Acacia Africa Launches #WomenGoSolo Initiative

Launch to coincide with International Women’s day, 08 March

Safari specialist, Acacia Africa will launch its #WomenGoSolo social media initiative on International Women’s Day, Friday 08 March. The tour operator will be sharing inspirational content across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and teaming up with with thirteen solo female travel bloggers to empower women to see the world alone.

Sabine Behrmann, Cape Town Manager at Acacia Africa, comments, “When unfortunate events make the headlines, solo female travel isn’t always portrayed in a positive light. The goal of our #WomenGoSolo initiative is to change the narrative. We’re here to say, it's something to be celebrated, it can be done safely, and by starting a conversation with a network of expert bloggers, we are hoping to encourage more women to give themselves the gift of solo female travel. International Women’s Day is the perfect platform for the launch and we’re exited to be collaborating with such inspirational adventurers.”

The list of bloggers involved in the campaign includes: Victoria Alao - Editor of The Stylish Trotter, Portia Jones - Editor of Pip & The City, Rebecca Kroegel - Editor and founder of the solo female travel community "She Roams Solo," Samantha Wragg - Editor of Coco Travels, Kaye Holland - Travel journalist & Presenter, Women’s Radio Station, Wambui Gichobi - environmentalist, photographer & film producer, Rachel Taylor - Editor of Taylor Made Travels, Victoria Philpott - Editor of Vicky Flip Flop, Katie McIntosh - Editor of The Katie Show Blog, Lauren Detweiler - Digital Marketer & Editor of Latitudes of Lauren, Jacki Ueng - Editor of Bohemian Vagabond and Catherine Mack - Content Creator and Catherine Bodry - Head of Travel Support, both from Loco2 - the award-winning comparison & booking platform for train and bus tickets in the UK and Europe.

On the day, Acacia Africa and their blogging partners will be sharing their inspirational quotes, anecdotes, tips and blog posts using the #WomenGoSolo hashtag, but everyone is invited to follow along and contribute to the conversation.

Sabine Behrmann, comments, “Social media is home to a growing and vibrant community of solo female travellers, and we are sure that our #WomenGoSolo initiative will inspire more women to take on the challenge, all of the bloggers involved helping to make the switch to solo travel even more rewarding.”

Acacia Africa has a firm following of female solo travellers. While the specialist’s overland and small group safaris cater to both genders, around 42% are single women, the number steadily increasing. According to the operator, Swakopmund, Vilanculos, the Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi, and more recently Pretoria and Durban (new for 2019), are popular locations for travellers to test out their solo-skills en route through Africa - Acacia's tours combining a well-balanced mix of group time and “me-time.”

Acacia Africa has been operating tours in Africa for over 24 years. Their collection includes Camping and Accommodated Overland Tours (18-39 years) and a selection of open age Small Group Safaris, Short Safaris & Treks, and City Breaks & Short Stays.  Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700; SATSA membership a No. 1931, Atta membership no. 20151, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED. Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

Notes to Editors:

Bloggers who have agreed to come on board with the #WomenGoSolo initiative:

Victoria Alao - Editor of The Stylish Trotter -

Portia Jones - Editor of Pip & The City -

Rebecca Kroegel - Editor and Founder of solo female travel community She Roams Solo -

Samantha Wragg -  Editor of Coco Travels -

Kaye Holland - Travel journalist & Presenter, Women’s Radio Station -

Wambui Gichobi - environmentalist, photographer & film producer -


Rachel Taylor - Editor of Taylor Made Travels -

Victoria Philpott - Editor of Vicky Flip Flop -

Katie McIntosh - Editor of The Katie Show Blog -

Lauren Detweiler - Digital Marketer & Editor of Latitudes of Lauren -

Jacki Ueng - Editor of Bohemian Vagabond -

Catherine Mack - Content Creator at Loco2 -

Catherine Bodry - Head of Travel Support at Loco2 -

Loco2 is recognised in 2018 as the UK Transport Supplier of The Year, Loco2 enables low cost booking for train travel throughout the UK and Europe. Loco2’s mission is to offer a low CO2 way to travel, at a low price, hence the name. Users can buy tickets in just a few taps on mobile via the Loco2 app (App Store and Play Store) or on

