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Safari Newsletter Dated August 15, 2016

Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

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

For example, your safari might feature accommodations in tented camps -- but that doesn't necessarily 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 Serena Camp in Tanzania, tents are on raised platforms and have four-poster beds, Edwardian-style furniture and mahogany-paneled bathrooms with twin marble basins and hot and cold running water. The tents are made of canvas, with mosquito netting for windows and a front door that zips 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, I 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 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.

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) Southern Explorer, 10 days with African Travel. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Starting at $4,095. Daily departures from September 5 through December 17, 2016.

2) Botswana and Victoria Falls Adventure, 8 days with G Adventures. Begins in Windhoek and ends in Livingstone. Starting at $1,749. Departures from September 10, 2016 through December 23, 2017.

3) Kenya: A Timeless Safari, 10 days with Globus. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Save 5%. Starting at $3,889. Departures from January 7 through November 4, 2017.

4) Kilimanjaro & Serengeti Adventure, 16 days with Intrepid Travel. Begins in Marangu and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $4,370. Departures from September 3, 2016 through December 16, 2017.

5) Rwanda and Uganda Gorilla Discovery (National Geographic Journey), 9 days with G Adventures. Begins in Kigali and ends in Entebbe. Starting at $4,949. Departures from October 1, 2016 through December 29, 2018.

6) East African Explorer, 13 days with SITA Tours. Begins and ends in Nairobi. Starting at $5,525. Departures from August 30 through December 29, 2016.

7) Kenya & Tanzania Highlights, 11 days with SITA Tours. Begins in Nairobi and ends in Arusha. Starting at $6,625. Daily departures from September 9 through December 30, 2016.

8) Tantalizing Tanzania, 9 days with African Travel. Begins and ends in Arusha. Starting at $6,995. Daily departures from September 5 through December 26, 2016.

9) Botswana Safari in Style, 10 days with Abercrombie & Kent. Begins and ends in Johannesburg. Starting at $7,995. Departures from January 18 through December 20, 2017.

10) Discover Africa, 10 days with AmaWaterways. Begins in Cape Town and ends in Johannesburg. Save $1,000 to $2,000 per couple. Starting at $8,799. Departures from March 10 through November 17, 2017.

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

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Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go

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