At Turquoise we'll create a luxury holiday for you unlike any other. Talk to our holiday experts to plan your tailor made travel itinerary today. Our luxury is all about space, unique experiences,a private island in the South Pacific, an intimate tented camp in Africa with your own private guide.
Welcome to the Turquoise Travel Diaries, a collection of interviews, stories, and excerpts from our fabulous team, as they travel around the world. Here at Turquoise we pride ourselves on unrivaled knowledge of the destinations in which we specialise, so that we can provide honest, expert advice to all our guests and fellow travellers. This week, our interview is with Lyndsey who is one of our Africa experts, who has returned from a Turquoise research trip to Kenya. Here, Lyndsey gives us some wonderful insight into her stay at Lewa Wilderness…
What is the atmosphere like at Lewa?
Lewa is a family owned lodge located in the stunning Laikipia region, suitable for everyone looking for a special stay at the start of their trip to Kenya. The family (Emma and William Craig) live on site and William inherited Lewa from his Dad and the bush home was originally a cattle ranch. It has the comforting atmosphere of a family home and I love how local everything feels. I met Karmirusha who is one of the managers and he is also a Masai tribe warrior. He has worked at Lewa Wilderness for 15 years and all the other staff are Kenyan and so friendly which made my stay feel so welcoming. This is a great introduction to Kenya!
Can you tell us about the little extras which you loved?
I would really recommend making the most of the cultural opportunities and activities at Lewa, including a visit to the Lewa headquarters to learn more about the conservation & anti-poaching, the Masai cultural trip and the Full day Ngare Ndare Forest Canopy Walk- there’s plenty to do.
Being able to go horse riding was such a highlight for me. This takes place for a couple of hours in the early morning or late afternoon. We got so close to particular animals doing this as well including zebras, giraffes and a huge group of baboons! The horses were beautiful, so well trained, well behaved and well looked after which was great to see. They are ex-polo ponies so that would explain their responsiveness and good manners!
The Dining Room is lovely, serving delicious breakfast and lunch buffet options looking out over the hillside and dinner has a great group atmosphere where everyone sits around the long dining table for a 3 course meal and all the house wine and beer you could wish for! Private dinners can also be set up for those looking for romance.
How do you get there and what would you recommend twinning with Lewa Wilderness?
The route which I would recommend would be to fly to Nairobi and stay at Hemingways for a couple of nights, just so that you can rest and relax before the excitement of a safari experience. You would then drive to Wilson and take one of the safarilink domestic flights to Lewa, which takes 1.5 hours. Your transfer from Lewa airstip to the lodge will then take about 30 minutes- keep an eye out for zebra, buffalo and other beautiful wildlife en-route.
After 2-3 nights at Lewa, I would really recommend travelling on to either Kicheche Bush Camp in the Olare Motorogi conservancy for a simple tented camp and incredible game viewing opportunities, or Ol Seki for a luxurious stay on the outskirts of the Masai Mara. Geographically and culturally these areas are so different and extending your time on safari simply means more opportunities to view some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife!
The turquoise waters of the Maldives are pure indulgence. Swimming, snorkelling, diving or simply relaxing above or below the unique blue lagoons surrounding the atolls is the best way to pass the time. We have selected our favourite overwater and underwater experiences on these inspiring islands.
With the introduction of their Overwater Organic Greenhouse, Soneva Fushi have yet another reason to put the Maldives on your travel map. The five new dining experiences at their Out of the Blue overwater restaurant base includes everything from teppanyaki to secret menus, but our favourite is an area where guests can pick the ingredients to create their own personalised salads.
Lammu’s overwater spun-glass wine cellar Altitude, is home to over 400 types of wine from around the world. The cellar is very impressive, and one of our favourite experiences includes a five-course dinner where sommeliers select four of the best wine to match your meal to perfection. If you’re a vintage wine lover, then you can choose to pair your wines with a selection of canapes, cheese or
The U Spa at Moofushi will lull you into a state of bliss overwater. Treatments are beautiful but the location is really special. If you want a massage whilst gazing over turquoise water, then this is the place to retreat to.
Described by the resort as an ‘underwater playground’ Subsix is a really fun addition to Niyama’s entertainment scene. This underwater club and bar is the place to be for a private champagne breakfast whilst watching the creatures of the deep swim past. Glow parties every Wednesday, add something fun for those looking to try new cocktails with the occasional curious fish swimming up to the window to observe you!
The underwater restaurant M6m at Ozen is a wonderful location for honeymooners, or those looking for a really exclusive dining experience. The cuisine here is exceptional- indulge in modern seafood fine dining with the ocean as your showcase.
