Categories
Holiday

The 5 best family lodges in Tanzania – A Luxury Travel Blog

As we know, holiday plans around the world are on hold at the moment due to Covid-19. What better way to get through these troubling times, than to look forward to when this is all over and we can take that family holiday we have been dreaming of. I cannot think of many better countries in the world to enjoy a once in a lifetime family holiday, than in the wild safari parks of Tanzania. Here is a run down of my favourite family friendly lodges on the continent.

Ikuka

Ikuka is perched up high amongst the towering Ruaha baobabs. From your room and the main area, you have stunning views of the park below. The atmosphere is what sets Ikuka apart from all the other lodges in Tanzania; being owner-ran it is truly intimate, and offers a timeless safari experience. If you would like your family to have an authentic safari with amazing guides, a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful big rooms then Ikuka is for you. The wildlife in Ruaha is also exceptional, and you should look at visiting in our summer months of July – October when the park bursts to life and the wildlife is best. Its authenticity means that Ikuka is fairly open-plan, so is probably better for families with teenagers rather than very young children.

Nomad Lamai

Nomad Lamai is a beautiful lodge set in the iconic Kjopes of the northern Serengeti. Aside from the world class Serengeti wildlife, this lodge is particularly appealing for families because of the seperate private property which you can have all to yourself; Mkombe House. Here, you have one of the most enviable family holidays on the continent. Time it right, and your game drives could be filled with hundreds of wildebeest in the Great Migration hurtling themselves across the Mara River (which is just on your doorstep). To be in with a chance of witnessing the river crossings, you must stay at Nomad Lamai from July to October when the wildebeest are (usually!) in the area.

Sand Rivers

The watery and blissful Selous Game Reserve is only a short 45 minute hop from the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar. A combination of beach and safari has never been easier here, and has also never been more memorable than if you were to choose Sand Rivers. This is a lovely lodge with a great atmosphere, huge authentic wooden rooms, and is a great place for families to unwind. The wildlife is also fantastic in the summer months, and importantly, here you can enjoy boating safaris as well as fishing, which makes this a very diverse safari option. Sand Rivers is the Selous’s answer to Ikuka!

Serengeti Safari Camp

Serengeti Safari Camp offers the quintessential East Africa safari experience. This camp is part of an array of “mobile” camps, which move two to three times a year to be in the right location to see the Great Migration herds. Serengeti Safari Camp is my personal favourite, due to its authentic and safari mad approach to the whole experience. The guides are fantastic, and Nomad as a company offer an unrivalled experience across the continent for a certain style of safari; no unnecessary frills but a world class hospitality experience, Serengeti Safari Camp is a true gem. Interconnected family rooms mean that this camp is ideal for families of all ages.

Jabali Ridge

Jabali Ridge is a beautiful and modern lodge, but one which harmoniously fits in with its wild Ruaha surroundings. Like Nomad Lamai, Jabali has a private house too which makes it one of the most elegant, exclusive and sought after family safari houses in East Africa. Jabali is for those who love life on the luxurious side, and want their family holidays to be remote and on the wild side.

Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

53 best and worst travel firms for cancellation refunds revealed

Revealed: The 53 best and worst travel firms for coronavirus cancellation refunds – with Ryanair near the bottom and Hays Travel, Airbnb and Jet2 at the top

  • A poll asked 27,000 people to rate firms on their handling of coronavirus issues
  • Big names that did well in the survey included Jet2 Holidays and Booking.com
  • The findings will be reported to the Competition and Markets Authority
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for the travel industry, with millions of holidays and travel bookings either unavailable or cancelled.

Yet how firms treat their customers as a result of the pandemic various enormously, according to a major new investigative survey. It asked 27,000 travel customers to rate firms according to how they’ve dealt with problems arising from coronavirus and filtered them into a 53-place ranking.

Travel Counsellors came top, followed by Hays Travel and Airbnb, with travel agent Travel Trolley at the very bottom, followed by TravelUp (52nd) and Teletext Holidays (51st) – and Ryanair in 47th place.

