|Featured Africa Trips|Tanzania Savannah and Beyond:
10 days from Arusha to Arusha from $3699 per person
Great Parks of Kenya:
10 days from Nairobi to Nairobi from $3429.00 per person
Cape Town, Garden Route and Safari:
12 days from Cape Town to Johannesburg
Best of Southern Africa:
12 days from Cape Town to Johannesburg, including Victoria Falls and Okavango Delta
7 days from Livingstone to Maun
12 days roundtrip from Windhoek
|Namibia: Brangelina's Playground |
Wedged between the Kalahari and the South Atlantic, Namibia enjoys a striking diversity of cultures and national origins, and is a photographer's dream - it boasts wild seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, stunning wildlife, colonial cities and vast open spaces.
A predominantly arid country, Namibia can be divided into four main areas: the Namib Desert and coastal plains in the west, the eastward-sloping Central Plateau, the Kalahari along the borders with South Africa and Botswana and the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions.
Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world's grandest national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park in Northwestern Namibia, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park in Western Namibia.
Windhoek, in the Central Highlands, is the country's geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of people, while surfers and beach-lovers won't want to miss Swakopmund.
Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that make you question whether something so visually delightful could actually exist. Time and space are less defined here. Landscapes collide. Experiences pile up.
Watch a lion stalking its prey on a never-ending plain in Etosha. Fly down a giant dune on a sandboard. Spend a night alone in the desert under a sky so thick with stars you can't differentiate between constellations. Experience sunrise over the red sand dunes. Scavenge for diamonds on the rugged coastline. (Just kidding.) Visit with a Bushman family in the Namib Desert. The possibilities for astounding memories are endless.
|Uganda Mountain Gorilla Expedition|
Are you looking for adventure? Look no further! A mountain gorilla trek in the rain forests of Bwindi is it.
Only about 800 mountain gorillas still exist today. They survive in only two locations - the Virunga range of volcanic mountains on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.
Gorilla treks are highly regulated in order to protect these elusive creatures. The only way to visit these endangered great apes is through an organized tour. Only a very limited number of permits are sold per day and human interaction is restricted to one hour to minimalize interference with the mountain gorillas daily life.
Park rangers, who are very familiar with the forest inhabitants and are experts in wildlife behavior, accompany you on your trek.
Would you like the opportunity to view mountain gorillas up close, in their natural habitat? Visit Uganda for a magical encounter with these gentle giants.
Knowledgeable and experienced tour guides show you all the wonders of Uganda and Rwanda including gorilla treks, chimpanzee tracking, traditional Uganda safaris, boat cruises and more.
No matter what your time frame, budget or requirements, we can plan a tour for you.
Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,
How do you capture the essence of Africa without using up every cliché in the book? No other continent comes close to it for scale, variety and pure, raw impact. Africa offers a travel adventure unlike anything you could experience elsewhere, which is why so many travelers refer to holidays there as "the experience of a lifetime."
Africa's natural history alone would make a dozen visits worthwhile - where else on earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, or watch a million flamingos take off from the waters of a remote lake? Parts of Africa boast scenery so spectacular they'll blow your mind, but the essence of this incredible continent isn't in any desert, mountain or lake. It's the spirit of the people - pushing, shoving, sweating, dancing, singing and laughing - that infects so many visitors with a travel bug so powerful they'll never stop coming back.
Isn't it time you visited Africa? Please enjoy our articles and remember, for every trip we feature, there are a hundred others we could put together for you, based on your own special desires.
Firstworld Travel and Cruises
CST # 2006995
Tanzania and Kenya - The Trip of a Lifetime!
The words "African travel" and "safari" are almost synonymous. Picture a pop-top all-terrain vehicle, steely-eyed hunters peering over the top, cameras and binoculars instead of guns. Now replace those anonymous faces with yourself, your friends, and your family. Put that jeep in Kenya or Tanzania and hold on for the trip of a lifetime.