Where the experts holiday: Vivian McCarthy, director of Acacia Africa

Vivian McCarthy, director of Acacia Africa (adventure tour experts specialising in overland African travel) shares his travel highs and lows with Just About Travel readers…

In the 1980s Vivian worked as a travel consultant for a London tour operator that used double-decker buses to tour through Europe, the USA, Turkey, the Middle East and Asia. It was a great learning experience. He also travelled to other parts of the world – Egypt, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as the USA and Latin America. A man with a passion for adventure, Vivian did the “kibbutz thing” in Israel and his original plan to stay for five weeks turned into six months.

In 1987, he joined a trans-Africa overland tour from London to Johannesburg and enjoyed it so much that he persuaded the tour operator to give him a job. He then worked as a tour leader on Trans-Africa tours and, during his time ‘on the road’, completed three Sahara crossings, including one as a solo leader. Vivian now works as a director for adventure travel specialist, Acacia, where he can live out his lifetime passion for Africa.

What do you like to do on holiday?
I like to get off the beaten track and away from the tourist trails. This could mean taking some time out to see some of Durban’s street art or visiting lesser known areas of Cape Town or Nairobi. I’m also a fan of simply relaxing and enjoying nature. While my favourite safari park has to be Kenya’s Masai Mara, I’m keen on visiting areas which have seen a downturn in tourism over past years but are opening up to travellers again – so Zimbabwe (Hwange and Matobo National Parks are major highlights on both our camping overland and accommodated small group tours) is definitely on my bucket list.

Where did you last go?
That would be Kenya, easily one of Africa’s greatest wildlife watching destinations, and Zambia (home to the Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders).

Do you know where you’re going next year?
I hope to travel to Kenya again and to South Africa. This will be partly business, but I also want to have time to take in the sights at my own pace – a ‘bleisure’ holiday if you like. In Kenya, I will visit the Masai Mara again – as I said it’s a favourite – and in South Africa I’ll be visiting Cape Town and Durban. Last year I went to the Kgaligadi Transfrontier National Park (which is about five or six hours drive north of Upington and is shared between Botswana and South Africa). It felt very remote but was stunningly beautiful. Absolute peace and the stars at night – really for anyone who lives in the UK or Europe or in any built up area – the stars at night are a stunning sight. If I ever get the chance to go back, I will.
Otherwise, I hope to visit Kruger and the Battlefields in Kwazulu-Natal, which are two very popular destinations on our 2019 escorted group tours.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
I have a particular soft spot for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I think it’s because these areas are less predictable, where you really do learn that “even the most rigid of plans needs a certain flexibility…” . It’s part of the joy of travelling.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Easy: the Murchison Falls in western Uganda.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
I live in London, which is one of the world’s great cities. It’s difficult to imagine recommending anything here that isn’t already in the travel guides, but perhaps I’d suggest a visitor walks around the West End. Hop on the tube to St Pauls, then walk around the cathedral and head down to the river crossing the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern. A coffee on the 10th floor (great views over the city) is a must, then continue along the river as far as Westminster Bridge, crossing back to view Big Ben and turning right up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square. It’s an hour or two’s walk. On reaching the West End ,I’d suggest visitors make their way to Covent Garden, perhaps popping in at Stanford’s map shop on Long Acre en-route.

How do you plan your holiday?
Some years ago, when I backpacked in the Middle East and Asia I relied on guidebooks a lot. They were good and I recommended them to friends. Later, when I was working as a tour leader in Africa I began to realise that, as good as they are, an over reliance on books sometimes means everyone goes to the same places, which can become over visited, and few people leave the commonly trod path.

How often do you go away?
I go away for work once or twice, sometimes three times a year. Other reasons to travel are family  – one side is in New Zealand and the other in Mexico and the USA.

