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I just got back from my sixth trip to Africa. Why have I been so often and why do I plan on returning as soon as possible? If you’ve been to Africa, you know the answer to that question. If you haven’t been, but are planning on going, you’re about to see for yourself. I can say this, though. You FEEL Africa in your soul. The sights, the smells, the sounds all seem vaguely… familiar. The cradle of civilization, they say, so you kind of feel like you are… home.

Ellyn Ludwig in the air

But let’s get back to the plane. I’ve travelled a lot of different ways through my visits to Africa. LandRover. Minibus. Boat. Bush plane. Canoe, even. But this trip? I had my own private jet. Yup. Felt like a rock star. I had to share with the other 24 delightful people on the trip, of course, but that wasn’t too much to ask for, I felt. We each had our own “first class” section, that came with our own flight attendant. The chef came down the aisle chit chatting and explaining the culinary delights that were about to arrive on our trays. The pilot greeted us on the staircase, and a few times immigration took care of our country’s entrance and exits on board. Was I travelling with Taylor Swift, you might be asking yourself? Nope.

Ellyn Ludwig and Bushtracks Expeditions President David Tett during Lions Tigers and Tradewinds

Bushtracks. We signed up for their Private Jet trip. We received that shiny brochure in the mail last year, with all the adventures that awaited us, outlined and visually represented with enticing photographs. So we pulled the trigger and did it. All of those amazing adventures in that brochure occurred and are well stored in our memory banks as life-time experiences that will always be cherished. That is another blog topic: all of the unbelievable things we saw and did and ate and felt. But on our jet’s final approach to our final stop, my husband looked over at me and said, “Man. I’m gonna miss this plane.”

Ellyn Ludwig in the private jet for Lions Tigers and Tradewinds 2019 Private Jet Expedition

Long drives between camps or countries in Africa are far from tedious or boring. The things you see along the way make for those chances to spot wildlife and amazing geographical features that you might miss flying overhead. You get to know your guide/driver and hear his stories. You spend time laughing and talking to your kids or your significant other. But flying over Africa offers yet another way to take in its beauty, its vastness, its valleys and bomas and rivers. And sipping from a bottomless glass of champagne and hoarding an entire can of Pringles to yourself while doing that cannot be underestimated.

Ellyn Ludwig enjoying a view of Oman wild lands

The only downfall I can see from taking a trip like the Bushtracks Private Jet Trip from which we just returned? Well, you get used to that first-class treatment surprisingly quickly. If our next trip ISN’T a private jet tour with Bushtracks, who will deliver my bags from the plane to my room in record time? Will the flight attendant on United have a Snickers, a glass of chardonnay and my book waiting for me on my seat? Can I arrange for a private gate departure so I don’t have to wait in line? Can the pilot come out during the flight and tell me the mountain range we are passing over? I can call my travel agent and ask.

Or. Maybe I’ll just call Bushtracks.

The first version of this article was posted on 22 Jan 2020 at 2:04 PM.


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