First Leg of 3 Month Sabbatical: Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Galapagos, Brazil including Carnival in Rio, Argentina and Chile
Thanks Nick and Nico for a fantastic trip – only wish I had more time to spend in Cuba! The highlights were the city walking tour and e-bike tour, both in Havana. The cigar tasting was also great fun. My guide was excellent, enthusiastic and knowledgeable – as a single traveller it was great to have him around for meals as he was a good guy to spend time with. I would highly recommend Cuba and laterallife, both of which exceeded my expectations.
Wa Ale, Myanmar, January 2020
Well what a result! Possibly the best holiday ever, in short absolutely spot on in terms of everything we love. Not many people, loads to do, beautiful beaches, fab people, wonderful sea, amazing food! I could go on and on but thank you so much to the Laterallife team – the best recommendation and right up our street! Laterallife, you’re a star.
Kerala, India, December 2019/January 2020
We’ve come to the end of our Keralan adventure after flying home from wonderful old Fort Cochin. The four of us had a truly brilliant time. Big thanks for organising the holiday for us at such short notice – I won’t leave it so late next time! The itinerary has been spot on and Neeleshwar Hermitage every bit as great as you said it would be. It’s been an unforgettable couple of weeks. Many thanks again for sorting everything for us.
Brazil & Argentina: Christmas/New Year 2019/2020 Rio – Paraty – Iguazu Falls – Salta – Cafayate – Buenos Aires
We had a fabulous trip in Brazil and Argentina this Christmas and New Year. In Argentina, the Salta leg of the trip worked really well – the local agents were really lovely and organised some brilliant trips for us. We had fantastic city tour in Salta with a guide called Romero. The kids really enjoyed learning about the local area from him and thought the museum was the best they have ever been to, the perfect combination of interesting and short! White water rafting was superb, well organised and fun. We went through a very interesting gorge – good lesson in plate tectonics etc. We even saw dinosaur footprints! We enjoyed a brilliant bbq afterwards too. The kids’ favourite activity was the cycling tour in the Andes, as described by Ben below. Again, it was really well organised, they were met by their guides and bikes at 3,000m above sea level, then cycled down hill for 22 km. Cafayate was also great, the wineries and backdrop of the Andes were stunning. All in all a total success and your choice of Finca Valentina was perfect – a really relaxed friendly place, perfectly positioned for all the activities.
Ben Wickens, aged 9: the highlight for me was a cycle ride in the Andes which I did with my Dad and my 2 brothers. We had to drive for an hour and a half up hill through the foothills of the Andes. The peaks were around 5000 m high, but the highest peak of all was 6,300m which is over three-quarters the size of Everest. I was really scared that it was going to be raining the whole time we were cycling and I was nervous that I would slip and maybe fall. Thankfully it was clear blue skies at the drop-off point which was close to the border with Chile. This was at 3,000m above sea level and was above the treeline. The whole cycle ride was 22 km downhill on a road which didn’t have very much traffic. We went slow at first because it wasn’t too steep, we almost didn’t pedal at all. The only time we pedalled was when we had to go up a small hill. There were lots of sharp turns in the road and in the valley it looked like a volcano. There were fast-flowing rivers cascading down the mountainside because of all the rains. To me, these looked like lava flowing down the mountain. The mountains were steep with jagged rock but eventually the trees re-appeared and we were back within the treeline. Two thirds of the way down the road we entered sub-tropical rainforest and it suddenly felt really hot. We were into the last stretch of the whole trip. We had dropped 2,000m in elevation from our starting position of 3,000m above sea level. It took us 1 hour 15 minutes.
Sri Lanka, December/Christmas 2019
Our first trip to Sri Lanka was a huge success. Our driver Nish was an excellent guide and having him with us for the entire two weeks made for a very relaxing holiday and also meant we were able to tweak the itinerary to suit us. For example, we were able to squeeze in a trip to the Botanical Gardens in Kandy which we loved. Lateral Life did a great job putting everything together and a minor issue was quickly rectified. We asked to be kept busy and we certainly were. Highlights included a train journey from Kandy down to the South, a visit to a tea factory, a Sri Lankan cookery course and cycling through paddy fields. No review of Sri Lanka would be complete without mentioning the wildlife which blew us away. We were lucky enough to see elephants and two leopards but we also loved all the birds and our evening Loris tour. Finally, I would highlight the kindness of the Sri Lankans. We felt completely safe throughout the trip and would recommend Sri Lanka and Lateral Life to anyone looking for a diverse family holiday.
Four week trip through Northern Argentina – Buenos Aires -Cordoba- Iguacu Falls -Salta – across the Andes to Chile/San Pedro De Atacama – overland to Bolivia via the Salar de Uyuni and on to La Paz – Lima/Peru – home!! November 2019
What an amazing trip laterallife planned and executed for us. From “Hidden Buenos Aires” to the fabulous riding in Cordoba, (even Charles got on a horse!!) to the stunning Iguacu Falls, then on from Salta across the Andes on a route that had us at times wondering what on earth we/laterallife were doing sending us on a route like this. The views were to die for though and the ultimate experience out of this world. The Tierra Atacama hotel in San Pedro was a very welcome 3 day stop before tackling the staggeringly beautiful trip into Bolivia, over the Salar de Uyuni (the Salt Flats where we stayed in an Airstream camper) to Uyuni by 4WD and onto La Paz and Lima by air. The whole trip was magnificently planned and executed – certainly, a trip of a life time – thank you Nico for all the hard work and Nick for the inspiration. – Best wishes for 2020
Rugby World Cup, Japan, October 2019
Special thanks to you at Laterallife for all of your excellent hard work on the architecture of our trip to Japan. Great recommendations and really helpful advice all of which made this a truly special trip. Can’t quite get my head around how much we have done and seen in a week – feels like we have been away for much longer. It really has been the trip of a lifetime and all of the arrangements were absolutely seamless and very efficient. You even managed to include England’s finest performance on the rugby field in nearly twenty years – I’m really quite impressed! Since these things seem to be within your gift, perhaps a little less rain next time? Ichigo ichie! You are stars.
Exploring the Brazilian Amazon and Pantanal
I first met Nick some 11 years ago through a mutual friend and was immediately impressed with the quirky name of his travel company, but even more so by his passion for travel. As something of a travel junkie myself I decided to ask Laterallife for a quote next time. Since then Nick has put together outstanding arrangements for me in India, Vietnam, Peru, Colombia and central America – all of which were an huge success and all superbly organised. So when I decided on a holiday in Brazil this year, I immediately thought of Laterallife, knowing Nick’s passion for the country and frequent visits to what I believe is one of his favourite destinations! Of course I was not disappointed – despite an unusual choice of cities and areas and the fact that I like to stay in historic hotels, Laterallife came up with the perfect itinerary which started in Belem, Amazonia and ended in Belo Horizonte. Despite the complexities of flight schedules, road travel, or sometimes lack of roads to travel on, my holiday went perfectly, with more than a few surprises, from the joy of discovering Lençóis Maranhenses (surely one of the world´s best geological surprises), to a pre-booked restaurant in Belem which was delightful. All drivers and guides were excellent, friendly and excellent companions for me on my own, their depth of knowledge in history and what to see also outstanding. But perhaps the “great jewel in the crown” was my four nights at Caiman Lodge in the Pantanal, which must be one of the world´s best in wildlife conservation. Caiman Lodge exudes understated good taste and luxury, wonderful food, including fruit and veg mostly grown in their own organic garden. The specialist wildlife guides were well trained, friendly and most had degrees in biology and nature conservation. Within hours on the first game drive I´d seen a jaguar with her cubs. The positive approach following a major fire the week before I arrived and how this could be turned into some improvement was also inspiring. Not only did I relish being in such a fabulous place but I realised how much I´d actually learned about the wild life …. Well done Laterallife for a fabulous trip which I´ll never forget – and of course I am already thinking … what to do next.
3 month Worldwide Sabbatical to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and Fiji
Just to let you know that we have all made it back safe and wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for organizing such an amazing trip for us. It was a challenging project: guiding us – a family of 5 with 2 teenagers and an eleven year old – across Africa, Asia, Australia, and Fiji, over a period of 3 months. We sort of had a big picture idea of what we wanted but had never been to any of the places we intended to visit. From the start you got us comfortable that you knew every square inch of these countries and were able to put together a thoughtfully-tailored itinerary that ensured we experienced the best of each location in the limited time we had but also took account of, and built in plenty of activities geared to our children – like the swing down a 70 meter drop into Vic Falls! The fact that you sent Jessica over to our home in Cayman at the start showed that you were serious about understanding us and building a trip just right for us! Your fantastic team (Jessica, Nico, Helen) and network of local agents were always right there and made us feel like VIP’s throughout. We could definitely not have done it without you and I don’t think anyone else could have put together such a perfect 3-month trip across the world. There is so much more I would like to say …. you guys just did an absolutely fantastic job!
African adventure – Zimbabwe, Zambia & Malawi
Whilst we have known Nick for many years, this was the first time that we had booked a holiday with him and the Laterallife team. And what a trip it was! 20 days, 9 flights, 20,000 miles, 4 locations in 3 countries. We had always wanted to return to Southern Africa and introduce our kids to the wonders of a safari holiday. Having not been to the areas before (or at least not for many years), we were totally reliant on Nick and Nico’s advice and recommendations. We need not have worried as the whole trip went seamlessly. It was a full itinerary starting at Victoria Falls, then two remote safari camps in Zambia before some R&R on a beautiful, small island in the middle of Lake Malawi. We were always greeted by local Laterallife reps and the lodge staff were well briefed and very welcoming too. Nothing was too much trouble, with surprises also thrown in. Anniversary cakes were served one night along with the entire staff dancing and singing just for us!We were also reassured by the fact that we could contact Nico back in London at any time, if we had questions or problems. She always responded very quickly and efficiently. So, it was an amazing, unforgettable family holiday. The key question is always, “Would I book another trip with Laterallife or recommend them to friends?” The answer to both parts would be an unreserved yes.”
Canadian Rockies Adventure
We were travelling to Canada to attend a nephew’s wedding on Vancouver Island and wanted to add in a two week trip across the Rockies prior to the wedding, so over to Jessica at Laterallife. Having someone organising your trip who has spent lots of time in Canada, and even worked on the Rocky Mountaineer, is just fantastic. She knew exactly where we should go and what we should do from her own experience. The arrangements were smooth, rock solid and worked like a dream. Apart from knowing that all the arrangements are going to work, the advantage of working with Laterallife exemplified beautifully in two instances. Laterallife had secured us a room at the Fairmont Lake Louise with a glorious view over the lake; upon informing my sister in law of this, she said “please don’t tell me you’re staying in the Fairmont Lake Louise!! I’ll scratch your eyes out!!” She had been organising their trip for after their son’s wedding and had been trying desperately to secure a room at the Fairmont for months, with no success. Second, we were meeting our son and daughter in law in Vancouver and they were struggling to organise a car hire from central Vancouver to drop off in Calgary after the wedding. Simples – call Jessica. Sorted, cheaper rate, upgrade in car, booking on ferry across to Vancouver Island thrown in and a very impressed daughter in law; she’s not easily impressed. Another excellent trip thanks to Laterallife.
Two Week Holiday to Costa Rica
I loved Costa Rica! Thank you so much for organising another very successful trip. I was very impressed by your hotel choices and the personal service, particularly at The Retreat, Playa Cativo and El Silencio. At Playa Cativo I enjoyed the kayaking, dolphin trip (surrounded by about 50 of them at one point) and night walk (despite the snakes). El Silencio had arranged a lovely surprise and although it wasn’t actually my birthday yet, they had decorated my room with balloons, wrote me a lovely note, gave me chocolates, made me a cake and sang me happy birthday. The guides/drivers were excellent throughout – all very polite, informative and had good English (although one of them did manage to finally get me speaking Spanish for a couple of hours!). Probably the most consistently good overall on the ground service that I’ve had on all my trips. I’m a big fan of Costa Rica and loved the trip!
A safari and beach holiday in South Africa
We had a fantastic experience in our first six hours in South Africa where we were met straight off the plane and whisked on to the private plane to Madikwe Hill safari lodge. We were then shown into our quite stunning rooms and enjoyed our first game drive later that night, so far a perfect 10. Moving on to the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban, we were happy when we arrived and continued to find the hotel first class. It was super interesting talking to the staff so many of whom clearly and fiercely take great pride in the hotel and it culture. I’d like to imbue that in my own business. More seriously it was a special four days and we are telling all our friends that the Oyster Box is a gem and that as usual Nick Matthews at Laterallife was spot on in his recommendations.
