Family Holidays in Africa

A family trip to Africa can be an amazing way for children and adults to learn about nature, history, and different cultures…while having a fun-filled bonding experience with loved ones. We are frequently asked what our recommendations for a family vacation would be. Well, the Fair Trade Safaris team came up with this article for those travelers who wish to travel to Africa with their children…

Our top choices for Africa’s family destinations are South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, and Zambia. All of us at FTS frequently take our own families on safari trips; and so we know how to plan a vacation that is unforgettable and fun for all ages.

Tanzania & Zanzibar - A Tanzanian travel package is an ideal family holiday – in every way! Kids, parents, and grandparents will delight at the rich experiences that Tanzania offers - from fascinating wildlife safaris to anthropological sites like Olduvai Gorge to the most beautiful beaches.

No visit to Tanzania is complete without a visit to Zanzibar Island, where guests relish in an educating and fun experience to explore the pristine marine wildlife and coral reefs. A variety of watersports are on offer for the active people in your group, while others can simply relax on the stunning tropical beaches that are kissed by warm, sparkling turquoise water.

Botswana - Several wildlife safari camps in Botswana are delighted to provide you and your children with an outstanding stay and memorable experience. Consider booking a private guide for your family in order to get the most out of this unique paradise!

Kenya - Besides witnessing Kenya’s wildlife and other rich natural treasures, kids love meeting the Maasai people and learning about their unique and colorful culture. After your wildlife safari in Masai Mara or the other world-famous game parks, we recommend you head to the stunning Kenyan coast for a beach holiday.

South Africa - The south of the famed Kruger National Park in South Africa is more child-friendly than the north. The Southern portion of the park has more entry points, the landscape is varied, and the wildlife concentration is higher. During the dry winter months (June to September), there are no mosquitoes, which eliminates the risk of malaria. In addition, the Cape Province also has excellent, malaria-free parks with a high chance of viewing the “Big 5” mammals of Africa.

Besides wildlife safaris, South Africa also has a ton of cultural activities…and of course the beautiful city of Cape Town.

Victoria Falls (Zambia & Zimbabwe) - A trip to Africa is not complete without a visit to the incredible Victoria Falls: 1 of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. It is classified as the largest waterfall in the world - based on its width of 5,604 ft. and height of 354 ft. - resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water.

For those families who wish to have “closer encounters” with Africa’s fascinating wildlife, we suggest a safari and beach holiday that is broken up by visits to sanctuaries such as Giraffe Manor, Monkeyland, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Ivory Orphans, and AfriCat. Here, visitors can experience animals close up and under the watchful guidance of passionate and expert guides and caretakers.

At Fair Trade Safaris, we believe in family travel that is safe, professionally managed and tailored to your family’s unique preferences. We have a ton of on-the-ground experience of traveling around Africa with our own families, and we are always excited about creating a memorable trip for yours. 

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Is Africa safe for tourists?

Shopping in Stonetown, Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania.

Shopping in Stonetown, Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania.

A trip to Africa is on a lot of bucket lists. For many travelers from the United States, the continent seems majestic and mysterious yet dangerous and uncharted. Much of what is known about Africa is from the media, a land of lions and giraffes, war and poverty. The Africa I know and love is a land of beauty and wonder that I have now dedicated my life to sharing with travelers.

Africa's biggest enemy is the international media who represent all 46 African countries as a single entity and not as unique and individual countries with their own characteristics.

Togolese Women Dancing

Togolese Women Dancing

The stereotype that Africa is unsafe is mostly untrue.  What can cause unsafe conditions outside of your home country are communication/language problems, being unaware of the culture/context (unintentionally offending people), and not knowing your way around (to avoid the areas with higher crime). 

It would come as a surprise to many people to find out that there are in fact areas that are worse off in more developed countries than in the "dangerous" African countries. No country can claim to be 100% safe, and so as with travel to any new or unknown destination, it is advisable to take certain standard security precautions:

  • Keep an eye on your purses, wallets, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. 
  • Avoid walking in the cities at night 
  • Place valuables in your hotel safe. 
  • Choosing a knowledgeable operator 

While staying at African safari lodges and tented camps you are typically far removed from human settlement and crime in the camps is virtually nonexistent, in fact, we have never heard of it and have been traveling to the camps for years.

