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    News bites – 3 Feb 2020

    See the Northern Lights from a Hot Air Balloon with Off The Map Travel’s New Magical Swedish Lapland Experience


    Image courtesy of Off The Map Travel Lapland Ballooning

    Seeing the Northern Lights is at the top of most people’s bucket list, but with Off The Map Travel, those hoping to see this glorious natural light display will soon be able to take a hot air balloon into the night skies of the Swedish Lapland. This new hot air balloon concept, created by the founders of the Aurora Safari Camp, will surely become the most magical way to see the Northern Lights.

    “This is a first,” says Jonathan Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel and Arctic travel expert. “We’ve never heard of anything like this before and everything is pointing to this being the region’s next big showcase Aurora experience.”

    The Aurora flights will commence in December 2020 and continue through to April 2021. Booking will open in May 2020, and with a unique experience like this, it is sure to book out quickly. The balloon will ascend 40 metres into the sky, where it will hover over the Arctic ice below.

    “To experience the Northern Lights from the tranquility of the balloon in a remote wilderness region of northern Sweden is a very special experience and one that will serve as a highlight for any luxury Arctic adventure,” Cooper said. “Although seeing the Aurora is never guaranteed, what better place to hunt for it than by ascending into the night sky.”

    The price for the four-day, three-night (full board) Aurora in the Sky itinerary includes meals, private transfers, accommodation at the Outpost and Aurora Safari Camp, snowmobile adventure with lunch on the Arctic circle, Aurora Hot Air Balloon experience and a snowmobile adventure to a “meet the locals” experience.

    The Lapland Ballooning experience is available for groups of up to six people. As flights are weather dependent, it’s recommended that the experience be included as part of a multi-day stay, allowing guests flexibility for their flight.

    New Year, New Look for Singita Castleton


    Image courtesy of Singita Castleton

    Singita Castleton is surrounded by 45,000 acres of wilderness in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The area is one of the most sought-after locations for game viewing, thanks to its untouched nature and exclusivity. Once the home of the grandfather of Singita’s founder, Luke Bailes, the lodge is entering the new decade with a bang. A refreshing new design concept is assisting in its goal of providing its guests with one of the most luxurious and comfort-focused stays in the African bush.

    Everything at Singita Castleton, from the main homestead to the six-guest cottage, has been updated, with lighter interiors creating a more open design concept. Many antiques and furnishings from the original homestead have been refashioned for added authenticity in the decor of the living spaces, a new yoga pavilion with a state-of-the-art fitness centre has been added to the private-use villa, and the property’s wine cellar has been expanded and is now located adjacent to the dining room and lounge.

    As part of Singita’s Private Villa Collection, guests at Castleton can enjoy the comforts of a private game-viewing vehicle. They will be offered a full staff complement, including a Field Guide, private chef and host. The reserve’s wildlife is protected by the Singita Lowveld Trust  – an independent non-profit fund.

    Singita Castleton offers the perfect location for a bush escape for families and groups of friends, with numerous opportunities for activities including boules, tennis, cricket and a private pool. The main house boasts comfortable, beautifully designed communal living spaces, and its cottages accommodate a maximum of 12 guests.

    Rates include all meals, drinks (excluding French Champagne), private game-viewing vehicle/s and Field Guide, twice-daily game drives, house manager, private chef, dedicated host/butler and return road transfers between Singita’s airstrip and the lodge.

    For more personalised information, tips and advice, or to book these incredible holiday experiences, contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.

    With compliments of First Class: visit them online or at Instagram