Travel Counsellors has been rated as the best firm in the UK for dealing with coronavirus-related travel issues

Travel Trolley was rated as the worst firm for dealing with coronavirus-related issues

Hays Travel came second in the poll, which was carried out by MoneySavingExpert.com

THE BEST AND WORST TRAVEL FIRMS FOR CORONAVIRUS CANCELLATION REFUNDS 

1 Travel Counsellors 

2 Hays Travel 

3 Airbnb 

4 Jet2 Holidays 

5 Jet2 

6 British Airways Holidays 

7 Center Parcs 

8 Disney Holidays 

9 Trailfinders 

10 Haven 

11 Saga 

12 Hotels.com 

13 Booking.com 

14 Easyjet Holidays 

15 British Airways 

16 HomeAway 

17 American Airlines 

18 Ebookers 

19 Onthebeach 

20 Qatar Airways

21 Travel Republic 

22 Easyjet 

23 Expedia 

24 P&O Cruises 

25 Eurotunnel 

26 Aer Lingus 

27 Norwegian 

28 Riviera 

29 Eurostar 

30 Wizz Air 

31 Emirates 

32 Lufthansa 

33 Brittany Ferries 

34 Virgin Atlantic 

35 Cottages.com 

36 First Choice 

37 Tui 

38 Vueling 

39 Hoseasons 

40 Love Holidays 

41 Virgin Holidays 

42 Air France 

43 Secret Escapes 

44 STA Travel 

45 Sykes Cottages 

46 KLM 

47 Ryanair 

48 Opodo 

49 Lastminute.com 

50 Holiday Extras 

51 Teletext Holidays 

52 TravelUp 

53 Travel Trolley  

207  +91

1,017  +70 

924  +56 

1,621  +54 

1,593  +47 

289  +45 

202  +42 

147  +37 

233  +32 

212  +30 

151  +26

441  +21 

1,178  +18 

163  +10 

1,809  +8 

199  +8 

123  +1 

108  -11 

283  -18 

112  -21 

266  -27 

2,425  -28 

811  -28 

603  -30 

106  -35 

193  -38 

196  -42 

142  -45 

239  -46 

158  -48 

450  -48 

142  -49 

253  -50 

627  -51 

244  -54 

223  -60 

3,252  -60 

119  -61 

451  -68 

677  -70 

775  -73 

149  -76 

299  -76 

150  -77 

610  -79

596  -82 

2,563  -82 

283  -86 

550  -87 

291  -92

251  -94 

593  -95 

338  -95 

The table ranks firms by net score (number of ‘great’ votes minus the number of ‘poor’ votes – with ‘OK’ votes disregarded) and lists the number of responses for each. Only firms with more than 100 responses have been included.

Source: Moneysavingexpert.com 

Other big names that did well in the poll, which was carried out by MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE), were Jet2 Holidays (4th), Booking.com (13th) and BA Holidays (6th).

MSE said it will now be reporting these findings to the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as well as the Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: ‘This is a tough time for the travel industry. It’s one of the sectors worst hit by coronavirus, but it’s a tough time for the public too, many of whom are also in dire straits. And they’ve been strident in telling us that they’ll remember how firms dealt with them during this time – good and bad.

‘People aren’t just judging on whether firms failed to give a refund – though that plays a big part. Many poor ratings are also about difficulties in getting in touch, being given the runaround, and terrible management of expectations – such as Ryanair sending vouchers to those who’d specifically requested cash refunds.

‘People shouldn’t be annoyed with firms offering to move bookings or offering vouchers as refunds. Indeed I’d encourage those who don’t need the cash to take them, especially from firms with solid financials, as it’ll help keep the industry going and keep people in work.

Ryanair came 47th in the poll. Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: ‘This is a tough time for the travel industry. It’s one of the sectors worst hit by coronavirus, but it’s a tough time for the public too’

‘Yet when people are entitled to monetary refunds, to make them sit on phones on hold for hours, often getting cut off to get it, when vouchers are available at the click of a button leaves people feeling rightly riled.