I would definitely say if you are not used to being in low-income countries, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya are recommended.  Go somewhere used to tourism and on something planned, if you're concerned about your first time. 

A pic of myself, Saurabh Khetrapal, and my gorgeous wife, Dr. Kavita Gajjar, whilst visiting South Africa. 

A pic of myself, Saurabh Khetrapal, and my gorgeous wife, Dr. Kavita Gajjar, whilst visiting South Africa. 

Choosing a tour operator such as Fair Trade Safaris the best move you could make ,we will plan your ideal itinerary and take care of you every step of the way!

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Luxurious photographic travel through Tanzania at an unbelievable price!

Fair Trade Safaris is collaborating with renowned photographer-philanthropist, Ali Khataw, to lead a 14-day journey of a lifetime in July 2016 through the incredible wildlife parks of Tanzania. We will photograph the rich and diverse wildlife found in Serengeti National Park, The Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park.

Join us and see The Great Wildebeest & Zebra Migration of Serengeti - where millions of Wildebeest and Zebra travel across the Serengeti plains in search of food and water, while evading predators like Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Hyenas, and other carnivores. During one particularly perilous part of their migration, they encounter the Mara River and its infamous Nile Crocodiles. The Crocs wait patiently for the Antelopes and Zebras to jump into the infested waters so that they can snatch up their unfortunate and unsuspecting prey. These Mara River Crossings are often called the "Greatest Show on Earth"! 

Besides the Great Wildebeest & Zebra Migration, we will encounter the Big Cats (Lions, Leopards, and Cheetahs), Elephants, Rhinos, Giraffes, Hippos, Cape Buffalos, Hyenas, and other large mammals, as well as over 600 species of birds in their natural habitat and unspoiled environment. We will end our adventure with a visit to the stunningly beautiful and culturally rich island of Zanzibar.

And here is the BEST part...the price that we are offering to the first 12 travelers who sign up is unbelievably low: $4,985 per person!

There is no better way to experience Tanzania and all of its natural beauty and cultural heritage than this magnificent trip! PLUS it is your opportunity to become the photographer that you have always dreamed of - being out in the field with an expert photographer-coach guiding you. 

The best wildlife safaris on the planet, insightful interactions with indigenous tribes and the local community, and flavorful cuisine and exotic aromas of East Africa are what this trip is all about.

Email me at sk@FairTradeSafaris.com or call me on +1 212-671-2925 for more information. You can also reach Ali Khataw on AliRaza@Khataw.com or +1 512-796-9510.

Regards,

Saurabh

 

 

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Black Friday deals at Fair Trade Safaris

Fair Trade Safaris is having a Black Friday sale that offers the following incredible discounts to clients who start their trip planning before the end of November 2015.

·      $150/person discount for trips that have an average cost of below $5,000/person.

·      $200 per person discount for trips that have an average cost of between $5,000/person and $7,499/person

·      $250/person discount for trips that have an average cost of $7,500/person and above

If it’s been on your mind to book that dream holiday, then now is the time to make it happen!

Email me at sk@fairtradesafaris.com to assist you in building your customized itinerary within a budget that works for you.

Regards,

Saurabh

 

Comment

Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Travelanthropy: Is Traveling the New Face of Philanthropy?

Travel philanthropy - using travel as a means to give back, is having an upward surge in an age of increasing awareness of world issues and global needs. What was once reserved only for missionaries and the super wealthy is now becoming a social norm.

America has always been considered one of the most generous nations, but now there's even more evidence in a new study called "Good Travels: The Philanthropic Profile of the American Traveler," released recently. www.TourismCares.org/GoodTravels

The study gives a holistic view of giving and volunteering motivations, and had some interesting and surprising findings:

·      Travel is a popular new form of philanthropy. 

·      Millennials are the new Generous Generation. 

·      Families who travel with children learn and give more together. 

·      The affluent of all ages are especially powerful social travelers. 

·      Giving back while traveling creates a more satisfying trip.

Increasingly people want to get involved and do something that will help causes that matter most to them. Many are beginning to feel compelled to help in a more hands-on way, rather than donating cash. What better way to do so than by traveling to areas in need? 

