Search Results for: Gorilla Viewing Safaris
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Encountering the gorilla in its natural habitat is an extraordinary experience. The distinction between the observer and the observed is blurred, and you never know just how near the gorillas will venture for a closer look! For animal and nature lovers, the opportunity to meet a mountain gorilla face to face can prove to be the experience of a lifetime.
A gorilla safari is not for the timid traveler. It is an extremely active journey in parts of the world that have been inaccessible to most travelers. In order to ensure a successful trip, you will need to do your homework before choosing a safari company that suits your needs. This Travelhoppers guide will provide you with the information you need to know to get a start on planning your African adventure.
There are two species of gorilla, the western gorilla and the eastern gorilla. In each of these broad classifications, there are two subspecies each.… Read more
Friday, February 10, 2012
The word safari is Swahili for travel, trip or journey. In the travel industry, safari refers to a type of travel that typically involves these elements:
- At least one country in Africa
- Extensive sightseeing, with an emphasis on wildlife sightings
- An expert guide (although some self-guided safaris can be arranged, it is not recommended)
For animal and nature lovers, few types of travel are as rewarding as a safari. Many who have been will tell you that the countries of Africa connect with the human psyche like few other places… Africa is not a destination – it is a point of origin.
An African safari is a trip like no other. On safari you come face to face with creation in all its glory, with nature at its most untouched. Few people come away from a safari the same as they first arrived. A safari is an opportunity to travel off of the beaten path, creating memories that last a lifetime.… Read more
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Lunch with Jaws: Diving with Sharks, South Africa
© Copyright Tim Sheerman-Chase
There’s nothing quite like a dinner invite when you feel like part of the meal rather than a fellow guest. As fascinating as it is terrifying, you’ll get about as near to the teeth of a Great White as possible as you’re lowered underwater in a metal cage that suddenly seems incredibly flimsy now that you and the ocean’s greatest predator are eye-to-eye.
How-to: Gansbaai (a 2.5 hour drive from Cape Town) is the starting point for Great White Cage Diving tours. Tours run daily throughout the year and no prior diving experience is necessary. You can either book to be picked-up from your hotel or opt for an overnight package in Gansbaai. Tours – without transport or accommodation – costs 1350RS (US$20) per person and include breakfast, cage diving, and (weather permitting) a visit to a nearby seal colony.… Read more
Friday, November 1, 2013
As part of a larger seven-month trip around the world, my boyfriend and I knew we wanted to complete an African safari somewhere along the way. But where? How? I wondered where to start and how to budget for something like this.
Searching for a good safari? Some tips from my experience.
Like many travelers, I started at a travel agent, collecting glossy brochures of U.S. based tour companies specializing in safaris. Mesmerized by the photos of zebras and lions, we started making a list of the countries that would be good safari targets: Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda and South Africa. We were almost flattened by the prices. Most large U.S. tour companies specialize in package safaris, featuring multiple stops in various countries, usually connected by internal flights. A 10-, 12- or 14- day safari (typical length) could easily run us $4,000-$7,000 each! Definitely out of our budget. Additionally, these package trips offered no flexibility or customization.… Read more
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Africa lies waiting for you
If you’re a solo traveller, you’ll have noticed how the world tends to revolve around couples.
You’ll probably be hit by single room supplements unless you’re happy to stay in a hostel dormitory, and may feel rather lonely having dinner for one in restaurants full of happy friends and lovers.
And then when you see a brilliant sight, there’s no one to share it with except distant acquaintances on social media.
That’s why I haven’t been on a safari for a while, even though I live only four hours from the Kruger National Park, Africa’s Big Five game viewing hotspot. Now I’ve discovered Ezulwini and nThambo Tree Camp, two lodges that make solo safaris anything but lonely. Both are run by young and friendly staff, offer ample luxury without the least bit of snootiness, and communal dining that creates instant camaraderie as guests of all nationalities swap their stories.… Read more
Monday, July 18, 2011
“Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun”
- Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”
Carly Simon sang about it, but you can really do it, and you don’t need your own jet. Astronomical tours focus on the observations of the heavens from terrestrial destinations possessing permanent or temporary geographic advantages for watching particular celestial events or phenomenon.
