A world of beautiful detail...
Get an insight into some of the highlights of a Reserve tour, including the accommodation, dining experiences and local leaders you will meet along the way. With more than 30 years experience, we can help you discover a destination in ways you could never expect to do on your own.
"Never in my wildest dreams could I have predicted the sense of awe I felt whilst watching the annual wildebeest migration criss-crossing over the Mara River. The thunder of their hooves is so loud as they charge towards the river, hoping to dodge the crocodiles and make it across."
"Deep in the heart of the forest, among the mud, the mist and the vines, you suddenly hear the rustle of activity on the forest floor. A leathery black hand stretches up to pull down a giant bamboo stalk. As you step into the clearing, an amazing scene is brought into full focus and a family of endangered mountain gorillas appear right before your eyes. I think that what Africa can do is to remind you that life should be full of unforgettable moments…you’ll certainly find them here!"
With uninterrupted, 360-degree panoramic views overlooking the Virunga Volcano Range and its lakes, the Virunga Lodge offers one of the most spectacular settings in all of Africa. Built to an environmentally sustainable ethos, this small, remote, luxury eco-lodge is constructed from locally sourced materials and makes use of solar power. Sipping a glass of chilled white wine on the terrace and admiring the view, or enjoying a warm drink by the cosy fireplace in the communal lounge makes for a very pleasant setting to recount the day's gorilla trekking adventures.
Villa Mandarine is a magnificent old villa full of Moroccan art. It is set in the middle of an orange grove in a suburb of Rabat. The villa includes traditional furniture, Berber carpets, a luscious garden, personal art collection, three hectares of land with around 700 orange trees, shaded groves and a beautiful pool.
Mohammed el Moussaoui grew up in the stunning coastal town of Essaouira, and loves to take his guests to his favourite Marrakesh restaurant. Don't miss out on the local strong coffee called noss noss, spicy grilled chicken and spicy snails for the braver palates!
‘My first visit to Salisbury Plain on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is a standout contender for the best three hours of my life. Tens of thousands of king penguins, some courting, others with eggs and others with hungry brown chicks. Throw in elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, giant petrels, Antarctic terns and you’ll start to get the picture. You just sit down and let your very own documentary unfold in real time.'
"Burma is a real jewel in the crown of South East Asia. Bagan for me is one of the most remarkable sights in Asia, the tranquillity of this site is observed best from the skies above on a sunrise balloon ride. Once you travel here you will understand the inspiration for Kipling’s 'Mandalay' poem."
"To get inside this wonderful country, its past and its future, you need to see it through the eyes of the local proud Vietnamese. Whether it be the chef leading a cooking class or a monk talking about Buddhism, or even a former KOTO student proud of the opportunity he or she has been given. Through any of these people you will feel a sense of pride as they talk about their country and their people. And that is the real insight."
This restaurant is like a quiet haven in the middle of bustling downtown Saigon. It has an intimate atmosphere that captures the French colonial influence in Vietnam with its old world charm. You'll enjoy a classically elegant experience that is heavily influenced from the South West of France.
Ranvijay, popularly known as Ranny, was born into the noble family Nimbera Udawat clan of Rathore Dynasty. He has an intimate knowledge of Rajasthan, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources has a special interest in wildlife, equestrian sports and the environment.
“My family is Nimbera Udawat, making me a descendant of Jodhpur Royalty and proud member of the Rajput nobility. Many people regard Jodhpur as their favourite city, with its imposing fort, colourful market and famous ‘Blue City’. People argue about whether all the houses are painted blue because the Brahmins chose that colour, or the blue colour is used as a mosquito repellent… but I’ll tell you all about that as I take you on a guided walk through the labyrinthine alleyways of this fascinating place.”
When he was a young boy, Pheap lived in a village that was still a civil war zone. He spent most of his early years dodging bullets and shells while tending to the family’s oxen and cows. Today, as well as Angkor and his nation’s Heritage-listed history, Pheap also likes to show his guests the daily life of people in the rural Cambodia.
