The High Road


Feb 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Botswana safari

Follow the Leader: An elephant herd in Botswana    Photo: Corbis

Kenya and Tanzania
Safari Through Masailand
Price: $3,750
Difficulty: Moderate
In partnership with the Masai Environmental Resource Coalition, a network of Masai organizations advocating for tribal rights and sustainable use of the great ecosystems of East Africa, this 12-day safari-with-a-conscience combines classic game drives and walks with daily visits to local schools and villages—well off the usual tourist path. The journey begins in the wide, lion-rich plains of the Masai Mara Game Reserve, then heads to the important elephant migratory ground of Amboseli National Park, at the foot of 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro. Tanzania's rustic tented Sinya Camp, a private Masai concession in the acacia woodlands, is the final stop.
High Point: Searching for game on foot with a Masai warrior in the Sinya bushlands—littered by giant elephant dung.
Low Point: Realizing that for many years the Masai have not reaped equitable benefits from the tourism trade.
Travel Advisory: Don't expect your guides to drive off-road to get a better look at wild animals. It damages habitat, harasses wildlife, and is strictly prohibited on this trip.
Outfitter: Wildland Adventures, 800-345-4453,
When to Go: February, March, June to October, December

Overland Exploration
Price: $4,750 and up
Difficulty: Moderate
On this 17-day expedition from Tripoli—one of the first outfitted trips to Libya since the travel ban for U.S. citizens was lifted last March—you'll take in all five of Libya's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ruins of the Roman-walled cities of Sabratah and Leptis Magna; the labyrinthine 2,000-year-old mud-brick western border town of Ghadames, a key stop on the great trans-Saharan caravan routes; and the haunting, desolate Greek temples and tombs of Apollonia and Cyrenaica, on a bluff overlooking the sea. Along the way, you'll camp in the desert and sleep on beds carved out of rock in the below-ground troglodyte houses of Ruhaybat.
Outfitter: Geographic Expeditions, 800-777-8183,
When to Go: April, September

Guiding Adventure
Price: $2,700—$3,300
Difficulty: Moderate
Aspiring safari guides, take note. This nine-day educational foray into the wilds of the Okavango Delta—among antelopes, lions, giraffes, Cape buffalo, and zebras—will give participants a strong introduction to the finer points of African bushcraft and survival skills. You’ll be schooled by professional South African guiding instructors in four-wheel driving techniques, navigation, tracking, fire starting, canoe poling, food foraging, rifle handling, game spotting, and (optional) venomous-snake wrangling. Though your graduation certificate won’t qualify you as a professional guide, it will certainly look impressive on the wall of your den back home.
Outfitter: Explore Africa, 888-596-6377,
When to Go: Year-round

South Africa and Mozambique
Fishing and Diving Adventure
Price: $4,395
Difficulty: Moderate
This two-week coastal foray starts in South Africa's Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve, where you'll spend five nights in one of Rocktail Bay Lodge's 11 stilted chalets, tucked behind forested dunes. Between surfcasting for kingfish and snorkeling amid a confetti swirl of subtropical fish, you'll view freshwater lake hippos and crocs and hit the beach at night to track nesting leatherback and loggerhead turtles. After a quick flight to Mozambique, you'll board a boat for Benguerra Island, just off the mainland in the Bazaruto Archipelago, and check in to the thatched bungalows of Benguerra Lodge. Here, scuba divers may encounter 50-foot whale sharks and endangered dugongs, and anglers will work some of the world's best marlin-fishing grounds.
Outfitter: The Africa Adventure Company, 800-882-9453,
When to Go: Year-round