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Manaus: Gateway to the Amazon & Unlikely Cultural Center Manaus is green and tranquilly chaotic with charming and inviting people. It is a city where over 600 billion-dollar industries collide with the impending brute force of the surrounding sea of inhospitable jungle. No man-made roads lead to Manaus; there was a failed attempt at one from Matto Grosso, which the Amazon took hold of and promptly re-ingested into its suffocating embrace. Now, the only ways into the city are, as was always the case, via one of the thousands of waterways winding their way to the Amazon itself, and flight. The heat has character. It has a weight, music and flavor all its own; it works its way into the wood of the small houses along the riverbanks, into the fibers of clothing and finally into deeper epidermal layers where it gleefully takes hold. It smells lush- every plant fighting to dominate the dense air with its own native,...

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Beyond Your Typical Family Safari I want to introduce to you to the Dolan Family, a family that traveled with us on our Serengeti Family Safari in Tanzania. They wanted an overview of Tanzania and the opportunity to experience the wildlife and cultural aspects of the country. I'm happy to report they accomplished A LOT more than that on their family safari in Tanzania.  I'll let Robin Dolan tell you a little bit about their trip: "We had some amazing, mind boggling experiences and memories like: watching a herd of elephants play in water with babies not knowing how to work their trunks quite right, watching needy kids dance and play and celebrate the things we brought them- truly warming our hearts entirely, warthog mamas hilariously chasing their babies, seeing the beautiful culture, interesting religion and outright poverty that create the ways of life of Tanzanians, monkeys attacking our empty Land Rover almost making off with...
Community-Based Tourism in Northern Vietnam Adventurers come to us looking for authentic experiences in and amongst local communities and cultures. One of the best ways to achieve this is through community-based tourism and we've been working really hard to support many of these fledgling projects throughout the world.   What is community-based tourism? It's tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalized) invite travelers to visit their communities. The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, etc. Part of the income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole. Community-based tourism enables travelers to discover local habitats, wildlife, and celebrates and respects traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. The community becomes aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community-based conservation of these resources. These projects become a healthy way for communities...

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Navigating the Skies of SE Asia It seems rare to hear someone say they’re traveling solely to Vietnam...or only to Cambodia. More often than not, people are traveling to the ethereal region of Southeast Asia, combining several countries into one trip. In the past few years, the region has worked hard to increase the number and quality of flights, to expedite border crossings, and to reduce the hassle of getting multiple visas. Until recently, 2 weeks might have only been enough time to see Vietnam due to the hassle of traveling overland or the limitation of just one flight per week to Cambodia. Now, with improved overland routes and abundant air connections, we can offer 12 day itineraries that span Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia without breaking the bank. If you want your next trip to SE Asia to cover a lot of ground, be sure to take advantage of the frequent flights between major cities. The...
Keepin' It Real With Locals in South Africa's Cape We've been venturing into the Cape of South Africa for over a decade to visit old friends, always making new ones, and discovering places locals go from eateries to farmers markets, venturing into townships with local residents, and hitting a range of the best vineyards and distillers in the Cape wine regions.  Cultural connections in the township   Experiencing a black township first-hand is a really important aspect of coming to know South Africa, and this enduring consequence of apartheid. Having the right local guide like our man Thabang, makes all the difference. Black South Africans living in townships still don't see very many whites in their neighborhood, and many are as curious to know why we want to come as we are interested in learning about life in the township. Thabang is very sensitive and respectful, particularly to avoid making a showcase of the poverty, which is all around,...
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