Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Ultimate Stellar Escape, Rift Valley lakes and new flights to VFA

Spend an enchanting night under a billion stars on a Stellar Escape with
Ultimate Safaris in Namibia!
 What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

Namibia's night skies are the ultimate 'bush TV!'
Ultimate Safaris: We are beyond excited about the introduction of Ultimate Safaris' new 'Stellar Escape!' This very special sleep out experience is set in an ancient dry riverbed on Ultimate's private concession in the //Huab Conservancy. In addition to an afternoon walk, sundowners and a sumptuous bush dinner, the evening offers crystal clear skies with nothing between travelers and Namibia's brilliant stellar display. As guests drift off to sleep, they'll spot satellites, galaxies and shooting stars with the naked eye! Learn more on the Kusini blog.

Albatros Travel: Exciting news out of East Africa where Albatros Travel reports that plans are underway for the Kenyan government to establish a customs and immigration office at the Sand River Gate on the border with Tanzania. The new facility will ease the movement of cross-border travelers visiting the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem, and will eliminate the need for significantly lengthier border crossings via the Narok-Nairobi or Kisii-Migori-Isebania routes. Stay tuned for updates on construction and opening dates!

Ecuador has the easiest access of any country into the Amazon
Tropic Ecuador: There's a lot more to Ecuador than the (admittedly wonderful) Galapagos Islands. Whether your travelers are interested in history, culture, adventure or cuisine, Ecuador has something to offer everyone. Tropic Ecuador crafts tailor-made and small group expeditions throughout the country, from an insider's Quito exploration to unveiling the secrets of the Amazon. View this brief Ecuador Mainland Programs webinar for a taste of what makes the country such a diverse and amazing destination.

Imvelo Safari Lodges: More direct international flights into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe? How 'bout a direct connection to Cape Town? Done and done! The hope for additional service to VFA's new international terminal is coming to fruition as both Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines have added flights into the hub. Ethiopian Airlines starts direct ADD - VFA service March 26th, followed by the addition of Kenya Airways flights from Nairobi beginning May 18th. Even better, the Kenya Airways flights continue on to Cape Town! It's never been easier to connect the Mother City with Victoria Falls and a safari with Imvelo Safari Lodges!  
Visitors to lovely, wallet-friendly Rukyia Safari Camp
will not be disappointed

New Frontiers: 
With space at a premium at New Frontiers' preferred safari properties, Christine and Faith recently embarked on a rekkie to northern Kruger and managed to find some new gems that offer authenticity, great value and a good safari experience. The areas visited include Balule, which is part of the Greater Kruger bordering Klaserie and Timbavati, as well as the Timbavati itself. Get the skinny on these carefully curated options on the New Frontiers Agent Zone.

Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Todos Santos Eco Adventures created an annual Christmas Bird Count Circle (CBC). It is a citizen scientist effort that has evolved to become a critical data pool for researchers studying status and ranges of bird populations across the Americas. The only other similar count is the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) run during the June breeding season. Survey results become the combined yardstick by which ornithologists and conservation biologists assess the health and migration status of bird populations across the Americas. The Todos Santos circle has a 15-mile diameter encompassing estuaries, coastline, desert and mountainous areas.

The Haile Resort on Lake Ziway is a lush sanctuary
Travel Ethiopia: Travelers wishing to visit Ethiopia's beautiful and otherworldly Bale Mountains National Park will have the chance to see a large swath of country on their journey, including descending into the Rift Valley with its lovely lakes. Travel Ethiopia recommends breaking up the drive with an overnight at either Lake Ziway or Lake Hawassa. Haile Resorts have a modern, full-service property at each lake. Both have excellent dining and leisure activity options, and each has a unique feel. Ask Travel Ethiopia which would be best for your clients.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Introducing Ultimate Safaris' Stellar Escape

Ultimate Safaris Namibia continues to redefine luxury travel with magical experiences which amaze, inspire and transform! Driven by an explorer-type determination and enthusiasm, Ultimate started by operating relatively lightweight mobile camps in impossibly remote corners of the country. They have since moved on to committing to help preserve some of the wild places that have captured their hearts and imaginations.

