Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cape Peninsula NF Escapes style, Stimlea Star inaugural journey and Belize special

Exploring the Cape Peninsula on foot on a New Frontiers Escapes excursion

What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

Getting ready to kayak with penguins
New Frontiers: New Frontiers has taken exploring the Cape Peninsula to the next level and then some. Tad and Gretchen had the chance to join a group of tour operators on a New Frontiers Escape just prior to We Are Africa. They explored local cafe culture, kayaked and walked with penguins, played in sugar soft sand, picnicked on the beach and mixed local botanical potions to make a smokey fynbos cocktail. Read about their day here, and visit the New Frontiers Agent Zone to learn more about their fantastic New Frontiers Escapes, available in the city, the Cape Peninsula, the Winelands and the Overberg!

Learn more about Costa Rica on our webinar
Costa Rica Sun Tours: Did you attend our recent webinar with Costa Rica Sun Tours (CRST)? Sonya was joined by CRST guide Alex Arias for a photographic webinar presentation on Costa Rica, highlighting the country's many unique features, as well as talking about what makes CRST special. Costa Rica Sun Tours is celebrating 30 years in business in 2018, and have crafted some new and exciting itineraries and experiences in honor of their anniversary! Listen to a replay of the webinar here, or learn more about Alex and enjoy some of his images on our blog.

The Times covers the Stimela Star's launch
Imvelo Safari Lodges: The Stimela Star overnight sleeper train brought to life by Imvelo Safari Lodges has made its inaugural run from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park, and journalist Sue Watt of The Times couldn't have been more pleased to have been on board! She captures the character of the Star perfectly, and clearly also 'gets' what Imvelo is after with their safari operations in Zimbabwe - a positive impact on conservation and community. "I've been on safari before, but not like this." Read about her unforgettable safari and rediscovery of Zimbabwe with Imvelo here.

No one left a master painter, but everyone had fun!
Tropic Ecuador: The Independent has come up with a great list of activities in Quito including craft beer tasting, exploring the local art scene, checking out indie cinema and sampling the city's street food. Add in some Tropic-style ideas, and your visitors will have an unforgettable stay! Tropic Ecuador has a number of unique 'May I Introduce You' programs across Ecuador that give guests an inside track with locals. They can meet (and paint with) a local artist, cook with a talented chef, spend time in the studio of a master weaver and more! Ask Andrea to help choose the right program for your clients.

Adventures at Ka'ana are tempting, but relaxing possibly
more so...
Maya Trails: Belize is an adventurer's paradise, and Maya Trails is excited to make it super accessible to your travelers. They are currently offering 25% off stays of four or more nights at Ka'ana Resort for bookings made before May 31 for travel through Dec 17th, 2018. Ka'ana offers a huge range of adventures, as well as the opportunity to totally unwind in a luxurious tropical environment. Stays include a private tour for two to the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich and a craft cocktail workshop with one of Ka'ana's Master Mixologists. Contact Adriana for details and availability.

Auric Air's new flights help guests maximize their time
Classic Africa Safaris: Our favorite thing about new flights is when they allow travelers to maximize their time on vacation. That's why we're very excited about the news from Classic Africa Safaris that Auric Air has introduced flights connecting Serengeti to both Kigali and Entebbe! The flights make connecting the spectacular wildlife of the Serengeti with the mountain gorillas (and other wildlife) of Rwanda and Uganda seamless. The schedule is set in such a way that guests have the chance to avoid a night in transit - time that is better used for game viewing. View the new timetable here.

Act fast for your clients to get on the road on an Ultimate
Namibia Safari
for 2019
Ultimate Safaris: Details for the 2019 Ultimate Namibia Safari are out! Despite a (200%!) jump in park entrance fees, Ultimate Safaris has kept the average rate increase of their guaranteed departure safari to around 10%. The 10-day safari continues to offer the best value for money for a journey of its nature in Namibia, and it is still priced well below any comparative safari offered in the marketplace. Keep in mind that high demand means departures sell out quickly. There are departures nearly every Tue in peak season - 40 in total for 2019. A detailed itinerary and rates are available here. Contact Clemensia for availability.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Exploring the Cape Peninsula with New Frontiers

I've explored South Africa's Cape Peninsula maybe a dozen times. It never gets old. There's always a vibey cafe to duck into, a beach to stroll along, a tree to sit under and soak up the scene. It's the perfect place to spend a sun-drenched Western Cape day.