‘Sadly, out of the 53 companies rated, only 17 were net positive. Yet that means they should get even louder plaudits for trying to do it right.

‘They’re struggling, but are protecting customers too, and the likelihood is when this is all over, they’ll come out stronger and with more brand loyalty because of it.’

MailOnline Travel asked Ryanair, TravelUp and Travel Trolley for a comment but did not receive a response.

Airbnb came third in the poll, which produced a ranking of firms each used by at least 100 respondents

FOUR QUICK TIPS TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK 

The exact process to follow if your booking is cancelled and you want to get your money back will vary depending on the type of booking you have (flight, hotel, package holiday and so on).

Before asking for a cash refund, consider if you need one. At the moment, many firms are really struggling. This means it’s safer to demand a refund rather than settle for a voucher, in case the firm collapses before you can use it. But it’s also worth considering whether you’re in a position to show forbearance.

Having said that, if you’re sure that you do in your money back, here are a few brief tips to follow: 

1. Speak to the firm first and use its refund system. Always start this way. Give it a chance, use its systems.

2. If that fails, warn it you’ll take it further. If you can speak to the firm and it isn’t helping, warn it you’ll speak to your card firm. This costs firms and it’s cheaper if they do it themselves, so give them the chance.

3. If the firm won’t give you money back, ask your card provider. Speak to your card provider and ask it to do a chargeback – where it asks the firm’s bank for the money.

4. If this doesn’t work, your final action would be to take the legal route, perhaps through a county court.

Source: MoneySavingExpert.com.

Wayne Perks, Managing Director of Teletext Holidays, said in response to the survey result: ‘Despite having to put the most of our UK team on furlough, and having halved the size of our operation in India, the remaining staff have been working non-stop with suppliers to cancel holidays and negotiate the waiving of any cancellation fees from them, as well as answering any communication we receive.

‘We had to switch our phone lines off because the Indian government enforced a very strict lockdown in the cities where both our sales centres are located and we were unable to get staff into these offices. I can now advise that the restrictions are being eased and our sales centres are once again able to take calls, albeit at a reduced rate whilst social distancing is maintained. ‘

He added: ‘When we book holidays for our customers, we immediately pay for the flights, and therefore do not retain any of this money within our business. In addition, Teletext Holidays often pays hotels in advance in order to get customers the best room rates.

‘Teletext Holidays, therefore, acts as an agent and we are experiencing long delays in receiving monies back from airlines, with some telling us that we will not receive customers money until “the virus has passed”.

‘We have put in place a two-stage refund process, offering customers Atol protected refund credit notes which they can use up to December 31, 2020, for holidays travelling up to December 31, 2021. If they do not decide to take this option, we are offering full refunds from July 31, 2020.’ 

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Holiday

Best Sustainable Tourism Videos of 2020 Revealed

While the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and resulting travel bans and restrictions have hampered travel, there’s still plenty of excellent content for travelers to consume this spring.

GLP Films has announced its official selections for the “Best Sustainable Tourism Films” of 2020, selecting the top five shorts from more than 100 submissions by travel trade organizations and filmmakers from across the world.

The list of recognized films include productions from Black Forest Collective, Wideoyster Magazine, World Nomads, G Adventures and Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism and was chosen based on the strength of their sustainable tourism messaging, overall video quality and use of compelling storytelling.

“The winning films transport us to five continents and stand out for their compelling storytelling and global sustainable tourism themes. Themes like women empowerment, wildlife conservation, social impact, farm-to-table cuisine and cultural heritage,” GLP stated. “In these challenging times, GLP is proud to present a selection of the best storytelling in sustainable tourism to shine a light of hope on the positive stories for the future of tourism.”

