The Family Holiday of a Lifetime
One of the pleasures of helping people plan their holidays to Africa is the incredible diversity the continent has to offer. If you want to experience a dug-out canoe in a reed-lined channel, go to the Okavango Delta; for gorillas or golden monkeys in a bamboo forest, then Rwanda is the place to head for; and Lake Malawi has great snorkelling in clear fresh water. We also offer areas with dramatic sand dunes, Zulu battlefields, great leopard viewing, World Heritage Sites and intriguing historic cultures.
Sometimes the hardest decision is what to leave out and plenty of clients, who originally called for a one-off holiday of a lifetime, call again a year or two later to plan a trip to include the bits they couldn’t fit in the first time. It was variety I was aiming at as I planned my family’s holiday (me, my wife Jo and Megan 9 and Leo 6) earlier this year.
I’d negotiated a month out of the office, so knew we could cover a lot of ground, and started the planning with three areas which were definites: Kenya (there’s such good wildlife and incredible variety in just one country – I knew my family would love this), Malawi (after my trip there in October 2008 it’s become my favourite place in Africa) and Livingstone in Zambia.
My wife and I were raft guides on the Zambezi many years ago – we wanted to revisit the scene of past glories and show the kids we weren’t always such old duffers. For the first two we committed a week in each and then added a stay in the South Luangwa to make a week in Zambia too. We finally decided to add a week in Cape Town over Easter.
I could devote pages to a report of the trip detailing things like the look on my daughter’s face as we landed in the Masai Mara and saw giraffes in the distance, or my wife’s joy when I explained that we really were the only guests at luxurious Loisaba Cottage and that the six members of staff and swimming pool were just for us.
It would take a couple of pages to cover the different activities we did, from kayaking, waterskiing and snorkelling on and in Lake Malawi, through exploring Laikipia on foot, by horse, on quad bikes and on camels, to the cable car up Table Mountain and scrabbling for gem stones at Scratch Patch (an indoor warehouse knee-deep in colourful stones) in Cape Town. It was an extraordinary success and although I’d rather still be on holiday, I’m pleased that my job allows me to share my love of Africa.