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From Us to You

This newsletter has a more-than-usual personal approach; our recent trip to Australia and New Zealand was a very special family time, marked by the happy occasion of Briar's wedding to Dom on the 3rd of January in Melbourne. We are sure you'll agree that all three of our daughters looked beautiful and you could not have found a prouder Dad than John when he walked up the aisle with Briar! ! (Apologies to those of you who have already seen these pictures).


Jessica, Briar and Sarah Stevens

Another Aussie highlight for John was watching the 3rd day of the 2nd Test match between South Africa and Australia at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. Those of you who have ever had John on the subject of cricket will know what a highlight that was for him!

The Good with the Bad
Our collective happiness was marred, of course, by the terrible bush fires that took place near Melbourne in Victoria. In fact, the threat remains and we continue to hear news of danger warnings and high alert status there. The authorities have been remarkably efficient in the wake of the disaster, sending out thousands of text messages and keeping residents informed. As we were in Melbourne, where Briar and Dom live, at the time, we remember clearly the day the fires really got away. It was 46.5°C outside, unbearably hot and also unusual for Melbourne. The smoke from the fires cast a strange, eerie yellow light over the city and the wind that came in was so hot, it was as if a giant hairdryer had been turned on. Victoria, the garden state of Australia, hasn't had meaningful rain (ie to fill dams and reservoirs) for five to six years now. The sheer scale and tragedy of it all has also made us think more directly about climate change and the very real threat it poses to our planet.


Coastal walk

New Zealand, New Opportunities
The rest of our trip took us to New Zealand, where much of Nicci's family live; although she considers herself a fully-fledged African, Nicci was born a “kiwi” and was delighted to visit again. John remains fascinated with the incredibly diverse landscape and took in as much of this astonishingly beautiful country as he could. Fishing, sea kayaking, walking, climbing and sailing, he did it all! In fact, little thoughts of sharing his new experiences with some of our clients were born in that kayak and next year John, with his new-found knowledge, will lead some intrepid couples into the wilds of New Zealand! Watch this space!


John being shown how to fish in the sea


..and sailing in the Bay of Plenty

Fulfilment and Families
With this in mind, it is our hope to focus on what has become unique about the John Stevens brand. Our clients have always enjoyed the fact that John doesn't just 'guide' in the sense that you follow along behind him. He guides so that you learn through self-discovery and active participation. Every client that comes away from a trip with us has remarked on the feeling that they have somehow grown - in confidence, spirituality and self-awareness. The many family groups we've hosted have experienced this sense of fulfilment and we hope to expand on that aspect in the future. Discover the joy of making friendships across the generations - John Stevens Safaris give you all the space and time you need! The picture below is of the Williams family with John in Kenya last year - and below that is a lovely picture of their youngest family member, only seven years old, holding a primary wing feather from a lapid faced vulture !

The Williams Family, Kenya 2008








What's on the Horizon?
Up and coming trips this year include one that will promote religious and cultural tolerance, through the development of leadership skills and meeting survival challenges head on; we are sure we will learn something ourselves with the young men who are booked to share this adventure with us! Another is a Dutch group who are keen to promote wilderness leadership. With back packs containing food and equipment for five days, John will walk the group through one of his favourite wildlife areas, the beautiful and remote wilderness of Matusadona, one of Zimbabwe's larger national parks, which forms part of the Zambezi Valley Escarpment.

It is interesting to look at the trends in our client requests. We think they reflect the way the world is generally heading - towards a more aware and fulfilled existence; one in which the values of working in teams, considering others' needs and appreciating nature and what it represents are gradually replacing the more fast-paced, decadent pull of past decades.

Our US trip has, unfortunately, been postponed, but we wish to thank all our friends and clients for their generous offers of help and hospitality. We are hoping to take you up on your kindness in the not-too-distant future!

John has some space available during 2009 and is also free to guide a safari in Kenya/Tanzania from after Christmas 09 through to the New Year. Due to the global economic downturn, which has also affected tourism in Africa, there are some great offers available, so please get in touch with us if you are feeling spontaneous and keen to spread your adventure wings on an appealing budget!

John, Nicci and Sarah



PRIME SAFARI TIME AVAILABLE - KENYA NEW YEAR 2009/10

John Stevens is available 29th December 2009 through to early January 2010. This is an excellent time for game viewing in Kenya and Tanzania. If you would like to book this particular safari time with John, please get in touch with us immediately - even though there has been a decline in African tourism, this remains a very popular time of the year to travel.


PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS

Thanks to all of you who are already telling your friends and colleagues about us. We'd like to remind you that the safaris we organise do not necessarily have to be privately guided by John. We are able to organise exactly the same bespoke safari, (costing less without a private guide, of course) with the services of excellent resident guides that you will find at all the camps and lodges preferred by John Stevens Safaris. There are some great offers coming up for safari travel in Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Get in touch soon!


CONTACT US ABOUT 2009 & 2010 SAFARIS!

Please get in touch with us soon if you feel inspired to make a last minute plan for 2009 or book ahead for 2010. Remember - even if you prefer to travel independently, i.e. without the services of a private guide, we will still apply the same knowledge and experience to plan the perfect safari itinerary for you. With the present global economic downturn it is a great time to visit Africa, not only because there are fewer people travelling but also because there are some very good offers available. For example, Zambian safari operators are offering all internal flights free if you stay a minimum of 10 nights in the country.

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