10 Amazing Lion Facts

By: Lion World Travel

Nothing represents the essence of Africa more than the symbol of the lion.  

Lions are one of Africa’s most recognizable animals in the wilderness. Lions signify courage, strength, and power. Spending up to 20 hours a day sleeping or resting, they are the laziest of the big cats.  


The most sociable of the big cats, they live in prides of related females and their offspring. The typical pride consists of ten to fifteen lions, with adult females, their cubs, and a few males. 


Lions can go up to four days without drinking water, but they need to eat every day. Adult lionesses eat about 11 pounds of meat each day, while adult males eat 16 pounds or more. They prey on large herbivores like zebra and wildebeest, and occasionally feed on smaller animals like mice, birds, hares, and lizards. 


Lionesses are the primary hunters. They are smaller, more agile than males and use teamwork to bring an animal down. After a successful hunt, all the lions in the pride share the meal. There is a pecking order, with adult males eating first, followed by the lionesses and finally the cubs.  


Lions hunt by ambush. Fanning out, they form a semicircle, with the smaller lionesses herding the prey towards the center. A lion’s vision is roughly six times more sensitive to light than humans, giving them a distinct advantage when hunting at night.  

Lion’s claws reach up to 1½ inches in length, allowing for incredible control when going in for a kill. Lions can reach speeds of up to 50 miles/hour and can jump up to 36 feet.  


Although lions are known as the “king of the jungle”, lions in Africa do not actually live in a jungle. Their primary habitats are Africa’s grasslands and plains. Three of the five largest lion populations are found in the savannas of Tanzania. 

Lion and Lioness
Photo Courtesy of Frans Hakkenberg 


Lions communicate by using roars, growls, moans, and grunts. A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away as a warning to other predators and to protect their territory. Also, by leaving scent markings and through visual signals, such as the darkness of the mane. They rub their heads on one another as an act of bonding and to spread the “family scent.”  


Females in the pride tend to give birth around the same time, allowing for multiple litters to be raised together. Lionesses take care of their cubs until they are two or three. The mother then goes through estrus (heat cycle) and carries another litter. During this time the pride forces the male lion cubs and some female lion cubs out.  

Lioness and Cub
Photo Courtesy of Ruvan Grobler/Lion Sands  


When they are born, the cubs eyes are closed, opening when they are three weeks old. This is when they are vulnerable to attack from large birds, and even male lions. A lioness will keep her cubs hidden for six weeks until they are old enough to follow the pride.  The cubs are full of life and grow up playing with the other youngsters in the pride building strength and family bonds.  


Only slightly smaller than the Siberian tiger, the lion is the second largest of the big cats, with a muscular deep-chested body. Unlike other big cats that are solitary hunters, lions are social hunters. Male lions can weigh up to 550 pounds, while female lions weigh up to 390 pounds. 

Lion Skirmish
Photo Courtesy of Sabi Sabi  


Tree-climbing lions can be found in Tanzania, with, Lake Manyara National Park,Lake Nakuru National Park, and Tarangire National Park being the best places to see them. They have also been spotted in the Serengeti. The reason why lions climb trees is to get away from flies and insects on the ground, and they have a higher vantage point to see if any other animals are nearby.  

Tree Climbing Lions
Photo Courtesy of Elewana Pioneer Camp 

At Lion World Travel, our love for Africa is embodied in our name and mascot – Lionel. 

About Lion World Travel 

Lion World Travel has been in business for 60 years. Lion World Travel is one of North America’s largest tour operators to the African continent, specializing in group and individual tours to Southern and East Africa and Egypt. Lion World Travel is a member of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands, the largest privately owned travel company worldwide, which includes Trafalgar Tours, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Insight Vacations, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection to mention a few.  

 Clients continue to benefit from Lion World Travels’ Africa destination knowledge, expertise, and emphasis on customer service. With their Africa Specialists all having first-hand knowledge of Africa, Lion World Travel confidently assists clients in creating an African adventure that fits their interests and budget with enjoyable, enriching travel experiences. Extraordinary service, affordable luxury and value for money are what keep clients coming back to Lion World Travel. 

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Bringing Regenerative Practices to Legacy Tour Operators  

By Melissa DaSilva, President of TTC Tour Brands, North America – Trafalgar, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold 

For more than 100 years, The Travel Corporation has been taking travelers off the beaten path and into the destinations we serve. In those years, that ever-beaten path has become winding and deep. We’ve watched and adapted as buzzed about travel destinations became mere stops on a multi-country adventure, untouched destinations became harbingers of overtourism, and wonders of the world (of which there are now eight) became Instagram feed fodder. A demand for the “next experience” steadily rose with every new “where to go” headline; in turn, we saw an increase in international bookings and industry real estate as travel operators sought new and better.  

As President of TTC Tour Brands North America, I will never turn my nose up to new and better. Innovation is at the core of The Travel Corporation’s mission and that value informs everything we do. But with new and better, comes tried and true, revisited and improved.  

With a focus on reducing carbon and regenerating the planet, we’ve assessed our mission from every front. As we continue to traverse new destinations on new itineraries, we’ve refocused our sights on our existing itineraries and frequented regions. We’ve modified existing itineraries to include responsible travel experiences we call MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, which address issues related to climate change, sustainable food production, waste reduction, diversity and inclusion, cultural preservation and wildlife protection.  

In terms of sustainability in travel, the words “net zero” are on everyone’s lips. So, what does it mean? Moreover, what can tour operators, hoteliers, and major servicers do to achieve “net zero” status? 

In 2020, we began a five-year mission we call How We Tread Right, which measures sustainability efforts across four core pillars – measure, reduce, restore, and evolve. In 2022, we became the first tour operator with validated near-term, long-term and net zero targets, which were supported by an industry-first Carbon Fund, created to finance the decarbonization of our business.  

The fund’s first investments were made in renewable energy for our properties and biofuel for the coaches our guests board. These investments aligned with the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) green investment priority for tourism’s recovery and future growth, and coupled with further nature-based solutions, contributed to our primary goal of reaching net zero emissions.  

