UPCOMING TOURS

upcoming-tours

Shanghai

SOUTHEAST ASIA

This is a highlight-oriented regional exploration of Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia for those looking for a very nicely-priced multi-destination trip in a nice neat +/- 2-week package. Reliable and convenient regional flights link together a thrilling series of iconic sites – Luang Prabang (Laos), Halong Bay, Hoi An, Saigon (Vietnam), Siem Reap and the temples at Angkor. Local cuisines, comfortable 3-star hotels, lots of inclusions, and expert leadership round this out to the quintessential SE Asian experience.

Southeast Asia Circuit
TH6 | 16 Days | Details
Departure date: 05 Jan 2017 - 1 NEEDED TO GUARANTEE!


AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND – SPACE ADDED!

Most people harbour a particular image of Australia, such as the Opera House or Ayers Rock, yet these famous icons do scant justice to the richness of Australia’s natural treasures and its cultural diversity. Australia is an enormous country, and it is this sheer vastness, and the friction between the ancient land steeped in Aboriginal lore and the New World culture being heaped upon it, which gives Australia much of its character. New Zealand is as compact as Australia is huge, but nature has packed amazing variety into this little package. From the sub-tropical and lush bush of Northland, to the beauty of Fiordland National Park, once described by Rudyard Kipling as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

This combo is so popular this year we’ll we running a second departure for both!

Australia
AU1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017

New Zealand
NZ1 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Nov 2017

Australia & New Zealand
AU2 | 31 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017

 

ESSENTIAL CHILE – from top to bottom!

Though technically spring in Chile, this incredible tour of this incredible country will deliver all four seasons on this comprehensive 21-day exploration – indeed you may experience several seasons in just one day! Last year, our long-time head office destination specialist and senior tour leader, Martin Charlton, led this stupendous journey through Chile, from the altiplano of the Atacama region to the sophisticated winelands near Santiago, the wind-swept plains of Patagonia to the subtropical splendour and mystique of Easter Island, this exceptional itinerary covers the gamut over the full length of this fantastic country. Martin’s eye for detail and logistics give us a freshly tweaked and improved itinerary and some spectacular photos, which you can now view via our new “Gallery” feature on our website!

Chile
CL6 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 14 Oct 2017

Chile & Easter Island
CL1 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 14 Oct 2017

 

THE BALTICS & NORDIC EXPLORER

We are close to confirming the fall running of a full regional experience that brought Scandinavia back onto our European roster back in 2008. The first week of this 3-week sojourn takes us through the charming and diverse Baltic neighbours of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Hopping across the water to Helsinki, we begin the Scandinavian portion of our journey, with stops in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Our modes of travel are as varied as the region—private coach, train, and comfortable overnight ferry. A major highlight is travelling via Norway’s famous Flamsbana, the Flam Railway, one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys. Have less time? We have created a shorter option featuring only Scandinavia.

Nordic Explorer
NK1 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 22 Sep 2017

Baltics & Nordic Explorer
BS3 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Sep 2017

 

SICILY & SOUTHERN ITALY

We recently responded to traveller feedback and the advice of our Tour Leaders and altered this itinerary to ease up the pace of this highlight-packed tour; reviews have been so positive, and the itinerary now reads so well that our ever-popular late summer date is starting to book up for 2017!Sicily is an island of great natural beauty—along the shorelines, spectacular rocky cliffs meet the deep blue, tranquil waters of the Mediterranean, while the rolling hills of the interior are awash in fragrant orange and lemon trees. Though only 4 km separate it from the mainland, this short distance has given the island enough unique history and personality for an entire continent. This distinction becomes apparent to us once our journey crosses the water to visit the highlights of the southern mainland—the Greek temples of Paestum, mysterious Pompeii, and sublime Sorrento, legendary abode of the Sirens.

Sicily & Southern Italy
IT6 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 30 Aug 2017

 

ATLANTIC CANADA – CLOSING SOON!

Summer is a busy time in Atlantic Canada, especially this year as Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. As such, space grows scare and our deadline looms for joining us on this special journey. The timing can’t be better! With the weak Canadian dollar—Canadians looking to stay closer to home can finally experience their own country at a relatively good value, and US visitors can take advantage of the best exchange rate in over 10 years! Last summer’s inaugural running of this very special itinerary covering three provinces was a huge hit—travellers enjoyed our small group concept in a place dominated by large coach tours, and the fact that our tour was able to access out-of-the-way places where big coaches cannot venture.

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island & New Brunswick
AP1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 28 Aug 2017

 

EASTERN CHINA

There is still time to consider the fall departure of our ever-popular foray through Hong Kong and Eastern China is a guaranteed trip with last minute space still available. Past Adventures Abroad travellers to China have appreciated our small-group concept at a destination where much group travel is dominated by huge busloads of 50+ tourists who spend much of their time just getting on and off the bus and being herded into souvenir shops. Our Tour Leaders and local guides put the culture, sites, history and monuments of China first to ensure that your experience is as in-depth, authentic, and personalized as it can be. As a small group, we can get much more done in a day without feeling rushed, get to know our fellow travellers, and dine out at local restaurants to avoid the massive and characterless hotel buffet! Hong Kong, Guilin, Li River, Yangtze River, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing

Eastern China
CN2 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 11 Sep 2017 – ALMOST GUARANTEED

Hong Kong & Eastern China
CN4 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 Sep 2017 – ALMOST GUARANTEED

 

IRELAND

We are very close to guaranteeing our 2-week, full circumnavigation of Ireland, including both the Republic and Northern Island, for September. Though Ireland is rarely associated with more “exotic” destinations, this is a delightfully compelling journey with surprising variety in art and architecture, culture, history, cuisines, landscapes, accents, and, of course, pubs! This itinerary showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly of this ancient and modern land and, in any season, its famous ‘40 shades of green.’

