Go On A ‘Beach Safari’ In Tanzania

Take a beach safari in TanzaniaSanctuary Retreats, a company that deftly mixes both adventure and luxury travel, has announced that it is adding two new lodges to its already impressive portfolio. Starting June 1, the company will offer guests the chance to stay at either the Sanctuary Saadani River Lodge or the Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, both located in Tanzania. These two new destinations will offer guests a wonderful boutique atmosphere while still providing a safari experience unlike any other.

The Sanctuary Saadani River Lodge falls inside the Saadani National Park, one of Tanzania’s premiere wildlife destinations. The park sits along the Indian Ocean, which gives it a different feel from the some of the country’s other top safari destinations. This lodge features 18 treehouse-style suites designed to complement the natural environment in which they are set. Comfortable balconies overlook the passing Wami River, which is home to all manner of creatures including hippos, crocodiles and flamingos. And at the end of the day, guests can indulge themselves with a relaxing massage in the on-site spa.

Activities available at the River Lodge include mountain biking tours, walking safaris, game drives and more.For a completely different experience, travelers will want to consider a visit to the Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, which actually falls on a secluded beach along the East African coastline. Located on the park’s southern border, this lodge offers easy access to the white sands that line the shore of the Indian Ocean, allowing guests to spend their days exploring the untamed bush and then return to the premises for a little relaxation on the beach. There are few places in Africa that offer this type of access to amazing wildlife, tranquil shorelines and luxury suites with abundant amenities.

Activities at the Safari Lodge include game drives, snorkeling, dolphin spotting and much more.

These two lodges are just a sampling of what Sanctuary Retreats has to offer. The company has boutique lodges throughout Africa, as well as Egypt, China and the Galapagos. If you’re looking for an adventurous escape without skimping on the luxury, you’ll definitely want to review everything they have to offer. In June, they’re even offering a special in which visitors can book four nights for the price of three.

[Photo Credit: Sanctuary Retreats]

Rhinos Now Extinct In Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park

Rhinos are now extinct in Limpopo National ParkAn official from the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique made a sobering announcement this week when it was revealed that rhinos are now extinct inside the park. António Abacar, the park’s director, indicated that no rhinos have been spotted in Limpopo since January, which leads him to believe that poachers have killed the few animals that had remained. With rhinos now gone, he believes those same poachers have now turned their attention on the park’s elephant population, which is endangered as well.

Rhinos are hunted throughout Africa for their horns, which are then sold on the black market in certain Asian countries. The horns are highly valued for their use in traditional medicines throughout Asia, despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that indicates they hold any kind of medicinal properties whatsoever. The mistaken belief that a rhino horn is capable of curing any number ailments has pushed the species to the brink of extinction across the entire continent.

The Limpopo National Park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which includes Kruger National Park in South Africa and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. This large sanctuary was created in 2001, with the three countries agreeing to remove numerous fences between their lands so that the animals could continue to migrate freely across the region. At the time, more than 1000 elephants and 300 rhinos were relocated into Limpopo National Park to help bolster their populations there. At the start of this year, only about 15 of those rhinos were believed to still be living inside the park. Now it seems that those are gone as well.The poaching throughout the region has gotten so bad that South Africa has threatened to restore its fences along the border with Mozambique. According to the article linked to above, over the past five years South African law enforcement has killed 279 Mozambicans who were caught in the act of poaching, while arresting another 300. That would seem to indicate that much of South Africa’s poaching problems isn’t homegrown but instead comes from its neighbor.

It is incredibly sad to me to think that we on the edge of wiping out an entire species because some people erroneously believe that its horn can be used in medicines. The rhino is being pushed to the brink and it may soon be gone altogether.

[Photo Credit: Kraig Becker]

Extraordinary Journeys Offers Disabled Travelers A Chance To Go On Safari

Extraordinary Journeys offers safari for disabled travelersFor many travelers an African safari represents the ultimate escape – and for good reason. Visiting Africa can be a life altering experience, not to mention a once in a lifetime opportunity to see amazing wildlife in their natural environments. But for disabled travelers such a journey can seem like an impossible dream, after all the African bush isn’t exactly wheelchair friendly. But one adventure travel company is looking to change that by offering a safari option that is easily accessible, even for guests with physical limitations.

