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First Light

Set off on an exclusive First Light nature walk and discover the magic of a new day with Belmond and Leica Sport Optics

Break of dawn. A gentle light steals over the landscape, grass glistens and lakes, sea and rivers twinkle in the first rays of sun. This time of day is exceptionally mesmerising at Belmond, for our hotels, trains and cruises are surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders and heritage sites—some exclusively accessed at dawn. 

So we’re thrilled to have partnered with Leica Sport Optics to create a series of dawn walks and experiences for you. Join a Leica photography or wildlife expert or head off on a self-guided walk, using powerful binoculars to spot flora, fauna along the way.

Which daybreak adventure will you choose?


Belmond Safari


Marvel at wildlife as day breaks over the stunning Okavango Delta. Discover more

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Cape Town

Watch birds soar over Table Mountain in the early hours. Discover more

Belmond La Residencia


Appreciate the picturesque beauty of Deià at dawn. Discover more

Belmond Castello di Casole


Traverse olive groves and oak forests of Tuscany in the early hours. Discover more

Belmond Afloat in France


Be spellbound by the je ne sais quoi of sunrise by a river. Discover more

Belmond Grand Hibernian


Get a closer look at Ireland’s patchwork beauty at dawn. Discover more

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas


Gaze at the beauty of Iguassu Falls at sunrise for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Discover more

Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor

Siem Reap

Experienced the fabled five towers of Angkor Wat at sun-dappled dawn. Discover more

Belmond Road to Mandalay


Spot colorful birds and rolling hills from daybreak on deck. Discover more

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Canoes at dawn in the Okavango Delta

First Light in Botswana

Tap into your spirit of adventure and see Botswana’s awe-inspiring wildlife like never before. Head out in the gentle dawn light by mokoro or helicopter to observe elephants eating berries from jackalberry trees. Or look out for the shy Pel’s fishing owl, roosting after a night’s hunting.

Perched on an island in the Okavango Delta, Belmond Eagle Island Lodge is uniquely placed to take in the magic of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Illustration of elephant

Expert Insight on Botswana

"You have the entire day in front of you. It’s your choice to seize it." —Marc Stickler, Wildlife Photographer & Leica Global Ambassador

First Light is a time where your mind is focused, and your feelings are at ease. The light during this short period is remarkable, and it adds a totally unique feeling when walking through the African bush. Then you encounter the wildlife, and your pulse quickens as the excitement kicks in.

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Cape Town

Sunrise over table top mountain

First Light in Cape Town

Towering high above Cape Town, Table Mountain not only offers stunning coastal vistas but is a pristine natural paradise. Follow our gentle mountain trail and be mesmerised as dawn illuminates the sparkling sea.

Spot beautiful native birds, small mammals and the dazzling flowers of the fynbos. The early morning views of Lion’s Head, Robben Island and the Waterfront will leave you entranced.

Illustration of native cape flora

Expert Insight

"It doesn't matter where you go in the Western Cape, there is beauty all around you.." —Michael Edwards, Nature Expert & Photographer & Leica Global Ambassador

What is the actual difference between the light at the start of the day and the light at the end of the day? The first light is fresh, and you are wanting to achieve something positive. Your mental outlook is positive, and you are going out looking for new fresh things.

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Iguassu Falls at daybreak

First Light in Iguassu

Set in the heart of Iguassu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas offers you unparalleled access to the falls at sunrise—when the park is closed to outside visitors.

Follow a quiet trail through lush rainforest teeming with wildlife. Watch the rising sun send rays of rainbow-hued light through the spray. Encounter exotic birds and coatis to a thundering soundtrack of 275 cascades.

Illustration of a toucan

Expert Insight

"Guests have unparalleled access to the park..." —Luke Massey, Nature Expert & Photographer & Leica Global Ambassador

Standing alone at the Devil’s throat, watching the Great Dusky Swifts cutting through the ivory curtain, which sparkles golden silver in the new light.

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Large rock formations by the sea at daybreak

First Light in Deià, Mallorca

​Tucked between the ​mountains and the sea on Mallorca’s northwest coast, Deià is entrancing at any time of day. But at dawn, as an ethereal glow emerges, it takes on a whole new beauty.

