Galloping Gnus Newsletter

Herd of Gnus

It has been a busy year for the staff at AAC! Our team continues to travel throughout Africa to bring you unparalleled insight in the game reserves, national parks, camps and lodges! Bill Rivard, V.P. of Operations is traveling in Namibia this March! Be sure to check out our full trip reports on our website at “AAC Blog”.

We would like to welcome Kerry Purcell to our “herd”. Happy news to Safari Consultant Saskia de Gouveia who is expecting twin girls which are due May 11th! To learn more about our fantastic staff read “About Us” on the website. And we continue to implement a brand new travel software system which allows us to service our clients even faster!

 
The Northern Serengeti
By Lynne Glasgow
Although I have traveled many times to southern Africa, nothing had prepared me for the vast splendor of the 
Serengeti. Most visitors tend to venture into the western corridor  or the central area, but for me, the beauty of the Serengeti is  really to be found up in the northern area. Here there is a  landscape of differing habitats including grassy plains,  rolling wooded hills, acacia-lin ed watercourses and dramatic  granite kopjes. Visit in the autumn, and you may possibly see  the largest herds of migrating animals anywhere on the  planet.
 
I stayed at Migration Camp which had stunning views west from the sundowner deck. The hippos in the river below provided the evening chorus as we tucked in to a sumptuous dinner of roast lamb with all the trimmings.
574_newsletter_2009_lr_oct

AAC recommend traveling with your own driver/guide and private safari vehicle, which means that you have complete control over how you spend your days. My guide Omar Seiff was outstanding!

For a truly breathtaking experience, include a few nights in this northern area. It really is worth the journey!
  
Safari Escort
By Sarah Taylor
It all fell into place so quickly. Over a couple glasses of wine, a plan was hatched – “Let’s go to Africa!” First it was just me and a friend and then we invited another and the next thing we knew, the group had grown to seven people. We were very selective on who we invited because two weeks traveling in the African bush, you wanted to make sure you are friends and have things in common.

Escorting a group is so rewarding! Seeing my friends’ expression the first time they saw a lion, a herd of elephants, enjoying dinner in the boma or the stars at night, it was all m agical. You don’t have to be a safari expert to escort a group of friends because AAC does all the work for you.

You are met throughout your adventure and in the camps, the managers host the activities and meals. It truly is one of the easiest vacations you could take. And the real bonus is that your safari would be at a discounted price, with most camps offering group leaders a special rate. So gather up your friends and start planning your next safari. There is no time like it for the incredible values and the rewarding experience of spending time under the African skies.
575_newsletter_2009_lr_oct
Honeymooning in Southern Africa
By Saskia de Gouveia
Being a South African native, it would have been unnatural to me to honeymoon anywhere else but in my beautiful home country. The variety of destinations is an understatement – from the Cape Winelands to enjoying Luxury in the Bush in Kruger. One of the many highlights of my honeymoon was being awakened amidst nature’s beauty along the Indian Ocean at Zimbali Lodge.

576_newsletter_2009_lr_oct

Organizing your wedding is stressful enough– allow us to take care of all your safari honeymoon travel plans where we could incororporate… 

 
Sipping champagne on top of Table Mountain; Savoring a fresh seafood platter at sunset on a beach in Mozambique; Enjoying a steamy cup of coffee at sunrise amidst the resident leopards at Londolozi Game Reserve; Private candle lit dinner on your deck below the African stars at Singita Game Reserve; Swedish Stone massages for couples at Jao Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana); Dipping into a private plunge pool after a morning safari at Vumbura Plains Camp (Moremi, Botswana); and more….
How a Safari Can Make a Difference
By Kyle Witten
A tough economy presents many challenges to all of us. We cut here, save a little there to make ends meet and yet we continue to dream about a safari vacation. Africa has never been a better bargain than right now.
If we save those pennies and book those flights, our hard earned dollars touch so many people in Africa; you are giving a chance in life to people who otherwise have very little hope. I am alway s impressed with camps that accommodate so few people can change the lives of so many in the surrounding communities. On my recent safari to Londolozi, South Africa.
 
