Make a difference, try a “voluntourism” project in Kenya with Me to We

Volunteers on a 'Me to We' project in Kenya

Volunteers on a ‘Me to We’ project in Kenya

Craig Burkinshaw, Audley’s founder is always keen to find and promote new responsible travel initiatives and so impressed was he with his latest find that he decided to join the charity’s Board in order to personally help out.

Me to We is a non-profit organisation which arranges trips to visit local communities around the world, including India, Ecuador and Kenya. Audley are currently the only travel company in the UK offering places on Me to We projects, allowing travellers a genuine insight into the cultures of the countries they are visiting as well as directly benefiting the local communities in these places.

Our Africa specialists have put together a brand new itinerary which combines a safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara with three days of volunteering in Bogani, a local community not far from this famous park.

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Emirates begin daily A380 services to Mauritius

Le Prince Maurice on Mauritius

Le Prince Maurice on Mauritius

Mauritius has long been a favourite beach destination for travellers looking to relax on its beautiful beaches, and I’ve been lucky enough to sample them myself on a research trip. It’s great either for a beach holiday, or for a bit of rest and relaxation after a safari in South Africa.

Audley Mauritius specialist, Roz

Audley Product Executive, Roz

We have some great accommodation on the island, but have often found trouble getting space on flights to Mauritius in peak season. So we were very excited to learn that Emirates will now be flying to this island paradise on a daily basis, creating 1,000 additional seats per week. An added bonus is that they are using their new A380’s on this route, complete with their wide-screen seat-back display screens, plus the shiny new airport in Mauritius, makes it an increasingly appealing destination.

We often think it’s beneficial to travel directly to Mauritius, but the Emirates flights offer fantastic value for money when compared to the direct options, and travel overnight rather than during the day, allowing you to really maximise your time on holiday and avoiding that painful 5am departure from the hotel on your final morning.

Belle Mare Plage

Belle Mare Plage

I have created a new suggested itinerary for those people looking for a relaxing but active and luxurious holiday in Mauritius, using these new Emirates flights and staying in a beautiful 5 star hotel on the east coast. Le Prince Maurice offers an array of luxurious room types, a vast stretch of pristine beach and loads of facilities both on site and at their sister property, the Belle Mare Plage. There’s a brilliant spa on site (personally tested and approved by myself!) and the beautiful floating Barachois restaurant plus two championship golf courses. Watersports here are plentiful too and include waterskiing, wakeboarding and snorkelling.

If you’d like more information about an Audley tailor-made trip to Mauritius, call our specialists on 01993 838 520 or contact us online. Alternatively, browse our Mauritius itinerary suggestions.

Remembering the Vietnam War, 50 years later

Remnants of the Vietnam War: Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon

Remnants of the Vietnam War: Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon

I am an Audley Indochina specialist and have recently returned from a visit to Vietnam. With the 50th anniversary of the start of Vietnam War being marked this year, I recount how the legacy of this war can still have a profound impact on the visitor to this fascinating country.

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013)

We were really saddened to hear about the news of Nelson Mandela’s death but we also see this as an opportunity to celebrate and remember his inspirational life and achievements – and talking to our contacts in South Africa, this seems to be the approach that the country as a whole is taking. In the Audley Africa department we are taking time out to remember Nelson today and raise a glass to him as a team.

Ruth Milligan
Audley Africa Safari Manager

Wild Burma – episode two

Putao in Burma

The remote Putao area in northern Burma is home to a multitude of wildlife

I blogged a few weeks ago about the new BBC series Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom. It has certainly grabbed the attention of Audley’s Burma specialists, so if you haven’t yet seen it here is a reminder that episode two is on BBC 2 tonight at 9pm.

If you missed the first episode then catch it again on the BBC iPlayer.

Call our Burma specialists on 01993 838 105 for more information about Audley tailor-made trips to this fascinating country, or contact us online. Alternatively view our first-timers guide to Burma to see what you could be missing.

In Mandela’s Footsteps

Nelson Mandela statue in Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela statue in Johannesburg

Nelson Mandela is one of the iconic figures of the modern era and a new film based on his 1994 autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ will be premiering to UK audiences in January. It’s this recent history of apartheid that not only holds a fascination for many movie goers but also a sizable number of visitors who travel to this fascinating country each year. With this in mind our South Africa specialists have just put together a brand new itinerary.

