Karvansarai

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"Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places."

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

KARVANSARAI

Karvansarai is a travel design company where we, Tara Lal, Alessandra Sikand and Alon Cassidy, share with you our passion for exploring our incredible world, with our personal photography and stories, and get you dreaming and inspired for your next adventure!

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Wherever we travel, however long or short, we like to truly live a place and become a part of its fabric, through the people we meet and the stories they tell. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ there are so many different perspectives from which to experience any place. We share with you our own kaleidoscope, travelling as we would, based on a true story   …our story.

  • 13
    Countries Lived
  • 7
    Months Locked Down in the Congo Basin Rainforest
  • 85
    Countries Travelled

WHAT DO WE DO?

Travel Design – drawing on our first-hand knowledge, many years of working in the luxury hospitality industry in various continents and extensive network of travel specialists, we personally plan with you where to go, what to experience, who to meet & especially what to eat!

Specialised Trips – a carefully vetted selection of one off specialised small group trips with fixed departures as well as Private Guiding in the Congo Basin and our Conscious Journeys.

Expeditions – we passionately wander in unfamiliar places to learn, expand our mind, push boundaries, connect with others and challenge our ideas! We take that one and one more turn around just one more corner to discover who or what’s there and we share our discoveries with you. An opportunity to wander with us!

Hospitality – a range of services drawing on our roots in hotel management from business development, sustainability consulting, to relief management.

Products – all sorts of cool items that have been curated from our travels to shop the change we would like in this world and a selection of our Photos and Prints.

What We Support – There are numerous innovative grassroots projects across the globe led by wonderful and inspiring individuals making the world we live in such a special place. Heroes are all around us, quietly doing work on a small scale yet creating a huge impact. We would like to help tell their stories and support their initiatives.

Karvansarai the full
story
ALESSANDRA Co-founder, Co-wanderer & Owner
ALESSANDRA
Co-founder, Co-wanderer & Owner
coming from
currently exploring
  • Rwanda
  • Coming From
    Central African Rep.
  • Currently Exploring
    Kenya
  • Off To Next
    Uganda
  • Malawi

Made to confuse, Alessandra’s adventures began with nearly being born in transit between Hong Kong and Tokyo to a Swiss-German mother and a New Yorker Punjabi father. She finally decided on a Japanese birth certificate and then lived in the US, Turkey, Spain, Italy, India, UK, and Thailand before becoming a complete nomad, living out of her suitcase for three years and then on a boat in Miami Beach.

After completing an MSc in Sociology and Social Policy at the London School of Economics, with a dream to explore the world in a meaningful and responsible way, Alessandra’s career in hospitality began with the Conrad Bangkok. Subsequently she worked with the opening team of the Aman New Delhi and then held various positions at SUJAN Luxury Hotels, including as Resident Manager of their Relais & Chateaux property, Sher Bagh, in Ranthambhore, India. In this last position of managing a luxury tented camp in a tiger reserve she found a place that had made her dream of meaningful and responsible travel a reality.

After six years in the hospitality industry, in 2013 she began a new nomadic adventure with Karvansarai, designing travel experiences with a focus on conservation whilst consulting hotels on their ecological, social and economic sustainability, staying true to her dreams.

Follow Alessandra on Instagram

Travel It’s intoxicating, like falling in love over and over again

Intellectual Spirit Animal A dragonfly, adaptable and living in the moment

Spirit Animal of my Heart A dolphin, playful and curious

Most Humbling Experiences Being in the presence of a Tiger, rehabilitating an injured Pangolin, random acts of kindness from complete strangers

Ongoing Obsessions Be the change and inspiration to eliminate single use items in every part of life, reduce carbon footprint, protect primary forests and all its creatures, create equal opportunity for all, empower women, support pangolin research and awareness

TARA Co-founder & Co-wanderer
TARA
Co-founder & Co-wanderer
coming from
currently exploring
  • Malta
  • Coming From
    Maldives
  • Currently Exploring
    India
  • Off To Next
    United Kingdom
  • Kenya

Tara was born under the travel star and takes travel and stars very seriously. Born in New Delhi, she has lived in India, Germany, USA, Italy, England and France.

Tara obtained degrees in architectural history at Smith College Massachusetts and architecture at the AA London, and as a foodie, trained in Cuisine and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She’s worked as a set decorator on the film West is West and has her own design label, Tara Lal Designs.

After working with Good Earth for many years, she co-founded Karvansarai and completed an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. Tara is now on her latest adventure of exploring the world of wildlife conservation with her foundation Wild Blue.

Follow Tara on Instagram

ALON Partner & Co-wanderer
ALON
Partner & Co-wanderer
coming from
currently exploring
  • South Africa
  • Coming From
    Central African Rep.
  • Currently Exploring
    Kenya
  • Off To Next
    Uganda
  • Malawi

Born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, Alon soon realised that the great outdoors was calling him. Family camping trips around Southern Africa nurtured a love of nature and an adventurous spirit. Aged 6 he presided over a frog colony in Mozambique and at 7 he spotted his first Angola Pitta (now African Pitta).

After breaking off to study Fine Art at Rhodes University Grahamstown for a year Alon re-engaged his passion for nature, qualifying as a FGASA certified guide. He then joined Sangha Lodge, in the Central African Republic, as a naturalist guide. Alon soon became skilled in all aspects of lodge management working in the challenging environment of the Congo Basin rainforest combined with a practical approach to his work. Following the Coup d’etat, in 2013, he volunteered at the Mabula Ground Hornbill reintroduction project. In late 2013 he started working as a guide for Congo Conservation Company in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo. In 2018 Congo Conservation Company started a partnership with Sangha Lodge in Central African Republic, and he returned to Sangha Lodge to assist with a complete renovation of the property.

Alon is now expanding on his passion for travel and conservation, sharing his experience from the Congo Basin to lodges and camps around the world. He continues to private guide in the Congo Basin and makes prints from his travel photography.

Follow Alon on Instagram

Karvansarai

We encourage all of our travellers to explore and discover – build their own relationships, plant their own roots and create their own unforgettable memories with a little bit of inspiration and guidance from us.

What is the meaning of
Karvansarai?

Kārvānsarāi
(Persian for Caravanserai)
back in the day was a roadside inn located along the trade routes, a meeting point of different cultures and people, where travellers shared stories of their adventures from faraway places and exchanged information about roads travelled and roads ahead. Welcome to our virtual Karvansarai, journey into the fabric of the places we love and discover what lies within you.