The Pearl Spa at Huvafen Fushi is the first and only underwater spa in the world. Drift away looking at the wonderful panoramic reef views whilst tropical fish swim past for a once in a lifetime spa experience.
James Bell, Managing Director of The Turquoise Holiday Company, shares his thoughts and wisdom for 50th birthday holiday ideas.
Now you are 50 you are at the half way mark, or as one of my golfing friends likes to put it, we are now playing the back nine!! At fifty you are supposedly meant to be at your wisest and most wealthy. I certainly don’t feel that way, unable to understand (let alone help!) with the children’s homework… spending the wealth I do have on things like iTunes, Netflix, and Spotify, none of which I use or benefit from!
I do however believe that reaching the big 5-0 milestone requires a celebration and what could be better than something real and tangible like a holiday. I love the thought of South Africa for an exhilarating safari, combined with a week on the beach in Mauritius. I also long to return to New Zealand with my family… the beautiful food and wine, charming people and jaw-dropping scenery truly makes the heart sing. Now that I’m 50 I might avoid the bungee jumping and zorbing, but I’ll leave that to the children and settle for a glass or two of pinot noir instead!
Next on my birthday bucket list are the islands of the South Pacific. The journey is a long one, but my thoughts are to stop off in California or push the boat out and take advantage of the amazing business class and premium economy seats on British Airways and Air New Zealand, to make the journey all part of the celebration.
It’s also important to think about who to take. My lovely wife of course, but family and friends can make a celebration perfect. For larger groups there’s nothing that could quite beat a week sailing around the British Virgin Islands combined with a week on the beach, soaking up the sunshine and the charming, vibrant and colourful Caribbean vibe. Rum punch in hand, power soft sand beneath the feet.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has introduced a series of enhancements to its Ruahatu Lagoon Sanctuary. The Lagoon Sanctuary is an inner lagoon, located within the grounds of the resort and is said to be home to more than 100 species of marine life. Along with it being a popular snorkelling location, it is also a research facility, continuously looking at ways to improve the habitats. The main three are outlined below:
Coral Grafting Adoption
This experience includes an educational overview with the in-house marine biologist and an interactive cutting of a coral nubbin which guests place onto a dedicated (and GPS-tracked) location on an underwater structure.
This involves guests attaching coral to donut-shaped structures in the resort’s Lagoon Sanctuary, where they will attach to each other and mature. When mature, these ”donuts” will be placed around the resort’s lagoons and between the overwater bungalow suites, increasing the distribution of marine life. GPS-tracking allows guests to know where their coral structure is located.
Educational Pearl Farm
An exhibit showing the resort’s Pearl Farm. This will be an educational experience that is designed to allow guests to learn how a pearl farm works. Guests will be guided through the entire process, from structure to harvesting.
The Caribbean has long been a sailor’s paradise and you’ll be pleased to hear that even after hurricane Irma last year, it still is! While many of the islands are still recovering and rebuilding, the sailing businesses are back up and running and they are ready to welcome you on board their luxury yachts with open arms. Choose from a bareboat, crewed or by the cabin charter and set sail to explore these glorious warm waters. Whilst we wouldn’t necessarily recommend sailing around the Caribbean from August to October, the rest of the year is absolutely perfect for cruising around the islands.
Our favourite seafaring grounds are the British Virgin Islands and the Grenadines. The BVI’s were hit terribly hard by the hurricane last year, but have bounced back incredibly with the local communities working solidly to rebuild their paradise islands – and they have done an unbelievable job in such a short space of time. Sailing in the British Virgin Islands is second to none with calm, warm seas to navigate, over 60 (mostly uninhabited) stunning islands to discover and beach bars aplenty to visit when you fancy a rum punch on dry land – it is the perfect location for sailors of all levels. The Grenadines are another chain of beautiful, enchanting islands with bustling markets, secluded beaches, spectacular snorkelling and fantastic local restaurants to discover. This time however, the islands are a little more spread out so the sailing times between them are slightly longer and the sailing can be a bit more challenging, but all of the islands are well worth the little extra effort it takes to get to them.
So, in a nutshell, Sailing in the Caribbean post hurricane Irma is better than ever! Here at Turquoise we have teamed up with Dream Yacht Charter to send you on some of the very best Caribbean sailing holidays on offer. Call one of our Caribbean Specialists on 01494 678400 or visit here for some help and guidance in booking the perfect sailing holiday for you!
