Billing itself as the “ultimate bucket list breakfast”, Giraffe Manor is a small hotel located in the suburbs of Nairobi. This beautiful manor home was constructed in 1932 and originally sat on 150 acres of land running down to the Mbagathi River. By the early 1970’s the manor had fallen into disrepair and was purchased by Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband. Shortly after their purchase, they were made aware that the last remaining habitat of the rare Rothschild giraffes in Kenya was threatened. Already providing a home to three wild bull giraffes, the Leslie-Melvilles agreed to take possession of one of the Rothschilds, a 8-foot tall, 450 pound baby names Daisy. Thus began a breeding program run in conjunction with other locations to reintroduce the Rothschild giraffe into the wild to expand the gene pool.
The manor was turned into a small, private hotel in 1983. From the beginning, its appeal was ability of the guests to truly interact with these lovely creatures. The giraffes often pop through the window of the main floor dining room to check out what the guests are having for breakfast. They often nosily peek into the front door, and have no respect for the privacy of the guests located in the front of the second floor.
In 2009, the Manor changed hands again, and is currently in the portfolio of The Safari Collection, a unique collection of luxury hotels located in Kenya’s finest locations. If you think you’d like to experience this breakfast with the giraffes, it is recommended that you plan a 2-night stay. At 5,889ft above sea level, Nairobi is cool at night and warm in the day, with two rainy seasons March to May and mid-October to December. Situated close to the equator, seasonal differences are minimal, however in June, July and August, temperatures can be as low as 35˚F. All guests enjoy full-board during their stay, which includes all meals and most drinks (house wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks, excluding champagne and specially imported wines and spirits). Complimentary chauffeured vehicles are available for sightseeing, however guests may need to share vehicles depending on demand and availability. Obviously, “once-in-a-lifetime” doesn’t come cheap. You can expect to play at least $900 per person per night. But reading the reviews and blogs of those who have traveled to the Giraffe Manor, it is apparent that they feel it was money well spent!
Visit the iconic Dunn’s River Falls
Dunn‘s River Falls is a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios, Jamaica and a major Caribbean tourist attraction that receives thousands of visitors each year.
At about 180 feet (55 m) high and 600 feet (180 m) long, the waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs though some incorporate man-made improvements. Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls.
The falls empty into the Caribbean Sea at the western end of a white-sand beach. Dunn’s River Falls is one of the very few travertine waterfalls in the world that empties directly into the sea.
The picture-perfect appearance of this cascading waterfall might make you think that it’s man-made. But in fact, the continuous lime deposits that are smoothed over with the never-ending flow of spring water leaves us with what can only be described as a gift from mother nature herself. A trip here is sure to be etched into your memory for the rest of your life.
Once you make it down to the beach, this is where you start climbing the falls. You have the option of holding hands and forming a train, or you can try to find your own route to the top. Look out for dark-colored rocks. That’s a sign that it might be very slippery.
Even though very few people get seriously injured climbing the falls, many find it safer to climb with a tour guide. Tour guides climb these falls daily and know how to keep you out of danger. Every group has a daredevil or 2 so if that’s you, just be careful!
Climbing the falls can be intimidating at times. Some parts are steeper than others and there’s a constant flow of water pulling your legs. This can make it difficult for you to keep your balance.
If you’re not comfortable continuing with the climb, there are a few places for you to exit the falls before getting to the top. But you have to earn the right to brag to your family, friends, and coworkers that you climbed to the top of Dunn’s River Falls.
The Falls are a Perfect Shore Excursion on a Western-Caribbean Cruise
There are lots of options for visiting the Falls from a Western Caribbean Cruise. Choose from 5 – 10 night cruises, departing from New York, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando or New Orleans. Depending on the cruise line, your docking point in Jamaica will be either Ocho Rios or Falmouth, both of which offer easy transportation to Dunn’s River Falls.
Beyond the Falls, Jamaica has so much more to offer. Book a cruise to indulge in the good vibes and good times of Jamaica’s island life.
The island has fairly good weather all year long, but it’s good to know that the rainy season comes in May and then again from October to November. Jamaica also has a hurricane season that lasts from June 1 to November 30. November and December is a great time to visit: The likelihood of storms is low, and the weather is still warm while it’s colder in more northerly climates.
Chat with an agent now, call or send us an email if you’d like more information on planning your unforgettable trip to Jamaica!
