One-of-a-Kind Vacations

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We all have dream trips on our bucket list that we haven’t taken for one reason or another. Or maybe you’ve traveled extensively and have been there, done that, and now want something unique. The options abound for vacationers seeking out-of-the-box destinations and accommodations. Here are a few for you to consider:

 
 

For the Wildlife Lover

Africa has long held the fascination of travelers, who love its exotic wildlife, spectacular scenery and intriguing ambiance. To experience it in a grand way, take a vacation at Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa’s largest private game reserve. This vast area encompasses almost a quarter million acres and is owned by Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer, who won the World Wildlife Fund’s Lonmin Conservation

Award for their preservation of this land. Enjoy an outdoor spa treatment, have food catered by butlers and then go out with a field guide on a safari and track rhinos on foot.

 

Stay at the Oppenheimer family’s private residence, Tarkuni, a luxurious home with five individual suites that can accommodate up to 10 guests and includes an outdoor pool and dedicated chef. Or stay in “barefoot luxury” at one of the eight legae, small houses built of stone and red clay with traditional Kalahari thatch roofs. Each house includes a bedroom with an open fireplace, an ensuite bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower, and a private sun deck that overlooks a water hole that attracts African wildlife including zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, lions and water buffalo.

 

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Cassie McMillion, a Travel Advisor for Betty Maclean Travel, a luxury adventure travel company in Naples, FL. “You see nature at its rawest form, then go back to ultimate luxury every night.”

 

Details: Exclusive use of the private retreat for up to 10 people is ZAR 42,000 per night (approximately $5,100, but that amount may fluctuate depending on the exchange rate and time of year).

 

It’s an hour-and-a-half flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, or a two-hour flight from Cape Town.

 

tswalu.com

 

 

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For the Extreme Adventurer

No other continent offers the mystique and allure of Antarctica. The world’s southernmost continent has no permanent residents and holds the distinction of being the coldest, windiest and driest place on the planet. But it also happens to be a fantastic vacation spot for those who crave adventure.

 

Fly over icebergs with White Desert, an adventure travel company that transports visitors on a private jet from Cape Town, South Africa to Antarctica during the region’s summer months of November and December.

 

This outfit offers the first luxury safari camp in Antarctica where visitors can view locations relatively untouched by human feet, except for a few remote scientific bases nearby in the Norwegian-controlled “Dronning Maud Land,” says Patrick Woodhead, Director of White Desert.

Visit Emperor penguins, go kite skiing or snow hiking, and explore ice tunnels  and ice waves. Then return to the main tent for a five-star meal and fine wine. Individual insulated fiberglass pods provide privacy and keep the infamously harsh climate at bay while guests rest up for the following day. “This is a fantastic opportunity to turn everything off and relax,” Woodhead says. “It’s not often that people can allow themselves to do that. Here, you don’t have a choice.”

 

Adventures range from a three-day snow and ice safari to an eight-day escape that includes a flight to the South Pole. Packages are open to adults of all ages and fitness levels, with a maximum of 12 people per group, and some children 7 years and older, depending on the excursion. 

 

Details: Rates range from 25,200 euros per person for a three-day safari to 56,000 euros for an eight-day adventure. That’s approximately $31,000 and $69,000, respectively, which may fluctuate depending on the exchange rate and time of year.

 

white-desert.com

 

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For the Ultimate Vacation

If you love the idea of relaxing on an island, why not rent the whole island instead for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation?

 

Imagine a tropical sun and pristine white sandy beaches next to an ocean of Caribbean blue. You’re surrounded by 700 acres of lush natural beauty in one of the most secluded places on Earth.

 

One such option is Musha Cay in the Bahamas where celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have stayed. Owned by the famous magician David Copperfield, Musha Cay is the private main island within a string of 11 islands known as the Islands of Copperfield Bay in the southern Bahamas. Five guesthouses, each with their own private beach, dot a landscape that includes 40 private beaches. Guests can stay in the 10,000-square-foot main house with a 360-degree view of Musha Cay atop the island’s highest hill in a romantic thatch-covered beach house or in one of the other more than 3,000-square-foot cottages.

Renting the island includes access to the 10 smaller islands surrounding it, so as many as 24 guests — the maximum number allowed to stay at Musha Cay — can island hop on a sailboat catamaran or other watercraft. Jet ski, snorkel, fish from a 37-foot Midnight Express boat, enjoy a private beach picnic or watch a movie at the island’s two-story outdoor drive-in theater. Play tennis on a championship court, shoot pool on a billiards table Harry Houdini once owned or arrange for a private fireworks display and live music.

 

“It’s absolutely beautiful and completely private, and all of the guest homes are extraordinary,” McMillion says. “It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.”

 

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To get there, take a 15-minute flight via a charter plane from the Georgetown Airport in the Bahamas’ Great Exuma, which can land on the island’s private airstrip. Or opt for the water route, which usually takes an hour and a half. You can chose one of Musha Cay’s various water transport options or dock your yacht, up to 200 feet long, onsite.

Details: Rates start at $37,500 per night for up to  12guests, minimum five nights. There’s a minimum seven-night rental during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. 

 

mushacay.com

 

Dream Big

No matter where you ultimately choose to travel, get creative and consider options outside of the ordinary when planning your next vacation. 

 

 

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