Ireland & Ulster
IE1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 11 Sep 2017 – ALMOST GUARANTEED

TOUR LEADER NEWS

 Peter Barathan in Georgia

Peter Barathan in Georgia

The following Tour Leader assignments are for confirmed tours coming up soon with space available, as well as some new and exciting things a little further down the road. This list is not exhaustive—watch this space every couple of months for news about our leaders, simply the best in the business.


In addition to our regular scheduled trips throughout the year, Jonathan Hodgson has designed a couple of new one-off trips that he will be leading late summer / fall:

Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova  SOLD OUT (2018 date pending)
JHBU | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 9 Sept 2017

Tasmania & Western Australia  NEW TOUR!
JHOZ | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 2 Oct 2017

Australia
AU1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017

New Zealand
NZ1 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 9 Nov 2017 – ONE SPOT LEFT

Australia & New Zealand
AU2 | 31 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017 – ONE SPOT LEFT

 


 

Victor Romagnoli is, as always, a busy busy guy this summer and fall, with a self-designed tour of Germany, two back-to-back sold-out sorties through Papua New Guinea, and another swing through Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan.

Germany
VRDE | 22 Days | Details
Departure date: 30 Jul 2017 – 2 SPOTS LEFT

Ethiopia, Djibouti & Sudan
SD1 | 18 Days | Details
Departure date:  1 Nov 2017 – 2 NEEDED TO GUARANTEE

 


 

Peter Barathan is off to Portugal & Spain this summer… mmmm sangria.

Portugal & Northern Spain
PS2 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 6 Jul 2017

Portugal & Spain
PS3 | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 6 Jul 2017

 


 

Chris Tripodi heads up our revamped tour of Mongolia this summer. This one is still available but will be closing soon!

Mongolia
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 7 Jul 2017 – CLOSING SOON!

 


 

As September/October is our busiest time for departures, and because many tours are still shaping up or booking up late, we have a lot of leaders standing by to receive their marching orders. Once we fit all the pieces of the puzzle together, we’ll announce a confirmed list of leader placements in our next eNavigator. Watch this space!

 

WHAT A SITE

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur is a Buddhist stupa and temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia dating from the 8th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of world’s truly great ancient monuments, the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth, and few who visit fail to be taken by both the scale of place, and the remarkable attention to detail that went into the construction. Set as it is in the heart of the verdant Kedu Plain, the backdrop of mighty active volcanoes only enhances the sense of awe and drama. There is no definite written record of who built Borobudur or why it was built. It was likely founded as a religious site in the 8th century at the peak of the Sailendra dynasty in central Java. The construction is thought to have taken a period of 75 years, and completed in about 825 CE.

Borobudur lay abandoned and hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and thick jungle growth. Nobody knows for sure why it was abandoned, although the popular theories are that the local population just became uninterested when there were mass conversions to Islam in the 15th century, or they were simply driven away by a large volcanic eruption. It was never forgotten entirely though, with local folklore ensuring that stories of the great monument lived on.

In 1956 UNESCO began an assessment process for the full scale restoration of the monument. Finally in 1968, a major plan to restore Borobudur was created, and this huge project involved a complete overhaul of the monument up until 1983. The unsteady foundations were stabilized, everything was meticulously cleaned and a major drainage system installed. After the works were finished, UNESCO formally listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991. Source: Wikipedia

Both of these tours visit Borobudur:

Indonesia – Sumatra, Java & Bali
ID6 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 12 Mar 2018

Indonesia – Java, Borneo, Sulawesi & Papua
ID7 | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 13 Sep 2017, 16 May 2018

ACCOMMODATION SPOTLIGHT

Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador

Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador

Dating from the late XVI century, this hotel lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range of Ecuador at 2800 meters (9,600 ft) above the sea level, and only two hours north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Zuleta is a colonial working farm of 2000 hectares that belongs to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza-Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years. It was chosen as one of the world’s “Top Ten Finds” by Outside magazine and named one of the best Ecuadorian hotels by ‘National Geographic Traveler.’

The hacienda has 14 beautifully-decorated bedrooms, all with their own fireplace; antique gardens along with cosy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere.  Delicious home-cooked Ecuadorian cuisine among other types of gastronomic adventures are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the Hacienda.

The fortunes of the Plaza-Lasso family are intimately linked with those of the descendants of the Caranqui peoples who had once occupied the ramp mound site on the hacienda’s land. Land reforms introduced during Galo Plaza’s office as president of Ecuador devolved substantial tracts of land back to the Indian peoples, whilst the infamous ‘huasipungero’ land peonange system was abolished. Today the peoples of the region enjoy independence and some prosperity. Many are still farmers, whilst local women are productively engaged in the local cottage embroidery industry. Many of the hacienda’s employees are people from the Zuleta community. Folkloric traditions retain important links to their ancestral past, with the annual celebration of the Inty Raymi – the fiesta of Juan Baptista – the midsummer harvest festivities which interweave community and hacienda, blending the cultural traditions of pre-Spanish, colonial and the present day in a richly evolving cultural fusion.

