Food is such an important part of any holiday and something that Rainbow’s clients have always valued and commented on – unforgettable dining experiences in unspoilt locations is one of our favourite mantras. It’s the local knowledge that makes all the difference, whether you’re looking for award-winning haute cuisine and world class wines, or a freshly caught and grilled lobster washed down by a local beer.
We were therefore thrilled to win the Food and Travel Magazine’s Best Tour Operator 2012 award back in September, voted for by their readers, and flushed by our success, we hosted our very first food bloggers event last week. Fourteen top food bloggers came along to our Taste of Africa evening, held at the innovative Open Kitchens in Hoxton. We cooked beef and greens from Madagascar and Tanzania fish with fried onions, chilli and garlic. See the recipes and more photos from the event on our Taste of Africa page.
The wine flowed and we exchanged views on food, responsible travel to Africa that benefits the communities you visit, and the role of the bloggers as the new journalists. There was much debate, but in the final analysis we all agreed that good food is an essential part of any holiday and that authentic travel experiences, where you can genuinely engage with local cultures and people, lead to more authentic food experiences.
Read what our bloggers had to say about their Taste of Africa experiences:
- London Unattached
- Future Foodie
- Snigs Kitchen
- Brunch Etc
- Hot & Chilli
Chef Attoma Mandji demonstrates how to cook Tanzanian fish with fried onions
With approximately 80% of people who visit mainland Tanzania travelling to the Northern Parks, it is great to visit one of the lesser known and trodden paths in the country. The mix of different ecosystems sets Saadani apart from all the national parks in Tanzania. Being able to relax on the beach, take a game drive, cruise down the Wami river in search of hippos, explore the park by foot, and visit the historic local village all in a few days makes for an amazing experience!
Saadani National Park
Saadani River Lodge is set on the banks of the Wami River and is all about relaxation whilst surrounded by nature. The suites are spacious and luxurious and the whole lodge perfectly fits within the surroundings. You can spend all day by the pool listening to the sounds of the river or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous head out for a trip on the river amongst the vast numbers of hippo. Finish off with a sundowner drink by the riverbank. Perfect! Baby the ‘resident’ hippo can often be found trudging around the lodge!
Saadani River Lodge
Sundowner by the river at Saadani River Lodge
Hippo by the river at Saadani River Lodge
Saadani Safari Lodge is right by the beach and only a short walk away from Saadani Village. The rooms are located along the beach and waking up in the morning to the sun rising over the Indian Ocean is just beautiful! With one activity per day included you can pick and choose how much time you wish to relax or be active. Mornings could be spent by the pool with an afternoon game drive or a morning guided walk before breakfast, followed by a day on the beach. It is up to you. The evenings are often spent at the bar where Ali will serve fantastic cocktails! All being part of the ‘Saadani experience’!
Village Tour in Saadani
Even though the animals at Saadani are not as in greater numbers as in the Northern Parks, the fact you have the National park essentially to yourself and that you know you will not be with the crowds makes Saadani a really special place. There are not many places where you can be on the river, in the bush and on the beach in one day! The park is still evolving and that is the beauty of going now. The two lodges (river and safari) offer beautiful and unique settings combined with friendly, personal, and genuine warm welcomes. Saadani is a real hidden treasure and the two lodges are key in the continuing conservation of the park and the advancement of the local community.
Make no mistake about it, climbing Kilimanjaro is a serious challenge, but something I’ll never forget. It gives me huge pleasure to arrange climbs for Rainbow’s customers, and when people are doing it to raise money for important charitable work, its even more special.
I was thrilled when a children’s charity in Milton Keynes, that helps some of the most deprived children in the city, got back in touch for the second year running to say they had recruited eight willing supporters to take on Kilimanjaro. Ride High is a Milton Keynes based charity which aims to change the life prospects of the city’s most disadvantaged children, helping in particular those children who become displaced from society, care full-time for parents, self harm or are referred to us by social services. They do this by teaching them to ride, by working with them to develop their social and literacy skills and by helping them find routes into further education or work experience.
“What’s good about Ride High?… for me it is time out from my home situation of being a carer for my mum and my little brother. Before Ride High I was literally the quiet one in the corner who would be too shy to join in. I think the best thing about Ride High is it has given me the confidence to speak out and meet new friends.”
Ride High member
Nicholas Brinner from the charity says,
“This year eight Ride High supporters have chosen to take on the Charity’s Kilimanjaro challenge, committing to raise £3,500 to support the Charity’s work with over 70 children a week! Our trip this year would not be possible without the incredible support from Rainbow Tours who generously sponsored last year’s climb. One Ride High climber from 2011 exclaimed that the trip and facilities organised by Rainbow Tours were, ‘… amazing and by far the best on the mountain’.”
If you would like to learn more about Ride High please do contact Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or why not sponsor Jack, one of the eight Ride High climbers if you would like to contribute.
You can read more about Ride High and the important work they do on their website.
When you venture out into the African bush on a safari you expect to come into close contact with some of the world’s most dangerous predators. After a hard morning’s game drive watching the lions as they stalk their prey, you look forward to arriving back at your safari lodge and taking a hot shower followed by a cup of tea on the veranda.
Residents of room number seven at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, in Tanzania could enjoy no such pleasure when they opened their curtains early on the morning of 21st April to let the light flood in. Instead, a leopard cub, believed to be only around 4 months old was found perched on the porch.
The vet was called and giving the baby leopard the all clear, a number of clients were allowed to peak through the windows to watch this remarkable creature wile the day away waiting for mum to return.
While staff were worried at first that the cub had been abandoned, the mother returned later that evening and after a happy reunion for mum and cub, they headed off back into the bush to where mum had located dinner.
This was a remarkable opportunity for guests at the Serengeti Serena Lodge and staff alike. Leopards are nocturnal and so are difficult to spot, and a leopard cub, at just four months old, is an even rarer sight.