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Canoeing the mighty Zambezi

Canoeing the mighty Zambezi

My Zambezi River Canoe Safari It was August, the middle of the African winter when I set foot on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. The grass was brown, the trees bare and the midday heat was bearable. It’s the perfect time for game viewing and camping – the rainy season only starts in October. I began my journey at Matetsi Lodge, upstream from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and enjoyed this luxurious camp and the game drives in open Landrovers. My bungalow had it’s own plunge pool and a great view of the Zambezi. It was remote and quiet – except for the birds and crickets, and the occasional laughter of a hippo. The Victoria Falls are something to behold. The African people call it ‘Mosi-i-Tunga’: the Smoke that Thunders. All my senses were bombarded – the roar of the water plunging almost 1000 meters, the spray that soaked me in minutes, the view into that unbelievable chasm … I was in awe. The famous bridge that connects Zimbabwe with Zambia is a favorite spot for Bungi-jumping, but I decided to keep my feet on terra firma! Our canoe trip started from Lake Kariba, so I made my way there and spent a night in a rondawel at the shores of the lake. At night the hippos would graze on the lawns – so I stayed indoors and read a book. Next morning we were off in a truck on our great adventure – it began with crossing the Kafue River on a hand-drawn pont (ferry) en route to Kiambi, our base camp. After a hearty breakfast we...
What is it about the African bush?

What is it about the African bush?

Join us on this virtual African Safari Game Drive   “What is it about the African bush?” This is a question that was put to me recently by a guest on a game drive in the Greater Kruger Park. It was something that at first I struggled to put into words, but once I thought about it, I realized that it wasn’t just one thing. One of the key elements is that nervous excitement when departing on your game drive. You can feel the energy in the vehicle when we leave the lodge – often guests can’t contain it – “what are we going to see today?” This is probably the most asked question of any ranger. That is the beauty, we don’t know either and that is what motivates us to get up early after limited sleep-every day. I have often said to guests that I have the best office in the world, where we are just spectators in a story which has played out since the beginning of time. In a world nowadays which is obsessed with reality shows and soap operas, there are no better real life stories than the ones that unfold in the African bush on a daily basis. Many of you who have been following our lion saga can attest to that. Here we are able to go off road to get our guests as close to the animals without interfering or causing them any stress. This has a huge impact on a safari experience, especially in an open top vehicle as you feel more connected to the animal and its environment. In...
What did I get myself into?

What did I get myself into?

It was exactly 40 years ago today that I stepped foot in TravelSchmidt for the first time. I was a keener – excited to take my first group of clients around the world. The destination didn’t really matter to me, as long as I would be travelling! As you can imagine, it didn’t quite work out that way…

Meet King Kong in Peru

Meet King Kong in Peru

In May I travelled to Peru… exploring the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu had always been on my bucket list!

After spending a night in Lima I arrived in Cusco well rested. At the airport I was approached by a youngster who wanted to sell me his mother’s wool. He was about 7 years old, quite entrepreneurial and very persistent. He proudly called himself ‘King Kong’ after the only movie that was playing in the only movie theater in town…

Ever paddled a flying canoe?

Ever paddled a flying canoe?

It was August, the middle of the African winter when I set foot on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, The grass was brown, the trees bare and the midday heat was bearable. It’s the perfect time for game viewing and tenting – the rainy season only starts in late October.

After a hearty breakfast we climbed into our canoes and headed for Kualefu (the ‘Far-away Place’) – 90 kilometres downstream. Our 3 day paddle hugged the shores of the Lower Zambezi National Park. A strong headwind during the first few hours tested my shoulders and arms. After a delicious lunch on the river bank under a shady tree and a quick massage I was ready to carry on. Luckily the wind had subsided and it was easy going from then on…

Mexico’s Sea of Cortez & Copper Canyon

Exploring the Sea of Cortez and the Copper Canyon in Mexico left and indelible impression on me. During my stay I did some snorkeling in a marine preserve near La Paz on the Baja California. The water is crystal clear and warm and the only company we had were some very inquisitive pelicans…

Hiking South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains

Hiking South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains

Stretching over some 200 kilometers, from the Sentinal in the north to Bushman’s Nek in the south, the Drakensberg mountain range is one of the largest protected areas in Southern Africa. Covering over 600,000 acres in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, the area consists of six game parks and six state forests. It is a world of spectacular sandstone cliffs, towering peaks – often snow capped – waterfalls, soaring buttresses and it’s the home of the bearded vulture, the Lammergaier. Giants Castle is a favorite. An easy trail traverses the gentle foothill area, where the wildlife is incredible. Look out for baboons, many species of birds, unusual wildflowers and woody plants. If you long for heights, Cathedral Peak is a good choice. This mystical area is also the home of many ancient Bushman paintings. We made it to the top and back in a day, and the view was overwhelming. On a clear day you can see every peak of the mountain range! Based at Tendele camp you can spend a week at the Amphitheater, hiking a different trail every day. Little wonder then that the ‘Berg’ are South Africa’s most popular hiking and mountaineering area. Click here for our South Africa Experiences Contact Vancouver Travel Consultant Christine Boecker to design your African...

