Dear <<First Name>>,

A few years ago we took our family and friends on their first safari to Southern Africa during the US Thanksgiving week. There was something exceptionally special about sitting around a big table with our friends on Thanksgiving, enjoying a few classic dishes paired with African fare, and sharing what we are thankful for. The memories we created are still front of mind and some of the best ones of the festive season. Traveling for the holidays, whether Thanksgiving week in Canada or the US, Hanukkah, Christmas, the New Year, or whichever other holiday you celebrate, can create some of life’s best shared experiences. 

Last year, we both worked with people to ensure their guests had things that made their holiday special: wrapped gifts, holiday-specific decorations, special meals … so as we lead up to the festive season, we wanted to touch on how to make this time of year extra personalized. And if you have guests looking for last minute holiday travel, some of our properties still have availably and great specials! 

And if travel plans are set for this year, it’s time to think about next year while there is more choice available, or of giving the gift of travel! Gifting a safari is an amazing present. We’ve often heard that guests think about this at the last minute, making December very busy for planning; start encouraging your clients who like to do this to start planning now so their itinerary can be “wrapped” in time for whichever holiday they celebrate!

We look forward to helping you create the most memorable African holidays for you guests! By now you probably know we tend to spend our own holidays in Africa, and we wouldn’t change a thing! This year Brooke is spending the US Thanksgiving in South Africa with her mom (seeing Tswalu’s NEW Motse and several lodges that pair well with it in the Greater Kruger) and we will be together in West Africa (Senegal and beyond!) for the December holidays. As always please let us know how we can be of service to you when it comes to this remarkable continent.

Johann & Brooke

Johann and Far Country Collection:
Tanzania: Nomad Tanzania
Kenya: Cottar's 1920s Safari Camp, Campi ya Kanzi, Scenic Air Safaris
Zambia: Sausage Tree Camp, Tongabezi, Zambian Ground Handlers
Madagascar: Madagascar Classic Collection

Ethiopia: Kibran Tours

Brooke and Karoo Consulting:
South Africa: Tswalu
Kenya: Ol Jogi, Alfajiri Villas
Tanzania: One Nature

West Africa: TransAfrica (DMC operating in multiple countries)

While Zambia (and most counties in Eastern and Southern Africa) tend to mostly celebrate Christmas on a nation-wide basis, any camp we book for you will gladly go the distance to prepare meals or set up decorations that guests request during their holiday, and will do special activities as well if we request them with enough notice to plan properly (so now would be a great time to get those requests in for guests traveling during a holiday).

To highlight just a few camps that have gone above and beyond in the past: For Hanukkah, River Club and Tusk & Mane both have a Kosher chef; Waterberry can also do “light” Kosher, but not “strict”. For Christmas, Bushcamp Company does a very sweet Santa visit in the South Luangwa

Of course all camps that are open over Christmas put out Christmas decorations, sing carols, and serve ham and turkey for Christmas lunch. 

If your Canadian guests want to get away for Canadian Thanksgiving, we have space the week of October 14 at both camps, and with our 30% off last-minute special this is a great option for anyone looking to travel further afield to celebrate. We worked with our culinary team to develop a traditional Thanksgiving menu and our Thanksgiving feast would include such classics as mashed potato, cranberry sauce, a roast chicken (in place of a turkey) with gravy and green beans, to name a few. 

November is also one of the best months for avid anglers as the Lower Zambezi at this time of year is epic for Tiger Fish and Cat Fish! A Fishing Permit has recently been introduced in the Lower Zambezi National Park. This has been set at US$40 per person per day to cover the permit and contribute a small donation toward fishing research being undertaken in the Lower Zambezi. This permit applies to all existing and new 2019 bookings, and into the future. In order to still offer all-inclusive activities, we will cover the first day fishing permit, after which guests will pay for any additional days either by cash or credit card in camp. 

Our team wanted to share their thoughts on the holidays: “The holidays are about spending time with those you love; with the hustle and bustle of today’s world we often forget to take the time out and be present and enjoy one another. A safari has an amazing way of reconnecting people and allowing time to stop for a moment and appreciate the amazing world we live in - being able to share that experience with our loved ones is a very special gift indeed!” 

