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Friday, November 15, 2019

Africa Week—A Romantic Escape Near Vic Falls

It’s hard to forget our last stop on Abercrombie and Kent’s trip to Botswana and Victoria Falls, the Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma on the banks of the Zambezi River. On the outskirts of Livingstone, Zambia, we spent the days touring Vic Falls, tracking rhinos in a nearby reserve, and paddling on the Zambezi River past hippos and crocs. If the hippo attacks the canoe, said our guide, swim as fast as you can to the shore. Yeah, thanks for that advice, buddy. Fortunately, the hippos were pretty mellow that day. If we were advising honeymooners or couples who want a romantic interlude on the Zambezi River, not too far from Vic Falls, we would recommend the Relais and Chateaux property, Royal Chundu. Stay at one of their four villas on a private island in the Zambezi. They not only will pick you up from the Livingstone Airport, but they’ll provide a guided tour of Vic Falls and all the adventure you desire on the Zambezi, including rafting, paddling, or flying high above the river and the falls. It’s ideal for a 3-day add-on to any safari in Botswana or Kruger. 

 
I’m off to New York next week to celebrate my niece, Sarah, who will be showing her amazing art at the gallery Shrine. If you happen to be in Manhattan on Tuesday night, the 19th, for the opening, head on over to 179 East Broadway between 6 to 8 pm and say hello. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/15/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Africa Week—Malaria-Free Safari in South Africa

A mere 3 to 4-hour drive north of Jo’Burg, you reach the game reserves on the outskirts of Kruger National Park. Here, you not only have the chance to spot the Big Five, but you can do so without the hassle of taking any anti-malaria medication since it’s in a Malaria-Free Zone. Lisa met with owners of two lodges in this region that she really liked. The first is Camp Ndlovu, located in the 35,000-hectacre Welgevonden Game Reserve. Part of the upscale Residence Collection, the ultra-sybaritic suites come with private plunge pools, outdoor showers, A/C, and WiFi. The second property is Madikwe, located in the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa at 75,000 hectares. Depending on whether you bring the entire family or just your loved one, you can stay at either the River House, Farm House, or Owner’s House. In addition to game drives, you’ll be going on bush walks, fishing, bird watching, and dancing with the locals. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/14/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Africa Week—CroisiEurope Cruise in Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe

Not surprisingly, Lisa met many travel advisors at the We Are Africa conference in Utah who specialize only in African travel. Several of those advisors mentioned to Lisa that the best trip they ever took in Africa was aboard a unique river cruise with the European river cruise company, CroisiEurope. You start in Jo’Burg before flying to Chobe National Park in Botswana, where you’ll board small boats to cruise the elephant-rich waters of the Chobe River. Then you’ll fly to Kariba in northern Zimbabwe and board the African Queen for a 3-day cruise across Lake Kariba to see the lions, giraffes, rhinos, and leopards of Matusadona National Park. The icing on the cake is one last flight to see Victoria Falls and cruise the Zambezi River to say hi to the hippos. Pricing of this 9-day itinerary starts at $6528 per person and includes all lodging, meals, and the Jo’Burg to Kasane, Botswana flight (gateway to Chobe National Park). Let ActiveTravels know your dates and we’ll check availability and pricing. We’ll also help with international flights and design an itinerary for Cape Town and Jo’Burg before or after your trip. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/13/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Africa Week—Cruising Namibia

Namibia is best known for its stunning coastal and desert landscapes. Wildlife seems to be an afterthought, though it boasts a wonderful list of safari sites. On a 10-day itinerary, you can track black rhinos, giraffes, leopards, lions, cheetahs, and spotted hyena on walking and jeep safaris in the Palmwag Reserve; marvel at Etosha National Park’s massive lunar-like mineral plane while on the lookout for impala, springboks, elephants, and zebra; step into a sea of red, mountain-high sand dunes in Sossusvlei; lunch at Walvis Bay alongside a flock of flamingos; and see Namibia’s Atlantic coast, getting up close with Cape fur seals and dolphins. The best part about Namibia is the infrastructure and great network of roadways, not unlike South Africa. It’s one of the most affordable ways to be on safari. Working with Namibia Tours and Safaris, ActiveTravels will help design a route based on your budget and amount of time. This includes car rental, lodging, a scenic route, safari viewing with naturalists, and some meals. Cost is as low as $1962 per person for an 11-day Namibia Safari Highlights trip. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/12/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 11, 2019

Africa Week—Extending Your Trip to Cape Town at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Lisa just returned from the We Are Africa conference at Sundance in Utah, where she met close to 100 suppliers and property General Managers from across the African continent. This week, I’d like to discuss the 5 contacts that got her the most excited. While the wine country of Stellenbosch/Franschhoek and Cape of Good Hope appear in all of our itineraries to South Africa, we rarely place clients in Hermanus, which is best known for its whale watching. That will change now that we know about Grootbos, a Nat Geo lodge and private game reserve located about 2 hours southeast of Cape Town, just off Cape Nature Walker Bay. Spend 3 days at this eco-resort to go on nature walks and see more than 100 endangered plant species and rare birds, whale watch and dolphin boat rides on the ocean waters, horseback ride through 2500 hectares of forest, even sign up for scenic flights and great white shark cage dives. Then head back to the lodge for gourmet meals, washed down with all that excellent South African wine that never leaves the country. Lekka, mon!  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/11/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 08, 2019