Christmas Holiday to Costa Rica
Our trip to Costa Rica was superb, thanks very much for pulling it together for us. Both Pacuare Lodge and Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge were excellent choices, we had thoroughly enjoyable stays at both, and they provided a great balance of adventure activities, nature and chill out. At Pacuare the rafting in and out was a huge hit, and their canopy ziplines and canyoning were also great fun. We thought the food was particularly good and the setting was utterly spectacular. At Nicuesa the mangrove kayaking and dolphin watching were both truly memorable, as were the guides and friendliness of the staff. In summary, an excellent trip. 8 of the 9 days were really fantastic, just a bit of improvement on the volcano and waterfall garden visit at the beginning – though Poas Volcano being shrouded in mist is, of course, just one of those things. Thanks again, and we very much hope to book another trip with you soon.
25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Morocco
When we decided for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration trip to Morocco, we knew it would be a good decision to get laterallife to help us with it. We already had an amazing experience in Japan and, even Morocco being a totally different experience, we knew we could count on you to make it even better. We had limited time and wanted to have a more relaxed schedule, so the itinerary was carefully decided to both know the country and have a pleasant time enjoying the hotels. Talking about the hotels, they were cherrypicked to be cozy and to represent the best of this country. In Marrakesh, we stayed at a typical Ryad and we felt very welcome from the staff of Villa des Orangers. We went to the desert by car and the driver was very kind to show us some interesting landscapes in the way to our destination . The Dar Ahlam may not be the most luxurious hotel we’ve ever stayed, but it was certainly the most special one. Their staff are prepared to do everything to please you! All the tours there are precisely thought in every detail by the team. Each meal is a surprise! Our room in our last stay at Bab Ourika was amazing! We had a wonderful view of the Atlas Mountains that was difficult to let go! Thank you , Helen and Nick for the best second honeymoon we could have ever dreamed! It wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful job of laterallife!!!
Valéria and Sergio Jacob (Executive VP at Banco ABC Brasil), Sao Paulo, Brazil; September 2018
Two week Holiday to China
I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for a great 2 weeks in China… the trip was so well organised and we were very well looked after by our diligent, knowledgeable and caring guides and drivers. You all made our travels through China so seamless which I’m sure was no easy feat!
Sabbatical to the Americas: Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos and California
Just a short note to say thank you so much and we had a great time. The real hero of this trip was you and the Lateral Life team. Your guidance and recommendations were simply fantastic; I lost count of how many times Jo and I said ‘how did they know about this’ or ’they’ve really thought about this bit… this really works’. You listened to us and then used your deep experience and expertise to transform our trip, with so many touches, small and large. Paracas, Mancora, Maras, Zuleta (omg Zuleta… I’m looking at some their extraordinary embroidery on my wall now) and Sacha Lodge we would never have found ourselves; I am pretty sure that without your help we would have chosen poorly at Macchu Picchu, Lima and Napa. And on the couple of occasions when the wheels might have fallen off … they didn’t because you and your local reps on the ground were fabulous. So many little add-ons stick in my mind – the books you sent the kids beforehand that really gave them insights into where we going and got them excited about the trip, the rafting in the Sacred Valley, the villages we visited in the Ecuador jungle, the sailing in San Fran harbour – these were details that just elevated so many of our days. So…. thank you to you. We’ll never forget this trip. I’m sure it was a lot of hard work, but the entire family aged from 7 to 47 really loved our time away. We can’t wait to go again.
African Sabbatical – Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique
Laterallife designed our family a magnificent first half sabbatical trip a few years ago to South and Central America so it seemed only fair that we gave them another go to manage part 2 of the sabbatical – this time Africa. We truly had the trip of a life time in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. Such incredible variety in Zambia: amazing canoe and walking safaris, and very close encounters with hippo, lion cubs, leopard and elephant to name just a few. Kaya Mawa, Mozambique Island and the Quirimbas were all out of this world, perfect beaches, fascinating history, incredible food and very welcoming people. Kaya Mawa and Quililea would be difficult to improve upon, and the countless memories of whale watching, swimming and playing with dolphins and watching baby turtles hatch on the beach one early evening, will stay with us forever!
South American Sabbatical: Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia
We have recently returned from the most magical six week journey through the north east of Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia with our teenage children. We cannot praise the laterallife team more highly. Our brief was to avoid the obvious and to go the extra mile for the authentic, not the luxurious. From the first planning meeting, Nick’s expertise reassured us we were in good hands and that he “got” what we wanted. The first thrilling leg of the journey took across the dunes at Jericoacoara in Brazil, then on to the splendour of volcanoes in the Ecuadorian Andes and wonder of the Amazon basin by the Napo River. In Colombia we experienced its vibrant cities of Medellin, Bogotá and Cartagena, and the amazing beauty of the isolated pacific coast, where we saw whales at close quarters. Our journey ended with time spent on the idyllic Caribbean Island of Providencia. The hotels, lodges and haciendas were perfectly judged and always full of character, and the guides on the ground were of the first order. The logistical arrangements (there were many) ran like clockwork – a very impressive feat for South America!
Aside from the knowledge of the destinations and organisational skills, the things that has struck us about laterallife is the individual care taken before, during and after the trip. They spent the time to understand the brief and to plan (and re-plan) before the journey to get it just right – they were in touch during the trip, to check all was going well, not just if something went awry, and afterwards because they genuinely cared that we had a great time. Quite simply Nick and the team made the trip the amazing experience that it was.
The location of Kicheche camp outside the Masai Mara was great as the conservancy was not busy (with people) but still had lots to see nearby and we were able to get to the Wildebeest crossing in the main reserve. I would advise anyone to stay in a conservancy rather than in the main reserve if possible. Kicheche camp was excellent; great food, excellent service and friendly. The Lewa camp was also extremely good and I liked our hosts a lot, they were very warm and friendly. Lewa in particular is well set up for kids. The guides were both outstanding and the organization was first rate. All in all a great trip and would highly recommend to anyone.
African adventure – Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique
Thanks for organising our family’s wonderful, varied and fascinating trip to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique this summer. After an emotional reunion with our 15 year old son in Jo’burg airport we headed to Victoria Falls for our charming Batonka Lodge stay. Then followed Falls visits, boat trips, high drama and crazy dare-devil hi wire gorge swing antics and much more – thanks for all the excellent tips. The helicopter flight over the Falls was a highlight – truly an experience of a lifetime. Then onto South Africa for a fabulous stay in Three Trees Lodge at Spioenkop near the Drakensburg mountains, one of the most heart-warming, wonderful places to stay we have ever experienced. Thank you for ‘forcing’ us to go to Fugitives Drift for the Zulu battlefields tour – totally absorbing and memorable. Managed to ‘bag the big 5’ at Thanda Tented Lodge – great safari! Finishing our holiday in Isla de Mozambique was truly eye-opening and fascinating – incredible fading glory and a Robinson Crusoe beach experience at Coral Lodge. Thanks for putting up with my family’s ‘lateral’ expectations – you handled us admirably!
USA Sabbatical – Louisiana, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California
From start to finish, we have been enormously impressed by your expertise and dedication to ensuring we have the best time away for my 2018 sabbatical. You patiently worked with us as we changed ideas, tacks and destinations with an insight as to what we “really” wanted to achieve (even though we didn’t know what that was ourselves)! You did this in a seamless way we don’t think any other travel company would be able to. It is fair to say that given we were going to the States (and a bit of Mexico) and following a pretty well-trodden path we were initially a bit sceptical about how much value you would be able to add in comparison to organising it ourselves. Without hesitation we can honestly say that even if we had spent months of our own time sorting an itinerary out, we still would have ended up getting things badly wrong and not achieving nearly as much. Instead, with you, we ended up with a truly bespoke holiday that was perfect for the 5 weeks we were away – just the right blend of activities suitable for the whole family (many of which we would never even have thought of), a mix of super-lux and more “authentic” properties to stay in and the best routing for the road trip element to make the most of our time. Within this, you also programmed just the right amount of rest time in the best locations/hotel for our budget. This would only have been possible with a really in depth knowledge of Louisiana, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California which you clearly displayed! All in all we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you and look forward to seeing what trips you might be able to organise for us in the future!
Victoria Falls/ Zimbabwe – Lion Sands/ South Africa and Mozambique
Once again thanks to the team at Laterallife for an amazing African adventure. Your in-depth knowledge and advice was essential to provide us with a diverse itinerary with each location providing a different insight into this wonderful continent. Your availability to support us along the way was much appreciated. The water based Victoria River Falls Lodge was stunning, it provided a perfect balance with game viewing on the river and land as well as activities for our teenagers. Lion Sands River Lodge delivered amazing game viewing. Our guide and tracker were extremely knowledgeable and passionate which allowed us to view the big five and much more. Our final destination was Bazaruto Island, Mozambique. Beautiful deserted beaches and warm, blue sea provided a relaxing finale.
Indonesia – Bali, Borneo and the Komodo Islands
There’s so much to say about our Indonesian trip! The relaxed, beach vibe of the Belmond Jimbaran Puri was a perfect start. Our boat adventure in Borneo gave us amazing wildlife sightings and so many magic moments. I can honestly say that the luxurious Capella Ubud was one of our best hotel experiences ever – the fabulous ‘tents’, the super-stylish ‘refreshment trunk’, the spectacular 10-course tasting menu and being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the rainforest and the river below, unforgettable. If the Capella was our best hotel experience on land, the Ananda was by far the best on water. This traditional phinisi has been rebuilt with beautifully crafted wooden decks and well-designed, comfortable bunks below. The hosts are delightful and made every effort to make sure that we made the most of our experience. Cruising the South Pacific and Indian oceans on the Ananda was a truly memorable and fitting end to our Indonesian adventure. Highly recommended! A big thank you to Laterallife for their superb planning and organisation – even when things went slightly off balance locally, they were there for us on What’s App and instantly solutions were found. An exemplary service. Many thanks for such wonderful memories.
Kenya – Emakoko, Nairobi and safari in the Masai Mara at Little Naibor – and Zanzibar – Stone Town and White Sands Villa on the beach
Some news bulletins from the Wickens family trip…
Arrived at Emakoko which is just perfect. A beautiful setting and much needed haven. Everyone very excited as we saw rhino, giraffe and tons of ostriches en route from the airport. Off out shortly for more game viewing. Thank you for yet another Laterallife triumph!
Back in Nairobi tonight – Naibor was just amazing, loved it from start to finish. The camp was just perfect for us – simple luxury, not too ott and the 2 bed tent adventurous and fun. We saw tons and tons of game. 23 lions before breakfast today! Yesterday 5 male cheetahs, more lions, the day before a leopard and 2 week old cub and even an elephant in the camp next to the hippo pools, very close but a wonderfully safe distance across the river. Not at all crowded and there were still plenty of magic moments with just us. We have had the best week .. super relaxed and savouring every moment. Loved the ballooning too. All 5 Wickens very happy and having the best time. ?
White Sands Villa is an amazing place. We went kitesurfing for almost 3 hours on the first day. Waking to clear blue skies and wind picking up for kite after breakfast. It’s really the most perfect place to do it and the villa is extreme, not only very lux but right next to the kite school. The whole trip has been perfect. We would not have done anything differently and we have both had our love affair with east Africa re-kindled.
“I liked seeing all the animals at the start of the trip and having an adventure. The Masai Mara was incredible.”
Zach Wickens, aged 12
“Zanzibar is amazing for kite surfing because you can walk out from the beach and you’re never in water deeper than waist high. It makes learning and improving so much easier.”
Jamie Wickens, aged 13
“I loved learning to kite surf in the crystal clear water and canoeing in the see-through canoe so I could see all the star fish, corals and fish.”
Ben Wickens, aged 8
South American Adventure – Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, Bolivia and Chile
The trip was a great success. Thank you for putting it together for us, we were very pleased indeed, and will certainly recommend you to friends of ours who are lucky enough to have long holidays to plan. To mention just three highlights from our month long trip: Ecuador’s highlands with our star guide Maria and Sacha Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon was great fun, Driving around the salt flats in Bolivia, Ziplining in Peru!
