If Namibia is ‘Africa for beginners’, as is often said, what a wonderful place to start.
Few countries in Africa can match Namibia’s sheer natural beauty. The country’s name derives from its (and the world’s) oldest desert, the Namib, and there are few more stirring desert realms on the planet, from the sand sea and perfect dead-tree valleys at Sossusvlei to the otherworldliness of sand dunes plunging down to the sea at Sandwich Harbour and the Skeleton Coast. Inland, running through the heart of the country, a spine of mountains creates glorious scenery – the Naukluft Mountains, the Brandberg, Spitzkoppe, Damaraland and the jaw-dropping Fish River Canyon. With rivers and wetlands in the Caprivi Strip and the endless gold-grass plains of the Kalahari, it’s difficult to think of an iconic African landscape that Namibia doesn’t possess.
Mark Twain once wrote, ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’. He was right.
Mauritius is rightly famed for its sapphire-blue waters, powder-white beaches and, yes, luxury resorts that provide a front-row seat onto some of the most beautiful views in the Indian Ocean. These are places of the utmost refinement, of impeccable service, of facilities that range from pampering spas, designer rooms and extensive watersports options to dreamy swimming pools, expansive palm-strewn grounds and world-class restaurants. Your stay will live long in the memory and will have you dreaming of a return. Partly that’s because of the supreme levels of comfort and luxury. But it’s also thanks to the resorts’ discretion and warmth, and the unmistakable sense of being treated like royalty.
A journey here will take you through an attractive patchwork of landscapes, from highveld, balancing boulders and flaming msasa trees, to laidback towns, lush mountains and lifeblood rivers up north. Here you can spot the Big Five in its national parks, discover World Heritage–listed archaeological sites and stand in awe of one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls.
Along the way you’ll receive a friendly welcome from locals, famous for their politeness and resilience in the face of hardship. After almost two decades of political ruin, violence and economic disaster, Zimbabweans continue to hold on to hope that a new dawn will soon rise upon this embattled nation.
Mozambique beckons with its coastline and swaying palms, its traditions, its cultures, its vibe and its opportunities for adventure. This enigmatic southeast African country is well off most travellers’ maps, but it has much to offer those who venture here: long, dune-fringed beaches, turquoise waters abounding in shoals of colourful fish, well-preserved corals, remote archipelagos in the north, pounding surf in the south and graceful dhows with billowing sails. Add to this colonial-style architecture, pulsating nightlife, a fascinating cultural mix and vast tracts of bush. Discovering these attractions is not always easy, but it is unfailingly rewarding. Bring along patience, a tolerance for long bus rides, some travel savvy and a sense of adventure, and jump in for the journey of a lifetime.