Last year, Ultimate introduced their first exclusive seasonal camp, //Huab Under Canvas. They had a phenomenal first season with fantastic guest feedback.  From being pampered in camp to having days filled with thrilling encounters (the first season saw 100% success in their engaging rhino tracking activity) and enjoying nights of exclusivity beyond most people’s expectations, Ultimate's guests are looked after by a tribe of magicians who aim to leave lasting impressions.

//Huab Under Canvas is redefining luxury, going back to a bygone safari era and foregoing some of the creature comforts of modern permanent camps or lodges. The safari experts at Ultimate have identified a strong desire in many travelers to go back to the roots of safari - to touch, smell, feel and experience the wild, with their feet firmly in the dust that covers Africa.

2017 will see a number of new experiences offered at //Huab Under Canvas, and one of these is Ultimate's new STELLAR ESCAPE.

Known in other parts of Africa as a sleep out or sky bed, Ultimate's STELLAR ESCAPE is set in an ancient dry riverbed on their private concession in the //Huab Conservancy, offering crystal clear skies with nothing between travelers and the brilliant stars. Satellites, galaxies and shooting stars can all be seen with the naked eye, providing the ultimate in 'bush TV' entertainment.

Guests are escorted on their Stellar Escape by their guide, normally starting with a leisurely late afternoon walk, arriving in time for a cocktail or two while enjoying the sunset. A sumptuous bush dinner is prepared on an open fire by one of Ultimate's magicians, and this can be enjoyed while the night sky comes into full splendor. After an astronomy tutorial by the guide, and once guests are ready to retire for the night, the support crew will leave travelers with a radio (for communication in case of an emergency) for an enchanting night under a billion stars, in complete privacy - although the guide can spend the night a discreet distance away if so desired. Guests are woken in the morning by a spectacular sunrise along with their favorite hot beverage, before returning to camp to freshen up and have breakfast.

  • Maximum of 6 guests
  • Ideally included on a 3 night stay at //Huab Under Canvas
  • Comfortable private open-air retreats with camp beds, bedside table, basic lighting and wardrobe set on the sand of an ancient riverbed 
  • Serviced field loo
  • Campfire dinner
  • At an additional surcharge

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ethiopian lions, rain(!) in Namibia and the most remote camp in Zimbabwe

The star beds at Jozibanini make for an unforgettable sleep out in Hwange NP
What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

The majestic black-maned lion captured on film in
Bale Mountains NP. Photo: Çağan Şekercioğlu
Travel Ethiopia: Visitors to Ethiopia are richly rewarded with exploration of ancient churches, sampling incredible food, witnessing intriguing traditions and viewing exciting endemic wildlife. Travelers headed to beautiful and remote Bale Mountains NP not only have the chance to see the endangered Ethiopian wolf, but also black-maned lions! Bale Mountain Lodge averages 1-2 lion sightings weekly during 'lion season' from April to October. Get a glimpse of these gorgeous cats in this recent National Geographic video and ask Travel Ethiopia about incorporating Bale Mountains NP.

New Frontiers: In the "boring but VERY important" category, the requirement by the South African and Botswana governments for presenting unabridged birth certificates (both parents' names must appear in full) for minors upon entry remains unchanged despite reports to the contrary. This has not decreased demand in South Africa, and because of the pressure for space, New Frontiers must implement a 2 week automatic release on all provisional bookings with immediate effect, though some properties have an even shorter release period. Your consultant will advise you if this is the case. More details as well as exciting new product updates from across southern Africa here.

