Ker & Downey is a USA-based, award-winning luxury tour operator with over five decades of success in the industry. What sets us apart from all the others is our commitment to experiential travel with luxury journeys that are completely unique, specifically designed for each client’s style and budget.
Ask any newlywed and they’ll tell you what to look for in a perfect honeymoon: romance, beauty, luxury, and pampering. Fortunately for those about to pop the question, or already in the honeymoon planning process, there is one destination that delivers it all: Brazil.
Here are Ker & Downey’s top recommendations for a luxury Brazil honeymoon.
Private Charter around Paraty
The charming colonial village of Paraty is a must-see sight for honeymooners. Not only is it a quaint UNESCO World Heritage town filled with cobbled streets and multicolored boats, it is also one of Brazil’s best-kept secrets. The region’s granite rock islands and hidden beaches offer a truly secluded pocket of paradise.
Ker & Downey offers a new and unique way to experience Paraty: from a private sailing charter. Couples are joined only by their captain and chef as they sail to Paraty’s many paradisiacal islands for a bit of trekking or enjoy water sports in the emerald-green ocean. It’s a wonderful option for those looking for a truly special, off-the-radar honeymoon escape.
As if the site itself wasn’t romantic enough, Paraty bay has exactly 365 islands dotted around it, one for each day of the year. How about telling your loved one you have a different island for them, every day?
Ker & Downey recommends pairing three nights at sea with two nights on land in Paraty. Casa Turquesa is perfect for couples seeking romance and tranquility, having only nine rooms and allowing only guests aged 16 and older.
Pampering at Ponta dos Ganchos
Ponta dos Ganchos is located on a private peninsula off southern Brazil’s Emerald Coast, near Florianópolis. It remains one of Ker & Downey’s favorite recommendations for couples; it is perhaps the most romantic hotel in the country, if not the continent.
Flawless service, beautiful rooms with private pools, and features that invite couples to spend quality time with one another are only a few of the reasons why Ponta dos Ganchos is honeymoon heaven. We recommend partaking in a private picnic for two on the beach, and a romantic candlelit dinner on the oasis of “Yes!” Island.
Peace and Quiet in Bahia
The Maraú Peninsula also falls within Ker & Downey’s favorite off-the-radar honeymoon recommendations. Located in Southern Bahia, this region is surrounded by an eclectic mix of untouched nature, from tropical forests and freshwater lakes to life-filled oceans and massive protected mangroves. The small village of Maraú is a lovely beachside locale for experiencing rustic, sandy streets and the well-preserved simplicity and joy of the local population.
There is no better place to take it all in than Casa dos Arandis, a tropical retreat consisting of just five private bungalows. Each bungalow faces the beach of Arandis and is equipped with every comfort one could desire: air conditioning, iPod docks, sumptuous Egyptian cotton bedding, outdoor showers, and bathrooms molded by volcanic rock limestone. What’s more, the property is managed by a lovely couple with their own romantic story to impart.
Bucolic Bliss in Ibitipoca
For something completely different, escape inland to Ibitipoca in the state of Minas Gerais. This region has an undeniable energy and a cozy atmosphere, which promotes the feeling of being away from everything and as close to nature as possible.
Its remoteness, however, does not compromise its VIP nature. From Rio, couples can charter a private helicopter to their exclusive farmhouse accommodations at Reserva do Ibitipoca and partake in the pousada’s sumptuous spa facilities, fantastic cuisine, and immersive activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and cycling.
This is a side of Brazil that not many get to see and is a favorite option for those looking for a place to completely refresh and relax together.
Plan a Luxury Brazil Honeymoon
Are you ready to plan your own romantic escape to Brazil? Contact your Ker & Downey travel designer to begin creating your luxury Brazil honeymoon. Take a peek at more honeymoon destinations designed with relaxation and romance in mind.
As the travel industry continues to prioritize responsible tourism, it can get harder to decide where you should devote time or resources to make a bigger impact on local communities, wildlife, and environments. At Ker & Downey, our philosophy has always been to give back in ways that are more personal and powerful than just tourism dollars, so we partner with some incredible companies that make it easy for you to do good while you travel.