So, what have we done? We’ve partnered with the Scotland-based Trees for Life to support its Wild Pine project, a rewilding project aimed at restoring Scotland’s globally important Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife. We’ve supported the Australian-based Rainforest Rescue to enhance their efforts in the Daintree Rainforest, where the nonprofit is working to further its protection and restoration of the fragmented lowland rainforest, increasing the carbon storage potential of the rainforest. We’ve done all of this and more, but for us, regenerative tourism goes beyond the environment. As such, we’ve taken strides to make our business one that stimulates economies as much as ecology, and culture as much as tree coverage.  

Over the years, we’ve seen a rising interest in ethno-tourism – travel focusing on the exploration of Indigenous populations and their respective culture and traditions. In 2019, we polled our community of travelers and found that half cited interest in booking an indigenous travel experience, but a quarter of those travelers didn’t know where to start.  

In partnership with such organizations as AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association), ITAC (Indigenous Tourism Association Canada) and The Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas, we have placed Indigenous tourism among our top priorities as travel leaders. By amplifying Indigenous-owned businesses along our itineraries, we increase access to ancestral wisdom, preserve and reclaim culture and ultimately drive economic benefit to support the livelihoods of Native peoples across the world. 

We are proud to share that as of 2024, 66% of Trafalgar itineraries include at least one indigenous experience. Further, 100% of the proceeds of Indigenous experiences on Trafalgar tours go directly to the participating communities. 

We understand that a legacy is fruitless without a forward commitment to innovation and adaptability. We’ve been here for more than 100 years, and as long as people continue to traverse, explore, and amplify the world they inhabit, we will be here. In prioritizing sustainability, inclusivity, and economic empowerment, we are not just leading the way in tourism, but also shaping a brighter and more sustainable future for the planet and its people. 

About the author

Melissa DaSilva is President of the TTC Tour Brands for North America with an industry career spanning 30 years and has worked in both the US and the UK.  She has been recognized for her ability to rapidly adjust in a changing business environment, resulting in enhanced business practices, increased productivity, and profits.  She has a proven success record of recruiting and developing strong, collaborative teams and delivering consistency in multi-channel organizations 

The Travel Corporation family of brands is deeply committed to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER.  We recognize our responsibility to ensure our impact on the planet, the people we visit, and the wildlife we find there. Choosing to travel with us means choosing a travel company that puts sustainability at the heart of everything we do. 

Travel is both a personal passion and a professional pursuit. She is motivated by the impact travel has and believes that travel has a tremendously positive effect on people.  It helps broaden perspectives through the connectivity of shared experiences of adventure, exploration, learning and laughter showing how we are all more alike than different.             

An avid traveler herself to more than 50 countries, Melissa currently resides in Southern California with her Brazilian husband and two daughters, with whom she has shared the travel bug. 

About TTC Tour Brands  

The ease of touring has never been more important nor relevant, and no one does tours better than TTC Tour Brands. The portfolio includes the award-winning brands of Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver and Contiki. TTC Tour Brands are the global leaders in tours for any and everyone.  From budget to luxury and everything in between, the portfolio brings agents access to over 1000 tours, across 80+ countries via one single sales, reservations and marketing team, with the added ease of a single sign on booking platform.   

  TTC Tour Brands is part of the family-owned and run The Travel Corporation (TTC), driven by service for over one hundred years.  

Places In New Zealand That Don’t Feel Real

By Katie Manly, Swain Destinations 

New Zealand is for adventure seekers of all levels.  

Its Māori culture is renowned for being welcoming and wise.  

The adventure on offer ranges from mild to high octane.  

Its landscapes have become immortalized thanks to the many films it has set the backdrop for, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, because of its otherworldly natural formations. Here are just a few amazing places in New Zealand that will make you feel like your life is a movie… 

On the South Island, witness the pristine wilderness of the Fiordland National Park. Experience the unspoiled beauty of the Southern Alps with a helicopter tour of Fiordland National Park’s breathtaking wilderness. A landing at Milford Sound, where you can indulge in a delightful picnic lunch, will be an absolute highlight of your time in New Zealand as its beauty is so legendary, that it is almost folklore.  

There’s no place quite like Queenstown for adventure seekers. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, it’s no wonder that it is considered the adventure capital of the world – who wouldn’t want to see this iconic destination from every angle? Take a leap from an airplane or bungee from the iconic Kawarau Bridge for a bird’s eye view. Prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground? Get the adrenaline pumping from a more reasonable height; try jetboating or whitewater rafting on the Shotover River. But, if your stomach does somersaults at the thought of it all, you can still enjoy Queenstown’s picturesque scenery from aloft by scenic helicopter flight, ATV, cycling, or hiking the countryside. 

After an action-packed adventure in Queenstown, an escape to blissful seclusion in the Ahuriri Valley, a destination truly off the beaten path, is a must-do. Home of the Ahuriri River, a legendary spot for world class fly fishing, it is considered to be in the top five best places to cast a line across the planet. If fly fishing isn’t your area of expertise, there is still plenty of adventure on offer. Hiking, horseback riding, and star gazing all top the list as must-dos in this beautiful part of the country. 

After recharging your spirit in the expansive wilderness of the Ahuriri Valley, put your explorer boots on and hike the estimated 16,000-year-old Tasman glacier and marvel at the beauty of Mount Cook. Spot dolphins, whales, seals, and adorable little blue penguins at Marlborough Sounds before traveling through the rolling hills of the Marlborough wine region in search of your favorite Sauvignon Blanc. 

Stay a few nights in the cultural and architectural capital of the South Island, Christchurch, a city on the sea with a small-town feel. Christchurch also serves as the gateway to Akaroa and Kaikoura. Kaikoura is a seaside settlement renowned for its variety of marine mammals, including the giant sperm whale and the acrobatic Dusky Dolphins. Kaikoura is overlooked by majestic, snow-capped mountains. Experiencing this stunning alpine scenery while swimming with dolphins is a memory which will stay with you for a lifetime.  