Why Kenya and Tanzania? Kenya is Africa's most popular safari destination. Safari is Swahili for "journey" and it is in Kenya where safaris began. Magnificent national parks and reserves brim with wildlife. Lush forests and breathtaking mountains provide awe inspiring photographic opportunities. Fascinating tribal cultures abound and the amazing variety and quantity of bird life are an ornithologist's paradise. The massive Great Rift Valley is no more impressive than in Kenya.
But it is perhaps the wildlife more than anything that draws visitors to Kenya. The annual migration from the Serengeti in the south into the Maasai Mara sees more than one million wildebeest, along with a host of other plains game, assemble in giant herds. Kenya boasts some of the finest reserves in Africa - and visitors will be thrilled at the sight of lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, gazelle, buffalo, hippo, rhino - and hundreds more.
Kenya's neighbor to the south, Tanzania is perhaps most famous for the vast Serengeti National Park, stretching out over almost 5100 square miles and offering the absolute classic African safari setting. The grasslands make the Serengeti fantastic for spotting lion kills because you can see the whole spectacle clearly. But there is so much more to this most fascinating country. Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site, is home to a whole host of wildlife, which make the crater floor their natural home. The Lake Manyara region is best known for the tree-climbing lion.
If you want to see the Great Migration unfold, head first to Tanzania's northern parks; the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, then move north towards the Maasai Mara. Other parks in Kenya and Tanzania are also excellent with each one having some special reason to visit, such as the leopards in Samburu and the elephant of Amboseli. The best time to visit these would be during the dry seasons -- January through March and July through October.
Safaris are never "cheap", but Kenya and Tanzania offer some of the best values for your money. Major parks are within a day's travel of each other so every day can be a safari day. Costly private planes between parks are generally unnecessary.
South Africa: A World in One Country
South Africa, known as the "Rainbow Nation" has 9 defined cultural groups and 11 official languages - among them Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Xhosa, and Zulu. With this rich group of culture found in one nation, along with its scenic beauty and cosmopolitan cities, it is no wonder that South Africa is also called "a world in one country".
It is a country of superlatives. South Africa is more than 474,000 square miles (five times the size of the UK), its coastline is more than 1800 miles long and its most famous national park - Kruger National Park - is the size of Israel. With more than 24,000 species, South Africa may have the richest variety of flora in the world. Bird and animal life is superb. More than 900 species of birds and 160 mammal species have been recorded, in addition to 2000 species of fish!
Of all of the struggles of South Africa throughout the centuries, the struggle against apartheid was perhaps the most visible to the rest of the world. After President DeKlerk renounced apartheid, Nelson Mandela walked out of his 27-year prison cell on Robben Island to become the beloved leader of the new South Africa: a "rainbow nation" of proud multi-cultural citizens.
South Africa offers the visitor much. Food is a delightful mix of Cape Dutch, French Huguenot, German, Portuguese, British and African. Whether dining on roasted meat or seafood, you will find a wonderful choice of local wines to accompany your meal. South Africa produces more than 500 million bottles of wine a year.
But it is probably the wildlife that draws visitors again and again. Kruger National Park is one of the largest and oldest parks in Africa. Along its western borders there are a series of private game reserves, each of which is sub-divided into smaller areas that are privately owned. There are no fences between areas, allowing game to roam freely between Kruger National Park and the private reserves.
The exquisite Cape Province is worth a visit all by itself. You can visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tour the lush wine region - tasting as you go, climb Table Mountain, surf Jeffries Bay, drive the sun-drenched coast of the Garden Route, hike the Cape Point where two oceans meet, and much more.
Whether you visit South Africa alone or combine it with a stay in one of the surrounding countries, South Africa does not disappoint.
Botswana is a land of superlatives. This relatively small country boasts the largest elephant population in Africa, the largest inland delta in the world, the most stable, english-speaking democracy in African, and the largest percentage of pristine wilderness guarded by sustainable tourism. Yes, Botswana has much to offer.
