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The Philadelphia Zoo’s resident orangutans were recently awarded some newfound freedom to roam. Using a set of enclosed trails, called the Great Ape Trail, the orangutans can travel around the zoo property at will, suspended above visitor walkways. Lemurs and small monkeys at the zoo have been doing this for a year on their Treetop Trail. The Philadelphia Zoo is not alone in letting some of their tenants roam the grounds. Other zoos around the world have made similar concessions to their primate inhabitants. In fact, some let their animals roam freely among their human guests.
While we’d all love to travel more than we do, silly things like money, jobs, children, and crippling anxiety keep us trapped in one place (often our homes that are filled with old newspapers). Thankfully, modern technology allows us to experience the world more easily than ever before. We can Skype with our friends on other continents, tour museums on our phones, and experience just about anything online. But what if you want to explore other cultures and places more tangibly and can’t hop around the globe like Indiana Jones? Well, if you have space in your yard (and don’t mind your home resembling the SkyMall Tuesday headquarters), then SkyMall has everything you need to bring the world to you. Rather than break the bank and exhaust all of your vacation days on constant travel, why not surround create a menagerie of handsome lawn sculptures that allows you to live internationally without ever leaving your house? Read more
On the rugged coast of British Columbia, 40 miles from the Alaska border, there’s a wildlife park without trails or camp sites. There is no potable water and no boating. Fishing and hunting are not permitted, and there are stern warnings against bringing pets. Visitors can only enter with a guide, and only a few companies are authorized to lead tours.
Such delicate handling of the terrain might seem daunting for visitors. But the careful preservation of this land, known as the Khutzeymateen sanctuary, is a boon for its fuzzy inhabitants. Dozens of grizzly bears call the park home, and if you happen to join one of those guided tours, you’ll get an incredible glimpse of these bears in the wild.
Prince Rupert Adventure Tours, which is based in the laidback coastal town of the same name, takes guests out to the sanctuary on a sleek yellow boat, which allows for some up-close-and-personal grizzly viewing. Read more
Some trips make it easier to justify splurges. And no vacation is more splurge-worthy than your honeymoon. That’s why my wife and I chose to break open our piggy banks and go on a safari in Botswana. Nothing about our trip was cheap. The flights, the safari camps, and the immunizations all required some heavy credit cards swipes. So, when it came time to prepare myself to document the trip, I didn’t want to cut corners. However, I am by no means a professional photographer. I have a digital SLR camera, but the idea of investing in an expensive telephoto lens for the safari seemed wasteful. I had no idea when I might need such a large lens again in the future, but I also didn’t want to spend all of that money on our trip only to have horrible photos simply because we didn’t have the proper equipment. That’s when it hit me: I could rent a lens. If there’s one way to save money on a safari – or any type of wildlife vacation – it’s to rent gear rather than purchasing it unnecessarily. With the trip over, I can now safely say that renting a lens from Borrowlenses.com was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made.
I’m getting married in less than three weeks [hold for applause]. It’s a destination wedding, which probably merits its own blog post at some point. However, since wedding planning has rendered me unable to put together a string of coherent thoughts, it’s best if I focus on the honeymoon in this post since, well, that’s way less stressful.
Selecting a honeymoon destination requires looking at the trip from several different angles. As you begin to discuss where to decompress after months spent selecting tablecloths and entrée choices, you want to make sure you reach the decision that makes both of you happy. Ultimately, there are only three types of honeymoons. Once you pick which is right for you, the decisions get a lot easier. Read more
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.
Soar above the savannah in a hot air balloon in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve during a stay at Olarro, a seven-cottage (plus one suite) luxury lodge. The journey starts at sunrise with a helicopter ride from Olarro to the reserve. Next, you’ll board the balloon for an hour-long flight ascending up to 12,500 feet – with stunning aerial views of lions, zebras, wildebeest, and more. After the tour, indulge in a Champagne breakfast back on the ground before boarding the helicopter to return to the lodge. The price is $700 per person, for a minimum of six people. www.olarrokenya.com
For general trip-planning information, see our Kenya Travel Guide.
The Luxury The seven-night Ultimate Luxury Kenya Experience starts in Nairobi at the boutique hotel House of Waine. Travelers will then spend three nights at the tiny Saruni Samburu lodge set in a private wildlife conservancy harboring elephants, giraffes, zebras, and oryx. Finally, guests stay three nights at Saruni Mara, a six-cottage complex in a private park adjoining the Masai Mara National Reserve, where leopards, elephants, and impalas roam.
The Value Extraordinary Journeys is offering a 10 percent discount on this safari package for readers, as well as the exclusive use of a vehicle each day, a massage for two, and a guided forest walk. The cost per person is $700/night from January 3 through March 15 and October 1 through December 15. For travelers willing to brave the rainy season, the cost is $564/night from March 16 through May 31.
The Catch International airfare to Kenya, which is not included, runs about $1,000 round-trip from New York.
The Details 212-246-7650 (mention Smart Luxury Travel); ejafrica.com
From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
For general trip-planning information, see our Kenya Travel Guide.
It’s awards season in Hollywood, and in the travel industry, it’s apparently contest season. At least, that’s what the flurry of e-mails in my inbox seems to indicate, with several excellent opportunities that are targeting adventurous travelers. There are fantastic prizes up for grabs – a Kenyan safari, anyone? – and no purchase necessary for any of them. Here are my top picks.
Travel Photo Contest Awards a $9,000 Kenyan Safari: Those stunning snaps you took on your most recent trip could win you all kinds of good stuff, thanks to a newly announced travel photography contest by award-winning travel site and outfitter iExplore. The top prize is a two-person Kenyan safari (photo at left courtesy of Flickr/Henry Scott), valued at $9,000. The six-night trip includes game drives and stays at luxurious lodges and tent camps. Prizes are also offered for runners-up and all finalists, as well as 50 “Judge’s Favorites.”
The process to apply is fairly straightforward: Just register, upload your photo (you can register one per e-mail address), and spread the word to get votes. Winners are selected by popular vote and via judging by a panel of travel writers and photographers. The contest runs through April 22; register here.
HSI just announced invitations for 21 trips in 2011 to the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, which rescues and rehabilitates wildlife including lions, giraffes, zebras, hippos, warthogs, elephants, and many more. The cost of the trip (from an affordable $2,500 per person, including six nights in a luxury tent or chalet and meals) helps fund the sanctuary’s wildlife programs, which provide relief for animals that are victims of poaching, snaring or car accidents.
The inaugural trip runs from January 16 to 22 and is the first of the HSI’s Humane Travels initiative. Launched on November 5, the program will provide travelers with the chance to see sites where HSI has worked with animal protection programs, and how their travel fees can make a difference. Future trips could include destinations like Bhutan, Guatemala, and Canada. Read more
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