Ker & Downey makes responsible tourism in Botswana easy. While you are traveling on a once-in-a-lifetime journey, you are directly impacting the lives of children. When you travel on our Desert to Delta Safari, a donation is made to Bana Ba Letsatsi, a center in Maun, Botswana that supports over 250 at risk orphaned children and youth. The center is a safe place for the children to receive counseling and education, but also provides for basic needs like food, clothing, medical attention, and showers. Simply by staying in the luxurious properties of Okuti, Kanana, and the newly opened Dinaka, you are making a direct impact in the lives of the children by keeping the doors open, the lights on, and the water running at Bana Ba Letsatsi. Our Desert to Delta Safari also gives you the opportunity to interact with local Bushmen on the most genuine Bushmen walk you’ll find, sleepout under the stars, and see an incredible variety of wildlife on a number of safari activities.
Ker & Downey’s Devon Chapman recently returned from a trip to Botswana where she visited Ker & Downey Botswana camps, including their newest Dinaka camp, just north of the Kalahari Game Reserve. She’s sharing why the Desert to Delta Safari should be your next journey to Botswana.
Where were you? Traveling with Ker & Downey Botswana to several of their camps throughout the Okavango Delta, and to their latest camp, Dinaka, just north of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Highlight of the trip? Coming back to Dinaka one evening after sundowners, there was a pride of nine lion resting at the watering hole right in front of camp. It was amazing to sit and watch them in the moonlight, and then to go back to dinner and be able to continue to watch their activity right from camp.
Favorite Activity? The flood waters had just come in a few weeks before we arrived, so we were able to go out for a Mokoro ride through the channels surrounding Kanana. Right as the sun was setting, we came across a small group of elephants grazing on the shore. It is a completely different experience to float by and watch these magnificent creatures without the vehicle or any other noise around.
Don’t miss… The sleepout deck at Dinaka. Because there is absolutely no light pollution out at Dinaka, the stargazing is phenomenal. The staff will walk you through the night sky, and have great stories to go along with it! An amazing experience is to head out to their sleepout deck, and sleep under the constellations. Plus, you get to wake up to one of the most amazing sun rises you’ll ever see.
Anything else you want to add? The Ker & Downey Botswana staff are truly some of the best in Botswana. When you stay in these camps you feel like you’re welcomed as part of the family, and the staff just add so much more to your trip. The Okuti staff choir performance is something I’ll remember forever, as well as all the wonderful guides and camp staff we met.
Turn your once in a lifetime journey into an opportunity to impact the lives of others with a journey to Botswana. To make an even bigger impact on the children of Bana Ba Letsatsi, you can even pack extra clothes and school supplies in your bag. They’ll get distributed among the children at the center. Contact your luxury travel designer to start planning your journey.
There’s a reason why the people of Kerala, India’s southwestern state, call it “God’s Own Country.” Lofty palms sway in the tropical breeze, thatched-roof boats glide along tranquil rivers, and sari-clad women offer prayers in tranquil temples and churches. That’s not even mentioning the food, famously mouthwatering and spicy. Kerala has our attention and we think it should have yours too when you are planning a journey to incredible India.
Complete relaxation is the only item on the agenda aboard the luxurious houseboats that glide through Kerala’s backwaters. Fresh seafood pulled straight from coastal waters are given a spicy twist and are served on deck as you watch the life along the blissful banks go by. Jade-colored rice paddies and lines of palms will have you realizing why Malayalees (the state’s residents) think God has blessed this fertile land. Visit Kerala to find yourself a world away from the rest of India’s frenetic energy. The lull of the boat and the peaceful waterways will have you drifting into the perfect afternoon snooze.
Feeling a little blah? Need to unplug and just get away? Completely detach in Kerala at one of its many luxury spas. The Vivanta by Taj Bekal, focuses on mind-body healing during a heavenly aromatherapy massage. Stretch and unwind in a yoga session and feel the utter meditative calm of the land take over.