New Frontiers has taken exploring the Cape Peninsula to the next level and then some. Tad and I had the chance to join a group of tour operators on a New Frontiers Escape just prior to We Are Africa. Our guide James was welcoming, and kept us informed on our surroundings as we were heading to our first stop
in Kalk Bay. He also shared some stories of his diving career background, which were totally fascinating.

On arrival in (totally charming) seaside Kalk Bay, we made a stop at Olympia Cafe - a personal favorite of mine. Always bustling, James took us around to its sister takeaway shop around the corner where we admired the bakers hard at work through the window and snapped up fully half of the beautiful breads and pastries for sale. The group reconvened at the harbor to chat, sip coffee and watch fat sea lions sleeping off
their morning feast of fish bits from the
nearby processing facility.

Sated, we headed off to Simon's Town for more active pursuits. We had the choice to hike/walk, SUP or kayak for the next hour or so to catch glimpses of penguins and other local sea life. Tad hopped into a kayak (where they paddled alongside penguins!) while I tightened the laces of my hiking boots. Our walk gave us the chance to explore and learn about the local flora, followed by penguin watching, which is always entertaining. Visiting the famous Boulders Beach is a possibility on these tours, but New Frontiers Escapes also gives guests the chance to get off the
beaten path - visiting a penguin-filled beach
that only locals know about.

We gathered again at the kayak/SUP base to find penguins in the shop, then descending the stairs to the beach, much to everyone's delight! Some snacks from the vehicle's 'onboard gourmet pantry' were passed around (biltong, trail mix, homemade potato chips...yum!) to refuel a bit after our activities, and we were off to the next adventure!

Next was the windswept, dramatic Cape Peninsula Reserve. We drove slowly through to take in some of the beautiful scenery, then stopped for a stroll through a long, sandy stretch of beachfront fynbos.
We looked for signs of the Cape clawless
otter (another of the guides was an expert in the local fauna, making for an especially fascinating walk), learned about various kinds of fynbos (one of the world's 7 floral kingdoms occurs only within South Africa!), and soaked in the incredible views.

A lovely surprise awaited us behind a sand dune - a gourmet picnic, replete with beach bar, blankets and beach games (cricket, anyone?). For an opener, we were treated to another example of Capetonian's unending ingenuity for saving water. We were presented with a marshmallow-shaped (and sized) object
that, after perhaps a teaspoon of water,
expanded to become a wet wipe of sorts.
Hands clean!

All dietary restrictions catered to (with individually labeled picnic boxes), cool drinks passed around (including local artisinal gins, small batch iced teas and more), we sat and soaked up the sun while enjoying what was far and away the best boxed lunch I have ever had, and well needed after weeks on the road. I hadn't expected to find quinoa salad with beetroot, butternut, greens and feta, or barley chicken Greek salad in a packed lunch. Safari camps, take note!!

The grand finale of our day of exploration came at an unassuming spot called Veld and Sea. Part fynbos nursery, part super-
cool activity center, we were treated to a botanical craft cocktail making session (accompanied by gorgeous, fresh, healthy food). The space total Instagram candy - it definitely looks like magic happens there daily. From lighting local botanicals on fire to 'smoke' our cocktail glasses, to mixing in hand-crafted cordials made from hyper-local vegetation and chilled with edible flower-laden ice cubes, we were practicing modern-day alchemy with delicious results!

New Frontiers Escapes give your guests an exciting array of options to explore the City, the Cape Peninsula, the Winelands and the Overberg that offer a totally
new way of experiencing each locale.
They offer four distinctive themes for each of the areas – Active, Explore, Family and Quirky.

Explore – Visit the key sites by vehicle and foot, getting guests away from the bustling crowds and engaging them with the local history and culture of the region.

Active – Explores the area through a combination of soft-adventure activities that include hiking, stand-up paddle boarding or cycling.
Family – Explore, engage and interact through a series of fun activities using the iconic sights as a playground.

