The 2013 African Expedition
Over the past three decades, Anne's friends and clients have often asked to accompany her to Africa to see with their own eyes, the beauty and drama Anne represents in her art. In 2011, we guided another group of Anne's friends and animal enthusiasts across the southern regions of Africa. It was an incredible adventure as we shared Africa with our new friends.
That safari was simply awesome and we're looking forward to our next adventure this November . Last trip, our team got to visit all the high points of Capetown and the Cape wine country, follow the Kalahari Bushmen while hunting and share dinner with them in the desert. We watched lions, leopards and wild dogs feeding from a few feet away.We did an elephant back safari, fished the Zambezi, watched Elephants ,Giraffes, Rhinos and Cheetahs feeding and hunting for prey. We felt the spray of Victoria Falls and petted baby Cheetahs.We drank African wines, ate wonderful dinners under the starry African sky and sipped drinks watching the sun set over the Zambezi River. We made new friends and left with enough memories to last a lifetime! You can see the photos and journal entries from 2011 in the "Journal" section.
We are excited about returning to Africa this November. Although our groups are very small and quite unique, we couldn't believe the 2013 safari was full only 2 weeks after we posted the safari's itinerary and cost. We will be accepting deposits for the 2014 Safari after August.
Again ,in November 2014, using the experience gained from a combined thirty-five years of working in Africa, Anne and Jim of Oceanographic Expeditions have crafted an African Expedition which would fulfill the Safari dreams of any photographer or lover of African wildlife and culture. This small group will be escorted each day by Anne and Jim to ensure a personal experience unlike any package offered by large tour companies. With experienced local guides, we will be visiting ecosystems encompassing some of the most diverse and highly populated wildlife in all of Africa. While experiencing the wildlife, you will also be surprised at the pride and resourcefulness of the African people you meet.
Our 2014 African Expedition will encompass many of the sights and adventures the word "AFRICA" conjures in the minds of every world traveler. We will visit five countries and four of Africas most beautiful and diverse habitats. Anne has used her established contacts and friendships to mount an expedition that leaves the typical tourist routes and opens doors closed to most travelers. To experience as much of Africa as possible in a short 15 days ,instead of rough road transfers, we will use chartered aircraft to fly from location to location in Botswana and Zimbabwe. We even charter planes with extra capacity for a full 44 lbs of luggage per person instead of the usual 20 lb. allowance on most safaris.
Again,we begin our venture in Cape Town, one of the planet's most beautiful cities, located at the tip of the African continent. Our group will stay at the Cape Grace Hotel, perfectly positioned under the iconic table Mountain and in the center of the vibrant Victoria and Albert waterfront.During our 3 days on the Cape Peninsula, our friend and professional guide, Steve Bolnick of "Walk in Africa",will explain to us the natural history and cultural history of this rich and diverse environment. We'll visit the Cape regions wineries and have an opportunity to taste South Africa's world renowned reds and whites. Our team will visit Stellenbosch, South Africa's 2nd oldest town and browse Dorp street and the many museums, galleries and shops of this lovely town. We'll take a boat tour to the fur seal colonies, visit a penguin rookery, and have lunch at the Naval village of Simon's town overlooking Kalk Bay.
Through Anne's work with the Cheetah Outreach Center our group will see what happens behind the scenes at one of the world's premier cheetah breeding facilities.
Of course, we must see the view from the top of table Mountain overlooking false Bay and Cape Town harbor. You'll have the opportunity to take a sunset cruise or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium or spend some time shopping at the Victoria and Albert craft market.
We then fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg and on north to Botswana, one of the most remote and pristine countries in all of Africa. Botswana boasts one of the largest deserts in the world, the Kalahari, as well as largest inland Delta system anywhere. Over 10,000 mi. of verdant channels, lagoons, swamps, and islands. The diversity of Botswana is unbelievable. With perhaps the largest elephant populations in Africa, Botswana also contains 593 species of birds.
