- The Artist
Anne's friends and clients often ask to accompany her to Africa to see the beauty and drama Anne represents in her art through their own eyes. Every year since 2010, Anne and her husband Jim Hart, an oceanographer, have guided a small group of Anne's trusted friends and animal enthusiasts across the southern regions of Africa. It's an awesome, 15-day, 2,500-mile adventure throughout Africa's most unique and diverse habitats.
Each trip seems to be more fun and adventurous than the last, and we're looking forward to the next trip in November. Our journey includes all the high points in Cape Town, South Africa, and the Cape wine country. We follow the Kalahari Bushmen during their hunt and share dinner with the group in the desert. Our visitors feel the spray of Victoria Falls and watching lions, leopards and wild dogs feed from just a few feet away. We also take an elephant-back safari, fish in the Okavango and Zambezi rivers and spot elephants, giraffes, rhinos and cheetahs hunting for prey.
Throughout our journeys, we meet the African people and see landscapes that typical tourists rarely experience. Each trip is a chance to make new friends and leave with memories to last a lifetime.
Visit the "Journal" section to see more photos and journal entries from several of our recent safaris.
CARE TO JOIN?
African safaris are usually booked years ahead as the best, most remote and game-rich camps are quite small with limited room for visitors. We reserved our 2016 safari camps well over 18 months in advance. As of March 2015, we are accepting deposits for our November 2016 and November 2017 adventures.
We can also plan and arrange custom safaris for our friends who can't join us due to scheduling or budgetary constraints. We handle all the details, down to the tiniest items, just as we do on our own safaris. Visitors are met and escorted at each location and shown the side of Africa only Africans know. Being able to travel at your own convenience, yet have your safari planned by experts who can offer a unique, personal safari, is a great alternative to waiting for an opening on one of our safaris. We often have other folks on our waiting list who can share their own experiences with you. Let us know if we can help or offer some inside advice!
Drawing from our combined 30 years of working in Africa, Anne and Jim, of Oceanographic Expeditions, have crafted an African experience to fulfill the safari dreams of any photographer or lover of African wildlife and culture. As always, Anne and Jim will escort our small group to ensure a personal experience unlike any package offered by large tour companies. With African friends and experienced local guides, we visit ecosystems encompassing some of the most diverse and highly populated wildlife habitats across the African continent.
OUR TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY
An intimate understanding of Africa's natural landscape and what constitutes responsible, conservation-oriented tourism is key. For several months before you leave, our information packets, lists and suggested reading list will help prepare you for an easy, safe and fun safari. Our goal is to not only connect you with Africa's magic but also enable our friends to actively support and work with local conservation efforts. Each of the places we stay has been selected for its sumptuous accommodations, environmental activism, low-carbon footprint and interest in preserving Africa's wildlife.
ADVENTURES IN 2016
This year's expedition includes stops in five countries and four of Africa's top habitats. To experience as much of Africa as possible in a short 15 days, we'll ditch the rough road transfers and use chartered aircraft to fly from location to location in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. We'll charter planes with extra capacity to allow a full 44 pounds of luggage per person, instead of the usual 20-pound allowance on most safaris.
As always, our adventure begins in Cape Town, a beautiful city on the continent's southernmost tip. Our group will stay at the luxurious Cape Grace Hotel, rated one of the world's top hotels and perfectly located under the iconic Table Mountain in the heart of the vibrant Victoria and Albert waterfront. During our three days on Cape peninsula, Steve Bolnick, our friend and professional guide with "Walk in Africa," will lead us through the natural and cultural history of this rich and diverse environment.
We'll also visit the Cape region's wineries and taste South Africa's world renowned reds and whites in a personal wine class. Our team will visit Stellenbosch, South Africa's second-oldest town, and browse Dorp Street and many museums, galleries and shops. We'll visit a penguin rookery and enjoy a gourmet lunch overlooking the cliffs of Africa's tip at the Two Oceans Café.
Through Anne's work with the Cheetah Outreach Center, our group will get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world's top cheetah and endangered species breeding facilities. And we'll take in the Table Mountain's majesty from two vantage points: on the top, overlooking the harbor; and during a sunset sail in False Bay. Visitors can also stop by the Two Oceans Aquarium or spend time shopping in the Victoria and Albert craft markets.
From Cape Town, we'll fly on to Johannesburg, then north to Botswana, one of Africa's most remote and pristine countries. Botswana boasts one of the world's largest deserts, the Kalahari, and the largest inland delta system. It holds more elephants than any country on the continent and is home to nearly 600 bird species. With over 10,000 square miles of verdant channels, lagoons, swamps and islands, Botswana's diversity is breathtaking.
Botswana is also the birthplace of the oldest culture on the planet, the San people. At the Grasslands Safari Lodge, we'll spend time with the bushman community and learn how they hunt for food, make medicines and survive in the barren desert. We'll share Anne's "Art for Animals" program with the San, and they'll reciprocate by teaching us about their culture, dances and traditions dating back thousands of years.