On the North Island, visit the ancestral home of the Te Arawa, a Māori tribe whose people came by canoe and settled the area more than 600 years ago. This is Rotorua, famous for its geothermal springs, bubbling pools of sulfuric mud, and geysers. Allow the locals to show their Māori history and hospitality in all its glory, sharing a meal cooked from the steaming ground, a traditional Haka performance, and indulgent spa therapy. 

A couple hours’ drive away through dairy farms and kiwi fruit orchards, Waitomo Caves are subterranean limestone caverns with something unique deep within. Arachnocampa Luminosa, or glow worms as they’re lovingly called, are found exclusively in New Zealand and light up the Waitomo Caves as though they were decorated for the holidays. 

This is just a small sampling of the awe-inspiring destinations in New Zealand that don’t feel as though they belong to this planet. Well worth the trip, these places will have you wondering how you’ve lived this long without bearing witness to these otherworldly vistas for yourself.   

About the author: 

Katie Manly, VP of Sales & Marketing at Swain Destinations 

As the VP of Marketing and Sales at Swain Destinations, I craft the communications and advertising that represent a truly knowledgeable and purpose-driven team of master designers of luxury travel – a responsibility that I am honored to have been given. As part of my job, I am lucky enough to travel to our destinations all over the world, just as our clients do. Traveling as a Swain Destinations client would is a privilege of my job and also part of what makes Swain Destinations so successful, as we experience what our clients experience – whether on safari, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, or even taking my family to meet the real Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle. I truly believe that travel has the capacity to create personal connections and fulfillment so strong that it changes us for the better, which is why I am so passionate about what we do here at Swain Destinations. 

About Swain Destinations

Swain Destinations are Master Designers of luxury travel. Our Team has been meticulously planning personalized vacations to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Middle East for over 35 years. Nothing we ever do is cookie-cutter. We have access to places and excursions that can only come with time, relationships, and experience.  It is our culture of integrity, value, and personal service that makes us the luxury traveler’s choice and is why our philosophy is “luxury with heart”. 

Poland’s Sustainable Tourism: A Green Path to Discovery 

By: Polish Tourism Organization

Poland, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, is carving a path towards sustainable tourism, setting an example for how to balance the influx of tourists with the preservation of its environment and heritage. This commitment to green travel practices is not only enhancing visitor experiences but also ensuring that Poland’s treasures remain vibrant and accessible for future generations. 

Eco-Friendly Accommodations and Transport 

Poland’s approach to sustainable tourism is multifaceted, focusing on environmental protection, socio-cultural integrity, and economic benefits for local communities. From the Tatra Mountains’ pristine landscapes to the historic streets of Krakow and Gdansk, sustainable practices are being integrated to protect these destinations while accommodating tourists. 

A key element of Poland’s sustainable tourism strategy is the promotion of eco-friendly accommodations. Hotels and lodges across the country, some of the newest in Europe, are adopting green practices, such as using renewable energy sources, implementing water-saving techniques, and reducing waste. These establishments often receive certifications, such as the EU Ecolabel, assuring travelers of their commitment to environmental stewardship. 

Moreover, Poland is enhancing its public transportation network and promoting the use of bicycles and electric vehicles among tourists. Cities like Warsaw and Krakow have extensive bike-sharing systems, making it easy and green to explore. Long-distance travel options also include modern, efficient trains that offer a sustainable alternative to air travel within the country. 

Conservation Efforts and Responsible Tourism 

Poland’s national parks and nature reserves are at the forefront of conservation efforts, with strict regulations in place to protect biodiversity. The Bialowieza Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an exemplary model of how Poland is preserving its unique natural environments. Visitors are encouraged to explore these areas responsibly, following guidelines that minimize their environmental impact. 

Responsible tourism initiatives extend to cultural heritage sites as well. Efforts to maintain and restore historical landmarks, such as the Wawel Castle in Krakow and the Malbork Castle, are undertaken with sustainability in mind, using traditional materials and techniques to preserve authenticity while ensuring longevity. Sustainable tourism in Poland is also about benefiting local communities. By promoting local crafts, cuisine, and traditions, tourists get an authentic experience while contributing to the local economy. Agrotourism is gaining popularity, offering visitors the chance to stay in rural areas, participate in farming activities, and learn about traditional Polish ways of life. 

The Future of Tourism in Poland 

Poland’s journey towards fully sustainable tourism is in full swing and challenges are met with innovative solutions. As Poland continues to develop its sustainable tourism industry, it sets a benchmark for other countries to follow. The emphasis on environmental conservation, coupled with the promotion of cultural and historical heritage, positions Poland as a leading destination for travelers seeking authentic and eco-friendly experiences. 

Poland’s commitment to sustainable tourism is a testament to its dedication to preserving its natural beauty and cultural richness for future generations. By choosing to travel sustainably in Poland, visitors play a part in protecting this vibrant country’s legacy, making every trip not just a journey of discovery, but also a step towards a more sustainable world. Poland represents a harmonious blend of environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, and economic viability. As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable travel, Poland’s efforts shine as a beacon of hope, proving that it is possible to welcome tourists while safeguarding the planet’s precious resources. 

About Polish Tourism Organization

The objective of the Polish Tourism Organization is the promotion of Poland as a modern, attractive country offering travelers a high standard of services and appealing prices. We carry out work focused on the promotion and development of Polish tourism both at home and abroad.


By: Team of African Travel Inc.

Embarking on an African safari is a dream for many travelers, but there are common misconceptions that can overshadow the true essence of this magnificent continent. African safaris are captivating, memorable, and meaningful. One thing they’re not: predictable. Travelers can witness the Great Migration in Tanzania or trek through Rwanda’s rain forests in search of gorillas. They can meet Kenya’s Maasai warriors or watch artists at work in their Cape Town studios. 

