For Lin: You asked me about the Festival of Wildlife

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Aug 11th, 2005, 12:25 AM
  #1
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For Lin: You asked me about the Festival of Wildlife

Hi Lin

Didn't want to interrupt crystalsong's thread further so am answering your question here.

The Festival of Wildlife is an annual wildlife holiday event organised by a UK tour operator called Wildlife Worldwide.

The first one was in April 2004, the second in April this year and the next one will be, you've guessed it, 2006.

The idea is as follows:

WW pick a travel destination particularly suited to wildlife viewing. They choose accommoddation that will be able to host a sufficiently large group. They approach a number of experts in different fields and invite them to attend the festival as the guest experts. The paying customers then get to experience the destination with the added bonus of the participation of the experts in the activities.

The first one was a trip my dad came across and had emailed me, sis and mum about his question of whether he should do it or not. We were like, go for it, it sounds like you'll enjoy it. Mum then expressed that she didn't fancy it but happened to paste into the email the bumpf about the show. When I looked at who the experts were I was soo excited. And suddenly my dad asked if I'd like to go with him - he's always bemoaning that my sis and I don't go on holiday with them anymore now we're grown up etc. I checked Pete was OK with it, asked my client to swap me out of one day we'd got arranged and voila - 3 hours after first hearing about it I was booked on it.

Experts on that trip included Jonathan and Angela Scott, Derek Solomon, Lyn Hughes (editor of Wanderlust magazine), David Shepherd, Jonathan Truss, John Parkinson (astronomer). Mark Carwardine couldn't make it because of last minute eye problems. We also had Nina Bailey, a photographer friend of Angie's with us.

Instead of regular game drives we went out for drives with a photographer in the vehicle or for art safaris with Truss (sitting out in the Mara sketching or painting) and so on. Small groups of 6 or so for each session. In between the drives were workshops and lectures before and after lunch and in the evening too - up to everyone which ones they attended.

This year the festival was in the Galagagos Islands. Same experts came along from 2004 (minus Derek and David) as above plus additions of Mark Carwardine, Bryan Jackson, John Craven, David Back (photog), Randal Keynes (descendant of and expert on Darwin), Christopher Ralling (producer of documentary on Darwin). It was marvellous! Pete and I went on this one, btw.

The next one is in India. We have coming along on this one: David Shepherd, I think also his granddaughter, Mandy, Jonathan & Angie Scott, Mark Carwardine, Nick Garbutt, Jonathan Truss, Derek Solomon, David Back, Fateh Singh Rathore (Ex Field Director of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve), Dr Goverdhan Rathore (Head of the Prakratik Society),
Lyn Hughes.

The India one is really expensive so am I going on my own this time but if you want to come along, contact Chris Breen at Wildlife Worldwide, tell him Kavita put you on to him and ask for prices and details!
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Aug 11th, 2005, 09:08 PM
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Lin
 
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OMG thanks I'm going to email right now.
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Aug 12th, 2005, 02:02 AM
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Well do let him know I recommended you. Of course I have no idea whether there are spaces left or anything but would be nice to meet some Fodorites there!
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Aug 12th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Hi Kavey
I took a good long look at the website and, I think I am more attracted to some of the other trips to India which are longer. However, they don't have the advantage of the 'experts' coming along to educate the travelers. Can you tell me more about the classes and the overall experience? Was it something absolutely not to miss? I visited Ranthambore once and it was very disorganized; then I was talking about it with Bryan Jackson >) and he told me the lasted census indicates there might only be 15 tigers left in the park. I didn't see one last time and of course it's always worth the effort. But that's off the subject. Any additional comments? Thanks for mentioning this travel agent, they seem to offer very high quality trips.
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Aug 12th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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-meant to say 'latest' census. Also I don't know why that other face appeared after my smiley, ha ha
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Aug 13th, 2005, 01:35 AM
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Bryan is coming on THIS trip!
The time with the experts IS the only reason I'm paying this much for this short a trip that only takes in Ranthambore, where we may not even SEE a tiger because of poaching.
Basically, one goes out as normal on the game drives, split into groups, with different experts joining the various groups and they input their expertise whether it's photography, birds etc. If one does an Art Safari with Jonathan one tends to go to a spot, get out of the car, settle down on the ground and draw/ paint under his guidance. In between the experts do lectures and workshops which are all great. They also mingle with the guests at all meals - not on some separate table or anything.
And a few of them and a few of us keep the barman up until all hours on most nights!
Are there places left then?
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Aug 13th, 2005, 09:32 PM
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Lin
 
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Kavey, you are cracking me up and I hope Bryan doesn't read this forum! I was just in communication with Tafika asking about a website Bryan recommended. He said for his break this year, he's heading for India and will be guiding private parties through all different game parks in India. I guess that's how he'll make it to the festival. I am considering it! and it would be fun to meet u there
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Aug 14th, 2005, 11:33 PM
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Lin, from what I understand he's considering a stint out in India working with the Indian operator who is putting together this festival for Wildlife Worldwide. Whether that's before or after the festival, I have no idea!
Are there places left then?
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