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.
Marvel at wildlife as day breaks over the stunning Okavango Delta.
Watch birds soar over Table Mountain in the early hours.
Appreciate the picturesque beauty of Deià at dawn.
Traverse olive groves and oak forests of Tuscany in the early hours.
Be spellbound by the 'je ne sais quoi' of sunrise by a river.
Gaze at the beauty of Iguassu Falls at sunrise for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Experienced the fabled five towers of Angkor Wat at sun-dappled dawn.
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, Eagle Island Lodge is uniquely placed to take in the magic of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
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"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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Botswana, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
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.
"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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Cape Town, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
Set in the heart of Iguassu National Park, 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.
"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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Iguassu Falls, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
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.
"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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Mallorca, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
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.
“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.
Delve into the experience of first light in France, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
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.
“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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Tuscany, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.
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.
“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.
Delve into the experience of first light in Siem Reap, in partnership with Leica Sport Optics.