“I’ve decided I’m not even going to attempt to top this trip, because its not possible.” Anne McCall

The challenge: to create a “best of the best” month-long adventure in Ecuador & Peru for seasoned world travelers Anne and Jer McCall.

The solution: a Galapagos cruise, historic cities, unique properties, hiking in Machu Picchu, pink dolphins in the Amazon, and a gorgeous beach on the Pacific coast!

Immerse yourself in the McCall’s descriptive and informative travel log. Anne has quite a way with words!

Galapagos

“We arrived in Ecuador on Thursday night. We got up the next morning and caught a 2 hour flight to the Galapagos island of St Cristobal. I was very surprised when we first arrived. This island has 20,000 people. It’s one of several that are inhabited. I guess I should have expected it, since I was flying into an airport. Anyway we got to the dock and there were sea lions everywhere. They were lying on the benches, you just sort of stepped over them. The town was about 6 blocks long, with the typical gift stores and eating places. Then we went by dingy to our Galapagos cruise boat, the Yacht La Pinta. It can accommodate 46 guests. We lucked out because its only about half full, so we can have more flexibility. It’s a great mix of people. 4 Americans, 2 Germans, one Spanish woman, several Australian families, and one English family. OK, so now here’s the part you aren’t going to believe. We get up at 7am…yes I said am….every morning.

Our first day we went on a hike…yes I said hike…and I did the whole thing!!! I’m quite proud of myself. We were still on still on St Cristobal, but on the other uninhabited side. Now this is what I thought the Galapagos would look like. It was volcanic and ash rock. We hiked about half way to the top of the island and got some beautiful pictures. We saw a red footed booby with a bright blue beak, sitting on her nest. Those can only be found here… When we got to the bottom and hit the beach, I could not get my clothes off quick enough to hit the water. It was wonderful. The sea lions were just laying on the sand with us. Then I took my snorkel and started looking around, and I almost ran into a turtle. A big turtle. He completely surprised me. I started grunting through my snorkel for Jer to look. I kept getting closer and closer to him, and he was letting me. Jer started physically pulling me back because they can bite. But it was remarkable experience. All the island and sea life is so comfortable around humans, they don’t see us as predators like everywhere else. [Read more...]

Summer Vibe in Cape Town

Start planning your escape to Cape Town next winter! While its cold and snowy here, what’s better than to be in one of the coolest cities in the world. Cape Town simply oozes a great summer vibe, with tons of energy, outdoor cafes, breathtaking sunsets, gorgeous coastlines, invigorating hiking, great shopping, trendy restaurants, open air concerts, wineries, and festivals!

A few of our favorite things to do in and around Cape Town in the summer:

  • Hiking up and around the top of Table Mountain – views in all directions – and staying up there for the sunset!
  • Having a picnic and jammin” with the crowd in a gorgeous setting at one of the summer concerts at Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Enjoying drinks at one of the vibey bars with ocean views (a current personal favorite is WAFU in Mouille Point)
  • Dining with sand, candelabras, the ocean and movies playing in the old lobster shed and an all around relaxed and funky atmosphere at the Grand Cafe & Beach Granger
  • Enjoying South African wine… in the the winelands, at the beach, outdoor cafes, nice restaurants, on picnics….
  • Riding in the Cape Argus Cycling Tour (the world’s largest individually timed bike race) with its spectacular views
  • Visiting GS Giving Circle supported projects, the townships and meeting locals with James and his team at Uthando

 

Whether you visit for two days or two weeks, Cape Town offers an unending supply of culture and diversity. No visit to South Africa should miss Cape Town! Check out this slideshow for a glimpse of all there is to see and do in Cape Town.

Hands On Fun Experience at the Eziko Cooking School!

One of the most rewarding things to do when traveling is to get insight into the local culture, and we find there is no better way to do this is than with an interactive experience with locals. Even better is when this experience helps support the local community! The Eziko cooking school in Langa (Cape Town) offers visitors such a unique opportunity.

