- Tourism - Travel
Royal Invitation Sparks Travcoa African Expedition by Classic DC-3 Airliner
Building on an invitation from the Zulu royal household, pioneering travel operator Travcoa celebrates its expeditionary roots this September with a 3,500-mile, four nation flying safari to attend the most significant cultural event on the African continent.
The 18-day expedition, titled Once in a Lifetime Africa, explores seldom seen natural beauty in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique, and introduces travelers to the cultures, people and places that have helped shaped those nations’ past and future. A highlight is rare, privileged access to the annual Zulu Reed Dance by personal invitation from Zulu royalty. This coming-out party for over 20,000 Zulu maidens is an event that few outsiders are even invited to attend, much less experience intimately. And by getting deep into three of Africa’s top game reserves, this journey provides a rich wildlife experience. The expedition’s unique nature has been recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine by featuring it among this year’s Tours of a Lifetime in the May, 2010 issue.
"What sets this journey apart from any other is a carefully crafted plan to put a small party of only 14 like-minded explorers in just the right place at just the right time to experience places, people, sights and events that other travelers to Africa will completely miss," said Travcoa president Jerre Fuqua. "I’ve personally worked with our Africa experts to connect hidden-gem destinations, behind-the-scenes experiences, local leaders, families, artists and businessmen along the route, and know it to be unlike any other travel experience on earth."
Making this expedition possible is a beautifully restored Douglas DC-3 airliner maintained to the highest international airline standards and commanded by two senior South African airline captains with decades of experience. The pilots, flight attendant and expedition leaders personally know the places and people that will make a difference, and will provide an extraordinary level of comfort, safety, access and insider knowledge throughout the expedition.
"The DC-3 is the ideal expedition vehicle," noted Fuqua, who flew the aircraft during an October, 2009 Travcoa expedition through Africa. "The plane’s propeller power and rugged landing gear means we can land at airstrips that larger planes or private jets can’t, plus it has the range to fly directly to the most appealing places on our own schedule. By avoiding the busy commercial airports and airline schedules, we’ll gain extra days to fully experience Africa."
Although this expedition emphasizes off-the-beaten-path discovery, comfort has not been overlooked in any aspect. With a galley, toilet and ample room to walk about, the DC-3 covers the vastness of Africa in comfort. The expedition also uses some of Africa’s most beautiful, exclusive lodges, camps and hotels, with exceptional local guides and extraordinary meals and events scheduled just for this expedition party.
Travcoa’s Africa expert and Expedition Leader for this journey is Dr. Loel Fenwick, the son of a Zululand game ranger and a pioneer of bespoke classic airliner expeditions through Africa. "I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with the dynamic, intelligent clients who choose a true expedition over a typical tour. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for those that want to really experience Africa’s natural beauty, history and rich culture," said Fenwick.
The Once in a Lifetime Africa expedition costs $35,000 per person and departs from Johannesburg on September 1, 2010. The expedition includes Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana; special bush camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park; Bazaruto Island off the coast of Mozambique; Kwandwe Game Reserve, Plettenberg Bay, Oudtshoorn, Cape Town and the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa. Although the aircraft has the capacity for up to 28 people, the Once in a Lifetime Africa expedition is limited to only 14 travelers.
Full details of the daily expedition plan, the DC-3 aircraft and the expedition leaders are available under the Flying Safaris heading at www.travcoa.com. Travelers can also register at the Travcoa website to join a live, online presentation about this journey by Dr. Fenwick on Wednesday, May 5 at 5:00PM Pacific time.
In addition to annually scheduled small-group safaris, Travcoa offers private, customized expeditions for friends or family who wish to choose the destinations, experiences and dates of interest to them.
Travcoa has been leading in-depth explorations of the world’s most interesting destinations since 1954, and offers three types of travel experiences around the globe: small-group "Escorted Journeys" with comprehensive itineraries and regular departures guided by professional Travel Directors; "Private Journeys" for independent travelers who prefer an exclusive traveling party and departure date; and "Expeditions" to remote destinations and events around the world using specially configured Boeing 757s or classic airliners. For more information, visit www.travcoa.com or call (800) 992-2005.