A professional globetrotter, TLTB Director Jamie Marquis shares his 2020 travel highlights as he journeys to various corners of the world in search of more exceptional stays. Read on more for unreal restaurants in South Africa, ultra-luxurious living in Greece and incredible encounters in Kenya, providing a teaser of our Unique Experiences program soon to be released.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA2020 was an extremely strange year but I still managed to get some travelling in despite all that happened.I spent New Years and January in Cape Town (one of my favourite cities in the world) as I had been there watching England play South Africa in the cricket with friends.
Cape Town is a vibrant city with incredible food and wine scene as well as beautiful nature to explore. During our travels, we stayed at one of our villas, Francolin Road in Bakoven. We spent our time visiting amazing restaurants, wine farms in Constantia, Franschoek and Stellenbosch, as well as hiking and enjoying the good weather many of the beaches.
MALINDI, KENYAIn late January/February, I spent 3 weeks in Malindi on the South East coast of Kenya. It is a beautiful coastline with sandy beaches and a tropical climate. I stayed at Neem House – a lovely property just 350m from the beach, built and styled in a traditional Arabic/Swahili style. From here, I explored Malindi and Watamu, went snorkelling, ate delicious seafood and even managed to swim with dolphins (ticked off the bucket list!). It is an incredible area of Africa and I would highly recommend!Soon after this trip I was travelling in South Africa when Covid struck globally so I ended up staying in Cape Town for lockdown until the end of May before a repatriation flight back to London. 
PAROS, GREECEFrom London, I did manage to get to Paros in Greece in August for a week in a private villa, Krotiri Bay, with friends and we organised the trip safely – the whole villa was sanitized before arrival, private chefs for meals at the villa to avoid large crowds in the towns and the maids only came inside the villa when we were all outside by the pool to avoid close contact were just a few of the precautions that we took. Proof that a private villa is probably one of the safest ways to enjoy a holiday right now when travel is allowed!
FAVOURITE RESTAURANTSChef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia in Cape Town is beautiful modern restaurant serving up a tapas-style menu, all washed down with wine from the vineyard where it is based. They have recently opened a new Chef’s Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic where I was lucky enough to eat recently. More delicious tapas with a focus on seafood in a location like no other on Chapman’s Peak Drive – the setting is stunning!
In Kenya, I visited Che Shale is a small family-run hotel just 25km north of Malindi. It is a laid back, beach restaurant and they have their own crab farm onsite so the soft shell crabs are incredible!One of my favourite place to eat in Greece is Faragas Beach, a super beach with a bar and restaurant, serving traditional Greek dishes, fresh salads and excellent seafood are served. If you hire sunbeds it is a great place to spend a day! 
FAVOURITE ACTIVITIESThere are so many beautiful hikes to do in Cape Town. I love to climb Lion’s Head for sunrise in the morning and I recently climbed Skeleton Gorge which starts in the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. It is a steep climb up to the top but not too long and the views are breath-taking from the summit. It is then a swift couple of hours across the top of the mountain to get the cable car back down. Snorkelling in Kenya was also a highlight. Organise a boat to take you out early morning for amazing snorkelling and the chance to swim with dolphins!
FAVOURITE STAYSFrancolin Road villa is a beautiful family property with lovely sunset views and I would also recommend this one right on Clifton Second Beach.For Paros, explore the stunning Krotiri Bay villa. We have a huge selection of villas on Paros too which can be found here.For Kenya, we will be launching our new Unique Experiences program this year so watch this space for luxury properties and activities.
LATEST TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS Commercial flights are currently operating into South Africa and Kenya – a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) is required for entry. For Greece, it is worth planning your villa holiday now for 2021 as many of the villas are already booked up due to rescheduled bookings from 2020. Most of our owners are offering very flexible cancellation (refunds or rescheduling options) if you are unable to travel due to Covid restrictions.
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