“We invite travelers to explore Africa’s rhythms and have more-intimate experiences beyond the expected,” says Sherwin Banda, African Travel President. “Prepare to join captivating drumming sessions, gain profound insights through township excursions, meet incredible anti-poaching or all-women guiding teams, embark on mesmerizing low-impact ocean safaris, or even become a researcher for a day.”

African Travel, Inc. President, Sherwin Banda on safari with his family.

Join our safari experts as we debunk “The Big Five Safari Myths” and equip you with the knowledge to make the most of this extraordinary journey.

Myth One: The Only Thing to See in Africa is Wildlife

The Bo-Kaap is one of Cape Town’s most distinct neighborhoods and there’s so much to see, taste and explore.

Reality: Africa is often thought of as a single destination, but in reality it is a continent overflowing with captivating experiences that extend well beyond traditional safaris. While the thrill of watching a lion hunt near your game vehicle is hard to beat, great safaris offer enriching experiences that delve deeper into the continent’s treasures.

Immerse yourself in vibrant cultures like the Himba, San, and Maasai. Explore historical landmarks such as Luxor and Abu Simbel in Egypt or follow In the Footsteps of Mandela with a guided tour of Robben Island. Unwind on pristine beaches in Zanzibar or the Seychelles, where turquoise waters beckon for snorkeling and relaxation. Africa’s cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo, and Kigali serve as gateways to a world of enchantment. Indulge in innovative gastronomy at restaurants like SIBA, or venture into South Africa’s Cape Winelands on our South Africa Tapestry for a culinary journey. And when night falls, let Africa’s unobstructed skies reveal breathtaking stargazing experiences in Namibia’s deserts or the Serengeti’s plains.

Africa is a continent of endless wonders, offering a tapestry of experiences that extend beyond wildlife safaris.

Myth Two: You Need to Have the Right/ Enough Time to Visit

Experience the majesty of Victoria Falls on our Southern Explorer safari.

Reality: When most people think of safari, they think of the Great Migration, the dry season between June and October when millions of wildebeests and zebras cross Tanzania’s Serengeti plains and move north to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Few travelers realize that they can also witness the Great Migration when wildlife return to the Serengeti between November and May – spy the cyclical phenomenon on our World’s Greatest Show & Safari.

Africa is a year-round destination with lots of options to suit different schedules and travel styles. Spanning two hemispheres, Africa unveils unique opportunities throughout the year. Unlike the traditional four seasons, East Africa and Southern Africa boast wet and dry seasons, offering a captivating alternative. Enter the ‘Green Season‘, the cherished secret of safari enthusiasts, where dusty landscapes transform into scenic paradises. Witness flourishing flora, fresh air, and breathtaking landscapes that captivate the senses. Delight in great value, fewer crowds, and the adorable presence of baby animals.

Whether you have limited time or seek an extended adventure, our expert safari specialists will craft unforgettable itineraries tailored to your needs. For those with limited time or embarking on their first African adventure, our Southern Explorer itinerary is meticulously designed to deliver extraordinary bucket-list experiences, creating memories that will last a lifetime. For those dreaming of a longer expedition and have more time look to do a few destinations together, we invite you to delve into the richness of multiple destinations with our awe-inspiring Cape to Cairo journey. Immerse yourself in diverse landscapes, cultures, and wildlife.

Time should never be an obstacle to your African safari dream. Whether you have a handful of days or an open-ended itinerary, let us weave together an exceptional experience that perfectly suits your desires.

Myth Three: There’s a Perception That Where You Stay Isn’t Luxurious or is Too Adventurous

For a truly immersive discovery of the Okavango Delta, discover our remarkable Baobab Treehouse at Xigera.

Reality: At African Travel, we understand that luxury and adventure are subjective concepts, and we celebrate the uniqueness of each guest’s preferences and budget. With our diverse range of accommodation options, you’ll find the perfect fit to match your desired level of comfort and style.

Enter the enchanting realm of Botswana, where a spectrum of choices awaits. Picture yourself immersed in rustic yet luxurious accomodations on our  Delta, Rivers, and Fallswhere you can witness nature’s wonders unfold directly from your lodge. Or indulge in the epitome of safari opulence on the a safari connoisseurs dream Platinum Botswanawhere every aspect of your stay surpasses expectations. The camps and lodges not only boast exquisite design and sustainability but with our Make Travel Matter experiences – you get more, and your travels benefit local wildlife and communities.

For those seeking an even more exclusive experience, consider the option to take over entire camps, lodges, or indulge in a villa experience. Our Extraordinary South Africa safari is a prime example, where you can reside at Ellerman House, surrounded by South Africa’s largest private art collection. Enjoy private tours at the new Groobos Forest Lodge Villa, and explore the wonders of Sabi Sabi with a dedicated host, chef, spa therapist, field guide, and tracker.

Myth Four: Africa Isn’t Safe and Inclusive for Everyone

Marsha, one of our safari specialists, explores Kimirongo Market in Kigali

Reality: Traveling to Africa, where homosexuality is banned in some countries, may give some LGBTQ+ travelers pause. However, progress has been made to protect gender identity and preferences in many countries, including legalized same-sex marriage in South Africa, Botswana and the Seychelles.

With African Travel, knowledgeable guides prioritize your safety during wildlife encounters, allowing you to immerse yourself in Africa’s landscapes and wildlife. We collaborate with lodges and experiences to create safe spaces that embrace travelers of all ages, family compositions, sexual orientations, and identities. Our goal is to provide unforgettable experiences tailored to your needs.

Rwanda stands out as a safe destination known for warm hospitality and inclusivity. Named one of the world’s safest countries and a top destination for solo female travelers, Rwanda offers peace and security.

Discover specialized safaris like LGBTQ+ Pride Safaris and Family Safaris, tailored to ensure your safety and provide an environment where you can be your authentic self, creating cherished memories with your loved ones.