  • Eziko (a Xhosa word meaning “at the hearth”) was established by a former Langa high school teacher who recognized a need in his community
  • The school teaches young adults cooking skills so they will be able to find employment and create their own businesses in the future
  • Visitors not only visit but get a cooking lesson in traditional African “home” cuisine and then enjoy the fruits of their labor! Hands on access to such foods and food preparation is very difficult for outsiders and this experience provides a very unique opportunity for cultural exchange and insight

 
Priscilla and several Global Sojourns clients experienced a cooking class at Eziko’s under the watchful eye of specialty guide Pam McOnie, one of our favorite local foodies and wine experts. They loved the hands on interaction! Pam was instrumental in helping to create the cooking classes available to visitors at Eziko. It’s a very interesting story actually. We highly recommend you visit Pam’s website to read more about it.

Our client, Karen Johnson, sums up the experience best:

“What a great way to end our trip! having an authentic experience of cooking and eating traditional foods was one of my favorite activities of the trip. Pam was so knowledgeable about the township and Eziko’s effect on local youth. Victor, founder of the school, gave us some fascinating history about hearth rituals along with samples of some special offerings. Then there was Victor’s mom, Mama Lindy, a remarkable person and wonderful instructor, who helped us to understand foods of the traditional hearth while we prepared a truly delicious meal. Long live samp and beans!”

One of our Top 5 Favorite Hikes in the World – Robberg Peninsula


On a warm, clear blue day we were surrounded by the majestic, dark blue-green ocean; as well as massive, snow-white waves loudly crashing into geysers against the ancient, yet determinedly steadfast coastal rocks of Robberg Peninsula as we walked on rocky and sandy paths through the indigenous, wind-hardened, brown/green flora under our feet. Priscilla and I have been blessed to have traversed the world but we both found our 4-hour hike to be one of our “top 5″ in the world. The rich diversity of coastal flora, complete absence of tourists, just the right amount of exertion and amazing aquatic display of playful seals, birthing whales, traveling dolphins and hunting sharks made for an unforgettable experience in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.

We then spoiled ourselves with a stay at the wonderful Periwinkle Lodge in Plettenberg. Great decor, very comfy and best of all, it has a gorgeous view of the bay and of Robberg Peninsula! Dinner out at the Lookout Deck for more great views and dolphin sightings while we feasted on “tuna loin” and fresh shrimp.

-Peter Macy

A New Day for Zimbabwe?

This month (3/12), Conde Nast features one of our all time favorite safari destinations. We are thrilled they are featuring Zimbabwe’s re-emergence in the tourism market.

Conde Nast’s team travelled to Zimbabwe to see for themselves if the ‘re-born hype’ surrounding Zimbabwe as a tourist destination is well founded. In an interesting yet honest reflection of Zimbabwe, Joshua Hammer titles his article ‘A New Day for Zimbabwe?’ and writes, “For many years travelers have avoided Zimbabwe, aware that the country was ruled by a brutal regime. But Robert Mugabe’s time is growing short, safari lodges are filling up, and the spectacular wildlife is flourishing again.”

Having visited the country several times during both its hay-day and the turbulent political and economic situation, Hammer states , “This time, everywhere I go on my ten-day tour, I’m struck by the beauty, the abundance of wildlife, and the optimism that’s taking hold.”

Check out this informative article (and don’t miss the slideshow on page 2): zimbabwe-safari-lodges-hotels-resorts-restaurants-wildlife-national-parks

 

Photo: Beks Ndlovu, Founder of African Bush Camps, floating in “the hide” at Somalisa Camp in Hwange.

Matthews Mountain Range- A Kenyan Gem

The moment I arrived at Kitich Camp, I knew this was a gem.  The camp is in a stunning location overlooking the gorge of the Ngeng River, has just 6 tents- comfy, traditional and low impact, and is the only camp in the Matthews Mountain Range in Kenya.

But it was the walk in the lush forest to look for elephant with the Samburu warriors that ensured  Kitich would become one of my all-time favorite places. For those who love getting well off the beaten track, we highly recommend putting this on your list of must-see places!

  • Pristine mountain wilderness
  • Lush indigenous forest with cycads and wild orchids
  • A truly unique forest wildlife experience
  • Walk along forest footpaths guided by Samburu warriors and Ndorobo guides to see elephant, buffalo, bushbuck, warthogs…
  • Learn traditional ways of tracking wildlife
  • Remote yet accessible
  • Only 6 guest tents
  • High eco and cultural preservation standards