Adventure Travel Company Brings Gorillas Up Close And Personal

adventure travel


Adventure travel
might include hiking or camping in the wilderness of America’s pacific northwest, backpacking through Europe or climbing a mountain in Tibet. On their own or with local guidance, adventure travelers often see places others only dream of. Not satisfied with a packaged tour, visiting the same places over and over again or waiting any longer for their dream to come true, they turn to travel companies who specialize in remote, rarely-visited locations.

Sanctuary Retreats is a travel company that knows something about adventure travel. On safari in Africa since 1999, they own and operate 11 lodges and camps in Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania. In Uganda, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is located in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a good base for a gorilla tracking experience the heart of the rainforest.Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the Batwa Pygmy tribe and has more than 350 species of birds, 200 species of butterflies, rare forest elephants, giant forest hog, forest duiker antelope and bushbuck antelope. But it is the 11 kinds of primates, including red-tailed and blue monkeys, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzees, that draw adventure travelers to the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp.

Serving as a base camp for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to track mountain gorillas, travelers venture out on custom designed itineraries through some of the most beautiful jungle in the world, as we see in this video:


Sanctuary Retreats also sails a fleet of expedition cruise ships on the Yangzi river in China and the Nile river in Egypt as well as through the Galapagos Islands.

[Photo Credit- Flickr User extremeboh]

8 Million Bats Fly To Zambia For Annual Migration

bat For travelers who want to get away from the fake blood and costumed zombies this Halloween, there is more authentic experience to be had at Zambia’s Kasanka National Park. The spectacle is said to be the world’s largest mammal migration, with 8 million straw-colored fruit bats arriving from the Congo to eat the wild musuku fruits in the park.

During the migration an overwhelming amount of bats spiral through the skies, screeching and colliding as they return each year to settle in the fruit trees, covering them until there is no longer visible bark. The most memorable time to watch is at sunset, when the bats fly out to find food, creating a thick straw blanket in the sky.

Said Jim Holden, President of African Travel, Inc., in a press release, “The annual migration of millions of bats from the Democratic Republic of the Congo across the border to Kasanka National Park is an astonishing sight. Africa is full of such natural wonders, and most of them are not well known, as with this natural occurrence.”

For a visual idea of the bat migration, check out the gallery below. If you’re interested in seeing the bat migration for yourself, visit the African Travel, Inc. website to book a tour.

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[Image above via Shutterstock; Gallery images via Shutterstock, Kathy Richardson, Frank Willems / Kasanka Trust]

Carnivore safari allows travelers to see Wild Dog of Africa

wild dog of africa safari carnivore Dog lovers now have something to be excited about. Robin Pope Safaris has recently announced a brand new safari for travel beginning on March 24, 2012, called “Carnivore Week”. This meaty tour will take place in the South Luangwa Valley of Zambia and will allow travelers to see Africa’s largest carnivores, most notably, the rare, endangered Wild Dog of Africa.

The cost of the trip is set at $3,522 per person sharing, which includes seven nights at Robin Pope Safari’s Nkwali Camp, food, all safari costs, and a donation to the Zambian Carnivore Programme. Flights, visas, and airport taxes are not included.

Aside from getting to experience the wildlife of Africa with a trained guide, travelers will also be doing something good for the animals, as Robin Pope Safaris actively works to help protect the Wild Dog of Africa and other large carnivores in this region by creating an active niche for wildlife tourism in the area. Tour guides and ecology staff from the Zambia Carnivore Programme educate safari participants on how to research large carnivores as well as collect data during excursions.

While safaris focusing on Big Cats have always been a thriving tourist attraction, Robin Pope Safaris is now giving travelers a look at the other species of large African wildlife. You can e-mail the company directly at info@robinpopesafaris.net or visit their website.

Traveler Q & A: Pavia Rosati

pavia rosatiPavia Rosati is the founder of Fathom, a recently debuted travel website. Fathom is smart and beautifully designed. It’s full of exciting short briefs about various destinations across the globe.

Rosati, as you’ll see from her answers below, is an experienced editor and an avid traveler. Her enthusiasm for Fathom’s subject matter is palpable and infectious. We love Fathom and can’t wait to see how it’s going to develop.

Q: Good day, Pavia Rosati, and welcome. How would you describe your occupation?

A: I am the founder and CEO of Fathom, a new travel website. It’s my job to help connect you to places and experiences you didn’t know you were going to love.

Q: Tell us about Fathom.

A: Fathom cuts through the clutter of the online travel space with stories and destination guides that are as practical as they are inspiring. People typically go to a travel website for one of two reasons: They know they’re going to London, and they need to know where to stay and what to do. Or they think, “I have two weeks off…I like nature…Where should I go?” Fathom addresses both needs through two main sections: Guides and Postcards. Guides have quick information about the basics: hotels, sites, restaurants, and itineraries. Postcards are inspiring travel stories organized around the passion points of travel with a “I Travel for the …” theme: I Travel for the Food, I Travel for the Thrill, I Travel for the Kids. We aren’t motivated by what’s expensive or what’s trendy. We’re interested in what’s special and what’s awesome. Sometimes that’s a three-Michelin star lunch at Le Meurice; sometimes it’s a five-euro falafel at L’As du Fallafel.