Tongabezi has space for the Canadian Thanksgiving week, and throughout October and November (including the US Thanksgiving). Sindabezi is also available for most of the holiday weeks, and would be a fabulous way to spend a holiday, on your own private island with family or friends (this is where we took our friends for Thanksgiving, specifically so we had a full day for rafting the Zambezi). We will be doing an immense Thanksgiving meal: a traditional feast with a few Zambian touches, and appearances by our choir and the Tujatane School children. Christmas isn’t planned yet but Christmas and New Year usually involve sundowners on the river and sandbar while the sun sets, cultural dancing so that guests get to experience some of the local traditions that have lasted through the years from all over Zambia, and a special Christmas menu. Father Christmas always visits the Tujatane children on a bicycle and hands out presents! It’s the most adorable thing to watch. 

In our guest shop, one of our favorite items guests can buy are the Dream Catchers! What better way to celebrate a holiday than to buy the gift of a child’s future? All proceeds from the Dream Catchers (made out of hand tumbled recycled glass) go toward the Tongabezi Trust School’s Further Education Fund. 

And remember, for your spontaneous travelers, our 11th Hour Special is available for any booking made within eight weeks of arrival

We have a NEW website! And, we have made several upgrades at Mandrare, just in time for peak and festive travels. Enjoy a fabulous family meal in our new thatched dining pavilion with wood floors and a wooden veranda, which has extended the lounge area with more seating options. Now, when we are full, each party has more privacy to relax before dinner. We also extended the wooden terraces on all of the tents, which has created lovely outside living spaces shaded with shade sails. There are sofas in addition to the director’s chairs and coffee table. And we added beautiful photographs of the landscapes and people around Mandrare to the bathrooms.

If you’re looking for a place to spend the holidays, November through January is one of the best times to visit Manafiafy for the beach. The ocean is calm and clear, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. While it’s the rainy season on the rest of the island, it actually rains less at Manafiafy, so the days are gorgeously sunny with short rains at night. Thanks to our remote location, you will have miles of untouched Indian Ocean coastline all to yourself. And we have an exclusive Stay 7/Pay 4 offer for bookings between December 1, 2019 and January 9, 2020.

Skip the "taxi" and book a "private car" ... hey, it's been a long year, you deserve it! And it's the perfect way to treat yourself and travel over the holidays and have more special time and memories with your family and loved ones! Enough said :)

When thinking of the Christmas Carol “Silent Night”, we are excited to now have silent days at camp as well. We have gone (even more) electric! Our new electric safari vehicle uses the latest technology to create carbon-emission-free game drives. Guests now enjoy an incredible safari adventure in the vast 283,000 acres of pristine wilderness around Campi ya Kanzi in optimal vehicle silence, augmenting the natural sounds of the approaching wildlife. 

If your guests want to get away for Thanksgiving, be it the Canadian or US, we have space the week of October 14 and November 25. And we have some limited availability for Christmas. We are very flexible with festive feasts! From the typical turkey to an Italian-inspired six-course dinner with a bush aperitif and Maasai dancing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

For families staying at Tembo House during Christmas, we decorate with lights and a baobab Christmas tree. For all guests at Campi ya Kanzi, they can purchase Christmas ornaments that are handmade by our women's groups, which supports the MWCT and local community. 

Our team wanted to share their thoughts on the holidays: “Spending time in nature with family is the most special way to celebrate any holiday. What we can do for these holiday celebrations is to enjoy them in another place and add diversity, like Maasai dancing and singing. We also enjoy the special ambiance of the cave dinner or a Chyulu picnic (we normally spend December 25 up in the cloud forests).”

If your guests want to get away for Thanksgiving, be it the Canadian or US, we have space the week of October 14 and November 25. There is also limited availability during Christmas and Hanukkah (Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp) and New Year’s (Cottar’s Bush Villa), but remember we can create space for you at the busiest times of year, or at the last minute, by putting up the sole-use fly camp! Our culinary team always prepares traditional roasts and classic sides, and Christmas decorations are put up around camp and at the Villa. 

Our team wanted to share their thoughts on the holidays: “The Holidays at Cottar’s is a time of warmth and vibrant celebration in Africa’s seductive atmosphere. Celebrate under a setting of white canvas tents and a 1920s quality of romance, adventure and elegance. Spending the holidays in the Kenyan wilderness is always memorable, comfortable and full of delights. Traditional details and holiday meals are carefully prepared and arranged to make your holidays special, to highlight the uniqueness of the wild and create memories that will last a lifetime. It takes but a moment to slip into the unhurried lifestyle at Cottar’s … what a perfect place to enjoy the festive season with family and loved ones.” 

We are thrilled with the amazing reception of the soft opening of Entamau Private (pictures will be available in a few weeks). With four fantastic rooms on elevated wooden platforms and two family rooms, getting together as a family (or with friends) has never been easier, or more affordable; remember that with Nomad Tanzania, children’s pricing is good for children up to 21 years old! These are much more weather proof, constructed out of wood, glass, and stretched canvas, with indoor heating! This is the only place in the world where you will have views into both the Crater AND Serengeti. For activities, guests can go for walks along the rim, and enjoy surprise meals and sundowners overlooking the Serengeti plains.

