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5 Unforgettable Elephant Experiences

August 6th, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

The continent of Africa is home to a vital member of the world’s ecosystem, elephants. The majestic and fascinating animals are an unforgettable part of any safari.

Elephants are famous for their large ears and muscular trunks. However, Safari lovers may not know about their important role in maintaining other species survival in Africa, which is why conserving them and celebrating their life is essential. There are many sustainable ways travelers can connect with elephants on safari.

Here are some of the most unforgettable elephant experiences and interesting facts about these diverse animals.


Protecting Kenya’s Elephants

Elephant calves at Reteti. Credit: Ami Vitale

Protecting our elephant species is an important task for conservancies across Africa, particularly the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary at Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, which is Kenya’s first community owned and managed elephant orphanage.

You can get a behind the scenes tour of Reteti with an elephant keeper on our Captivating Kenya safari, watching the elephants receive their bottles and play in the mud, all the while learning valuable skills so that they might be re-introduced into the wild. You can also learn about the incredible efforts made at Reteti from Ami Vitale’s short documentary film, Shaba.

Featured in Captivating Kenya and many other journeys, you can also visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi to learn about their elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program, with the opportunity to sponsor and adopt an elephant - another great way to see conservation in action!

FUN FACT: The world’s largest land mammal, elephants help Africa’s wildlife kingdom thrive through their large diet of fruit that scatters seeds across the environment. They are constantly eating, and disperse plant matter more than any other animal on the African continent!


Photographer's Dream

At Kenya’s Amboseli National Park roam a special species of elephants known for their enormous tusks, a great opportunity for photographers who can see these creatures with the gorgeous backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, which can be experienced on our World’s Greatest Show and Safari.

Another special photo opportunity, you can get up close and personal with Jabulani’s rescued resident herd of elephants on our South Africa Regal Retreat- perhaps during a sundowner with the colors of pink, yellow and orange hues?  When guests book this safari or visit Jabulani on a tailor-made trip, contributions will be made towards fostering an elephant.

FUN FACT:  Elephant tusks are enlarged teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Their tusks continue growing throughout their lives.


Wonderful Water Safaris in Botswana

Elephants at Chobe National Park

Elephants in Botswana are a sight to see as their massive population is supreme, outnumbering people in certain areas. Chobe National Park is home to the largest remaining population of African elephants, and you can see them passing frequently through camps.

Elephants are highly intelligent. The pristine herds in Botswana’s Okavango Delta are not shy to humans, and some have been known to stand on their hind legs to reach for food in the trees. Vumbura Plains’ raised wooden walkways connect all suites to the main camp providing you a great opportunity to see these incredible herds, as featured on our Connoisseur’s Collection.

“Last time I was at Vumbura Plains an elephant helped itself to the clean water in my plunge pool, as I sat on the deck just a few feet away.  The walkways will occasionally dip down to ground level in areas where elephant frequently walk to allow them to pass through camp unobstructed.  I was told to pause and look both ways before crossing those spots because elephant have the right of way.”  – Susannah Zani


Walking With Elephants in Zambia

Zambia is the birthplace of the walking safari, and what better way to explore elephants than with them on foot? The remote South Luangwa National Park is 5,000 square miles and is considered one of Africa’s last true wildernesses – and probably Southern Africa’s best kept secret.

The intimate bush camp, Mfuwe Lodge, featured on our Zambia Leopards, Lions and Tiger Fish, is famous for its family of elephants walking through the lobby and reception area!

“They do it every year as the wild mango fruit ripen, carefully passing through the lodges reception area to make their way to the courtyard at the center of the property.” – Susannah Zani 

FUN FACT: Elephants can communicate through vibrations they create in the ground, which can be detected through their bones.


Namibia’s Desert Adapted Elephants

Elephants near Hoanib Valley Camp

Namibia is a special place to see a unique herd of desert-dwelling elephants. Estimated to only consist of 150, this small group of elephants have made their home in the Namib desert developing adaptations to the extreme temperatures and terrain.

On our Deserts and Dunes of Namibia you’ll spot these special herds during game drives in Kaokoland through the sandy terrain. The intimate Hoanib Valley Camp blends seamlessly with the environment allowing rangers to track these endangered elephants.

FUN FACT: An elephant’s skin is 2.5cm thick. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water, which helps to cool them down.


Contact our African Travel Specialists

800 421 8907

Best End of the Year Safaris

August 5th, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

Now is a rare time to visit Africa like few will see. While there remain some hoops to jump through to get to Africa, the rewards are endless, with less crowds, Africans eager to welcome guests and alluring experiences unique to Africa’s spring and summer. The African Travel team is on top of the details and will guide you through everything, so you don’t have to stress about the logistics of COVID-19 restrictions and requirements.

This month we share our experts’ recommendations for safaris to take at the end of this year:


Game Viewing Value in The Green Season

From September to December, parts of southern and east Africa go through its rainy “green season” offering incredible photography opportunities of wildlife and colorful landscapes with less crowds.

With the rains of Africa comes blossoming flowers, thousands of migrant birds, and ideal breeding grounds for wildlife. The Green Season varies in Africa - East Africa is best for the end of the year, occurring in from September to December, with Southern Africa from December to March.

Our experts recommend Treasures of Tanzania in the Green Season where guests explore Tarangire National Park, a unique safari backdrop with rolling grasslands and forests of enigmatic baobab trees, while also descending into the Ngorongoro Crater.

TIP: Both Kenya and Tanzania hold exceptional game viewing at this time, as baby animals roam the grassy plains. Try our Enchanting East Africa safari for the best of both worlds, with an island retreat to Zanzibar for a relaxing ending.

