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Wilderness Safaris Opens Rwanda’s First Luxury Safari Camp in Akagera
Wilderness Safaris has officially opened its new camp, Magashi, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga in the north-east of Rwanda’s wildlife-rich Akagera National Park. Launched in partnership with conservation non-profit African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), both of which manage the national park, Magashi offers life-changing journeys to this remarkable location – journeys that are strongly rooted in a shared core purpose: to help conserve Rwanda’s last protected savannah ecosystem and threatened species like the East African subspecies of black rhino and rare shoebill stork.
“We are thrilled with our elegant new camp, which is looking incredible thanks to the collective efforts of our Rwanda team and lead designers, Caline Williams-Wynn and Nilfah Adams from Artichoke. Our Magashi team has already started to work their magic and exceed our guests’ expectations, and we are looking forward to sharing the area’s wonders with many more guests in the future”, commented Ingrid Baas, Wilderness Safaris Rwanda General Manager.
Comprising a traditional East African “safari under canvas” feel, Magashi’s six airy tented suites and main guest areas have been designed to take full advantage of the beautiful wilderness surrounds and tranquil, uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga. Paying homage to Rwandan culture through locally-inspired interior design and architecture, Magashi truly celebrates the country’s inspiring renaissance – a huge part of which has seen the reinvention of traditional textiles and ceremonies in a modern context.
“Akagera has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past nine years, through which it has emerged as one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories. Our partnership with the RDB has seen poaching essentially eliminated, wildlife recovered including bringing back lions and rhinos to the park, and tourism is helping Akagera become 80% self-financing, which also supports local communities”, said Jes Gruner, Park Manager of Akagera National Park. “Together with Wilderness Safaris we hope to further realise the enormous potential of Akagera, which is why we are delighted to see the exquisite Magashi Camp open its doors, and we look forward to welcoming its guests to the park to experience this extraordinary tale of restoration first-hand”.
“It has been very rewarding to watch the camp come to life through the craftsmanship of our local Rwandan artists, overseen by Artichoke’s expertise”, Ingrid added. “In addition to offering appropriately luxurious accommodation, warm local hospitality and a range of exciting safari activities, we are very proud of the camp’s ultra-light footprint; what’s more, it is 100% solar powered and completely single-use plastic free. This forms part of our 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation, which is at the heart of our Magashi offering”.
Situated in north-eastern Akagera, Magashi offers exceptional game-viewing, including thrilling leopard and lion sightings and a range of plains game, from buffalo and hippo to zebra, Defassa waterbuck, impala, eland, Masai giraffe and topi; Akagera’s almost 500 bird species include lifers such as the papyrus gonolek. Guests will be able to explore the concession on expertly-guided day and night game drives, boating trips and walks. In 2015, African Parks reintroduced lions to the park after a 20-year absence, and reintroduced the black rhinoceros in 2017, making this Rwanda’s only home to Africa’s iconic savannah megafauna.
“Akagera provides one of the most scenic and biodiverse savannah experiences in East Africa, and we are confident that in addition to offering our guests a life-changing journey with purpose, Magashi will help drive sustainable ecotourism to the Park, positively contributing to conservation and the empowerment of our neighbouring communities”, Ingrid concluded.
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF LUXURY CRUISING IN 2020
In 2020, Crystal will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a year-long celebration including commemorative gifts, special events aboard its ships as well as the luxury of significant savings. Crystal Cruises, which first launched on July 24, 1990 when Crystal Harmony sailed from San Francisco on a 12-day inaugural voyage through Alaska, pioneered the luxury cruising industry and set the stage for three decades of award-winning vacation experiences.
Crystal has designated 30 sailings across its four brand experiences – Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal Expedition Cruises.
For significant savings in 2020, Crystal Society members will receive 5% off, doubling their regular savings. New-to-Crystal guests will enjoy 2% off of select voyages. These savings are in addition to two-for-one fares and Crystal’s compelling Book Now Savings, which rewards travelers who book within a limited time frame.
To take advantage of these special offers, bookings for the “30th Anniversary Collection” must be made by 30 June, 2019.
“We are immensely proud of Crystal’s legacy of offering luxury travelers the worlds best experiences for 30 years. We are grateful to world travelers and travel advisors who have journeyed with us and been integral to our success along the way,” says Crystal’s president and CEO, Tom Wolber. “While many of our guests have been on this journey with Crystal since the beginning, the Crystal Family continues to grow with each new voyage. It’s our pleasure to celebrate this milestone with travelers in a meaningful
way – by affording guests the opportunity to enjoy all the diverse travel experiences Crystal now offers.”