Wander around Cochin’s center of spice trade and inhale the scent of cardamom and cloves. Devour delicious dosas—incredibly large, thin, and often crispy ground rice pancakes—filled with curried potatoes tempered with mustard seeds and dipped into fragrant bowls of daals (lentil soups) and white coconut chutneys. Small dollops of curried vegetables, lentils, and chutneys are served on huge banana leaves. Your mouth will be singing with joy.
A land of many thriving cultures and religions, Kerala is packed with beautiful temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues. The Pardesi Synangogue in Cochin dates back to 1568 and is a glittering gem with shimmering chandeliers, an ornate golden pulpit, and hand-painted tiles. Over the centuries Kerala attracted many traders from Portugal and the Netherlands. The Mattancherry Palace was gifted to the Raja of Kochi in 1555 by the Portuguese. Admire the beautiful Hindu murals in a spectacular display of color. Church spires jut between thick bananas and palm forests, a reminder that this is a land believed to have been visited by Saint Thomas in the first century.
Festivals and lively dances are a way of life in India, and you can visit Kerala for some of the most beautiful. Watch a classical Kathakali performance with lavish costumes, elaborate masks, and painted faces telling the stories of Indian epics. Each eye movement and twirl of the fingers helps to tell the tale.
Wild elephants, exotic birds, tigers, and bears all feel quite at home in the lush wilderness of Kerala’s wildlife sanctuaries. Ker & Downey can arrange a guide to take you to see some of these majestic animals in one of India’s most bio-diverse states.
Rolling green hills are a welcome retreat from the warmer humid weather. Visit India’s largest tea-growing region in Munnar, established by the British. Munnar is a sloping emerald-green paradise draped in mist. Try to count how many shades of green you see; it’s nearly impossible. While you are there, carefully sip on a piping hot cup of chai, sweetened with creamy milk and sugar. Indians drink copious amounts of it all over the country.
Fishermen pull in their shiny catch on huge Chinese nets along Kerala’s sparkling coast and small boats bob on the water. The blissful beaches aren’t just a place to frolic in the surf. This is where you will also get to see the people go about their daily lives.
Visit Kerala, God’s Own Country, with Ker & Downey by contacting your luxury travel consultant.
French writer Jules Verne published Around The World in 80 Days in 1873. It is a story about a gentleman named Phileas Fogg who is challenged by his peers to travel the globe in a specific amount of time. The adventure novel takes readers to many far flung cities and countries. Ker & Downey shares our favorite destinations pulled straight from the pages of this classic novel.
Phileas Fogg is a resident of Victorian London and you can still find so many historical sites from this era scattered throughout the city. Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the beautiful Tower Bridge across from the ancient Tower of London were all built in Victorian times. Visiting these sites in this cosmopolitan city will give you a glance back in time.
The journey Around The World in 80 Days continued via the Orient Express to Venice, the magical Italian city of canals. Gondolas glide by lamp light through the narrow, misty canals as the gondolieri belts out opera songs. From this vantage, passengers can admire the beautiful palazzos that line the shimmering water. Venice is unique, mysterious, and truly magical.
Fogg visits Egypt next, an ancient land of the Pharaohs, bustling markets, and the life-giving Nile lined by palmed oases and village life. Egypt is a country that should be on any traveler’s list. Cruise down the mighty river and hop off to see the Valley of the Kings, an area of tombs where Tutankhamun was buried that will leave you in utter wonder. Just outside Cairo’s buzz, the Giza pyramids are thousands of years old and have stood the test of time.
The expedition Around The World in 80 Days continues in India. The Gateway of India was built long ago to invite the king and queen of England to the city when the country was still under British rule. India is a land of opposites and Mumbai, its biggest city is no different. Soaring skyscrapers sit side by side with colonial structures, and beautiful places of worship for Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Christians intermix. Women clad in colorful saris push their kids on swings and stylish fashionistas walk the catwalks of lively shows. World-renowned Bollywood movie stars live in decadent mansions and families gather by the seaside to enjoy the street snacks. India is a feast for the senses.
Diverse and bustling, Hong Kong is a place where east meets west. The diversity of cultures and world-class cuisine makes Hong Kong an appealing stop on a journey to Asia. Travelers will find modern malls alongside Buddhist temples, and serene mountains and parks welcome those who want to escape the frenetic pulse of the city.
