An Interview with Bushtracks Founder and President, David Tett
What is the inspiration for this 16 day journey across Eastern and Southern Africa?
The Great Rift Valley inspired this program. It is Africa’s wild heart: migrating herds, big cats, magnificent vistas and human origins. So in the most general sense, this program combines the highlights of Eastern and Southern Africa which top our travelers’ “must-see” list: the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert in Botswana; Victoria Falls in Zambia; the Great Migration of the Serengeti in Tanzania; and the anthropological and cultural treasures of Ethiopia. It offers in one sweeping adventure what many of our guests take 2 or even 3 separate trips to Africa to discover. But, perhaps more interestingly, it connects these seemingly distinct destinations, and the people and wildlife that call them home, into a geological story going back 30 million years.
What makes this expedition-style journey different from other Bushtracks safaris?
Four things set this safari apart from our custom safari programs. First, the 16 day duration is longer than our average safari – but necessary to capture the sense of the 3,000 mile long Great African Rift! Second, we’ll fly by private jet and bush planes throughout which offers excellent “flight-seeing” in addition to personalized care, while minimizing long road transfers.
Plus, our bush flights will take you directly to your remote safari lodge’s door step. Third, the trip is designed to give you a true insider-experience with perspectives from your African-based expedition leader, hand-picked experts on a range of topics at every stop. Last, unlike our custom programs, this journey departs on two set departure dates (August 11, 2015 or August 20, 2015) with a maximum of 24 guests.
How many countries does the program encompass?
Five. Arriving in South Africa, we’ll fly to Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Ethiopia, with your Expedition Leader whisking you through customs and immigrations and managing all your travel logistics. But, a better way to quantify the trip, is to consider that you’ll go on game drives in four completely different settings maximizing your wildlife viewing: the wild waterways of the Okavango Delta; the magnificent Victoria Falls; the game-rich flood plain of the mile-wide Zambezi River; and the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. Interestingly, and also by the numbers, our journey includes three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Victoria Falls, Serengeti National Park, and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia.
Why is the safari planned for August and September 2015?
We’ve picked Africa’s dry season to capitalize on conditions that make for the best game-viewing experience. For example in the Okavango Delta, rain water takes months to make its way down the Okavango River and flood into the Kalahari Desert, creating opportunities for great up-close viewing and photographing lions, leopards, elephants, cheetahs and buffalo. In the Serengeti, the millions of migrating wildebeest and zebra (with predators in their wake) should be heading up north where our luxury safari camp is located.
How would you characterize the camps you’ve chosen?
Typical for a Bushtracks safari, the camps we’ve selected are very small and private – none has more than 24 beds. We’re very familiar with all of them. They are very special places and we know they will exceed your expectations. You’ll thrill at perfectly situated locations with expansive views, the pleasure of unexpected luxuries in wild settings, and the warm hospitality of your experienced staff. For our city stays, we’ve selected five-star accommodations such as the Royal Livingstone Hotel and the Sheraton Addis. We’ve also chosen some of our favorite luxury tented safari camps such as Sausage Tree Camp, set on the banks of the Zambezi river.
Who is the Bushtracks Expedition Leader?
Vivienne Gunning is our Senior Expedition Leader and the longest standing member of the Bushtracks expedtion team, with 18 years of experience. She has played an integral role in developing these private jet programs, and has served many positions including expedition leader, aviation manager, and route developer.
She has traveled extensively throughout Africa including 29 countries. She was born in Pretoria, South Africa and is passionate about wildlife, art and gourmet food and wine.
As Vivi says, “The private jet saves you precious time. Its quiet cabin offers lots of personal space and comfortable seating, stylish drinks, and lunches with local flair – so it delivers you to your destination refreshed.”
How can I learn more about this safari?
Space is already filling up for 2015, so we encourage you to begin your planning soon. Our downloadable brochure is a great place to start, and we’d be happy to mail you a copy, too. You can also contact one of our expert travel planners with any questions at 1-800-995-8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org.