Struggling to pick a destination for next year’s big vacation? Let us help. These are five countries that should be on your radar in 2019.
Rwanda is a very exciting travel destination right now. The government has committed to fostering a strong sustainable tourism model by inviting some of the top safari companies on the continent to open here. In 2019, new lodges include Singita’s gorilla trekking property – Singita Kwitonda, opening late 2019 – in Volcanoes National Park and Wilderness Safaris’ Akagera National Park camp, Magashi Camp, which will open in May and offers the first Big Five luxury safari experience in Rwanda.
Make sure you also head to One&Only Nyungwe House, which opened in 2018, from where you can go chimp trekking and explore the beautiful Nyungwe Forest. Lastly, spend some time in the capital, Kigali, where you’ll find a booming art and fashion scene, great restaurants and bars, and important historic museums and memorials; we recommend staying at the luxury 11-suite boutique hotel, The Retreat.
If you thought Mozambique was all about beaches, think again. In July 2019, Gorongosa National Park will open its first luxury eco-camp, run by Royal Portfolio, who are known for their glamourous South African properties, including The Silo and La Residence. The opening will give luxury travellers the opportunity to travel in comfort to Gorongosa, a place noted as one of the most biodiverse parks in the world and selected by National Geographic as one of the places you must travel to in 2019.
Of course, the best way to round off an adventurous safari is with a few days on the coast. Stay at Ibo Island Lodge or Azura Benguerra Island.
The multiple new camps and lodges that opened throughout 2018 have made Namibia a newly exciting destination for high-end travellers. From the quirky design of Shipwreck Lodge on the wild Skeleton Coast and the six-tent Hoanib Valley Camp to the reopened Serra Cafema in the far north and new Sossusvlei lodge Sonop, which will open at some point in 2019, the accommodation choice is now wider than ever.
Make yours a multi-destination trip. If you have the time, self-drive through the vast desert of Namibia for the most epic road trip or take light aircraft flights to enjoy the striking scenery from above.
South Africa is always a great vacation destination, whether it’s your first time in the country or your tenth. A couple of new openings in one of the most stunning parts of the country, De Hoop Nature Reserve, should encourage visitors to stay over in this beautiful coastal protected area. Morukuru Beach Lodge opened last July as an addition to exclusive-use Morukuru Ocean House and in April 2019, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge will provide a further accommodation option.
De Hoop is one of the best land-based whale-watching spots in South Africa and it’s just three hours outside Cape Town – ideal for a Garden Route or Whale Coast road-trip stop-over, or as a side-trip from the Mother City. For a safari to finish up, head to the brand new super-luxe Cheetah Plains villas in the Sabi Sand Private Reserve; they’ve just introduced electric vehicles (Toyota Land Cruisers with Tesla batteries), offering a wonderfully silent and smooth safari experience.
A favourite of safari enthusiasts, Mana Pools is in northern Zimbabwe along the banks of the Zambezi River. This is one of the wildest, most exciting safari destinations in southern Africa and it’s particularly excellent for walking safaris. In April 2019, six-tent Nyamatusi Camp opens alongside its family-friendly property Nyamatusi Mahogany.
In addition, Wilderness Safaris have reopened their Mana Pools camp Chikwenya, so there’s even more choice for those keen to explore a place known for its rich wildlife, including the bull elephants famed for having learnt to balance on their hind legs to reach the higher branches.
Where do you want to go in 2019? Let us know!