One of the last stops on Phileas Fogg’s journey, Japan is not just for sushi and sake. Traditional tea houses, temples, and shrines let you experience traditional Japan. Stay in a ryokan, a Japanese guesthouse, to feel the serenity and simplicity of the land. Its four distinct seasons makes Japan an ideal getaway any time of the year. In the spring, cherry blossoms bloom; in the winter, soft snow dusts the mountains and forests.
Ready to take your own journey around the world? Get in touch with your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant to get started.
Zambia is the birthplace of the walking safari, and even though years have passed since the first explorers set foot on its incredible land, it still has a special feeling of being untouched.
Luxury lodges and camps give you a life-changing opportunity to get up-close to magnificent animals and the crashing Victoria Falls while ensuring the preservation of the spectacular country. Here are our top sustainable properties in Zambia.
It’s such a breath of fresh air to know we can use the word “luxury” and “sustainable” to describe the same property. This bush camp was brought to life in a game-rich area where hippos bellow and elephants breed. Proceeds from the camp help fund the relocation of black rhinos to the North Luangwa Conservation Programme which operates a breeding and reintroduction program.
Inside, the Chinzombo Camp’s grass walls and recycled timber floors are topped with colonial accents, making you feel like an explorer of the past.
The surrounding village of Mushekwa and the fishing village of Muluka are right near Royal Chundu, and that means that locals get the opportunity to work for the property. Guests benefit from their neighbors too. Locals will share their traditional knowledge of Zambian cuisine and the flora and fauna of the region with you. Produce is brought in from one village, while the fisherman bring in the local catch, ensuring that the food prepared at Royal Chundu is healthy and fresh. Royal Chundu also uses its tourism dollars to give back to these communities. A small women’s project promotes a beadmaking business, and kids from the age of four to six-years-old receive free education using tablets at the Royal Chundu Foundation School.
This exclusive lodge is nestled in a protected area that dates back to the 1880s, making it one of the oldest in Africa. Preservation efforts have ensured that the hyenas still whoop in the dark night and wildebeests migrate through the Liuwa Plain National Park. Lights stay on thanks to solar power and recycled materials make your private villas not only elegant, but also eco-friendly. King Lewanika Lodge is one of our favorite sustainable properties in Zambia.
Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma
Rent a bicycle from the Chipego Bike shop in Nakatindi Village, established with donations made by the property. The women who run the shop have successfully invested their profits into community programs, including one that provides schooling for orphans. The project has been so successful that it’s going to be recreated at Sanctuary Retreats in Botswana, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Guests can visit the school to see how their donations have helped to refurbish classrooms and expand its gardens. Every day, 850 students fill their brains and their bellies with a healthy lunch. When they graduate, each student receives a bicycle. The kids learn about wildlife in workshops, turning them into future eco-warriors.
Donations also helped to build the much-needed medical clinic, serving 50 people a day to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. A new maternity ward provides services that make labor and delivery safer for moms and babies in this high-risk region.
Giving back never looked so good. The luxury tented camp gives guests the opportunity to visit the Simonga Village to learn more about education and community enhancement projects aided by tourism dollars. Join the Department of National Parks and Wildlife scouts to monitor endangered rhinos in an effort to ensure the whereabouts of the majestic animals are always known. Back at camp, take a behind-the-scenes tour to get a better sense of the eco-friendly policies in place. Waste water keeps the camp’s nursery green, and the worm farm provides fertilizer for the indigenous trees.
Zambia’s vast and varied landscape is waiting to be discovered. Contact us to plan your journey to this southern African country with a luxury Ker & Downey travel consultant.
Family gatherings abroad, private celebrations with friends, remote retreats for the likeminded – there are many reasons why exclusive-use properties are making a splash in the world of luxury travel. While Ker & Downey certainly has its preferred exclusive-use escapes worldwide, here are five UK Exclusive-use favorites that prove the UK is the perfect destination for those in search of authenticity and privacy.
