Special greetings from all of us here in Zimbabwe and our apologies for the long silence! We have been happily busy with safaris and concentrating on other grand schemes; we will tell you all about it in this newsletter
But before we go on, and because we havent had a chance to send many of you our holiday and New Year wishes, we do so now! We hope it was peaceful, restful, fun and full of promise for a bright, exciting year ahead. If that includes an African safari, so much the better!
Going back to last year
The 2009 safari season began in Tanzania in March after we returned from a wonderful family holiday in Australia and New Zealand; you will have received our news at the time. What turned out to be a great year ended with a Christmas safari in Kenya, which was a magical time for all.
There are many highlights on our 2009 list, but one of the best parts of the year was definitely the introduction of 25 under-18s to Africa! All enthusiastic, eager to learn, fascinated by what was on offer to see, do and absorb from our incredible continent, we are sure that many of them were inspired and uplifted. The experience should equip them with various life skills and many happy memories. John, himself, finds this a truly rewarding experience, sharing his knowledge and love of Africa with youngsters theyre like sponges, they just soak it all up!
Many of you may have read the very touching letters written to John by the Davis boys. Please refer to this link: www.johnstevenssafaris.com/news.htm
Our daughter Sarah and her partner, Milo, provided another highlight of 2009 by re-opening our old tented camp in Mana Pools.
For those of you who dont know, John operated a tented camp in Mana Pools for 15 years until he mothballed it in early 2000 and now Sarah, to her fathers great joy, has revived and upgraded it with Milo and has introduced her own special interpretation on the banks of the beautiful Zambezi: The Mana Pools Safari Company.
Sarahs enthusiasm for camp life continues to grow and is attracting just the right number of bookings for the May October season. When John is not available to guide, they have some other great guides on their books.
As you receive this, we are in Australia and then travelling on to New Zealand for 2 months this time so that Nicci can be near her mother for a good while; in the meantime, John can familiarise himself with New Zealands wonderful nooks and crannies a little better with the idea that some of you might like to join him in this incredible world in one country for a bit of walking one of these days!
Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand January 2010 (with thanks Martha Dwyer)
We will return to Africa in early May to begin another busy safari season, with bookings in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Sadly, we dont have bookings for Tanzania this year - but do get in touch if you suddenly get an urge to return to Africa, as there are some really great offers available, especially in Tanzania. And certainly if that urge overwhelms you, do also think about a week or so in Mana Pools with John he has a few spaces in early September and during October, both prime times in the Zambezi Valley.
A new and exciting part of 2010 will certainly be that Briar, our eldest daughter, who lives in Melbourne, has now joined the family business, working a few days of each month. One of Briars first tasks will be helping us to organise a planned trip to the US in November this year. We will tell you more about this in our next newsletter, but at this point our itinerary includes New York, Washington and Chicago.
The year has begun full of expectation. Foremost in every Zimbabweans mind is whether the fledgling unity government will continue to take the country forward. For us personally, we are looking forward to the people we will meet, seeing old friends - and the very special African experience we plan to give those that venture our way.
If you are planning to return to Africa, or visit for the first time, either this year or next, with John as your private guide or simply to have us put together your itinerary using our experience and knowledge of Africas best wildlife areas, camps and lodges, do get in touch with us soon. This is critical in order to get your preferred dates and bookings. We will always do our best to come up with a wonderful itinerary for you.
Best wishes from John, Nicci, Sarah and Briar