Q: What are you trying to do with Fathom that hasn’t been done by other travel sites?

A: I wanted to create the one-stop travel website that I could never find. You know how the best travel guide is the email you get from a friend who lives there, detailing what you need to do and know? That’s the spirit that motivates us. I used to spend 80 hours researching dozens of sites to boil my findings down to an essential nugget of information. Fathom aims to deliver that nugget. I don’t want to wade through a list of 200 shops in Buenos Aires; I want 20 that are amazing. I want to know what locals know. I want pre-edited links to the best articles, websites, and online resources. Perhaps most importantly, Fathom recommendations are not driven by a mega travel agency’s vast and impersonal database; our recommendations are personal and special.

Q: How do you anticipate Fathom developing? For example, will the city guides grow in number?

A: Absolutely. It’s a big world, and we want to get everywhere. Postcards are updated continually, and we will launch several new guides every month. Reader feedback will be critical: We’ve had a lot of requests for Amsterdam since launching, so look for that soon. We want more Postcards from Fathom readers, a community we call the travel-proud. This fall, we’ll launch Boutique, with our favorite travel products; Traveler Profiles, based on the popular Fathom Questionnaires; and My Itineraries, so readers can save the places they want to go.

Q: How did your decade at Daily Candy prepare you for this endeavor?

A: First and foremost, it’s where I met my partner, Jeralyn Gerba, Fathom’s editorial director. We had one priority at DailyCandy: We had to delight our readers every day. To achieve this, we had to be trustworthy, we had to recommend quality places, and we had to deliver information readers wanted in a way they wanted it. And it helped if we had a great time doing it. These are excellent editorial priorities. By the way, before DailyCandy, I spent four years running the Entertainment Channel at AOL. That taught me a thing or two about building and serving a big audience.Q: Enough shop talk. When you’re not traveling, you split your time between New York and London. Care to share a secret hometown place or activity in either metropolis?

A: My life tends to revolve around what’s in front of me at the dinner table. In New York City, the bar at Tocqueville feels like a hidden escape, and breakfast at Balthazar feels like homeroom. At the end of the day, I always want to eat everything on the menu at L’Artusi. In London, I love Del Parc in Tufnell Park (of all places!), where two men cook and serve delicious Spanish/North African small plates from a closet-sized kitchen in the middle of the tiny dining room. And I love Moro, but who doesn’t?

Q: What are your favorite places to travel?

A: Sometimes I travel to feel familiar in a foreign setting. I could spend every weekend at Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi Coast and never tire of it. Similarly, I lived in Paris in college, and going back is like visiting an old friend. Other times, I travel for the difference and the discovery. Recent revelations include desolate and dramatic Salta, in northwest Argentina, and Sri Lanka, where I spent an incredible day on Taprobane Island. I loved Syria, and I hope it can recover from its political tumult and be the great country it should be.

Q: Where are you planning to travel next? And where are you dying to go?

A: Oh, the never-ending list. The wish list for the next few months includes Lake Austin Spa, Bighorn Revelstoke, Cartagena, and Portugal’s Douro Valley. I was married last year and am hoping for an eventual honeymoon in Chile. It’s my great embarrassment that I’ve never been to Southeast Asia — Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Zambia. Shanghai and Hong Kong. I’m obsessed with the Canadian Maritime Provinces. And in case my husband reads this, yes, honey, I’m dying to go to Tokyo, too.

Q: Where do you have no interest in ever visiting?

A: Cuba. I think I missed it. Though if an opportunity presented itself, of course I’d go. I’m curious about everything.

Q: Give us a travel tip or secret. Or five.

A: 1. Never eat airplane food. 2. You won’t use 50 percent of the stuff you’re packing, so leave it at home. 3. Find a local market to get a real flavor for a place. 4. It’s easier to go away than you think it is. And it’s always worth it. 5. I watch the sunrise on the last morning of every trip I take. I’m not suggesting that you do this; I am suggesting that you invent a travel ritual that you can share with yourself everywhere you go.

Q: What’s next for Pavia Rosati?

A: More sunrises in new places, and sharing them on Fathom.

Did you enjoy this Q&A? Check out previous Gadling Q&As with travelers like Jodi Ettenberg, Zora O’Neill, and Philippe Sibelly.

[Image: Jimmy Gilroy]

Photo of the Day – Tour d’Afrique

The 2011 Tour d’Afrique is officially underway! Just three days ago, more than 120 cyclists set off from Cairo, Egypt on a four month, 7,375 mile race across the world’s most exotic and alluring continent. The competitors will pedal through Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia before aiming to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa on May 14th.

If you have the urge to drop everything and join them, you can sign up to complete one of the eight partial sections ranging in distance between 1000km and 2000km.

Today’s Photo of the Day from localsurfer isn’t of the Tour d’Afrique, but I think it’s a great illustration of how important bicycles are as a mode of transporation and heavy lifting throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. So much in fact, that a series of social enterprises are now popping up to help local African entreprenuers by building and loaning inexpensive but durable bikes.

If you have a snapshot of some heavy lifting or local ingenuity, we want to see it! Submit it to our Gadling Flickr group and it could be our next Photo of the Day!