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LUXURY RESORTS: Lupita Island, Tanzania  
Style: Where Africa and Asia meets
Scene: One private prehistoric-jungle island
Seen in the lobby: Adventurers in business and pleasure

Venture Capitalist extraordinary, Tim Draper loves the wildness of Africa and its potential for adventure. The love affair began when the California-based Draper first went on safari years ago and has endured enough for Draper to put his money where his heart is as one of the investors in a new East African resort, Lupita Island. Recently he returned Tanzania to celebrate one of those significant  birthdays, the Big Five-O, on Lupita Island on Lake Tanganyika . The resort is run by luxury safari company, Firelight Expeditions.

room with a view
room with a view
accomadation
exterior
pool
the view
seating area

For my 50th birthday, my wife and I celebrated with our closest friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world: Lupita Island. Many people do not know that Lake Tanganyika is not only the world's second largest freshwater lake but it is also the second-deepest. In addition to having a private island to ourselves in the middle of this incredible lake, Firelight Expeditions arranged amazing trips for our group to places that few outsiders visit: Katavi and the Mahale Mountains.

Upon arrival, everyone's breath was taken away by the beauty of this place. The 130-acre island is surrounded by prehistoric, lush indigenous forest and open grassland. With sandy beaches along the coastline, Lupita offers absolute immersion in nature at its finest. The thirteen open-air villas are completely private and each comes with a living room, adjacent bedroom with four-poster bed, open-air bathroom with a rock shower and stone bathtub, and the most stunning views of the lake.
 
One of my favourite afternoon pleasures was sitting in our plunge pool outside of our room taking in the gorgeous views of the surrounding lake and neighbouring islands.
 
The principles of Lupita Island, Belinda and Tom Lithgow, travelled the world to bring back the best furnishings from Turkey, India and South Africa for the interiors of the rooms. My wife and I were so comfortable in our 1,800 square foot room that we had a hard time leaving. We really liked the design with the thatched-roofs made from local grasses. One of my favourite afternoon pleasures was sitting in our plunge pool outside of our room taking in the gorgeous views of the surrounding lake and neighbouring islands.

For the first few days at Lupita Island, we took a helicopter ride to Kalambo Falls, kayaked around the island, and snorkelled and scuba-dived in Lake Tanganyika. In the evening, we enjoyed cocktails at sunset and terrific meals by the chef. I even visited the gym, which has some of the best views on the island, for a few workouts. On the fourth day our group split up into two groups: one visited the chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, the other went on safari at Katavi National Park. It was a great way for our group to experience other parts of Tanzania. When everyone returned to Lupita Island, we were looking forward to a few more days of pure relaxation. We visited a local fishing village, where villagers lived in simple huts with thatched roofs. Their livelihood consisted of fishing and curing the fish in several different ways. The impact Lupita Island has had on the local village has been tremendous. I couldn't have imagined a better way to celebrate my birthday. The staff at Lupita Island were gracious, hospitable and took care of every need. We look forward to returning in the near future.

The Luxury Travel Bible insider says ...
Adults will already know that the legendary Tim Draper (Founder and MD of Draper Fisher Jurvetson) is often credited with being the creator of ' viral marketing' and is one of the world's most successful venture capitalists. Your kids will be much more interested in the fact that Draper is also in The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie and TV series on Nickelodeon as the Amigos Elementary School's principal Joe Schmoke. Polly Draper, Tim's sister wrote, directed and executive produced the TV series starring her two sons Nat and Alex Wolff. Tim Draper's children have also starred in the project: Eleanor Draper as Tessy, Adam Draper as Donnie Timmerman, Billy Draper as Billy Timmerman, and Jesse Draper as Jesse Cook.

Contact: info@firelightexpeditions.com 
Ultimate Luxury:  A private helicopter ride to Kalambo Falls
Most Indulgent Moment: relaxing in a plunge pool with a lake view
Insider Secrets: the gym has some of the best views on the island
The Little Things: Attentive staff
Junior Luxies: No specific facilities but welcome
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Resorts Link: www.firelightexpeditions.com
 
Tim Draper  1/8/10
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