Let your senses come alive to the day’s new sounds: excited birdsong, scurrying wildlife, waves lapping the shore.

Illustration of a bird and an olive branch

Expert Insight

"I feel at one with nature and can completely disconnect from daily routine. " —Sebastià Torrens, Nature Expert & Photographer

Nature walks allow me to soak up the peaceful atmosphere and appreciate the beauty of my surroundings, illuminated in the morning light.

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Boat gliding along a canal at daybreak

First Light in France

Golden light highlighting the details of an ancient chateaux. Dewy flowers lining the riverbank. Crisp air mingling with gentle birdsong. Chirping insects and the lull of the ebbing waves.

Discover the enchantment of first light from a peaceful flowing river, where dawn is even more sensational.

illustration of a bunch of grapes

Expert Insight

“For me, first light is something very special that starts at night time. The promise for a new day begins. It's a moment of calm, where I'm listening out for what's happening right here and now.” Tibo, Artist & Photographer

Everything is possible at the start of a new day. Become inspired by the marvelous nature around you and channel that positivity into the rest of your day.

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Ducks in a pond

First Light in Ireland

Capture the colours of the Emerald Isle at dawn, where early rays adorn landscapes with an ethereal beauty.

Picturesque Ireland is known for its warm hospitality and craic, but it also boasts a wealth of fascinating wildlife. Wake before the rest of the world to spot rare flora and fauna flourish in crystal detail.

Illustration of four-leaf clovers

Expert Insight

“Experiencing morning sunshine on the river Deena is unrivalled. Waters flow in a gentle breeze, the pastel sky reflected on its surface [...] Let the fresh breeze embrace you, soaking up nature.” - Luke Massey, Wildlife & Nature Photographer

From the Belmond Grand Hibernian, an ever-changing landscape sweeps past your carriage window. It crowns the rest of your journey as one inspired by first light.

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Castello di Casole set atop a Tuscan hill

First Light in Tuscany

With its rolling hills and fragrant forests, Tuscany is already a picturesque haven with varied wildlife. But heading out at dawn affords you countless opportunities.

Glimpse colourful pheasants hiding in the alfalfa fields, or perhaps a wild boar snuffling on the forest fringes. Marvel at the exotic plumage of birds soaring in the sky. Nature is made all the more beautiful by the sunrise.

Illustration of a pheasant

Expert Insight

“I was really excited to rediscover [Tuscany] during first light with a fresh photographic approach. Nothing compares to the scent of the olive groves and trees during a quiet walk in the early hours.” Marco Casino, Leica Photographer

The rolling hills and vineyards of Castello di Casole are the perfect home for many plants and animals. Its beauty has inspired generations of photographers.

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Siem Reap

Sunrise above Cambodian temples

First Light in Cambodia

Gathering in hushed silence by the temple moat of Angkor Wat. Watch in wonder as swifts dart over the water and the sky turns deep orange to rosy pink. Become spellbound by the sight of the iconic five towers emerging, silhouetted against the skyline.

Afterwards, plunge into the encircling jungle for a nature trek where you may spot spectacular birds, from ruby-cheeked sunbirds to hair-crested drongos.

illustration of a bird

Expert Insight

“First light at the heart of Angkor Wat is, above all, an encounter with a landscape that has remained unchanged for almost a thousand years.” Tibo, Artist & Photographer

It’s in these rare moments, where nature holds us in spellbound wonder, that we realise what really matters is the here and now.

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Hot air balloons soaring over Bagan

First Light in Myanmar

Awake at dawn to appreciate the Yangon river’s animal life as they go about their daily morning rituals.

Listen and spot birds as they soar and squawk above in the colourful sky. With an ever-changing landscape, take a front-row seat on deck and marvel at nature’s performance.

Expert Insight

"When we arrive in an unknown country, we're greeted by the gift of first light from a fresh perspective." Tibo, Artist & Photographer

Though we celebrate nature’s diversity, there’s a comfort in knowing wherever we are, we can experience the magic of a morning sunrise.

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