Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,
Firstly we would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy 2014 and we hope that the year has begun well for you.
2014 Info Evenings: Save the dateWe have recently confirmed the dates for our 2014 Video & Information Evenings. They will commence in Perth and Adelaide at the beginning of February and then Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne in the second half of the month.
They will give you an opportunity to meet Gabriela and Graeme and some of our team. Our presentation will include a 30 minute video showing you a typical day on a Walkabout Holiday. We shall then introduce our range of tours for our 2014 season and then guests will have time to ask questions.
Afterwards we shall offer drinks and aperitifs - this is an opportunity for guests who haven’t travelled with us before to talk with us privately or more importantly chat with other guests who have previously travelled with us. As nibbles and refreshments will be served and seats limited, please
REGISTER your attendance below and feel free to bring along any friends who you think may be interested in our Walking Holidays.
|Thu. 6 Feb. at 6.30 pm
99 Adelaide Terrace,
|Mon. 10 Feb. at 6.30 pm
Adelaide Festival Centre
King William Road
|Wed. 19 Feb. at 6.30 pm
89 Macquarie Street,
||Wed. 19 Feb. at 6.30 pm
Rendezvous Studio Hotel,
103 George St, Brisbane
| Thu. 20 Feb. at 6.30 pm
18 National Circuit,
|Mon. 24 Feb. at 6.30 pm
Life Saving Club,
200 The Blvd,
Inaugural African Walkabout
As I sit here in the middle of a cold Provence winter looking up at the snow capped mountains the warmth of Africa seems a very long way!
In October/November we completed our inaugural African Walkabout. We commenced in the beautiful city of Cape Town which our guests thoroughly enjoyed. It really is a lovely laid back city with an amazing location - the glorious waterfront with the backdrop of stunning Table Mountain.
From here we travelled up the west coast of South Africa beside the majestic Cederberg Mountains and into Namibia. Having spent 2 weeks in Namibia back in 2011 it was good to be back. I think the Namibian people must rate as some of the friendliest people on this earth - although many of them are living on the edge of poverty it doesn’t seem to stop them smiling and being so welcoming.
The majority of our time in Africa was spent here. It is certainly a country of contrasts - from our lovely lodge on the banks of the Orange River, our eccentric hotel with its incredible historic car collection next to the Fish River Canyon - second largest canyon in the world and our desert lodge in the Namib Naukluft National Park which includes Africa’s highest sand dunes. Certainly one of our favourite lodges was on the remote Grootberg Plateau where we stayed on the edge of the escarpment with its amazing view down to the Klip River Valley.
Some of our guests here were also lucky to spot their first white Rhino of the trip plus the elusive desert elephant. In terms of general wildlife viewing Etosha National Park stands out as the area where we spotted the greatest diversity of game - I don’t think our group will ever forget the hours we had sitting next to the waterhole in the early evening sipping a sundowner as the rhinos wandered in for a drink or at the end of the day as a pride of lions quenched their thirst.
The most amusing animals to watch drinking were the giraffe precariously spreading their front legs enabling their long necks to reach out to the water below. This year we plan to spend 3 nights in this truly outstanding National Park - staying in our luxury chalets right on the edge of the waterhole.
After Namibia we also spent time in Botswana with the highlight being Chobe National Park. Once again we had a marvellous lodge right on the edge of the park and we enjoyed both an early morning game drive plus a sunset river cruise. The wildlife was certainly in abundance - this area has one of the greatest concentrations of elephants to be found on the African continent. We had some truly very close-up views of hippos and crocodiles on our afternoon cruise!
Our tour concluded in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where some of our guests took up the opportunity to enjoy a helicopter ride over the falls - an awesome experience. There are a multitude of activities available at Vic Falls but others just enjoyed relaxing at our lodge which was ideally located on the Zambezi River upstream from the Falls.
There were certainly many highlights on the tour but I believe one of the most memorable was the visit we had to the local school in Rundu in the very north of Namibia. Here we had the opportunity to talk with the principal and then visit 2 classes of school children - as music is such an integral part of the African way of life both groups of children were eager to sing for us. It was an extremely touching experience for all of us.
We were concerned that many of the very young students were poorly clothed so as a group we decided to visit the local department store where we purchased 70 pairs of socks and 30 pairs of shoes for the most needy. If Africa is to go forward then education will play a crucial role. We at Walkabout have decided to establish a fund to help this particular school - we shall have more information about it in our next Newsletter.
