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THE LUXURY Explore the relatively untouched-by-tourism wilderness of Southern Tanzania, where the boutique Selous Safari Camp, set on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, offers guests prime access to the Selous Game Reserve. The reserve boasts a birdwatcher’s paradise and one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the African continent, providing haven for over a million large animals, including half of Tanzania’s elephant population. At the Jongomero Camp, meanwhile, a 1.5-hour flight away, this solitary camp in the region is set on the doorway of a remote section of Ruaha National Park, known for its diverse flora and fauna, with elephants, zebra, and giraffe just a few of the native species to call the reserve home.
THE VALUE Africa Odyssey has put together an exclusive deal for ShermansTravel.com readers for travel this June or July, featuring 32 percent off 8-night safari packages that incorporate stays at both the Selous Safari Camp and Jongomero Camp. Rates start from $4,797 per person and represent a sizable savings of $2,279 per person. Rates includes internal flight transfers, four nights at both safari camps with full board; game-viewing drives and walking and boat safaris; and concession and park entrance fees.
THE CATCH The package price excludes international flights, which can easily top $1,500 round-trip from East Coast departure points. Also note that early June marks the tail end of rainy season, so guests who opt to travel during that time frame can expect the odd rain shower.
THE DETAILS Visit www.africaodyssey.com for more information, but you’ll need to call 866-356-4691 and mention ShermansTravel.com to actually book the special offer.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, cruises, and more travel deals.
If seeing Africa’s Big Five has been on your bucket list (as it should be), start the new year off on an adventurous foot with Extraordinary Journeys Africa, a mother-daughter team whose custom-crafted safaris earned them a nod earlier this year in Smart Luxury Travel magazine’s Luxe List. Now, the forward-thinking, socially-responsible pair is offering an exciting 7-night journey to South Africa (kicking off on February 27, 2012), with three nights spent amongst the wildebeests at the Madikwe Game Reserve in Sabi Sands followed up by four nights during Cape Town’s Gay Pride event, where you can be sure there will be plenty of wild life all its own. Best of all, all accommodations are gay-owned and run, ensuring a Pride vacation to be proud of. Prices start at $4,200 per person (based on double occupancy), which represent roughly a 15 percent savings off their typical itineraries covering the same territory.
The basic itinerary is as follows, but with over 500 trips under their belt and no two of them the same, modifications are possible (Want to tack on additional camps? Travel by 4×4, hot air balloons, elephant, or horse?): Read more
EpicQuest is the go-to luxury adventure travel company for skiers and snowboarders in search of unparalleled heli-ski vacations out on Alaska’s most pristine peaks. The company is upping the ante on its 2012 itineraries with a stellar lineup of professional athletes and experts gearing up to host its heli-ski season in Girdwood, Alaska – a terrific value-add, considering there is no additional cost or premium for participants to enjoy the company of the pseudo-celebrity guest hosts. Heli-skiing is a notoriously expensive venture, but these amped-up, Smart Luxury-approved outings bring more value to the table, er, slopes. Read more
Vegas’ incredible capacity to host hundreds of thousands of visitors at any given time makes vendors eager to get your business. By doing your research and booking in advance, you don’t need to stay at the slots for cheap fun – you could save up to 50 percent off retail or door price on Vegas’ top attractions and lodging. And the holidays are actually a great time to visit Vegas since hotels, eager to keep casinos full, lure customers with cut rate deals to make hiding out for the holiday worth it.
There’s no reason to spend hours Googling discounts at any time of year, though. Web sites such as SmarterVegas.com, BestofVegas.com, LasVegas.com, and Vegas.com aggregate travel promotions and bargains on shows, tours, restaurants, and hotel rooms.
Celebrating its 35th year, Aspen Gay Ski Week 2012 kicks off January 15 with a trip down memory lane, along with all the parties and powder that have made it not only the nation’s largest and oldest gay ski event, but one of the most fun happenings of the season overall (read our post on Aspen Gay Ski Week in 2011). Plus, it’s a boon for charity: Proceeds from this year’s event benefit GLSEN, the Trevor Project, and the Point Foundation, in addition to select local organizations, and come with an opportunity to get some charity – in the from of free passes – for yourself, as well.
“With the theme ‘Through the Years,’ this year’s gay ski week will embrace our beginnings in 1977,” says co-producer Bryan Gonzales, program director of Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund. Each night will feature a themed decade party with prizes for the best costumes. “In addition to a week of epic skiing, après-ski, and nightly events, and the popular downhill costume competition, Aspen offers visitors world-renowned restaurants, indulgent spas, and first-class shopping,” he continues. “There is something for everyone, even for the non-skier.”
