|SEPTEMBER 2 - 22, 2018
$68,450 // DOUBLE OCCUPANCY
$7,850 // SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Athen's location offers convenient jet routing to northern Africa, and was described by the poet John Milton as "the eye of Greece, the mother of arts and eloquence." Upon your arrival in Athens, you'll experience both of those sentiments: relaxing in a beautiful hotel with a view of the Acropolis, and meeting your fellow travelers and expedition host, David Tett, who will provide you with an overview of your upcoming adventures. The next day explore the Acropolis with a private guide as well as the Acropolis Museum, where a modern glass building stands atop an archeological excavation in a completely unique fusion of old and new. In the evening gather for a welcome dinner complete with sea breezes and views of the blue waters of the Aegean Sea below.
From Athens, you'll fly directly to Bahir Dar and your hotel overlooking Lake Tana's vast expanse of azure waters, which is the source of the Blue Nile River. Take a boat ride past fishermen aboard traditional papyrus boats and flocks of pelicans to lush, forested islands that shelter centuries-old thatched roof monasteries and the brightly colored frescoes and royal objects in their treasuries. The next day head to Lalibela and walk downstairs and through passageways into the mysterious beauty of its eleven medieval monolithic cave churches. Attributed to King Lalibela, the 13th-century churches were built after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and remain a site of pilgrimage and devotion.
Arrive in the great plains of the Masai Mara in time to take your first game drive, returning for cocktails hosted by Julius Ole Karia, a Maasai who will relate his experiences practicing the timeless and traditional way of life of his people. For the following two days, relax into a schedule of morning and afternoon game drives in an area unrivaled for its constant flow of wildlife. The star attraction is the annual migration of 1.5 million wildebeests and zebras which surge up from the Serengeti Plains in their annual search for the seasonal grasses that sustain them. For those who want to stretch their legs, Maasai-guided optional walking safaris offer a uniquely insightful, close look at this complex ecosystem.
Your afternoon arrival to Victoria Falls will allow you time to walk a private pathway from your hotel to the magnificent falls, or to simply enjoy the view of the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge from the veranda with a cool drink in hand. The following day visit a village as the guests of Mpisi Melusi Ndlovu, one of Zimbabwe's most distinguished herbal doctors, who will share the traditions and agricultural practices of his homestead. Later, get an artist's perspective of the dramatic falls at a visit to the gallery of Zimbabwean wildlife and landscape artist Larry Norton. Conclude with an unforgettable four-course dinner and scenic ride on a restored steam train which culminates at the Victoria Falls Bridge at sunset for photographic opportunities.
Bypass the city center in favor of coastal adventures and wine-tasting outside of Cape Town. On the Cape Peninsula, enjoy a marine safari hosted by Chris Fallows, a great white shark expert who has facilitated over 50 documentaries, and will take you to False Bay and Seal Island in search of cetaceans, Cape fur seals, marine birds, and sharks. On land, visit Cape Point and Boulders Beach, home to a colony of African penguins. Then explore the towns and wineries of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and walk amidst dramatic sculptures in an outdoor gallery on the slopes of Stellenbosch Mountain. On the final night, dine amidst ragged-tooth sharks, graceful rays and shoals of predatory fish at a private aquarium dinner hosted by Chris Fallows.
To ensure your Botswana wildlife viewing takes place in small camps with personalized attention from experienced guides, the group splits into three, staying at intimate camps that accommodate no more than two dozen guests each. Located in the Okavango Delta, the Selinda Plains, and the Savute region of Chobe National Park, each camp offers game drives in the morning and afternoon in wildlife-rich, private reserves. While lions, leopards, and hyenas are present at all three camps, the Okavango Delta camp is known as the "predator capital" of Africa, and the Selinda Reserve was made famous by National Geographic's film The African Diaries. Elephant enthusiasts, however, may prefer the Savute camp in Chobe National Park, which is often referred to as the "elephant capital of the world."
Fly from Maun, Botswana to Entebbe, Uganda, to spend an evening relaxing and socializing at a resort on the shores of Lake Victoria in the company of two experts in primate conservation before heading westward the following day for the primate experience of your choice: tracking gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, or chimps in Kibale Forest. After an afternoon spent exploring the forest or visiting a local community, you'll be ready the next morning to search for either gorillas or chimpanzees with expert trackers. The duration of the hike may vary from two to six hours based on the location of the primates. Once you find them, spend an enchanting hour watching them interact, and invariably comparing their behavioral characteristics - grooming, hugging, vocalizing, and throwing things - to human behaviors.
A four-hour flight from Entebbe will transport you from the leafy tranquility of the forest to the splendor of the Luxor Temple viewed at sunset with stones aglow. The following day your two expert Egyptian guides will accompany you to the Valley of the Kings - home to 63 royal tombs, most notably those of Seti I and the boy king Tutankhamun - and the Valley of the Queens where 75 tombs, including the recently reopened Nefertari, are located. In the afternoon, board feluccas for a breezy lunch on the Nile River. Afterward, visit the Karnak Temple complex, the Egyptian New Kingdom era's most important place of worship, or enjoy the afternoon at leisure before joining the group for cocktails and a farewell dinner.
Recover from your international flights in a stunning boutique hotel built cliffside in traditional Cycladic style with sweeping Aegean Sea and volcano views. For the following two days, revive your senses with Greek cuisine, a cooking class, wine tasting, and a private boat cruise on the shimmering Aegean where you'll enjoy views of the caldera and the profiles of white houses built on terraced rock and cascading to the waters below.
After the core program ends at Luxor, discover the Nile's other great treasures aboard a bespoke dahabiya (traditional sailing boat) with only two suites and four cabins. Visit the Esna Temple, the Kom Ombo Temple and your choice of sites in Aswan. Disembarking your boat in Aswan, enjoy a day visit at Abu Simbel before flying to Cairo to visit the Temples of Ramses II, the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum.
Outdoor Museums and Galleries
What could be better than a world-class museum? Viewing some of the world's treasures outdoors in diverse settings, your feet placed where so many have stood before you, your eyes trained on the landscapes they saw. Expert guides breathe life into ancient ruins and traditions, making these places come alive for you with deftly narrated interpretations. To avoid museum fatigue and information overload, these experiences are deliberately interspersed with wildlife viewing throughout the 21-day program.
"I believe [our host] Jared Diamond got it completely right when he called the expedition 'The Trip of a Lifetime.' On several occasions in my lifetime I have been extremely fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time when everything comes together near perfectly and which I call 'A Happening.' This expedition was A Happening.”Dr. Byron Riegel, 2016
"I've been on safari many times, but never on one so unique. We felt like we were seeing Africa, without tourists, as it was 100 years ago.”Cecilia De Mille Presley, 2015
"The group was amazing - very supportive, interesting, all wanting and loving adventure! In other words Bushtracks attracts like-minded people who enjoy spending time with each other! We signed on as practically everything was on our bucket list and we had only been to the Masai Mara. We are not disappointed at all.”Jo Brandt, 2016