Tag Archives: voluntourism

African Honeymoons …. luxury with a touch of adventure

Over the years, Europe, Asia and tropical islands have been the preferred choice for honeymooners the world over. Despite the rugged beauty and amazing safari lodges and wildlife experiences, the African Continent has been a little neglected…. well, it seems that is changing. The world over couples are seeking out the path less trodden.

Here are 5 destinations that have been catching the eye of honeymooners around the globe:

Botswana Safari lodge1. Botswana

Picture yourself drifting on your private makoro (essentially a wooden dug out propelled much like a gondola in Venice), the sun set reflecting like lightning rods off the canals in the Okavango Delta, as a herd of Elephant feed on the lush grass. Makoro and walking safaris are the norm here and they are an incredible way to soak up the wilderness experience before retreating back to your luxury tented camp to enjoy some champagne. Other amazing places to visit are Gabrone Dam and Mokolodi Natural Reserve.


Honeymoon in Zanzibar2.  Tanzania

Ever thought of marking your honeymoon with a personal challenge? Breathing the rarefied air on the stunning Mount Kilimanjaro may not be for everyone, but would certainly be a unique experience for those seeking something very different. Your challenge surmounted, you can then relax and enjoy some African gems, like Lake Tanganyika. The deepest lake on the continent and home to some of the rarest sea animals in the world. Then head to the Zanzibar archipelago a stunning collection of islands with gorgeous beaches and wonderful eco-luxe retreats. The capital Stone Town even boasts, a UNESCO world heritage ranking as one of the most ancient cities of East Africa.

Honeymoon in Kenya3.  Kenya

Kenya has long been synonymous with african safaris. Sharing together with Tanzania on elf the most amazing animal migrations on the planet as thousands of wildebeest (sadly they have seen a 80% drop in number sin the past 30 years) go in search of new pastures. Combine all manner of wildlife experience, with some of the most luxurious resorts and tented camps in Africa and you have a recipe for a magical honeymoon. The stunning scenery of the Great Rift Valley, the volcanoes of Hell’s Gate National Park and the Crater Laker Game Sanctuary, should also not be discounted, but the rustic “outpost chic” islands of Lamu will make the perfect conclusion to your honeymoon adventure.

Honeymoon Mozambique4.  Mozambique

If you are looking for a relaxed beach style honeymoon, then Mozambique with fabulous cuisine and gorgeous beaches should be on your list. It boasts exotic flora and fauna, crystal clear water and luxurious resorts. Consider Manta Reef at Inhambane and if you are lucky you can cement your life together with a sighting of one of the most graceful and elusive rays on the planet.

Honeymoon in South Africa5.  South Africa

Wonderful food, wine, beaches, wildlife and one of the most beautifully situated hip cities in the world, if not for your honeymoon, then come here at some stage in your life. Enjoy lazy picnics in the Cape Winelands, hike the Cape Peninsula, watch the famous table cloth descent upon Table mountain and drive the beautiful Garden Route. When you have had your fill of scenery and culture, you can visit some of the best safari parks in the world. Certainly a fantastic option to celebrate your future together.


If you would like to add a give back element to your honeymoon and make it a meaning full shared experience, then contact Hands Up Holidays and one of our consultants will help you plan an unforgettable honeymoon experience.





The Beach was a influential travel movie for Thailand…. did it inspire you to go?

The beach

The beach on Conde Nast

“A seen-it-all slacker (Leonardo DiCaprio) staying in a Bangkok hostel gets a secret invite to an island whose tall cliffs and dense tropical canopy have conspired to hide the most gorgeous sun spot in the world. As a piece of storytelling, The Beach falls short of the novel by Alex Garland from which it was adapted. But Phuket and Phi Phi Leh—the two beaches where the movie was filmed—are well-cast as places beautiful enough to drive a person nuts.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast

The beaches of Thailand are certainly a wonderful lure to get us hooked, but the country is so much more than just crystal clear water, and stunning islands….to be fair though, for many of us that is enough. With a varied menu of water sports to keep every waterspouts enthusiast entertained: snorkel with whale sharks in Ko Taoof, climb the stunning sea cliffs of Krabi, swim in the surf of Bang Saphan Yai, kiteboard in Hua Hin, or restore your energy at any of the gorgeous Spa resorts.

However, for many people their first taste of this friendly and fun-loving, tropical paradise comes in the form of a delectable Thai meal and you can rest assured that the food only tastes better when you get there. 