In relatively recent years, Hacienda Zuleta has moved from being just a dairy and a stud farm into country hacienda-hotel, offering guests and visitors homemade Andean cuisine, a wonderful historic setting, and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Stay at Hacienda Zuleta on our new tours:

Experiential Ecuador
EC10 | 10 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Nov 2017
Departure date:
1 Feb 2018

Experiential Ecuador with Amazon Extension
EC11 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Nov 2017
Departure date: 1 Feb 2018

 


 

LINK TO CURRENT DISCOUNTS

OUR CURRENT TOP 10

Looking for inspiration in choosing your next adventure? Click here for our top 10 best sellers—the list changes constantly, check back often!

Millions-of-Pink-Flamingos-at-Lake-Nakuru-1-490x351

Why Lake Nakuru National Park is not just for birds.

Millions-of-Pink-Flamingos-at-Lake-Nakuru-1-490x351

At Adventures Abroad, we believe our travellers are the best group out there.

Our small group tours are complemented by people with an adventurous spirit from all over the world. People who are keen to experience new cultures, peoples, cuisines, philosophies and points of view.

In 2017 we were pleased to travel with Dale, a lawyer and travel writer from Canada. After returning from the tour, he shared with us his impressions of Lake Nakuru in Kenya and we excited to share with you his beautiful photos and words. 

This post originally appeared on The Maritime Explorer and has been republished with permission. 

 


 

This is my fourth post on a recent trip Alison and I took to the fantastic country of Kenya courtesy of Adventures Abroad and their Kenyan representatives, Discover Safaris. Originally I was going to do a post on each game drive, but decided instead to post a comprehensive Photo Gallery with shots from all of the parks we visited. However, I am still going to do a post on each park and this one is Lake Nakuru National Park.

As a birder since my early teens, I had heard of Lake Nakuru and its famous flamingos for decades. National Geographic ran several stories over the years on the Lake Nakuru flamingos and recently named it as one of the Top 10 Colourful Scenes On Earth. Needless to say it was a mandatory destination on the Kenya trip and I was really psyched about getting there. When our driver and guide Richard Warukira told us on the way to Lake Nakuru that the flamingos might not be there, I was crestfallen to say the least. What happened to them and where did they go? Read on and I’ll explain, but first let me tell you about the great game lodge we stayed in at Lake Nakuru National Park and how we got there.

Ol Pejeta to Lake Nakuru

Our first three days were spent at Sweetwaters Camp in Ol Pejeta Conservancy and I wrote This Post about our fabulous stay there. BTW one definitely needs a thesaurus to adequately find enough adjectives to describe the great things about the Kenyan parks and the great accommodation you find in them.

As the crow flies it’s not that far from Ol Pejeta to Lake Nakuru, but there’s the Aberdare Mountain Range in between the cities of Nanyuki and Nakuru which is impassable by motor vehicle. So our route was more like a reverse N, first going south to Nyeri, then jogging northwest to Nyahururu and finally southwest to Nakuru. Almost the entire route was on paved highways with moderate traffic through relatively prosperous looking agricultural areas including tea plantations where field workers were hard at work.

Tea Plantation Workers
Tea Plantation Workers

There were many roadside stalls selling a great variety of produce with red onions and white potatoes the most predominant vegetables on display. Oddly enough neither tea, potatoes or onions are native to Africa.

Roadside Stalls
Roadside Stalls
Red Onions & White Potatoes for Sale
Red Onions & White Potatoes for Sale

One of the reasons I love to travel in third world countries is that you get to sees things that you would never see in a nanny state like Canada or most of the EU. For example, three guys on a motorcycle.

Three Guys on a Bike
Three Guys on a Bike

Or this obviously overloaded lorry – even if it is just foam.

Truckful of Foam
Truckful of Foam

Or this version of a carwash.

Kenyan Car Wash
Kenyan Car Wash

You also see a lot of agricultural equipment that has been jury-rigged to operate long after they would have been confined to the scrap heap back home. Take a good look at this tractor. At first glance it appears to be a Canadian Massey Ferguson, which I thought it was when I took the picture. But a closer look reveals that its a Massey Fergussion whatever the hell that is.

Massey Fergussion
Massey Fergussion Tractor

Donkeys are still a primary mode of transport in rural Kenya, particularly for delivering water.

Delivery by Donkey
Delivery by Donkey

About halfway to Nakuru we passed through the town of Nyahururu which lies at an elevation of over 7,500 feet. It is the home to many of the famous Kenyan long distance runners, who along with the Ethiopians, have dominated marathon racing for the past thirty years. It is also the site of Thomson’s Falls where we stopped for pictures, avoiding the locals dressed in native costume who wanted a fee to have your picture taken with them. I was quite happy just to have mine with my bride.

At Thomsons Falls
At Thomsons Falls

At 243 feet (72 meters) the falls are quite impressive and definitely worth a stop. There is no admission fee and it’s right off the main highway.

Thomson's Falls
Thomson’s Falls

On the way from the parking lot to the viewing area was this sign that I think says a lot about Kenyans. Just like their aversion to loud noise, so too with their ‘Polite Notices’ which you see in many places. No need to get hysterical with words like Achtung, Verboten or a circle with a red slash through it. Just a gentle reminder is all that is required.