Highlights include: Read more
Ever looked at a travel brochure and envied the person standing triumphantly on the mountain summit, laughing with the locals, or sitting perched atop the camel? Join the recently announced “You’ll Never Forget It” contest by adventure tour operator G Adventures, and that lucky soul could be you.
The Toronto-based G Adventures, which announced its name change from Gap Adventures this fall, has launched a global search for the new faces of the company’s 2012/2013 brochures and videos. The selected “cast” of three winners will travel to one of the company’s hundreds of worldwide destinations (with all continents represented; the photos above are from Kenya, Africa) beginning in March 2012, for an approximately week-long trip. Read more
Although we were mildly horrified by the snowfall in New York City over Halloween weekend (how apropos), that quickly faded into elation: Ski season is coming! And with the inches already being laid down this year, it’s shaping up to be a doozy.
If you’re looking to hit the slopes with some gay and lesbian friends – or make new ones – but aren’t quite ready for the powder-and-party of a proper Gay Ski Week (check out last year’s post for a sample), then a Ski Bums (www.ski-bums.org) package is the way to go. Founded in 2005 with day trips from NYC, it has grown to become the world’s largest LGBT skier and snowboarder club with new chapters in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, and over 800 members worldwide (roughly 80 percent men and 20 percent women), a third of which are snowboarders, and everyone a heckuva lot of fun. Membership is free when you book a trip ($49 otherwise) and includes discounts of 30 to 50 percent off top-quality gear from Backcountry.com, plus typical savings of 15 percent off over booking the same trip independently. Book now for its eight major trips in 2012 (outlined below). Read more
Every self-respecting adventurer must do an African safari at least once. While it is a quintessential travel experience, it’s also pretty tough on the body and the mind. So, if you’re wrapping up a safari in Kenya, we recommend you tack on a few days on gorgeous Lamu archipelago in the Indian Ocean – a perfect antidote to the thrill-packed bush experience.
Once a major player on the Arabian trade routes, the islands of Lamu have turned into an off-the-radar travel destination and a secret celebrity hideout. It’s quite common to see Hollywood stars and random royalty wandering around Lamu Town, East Africa’s oldest and best preserved “living” Swahili settlement, protected as a World Heritage Site. Many of the rich and famous own homes in nearby Shela village, a prime locale for those who prefer not to be found.
Thanks to two recently opened luxury beach hotels, mere mortals can also have their share of this island paradise with its signature mix of African and Arab flair.
This fall, travel to beautiful Zion National Park in Southern Utah, a natural sanctuary with over 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons and diverse plant and animal life. Stay at the historic Zion Lodge during the month of November for $140 per night, plus breakfast for two; this offer saves you 25% off the regular autumn rates. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Zion Lodge is located directly inside the park and boasts 75 hotel rooms and 6 deluxe suites, plus 40 private cabins within walking distance of the Lodge. The 4-star Red Rock Grill offers outstanding American fare and spectacular views of the park, and there is also on-site shopping and a café. Zion National Park is renowned for its sightseeing and hiking, and guests particularly enjoy the colorful fall foliage and crisp temperatures during November. Other popular activities include rock-climbing, cycling and horseback riding. Don’t delay, because this amazing sale will sell out fast!
THE VALUE: Save 25% on fall rates plus receive free daily breakfast for two.
THE CATCH: These rates do not apply from November 24-26, and prices are slightly higher on weekends.
THE DETAILS: The “Fall into Great Prices” rates can be booked online with Zion Lodge using the promotional code FALL, or by calling 888-297-2757. Sale subject to availability at time of booking.
The Luxury Extraordinary Journeys’ seven-night Bright Lights and Desert Luxury package begins in Cape Town, where you’ll board a plane to Tswalu Kalahari, the largest private game reserve in South Africa. There you’ll spend four nights exploring by Land Rover, horseback, or on foot to view wildlife like cheetah, black-maned Kalahari lions, and antelopes, before bedding down in one of eight luxury suites at the foot of the Korannaberg mountains. Then, return to Cape Town for three nights at Kensington Palace, an all-suite hotel with a hip bar and pool overlooking Table Mountain.
The Value The $4,200 per person price tag for this trip essentially amounts to three free nights. Plus, it’s a $1,050 savings off the regular package price. Available for travel from November 1 through December 15.
The Catch Flights to Cape Town, which average about $1,200 from New York City in November, are not included.
The Details 212-246-7650 (mention the Bright Lights and Desert Luxury package); www.ejafrica.com
For general trip-planning information, see our South Africa Travel Guide.
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