What to Wear on Safari

We recommend packing light, wearing khaki & neutral tones  
Packing
  • Khaki and neutral tones allow us to blend in with the landscape. They’re easy to mix and match (so we pack less) and if we get dusty it doesn’t show
  • Khaki/beige shorts and shirts are also deal as they are least likely to attract the animal’s attention … and least likely to need washing.
  • We suggest comfortable clothes that are cool, but that can be layered to keep us warm in the evening or for early morning wildlife viewing. Light weight shirts and fleece pullovers are ideal. Zip off pants that turn into shorts take up less space.
  • Pack light for your trip; laundry is complimentary at most safari lodges and camps.
  • Do not bring camouflage clothing as it is not considered a fashion statement in Africa… camo might draw unwanted attention at airports or border crossings.
  • Packing with layers in mind is important. To layer while also packing light, use clothing items made with lightweight, quick-dry, versatile fabrics. They are worth the investment!
  • If you’re spending time in a large city, you might pack one “smart casual” outfit.
  • In respecting the local cultures, it is recommended that women wear a skirt or shorts that cover their knees when visiting local people in the rural area.

 

Check out our super handy Safari Packing Checklist!

Cederberg

Cederberg Hiking – the Real Deal

By Dominic Chadbon

High peaks, sun-baked ravines and wind-swept plateaus – the Cederberg mountains deliver some of the most dramatic hiking in South Africa. But its trump card is its accessibility. This kind of big-mountain hiking isn’t something you fly across remote glaciers for; the Cederberg sits an easy three-hour drive from Cape Town. Leave the city before lunch and you’ll be sitting down for supper surrounded by silent mountains.

23113176333_6df9cde938_m copyGlobal Sojourns founder Priscilla Macy wanted to put it to the test. Together with friends Jean Tucker and Stef Veldhuis, they engaged professional guide Dominic Chadbon – aka The Fynbos Guy – to show them the way.

First, there was high ground to get to. Leaving the vehicle at Algeria, the oddly-named but ever-friendly Cape Nature camp site, the group stepped out of the shade and into the sun. It was an instant reminder of the golden rule of Cederberg hiking: Prepare for Everything.

It was so hot you could see the warmth steaming off the rocks. The temperature was 35°C/95°F and the heat-addled cicadas added a shrill edge. We were ready for it but there were also feather-down clothing and thick sleeping bags in our packs. We were also carrying rain jackets and waterproof pants. It was December – early summer – but in the Cederberg you need the Full Monty.

Our first night was spent under oak trees next to Middelburg hut. There are several of these rough-and-ready mountain huts scattered throughout the Cederberg. Lined with dry straw they make an ideal refuge in bad weather and their location near water means a hike is best planned around them. We used a combination of lightweight tents, huts and plain-old sleeping under the stars – the weather usually has the last say. [Read more…]

Babylonstoren

A magical experience near Cape Town for foodies and garden lovers

We’ve found Foodie Heaven!  Babylonstoren, a Cape Dutch werf or farm yard, dating back to 1777, offers a magical experience to those who appreciate a meal fresh from the land. And this 200-hectare wineyard and working farm, set in the Drakenstein Valley only 45 minutes from Cape Town, offers a fabulous menu of other activities!

Global Sojourns can arrange a garden tour with spirited guides who understand each plot inside and out. Afterward, you’ll savor lunch from their restaurant’s ever-changing menu – featuring what’s fresh that day.  (At Babel I learned what “foodie” means!)

For those with more time, we recommend you consider experiencing Babylonstoren overnight.  The accommodations are impeccably tasteful and comfortable. The whole compound comes alive after day visitors leave. And, you can wake with the chickens to be ready for a full day of unique experiences:

• Collect eggs in the morning for breakfast
• Climb a nearby hill for an expansive view of the werf and surrounding mountains
• Canoe on the pond or lounge at the pool
• Spy on birds from boardwalks that meander through the wetlands and uncultivated terrain
• Enjoy some R & R and a massage at the spa, or visit the “beach” (surprise!)
• Pick carrots and greens to feed the mules
• Wander through peaceful gardens, orchard, vineyards and farmyards after visiting hours – you may pick and sample as you go
• Take a cellar tour to observe how they produce their delectable wines
• In late afternoon, accompany the chef to harvest fruits and vegetables for your dinner
• Enjoy a proper wine tasting or kick back and savor your favorite variety informally on your patio (my favorite is the Chenin Blanc).

