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
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. For more information see www.sharkbookings.com.… 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.
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. I then contacted some individual U.S.… 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
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Travel is full of enthralling encounters, of moments that stick with you forever — a glimpse of a wild gorilla, an African sunrise, your first sight of the pyramids.
But those moving moments wouldn’t seem so spectacular if they weren’t peppered with less exciting experiences. For every lion kill there’s a lame museum; for every gargantuan sculpture there is a giant ball of yarn. Here are eight utterly underwhelming tourist attractions, places that have you asking the question, “Why is this even here?”
Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai
If they’d called it the “Bund Tunnel of Cheesy Swirling Lights” or the ‘”Bund Truly Bizarre Train Ride Tunnel,” then you’d at least know what you were getting, but mentioning “sightseeing” is a real stretch. To be fair, the tunnel does at least serve a purpose — it takes visitors from The Bund across the Huangpu Jiang River to Pudong. On boarding the train, you’re treated to some Space Odyssey-style music as your carriage inches its way through a tunnel lined with flickering lights that wouldn’t be out of place at an ’80s nostalgia night.… Read more
Thursday, May 19, 2011
When you’re bored of the beach and had all the sightseeing you can stomach, it’s time to re-vamp your vacations.
If packing for your holiday feels like a duty rather than a delight, bid arrivederci to the mundane and plan a holiday with pizzazz.
If you crave something different in 2011, here are some weird, wacky or just plain daft ideas guaranteed to revive the most jaded traveller. You can even swap purely hedonistic holidays for the feel-good factor of voluntourism. How perfect is that – visiting somewhere wonderful and feeling great about yourself too!
Skiing in Dubai
Dubai is one of the craziest places on earth, with everything striving to be taller, flashier and more over-the-top than anywhere else. So it was perfectly sensible to create a ski slope in this stonkingly hot desert of bling. Ideal for keeping cool when the temperature outside cracks 45 degrees.
Dubai Emirates Mall boasts the world’s third largest indoor ski slope, with five runs including a 400m slope with a fall of 60m, built from 6,000 tons of snow.… Read more
Monday, May 9, 2011
African safaris are a dime a dozen, especially those in fenced in National Parks or Nature Reserves where tourists are taken on conveyer-belt type game drives. That’s as good as it gets, I thought, and as such lost interest.
That was until I recently discovered the Selinda Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta where game are free to wander across its 320,000 acres of unfenced wilderness. I’d heard much of Selinda ticking all the proverbial green eco boxes which was probably why I was preparing myself for a sleeping bag and shack arrangement somewhere in the outbacks. What I didn’t expect was pure indulgence.
After collecting me from the bush airstrip, my ranger drove me to Zarafa Camp (there are three camps in the Selinda Reserve, namely Motswiri, Selinda and Zarafa), where I soon came to realise how they’d earned their rave reviews. Stuart, the Camp manager, came to meet me as the 4×4 pulled up at the shaded main entrance.… Read more