Botswana is the origin of the oldest culture on the planet, the San bushman. At Grasslands Safari Lodge we will spend time with the bushman and learn how they hunt for food , make medicines, and survive in the barren desert. We'll observe their traditional dances and learn about ceremonies dating back thousands of years. You can see a wide variety of Kalahari animals and watch numerous species drinking from the waterhole right in front of the lodge. We'll learn about the rescue work done at Grasslands to capture, condition and release problem lions back into their native habitat. At night ,we'll sit around the fire and sip Amarullo (a baileys like drink made from African berries) and see what animals show up to take a night time drink from the water hole.
From the immense,sandy desert, we fly to the lush wet savannas of the Okavango delta and remote, Little Vumbura Safari Camp .Little Vumbura is situated on a wooded island shaded by a canopy of ancient Okavango forest and overlooking the Okavango floodplains. This small, 6 room safari camp features in-suite bathrooms, private open-air showers, and plunge pools overlooking wildlife viewing decks. Here we will watch wildlife surviving in their native habitat and explore the savannas and channels by motorboat,mokoro (native dugout), and open Land Rovers. Each night we'll dine under the stars and listen to the chorus of African animals in the distance. After 2 nights in the delta we head to the world famous Chobe National Park region to the west.
Our plane will pick us up and transport us to Duma Tau,a world class safari lodge famous for it's comfort and position on the banks on the beautiful Linyati River near Chobe National Park. Duma Tau's tents are built on private platforms off the ground like little Vumbura, providing dramatic views of the river and game in the area. Since it's close to the source of the Savuti Channel, besides day and night game drives, our group will spend time on the water watching game and, if you enjoy fishing, fishing for Giant Nile Perch. This area of Botswana is renowned for huge elephant herds and abundant wildlife. We'll photograph Lions ,Leopards, Cheetah, Giraffes, Antelope, Black and White Rhino, Wildebeest, Eland, Kudu,and Hippos and more. Here you can truly see the entire cycle of life of the African bush.
After 3 days at Duma Tau, we fly over 1 of the 7 natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. Our group will stay at the historic Victoria Falls hotel. This hotel is where the Queen of England and other dignitaries stay when they visit Victoria Falls. After a tour of Victoria Falls Park and its unique rain forest ,we will visit the local market and the children's orphanage. The next day we'll experience an Elephant back Safari and visit a local game preserve, home to several rare Black Rhinos. That afternoon we will be treated to a private sunset cruise and enjoy drinks on the Zambezi River as the sun sets over the Africa bush.
Our 3rd day in Victoria Falls you will experience the beauty and peace of the Zambezi River on a half day canoeing excursion. Will also have an opportunity to fish for tiger fish and Nile perch while on the river. We often see hippos, elephants, and herds of gazelles along the riverbank. That evening we will board the antique train at the Victoria Falls Hotel and, as we sip our drinks ,we will experience the classic African train ride as the early settlers did. We ride the old traincars to the center of the Victoria Falls bridge straddling the river and offering spectacular views directly into the face of the falls themselves.
Our last night in Zimbabwe, will featurner dinner at the" Boma",an outdoor African thatch structure, where we'll have the opportunity to try local delicacies such as Mopani worms, game stews ,barbecued warthog, antelope, and traditional African beer. This traditional Zimbabwean feast is accompanied by entertainment from Shangaan dancers and singers. Tribal Face painting and visiting with the local Sangoma ( storyteller) is fun and the local witch doctor is available for fortune telling.
The next morning, after shopping at the local market, we sadly return to civilization in Johannesburg. The stark contrasts we experienced in Africa will create memories to last a lifetime. Our team will spend our last night at the Southern Sun hotel, where will enjoy our final expedition banquet and last night together before we go our separate ways as friends and fellow adventurers.