One Denman Place, London
The Ham Yard Hotel’s luxurious private two-bedroom apartments at One Denman Place serve as the ideal beginning to any journey through the UK. Set in the midst of Soho and London’s exciting West End, these apartments have been individually designed by renowned British hotelier Kit Kemp in her signature quirky design. Residents will find that there is something here for the entire family to enjoy, especially as they have easy access to the hotel’s facilities next-door – complete with bowling alley, theatre, and a stunning rooftop. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore the vibrant capital, from iconic sites such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, to an exhilarating RIB boat journey along the Thames.
Hound Lodge, Sussex
Next, journey south into the heart of West Sussex to the quintessentially British Goodwood Estate, home to the 12th Duke of Richmond. Set on 12,000 acres of rolling countryside and dating back to the 16th century, Goodwood Estate has a rich history as a quintessential British estate and is home to the world-famous Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival and Glorious Goodwood. Here you will stay at Hound Lodge, a magnificent 10-bedroom sporting lodge located on the estate. Your personal butler and chef will make sure you are well looked after, as you settle into an armchair by the roaring fire with tea and a slice of homemade cake. If you are feeling adventurous, head outside to enjoy one of the many sporting pursuits the estate has to offer – whether you drive the renowned motor circuit, go off-road in a BMW four-wheeler, take to the skies with a flying lesson, play a round of golf on one of two Championship courses, spend an afternoon clay-pigeon shooting, or simply enjoy the stillness of an early morning walk across the South Downs.
Foxhill Manor, Cotswolds
Continue your journey through the English countryside to your own private retreat at Foxhill Manor, a stunning Cotswold manor house set within the 400-acre Farncombe Estate. With eight unique luxurious bedrooms, you will experience the character and charm of a boutique-hotel hideaway, with heartfelt personal service and an easy-going atmosphere. Enjoy intimate gourmet dinners in the Dining Room, prepared by your own personal chef; relax in front of a film in the Screening Room; head outside to the terrace for an evening drink and a barbecue; or stroll to nearby picture-perfect Broadway village. Here you can do as much or as little as you like.
Gilpin Lake House, Cumbria
Venture north towards the spectacular Lake District in Cumbria and the beautiful Gilpin Lake House, located just a mile away from the Gilpin Hotel. This 6-bedroom sanctuary is set on 100 acres of private grounds and overlooks a private lake and boat house. Relax and unwind by the fire in the lounge, sip champagne in the cedar wood hot tub, explore beautiful walks and bike trails through the Lake District National Park, or take to the water in your own private rowing boat to absorb the sense of peace and calm only unique to this region.
Fenton Tower, Scotland
Conclude your UK exclusive-use escape in Scotland at Fenton Tower, a magnificent fortified tower dating back to the 16th Century. With seven bedrooms, the tower has been meticulously restored with luxurious interiors, offering state-of-the-art facilities with the informality of a private home, including a great hall, library, and grand dining room. Set amongst the rolling Scottish countryside of Berwick and just a 40-minute drive from Edinburgh, you will be perfectly positioned to explore the surrounding area. Enjoy traditional country pursuits such as shooting and fishing; visit the scenic East Lothian coast or head into Edinburgh to explore the vibrant historic capital with an expert local guide. After a busy day, head back to your Scottish retreat and sip a dram of whisky in front of a roaring fire, in the comfort of your own private library.
Contact your Ker & Downey Travel Designer today to begin planning your UK Exclusive-Use Holiday.
Mumbai is a fantastic, frenetic fusion of masala (spices), mendhi (henna), and masti (merry making). Bombay, as it was known under the British Raj, is India’s biggest and boldest city where glitz and glamour, traditions, and tasty street food are just some of the things that your senses will experience. Here’s why we think Mumbai should not be missed on a journey to India.
Don a sparkling sari and get ready to shake those hips. The world’s largest film industry, Bollywood bloomed in Mumbai, and a Ker & Downey guide can get you into Film City where a lot of these movies are made. Bollywood films are known for their exuberant dance sequences, elaborate sets, over-the-top costumes, and dramatic story lines. Their movie stars and singers are loved the world over. If you are brave, hop in a rickshaw and zip around Bandra to see the hordes of fans pining away at the gates of luxury high-rises and mansions where mega stars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan reside.