New Zealand and Indonesia Sabbatical
We have just returned from a tremendous two-month trip to New Zealand and Indonesia. Nick and Nicoletta put together a wonderful itinerary for us, having really made an effort to get to know us and work out what we wanted as a family. They also put us in touch with brilliant local teams who, together with Nick and Nico, made sure that all our travels went smoothly, even when our plans got disrupted by events outside everyone’s control. We had a fantastic time and enjoyed a huge variety of adventures, staying in some truly remarkable places – hotels, remote farm cottages and boats in the jungle. Thanks so much for all the thought and effort that went into making it a truly special trip.
An African Sabbatical
We have just come back from our holiday of a lifetime. We spent four and a half weeks travelling across Africa with our four teenage children. Nick and the Laterallife team were fantastic. We met them at the very initial stages of the planning process to discuss the kind of holiday we were looking for and they really took the time to get to know us and discuss all the options available. They then spent a long time with us fine-tuning our chosen itinerary and making sure everything, down to the smallest of details, was in place. We have had an issue with other holiday planners in the past who have not treated us as individuals and have tried to put us on the tourist trail, booking us onto set pathways. We really felt that our pleas for ‘off the beaten track’, ‘wilderness’ and ‘wildlife’ were listened to and we had an itinerary set for us that ticked all of these boxes and more. Nick was easily accessible from the holiday itself when a couple of minor unpredictable glitches occurred and he stayed in touch throughout. What an amazing service and a fabulous trip. We can’t recommend Laterallife highly enough.
Having already completed one sabbatical and three holidays with Laterallife in 4 years, we had high hopes for our latest venture to Colombia this Summer. And boy did it not disappoint! Fantastic planning and logistics as usual, wonderful ground handlers and hosts in country and exceptional attention to detail throughout. All in the knowledge that the Laterallife team were ensuring everything was in order from a distance via WhatsApp. Which other travel company would do that?! Notwithstanding we were already seasoned fans of South America, Colombia was as diverse and beautiful as they come – from upbeat cities such as Bogota and Medellín, to the breath taking flora and fauna of the whales and scenery of the Pacific Coast and the magnificence of the Cocora Valley, topping things off with the chilling on the Caribbean coast by way of Cartagena and the unspoilt gem of Providencia. Whilst we won’t forget the isolation and “simple” living at El Cantil in a hurry, the accommodation was again as varied as they come – from sophisticated city boutiques to country haciendas, grand historical buildings or rustic luxury all in keeping with their situation and delivering authenticity. The Colombian people could not be more welcoming and positive. Across the team we definitely packed in some activities both planned and on the hoof – cycling, rafting, speed boats, scuba diving, snorkelling, hiking / climbing as well as a fine introduction to the explosive game of Tejo! As you know we keep coming back to Laterallife (and our children will keep wanting to come with us) for the exceptional family experience all of the above delivers. In fact the kids are already planning the next one! Thanks again!!
Hong Kong and Thailand
I want to say how wonderful our trip was and to thank you for all your hard work in giving us yet another exceptional Laterallife experience. All in all, the hotels were great, particularly the Ritz Carlton who could not have been more lovely and we had a gorgeous time!! Thank you so much again.
We had a fantastic time. Everything went really smoothly from start to finish and all the accommodation was first class, my personal favourite was Playa Cativo, the staff there are just amazing, we were so well looked after. Your local representatives Travel Excellence were outstanding. Thanks for organising everything so well for us.
Ecuador & Galapagos
A fantastic time all round – Cotopaxi, Napo, Quito and Galapagos – a full itinerary but really worth it. We saw so much of Ecuador and all the nature and wilderness it has to offer so the adventure and completely different environment was very refreshing!
Superb SE Asia and Australia sabbatical trip
We were absolutely delighted with the one month long itinerary that Nick and his team put together for us. It was a perfect combination of culture, relaxation and fun, and harmoniously balanced both their ideas and our own. Our two teenagers (16 & 15) enjoyed every single day of the trip immensely as well. The hotel recommendations were superb and the customer service from Laterallife was unparalleled in our experience (in particular their responsiveness and also their flexibility, understanding and efficiency when we needed to amend our itinerary (twice) after everything had been booked). The local teams who looked after us in Java and Bali were particularly outstanding. We managed four “bucket list” activities in one trip (sunrise at Borobudur temple, climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge, opera at Sydney Opera House and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef). The highlight however was the 30 km cycle ride from Mount Batur downhill (well, mostly!) to Ubud in Bali, but we would never have done this activity had it not been for Nick’s insistence that we would have a day to remember. How right he was! Thank you so much for such a fabulous trip!
An Indonesian adventure – Bali and the Komodos
Ian Priest: We have been on many family adventures with Laterallife over the years, many for extended periods . This time was a shorter trip – just over two weeks in Indonesia . The first ten days in Bali , firstly in a very special villa on the beach near Canggu and secondly inland to Ubud where we went white water rafting and cycling down a volcano. The final three days we had our own traditional boat with our own crew to explore the Komodo Islands . Wow what a fantastic way to finish our adventure swimming with manta rays and numerous colourful fish. We discovered that the boat had no alcohol on board so we contacted Nick in the UK who, in true Laterallife style, called his local team and – abracadabra! – a speed boat arrives with champagne, wine and beer – Nick couldn’t imagine three days on a boat without a drink and neither could we!!! Lovely way to finish our hols as we head off back to Blighty . Thanks to you, Nico and the wider team for another special trip.
Virginia Priest: What a wonderful experience and terrific way to experience the Komodo Islands. The boat was comfortable and the crew so accommodating and fun. The guide was spot on and took us to incredible spots for snorkelling. From friends who went diving they felt snorkelling was better as you could see the bigger picture. One thing we all enjoyed on the boat was having no access to any wifi!
Sri Lanka explored
Sri Lanka was superb; we are so thrilled that we can now say we have visited this fascinating and engaging island. Sri Lanka had been on our wish list for quite some time and it did not disappoint. We stayed in some great places, enjoyed so many different experiences and managed to visit many varied places- our trip was extremely rewarding and enjoyable. It will be no surprise that seeing elephants in the wild was easily the highlight of the trip for the whole family and we seem to have thousands of photographs of these wonderful creatures to prove it! Along with the elephants at the two national parks we were very fortunate to see lots of wildlife, including water buffalo, wild boar, crocodiles, kingfishers, monitor lizards, monkeys, . . . the list just goes on. We had a great holiday and there are still plenty of things that we were not able to fit in during our 2 week trip that would certainly justify a return visit.
Ibo Lodge, Ibo Island, Dhow Safari and Azura Quilalea, North Mozambique
We had the most wonderful time at Ibo Lodge and on the Dhow safari and I really didn’t think it could get any better! However, when we arrived at Quilalea I didn’t quite know what to say – it was utterly beautiful and the most wonderful place we had ever been. To make things even better we were given an upgrade which I am sure was down to you. Wow! I was in absolute heaven! Thank you so much Laterallife!
A journey around Colombia
We didn’t quite know what to expect from Colombia. We wanted something just a little different and somewhere a little off the beaten track — but not too far off! What we got was a fabulous insight into this wonderful country. We had never used Lateral Life before and were recommended to Nick by a friend and Nick, you nailed it! We stayed in a series of wonderful and luxurious small boutique hotels and guest houses, most with just a few rooms and were looked after immaculately. Forget your preconceptions, in our experience the country was incredibly varied, beautiful, totally safe and fascinating. Highlights? The coffee country around Armenia and New Providence Island but all of it was pretty special.
India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka & New Zealand
Looking back, our 56 day trip included 18 flights, 25 hotels/lodges/resorts and multiple drivers/guides/itineraries. There were essentially no glitches which is truly amazing!!! Many thanks, Nick, for all your work and monitoring during the trip. We do know that in one instance, there was an intervention by you for a minor inconvenience. It resulted in the issue being resolved quickly. There may have been more but we were blissfully unaware. It was a seamless journey throughout and we couldn’t have asked for more.
South American Sabbatical
I just wanted to let you know that I am so delighted with all the hotels and the experiences that you have chosen for us during the Peru part of our trip. Especially the sand dune driving and dinner in Paracas, the hotel and pachamanca experience in Ollantaytambo and the hotel in Aguas Calientes. But arriving yesterday to “La Casona” in Cusco has been one of the most charming experiences, especially on my birthday and realising that this enchanting place belonged to Simón Bolívar who was the Venezuelan liberator makes it even more special. I can only say “thank you from the bottom of my heart”. Love and kisses from Cusco.
Costa Rica explored
This was a holiday of a lifetime and everything we had dreamed of. We came back and started dreaming in colour. Surfing at Tamarindo, the complete contrast and Xmas dinner at Rancho Humo (followed by joining in with the locals bull riding fiesta that evening) and the beautiful Osa Peninsula were totally spectacular. Thank you so, so much for working out a smooth and fun filled adventure for us. The food was absolutely incredible we loved the people, saw snakes and scorpions and the beautiful sloth. Can we do it all again?
Family Half term: Mighty Victoria Falls, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Lake Malawi’s Likoma Island
We had a lovely holiday. It is very cold now that we are home! Everyone loved Machaba. We saw so many animals. We were lucky that a giraffe had been killed by a lion on the day we arrived so we watched the pride eat it over the next few days, followed by the flies and finally the vultures. Sounds disgusting but quite fascinating to witness! The pride had recently come together for the first time in a long time: 17 lions in total including 9 cubs, which the kids absolutely loved. The camp was very comfortable and we were looked after very well by the friendly team. We had a great guide, Kitso, who was very attentive. The kids loved the pool and there was another family staying for most of the time we were there, which was great for the children. Kaya Mawa was amazing. We loved our villa, right on the beach and a short hop across scorching sand to the lake. Lake Malawi was like having the biggest private pool imaginable right on your doorstep – crystal clear water, safe swimming and all the equipment we could want to enjoy it. We swam, kayaked, paddleboarded and skimmed stones every day. I could have watched the changing waterscape of the lake all week and walking back to our villa at night across the beach in stunningly bright moonlight will be a vivid memory for us all. We are confirmed fans of Africa – it is under our skins now and I am already thinking about when and where to go next. Thank you for the impeccable organisation, as always. Everything ran like clockwork. Catch up soon.
A second sabbatical: African wanderings and trekking in Peru
In 2015 a colleague of mine recommended I talk to laterallife about my upcoming half sabbatical in 2016. They duly designed and executed a most memorable trip for my family exploring Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It was then a no-brainer to reappoint the team to manage Part 2 of our 2017 family sabbatical to Africa along with my personal over indulgence at the end of the trip, a 10 day trek through the Peruvian Andes. The result, a fantastic, well balanced itinerary through Victoria Falls, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Kenya before travelling around the world to Peru. Superb destination and camp choices throughout, so much so that it’s impossible to single out a ‘best bit’.
Thankyou Steve, Laura and laterallife for 2 wonderful, unforgettable summers travelling. You’ve sent us to extraordinary places which we would of never found without your guidance. In these far-flung places you’ve also always provided instant support if we ever needed it. The insider knowledge and meticulous planning have made for some trips of a lifetime and we look forward to our next adventure.
In search of the great wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania
Jutta and I had a wonderful safari in Kenya and Tanzania …. so much so, that we don’t think we could go on another one, for fear that it would never match up to all the experiences this time. We managed to see all the animals, many times over, and memorably, 3 kills (a buffalo by hyenas which was horrible to witness; a gazelle by two cheetahs which at least was a quick death; and a zebra by two lions, similarly so); an escape (a wildebeest, caught by a crocodile, which managed to get away with ‘just’ a badly cut back, but otherwise OK); lions mating and hippos mating; and our shortest ever flight (just 4 minutes). All the arrangements worked well, four wonderful camps, each with its own distinctive style, but with a consistently high standard of accommodation, knowledgeable game guides, good food and very friendly staff. Many thanks Laura for all the planning and preparation.
A journey in Morocco/fascinating Fes/tour of Meknes & Volubilis/the Marrakech palmeraie/foothills of the Atlas Mountains/the windy city of Essouira/last night in a luxury desert camp
It was a fabulous trip! Everything was spot on, as usual. We loved the place in the Atlas Mountains as you predicted – Kasbah Bab Ourika was one of the most majestic and peaceful places that we’ve ever been. The team that you work with in Morocco was also wonderful. They were so friendly and checked in with us constantly to make sure everything was okay and to see if we needed recommendations. Thanks so much for putting together such a memorable trip. It’s so nice to know we can rely on you to take care of all the logistics and make it all come together perfectly, which truly makes for the perfect vacation!!