“I love my job!” exclaimed the delightful man who carried out my bags at a visit’s end, reflecting the wonderful vibe at Babylonstoren.

One of our recent clients shared, “With so many things to experience in and around Cape Town it’s rare I do anything twice, but Babylonstoren is the exception. You’re met by turkeys in the parking lot, drawn in by the smells of fresh bread baking, and then get to eat the most amazing food you just saw growing in the gardens.” KH

If you’ve never known what it is to be a “foodie”, this is the place to discover with that means!


Kaingo Camp – One of Our Favorite Places

Kaingo Camp 

South Luangwa, Zambia

We are fans of Kaingo Camp for many reasons. What sets Kaingo apart from other camps is their commitment to providing clients with an outstanding game viewing experience. That is their focus and they do it really well. With so few safari camps owner run these days, and so many camps imitating each other in style, appearance and offerings, Kaingo is like a breath of fresh air. It operates with a style completely it’s own…one that is super relaxed, friendly, informative, inviting and invigorating all at once. Owners Derek and Jules are always about, making the atmosphere very informal and welcoming. They have hand-picked guides who are engaging and knowledgeable with 3 game outings daily! They will even organize for you to sleep-out at their elephant hide (pictured above).

In between game drives and guided walks, you can take advantage of the various hides which have been set up in prolific locations and are especially appealing to novice or advanced photographers. Add to this excellent cuisine, comfy accommodations and the perfect location and you have a safari camp which really stands apart from the rest in one of Zambia’s most pristine national parks.

Our favorite things about Kaingo:

  • One of the few owner run camps remaining in South Luangwa which is such a treat
  • Owners Derek and Jules are very hands-on and have created a team passionate about the bush and making it special for all visitors
  • Relaxed, informal, friendly atmosphere while providing all the comforts one could want
  • Set in an outstanding, game rich area
  • Great guides who are tuned into needs of photographers
  • And… they are serious about their game viewing: offering 3 outings a day (rather than two which is customary of most camps) and have various hides that one can visit to observe behavior and take photos

 

Here’s what a recent client had to say about her stay at Kaingo:

“I loved Kaingo! It has the perfect balance of wildlife, comfortable accommodations, fantastic guides, delicious (and plentiful!) food, and the most gracious hosts you’ll find – in the bush or out.” KH

Check out this video and click on the slideshow below.

What is the best time of the year to go on safari in Southern Africa? (hint: when you are available to go!)

IMG_5911 copyWe love going on safari. We love sending clients on safari. Many people mistakenly think there is a good time or a bad time of year to visit the bush. Not so! Each season – each month – offers surprises and unique opportunities depending on your priorities and interests.
 
For example, the dry season (July-Aug-Sep-Oct) offers:

  • IMG_1192 copygreater quantity of wildlife
  • drier climate
  • thinner & more open bush (animals easier to spot)
  • incredible sunsets
  • cooler temperatures in July & August
  • fewer water sources = higher concentrations of animals
  • more intense wildlife viewing
  •  
    Downside: high demand, premium prices, wind (August), high temps (Oct/Nov), parks & airports are busier, wildlife can be stressed searching for water
     
    In comparison, the green season (Dec-Jan-Feb-Mar) offers:

  • Chongwe River Houselush, green vegetation
  • great birding
  • quieter camps = more exclusivity
  • special deals
  • great photographic opportunities
  • fewer people
  • lots of animals having babies
  • warmer temps
  • longer days
  •  
    Downside: afternoon rains, can be buggy/more mosquitoes, muddy roads and trails
     
    The shoulder months are exciting as well! It all depends on good guides, your priorities, and having realistic expectations about what you will see and experience. Expect less, be surprised by more. What is important to you? Quantity of wildlife? Quality of experience? Photographic opportunities? For example, several of our clients who have visited Africa on multiple occasions prefer to go on safari in May. Often you can get shoulder season rates, the rains have ended, the animals are getting easier to find and the parks still aren’t crowded. Through our Safari Planner, we help you to prioritize and focus on what you want to get out of the safari experience. For us, the most important thing is to increase your understanding and match your expectations with reality. This is where Global Sojourns really excels.

