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Travel Evangelist in Africa

By Michaela S. Guzy

Five days and counting until my two month solo journey across the second largest continent in the world!  This will be my first trip to eastern and southern Africa.  On Friday, South African Airways will fly me via Joberg, South Africa as the locals say and onto Nairobi,Kenya—it’s going to be a looooong couple of days.

I will spend almost a month in Kenya.  In early May, I will emerge from the bush, wash the dirt out of my teeth and hair to spend my birthday in Cape Town, South Africa(and no, I won’t tell you how old I am). Then on to Namibia, back to South Africa for Indaba (Africa’s largest trade show) and then a two day rest at Karkloff (unlimited spa treatments and a wildlife reserve in KwaZula Natal) before heading back into the wild…Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.

Lepayon, my driver and guide

A little bit about me and the mission…

In the spring of 2011, I joined the Adventure Travel Trade Association, a global membership organization to more than 700 responsible businesses, destinations and media who advocate for sustainability and justice worldwide, on an advisory meeting in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.  When we touched down in a helicopter inLa Palma,Chiapas we were greeted by the children of the town. Since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how to marry the world of luxury travel in which I work and helping the local people who make each destination so special.

In an interesting turn of events, a corporate reorganization left me with the time, means and passion to make it happen.  I contacted Africaspecialist, Askari Travel to help me, a solo female traveler, plan my epic journey across Africa.   I will be exploring the lodging, food, wine and beaches, locate the BIG Five on safari, but most importantly the people who make each place unique.  Whenever I return from a trip, it’s always the human connection that serves as my favorite memory.  Tourism is the world’s largest industry and has the power to help people in need through sustainable initiatives.  Luxury can have a conscience.  And who isn’t interested in knowing how these safari lodges create such gourmet meals without running water?

Lepayon's family

NORTHERN KENYA

 

Reporting in live from Joy’s Camp in the Shaba Territory of Northern Kenya, named after the infamous Joy Adamson who reared the orphaned lion, Elsa and later the leopard Penny.  Joy was also author to several books, including, Queen of Shaba.

My "living room" at Sarunni Samburu

 Saruni, Samburu is:

–  a luxurious tented lodge

– with delicious Italian food, the owner Riccardo hails from Italy

– surrounded by some of the most ruggedly beautiful mountains and bush

– with five species that can only be found in Eastern Africa  (the Beisa Oryx, the Reticulated Giraffe,  Somali Ostrich, Grevy Zebra and Gernuck)

BUT…what makes it truly unique is the dedication to the local community, through employment, co-operatives and renting the land from the people.

 

 Michaela S Guzy most recently served as Vice President, overseeing the travel and development of new initiatives for all American Express Publishing brands – Travel+Leisure, Food&Wine, Executive Travel, Departures and Black Ink.

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