Most of the civilized world suffers from “light pollution”, whereby man-made light dilutes and washes out the much more distant lights of planets and stars. Thus, the best possible sky gazing is done far from the pernicious effects of artificial light in more remote locations. Likewise, the higher the altitude, the better the viewing as there is less of earth’s atmosphere between the traveler and the heavens. Thus, the ultimate destination is one where the sought after phenomenon is viewable, far from artificial light, at as high an altitude as possible.… Read more
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Heading northwest, towards the Mozambique border, we left Wonderboom Airport (near Pretoria) via a chartered Cessna. Ninety minutes later we arrived at Cheetah Plains, a privately owned game reserve located within the 65,000 hectare Sabi Sands reserve, which itself shares a 50km border the Kruger National Park. Sabi Sands is world renowned for Super Seven* viewing, with Cheetah Plains the hot spot for Big Cats. There are no dividing fences, which sees game moving freely and results in some of the most exceptional wildlife viewing in southern Africa. A specially adapted V6 Toyota Landcruiser, which acts as one of the safari vehicles, delivered us to the main lodge where moist eucalyptus-smelling face cloths were handed to each of us, along with a refreshing cocktail.
Inside the luxurious main lodge, a thatch structure with a tall ceiling, plump chairs and deep leather sofas elegantly placed around the free-flowing lounge and bar area. It’s open to the elements on two sides and has an atrium level private lounge and a basement dining room, which is also open on two sides, offering spectacular views across a dam.… Read more
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The popular image of cruising is a modern, mass market ship filled with literally thousands of people freighted from one familiar port-of-call to the next; not so eco-cruising. As the name implies, eco-cruising is all about the exploration of nature and the environment from the vantage point of the earth’s oceans, seas and rivers. The expanding appeal of environmental tourism in general and eco-cruising in particular is evident in the great number of options a traveler now has to commune with the natural world from the bow of a ship.
Eco-cruising is characterized by an emphasis on visiting ecologically significant destinations with an eye to an educational experience. For the traveler looking to enhance their travels with something different from the ordinary, eco-cruising offers an alternative to a “7-day Western Caribbean” itinerary. If the idea of ecologically based cruising sounds good to you, speak with your travel consultant, who can hook you up with just the right opportunity for you to view nature as a seagoing traveler.… Read more
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Who says you have to travel to the moon to see a lunar-like surface? Or to hear lunar-like silence? Or to feel as if you’re a million miles (or, in the moon’s case, 250,000 miles) from anywhere else?
There’s actually a place in Africa that looks, sounds (silence!), and feels like you’ve landed on the moon. It’s a lot easier to get there, however. It’s called the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, and it’s found in the country of Botswana.
Here, you’re in a place so remote and so flat that you can actually see the curvature of the Earth. So quiet that you can actually hear the blood circulating in your ears. So still that you’ll never experience anything like it again. The silence and the stillness may take a bit of getting used to for harried city-dwellers. Yet, improbably, as you adjust to the silence and the stillness, you’ll begin to see and hear and feel the rhythms of life, animal and natural, of this unique place.… Read more
Thursday, August 14, 2014
To most Westerners, Africa is a place of witchdoctors, demons and prehistoric creatures, but those who’ve travelled there know it as an ancient continent steeped in primal cultures yet one that’s wild, raw, in your face and utterly exciting. It’s a land of blistering heat, amazing sunrises and more animals than you ever believed existed. Multiply all this by ten, throw in a UNESCO World Heritage site plus one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders and you’ll have arrived at Zimbabwe.
Due to political blunders, Zimbabwe all but dropped off the world’s tourism map in the past decade. Now though, thanks to a coalition government and the American dollarization of the economy, they’re back.