Visitors can see a wide variety of Kalahari animals and watch them drink from the watering hole right outside the lodge. We'll learn about the Grasslands lodge's rescue work to capture, condition and release troubled lions back into their native habitat. At night, we'll sit around the fire and sip Amarula (a Baileys-like African spirit made from berries) and see which animals show up for a nighttime drink.
From the vast Kalahari desert, we fly next to the lush, wet savannas of the Okavango delta and the remote Little Vumbura Safari Camp. Little Vumbura sits on a wooded island shaded by a canopy of ancient Okavango forest that overlooks the Okavango floodplains. Our group reserves the entire six-room, private safari camp, which features in-suite bathrooms, private open-air showers and a plunge pool overlooking wildlife viewing decks.
Here we'll watch wildlife survive in their native habitat and explore the savannas and channels by motorboat, "mokoro" (a native dugout canoe) and open Land Rovers. The fishing here is superb and the sunsets are stunning. In the evenings, we enjoy drinks, snacks and comradery as the orange sun dips into the water. At night we'll dine under the stars and listen to the chorus of African animals in the distance.
After two nights in the Okavango delta, we head west to the Chobe National Park, which boasts huge elephant herds and abundant wildlife.Our plane picks us up and takes us to Duma Tau, a world-class safari lodge known for its comfort and scenic spot on the banks of the beautiful Linyati River, near the park. Duma Tau's tents are built on private, elevated platforms, offering dramatic views of the river and game in the area. Along with day and nighttime game drives, our group will spend time on the water and, if you enjoy, fishing for pike, tiger fish, tilapia and giant Nile perch. On our last trip, we were fishing, sipping gin and tonics and watching elephant herds swimming nearby all at the same time!
We'll have a chance to photograph lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, antelope, rhino, wildebeest, eland, kudu, hippos and more. Here you can truly see the entire lifecycle of the African bush. One of the highlights of this camp is the "Boma Feast," set in the forest with torches and tables of food. We sing and dance with the camp's staff and local villagers, sharing in their traditional dance as a big family.
After three days at Duma Tau, we fly over one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Victoria Falls. Our group will stay at the historic, 105-year-old Victoria Falls Hotel, where the Queen of England and other dignitaries stay when they visit the area. We'll tour Victoria Falls Park and its unique rainforest, then take a trip to the local market and the children's orphanage.
While near the falls, Anne and Jim will again offer their wildlife conservation program, Art for Animals, at a local school. While Anne teaches drawing and Jim talks to kids about the importance of protecting wildlife, our friends will get to know some of the kids while touring their amazing school, set in the African bush. This exchange has been a highlight of the safari for many of our friends. The next day, we'll take a safari on the back of elephants then visit a local game preserve that's home to several rare black rhinos. We'll be treated to a private sunset cruise and enjoy drinks on the Zambezi River from our private, 1940s-era river yacht.
On our third day in Victoria Falls, the group will soak in the beauty and peace of the river during a canoeing trip above the falls. We'll also have a chance to fish for tigerfish and Nile perch. We often see hippos, elephants and herds of gazelles along the Zambezi riverbank. That evening, we'll board an antique train at the Victoria Falls Hotel and travel to the center of the Victoria Falls bridge, which straddles the river and offers breathtaking views of the falls at sunset.
The last night in Zimbabwe includes dinner at the "boma," an outdoor thatch structure that serves local delicacies such as Mopani worms, game stews, barbecued warthog, antelope and African beer. Entertainment from Shangaan dancers and singers will accompany this traditional Zimbabwean feast, along with tribal face painting, a visit with the local Sangoma (storyteller) and fortune-telling with the local witch doctor.
The next morning, after shopping at the local market, we reluctantly return to the bustling Johannesburg. Our team will spend our final night at the Southern Sun hotel, where we enjoy our final expedition banquet before parting ways as friends and fellow adventurers.
These specialized tours through pristine habitats are designed to give visitors a chance to meet with local people and learn about important conservation and species preservation efforts. We'll learn about the daily lives of the animals we encounter along the way. By participating in efforts to save the African wild dog, raise orphaned cheetahs or release lion cubs or baby elephants into the wild, each of us will become part of the solution in Africa. The rewards of these interactions can make a tangible difference in the health of our planet and enrich our own lives.
Anne has a long and intimate relationship with Africa. Her adventures have created indelible memories that she expresses through her art. Her rich friendships and connections on the continent allow her to experience true wildlife dramas that most people typically only see on National Geographic television. Over the last 12 years, while on her annual artistic visits, Anne has grown more involved with several wildlife conservation and cultural organizations.
Her work with the Black Rhino Foundation, Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Cheetah Outreach and Project Hope has helped link her passion for art with her dedication to protecting wildlife and humanity. Although the size and range of the cheetah population have declined dramatically over the last century, Anne hopes her support for this animal may reduce the threats to these magnificent predators. You'll get to share her contacts and meet her friends who are working daily to protect cheetahs and other wildlife.