Vacations are no longer just recreational; as philanthropic vacations offer a remembrance and restoration of humanity many of us no longer practice in our everyday lives.

People are becoming more eager to reconnect with humanity and an effective way to do this is by serving others. Many are finding the need to rediscover their own sense of meaning in a world that has become increasingly electronically driven, competitive and commercial.

Philanthropic travel can be generally be divided into three different categories:

·       Volunteer opportunities in disaster zones, orphanages and animal shelters.  This type of urgent service travel is particularly attractive to many people because it is less expensive than many other offerings and can work for people from all walks of life. Travelers are typically required to raise a minimum amount for the project in addition to the trip cost. 

·       Donor travel is for committed philanthropists that want to witness their investments at work in real-life situations. It can upset idealism, but ultimately brings people closer to the issues and communities that they care about. It also deepens sustainable investment and strengthens the connection between travelers and community organizations. 

·       Private Travel is for travelers that want to dig a little deeper during a vacation in terms of cultural and community exchange. Private travel often involves families that want to pass on values of caring or service to the next generation.

Travel philanthropy is not without its challenges and well-intentioned travelers can often be overwhelmed and confused with the options available, wanting to be sure their contribution will have an actual positive impact. 

That is where Fair Trade safaris can assist - with so many volunteer opportunities and organizations and no ranking system or review site like those that exist for hotels, tour operators or other stakeholders in the travel sector, it can be extremely difficult to locate reputable programs to connect and partner with, and we can vet these programs for you.

Contact us at jambo@fairtradesafaris.com for a tailor made itinerary that feels good and does good!

Comment

Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

SK visits Tanzania and returns a wiser man

Founder of Fair Trade Safaris, Saurabh Khetrapal, was on a trip to Tanzania’s famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater earlier this year. We were all dying to hear more about his experiences; so here are a few of his insights and some new-found wisdom that could change the way you look at life; read all the way to the end for a most profound story…

Q: What were the memories/images you took away that keep popping into your brain when you recall the Serengeti and Ngorongoro?

SK: When we were in the Serengeti, the entire landscape was carpeted with migrating wildebeest and zebra...including new-born calves. The sheer number of wild animals is etched as a beautiful image in my mind.

Q: Was there a special moment?

SK: Yes! Click on this video to see the ingenuity of "Bush Mechanics" and the power of cooperation and unity!

Q: Can you remember any senses particular to your visit; sounds, smells, colors?

SK: The sound of birdsong early in the morning is absolutely mesmerizing - especially when one is staying in a tented camp.

Q: What wise lessons did you learn from your trip?

SK: On this trip, I spent a lot of time with people who have dedicated their lives to causes that impact the local communities. I also met many passionate men and women who are committed to protecting Africa's wildlife. I explored common goals and I discovered shared values between these good folks and myself. But I found one key area where our wavelengths weren't quite in sync...Since my personal background is a mishmash of 3 different cultures that originate in 3 different continents (I am an Indian-African-American) I sometimes get my values and priorities a bit mixed up. Having spent the past 25 years in the U.S. - and that too in the hyper-hectic world of Silicon Valley technology start-ups - I tend forget about the realities on the ground in Africa. I get frustrated with the slow progress as well as the seemingly lax attitude people have towards issues that I consider urgent or important. And that gets me in trouble. Here is a true anecdote from this trip that illustrates this point…