Quirky – Taste, touch and feel your way through the region, exploring off the beaten track areas and visiting some hidden gems and innovative projects.

Learn more about New Frontiers Escapes on the Agent Zone, or contact Tad or Gretchen with questions!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Get to know Ultimate Safaris Namibia

The total exclusivity of Ultimate Safaris' Journeys Under Canvas
is an incomparable luxury

This week we'll explore what's new with Ultimate Safaris in Namibia, including their Journey Under Canvas Camps, their amazing Journeysmiths and more!

Kusini has been proudly representing Ultimate Safaris in Namibia since 2012. With Namibia's strongest and most talented on-staff guiding team, superior, custom-designed safari vehicles and their own Journeys Under Canvas camps in Damaraland and Sossusvlei, they continue to go from strength to strength with each passing year. Below are the latest updates from the Ultimate tribe in Namibia . . .


NEW AND NOTEWORTHY - latest travel innovations from Ultimate

Journeys Under Canvas camps - //Huab and Sossus 

//Huab truly blends in to its environment
For years, Ultimate has been pioneering Journeys Under Canvas throughout Namibia. But with the opening of their two new semi-permanent //Huab and Sossus 'Under Canvas' camps, adding an authentic under canvas experience in Namibia is now far simpler. Both camps are set in amazing locations, offer rustic but very comfortable accommodation and, most importantly, are booked on an exclusive use basis only,whether for 2 or 20 pax.

Tucked into a cool mopane grove along an ephemral river, //Huab Under Canvas is one of the best places in northwestern Namibia to trek to see black rhino. With comfortable cots, flush loos and bucket showers, there are no extra frills to distract from the awesome nature surrounding the camp. However, there is no compromise on the five-star quality of the food, wine and the exceptional guiding!

Tracking desert-adapted rhino is a major highlight of any visit - it takes place in a completely private conservancy with the highest tracking success rate in northwestern Namibia! Guests can also search for desert-adapted elephants, enjoy nature walks and drives and visit nearby prehistoric rock engravings. Make an armchair visit to //Huab in its early days with Ultimate Sales Director Birgit Bekker here.
One of Sossus' comfortable, thoughtfully designed tents

A few weeks ago, Ultimate introduced //Huab's sister camp, Sossus Under Canvas, ideally located on the private 24,000 hectare Neuhof Nature Reserve just thirty minutes' drive from the gateway to Sossusvlei.

Ultimate took every success from //Huab Under Canvas including its incredible exclusivity and integrated them into Sosus, while upgrading bedding and adding some new and innovative recycled design elements to ensure guests' comfort in the harsh desert environment.

Activities include visiting the Sossusvlei dunes and Deadvlei, nature walks and drives, magic moments in desert pools (ask Tad for details!) and incredible star gazing. For stays of 3 or more nights (which we definitely recommend!), there is also the opportunity to visit the Neuhof Plateau which offers some of the best views over the Namib Desert. Game viewing on the reserve is also quite good. On Tad's recent visit,  big herds of springbok, oryx, mountain and plains zebra were all spotted plus giraffe, jackals and even bat eared foxes!

Journeys Under The Stars . . . 

The scene set for a 'Stellar Escape' under Namibia's
glittering skies
Ultimate has created a one night Stellar Escape available at both //Huab and Sossus, where guests spend a night under Namibia's gobsmacking night skies, completely in the open.

For an even more adventurous time in the bush, guests staying 3 or more nights can opt for time on a Trails excursion at either camp - two days of hiking and one night of sleeping under the stars. They'll have the concession completely to themselves where they can enjoy the vastness, solitude and magnitude of nature during their exploration.


A lemonade stop is the perfect respite from the heat.
Photo by Bill Gozansky.
It's the little things - Trail Treats! 

For all guests, Ultimate's 'Trail Treats' are a source of surprise and delight! Imagine finishing a rhino trek and heading back to camp, only to be waylaid by an ice cream stand in the middle of nowhere! Or coming across a bend on a nature walk to find a lemonade stand in the middle of the desert - what could be better than an ice cold drink stop? Other surprises are known to pop up along the way too - your guests won't know what to expect!


