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Our CEO Unpacks the Secrets to a Better Vacation

October 14th, 2021, by Jonathan Brannan

After returning from a week-long Cape Town adventure to find new experiences for clients, our CEO Lucille Sive found a Rainbow Nation ready to welcome visitors. We asked Lucille to share some tips on how to get the most out of traveling in her native homeland.

An Organized Traveler is a Happy Traveler

Lucille enjoying the quiet rooftop view from the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

2021 has been a challenging time for everyone wanting to travel, with regulations and local laws often changing. Our safari specialists have a deep understanding of each country's entry and exit requirements and worked with Lucille to provide the most up to date information and fill out forms prior to departure. Our ground operations team ensured an easy transit experience through customs.

“Working with our African Travel specialists really did reduce the stress after the flight. I could see other people frantically preparing forms and other documents while leaning against the airport walls.”

“Like any trip the extra pre-planning really does pay off and a traveler who is organized will reap rewards,” she added.



Go With the Flow

View of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand.

While you can plan extensively, travelers still need to be flexible and embrace change. Local staffing issues and the weather can happen. However, it is how your local hosts help manage these unforeseen circumstances.

“When I went into some stores you had to wait for a moment as storekeepers safely managed capacity. And when we found Camps Bay to be jam packed, our guide brought us to Bloubergstrand Beach for brilliant views looking back at the city and Table Mountain,” said Lucille. “We ended on top of Signal Hill to enjoy the paragliders, which now I want to do on my next visit.”



Share Favorites and Preferences

Lucille's favorite vegetarian sushi at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

Don’t forget to include any preferences before leaving. Whether that be religious, dietary, celebrating special occasions, or phobias, sharing them will only help enhance a visit. It is not an inconvenience to ask, we are here to ensure you have the best experience possible.

“I am a vegetarian, and on our first night at the Twelve Apostles Hotel a beautiful plate of vegetarian sushi was waiting for me. It was the best I’ve had. It really is the little touches and experiences that our team and partners provide that make a trip special.”



Utilize the Local Hosts and Guides

Lucille taking part in a samosa making clas.s

Now more than ever it is important to use the local knowledge of your hosts since many experiences or restaurants have changed or closed. No matter what you are looking for our local guides know best.

“Using our safari specialist's recommendations for the best walks and local restaurants made for a very relaxing experience. You really need to work with those who are up on the latest compared to old info you may find on google. We ate and drank our way through Franschhoek with a memorable lunch at Le Lude Estate and enjoyed the Anthonij Rupert state-of-the-art winemaking facility. I even discovered some of the vintage cars at the winery,” shared Lucille. 



Making Travel Matter

Lucille donated toys and blankets to a local school.

One of the main objectives for Lucille during her journey was to give back to the local community. On behalf of African Travel, she donated blankets and toys to a local school.

“While I like to spend time and include at least one MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experience during a trip, everyone is different. An African Travel journey will always include a sustainable experience that helps the locals and wildlife. Guests can get as involved as they want. This can be just knowing that where they are staying supports tourism efforts or their trip helps with a donation to wildlife or a child’s education.

“I loved seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. We also source gifts from local women. There are so many of these sustainable experiences we offer for those who want to get more involved,” added Lucille.



There’s a Whole World Out There

There is one thing we believe to be true here at African Travel, most people come to Africa for the wildlife, but they return for her people. As many times as Lucille has embraced the welcoming Africans, the people surprised her again.

“Everyone is so excited to see foreign guests. South Africans are ready to live again…although carefully. I was moved by their joy for life and every interaction energized me.”

The trip left Lucille excited for future travels and wanting more nature experiences.

“It is important to connect with nature, wildlife and the people and take a moment to enjoy your experience. I am so glad that I made the trip, and I am ready for my next adventure to Kenya in early 2022.”

World Tourism Day 2021

September 24th, 2021, by Jonathan Brannan

An interview with Nadine Pinto, TreadRight Foundation's Sustainablilty Manager

 

As an avid traveller with a deep passion for sustainability, I’m so grateful to be able to combine my interests and skills to build our sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, at African Travel. To make travel mutually beneficial for travellers and the destinations, it’s critical that the industry manages its impacts. One way we’ve doing this is by introducing MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences on our itineraries and I’m most proud to be one of the architects behind this program. Back in 2019 the TreadRight team was posed with a question from our Travel Experience Teams: How do we ensure experiences go beyond a “feel good factor” and have a real impact that positively affects communities, wildlife and the planet?

Now, our Travel Experience Teams are incredible people – they are a fascinating combination of detail oriented, efficient and creative who work magic to make wonderful things happen. So naturally a checklist of criteria came to mind – if the experience met a minimum number of criteria, it could be considered a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience. But we had to ensure the criteria was rigorous, fair and objective. The UN Global Goals fit here perfectly – as a group of 17 goals that governments, businesses and society are striving towards. The criteria comes directly from the targets and indicators set by the United Nations. Criteria? Check. (And ps. you can check them out here!)