Robben Island

Robben Island

In Mandela’s Footsteps charts some of the most significant places Nelson has been linked to. In fact in some cases you literally can walk in the footsteps of the man himself; the most famous (or infamous) perhaps being in the prison on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town. Nelson was incarcerated here for two decades during the apartheid era.

The itinerary starts in Johannesburg. Here you will visit the Apartheid Museum which offers an experience which is both informative but also humbling. There are displays of photographs, film and texts which lead you through the years of segregation. In addition you will visit Constitution Hill, or if you’d prefer an alternative option is a guided tour of the township of Soweto.

The itinerary also visits places in and around the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range. You will visit the iconic battlefields, the site of numerous struggles between the Boer, Zulu and British armies.

Even among the stunning scenery of the Drakensberg you are never far away from symbols of the apartheid years and it’s here you will stop at the Nelson Mandela national monument, marking the site of his capture before he was imprisoned.

The trip finishes in Cape Town and a visit to the aforementioned Robben Island.

If you would like to find out more please call our South Africa specialists on 01993 838 550 for more information or contact us online. Alternatively view our South Africa itinerary ideas, all of which can be tailored to your individual requirements.

Movember Mo’vie premiere!

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/80623180[/vimeo]

It’s been a tach-tastic month for ridiculous facial hair in the office. Our Mo brothers and sisters have  surpassed themselves with their fundraising efforts, raising a staggering £2,232 in total for this worthwhile cause.

Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer and over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.

Movember raises the profile of male health issues such as mental health and prostate cancer. Last week our Mo brothers produced a video as a last fundraising push, which is now available on Vimeo. You can also show your support by visiting their Movember web page

Well done lads and lasses!

The Audley Mo Brothers before the facial fuzz

The Audley Mo Brothers before the facial fuzz

Born Free presentation at Audley

Guest speaker at Audley, Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation

Guest speaker at Audley, Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation

Last Friday, myself and 24 other employees sat in the Waterwheel Room here at Audley and spent the next 30 minutes engrossed by what our guest speaker had to say.

Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna

Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna

His name was Will Travers and those of you who have seen the classic 1966 wildlife film Born Free, the name will probably sound familiar. This is because Will Travers is the son of actor and actress Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who played George and Joy Adamson, the real-life couple who raised Elsa the lioness in that famous film.

In fact such was the interest around the company when it was announced that he was coming in to speak, Will kindly agreed to do two talks one after the other to meet demand, thus accommodating 50 people in total. I’m sure had we had more room we could have easily doubled this audience again.

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Audley wins Telegraph Best Tour Operator award for 2013

Audley pick up the Telegraph Top Tour Operator award for 2013

Audley pick up the Telegraph Top Tour Operator award for 2013

Audley’s head of Marketing, Jim Millward, was at the newly open Shard building in London yesterday to pick up the ‘Best Tour Operator’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2013.

This award was created as part of a survey by the Telegraph to find out its readers’ favourite travel companies and destinations. Over 70,000 people voted in the awards – making it one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging travel surveys in the world – so to win the coveted best tour operator award is a real honour for Audley.

To learn more about booking a tailor-made trip with Audley, call one of our specialists on 01993 838 810, or alternatively you can contact us online via our Audley Travel website.

If you would like to find out more about the awards and other winners visit the  Telegraph website.

Audley raise £817 for Philippines Typhoon Appeal

Audley's Southeast Asia team being preparing food

Some of Audley’s Southeast Asia team preparing food

You will have seen in the news recently the devastation caused the typhoon which hit the Philippines. It was the largest typhoon ever to hit land and as a result has affected over 11 million people, displacing some 700,000 from their homes.

Our Southeast Asia (SEA) team have over the years raised numerous amounts for all sorts of good causes in this part of the world but I would say they have surpassed even their own high standards by raising a whopping £817 for this particular appeal.

They did this by making 163 baguettes, bagels and wraps with various delicious fillings such as smoked salmon, pork, turkey and Chicken adobo – an authentic Filipino national dish. Audley’s SEA Manager, Natalie Lewis, said of the event:

Thanks to everyone in SEA who chopped salad, rolled wraps, stuffed bread with rice, poured gravy, took money, provided ingredients and gave up their time to make the event such a success.

If you would like to make a contribution to the aid efforts in the Philippines, please visit the Disasters Emergency Committee website.