While on safari, the first place that I stayed at was a beautiful tented camp in Serengeti. On my second day in the bush, I had woken up very early - because I was still quite jet-lagged. With adrenaline flowing and my mind buzzing, I had worked feverishly from 4 am until 8 am developing several ideas that (I was convinced) would help Alex & Ester – my Tanzanian hosts and fellow philanthropists who are running an amazing school and orphanage project in Arusha. So by the time I showed up to my breakfast meeting with Alex and our safari guide Ombeni, I was revved up – excited about sharing my thoughts. Clutching my laptop tightly, I strode right up to the table where Alex and Ombeni were seated. They were quietly sipping on their hot beverages. I began unleashing all kinds of strategies and plans that I had been working on: “For the orphanage and the boarding school, I think the best strategy would be for us to…(blah, blah, blah)! And for the water-well project in the Maasai villages, a partnership with other local and international organization would really benefit us…(blah, blah).” After about 4 minutes of my rapid-fire soliloquy, I realized that both Alex and Ombeni had a look that can only be described as a combination of surprise, overwhelm, and disgust. “Is everything OK?” I asked, fearing the worst. A couple of moments of silence...Then Alex looked straight at me, smiled, and said in a calm voice: “Good morning, Saurabh.” (Pause) “How are you this morning? How did you sleep? Was your tent comfortable? How is your family? Are the kids missing you?” Right then, I realized that even though I had grown up in Tanzania, and for the first several years of my life I had been immersed in this beautiful, caring, and generous culture, the "American Me" had taken over. I had confused the African method of conducting “business” with the American definition of “busyness”. That morning, I learned a valuable lesson - the importance of respect and patience, and the awareness of the culture that I am in before defining expectations for myself and for others. I feel like this single incident gave me a new insight that has changed the way I tackle life and its challenges. Nowadays, whenever I feel anxious or frustrated, I stop and think about Alex's calm demeanor...and it gives me a balanced perspective.

What do you think? Can you look at life and work differently having read this? Tell us your thoughts and experiences.

 

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Track the Wildebeest Migration on Google Maps

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There are very few wildlife experiences more spectacular than the wildebeest migration from the Serengeti of Tanzania into the Masai Mara of Kenya.

You’ve seen the pictures, but how many visitors actually get to see a crossing? Not many! That’s because it’s not an exact science. Where and when they cross the Mara and Sand Rivers changes from day to day and it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

But now you can dramatically increase the chances of seeing a crossing and it’s all because of the HerdTracker web-app. They plot the progress of the migration on a Google through regular updates from park rangers, guides, pilots and lodges. If you happen to be there in the month of July, with the help of this app you will have a much better chance of seeing a crossing.

Whilst we think of it as a wildebeest migration, thousands of zebra form part of the massive herds, and it’s the bold zebras who usually take the first jump into the roaring rivers. But this year – 2015 – the Mara River is lower than usual, enabling easier crossings but also easier takings for the crocodiles cruising in the shallows!

Keep an eye on the daily migration reports and you’ll see what you are missing….here’s an extract:

River crossings at Lookout Hill

22 Jul 2015 from &Beyond

The first significant Mara River crossings happened close to &Beyond's Kichwa Tembo and Bateleur Camp. Rangers and guests all watched the incredible action with baited breath for a full hour.

The Kichwa team has been anticipating the arrival of the herds and even though they are fortunate enough to witness the incredible Great Migration every time it enters the Masai Mara, Assistant Head Ranger at Kichwa Tembo,Tim Kiok exclaimed, “The truth is, it felt as though it was my first time seeing the herds! I couldn’t believe they had finally arrived.

HerdTracker isn’t just useful for the river crossings, most of the camps and lodges all over the Serengeti and Masai Mara send in reports locating where the zebra and wildebeest are in their circular migration around these parks.

Let us help you plan your East African safari to coincide with where the wildebeest are expected, and get the safari you’ve always wanted. Contact us for a sample itinerary.

 

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Fair Trade Safaris Travel Tips

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Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

Travelling with Children to/from South Africa.

New laws and regulations for travelling with children to or from South Africa came into effect on 1 June 2015. It was done to try and prevent child trafficking and means that you need to obtain some extra documents before you travel to South Africa. If you don’t have the required documents you may be turned away from boarding your flight. 

Here is a Question & Answer session to help clarify what’s needed:

Q. Who does this new law affect?

A. Anyone travelling to or from South Africa through any border with a child under the age of 18 years, whether it be their own child or not.

Q. What documents are needed? 

A. All children under 18 years old arriving or departing South Africa are required to have an unabridged birth certificate (original or certified copy), their valid passport, and any visas as required. 

Q. What is an Unabridged Birth Certificate? 

A. An Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC) is a birth certificate that reflects the particulars of both parents of the child. 

