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For adults and children alike, a sea view or proximity to a beach is one of the most important factors when selecting a holiday villa. Whilst for some, little is required other than a bucket and spade, for others, access to the beach clubs of the Côte d’Azur or water sports on the Adriatic are of more importance. And for all, little beats cocktails on a terrace as the sun melts into the Mediterranean or Caribbean Sea. Our Villas team presents its top villas by the sea in Europe and the Caribbean.
In the second of two articles, our India expert, Bea Searle offers her recommendations on places to visit in the fascinating city of Kolkata in West Bengal.
Rains fall in Zambia between November and April, deterring some visitors, though for die-hard safari enthusiasts, the ‘emerald’, ‘green’ or ‘secret’ season as it is varyingly known, is actually one of the most spectacular times to visit. Our Zambia safari expert, Albee Yeend, looks at why the ‘secret season’ attracts those in the know.
Rich with intoxicating smells and sounds, vivid colours and rich culture, India assaults the senses, captivating visitors and leaving a lasting impression. All of life can be found in India: holidays here are defined by cultural discovery, fascinating history and an overwhelming sensory overload. Arguably India’s most diverse region, the north east is a profusion of cultures, landscapes, people and history. Kolkata (often known by its colonial name of Calcutta) in West Bengal is its cultural and intellectual heart and the logical starting point for exploring the region. Once the country’s capital under the British Empire, Kolkata is a vibrant metropolis which shocks some visitors with its decaying buildings and indisputable human poverty and yet it has more cultural life than India’s modern capital, Delhi, or its commercial heart, Mumbai.
Our India holidays specialist, Bea Searle, shares her insider knowledge on what to see and do in this exciting city in the first of two articles:
The struggling rand is welcome news for travellers contemplating a safari holiday to South Africa this year. The currency has plummeted following the fall in the value of significant exports such as platinum, gold and diamonds and whereas a year ago a pound would have bought 12.45 rand, today you’d receive 18, adding spending power to your holiday purse. In a country known for its fine wine and excellent cuisine, this means visitors can not only travel relatively inexpensively but dine out very comfortably indeed.
Some of our favourite ingredients for the perfect house party: A rooftop terrace for a drinks party, al fresco dining next to a private pool, a team of staff including an opera-singing chef and a chauffeur who also happens to mix the perfect cocktail, a private beach and a music room with a grand piano for an impromptu jamming session… Our Villas team selects just a few of their recommended villas in Europe and the Caribbean for a very special house party in 2014:
Oman is a terrific destination for those seeking a little adventure and activity during their holiday. A new walking and biking operation in Oman’s northern Al Hajjar Mountains has now opened up offering some tremendous opportunities to explore this wadi-riven and dramatically mountainous part of the Sultanate.
You’d be forgiven for believing that one Maldivian island is much like another, with sparkling cobalt ocean lapping the shores of ubiquitous white sandy beaches draped with palm trees. Not so, according to our Maldives holidays specialist, Melissa Matthews, who firmly believes that each island has its own distinct personality. “There’s a lot of competition between the islands to carve out their own individual raison d’être and so it’s worth doing a bit of research before booking a holiday to the Maldives to make sure you don’t end up on a party island when all you want is a bit of peace and quiet, for example.”
At the southern tip of Africa the Indian and Atlantic oceans converge, resulting in one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth. Not surprisingly this is one of the best places to watch whales, with annual visits from humpbacks and southern rights as well as huge pods of dolphins, sharks and seals. Each year whales commune around the sheltered bays of the Western Cape in South Africa to court and nurse newborns; the cliffs above affording amazing land-based viewing. To watch these giants is a rare privilege. Travel between June and December (with peak calving around July and August) to see these fascinating ocean giants.
With children back at school it might be time to start thinking about your next adventure together as a family. The October half term can be a lovely time to travel – the summer heat gives way to gentler climes and shoulder season rates make travel all the more affordable.
Whether you are seeking some active adventure to let off steam or somewhere to relax after a hectic first term, see below for a few suggestions or call our experienced team of travel specialists on 01242 787800 for a tailor-made itinerary to suit your family’s holiday wishes.