SEPTEMBER 4 - 25, 2020
Incredible Africa by Private Jet 2018 - A Conversation with Donald Johanson
David Tett is a sixth-generation Southern African, born and raised in Zimbabwe, with a Bachelor of Science degree in DNA technology from the University of Cape Town. He started Bushtracks in 1989 and has been traveling extensively throughout Africa for more than 40 years. Weaving his interests in aviation, wildlife, ecology, and the people of Africa, David develops innovative, educational safaris and unusual travel experiences. While operating his own flying safari company, David also developed a keen interest in the interaction of wildlife areas with rural African communities, and the role tourism plays in Africa’s conservation.
One of the most accomplished scholars of human origins, Donald Johanson has produced some of the field’s most groundbreaking discoveries, including the most widely known and thoroughly studied fossil of the 20th century, the 3.2-million-year-old “Lucy” skeleton - one of the most complete skeletons of Australopithecus afarensis ever found, is one of the Expedition Hosts of Incredible Africa. Johanson is the founding director of the internationally respected Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and also serves as the Virginia M. Ullman Chair in Human Origins at Arizona State University, where he teaches. “Being in Africa, more than any other continent, inspires a unique opportunity to reflect on who we are, where we have come from, and what responsibilities we carry as the most dominant creature on earth. We will experience landscapes from desert, to savanna, to tropical rainforests, and observe a huge variety of wildlife, exotic birds and great apes. Brilliant African sunsets will make you gasp, and sitting around a campfire gazing into the star-studded night sky will leave you humbled. Modern humans know there is nothing like travel and exploration to reward the senses, and Bushtracks has, in my opinion, designed the ultimate African adventure. I’m thrilled and privileged to host you on this remarkable trip."
Craig Sholley’s experience with African wildlife and conservation stretches back to the 1970s, when he studied mountain gorillas in Rwanda with Dian Fossey of ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ fame and subsequently became Director of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Project. He was Scientific Advisor for the award-winning IMAX film, Mountain Gorilla, and surveyed the conservation status of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Congo, and Uganda for National Geographic. It would not be an understatement to say he’s our “gorilla expert”, but he is so much more than that. He’s also Senior Vice President of the African Wildlife Foundation, protecting Africa’s most threatened and endangered species; a cause so dear to our hearts that Bushtracks donates 1% of our sales to them. You will be as delighted as we are to have Craig on board.
Lisa developed a love for animals from an early age, “I was that kid picking up caterpillars and snakes." Attaining a BSc in Zoology/Pre-Veterinary Medicine, she forged a career at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, becoming the Primate and Giant Panda Curator, hitting media limelight with live webcam footage of the first surviving panda born at the National Zoo. She became known as the ‘Panda Lady’! Lisa has led natural history trips to worldwide destinations, including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, with a focus on endangered wildlife. She also co-started ‘Beads for Education’, to empower women and educate girls in Kenya, now sponsoring school fees for around 300 girls. Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and a feminine touch to our venerable team of Expedition Hosts.
Our 2020 Incredible Africa signature expedition by private jet connects the best African wildlife destinations with 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, through 8 countries over 22 remarkable days! This travel story is personalized and authentic, with a team of experts to interpret the cultural treasures and wildlife encounters. We invite you to join us on this extraordinary journey for just 46 guests travelling from top to bottom of Africa in style and comfort.
Athens offers a convenient stopping point to rest after the international flights and for meeting fellow travelers, expedition hosts and leaders. We will personalize your stay here with a choice of experiences; the Acropolis UNESCO site, National Archeological Museum, a catamaran cruise, exploring the picturesque villages on Aegina Island, or simply unwinding at the resort.
From Athens fly to Addis Ababa, where expedition host Don Johanson, takes us on a private tour to see the original fossil of ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis), that he found in 1974. The following day, fly to Lalibela and walk down hand-chiseled stone stairs and through passageways into 13th century cave churches hewn out of rock.
The star attractions here are game drives to see thousands of wildebeests and zebras on their seasonal migration, and Masai Mara’s famed big cats. Another highlight is a cultural talk by a red-robed Maasai warrior, explaining his traditional way of life. Optional activities include walking with a Maasai guide, and a hot air balloon “bucket-list” trip.
Today you’ll experience the mighty power of Victoria Falls - the widest curtain of falling water in the world - at this UNESCO site. The following day brings a fascinating cultural encounter in the village homestead of a distinguished herbal doctor, who shares his traditional cures. Conclude with dinner on the Bushtracks Express steam train…..going nowhere slowly.
In one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we customize your stay with a private car and driver, or intimate small-group guided tours, seeing Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders penguins, and the Cape Winelands. Our group is honored by a private tour of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, followed by an exclusive rooftop dinner.
We fly in small bush planes into the Okavango Delta, one of the most magnificent wildlife reserves in Africa. Seasonal floodwaters fill channels and lagoons, creating islands and a dazzling landscape abundant with big game. We stay in three small, authentic safari camps, with the best naturalist guides taking us on game drives, walks and in mokoro canoes.
In Rwanda, you are treated to one of the most enriching and rare wildlife encounters on earth; close encounters with endangered mountain gorillas. Our expert host Craig Sholley has intimate knowledge of this area and its gorillas, and he shares incredible insights. The jungle trek can take from 2 to 6 hours, but it’s a richly-rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime effort!
Upon leaving Rwanda, we venture deep into the past, as we arrive in Egypt for guided visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites of ancient Thebes; Luxor Temple, the Valley of the Kings (Tutankhamun’s tomb) and the ruins of Karnak. A felucca Nile cruise helps to cool things off, while we enjoy our last day in Africa. In the evening, we celebrate our journey together with a festive Farewell Dinner.
Depart Africa and fly to Athens, with a hotel perfectly situated in the shadow of the Acropolis, and just a short walk to the Plaka - a colorful “village” within the city. Enjoy your last evening at leisure, before catching your international flight home the next day.
Traveling as a group allows us to share the advantages of a private jet; exceptional academic hosts like Donald Johanson, Craig Sholley, and Lisa Stevens; and experienced expedition staff. Once we have landed, however, exploring happens at an even more intimate scale, as we break into smaller groups and engage in a wide variety of activities.
There will be days when you will have the freedom and flexibility to design your day to suit your interests and pace.
As we explore Africa from north to south, our AWF Expedition Host Craig Sholley will introduce us to the latest conservation and community efforts in Africa. Learn firsthand from AWF’s field experts and policymakers about wildlife corridors and protected area expansions, conservation education and youth engagement strategies, Wildlife Law Enforcement and Canines for Conservation programs, enterprise investments, and much more.
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 22-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