Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Time of year travel

The Great Migration is magic any time of year, though we have a soft spot
for the calving season
This week's enews is to inspire ideas for your travelers who are specific about when they can travel, with options throughout the year by season....

January - March

Whale watching in Baja hits the spot for those seeking a
'transformative travel' experience. Photo by Colin Ruggiero.
Baja California Sur's whale watching season runs from October through March, but mid-January to mid-March is an extra special time with the arrival of gray whales. Todos Santos Eco Adventures has a great track record of getting their clients up close and personal with the gentle giants! Some even suggest that the experience can 'change your perspective.'

The Great Migration moves in perpetuity, and every season has its own highlights. What we love, love, love about visiting Tanzania this time of year is that we have the chance to see the calving season, where wildebeest are dropping their babies on the plains of the Southern Serengeti. Predator activity is also incredible during this time of abundance. Albatros Travel can advise on the best camps for your clients' safari to witness this beautiful spectacle.

For a delicious diversion a bit closer to home, we suggest visiting Guatemala for the annual coffee harvest. Maya Trails partners with De La Gente in Antigua for community-based coffee tours. The participatory tour comes with a translator and a bag of seriously delicious coffee! 100% of the cost of the tour is paid directly to the farmer. Add a traditional Guatemalan lunch with the family for an extra special experience.

April - June

Calm seas ensure great wildlife viewing both above and
below the surface in the Galapagos!
The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination, but this time of year marks the end of the warm and wet season. Showers are brief (when they happen!), and the seas are at their calmest. With that calm comes easy boat transfers between islands for land-based travel with Tropic Ecuador (or smooth sailing if that's your choice), but best of all, it ensures excellent underwater visibility for checking out the amazing wildlife!

Travelers hankering for adventure in Namibia would do well to visit during our spring months as the rainy season is coming to an end and their winter sets in. Days can still be hot, but the air is fresh and clear, vegetation is green (great photography conditions!) and the mercury blissfully dips at night. It is pre-high season so there are fewer tourists, and game viewing gets better as the vegetation dies back. Ask Ultimate Safaris what they love about this special time of year.

Primate viewing is one of the ultimate wildlife experiences in Africa, and the countries with excellent trekking opportunities use that draw to help fund protection of the primates with permit fees. Savvy travelers can visit Uganda during the months of April, May (and November!) to take advantage of discounted gorilla and chimpanzee permits ($50 off chimp permits and $150 off of gorilla permits). These discounts might mean the difference between one or two days of trekking, multiple primate treks or a longer safari. Be sure to contact Classic Africa Safaris well in advance to secure permits!

July - September

Shutterbugs can perfect their elephant shots during Zimbabwe's
dry season. Photo by Mark Butcher.
Imvelo Safari Lodges' Nehimba Lodge is an epic location for close encounters with elephants during the dry season. Elephants can be seen close to the Lodge all year, but numbers swell significantly during the dry season. Guests can reliably witness the spectacle from July - Nov, both at the Lodge and at the Nehimba Seeps. Nehimba also offers an elevated vantage point for photographing the hundreds of elephants and other game that frequent its very popular waterhole. With lots of new flights into VFA (including this direct one from Cape Town with SA Airlink) it's easier than ever to visit!

August marks the peak of South Africa's flower season. In the country's arid northwest (Namaqualand), the plains come to life with a riot of color. The 4,000 species of flower seeds lie in wait for the right conditions, then bloom in a different and stunning way each year. Adventure opportunities in Namaqualand go beyond viewing its seasonal color palette, and include hiking and biking, fantastic seafood, walks to ancient rock paintings, delicious wine and tea, and more. For the short flower season, be sure to contact New Frontiers early, as accommodations can sell out months in advance.

These shoulder season months mark the end of summer and the onset of autumn in Ethiopia. September is particularly magical with landscapes that will defy your imagination - verdant and lush from the rains. Yellow (Meskel) daisies dot hillsides and their arrival ushers in the Ethiopian Orthodox church's celebration of Meskel (Sept 27), marking the discovery of the 'True Cross' in the 4th century. Weather is generally mild, though Travel Ethiopia recommends that travelers be prepared for rain with boots and a waterproof jacket.

October - December

Predators were abundant during Gretchen's visit to Kenya
during its 'secret season'
Procrastinators, rejoice! There is something to love about year-end travel and squeezing out every last vacation day. All of our destinations provide an opportunity to escape the oncoming North American winter - it's just a matter of choice! Maybe Kenya's 'secret season' with fewer tourists (but lots of wildlife!), or marking the holiday season in Latin America with family to experience a shot of culture in an escape close to home...the only limit on where to go is travelers' imaginations!

Speaking of Latin America, if olive ridley, green, and leatherback turtles or the elusive resplendant quetzal are on your client's 'must see' list, we have an exciting announcement coming in a few weeks - stay tuned!

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