I saw firsthand in the staff village where they have installed a computer lab to teach life skills. Our butler worked his way up and is now being promoted to management at Private Granite Suites. Exam ples of the success continue – from top rated guides who originally started out as cooks to housekeeping staff who are now hosts. All of these success stories and many more to follow are possible because you saved a little every month and took that dream safari.
577_newsletter_2009_lr_oct
The Joy of Good Company
By Joanna Price
When visiting Kirkman’s Kamp and Rattray’s on MalaMala in the Kruger area, it was a great pleasure to see the enthusiasm and fun that all guests were having. As I assist larger family parties and special interest groups with arranging their safaris, it was a joy to feel first hand the excitement and fascination of our guides and the staff during my visit.

When taking multigenerational and/or multiple families on safari it is important to make sure that the ages and interests are taken into consideration. We work carefully on choosing destinations and accommodations that engage younger children and keep teenagers interested.

After 23 years we have developed sound relationships with the best of the best. The guides become a part of the family while educating and entertaining adults and children alike. It is always heartwarming to hear back from grandparents and parents about what a bonding and enriching experience their safari was for them and their children.

Special interest groups – typically photography as well as research, cultural, marine and religious groups have also arranged their trips with us. The destinations, activities, guiding and schedule are tailored to your interests with our attention going into every detail.
 
 
Traveling with a Teenager
By Alison Nolting
This past July my son Miles and I spent some spectacular safari days in Botswana with wildlife viewing at Vumbura and Mombo as a prelude before going onto Victoria Falls. The timing of our trip was to arrive after the second round of elections in Zimbabwe.

At 15, Miles takes a keen interest in global politics and he was able to see African relations first hand. He noticed that there was no violence, lots of people walking around unemployed, very nice and friendly hotel staff, and tourists still traveling.

At the two schools we visited, Miles’ impressions were that the kids have been affected by the downturn as teachers were not getting paid. At the second school some children prou dly showed us where the election results were posted as they had been a polling station. Even when they said Mugabe had won – Tsvangarai had more votes on the election results!
Being in Africa after an election, Miles got the feel of the peoples desire to have fair elections and the need for a unity government. It was good to go with my son and see the history of Africa in the making through the eyes of a teenager
578_newsletter_2009_lr_oct
The Nolting family celebrating a 15th African journey with the Vartys’ at Londolozi
Gorillas in the Mist – Rwanda
By Mark Nolting
I gathered at Volcanoes Park Headquarters at dawn with my fellow trekkers, all eager to get started on our first gorilla trek. There are seven gorilla family groups visited by eight tourists daily (56 permits allowed per day), and seven other families dedicated to researchers. 
 
My first trek was to the Kwitonda Group. It was a beautiful hike through cultivated fields. The guide stopped frequently to talk about the crops and other plants along the way.

579_newsletter_2009_lr_oct

This gave the slower trekkers time to catch their breath and rest. We were fortunate to e ncounter the group in fairly open areas with scattered sunlight. The group is made up of 17 individuals including one silverback. At one point a baby approached
me within one meter, curious about my camera, but our guide kept him a safe distance as gorillas are very susceptible to human diseases. The whole experience was exhilarating.
The following morning we hiked to the Sabinyo Group, composed of nine individuals including the largest silverback in the park – Guhondo. This trek was longer than the first one, mostly through bamboo forests and our guide, Francois, who had worked with Diane Fossey was very entertaining. Even demonstrating what the gorillas eat by eating it himself. Gorilla tre kking is a magical experience and one that leaves the adventurer with memories that keep their value and the knowledge that the permit fees are going to conserve the habitat for these gorillas.
Botswana – a handful of camps
By Andre Steynberg
I was invited on the trip of the year, traveling by helicopter (and airplane) throughout Botswana for two and a half weeks visiting a wide spectrum of properties totaling 35 camps. 
 
I traveled through the Moremi, Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Savuti, Savute, and Kwando wildlife areas with executives and managers in each area which allowed the most incredible insights into the conservation and administrative successes and issues. On the ground I closely inspected each property and met with hosts and and guide(s) to gain important knowledge and distinctions between each of the camps. 
 
Ultimately, I am able to use the whole experience to match the style of safari our clients are seeking in Botswana and Southern Africa. I can create a program by selecting camps and guides who are kno wn to us, and enhance your trip like no website research can! By the way, I highly recommend traveling in Botswana by at least one helicopter flight!!
In addition to my travels, all of my colleagues have been to Africa and bring a wealth of knowledge to the planning process. If I cannot assist with a particular destination, there are several others who can!
580_newsletter_2009_lr_oct
Previous post

Announcing Our Top 10 Camps

Next post

Szilvia Hegyi – Best of Tanzania 2009