See the Authentic Australian Outback with Spirit Safaris

One of the most challenging, yet favorite itineraries I ever worked on for a client was a weeklong trip to the remote Aboriginal art colonies in the Australian Outback. Called the “Central Deserts Aboriginal Art Tour,” the trip started in Alice Springs and ended in Adelaide. My client loved the itinerary, traveling with the owner of the tour operator, Spirit Safaris, a 5th-generation Australian explorer, Richard O’Neill. If you’ve read Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines (probably the one book that most inspired me to become a travel writer), you quickly realize that to see the real Australia, you have to visit the center of the country. Yet, few outfitters actually go there. That’s why I was delighted to find Richard, who will go anywhere in the Outback, from Alice Springs to Darwin to Broome. Let ActiveTravels get you to the most authentic part of Oz. 

 
(Photo by Peggy Morrison)

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/08/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Skiers Should Purchase Their Epic Pass Now

Earlier this year, Vail Resorts added an additional five Northeastern ski areas to its portfolio of resorts. In addition to Stowe, Okemo and Mount Sunapee, the Epic Pass now provides unlimited, unrestricted access to Mount Snow in Vermont; Hunter Mountain in New York; and Attitash Mountain Resort, Wildcat Mountain and Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire. Add one trip out West to either Vail, Park City, or Whistler, and it’s worth the money. Sunday, November 24th is the last chance to purchase the Epic Pass and the entire suite of Epic Pass products for the 2019-20 season. Look through the options and see which one is best for you, including a new Epic Day Pass, with discounts of up to 50% off lift ticket window prices. The Northeast College Pass is $409 for the season with unlimited access to Stowe (except for the Holidays), Okemo, and Sunapee. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/07/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Perfect Friend’s Getaway, A Stay at the Ardberg Scotch Distillery

We’ve learned from past experience that if you make that effort to fly clients from Glasgow to the island of Islay, it will be the highlight of their visit to Scotland. The 45-minute flight leaves you in the Scotland of yore, with rolling hills, moors, small seaside villages, and the panoramic vistas of the northern Atlantic. It also happens to be home to the Ardbeg Distillery and their award-winning Ultimate Islay Single Malt, crafted since 1815 when the distillery was established on the rocky shores of South Islay. By all means, take a tour of the distillery and sample the wares. Then relax, knowing that you don’t have to drive that evening. You and 5 of your closest friends can sleep in 3 bedrooms at the Seaview Cottage, the former home of the Distillery Manager. While many of the original features have been retained, the cottage has been newly renovated and boasts a stylish interior with an eclectic mix of Ardbeg and Islay inspired furnishings. Please contact ActiveTravels and we’ll not only check availability, but we'll design a route around Scotland and create our patented Dream Day Itinerary that includes recommended lodging, activities, guides, scenic drives, and, of course, more single malt Scotch. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/06/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Autocamp Announces New Location on Cape Cod to Debut Fall 2020

Autocamp, the California-based Airstream hotel brand with locations in Santa Barbara, Yosemite National Park, and the Russian River Valley, is heading East. They just announced the debut of a new property in the Woods Hole/Falmouth area of Cape Cod, set to open next fall. The property will operate year-round and will feature 108 total accommodations, including customized Airstream Suites, ADA-accessible X Suites, and Luxury Tents, as well as a two-story clubhouse, community fire pits, and group meeting and event space. The custom 31-foot Airstreams at all AutoCamp locations feature AutoCamp’s signature mid-century modern design. The property will also host on-site activities for guests such as yoga and meditation, a campfire speaker series, music programming, local beer and cider tastings, and occasional farm-to-table dinners. AutoCamp Cape Cod will also be dog-friendly, offering Pet Kits, which include a cozy blanket, food and water bowls, and treats. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/05/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 04, 2019

Head to Alaska to See the Northern Lights This Winter

Iceland is a popular destination this winter for clients as they head to the country to hike amidst the majestic landscape and hopefully view the Northern Lights. But you don’t have to cross the pond to have a chance to see the Northern Lights. Alaska offers a similar experience. On Gondwana Ecotours 7-day Alaska Northern Lights trip, guests will view the Northern Lights displays from a family-owned lodge with magnificent panoramic views. During the day there will be time to explore Fairbanks, take an exciting dog sled ride, and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs at Chena. Fairbanks is situated within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval. This location offers a terrific balance of occurrence, frequency and activity of Northern Lights. Trips are limited to 12 guests per trips and cost starts at $2795 per person. If interested, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check availability on departures through March 2020. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/04/19 at 06:00 AM
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photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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