New Adventures from Costa Rica to the Congo
Wildlife and adventure tour operator Gane and Marshall has announced the launch of four active and exciting tailor-made itineraries that all offer something new for adventurous travellers in 2019.
Families can acquire unrivalled knowledge of Maasai culture whilst enjoying a fascinating journey away from the tourist trails of Tanzania. Active holidaymakers can explore Costa Rica, from the Caribbean to the Pacific coastline, by bike, kayak, raft and on foot. Travellers open to something different can explore Spitsbergen in the autumn, enjoying fatbiking, exploring an abandoned communist-era town and supping Arctic beer at the world’s northernmost brewery. And wildlife lovers can now reach Sangha Lodge in the Central African Republic thanks to a new charter flight which provides a gateway to the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, a region of Africa barely touched by humanity.
Family Adventure Holiday in the Maasai Lands of Tanzania
The unique Family Adventure Holiday in the Maasai Lands of Tanzania adventure holiday is ideal for families wanting to acquire knowledge of authentic Maasai culture. During the seven-day walking and 4WD driven tour and safari, families will be able to experience first-hand important aspects of the nomadic way of life, from traditional village life and rites of passage, to hunting and herding techniques, and use of plants for medicine and nutrition. There will also be bush and mountain trekking, 4WD off-road driving, mobile camping and a visit to see the big game in the Ngorongoro Crater.
The location is within the Great African Rift Valley, northern Tanzania. Home to several Maasai communities and receiving very few visitors, it is far removed from other safari routes. Beginning with a walk to the viewpoint on Mt. Longido, a sacred Maasai mountain, families will then drive and trek across the floor of the Great Rift Valley, taking in Maasai landmarks and visiting Maasai communities. They will see amazing geological features, including the Sunken Crater and the escarpment of the Rift Valley, unspoiled landscape of bush and volcanic cones, and wildlife including antelope, zebra and giraffe. The ultimate destination is the magnificent mountain massif, the Crater Highlands, and the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, to see many of the major animal species of Africa. Walking distances will be tailored to suit the group, and a support 4WD vehicle will always be within radio contact.
The adventure is suitable for families with youngsters from eight years of age. For a tailor-made family group of two adults and two youngsters (aged from 8 – 15) travelling in 2019, prices start from £2,275 per person. There will also be an open group tour departing on 20 August 2019. This itinerary will be available for more than one family and prices will be adjusted according to group size. Prices include all transfers, six nights’ camping, meals, tour details as per the itinerary and experienced tour leader and guides. International flights are additional.
Costa Rica Coast to Coast
On the 10-day ‘Costa Rica Coast to Coast’ itinerary, active travellers will traverse the width of the country, on a challenging adventure from the Caribbean Coast in the east to the Pacific Ocean coastline in the west.
After arrival in San Jose and free time to explore the city, the journey starts by heading north to Finca Pacuarito, to camp near the Caribbean coast, check kit and prepare for the expedition. The real challenge commences at the mouth of the Pacuare River, on the borders of the Talamanca Mountain Range, from where, over the next eight days, travellers will kayak, cycle, trek and raft their way to Manuel Antonio National Park on the west coast.
The incredible sights of the ever-changing scenery will include tropical rainforest, coffee and sugarcane plantations, secluded waterfalls, swimming holes, volcanoes and distant mountain peaks, forested hills and agricultural land. On day eight, travellers will finish the journey and enjoy a free day on day nine, during which they can visit the many attractions of Manuel Antonio, take a surf lesson or simply relax with a cocktail on the beach.
Prices start from £3,990pp, based on twin share. Available year-round on a tailor-made basis. Price includes five nights’ hotel accommodation, four nights’ camping, all transfers, most meals, activities as per itinerary, bike hire, details as per the itinerary and experienced tour leader and guides.
Early Winter in Arctic Spitsbergen
October to mid-November is a unique time to travel to Spitsbergen, as the Polar winter closes in. On the ‘Early Winter in Arctic Spitsbergen’ itinerary, guests can still expect a limited amount of light each day, allowing for activities such as fatbiking and walking tours within the vicinity of Longyearbyen. As the season progresses, these activities take place against a backdrop of longer nights and the spectacle of the aurora borealis.
On this five-day itinerary, adventurous travellers will explore arctic Longyearbyen and the surrounding region by bus, on foot and by electric fatbike, and tour Svalbard Brewery to sample different types of Arctic beer at the world’s northernmost brewery. They will board MS Langøysund bound for Pyramiden, a former Russian settlement on the coast of Spitsbergen, to discover the isolated, deserted outpost’s modernist architecture and communist-era relics. Day four brings a trapper’s walking tour, an on-foot adventure in the Arctic tundra intended to show what life was like for the early Sami trappers.
Prices start from £850pp, based on twin share, in October and November 2019. Price includes four nights’ accommodation in the Coal Miners’ Cabins in Longyearbyen, four breakfasts, one lunch, activities as per itinerary, private transfers and English-speaking guide during all activities. International flights are additional.
Republic of Congo, with Sangha extension
Gane and Marshall’s thrilling ‘Republic of Congo’ itinerary has now been updated to include an optional extension at Sangha Lodge (see cover photo, c. Jacha Potgieter), located in Central African Republic. The lodge itself is not new, but the problem was accessibility, until the Congo Conservation Company began charter flights in January 2019. Guests can now visit Odzala-Kokoua and Dzanga-Sangha National Parks on a longer stay itinerary in the region.
Rarely visited, Odzala-Kokoua National Park is Africa at its most wild. On this venture into the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest expanse of tropical rainforest and the home of Africa’s densest population of western lowland gorillas, guests will have the chance to track gorillas on foot and observe them as they eat, play and socialise.
Guests start the holiday with one night in Brazzaville, before boarding a private flight to Mboko airstrip, in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, heading to Ngaga Camp for a four-night stay. Ngaga Camp is located in the Ndzehe concession, directly within the overlapping home ranges of several family groups of western lowland gorilla, two of which are habituated and form the focus of game activities with an experienced tracker.
The itinerary next moves to Lango and Mboko Camps, located along the banks of a tributary of the Lekoli River. Night times in these camps provide spectacular star-gazing opportunities, while also offering easy access to the nearby river for various forest and water-based day activities, including hiking, motorboat safaris and kayaking.
The Sangha Lodge extension starts with a flight to Kabo, a small community in the northern Congo, and then a 4-6 hour boat journey along the Sangha River, through the Sangha Tri National Special Reserve and into the Central African Republic. Sangha Lodge is situated on the banks of the Kadei River and its unique position provides a gateway to the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, a region of Africa barely touched by humanity. Guests at the lodge will enjoy an open-air deck and bar overlooking the river and jungle.
From Sangha Lodge, travellers will visit Dzanga Baï’s covered research platform to observe the diverse wildlife around this remote baï, be escorted by members of the Ba’Aka tribe on a guided forest walk and transfer by boat to the ‘Valley of the Giants’, to spend the morning walking amongst some of the tallest trees in the Congo Basin.
The cost of the 12-night itinerary is from £10,795pp, based on twin share. Price includes 12 nights’ accommodation, all meals & drinks, a meet & greet, airport transfers, Brazzaville city tour with lunch, return charter flights to Mboko, charter flight to Kabo airstrip, return boat transfer to Sangha Lodge, National Park entry fees, activities as per itinerary including two gorilla trekking permits per person, medical evacuation, community fees, letter of introduction for visa, Central African Republic Access Authorisation fee, Congo/Central African Republic border control formalities & services. International flights are additional.
To book, please go to www.ganeandmarshall.com or call 01822 600 600.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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