Extraordinary Journeys offers an 11-day itinerary to Botswana that delivers everything a traveler could hope for when visiting Africa. The tour takes guests into some of most impressive game reserves on the continent where they’ll get the opportunity to spot lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles and dozens of other animal species. They’ll even go on a motorboat excursion deep into the Okavango Delta, a region that is famous for its rich and diverse wildlife. And at the end of the day, they’ll return to comfortable and luxurious safari lodges that have been designed to extend the experience even further.

But where this trip differs from most others is that it also caters nicely to travelers with disabilities. All of the lodges are fully wheelchair accessible, as are the 4×4 vehicles used on the daily game drives. Even the boat used on the Delta excursion is wheelchair friendly ensuring that no guest will ever need to be excluded from any of the amazing experiences this trip provides.

I have been fortunate enough to visit Africa on several occasions and a safari is one of my favorite travel experiences of all time. The fact that Extraordinary Journeys is making possible for all travelers to enjoy that experience is something that should be commended.

For more information on their safari for disabled travelers click here.

[Photo Credit: Extraordinary Journeys]

South African Tourism Launches ‘What’s Your Big 5’ Initiative On Tonight’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

South African Tourism launches new effort tonightSouth African Tourism is about to launch their next big promotional initiative here in the U.S. and they’ve enlisted Donald Trump himself to help get it started. The new “What’s Your Big 5?” campaign kicks off during tonight’s episode of “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” when the seven remaining contestants compete with one another while also bringing the rich travel experience of South Africa home to viewers.

The “What’s Your Big 5?” campaign is designed to give travelers a glimpse of what South Africa has to offer other than its iconic safari experiences. The country features many diverse options that include visiting the incredibly cosmopolitan cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, exploring beautiful wine country and enjoying fine food, art and culture. The active traveler can also surf the cape, hike the Wild Coast and visit some of the best game preserves on the planet. Those looking for a more pampered travel experience will find world-class spas, luxurious hotels and excellent dining options.

Fans of “Celebrity Apprentice” will catch a glimpse of all of this during tonight’s show and then have an option to book their own South African getaway. But they’ll also get the opportunity to win a trip for two to New York City to catch the season finale of the show and mingle with the Donald and the rest of the All-Star cast in a swanky after party on May 19. For more details on how to get entered into this sweepstakes check out the Visit South Africa Facebook page after the show tonight or follow them on Twitter @SouthAfrica.

I’m a huge fan of South Africa as a destination for any kind of traveler. The country is so diverse and easy to enjoy with plenty of unique experiences for anyone. The wildlife is superb of course but there are so many other things to see and do there that it should be on everyone’s “must see” list.

[Photo Credit: Kraig Becker]

Thieves Steal Rhino Horns From National Museum Of Ireland

rhino, rhino hornA gang of masked men broke into the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin on Wednesday night and made off with four rhino heads.

Museum officials said in a press release that the thieves overpowered a security guard and tied him up. They then entered a storeroom and removed the heads. The heads had previously been on display but had been put into storage a year ago for fear of their being stolen.

The security guard was eventually able to free himself and notify police. So far no arrests have been made.

Rhino horns are especially prized in Asia where they are used in traditional medicines. Police estimate the street value of the horns to be about $650,000. Normally rhinos are poached in the wild and their horns are smuggled to their destination. This photo, courtesy the UK Home Office, shows two rhino horns found wrapped in cling film, concealed in a false sculpture. These were from a different crime. The rhino horns from the Dublin museum have not been found.

This raid may herald a new phase in rhino poaching. With poachers facing increased policing, and even firefights, at national parks and rhinos becoming hard to find thanks to their being hunted to the edge of extinction, some may turn to taking horns from natural history collections.

[Photo courtesy the UK Home Office]