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What's Happening in Africa As Wildland's Africa Program Director I wanted to share some quick news about some interesting things happening in Southern Africa.  South African Rand Exchange Rate: The ZAR is trading at nearly 10.5 to the dollar (up from 8 in 2012) offering some excellent opportunities in South Africa and Namibia, especially as governmental tax increases have jumped by 16-18% on all tourism related services in many wildlife destinations such as Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and soon to be passed in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Flights: Refurbished airports and new flights schedules are making it easier to link up national parks and move throughout Africa. Here’s some important ones: Skukuza Airport (SZK) near Kruger National Park reopened making a direct and seamless connection between Cape Town and the famed private concessions bordering the park. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (VFA) is building a new runway that should be complete by April, 2015 and will allow for...

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PostCards from the World, My Dreams of Peace We believe in the power of travel to create understanding, brotherhood and peace on the planet. This is a really wonderful project that many Wildland family travelers, young travelers and teachers might be interested in participating and supporting. TIMOTCA, in partnership with Artsonia and Teachers Discovery, is connecting thousands of teachers around the world to have their students share “PostCards From The World, My Dream of Peace”. Creating small original art works, this project celebrates the creative spirit that is within all of us and has the power to change the world.     TIMOTCA, a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 launched the project to foster peace and cultural understanding through art and to build a Peace Monument and Cultural Center presenting the visual and performing arts of every country on earth. What a great project!      Art Beyond Borders is the first collection of postcards from 60 different...

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Village Life in Guatemala One of my favourite aspects of travelling is meeting the people who live in the country. That's why a highlight of our recent trip to Guatemala was visiting a small community, to see their school and have lunch in a farmhouse. Before leaving the city of Antigua, where we'd stayed for two days, we asked our guide, Fidensio, if we could buy a couple of soccer balls to take as a gift to the school. He arranged for us to stop at a stall in a local market on our way out of town, where a local businessman was selling soccer balls and other goods. After making our purchase, we drove about an hour out of Antigua along winding roads, finally pulling onto a dusty lane. We watched as farmers planted and fertilized their fields by hand. Horses are expensive, and the farms are small enough that the work can...
How to handle a travel emergency in your sleep We have guests who are sleeping in a tent on Kilimanjaro right now and we just received a call from Isaac Hilpman at Exito Travel that Air Uganda went out of business yesterday. So the flight they booked before they departed  from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Entebbe, Uganda 10 days from now no longer exists! Now it’s 12pm in Seattle, 11pm on the mountain, and they’re in the middle of climbing Kilimanjaro--all 19,000 feet of it, to the roof of Africa. They started their climb yesterday, and will return to Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday. Although there is emergency communication by radio with park rangers, they are otherwise out of touch until then.   So, while they were asleep on the mountain our team immediately went into action. With the assistance of Exito Travel we booked a new flight for them before everyone else on that Air Uganda flight made their alternate arrangements, arriving only 30...
Favorite Lodges and Awesome Fishing in Mana Pools On a recent safari in Zimbabwe I took a short flight from Victoria Falls (You can also fly from Hwange) to the Zambezi Valley and Mana Pools National Park, where the waters of the mighty Zambezi River make their way east from Lake Kariba to Lake Cahora Bassa before diving Southeast into Mozambique and the Indian Ocean. As our plane banked for a turn over the river I found it exhilarating to be seeing Zambia out the left window and Zimbabwe out the right.      Ruckomechi Camp is in a private concession owned by Wilderness Safaris within the greater Mana Pools National Park and was one of my favorite places to have visited during my 3 week journey. The area is vast with lots of areas to explore and the camp is situated right next to the river which gives you a wide diversity of activities, from game walks and...
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