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“Glamping” Safaris in Africa

The allure of wild African safaris beckon visitors to experience unforgettable adventures and unique personal experiences. Having grown up in Africa, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent many a night on safari, and my fondest memories in life are those derived from being immersed in such a pristine natural environment. As a result, I often yearn to be back driving across the endless plains of the Serengeti, dotted with wildebeest and zebra on their annual migration in search of greener pastures. I also have rich memories of gliding silently across the crystal clear waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe) through papyrus fringed channels listening to the nearby grunt of a hippo and the unmistakable cry of an African Fish Eagle. Experiencing Nature’s Wonderland The word “safari” is derived from the Swahili language and roughly translates to “a journey.” Traditionally this would have involved a small tent pitched deep in the wilds with little or no infrastructure surrounding it. Today many safaris are offered with a distinct air of sophistication, and often with super luxurious

A Gift for Two: Ker & Downey’s Romantic Getaways

Whether planning for an upcoming honeymoon or treating someone you love to a memorable gift, let these romantic getaways serve as your inspiration. Our favorite amorous getaways from around the world feature private experiences and amenities with lovers in mind. Is your heart racing yet?  Foodie Love | Dar Ahlam, Morocco If the way to your heart is your stomach, head to the Skoura Oasis to get your fill. Incredible private dining awaits in secret spaces on the manicured grounds, and on a drive into the Atlas Mountains for an indulgent evening under the stars. The Creative Heart | Ellerman House, South Africa Pair fine wines and fine art at the celebrated Ellerman House consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world by top travel publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. With the recent addition of a custom-crafted wine cellar guests can now sample 7,500 vintages in an inspiring, intimate environment. For the Love of Nature | Hotel Paracas, Peru Peru’s southern coast is alive with history and outdoor encounters. Soar over the mysterious Nazca

Castle Hotels: Experience Grandiose Getaways

Bursting with opulence and enchantment, castle hotels are the perfect sanctuaries for the luxury traveler. During many of my trips overseas, I often structured our itinerary around visiting some of the world’s finest castles, including Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania, and Mont Saint-Michel near Normandy, France. However, I never took advantage of the opportunity to spend a night in one of these magnificent places. Have you ever dreamed of staying overnight in a real-life castle?  Did you know that this “bucket list” item is even a possibility?  Well, believe it or not, it is, and there are quite a few choices.  In this article, we will highlight some of the classics around the world. ASHFORD CASTLE – CONG, IRELAND Ashford Castle, originally built in 1228 on a 350-acre estate, is an incredible five-star resort that allows you to fantasize about medieval times.  It had been owned by the Guinness family since 1852, expanded to more than 26,000 acres, and was donated to the Irish government in 1915. In 1939, it was turned into a hotel and has

Ker & Downey: Stunning Frozen Locations to Visit

Baby, it’s cold outside… but that’s not stopping us from wanting to travel to some frozen locations inspired by Disney’s Frozen 2. Let Ker & Downey whisk you off to these magical, snow-dusted destinations with adventure and natural beauty aplenty. Iceland If you find Anna and Kristoff’s Frozen romance inspiring, grab your partner and snuggle up on our romantic Iceland journey. Designed as a honeymoon for two Ker & Downey clients, this trip is perfect for any occasion and a great balance of adventure and relaxation for couples. Snowmobile across glaciers and hike to remote waterfalls. Chill out in the relaxing, milky-hued waters of the Blue Lagoon. Cap off the trip by warming up in an Icelandic wool sweater made just for you. Greenland Iceland’s much larger neighbor is rightfully getting more attention, including an appearance on our Where To Go 2020 list. What is Greenland really like? We answer that question with a cruise to one of its most isolated places, where you will only encounter two towns and five settlements. The friendly Inuit locals still use traditional methods

Ker & Downey: Plan Your 2019 Christmas Vacation

Plan your family Christmas vacation 2019 before it’s too late, since the holidays are fast approaching. Ditch the usual presents and give the gift of travel this year instead. With options fit for the whole family, designing your journey with us will open a magical world of travel to your loved ones. Get inspired to make this a holiday your family will cherish forever. Private Colorado Ranch Say howdy to the holidays at a cozy ranch in Colorado. This is a Rocky Mountain wilderness experience that amps up the luxury. Picture this: 10,000 acres of pure nature and pristine trails for you to explore. Bring the whole gang; there’s plenty of space for up to 20 with 11 rooms and nine bathrooms. The home embraces a cabin-chic design with views of the snow-dusted landscape. Your kids will keep their eyes fixed to the starry sky looking out for Santa’s sleigh. A private chef takes care of your meals, leaving you to kick back and relax in front of a crackling fire. Beyond the ranch, Colorado’s winter wonderland awaits. Go with