While experiencing these pristine habitats, we will not be just typical tourists driving by. Each location is designed to expose you to important day-to-day conservation and species preservation efforts.We'll learn about the day to day lives of the animals we watch. By being involved in efforts to save the African wild dog, raising orphaned cheetahs, or releasing lion cubs or baby elephants into the wild, each of us becomes part of the "solution" in Africa. The rewards of these interactions can make a tangible difference in the health of our planet as well as the enrichment of our own lives. We will also learn about the critical role water plays in every aspect of the African Continent, and enjoy photographic opportunities second to none.
Our small team will be staying in exclusive, well-established hotels, remote game lodges or wilderness camps, chosen for pristine habitats ,diverse game viewing opportunities, comfort and active species preservation programs. Unlike most tours ,the areas we visit will be a slice of "old Africa" ,remote and uncrowded with cars and busses loaded with distractions and other tourists.
No noisy, crowded park roads for our team. We will explore the untouched beauty and wildlife of Africa off the beaten track in 4WD vehicles, canoe or Mokoro, horse back, on foot and even Elephant back. On many occasions, Anne will make sketches or draw the outlines for future art pieces. Our team will share the creative process with her and each team member will receive a small, finished piece depicting wildlife we experienced together on our expedition.
Unlike many packaged African Safaris, there are no hidden costs ,airfares, or "interesting but optional" activities, as this adventure has been designed to fit as many unique and meaningful activities as possible into a fun and memorable "bucket list" journey to Africa. Even the expedition's international inter-African flights are included to simplify booking the trip, keep our group together, and hold down the total cost of the adventure.
"Experience is the Key"
On this African Expedition, rest assured that our years of experience will ensure that every aspect of your journey from reservations to interpretation will be handled seamlessly, professionally and safely. From the day you land in Cape Town to the final Expedition Banquet in Johannesburg, we have worked hard so that your every need is met -- with enthusiasm and a respect for the African environment. Throughout our expedition, Anne and Jim are your hosts, information source, troubleshooters and daily travel companions. Being part of a small team, with common interests, educational levels and environmental awareness also helps ensure a Safari that creates life-long friendships and treasured memories. Just Pack Your Bags!
Our Travel Philosophy
Our intimate understanding of the nature of Africa and what constitutes helpful, responsible, conservation oriented tourism in this sensitive area is of Key importance. Our goal is to not only connect you with Africa's magic, but to enable our team to help preserve that magic through actively supporting and working with local conservation efforts. Through our expedition,we will learn about, experience and financially support several cultural and environmental organizations that run ongoing programs that sustain Africa's endangered species, cultures and habitats. Each of the places we stay has been chosen for their environmental activism,low carbon footprint and interest in preserving the wildlife of Africa.
Through the expertise and experience of team guide and oceanographer, Jim Hart, we can see first hand the crucial role the earth's water cycle plays in Africa's wildlife and cultures. No boring lectures or classes...just opportunities to learn about, and actively participate in, ongoing, long-term, wildlife preservation and environmental programs, all the while staying in luxurious, well situated, conservation-oriented, lodges.<
Lastly, Africa can be an intimidating destination. For centuries, part of its lure has been the excitement of not knowing what challenges you'll experience nor what dramas nature may show you each day.
Rest assured, our expedition leaders and local guides place your safety, and security paramount. The entire expedition has been meticulously planned to allow maximum immersion in the African Safari Experience while maintaining a safe, healthy, exciting and, especially, fun journey.
Anne London has a long and intimate relationship with Africa. Her adventures there have created indelible memories which one sees in the images she creates. Her friends and contacts there enable her to bypass the tourist track and really see wildlife dramas one usually only sees on National Geographic television. While on her annual visits to develop her art, Anne has been involved in several wildlife Conservation and Cultural organizations
Her work with the Black Rhino Foundation,Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Center ,the Cheetah Foundation and Project Hope have linked her passion for art with her passions for wildlife conservation and humanity. Although the Cheetahs' population size and range has declined dramatically over the last century, Anne hopes her support and dedication to this species' preservation may reduce the threats these magnificent predators face.