Let’s be honest. When most Americans think of Casablanca, this is the image that comes to mind. Romantic lead Humphrey Bogart and the luminous Ingrid Bergman starred in what has been called the greatest movie of all time. We learned a lot about spies. We learned a lot about World War II. But as not one frame was filmed in Casablanca, we didn’t learn much about this iconic city. But there’s so much history and beauty to explore in Casablanca, it’s worth getting to know this magical city.
A port city, it has always been a valuable asset to a series of conquerors. Throughout its history, Casablanca has been ruled by Berber, Roman, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, French, British and Moroccan regimes. Today, the city is busily developing a tourism industry, and as you will see as you read on, there’s so much to see!
Hassan II Mosque
On the shoreline, just beyond the northern tip of Casablanca’s medina (old city), the Hassan II mosque dominates the entire city. Finished in 1993, it is the second largest mosque in the world, covering two hectares in size with the world’s tallest minaret (200 meters high). The prayer hall can accommodate 25,000 worshippers, while the courtyard (which boasts a retractable roof) can fit another 80,000.
Astonishingly intricate decoration covers every centimeter of surface. The location, right on the tip of the rocky bay above the ocean, is thoroughly dramatic. Non-Muslims can visit the mosque on guided tours, which begin at the mosque’s western entrance several times per day.
The best place in Casablanca to experience the traditional local way of life is to visit the old city district, known as the Medina. Medinas are found in many North African cities and are typically walled, containing narrow, winding streets where cars are prohibited. The Medina in Casablanca is best entered by the Marrakech gate, known for its imposing clock tower.
Within the Medina, authentic tradesmen sell their wares to shoppers. It’s a rambling and ramshackle neighborhood with an authentic residential feel, and a great place to experience the pulse of Casablanca life. There are also some interesting holy men koubbas (shrines) in the medina’s southern section. After a little twisting and turning, you can find your way to the old Portuguese fortress known as La Sqala that backs onto the old city.
Known for its string of glamorous Atlantic beach clubs, La Corniche, part of the Ain Diab neighborhood, is popular with a fashionable crowd of sunbathers and surfers. It includes a beautiful promenade, a jogging trail stretching all the way from the lighthouse up to the end of the jetty, as well as some stunning panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. After dark, the action moves to the area’s trendy nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and sea-facing bar terraces. Dining options along Boulevard de la Corniche range from simple counter-serve joints to fancy French restaurants. On sunny weekends, this is a great spot for people watching, with plenty of local families heading to the sand for picnicking and promenading.
After experiencing all that is exotic in Casablanca, you can end your stay with walking in Bogart’s footsteps at Rick’s Cafe. Opened in 2004, the restaurant is housed in a traditional Moroccan grand mansion with a central courtyard built in 1930. The restaurant features a distinctive streetfront entrance with heavy wooden doors that depict that of the film. It houses an authentic 1930s Pleyel piano and As Time Goes By is a common request to the in-house pianist. Reservations are recommended. We can’t think of a better way to cap off an exciting stay in this ancient yet modern city.
Its meaning is “hovering in the air” and when you see these spectacular views you will see that it is aptly named. There are many places on earth with magnificent geological formations, but what sets these apart are the buildings which are built atop them. Originally settled by monks in the 11th century who lived in the caves of the formations, lawlessness as a result of the Turkish occupation forced them higher and higher up the rocks until they settled on the very tops. The first monasteries were built by bringing materials and people up to the top using ladders and baskets. By the early part of the 20th century, a series of roads and stairs made the tops accessible in a slightly less dangerous and dramatic way!
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Greek Orthodox monasteries have been continually functioning for centuries. Today there are still 6 active monasteries. Just look at these beautiful places!
The Holy Monastery of Rousenau The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas
The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen The Holy Monastery of Varlaam
The Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron
Ventresca Travel offers many options for traveling to Greece – 7 to 12 day escorted tours, or we can custom design the trip of your dreams. Whatever style of travel suits you, you should definitely plan on a 1 to 2 day add on to visit these remarkable monasteries, so that you too can spend the day “hovering in the air!”
First of all, what in the heck is a cenote? Put simply, it’s a sinkhole or pit created by the collapse of limestone that opens up to groundwater beneath the earth’s surface. Think of them as surface entrances to subterranean water sources. That rather dry description does not do credit to their greatest attribute: they are very cool!
Here are some photos of some of the more remarkable cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula:
Perhaps one of the most recognizable cenote is the Cenote Suytun, located near the colonial city of Valladolid, Yucatan. Becoming more popular every year, it is becoming a frequent stop for tourists traveling to Chichen Itza or Ek Balam ruins.