When I was in India I took an elephant ride. It’s an attraction that is offered tourists in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The elephants were decoratively adorned with colorful weavings. I sat over the shoulders and rocked with the movement as the elephant walked up a hillside toward a temple. It was a thrill to be on the back of such a big, wonderful animal that was generously allowing me to ride on his back. I felt gratitude and friendship for the gentle giant.
I admit, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. It was just a few moments of one day on a 10-day tour. I took the ride, enjoyed it, and then moved on to the next thing on my itinerary. Then one day I met Stephanie Shaw, the corporate liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and I realized what should have been obvious to me in the first place. Of course. Why did I ever think that an elephant would work a day job carrying humans around on his back constantly of his own free will, hour after hour, day after day?
When I learned the story behind the elephant rides, I felt ashamed of myself for being so insensitive to the animal. I was sorry for having participated in it, for helping to perpetuate the practice of selling elephant rides, which requires a kind of captivity and treatment I can hardly bear to imagine.
I assume others who take the rides are like I was. They saw the elephant ride attraction and went on it, not thinking that much about how it came to be that the world’s largest land animal would be submitting itself to serving as a taxi at a tourist attraction Read the rest of this entry »
After a year of being locked down, it’s understandable that people may want to double up on their bucket list trips to make up for lost time. But Africa and Antarctica in the same trip? That seems a stretch.
When I first learned that two tour operators, Wilderness Safaris and White Desert, joined forces to offer two trips that combine an African safari with an Antarctic expedition, my reaction was that the combination was incongruous at best. In my mind, they seemed to be two separate worlds, almost like two opposite poles of experience. But, when I looked closer, I found that it makes perfect sense. Read the rest of this entry »
Africa is a vast continent and for travel agents who find it overwhelming, who want to learn more about selling it, or to stay in touch and in the know, there is APTA-the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa. APTA promotes tourism to Africa and her islands through the education of its members.
Still riding the high from the World Cup, Johannesburg is thriving more than ever. The city is the heart of South Africa, with everything that happens within the country both beginning and ending in the capital. While it has had its fair share of ups and downs politically, economically and emotionally, the country has rallied this decade to become one of the hottest destinations in Africa. Representing a multitude of people, Joburg proudly boasts itself as the second largest city on the continent, and with that comes a great deal of activities for visitors.
Dave Herbert, CTC, has had a love affair with Africa since he first visited South Africa as a student in the 1960s and began work as a safari guide. In 1968, he started an overland camping and tour company, which he sold in 1970. He then moved to Johannesburg to start African Travel to serve Europeans traveling to the continent. Dave’s involvement with the US travel market began in 1976 when he started African Travel, Inc. In 2010, he founded Great Safaris, a company focused on upscale, sophisticated travel experiences to the continent of Africa.
How is Great Safaris different from other safari outfitters?
DH: The distinction with Great Safaris is that we established the company in Africa before we actually established our office in the United States. We have really focused on the product and having our own trained people to be able to handle the luxury experienced American traveler. Another difference is: all we focus on is the luxury market. “Luxury” is not just a high-priced product; it’s a state of mind. It is anticipating what experienced travelers require or expect.
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What is the first thing you think when you hear Canary Islands? Do you think of a bright, yellow, lively creature that is full of life, happy, and quite talkative? If you are referring to the bird, then you couldn’t be any more accurate. The same could even be said about the islands, too. A huge hot spot just off the coast of Africa, the Canary Islands are quite the popular location year-round, and the most visited and populated, Tenerife, is right up at the top of the list. The reasons why are easy to see, too – it is a volcanic paradise wrapped in sandy coasts, palm trees and other vegetation dominating the landscape and welcoming you with warm days and cool, vibrant nights.
If you are looking to relax and escape with some European travelers, look no further. Tenerife is a great gateway into the continent, beaches creating a natural border with their oceanic counterparts. Tenerife is an ecological paradise, too, providing a gorgeous tropical atmosphere that is only miles away from the mainland.
As unrivaled as it is picturesque, the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is a very special place. Not only is it home to Nairobi National Park, whose residents include giraffes, lions, rhinos and zebras, but it is the only city in the world with a park of its magnitude, let alone one with such wild tenants.
Visitors to this magical place can easily walk from the city streets to the African plains within minutes, coming very close to magnificent creatures and seeing how they are destined to be viewed – in their natural habitat.