I’m delighted and excited to share with you two Turquoise journeys which lie close to my heart; the first in Sri Lanka and second in East Africa. With so much world to explore and so little time, it can be incredibly overwhelming to know where to start, so I hope that these itinerary suggestions, top tips and most importantly book club recommendations! strike a chord. Our CANVAS blog has been designed as a space for our team of passionate travellers to share their loves of the world and most importantly to inspire you, our wonderful readers, to let us be your friend and guide in planning the perfect holiday. I really do love talking travel, so if you have any questions or queries, or want to discuss either of these destinations any further, please feel free to get in touch; [email protected]
1. SRI LANKA
Anyone who knows me well might have guessed that Sri Lanka would be first on the list. For me, it ticks every box. Incredible scenery, mountainous landscapes, interesting architecture, rich heritage, patterned history, divine food, rugged coastlines, elephants, elephants and more elephants… I could go on and on and on. What’s more, it’s incredible value for money, so if purse strings are tight…Sri Lanka will still deliver.
1. Don’t try and squeeze too much in. Get to know an area well, don’t just pass through.
2. Make sure you get at least one train and if budget permits, a seaplane journey, into your itinerary.
3. Go curry mad, hoppers for breakfast, Roti for lunch, Kottu for dinner. It’s delicious.
4. If you don’t have time to go to Yala or Wilpattu, do an elephant day safari in Udawalawe.
5. Earn your luxury. Weather it’s climbing Sigiriya rock or Adam’s Peak, trekking in the Knuckles Mountains or visiting Gal Oya National Park… get up high, get your heart beating, feel alive and on top of the world.
BOOK CLUB – Elephant Complex by John Gimlette. History buffs will love delving into the pages of Elephant Complex. A travel read which reveals the raw truths about Sri Lanka’s rich history and troubled past.
TURQUOISE JOURNEY: TWO WEEK SRI LANKAN SOJOURN
Night 1: The Wallawwa
Night 2-5: Ulagalla
Night 6: The Kandy House
Day 7: Train from Kandy to Hatton
Night 7-9: Ceylon Tea Trails
Night 10-13: KK Beach
Day 1 Fly London to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airways
Day 2 Overnight at The Wallawwa, Negombo
Day 3 Fly from Colombo to Sigiriya with Cinnamon Air
Days 3-6 Spend 3 days exploring the cultural triangle, staying at Ulagalla near Anuradhapura
Day 6 Drive from the cultural triangle to Kandy, spend one night at The Kandy House
Day 7 Catch the train from Kandy to Hatton, or Ella
Day 7 – 9 Spend 2 days exploring Nuwara Eliya, staying at Ceylon Tea Trails, or Ella, staying at 98 Acres
Day 9 Drive from the tea country to the south coast via Udawalawe National Park for a three-hour elephant safari. Leave early and you’ll be having sundowners on the beach.
Days 9 -13 Spend 4 days exploring the south coast. Choose to stay at The Last House in trendy Tangalle or in the penthouse at KK Beach just outside Galle. Visit Galle Fort for the day. Learn to surf at Weligama. Visit Secret Beach near Mirissa. Drink from freshly fallen coconuts. Eat juicy mangoes.
Day 14 Travel back to Colombo and fly back to London with Sri Lankan Airways.
2. KENYA & ZANZIBAR
Between school and university, I was lucky enough to spend 6 months in East Africa. My time there taught me a lot and I developed an irrevocable passion for this incredibly special part of the world. Therefore, my second recommendation to consider for your next holiday would be Kenya & Zanzibar.
1. Do your research. We’ve all heard of the Maasai Mara and for good reason. It is an incredible area of natural beauty offering some of the world’s best game viewing BUT, it’s busy. Escape the crowds and visit a less tourist trodden region for a more authentic African experience.
2. Spend on safari. Whatever your budget, there are some incredibly good value beachside boltholes on Zanzibar, so if you’re counting the pennies, save it for the safari.
3. Don’t overpack. Most safari lodges are accessed via small planes with limited weight allocations. Pack carefully, I promise it will make things much less stressful.
4. Forget your phone. Well don’t forget it but just promise not to spend too much time looking at it. Whether on the beach or on safari, be in the moment, soak it all up, the virtual memories are the ones which last a lifetime.
5. Sleep under the stars. Most safari lodges offer a sleep-out option. This can vary from a rooftop star-bed to a remote treehouse set up for yours truly.
BOOK CLUB – I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann. Kuki is an Italian/Kenyan author who lived on a ranch in Kenya where Colin Francombe (owner of Ol Malo) worked for many years.
TURQUOISE JOURNEY: TWO WEEK SAFARI BEACH BONANZA
Night 1: Heminways Nairobi
Nights 5-7: Ol Malo
Nights 7-13: Zuri Zanzibar
Day 1 Fly London to Nairobi with British Airways, overnight at Hemingways Nairobi
Day 2 Fly from Nairobi to Loisaba with Safarilink
Days 2-5 On arrival at Loisaba airstrip, board a private helicopter and fly to Ol Malo Nomad, a remote mobile safari camp, set up just for you. Spend two nights glamping in the bush, making your way back to Ol Malo lodge by foot or horseback, accompanied by guides and a train of camels
Days 5-7 Arrive at Ol Malo, one of Kenya’s original bush homes and spend two days with the Francombe family. Listen to their stories of life in the bush, enjoy private game drives and relax in your luxurious clifftop abode.
Day 7 Enjoy a 40-minute game drive to Loisaba airstrip and fly to Zanzibar (via Nairobi) with Safarilink
Days 7-13 Spend 6 days enjoying the spice island of Zanzibar, staying at Zuri Zanzibar. Swim with the turtles. Enjoy sunset dhow safari’s. Visit the cobbled streets of Stone Town. Be pampered in the spa. Dine under the stars.
Day 13 Fly from Zanzibar to Nairobi with Safarilink and Nairobi to London with British Airways