Wanderlust Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Border

Out of Africa

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

- by Bill

We were driving….”game” driving that is.  In the middle of the Entabeni Private Game Conservancy about 3 hours east of Johannesburgh South Africia, our open air jeep moving along a bush road in search of….whatever.  On a game drive, one never knows what one will find and so we just watched and waited for the next amazing sight -whatever it might be.  Already we had seen our share of antelope – rather some of the 91 variations of the antelope species that inhabit Africa. At first, seeing a Spring Buck, an Impala or a Kudu was exciting…but it wasn’t long before we were looking beyond “another antelope” in search of the next big thing.  Well, it was actually the Big Five that we coveted most: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.   It was only our 2nd day on safari but already we had seen – in addition to antelope – a jackal, lots of wildebeest, several giraffes and even the not-as-elusive-as-we-thought cheetah.  It had been exciting…but above and beyond anything else we were bent on ticking the Big Five off our Seen In Africa checklist .

And so we drove.

Suddenly we ascended a small curvy mound on this dirt bush road when, around the bend, we suddently came to a screaching halt (more like a dusty halt) as the horns of a massive rhino were pointed sharply (and I mean “sharply”) at our vehicle.  Mr. Rhino wasn’t charging however – just staring.  And so, we stared back…amidst the clicking of camera shutters and mild shrieks of amazment.  In moment of suspended animation, we faced head-to-horn with this amazing creature as time stood still.

Suddenly, Mr. Rhino took a few steps RIGHT AT US!  While we squirmed in our seats our driver/ranger quietly knocked on the outside door of our jeep, which seemed to startle the creature and stop him in his tracks. Turns out that rhinos have terrible eyesight and probably didn’t even know that we were there.  The sound alerted him that he should proceed elsewhere, and so he did, down into the bush.

This was one tick on our Safari checklist of the Big Five, and what a start.  It was exciting and mezmerizing, but it was only the beginning. 

As our days throughout South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe went by our thirst for viewing all Big Five was satiated.  As were a few unique and special activities that many will never forget including swimming with Great White Sharks, riding an elephant and petting a famous cheetah named Sylvester.  Sylvester is a rescue-now-ambassador of his species throughout all of Botswana. His mother and siblings were killed by lion when he was just one day old.  He would have died too had he not been rescued and now he lives somewhat domestically in a habitat where he is also visited by travelers, school children and researchers.  Sylvester has his own facebook page  and if you “like” him and you can learn all about his amazing story.-https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sylvester-Cheetah-Ambassador/169927003078626  We were all  truly and genuinely “wow’d” by Sylvester – petting a cheetah was utterly indescribable.

As the sun set on our amazing Africa adventure, our group of 18 people were left with warm feelings of Africa, a new sense of adventure and a renewed spirit of the wild. Early morning game drives, experiences of the local culture, adventures that touched our souls, and a heartfelt two weeks with friends is a memory that will never be forgotten.  The 15 hour flight home notwithstanding, being out of Africa keeps us longing to be back again.

 

*As a footnote to the rhino story, I am sorry to say that we were asked not to post any pictures.  Poaching rhino horns is an epidemic in southern Africa and with high tech criminals scanning the internet, ever little bit of effort helps.  Apologies for not being able to post an amazing picture of this remarkable creature.

What Exactly Is The Spice Route?

Friday, April 12th, 2013

“He who controls the spice, controls the universe.”

Such were the words uttered by the main character of the movie Dune.In the story, the spice was the lifeblood of a vast empire. For the leaders of this empire, it was essential that at all times ‘the spice must flow.’ The spice trade of the Dune movie was inspired by the historical trade in aromatics from ancient times to the present. At various periods in history, spices have been as valuable as gold and silver. According to a 15th century saying: “No man should die who can afford cinnamon.”

The spice trade was a commercial activity of ancient origin which involved the merchandising of spices, incense, herbs, and other drugs between historic civilizations in Asia, Africa and Europe. These aromatic substances became even more mysterious over time as they were connected in many cultures with the idea of a faraway paradise — Eden

In a few short days, Amazing Journeys will be sailing along the same waters as the traders from the Roman Empire, Medieval Europe, ancient Egyptians and even Colonial Spain. We will be traveling a bit differently, though, as we embark upon a luxury cruise ship for 14 days of ultimate relaxation and unique exploration.  Beginning in Singapore, we’ll make stops in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and various ports throughout southern India before heading home.  A few lucky souls have also taken advantage of an added 4 night tour into Northern India to see the Taj Mahal.

What oil, agriculture, stocks and free markets are today….is what spices, medicine, herbs and other aromatic pleasures were of yesterday.  The next time you sprinkle a little cinnamon on your oatmeal or spice up your kung pao chicken, take pause for a moment to realize that these everyday enhancements were once a means of livlihood and survival for many civilizations.

Wanna Get Away? A Sneak Preview for 2013

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Boy, does Amazing Journeys have a lineup for the ages!  If you are starting to think about traveling in the next year, just you wait and see what we are going to be offering!   We are aware that the information that follows will fill your plates with so many exciting possibilities that you’ll be asking your boss for extra vacation time.  This is why we are letting you know NOW what’s in store for the coming year.  Get those vacation request days in before your co-workers and lock in what we proudly proclaim will be one of the best–if not THE BEST–vacations of your life! 