Heading south along the curved coastal Marine Drive, you will find yourself in a a part of town with an entirely different feel. Known as the Queen’s Necklace, this avenue is lined with elegant Art Deco homes on one side and the glittering Arabian Sea on the other. Colaba has a regal air, retaining its character from its days as a Portuguese and later British settlement. Handsome architecture and remnants of colonial rule give this southern tip of Mumbai a character all its own.
The iconic Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Mumbai, an elegant property surrounded by chic designer boutiques, and is a wonderful base from which to explore this historic area. As you wander the narrow, well-kept lanes, see the Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue, a turquoise place of worship that fits in brilliantly among Mumbai’s charismatic color scheme. Tuck under the Gateway of India, built to welcome King George V and Queen Mary, and hop on a private boat to sail over to a small island to see the Elephanta Caves. Climb up a hill lined with artisans selling delicate paintings of beautiful Indian brides on paper-thin leaves. Curious monkeys leap through the trees; tiny babies cling to their mothers. Up top, the UNESCO-listed caves are majestic reminders of India’s ancient history. Massive rock carvings date back to the fifth century and tower above you in the cool shade of the caverns.
Every inch of Mumbai is teeming with activity. Tiny lanes, barely wide enough to pass through, miraculously house little shops selling a dazzling array of candy colored saris, clinking bangles, and bold bindis. Shopkeepers enthusiastically buzz around offering steaming cups of fragrant chai, encouraging you to try on the latest fashion. They will even help tie the yards of sari fabric on, making you feel like you just walked off a Bollywood set. A must-see is Indian designer Sabyasachi’s flagship store, a moody boutique lined with antique glass, jewel-toned chandeliers, and Indian bridal outfits worth their weight in gold. The ladies of Mumbai love to see and be seen and are in the know of the latest fashion events. Among the activities here, Ker & Downey can arrange a visit to a uniquely-Mumbai fashion show; buzzy affairs where movie stars are often spotted front row or even sashaying down the runway.
Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. At night when the weather cools down, families gather on Juhu Beach to socialize and munch on spicy street snacks. A Ker & Downey guide can take you to the best places to sample bhel puri, a concoction of crunchy puffed rice, chickpea flour sticks, chopped onion, potato chunks, and tamarind chutney. To cool your mouth from the spice kick, sip on a falooda, a lovely milky pink drink infused with rose syrup, vermicelli noodles, nuts, and basil seeds. Trust us… your sweet tooth will thank you.
The reality of such a populous city is that there are pockets of extreme poverty. India is a land of contradictions. Opulence often sits side by side with scarcity. But this is also an opportunity to give back. One of Ker & Downey’s missions is to help to the communities we visit. We can arrange for you to meet local students or go into Dharavi, a community where innovative businesses are improving the local economy through soap making, recycling programs, and textiles. It’s a fascinating opportunity to chat with the men and women as they sit cross-legged creating intricate floral patterns with delicate threads and tiny beads on stretches of brilliant fabrics. Several of the fathers told us they are doing this to improve their children’s lives.
Ready to sing and dance, sample spicy samosas, and shop for saris? Contact your Ker & Downey travel guide to plan a journey to incredible India.
Landlocked Rwanda might be small in size, but it is big on wildlife, rolling green hills, and welcoming people. Add to that the chance to bear witness to history as the country rapidly forges ahead on a new path, while embracing and honoring its painful past, and travel to Rwanda has an even deeper significance.
By Rina Chandarana
Go For the Gorillas
Dubbed the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda’s fertile landscape is dotted with farms and soaring jungle-covered mountains that are home to a wide array of primates. Half of the world’s gorillas reside in Volcanoes National Park. Famously, world-renowned researcher Dian Fossey studied these magnificent creatures here, inspiring generations of travelers. Undoubtedly the most popular park in Rwanda, it remains a draw for adventure-seekers wanting to spot baby gorillas around the breathtaking Virunga Volcanoes. Make the trip in the wet season when the gorillas are found on lower elevations, making treks easier. Look up when you can — golden monkeys also live in the park, munching on bamboo and performing leaping air acrobatics from tree to tree.