Polite Notice
Polite Notice

Sarova Lion Hill Lodge

Just outside the small and busy city of Nakuru is the entrance to Lake Nakuru National Park which completely encircles the lake just to the south of the city. On the right hand side you can see our destination, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, one of only two in the park. We arrived in time for lunch and a chance to check the place out before the afternoon game drive.

Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park

Sarova, like Serena, is an East African hotel chain that specializes in upscale resorts and game lodges. Sarova Lion Hill Lodge has a great location amidst a botanical setting in the forested hills that surround most of Lake Nakuru. It is not a tented camp, but a traditional lodge with a variety of rooms that have views of Lake Nakuru.

Lake Nahuru from Lion Hill Lodge
Lake Nahuru from Lion Hill Lodge

This is the exterior of our room.

Room 60, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge
Room 60, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge

This is the interior. Again, like Sweetwaters, not exactly roughing it.

Interior Room 60, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge
Interior Room 60, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge
Room 60, Lion Hill Lodge
Room 60, Lion Hill Lodge

The lodge itself is made almost entirely of wood and stone and has a dark, burnished look to it that is somehow reassuring.

Welcome to Sarova Lodge, Lake Nakuru
Welcome to Sarova Lodge

The staff were very welcoming and friendly.

Sarova Reception Desk
Sarova Reception Desk

We had lunch at the restaurant which as per all these Kenyan lodges, was a buffet with a wide variety of foods to cater to the international mix of the clientele.

Sarova Restaurant Buffet
Sarova Restaurant Buffet

And of course, there is a great bar, an absolute necessity in all these type of places. I can vouch for the Tom Collins’.

Sarova Bar
Sarova Bar

After lunch I took a stroll around the grounds and was surprised at the great variety of small birds, many of which I had not seen at Sweetwaters. These are Blue-Eared Glossy Starlings.

Blue-Eared Glossy Starling 2

Blue-Eared Glossy Starlings
Blue-Eared Glossy Starlings

Speckled Mousebirds

Speckled Mousebirds
Speckled Mousebirds
White-Browed Robin Chat
White-Browed Robin Chat

And some familiar faces.

Speke's & Baglafecht Weavers
Speke’s & Baglafecht Weavers

Lake Nakuru Game Drive

As you can see from the map, Lake Nakuru National Park has a road that completely encircles it. We will be driving in a clockwise direction from Lion Hill Lodge as far as Pelican Point and then back which Richard assures us will take in all the most important sites in the park. So let’s go.

Almost immediately we come across a troop of baboons which are cavorting on both sides of the road and in the trees surrounding it. They provide instant entertainment, especially the young ones and prove the old adage about a barrel of monkeys.

Three Baboons, Lake Nakuru
Three Baboons

Next Richard spots the first hippo of the trip which shows only its back before submerging completely. Hopefully this won’t be the only spotting of these huge beasts.

Our First Hippo, Lake Nakuru
Our First Hippo

While trying to get a better look at the hippo I spot something large slithering in the grass not far from the shoreline. It’s a huge monitor lizard that I definitely would not want to meet face to face. I always associated these relatives of the fearsome and potentially lethal Komodo dragon, with Indonesia, but this is a Nile monitor, native to most of Africa. They can grow up to eight feet long and although it’s difficult to tell how big this guy is from the photo, I would estimate four feet.

Monitor Lizard, Lake Nakuru
Monitor Lizard

By coincidence, I am writing this post in Lee County, Florida and in looking up facts on the Nile monitor I discover that there is a growing population of them in this very county, including on my beloved Sanibel Island so maybe I will come face to face with one after all.

As we transit from the euphorbia forest to the more typical acacia there is a band of grass between the forest and the lake. The sightings just keep on coming one after another. Here are the first hyenas of the trip, on the prowl and looking for prey. These are Spotted Hyenas, also called laughing hyenas and despite a reputation as scavengers, are actually very effective hunters. They are also replacement undertakers for the Maasai who, instead of burying their dead, put them out to be consumed by hyenas. This is not BS; I later confirmed it with a Massai elder.

Spotted Hyenas, Lake Nakuru
Spotted Hyenas

The hyenas passed by these two beautiful white rhinos who would have no reason to fear them and didn’t, just letting the hyenas go on their way.

Two White Rhinos, Lake Nakuru
Two White Rhinos

In the acacia forest we rounded a corner and came almost face to face with this giraffe munching on the acacia leaves, thorns and all. Did you know giraffes have blue tongues? Neither did I until I saw this fellow close up.

Blue-Tongued Giraffe
Blue-Tongued Giraffe

This guy/girl is a Rothschild’s giraffe, the rarest of the three giraffe species. They are found in only a few reserves in Kenya and Uganda and there may be less than 1,000 left in the wild. Believe it or not, big game hunters like that asshole dentist from Minnesota, will pay huge sums to have a poacher guide lead them to where they can be shot. If there was any justice in the world these hunters and their guides would be tied to stakes and the hyenas called in. BTW hyenas don’t bother to kill their victims before starting to eat them. They just start by ripping the guts out and chowing down. That’s a video I’d love to see on YouTube.

It was an amazing experience to see these giraffes in the wild.

