Posts Tagged ‘africa tours’

Book of the Week: Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Serengeti: The Eternal BeginningOur book partner, Longitude books is always searching for new books to inspire and inform your travels.

This week, take a journey to Africa with award-winning author and photographer Boyd Norton and Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning. Immerse yourself in two-hundred-and-fifty vivid color photographs of the Serengeti National Park, the Masai Mara, and the Ngorongoro Crater. Norton’s memorable stories about encounters with people and wildlife will transport you from your living room to the compelling wilderness of East Africa.

Our African Safari is one of our best-selling adventures. Reserve your place while we still have space available.

Namibia – A Few Things

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The quiver tree can live to be 300 years old.

Namibia, on the southwestern coast of Africa, is a place most of us haven’t yet visited. Here’s a few things you might not know about this exceptional country:

1) Namibia has not escaped unaffected from a worldwide profusion in jellyfish populations. In fact, jellyfish have halted seafloor diamond mining off the Namibian coast, as they have managed to clog sediment-removal systems. Jellyfish are part of Smithsonian’s 40 Things You Need to Know about the Next 40 Years.

2) Rather than performing for an audience, the !Kung San people from the northwestern Kalahari Desert region “play [music] for themselves, when the mood strikes them.” Click here to listen to the results, from Smithsonian Folkways.

3) Filmmaker John Marshall recorded more than 700 hours of footage of the Ju/’hoansi (zhun-twa-see) between 1950 and 2000, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa. Read more about him in Smithsonian Magazine.

4) Namibia has the largest free-ranging population of cheetahs, whose genetic material is being used  by scientists from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to help save this endangered species.

5) Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to travel to Namibia, arrived in Walvis Bay in December, 1487. We’ll  be stopping there on February 26, 2011, as part of our journey to South Africa and Namibia by Sea.

What makes you want to visit Namibia? Please share.

Into Africa: Who Was Diego Cão?

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Elephants at a watering hole.    Photo: Leo Dos Remedios

Europeans have sought riches in the Congo for centuries. As we planned our Into Africa cruise, part 3 of our 4-part Grand African Voyage exploring this fascinating continent, we wondered which European first explored the famed Congo River. It turns out that the first European exploration dates back to the 15th century, led by a Portuguese explorer named Diego Cão.

Born around 1450 as an illegitimate son in Vila Real, Portugal, Cão was one of the most remarkable explorers from the Age of Discovery, and led two voyages sailing along the west coast of Africa. In the late summer of 1482, Cão reached the mouth and estuary of the Congo River, at what is now Shark Point, Angola, and marked it with a stone pillar known as a padrão – declaring the area sovereign to Portugal.

Today, the pillar still exists but has fallen to pieces. Yet, the people of Angola are very aware of Diego Cão, as he was responsible for Angola’s colonization, and continued close ties to Portugal.

If you had lived in the 15th Century, would you want to be an explorer?

Check out Africa in the 21st century from Namibia to Ghana on our Into Africa tour, as well as our other tours on the Grand African Voyage, departing in 2011!  

Who Was Eliot Elisofon?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

There are few photographers who can even say they captured Africa quite the way Eliot Elisofon did during his lifetime. His legacy of photography and filmmaking provides ethnologists, photographers, and historians a fantastic visual record of African life from 1947 to 1973. When Eliot passed away in 1973, he bequeathed to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art  his materials from his experiences living on the continent, including 50,000 black-and-white photographs and 30,000 color transparencies.

What is most notable about Elisofon is at a time when outside cultures were viewing Africa through stereotypes and misconceptions, his photography was always grounded in humanity and respect. You can learn more about Eliot Elisofon on the Smithsonian Channel.

Create your own photography portfolio of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana on our Grand Safari  private jet tour.

Who is your favorite photographer? Share Below.

To Track an Animal, You Need to Look For…

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Yes, we’re going there. The topic that makes everyone giggle. Take a deep breath and here we go:

Poo.

You would think that such a silly subject wouldn’t be something Smithsonian scientists would bother studying, but they do. Scientists at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. keep a close eye on the animals, from the food they eat to the end result. It provides information that is vital to nutrition, reproduction efforts for animal conservation, and the overall health of the animal. Plus, when you are working with certain animals, it’s better to keep them at a distance. That’s why taking samples of their waste is the easiest way to keep an eye on our animal friends.

You can learn more about these scientists by watching SciQ: Poo on the Smithsonian Channel.

 

But tracking an animal in the wild is a different story. When it isn’t living in a zoo, and there’s a vast amount of land to cover, how do you even start looking for an animal? In that situation, finding a few droppings can really help narrow your search. Remember, when you are on safari in Africa, look for the poo.

Our Tanzania Family Safari is a great tour for adventure, exploration, and a lot of giggling by people of all ages.

Be honest, did this blog post make you giggle?