Safari in Tanzania’s remote southern parks and escape to a tropical island bolt hole off Zanzibar
Many thanks Nick, and Laura who put the holiday together. We had a fabulous time in Tanzania. The whole family loved it, great safari, great beach, great food and top places to stay. Your recommendations were spot on. Elephants wandering in camp in the morning, 3000 crocs in the lake, lions doing what they do and making a lot of noise at night, and the noisy bush babies adding to the din. Top fun. We felt really looked after throughout our trip.
A Global Adventure combining Australia’s northern wilderness and the Gibb River Road, the white sand beaches and lush jungle of Indonesia’s islands and some of Africa’s best bits from Victoria Falls along the Zambezi, to Mozambiques untouched Quirimbas Archipelago and finally into the safari mecca that is Kenya’s Masai Mara
Nick and Laura, just a belated note to thank you and your teams for the most incredible adventure our family enjoyed this summer. From Day 1, when we met last autumn, you blended inspirational ideas, practical tips and clear actions so that we had a truly unique and unforgettable series of experiences that will last each of us forever. Even when the inevitable surprises on a trip of this nature arrived, you were both on hand to smooth any changes and we could not have been in better hands throughout. Truly outstanding. We can not recommend you and your team highly enough and I know that other families we connected you with have also been emphatic in their praise. Many, many thanks and we look forward to fully debriefing you both over dinner soon.
Exploring US, Tahiti, New Zealand & Fiji
“Hi Nick, now that we are all back and recovered from the jet lag, I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for all your efforts in sorting out the holiday. We had an absolutely fantastic time, it really was a trip of a lifetime and we all enjoyed ourselves. Too many highlights to mention but we really appreciated the time that was taken in planning the trip as well as your responsiveness during the trip when we needed anything sorted out. thanks again, Greg”
Dugong Beach Lodge, Vilanculos, Mozambique.
Hi Nick, as always we had a most special time. The lodge was lovely, the setting great, the beach wonderful, the chef and his food outstanding and the people amazing. And we love Mozambique! A winning recipe! Though Dugong lodge was not of the same standard as some of the other Mozambique hotels we have visited it was perfect in its own way.
Can’t wait for our next trip – I think I might need to spend a month in Mozambique next time. Lots of love Lior.
India’s Rajasthan explored laterally
We returned from our Indian adventure on Friday evening. In short, it was fantastic. Thank you for all the hard work that went into making the journey so magical and special. Overall, the quality of the hotels was superb.
In terms of the guides and the driver, they were all superb and provided us not only with commentary about the destinations we were visiting but also with an ability to get a better understanding of Rajasthani/Indian life and culture through open discussion about the society, politics, life, including the difficult issues like the caste system and poverty. Our driver, Gurpreet Singh, deserves special mention because, not only did he drive without us having any fear from the chaos of the roads and the drivers, but he helped us understand our surroundings when the guides were not with us and he maintained a steady supply of treats we needed in the car—diet cokes, water, cold towels, chocolate and fruit.
We loved India. The smells, the colours, the noise, the history, the chaos, the scenery, the forts and palaces, the traditions—they’re all still fresh in our minds. Some of the disparities are difficult to ignore—the poverty, the animals roaming endlessly in search of food, the hardship in getting around—but the people are resilient, proud and determined to succeed.
We capped our journey at our last stop in Udaipur with an invitation to a private cocktail at the palace with the Maharana. It’s a long story! Suffice is to say that we have the picture with him and his family. Again, thanks so much for all the arrangements, guidance, attention to detail, advice, and assistance. This was a special journey with special memories!
Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica. A trip of a lifetime?
Were we a bit bonkers taking our two girls, aged just four and seven, around Central America for 6 weeks? Nick persuaded me it would be a triumph and Steve ensured it was just that. Steve’s care and attention in putting together a package that was carefully tailored to what we wanted was clearly born out of his passion for the Americas. His detailed and enthusiastic descriptions of the best places to visit (often different to what the guide books recommend) got us excited but he then tested whether his initial recommendations would suit us by asking the right questions, getting to know us and really finding out what we were looking for. He was patient when we changed our minds (more than once) and the end result was simply superb – a trip encompassing both fabulous hotels and camping in the rain forest, personal guided tours of the best Mayan sites, swimming down underground rivers, hiking up one volcano and looking into the permanent lava pool of another, a trip to a coffee farm, a chocolate making session, quests for sloths, howler monkeys, red-eyed tree frogs, spectacular butterflies and delicate humming birds, “fishing” for tarantulas, adventures into caves, zip-wiring, surfing in the Pacific, snorkelling in the Caribbean, trips across Lake Nicaragua and to the Panama canal, big planes, little planes and much more ……. and always with the promise of a swim for the kids and a cocktail for us at the end of the day. We spent the first week persuading the kids that this was the trip of a lifetime. By week two we’d changed our minds – you can’t have this much fun just once in a lifetime!
Christmas on Lake Malawi
We had an absolutely fabulous time at Kaya Mara, thank you. We just LOVED it.
Michelle and her team really went out of their way to make it a wonderful holiday, nothing was too much trouble. We were upgraded so rather than being at separate ends of the beach David and I were next to the kids in a fabulous big house with its own pool. The food was superb, dive instructor wonderful, staff delightful, plus of course the beautiful beach, lovely water, excellent array of toys, etc, etc… plus we were the only people there one night! On Christmas Day we were given stockings with gifts for each of us, champagne breakfast delivered to our rooms, Santa wakeboarded into the bay, Michelle gave the kids a free session, the local choir came to entertain… the treats were endless!
Thank you and your team for a fabulous recommendation and happy new year to you all.
Sri Lanka – Culture, Tea, Hiking & Coast
Well, that was another spectacular trip. Lush green paddy fields, afternoon tea overlooking the surfers catching waves, hikes through tea plantations, waterfalls and up giant craggy rocks, heavenly curries, endless egg hoppers and THAT moon pool at Weligama. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Half term adventure: bush, beach and culture in Tanzania and Mozambique
“We had an amazing time in Tanzania and Mozambique, thank you. I think the highlight was the Selous. We loved Siwandu and they treated us so well – I was really impressed with the service and of course the camp is incredible. We saw fantastic wildlife. Absolutely unforgettable and even better than we were expecting. I can’t speak highly enough of everyone at Siwandu. Mozambique was beautiful and very chilled out. Ibo was a special place and our children loved the pool and enjoyed the local history tour. Albert played football with the local boys and loved it. The Dhow safari was a unique experience and we were blown away by the night sky in our first night camping on an island – we have never seen so many stars (even compared to the desert in the Middle East or in South America). The turquoise sea was stunning too and we loved eating fresh fish (best crayfish ever). I think the itinerary was the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation – it was a fantastic experience and has really given us a fascination for Africa. We have some amazing memories that will stay with us forever. Thanks for organising everything and for your prompt responses and support when we had flight problems, which made a big difference.”
A journey through Brazil from the metropolis of Rio to the tropical Amazon basin
“Laterallife arranged a spectacular time for us in Brazil, following straight on from the wonderful Olympics in Rio. It was a bit of a logistical challenge for Nick’s team as we were dovetailing with friends, we were on the move a lot, and our kids were coming and going from the UK at different times, but it all worked perfectly and we had a summer we will never forget. From the extraordinary beaches and dunes of Jericoacoara and Lencois Marahenses in the North, to the fantastic vibe in Salvador, the unique wildlife and scale of the Pantanal and of course the Amazon basin, we experienced several different versions of Brazil all in one summer. The Laterallife team really understood the brief and gave us what we had hoped for and a whole lot more. Once again they did a great job!”
A varied sabbatical: on safari in Zimbabwe, in search of lemurs and whales in Madagascar, from city to reef to outback in Australia, orangutans in Malaysia
“We had the time of our lives! Nick was patient and attentive through the planning process and tailored our itinerary to our interest and requirements. While we were on the road Nick and his team were equally attentive smoothing out wrinkles and ensuring everything ran smoothly, leaving us free to concentrate on enjoying ourselves! We had real quality time as a family and a great adventure and none of us wanted to come home. Here’s to our next “Lateral Life!”
African Honeymoon through Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania
I first contacted Lateral Life on a whim when I received some attractive looking promotional materials in the post, filled with glowing testimonials from other lawyers. (If you can please a lawyer, you must be doing something right…) As I was about to start planning a 5-week honeymoon in an exotic location, using a specialist travel agent seemed like a good idea. However, the quality of the service provided by Nick Matthews and his team at Lateral Life was a million times better than my wife and I could have expected. From the first planning meeting, when Nick “gently” persuaded us that the locations we had in mind ourselves were too dull and that only an African extravaganza would do, to numerous sessions poring over maps in Nick’s office, the pre-trip service was first rate from start to finish, and Nick’s warmth and genuine passion for travel was utterly infectious. As for the trip itself, it is difficult to describe just how magical an experience our whirlwind journey through Southern Africa was. From driving ourselves down the shipwreck-strewn Skeleton Coast in Namibia and white-water rafting in the Zambezi at Victoria Falls, to strolling through the sun-drenched streets of Stone Town in Isla de Mozambique and watching thousands of wildebeest try to avoid snapping crocodiles as they crossed the Mara river in Tanzania, our honeymoon was a rare example of a 10/10 travelling experience. The organisation, transport and accommodation was first class throughout, and we genuinely felt as though we were a trip that had been tailor-made for us: about as far from a package holiday as you could wish for! Thanks Nick – we’re looking forward to the next trip with Lateral Life already!
Sabbatical trip to South America.
“Our challenge to Steve and Nick: ‘We have a six week trip in mind – autumn 2016. Help us explore and discover South America as active travellers, rather than tourists’. They rose to the task. Having just returned, we can say the trip was everything we hoped for and more. A unique, once-in-a-lifetime, experience through often spectacularly remote parts of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Galápagos Islands. The planning – which in our case started almost two years earlier – was half the fun. Nick and Steve share a love of travelling themselves. Steve speaks fluent Spanish. They both know S America really well. Their first hand experience and knowledge was evident from the start. It was invaluable. They took time to get to know us – our likes and dislikes. It felt like personal attention from people who knew their stuff. We wanted to be active – hiking, biking, riding etc. We wanted to follow less trodden paths, without missing the ‘must see’ places. We didn’t want any tourist ‘experiences’ or packaged excursions. We wanted comfortable places to stay but we didn’t mind roughing it to reach somewhere special. We didn’t need 5 star resorts all the way. The result was a highly customised trip that delivered all the above. The highlight? Probably swimming with the penguins in Galápagos Islands. However, that was just one moment in six fantastic weeks of immersion in the wildlife, culture, landscape, history, geology, cuisine and people of South America. An amazing and memorable journey.”
Family birthday trip to Mexico
This was our second trip with laterallife and I’m sure it won’t be our last. We felt very well looked after through the planning process and throughout the whole trip. Steve’s local knowledge and advice were invaluable in planning our itinerary, and the laterallife representatives in Mexico were unfailingly helpful and efficient. In just two weeks we were able to see a huge amount and get a real feel for the country, whilst still having plenty of time to relax, enjoy the sunshine and appreciate a little bit of luxury.
Family holiday to Zambia
“We are just back safe and sound from our Zambian adventure and wanted to drop you a quick email to thank you for arranging for us to go on this fabulous trip. I was reflecting on the flight back how serendipitous it was that you sent me that flyer all those years ago as you have expanded our horizons so much as a family. We would never have had this adventure but for you guys and there is no doubt it bonded us more as a family given we spent so much time together in the shared experience of the game drives (and without the interruption of phones and iPads!).”
North American Sabbatical
laterallife were invaluable in the planning and delivery of my sabbatical to North America. They provide a very personal and personable, hands-on service, spending time to get to know their customers and their interests before designing an appropriate trip on a collaborative basis. They secure a good mix of accommodation from the good value to the luxurious to the downright quirky; and have a network of terrific contacts on the ground. One of the things that most impressed me was that they were not afraid to tell me that I was being too ambitious with my wish list, so with their help I ended up with a far more balanced and manageable itinerary. Their service throughout was first rate.
