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The Best of 2018

What did we, and our travellers, get up to in 2018?

Every December, we start reminiscing about what’s happened at Timbuktu over the past 12 months and the wonderful trips our guests have designed. More often than not, we think that it couldn’t possibly have been a more jam-packed and wildly-wonderful year than the one before – and every year, we’re proved wrong! In 2018, we sent more people than ever before on some amazing trips across the continent (and even had a few firsts!). So, without further ado, here’s what our travellers got up to in 2018…

Best of 2018 - Tanzania
Gaze upon the majestic gnus in Tanzania

Most popular country


Voted for (or should we say, booked) by you, our trusty travellers, Tanzania was our most popular country for trips in 2018. No surprise really, for the East African favourite is home to some of the most incredible scenery, wildlife and experiences on the continent. How about the Great Migration, in which millions of wildebeest thunder across the Serengeti in search of fresh grass? Or the stunning coastline, home to palm tree-bedazzled beach destinations like Zanzibar and Mafia Island? Or the truly off-the-beaten-track boltholes like Mahale Mountains or Katavi National Park, where you really do feel like the only people on the planet, surrounded by the wildlife of storybooks…

Join the fun and start planning your 2019 trip to Tanzania right here.

Best of 2018 - hoanib valley
Immerse yourself in a remote getaway at Hoanib Valley Camp

Best for brand-new destinations

Minh Phuong & Fonthip’s trip to the Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Namibia was one of the hottest destinations to visit in 2018, thanks in part to a host of ritzy, glitzy new lodges that sprang up all over our favourite, desert-baked country. Two of those lodges were Hoanib Valley Camp, a serene oasis in the heart of the Hoanib in remote northern Namibia, and Shipwreck Lodge, a funky, fantastical ‘shipwreck-style’ retreat in one of the country’s most fascinating and desolate areas, the Skeleton Coast. Our team headed up in June to check out the new arrivals and guests, Minh Phuog and Fonthip were hot on their heels, taking a trip  in July this year for the desert adventure of a lifetime –  and you’ll be pleased to hear that all were full of praise!

Take a closer look at Hoanib Valley Camp and Shipwreck Lodge, or, if you’d like to be first on the scene for 2019’s hottest lodge openings, check out our blog article with everything you need to know.

Skeleton Coast
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Best of 2018 - zambia vic falls
Indulge yourself in a bush hideaway at Sindabezi

Favourite trip at Timbuktu HQ

Diane’s adventure in Zambia and Malawi

We always say we don’t have favourites, but when it comes to Zambia… well, she’s hard to beat. You can imagine our delight, therefore, when Diane and her husband Paul designed their very own trip to Victoria Falls and the South Luangwa National Park before hopping across to the pristine shores of Lake Malawi. To make things even better, the lodges they chose were some of our very favourite: beautiful Sindabezi, a private island hideaway in the middle of the Zambezi River, Luwi, Nsolo and Kakuli bush camps that make up the famous Luwi Walking Trail in the heart of the Luangwa, and in Malawi, Kaya Mawa. We won’t say too much about Kaya, but if we had it our way, we’d make it mandatory for every Africa aficionado to visit at least once (or twice!) in a lifetime…

Follow Diane’s footsteps to Zambia and customise your own trip to the magical country using our route, rugged Zambia with a Lake Malawi beach retreat.

Best of 2018 - ulusaba
Spend a tranquil night at the unique Ulusaba Safari Lodge

Most-booked lodge

Ulusaba Safari Lodge, Kruger, South Africa

Tanzania may have been the most popular country of 2018, but our most-booked lodge was Ulusaba Safari Lodge located in the private Sabi Sand reserve in South Africa’s Kruger region. And why do you love it so much? Well, it might have something to do with the phenomenal game drives and walks that go straight through the heart of Big Five territory; or maybe it’s the bush observatory, where you can gaze at the gazillion-star African sky in all its glory; or perhaps even the treehouse-style rooms, accessed by rope bridges for the ultimate in Robinson Crusoe-esque luxury? Whatever it is, Ulusaba has everything you need to experience Africa at its very best – and we highly doubt that its popularity will diminish in 2019!

Why not have a go at adding Ulusaba to one of our South Africa routes for a safari to remember in 2019?

Best of 2018 - peponi lamu
Relax on the pristine island of Lamu

The most special of celebratory trips

Jennifer goes to Kenya

When Jennifer promised her son Miles that he could go anywhere in the world for his 16th birthday, little did she know they would be jetting off to Kenya. With a little help and guidance from Timbuktu Kenya specialist Kat, the first stop on the trip was Matthew’s Range. A real hidden gem in northern Kenya, the area is remote, wild and breathtaking, and Jennifer and Miles spent their days exploring alongside Samburu guide and game driving through the mountains. Then, it was off to Laikipia for some serious wildlife-watching and bucket list ticks, before they flew to Lamu for some R&R with a difference. A classic trip but with a bit of a twist – we like it!

If you’ve got a special occasion coming up (any occasion counts in our book!) why not design a unique trip to Kenya to celebrate? Have a look at our most popular routes and customise them any way you like.

Best of 2018 - Gheralta
Explore the rich history of magical Gheralta

Most adventurous trip

Natale’s exploration of Ethiopia

We’re always on the lookout for more wild and beautiful places to add to the Timbuktu website, and Ethiopia became our newest destination in May of this year. Our favourite Ethiopia trip of the year followed not long after in October, when Natale and his girlfriend Carina set off on an intrepid expedition. They truly got to grips with the country’s breath-taking history in Axum before exploring the iconic rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, but they also managed to squeeze in a spectacular mobile safari in the Danakil Depression and sleep on the rim of Erta Ale, Ethiopia’s most active volcano. Not only did they have the trip of a lifetime, but the couple came back engaged too – what a trip!

Check out all Ethiopia has to offer and our suggested routes – then start planning the trip of a lifetime for 2019…