Anne has extensively studied African animals, North American wildlife and endangered orangutans in Borneo. She uses her deep knowledge of wildlife biology, anatomy and reproductive habitats to form the foundation of her artwork. Her shared experience and knowledge is central to our learning adventure.
Through her Arts for Animals non-profit organization, Anne helps teach African children the role wildlife plays in their heritage and future while also teaching them how to draw. Last year our travel group helped us open the first Arts for Animals Wildlife Conservation Centre in Zimbabwe. On future expeditions, Anne plans to concentrate on cheetahs, lions and elephants while the travel team will assist with photography and documenting observations. Each day will be another opportunity to share with Anne the heartbeat of Africa.
Jim is an oceanographer and experienced photographer who has led recreational, scientific and research expeditions around the world since 1981. His adventures allow him to follow his childhood passion to protect the planet, especially its marine life. After graduating from Louisiana State University, Jim lived and worked in Western Europe for several years. In 1976, he circumnavigated the planet by ship, bus, camel and on foot, returning to the United States two years later to become an award-winning builder and an oil and gas developer in Belize. In 1987, he patented the first electronic underwater communication device for divers.
He later earned a certification in Volunteer Administration from the University of Colorado and helped design, then manage, programs for the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. While there, he led reef research and ocean quality expeditions for the United Nations; designed and conducted sea turtle protection protocols for the Army Corps of Engineers; and developed ocean awareness educational programs for schools in Central America.
Jim launched Oceanographic Expeditions LLC in 1995 to enable volunteer divers from aquariums across the U.S. to become involved in marine research and conservation programs. In 1996, he planned and implemented Project Reef Spawn, which involved 200 volunteer divers in the first hemispheric study of mass coral spawning. A year later, he was asked to address the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the role of volunteers in scientific research.
While in the Bahamas in 1998, Jim was instrumental in running the first shark conservation study using electronic Passive Injectable Transponders (P.I.T. tags) in black tip and Caribbean reef sharks. He has published scientific papers on mass coral spawning and lobster tagging in the Western Hemisphere; filmed shark feeding habits; studied white sharks in South Africa; whale sharks off Tanzania; and led numerous conservation and biological study expeditions to Central America, Micronesia, Southern Africa and Egypt.
Jim is also a P.A.D.I. Divemaster who in 1991 helped found the American Association of Diving Program Administrators. He served as president of the international organization for nine years and today often volunteers with Diveheart, an organization that teaches SCUBA diving to disabled veterans and children and takes them on diving expeditions. In 2009, he trained and guided the first blind, mute and deaf diver on a trip to Mexico.
After meeting Anne London in 2010, Jim's focus changed from marine conservation to wildlife conservation programs. He shares Anne's passion for Africa, and the couple continues to work with disabled veterans and children, both through Diveheart and New Heights Stables, a therapeutic riding facility near their home.
Jim has explored and photographed much of this planet and its wildlife, from the hidden valleys of Afghanistan, the mountains of Nepal and the depths of the Read Sea. His photographs, artwork and videos have appeared in the Washington Post, several wildlife conservation and SCUBA magazines, National Marine Sanctuary publications and on national broadcast television. As an artist, his "thermonuclear art" and outdoor, acoustic art piece, "The Singing Oak" in City Park, New Orleans, have garnered praise in the Cajun capital.
Since his first expedition to Northern Africa in 1975, Jim has explored much of the African continent and studied both its wildlife and cultures. His first-hand knowledge of the symbiotic relationships between animals and environment add another dimension to our journey and help visitors understand the full story behind the wildlife drama unfolding before our eyes.
Unlike other safaris, this trip includes no "extras" or hidden fees. The total cost for the 2016 expedition is $14,875.
For the 15-day journey, starting in Cape Town and ending in Johannesburg, trip costs cover: all meals (excluding dinners in Cape Town); all luxury accommodations; private chartered expedition flights and transfers to Botswana and Zimbabwe; guides; activities; hotel amenities; conservation program donations; government permits; park fees; and taxes. Once we arrive in South Africa, we'll handle all major costs and use our well-established connections to secure the lowest possible cost for a safari of this scope, quality and duration. Guides Anne London and Jim Hart pay most of their own costs to make the safari as affordable as possible for participants.
We'll send the exact dates and rendezvous times, along with informative background information, packing lists and recommended books to read before the trip. We aim to help you prepare for an easy and enjoyable trip months before departure.
Note: Trip costs do not include international flights from the United States, airport and visa fees, special alcoholic drinks, tips, or trip insurance -- which is now mandatory with most African outfitters. As certified Travelex Insurance agents, we obtain your travel insurance with our group to get you the best wholesale group rate.
If you are interested in joining our friends on this adventure of a lifetime, have any questions about African safaris, would like to discuss our itinerary or send in a deposit to reserve a position, please feel free to contact Anne or Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.