Combining Entamanu Private, Lamai Private and Kiba Point would be one of the most amazing safari itineraries: all exclusive use camps in some of Tanzania’s best wilderness areas. Taking in the wildlife, scenery and activities at the Crater, in the Serengeti and in the Selous is pretty tough to beat.

Depending on what holiday your guests want to travel for, we have some great availability for other interesting combos: Canadian Thanksgiving (Chada Katavi, Entamanu Private, Serengeti Safari Camp, and Kigelia and Sand Rivers); US Thanksgiving (Lamai, Mkombe House, and Entamanu Private); Christmas and Hanukkah (Mahale and Entamanu Private); and New Year’s (Entamanu Private and Kigelia and Sand Rivers). Hurry, as availability changes with each minute...

For your Jewish and Muslim guests, we are proud to provide you with this dietary overview of what we are able to do in our various camps, which in addition to various allergies or preferences, includes information on Kosher and Halal.

If you want to spend the actual holidays at home, but still experience an Ethiopian Christmas, you’re in luck, as Christmas is celebrated on January 7 (hence, Christmas Eve on January 6). Of course the hotels we most often use put up Christmas decorations to create a festive vibe in December. They also, generally, offer a Christmas dinner, although the fare may not necessarily be Western. There is still accommodation available over all the holidays between October and the New Year. Tourists visiting during December will find the most amazing gift options: 100% local cotton scarves and blouses (hand-woven), basket-ware, handmade leather shoes, woven rugs, locally-grown coffee, etc. Doing holiday shopping in Ethiopia is definitely bucket-list worthy! Gifting has never been easier … spoil your favorite people with an Ethiopian adventure and a lifetime of memories.  

Here are some highlights from Brooke.

For more information on Tswalu, Ol Jogi, Alfajiri, One Nature, or TransAfrica-WestAfrica DMC please contact

We have received such wonderful feedback from guests staying at the NEW Motse since we reopened. You can access our new photos on the redesigned website, and more will continue to be added as we get them of things like the boutique and gallery. For your guests joining us for the holidays, we can provide Kosher meals, however they are not made on site and instead are flown in. For Christmas we can set up a tree and decorations, and include a card with a note from you and a special bottle of bubbly or wine.

We really can do anything a guest requests with enough lead time (which also includes having NO decorations up, as we’ve received in the past). Generally, the beauty of the quiet and subtlety wins out for holidays spent in Africa. We can also do what Jamie has done in his family, by having a Thorn Tree instead of a more traditional tree, and we also have wreaths and lights. For New Year’s we’ve celebrated in many ways, from Spanish grapes at midnight to presentation of 'gifts' by the Grandmother. No matter what your guests preference, we will make every moment magical.
We are now live on Wetu with individual iBrochures for each of our three villas. And, we have created an exceptional package with Cottar’s 1920’s Bush Villa for a Safari and Sea getawayStay 4/Pay 3 at BOTH properties! There is still some availability during the following festive weeks at various villas: Canadian Thanksgiving; US Thanksgiving; and Christmas/Hanukkah. We always decorate for the holidays and do our best to honor requests from each individual guest, as at Alfajiri, the entire concept is as YOU please. No matter the day or week, every meal is always special and personally crafted for your guest.
Nyaruswiga still has some availably during the fall and autumn holidays. We just love the festive season! We use very rich and decadent decorations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve; and change them out between so that they are different. For New Year’s Eve we throw a cocktail party with champers and a local band for entertainment. We ensure that our guests feel they are fully celebrating the holidays while away from home. Our culinary team serves festive snacks: eggnog, hot chocolate with candy canes, gingerbread cookies (we even make a gingerbread house). For Christmas Eve we offer a Christmas turkey and Yule log.
The 4 or 5 star hotels will organize requests from clients for decorations or dinners. One of the most special ways to celebrate Christmas in West Africa is to attend a mass. Several guaranteed departures happen during the holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving, Ghana/Togo/Benin for the Millet Festival; US Thanksgiving, Marrakech – Bissau Crossing, and New Year's (we always plan a special musical performance with New Year’s Eve dinner): Senegal/Gambia/Guinea Bissau; Ghana/Togo/Benin for festivals and traditions; and Ivory Coast; and while not yet guaranteed, an epic event, Guinea Bissau for turtle nesting!
West Africa
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