Australia – The Gibb River Road
DARWIN – Kakadu camping – Bamurru Plains – Katherine Gorge – Lake Argyle – El Questro – Manning Gorge – Mornington Wilderness Camp – Bell Gorge – BROOME – Cape Leveque — by 4WD camping all the way!Dear Nick and laterallife – well you have not only done it again but really excelled yourselves this time. One year in the planning, this overland 3 week camping trip driving the famous Gibb River Road between Kununurra and Broome was truly one of the most exhilarating holidays you have done for us so far. There have been 5 now, not including our 1 year sabbatical, to all corners of the planet, so that’s saying something. We just loved it, its organisation and execution – apart from our fresh vegetables being confiscated by over zealous border staff between North and West Australia – was without fault. This incredible family journey, originally designed specifically for my late father to journey to a land he has always desired, resulted in us discovering that camping, being self-sufficient and practical is actually great fun. This is especially so when you are witnessing some of the best of this world’s geological sights, sitting on breathtaking beaches or laying under the clearest Milky Way. Our trip highlight was the scenic flight from Broome to Cape Leveque and the boat trip through the Horizontal waterfalls So thank you, from us all. We have super stories which we would be delighted to share with you.
An African journey, an experiential holiday to Japan and a South American trip
Part one: the African journey 2015: an extract from Madhavi’s diary:”You see things; you say why? But I dream things that never were and say, why not? George Bernard Shaw. I am waking up to a typical day in London. Grey skies with a forecast of rain. It is Millie’s sports day today and I should be getting ready to play the Tiger Mum. But my mind is on the 5 week journey that we will embark on this evening when we board our flight to Johannesburg. From Jo’burg, we will connect to Maun and then take a light aircraft to the Okavango delta in Botswana. After 21 years of working in the City, I am taking about half a mini sabbatical. Wanting to do something different and off the beaten track, I was getting disillussioned with typical holiday brochures when I came across the incredible Nick Matthews from Lateral Life. After working through my long wish list, Nick came up with a great plan of travelling in Africa. But I said, that’s where I always go for work. “This is the Africa you will not have seen before” he assured me. True to his word, Nick presented me with an itinerary that combined everything on my wish list – no 6 star Dubaiesque hotels, no German limos to pick us up from the airport, no French restaurants, no 600 thread count sheets and no glamping Africa style! Just a journey off the beaten track and discovering part of a continent filled with passion, charm, simple people, simple food and may be just a little bit unpredictable. And so, after months of planning, discussion, visa trials and triumphs and questions of whether I will be able to take a 6 year old with me, here I am, swapping Greek default, complex infrastructure financings and Wimbledon finals for an African adventure. I am going through the packing list in my mind, essential medication, Deet 55, Deet 100, comfortable clothes, fleeces for those chilly mornings and evenings and a first for me – strictly no high heels. Looking at my beautiful Millie, a typical south west London child, her Cath Kidston rucksack – packed with “essentials” – an IPad, a Paperchase sketch book, twister colours, Haribos and a couple of Roald Dahl books, I realise I haven’t exactly gone through the details of our travel plans with her. She does not know that we are going animal tracking in the delta, that she is going to learn how to make bows and arrows and that we may not have any electricity for ”a few” days. No water parks, no kids club, possibly no pasta and definitely no pizza; just unlimited Mummy and Daddy time, animals and nature.” Part 2: Japan 2016: “We came back to sunny London yesterday. Thought I would drop you a line to say what an amazing time we had. A magical two weeks with unique and wonderful experiences and the Cherry Blossoms were just right. All the arrangements (including the orientation and our local information pack) were perfect and your local agents left no room for criticism. Every guide looked after Millie so well – we were very touched. They also gave us some lovely gifts – it was embarrassing as I had nothing for them and you said no tips!! All in all – a memorable and unique trip and thank you so much for arranging it for us!! Can’t wait for South America now!” Part 3: the South American trip 2016:“We had a wonderful trip with lots is excitement and adventure. The arrangements were excellent and we were most impressed with the local agents: guides in Argentina and Peru and, of course, dear old Alessandro. Our highlights were Iguacu Falls, the sand dunes of Lencois Marahenses and Peru.”
African journey 2015, South American trip
“Last year when in Anjajavy I thought “ this is paradise”. In Malawi I thought I belong to that nature. Why not? Africa is said to be the cradle of mankind. I was seriously trying to remember if a few forgotten memories could come to the surface. Early morning spark of sunrise at Victoria falls moistened my eyes. Divine expression of God. My life was enriched. This time in South America. I am anxiously waiting for more unworldly places. I think LATERAL LIFE will help in achieving it.”
South America, Java, Borneo, Bali
“in 2014 my family and I travelled through South America for 9 weeks whilst on sabbatical with laterallife. Such was its success that our proposed 2015 summer villa holiday was replaced by an overland trip in Brazil from Salvador/Bahia to the beaches of Trancoso. The family were again delighted with this unique travel experience. 2016 – we have just returned from a fascinating and varied holiday through Indonesia including a boat trip to see the Komodo Dragons, a river boat trip in Borneo to see the Orangutans, culture in Java and fun in Bali. Another supremely well thought out and executed “experiential” trip. Our family have truly valued the laterallife service and its different approach to holidays. They come highly recommended and it is well worth giving them a call. Now looking forward to 2017, wherever they may be sending us!”
Zimbabwe Safari, Victoria Falls and Lake Malawi Beach
“The trip was absolutely awesome! Kaya Mawa was truly fantastic and we all, especially the kids, had an excellent time, the perfect relax at the end of the trip. It was lovely to meet James and Suzy and all the kids got on so well, they delayed their trip a few days. Victoria Falls was amazing as was the hotel and Laura was really helpful. Rukomechi was also excellent as was the Hide. As positive feedback, Rukomechi has recently been done up and has a great feel – very cool. The Hide had excellent service and the drives /guide were great. All in all, it was a great success, all the planes and connections worked perfectly and everyone enjoyed it hugely. It opened the kids eyes and introduced Annie to Africa…she’s now thinking about more trips back! thank you so much to you and the team. We are now thinking about summer 2017!”
“Thank you for all your advice with Brazil. We had an incredible time after the Olympics and you were so right about the weather. Jericoacoura was hot, sunny and just perfect. We loved Rancho de Peixe so much. Chilled, cool and sporty. All of us went for it with kite surfing, even Jim got up and going. Then to Vila Kalanga which was lovely and we went out every night to the great bars and restaurants. Great dune bugging, sand surfing, hammock lounging and so much fun! Thanks so much Nick”
Kaya Mawa, Lake Malawi
“Thanks so much! It was a fabulous trip and we all (kids included) loved our stay. Loved Kaya Mawa!!! Highly recommended from our side… little piece of paradise….”
Remote Brazil and The Olympics
“We really had a truly magnificent holiday in Brazil and we can’t thank you enough. Your knowledge and local experience was invaluable and you created an amazing itinerary for our family. More than anything, you gave us (and particularly me as the organiser) the confidence to do things that we would never have contemplated, nor been able to arrange, which have created very special and life-long memories. We will never forget gathering for the magnificent sunsets on the sand dunes in Jericoacoara, watching the spectacular kite-surfing from hammocks on the porch of our beach cottages in Barra Grande and flying over the truly extraordinary Lencois Maranhenses national park. We had a real adventure, plenty of rest and arrived in Rio feeling like we had experienced the true Brazil. And then to Rio which was a very different chapter. We loved going to the Olympics and we saw some amazing sport. It was great to feel part of the event and there is no doubt that the Olympics lifts a city and a country. We had heard so much negativity towards the event in the North and even when we arrived in Rio but after a couple of days you could see that the Brazilians were starting to really enjoy the spectacle and the world’s attention. And, after all that, none of us even saw a mosquito the entire time we were in Brazil! Thank you again, and muito obrigado to our guide Alessandro of course, for a wonderful holiday.”
Big Birthday Celebration, Zimbabwe Safari and Northern Mozambique Islands
“It was nice to have had a taste of paradise over the last few days! As we prepare for departure, just wanted to say thank you for arranging the evening for Brigitte at Quilalea!
It was a great moment and many thanks for the bubbly! The trip overall was a great success! Everybody enjoyed it and we have great memories.”
Mighty Victoria Falls and Safari in Zimbabwe
“We have had a great time, it was a wonderful trip, thank you! We both loved it, and seeing Willem enjoy everything was for me the highlight. He (and I of course) definitely want to go back. The camp was lovely. And the bush experience was the best part of the trip. Vic Falls has a lot to offer, and we did many things, but nothing beats being truly outdoors. The two women who ran Little Mac were great, as was the camp, the food, the care and of course the animals. Wonderful guide, Charles, very kind, calm, and informed. Laura was also very helpful, and a great person, she came over twice to help us sort out things, it was much appreciated!”
25th wedding anniversary, Mozambique
Nick and team put together a perfectly balanced 2 week trip to northeast Mozambique. Four different places to stay with perfectly organised transfers including light aircraft and an adventure on a dhow safari. We thoroughly enjoyed the amazing contrasts of this fascinating country, benefitting from Nick’s extensive knowledge and experience of travelling. Even now, three months later, the wonderful memories of the people, beaches and lodges lift our spirits.
Sabbatical to Chile, Argentina & Uruguay
The enormous task of planning such an extensive trip was managed comfortably during the months prior to our departure, but it was not until we embarked upon our travels that we could fully appreciate how beautifully the trip had been composed and orchestrated. Fabulous recommendations for hotels, restaurants, excursions and guides were set in place. All round it was a truly wonderful experience and we highly recommend Laterallife as your South American travel planners.
Family trip to Myanmar
Neil and Max join me in thanking you for so beautifully organising our recent trip to Burma. Not only did you pull out all the stops (we imagine) possible to curate us a wonderful 12 day itinerary on impossibly tight timing and with very short notice but you did so with great attention to detail and considerable understanding of our preferences and innate requirements. Such aplomb and flair. From the moment we arrived in the early hours of the morning in Yangon and were met by your representatives, the Lateral Life tone was set and we felt, and it later proved, that we were not only in excellent hands but highly courteous and charming ones. Every driver and guide we met along the way was unfailingly efficient and most solicitous of us and our enjoyment. The logistics were seamlessly organised and managed. The number of nights stayed in various places was exactly right. Highlights , well you did undertake to give us those…! were, Mandalay, the Irrawaddy river cruise, Bagan and the amazing sunrise hot air balloon over the temples and Inle Lake. The guides were very lovely and most informative. We all want to return for the next instalment…just as you predicted… and spend more time in this fascinating country …..times are a’changing there and we have been urging friends to visit before too long. The people are the most naturally hospitable and warmly welcoming we have known in some while. Quite a revelation in the 21st century.
Birthday celebration in Uruguay
We had an amazing time, what a country! We didn’t want to leave and will definitely be going back to see more of Uruguay. Thank you so much for all your planning and co-ordination, it all worked seamlessly and without a single glitch. All the guides spoke very good English and were knowledgeable and helpful so that took a load off and the fact that they met us at our various hotels made life much easier too. I don’t think there is anything that we would have changed, apart from staying longer.
Buenos Aires & Chile
We gave Steve and the team an impossible task: arrange a month’s trip through Chile with three weeks’ notice in high season. We also wanted to mix the unusual and adventurous with a dose of pampering along the way. Having met Steve, he really seemed to get what we were after. The trip itself was superb: incredible Patagonian scenery and stunning hotels mixed with quirky accommodation and some really imaginative activities. Steve was in contact throughout the trip and ensured that the in-country support was there. All in all, we felt in really good hands with Lateral Life and would wholeheartedly recommend them.
Mother & Daughter trip to India
From the heights of the Himalayas to the rich green pastures of Kerala, everyday was a new adventure. Despite the deprivation and poverty no place in the world matches the richness of India. Thanks to Lateral Life and their superb and faultless itinerary and organisation no moment was wasted and we now are left with lifelong memories that match no other. Thank you so very much.
A 3 week trip around Namibia
Our trip to Namibia was magical. The agenda worked out beautifully; we thoroughly enjoyed self-driving the first part and travelling by small planes for the second. We loved the vast spaces, dramatic scenery, spectacular skies and absence of human beings! Saying that, the Namibian people we met were very friendly and welcoming and we felt safe at all times. The order and flow of the trip was perfect, the set up, service and friendliness of the staff we encountered at lodges and camps was delightful and outstanding. To be able to provide guests such comfort and delicious food in the middle of nowhere is astonishing. Spending three weeks travelling, just the two of us, has not happened for over thirty years so we were wondering what that would be like? I am pleased to report that it was absolutely super and we had the best of times. It goes without saying that the ideas and planning enthusiasm laterallife provided right from the outset was outstanding. The hotel choices suitably lateral and everything worked like clockwork on the ground. Brilliantly executed and our sincerest thanks to you Nick and all your team in London and Namibia.