We are so excited to welcome Six Senses Fiji to the world. This brand new resort is located on Malolo Island in the Mamanuca group of islands in Fiji and just a few miles offshore from Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island. Take a scenic 10-minute helicopter ride and arrive in paradise… we have hand-picked a selection of our favourite pictures to give you an insight into how truly incredible this new island escape is…
One of the original Robinson Crusoe desert islands -the sensational Soneva Fushi– has put together an incredible offer for budding environmentalists and those looking for the perfect Maldivian escape.
The Stay for Good offer simply asks guests staying for five nights at Soneva Fushi to participate in your very own tailormade environmental programme which will work alongside marine biologists, horticulturalists, mycologists, and community engagement managers to support local sustainability initiatives at this stunning resort. Participate and you’ll get an additional five-night stay!
Soneva Fushi is renowned for its sustainability and environmental efforts to protect and preserve our beautiful world and the stunning marine life found in the Maldives. Over the last few years, coral has been bleached, everything from turtles to whales have ingested plastic and the negative impact of global warming has seriously been affecting the island jewels in the Indian Ocean. Soneva is working against this, and you can too! With a little help on the land, in the water and with the community you can learn about sustainable living and work with some fantastic projects including the Manta Trust and Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Assisting horticulturists, mycologists, and gardeners in maintaining the vegetable gardens. Learning how to grow your own vegetables. Delivering the vegetables to Soneva’s restaurants. Learning how to create a seed bank to ensure future sustainability of important crops. Helping to make sustainable bricks in Soneva’s Eco Centro Waste to Wealth facility. Snorkelling with Soneva’s marine biologists to help with turtle identification. Spending time analysing and collecting debris that may have washed up on the beach. Working alongside Soneva’s community engagement manager on established projects with nearby communities, which may include local swimming classes, composting projects, beach clean ups, and other education initiatives.
Too much work for a holiday? At least one guest per villa needs to participate in the full programme for only a few hours a day and you’ll be getting an additional five nights in pure paradise out of it! You’ll feel better by doing your bit for the environment and community and you might learn something new too. What’s not to love?!
Terms and conditions:
• Stay five nights at Soneva Fushi in any villa category and the next five nights will be complimentary in the same villa category if at least one guest in the villa participates in the full programme
• The complimentary five nights are offered on a room only basis, and exclude F&B, transfers, and activities
• The offer is valid between the periods: 12 May – 12 June 2018,21 June – 27 July 2018; 1 – 30 September 2018
• Additional taxes and service charges for the additional five nights’ accommodation will not be levied.
• The bonus nights cannot be exchanged for cash or other equivalents, be transferred, or be taken during a different period.
• The activities are mandatory and if not completed additional room charges will apply.
• The offer cannot be combined with any other promotion.
• The standard Soneva cancellation policy will be applicable.
* The exact programme offered to guests may deviate from the above-listed activities and will be based on the season, and requirements at the time of the visit.
Australia is well known for its stunning scenery, beautiful coastline and fine food and wine but also for its varied and unique wildlife. Most travellers down under are seeking an encounter with a Kangaroo or a Koala but beyond the zoos and wildlife parks don’t actually know there to find them. Of course, there are plenty of areas in the south where all you have to do is sit out the front of your bush lodge and you’ll find a whole field of Kangaroos grazing in front of you. But where are these lodges and what about the more unique wildlife such as platypus, wombats, echidnas and bandicoots that you hear about? At Turquoise we know the unique characters to show you where to find these unique animals – locals who’ve devoted their lives to seeking and showing visitors the best of their backyard.
Here are our top five wildlife guides, what makes them special, where they will take you and where can you stay to experience these encounters…
1 – Kangaroo Island
Where: It makes sense to explore Australia’s unspoiled and wonderfully wild ‘Nature Island’ with the local experts. The fascinating eco wonder world of Kangaroo Island (or KI as it is known locally) is only a short 30 minute scenic flight from Adelaide – and yet, its wealth of wildlife, diverse eco-systems and varied landscapes – including beautiful beaches, hidden coves and rugged cliffs – seem a world away from mainland Australia. With the absence of introduced species such as rabbits and foxes, the wildlife thrives. If you want to see koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, sea lions and platypuses in their native habitat – then this is the place to do it. But take note, if you set off on a ‘do-it-yourself’ self-drive tour, the chances are that you will miss much of what the island has to offer.
Who: Only a local naturalist guide can take on a detour ‘well-off–the-beaten tourist track’ to show you wild koalas perched in the branches of the manna gum trees. Since 1986, Craig Wickham, founder of ‘Exceptional Kangaroo Island’, has been creating very special experiences for small groups and private individuals which focus on the island’s wildlife, natural history and heritage. His small team of dedicated, outdoor enthusiasts combine the roles of naturalist, historian, driver, guide and storyteller – to offer a fascinating and very unique insight into island life. Come lunchtime, these same guides become expert chefs – and will conjure up a fabulous barbecue whilst you enjoy a glass of chilled South Australian wine. This is definitely a place to savour and two days is our recommended minimum.