Q. So what’s the big deal?

A. There are variables as to what additional documents are required depending who the child is travelling with. This changes according to such things as, the marital status of parents, whether both parents are still alive, if it’s a foster carer or adopted child, whether the child is travelling with a friend/teacher/relative…etc.  IT’S COMPLICATED!  That’s why we suggest you visit an excellent interactive tool on the Drive South Africa website, whose drop-down menu will help unravel exactly what you will need.

Q. What if the certificates are not in English, if they aren’t even available in my country, or I can’t get an affidavit stating the required information? 

A. Documents issued in others languages are acceptable, but a verified translation is recommended. If your country doesn’t produce an unabridged birth certificate, you should produce a letter from an authority stating this fact and obtain an equivalent document containing the particulars of both parents, or an affidavit (written statement sworn to be true verified by a Commissioner of Oaths or equivalent).  You can have an affidavit issued at the South African Embassy in your country free of charge.

Q. What will happen if I don’t have the required documentation? 

A. Airlines are bound by this new law and will not allow you to travel without the correct paperwork. There have been cases where tourists have been turned away from the check-in desk and not allowed to travel.

Here at Fair Trade Safaris, we will remind you long before your departure about any regulations you need to meet, but if planning a safari, start getting your documents prepared now. Then look forward to smooth sailing all the way to Africa!

Happy Travels!

Comment

Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

The Facts Behind the Recent Lion Attack in South Africa

The truth is that you are more likely to die in a car accident than to get mauled by a lion while on an African safari; but sadly, the recent visit by tourist Katherine Chappell to a Lion Park in South Africa, proved fatal.

Here are the facts as reported:

There is a large sign on entry to a Lion Park compound in South Africa stating that all windows must be closed. The windows of the tour operator’s vehicle were shut as they entered the enclosure.

While watching lions from the car, Katherine Chappell opened her window to take photographs.  She wasn’t aware that a lioness had come right alongside the car. Tourists in another car could see the approaching danger and started hooting trying to get her attention, but it proved too late.

What can we learn from this?

There are no statistics on animal attacks while on safari because such attacks are just so rare and therefore have no statistical significance.  Contrast this with road traffic deaths in USA which total around 37,000 each year, plus 2.3million people injured in car accidents. So one ought to ask oneself: which is safer - driving a car or going on a safari?

If you are planning an African safari or are intrigued an adventurous experience in Africa, there are precautions that you ought to take – such as vaccinations and innoculations – but worrying about being attacked by an animal should not even be a consideration. The fact of the matter is that visitors to Africa are looked after every step of the way and are privy to some of the best rangers and guides in the world.

Like any adventure travel – whether that is skiing in Colorado or mountain climbing in the Alps or hiking in Lake Tahoe – there are common-sense practices one must be mindful of. So, here are a few basic rules to follow when you are on a safari in Africa:

  • Don’t stand up in the back of the game-viewing vehicle because predators see the vehicle as one entity and you don’t want to break that outline.
  • Don’t put your arms outside or lean out of the open-sided vehicle or car window.
  • Don’t raise your voice.
  • Don’t try and get an animal’s attention.
  • Ask your guide as many questions as you like.
  • Follow your guide’s instructions.

So, come and join us on a safe and rewarding African safari…it will be a memorable experience!

Comment

Saurabh Khetrapal

I am a recovering tech entrepreneur and angel investor. Now, my passions and life's missions are to impact the local communities, the wildlife, and the environment in Africa. I am the founder of Fair Trade Safaris, an organization that offers amazing African safaris and travel experiences and donates 100% of its profits to a variety of community development and wildlife conservation projects in Africa.

What You Need To Know Before Booking A Safari

What You Need To Know Before Booking A Safari

Whenever there is news in the Western media about Africa, it often comprises of sensationalized negativity. Traditional media makes all the 47 countries that make up Africa seem like one desperate nation. Well, for every bit of bad news out there, we have many, many things to celebrate! Traveling to Africa allows a visitor to fill in the gaps and to experience all that’s wonderful about Africa. And we’re here to help you plan your next safari!

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What is Travelanthropy?

What is Travelanthropy?

Travelanthropy is the ethos around which Fair Trade Safaris bases its entire foundation. It’s Philanthropy through travel. The way Fair Trade Safaris is addressing this is by giving 100% of its profit to NGO’s and worthy Projects.

Yes, you read it right…100% of profits!

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