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Mid Year Newsletter 2006

Our New Website
New Email Address
Book Early
Privately Guided or Travel Independently
Off the Beaten Track
Right Off the Beaten Path
Your most Popular Choices
What is a Camp?
Tail End

The first half of 2006 has again been filled with exciting travels for John and Nicci. John spent the first two months of the year leading safaris in East Africa before returning to Zimbabwe to hold the fort while Nicci travelled to Australia and New Zealand for six weeks visiting family and to work with her New Zealand travel colleague. As this is written John is now back into another busy safari time, presently in Zambia and later in the month Botswana, before spending most of July and August back in Zambia - our most popular safari country this year.

In September and October this year John has sub contracted his large tented camp to a Mana Pools operator and so during these months he will be back on home territory leading safaris in this wondrous corner of Africa. If you’re feeling spontaneous and think you’d like to join him get in touch now about joining John for a week or so this year! Flights with British Airways from London direct into Harare are very reasonable. If you have a concern about the current political situation in Zimbabwe be assured that although we have the dubious record of the highest inflation in the world from a visitors point of view it has been completely peaceful here for a couple of years. You are guaranteed to receive the warmest of welcomes from every Zimbabwean you meet.


We have launched a brand new web site – Please take a moment to look at it and let us know what you think. On the home page you will see a boxed section of current news. Please check that every now and then as this is where we bring you tit bits and happenings that we know will be of interest.

For the first time we are using a paid online service to manage our newsletter mailings. Besides having these, our newsletters, arrive in a professional/predicted format this allows anyone to unsubscribe (this is now law in the US), doesn’t stop spammers of course (pity about that) but hinders the legitimate use of email for marketing.

We’re excited about these developments and would appreciate any feedback from you.

Please note that we are now using the new email address All previous addresses will remain in use for some time.

By choice we design our safari itineraries using the smaller safari camps and lodges off the beaten track wherever and whenever we can. Being small with limited beds available these little gems have limited space and book up quickly, often 18 – 24 months in advance so we encourage you to book early if you are thinking about doing a safari.

A number of our safaris this year will not be privately guided by John but rather the participants will travel independently using our extensive knowledge of safari camps and lodges, hosts and resident guides who we know we can thoroughly rely on to look after our guests during their safari. One safari this year will be a first for us – the guide, also a commercial pilot, will fly our guests from camp to camp over ten days. This may seem like utter indulgence but it can make economic sense as well as saving valuable time.

Whether a safari is privately guided or not please remember we can help you custom design a thoroughly exciting, original and memorable experience. We have so many ideas for all budgets and expectations so please do get in touch with us if Africa is on your travel agenda soon.

More and more our guests, most especially those who have been on safari with us a number of times, are looking to us for safari ideas that will take them right off the beaten track. When designing safaris we always try to use the smaller properties, tucked away in isolated areas. But for many of you even these are not remote enough!

These safaris are not run of the mill, and you will not find a sample itinerary on our web site, but we have lots of ideas. Perhaps the more remote little-used parks in Zambia; a private tented mobile in Botswana or a Namibian desert safari. The very original nature of these safaris means that they take a little more time and effort to organise but if you are up for something very different, so are we so get in touch and we can start planning. For those who want something really different don’t forget to ask about Gabon. We have organised another amazing expedition for a group from Houston Zoo later this year. You may be interested to know that Houston Zoo have just begun the building of an $80 million Central African exhibit. Much of their interpretive material will come from Gabon. This is the time to see the real thing! As our Gabonese ground operator said recently “Gabon is Zambia 20 years ago”. Don’t expect too much but visit while this lack of sophistication adds to Gabon’s charm – it will not always be thus. A short write up on Nicci’s 2005 trip is written about on our web site.

Over the years it is obvious that we would come up with tried and tested popular safari itineraries. For your interest following are the top four 12 – 14 day safari combinations (in no particular order) :

Kenya: safari lodge Chyulu Hills, tented camp Masai Mara, tented camp Northern Frontier District/Samburu

View of tented camp Masai Mara
(September during migration)
Village life Chyulu Hills,
with Mt Kilimanjaro in background

Tanzania (northern): tented camps Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks, safari lodge Ngorongoro Crater

Botswana: safari lodges and tented camps Kalahari Desert, Okavango Delta and Northern Botswana

Zambia: safari lodge Livingstone (Victoria Falls), tented bush camps Luangwa Valley, Zambezi Valley and Kafue National Parks

To reiterate – most of the properties we use in these countries are small and get booked up way in advance so please remember to book early. Even if you are not 100% sure about making plans so far in advance most bookings can be held on a provisional basis for a certain length of time while you make a final decision.

So much lies behind those words. In order to give some clarification to this subject please look at our web site FAQ/What is a camp? Here we have attempted to help you understand the various types of tented camps that can be used – from the more basic tented fly camp portrayed on the left to the top of the range luxury tented camp portrayed below.


NEW ZEALAND – as mentioned early Nicci has been in New Zealand working with her colleague to come up with more individually designed itineraries. The same ethos is used when putting together itineraries in New Zealand as in Africa ie using small owner operated properties off the beaten track. New Zealand, so completely and utterly different to Africa, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you want to visit this amazing destination get in touch with Nicci who will introduce you to her colleague in Auckland

GAP YEAR STUDENTS – many of you have asked over the years  if we have any opportunities for gap year students to come to Africa. Sadly this has not been possible due to the fact that John is now moving so widely through Africa and the cost of having a youngster accompany him (park fees, accommodation, travel) would be exorbitant.  However friends of ours who own Imire Game Ranch two hours out of Harare, Zimbabwe are putting together a plan to have gap year students work on the ranch for a  minimum three weeks, maximum three months. Assisting with a variety of tasks from mending fences, cleaning pens, feeding and training animals, to monitoring and research work  this is an incredible opportunity for young people. Their web site is almost complete - in the meantime get in touch with the Travers family on email Time on Imire combined with a five day back packing trail (no porters!) through the Zambezi Valley’s Matusadona Escarpment with John will be just the ticket !

THE OMAY PROJECT - many of you know the Omay project and have donated generously since we began eight years ago. The aim of the project it to help with alleviation of poverty and to offer support to the Omay community through education and the building of low input nutrition gardens at local schools. We offer continued support to the Nebiri School garden established in 1998 and this year expand the project to a second primary school in the area. If you would like more information about what we are doing or would like to make a donation please contact Peta Searle on Peta will happily send you a copy of the first edition of our newsletter and a recent progress report. Please contact us as soon as possible - we do need your support.

Until next time we send you our best wishes.

John and Nicci

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