It is the unique Kalahari Desert and the other jewels of Botswana -- the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park - that draw wildlife enthusiasts. More than 17% of Botswana's land area has been set aside as protected - and another 20% is under wildlife management.
The Okavango Delta is the world's largest inland delta. Each year, the rains that fall in Angola make their way down into Botswana and spread over the sandy spaces of the Kalahari to form an amazing labyrinthine channel, creating a green oasis that attracts birds and animals alike.
After East Africa's Serengeti and Masai Mara, Chobe National Park may well be one of the world's most famous national parks. It is Botswana's second largest national park and is perhaps best known for its huge elephant population - at last count numbering up to 120,000!
The Makgadikgadi Pans was once a huge lake that covered much of what is now northern and central Botswana. About the size of Portugal, this former "super-lake" floods in the rainy season, drawing an amazing array of birdlife and animal life.
According to the Botswana Tourism Board, for the visitor to Botswana, "the first - and most lasting impressions - will be of vast expanses of uninhabited wilderness stretching from horizon to horizon, the sensation of limitless space, astoundingly rich wildlife and bird viewing, night skies littered with stars and heavenly bodies of an unimaginable brilliance, and stunning sunsets of unearthly beauty." A sentiment with which many Botwana fans will heartly agree.
|Victoria Falls |
As essential as a safari is when visiting Africa, Victoria Falls is an often overlooked must-see. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the falls are known as "the greatest curtain of falling water in the world". Bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.
Some travelers do make Victoria Falls a quick photo op, but in doing so rob themselves of a safari on the back of an elephant, walking with the lions, and the Victoria Falls Steam Train to name just a few of the unforgettable experiences when you stay a few days in the land of Stanley & Livingston. Known as "The Adventure Capital of Africa," Victoria Falls also offers kayaking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, helicopter rides, whitewater rafting, and on and on.
Victoria Falls is one of a limited number of sites around the world which are known for moonbow occurrence. There are only four other sites in the world where you are guaranteed to see a lunar rainbow at full moon.
In order to see a lunar rainbow normally you need a clear night, a full moon and rain in the distance. Here at Victoria Falls all you need is a full moon to see one of nature's most elusive and lovely sights. Victoria Falls has a constant rainbow during the day. The vast volume of mist from the immense falls creates enough mist for a lunar rainbow to be clearly visible at full moon as well.
Children and adults love to marvel at this stunning sight, not to mention the effect it has on couples. A rainbow generated by moonlight, what could be more romantic! This is only visible at full moon so make sure to tell your travel agent to plan this once-in-a-lifetime experience. At full moon the Victoria Falls park stays open late to allow visitors to view this awesome phenomenon.
Zimbabwe is the better side of Victoria Falls. True, Zambia offers great close-ups and some spectacular vantage points, but Zimbabwe has by far the greater share of Falls frontage, picturesque views and year-round flow.
The Zambian side is truly spectacular in the high water season with great close-ups, interesting angles, the footbridge and knife-edge, Rainbow Falls and a chance to swim above the falls in Devils Pools. But for all that, the Zimbabwean side trumps the Zambian side of Victoria Falls all year round. About two thirds of the Victoria Falls frontage is on the Zimbabwean side. On top of that most of the water plunges down this two thirds with the Main Falls and Devils Cataract being the deepest channels in the Zambezi River.
And with so much frontage on the Zimbabwean side, the views are that much more picturesque and the rain forest opposite is dense from the constant spray. Indeed most of the pictures you see of the falls are taken from the Zimbabwean side.
Finally, the town of Victoria Falls and many of the hotels on the Zimbabwean side are a short walk from the entrance to the falls. See what other travelers who have been there make of the debate, but chances are you'll find die-hards for both sides and end up back at square one.
This leaves your best option: your knowledgeable travel agent who has access to the latest news about travel safety in Africa and getting the best value for your money when it comes to hotels, transportation, and other options.