Who do you travel with?
Unless it’s for work, I travel with my wife.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Hopefully in 10 years’ time Brexit will have settled down one way or the other and tourism into the UK will become buoyant.

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Durban International Convention Centre to host Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2018

World Travel Awards (WTA) has revealed that its Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony will be hosted at Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC), South Africa.

Hospitality leaders from across the region will gather for the red-carpet gala ceremony on 6th October 2018 to see who amongst them has been voted the best in the business.

Enviably located moments from Durban Beachfront, the award-winning Durban ICC is a state-of-the-art events and entertainment venue.

It will be WTA’s third visit to Durban ICC, having hosted ceremonies in 2008 and 2009.

Graham Cooke, Founder and President, WTA, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to return to Durban for the first time since 2009. With its beautiful beaches and fascinating Afro-Indian culture, Durban is one of South Africa’s essential destinations.

“We are honoured to partner with the Durban ICC. Opened by Nelson Mandela in 1997, this incredible facility has successfully staged some of the world’s most prestigious events. I look forward to welcoming all of our nominees here in October, as part of our silver anniversary celebrations.

“WTA has maintained its position as the industry leader for the past 25 years, consistently proving its value as the global benchmark for excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality business.”

Lindiwe Rakharebe, Chief Executive Officer, Durban ICC, said: “I cannot express my excitement at the prospect of hosting this prestigious event in our world-class facility at the Durban ICC and the beautiful destination of Durban.

“We are all looking forward to welcoming our industry colleagues, friends and media from around the world. We are ready to give all our special visitors a warm and unforgettable Durban experience.”

Durban ‘The Warmest Place to Be’ is a natural paradise known for its gorgeous coastline of sun-kissed beaches and subtropical climate, situated on the eastern seaboard of Africa around one of its busiest ports. Hilton Durban is an iconic landmark hotel in the city, offering superior accommodations in a supreme location near the Durban International Convention Centre. All rooms offer panoramic views of the city or the Natal coastline, with easy access to Durban’s beaches and central business district, perfect for meetings or events. Preferential rates at Hilton Durban will be available to all WTA attendees.

As part of the Grand Tour 2018, WTA is also hosting ceremonies in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), Athens (Greece), Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Jamaica, with the winners progressing to the Grand Final in Lisbon (Portugal).

Voting for the WTA Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony opens on 26th March and concludes on 19th August 2018.

For more information on how to participate visit

Notes to Editors

About World Travel Awards

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

Today, the WTA brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.

WTA gala ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

For more information about WTA, visit

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Travel tips for 2018

Buenos Aires
Until recently Argentina’s charismatic capital was starved of direct, affordable flights from the UK but change is on the horizon. From Valentine’s Day, budget airline Norwegian Airlines will be showing its love for the South American giant with the launch of the longest-ever nonstop route from Gatwick — to Buenos Aires.
On arrival, spend the money you have saved on fantastic food (Argentina’s steakhouses are legendary but you’ll also, thanks to Italian immigration in the past, find excellent pizza and pasta all washed down with copious amounts of Malbec), futbol games(football is a religion) and first class tango (arguably Argentina’s greatest contribution to the world)  shows.

Rwanda – a tiny East African country whose name will always be tinged with tragedy – may not have previously figured on your bucket list but it should.
It has some of the world’s most wonderful wildlife (Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where you can still find mountain gorillas in the wild, and is the leader when it comes to their conservation) and a particularly progressive capital in Kigali. Make no mistake: Rwanda’s capital city is safe (violent crime is near non-existent, and the terrorist threats that have plagued other East African destinations have not affected Rwanda) and spotless thanks to Umuganda, a monthly street clean-up).
What’s more, now that RwandAir flies direct from London Gatwick to Kigali three times a week, reaching Rwanda has never been more accessible or affordable.

