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Nelson Mandela International Day | Take Action! Inspire Change

July 18th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

In May, staff from African Travel, Inc. and Lion World Travel had the opportunity to visit Robben Island in South Africa. Located nine kilometers from the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is most infamously known for detaining many political prisoners from 1961-1991, including Nelson Mandela who spent 18 years of his 27-year prison sentence there.

It was an eye-opening visit to Robben Island, where we learned how many political prisoners were often kept in separate areas of the island to prohibit contact with other prisoners, their letters (received and sent) were controlled and any content that was deemed unacceptable would be cut or blacked out. There was also a uniform class system based on racial classification – Indian, colored or black. Indian and colored prisoners were given long pants and socks and black prisoners were given shorts and no socks. Meals were also based on race with the black prisoners receiving only maize meal and the least amount of meat or fish.

A censored letter


The difference between meals for B and C diets

The visit to Robben Island really puts into perspective the commitment and fight for human rights and development by South Africa’s freedom fighters. Thirteen years into his incarceration at Robben Island, Nelson Mandela was offered to be released on certain conditions. He refused. He did not want to be released with any conditions and so he spent another 14 years in prison before being released unconditionally in 1990.

Nelson Mandela's cell

Today, July 18th, marks Nelson Mandela’s birthday and is also recognized as Nelson Mandela International Day. This year, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has dedicated this year’s day to Action Against Poverty. After visiting Robben Island and learning more about the sacrifices Mandela and many others made in order to change the world for the better, we ask ourselves, what are we doing to make the world a better place?

At African Travel, Inc., we are very passionate about supporting and working with organizations that work to develop local communities and leave behind a positive impact. These organizations include: The Amy Foundation, Uthando and ME to WE. Learn more about our #AfricanTravelCares projects and how you can help on this Mandela Day.


An Unforgettable Visit at Shamwari Game Reserve

July 4th, 2017, by Katherine Chin

Covering 25,000 hectares with a choice of six luxury, 5-star lodges and abundant and diverse wildlife, it’s easy to see why malaria free, award-winning Shamwari Game Reserve is considered the best private game reserve in the eastern cape.

Staff from Lion World Travel and African Travel, Inc. recently stayed at Shamwari Game Reserve during a staff educational trip. We were graciously hosted by the teams at Bayethe Tented Lodge, Eagles Crag Lodge and Lobengula Lodge. Two very different lodges, but a few things remained constant - the staff, food and accommodations were all spectacular.  

Bayethe Tented Lodge
Named from the African greeting “By-ye-ti,” which means “I salute you,” this lodge has 12 detached tents, each of which can accommodate a maximum of two adults. A truly luxurious experience, each tent is equipped with an ensuite bathroom with six tents having outdoor showers and three tents having indoor showers.

Eagles Crag Lodge
As Shamwari’s premier lodge, Eagles Crag offers guests ultimate luxury, privacy and breath-taking scenery. All nine luxury suites can accommodate a maximum of two adults and include a private deck with plunge pool. All suites all offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding rock faces where guests can watch eagles soar.

Lobengula Lodge
Boasting panoramic views of the mountains and valleys, Lobengula has been designed to resemble a traditional African kraal. This lodge boasts six suites, each of which can accommodate two adults per suite. Nina, Lobengula’s manager and her team were excellent hosts welcoming us “home” after each game drive with hot chocolate, Chai tea or Sherry along with warm and refreshing hand towels. It was luxury at its finest and we all felt like VIP guests.

Our game rangers, Jan and Jacques also gave us the best game drive experiences. With three staff visiting South Africa for the first time, Jan and Jacques were so knowledgeable, fun and engaging and it was a special treat to spot four (rhino, lion, buffalo and elephant) out of the big five on our game drives.

Not only known for its luxury accommodations and unforgettable safari experiences, Shamwari Game Reserve is also one of the most successful private conservation initiatives in Southern Africa. After visiting, it is absolutely clear how Shamwari leads in conservation and preservation. Read all about how African Travel, Inc. and Lion World Travel staff had the incredible opportunity to micro-chip a rhino.

The Shamwari Experience

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

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