Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kusini Weekly Update - April 27th

Tracking desert-adapted elephants in Damaraland. Ultimate Namibia dates/rates below!
Ultimate Safaris: Ultimate Safaris has announced 2017 rates and dates for their popular Ultimate Namibia Safari. Rates have increased by a minuscule 3%, so demand for this well-rounded safari will again be high (Rack $3100pp!). 2017 departures have increased to 22 dates, as nearly all 2016 dates sold out by the beginning of this year! The itinerary remains the same with a few upgrades - Swakopmund accommodation moves from the Central Guesthouse to The Delight, and Ultimate's newest-generation vehicles will be used, reducing the maximum number of participants to 7. Ultimate will continue to guarantee departures with a minimum of 1 pax. Contact Sharon for net rates and availability.

Maya Trails: Guatemala is featured on the cover of Conde Nast Traveler, and the writers at CNT dug a little deeper, unearthing the exclusive, insider experiences overlooked by most. From Guatemala City's vibrant arts scene and morning yoga at an Antigua coffee plantation, to Relais & Châteaux luxury at Casa Palopó on Lake Atitlan and a helicopter excursion to the spectacular and mysterious El Mirador ruins hidden deep in the jungles of the Peten, Guatemala is much more than Tikal tours and handicrafts from Chichicastenango! Maya Trails can design a bespoke luxury itinerary full of these special insider experiences. Contact Jimmy or Adriana to learn more.

New Frontiers: Thanks to the weak rand, South Africa is super-hot, and finding space in well-known reserves like Sabi Sabi and Timbavati can be tough in high season. However, great alternatives exist in SA's Waterberg region, which is very accessible (3.5hrs from JNB), family-friendly and stunning! Marataba Safari Lodge and Marataba Trails Lodge are nestled in the Waterberg in a private (malaria-free!) concession in Marakele NP. A New Frontiers favorite (read Faith's trip report), it's a family-friendly combo with Madikwe, only 2.5 hours away and also malaria-free! (Stay 3/Pay 2 at Marataba when combined with 3n at Madikwe Safari Lodge). While easily accessed by road, private charters are available, and Unique Air has a 3x/week lodge-hop service connecting Sabi Sands, Waterberg and Madikwe. Next week we'll look at another lodge in the region that's just emerged from a refurb.

Look for #EcuadorNOW on social channels
and encourage your travelers to participate!
Tropic Journeys: Tropic Ecuador has launched a new initiative called #EcuadorNOW, designed to encourage travelers to share their experiences, and to highlight areas that weren't affected by the recent earthquake such as the Andes, the Galapagos and the Amazon. Action is simple - urge your Ecuador travelers to upload images from their trips to their social media outlets with the hashtag #EcuadorNOW. Travelers can also upload their images to the EcuadorNOW Facebook page. The campaign will use the images to remind the world that Ecuador is open for tourism! Stay tuned for reports from the Kusini Collection as we head to Ecuador next week.

Albatros Travel East Africa: Good news for East Africa! Albatros Travel East Africa is pleased to report that British Airways is increasing its weekly capacity into Nairobi for summer 2016. With the introduction of a Boeing 747-400 on the route, BA can now accommodate 784 more pax per week on their LHR-NBO route. The 747's will operate during the peak summer season from Jul 1 - Oct 29, after which they will revert to a Boeing 777. The schedule allows for convenient transfer times for onward flights - particularly to North America.

Imvelo Safari Lodges: Even the elephants are celebrating the late season rains in Hwange National Park! Imvelo Safari Lodges shared some joyful video with us from Jozibanini Camp in southern Hwange that had us grinning from ear-to-ear. Jozibanini is Imvelo's most remote camp and is traditionally one of the driest areas in Hwange. This elephant (nicknamed 'Horton' by the kids who watched him swim) likely hasn't had the chance to frolic in such deep water, so was taking full advantage! Visit Imvelo's You Tube channel
for videos of this happy ele swimming!

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