Culture Tour Plus Safari

Old Mar 25th, 2011, 07:46 PM
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Culture Tour Plus Safari

Are there any resonably priced small group tour companies for Africa (either East or Southern Africa) that balance wildlife/safari experience with meaningful cultural/people contact? I've never been to Africa, can only afford to go once (for about 2 weeks max) and really want to experience both aspects. Visits to village/tribe, a school, a market place, an orphange or other worthwhile humanitarian project. Admittedly, I am not interested in one of the 'volunteer' vacations either. But, for example, I cannot image going to the Masai Mara and not having some connection to the Masaai people, or going to SA and not visiting Soweto. Don't need luxury, but we are late 50's so not up for sleeping bags or pitching tents either. That said, as to wildlife, yes Lions, Giraffe, Zebra, Elephants etc, would be thrilling too. Also natural wonders such as Mt. Kilimanjaro or Victoria Falls. Don't need Cape Town or wine country. But do really want a varied experience.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old Mar 25th, 2011, 08:43 PM
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Meaningful? I'm not quite sure what that means.

You could stay in a B&B in Soweto - you'll have more contact with the residents than a short tour.

http://www.portfoliocollection.com/g...asts-in-Soweto

There are a couple of safari camps in S Africa that I know of that are affiliated with their local community. Pafuri in northern Kruger park and Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu Natal. At Pafuri you can do safari and then stay in the community B&B. Tembe is partly owned/run by the local community. If you contact them, they can arrange either visits or stays in town, and do safari. Both are in the affordable range for S Africa safari camps, and luxurious tented camps with real beds and en-suite bathrooms.

Many of us have thought we'd only go once to Africa.

You or a travel agent, or go directly through the camp, can arrange for transportation to all of these locations. You don't need a tour. Pafuri combines well with Mashatu and greater Kruger NP. Tembe combines well with Phinda, Thula Thula and Hlhluwe NP.
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Overseas Adventure Travel mixes a lot of cultural interaction into their safaris in Kenya and Tanzania. You might check out their trips at www.oattravel.com. You could also book a private safari to either country (or both.) You'd have a chance to interact with the Maasai and other tribes such as the Samburu in Kenya or the Hadzabe and Datoga in Tanzania (the Maasai are in both countries.) Of course, not all Kenyans and Tanzanians live as they did a 100 years ago. Most have "modernized", but still respect their tribal customs. We had Chagga guides in Tanzania and they told us of their customs that they still followed. Either country would be a great place for a safari, as well.
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Old Mar 26th, 2011, 08:22 AM
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Thank you. By "meaningful" I just meant something more than a tribal dance put on for tourists. I took an OAT tour of Israel last year and that is what we liked most. We ate lunch in the modest home of a Druze family, visited a school and women's cooperative, and elderly woman's home in a Bedouin community, had a two-hour dialogue with a Palestinian journalist, dinner at a Yeshiva, a stay on a Kibbutz and discussion with residents. Also, a small group size made this possible.

I couldn't tell if OAT included similar elements in their Africa itineraries. Obviously, with Africa, more emphasis is on wildlife which is to be expected. I just wondered if there are other tour companies like OAT.
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Old Mar 27th, 2011, 03:03 AM
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www.porini.com

the wildlife camps best cost effective.

volunteering ops abound...

www,tucantravel.com budget group tours

#1 from the UK good experience in past...
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Old Mar 27th, 2011, 04:59 AM
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On their "Safari Serengeti" trip, OAT spends their first full day at Shanga River House, which provides jobs for disabled Tanzanians. They also visit a Maasai village and a school (usually near Karatu.) If you took their pre-trip extension to the Kilimanjaro foothills, that camp is in a Maasai area (Sinya) and you'll visit a more "authentic" village off the beaten path. Maasai guides usually accompany you on any game drives there, as well.
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Old Mar 28th, 2011, 07:59 AM
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I love Christabir's comment "Many of us have thought we'd only go once to Africa." After 30 years and more than a dozen visits, I've still not had my fill.

(I didn't mean to highjack this thread, sorry!)
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