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We cannot believe how 2014 has flown by and hurtling towards us is the holiday season, but also, thankfully, time to relax! In the spirit of all things festive and family, we want to talk about inter-generational safaris in Africa and what a good idea it is to plan one for your family…

Sometimes these safaris can span three or four generations, from 8 to 80 years old - and the opportunity to spend precious time together, far away from the distractions of technology and everyday routine is irresistible.

The Sigg Family with John, The Sigg brothers

“It’s opener there – in the wide open air” (Dr Seuss!)

Dr Seuss talks about all the “Great Places” out there and you, too, “can steer yourself any direction you choose!

Great countries to explore as a family include Zimbabwe – try a combination of adventurous activity and relaxation in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls - then head into the wildlife and walking adventures of UNESCO World Heritage site Mana Pools and Hwange. Zimbabwe is known to have the best guiding in Africa and John Stevens himself takes great pleasure, especially, in sharing his knowledge with youngsters.

You may want to consider the possibility of a floating houseboat holiday on vast Lake Kariba, too, with its tiger fishing and incredible sunsets or staying in a cave in the fascinating Matobo Hills, rich with history and rock paintings.

South Africa offers a world in one country with exciting city breaks, wildlife experiences, cultural interactions and a beautiful coastline. Many visitors end a southern Africa safari in Cape Town, which is wonderfully diverse, from the famous Table Mountain to vineyard, beach and city attractions. Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya and Zambia all offer great blends of incredible wildlife interactions and an amazing variety of landscape and experience.

Add a fun beach extension with a few days in Mozambique or Zanzibar. Mafia Island, a virtually unknown and unspoilt destination, was recently highly recommended by one of our Tanzanian ground operators.

“The possibilities are endless and whatever you decide to do, we’ll come up with an itinerary that provides a depth of interest and variety to ensure that each member of the family is looked after in terms of involvement and excitement.”

Great News! The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa…

… goes to our friend and colleague, Richard Bonham, Big Life Foundation’s co-founder and Director of Operations in Africa. We are so delighted for him and the organisation, which operates from Amboseli, Kenya. Congratulations, dear Richard!

This lifetime achievement award given by Tusk recognises outstanding dedication and exceptional contributions to conservation in Africa. (Last year, Zimbabwean, Clive Stockil, was the proud recipient.)

On accepting the award, Richard acknowledged the many organisations and people involved in elephant protection, from the communities who have committed to live side by side with wild animals and their participation in conservation, to government and private sector partnerships, to organisations like Tusk, who put massive amounts of energy and money towards conservation, to the community rangers who sometimes put their own lives on the line to help protect Africa’s gentle giants.

“I have watched elephants in the Selous game reserve in Tanzania drop from over 100,000 animals to probably less than 10,000, and that number is still falling.”

And a quote from Richard Leakey that really strikes home – “In August, we reached a crucial tipping point in Africa, where more elephants were being killed than being born.”

A word about Ebola

Ebola remains a problem in far away West Africa, but, by all accounts, much is being done to try and prevent the spread of the disease into other parts of Africa and the world. No cases reported in the countries in which we operate in East or Southern Africa. Please read our newsletter, if you haven’t already done so – Keeping Ebola in Perspective.

Stevens Family Catch-up

In between this year’s fantastic safari trips and planning, Nicci and John visited their daughter, Briar in Melbourne, Australia to spend time with her and her husband, Dom and 3-year-old son, Oscar. Oscar is full of energy and his bright, inquisitive mind keeps even John on his toes!

Guided New Zealand goes from strength to strength and we encourage you to think about this beautiful and peaceful part of the world for a holiday with a difference.
Get hold of Briar Stevens directly and she’ll be happy to chat about the many options.

And you can also watch this -

Sarah and Milo’s Mana Pools Safari Company has had a good year, with the addition of brand new tents (roomy, comfortable, with that familiar authentic tented style remaining), flush toilets, washstands and extra lighting. Be sure to book your Zimbabwean safari now, if you want to secure a spot in John’s favourite part of the world!

Talking of Mana Pools and John’s long association in the area… he and a friend of 35 years or so, Russell Taylor (was senior ecologist at Matusadona National Park when John was area manager there), have initiated a collaborative anti-poaching body in the Zambezi Valley, as the problem is getting alarmingly bad in the area. With National Parks and operators in Mana working more closely to help stop the scourge that threatens our heritage, John and Russ are hoping for more effective results. We will have more news of this development for you in the New Year. Please watch this space as John will need your support and encouragement.

The next generation is already becoming well-versed in the ways of the wild. Imogen, Sarah and Milo’s little girl, now almost two years old, is the apple of John’s eye and has accompanied the family on a few trips to Mana Pools, as evidenced by her feeling quite at home atop a mound of elephant dung recently! On their last trip, Imogen woke John and Nicci in the morning with excited shouts, ready for her regular walk in the bush under her grandfather’s strong, guiding hand! (Isn’t she the luckiest girl in the world to have one of Africa’s top guides at her disposal?)

Safari by Helicopter

As some of you may know, John was privileged and proud to accompany a client on a safari by helicopter through Ethiopia and, more recently, around Zimbabwe.

Very exciting indeed and certainly a fantastic way to see any country if it’s within your budget, as you’re able to literally travel entirely at your own pace, see places that may be inaccessible otherwise and catch stunning views!

Our Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is once again emerging as the “go-to” safari destination, having survived political and economic turmoil and now stronger than ever and offering a wonderfully unspoilt country to explore. We urge you to visit our special Zimbabwe – the wildlife is fantastic, the landscapes just breathtaking, camps and lodges of a high standard and the people some of the nicest you’ll meet on the continent.

Season’s Greetings

John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa and the Stevens Family take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones happy, peaceful and safe holidays! Thank you for your interest and support in 2014 and we look forward to keeping in touch and planning that special family safari for you!

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