Photo by Austin Mann
See it all from Bisate Lodge, located within an extinct volcano valley. Villas are thatch-covered and large windows bring in unrivaled views of the mountain habitat. Emerald green chandeliers mimic the leafy forests and fresh meals are prepared with produce plucked straight from the on-site garden.
Find More Green Space
On the other side of the country, Akagera National Park is a symbol of successful conservation efforts. The wildlife population was reduced by half after the Rwandan Civil War, but since then, the government has implemented strict laws to preserve this savannah landscape laced with swamps, forests and jagged mountains. And what an achievement it has been. A colorful troupe of characters makes the wildlife viewing top notch. Strolling elephants, herds of buffalo, massive hippos, curious monkeys and baboons are all part of nature’s parade.
Still, Rwanda’s shining stars will always be the primates. Travel to Rwanda to identify one of the 14 species — and some 25 percent of Africa’s primate species — found in the mist-laden Nyungwe Forest National Park. Colorful birds fly through the lofty foliage and butterflies flutter, their iridescent wings shimmering in the sunlight. The dense and lush area is one of those rare places that feels incredibly remote and untouched by humans.
Nyungwe House, a partner of One&Only, is the perfect outpost for this African adventure. Nestled between a working tea plantation and rainforest, the 22-room and suites property boasts delicious cuisine and awe-inspiring views from private decks. Immaculate interiors are inspired by Rwandan crafts.
In the middle of the country, Lake Kivu shines. Row to the middle and feel embraced by the green, terraced tea plantations rising over its shores. Fisherman sing as the sun sets on the glistening waters. From this vantage, Rwanda is magical.
See History in the Making
Kigali is considered a safe and clean capital city, far removed from the tragedy of the 1990s. Today its winding boulevards, flowering trees, and bustling eateries are a beacon of hope for an evolving nation. A visit to the Genocide Memorial Center pays homage to the nearly one million who lost their lives. It’s a past that is laid bare, so as not to be repeated, and it’s a solemn, chilling reminder of how far the country has come.
Sip on a cup of local Rwandan coffee grown in the fertile plantations, where the locals demonstrate how the bold and strong flavor is softened by milk and sugar. Rwanda’s people want to share their progress and natural treasures with the rest of the world. Get a further sense of this burgeoning generation of openness during a school visit, arranged by Ker & Downey. The enthusiasm of the children echoes the hopeful feeling of modern Africa.
Pro Tip! Bring a canvas shoe bag to store dirty hiking shoes. – Cherie Tann, Luxury Travel Expert
Travel to Rwanda with Ker & Downey. To start planning your journey, contact your luxury travel expert.
Nicaragua is a Central American star. Picture-perfect beaches, colonial towns, lush rainforests, and an interesting local culture make it a diverse destination. Here’s why a trip to Nicaragua should not be overlooked when planning a cool weather getaway.
Charming Colonial Towns
Two of the most important colonial cities, Granada and Leon, were established by Captain Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1524. In Granada, charming buildings are doused in doses of pastel yellow, green, and blue. Beautifully-preserved indigenous ceramics and statues are on display at the San Francisco Convent and Church. The town feels like an open-air museum. La Polvora Fort—a warehouse built to keep gunpowder—and the city’s well-kept mansions tell of a different time. Another treasure trove of colonial architecture is found at Leon’s baroque UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of Leon. Wander happily along the narrow streets, peering into tucked-away courtyards. Once the first capital of Nicaragua, Leon Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas.
Adventure-seekers have plenty of opportunity inland to go off the beaten track. One of the country’s most impressive sights is Ompetepe, the largest volcanic island in the world sitting right in Lake Nicaragua. Discover a peaceful oasis, lush forests, and a lagoon revered by indigenous people who welcome guests with their warm hospitality. Spend a few days completely unwinding in one of Jicaro Island Lodge’s private luxury casitas and wake up to incredible views of the lush forest-covered Mombacho Volcano.