    Why I Keep Coming Back to Africa

    An interview with Erin West

     

    Q.  How many times have you been to Africa?

    A.  Eight times. Three times this past year alone!

    Q.  You have traveled all over the world. Why does Africa keep you coming back?

    A.  My first reaction to Africa was a feeling that I had come home. So for me, it’s like I keep going back home. I love the beauty and warmth of its people, and their spirit amidst terribly difficult circumstances. Of course the wildlife is spectacular, and the incredible sunrises and sunsets are unlike any other I’ve seen in the world. Africa is so diverse, there’s always something new to experience.

    Q.  Africa is a big investment. Why not just go to the Caribbean or Central America?

    A.  What I experience in Africa far outweighs the cost. Plus GS really works on making the trip as cost-effective as possible within my budget. Africa is a once in a lifetime (and sometimes life-changing) experience that nobody should miss.

    Q.  Are you concerned about health issues when traveling?

    A.  No not at all. There are precautions that one takes … you take your malaria meds, you’re careful what you eat and bring your antibiotics and bug spray with you and that’s it. The Ebola cases are so far away it doesn’t concern me at all.

    Q.  Which countries in Africa have you been to? Favorites? Why?

    A.  I’ve been to Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the  Congo (DRC), Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, and Madagascar. I started coming to Africa 25 years ago. I saved my money and went on an overland trip and I just LOVED it. Later on through mutual friends, I met Priscilla and got to go on a trip in place of my mother. The rest is history.  Madagascar is for sure a favorite because of the lemurs, the different landscapes, the beautiful coastline. The flora and fauna are unbelievable, unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else in the world. I love Tanzania for the chimps, DRC for the gorillas, Namibia for the amazing sand dunes as well as the Skeleton Coast, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. In Botswana, the Ichobezi cruise along the Chobe River is wonderful. Jacks Camp in Botswana and the experience of the Kalahari was one of my most favorite in the world … especially the night sky and all terrain vehicle trips. Cape Town is one of my favorite cities. In Zambia the land safaris combined with the river trips. Just being on the river. I could go on and on!

    Q.  Do you feel it makes the trip more meaningful to combine safari with visits to our GSGC supported projects?

    A.  Yes, because you experience the real human aspect of Africa. Everyone goes to Africa to go on safari. Sometimes you get to go into a village and it feels planned, like you’re intruding. With the giving circle you visit the projects supported by the GSGC, you meet the people and the communities benefiting from the support. Its more personal and intimate. you hear their stories. As somebody who donates to the Giving Circle, I get to see directly how my money is being used to benefit the people down there

    Tips for traveling as a multi-generational family

    Lucas family 004-2-1 copy

    The Lucas Family

    “Thank you, thank you, thank you. The experience was all we had hoped for. Awesome, as our grand kids kept telling s. The camps and lodges you recommended were just the right fit and the right mix. 

    Both sets of camp managers were accommodating and flexible. They arranged for soccer games with the staff and set up a visit to a nearby village. Everyone was warm and friendly. The wildlife and landscapes were spectacular.

    All in all, it was just the kind of experience and exposure that Midge and I were hoping for. Thanks again for making it all happen.”  Larry and Midge Lucas (Tanzania, June 2014)

    This past June, Pete and Midge Lucas took their entire family on a safari vacation to Tanzania. Stops included Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, and the Serengeti, where the family witnessed an actual crossing (You can’t plan that!).

    Pete and Midge shared their thoughts on what made traveling as a multi-generational family a success:

    • Everyone had a sense of adventure & was healthy
    • Waiting until the grandkids were old enough to appreciate going on safari
    • Picking a time of year that didn’t conflict with school
    • Giving adults enough lead time to make vacation arrangements with work
    • Planning early (at least a year in advance)
    • Choosing camps that fit the entire family; in some places, they were the only guests
    • Remembering that this was also a vacation for each family unit. They appreciated that we chose camps where they had total flexibility to divide up and do different activities individually, i.e. bush walking, game drives, sleeping in, playing soccer, local visits
    • Rooming all the kids together

     

    Interested in a multi-generational trip? Contact us!