The new, very remote Hoanib Valley Camp opening Jun 2018
New camps/lodges elsewhere in Namibia

Naturally, we're most excited about Ultimate's new camps, but we're also eagerly anticipating the opening of Shipwreck Lodge - located on the beach on the Skeleton Coast - Hoanib Valley Camp (both opening in June 2018) and The Desert Grace (opening November 2018). With availability at a premium in Namibia, especially in Damaraland, these new lodges are a very welcome addition!


Planning safaris is fun if not always glamorous
THE ULTIMATE TRIBE - meet the Journeysmiths!

The tribe at Ultimate Safaris is known for being the best in Namibia. Ultimate's guides are the have incredible depth of knowledge, fantastic personalities and impressive problem-solving skills. But it's the Ultimate Safaris Journeysmiths that are the unsung heroes. The team is a huge part of what makes Ultimate special - arranging safaris that are so perfectly executed - but they never get tips, never get evaluation sheets and never see the guests. It might be the least glamorous job, but it's one of the most important!

There's plenty to keep travelers occupied in Doha
during a layover
New flight connections to Namibia - 
making life easier!

In recent years, the number and frequency of direct international flights to Namibia has increased, making it easier than ever to visit. Check out the Kusini blog for a round-up of the new international flights as well as a few of our favorite regional flights. Some of the long-haul flights have longer layovers, but we think they provide a good chance to explore a bit and to reduce jet lag en route!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New flight connections to Namibia - getting there (and avoiding JNB) has never been easier!

Ethiopian, KLM and Air Namibia aircraft at WDH
In recent years, the number and frequency of direct international flights to Namibia has increased, making avoiding JNB easier. Here's a round-up of the new international flights as well as a few of our favorite regional flights:

International non-stop flights:

KLM 575/576
From: AMS (1hr stop in Luanda, Angola)
Frequency: 3x per week (Outbound: Tu/Fr/Su; Return: Mo/We/Sa)
Departs: AMS 22:55/Departs WDH 17:35
Connections: Long outbound connection in AMS for North American flights (10+ hrs) but seemless 2-3hr connection on the return flight.
Duration: 12:10/12:30
Aircraft: A330-200

Qatar 1373/1374
From: DOH (direct)
Frequency: 5x per week Su/Mo/We/Fr/Sa
Departs DOH 02:00/Departs WDH 12:40
Connections: 8hr+ connections in DOH each way.
Duration: 10:40/8:35
Aircraft: 787-8 Dreamliner

Ethiopian 835/834
From: ADD (direct)
Frequency: 4x per week (Su/Mo/We/Fr)
Departs ADD 08:35/Departs WDH 14:20
Connections: Depending on the North American destination, it can be a tight connection in ADD each way, but do-able.
Duration: 5:45/5:50
Aircraft: 787-8 Dreamliner

Regional flights:

Airlink: Cape Town/Windhoek
Frequency: 2-3 daily flights
This one is a no-brainer, especially with the increasing number of international flights into CPT.

Air Namibia: Victoria Falls/Windhoek
Frequency: 4x per week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
Great way to connect creating a combination itinerary of Namibia with Zimbabwe and/or Botswana.

Air Namibia: Durban/Windhoek (via Gaborone)
Frequency: 4x per week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
Talk about a unique combo - KZN and Namibia!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Catch of the day, a photographic webinar (TODAY!) and best Ecuadorian Andes experiences

Costa Rica Sun Tours guide Alex Arias will show off Costa Rica's beauty in
today's photographic webinar

What's happening this week in the Kusini Collection:

Alex will share Costa Rica's unique beauty through his
stories and images in today's webinar
Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Webinar TODAY! Join Costa Rica Sun Tours guide Alex Arias for a photographic webinar presentation of Costa Rica, highlighting the many unique features of both the country and the company. Costa Rica Sun Tours is celebrating 30 years in business in 2018, and we're excited to share some new and exciting itineraries and experiences with you! You can learn more about Alex and enjoy some of his images on our blog. The webinar will start at 1pm EDT, and you can still register. If you can't join but wish to view the recording or would like more information, contact Sonya.