Ephemeral rivers are flowing after rain arrives in Namibia 
Ultimate Safaris: Very few of us have had the privilege of seeing a dry riverbed in the Namib Desert filling with water as it pushes towards the ocean, but that changed this week as much-needed rains arrived. Ultimate Safaris reports that ephemeral rivers have begun to flow and there is even a salt pan where iridescent amaryllis lilies are blooming in a blaze of pink, purple and white. What an extraordinary sight for travelers, and just one of the small miracles that makes Namibia such an incredible destination!

Maya Trails: Looking for a great family destination that isn't too distant, provides great value and is fun for everyone? Guatemala is a great choice! Maya Trails' Guatemala Family Getaway hits highlights for every age group - peanut butter and chocolate making for the kids (and parents!) to get their hands dirty, horseback riding, kayaking, zip lining, and hiking on an active (but safe) volcano so everyone gets a bit of adventure, and a visit to the jungle to see Guatemala's wildlife and ancient Mayan sites. It's perfect for spring break or summer! Contact Adriana for more information and to start planning!

Did we mention Jozibanini's awesome "Look-up" blind?! Wow. 
Imvelo Safari Lodges: Imvelo Safari Lodges' Jozibanini Camp is situated in the remote southwest corner of Hwange NP. The Times fell in love with the beauty of its simplicity, wildlife and setting. It has just three ensuite tents, and dining happens alfresco under a starry sky near a crackling campfire. Want a star bed? Beds can be rolled out onto the deck! Wildlife close-ups abound from Jozi's hide, and walks and mountain-biking excursions are available. The real luxury here is the total exclusivity - 100km from the nearest camp! - afforded to Jozi's few lucky guests.

Classic Africa Safaris: Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel is making life a little easier for guests planning to track gorillas in Volcanoes NP, Rwanda. They now have gaiters available for complimentary use by hotel guests. They come in handy for myriad reasons including protection against mud and insects, and it's one less thing trekkers have to remember. Check Classic Africa Safaris' Rwanda Info Pack for additional recommendations on what gear trekkers should bring on safari in Rwanda.

Camel safaris are just one of the activities available at Sasaab
Albatros Travel: In case you hadn't heard, Kenya is an IT destination for 2017. The latest recommendation comes from CNN in their '20 Travel Destinations the Experts Say Not to Miss,' where the country appears twice! Segera Retreat and Sasaab both get a mention. Segera (in oh-so-hot Laikipia) is highlighted for its 'eco-retreat' features and Samburu's Sasaab for its great variety of activities. Albatros Travel can help your clients get the very best out of a visit to East Africa on a customized luxury safari.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fire at Uganda lodge, ancient Mayan superhighway and Why Zimbabwe?

One of the rewarding views on the Sierra La Laguna Sea-to-Sea trek with
Todos Santos Eco Adventures

 What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

Imvelo guests usually find themselves without company
at sightings!
Imvelo Safari Lodges: What makes a Zimbabwe safari unique to other destinations in Africa? Imvelo Safari Lodges has the answers in the Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Zimbabwe Safari! Diversity of activities tops the list - walking, canoeing and biking safaris plus the Elephant Express! Plus Hwange delivers exclusivity - about Kruger's size but only 43,000 visitors per year vs 1.5M! Add in flexibility - no set timetable for activities - and you have one incredible safari value. The benefit to local communities is the icing on the cake.

Maya Trails: An ancient Mayan road network has been found in the Guatemalan jungle! Over 150 miles of roadways have been identified in the Peten region, according to laser-based scanning of the area. While researchers have known about the roads since 1967, only with the new technology have they been able to gain an understanding of their scope, which far exceeded expectations. Read the full article on Seeker here, or contact Adriana to understand the variety of options that Maya Trails offers for your clients to explore the ancient Mayan world.