Russia: A Visitor’s Dive into Cultural Dynamics

From the grandeur of imperial Russia to the stark soviet era, Russia has a rich mix of heritage and culture to explore. We had the opportunity to visit Russia a couple years ago, spending four nights in Moscow, two nights in a small town named Suzdal, and another four nights in St. Petersburg.  Our trip was arranged through Exeter International which, in my opinion, is the best way to travel to Russia if you are seeking private or small group tours. The special touches added by Exeter throughout the trip illustrates their existing relationships and experience in this part of the world. Red Square After settling into our lovely hotel, the St. Regis, which is literally a couple NYC blocks from Krispy Kreme …  and, oh yeah, the Kremlin … we met the first of our two extraordinary guides, a gentleman named Genaddy, a history professor and former member of the military.  A fabulous guide adds so much to a trip and we were incredibly fortunate to have been accompanied by two special professionals throughout our trip. Unforgettable Moscow Our stay

10 Travel Essentials: Top Travel Gear for Your Next Trip

We’ve listed 10 convenient accessories to make your travel less stressful and more enjoyable. Oh, the joy of travel! We’ve listed some of this year’s top travel accessories that are truly useful, convenient, compact, and lightweight. We’ve picked travel accessories that have high customer ratings and they’re all available on Amazon. No bulky, too technical, or silly travel “must-haves” here, just functional gear you can really use. Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery No more lost luggage! Place this little device on your luggage, keys, wallet, camera, handbag, and they’ll be quickly located using Bluetooth-enabled tracking. Easy peasy! Use your smartphone to ring your Tile Pro to locate items within 300 ft. Can’t find your phone? Double click the tile to make your phone ring. You can even tap into the world’s largest lost and found community to help you locate your lost stuff. The long-life battery is guaranteed for one year and you can replace the battery yourself. Rugged and stylish, this little tracker will give you peace of mind. Check out the details on the Tile website or Amazon.

Journey Through Ireland by Train

A journey through Ireland by train on the Belmond Grand Hibernian reveals the history and legends of Ireland through her rolling countrysides and port towns. See off-the-beaten-path sites, explore the famous places, and meet local people who will bring this region of northern Europe to life through storytelling and tours. Suggested journey at a glance: 9 days/8 nights including four nights aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian, and overnights in Dublin and Belfast This suggested itinerary is just one of many ways to see Ireland on your own customized Ker & Downey journey. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible on our Ireland by Train journey. Dublin Begin in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city and one of the world’s top cities as listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. It’s at the center of Irish culture past and present, and a historical and contemporary center for education, the arts, and industry. Its history is told in the architecture

Where to Go on Safari To See the Big 5

If it’s your first time to go on safari, your list of wildlife to see probably includes the “Big 5.” The term, originally coined by the big game hunters of the early safari days, refers to the five most difficult animals to see while on foot: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Spotting them on the safaris of today can still be challenging… unless you know where to look. The Big 5 are present in several countries across Africa. South Africa South Africa is one of the best countries to visit for first-time safari-goers and families traveling together. The country offers a lot of diversity with its cities, beaches, culture, and of course safaris. If it’s a Big 5 safari you’re after, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is the place to go. Of the Big 5, the leopard is the most elusive of all. However, they are frequently spotted on game drives in the Sabi Sand. There are a number of excellent lodges to choose from, but a few of our favorite go-to places that provide unparalleled luxury and

5 THINGS TO DO IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

“Go to Cambodia for a day or two to see Angkor Wat…you won’t need more time than that!” If you’ve received this travel advice, ignore it immediately. And never trust your sources again. Siem Reap is misguidedly viewed as just the gateway to Angkor Wat, but there’s much more to it – hundreds of temples that date as far back as 900 AD still stand, and a gut-wrenching, yet fascinating more-recent history has left its mark. Plus, Siem Reap boasts a vibrant (borderline wild) nightlife, lively markets, fantastic Khmer cuisine, and the friendliest, most welcoming locals we’ve ever encountered abroad. Do not treat this leg of your trip as an afterthought to fill the gaps in your itinerary; Siem Reap must be part of the plan! And, for multiple days – not including any time you choose to spend in Pnom Penh (we unfortunately didn’t visit). Bottom line: Certainly go for Angkor Wat, but stay for Siem Reap. If we’ve managed to convince you, here are our top five things to do. 1) CATCH SUNRISE AT ANGKOR WAT Ok, so