Rothschild's Giraffe, Lake Nakuru
Rothschild’s Giraffe

Even before getting to the spot where we hoped to see the flamingoes, there was plenty of avian life including our one and only sighting on the trip of the crowned crane, one of the most recognizable birds in the world. I’d seen them in zoos many times, but to see them in their natural habitat was something else. They have to be one of the most majestic birds in existence.

Crowned Cranes , Lake Nakuru
Crowned Cranes

We also spotted this Augur buzzard. For reasons I can’t determine, North Americans think buzzards are members of the vulture family, when in fact they are birds of prey that are closely related to hawks and eagles.

Augur Buzzard, Lake Nakuru
Augur Buzzard

Speaking of eagles, Africa has a great variety including the long-crested which is a terror to small rodents, but probably wouldn’t go after those cute little baby baboons we saw earlier.

Long-Crested Eagle, Lake Nakuru
Long-Crested Eagle

Our next first was the largest bird in the world. Like most people I’ve been seeing ostriches in zoos since I was a little kid, but there’s something completely different about seeing them in the wild. This is a lone female and we would see many more on the trip, but the first one is always special.

Female Ostrich, Lake Nakuru
Female Ostrich

She seemed to think so too.

Ostrich Closeup
Ostrich Closeup

Lake Nakuru Flamingos

By now we were at the southern end of the lake and the forest gave way to open savannah which in turn gave way to dried mud flats leading to the shoreline. It was time to look for the famous flamingos of Lake Nakuru.

Lake Nakuru is one of a number of soda lakes in the Rift Valley of Kenya. They are called soda lakes because of their alkalinity which in turn leads to the algae blooms that attract the flamingos. It is no exaggeration to say that there can be over 1,000,000 flamingos at Lake Nakuru at one time. Here is a photo from the web showing what it was once possible to see.

Millions of Pink Flamingos at Lake Nakuru
Millions of Pink Flamingos at Lake Nakuru

Even though we were here in February, at the height of the dry season and the supposed best time to see the flamingos, Richard said we might not see any. I assumed, with global warming and the drought in many parts of Kenya, that the problem was that there was not enough water to sustain the numbers of flamingos as in the past. I was dead wrong. The problem is not too little water, but too much!

Believe it or not, those cormorants are sitting on top of what was, until a few years ago, a marker at the junction of two roads.

Cormorants on Old Road Marker, Lake Nakuru
Cormorants on Old Road Marker

So it was with a bit of trepidation that we approached Lookout Point where the flamingos once gathered in such great numbers. We could see from a distance that we certainly were not going to find millions, let alone thousands of flamingos, but to my intense relief there were still quite a few. Just how many flamingos do you need to spot to honestly say that you’ve “Seen the flamingos of Lake Nakuru”? I’m not sure, but this number does it for me.

Lake Nahuru Flamingos
Lake Nahuru Flamingos
Lake Nahuru Flamingos
Lake Nahuru Flamingos

These are flamingos of the greater or pink variety, famous as both lawn ornaments and for the names of countless bars and restaurants, three of which I can think of in Lee County alone. They are both ungainly and stately at the same time – a living oxymoron. Who doesn’t love flamingos? I can now go to my grave, secure in the knowledge that I’ve seen the flamingos of Lake Nakuru.

Greater Flamingo, Lake Nakuru National Park
Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingos
Greater Flamingos

Flamingos weren’t the only birds enjoying the bounty of Lake Nakuru. These are African white pelicans.

White Pelicans, Lake Nakuru
African White Pelicans

This is a yellow-billed stork.

Yellow Billed Stork
Yellow Billed Stork

And a black-winged stilt.

Black-Winged Stilt, Lake Nakuru
Black-Winged Stilt

And lastly a grey heron.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

We spent a fair amount of time at Lookout Point and hardly noticed that the sun was starting to go down. I took this shot as we headed back to Lion Hill Lodge.

Nakuru Sunset
Nakuru Sunset

After supper it was time for a little tribal drumming and dancing.

African Dancers
African Dancers
African Men Dancers
African Men Dancers
African Wedding Dance
African Wedding Dance

Alison happily joined in, but after my tragic dance floor accident of a few years ago I ordered another gin and tonic instead.

Alison Goes Native
Alison Goes Native

Can you believe that everything I’ve written about in this post happened in just one day? That’s Kenya for you. You gotta go!


Thanks again to Dale for sharing.

If you would like to follow along Dale’s adventures, please go to his website at www.themaritimeexplorer.ca.

Adventures Abroad President: Chris Boycott

FEATURE – 30TH ANNIVERSARY

Adventures Abroad President: Chris Boycott

Adventures Abroad Managing Director and founder: Chris Boycott

Message from Chris Boycott, Managing Director and founder

Back in 1987 when I hatched the idea of hanging out my own shingle and starting my own tour company, it was hard to imagine what the world of travel—or the world in general—would look like in thirty years. “Small group” and “soft adventure” were new concepts gaining traction, advertising was limited to newspapers and word-of-mouth, the noisy telex machine clattering away in the corner was the best means of long-distance communication, and cutting and pasting an itinerary together actually involved scissors and a glue stick.

It was also impossible to imagine the challenges we would face. Volcanoes and earthquakes were always par for the course, as were infectious diseases and political insurrections. But terrorism was still a vague spectre on the horizon, and who could have imagined the fallout stemming from the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001? As we now accept taking off our shoes and discarding our water bottles before boarding a flight as a matter of everyday life, one can’t help but wonder what we have gained and lost, and how these things continue to shape the way of the future.