Highlights of The Sultanate of Oman
Oman is not a place that springs immediately to mind for a winter break and when Lateral Life suggested it we were a little apprehensive. Needless to say we should not have been. It is a country of amazing contrasts, great beauty and with some amazing hotels. The Chedi in Muscat is about as good as life gets, and up in the mountains the Alila, perched on a stunning cliff top site overlooking a breathtaking gorge is truly a must see destination. Driving across a desert, visiting the Grand Mosque and amazing opera house – just some of the delights. One of the main attractions of Oman, we discovered, is its people. Universally friendly, accommodating and helpful. A great package which combined with glorious weather made for a break to remember.
Family Holiday to South Africa – Safari and Camps Bay/ Cape Town beach Adventure.
When we were introduced to Nick and the Laterallife team, I was sure that their offering was too good to be true. However, in this instance it could not be further from the truth. My family and I have just returned from the holiday of a life time, which we can attribute in large measure to Latteralife. With very specific dietary and accessibility requirements, we contacted Nick, in the hope that his team could deliver on at least some of our requirements. As it turns out, every requirement was not only met, but surpassed. Every detail was considered and even those details my wife and I had not considered, were pre-empted by Laterallife ahead of our arrival. Nothing was too much trouble or out of reach and as we left for South Africa, I asked myself who was more excited about our trip, Nick and the team, or us. We now understand why! We simply could not recommend highly enough and look forward to be able to team up with Laterallife wherever possible
Argentina and Chile
Over the last four years my wife and I have enjoyed not just one but two” holidays of a lifetime “
courtesy of Laterallife. In both India ( particularly in Rajasthan – and not just the obvious cities but deep into the more remote parts further west and south ), and , more recently, in South America(mainly Argentina and Chile, with short enticing visits to Uruguay and Brazil) we have been absolutely delighted with the skill, flexibility and local knowledge of the company in putting together itineraries which combined wonderful suggestions of theirs and the satisfaction of our own wishes. Without exception the accommodation chosen has been full of character and the travel arrangements outstanding. We cannot recommend the personal service offered by this small company too highly.
The trip was amazing – I have to say that I think its probably the best I have ever done! I am still over-awed by everything we saw and feel rather overwhelmed by the wonder of it. In many ways it feels as if I have just come back from outer space. Almost everything went according to plan, the organisation was superb and we were extremely well looked after there. Such nice people we met. My main reaction is delighted, expectations exceeded, grateful for all your hard work – and wish I was still there! All good wishes
Brazil off the beaten path
Over the last 3 years we have travelled to India, Mozambique and Brazil with an exceptional travel company – laterallife. Their skill in arranging complex and imaginative trips for families is unsurpassed, and their organisation, personal service and ultimate delivery is exemplary. As a stamp of approval, we left their company name embossed on a huge sand dune at Lençois Maranhenses, Brazil. A big thank you to laterallife – we’re looking forward to our next trip with you.
Family Sabbatical to Costa Rica, Ecuador & Galapagos
Before meeting Nick and Steve it had never occurred to us that six weeks travelling around Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands would be suitable for kids aged 8, 5 and 4 – and what an adventure we would have missed out on if we hadn’t met them. We all had the most amazing time whether it was swimming in piranha infested lakes in the Amazon basin, dodging deadly snakes, spiders and bats in the Costa Rican rainforests, horseback riding in the Ecuadorian highlands or snorkelling with sharks in the Galapagos. laterallife’s organisation cannot be faulted. The whole trip ran like clockwork and the local guides, accommodation and itinerary recommendations were, without exception, excellent. They even make the planning process and post-match debrief fun. Highly recommended.
Family Sabbatical to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique
Trying to plan an exciting adventure holiday with 3 very active small boys is no easy task. However, Nick Matthews and the Lateralife team put together an amazing 5 week journey through Africa for our family last summer which gave us the perfect mix of entertainment, activity and even a little bit or relaxation and luxury. We specifically told the team we wanted a diverse combination of experiences – and that we certainly did not want to sit in bland corporate 5 star hotels all day. They put together a programme which included, amongst other things, a safari in Botswana with the best game viewing and guiding we have ever experienced, camping in the desert in Namibia after climbing the highest sand dunes in the world, zip lining across the gorge at Victoria Falls, tiger fishing on the lower Zambesi and snorkelling with turtles off the coast of Mozambique. We thoroughly enjoyed the planning process and the end result far exceeded our expectations. We feel we were given a very special insight into the real Southern Africa, away from the beaten path. We truly had the holiday of a lifetime and we made so many family memories which always bring a smile to our faces.
Family Sabbatical from Brazil to the Galapagos (via Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru & Ecuador)
– Our holiday to South America was incredible due to: the great diversity of each location, the enthusiastic guides and also the freedom to do whatever you want…. – Charlie Spittal (aged 14) – I don’t really know where to start in describing our trip to South America. We had so many fantastic, unique experiences in places that, thinking back, I can’t imagine we actually visited. The trip was tailored to us exactly: horse riding, white-water rafting and a trip to a dam is a brief overview of what we did. The guides were lovely and would happily adapt the itinerary if you decided you didn’t want to follow the plan exactly. Nick and Steve were always emailing to check that we were okay and it was comforting to know that they were jut a phone call away! – Francesca Spittal (aged 16) Thanks to Nick, Steve and team. It was perfect!
Family Sabbatical through Mexico & Central America
As you know, we all had the most amazing time on our sabbatical, and the fact that in a trip of nine weeks we can only think of one or two minor things we would have done differently is all down to your guidance and insight. The hotels were all great, worked perfectly for our family, and the pace (which I know you spent a lot of time thinking about) was just right. On the logistical side, all of the transfers, border crossings, excursions (and there were many of all of these) happened without a glitch, and it was clear from the personal welcome and attention we received at each hotel that you were one step ahead of us at all times, ensuring that everything was going smoothly and that our complex room arrangements were being dealt with! Thank you also for the emergency packages. We will seriously not now be able to organise a holiday without you.
Great trip to South India!
Back to reality with a bump and I just wanted to thank you for another wonderful trip. Clare has already sent you lots of thoughts / feedback but we really enjoyed ourselves and, once again, you got the balance between places / activities absolutely right for us. I especially enjoyed Neeleshwar and the walks at Tranquil Plantation but wherever we were, we were looked after really well and had the most delicious food (normally washed down by copious quantities of Sula Sauvignon Blanc!). I think the Lateral Life level of service / care is absolutely amazing. We think Laos may be the place for 2015!!
First visit to Sri Lanka
Well hero status continues – you really did us proud for our trip, your attention to detail and knowledge about what would create great experiences was exceptional. Clingendael was extraordinary, our room had a big comfortable sitting room, the garden where we breakfasted was pretty and the staff were so friendly and thoughtful. Mackwood tea factory provided really interesting and new info and we were fascinated by the botanical garden tour, loved sitting in the café there too. Galle Face worked well as a location for us to have a last dip in the salt water pool and the Ministry of Crab a very amusing menu and ambience. So great job, Nick and your team. You showed us the best bits, and we have come away with a huge interest in Sri Lanka, its past and its future and a great affection for the country. I feel hugely privileged to have been to visit this (for me) new country. You gave us an insight that we could not have managed alone. My highlights: The Amangalla, The ambience of the hill country, The cookery session in the paddi field, The warm people, The food, The bike ride, The swimming.
Coral Lodge – Mozambique
Diane and I arrived back at the weekend after quite an adventure. Coral Lodge is a very special place–beautiful, isolated, friendly and the management and staff were wonderful and the food was very good too. Carlos, the chef, really does have a steady hand over his creations and we were never hungry. We snorkelled, we picnicked on 7 tree island, we sat by the pool, walked, relaxed on our deck. We were so impressed with the staff, their stories, their skills, that we’d like to give something back to the local community. Many thanks for organizing our trip, it was enjoyable, different and memorable.
Honeymoon to Ecuador & Galapagos
Massive thanks for all your help, it was truly an amazing trip from start to finish and we had the best honeymoon. The difference between good and brilliant is the small points. Which you guys arranged in abundance. Even down to the travel binder you put together(which was the envy of all the other travellers on the Grace). Things ran very smoothly and it really was an experience of a lifetime. We will definitely be using you again for future experience based holidays.
Honeymoon to Marvellous Mozambique
We have just gotten settled back in New York after a tremendous trip to Mozambique. Suffice to say, every single detail was beautifully attended from shower taps all the way to private charters, often, it seemed, while we watched much fancier, tanner, better coiffed, Patek-Phillipe-clad-Euro-types gawk at our villas, seamless logistics and private candle-lit meals. For a couple who isn’t used to this type of treatment, this was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The biggest highlight for us was Lugenda Wilderness Camp which was the reason we chose Mozambique. Ibo Island was hauntingly beautiful with its violent past, beautiful architecture and peaceful people. We found the food at the Lodge to be tremendous, along with Rob’s hospitality. The island was full of children, all of whom had huge smiles. Nick, thank you for organizing an amazing trip. We have arrived back with the sense that even if we told everyone all the mind-blowing things we saw and experienced, they would never believe us anyway.
Sabbatical through China, Japan & South America
I had an amazing trip and felt very well looked after throughout and appreciated all your emails checking up on me, even at a time when you were going through such personal challenges. I am singing Lateral Life’s praises to everyone and I hope that I have an opportunity in the future to ask you both to help me plan another trip of a lifetime.
Holiday to Mexico
Mexico was amazing. The variety of foods, handicrafts, people and topography was wonderful while the ancient ruins at Teotihuacan, Monte Alban and Uxmal were just breathtaking. As usual, hotel selection was excellent – Rosas y Xocolate in particular was amazing – guides round Monte Alban and Uxmal were both great and ground support was faultless. We had a genuinely fabulous time and one of the most interesting holidays in a long time. Many, Many thanks.
Family sabbatical to Ecuador, Galapagos & Costa Rica
Faced with the opportunity of having a family holiday of a lifetime, some initial thoughts of where we might go but with little time/no real idea about how to go about planning it, I fortuitously came across a flyer from Lateral Life and arranged to meet Nick. Nick asked me about my family, what we enjoyed, what we didn’t enjoy, what we wanted from a six week period together and about our initial thoughts. Then in a perfectly friendly yet straight-talking and disarmingly enthusiastic way, he challenged our initial travel thoughts as a bit dull, run of the mill and “dare I say it, those of a lawyer”. Within a few days he and Steve had quickly won our confidence and come up with a very different outline itinerary. We then spent considerable time with both Nick and Steve as we planned a trip that took us (and our 14 & 12 year old sons and 10 year old daughter) from riding horses in the Andes to tracking caiman crocodiles by canoe at night deep in the Amazon rain forest; piranha fishing to zip-wiring kilometres across the Costa Rican jungle; the Galapagos Islands to active volcanoes; blue-footed boobies to two-toed sloths; and enchanted Polylepis forests on the Ecuador/Columbia border to surfing just off the Pacific coast. The local guides/drivers they organised were everything we could have wished for (we even had a very enthusiastic England vs Ecuador five a side match with them) and at all times we felt completely safe, “looked after” and on a journey that had been designed by people who really knew (and had experienced for themselves) literally every step of the way.
Family Holiday to Malawi & Mozambique
When it came to planning a special holiday in honour of my 40th birthday we went straight to Nick and his team for help. Nick helped us plan our amazing year-long sabbatical in 2011 so I trusted him to come up with another memorable and off-the-beaten track trip. The laterallife team take ‘personal service’ to another level and put a phenomenal amount of dedication, time and effort into ensuring that every element of the trip runs smoothly. This time, every single lodge manager knew of our family’s specific needs and every single flight we took (there were many!) ran seamlessly. Pretty impressive in the middle of Africa. Nick and his team work really hard to understand the kinds of people their clients are and what kinds of places they would love. This time he came up with the fabulous Kaya Mawa lodge on Lake Malawi which could not have been more perfect for our family. The right mix of bare-foot luxury and adventure and so cool that we didn’t want to leave. In fact we left with memories of having celebrated Brad’s birthday in true African style. And the rest of our journey was equally amazing: 3 days safari in the Niassa Reserve where I celebrated my 40th overlooking the beautiful Lugenda river, followed by island hopping in the Quirimbas which have some of the best undamaged reefs in the world – a ‘must see’ destination for any snorkelling or diving enthusiasts. As always, Nick pushed our boundaries and I’m so grateful he did. Having initially refused to entertain camping with our 3 year old, we had the most amazing 2 days Dhow safari, camping on a uninhabited island. We were all in heaven, jumping off the top of the dhow, snorkelling and looking out for humpback whales breaching on the horizon. Once again Nick and the team have left us with amazing memories of a fabulous holiday. Now back to the grindstone while we dream of the next adventure…2015, Nick??!!! Huge thanks to you and your terrific team.
Family Sabbatical to Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Indonesia & Borneo
We are back today – the glow of Indonesian and African sun still warm on our backs. We are zombies today wandering in that land between yesterday’s glorious realism and tomorrow’s reality – I may never resume consciousness. Thank you for all your efforts on our behalf, we have had a wonderful trip and we look forward to the full debrief.
Family Sabbatical to Botswana & Mozambique
Rather belatedly, thanks for arranging a truly fabulous trip. Everything was perfect and it really was the holiday/sabbatical of a lifetime – as you predicted. We had so many adventures and have so many stories – we must bore you with them sometime! All the best and thanks again,
Family Sabbatical to Brazil, Ecuador, Galapagos & Costa Rica
The trip was indeed fantastic. There was plenty in there to keep both the adults and kids amused, just as we had wanted. We loved all the places we visited, and we could not have found the unique venues we stayed in without the guidance you guys gave us. The arrangements went like clockwork – the people you use on the ground did you proud. As I said to Steve, I shall be singing the praises of Lateral Life on the corridors of Silk Street!
Family Sabbatical to Indonesia, Sydney, Ecuador & Miami
Lateral Life organised a two month sabbatical in the summer of 2013 for my wife, my children (aged 13, 11, 9 and 5) and me. We travelled to Indonesia, Australia, Ecuador and the US. In summary they did an amazing job from start to finish. At the planning stage they struck a good balance between giving us what we wanted and challenging us to consider other options to make this a once in a lifetime experience. They worked tirelessly to agree a very detailed itinerary and then implemented it very efficiently. On the trip everything worked like clockwork: we were met by very friendly and knowledgeable guides who treated the family like their own. Lateral Life also attended to any last minute changes that we wanted or as a result of some amendments to local flight schedules. They were very attentive to email communication, in short everything I could have hoped for in terms of administration. The above is really a testimonial about the service and does not begin to do justice to the actual experiences we had, many of which were suggested by the Lateral Life team. If I was forced to pick highlights I would say that our two jungle experiences in Borneo and the Ecuadorian rainforest stand out just for the sheer contrast to our normal life and for the interaction with nature. There are many more amazing things we did that Nick and Steve can tell you about, but I would sincerely recommend that you speak to them if you have a sabbatical approaching.
Family holiday to India
The trip was truly the most amazing holiday we have ever had. Just the right amount of touring and relaxing. We didn’t mind moving around because there was so much to see. The hotels were literally palaces and the best rooms and service you could ever wish for. We couldn’t wait to see what the next hotel was like, so packing and unpacking was exciting rather than a chore. Our guide, Shruti was knowledgeable friendly and discreet and we came back knowing more about Indian culture and history than we do about home. Despite the divide between rich and poor, we found that the people were happy, proud and friendly and everyone had a purpose in their day, working hard at whatever they did. We felt that although we were staying in complete luxury, we still touched on the real side of India. Lateral Life did a fantastic job in ensuring that our stay was flawless. We were expertly guided through our tour without worry and felt perfectly safe at all times. Can’t wait until the next trip – our eyes have been opened. Heather, Martin, Alfie (14) and Harry (9) – Thanks Nick. Talk soon.
Honeymoon to Argentina & Brazil
Thank you Steve – I have been meaning to e-mail you (sorry, have had a busy start to 2013!). The trip, without question, lived up to everything that I had hoped for and more. We had a wonderful time and were well looked after at every stay. The itinerary was perfect. As a matter of fact, whenever we were on the move to a place that I thought we would perhaps have little interest in, we turned up and had an incredible time! In particular, the guides were all (without exception) excellent. Friendly, knowledgeable and went the extra mile. The guides in Iguazu and Salta deserve special mention. And Bahia Bustamente was the highlight for sure! Thank you for all your help with this. Best wishes.
Family Sabbatical to Costa Rica, USA & Canada
Lateralife is one of the best kept secrets in the City. laterallife met us and listened to the needs of everyone in the family and only then painstakingly tailor-made my sabbatical so that it worked for everyone. Steve & Nick’s insight into different parts of the world took us outside our comfort zone and led us to places we would never have dreamt of visiting with three children, the youngest of whom is only 5. laterallife took away the stress of organising a big trip, managing all the paperwork leaving us with a detailed day by day itinerary. They also spoke to each hotel in advance of our visit making them aware of our special requirements so that they were prepared for our arrival. Even whilst we were away laterallife kept in touch to make sure that all was going to plan. We could not have asked for a better more personal service. Simply put laterallife delivered a holiday of a lifetime, one that none of us will ever forget.” All the best and here’s to the next trip!! Regards
Family Sabbatical to Costa Rica
Our trip to Costa Rica was a fantastic and thrilling experience. Although we were only going for three weeks, Nick and Steve made a point of first meeting with us face to face and then planned the trip with all the attention to detail that their website promised. The itinerary was fine-tuned to suit each member of the family, not least our two young daughters, and the result was a trip that went from highlight to highlight. It was without doubt the best family holiday we have ever had. I would not hesitate to recommend laterallife and look forward to planning another adventure with them.
Sabbatical Trip, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador/Galapagos, Brazil
laterallife ruined our lives… Before we met Nick and Steve – we were very happy with our holidays. We went to lots of different places and whilst they were sometimes a bit patchy we always got by and enjoyed ourselves – and then there was the day the Lateral Life flyer arrived. Now we had never heard of Lateral Life or met Nick or Steve or anyone who had used them – but as we were planning a sabbatical we thought nothing ventured nothing gained… this was our first mistake. I met Nick about a month later (as he was having a dry January and wanted to share a bottle of wine when we met) in a wine bar where we chatted about life in general for a few hours over a few bottles. There was no hard sell or really much talk about holidays/sabbaticals – just the two of us having a chinwag as if we had known each other for 20 years. Anyway one thing led to another and we met several more times over lunch where we discussed our objectives (should we go east to New Zealand via the Far East or west to South America etc.). Nick was great at pointing out things that would have never occurred to me and exciting me with references to places I didn’t really know existed. Over a period of 4/5 months we developed a rough plan and then Steve appeared and put flesh on the bones by producing off his own bat a fully fleshed out 8 week itinerary for South America covering all the bases I wanted to tick off (Buenos Aires, Iguaçu falls, Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Atacama desert, Patagonia, Rio Carnival – you name it we did it). We fleshed this out over the next month refining it to take out things we didn’t want and add things in we did – immensely helped by Nick and Steve’s suggestions – nothing was too much trouble for them they were happy to refine the plan for as long as it took to get it precisely how we wanted. The trip itself was everything it said on the tin – it went smoothly, we were always met at airports and escorted the whole way .When there were changes to flights Steve had already anticipated it and emailed us with revised details – they don’t stop working on your behalf and checking up on how you are doing until you land back in the UK. They even offered to book restaurants for us when we were away. In short a personalised cheerful bespoke service that delivered everything it promised. Trouble is – our life is ruined as we will never feel satisfied with our usual holidays again If Lateral Life contact you be afraid … be very afraid. Thanks Nick and Steve – you gave us the holiday of a lifetime. Cheers
Sabbatical in Brazil
In preparing for our sabbatical in Brazil, we consulted a number of different travel providers. Lateral Life stood out as being more creative, more responsive and more personal than any of their rivals. As we developed our sabbatical plans, Nick and Steve took the time to get to know us and to tailor the plans to what we wanted to achieve from our time out. When we had to postpone our 6 week trip on just 48 hours’ notice, they were fantastic, jumping right in and reorganising the trip with the minimum of fuss. Superb! The trip itself was worth the wait, with a well-judged itinerary and a terrific mix of unforgettable experiences. Nick and Steve did a fantastic job, helping us realise our goals and even adjusting the programme as we went along to reflect our feedback. Job well done!
India & Bhutan
Hello Nick — just a quick note to thank you for your arrangements which all went spectacularly well. We had the best trip ever — India was mad and fun. Bhutan was simply amazing with stunning scenery, wonderful lodges etc. etc. – could not have been better. Our guide in Bhutan, Dorgi and his driver Penge, made the trip. Dorgi, or Encyclopaedia Bhutanica as he should be known, really gave us an insight and made the visit to his country thought provoking and interesting – and fun. Thanks very much…
Nick to just to say a huge thank you for planning our trip to Sri Lanka this Easter so brilliantly. It went without a hitch thanks to all your attention to detail. The wonderful first stop – Galle Face Hotel in Colombo – immediately transported us into another era – with the most gorgeous swimming pool where we could get over our jet lag and the hugest terrace I have ever seen off our beautiful room. Next stop, The Beach House in Tangalle, literally with the Indian Ocean outside our gate at the bottom of beautiful gardens, excellent staff and complete privacy, night time moonlight walks, body boarding in the waves. Then onto Yala National Park – magical safari where we saw several leopards, a rare sloth bear, crocodiles and an elephant actually in our camp!! Then onto the easy luxury of the Sun House in Galle and all its history. This holiday had everything – excitement, adventure, relaxation, wildlife, culture, wonderful people – but most importantly our off the beaten track idiosyncratic gorgeous accommodation. Our two children Mia and Kit will always remember this holiday as we will!
Kwazulu Natal – beaches, battlefields and beautiful mountains
Nick – this was the perfect lateral holiday destination for our family. It really had it all – the variety we were looking for. From the classy Oyster Box, to the stunning Drakensberg mountains, from the Zulu battlefields experience around Rorke’s Drift to the most luxurious safari lodge and game experience to die for at AmaKhosi, and from the wild beaches and amazing marine life at the shabby chic Rocktail back to the Oyster Box before flying home from Durban. A fabulous alternative to Cape Town/Garden route or the more well-trodden Jo’burg/Kruger route – I’d say this topped them all and would highly recommend it to any family looking for a holiday that has a bit of everything for everyone in the family Not to mention the fabulous weather and incredibly friendly people we met Brilliantly organised by you and your team as ever Nick – we loved it and thanks again
Sabbatical Trip – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, India
By a stroke of good fortune, the laterallife brochure crossed my desk just at the moment I was contemplating taking my sabbatical. What followed was nine months of planning with Nick and Steve and the team during which we debated itineraries and options – changing our minds a lot – until settling on the final agenda. They could not have been more helpful and responsive to every single query and suggestion that we made, no matter how potentially ‘out there’ they were. Their insightfulness added a different dimension and meant the whole planning process became part of the experience. What followed was the most amazing trip – Africa for six weeks and for the same. We were sometimes on the beaten track but more often off it as a result of laterallife’s input; experiencing things from a different perspective. The logistics worked like clockwork, every transfer went smoothly (and there were many!), which removed any stress from the travels. I could not recommend them more highly.”
