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Dear Vacations To Go Customer,
Alan Fox is on safari in South Africa with SITA World Tours
his second report, from the Kapama Karula
lodge, is below.
Please scroll down to see this week's tour deals.
|"Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great
I'm sitting on the back deck of my casita at Kapama Karula
looking down at the Klaserie River. This is the second of three lodges
and private game reserves that I will visit on my safari. I arrived two
days ago via a 15-minute bush plane flight from my last lodge.
There are mischievous, black-faced vervet monkeys in the tree at the end
of the deck, watching my every move. I have dealt with their kind
before--they're hoping for an opportunity to sweep down and run off with
There's a huge lizard moving along the bank on this side of the river
and a solitary bull elephant grazing in the meadow on the other side. He
wraps his trunk around a section of tall grass, tears it from the ground
and shakes out the dirt before putting it in his mouth.
Kapama Karula is the finest of four luxury lodges sharing the enormous
Kapama Private Game Reserve
, just outside Kruger National Park.
The lodge offers 12 lavishly decorated suites surrounded by trees and
scattered across the property, ranging in size from 1,000 to 1,829
Each suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a private swimming pool on
an elevated back deck, indoor and outdoor showers, bath, fireplace and
every modern convenience.
There's a beautiful, new spa with infinity pool and a well-equipped
fitness center. A spacious bar and lounge overlook the river. A library
and a shop filled with local crafts and souvenirs round out the
amenities. Guests do not lack for anything.
Gourmet fish, poultry and game dishes are served in the open-air dining
room and in the boma, a traditional, outdoor enclosure for dining. The
food here is truly extraordinary.
The grounds of the lodge are bordered by the river on one side and a
mile-long fence on the other. With predators locked out, guests can walk
unescorted to and from their suites, passing monkeys, mongooses and the
most relaxed impalas within a hundred miles.
Game drive highlights have included close encounters with rhinos, a lion
and a leopard. Rhinos are under tremendous pressure from poachers, who
kill them for their horns, which can bring up to six figures on the
black market. Misinformed end users in China and Vietnam believe ground
rhino horn cures everything from cancer to hangovers. Middle Eastern
buyers carve horns into cups and dagger handles.
On several occasions, our open-air Land Rover was surrounded by herds of
African elephants, the largest land animals on Earth. Elephants can grow
up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 26,000 pounds. They look down on our
vehicle and are not the slightest bit concerned by our presence.
Elephants are born blind, weighing 200 pounds or more, and calves can
stand almost immediately. We saw a newborn elephant learning how to
walk, staggering forward, backward and sideways as it was gently guided
by the trunks of its mother and other adults.
Once they can see and walk, calves are as playful as puppies and are
curious when they see a vehicle. They'll walk straight toward our Land
Rover with ears flapping and trunk raised as if to trumpet until an
adult nudges them in a new direction.
Elephants rarely stop moving and they don't look for trails, they MAKE
them as they munch their way straight through the thickest part of the
bush. Uprooted and trampled bushes, limbs stripped of bark and leaves,
and the sound of trees cracking and falling are sure signs that
elephants are close by.
A single elephant consumes up to 300 pounds of vegetation every day, and
it takes up to 20 hours of eating to do it.
Elephants are intelligent and peaceful by nature. Despite their
unmatched size and strength, they do not bother other animals, except in
self-defense. They protect their young and each other. They adopt the
calves of adults that die or are killed by poachers or other
Elephants are said by some to have human emotions, to cry and feel loss
and mourn their dead. They may return for years to stand by the bones of
a fallen family member.
One herd was documented pushing and pulling the carcass of the family
matriarch for a week after she died, as if to say, "Get up!"
Elephant families are led by the oldest female. When males in the herd
near sexual maturity, they leave or are driven out of the family and
will spend the rest of their lives alone or in loose association with
The old fellow across the river may be past his days of mating. He's too
massive for lions to bother and he should be safe from ivory poachers on
this private game reserve. He could live to be 70 before he grinds down
the last of his six sets of teeth and starves to death.
That would be a long and lucky life in the bush; a noble life.
To view photos or a slideshow from this leg of my journey, please
Alan Fox is traveling for the second time with the deluxe safari
operator SITA World Tours
. The company has more than 80 years of
experience and specializes in guided travel to exotic destinations.
SITA offers upscale safaris throughout Africa on scheduled departures
for small groups but will also customize a safari for as few as two
people. They work with the best lodges and guides in each destination
and take care of every detail.
The safari experts at Vacations To Go can help you find the perfect SITA
safari. To see SITA safari itineraries in Africa,
To see all SITA tours worldwide,
Here are this week's Top 15 Tours
. All prices are per person,
based on double occupancy, and subject to availability.
London to Rome Highlights
10 days with CostSaver by Trafalgar. Begins in London and ends in Rome.
Save $50 per couple.
Starting at $1,750. Departs September 8, 15
& 22 and October 6 & 20, 2017.
Manila & Boracay Sojourn
6 days with SITA Tours. Begins and ends in Manila. Starting at $850.
Daily departures from August 28 through December 18, 2017.
Holland and the Romantic Rhine Valley
7 days with CroisiEurope. Begins in Amsterdam and ends in Strasbourg.
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11 days with Insight Vacations. Begins and ends in Casablanca. Save
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8 days with American Queen Steamboat Company. Begins in Memphis and ends
in New Orleans. Save $800 per couple, plus receive free shore
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Starting at $2,150. Departures from April 22 through October 21, 2018.
Highlights of Spain and Portugal
13 days with Trafalgar. Begins and ends in Madrid. Save up to
Starting at $2,205. Departures from April 8 through October 14,
Sensations of Southern France
8 days with Emerald Waterways. Travels between Nice and Lyon. Fly for
free from select gateways.
Starting at $2,995. Departures from April
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Impressions of South America
10 days with Trafalgar. Begins in Rio de Janeiro and ends in Buenos
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Starting at $2,999. Departures from
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Three Kingdoms of Indochina
20 days with Collette. Begins and ends in Ho Chi Minh City. Save $400
Starting at $3,549. Departs October 2 and November 27,
2017 and January 29, 2018.
Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief
6 days with Quark Expeditions. Begins and ends in Longyearbyen. Save
$2,000 to $3,000 per couple.
Starting at $4,595. Departs July 22,
From the Outback to the Glaciers
21 days with Collette. Begins in Cairns and ends in Christchurch.
Save $500 per couple.
Starting at $4,999. Departures from
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15 Day Jewels of Europe
15 days with Scenic Cruises. Travels between Amsterdam and Budapest.
Save $6,300 per couple, plus receive a free 150 euro onboard
Starting at $6,745. Departures from September 25 through
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Discover Patagonia and Antarctica
16 days with Hurtigruten. Begins and ends in Santiago. Companion
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Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-680-2858.
For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click
For savings of up to 82% on ocean cruises, click
For river cruises up to 50% off, click
For discounts of up to 50% at hotels and all-inclusive resorts, click
For the lowest rates on Africa safaris from budget to luxury in quality,
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Vacations To Go