Challenging times will always be there, and I’m very proud that our staff and family of travellers have been such a resilient, flexible, creative, patient and, in many ways, philosophical gang of positive thinkers. I like to think that those of us who travel, who keenly seek out “otherness,” who not only accept diversity, but celebrate it, will one day, truly, inherit the Earth. To live, laugh, learn, and love through travel cannot help but make one a better person—a true citizen of the world. We at Adventures Abroad have always, and will continue to believe in the free movement of peoples and ideas, regardless of where they’re from and what values they hold dear. Moving forward under this ideal is what will see us through the darker days that always seem to lie ahead, and set a positive path for those who follow.

Through the years, I’ve had the honour and great privilege to see my two children, now adults, heading out to explore the world with us, and now on their own. In them and their passion for travel, I see hope for us all. I invite you to join me and the Adventures Abroad family in continuing to reach for this dream through the next 30 years and beyond.

Thank you for your support all these years—see you on the road!

Chris Boycott

Chris’s next trip:
Namibia & Botswana
NA2 | 19 Days | Details

UPCOMING TOURS

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Ruins of ancient Apollonia, Albania

Albania & Macedonia

We have enjoyed watching enigmatic Albania open and grow during the last 20 years that we have been offering tours here. Infrastructure improvements and greater reliability of visitor services has made exploring this small but fascinating eastern European state, which was, for many years, closed to tourists, much easier and more comfortable than was just two decades ago. We are also pleased to be one of the first operators to offer tours here, and are very excited about our numerous itineraries that combine Albania with neighbouring countries, including Macedonia, where we visit Ohrid—the “City of 365 churches”—an outstanding mixture of the Western and the Oriental. Albania/Macedonia can also be preceded by our hugely popular Adriatic tour (Slovenia & Croatia), which spends a night in Budva, Montenegro, en route to Tirana. Tours from 14 to 30 days; dates in spring & fall

Albania & Macedonia 
AL1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Jun 2017 - GUARANTEED

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Macedonia 
AD6 | 30 Days | Details
Departure date: 19 May 2017 – SIX SPOTS LEFT

 

“CZ Series”

Our tours beginning in the Czech Republic, with options to the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria (which we affectionately refer to as the “CZ series”), is one of our longest standing family of European itineraries, featuring amazing architecture, compelling histories, unique cultures, stunning landscapes, and great value-for-money. Variety is the name of the game here; it’s no wonder why this is one of our most popular series in Europe. The main problem here is how to choose!

Czech Republic 
CZ1 | 9 Days | Details

Czech Republic & Slovakia 
CZ2 | 13 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Budapest 
CZ7 | 15 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary 
CZ3 | 21 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary & Romania 
CZ4 | 28 Days | Details

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria 
CZ5 | 35 Days | Details

Other combinations, ie Romania & Bulgaria only, also exist; summer and fall dates booking now!

 

Eastern China & Hong Kong

There is still time to consider the spring departure of our ever-popular foray through Hong Kong and Eastern China is a guaranteed trip with last minute space still available. Past Adventures Abroad travellers to China have appreciated our small-group concept at a destination where much group travel is dominated by huge busloads of 50+ tourists who spend much of their time just getting on and off the bus and being herded into souvenir shops. Our Tour Leaders and local guides put the culture, sites, history and monuments of China first to ensure that your experience is as in-depth, authentic, and personalized as it can be. As a small group, we can get much more done in a day without feeling rushed, get to know our fellow travellers, and dine out at local restaurants to avoid the massive and characterless hotel buffet! Hong Kong, Guilin, Li River, Yangtze River, Shanghai, Xi’an, Beijing

Eastern China 
CN2 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

Hong Kong & Eastern China 
CN4 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Apr 2017 - GUARANTEED

 

Switzerland

Our comprehensive rail tour of Switzerland is filling quickly for both summer and fall dates. This tour is a rich fondue brimming with highlights. Throughout we make use of the region’s uber-convenient (and scenic!) rail system, including the famed Glacier Express. We even pop into the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest states! We are also over-the-Alps excited with the popularity of and feedback from our recent Swiss hiking tours, which feature a well-paced combination of walking tours of towns and cities along with some of the country’s most scenic and famous mountain trails. Throw in a few rail journeys (including the world-renown Glacier Express) and spectacular cable-car journeys, and you have a highly-varied and quintessentially Swiss experience.

Switzerland 
SW1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 23 May 2017
Departure date: 13 Sep 2017

Hiking Switzerland 
XSW | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 26 Jun 2017
Departure date: 01 Sep 2017

 

Microstates of Europe

Join us as we explore the unique culture, history and scenery of these fascinating corners of Europe. These less sizable nations tend to remain under the radar, but each one boasts a distinct culture and myriad attractions and sights. Most are so small that it is hard to even find them on a map, and few travellers know much about what they have to offer. We will examine the history, culture, and inner workings of these smallest independent countries in Europe. These are among the oldest states on the continent and, despite their diversity, they have much in common. San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City & Luxembourg

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017 – 4 SPOTS LEFT
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017 – 10 SPOTS LEFT

WHAT A SITE!