The Quito Polo Club is just 15 minutes from the airport and 30
minutes from downtown 
Tropic Ecuador: Travelers are drawn to Ecuador for well-known destinations like the Galapagos and the Amazon, but Quito is also worthy of exploration. Recently voted one of the '50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World' by Conde Nast Traveler, its attractions range from art to architecture, from cosmopolitan dining all the way to a museum dedicated to the equator. Tropic Ecuador can arrange insider activities with locals, like cooking classes or behind-the-scenes visits to galleries, and a stay at the Quito Polo Club will have guests snug in luxury in one of Quito's genteel suburbs.

Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Baja California Sur is not just about the beaches. If you are looking for a change of pace, consider a sea-to-sea hike through the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve with Todos Santos Eco Adventures. This unforgettable 2 day/1 night trek across the Baja peninsula is a terrific adventure for avid walkers and campers. With burros carrying all your belongings and guides on hand to do all the cooking and show the way, you can simply relax and enjoy the walk through the magnificent scenery. For inspiration, view the itinerary here!

New Frontiers: 
Wildtrack Safaris Eco Lodge is new to New Frontiers. Ask
about their '4 countries in 1 visit' itinerary!
2016 was an exciting year in southern Africa. Nearly every lodge or camp had some type of spruce-up, including soft refurbs, adding family rooms, new activities and other improvements, and 2017 is shaping up to be just as exciting. Visit the New Frontiers Agent Zone to read Sally's report highlighting a number of new, rebuilt and refurbished properties in Botswana, Mozambique and the Zambezi region of Namibia. Some are new to New Frontiers, and all give you a great variety of options to craft the best possible safari for your clients.

Classic Africa Safaris: We were saddened to learn that Kyambura Game Lodge in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park has closed following a fire that gutted a section of the lodge. Thankfully, no one was injured. 4 cottages and the main area were unaffected, and rebuilding has already commenced. The lodge will reopen March 1st with 4 cottages, and another 2 are expected to be ready by June 1st. Classic Africa Safaris is proactively working with agents and operators on any affected bookings.

One Forty Eight is filled with original artwork, making it
a living gallery
Albatros Travel: Great feedback is flowing in from Albatros Travel guests who have stayed at the new One Forty Eight in Nairobi. Located in the Langata suburb, the boutique property is proximate to Nairobi National Park, great dining and shopping, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Center. The hotel is intimate with just 8 luxury rooms, and unique with warthog, parrots, peacocks and monkeys freely coming and going through the garden. Tad will be visiting next month, so stay tuned for his review!

Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris operations manager Tarry, and guides Ronny and Vincent, recently drove 5,000 km to East Africa to deliver 3 vehicles for modification. This takes Ultimate's fleet of specialized Land Cruisers to 18 vehicles. Ronny and Vincent are now spending 6 weeks in the Masai Mara with Alex Walker's Serian Camps on their annual 'guide exchange,' a fantastic cross-training and collaboration opportunity! Tarry had a chance to explore Nairobi National Park and also take a helicopter flight over the Rift Valley before flying back to Namibia. Follow Ultimate's Facebook page for updates from Ronny and Vincent in the Mara!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sleepouts at Huab, Elephant Express railcar and Laikipia is hot!

Discover the attractions of land-based Galapagos travel on Tropic's webinar!
Details below.

 What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

WATCH: New Frontiers' Skypass webinar video
New Frontiers: The new 'Skypass' program, a partnership between New Frontiers and SA Airlink, is exclusive to New Frontiers clients and offers guaranteed fares and great savings throughout Southern Africa. The flying circuits take your travelers beyond Cape Town - Kruger - Vic Falls, easily adding destinations by air which are time consuming by vehicle. Also check out the handy plug-in itineraries for lesser known stops like George/Garden Route and Durban/KZN, or you can work with New Frontiers to customize a stay. Check out all the Skypass details here and watch our webinar here.

Albatros Travel: Laikipia, Kenya continues to top hot lists for 2017. With its diversity of lodging, experiences, activities and wildlife (including East Africa's largest black rhino population), travelers can easily spend a week in the area. As it is malaria-free, it is especially good for families, and hand-in-hand community and conservation work in the region makes for a good story for all visitors. For those visiting multiple areas in Kenya, Albatros Travel likes a combination of the luxurious Segera Retreat in Laikipia with Angama Mara to give travelers a taste of the Out of Africa story. Gretchen was recently there and Tad will be visiting in March!

