Feb 2019

Our guests find themselves drawn into 10 carefully scripted chapters, in 10 diverse destinations, to discover the magnificent wildlife and deep-rooted cultures across the great continent of Africa.

This epic journey begins in Ethiopia on the first of 52 magical days and nights of intrepid and intriguing exploration.

We created a journey that linked some of the most magnificent destinations, people and wildlife and blended it with an educational themed narrative that led our protagonists on a journey that was truly Based On A True Story.

Widely regarded as the cradle of humankind, Ethiopia’s soils held the discoveries of the first signs of man: hominid fossils dating back over 2.9 million years. It is here that our explorers have their first encounter with an indigenous tribe, the Afar people. Taking to the skies for an aerial expedition our guests fly low across the varying and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes of Ethiopia to begin their adventure.

The Afar are a proud Cushtic-nomadic tribe who live mainly in the Danakil Desert, a hot and arid region with volcanoes and lava lakes, formed by the furious activity at the divergence of three tectonic plates deep below the ground. This landscape is illustrative of the incredible resilience and fierce bravery that the Afar possess – some say they are the toughest people on Earth – a tribe who also believe that they are decedents of Noah’s son, Ham.

During their encounter, a tribal elder produces some old fragile bones that he found long ago. Since discovering the bones, he has been having bizarre premonitions in his sleep… the bones speak to him… they tell him they must be returned to their resting place… they are not from this land… he believes they could be from the Ark? The explorers must follow the trail to find the answers…

The tribal elder tells them to head south to Kenya, he has heard rumours that more ancient bones rest there…

Taking to the skies by helicopter and heading southward, our adventurers find themselves traversing towards the Shaba National Reserve for a two-night stay in a specially set up mobile camp.

Shaba is well known for its large prides of lions, which doze under thickets of toothbrush trees during the day. Shaba National Reserve is a stunningly beautiful reserve made famous by Joy Adamson, author of the famous book and film, ‘Born Free’. Shaba, along with Samburu and Buffalo Springs are 3 small, adjoining savannah national reserves that lie on either side of the northern Ewaso Ngiro River. Here our guests will have their first of many encounters with The Big Five.

Our guests are informed of a local tribe, who may be able to shed light on the mysterious bones mentioned by the Afar tribal elder in Ethiopia. Taking to the skies once more, they take an amazing aerial flight to The Great Rift Valley, home of the semi-nomadic Pokot tribe.

Here a very warm welcome awaits them from the Pokot people. The Pokot are overjoyed and with great jubilation follows a celebration. A huge fire is lit… much dancing, singing and storytelling begins….

Our guests enjoy the fantastic service and comfort that the organisers of the Sirikoi Luxury Mobile Camp had set up, as the narrative we have designed cleverly links the two chapters together. And that evening, whilst enjoying a moonlit welcoming dinner, the story continues…

It appears the Pokot elders have seen a small skeleton set into the rocks at Lake Turkana… but the frame is incomplete and there is bad energy around the bones… perhaps these are the missing pieces that will bring peace to the land…

Our guests must travel at first light to the shores of a mysterious lake where the story will continue to evolve against a stunningly visual backdrop, with encounters with incredible wildlife and a further carefully planned tribal rendezvous.

Travelling with the Pokot to the shores of Lake Turkana, our explorers happen upon the site of an incredible discovery – Turkana boy – a young man who lived around 1.6 million years ago. His is the most complete early human skeleton ever found.

Nearby they discover a stone axe head. Our explorers camp out for the night on the shores of the aptly named ‘jade sea’ in a specially set up luxury set up with amazing views over the largest permanent desert lake on the planet.

In the morning our guests took to the skies once more and transferred to the Maasai Mara to stay at the award-winning Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp.

This stunning lodge has its own 7608-acre private conservancy and is situated one kilometre from the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve. Owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa, it extends an era of luxury and quality and returns to the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’.

Kenya is the site where many primitive tools have been found on archaeological digs. These tools were thought to be used as money – this being the first sign of financial transactions made by humans in history. So these facts were cleverly woven into the narrative to give an educational context to the creative elements we were planting into this epic discovery of Africa.

From here on in the story evolved chapter by chapter, next taking in Tanzania, where our guests were greeted by the Maasai during an elaborate and authentic welcome ceremony.

Staying at the stunning Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, situated at the edge of one of the most spectacular views over Africa, our guests enjoyed exceptional service and could make aerial expeditions to view The Great Migration – herds of wildebeest and zebra heading north in one of the greatest displays of wildlife relocation and moving in unison that exists.

The adventure then leads our guests to the DRC for a stay at the majestic Mikeno Lodge and a five-night luxury gorilla safari. Here our guests are hosted by the charismatic keeper of the Virunga National Park, who personally escorts them on jungle treks into the thick forest that covers the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. Our guests encounter some of the 200 wild mountain gorillas that inhabit this exotic and verdant environment and climb the Nyiragongo volcano to spend the night in a specially set up luxury camp on the edge of the crater, in the glow of the largest lava lake in the world.