“Lodges, camps, and hotels throughout Africa have been leading the way in hiring diversity and investing in communities,” Sherwin says. “Our goal is to take travelers into the heart of Africa, including those places that focus on inclusion and sensitivity.”

Myth Five: Planning a Trip to Africa is Hard

With 45 years of experience in crafting unforgettable safaris African Travel is your trusted one-stop shop

Reality: Planning a safari to Africa can be daunting and overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start. However, African Travel is an exclusive expert in African travel, with over 45 years of experience in crafting unforgettable journeys. We are your trusted one-stop shop, offering comprehensive services that cover every aspect of your trip. From flights to accommodations, transfers to special experiences, and even private guides, we have you covered.

Whether you prefer to join one of our Classic Collection small group departures or wish to customize every detail of your adventure, African Travel provides seamless planning and expert guidance. We take the time to understand your unique preferences and desires, ensuring that your trip exceeds expectations.

Worried about mobility or have health concerns? Rest assured that we have options available, especially in South Africa, to cater to your specific needs. Our team is well-versed in handling visa requirements and providing guidance on necessary inoculations, taking the stress out of travel logistics.

With African Travel by your side, you can navigate the vast landscape of Africa with ease. Let us handle the intricate details, while you focus on immersing yourself in the beauty and wonder of this extraordinary continent.

African Travel, Inc. is the longest established luxury safari operator based in the US focused exclusively on the African continent. With staff across North America and in Africa, we create tailor-made safaris. Through our #MakeTravelMatter program and partnership with The TreadRight Foundation, and are committed to help the people, wildlife and planet. Each safari supports a child’s education or wildlife conservation project.  African Travel is an awarded safari company and a proud member of The Travel Corporation (TTC), a family-owned company with 103 years of expertise in luxury travel.

Unexpected Holiday Dishes Around the World – with recipes

By: Gina Bang, Director of Marketing, Avanti Destinations

One of the best-loved parts of any holiday is the special food we celebrate with, both savory and sweet. Here, we present 12 holiday specialties – with links to recipes – from countries as diverse as Morocco, Japan, Peru, and Croatia. Interested in sampling them in their native lands? We have suggestions for where to go – usually beyond the capital city to make it even more authentic.  

Sponge Donuts (Morocco)

Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated with deep fried foods to commemorate the miracle of one day’s worth of oil lasting eight days. These fluffy ring donuts, “Sfenj” (meaning sponge) have a crispy friend outer layer with a delicate, airy interior, and they are usually dusted with sugar or soaked in honey. Experience them in Casablanca, especially in Jewish communities during Hanukkah. Try this 100-year old family recipe.

Lechon (the Philippines)

Christmas in the Philippines is a grand affair, with Lechon, a whole roasted pig, at the center of festivities. Try it in Cebu, the region known for its distinctive “cebuchon” stuffed with lemongrass, scallions, garlic, and basil. Using a boneless, pork-belly roll instead of a whole pig is easier for most cooks Recipe

Honey Cookies (Greece)

“Melomakarona” are eggless, dairy-free cookies, akin to baklava, enjoyed during the fasting period of Orthodox Christians. Thessaloniki is the ideal place to taste these honey and walnut delights. Recipe

Tamales Criolles (Peru)

Traditional Peruvian Tamales differ from Mexican tamales, using fresh white corn and banana leaves. Another Peruvian Christmas custom called “Chocolatadas” is to distribute gifts and hot chocolate to less fortunate people in early December. Cuzco is the place to go. Recipe

Bûche de Noël (France, Belgium, Switzerland)

This Christmas dessert, symbolizing the Yule log, originated in France’s Brittany. Made with sponge cake, chocolate and heavy cream. Try it in Rennes, capital of Brittany, a city filled with medieval half-timbered houses or Lausanne, Switzerland. Recipe

Mochi Soup (Japan)

“Ozoni,” a New Year’s breakfast soup. Each family has their own special way of making it – with chicken, fish cakes, carrots, taro root, regional spices – but it always features mochi rice cakes. Try it in Kanazawa, known for its traditional districts. Recipe

Fruitcake (Chile)

“Pan de Pascua,” reminiscent of German stollen, is a Christmas staple, rich with spices, cherries, raisins, strong coffee and rum, brandy or pisco for a kick. Enjoy it in Chile’s picturesque Lake District. Recipe

Cabbage Rolls (Croatia)

Croatian “sarma” consists of meat-filled cabbage leaves, a winter comfort food best enjoyed in the gastronomic region of Istria. Recipe

Rice Pudding (Sweden)

“Risgrynsgröt” is a Christmas Eve essential, often a breakfast item on Christmas Day. It comes with a fun tradition of hiding one almond for good luck. On Sweden’s west coast, Gothenburg is a recommended destination for this treat. Recipe

Farofa (Brazil)

This crunchy side dish, made from cassava flour and flavorful additions such as bacon, onions, garlic, parsley and chives, is also commonly used as a stuffing for poultry. A great accompaniment for Brazilian Christmas barbecues. Salvador de Bahia offers an authentic cultural backdrop for this dish. Recipe

Feast of Seven Fishes (Italy)

This Southern Italian tradition involves a meatless Christmas Eve meal. It remains a much-loved custom among many Italian American families. Whether in Sorrento, Palermo, or Lecce, you’ll find various fish dishes to commemorate the occasion. Recipe

Rice Cake Soup (South Korea)

“Tteokguk,” a rice cake soup, is eaten during the lunar New Year, symbolizes purity and good fortune. Toppings for the soup can include beef or other meat, seafood, eggs, nori, and vegetables. Busan, known for its early sunrise, is the perfect place to enjoy this dish and welcome the new year. Recipe

Each of these foods offers a taste of the world’s diverse cultures and festivities, inviting you to explore traditions through culinary delights. Whether you’re cooking at home or planning your next journey, these dishes deliver a connection to global celebrations. For a whole host of holiday recipes, check Avanti’s holiday party e-cookbook: https://www.flipsnack.com/779977E569B/christmas-recipes-2022/full-view.html

About Avanti Destinations

Since 1981, Avanti Destinations has been selling custom-crafted independent travel vacations in Europe, Asia, North Africa/the Middle East, the South Pacific, and Central and South America. The Portland, Oregon-based wholesale tour operator offers a wide range of FIT components to travel advisors only, including air, rail, rental cars, hotels, sightseeing/attractions, transfers and hard-to-find experiential travel options.  Avanti specializes in hand-picked, locally-owned hotels in both large and small cities and in connecting all the pieces of complex or multi-destination itineraries. The company also creates complete packages for custom groups of 15 or more passengers. For more information: https://book.avantidestinations.com.