Zimbabwe is still considered an experimental destination by some tourism authorities but following a visit in May 2010 I saw for myself that supermarket shelves are crammed with every-day goods and luxury items, there are no fuel shortages and miraculously, the tourism infrastructure has survived the decade-long dormancy.… Read more
Thursday, August 2, 2012
After travelling the length and breadth of the country, Heather (my camera assistant) and I headed out of Windhoek going south. It was long and dusty six-hour drive that took us through one of the most spectacular places in the world: mile high paprika-coloured dunes, lilac mountains, endless golden savannah grassland – all dramatically offset by a big sapphire blue sky.
Our tranquil granite and glass boutique-style lodgings – the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge – was a sight to behold as it’s all but merged into the foothills of the Nubib Mountains. A cool eucalyptus-smelling face cloth and ice drink was handed to me at the entrance beyond which minimalist interiors and massive glass doors slid back to reveal a patio, plunge pool and panoramic views across blond desert plains. Each of their ten split-level desert villas offered equally stupendous vistas of an apricot coloured lunar landscape and antelope beyond.
We arrived at a sluggish time of day when sun and thought slowed to a crawl, and just in time to partake in the activity planned for that afternoon – a guided quad bike dune excursion.… Read more
Saturday, February 25, 2012
There’s a simple requirement for anyone thinking of a garden tour: do you love gardens? If so, please read on. The cultivation of plants for food long predates history. The earliest evidence for ornamental gardens, however, is seen in Egyptian tomb paintings of the 1500s BC; they depict lotus ponds surrounded by rows of acacias and palms. The other ancient gardening tradition is from Persia. Darius the Great was said to have had a “paradise garden” and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned as a Wonder of the World. Persian influences extended to post-Alexander’s Greece: around 350 BC there were gardens at the Academy of Athens, and Theophrastus, who wrote on botany, was supposed to have inherited a garden from Aristotle. The most influential ancient gardens in the western world were Ptolemy’s gardens at Alexandria.
The gardening tradition brought to Rome by Lucullus. Wall paintings in Pompeii attest to elaborate development later, and the wealthiest of Romans built enormous gardens, many of whose ruins are still to be seen, such as at Hadrian’s Villa Byzantium and Moorish Spain kept garden traditions alive after the 4th century.… Read more
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Falls on U.S. side. Photo by Michael Schuman.
The worst thing one can do at Niagara Falls is to simply stop and look at the falls.
Niagara Falls might be an iconic North American destination, but there is so much to do here than stand and watch. The best way to experience Niagara Falls is to explore the scenery, to become part of it, to meet nature head on. If you don’t get wet here, you haven’t gotten your time or money’s worth out of your trip.
For those who don’t know their way around this world wonder, here is a Niagara Falls primer.
Where exactly is Niagara Falls?
There is a two-part answer to this question since there are the cities of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls water spectacles.
First, the cities. Niagara Falls, New York sits across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario. They are separate cities with identical names in neighboring nations and are located about twenty miles north of Buffalo, New York.… Read more
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Victoria Falls Safari Club is the ultimate in lodge accommodations. Each of their sixteen club rooms and four spectacular suites have private patios and uninterrupted views across the bushveld. It’s all a potent mix of African wilderness and history seamlessly blended with exotic luxury, complete with a private check-in and butler service.
From the lodge’s lobby you walk into a quarry-tiled hallway showcasing an African-styled chandelier made from fine honey-coloured strips of hide. It’s embellished with beads in shades of canary-yellow, ruby-red and paprika-bronze which emits a soft yellow flecked light. Beyond the hallway, facing the deck, is a marble topped bar spot lit by four bronze lampshades delicately enhanced with onyx-black and blood-red beads. Behind the bar is an elongated mirror framed with Acacia-tree branches. There’s a small teak-wood dining area to one side, and on the opposite is a lounge with a deep leather sofa, a couple of comfy chairs, a hide-framed mirror and side tables who’s legs are crafted from antelope horns.… Read more