Stay: Exceptional Kangaroo Island also provide guiding for Southern Ocean Lodge, one of Australia’s top lodges, for its stunning setting with uninterrupted ocean views. It is our top choice for any visitors to Kangaroo Island and is well worth the cost. We can also arrange tours with Craig staying in local homestays.
Where: One third of Tasmania’s land mass is national park and UNESCO world heritage wilderness, providing an extraordinary diverse habitat for an abundance of native wildlife. The state boasts a mix of ancient temperate rainforests, spectacular coastlines, rugged mountains and sparkling highland lakes provide refuge and habitat for a rich array of rare and endemic plants and animals. Tasmania is renowned as a prime spot for marsupials including quolls, bandicoots, bettongs, potoroos, kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons and wombats.
Who: Born and bred in the bush there is simply no-one better to introduce you to Australia’s beautiful ‘Natural State’ than Craig Williams – a larger than life character who has an undying passion for the ‘Tasmanian Bush’ – along with the wildlife found in it. Craig has a unique and unusual affinity with wildlife and after a few days spent with him, you will return all the wiser, having listened to the wealth of ‘bush knowledge’ which he so enthusiastically shares with all who travel with him. Craig and his wife, Janine, established ‘Pepper Bush Adventures’ over 15 years ago, to provide visitors with a real ‘hands on’ bush and wildlife experience. Based in Scottsdale in north-east Tasmania, Craig has access to over 200,000 acres of private land, lakes and rivers. He will take you off-road in a 4WD to meet Tasmania’s bush characters – wombat, wallaby, platypus and quoll spotting all comes very naturally to him, as does being a ‘Bush Chef’! Craig will take you to a secluded mountaintop, his ‘kitchen in the clouds’, where he will ‘tantalise your taste buds’. Enjoy such dishes as succulent glazed tenderloins of wallaby with native pepper berry and port sauce – complemented, of course, with Tasmania’s award-winning cool climate boutique wines – and served up with nature.
Stay: Turquoise Holidays can incorporate a day with Craig into a self-drive itinerary around Tasmania. An ideal self-drive destination, perfect for exploring with some charming unique accommodation options. Amongst our favourites are Henry Jones Art Hotel, Cradle Mountain Lodge and the luxurious Saffire Freycinet.
Discover the highlights of Tasmania on our wildlife and wilderness self-drive here.
3 –Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Where: A few hours’ drive north of Adelaide, the Flinders Ranges, famed for their rugged mountain ranges, offer the perfect conditions to host a huge diversity of wildlife and plant life, with about 1,200 species of plants and nearly 300 species of birds recorded within the ranges. The ranges are one of the best locations in Australia to see Macropods due to the year-round pockets of water and limited population of Dingoes. The largest living marsupial, the Red Kangaroo, is in very healthy populations, as are Western Grey Kangaroos and Common Wallaroos. They are also famous for hosting Australia’s largest population of the endangered Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby with Brachina Gorge providing guaranteed sightings of this incredibly rare and beautifully decorated species.
Who: Under the leadership of founder Charlie Carlow, Arkaba Station implemented a program to remove sheep from grazing the region. By the year 2013, all sheep had been removed from the 60,000-acre property and Arkaba was officially developed into a wildlife conservancy. The team at Arkaba all have a background and interest in ecology and bring their enthusiasm to showing guests the region. They will showcase the region and guests can take part in tracking and identifying species.
Stay: Arkaba is a charming homestead stay and one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia. It is one of the most picturesque outback stations in Australia. Wild Bush Luxury bought the property in 2009 with the African safari model in mind, to blend tourism and conservation in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Turquoise can build a stay at Arkaba into a bespoke holiday itinerary to Australia. Click here for inspiration.
4 – Whale Shark Swim, Exmouth, Western Australia
Where: Located off the coast of Western Australia the Ningaloo Reef is home to a myriad of marine species including one of the rarest, and largest fish ever found, the Whale Shark. Up to 18 meters in length, Ningaloo is one of the few places in the world where visitors can swim with Whale Sharks from March to August, when the plankton rich waters draw them close to the reef in search of food. Humpback Whales are also in abundance, with over thirty thousand whales migrating to the area. Calving & resting whales take advantage of sheltered warm waters in their masses with Humpback swims occurring from August to late October.