Floating Down the Path to Zero Waste 

By: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Some travelers start to worry when they see their favorite brands start developing “greener practices.” Maybe they suspect greenwashing, maybe an excuse to cut costs… or maybe they care deeply about sustainability, but don’t want to make sacrifices with their hard-earned vacations.  

Not with Uniworld. The philosophy here is that we love being able to explore our gorgeous planet in style. Indulgence and luxury are what we do best, and we want to be able to treat our guests to just that, for generations to come. We don’t waste our time—or our travelers’ patience—on superficial changes that diminish travel experiences while doing nothing real for the environment. We work smarter, seeking out science-backed solutions.  

That’s how Uniworld became the world’s first river cruise line to introduce validated targets for achieving Net Zero. We’ve looked at every avenue through which we can make real change, reducing waste related to food, energy, water, plastics and more to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

What we’re finding is that a lot of these changes can actually elevate the luxury travel experience. Putting refillable toiletries in our bathrooms means giving our guests a better experience than having to work with tiny plastic shampoo bottles in the shower, while also greatly reducing plastic waste. Sourcing fresh local produce for our meals means better tasting, more authentic cuisine.  

One of our proudest achievements in this direction has been the implementation of our partnership with LeanPath. Uniworld began partnering with LeanPath in 2021 to install a comprehensive measuring system in our kitchens that calculates how much food is left over after each meal—and became the only river cruise company to do so. Not only can these numbers give our chefs a clear picture of how to make sure everyone has as much to eat as they desire without the kitchens throwing out excessive leftovers, but they can even give our chefs intuitive feedback on the meals they prepare. 

We started our Leanpath trial with six ships in Europe, and already the results are incredible! Though 2022 was just meant to be a measuring stage, with the reductions coming after we got a clear idea of how much food waste we were creating, we found that just implementing a measuring system encourages more mindful and less wasteful kitchens. So far, we’ve eliminated over 29,000 pounds of food waste, saving approximately 100 tons of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere. And that’s across only the six ships piloting the early stages of the Leanpath program. In 2023, Leanpath will be implemented across every ship we own. Personally, I can’t wait to see those results improve exponentially in the next few years, as I know it’ll equate to even better dining experiences for our guests and for the environment.  

About Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises—the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line— features distinctive destination-inspired ships with an average capacity of 120 guests, expertly curated excursions, gourmet cuisine using locally sourced ingredients, and impeccable service with the highest staff-to-guest-ratio in the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Vietnam and Cambodia, India, Peru and Egypt—a total of 17 rivers in 26 countries worldwide. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travelers, media, and cruise industry experts. Uniworld’s overarching sustainability strategy,  ‘How We Tread Right,’ encompasses goals like reducing 50% of food waste by 2025, eliminating single-use plastics, achieving net zero by 2050 and offering guests meaningful experiences in the destinations they sail through supporting local communities. Uniworld is a member of The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of companies, which has been providing expert-led immersive travel experiences across the globe for over 100 years. (www.uniworld.com)

Meet Australia’s First Nations in Three Amazing Stops 

By: Christian Baines

Australia is a land of superlatives. Besides the world’s biggest island, it’s also home to the world’s oldest living culture. Around 500 Aboriginal nations are spread across all six of Australia’s states and two territories today. With distinct languages, traditions, legends, and methods of using the land, there’s a fascinating indigenous story to tell in every corner of Australia.  

With a desire to confront the wrongs of colonial invasion and reconnect with Australia’s pre-European identity and promote reconciliation, indigenous Australian communities are finding new and innovative ways to share their stories and culture with locals and visitors alike. While countless opportunities await to engage and learn about them, three stand out in Australia’s most popular destinations, offering just enough of an introduction to indigenous Australia to inspire you to learn more. 

A tour through The Rocks district in Sydney uncovers the city’s fascinating indigenous history.

Move With the Seasons of the Eora Nation 

Long before it became home to Australia’s oldest and largest city, the shores of Sydney Harbour sustained the Eora nation. Eora’s numerous tribes moved with the many seasons that determined their diet and lifestyle, all informed by ancient spiritual beliefs that cast the land’s inhabitants as part of nature, rather than its masters.  

As curiosity around these traditions has grown, indigenous tours, conducted in the shadow of Sydney’s most familiar icons have become much more popular. These tours not only bring visitors closer to the land’s long history but teach guests just a few of the secrets behind the crafts, tools, and hunting techniques that sustained people here for at least 60,000 years, and possibly over 120,000. 

Yet before you walk away thinking this is just a history lesson, take a closer look at some of Sydney’s colonial and modern-day structures. Eora remains embedded in the city’s DNA and carries on through traditions still practiced by indigenous people today, such as the dillybag, and the walkabout.  

Uluru is the world’s largest sandstone monolith and one of the most sacred sites for Indigenous Australians.

Take a Walk Around Australia’s Sacred Heart 

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is more than just an Aussie icon. It’s a sacred site to the Anangu people and indigenous Australians across the country. With its controversial and dangerous climbing track now closed, there’s never been a better time to see Uluru the way it should be seen, in the company of an indigenous guide.  

Besides being a natural beauty, Uluru plays an integral part in the creation stories of the Anangu, which come to life each night in a fantastic light show called Wintjiri Wiru. Guests learn about the ancient Mala people, the sacred ivara that carry the memories of Australia’s demigods across the country, and the story of nearby Kata Tjuta, the domed formations a short distance from Uluru that are tied to it both by legend and geology. 

