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We Know Namibia

April 10th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

For a truly unspoiled and authentic experience, a visit to Namibia is a must. It’s a place of great contrasts with seas of soft sand dunes and lush greenery. For seekers of the remote and profound, Namibia offers a one-of-a-kind wilderness experience with a landscape inhabited by incredible desert-adapted plant and animal life.

Here are our top five reasons to visit Namibia:

  1.  Skeleton Coast
    The wild Skeleton Coast coastline is home to Cape fur seals, black-backed jackals and the rare, brown hyena. Swirling mists brew where shipwrecks rest along the shorelines where a scenic flight over the dramatic landscape is the only way to see this unique region.
     

  2. Damaraland
    Known as the land of the rhinos, Damaraland is recognized as having the largest free-roaming black rhino population in Africa. From Rhino tracking to nature walks to game drives where you can see desert-adapted wildlife including giraffe, zebra and elephant, you will definitely want to explore this miraculous ecosystem.
     
  3. Sunshine
    Did you know that Namibia has an average of 300 days of sunshine per year? That makes it one of the sunniest countries in the world. The hot and dry climate make it a pleasurable safari vacation with most travelers preferring to travel during the months of May-October.
     

  4. Soussusvlei
    As Namibia’s most iconic landscape, the red sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park tower more than 900 feet above the surrounding plains. The spectacular landmark is a photographer’s dream with many visitors opting to climb the dunes for surreal views of the landscape.
     

  5. Cheetah
    Known as “Cheetah country,” Namibia is home to one third of the world’s entire cheetah population. Although they aren’t part of the Big Five, a trip to Africa wouldn’t be complete without seeing one and with Namibia having one of the densest cheetah populations, a visit offers the best chance to see these magnificent creatures.

If cheetahs, seeing the iconic red sand dunes and a truly authentic experience are part of your bucket list, why not book your safari vacation with African Travel, Inc. and discover the best of Namibia? Check out African Travel’s Namibia Desert Escape or speak to one of our Safari Specialists to create your own tailor-made safari.

All photo credits: Jessica Lynn Gafford

Getting Catty at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

April 4th, 2017, by

The following story by journalist Dana Hammond, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and a regular contributor to AAA publications, first appeared in Horizons magazine. Or, Horizons and Your AAA magazines.

People say a leopard can’t change its spots, but I say watching a leopard can change people. I saw that happen for myself while on a safari with African Travel at the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. Bouncing across the wild tundra in an open safari vehicle with just a few like-minded souls, we were homebound for the eco-chic Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge after our first exhilarating game drive. Visions of mud-splashed hippos, lumbering rhinos, elephants of all sizes and myriad antelope already decorated our memories.

As we drove the air swirled around us like an embrace, still warm and welcoming as the the last wisps of sunlight left the sky. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a bright beam of light caught the eyes and eventually illuminated the full coat of a leopard on the prowl. Surely Mother Nature took her most fashion-forward stance when she dressed the leopard in such spectacular finery from head to toe, and I couldn’t help thinking we were privileged to spy the ultimate cat walk. Our tracker spotlighted the animal for only a brief moment. It was simply a glimpse of what was to come.

Sabi Sands sits adjacent to the legendary Kruger National Park. Animals roam freely between the vast park and the private reserve, but by all accounts the elusive leopards have developed an extra soft spot for the Sabi Sands area. It’s recognized as one of the best places in the world to spy the shy creatures.

During our first morning game drive the area’s bounty continued to reveal itself. A hush fell over our group as we spied a pair of leopards playing and preening in a clearing. Usually leopards are solitary creatures. We watched for several mesmerizing moments before they disappeared into the bush. That encounter would have been enough to satisfy me, but it proved to be another prelude. The next hour flashed by in what seemed like a minute. It started with a single leopard snoozing on a termite mound, yet another marvelous scene. But the excitement kept building as the leopard woke up with a series of tooth-baring yawns and then strolled right alongside our safari vehicle to reposition itself atop a tree. As if a fantasy wildlife director were choreographing every move, the leopard seemingly posed in a few different positions and then decided to sprawl out across a limb with its tail dangling freely in perfect repose. It made me want to put down the camera and get out a sketch pad. And, that was telling.

