Written by Lindsay Krause
2018 saw us travel to more than 18 countries, and picking a handful of our favourites wasn’t an easy task. With our finger on the pulse of African travel, the Ker & Downey® Africa team brings you our list of upcoming destinations which we think you should add to your travel bucket list for 2019. See it as our gift to you, a forecast of what your 2019 travel itinerary could look like. Ladies and gentlemen, in no particular order, here are our top 5 ultimate bucket list destinations for 2019.
My trip to Morocco in September was, without a doubt, the highlight of 2018. Calling out to the contemporary nomad, I highly recommend adding Morocco to your 2019 travel bucket list. From winding city medinas buzzing with local market stalls to camel trekking and overnight sleepouts in the Sahara Desert, there is no shortage of options to awaken your inner pioneer. These, of course, are the first things that come to mind, but Morocco has more hidden up its sleeve. In the winter months, tear up the slopes on a ski trip to the Atlas Mountains and in summer, visit the coast for the ultimate surfing adventure.
An hour drive from the bustle of Marrakech will take you to the award-winning Kasbah Bab Ourika lodge. Located in the valleys of the Atlas Mountains, the eco-friendly Kasbah is constructed from rammed earth, a traditional Berber technique and blends in seamlessly with its natural surroundings. The 26 suites are individually decorated – 15 of which are located in the main Kasbah, 12 in the gardens, 2 poolside suites and a luxurious villa retreat. Overlooking the olive groves and citrus orchards of Ourika Valley and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas mountains, Kasbah Bab Ourika offers an ultimate escape from the hustle of the Western world.
Read more here if Morocco is on the cards for your 2019 adventure.
Becoming immune to words such as ‘untouched’, ‘oasis’ and “hidden gems” are inevitable after 5 years of working in the luxury travel industry, and now and again you ask yourself if truly undiscovered destinations still exist in this day and age. But then, like a breath of fresh air, you come across a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 1,645 miles west of Namibia which hosts only 25 tourists per night and has up until recently, been accessible only by boat – hope restored!
St. Helena Island is creating a buzz among seasoned travelers and for good reason. If you are picking one truly unique destination to travel to in 2019, it should be here. This volcanic tropical island has been left somewhat up to fate – today it is home to approximately 4,500 people and you can prepare yourself for a city without a cash-machine, coin-operated telephones and a local grocer with wooden floors dating back to the 70s. With the recent opening of Mantis St Helena, the island’s only luxury hotel, and scheduled flights to the island, there really is no reason for you not to visit.
The island is home to a variety of unique landscapes – you can find yourself on black sandy beaches in the AM and lush forest greenery the next. What makes me want to go? The island offers a bunch of great activities for travelers who don’t just want to lounge around. From 4×4 trips, scuba diving, distillery tours and marine safaris – you will be amazed at the options which this tiny island has in store for you.
Want to add St Helena to your ultimate bucket list? Find out more here.
Yes, Rwanda has become synonymous with gorilla trekking and other primate safaris – but not too far from it lies one of my preferred East African destinations – Uganda. Lined with national parks from top to tail, Uganda packs a lot into one small country. Home to the Big 5 and tree climbing lions of Queens National Park, Africa’s tallest mountain range – the Rwenzoris, crashing waters of the Murchison Falls and mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda’s abundant diversity is captivating. And the best part? With fewer crowds, you always get front row seats to all that Uganda has to offer – making it my ultimate destination for 2019.
As a base for your gorilla trekking safari, make your way to Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Located in the heart of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the camp consists of 8 eco-friendly, luxury tents. What makes Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp completely unique is that gorilla families can often be spotted within the grounds due to its unique location.
Visit Uganda during the dry season from January to February and June to September as the rains of the wet season create tricky trekking conditions and lessen your chances of spotting the gorilla families.
Note – this gorilla trekking destination is for the adventurous and fit as trekking deep into the African jungle on steep mountain terrain can be strenuous.
The island of Madagascar, fourth largest in the world — sparked my curiosity from the moment I saw a photo of the cartoon-like baobab trees. Often called the 8th continent, adventurous types flock to the island to experience biodiversity found no where else in the world. It’s the ideal location for all types of weird and wonderful wildlife, with activities like trekking through lemur-filled jungles or swimming with whale sharks.
Always drawn to the ocean, I’m particularly interested in Time + Tide Miavana which is part of 15,000 hectares of protected marine space, and boasts remote beaches, undiscovered waters and coral reefs teeming with marine life. Located on the northeastern private island, the 14 luxurious private villas of Time + Tide Miavana have direct access to the beach and, with it, a variety of activities to fill your day from scuba diving to turtle safaris.
Find out more about Time + Tide Miavana on our Madagascar Wildlife Safari.
Without a doubt, my bucket list destination is Rwanda. The land of a thousand hills – Rwanda’s ever-changing landscapes, from striking volcanoes to vast savannah plains, offers a range of exhilarating activities to tick off your, and my 2019 ultimate bucket list. Visit Akagera National Park to experience one of Africa’s last-remaining endemic savannah wildlife destinations. Got gorilla trekking on your mind? Hidden among the dense bamboo forests of Volcanoes National Park you will find some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. To protect the delicate ecosystem of the park, the Rwandan government only lease 80 trekking permits per day, making this gorilla trekking experience completely exclusive (perks!). And the ultimate goal for me? Visit the Susa family, Dian Fossey’s first group of mountain gorillas that she studied during her years in Rwanda.
While trekking through Volcanoes National Park, I would love to stay at the eco-sensitive Bisate Lodge. Located in the heart of an extinct volcano, the 6 thatched forest villas overlook the lush amphitheater formed by the Bisoke, Karisimbi, and Mikeno Volcanoes.
The best time to navigate through the terrain in Rwanda – and of course spot gorillas is during the dry season, running from December to March and June to September each year.
Contact one of our expert Adventurists to add Bisate Lodge to your Rwanda itinerary.