Guests love transferring between Imvelo properties via rail car
Imvelo Safari Lodges: Imvelo Safari Lodges' Elephant Express railcar has been operating for guest transfers to Bomani and Camelthorn for nearly two years now! Finishes are comfortable and elegant, including individual seating, a chemical toilet, teak tables, and plenty of luggage space. Drinks and snacks are provided en route so guests can nosh while game viewing. The transfers allow guests to experience the romance of railway travel in a decidedly more comfortable manner than passengers of yesteryear! Timing is important to consider, so check our blog for a reminder of how to best incorporate the rail car into itineraries.

Classic Africa Safaris: Uganda travelers looking to stretch their legs en route to Murchison Falls NP can request a stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is home to Uganda's only rhinos, so a visit can help checklisters tick off Africa's Big 5 in Uganda. Ziwa offers a number of activities including rhino trekking, bird watching and nature walks. Guests who wish to trek rhino on foot need to overnight at nearby Amuka Safari Lodge, as treks only take place in early morning or late afternoon. The Sanctuary's ultimate goal is to reintroduce rhinos into the wild in Uganda. Visits to the facility help further that goal. Ask Classic Africa Safaris about a visit for your clients.

Guests at Ultimate's //Huab Under Canvas will have the option
to sleep out later this year
Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris' annual guide training takes place between January and March every year. Half of Ultimate's talented guides have headed out to //Huab for training with their full-time guide trainer Vernon Swanepoel. While out in the field, they will meet up with desert-adapted rhino and elephant experts as well as a geologist. They have also spent time scouting out brilliant sleep-out options from //Huab Under Canvas and crafting a special multi-day walking expedition, both to be launched during 2017 - stay tuned! More photos here.

Todos Santos Eco Adventures: What to do with a free day in Baja California Sur? Earlier this week, guests of Todos Santos Eco Adventures made the most of an unscheduled day on vacation! They went fishing in the morning, participated in a turtle hatchling release in the afternoon, indulged in a mezcal tasting with experts before dinner, then went to a local Todos Santos restaurant where the chef made sushi and sashimi with their fresh-caught fish. What a day in the life of Baja! Contact Bryan to design an one-of-a-kind Baja day for your clients!

WATCH: Watch Tropic's Galapagos by Land webinar video
Tropic Ecuador: If you missed Tropic Ecuador's 'Galapagos By Land' webinar last week, you're not out of luck! We have a replay available. View at your convenience to explore the many options for land-based adventures - from unique, boutique lodges and tented camps to luxury seaside villas. A recent concept in the Galapagos, land-based travel allows visitors see a side of the Islands that most people don't experience. Tropic continues to work with local people to make tourism sustainable and to ensure the preservation of the Galapagos' incredible natural heritage.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Everything you need to know about the Elephant Express Rail Car!

Since 2015 Imvelo Safari Lodges has been using the Elephant Express for guest transfers to Bomani and Camelthorn on the south eastern boundary of Hwange National Park. This is a reminder as to how best to incorporate the rail car into itineraries, along with some important information on timing and schedules.

The Elephant Express makes daily return trips as necessary between Ngamo Siding near Bomani and Camelthorn and Dete Railway Station near Hwange Main Camp. Guests traveling to Nehimba or back to Victoria Falls from Bomani and Camelthorn will depart from Ngamo Siding at approximately 11h00 and enjoy a slow ride (approximately 2.5 hours) up the railway line before arriving at Dete. The return leg back to Ngamo departs Dete at 14h00, arriving at Ngamo between 16h00 and 16h30. Imvelo has one scheduled slot on the national railway line per day, so it is important to note the timing when planning transfers on the Elephant Express. Imvelo recommends that your guests experience the romance of African railway travel in a decidedly more comfortable manner than passengers of yesteryear!