You may have traveled with us in 2012 or maybe in 2011…..or maybe not for a few years. Or, dare we say….not yet at all?  In any case, you’ll need to hold on tight as we tempt, tantalize and treat you to a lineup of Jewish singles trips for 2013 that you will want to start planning for now.  We are in the throes of putting the final touches on many journeys that are amazing throughout next year, but its not too early to start planning for them. 

Firstly, check out our website (www.amazingjourneys.net) for details on Jewish singles trips that are currently available and sizzling hot:

-Northern California (August 26-Sept 3, 2012); Just ONE spot left!

-New Mexico and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (October 12-17, 2012); Only 7 spaces left!

-New Year’s Southeast Asia Cruise (December 23 – January 6, 2013); Over 70 people booked!

-Brazil including Rio, The Amazon and Iguazu Falls (February 21-March 2, 2013)

Now that’s what we’re selling today.  In the days and weeks ahead, stay tuned for this AMAZING array of 2013 AMAZING JOURNEYS….and start making plans to join us!

Israel: May 2 – 13

Irresistible Italy by Land:  June  6-16
 

Italy/Croatia Cruise: July 19 – 31

Alaska: August 16 – 23

Heli-hiking in the Canadian Rockies: Summer

Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons: Summer

Baseball Lover’s Dream Weekend: Summer

African Safari to South Africa and Botswana:  Fall

Australia and New Zealand:  Fall

Granted that some of these trips are well over a year away, but there are benefits to starting the planning process now.  Send us a note that you are interested in any of our destinations and we’ll place your name and email address on an “interest list”.  Interest Lists receive advanced and priority notice of all trips when they become available, and allow those individuals to capture what is sometimes very limited space or, as in the case of our cruises,  the very best stateroom location.

Amazing Journeys; going strong for over 22 years and heading towards even more amazing destinations.  We hope you’ll join us!

The State of the Travel Industry

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Malori and Stacey just returned from World Travel Market in London and are happy to report that all is good in the travel industry!  We met with tour operators and vendors from over 250 countries around the world as we planned and got ideas for future Amazing Journeys in 2012.  In addition, we attended lectures given by travel insiders from around the globe as they presented the state of the travel industry.

“Green” travel options were a big topic.  Vendors from every corner of the globe are stepping up to the plate to offer sustainable tourism, becoming more aware of water shortages, carbon footprints and taking a stand to keep the world from being overused.  Along those lines, we attended lectures on keeping religious sites truly sacred by limiting the amount of tourists at any one place at a given time.  It’s a responsibility we must all embrace if we are to have a world to share with the next generation.

Trends in growth for travel include Asia, leading the recovery from the 2009 economic downturn with more people visiting countries within Asia, as well as the “new middle class” within China who are beginning to travel within their own country and abroad.  Latin America is offering more adventure and sporting event opportunities with Brazil being the favorite destination.  Africa is getting ahead of the pack with “Space Travel” opportunities, offering travelers in-room telescopes to look at the night sky, night-vision safaris, Astro tourism, clear night skies in Africa and wants to actually take up traveling in space to compete with the US.  Adventure travel is appealing to more individuals than ever before and 85% of those polled worldwide, list adventure travel as a priority when making plans to travel.  And finally, there are the beginnings of interest in Iraq as a growing area for tourists (think Vietnam).

While in London, Stacey and I selected hotels in London for our upcoming British Isles trip.  You’ll love what we found and we can’t wait to share it with you in the coming weeks!

So there you have it.  We have toured the globe in only three days at World Travel Market.  Where do you want to go in 2012?  Now is the time to let us know as the planning has begun!

Out of Africa; AJers taking in the sights and sounds

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Two weeks flies by when you spend it with friends…and wild animals. It hard to believe that on June 6, thirty Amazing Journeys adventurers embarked on a trek to the remote bush of Africa for 12 days and nights of exploring a world of unpredictability, randomness and unparallelled beauty. Over this course of time, we saw elephants protecting their babies, baboons strolling with their families of hundreds, giraffes “necking”, wildebeest migrating, lions lounging, buffalos chasing…..even cheetahs prowling and a leapoard just hanging out in a tree.

It was….Amazing!

Life in Africa is …Amazing!

Monday, June 14th, 2010





And Away We Go

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

June 6-20th

Amazing Journeys heads to the bush of Eastern Africa with a sold out crowd of 30 Safari-ing Adventurers.

Wait until you see the images, and hear the stories!!

A Blockbuster Coming Attraction for Amazing Journeys…

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

An African Safari is a vacation experience like nothing else imaginable. There are no museums to visit or ancient cathedrals from the 17th Century…nor are there bridges to climb or ruins to be curious about.
Nothing’s been excavated to expose an Old City, steel skyscrapers don’t reach into the sky and traffic lights don’t control the comings and goings of moving vehicles. Basically, life in the bush is a life the way the world was invented. No rules, no timelines, no deadlines and no predictability.
Life just……..happens.
And like Forest Gump once said about a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.”
But one thing you do get is a journey of remarkable and unduplicated wildlife, scenery and randomness. Amazing Journeys is thrilled beyond words to lead a sold out private group of 30 adventure seekers to Tanzania and Kenya in just a few short weeks, beginning June 6th. What is in store for us is something that words will never be able to describe. So intead…we coin an old phrase: A picture’s worth a thousand words: