Polly Nightingale
On a cold February, with the wind howling outside, ice on the pavements and roads, and oppressive grey skies it’s all too easy to feel the chill. If you feel yourself succumbing, I may have just the thing. I find there’s nothing like a real fire, as it crackles and spits away, to provide some intensive heat therapy. Just thinking about it starts to do the trick.

So here are few to warm you up:

Picture the scene: you’ve been out hiking or horse riding in the Andes Mountains, drinking in the pure air and admiring views of the sweeping valleys and lofty peaks. Now you’re sitting beside a roaring log fire, basking in its glow and heat. There’s something almost mesmeric about those flickering flames and the crackle of the burning wood. Welcome to Hacienda Zuleta, a working farm in the Ecuadorian Andes owned by the family of a former president no less, and one of our firm favourites.


Or maybe you ‘re newly arrived in Peru, and are now sinking into the plush red velvet sofa in the lounge of La Casona, Cusco’s first boutique hotel. It’s a grand 16th century manor house, possibly the first Spanish building in town, and is full of character with original features like thick stone walls, murals, carved columns and elegant archways. With just 11 suites you’re in select company. As you watch fire’s fames leap and dance in the enormous hearth you start day dreaming about the holiday to come, and soon surrender to the twin delights of comfort and warmth.


The light is beginning to fade after a long day on safari. You’ve been up since dawn, tracking and viewing wildlife, absorbing nuggets of information from your guide, capturing precious moments with your camera and storing yet others your memory. Now, back in camp, it’s time to unwind. Sitting by the camp fire, you’re drawn to the flames’ ever-changing shapes. Sundowner drink in hand, you reflect on the day’s events with fellow guests and toast another amazing day in the wild.


The camp fire is a quintessential part of the African safari experience, and sitting round the fire, swapping stories, sharing laughter and enjoying a G&T as the sun sets is something you’ll enjoy at camps across southern and eastern Africa. These particular examples show Selinda Explorer’s Camp in Botswana, Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire, Uganda’s Lake Mburo Mantana Tented Camp and Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde, Malawi.

Just gazing into those flames is therapeutic, as you start to feel warmer. Close your eyes, dream and you could be there, or pick up the phone and call us and soon you WILL be there!