Africa: Touring from Ballooning to Train Travel

Ways to Experience Africa

By Berne Broudy

Indulge in a month of African travel

South Africa's Blue Train.
South Africa's Blue Train.

Vermont’s Global Village Project offers a month of discovery in Ghana. The first two weeks your days will be spent dancing and drumming in the mornings and batiking, wood carving, drum making and cooking in the afternoons. Travelers will become artists in residence at the Dagbe Cultural and Arts Center, a Mecca of traditional craft in the tiny village of Kopeiyia.

The second half of the trip takes you traveling. A monkey sanctuary and Mole National Park, the only African park where visitors can go on guided walks in the bush, are on the itinerary, as are the beaches of the Ghanaian coast, the tropical rainforest, and historical sights.

This trip is an outstanding opportunity to get to know local people, and to become part of a community.

South Africa by Motorcycle

Ride through the unspoiled natural scenery of South Africa experiencing the elements. South African Motorcycle Tours shows you how on 1, 2, 7, and 12-day excursions that take you over mountain passes, through traditional African villages, and to ostrich and crocodile farms. Even with all the scheduled activities, these motorcycle tours leave you plenty of time to swim, surf, eat well and sample South Africa_s fine wines. Late model BMWs and a multilingual guide are included in the price of the tour. Self-drive rentals are also available.

  • South Africa by your own powerIf motorized transportation is not for you, travel through South Africa on pure leg power. Day Trippers will take you on day or multi-day cycling excursions, including cycling and whale watching, mountain biking and a cycling tour of the Cape Peninsula that includes a trip to the local penguin colony. All trips include a guide, transport, and lunch.
  • Overland it A classic way of touring Africa for the budget traveler, overland truck trips can be the adventure of a lifetime. Join 15 or so like-minded adventurers and criss-cross the entire continent (or most of it) in a customized truck/bus. Trips last from a few weeks to a few months and are definitely for the intrepid. Camp beneath the stars, stay in local homes or small guesthouses, get really close to the culture of Africa. There are several different overland companies specializing in trips to Africa, most of which are represented in the US by Adventure Center.
  • Take the Blue Train   For a more luxurious land trip, Take a trip back in time to the golden age of train travel, and see Southern Africa from aboard the steam-powered luxury train. Board the Blue Train in Pretoria, South Africa, and ride through spectacular vineyards, river valleys and diamond country to Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls. Soak in the landscape through the picture windows of your five-star private cabin, or in the company of comrades in the Dining, Lounge and Club cars. The meals are sumptuous and elegantly presented, with South African wines selected to accompany each course. The Blue Train is a five-star hotel on tracks, and a trip the refined traveler should not miss.
  • Wine and dine tour of South Africa Though still off-the-beaten-path (as opposed to Italy or California), the vineyards of South Africa are becoming well known for their tantalizing varietals, and oenophiles (wine lovers) around the globe are raving about South African wines. Try them yourself during the Cape Winelands Tours jaunt around the region’s vineyards and wineries, replete with winetastings, expert winemaker lectures, gourmet regional dining and luxurious accommodations.
  • Small safaris  For decades, Wildland Adventures has been offering some of the most balanced and intriguing safaris in Africa. From classic East African lodge safaris to birdwatching trips in Madagascar, and from Nile cruising and archaeology in Egypt to flying safaris through Malawi and Zambia, Wildland’s mix of activities introduce travelers to both the natural and cultural environments of their destinations. And small groups, camping and hotel stays and a strong ecotourism focus are mainstays of this company’s philosophy. For other safari options visit
  • One-of-a-kind private tours  Join Heritage Tours for a custom-designed, private, car-and driver tour of South Africa or Morocco. Explore the culture and sights at your own pace, enjoy top-of-line dining, luxurious accommodations and fine wines. The adventurous can choose to trek the High Atlas, 4X4 the Sahara or spot "The Big Five" in South Africa’s private reserves. For those who want something more educational, explore the unique and vibrant Jewish heritage of either country with exclusive Jewish Heritage Tours.
  • Study Senegalese and Gambian Arts   African Travel Seminars offers unique arts and culture tours of Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Visit museums, markets and artisan centers, universities and national parks, learn about slave history and modern African culture, and even visit the village Alex Haley profiled in "Roots." First class accommodations make these trips the most educational and enjoyable way to learn about African culture.
  • View from the Stars   Balloon safaris give a new twist to a favorite activity for visitors to Tanzania. Travel the jungles by hot air balloon, flying high for an eagle-eye perspective, and dropping to grass level for up close views of African flora and fauna. Perfect for photographers looking for perspective. Serengeti Balloon Safaris contribute substantially to wildlife conservation in Tanzanian National Parks.Serengeti Balloon Safaris have pre-dawn departures, and conclude with a champagne breakfast in the bush.
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