February was a great month for our team with trips to sun-drenched lakes, lush tropical eco-retreats and majestic glaciers (huge congrats to Assistant Editor Abi, who got engaged in Iceland!). And March is looking just as fun, with Essaouira, India, Berlin and southern Spain all on our itinerary.
And our travel focuses for this month? Two of my favourite destinations: Tanzania and Portugal.
I went to Tanzania on honeymoon 5 years ago and fell in love with its contrasts: the lush greenness of Tangarire National Park, the stark beauty of the Serengeti, the idyllic white-sand beaches of Zanzibar. The early starts sucked (morning game drives left at 5.30am), but they were immediately forgotten as we bounced in a Jeep through the misty sunrise, before drinking tea as wildlife woke up around us.
Highlights: herds of elephants with new-born babies, lions tucking into a fresh kill, and being surrounded by literally thousands of buffalo during a night drive (OK, that last one was more of a scared highlight!). We stayed at stunning safari camps (including Oliver’s, where a giraffe strolled past me as I was taking an outdoor shower), and had thrilling rides in tiny aircraft over the wild plains. Ten days flew past.
Portugal is the country i-escape staff visit most frequently, some of us yearly. It’s such an unsung hero in holiday terms; people tend to think of the crowded beaches and soulless golf hotels in parts of the Algarve, but go further afield and you’ll be amply rewarded with seriously stylish hotels for great prices.
The dry beauty and tiny villages of the untouristy Alentejo region are enchanting, as are the rolling green hills of the Beiras Mountains. If you love beaches, you can visit idyllic aquamarine lagoons or empty golden stretches pounded by Atlantic surf. Lisbon and Porto are fabulous cities: cosmopolitan, cool and slightly edgy. It’s a great country for family holidays (see our recommendations), and perfect for romance.
As always, if you have any insider tips that you’re bursting to share about these regions or anywhere else you love, drop us a line or come and say hi on Facebook or Twitter.