“We are excited to celebrate inspiring messages of sustainable tourism through video storytelling. We thank all the travel brands and filmmakers that submitted their videos, and hope these positive stories of tourism and humanity add a little light to the challenging times the travel industry and the world are facing right now,” said Laura Knudson, Marketing Director of GLP Films in a statement.

Each of the five productions is three minutes or shorter so even time-strapped viewers will be able to watch them all.

Visit glpfilms.com/sustainable-tourism-films-2020 to view all five winners in their entirety.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Holiday

The best private lodges in the African wilderness – A Luxury Travel Blog

Africa’s safari camps and lodges are renowned for being especially intimate and wild, more so than any other hospitality experience throughout the rest of the world. Take the most private and most intimate lodges across the continent and you have the best wilderness experience the world has to offer. Dotted around safari Africa are several private lodges where you and the family can go to get away from it all in the ultimate exclusive retreat. Here is a run down of the best places to do this in.

Bailey’s Banda at Beho Beho. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

This is the ultimate old school safari experience. Dappled brick walls enclose guests in a haven of old era safari romance, with bushy views onto the raised hill which creepy up into the horizon. Watch the peaceful everchanging canvas of wilderness from your private plunge pool. This is the kind of scene which can change in a blink of an eye; a tranquil river scene can within a page of your book transform into a playground for elephants; a blank field can come alive with the howl of wild dogs in a split second. Staying at Beho Beho is as much about wildlife viewing from the luxury of your room as it is about the game drives…

Laragai House. Laikipia, Kenya

Laragai House is one of the original private venues for those who want exclusivity in a wild place. Laikipia is a haven for adventurers, and Laragai House is about as luxurious as it gets. It really does have something for everyone. Here, you feel isolated in the wild with sweeping and endless views of the undulating Borana hills below. You can be bathing by the pool admiring the view in the morning, and galloping around the below wilderness in the afternoon on your very own horse. Laragai House is the very best option on the continent for horse and wilderness lovers, all to be enjoyed from one of the finest private safari lodges on the continent.

The Motse. Tswalu, South Africa

Twenty-four of your best friends and family can enjoy this fabulous private getaway. Perhaps The Motse is suited best for older families with teenagers, who want to tear around the surrounding wilderness in activities galore which is this action packed private reserve. Guided activities include searching for pangolins, which are (incredibly) very easy to spot here; keeping wildlife enthusiast parents more than entertained. Perhaps, Tswalu is also excellent for younger families as it has no age restrictions and is, importantly, one of the only non-malarial reserves in southern Africa. For those who aren’t restricted by non-malarial zones, the nearby and easily accessible Cape Town is a perfect contrast and compliment to an exceptional Tswalu safari.

Mkombe House at Nomad Lamai. Serengeti, Tanzania

Mkombe House is the ultimate big 5 safari hideaway. The Serengeti National Park is brimming with life – time it right heading to Lamai in July to October and your could be living in amongst one of the greatest, most spectacular natural events on the planet; the Great Wildebeest Migration. Indoors, Mkombe House cosies into a huge Kjope, huge towering mysterious boulders which are typical of this beautiful part of the park. Staying here is as close to nature as anyone could get. To avoid other tourists completely, I would recommend visiting in the off-season months when the Migration is not around. You will still be greeted by some of the best wildlife on the continent which never leave this action-packed park, but for a lot less than in high season.

Chongwe House, Lower Zambezi. Zambia

Chongwe House is what safari is all about; rustic, wild and with a hint of safari romance impossible to replicate on any other continent. Set on the banks of the Zambezi, enjoy a bright pink sunset and a cold drink after a long day of exploring this beautiful region. The wildlife in the park is superb, and the boating unparalleled in the country. For those who love fishing, Chongwe is the dream with some of the very best fishing opportunities on the continent. It is a hideaway for those who love a river view, and all the activities which come with it.

Marc Harris is Managing Director of Africa Odyssey. Africa Oydssey is run by a team of award-winning experts offering tailor-made African safari holidays.

Source: Read Full Article