Of course, the best photos of Uluru come at dawn and dusk, when the skies come alive with vibrant pink and orange hues. Enjoy a glass of bubbly, a three-course dinner in the desert, and a walk through the Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku, a spectacular 50,000 bulb light installation by artist Bruce Munroe.

Indigenous performers showcase their traditions in the rainforests of Far North Queensland.

The World’s Oldest Culture Meets the World’s Oldest Rainforest 

The Great Barrier Reef may steal the show when visiting tropical North Queensland, but just a short drive from Port Douglas, visitors can dive into the region’s unique story at Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre. A few hours spent here is the perfect primer to put the wonders of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest, into context. Both Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders have influenced this region, and their ancestors left behind spectacular and fascinating rock art, dreamtime stories and techniques for living off the land that continue to inform life and art for indigenous people in North Queensland today. 

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair brings together the best indigenous contemporary artists to the city in June and July each year. Every other year, the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival brings together over 20 communities from across Cape York in a spectacular celebration of heritage. If you can’t make it for one of these special events, embarking on a tour of area with an indigenous guide can bring it to life, and highlight the links connecting the sights and traditions of the past with the modern-day community. 

Find you dream vacation to Australia at https://ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/australia

About Goway

Goway is one of North America’s leading travel companies and the world’s foremost provider of travel experiences to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Goway offers trips to over 115 destinations worldwide, including Africa, Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Polar Regions, and the United States and Canada.

Goway is a family-owned company still owned and operated by Founder & President Bruce Hodge that employs over 600 staff members worldwide. Its global headquarters is in Toronto and it has offices in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Manila. Goway sells both retail and wholesale travel packages, planning trips for Globetrotters and helping travel professionals make their clients’ travel dreams a reality. It also has groups, air consolidation, and corporate travel departments.

Nordic Countries Once Again Named “World’s Happiest”

By Madigan Talmage-Bowers, TCS World Travel 

As in past years, Nordic and northern European countries have claimed the top spots on the list of “world’s happiest countries” in the 2023 World Happiness Report, an annual ranking that aims to quantify the aspirational concept of happiness around the globe based on six measures of life evaluation: GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, the freedom to make life choices, and the presence or absence of corruption. For travelers wanting to explore these happiness hotspots, here are ways to engage with local culture and natural attractions for a well-being boost.  

Finland’s Midnight Sun

Finland (Happiness Rank: #1) 

Despite notoriously harsh winters, the reigning happiness champion draws visitors to its vast, pristine wilderness—about 75% of the country is forested—and distinct regional culture. In the south, the welcoming seaside capital of Helsinki offers cutting-edge Finnish architecture and design, with easy day trips to the charming artistic villages of Porvoo and Fiskars. Further north, the Sápmi area (also known as Lapland) brushes the Arctic Circle, offering extra hours to explore during summer’s “midnight sun.” In the winter, intrepid travelers willing to bundle up can experience ideal northern lights viewing opportunities and connection with the indigenous Sámi culture, known for the semi-nomadic practice of reindeer herding.  

Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark (#2) 

Graceful Renaissance architecture paired with modern Danish design and a world-class culinary scene makes Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen one of the rising stars of European tourism. Gourmands are spoiled for choice among the city’s roster of Michelin-starred restaurants showcasing nouveau Nordic cuisine, while visitors interested in Danish arts and crafts can browse the showrooms of local designers, watch master glassblowers at work, or admire delicate porcelain creations at the Royal Copenhagen factory. Part of the Kingdom of Denmark (though about 700 miles offshore), the autonomous archipelago of the Faroe Islands offers untouched landscapes of wind-swept emerald heaths and stunning sea cliffs, alongside a distinct culture that includes a rich musical heritage and time-honored crafts such as Faroese wool knitting.  

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Iceland (#3) 

Much more than an appealing stopover on transatlantic flights, Iceland is gaining traction as a destination in its own right, with easy connections from many European cities and a wealth of natural attractions. One of the continent’s smallest capitals, easy-going Reykjavik also ranks among the world’s most sustainable cities, thanks to an abundance of renewable geothermal energy and an ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2040. After a restorative soak and mud bath in the naturally heated Blue Lagoon, visitors often head to Southern Iceland’s popular Golden Circle touring route—showcasing otherworldly landscapes of waterfalls, bubbling geothermal fields, lava tubes, and glaciers that invite ice trekking or thrilling snowmobile tours.

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Sweden (#6) 

Most visitors to Sweden start at the enchanting capital of Stockholm, where the ochre-hued townhomes and Royal Palace of the Gamla Stan (Old Town) preside over a lacy network of canals and bridges connecting medieval and modern Stockholm. A cruise through the Stockholm Archipelago offers easy access to a network of nearly 30,000 islands—some with remnants of quaint fishing villages, while others are uninhabited landscapes of woodland and rocky cliffs. Over on Sweden’s North Sea coast, the riverside city of Gothenburg has earned the title of the “world’s most sustainable city” every year since the ranking was debuted by the Global Destination Sustainability Movement in 2016. Here, nearly 90% of hotels are eco-certified and an excellent dining scene showcases sustainable, locally sourced seafood.  

Lofoten, Norway

Norway (#7) 

Boasting the second-longest coastline in the world (after Canada), Norway offers spectacular natural landscapes alongside contemporary Scandinavian culture. In the vibrant capital of Oslo, travelers can admire groundbreaking Norwegian architecture on a tour of the iceberg-inspired Oslo Opera House or discover Norway’s seafaring heritage at the Viking Ship Museum, featuring magnificent longboats from the ninth century. On the southwestern coast, the city of Bergen is known for both its cultural cache (it’s home to one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras) and as the gateway to Norway’s famous fjords. Further north, the majestic, snow-capped Sunnmøre Alps tower over the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord and offer a year-round playground, with alpine hiking in summer and snowshoeing or ski touring during snow season.  

