Innovative travel companies such as African Safari Company (http://www.africansafarico.com/) recognize and respond to the fact that today’s well-versed traveler often seeks deeper cultural and historical immersion along with the traditional game sightings while on safari.
“These adventures are about digging deeper into the heart and soul of Africa and learning about her people through their art, historical and modern day cultures and getting beyond the usual destinations to meet the local people,” says Julia Nesbitt, director of sales and marketing. “We are always on the lookout for rare and enriching experiences that can transform a trip into an unforgettable journey.”
Nesbitt shares three culturally focused safaris offered by African Safari Company.
South Africa Art & Wildlife Safari is a must for connoisseurs seeking exclusive access to the finest lodges and the most unforgettable art and culture experiences. The tour begins in Johannesburg and concludes in Cape Town, immersing guests in private art collections in lodgings en route. This 12-day/11-night safari is available year round from $8,880 per person, double.
A cultural exploration of Johannesburg begins with a private tour of Brenthurst Gardens on an Oppenheimer estate (think diamond mines). Guests visit Mark Valentine’s much loved African artworks shop, Amatuli Fine Art, and stroll through Rosebank's art strip, home to some of South Africa’s most famous contemporary and commercial art galleries. Nesbitt also recommends a visit to the world-renowned Apartheid Museum to help traveler’s put the day’s art into a wider historical perspective.
On Day 3, guests transfer by light aircraft directly into Madikwe Private Game Reserve (recognized as one the top place for wildlife conservation), home of Mateya Lodge and one of the world’s finest collections of African art. After a leisurely stay here, on Day 7 guests depart by air for Cape Town’s Ellerman House and its striking modern art collection. Guests explore Cape Peninsula, an African Penguin colony, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (said to be Africa’s loveliest), winelands and Cape Town’s thriving arts community. See: http://www.africansafarico.com/safari/art-wildlife-safari/.
Nesbitt points out that now is a good time to travel to South Africa because the rand is weak against the dollar, which means Americans may enjoy more luxury for less.
Tanzania Wildlife, Culture & Beach Safari embraces families, with a myriad of activities that both young and old will enjoy. This program is available year-round from $8,680 per person, double (ages 7 to 11 from $4,880 per person double). This trip seamlessly combines local cultures, wildlife reserves and the beaches of the Spice Island as guests walk with a Maasai warrior, hunt with the Hadzabe Bushmen, learn about farming from a Datoga farmer, visit Olduvai Gorge where the origins of mankind were found and visit with local fishermen and schoolchildren on the beaches of Zanzibar.
Adventurers begin this 14-day/13-night safari after transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha to Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary. On Days 2 and 3 guests enjoy the huge baobab trees and elephant families in Tarangire National Park. One morning, travelers walk with a Maasai guide who reveals his culture and tribal history. Accommodations for two nights are at Maramboi Camp with views of Manyara National Park, Rift Valley and the Ngorongoro highlands. Day 4 brings guests to Lake Manyara National Park described as one of the most beautiful places in Africa, home to unique tree-climbing lions.
Then participants walk, hunt (with bow and arrow) and gather (roots and wild fruits) with Hadzabe Bushmen on Day 5, followed by a visit with Datoga farmers. Overnight is at Ngorongoro Farmhouse near Ngorongoro Crater, followed by a full day exploring the Crater, a World Heritage site. En route to Serengeti National Park is a stop to view Olduvai Gorge where an early form of man was found in 1959. Home this night is Camp Zebra, a portable camp that follows the huge herds of wildebeest and zebra on their annual migration through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. After the Serengeti comes a flight to Zanzibar for a four-night stay at family-owned and run Unguja Lodge that is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens. Guests transfer the final day from Zanzibar Airport to Dar es Salaam for departing international flights. See:
Rivers & Communities Safari - Botswana and Zambia encourages guests to engage with the charitable organization Pack for a Purpose before leaving home as all the camps and lodges on this safari support schools and clinics with ongoing lists of basic needs that guests can help fulfill.
Muchenje Safari Lodge supports Mabele Primary School, Tongabezi supports The Tujatane Tongabezi Trust School, and Old Mondoro supports Conservation Lower Zambezi , an educational conservation NGO, all of which guests may visit. This is a 9-day/8-night program offered during the dry season of June through November. Rates are from $5,490 per person double. Guests transfer from Botswana’s Kasane airport to access Chobe National Park’s Muchenje Lodge on the Chobe River to begin a safari encompassing three parks on two rivers, the Chobe and Zambezi, and two countries, Botswana and Zambia. Activities include day and night game drives, boat, canoe and walking safaris, and catch & release fishing.
On Days 4 and 5 guests lodge near Livingstone, the historic colonial town famous for its proximity to Victoria Falls, one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World and the largest sheet of falling water on earth. The final destination is Lower Zambezi National Park, one of Africa’s most scenic wildernesses, home to an impressive quantity and variety of wildlife that can be viewed not only on the more usual land-based safari activities but also on a variety of water-based activities and in the camps themselves. Lodging is at Old Mondoro Camp, a unique private safari camp overlooking a maze of hippo-inhabited islands. Departures are by light air to Lusaka or back to Livingstone to connect with international flights home. See: http://www.africansafarico.com/safari/rivers-community-safari/
About African Safari Company & Small Ship Safaris
Mike Nesbitt, a native of South Africa, and daughter Julia bring an intimate knowledge of wildlife migrations, climate variables and cultural opportunities to the African Safari Company that he founded in 1998. Specializing in small group travel and custom safaris for the independent and inquisitive adventurer, the company carefully vets each lodge, camp and safari partner they work with in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.
A new division launched in 2013, Small Ship Safaris features a similar exotic adventure experience - on water instead of land. Expedition ships for between 16 and 210 guests transport wildlife and nature enthusiasts to remote areas of Alaska, Hawaii, Amazon, Polar Regions, Baja Sea of Cortez, Galapagos and Patagonia.
For more information, itineraries, availability and reservations please call: 1.800.414.3090 or 206.284.7682; or visit: http://www.africansafarico.com/ orhttp://www.smallshipsafaris.com/.
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