 

The next challenge was a creating a simple and effective way for our teams to log these MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences to ensure they qualified according to our criteria.  I thought about this for a while and had a crazy idea – could all those critically important Buzzfeed quizzes I took in University while I was putting off studying have a role to play here? Buzzfeed quizzes are much less sophisticated (What potato describes my personality? – Mashed potatoes it seems!) But surely there was a way to take the concept and build something like a “Which Global Goal does this experience advance?” questionnaire. 

And that’s what we did. We built the MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience E-Assessment tool, now relied on by our Travel Experience team as an easy, self-serve questionnaire with the United Nations Global Goal criteria built in to help teams determine whether an experience is a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, and which Global Goal it advances.

Now, not only have our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences been recognized and accredited by giants including Harvard professors and Fast Company, but with the slow return of travel they're finally being put into action on the ground to have a real, lasting impact – on both travelers who are re-evaluating their footprint in a post-Covid world, and on the communities and conservation organizations who've been waiting patiently for travel's return, upon which their livelihoods rely. I can’t wait for our guests to experience them!

SOUTH AFRICA'S NATURAL WONDERS

 

 

 

10 Days - Cape Town | Grootbos Private Nature Reserve | Shamwari Game Reserve

Grootbos has coined Living the Futures to explain the way of life on this nature reserve and you’ll find it in every experience from the 4x4 botanical safari to the stories shared by the gifted staff. You’ll see the same passion at Shamwari Private Reserve as you meet the wildlife caregivers and safari guides.

 

Learn More

PLATINUM BOTSWANA 

 

 

 

11 Days - Johannesburg | Makgadikgadi Pans |Selinda Reserve | Okavango Delta


Recharge at the new Xigera Safari Lodge while enjoying bespoke safari experiences that thrill and educate. Delight in the Magic of the Makgadikgadi while learning about one of the largest animal migration routes, finding a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, and taking a fascinating walk with the Zu/'hoasi Bushmen.

 

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FAMILY SAFARI IN KENYA

 

 

 

9 Days- Nairobi | Laikipia | Maasai Mara


Every lodge visited on this journey features something unique from meeting the mammas and local children at House in the Wild to re-wilding at Kenya’s first Bush School for children. 

 

Learn More

End of Year Wellness

September 9th, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

Mindful, eating well, staying fit, off the grid

Africa has always been a destination suited to wellness with its open spaces and connection with nature. To end the year on a high note, visit East Africa to recharge, with plenty of spacious settings and gorgeous natural retreats to choose from.

Our safari expert Anais Chavez share with us her favorite wellness retreats in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania.

Beautiful Botswana

Xigera Spa
Xigera boasts exceptional wellness experiences

The newly renowned Xigera lodge is perfect for ultimate relaxation, where time seems to stand still in the Okavango Delta. A secret hideaway, Xigera can only be accessed by helicopter or boat. The lodge boasts exceptional wellness experiences, and the spa is tranquil haven for travelers. It has been meticulously designed to frame the breath-taking views of the seasonal flood plains and lush riverine forests.

A dedicated yoga teacher offers daily classes at sunrise and sunset, as well as bespoke private sessions focused on mindfulness and meditation. For a unique boat experience for the Okavango – you can view the vibrant wildlife above and under the water in Xigera’s special glass bottomed Mokoros, allowing for incredible views of the Delta both above and below.

TIP: Our experts recommend exploring Xigera on our new Platinum Botswana safari, with an exclusive three-night stay.

Tanzania’s Remote Treasures

Hiking to see chimpanzees
Get up close and personal to a thriving population of chimpanzees at Greystoke Mahale Camp

A favorite wellness spot- and hidden gem- in Tanzania is Greystoke Mahale Camp. A remote lodge on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, it’s among the best places to enjoy a break from the vehicle safari, offering time on the water as well as hikes up the mountain to get up close and personal to a thriving population of chimpanzees. The camp boasts a beach castaway African-style ambiance on, with an upstairs viewing deck to enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves.

TIP: Add on to your safari to explore Tanzania’s lush green neighbor, Rwanda.

Seclusion in the Kenyan Wilderness

Endangered Black Rhino
See the endangered black rhino and other unique animal specials at Sirikoi Lodge

For a variety of wellness experiences, we recommend visiting Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in the north which holds several rare and unique species. You can disconnect from the world with all that is wellness at Sirikoi Lodge, situated on its own private estate in the center of the Conservancy. The lodge blends adventure with relaxation, offering game viewing that is not readily available elsewhere with all rooms leading out into the wetlands and nearby waterholes.

Sirikoi’s landscape holds unique giraffe and zebra species, with endangered black rhino and wild dog conservation giving you a chance to view them up close. The lodge offers variety of wellness experiences such as horse riding across the plains among the wildlife, diving into the blue glacial pools in the Ngare Ndare Forest and helicopter excursions up Mount Kenya. For more relaxation, enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the deck watching wildlife at the waterhole, cool off in the infinity pool, or unwind with a massage. The lodge delivers exceptional food year-round, with their organic garden producing an impressive amount of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

TIP: Allow our experts to tailor your safari to visit Sirikoi on our World’s Greatest Show & Safari- Serengeti

 

Contact our African Travel Specialists

800 421 8907

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