Winter Travel Guide 1996
East africa still offers the best wildlife parade on the planet. You can view it from the window of a minivan, as tens of thousands of visitors to East Africa do each year, but the trick is to join the show, traveling step by step across the Masai Mara on a horse. Go on safari with Kenyan Tristan Voorspuy, former officer in the Blues and Royals, the Queen's own Horse Guard, who with his wife, Lucinda, operates Offbeat Safaris.
Accommodations (tents, cots, bucket showers) are the genuine article and the horses are rangy thoroughbreds, fit and polo-schooled. The tack is English and the riding only for the experienced. But what riding: quiet ambles in the shade of fever trees and fast gallops over tawny grasslands. The Kenya Endurance Ride (11 days in the saddle) is offered four times from January through March for $4,100 per person (not including airfare). You won't see the huge herds of migrating wildebeest (the best time for that is July-October), but you'll meet plenty of wild creatures from your new perspective, on the hoof. Book trips through Equitour (800-545-0019).
If you like riding waves more than horses, you've undoubtedly heard of South Africa's J Bay and Supertubes, the long right reef break that ranks among the top five breaks in the world. That's Jeffreys Bay, a surfer town near Port Elizabeth on the South Coast. Friends, a company of hard-core international surfers from nearby Mossel Bay, will take you (and two to five other people) to J Bay as part of a 15-day South Coast safari. You camp in Addo Elephant National Park, hike the wild, rocky beaches and yellowwood forests of Tsitsikamma National Park, ride horses, canoe, bungee-jump, and surf, surf, surf. J Bay alone offers five other reefs--the Point, Magnatubes, Kitchen Windows, Albatross, and Phantom--and on a good day an eight-foot swell. The trip costs about $1,512, not including airfare, with five departures from Capetown between November and February. Call or fax 011-27-444-981269. --Ann Jones