Stroll through the artisan markets, shopping for vibrant arts and crafts. Handpainted animal masks and patterned fabrics in every color of the rainbow are a treat for the eyes. Deep-rooted traditions of the local people thrive in Monimbo, an indigenous village. Taste pre-colonial foods, and learn about music, dances, crafts, and religious beliefs. Chat with craftsmen in their workshops as they make cane fiber baskets.
Paddle out in a kayak at sunset (or sunrise) to explore the ecosystem that surround Lake Nicaragua. Experienced guides help you better understand this pristine environment. Drift through a narrow canal rife with a carpet of white water lilies; a magnet for nesting birds.
An army of turtles descend on the shores of La Flor Nature Reserve from July to December. Learn about the five different species and their life cycles, and watch in awe as newly-hatched baby turtles paddle their way to the open sea. Mother Nature’s beautiful and raw power is at its best.
Get your hands dirty with daily chores at a Nicaraguan farm. You can pitch in to feed animals, make bread, and help out with the horses. It’s an authentic opportunity to see how rural Nicaraguans live every day, and a personal addition to any trip to Nicaragua.
There’s a reason the Pacific side of Nicaragua is known as the Costa Esmeralda. Rainforest-covered hills and cliffs meet jewel-toned gentle seas, lapping powdery white sand beaches. Secluded and superb, Mukul Resort’s four-mile beach is a private escape with 37 villas. Flurries of fish dance and swim while you snorkel. Watch birds soar and swoop at Guacalito Beach. For an even more private tropical escape, head out into the Caribbean to the palm-fringed Calala Island or Yemaya Island Hideaway. If you’ve been looking for paradise, you have found it.
Ready to plan your cool weather escape? Contact your Ker & Downey travel designer to put a trip to Nicaragua on your calendar.
There’s nothing like diving into a refreshing pool of water when the weather warms up. Summer calls for chilled cocktails, colorful swimsuits, and blazing sunsets enjoyed poolside. We’ve got a list of some of the world’s must-see unique pools that will make any journey go swimmingly.
Feel like royalty lounging in the pool here. Surrounded by lush gardens and the shimmering Lake Pichola, you can imagine the Indian kings who floated on this very lake so long ago. Surrounded by rich blue ceramic tiles, the pool embodies the majestic flair of Rajathan’sregal history. For the ultimate in privacy, go for the Kohinoor Suite, an abode with your own private place to splash.
Picture this: you are cooling off in the plunge pool, looking out at Ruaha National Park‘s pristine landscape, and an elephant meanders over wanting to get in on the cool action. It’s this kind of wonderful wildlife interaction that makes Jabali Ridge’s pool so special.
Swim up to the bar and sip on a cocktail as the sun sets behind Table Mountain. Jets make the water all bubbly, just like the champagne you’re drinking. This ultra luxe pool floats high up on the rooftop of The Silo, making you feel like you are soaring above Cape Town.
Rio is just one of those places that evokes images of a happy summer haze, beautiful people, and even more spectacular scenery. Dig into a fresh fruit breakfast poolside as the sun shimmers on the Atlantic. Sip a caipirinha and bask in the heavenly glow reflecting from the green peaks within your view. Pinch yourself, you aren’t dreaming.
Get away from it all at this glamorous escape. The infinity saline pool merges seamlessly with the vast expanse of the Pacific further down below. Cool white cabanas and lovely purple hammocks are just begging for you to unwind with an afternoon siesta.
It’s no wonder why Lake Como is a magnet for movie stars. Snow peaked mountains soar above the glassy lake, and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo has scored first-row seats to this fine view. One of its three unique pools floats right above the world-renowned lake. Sunning on the deck, you’ll feel like a star in Italy’s little hub for the rich and famous. It’s glamour at its best.
If your ideal summer getaway involves taking a snooze on a poolside lounger, surrounded by leafy palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, then Amanjena is just the oasis for you. Marrakesh is one of those cities that will bombard your senses with its many sights, sounds, and fabulous colors. The swimming pool at Amanjena is a welcome treat after a hot day of exploring the city’s many charms.
Make a splash in one of the unique pools of the world. Jump into a Ker & Downey experience planned by our luxury travel consultants.