The “30th Anniversary collection” features sailings around the globe ranging from 7 to 16 nights throughout 2020.
UNIWORLD DEBUTS SIXTH SUPERSHIP
Meticulous 8-Month Renovation Unveils A New Ship Designed Specifically to Immerse Guests in a Gastronomic Journey through France’s Venerable Wine Region.
Following an ambitious makeover that not only reimagined its purpose, overall design and aesthetic but enhanced its structure, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection debuted its newest Super Ship, the transformed S.S. Bon Voyage. After a meticulous eight-month renovation that took place in the small shipbuilding village of Druten, The Netherlands, the S.S. Bon Voyage has now returned to France, setting sail on her maiden voyage today.
Offering three itineraries along the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde rivers, the ship features four spacious new suites, four dining and beverage venues and spectacular Soleil Deck featuring panoramic views of the countryside, infinity pool and Le Café du Soleil, offering light local fare and chef-led cooking classes.
In addition to its impeccable design and fine craftsmanship, guests of Uniworld’s S.S. Bon Voyage may take advantage of new and immersive offshore excursions and Wellness on the Water, integrated-programming that honours the importance guests place on maintaining their healthy lifestyles while travelling.
According to Uniworld CEO and President Ellen Bettridge, the S.S. Bon Voyage was specifically designed to elegantly and comfortably immerse guests in French culture, art, wine and cuisine. “Like the finest couture, the S.S. Bon Voyage was built with a singular purpose, to share the marvels of this amazing destination with our guests and there isn’t another like it in the world. It is certainly more expensive to build [ships] exclusively for a particular destination, but we know our guests value authentic experience above all else,” says Bettridge.
Renowned and lauded for its boutique approach to interior design that combines fine antiques, original art and distinctive color palettes, the S.S. Bon Voyage references its French heritage throughout from its stunning lobby clad in polished wood with subtle brass details complementing the magnificent hand-crafted balustrade to the stylish emerald tones found in bar Le Salon Champagne, inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s personal abode, Villa Majorelle.
Additional dining venues also capture the essence of France including the the quintessential Parisian La Brasserie with its natural green and pops of yellow décor inspired by the famous Bouillon Pigalle and serving traditional bistro fare; Le Grand Fromage, offering menus reflective of the cuisines of the featured itineraries and prepared from locally sourced ingredients; and La Cave des Vins, an intimate space where connoisseurs can gather for expert food and wine pairing dinners upon request.
Perhaps most striking of the design features is the Soleil Deck, a stunning platform awash with vibrant fabrics that contrast elegantly against a fresh blue and white palate and expertly appointed furniture. Here, the newly installed and only infinity pool on the rivers gives a splash of modernity and offers spectacular views of the French countryside. Poolside service at the Le Café du Soleil completes this delightful ambiance, offering a casual cuisine reflective of relaxed French culture, as well as open-air cooking demonstrations from specialist chefs.
In addition to common areas, every guest room and suite has received an exquisite redesign with cool marble bathrooms and unique features.
Immersive offshore excursions and an integrated wellness program also distinguish the S.S. Bon Voyage. New guest opportunities include a walking tour and wine tasting at Saint-Emilion, a key wine town in Bordeaux; exploring Libourne’s local farmer’s market to choose the freshest vegetables, fruits and cheeses; an artisanal wine tasting at Château de Cazeneuve; and a bike ride tour through the lush Médoc vineyards.
Wellness on the Water integrates the ship and the diversity of the Aquitaine landscape to strive for a healthy lifestyle, which the French refer to as douceur de vivre, a sweetness for life. Activities include yoga in the heart of an iconic historical site, such as the Blaye fortress with 360° views over the Gironde estuary, guided trekking or Nordic walk with a naturalist from the Garonne river banks, through the Bastide of Cadillac or sunrise meditation on Europe’s highest sand dune, La Teste-de-Buch.
“The S.S. Bon Voyage’s debut not only represents a new marvel on the river, but the continued, industry-leading transformation of the entire Uniworld fleet,” said Bettridge. “Her arrival sets the scene for the anticipation of planned Super Ship launches in 2020 and beyond.”
The S.S. Bon Voyage sails on three itineraries through France: the eight-day Brilliant Bordeaux, 15-day A Portrait of France, and 22-day Ultimate France. For more information, please visit www.uniworld.com or contact the reservations team at (011) 280 8400.