A total solar eclipse will pass over the Araucanía region of Chile on December 14, 2020. The annual Geminids Meteor Shower will take place that very same night, allowing travelers in the Lake’s District to watch both a solar eclipse during the day and a meteor shower come nightfall. andBeyond Vira Vira sits beside the Villarica Volcano on a sprawling 54-acre estate, offering a front row (and totally secluded) seat to watch the stars align. Stargazers can watch the sky come alive from many viewpoints around the property including private outdoor hot tubs and cozy loungers lined along the riverbank. Highlights of the property include an on-site quesería where local cheese-maker Marisol Martinez guides guests through the three-year-long process of milk-to-cheese; community visits to the town of Curarrehue to learn the traditions of the local Mapuche culture – from weaving techniques to spiritual tales of the towering volcano; and outdoor adventures like fly fishing, horseback riding, and trekking through the national park.
Tucked deep in Bhutan’s lush green Punakha Valley and draped on the banks of the Mo Chhu River, andBeyond Punakha River Lodge – andBeyond’s first lodge in Asia – will open in September 2021. With only six intimate luxury tents and two larger, multi-room villas, the lodge has been created in the traditional Bhutanese architectural style, sitting in perfect harmony with the surrounding terrain of paddy fields and dense forested hills. From the lodge, guests can participate in myriad outdoor adventures such as rafting, kayaking, fishing, biking, and a variety of hikes and longer treks through the striking surrounds. In between days of exploring the rice and chili farms and world famous monasteries, travelers can balance their chakras back at the spa with a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath or gentle yoga flow, set alongside the streaming river. Following a sundowner cocktail on the Chain Bridge colored by rows of prayer flags, guests of the lodge can dine on a fusion of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese-influenced cuisine.
According to a psychological study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life about the connection between anticipation and happiness, just planning or anticipating a trip can make you happier than actually taking it. While travelers around the world remain grounded, now is the perfect time to start planning a dream trip. With privacy top of mind, andBeyond’s customizable private jet journeys offer a way to confidently hit ‘book’ on that once-in-a-lifetime trip. While the typical safari is limited to coupling just one or two Africa destinations, a trip via private jet allows travelers to seamlessly explore more of the continent in less the time. One trip could include game reserves in both East and Southern Africa, city sights in Cape Town, beach days on a private island in Zanzibar, and/or dune hikes in the Namib Desert – all while avoiding the long layovers and limited connecting flights that typically interrupt the process. In a time when privacy is more sought-after than ever, these journeys will appeal to multigenerational and group travelers eager to explore the world with loved ones. Standout private offerings include a sole-use safari lodge in South Africa, andBeyond Phinda Homestead; a private island with only 12 bandas off the coast of Tanzania, andBeyond Mnemba Island; and a treehouse deep in the South African bush, miles from the nearest lodge, andBeyond Ngala Treehouse.
What’s New with Africa Foundation?
andBeyond and Africa Foundation’s collaboration spans over 28 years, with the care of 73 rural communities across 6 African countries, with a shared vision of community-conservation development. With the arrival of COVID-19 and the accompanying lockdown restrictions, stress fractures in the communities’ resilience were quick to follow: safe water access, health vulnerabilities, food shortages and lost income. The Africa Foundation COVID-19 Campaign was established as a direct and immediate response to build community resilience.
Some stories to inspire include:
- Ku-Humelala Craft Group, a sisterhood of 15 craftswomen supported by Africa Foundation, pivoted from craft-making to mask-making – allowing them to continue working and supporting their families through the pandemic.
- Communities of Mpumalanga in South Africa do not have an adequate supply of water, making frequent and thorough handwashing to control the virus near impossible. Africa Foundation supported efforts to repair existing boreholes; provide water to orphanages and vulnerable children centers; and allocate Hippo Water Rollers to communities, which are 23-gallon barrels that provide easy transport and storage of large quantities of water.