The gorgeous new, exclusive-use Kwandwe Fort House 
New Frontiers: With South Africa's constantly changing lodging scene, it can feel like you're trying to track a moving target. Fear not! New Frontiers does the heavy lifting to keep your expertise fresh. Faith has put together a comprehensive property update that covers the new news from Cape to Kruger. If you're looking for information on new, refurbed or soon-to-arrive lodging options in South Africa - look no further. We're particularly excited about the upcoming lodge openings in KZN (we have a soft spot for beautiful, hardly-touristed Hluhluwe iMfolozi), but there's something for everyone on this list.

A sweet suite at Las Lagunas
Maya Trails: Guatemala's Tikal National Park is home to the remains of one of the largest and most important cities in the pre-Hispanic history of the Maya civilization. It's a fascinating and beautiful visit - with ruins rising out of the jungle (which Star Wars nerds will find to be familiar looking), the calls of howler monkeys echoing through the rain forest and ancient history oozing from every corner. We even spotted a jaguar on our last visit! Maya Trails are excited to offer a stay 3/pay 2 (for a savings of over $185pp!) at the beautiful Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel for bookings made in April, May and June 2018.

Visit the blog to find out what was on the menu for this
Zuleta-style cooking class
Tropic Ecuador: In September, Tad explored the Ecuadorian Andes and the famed Avenue of the Volcanoes with Tropic Ecuador's director Jascivan Carvalho and a group of North American tour operators. Tropic is always looking for creative ways to explore lesser-known paths while connecting their travelers to local people and engaging communities. Tropic showcased some fantastic experiences for the lucky travelers, including a local cooking class, a painting class and a visit with a master weaver. Visit our blog to learn about Tad's top five most memorable experiences from the Ecuadorian Andes.

The warm and wonderful people of Uganda make
every visit special
Classic Africa Safaris: On a first-time visit to Uganda with Classic Africa Safaris, Sonya was blown away by the intense beauty of the country and it's people. "I dare say this is the most beautiful country in Africa. On our driving safari, the miles logged slipped away through endless forests and villages. Witnessing communities going about their daily lives - kids on their way to school, ladies in a riot of colorful fabrics, motorcycles and bicycles carting everything from towering eggs stacked by the dozen to a double bed frame, farmers tending terraces of tea and coffee, and ochre roads cutting through the verdant and richly productive hillsides of the 'Pearl of Africa.' Add to this the incredibly warm welcome and wildlife experiences that surpassed my expectations - I can't wait to return!" Stay tuned for more detailed feedback on the properties and experiences Sonya enjoyed!

The ultimate fresh catch!
Todos Santos Eco Adventures: You think you know about fresh fish? These two fishermen are brothers, 88 and 90 years old, who live in the fishing camp one bay over from Camp Cecil. They still fish every day, and supply all of the seafood at the camp. They motor in to camp late each afternoon with the day's catch, and within no time, the super-talented Todos Santos Eco Adventures chefs have fresh ceviche served with cocktails for guests - with another catch on the menu for dinner! Just another part of the beauty of Baja.

This is about as relaxing as it gets
Imvelo Safari Lodges: As if Zambezi Sands, Gorges Lodge and Camelthorn Lodge aren't already wonderful enough, Imvelo Safari Lodges have added pop-up spa services to their offerings! The spa treatments fall in line with Imvelo's proud tradition of empowering the community through providing jobs, as their beauty therapists have been hand-picked from the surrounding community areas. Travelers can enjoy treatments (head, foot, shoulder & neck massages, as well as mani/pedis) in the most spectacular settings! Contact us for the spa fact sheet and rates.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Get out of the vehicle - adventures with the Kusini Collection on the water

Getting out of the vehicle and into a boat in Uganda makes for hugely
rewarding wildlife viewing. Photo by Gretchen Healey.

We love everything about travel, but sometimes what we love the most is getting out of the vehicle and getting our boots onto the ground (or in this case, our toes in the water!) to immerse ourselves in our destination - literally and figuratively. This week we're exploring activities outside of the vehicle on the water...