While the leopard was obviously unfazed in our presence, it nonetheless made me feel as if it was obliging in some sense. It was like this amazing creature knowingly let us into its secret world, gave us time to take lots of pictures because that’s what we do in our own tech-centric world, and then challenged all of us to put down the gizmos to absorb the true essence of its being. The raw magnificence, the clarity of primordial power, was palpable. In those moments, I felt connected to Africa. It informed me. I started breathing in its time. And, I created a map in my mind to get back to that place whenever I want to return in a daydream.

 

All Photo Credits: Kym Hammond 

Celebrating Lucille Sive, the Travel Industry’s “African Queen,” on International Women’s Day

March 8th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

"A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less." – Vera Nezarian, Author.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th, African Travel, Inc. would like to celebrate and honor one of our very own who has inspired and led The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) Africa Division to the successful company it is today.

Lucille Sive, began her career in the travel industry over 30 years ago at African Travel, Inc.’s sister company, Lion World Travel after immigrating to Toronto, Canada from South Africa with her husband. Since then, Lucille has tirelessly worked to successfully promote and grow the business in the North American market. This could not have been an easy feat for a blonde hair, blue eyed, 5’1” (ish) woman in an industry, at the time, dominated by men.

Through hard work, dedication, making mistakes, learning as you go and staying true to oneself, Lucille has led a very successful career with many career highlights including becoming the first female executive in North America outside of the Tollman family, receiving the 2012 Ubuntu Career Achievement Award and also the TTC Mike Ness Award in 2010 – an award that is presented to an individual within TTC who exemplifies aggressiveness in finding new sources of business, living ‘never-say never’ and who has an outstanding bottom-line focus. In addition, Lucille has led many sustainable and responsible travel initiatives in Africa and these are what she is most proud of and what she holds closest to her heart. Some of Lucille’s favorite partnerships include working closely with game reserves in South Africa to rehabilitate and conserve the rhino population and partnering with Khayelitsha Cookies, a micro-business in Cape Town led by women, where the proceeds of the cookies we purchase as welcome gifts for guests go directly towards supporting the Khayelitsha community. She is also passionate about The Amy Foundation, which provides after-school programs in dance, drama, sports, music, cooking and more to children living in vulnerable communities around Cape Town.

In honor of IWD, we not only wanted to highlight Lucille’s many incredible achievements, but also celebrate a woman who has paved the way and serves as an example of success for other women. This year’s #BeBoldForChange IWD campaign calls for explaining that exact moment when someone took bold action to help improve or develop an aspect of their own livelihood, career or business, so we asked Lucille to share her boldest moment.

  • What was your bold moment?

I’ve had a lot of bold moments, but my boldest moment was probably when I started working at Lion World Travel. In South Africa, I was a mathematics and drama teacher. After moving to Canada in 1982, I would have had to re-do all of the required qualifications in order to continue teaching. I decided to do a travel course instead and convinced the manager (at the time) at Lion World Travel that I could do marketing. It was the boldest moment of my career because I was completely changing career paths and starting in a new industry, all while getting accustomed to life in a new country.

  • How did you do it?

I can say that I’ve always been a go-getter, but I think I was able to take bold action through self-confidence and determination. Of course, I knew nothing about marketing or the travel industry when I first started working at Lion World Travel, but I believe that one never stops learning. So that is what I did, I learned and learned and was able to show that I could grow the business and after 2 years, I was asked to manage the company.

  • What motivated you?

Before moving to Canada from South Africa, I had never travelled outside of the continent. At the time, I wanted to get a job in the travel industry so that I could see the world. After 32 years, I’m proud to say that I’ve travelled quite extensively, but I’m especially proud that I’ve also been able to promote and encourage travel to my home continent through African Travel, Inc. and Lion World Travel.

  • How can others learn from this?

I think what others can learn is that they should just go for it. I think it’s too often that people are afraid of failure, especially women. When we do fail, it is one of the greatest learning opportunities. I always say that we should make lemonade out of lemons – so much so that I got a juicer as a holiday gift.

Affectionately known in the travel industry as The African Queen,” Lucille is thrilled that she has been able to spend her career helping others discover the continent that she grew up on. And on this International Women’s Day and also her birthday, we’re proud to salute Lucille and her incredible accomplishments.  

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