Apart from the obvious thrill of seeing the amazing African game in the wild and staying in some very unique lodges I need to make special mention of our local guide and driver - Valentine and Alex (alias Diesel!). They were with us during the entire 22 days and were the most caring and wonderful individuals who were so happy to share their African story with us.
We are conducting our African Walkabout this year at the same time - 15 October. We were very pleased with our timing as we had almost perfect weather and being in the game parks before the rain meant that the waterholes were a magnet for the wildlife. We still have availability so please contact us about the opportunity to join us on this remarkable journey later in the year.
Introducing our team at WGA: Sabine Haertel
We would like to continue the introduction of our team at WGA.
Sabine has been guiding for WGA since 1997. From Bremen in Germany Sabine has assisted us on many different Walkabout Holidays. More recently she has been guiding our Discover the Pyrenees Holiday from Montpellier to Biarritz and our Paradors and Pilgrims Trail Walk through France and Spain.
She has a real love for the mountains and one of her favourite areas is Norway where she conducts our Cross Country Skiing Tour and always has her “hand up” for our Peer Gynt’s Trail Tour!
Sabine is a very popular guide - her caring nature and good humour plus attention to detail means that our groups are always well looked after.
We thank Sabine for her wonderful support during the last 16 years - she has contributed enormously to our success and we wish her many years of continued guiding with WGA.
MARCH: Journey through the Holly Land
As mentioned in our Autumn newsletter, in March we have one of our most amazing walks coming up in Jordan. The tour promises an exciting exploration of Jordan and its antiquity. It also includes 2 nights in the Holy City of Jerusalem in Israel.
It starts in Aqaba and the first four days are spent in the Wadi Rum, once Lawrence of Arabia’s headquarters during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-1918. Together with a local Bedouin guide we explore some amazing canyons and walk between towering sandstone cliffs. We discover fabled Petra, the long-lost city of the Nabateans, a stunning ruin carved from solid red sandstone in the 3rd century BC.
The walks take you through the Treasury, Royal Tombs, the Monastery and a climb to the High Place of Sacrifice. We visit Mount Nebo - where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land, Madaba - famous for its mosaics, especially the ancient map of the Holy Land and the fabulously preserved Roman ruins at Jerash - an archaeological masterpiece.
In Israel we explore the treasures of Jerusalem from the times of King David to the Prophet Mohammed. During the final two days float in the natural buoyancy of the Dead Sea with its mystical setting and luxuriate at a truly magnificent Spa in an exquisite resort.
Due to a cancelation two places have become available for anyone interested in a last minute booking. Until the 15th of February we are offering a special price of $6,475 per person, twin share ex Aqaba in Jordan. For further details contact us.
MAY: AMAZING Turkey
In late November and early December I had a whirlwind tour of Turkey to finalize all the accommodation, look for suitable restaurants and to meet the guide who will be working with me on the Discover Asia Minor and Explore Cappadocia tours in May this year.
I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the genuine friendliness of the local people, the infrastructure, the good standard of the hotels and the fantastic food. The two days cooking demonstrations surely will be a highlight when we spend the morning with locals to learn some secrets about their Turkish cuisine.
The ruins we visited were just amazing as well as the many different landscapes we travelled through - especially in Cappadocia! Finishing these rather busy 12 days with a hot air balloon flight will remain as one of the highlights of all our travels!
Please read more about it in a Travel Journal written by one of my two accompanying guests!
Emirates Airlines has direct flights from Dubai to Istanbul.
Please ask us for more detailed information and hurry… there are only a few places left on each tour!
Happy and safe travelling - we look forward to welcoming you on one of our holidays soon.
Gabriela, Graeme and the Walkabout Team
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Information Night, Melbourne
Reserve your night!
Climbing Dune 45 at sunrise
Male lion in the Klip River Valley
Stunning Grootberg Lodge
Rhinos in Etosha, Namibia
Visting the local school at Rundu
Wonderful lodge on Orange River
Sabine Haertel, 16th year with WGA!
Exploring the Wadi Rum Jordan
Al-Khazneh Treasury Petra Jordan
Travestine near Pamukkale, Turkey
The library in Ephesus, Turkey
Hot air balloon, Cappadocia
OUR GIFT FOR YOU!