Wanna-be Robinson Crusoes love this exclusive back-to-nature eco-resort, nestled between soaring granitic peaks on a remote island in the Seychelles, but with the bevy of attentive staff here, you'll never feel stranded. "Barefoot luxury" is the island's slogan, and conservation is key. The owner's mission is to restore the island back to its natural state, and guests are welcome to participate in the conservation programs and learn about the unique ecology of this far-flung isle. You can choose from two different picture-perfect beaches, where turtles nest on the shores.Constructed of local materials harvested during the island's ongoing restoration, the eleven private open-plan villas rim a beautiful stretch of beach that bristles with coconut palms. Sophisticated beachy chic best describes the decor, which incorporates plenty of textural elements and natural materials. Plunge pools in large decks, netted beds, and deep soaking tubs are typical features, and doors fold back to let the outdoors in. The sumptuous Villa North Island at the far end of the beach is the ultimate honeymoon hideaway.
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On a 6,000-acre private game reserve in Kenya near the border of Tanzania, Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp oozes Out of Africa elegance. The camp borders the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve, two of the best game reserves in Africa, and is one of only 10 accredited Global Ecosphere Retreats in the world, thanks to its commitment to sustainability and projects that help the local community.
Don't be put off by the word "camp." The luxury tents are a world away from those on your typical family camping trip, and the attentive staff make you feel like royalty. The expert Maasai guides and trackers are some of the best in the business, delivering you to classic African "big-five" wildlife action starring lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and elephants. This is also a wonderful place to experience the wildebeest migration from July through November.
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St. Lucia is known for its dramatically beautiful scenery, and adults-only Jade Mountain Resort capitalizes on it with spectacular views of the ocean and St. Lucia's twin volcanic peaks, the Pitons. Clinging to a cliffside, the resort encompassess a series of open-sided rooms and common areas that embrace these breathtaking vistas, so you always feel like a part of your surroundings. Despite their sweeping views, the suites offer total privacy making this a favorite hideaway for honeymooners.Called "sanctuaries," the 24 open-sided guest rooms here feel spacious and airy, with 15-foot-high ceilings, large living rooms, and plenty of local stone and tropical hardwoods. Typical features include private infinity pools, four-poster beds, Frette bathrobes and towels, 24-hour butlers ("Major Domos"), and jalousie louvers so the tropical breezes can flow freely. Five SKY jacuzzi suites come with hot tubs instead of the private pools. Wi-Fi is available at the resort, but you won't find TVs and telephones here, just the sounds and sights of the sea.
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On a palm-studded private island in Antigua rimmed by dazzling beaches, Jumby Bay is tropical elegance at its best. The entire island is car-free, but you can explore it on a bike and soak up the relaxed pace of life. In particular, Jumby Bay is known for its doting staff, who provide five-star service with a warm smile. World-class cuisine infused with tropical flavors stars at the fine-dining restaurant, but you can also dine by the pool and beach.Despite the relaxing atmosphere, you can still stay connected to the outside world. The 40 air-conditioned luxury guest rooms and villas come with all the modern conveniences, including large flat screen TVs, Bose sound systems, Nespresso coffee makers, and Wi-Fi, but they also have timeless romantic features such as four-poster beds dressed in Italian linens, wrap-around terraces, and private outdoor gardens with rain showers.Red-roofed villas and houses add extra luxuries, like private chefs, personal butlers, and swimming pools. When you're not basking under rustling palms on the beach, you can work out at the gym; swim in the infinity pool; play tennis or golf; or succumb to a pampering session at the spa.
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If you're dreaming of a Tahitian tropical paradise with an eco-sensitive, low-impact approach, look no further than The Brando. Set on a pristine private island embracing a three-mile lagoon, this carbon-neutral resort is the ultimate in laid-back luxury.The resort was established by screen legend Marlon Brando to preserve the island's beauty and biodiversity and serve as a model of sustainability-solar power, seawater air-conditioning systems, and other renewable energy technologies power the entire island. Not surprisingly, nature lovers will be in heaven here. Flourishing coral reefs shimmer in the lagoon, birds flock to the shores, whales swim by on their annual migrations, and sea turtles nest on the bone-white beaches.Set back from the beach, the thatched villas peek out unobtrusively from clusters of pandanus and palms. Modern furnishings and fixtures mix effortlessly with recycled and local building materials like thatch, stone, and wood. Features include private plunge pools, outdoor bathtubs, and media rooms with TV and Wi-Fi. Two-bedroom villas add kitchens and dining areas, and the spacious three-bedroom villa is perfect for large family gatherings. All the villas come with bicycles, so you can explore the island with pedal power.
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If you want to shop for truly heartwarming souvenirs, swing by the Nyamirambo Women's Center. The women-founded organization was launched in late 2007 in an effort to address gender inequality and empower women.In addition to offering free education and vocational training, it employs women at fair wages to fill its intimate boutique with ethically-made goods. Tourists can pick up beautifully printed tote bags, hand-woven baskets in every shape and size, patterned place mats, crocheted rugs, beaded jewelry, and local-inspired fashions.If some of the best shopping in the area isn't enough of a draw, here's another reason why visiting the Nyamiramo Women's Center is one of the best things to do in Kigali: its community immersions. The group offers fascinating walks through Nyamirambo with guides who were either born in the neighborhood or live here now, taking travelers through local hair salons, mosques, tailors, and agricultural businesses.
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You can't begin to appreciate everything Rwanda has become until you understand the reasons behind the devastating Rwandan genocide—a conflict that killed some 800,000 people, most of whom were members of the Tutsi ethnic minority, in just 100 days. The Kigali Genocide Memorial sheds light on the historical events that led to the genocide and horrifying realities Rwandans faced in 1994.Prepare yourself: A visit to the memorial (where 250,000 victims are interred) is emotionally demanding but gives tourists a foundation with which to comprehend this complex country. You'll start by watching a short documentary film about the Rwandan genocide before making your way through three permanent exhibitions, filled with artifacts, timelines, historical information, and photographs.The main exhibit focuses on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus. It explains how colonization affected Rwandan society and created divisions that previously didn't exist between Hutus and Tutsis. Then, through displays of powerful photographs, artifacts, and audio-visual displays on dark, circular halls, the exhibit unveils the events that sparked the genocide, what happened during those 100 brutal days, heart-wrenching stories of survival, and feats of rescue from locals and outsiders alike. Sculptures and stained-glass windows pepper the moving space, making it feel sacred.
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One of the most famous game reserves in Africa, the Maasai Mara is where the world's largest annual wildlife migration takes place every year - thousands and thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes move to and from the Serengeti reserve in Tanzania. If you are looking for wildlife photography experiences, this is the place. Capture beautiful images of the "Big Five" - the name used to refer to the five large land animals in Africa, including elephants, lions, rhinos, cape buffalos, and leopards, found here.
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