“While I lead trips throughout Indochina one of my loves is the temples of Angkor which never cease to amaze. I also like to show visitors the daily life of people in the village. Sometimes I take guests to meet my family and enjoy a home cooked meal.”
Khamla has taken Peregrine guests through his country for many years, and is particularly enthusiastic about showing off the old capital city, Luang Prabang. Khamla hails from Xiengkuang, the famous ‘Plain of Jars’. (Never heard of it? Just ask him!)
“A real special experience in Laos is a leisurely trek through the Laos jungle which are largely untouched. You can follow in the footsteps of the French explorers as you traverse this lush part of the world. The Laos jungle holds s a special place in my heart as it is a place you can get lost and find yourself.”
It's easy to see why meeting Phuong is a highlight for many of our Vietnam travellers. With many years experience as a leader, Phuong's infectious and enthusiastic nature means you'll Vietnam from a local's perspective. Phuong has a reputation as one of the best pool players in the company, so be careful before you challenge him to a game!
“Food is at the heart of Vietnamese life and there's no better way to appreciate this than hunkering down with the locals for a meal. I like to take my travellers to a variety of places to showcase the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. Whether it be a bowl of traditional Pho noodle soup for breakfast in Saigon or eating northern specialties at a restored French colonial mansion in Hanoi, the unique flavours of our delicious food will be something you will always remember.”
This floating boutique hotel was called Paukan after the ancient name of Bagan. To climb aboard is like stepping back in time, thanks to a clever design in the style of a classic river steamer. Settle into your spacious outward facing cabin with its beautiful wood panelling, rich colour scheme and traditional fabrics. Wake in the morning and step out onto the promenade in front of your cabin to watch life unfold on the Irrawaddy River. With its welcoming blend of colonial and traditional Burmese style, your floating home also offers two massage rooms on the lower deck and a sun deck boasting a stage for cultural performances, a lounge for relaxation and a bar for fun. Head to the upper deck with its movie screening room, complete with LCD projector and TV screen.
Myo (nicknamed Joseph) has been leading tours in Burma since for almost twenty years. He believes that by showing visitors his beautiful country and sharing his knowledge of Buddhism he is playing his part in helping Burma’s economy and people.
“Sunrise ballooning give you an opportunity to view the thousand year old pagodas by floating over them as the light catches them when the sun is rising. It one of the most remarkable sights in Asia as the ancient temples stretch as far as the eye can see. This memory is such a strong memory for me and it will be for you and stay with you for the rest of your life.”
Shangri Lao blends the feeling of an ancient historic expedition with the benefits of modern comfort. Spacious tents are furnished with handcrafted 19th-century style furniture, featuring permanent hardwood floors and an attached bathroom with bathtub or whirlpool.
There are two camps in similar style, both offering breathtaking views. The first, close to the Ban Xieng Lom village, is located on the riverside and the second is situated in the primary jungle of the Huay Khot valley.
"Near Jogawar, a wonderful Rajasthani village with women wearing colourful saris and ornate jewellery, you’ll enjoy a short journey on a local train. Last time I caught this train, I met a young, newly married woman who was coming back to her village for the first time and wearing her finest dress. I also met nomadic holy man, whose stories were remarkable… even bordering on unbelievable! The opportunities for photos and immersing yourself in Indian life are countless; and taking each moment as it comes will leave you feeling like you have experienced the real India."
Researchers from the Matbah Restaurant spent many years scouring books and documents in the libraries of the Ottoman Palace in order to prepare a unique, authentic menu boasting 27 dishes from the Matbah-ı Beray-i (Kitchen of Sultan's Palace). You’ll taste flavours derived from Middle Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Mediterranean and Europe and enjoy a truly immersive Ottoman experience.
"Turkey has a gluttonous share of natural wonders; from the lunar-like scenes of Cappadocia in the country’s interior to the pristine, crystal clear waters of its three major coastlines and everything in between. Historically it is spellbinding; remnants of Hittite, Hellenic, Roman and Ottoman civilisations dominate the country. But the one thing that really stands out to me is the warmth and hospitality of the people, everywhere you go you are made to feel like a welcome guest rather than a tourist."