Encounter with an Elephant …

It was hot … 45 C plus humidex ~ it felt like the hottest day ever! We had spent most of  it in and around the pool at a private game lodge in KwaZulu-Natal, and now we were driving through the bush in an open Landrover, hoping to see elephant and other game. There! Stop … go back … what was that? My then 4-year-old daughter had spotted warthog drinking at a waterhole. That earned her an extra portion of dessert! Then we came across a herd of giraffe – there must have been at least 11 or 12 of these graceful and inquisitive creatures. Some were grazing the tops of Acacias (umbrella thorn trees), but some were lying down. I had never seen resting giraffe before. Their high blood pressure doesn’t allow them to lay their elongated necks and heads down, but they had managed to fold those long legs under, so they could sleep. I suppose a ‘giraffe pillow’ would be useless. After seeing Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest, Kudu, a Monitor Lizard and many bird species we suddenly spotted him – Ngani, the bull elephant! He was quietly grazing and hadn’t noticed us, since we were downwind of him, so we cut the engine and settled in to watch quietly for a while. But Ngani had other plans and moved away. We wanted to follow, but the Landrover did not! Now we had to push-start the vehicle with an elephant no more than 100 meters away ~ needless to say, we pushed quickly! Ngani took to the road, so we had a good view of his huge back-end,...
African Bush Safari Experience

African Bush Safari Experience

The drums were not loud, but gentle and persistent. The sun was just rising and it was time to get up and start a day of wildlife encounters. We all met at the campfire for hot drinks and rusks. I had my camera, binoculars, sunglasses, hat and sunscreen – I was ready. As we walked through the bush we encountered many wonders of nature. A perfectly symmetrical spider web, a delicate birds nest, the mating call of an Impala buck. By mid morning we were back at camp and devoured the hearty breakfast, which was set out under the trees overlooking the river. It was getting warmer now and everyone retired to their chalet, or found a cool spot under a tree to relax, read a book, have a nap… The drums announced it was lunch time. Light fare and very tasty with fresh-baked bread, interspersed with bush talk. What we saw and heard and what we hoped to see and hear that afternoon. In the late afternoon we’re all in open Landrovers, ready for our game drive. Luck is on our side and we spot a pride of lion, watch an elephant uproot a tree to get to those fresh green shoots at the top, encounter a herd of buffalo drinking at the waterhole. We take pictures and enjoy a sundowner to end the day. The drive back to camp is in the dark, with the spotlight searching for nocturnal animals. First we see only eyes, then we learn to pick out the shapes of owls, porcupine and some buck. The air is crisp and we’re glad to...
Arctic Expedition – off the Beaten Track!

Arctic Expedition – off the Beaten Track!

When I returned from an Arctic expedition cruise from the Canadian Arctic to Greenland I brought back 1000 pictures and many wonderful memories and stories to share. We embarked in Resolute Bay, Nunavut on the 75th parallel and ended 11 days and 1600 nautical miles later in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on the Arctic Circle. Zodiac cruises among polar bears, seals & bird colonies, tundra hikes, remote Inuit villages, 8/10th sea ice, Jacobshavn icefjord and colourful Greenland houses – all unforgettable! You should go too! Click here to see our current Polar Expeditions After our zodiacs brought us close up to a Polar Bear in Griffin Bay, our first stop and one of many ‘wet landings’ was on Beechey Island. This gave us an historical perspective on the centuries-long quest to find the Northwest Passage and a new trade route across the top of the world. We hiked to the graves marking the winter camp of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition. In search of the Northwest Passage, all 132 men died after their ships were crushed by the ice. Heading east, we visited Dundas Harbour, cruised along the glacier in Croker Bay, crossed Lancaster Sound – the ‘wildlife highway’ – and hiked in the solitude of beautiful Navy Board Inlet on the north coast of Baffin Island. At Cape Graham Moore we cruised in zodiacs beneath cliffs teeming with birdlife, including thick-billed murres, northern fulmars, black-legged kittiwakes and black guillemots and came across 2 Polar Bears. I made new friends in Pond Inlet, famous for its soapstone carvings. (See below for Lauren’s Nunavut adventure).  After we left Pond we headed south...
TRɅVELBOECKER ɅDVENTURES eNEWS & TRAVEL TALKS

TRɅVELBOECKER ɅDVENTURES
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