top 10 places to Business – World Bank
  • Irish Disapora is thought to contain over 80 million people worldwide
  • Has been voted the world’s friendliest destination – Lonely planet
  • Ireland is one of the best brands in the world – Bill Clinton
  • Ireland offers in a unique blend of luxury and comfort intertwined with the jovial and lively culture.

It can deliver the ultimate luxury retreat (Downtown Abbey –just for you and some colleagues or friends) with a variety of ‘passive and active’ activity choices : horseriding, gaelic games, claybird shooting, hunting and fishing, whilst being immersed in the vibrant culture and music of the Irish..

Commencing in Dublin your stay can include the local influences as well as pure elegance and charm:

Five star luxury of the legendary Shelbourne Hotel

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A national treasure built in 1824, The Shelbourne Hotel has been magnificently restored while keeping its historic charm. Ideally situated close to Dublin’s cultural and historic buildings and directly opposite St. Stephan’s Green, this hotel is smack bang in the middle of it all. Enjoy the buzz of Dawson streets pubs and cocktail bars only a few meters from the front door, or spend an afternoon hitting the high end shops and boutiques of Grafton Street- about a 5 minute walk from the hotel.

Venture out into the Countryside!

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The magnificent five star Ashford Castle is set in 350 acres, on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib. Dating back to 1228, the castle now enters a new chapter in its history, as part of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection. With 82 guest rooms, a wealth of activities and thoughtful touches, enjoy acclaimed Irish hospitality on a grand scale.

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Ballyfin Manor

IRL-BallyfinExteriorAside from the pure luxury of a substantial luxury country home, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter the Gaelic games. This will include football (for ladies and gents), hurling and Camogie handball.

 

Step back in time with a visit to the birthplace of the Titanic… Then celebrate in the local irish pub with a bowl of stew and a pint of Guiness. And as the days come to a close sing the famous Irish ballards with the locals until the early hours.

 

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Luxury Train Travel on the Grand Hibernian.

IRL-GrandHibernianObesrvDeckConsider life aboard the Grand Hibernian.. where you can choose from a 2, 4, or 6 night luxury rail journey throughout Southern Ireland. Belmond, (formerly Orient Express) will launch the train in 2016.

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