SOLO TRAVEL: For those looking to take a solo adventure, our Tanzania Explorer is a great option with no single supplement for 2021 and 2022 departures.


Explore Egypt in Luxury, Without the Heat


Many travelers think of Africa for amazing game drives, but there is also “the cradle of ancient civilization” to explore in Egypt. Consider travel at the end of the year when guests miss the scorching heat – and enjoy mild to cool temperatures.  A trip to Egypt also pairs well with a pre or post safaris, to give you a taste of Africa’s vastly different worlds.

Our Royal Egyptian takes in Cairo and the pyramids with a luxurious cruise on the Nile River, visiting the Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Aswan. A private Egyptologist guide shares personal insights and remarkable details.

Can’t travel in 2021? We have also launched new group dates on a new Wonders of Egypt journey where guests enjoy a private Luxor tour far from the crowds.

TIP: For explorations of Africa’s rich game viewing and ancient lands, choose our Cape to Cairo safari, visiting Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Kenya’s Maasai Mara, and the towering Great Pyramids of Egypt.


Adventure in Southern Africa

Towards the end of the year, South Africa’s springtime boasts beautiful blooms that take your breath away. For adventure enthusiasts our experts recommend Exploring Southern Africa, which artfully combines Cape Town and Kruger National with the majesty of Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls may have less water during the end of the year, but it’s the perfect time for adventure activities like a visit to Devils Pool, a natural rock pool on a ledge right at the edge of Victoria Falls, and a wildlife sighting hotspot where many animals look for water.

TIP: While hitting the highlights of South Africa and Victoria Falls in 2021, guests enjoy an extra 10% savings on this crowd-pleasing safari. Our customize our most popular safari, Southern Explorer.


Botswana’s Secret Migration

From September to November, Botswana undergoes the start of second “secret” migration when things begin to green, just before the heat arrives in December. If you like the heat and great savings, then December is a possible option too. Our Last Refuge is a connoisseur’s safari collection showcasing Botswana’s different elements, from the thriving elephants and hippos of the immense Okavango Delta to the Kalahari Desert’s ancient baobabs. Not to mention a spectacular stay at the new and renowned 1940’s-style Jack’s Camp - one of Africa's most iconic camps that’s just one of three in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans one-million-acre private wildlife reserve. Our favorite experience here is watching pixie-faced meerkats emerging from their burrow at sun rise.

TIP: Another great incentive for end of year travel, save up $2,790 per person on this safari for 2021 departures, with a 10% savings applied at the time of your booking.


Contact our African Travel Specialists

800 421 8907

Travel Changing the World

May 4th, 2021, by Joanna Bielawski

It was announced today that MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences by our parent company The Travel Corporation (TTC) and our family of brands has been named an honoree in the Corporate Social Responsibility category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Idea Awards. Fast Company is the world’s leading business media brand, with an editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, inspiring readers to lead with purpose and embrace change. Now in its fifth year, the Fast Company Award honors ground-breaking ideas launched in 2020 that are deeply committed to pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet.

Selected from thousands of applicants, we are honored that our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences have been recognized along with the other notable individuals and brands doing incredible, world-changing work. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences were developed as a tool for TTC’s brands to advance positive change around the world through the direct participation of travelers. They’re meant to transform the way we think about the travel experience, for the mutual benefit of travelers and the people and places they visit. It is our hope this transformation can shift the way we travel for good, through long-lasting and meaningful impact.

Our everyday choices and actions have an impact on the world around us, and the way we travel is no exception. This has never been clearer than in the present era of COVID-19, with the entire world experiencing an unprecedented pause in travel. Never before have people across the globe collectively appreciated the gift of travel in its absence, in addition to its economic value to communities worldwide.


What sets MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences apart from other travel experiences?


MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences are chosen for the ways in which they directly advance the United Nations Global Goals (UNSDGs), widely accepted as the blueprint to address issues such as poverty, inequality, biodiversity and more. Established in 2016, the goals were quickly adopted by governments, businesses and society as those we should all be working towards. We used the UNSDG’s and their specific indicators to develop a set of our own criteria, endorsed by leading industry sustainable development experts, which allow our family of brands to identify transformative experiences that go beyond being a feel-good experience. This means we are building travel experiences that display genuine social and environmental good.

To identify MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, we built a proprietary assessment tool that identifies if an experience meets a Global Goal, and if so, which goal or goals it supports.


How Can an Experience Change the World?


Choices are critical. From the clothes you buy, the food you eat and the businesses you support, to the trip you’ve been waiting to take since COVID-19 made itself known. Our portfolio of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences can change the travel industry, which is one of the world’s largest, accounting for 10.3% of the global GDP (WTTC, 2019). By choosing to participate in one of these experiences and actively seeking out travel designed to make a positive impact, you are helping us to prioritise community-based enterprises – from supporting women-owned businesses, experiencing unique farm stays that utilize regenerative agriculture practices or learning about ancient cultures that carry on their traditions by sharing their stories with others. You have the power to choose these experiences and support sustainable practices, while setting the tone for the purpose-driven offering you expect of the wider travel industry.


Why and how are MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences designed around the Global Goals?


Our goal in developing our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences was to positively impact broader environmental and social issues, so it was a natural fit to look to the United Nations Global Goals to help narrow our focus and ladder up to international efforts.



How you can start today


As part of our sustainability strategy How We Tread Right, our goal at African Travel is to include at least 1 MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on 50% of our itineraries worldwide by 2025, and we are well on our way there. For your next adventure, browse our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences and join us in making travel a force for good. To view more ideas, visit our Sustainable Safaris

CST #2071444-20