The Year That Was

It’s been a busy year of travelling and it’s time to take stock. Here Just About Travel contributor and travel enthusiast, Kaye Holland, shares some of her favourite destinations from 2017



It’s been a busy year of travelling and it’s time to take stock. Here Just About Travel contributor and travel enthusiast, Kaye Holland, shares some of her favourite destinations from 2017


The waistline of the Americas, Panama flies under the radar – in part because it’ s overshadowed by its more developed and better known neighbours, Costa Rica and Colombia.
But if you want azure waters, confrontingly good cuisine, heritage sites, nightlife and affordable adventures, Panama delivers. And then some.
The traditional travellers’ route into the country is via Panama City – Latin America’s most cosmopolitan capital that’s the gateway to the famous Panama Canal, an awe-inspiring modern engineering marvel which was built by the U.S. between 1904 and 1914.
Yet much of Panama’s appeal lies beyond the city. When the noise and frenetic activity of the capital gets too much, seek out the San Blas islands – 365 pieces of remote paradise, perched off the coast of Panama, that feel exactly like what they are: off the beaten track and undiscovered. Alternatively make a beeline for Bocas del Toro – a dreamy Caribbean archipelago blessed with Bounty advert beaches.
It’s a great spot to end your trip to this underrated, affordable corner of Central America – and perhaps start planning your next one. Return is inevitable.


Hull often gets a bad rap for being a place where “only salesmen and relations come,” as Philip Larkin once put it.
But just because it was, doesn’t mean it is. A cool £25million has been invested into revamping the city centre, in a bid to put the port city back on the travel map and there’s a palpable sense of excitement in the East Riding air.
Not that Hull has forgotten its past: expect to see a cornucopia of cream coloured telephone boxes, for Hull has had its own telephone exchange (KCom) –  the only city in the UK to do so – since 1902.
Hull’s shopping scene is another symbol of it’s uniqueness, of its determination to be different from other British cities. Instead of gigantic shopping malls, you’ll find the locally loved Grade 11 listed Victorian Hepworth Arcade –  home to Fanthorpes  which has been serving music lovers since 1946 and Dinsdale’s Joke Shop (01482 223622), one of the country’s oldest joke shops.
Hull is also home to some exceptionally good museums  (named in the UK’s Top 10 free attractions by Guardian readers) that are also free, as well a plethora of characterful pubs.
Bottom line? Hull is no longer just “a place for salesmen and relations.”

Let’s face facts: if we’re talking about which country to visit next, we probably wouldn’t put Rwanda  – an African nation whose name will always be tinged with tragedy – at the top of the list. But we’d be wrong. For there’s more to this tiny state – measuring a mere 10,169 square miles, Rwanda is the fourth smallest country on the African mainland – than the legacy of genocide.
The Land Of A Thousand Hills happens to be only one place in the world where you can look a mountain gorilla in the eye – a moment that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, something the great Sir David Attenborough can attest to.
The veteran broadcaster and naturalist famously recounted in his 1978 Life On Earth series that meeting Rwandan gorillas was “one of the most exciting encounters of my life. There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know.”
Yet while Rwanda maybe famous for its gorillas,it’s also the place to gawp at golden monkeys – another species found only in the tiny East African nation. Stir into the mix the full quota of the Big Five and you have an unsung safari destination.
What’s more, reaching Rwanda is easier than ever: RwandAir  – Rwanda’s national carrier – now flies direct from London Gatwick to Kigali (the capital) three times a week.


Our lives are short and the world is interesting so why do we spend so many of our weekends away in bland, well behaved cities? Athens is anything but. 
The charismatic Greek capital – easily one of the most exhilarating cities right now – is often overlooked by travellers in favour of Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Rome. Error.  If good nightlife, bars and shops are your thing, then Athens is where it’s at.
The iconic Acropolis – the greatest symbol of ancient Greece and a wonder of the world – tops most first time visitor’s itinerary list but Athens isn’t about sightseeing per se but about exploring. It’s about wandering around neighbourhoods like Kolonaki and stopping for a leisurely coffee in a people watching cafe, gorging on fantastic Greek food and putting your bargaining skills to the test in the lively Central Market. Athens is made even more inviting by its people who are happy to share their world with you. Charming and hospitable, they always have time to talk.  Everyone knows somebody who has a friend, who has a cousin, who can help you out.