This could be it, the ultimate dream trip, the experience of a lifetime, the most royal of icing on life’s sponge cake: the highlights of Africa, travelling some 5000 miles by private jet, for 19 days, staying in stunning safari camps and handsome hotels. With, and these are the crown jewels on the royal icing, 3 days in the Serengeti in the company of Geoffrey Kent, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, purveyors of luxury holidays right around the world. There is a certain stage in life that requires leaving enormous rucksacks and hitching behind, for a more pampered experience with adventure and exploration still at its heart. Silver travellers who are ready for the trip of a lifetime, read on.
What exactly constitutes luxury? My dictionary says ’enjoyment of comfortable and sumptuous living’. So, at the very least, it must surely mean not having to take your own bath plug to Greece, endure a dripping tap all night in St Kitts or wish you had ice for your gin in Namibia. These little trials just would not happen on a luxury A&K, their moniker, holiday. And there’s more to it: attention to detail, a graciousness that seems generally forgotten and pride in the best experience each country has to offer.
From the start in 1962, Abercrombie & Kent have set style and standards, it all began with safaris in the farm Land Rover and a silver ice bucket. Need more be said? The quiet discretion of A&K luggage labels on your bags is the assurance that you’ve entered a very special world enjoyed by royalty (Prince George to follow his father and grandfather in time, no doubt), presidents, film stars and world shapers such as Bill Gates, whose life was changed by his time with A&K in Africa.
To achieve the undisputed reputation of the best high-end tour operator in luxury adventure, experts are needed around the world and there are many, in very many locations. Added to this is the pioneering spirit of Geoffrey Kent, who grew up on the family farm in Kenya, unfettered by much concern for health and safety. On expulsion from school, he rode his motorbike 3000 miles from Nairobi to Cape Town, then sold his story to the press, earning enough to sail back to Mombassa first class. A taste for both adventure and luxury was already emerging as a theme here.
These days, whilst Kent spends his time between Monaco and London, more luxury than adventure here one suspects, the company specialises in tailor-made luxury travel.
Indonesia with A&K, for example, offers holidays to the exceptional beaches of Bali, in divine accommodation, after stimulating adventures in the temples and volcanoes across the archipelago. A magical itinerary worthy of Freya Stark, Paul Theroux or Phileas Fogg. If your travel urge is for the virgin rainforests of Guatemala, the ancient history of the Lebanon or the delightful islands of Croatia perhaps, tours (or should that be journeys?) are designed just for you, with local contacts enabling and enhancing your itinerary so that it becomes your very best, personal travel experience.
So to visit the Serengeti in the company of an inspirational adventurer, keen on life’s finer details, seems to be a winning combination. Africa itself is not luxurious, it is raw and it is real, so the paradox of 5* safari camps beyond the middle of nowhere is extraordinary. But then that’s the winning streak. Let’s hope there’s a silver ice bucket on that private jet!