Her intimate knowledge of wildlife biology, anatomy and reproductive habits is extensive and used each day in creating the foundational lines of her artwork. Her shared experience and knowledge is a focal point of our learning adventure.
On this expedition, Anne intends on concentrating on Cheetahs, Lions and Elephants while our team assists with photographs and observations. Photographing elephants crossing the submerged grasslands of the Okavango in the early morning mist or sketching a pride of Lions dozing while their cubs wrestle one another in the high grass , each day will be another opportunity to share with Anne the heartbeat of Africa.
Jim Hart is an experienced photographer and oceanographer that has led recreational, scientific and research expeditions worldwide since 1981. In 1987, he patented the first electronic underwater communication device for divers. He earned a certification in Volunteer Administration from the University of Colorado and helped open the Aquarium Of the Americas in New Orleans in 1990.
He started Oceanographic Expeditions LLC in 1994 to enable volunteers to become involved in Marine research and conservation programs around the planet. After meeting Anne London ,his focus changed to wildlifel conservation to take advantage of Anne's experience and extensive contacts.
In 1996, he planned and implemented "Project Reef Spawn",involving 200 volunteer divers and in the first hemispheric study of Mass Coral Spawning in history. In 1997, he was asked to address the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the role of volunteers in Scientific Research. In 1998, in the Bahamas, Jim was also instrumental in establishing the first Shark Conservation Study utilizing electronic,"Passive Injectable Transponders" (P.I.T. tags) in Black Tip and Caribbean Reef Sharks.
He has published scientific papers on Mass Coral Spawning and Lobster tagging in the western Hemisphere , studied White Sharks in South Africa, Whale Sharks off Tanzania, and led numerous conservation and biological study expeditions to Central America, Micronesia, Southern Africa and Egypt.
Jim is also a P.A.D.I. Divemaster who, in 1991, founded the American Association of Diving Program Administrators and often volunteers with "Diveheart", an organization that teaches diving to disabled veterans and children and then takes them on diving expeditions. In 2008, he guided the first blind and deaf diver through a dive expedition to Mexico. He and Anne continue to work with disabled veterans and children both with DIVEHEART and NEW HEIGHTS, a theraputic riding facility.
From the hidden valleys of Afghanistan and the mountains of Nepal to the depths of the Red Sea and reefs of Palau, Jim has explored and photographed much of this planet and its wildlife. His photographs, artwork or videos have appeared in the Washington Post, several wildlife conservation and SCUBA diving magazines , National Marine Sanctuary publications and on National Television .
His first hand knowledge of the symbiotic relationships between animals and the environment can add another dimension to our journey and help us understand the story behind the wildlife dramas we are watching.
What it costs...
Unlike most safaris, the cost is fairly all inclusive once you land in Africa, (unless you stay extra days). It covers most meals, all accomodations, chartered private expediton flights and transfers, guides, activities, hotel ammenities ,conservation program donations and Government permits, park fees and taxes while in Africa from your arrival in Capetown untill 15 days later when you board your personal flight home from Johanesburg after the expedition is over.
This cost includes the Team's African international flights from Capetown to Botswana and from Zimbabwe back to South Africa to join your flight home. Exact dates and rendevous times will be sent to you as well as informative background information,packing lists and recommended books to read before the trip. WE start your preparation for an easy and enjoyable trip long before you leave.
IT DOES NOT INCLUDE YOUR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UNITED STATES, airport and visa fees, alcoholic drinks.TIPS, or Trip Insurance ( mandatory on a trip of this nature - we can help with this).
If you are interested in accompanying our team on this adventure of a lifetime, have any questions, would like to discuss our planned itinerary,or send in a deposit to reserve a position on the safari, please feel free to contact Anne or Jim Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org
The cost for the 2014 expedition is $14,675