Lavaux Terraces, Switzerland

Switzerland (#8) 

Switzerland packs a wealth of inviting destinations into its relatively small size. In the shadow of the towering Swiss Alps, mountain-chic resort towns like Zermatt, St. Moritz, and Gstaad boast some of Europe’s best ski terrain with world-class amenities to match. In French-speaking Lausanne, the Olympic Museum traces the history of the games through sculptural interpretations of the Olympic spirit along with a robust collection of sporting memorabilia. Nearby, the fertile Lavaux Valley is lined with UNESCO-listed vineyard terraces that have been producing wine for nearly a millennium. At one of many hillside wineries, oenophiles can savor a glass of wine paired with Swiss fondue and spectacular views over Lake Geneva.  

About TCS World Travel 

TCS World Travel has been dedicated to enriching lives through travel since its founding in 1991. As a pioneer in the private jet expeditions industry, TCS has developed and operated nearly 300 luxury jet tours to more than 200 destinations. To commemorate its legacy of travel, the company recently launched a brand-new expedition across Scandinavia and northern Europe aboard a customized A321 private jet. Travelers will be joined by TCS President Shelley Cline on the inaugural itinerary, departing in July 2024. 


How to Tap Into the Culture Wherever You Go 

By Kelly Gould for ALG Vacations® 

If your home is a long-term relationship, then travel is the spark that keeps it going. It’s the return of the date night, the new look that reminds us we do love where we are and who’s beside us … but also that we need to do this more often.  

Like any good shake-up, travel isn’t an action; it’s an experience. So, to get the most out of it, arrive at your destination—whether an hour away or an ocean away—with a curious mind. Being open to the local lifestyle will help you reflect on and appreciate your own, and, odds are, even change it for the better. 

Follow these travel tips, and you’ll be tapping into the culture in no time.   

Get a taste for the culture by sampling local flavors. 
  1. Eat like a local. If the place you’re visiting is famous for a certain dish or product, try it during your stay. Don’t limit yourself to the one restaurant that supposedly has “the best” version (the more touristy the location, the more often it’s overrated). In fact, if you really want to commit, make a tasting out of it.  Sample every pastel de nata in Lisbon or gelato in Florence you come across. Do a study on how many ways you can cook an apple in New York in the fall or let a rum flight in Jamaica give you a new favorite brand. Follow where the locals lead and if a particular food pairing seems weird, just remember: Someone once thought chicken and waffles was strange, too. 
Museums let you discover not just one story but many for a deeper understanding of your destination’s history and heritage. 
  1. Go to a museum. You can’t really know a culture until you understand its history, and a museum is the perfect place to start learning. Brush up on artists who made their name in the region (think Van Gogh in Amsterdam and Ernest Hemingway in Key West), trace impactful changes back to their roots, or discover a subculture you know nothing about.  
Be a fan of the home team for the day, whether at game or a show. 
  1. Get on the scene. Which scene? That depends on where you’re visiting. In New Orleans, it’s jazz, but if you’re traveling to Liverpool, it’s football (or the Beatles!) for sure. Find out what draws a crowd in your destination, then join a concert, stop for a street performance, or catch a game. You don’t have to know the rules to have a good time; just enjoy it!  
  1. Be more than a tourist. Sticking to the “main” attractions is what a tourist does. Culture hounds, on the other hand, mix in lesser-known sights. Exploring beyond the tourist zone is the only way to get a genuine feel for the place and people around you. 
Learning about what’s made locally gives you a better feel for the destination—and supports the people who live there. 
  1. Buy local. Better yet, buy directly from an artisan or small business. It could be espadrilles in Spain, handmade alebrijes in Mexico, or Kona coffee in Hawaii. Whatever your purchase, you’re supporting the local economy and bringing a little bit of the culture home. 
Nothing says conscientious traveler more than taking the time to remember a few words of local lingo. 
  1. Learn a few phrases. If the people where you’re going speak a different language, memorize some basic words like “hello,” “thank you,” and “bathroom.” Not only is it the polite thing to do, but you’ll feel more at ease, too. When traveling to a place that favors a language you already know, see if you can pick up on regional slang or colloquialisms. (British English is full of them!) 
No matter the culture, just remember to respect it—and the place it came from!
  1. Be respectful. You’re a guest in someone else’s home … so act like one! Bring your patience and an open mind. If you’re nervous about making a mistake or unsure if an experience could be offensive, get the local perspective, do your homework, and talk to your travel advisor as you plan your trip. Advisors are the experts for a reason. They’ve been to the destinations you’re traveling to and can give you a heads-up on any cultural dos or don’ts, even as simple as tipping. 

Find a culture that speaks to you and get out and experience it! Start planning with an ALG Vacations® travel advisor at traveladvisorsgetyouthere.com.  

About the Author

An avid traveler with over 10 years of experience in the industry, sharing her love for cultures foreign and familiar alike is what fuels Kelly Gould’s passion for writing. As the Associate Manager of B2B Marketing for ALG Vacations®, she does just that for travel advisors, storytelling across mediums from blog posts to campaigns. When not traveling, she pretends she is anyway with frequent museum visits and an ever-expanding reading list. 

About ALG Vacations

ALG Vacations® (ALGV) is part of Hyatt (www.hyatt.com) and managed under Apple Leisure Group® (ALG), a leading North American resort brand-management, leisure travel, and hospitality group with a unique business model serving travelers and destinations worldwide. ALGV is a collection of powerful and growing vacation brands widely recognized for providing the industry’s leading leisure travel experience across the world. ALGV was voted the ASTA Tour Operator Partner of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and was the winner of numerous 2022 awards from the leading travel trade publications. With more than three million passengers annually, ALGV features well-established vacation brands including Apple Vacations®, Funjet Vacations®, Travel Impressions®, Southwest Vacations®, Blue Sky Tours®, and United Vacations®