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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We noticed this African proverb chiseled into the wall in the Johannesburg airport as we passed through there, and it perfectly describes our trip, which was perhaps the most personal travel experience we've ever had. We expected the expansive scenery and wildlife to be amazing, and anticipated that lodges/camps would be fabulous, but what also left a lasting impression was the people we met. We are most grateful for the gift of time and sincere hospitality from everyone at Merrueshi who led us into schoolrooms, dorms, clinic exam rooms and the lab...who talked story about social traditions under an acacia tree, or world politics over tea in the lobby pavilion, or community development around the dinner table...or graciously allowed us to visit their family homestead and even sit inside a traditional home built by their mother's own hands. Alyssa and Ray at Ol Donyo entertained Elaine and I like longtime...

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Into the Heart of Varanasi How do you connect with 1.2 billion people? In India, our local connections all started with Amit and Jessika Sankahla years ago, now a new family with their little daughter Siyana. Meet the Sankahla family in Kurt's previous blog. They have introduced us to their extended family, friends and so many acquaintances in local communities throughout India. Amit’s grandfather was a leading tiger conservationist in the 1950s whose work was supported by Indira Gandhi. Today, Amit follows in his father’s path taking Wildland travelers to his jungle ecolodges on our Tigers and Travels in India where we have seen many tigers accompanied by some of the region’s most exceptional naturalist guides and in local trackers. At Khana Jungle Lodge, we are welcomed by Dimple and Tarun, Amit’s cousins who have been running the lodge for 20 years and host us like family. In between the morning and afternoon tiger safaris Dimple gives cooking lessons and...

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How to Make Local Connections in Morocco I would say the single most difficult thing about planning a trip is finding an authentic cultural experience with the locals and I'm not talking about pulling over in a small town to buy some souvenirs. I'm talking about a real sincere opportunity to get to know the locals, without artifice and without a script. By far my favorite memories have been getting the chance to get to know the locals and experience their daily life. Finding that local connection is especially arduous when planning a trip to Morocco. Morocco is undeniably a beautiful and fascinating country, but not the easiest place to find an authentic experience. It's really important if your planning to travel to Morocco that you go with a travel company that really knows Morocco well and more importantly, has amazing guides.  Having a local guide that you can trust is the true key to a successful trip in Morocco. Luckily for me...

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Cacao y Mango Finca By now, most travelers know that dining experiences have become an enormous part of the travel “buzz.” Four and five star restaurants are touted in glossy travel magazines, and there are so many “foodie” tours on the market, a really determined appetite could eat its way around the world. Although we at Wildland Adventures certainly understand the importance of good, wholesome local food to the travel experience, we believe it is best consumed with a side of adventure and human connection. Cacao y Mango Finca, located approximately 25 miles from Guayaquil, satisfies through all courses!  This lovely 12 hectare finca (farm) has been in the Lara family for 65 years. Last century, government-owned mangrove forests were divided into 12 hectare plots and granted to farmers to encourage settlement. Through the generations, the Lara family has created not only abundance of crops…cacao, mangos, dragon fruit, plantains, lemon grass, spices…they are blending...

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Welcome to Urunlu Village in Turkey Welcome to Urunlu, a small Turkish village in the Taurus Mountains above the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. For the past 25 years we have been the invited guests of the Topkara family where we spend the night in their summer home en route from Cappadocia to the coast on our Turquoise Coast Odyssey. When we first made arrangements to stay with the Topkara family in their village home in 1989, the parents Shefika and her husband made all the arrangements and their young children were delighted to have foreign guests coming to stay. On one Wildland trip, when the multigenerational Whitmore family arrived with their 10 year old grandson at the front door, the Topkara's grandson Onur, who was also 10 at that time 10 years ago, he took his new American friend by the hand and they disappeared down cobblestone pathways to explore and play in the village together....
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Kurt Kutay
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Grettel Calderon
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Sherry Howland
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Laura Finkelstein
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Jeff Stivers
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Rachael Garrett
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Gretchen Traut
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Anne Kutay
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Tim Hocking
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