This property is on the cliffs of Sorrento overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius. It offers a perfect blend of old meets new, with a restoration that respects the historic Victorian elements. It harks back to a time when writers, artists and head of states came to stay but also boasts a fresh, eclectic décor.
A former 13th century Franciscan Monastery, this romantic hotel offers superb views over the glistening Mediterranean Sea. Steeped in history, the establishment has been run by the same family since 1863. Rustic style combined with old world charm makes this a beautiful dwelling on the Amalfi Coast.
Many a guest has been brought to tears by Alex’s impassioned recounting of the frescoes in the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. Others were simplydelighted to be invited into Manuela’s family home for an impromptu cooking lesson. In Manuela’s own words, “I grew up on a farm and know the secrets of the land and rich, traditional cooking. I can smell a good olive oil a mile away!”
‘Peruvian food is fast finding its feet among the world’s gastronomic greats. Rich and complex, it’s is a mélange of flavours that has evolved from both local Incan and international cuisines as far reaching as Spain, China, Japan and the Middle East. The national dish Cerviche (raw seafood marinated in lime juice, onions and spices) showcases this fusion of international flavour known as ‘Chifa’ and is one of a many of delights you will discover. Be adventurous in your choices and you will be rewarded!’
Housed within a Lima mansion, Brujas has reached into Peru’s pre-Colombian past to create a menu of world renown. Ceviche and Creole favourites complemented with a Pisco Sour or Chilean Malbec. Try the El Gran Brujo or ‘The Great Sorcerer’.
Napos’ 12 rustic cabanas with private balconies overlook the blackwater lake with views across the Amazon. The lodge is owned and operated by the local Kichwa people of Añangu with all profits going back to the community and the preservation of the Amazon. Napo’s experience naturalist guides conduct jungle excursions including the parrot clay lick and 120 foot jungle observation tower.
Located central to the old Inca city of Cusco, Aranwa Boutique hotel & spa offers excellent dining with gastronomic delights and a wellness centre with natural Andean therapies. Set inside a 16th century colonial mansion, this elegant boutique hotel has well appointed accommodations with an intelligent oxygen system which reduces the effects of altitude for maximum comfort.
Named after the explorer who ‘discovered’ Machu Picchu in 1911, The Hiram Bingham train is decorated in the style of the 1920’s Pullman trains and is an unforgettable journey in itself. The relaxing return journey by train to Poroy near Cusco takes you past snow-capped peaks as it winds along the Urabamba River. Choose from the Andean inspired menu in the dining car, after which you may choose to retire to the observation car or relax in the lounge.
Peter has lived his entire life in the Galapagos Islands, certified by the Ecuadorian National Park Services and has been working as a Naturalist Guide for the past 23 years. Peter also works part-time at the Charles Darwin Research Center and lectures on the ecology and conservation of the Galapagos Islands throughout the United States and Canada.
Fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian, Peter lives with his wife and two children on Santa Cruz Island.
Pablo Seminario and his wife Marilú Behar are dedicated to the discovery and continuity of techniques and designs from ancient Peruvian cultures. From their house-cum-workshop in Urabamba they provide direction and creative space for locals to research and explore these cultural inheritances. Pablo and Marilú concentrate on sculpting the red clay of the Sacred Valley following the tradition of Pre –Colombian pottery, a task which they undertook 20 years ago and which still continues today in their home which now also includes a carpentry and jeweller’s workshop.
It's hard to decide which is more impressive when staying at Engadine Lodge - the spectacular alpine scenery, the wildlife outside your window or the marvellous inn keepers, Chris and Shari-Lynn. Over a cup of coffee they'll share stories of their favourite walks, and you'll hear their “tails from the trails” over a glass of wine. Chris and Shari-Lynn bring the region alive with their passion for the backcountry and insider knowledge of the area’s most beautiful walks.