Manta guests can take the ngalawa to their very own
private paradise
The Manta Resort: An ngalawa is the traditional sailing vessel used by fishermen on the island of Pemba in Tanzania. At The Manta Resort you can opt for your only transportation to be by ngalawa! Whether it's to cruise along the shoreline over the reefs soaking in the sunset, heading out to a snorkel site to experience the vast numbers of marine life and gaze at the colorful reef through the clear blue waters, or perhaps a cruise at low tide to a sandbank of the purest white coral sand. It's the perfect beach to relax on, totally surrounded by the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean and with nary another soul in sight. The thrill of the sail, fresh ocean breeze, fun local captains, and a cooler box included on all excursions!

Tropic guests can experience the Galapagos' wildlife on
an SUP
Tropic Ecuador: Tropic Ecuador knows how to introduce Galapagos visitors to the Islands - get on the water asap! After a quick change and snack at Baltra airport's VIP lounge, guests take a short ride to reach the Itabaca Channel where they will immediately get on the water. A boat will take them out on the gorgeous turquoise channel for the chance to kayak, snorkel and stand up paddleboard. White-tipped reef sharks, rays, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and more are easy to spot on the water-based activities, and there's nothing to shake off travel like being active! Another Tropic-exclusive SUP hotspot is Floreana Lava Lodge. Visitors can explore the island's rocky coast on their SUP (or in a kayak) at their leisure.

A boat cruise in Uganda will leave guests awed
Classic Africa Safaris: Gorillas are top of mind when envisioning a trip to Uganda, but there's more to the country than primates, including adventures on the water. A Kazinga Channel cruise is a huge highlight of any visit to Queen Elizabeth NP with Classic Africa Safaris. Innumerable birds and abundant wildlife can be seen on the 2 hour cruise - including elephants drinking at the water's edge, and one of Africa's largest concentration of hippos, many of whom can be found lazing on the beach. Kazinga isn't the only fantastic boating activity available. A Nile Delta cruise in Murchison Falls NP is an absolute must for twitchers. It's known as one of the best opportunities anywhere to see the rare shoebill.

Nearly all activities at Camp Cecil are self-propelled
Todos Santos Eco Adventures: Guests at Camp Cecil won't see a vehicle during their stay with Todos Santos Eco Adventures. Instead, they can play in the Sea of Cortez's crystalline waters, which just happen to be home to 39% of the world´s total number of marine mammal species, a third of the world´s marine cetacean species, and 891 fish species. Visitors can explore by kayaking, snorkeling, swimming with sea lions, discovering hidden lagoons and stand up paddle boarding. On land there's hiking, bird watching, building sand castles, checking out cave art or secreting away to deserted beaches. And don't forget to save some time for reading, napping, swimming, chillin', sipping margaritas and gazing at stars. No motorized vehicles needed (except to get there!).

A new twist on safari - exploring Mozambique by dhow
New Frontiers: There's so many out of the vehicle opportunities in Southern Africa, New Frontiers has crafted an entirely new set of adventures called New Frontiers Active Escapes. Their 'on the water' options include a 4 night Okavango Delta Mokoro Trail, a 4 night Kafue Canoe Trail in Zambia, a 4 night Mozambique Dhow Safari and a 5 night Lower Zambezi River Safari going from Kariba to Mana Pools. Not only do these trips get travelers out of the vehicle, they get them off the beaten path and into real solitude. Whether they want to feel like a island castaway or an early explorer, these adventures will leave the impression they have the whole place to themselves.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Get out of the vehicle - adventures with the Kusini Collection on land

Maya Trails' Maya Community Trek slowly unveils Guatemala's magic
to travelers

We love everything about travel, but sometimes what we love the most is getting out of the vehicle and getting our boots onto the ground to immerse ourselves in our destination - literally and figuratively. This week we're exploring activities outside of the vehicle on land...

Tad admiring the gorgeous biplane just before takeoff
Albatros East Africa: There's no shortage of active adventures in Kenya. From camel rides to tracking wild dog, there are myriad opportunities to enjoy all of the country's offerings. One of our favorite areas to get out of the vehicle is Laikipia, and a fantastic way to do it is splitting a visit between Borana and Lewa. Walking safaris, horseback or camel rides, going out with the rhino rangers and mountain biking are all great options. A big-time Kusini favorite is taking flight in the open cockpit of Will Craig's (of the family who have long owned and operated Lewa) biplane. Will zooms right above the treetops and weaves through gorges to show off the beauty of his homeland. The plane can take two lucky passengers on a journey over forests, herds of game, and through ravines that are otherwise virtually inaccessible. We can't recommend it highly enough! Ask Albatros Travel about adding a flight to your client's itinerary!

