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Safari Newsletter Dated September 16, 2014

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

For most travelers on safari in Africa, the wildlife is the main attraction. But often the lodgings selected by safari operators are unique experiences in their own right.

For example, your safari might feature accommodations in tented camps -- but, unless you're on a budget safari, such as those offered by G Adventures and Intrepid Travel, this doesn't mean you'll be roughing it. There are many deluxe properties where well-appointed guest tents have en-suite bathrooms, high quality furnishings and private verandas. For example, at Kirawira Camp in Tanzania, our tent was on a raised platform and had two double beds, a mahogany-paneled bathroom and marble countertops. It was made of canvas, with mosquito netting for windows and a front door that zipped open to a wooden front porch.

Other examples of tented camps include Olonana in Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve, Maramboi Tented Camp in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, and Pom Pom Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Tented camps and bush lodges don't have walls or fences to keep out the wildlife, and animals can and do wander onto the grounds. One evening at Tarangire Sopa Lodge in Tanzania, we saw two elephants barreling through the brush no more than 50 feet away.

In October and November, the Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia welcomes a parade of elephants -- right through its lobby. To the delight of human guests, this family of pachyderms regularly walks up some steps and through the reception area en route to a large, enticing wild mango tree on the hotel's grounds.

The Ark Lodge in Kenya is adjacent to a large salt lick and waterhole that draws elephants, rhinos, buffalo and lions. Decks overlook the site, and a ground-level bunker provides excellent up-close photo opportunities. It's illuminated by floodlights at night, and a buzzer in your room can be set to alert you when there is something special to see, like a leopard that's approached the waterhole. (The buzzer, which is sounded by a game-spotter on duty, can be switched off if you don't wish to be disturbed.)

Similarly, the Serena Mountain Lodge in Kenya has a tunnel leading to a hidden game-viewing shelter situated next to a popular watering hole for local wildlife.

Each of the five suites at Sanctuary Baines' Camp at the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana has a bed on wheels, and the staff will roll it out to your private deck at night if you wish. The accommodations at Kulala Desert Lodge, near the dramatic, red Sossusvlei dunes of Namibia, have rooftop decks for sleeping under the stars.

Many safari accommodations have stunning natural settings. The Ngorongoro Serena Lodge is carved into the circular rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Balconies overlook the floor of the caldera, which lies 2,000 feet below and contains an unbelievable array of wildlife.

The Royal Livingstone in southern Zambia also boasts an incredible location. It looks out over the crocodile-infested waters of the wide, blue Zambezi River (here, there is an electric fence and rock barrier to separate guests from whatever might crawl out of the water). Downstream, the river drops out of sight and becomes part of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The cascades plunge 360 feet into the gorge and send up a mighty spray that can be seen from the hotel's lawn.

The Arusha Coffee Lodge is built on the grounds of Tanzania's largest working coffee plantation. Coffee makers are provided in each suite, so guests can make fresh brew from beans that were plucked right outside their windows.

At Tortilis Camp in Kenya's Amboseli National Park, herbs and vegetables from the on-site gardens are used to create traditional Italian dishes from the owner's family recipes.

A lack of electricity creates a rustic yet romantic ambiance at Ndali Lodge, perched at the rim of a volcanic crater in Uganda. Its eight thatched-roof bungalows have solar-powered lights -- which last long enough for guests to shower and get into bed in the evening -- but the main lodge and dining hall are illuminated only by candlelight after dark.

Top 10 Africa vacations

1) Experience Namibia, 9 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Windhoek with visits to Lamberts Bay, Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei. Starting at $2,795. Departures from November 8, 2014 through November 21, 2015.

2) Captivating Kenya, 8 days with Alluring Africa. Begins and ends in Nairobi with visits to Shaba Game Reserve, Lake Elementaita and Masai Mara National Reserve. Starting at $3,195. Departures from October 4 through December 6, 2014.

3) Southern Africa Unplugged, 16 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins in Johannesburg and ends in Victoria Falls with visits to Kruger National Park, Lake Chicamba and Masvingo. Save 10%. Starting at $3,445. Departs October 5, November 11 and December 9, 2014.

4) Tanzania: The Serengeti & Beyond, 10 days with Globus. Begins and ends in Arusha with visits to Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and Serengeti National Park. Receive $500 per couple in air credit. Starting at $3,609. Departures from January 14 through November 4, 2015.

5) South Africa: A World in One Country, 14 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town with visits to Kruger National Park, Swaziland and Knysna. Save up to $2,000 per couple. Starting at $4,045. Departures from October 5 through December 28, 2014.

6) Mt Kilimanjaro & Serengeti Adventure, 14 days with G Adventures. Begins in Moshi and ends in Arusha with visits to Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Starting at $4,249. Departures from January 3 through December 26, 2015.

7) Wilds of Botswana & Victoria Falls, 11 days with Monograms Travel. Begins and ends in Johannesburg with visits to Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls. Receive $500 per couple in air credit. Starting at $4,299. Daily departures from January 4 through December 27, 2015.

8) Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla & Chimp Adventure, 9 days with G Adventures. Begins in Kigali and ends in Entebbe with visits to Volcanoes National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Kazinga Channel. Starting at $4,949. Departures from June 6 through November 21, 2015.

9) Kenya & Tanzania Wildlife Safari, 12 days with Abercrombie & Kent. Begins and ends in Nairobi with visits to Amboseli National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Masai Mara Game Reserve. Starting at $5,995. Departures from January 13 through December 16, 2015.

10) Uganda & Rwanda in Depth, 11 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Entebbe and ends in Kigali with visits to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park. Starting at $8,700. Daily departures from October 8 through December 31, 2014.

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Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@africasafari.com and I will respond the same day.

To send a copy of this newsletter to a friend or friends, click here.


Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go

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