To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, we looked back at Her Majesty’s travels in Kenya, Brazil and South Africa and asked our experts to come up with luxury holiday ideas and design a magnificent experience fit for the Queen in each of these destinations.
From the thrill of a riding safari through the bush to dancing at Salvador’s carnival and journeying across the African plains by rail, these epic trips are guaranteed to be a right royal riot. The only difference? Unlike the Queen, who has never travelled with a passport, you will have to pack yours!
Brazil was a highlight of the Queen and Prince Philip’s 1968 tour of South America, filled with fabulous moments such as when the young couple cruised along Copacabana beach in a convertible Rolls Royce and attended a Cup Final football match, where the monarch presented the victory trophy to legendary player, Pelé. The trip must have made an impact, because, in 2006, Her Majesty reminisced over her time in Brazil while hosting a banquet at Buckingham Palace for President Luiz da Silva. “I have vivid and happy memories of my visit to Brazil with Prince Philip in 1968, especially the warmth and hospitality of the Brazilian people,” she said.
Caroline Maber, Head of Department | Latin America + The Polar Regions:
“Not even the Queen could resist a party as fabulous as carnival in Salvador, a historic town home to Capoeira and Candomblé where she could soak up the colourful costumes and lively samba beats. For some downtime, we recommend a stay in the quaint, paradisical town of Trancoso, with its dazzling white-sand beaches and cute square lined with beautifully preserved houses.”
The Royal family’s two-month-long tour of South Africa in February 1947 was extra special for several reasons: not only was it the first state visit since 1939 and the outbreak of World War II, but they spent 35 nights travelling through the country on a specially commissioned royal locomotive, known as the White Train. What is more, on 21st April, Princess Elizabeth would turn 21. To mark the milestone birthday, she made a live BBC radio broadcast for well-wishers back home, with a back-up version pre-recorded in the gardens of a hotel in Victoria Falls, where she was watched by a troop of baboons. The day was declared a public holiday and she was gifted a stunning diamond necklace from the people of South Africa. According to Sarah Bradford’s book, Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times, the excursion was ‘to have a profound and lifelong effect on her.’
Claire Ferguson, Head of Department | Africa + Indian Ocean:
“In the spirit of nostalgia, we can’t think of a better experience for Her Majesty than four nights on the fabulous Rovos Rail, a train journey that takes in highlights including one of the world’s longest stretches of straight railway line at 114km and game drives in both the Matobo National Park, a World Heritage Site with bushmen caves, rock art and dramatic granite hills, and the rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary of Hwange National Park. The adventure culminates at Victoria Falls, home to a hotel of the same name that is renowned for its sensational afternoon tea.”
The Queen was staying in Aberdare National Park at Kenya’s oldest safari lodge, Treetops, when her life changed forever. The year was 1952 and her father King George had died. As her armed escort, Jim Corbett wrote in the Treetops logbook: “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree as a princess and climbed down as a queen .” It is said that the young Princess was so engrossed in filming wildlife with her cinecamera, that she asked for tea at the lodge to be served on its alfresco viewing platform, so as not to miss a second of the action.
Claire Jooste, Destination Expert | Africa + Indian Ocean:
“The Queen is a famously keen equestrian so we would design a riding safari through the African bush, using the finest horses and accompanied by our all-time favourite guides. After the thrill of riding up close to elephant, lion and buffalo, and galloping with wildebeest, the journey would end at Deloraine House, a beautiful colonial mansion dating from the 1920s with a unique and colourful history.”