Geladas can be seen in the Simiens on lodge based day hikes
Travel Ethiopia: The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Ethiopia might not be trekking, but perhaps it should be. Its highlands, which are split by the Great Rift Valley, are a dramatic tableau of unusually shaped peaks and gorges. The highest peaks are found in the Simien and Bale mountain ranges, both of which are fantastic for trekking. Simien Mountains NP is a haven for hikers. Not only can they tackle some of its challenging terrain (with peaks topping out at nearly 15,000 ft!), four of Ethiopia's seven large endemic mammals - the endangered walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf, the engaging gelada baboon and the Simien red fox, all call the park home. Travel Ethiopia can arrange day hikes for travelers touring the Historic North, or multi-day deluxe mobile camping treks for intrepid explorers.

Mountain biking at Jozi provides a heart-pounding wildlife
viewing experience!
Imvelo Safari Lodges: While Imvelo Safari Lodges are known for superb game drives, it's everything else that they offer that really sets them apart. We realize getting into a train isn't exactly getting out of the vehicle per se, but getting into The Elephant Express open-air rail car for a train-based game viewing experience is a cool Land Cruiser alternative. From there, we love taking the steps down below ground to peek out of the look-up blind at elephants at the watering hole, totally unfussed by the humans just a few steps away. Other game viewing options include horseback riding from Camelthorn and Bomani, or mountain biking (!!!) from blissfully remote Jozibanini Camp in southern Hwange. Even getting to the park can be done differently with Imvelo's new Stimela Star overnight sleeper train. It's a delightful step back in time to a more genteel day.

VIDEO: Warning - watching this may cause you to book
tickets to Guatemala
Maya Trails: Travelers looking to escape the vehicle when visiting Guatemala need to look no further than Maya Trails' Maya Community Trek. This 8-day trip includes 4 days of hiking and glamping (ask us about the 2 day option for the time-strapped). Travelers begin by exploring the quaint cobbled streets of Antigua, then setting off into the hills the next day with a trek through the highlands to the first camp. A delicious dinner and a crackling fire are the perfect prelude to a restful night. Ensuing days include more trekking, incredible scenery, meeting locals, and even tortilla making lessons. The trek ends at Lake Atitlan where there will be time to explore some of its villages. The final stop before Guatemala City is the famous Chichicastenango market for a bit of shopping and culture.

//Huab Under Canvas has the highest success rate for rhino
trekking in western Namibia
Ultimate Safaris: The tribe at Ultimate Safaris is known for getting back to the root of safari, and delivering unforgettable experiences to visitors as a result. This rediscovery of safari's true meaning includes launching their own exclusive-use 'Under Canvas' camps that allow visitors to get out of the vehicle and have a true back-to-nature experience. Instead of focusing on thread count and the wine cellar, these camps let guests hear and smell and feel the wildness all around them. Hikes on game trails to track desert-adapted rhino are richly rewarded, engaging nature walks including visits to prehistoric rock art, multi-day walking safaris and adventurous sleep-outs are all options for travelers seeking a connection with nature. We don't think we could put it better than Ultimate's Birgit Bekker when she said 'when we are forced to disconnect, we truly connect.'

Vehicles? Where we're going we don't need vehicles!
Costa Rica Sun Tours: Costa Rica has a lengthy roster of options for getting out of the vehicle. Perhaps one of the most unique is a special waterfall rappel near Arenal and Chato Volcano with Costa Rica Sun Tours. Guests will be nowhere near the vehicle when they begin their day by zip lining 340 meters and rappelling a total of 80 meters down alongside the stunning Pino Blanco waterfall. After the descent, there's no vehicle waiting. Instead, visitors will keep the adrenaline high with a climb back up on a perpendicular cable ladder, followed by another zip line to the Pino Blanco lookout point. After the heart-thumping adventure, things take a cultural turn with a visit to the Maleku Indian Cultural Rescue Center, to learn about their traditions and cultural roots, as well what's being done to protect one of the smallest ethnic groups in Costa Rica.