Thai cuisine, reflects the varied elements of Thai culture: it is generous and warm, revitalizing and relaxed, jovial yet subtle, cultured and historic.

In this Buddhist nation, religious devotion is visible everywhere. Pristine temples play host to colorful and ubiquitous festivals, banyan trees wrapped in blessed cloth honor the residing spirits, small fortune-bringing shrines are dotted around homes and businesses, and car dashboards decorated with garlands ward off traffic accidents. This undercurrent of devotion bridges the divide between a continuous sense of tranquility and the day-to-day craziness. Delve into this aspect of the local culture by attending boisterous religious festivals, drift through underground cave shrines, climb up to scenic hilltop temples and attend meditation retreats in Chiang Mai.

However, if you really want to delve in and experience a more immersive trip, then add a  give back element. At Hands Up Holidays, we specialize in giving you this deeper cultural learning opportunity, whilst you improve the lives of orphans who’s parents may not be deceased, but who are unable to care for them. Work to improve the living situation of these children and teach them new skills and games so that they have opportunities in life that their parents could not offer them.  Laugh, joke and make new friends.

If you have children you might want to consider assisting at a project that is helping to rehabilitate former working elephants. It may put a stop to you ever wanting to ride an elephant again, but it will give you the indelible memory of working directly with these beautiful animals.

Voluntourism Adventure Belize June 2013 – Part 1

Flooding caused by a tropical storm that passed through southern Belize, Guatemala and Honduras prevented us from getting to our lodge on our arrival day in Belize, so we spent the night at the lovely Coral House in Punta Gorda town.

The rains did not relent overnight, but the main cause of the flooding was rain in the mountains, and we did not know what had happened there, so after a bike ride checking out the Saturday morning fruit and vege market, we headed out to visit the village where our group will be performing its community service later in the week.

However, after an hour’s driving, we were impeded by another river that had flooded, making it impassable, so we had to turn around.


Voluntourism in New Orleans, and beyond

As we write this, Hurricane Isaac is lashing against the Gulf Coast of the USA, in particular New Orleans. It has extra weight as it makes landfall on the anniversary of that most destructive of hurricanes, Hurricane Katrina, which pre-empted the country’s worst ever manmade disaster when the levees failed. The hurricane has already left a trail of destruction in its path, a reminder of nature’s power. It’s a timely reminder that first world and developing countries alike are prone to these things, and our projects are spread across a wide variety of geographical destinations – New Orleans being one of them. If the news coverage of any of Isaac’s havoc has inspired you to help people blighted by natural disaster, please take a look at our voluntourism website and see how you can make a real difference in rebuilding the lives of communities everywhere.

And click for a voluntourism adventure in New Orleans.

Luxury voluntourism

Luxury voluntourism

Now you can enjoy eco-luxury accommodation whilst on a voluntourism vacation

We’re often asked about the luxury element of our ethical incentives experiences. There are many benefits to having high-end accommodation as part of such a trip.
Firstly, the properties are eco-friendly where available, and this, added to the volunteering part of the trip, means that you can treat yourself to a slice of luxury with no guilt attached.
Luxury accommodation helps makes voluntourism accessible to people who want to make a difference, but like to retain their creature comforts, such as:
Companies – for incentive trips or meetings.
Naturally you don’t need to stay in luxury in order to give back, but now there is that option.

Inspiring you to a volunteer vacation

A satisfying by-product of the Olympic Games is that we’re presented with the diversity of our globe, and see people from all over the world join together to participate in one event. If that doesn’t inspire you to get out and explore this Earth of ours, we’re not sure what will. We want to take you to the most exciting, most inspiration corners of the globe, and at the same time do good there, as if you were ambassadors for your own country. We feel this is in the true spirit of the very first Olympic Games, fostering understanding, empathy and friendships. Come and get inspired for a meaningful voluntourism vacation that furthers cultural interaction and understanding, take a look around our website.

Experiences worthy of postcards

House building on vacation

Voluntourism house building

What do you usually write on your postcards home when you’re travelling?

Something vaguely complimentary about the hotel or the food?

A casual observation about the weather?

How much more exciting would it be, and how much more interesting would your friends and family think you were if you wrote things like “Finished building a medical centre” or “Helped construct some classrooms”?

Would you like to feel better about yourself AND be cooler to people that know you?

We’re here to help. Take a look at our incentive travel programs !