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

Photo Credit: Martin Charlton

 Al Beidha

A short distance north of Petra, Jordan, lies an area of pale honey coloured rock – Al Beidha in Arabic, ‘the white one’ – the next most important site in Wadi Musa, also included in Petra’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here in the 1st century AD the Nabataeans established a commercial suburb, a place for trading caravans to stop en route between south Arabia and the Mediterranean.

Well before the Nabateans, however, area’s fertile land had been exploited for many millennia by Neolithic groups, who settled here around 7000 BC, hunting animals with flint weapons and gathering wild plants to eat. They also grew wheat and barley and kept goats and sheep. It was first excavated in 1957 when three periods of occupation were detected: the Natufian period in the 11th millennium BC, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic B village with masonry construction in the 7th millennium BC, and a Nabatean period dating to the 1st or 2nd century BC.

Natufian Beidha is characterized as a seasonal encampment, repeatedly occupied over a long period of time. Evidence from lithics recovered along with the layout and position of hearths and roasting areas suggested the occupants were primarily engaged in hunting related activities. This was supported by the absence of permanent buildings, storage, burials and large stone implements.

During the Neolithic stage, the villagers used stone masonry and built a wall around the settlement of round houses with subterranean floors. Many of the materials recovered came from some distance and included Anatolian obsidian and mother of pearl from the Red Sea. Evidence shows it was destroyed by fire c. 6650 BC and then rebuilt with rectangular, overground buildings and specialized workshops. The transition to right-angled buildings shows an important development in human society that may have contributed the eventual development of cities.

Spending three nights in the region allows participants on our tour to explore this very special and important site, often overlooked by groups rushing through in a day. Spending two full days here allows for this very special visit and the chance to re-enter the main site of Petra for relaxed independent exploration on day two.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Visit Petra and Al Beidha on all of your tours that include Jordan:

Jordan 
JO1 | 8 Days | Details

Jordan & Israel 
JO4 | 17 Days | Details

Jordan, Israel & Egypt 
JO9 | 29 Days | Details

Israel with Petra Extension 
IS8 | 14 Days | Details

Egypt & Jordan 
EG5 | 21 Days | Details

All 2017 tours including EGYPT are discounted

NEW THINGS AND UPDATES!

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

A couple of special Tour Leader-designed trips, this time from the desk and imagination of Jonathan Hodgson. In addition to many of our regularly-scheduled he’ll be leading for us in 2017/18, Jonathan is excited to launch two new additions to the special “JH” series of itineraries:

Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova  NEW TOUR!
JHBU | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Australia – Featuring Western & South Australia and Tasmania  NEW TOUR!
JHOZ | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Oct 2017

 

Our re-designed Mongolia tour, featuring the famed Naadam Festival and comfortable ger accommodation with private bath facilities, is now a guaranteed tour with limited space available!

Mongolia
MN1 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 Jul 2017 – GUARANTEED

 

West Africa is back on the roster with a refreshed itinerary through five diverse countries, including the reintroduction of Gambia into the fold. This a true off-the-beaten-path adventure through Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Togo and Benin over 19 highlight-packed days.

West Africa  NEW TOUR!
WF2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017
Departure date: 11 Feb 2018

 

We’re delighted with the feedback from this season’s first three run-throughs of our new tour of Sudan, Djibouti & Ethiopia. This is an up-and-coming region and, with thanks to suggestions from our travellers and Tour Leaders, we have ironed out some wrinkles and re-tooled the itinerary for November onward. We have also confirmed dates for 2018! This is one of the most exciting tours we’ve added to our Africa roster in years and we’re pleased to be one of the only operators offering a trip like this.

Ethiopia, Djibouti & Sudan
SD1 | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017 – LIMITED SPACE

 

We have made an improvement to our tour of ‘The Guyanas’, made possible by the elimination of some now unnecessary backtracking which has allowed us to add another night at the superlative Kabalebo Nature Resort, a nature’s paradise with a level of service and luxury that belies its extremely isolated locale deep in the southern Surinamese jungle. This improves an already popular tour that now includes both Guyana and French Guiana.

“I truly enjoyed the stay at Kabalebo Nature Resort. It was a wonderful mix of comfort and nature, and the staff at the resort were lovely.” Daniele D, San Antonio, TX

“Fantastic! I think the highlight of my trip.” Kathleen S, Edmonton, AB

Guyana, Suriname & French Guiana
GY1 | 12 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017

 

One of our long-standing flagship tours is still going strong after 30 years, and we have managed to secure some scarce additional for our September Northern Italy dates, which are already booking up.

Florence to Venice
IT8 | 8 Days | Details
Departure date: 15 Sep 2017

Rome to Florence
IT7 | 10 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Rome to Venice
IT1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

 

We have just guaranteed our 2-week, full circumnavigation of Ireland, including both the Republic and Northern Island, for this spring. Though Ireland is rarely associated with more “exotic” destinations, this is a delightfully compelling journey with surprising variety in art and architecture, culture, history, cuisines, landscapes, accents, and, of course, pubs! This itinerary showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly of this ancient and modern land and, in springtime, its famous ‘40 shades of green.’

Ireland & Ulster
IE1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 May 2017 – GUARANTEED

 

Our Balkan Explorer tour is probably the most varied trip we offer in Europe. Over 19 days we immerse ourselves in seven countries that comprise this culturally rich and politically complicated region. Click below for full details and a full listing of countries covered.