Who: Debbie and Mark Fergason, owners of Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo, have been involved in taking eco-tours around Western Australia for over 20 years. Fuelled by their passion for the ocean, above & below the surface, the couple have travelled the world, enjoying the wildlife and marine life on every continent. But it was the unparalleled megafauna congregations found across Ningaloo that convinced them to call the area home.
Stay: Turquoise can include this once in a lifetime experience in a tailored holiday to Australia. Accommodation choice in this remote region is limited to the four stay Manta Rays resort in Exmouth or the unique luxury tented camp Sal Salis.
5 – Arnhemland and Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
Where: Kakadu National Park is World Heritage listed – renowned for its wetlands abundant with wildlife, its rock art sites, diverse ecosystems and amazing floodplains with stunning waterlily-covered billabongs. Aboriginal Arnhemland is a special and mystical place – almost exclusively owned by Aboriginal people – and acclaimed for its ancient rock art which goes back 50,000 years.
Who: Sab Lord is one of the most knowledgeable guides in the Kakadu and Arnhemland region. Sab’s father, John, was a pioneer of Kakadu, prior to it becoming a National Park. Sab grew up in this area (his parents first travelled to the Northern Territory in 1959 to establish a successful buffalo and crocodile hunting operation on a station near the South Alligator River) and as a result, he is fortunate to share a mutual respect with the local Aboriginals. It is this respect which has been instrumental in him gaining sole access to some exceptional regions of Arnhemland. On a personalised 4WD safari with Sab, you will have the opportunity to visit ancient rock art sites, bush walk through what he describes as ‘some of the last unspoilt country’ in Australia, swim in pristine pools and waterfalls, visit a working cattle station, cruise a billabong teeming with wildlife – and even see saltwater crocodiles. To have the opportunity to visit these unique regions of Australia is a privilege in itself, but to explore with Sab as your guide is an experience which you will almost certainly never forget.
Stay: Sab can create an itinerary camping out in remote areas of the region but he also works very closely with Bamurru Plains, a wilderness camp located just off the highway to Kakadu National Park on the Mary River Wetlands. A trip with Sab usually includes a stay here.
We’ve all sampled Australia’s world-renowned wine, well I certainly have! I am lucky enough to have stayed in and explored each of Australia’s beautiful wine regions, sampled new vintages directly from the barrel and spent time with the winemakers. I am now truly spoilt and struggle to choose anything else when selecting wine from a menu.
One of my absolute favourite region is Margaret River, where rolling hills, blanketed by vines sit against a backdrop of forest and dramatic ocean scenery. Located in the far south-west corner of Western Australia, the region as a three-hour drive south of Perth. As well as its 155 wineries, Margaret River has a vibrant food scene with fine restaurants, boutique breweries, art galleries and fresh produce. It is highly regarded as one of the premium wine regions, predominantly producing elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. Spend a morning exploring the many bays and coves of the region before heading to one of the wineries for a spot of wine tasting, finished off with a delicious lunch. Leewin Estate, Vasse Felix and Voyager Estate all come to mind and each offers private cellar door tastings. If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else we can arrange a tour with a local guide who’ll show you some of the most spectacular, untouched stretches of coastline, followed by a private tour at Vasse Felix. Experience behind the scenes, meet a winemaker and discover unique historical insights into the Margaret River Wine Region, followed by a tasting of the Vasse Felix Collection. At the end of the day, Cape Lodge is a boutique hideaway, tucked amongst the vines, it is the perfect place to base yourselves – the accommodation, food and wine are exceptional.
Another region that holds a place in my heart is the Barossa, an hour’s drive north-east of Adelaide and easily combined with Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges for a quintessential Aussie experience. Spanning seven generations the Barossa is home to award-winning restaurants, stone churches, and heritage buildings, in a uniquely Australian landscape of gum trees and vineyards. The Barossa region produces a great variety of wine, with the main styles being Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
Spend a day in the Barossa and you’ll see well preserved 160-year-old villages, chateaus and churches, gracious heritage towns, century-old cellars and some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyards. Exploring by bike along the Barossa Trail is one of my favorite past times. Parts of it follow an old railway line where the tracks have been replaced with bitumen for smooth cycling. With a town or winery not more than a few kilometers apart, you don’t have to travel far and the views are stunning in every direction. There are numerous wineries offering unique experiences in the region, from blend bar at Jacobs Creek through to estate tour and intimate tasting at Penfolds Magill Estate. Mary Ann Kennedy, owner of a Taste of South Australia is, in our opinion the best person to introduce you to the more off the boutique wineries, she knows the region inside and out and can arrange day trips out of Adelaide or pick you up from your accommodation in the valley. The Louise, a luxury boutique hotel, offers a warm welcome at the end of your day.