The Elephant Express seats 22 passengers and the finishes are comfortable and elegant. They include individual coach seating, a chemical toilet, teak tables, plenty of space for luggage, and a large aisle that allows guests to walk around comfortably and provides unrestricted game viewing. Imvelo also provides drinks and delicious snacks en route.

A unique transfer experience and great fun for kids
The rail car has every safety feature. The Elephant Express has been deliberately designed to travel either forward or backward, with an independent engine and gearbox at either end of the vehicle. There are sidings every 10 km to allow traffic to pass, and Imvelo's drivers are experienced railway engineers, each with careers spanning over 30 years on the line. They are in constant communication with other trains and traffic control and have 25 km of visibility in both directions on the perfectly straight line. Imvelo guides are also on board at all times to ensure guest comfort and to help them enjoy the wildlife, scenery and vegetation en route.

Great game viewing opportunities along the way
The rail car transfer option between Dete and Ngamo is $60 per person one way (minimum 2 pax) in 2017. Drop off and collection from Dete Railway Station will be either by transfer vehicles or game viewing vehicles, depending on guests' next or previous stop. At Ngamo Siding, game viewing vehicles will take guests on the 10 to 15 minute hop to either Bomani or Camelthorn Lodge.

Please note that the Elephant Express runs according to daily scheduling specified by the National Railways of Zimbabwe and as such may be subject to delays and cancellations, which are beyond Imvelo's control. Times are set daily and communicated to the incoming and outgoing road transfers. Hayley Diedricks is our central controller between the lodges and transfer companies to ensure smooth operations.  Please exercise great caution when using the Elephant Express to link with regional and international air travel; these guests unfortunately would need to arrive or depart by road transfer, with drop off or pick up at Halfway House.

Using the rail car has proven to be a much improved transfer experience for guests compared to the road transfer – therefore Imvelo recommends wherever possible that guests have a planned night in Victoria Falls on arrival off a flight or prior to a departure flight. This will allow for the Elephant Express to be used and ensure the best overall guest experience, avoiding long road transfers followed by international flights all in one day. Understandably this is not always possible, but Imvelo wanted to share what they have learned from guest feedback during 2016. Imvelo is looking forward to sharing many enjoyable rail car journeys with their valued guests this year.

Don't forget about Imvelo's Green Season Specials at Gorges and Bomani - the Elephant Express is a fun way to link these 2 lodges. This great value 'stay for 3, pay for 2' special is valid until February 28, 2017. Contact the Imvelo reservations team to make your booking!

This map illustrates the route the Elephant Express takes from
Dete Siding to Ngamo Siding return.

Watch Tad's webinar on the Elephant Express and how best to incorporate into your Zimbabwe itineraries!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Changes in Rwanda, family safaris in Zimbabwe and zorillas in Kenya

The Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Timkat (Epiphany) takes place on January 21st
and Lalibela's Church of St. George will be surrounded by celebrants on the holy day.

What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

VIDEO: Click here to enjoy a sneak peak of what kids will
enjoy and learn on an Imvelo family safari
Imvelo Safari Lodges: A safari need not be only a mom-and-dad affair! Imvelo Safari Lodges' have come up with a sample 10-night family-friendly safari circuit for the whole gang to prove it. Highlights include bush walks looking at animal tracks, fun and educational bush activities from Imvelo's 'Kids On Safari' booklets, learning how to cook the traditional Zimbabwean dish 'sadza,' learning the art of the catapult, a soccer match with local school children and more! It promises to be an unforgettable safari for the whole family and is an excellent value, too! Contact Hayley for more information.