Balkan Explorer
BK1 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 08 May 2017 – GUARANTEED

TOUR LEADER NEWS

Tour Leader: Rachel Kristensen

Tour Leader: Rachel Kristensen

The following Tour Leader assignments are for confirmed tours coming up soon with space available, as well as some new and exciting things a little further down the road. This list is not exhaustive—watch this space every couple of months for news about our leaders, simply the best in the business.


In addition to our regular scheduled trips throughout the year, Jonathan Hodgson has designed a couple of new one-off trips that he will be leading late summer / fall:

Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova  NEW TOUR!
JHBU | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Sep 2017

Australia – Tasmania & Western Australia  NEW TOUR!
JHOZ | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 02 Oct 2017

Australia
AU1 | 17 Days | Details
Departure date: 24 Oct 2017


Chris Tripodi has just been assigned to head back to the South Pacific this June; after that he’s all over the map!

Northern Italy
IT1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 06 May 2017 – ONE SPOT LEFT (Female to share)

The South Pacific
MCSP | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 Jun 2017 – FIVE SPOTS LEFT


And Rachel Kristensen will be hot on Chris’s heels with a second June date of the same tour:

The South Pacific
MCSP | 24 Days | Details
Departure date: 16 Jun 2017 – FIVE SPOTS LEFT


Serra Hughes returns to her beloved Greek Isles this spring:

The Greek Islands
GI4 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 09 May 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT

Classical Greece
GC2 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 May 2017

Classical & Isles
GR7 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 03 May 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT

Madagascar
MG1 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 04 Oct 2017 – TWO SPOTS LEFT


Eastern / Central European specialist Ondrej Strejcek takes another swing through Poland, the Baltic States & Russia this May:

Poland
PL3 | 11 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

Poland & the Baltics
PL5 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

Poland, the Baltics & St Petersburg
PL9 | 23 Days | Details
Departure date: 21 May 2017

The Baltic States
BS1 | 9 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 May 2017

The Baltics & St Petersburg
BS2 | 13 Days | Details
Departure date: 31 May 2017


 Andres Fernandez

Morocco
MO5 | 15 Days | Details
Departure date: 07 May 2017 – 3 SPOTS LEFT


Claude Morency, our West Africa veteran, takes us back to the region with a new itinerary that now includes the Gambia!

West Africa  NEW TOUR!
WF2 | 19 Days | Details
Departure date: 01 Nov 2017


Peter Barathan will be heading up our spring tour through the Microstates:

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Details
Departure date: 10 Jun 2017


martin

Martin Charlton just returned from leading our venerable Egypt & Jordan combo, an assignment that helped celebrate our 30th anniversary (and his 23rd with us), and returned Martin to one of his old stomping grounds where he led his very first tours for us in the late 1990’s. Upon his return we asked him to share his thoughts about the experience:

“For 14 days we toured the country from north to south, or from ‘Lower Egypt’ to ‘Upper Egypt’. The sights don’t get much more iconic than Abu Simbel, Karnak Temple or the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza. Having the chance to sail along the Nile and explore the ancient antiquities is always a dream come true for every traveller, but for each traveller in my group the true ‘highlight’ was often something different. For many the fondest memories will come from one of those unscripted moments, like capturing the smells wafting from a local bakery during an early morning stroll through a back-alley souk (market) in Aswan, or the smiles of the local women as we enjoyed a donkey ride through the small villages on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. We ventured to ancient monasteries by camel in Aswan, gazed at the extraordinarily beautiful new library of Alexandria, and sipped tea beneath the shadow of the minarets of the Al-Hussein Mosque at the Khan El-Khalili bazaar in Cairo. The number of memorable experiences is simply too long to list here, and picking a single favourite is next to impossible.

Since the start of the Arab Spring back in February 2011, times have been tough for the average Egyptian. In a country so dependent upon tourism (and the influx of foreign currency), it has been difficult to watch the population struggle to ‘hang on’ for the past few years. So, there was some comfort in the thought that perhaps my group of 17 travellers would bring a small glimmer of hope to those who wonder when the tourism numbers in Egypt will get back to normal. We all felt safe at every step along the way, and it really seemed as though there was no better time to be leading a group to the ‘Land of the Pharaohs’.

Egypt is a complicated yet fascinating country, and truly a destination that offers something for everyone. As a friend of mine in Alexandria once said, ‘You may not be able to travel back in time, but exploring Egypt is close enough.’”

Booking now for fall 2017 (leadership TBA):

Egypt
EG3 | 14 Days | Details
Departure date: 29 Oct 2017

Egypt & Jordan
EG5 | 21 Days | Details
Departure date: 15 Oct 2017

 

All 2017 Egypt dates are discounted!

 

Next for Martin…

Portugal, the Azores & Madeira
MCPO | 18 Days | Details
Departure date: 18 Sep 2017 – WAIT LIST ONLY

CLICK FOR CURRENT DISCOUNTS

OUR CURRENT TOP 10

Looking for inspiration in choosing your next adventure? Click here for our top 10 best sellers—the list changes constantly, check back often!

 

Have your eye on a tour but it never seems to be ‘guaranteed’ early enough to plan? Looking for an itinerary or destination we do not yet offer? Email Justin in our Sales Department and he’ll add your name to a watch list of like-minded travellersjbiehl@adventures-abroad.com