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The keeper of the Virunga National Park explains that the only people who might be able to solve this other-worldly mystery that our guests are perplexed by are the San people – the oldest tribe on the planet. Thus rekindling the explorers’ anthropological interest in the evolution of man.

The San people can be found in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Lesotho and South Africa… where to begin…?

So on to Zimbabwe for a three-night stay at Singita Pamushana Lodge and another stunning aerial odyssey taking in some of the Africa’s wildlife from on-high, soaring over herds of giraffe, prides of lions, elephants, buffalo and rhino, all in abundance…

Touching down at the lodge, they embark on three nights of epic safari exploration in this incredible corner of South-Eastern Zimbabwe where biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability are at the forefront of the lodge’s ethos, and the local inhabitants and majestic wildlife put on a wonderful display for our guests in this ‘place of miracles’.

Here we linked the chapters of the narrative through an ancient cave painting depicting a tribal trance dance. The picture was translated by a local guide and the message becomes clear – that the next clue to the mystery will be revealed during a tribal dance and trance ceremony… but this next revelation will occur in Botswana… with the ancient San people who were mentioned by the keeper of the Virunga National Park.

But first our guests much visit Zambia and the mighty Zambezi River, and have a two-night sojourn on its banks at the luxurious Royal Chundu Island Lodge. From here they will be able to visit the iconic and majestic Victoria Falls and witness another one of Africa’s many natural wonders.

After two nights with a break in the pace, our guests depart the banks of the Zambezi, refreshed and relaxed and ready for another exciting chapter of their epic discovery of Africa. This time linking through to Botswana with a stay at Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta and then relocating to Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Here the diversity of Botswana can be witnessed through the incredible difference between the lush and fertile Okavango Delta, one of the world’s most important wetland ecosystems, and the arid, dry and baron Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi, which once covered an area larger than Switzerland, but dried up several thousand years ago.

First three nights safari at Abu Camp which aims to provide the very best in luxury safari accommodation, impeccable service and an extraordinary safari and wildlife experience in one of the largest and most diverse private concessions in the Okavango. Abu is also a haven of peace and tranquillity where the rhythms of elephant life guide certain activities each day.

Here in the Okavango Delta The Big Five are in huge abundance. You see a classic example of each magnificent creature in this incredible habitat everywhere you look. In fact, from the landing strip to the camp, during this short distance alone, you are virtually guaranteed to spot lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalo and zebra before you have even dropped off your bags!

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A short helicopter flight over magnificent landscapes takes our guests to Jacks Camp. Here the clues link through to the San people and on their first night a special tribal gathering is held out at Kubu Island. One of the most graphically gorgeous locales in all of Botswana, studded with baobabs – this for the San people is one of the most secretive, sacred sites. A place of power and ritual.

Here we put on a very special show for our guests that links them through to the penultimate chapter in their journey and here the plot really begins to thicken. Our guests arrive at Kubu Island at night fall after a day of desert safari and the atmosphere is mysterious and deeply spiritual. The local guide we have employed helps our guests explain the story so far to the San, and everybody gathers around a roaring fire. An intense evening of drumming and dancing and chanting ensues… the San elder shaman slips into a deep and distant transcendental state as he speaks to higher powers.

After many hours the shaman falls breathlessly to the floor. He begins to recall his visions… He speaks of a place far to the West, where soft yellow sand runs down to the rolling ocean waves. Of people, red as the evening sky, wearing necklaces made of bones… the Omatupa of the Himba tribe – The explorers must now journey to Namibia where this tribe hold the next clues in the sequence and the explorers are now on the brink of their revelation…

So onwards our guests’ journey to Serra Cafema Camp in Namibia set under verdant trees on the banks of the Kunene River, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in southern Africa.

Here our guests can truly disconnect, unwind and relax to the sound of rushing water, and explore one of the driest deserts in the world. Wildlife encounters, fascinating nature walks, river boating, and low-impact guided quad-bike excursions complete the experience collection in the penultimate chapter of this awesome and awakening African adventure.

Our guests feel the pace has quickened and they feel the crescendo is building into a fitting finale to this epic adventure… the resting place of the Ark and the mysteries of the origins of man could soon be revealed!

Out in the huge and seemingly infinite space of Namibia each one of our guests finds the time for their own private and personal revelation…

Out amongst the sun-baked granite, surrounded by the ancient Namib Desert under unforgiving daytime skies and intergalactic nights, each of our guests found a place in themselves they did not know existed… an empowered space.

Reflecting on the journey they had just undertaken in this enormous space they found clarity and peace… maybe this was part of the revelation they were looking for all along?

But another tribal encounter stands between them and the climax to this journey…

The explorers arrive at the Himba village. That evening the stories, legends and skills that they have gathered together from their travels around Africa allow them to converse with the tribe through a local guide….

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The Himba share some theories and insights that give way to further clues… clues that point east to Madagascar, our intrepid guests’ final destination and the scene of an incredible revelation – a fitting conclusion to an unforgettable adventure!

And so, our guests head to the final chapter, eager to discover the true origins of the bones… The resting place of the Ark and the mysteries behind the origins of man…

To be continued…