Welcome to the Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines
Embark on a new-year adventure in Africa, at retreats where the environment and community are just as important as lion spotting
Mihingo Lodge is a partner of the Green Living Project (greenlivingproject.com), and combines smart environmental design with minimalist luxury. Made up of 10 thatched-roof rooms built on wooden platforms, it’s cleverly designed to make the most of knockout views while creating a feeling of complete privacy.
Full-body massages are also offered, the proceeds of which go to the local leopard conservation project – which should leave you with an extra feel-good glow after your treatment. In addition, the lodge supports conservation education at local primary schools, with the aim of preserving Lake Mburo National Park’s delicate ecosystem.
To get closer to that ecosytem, join one of the horseback safaris in the valleys towards Lake Kacheera just outside the park. Venturing out like this is a less intrusive way to view local wildlife – especially the more retiring varieties – and the pace of the ride will ensure you take everything in. www.mihingolodge.com
Designed by safari guide and conservationist Anthony Russell, the Naibor retreat works with communities for the benefit of both people and the land. At this luxury camp in the Masai Mara game reserve, pale canvas tents on the banks of the Talek River give the feeling of sleeping in the open, but with the comfort of king-sized beds. And at the Naibor Spa you can have massages, reflexology and beauty treatments in a unique setting – hippos may be wallowing nearby while you enjoy some indulgence of your own.
Naibor’s location allows you to experience wildlife from a prime position in the heart of the reserve, and take walks with experienced guides and rangers to learn about the park from those who live closest to it. Game drives are also a great opportunity to witness the plentiful and varied creatures that inhabit the surrounding area. Animals seen regularly in the reserve include lion, leopard, cheetah, black rhino, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, gazelle, wildebeest and zebra, among others. And at the end of the day, sundowners on Lookout Hill are a perfect way to take in a spectacular Mara sunset. www.naibor.com
Located in a beautiful area of less-visited Southern Gambia, the Sandele Eco-Retreat has been built with indigenous materials and is staffed by the local community of Kartong – who will eventually take over the running of the resort.
The 5km curve of white-sandy beach that serves as the lodge’s front garden is where you can join the Sandele yoga circle for early-morning stretching, perhaps followed by meditation and massage. Or get inspired by nature with a guided forest walk or birdwatching trip, where you can spot black kites, hornbills, Senegal firefinches, sunbirds, red bishops and Senegal coucals.
While you’re in the area, you should also visit the Lemon Fish Art Gallery in Kartong to view the work of local West African artists. And don’t miss the Kartong Festival, which takes place 11-13 February and celebrates West African song, dance and culture. www.sandele.com; www.lemonfish.gm