Yearlong sabbatical around the world
We have been back from our yearlong sabbatical for just over a month now and are still heartbroken that the amazing and life-changing experience has come to an end. Nick and his team worked tirelessly on our trip, following us every step of the way from the initial planning stages (started 2 weeks before our third son was born!) right the way through every country and experience….good and bad! Nick is always a joy to spend time with, sharing stories and excitement about various cool destinations, always with a large glass of wine in hand. We will be forever thankful to Nick for introducing us to some truly amazing destinations. Nihiwatu in Sumba, Indonesia, really is a tropical paradise, an unbelievably interesting place. We were there for 15 minutes when we decided that we would definitely go back…..it could not have been more perfect for us. Similarly India – a big gamble for us with such young children (ours were only 10 months, 4 and 6 when we left the UK) – was a cultural bonanza and a huge contrast to our 5 months spent camper-vanning around Australia. Thankfully we listened to Nick and his team and took their advice on drivers, guides and nice accommodation in India. All my friends and family told me that I was crazy taking our family on a 2 month tour of India, mostly by minivan, but Nick’s team really did ensure we were in the safest of hands. Our children still talk fondly of the driver, Babu, and guide, Manjeet, who were 2 of the loveliest people you could ever meet and helped enrich our India experience, as well as happily mucking in with the kids. We also have Nick to thank for our month-long off-roading adventure in the Kimberley region of Australia, driving a Land Cruiser, with camping equipment slung on the roof, along the former cattle droving route from Broome to Darwin, known as the Gibb River Road. This part of the trip provided many of the highest moments (walking up gorges to swim in waterfalls, taking a family bath in the Zebedee Springs hot pools, and barbecuing with friends overlooking the McDonald ranges) and some of the lowest (trying to stop a 1 year old falling into the camp fire while bush camping!) but without doubt some of the best and funniest stories. If you asked our children what parts of the trip they liked best, there would be too many to count, but some of the highlights would be:: camping on the Gibb River Road, Diwali at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, surfing in Nihiwatu, blue whale-watching off the coast of Sri Lanka, and hanging out at a sheep station in the Flinders Ranges. For Brad and I we have a lifetime of amazing memories, happy times with our young family in sensational parts of the world, and the itchiest feet ever. All of these owe credit to Nick and his team, who will definitely push your boundaries if you are up for it. And if not, they know all the most wonderful, truly beautiful places to go to ensure you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience just like us.
Trip to Ecuador & Galapagos
We got home around 8.00 pm this evening after sitting in traffic on cold wet dark M4 from Heathrow all feeling a bit depressed to be back. Ecuador is so beautiful it’s hard to readjust one’s sights to a wintry urban environment! The trip was absolutely fantastic – we all had a great time and truly loved the adventuring – and it does feel quite adventurous when you’re lurching backwards and forwards on that boat heading out to Genovesa overnight and then find yourself plunging into the depths of the crater along with the hammerhead sharks!! The kids loved all the snorkelling including the deep-water stuff – they were up for all of it, the more adventurous the better as far as they were concerned. Our guide on the boat was great on the marine life and volcanic surroundings but not so good on the Darwinian theory of evolution (in fact he didn’t mention it at all!). The guides at Sacha Lodge were fantastic though, really really good and delightful people to be with as well – what an amazing environment that is. We were so entranced by toucans etc. that we even managed the canopy tree walk, terrifying though that was…! All in all a huge success, Casa Gangotena was fantastic and the staff could not have been more helpful. We changed one tour from a full day to a half day as we had to leave at 3.00 pm yesterday to check in and secure our seats which for some reason could not be done online – also we changed the tour a bit so that instead of doing all the churches we got them to take us out to the Middle of the World site on the equator, which the kids really enjoyed. We had had enough time the previous afternoon to walk around the old town so we had already seen the main square and the golden church (which was probably enough baroque to last any of us for a while!). Our guide on that tour, Giovanni, was really good and very nice as well.
So thank you so much for organising such a great trip, we all had a lovely time and are just so depressed to be back! Next we want to go to Machu Picchu, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina and Patagonia…
Sabbatical to SE Asia
What a wonderful trip. Every place in South East Asia was so different, from the beauty and friendliness of Laos; to the historic temples and villages of Cambodia; to the chaotic buzz of Vietnam. What was consistent was the excellence of Steve’s organisation, the efficiency and knowledge of the local guides and the fact that all elements of the experience exceeded expectations. Thank you.
Trip to Indonesia
Just a quick email to say we have had an amazing trip and many thanks for all your efforts. All the travel plans and bookings went well and we saw so many different places in a short time. The kids loved it too – Anna really enjoyed the Aman stay!
Sabbatical to Nicaragua & Costa Rica
Thanks to you and your team for creating and delivering our amazing family trip to Central America. You provided us with a wonderful itinerary which was very professionally fine-tuned and documented. The choice of locations and hotels were superb, in particular Xandari and Punta Islita in Costa Rica and Jicaro on Lake Granada in Nicaragua. These are some of the best hotels we have experienced! The local agents were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and professional and always waiting for us when we needed them – particularly in Nicaragua. We always felt secure with the children and appreciated the mix of excursions, tours and relaxation. They loved the forest canopy adventures, which as well as being great fun was a good learning experience for them, so much amazing wild life and scenery ‘up close and personal’. With so much variety and personalised service this trip was excellent value for money. Thank you.
Sabbatical to China
Last year, I spent a month in China, on a trip tailor-made for me by Nick & Steve at laterallife, with additional assistance in country from their local support. The trip was so memorable that it spawned a 232-page book that was published in May (“Middle Kingdom Journey – A Capitalist Road Trip” by Tim Bennett), and is an enduring testimonial to the magnificent experience, warts and all! This was no ordinary journey and encompassed some of the more remote countryside areas of Yunnan as well as privileged access to the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Terracotta Warriors.
Trip to SE Asia
Sitting by Singapore River and sadly leaving for UK this eve. Everything has gone amazingly well. We loved every minute. Great itinerary and guides. Thanks so much. We have come away enriched. Kind regards,
A Trip through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos
Following retirement we decided to have a 6 week trip to South America. Friends of ours introduced us to Nick Matthews. We explained to Nick what we were looking for from the trip and he added to this his recommendations and the services Lateral Life could offer. The result was our trip was organised with efficiency but also involved us at all times so that we ended up with the trip that we wanted. Prior to departure we received our travel pack and the attention to detail was impressive. At every arrival and departure point we were met by their ground staff removing any worry about getting to and from airports, hotels
or excursions. The personal care and attention we received added greatly to the enjoyment of our trip. It is when things go wrong that Lateral Life showed us how well chosen their agent connections were in the countries we visited. At one of our destinations a volcano erupted and as a result all flights were cancelled. Without any fuss, and to our relief, we found that our ground crew, instructed by Lateral Life, had arranged alternative transport and our trip carried on smoothly. This was very important to us as we had a very tight schedule packed with adventures which we did not want to miss!! We have recently being on a further successful trip organised by Nick Matthews and would highly recommend Lateral Life to you. Yours sincerely,
Family Sabbatical, 14 months and 20 countries around the Americas
Nick Matthews has mentioned to me that you are considering using Lateral Life for your planned sabbatical and that you’d be interested to hear from some people who have worked with Nick and his team before on their sabbatical. In short, my family (Virginia and 3 kids ages 5, 6 and 8 when we left) went on our trip leaving England July ’09 and returned end August ’10. Having been lucky enough to travel to many parts of the world, we decided to focus our trip on part of the world we hadn’t been to before – namely the Americas – North, Central and South. We planned our whole trip across 21 countries with Nick advising us throughout in the planning stage, which included decisions on the overall route as well as detailed itineraries for each country. This phase was great fun and was planned over a period of several months with us working together to come up with an overall itinerary tailor made to our needs taking in the vast experience of Nick and his team. Nick’s service didn’t stop there. His network of ground handlers in each country came into effect before, during and after crossing each border who made sure we were looked after on the ground so to speak, while at the same time Nick kept in touch with us throughout to ensure he was over-seeing the whole operation and be available if needed in case plans needed to change or problems happened (which they rarely did). We had the trip of a lifetime which we will always treasure and we really couldn’t have done it without Nick and his team. Their expertise, knowledge, honesty and all round service were exemplary and I couldn’t recommend him more highly. We were so grateful we even invited him to join us at the end of our trip and he stayed with our family in the villa we had rented in Mexico – you obviously don’t have to go that far!!! As I said, my wife and I would be more than happy to answer any questions or share any aspects of the learning’s we picked up throughout the whole process so feel free to contact us.
Sabbatical to India & SE Asia
Mark and Adam asked us/laterallife to plan a “we like our creature comforts high end trip”. After much discussion we decided to open their eyes with a first time journey through India, Bhutan, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. I thought I might delete the first paragraph but decided it read better as a direct quote!! Holidays get expensive when you demand a living room with every single room for 3 months combined with mandatory front of the plane seats everywhere!! You can see the trip under our Sabbatical examples. This is what Mark and Adam thought about us!! Nick Matthews. “Lateral Life is not a cheap and cheerful outfit – it’s what I’d call reassuringly expensive. And I’m delighted to say that with Nick and the team you get what you pay for. The planning process is first rate – they can take a brief; tailor a package to your exact needs; push you a little bit to do things – or at least think about doing things – you hadn’t considered. In short, they are exactly what we wanted from our travel experts. Our trip took us from the southern tip of India, north through Rajasthan and Delhi to beautiful Bhutan (a must!) and then a loop through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma (another must!). All the travel logistics (twenty six flights and countless road journeys through some challenging territory) worked very well and the hotels and other venues were exactly what we asked for. On the odd occasion that we encountered a problem – and on a big trip there will ALWAYS be problems – the team in London and on the ground were first class. Their fixer in India was like a heat-seeking missile! A crucial parting thought about the planning process. The key to success is to be crystal clear about exactly what you want – and to be prepared to take Lateral advice. The only time we encountered hiccups during a massive three month, eight country, 92-day adventure was when we hadn’t been clear with Nick’s team about our expectations (I always need to fly at the front of the plane – partly because I suffer from claustrophobia and partly because I’m a ‘turn left’ snob – but forgot to mention this!!) or where we hadn’t properly taken on board Nick’s advice (we went a bit too five star and should have taken Nick’s advice to variegate our journey between gold plated and adventurous). So we’d have absolutely no hesitation in giving Nick and his team a very Lateral endorsement – they’re terrific at what they do, and they’re also thoroughly decent and likeable people.”
Sri Lankan Travels
Nick, Just a quick note to say thank you. You were so spot on with everything, destination, type of accommodation and even climate (we were glad of the odd shower to relieve the heat!). We had a wonderful time and were extremely well looked after. Geoffrey Dobb’s outfit was exceptional as executed by the lovely Henri and Palm 23 was different but perfect too. Lateral Life’s prep and info was excellent (Octavius’ wallet may say too good!) and In Style were very good the other end. All in the right order, with the right level of relaxed luxury. Nick, you are a genius. Sorry this is brief, as always the first few days back have been busy.
Speak soon and our huge thanks,
Sabbatical Trip to West Coast USA and Canada
Nick at laterallife organised the trip of a lifetime for our family. No detail was too small and no trouble too much in his planning and execution of our journey. He even went as far as meeting the whole family to discuss exactly what each of us really wanted to do on the trip, after 5 planning sessions we went on what was the trip of a lifetime – Nick and his team at laterallife organised things we only thought we would read about in books or see in films. It was simply superb and went without a hitch
Sabbatical to Asia
Hi Nick, Thank you so much for organizing our amazing adventures. Our sabbatical has been amazing throughout and we are so pleased that we asked you to organize it for us. Had it not been for your input at the planning stage we would have missed some of the places that we enjoyed most – I had never heard of Ngapali beach for instance. And you steered us away from one or two places that I had initially fancied but you knew I wouldn’t like such as Koh Samui. One of your USPs is that you take the time to find out about your clients and their likes and dislikes so that you can tailor the trip to their specific needs. Every place that we have stayed has been just spot on. One of our fellow passengers on the Jayavarman told us that he had asked another supposedly bespoke travel company for a suggested itinerary and they had done nothing more than provide a quote for the draft itinerary he had suggested with no value added. Our trip could not have run more smoothly which was a great achievement given the complexity of the itineraries. I doubt that we could have organised all the transfers ourselves. The detailed itinerary/illustrated travel book you provided once all the details had been sorted was extremely useful for reminding us where we should be when and also was a huge source of pleasure both as we anticipated our trip and as a reminder of where we had been. The guides provided were without exception amazing. Knowledgeable efficient and personable. As you know we were initially reluctant to have guides as we like doing our own thing. However, we would not have got half so much out of the experience had we not had the guides. We were taken straight to where ever we needed to go in comfort and no fuss. Nothing was too much trouble for any of them. We were met at each airport and whisked off to our accommodation. Best of all was the greeting service at Colombo where we were taken through immigration separately before being offered refreshments in the VIP lounge. Having travelled twice with Lateral Life we are now extremely spoiled and would find it difficult to travel any other way. Thanks again and best wishes
50th Birthday Trip around the World
We came across Nick through two longstanding friends and Nick put together a round the World 50th birthday trip for myself, Lissy and our three children. It was 5 ½ weeks over December 2005 and into January 2006. It included organisation of private planes, helicopters etc. and was great + went very smoothly. We have been pleased to use Lateral Life since then, also with very good results and experiences. We have no hesitation in recommending Nick and Lateral Life; he is well travelled and current with what goes.
Enjoy your trip!