Ultimate Safaris: Namibia is a a hub for guests seeking out immersive experiential travel opportunities, and Ultimate Namibia's //Huab Under Canvas camp delivers in a big way. For travelers looking for authentic interactions with nature while fully ensconced in wildness, (including black rhino tracking on foot!), a stay at //Huab is a must. The more rustic accommodations at the camp don't compromise on comfort or safety, and guests are assured the luxury of exclusivity along with wholesome food, a good night's rest, a hot shower and exceptional guides to explore the land with. Make a visit part of your client's Namibia safari to see why it has been featured in The New York Times.

Chilcabamba is set in the heart of El Pedregal, a pristine
Andes playground
Tropic Ecuador: Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge is a hidden gem tucked away in a beautiful valley in the Ecuadorian Andes. Its location in El Pedregal is perfect for outdoor adventure opportunities including hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The New York Times named Pedregal to their '52 Places to Visit in 2017' list, and Tropic Ecuador's Chilcabamba is the perfect base for exploring the area's lofty peaks including the dramatic, snow-capped Cotopaxi. Its cozy fireplaces, fantastic home-made food and stunning location make it a guest favorite.

Travel Ethiopia: The Ethiopian celebration of Epiphany is known as Timkat, and this year it falls on January 21st. It's an incredible time for travelers to visit the beautiful country, as it allows visitors to experience the vibrant local culture full-on. Travel Ethiopia advises booking 6 months or more in advance to visit during the Ethiopian holiday season to ensure your clients get their preferred properties. Ask about price breaks on internal Ethiopian Airlines flights for travelers who arrive with them internationally.

Elephants cross the Ewaso Nyiro river in Samburu NP, Kenya
Albatros Travel: Gretchen went on a Kenya adventure with Albatros Travel in November, hitting several of the country's many highlights including Samburu NP, Laikipia and the Masai Mara. It wasn't her first visit to the country, and she found even more to love on her latest safari. Wildlife sightings included lots of lions and close-ups with elephants, great wild dog and even a zorilla. Another special experience was exploring Laikipia with Karisia Walking Safaris. Read about all of her top highlights on the Kusini blog.

Classic Africa Safaris: Rwanda has implemented a new requirement for visitors effective immediately. Tour operators must obtain emergency evacuation insurance from local provider Akagera Aviation for each traveler. This insurance includes helicopter rescue and evacuation and is in addition to any private medevac or travel insurance that clients purchase for their journeys. The subscription fee for 2017 is US$15 per client, and in 2018, it is expected to rise to US$20 per client. Classic Africa Safaris will pass this fee on to agents at cost, automatically adding it to all new quotes going forward.

The Maya Trails and Good Hotel teams
Maya Trails: How about a totally effortless way for your travelers to vacation and make a difference? Maya Trails has introduced us to The Good Hotel in Antigua. Formerly a private mansion, it has been redesigned with local materials and a minimalist touch. It sits on a quiet cobbled street just a few minutes' walk from the Plaza Mayor. The hotel's 'Good Training' program helps unemployed locals (many of whose kids are in Niños de Guatemala schools) and stimulates local collaborations and entrepreneurship. They re-invest all profits into their social programs!

Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Todos Santos Eco Adventures is thrilled to take part in the Educational Travel Consortium's annual conference this year. Sonya will be in St. Louis February 12-15 representing TOSEA. If you'll be attending please reach out so we can plan to meet! We are looking forward to being part of a community whose view on educational travel is "facilitating deeper, more enduring connections between travelers and the communities they visit through strong interpretation, experiential programming, and meaningful engagement."

Ivory Lodge's Fish Eagle Villa is great for families or
2 couples traveling together
New Frontiers: Richard and Charlotte from New Frontiers have recently visited Lion Sands Ivory lodge post-refurb and give it their full endorsement! Its 8 suites are modern, chic and fresh, with luxurious finishing touches. The 2 bedroom villa has a gym, huge deck with pool, a private boma and comes with private vehicle, tracker, ranger and dedicated staff. Public areas are beautiful - a lovely art gallery, bar and a dining area are all joined by a massive deck with views of the Sabi River.