    3 Tips To Make Your Long Haul Flights More Comfortable

    Thanks to years of traveling back and forth from the states to Africa and other special places around the world, Priscilla has three simple yet extremely useful tips to make your long haul flights more comfortable. They are:

    1. Get a great seat:

    • If there is an option for Economy Plus on the long haul, we feel it is worth it for the extra cost. You won’t have significantly more space, however, you won’t feel so lost in the masses as you are further forward in the plane with a bit more attention paid to you.
    • As soon as you make your reservation, try to get your seat assignment. SeatGuru can be a big help with this. We find a few rows behind bulkhead to be best. If you are traveling alone, try for the aisle seat in the middle section of the plane. Oftentimes, this increases the chances that the seat next to you will be empty and thus you can essentially stretch out in two seats.

    2. Have an inflatable neck pillow:

    • These are easy to buy online or in the airport. The advantage to the inflatable neck pillow is that, once deflated, you can easily store it in your luggage taking up virtually no space. It makes a big difference in providing neck support when you relax or sleep on the flight.

    3. Wax Ear Plugs and Noise Reduction headphones:

    • We recommend the wax earplugs for when you want to sleep and not watch any entertainment.
    • Noise reduction headphones are for entertainment (listening to music, watching the inflight movies, etc). We always have both. It has been found that one of the biggest impacts on jet lag is the noise from the plane. Trying to reduce that can make a big difference in how you feel upon arrival.

     

    Great Guides – Key To An Outstanding Trip!


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our clients reaffirm to us time and time again that the guide is key. Here at Global Sojourns we are experts at matching up our clients with great guides. The right guide can turn a good trip into the experience of a lifetime.

    • When your time is limited, a private specialist guide can orientate you to the area, provide you with background information on the history and culture, and introduce you to special places.
    • The training, experience, level of expertise, and personality of a guide can have a tremendous impact on the visitor’s experience.
    • We match up specialist guides with our clients’ particular interests such as cooking, wine, photography, etc.
    • Speak up! Express your interests before your trip as the better operators keep a list of favorite guides and their specializations and will try to make arrangements ahead of time.

     

    What you can do:

    • Book your trip with a tour operator who also believes in the importance of good guides
    • Treat your guides well and with respect, and tip them fairly for their services
    • When you first meet your guide, let them know your expectations, likes and dislikes. For example, if you have arranged a full day Winelands tour in Cape Town and are an ardent fan of chardonnay, let your guide know ahead of time and he/she can arrange your day accordingly.

     

    Having a great guide is worth the investment!

    Meet Valentina, the newest member of the Global Sojourns team

    Meet Valentina, the newest member of the Global Sojourns team. Valentina has more than 17 years of experience in the travel industry where her focus has been on eco, adventure and philanthropic tourism. Valentina currently lives on Long Island with her husband and three amazing children, and travels every chance she gets!

    Almost as important as loving your job is working with people you can connect with. Working with Priscilla and Global Sojourns gives me the unique opportunity to immerse myself in Africa…learning new destinations, meeting new people, seeing how our clients’ lives are changed by the experiences and adventures we create for them. This is why I wanted to work in this profession, and this is why I feel like I’ve come home.

    We’re thrilled to have her as part of the team!

    • She has a commitment to responsible and philanthropic tourism and loves to help clients have outstanding travel experiences
    • She holds a Master’s degree in International Tourism Administration from the George Washington University
    • She worked alongside Conservation International in Guatemala developing ecotourism & conservation initiatives
    • She ran the volunteer program at the Eco Escuela de Espanol in Guatemala
    • She knows Latin America in depth- having run the L.A. department for an established tour operator for years and launching the L.A. region for a company committed to helping clients create meaningful life experiences through Travel Philanthropy
    • She feels a sense happiness and peace when she is traveling, being surrounded by different lands, peoples and cultures…knowing that her very presence may positively impact the lives of those around her
    • She loves Africa!!!

     

    Favorite travel experiences:

    • Spending a year of my life living and working within a somewhat remote community in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve…putting what’s really important in life in perspective. And learning to use a machete!
    • Swimming to a sacred waterfall in southern Venezuela and being overwhelmed by spiritual energy of an ancient civilization around us
    • First time safari in Botswana when a family of elephants silently emerge from the bush and surround our vehicle, close enough to touch.