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Dear Vacations To Go Customer,

Alan Fox is on safari in South Africa with SITA World Tours and his second report, from the Kapama Karula lodge, is below.

Please scroll down to see this week's tour deals.



"Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing."
--John Donne

***************************************************

I'm sitting on the back deck of my casita at Kapama Karula, looking down at the Klaserie River. This is the second of three lodges and private game reserves that I will visit on my safari. I arrived two days ago via a 15-minute bush plane flight from my last lodge.

There are mischievous, black-faced vervet monkeys in the tree at the end of the deck, watching my every move. I have dealt with their kind before--they're hoping for an opportunity to sweep down and run off with my cellphone.

There's a huge lizard moving along the bank on this side of the river and a solitary bull elephant grazing in the meadow on the other side. He wraps his trunk around a section of tall grass, tears it from the ground and shakes out the dirt before putting it in his mouth.

Kapama Karula is the finest of four luxury lodges sharing the enormous Kapama Private Game Reserve, just outside Kruger National Park. The lodge offers 12 lavishly decorated suites surrounded by trees and scattered across the property, ranging in size from 1,000 to 1,829 square feet.

Each suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, a private swimming pool on an elevated back deck, indoor and outdoor showers, bath, fireplace and every modern convenience.

There's a beautiful, new spa with infinity pool and a well-equipped fitness center. A spacious bar and lounge overlook the river. A library and a shop filled with local crafts and souvenirs round out the amenities. Guests do not lack for anything.

Gourmet fish, poultry and game dishes are served in the open-air dining room and in the boma, a traditional, outdoor enclosure for dining. The food here is truly extraordinary.

The grounds of the lodge are bordered by the river on one side and a mile-long fence on the other. With predators locked out, guests can walk unescorted to and from their suites, passing monkeys, mongooses and the most relaxed impalas within a hundred miles.

Game drive highlights have included close encounters with rhinos, a lion and a leopard. Rhinos are under tremendous pressure from poachers, who kill them for their horns, which can bring up to six figures on the black market. Misinformed end users in China and Vietnam believe ground rhino horn cures everything from cancer to hangovers. Middle Eastern buyers carve horns into cups and dagger handles.

On several occasions, our open-air Land Rover was surrounded by herds of African elephants, the largest land animals on Earth. Elephants can grow up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 26,000 pounds. They look down on our vehicle and are not the slightest bit concerned by our presence.

Elephants are born blind, weighing 200 pounds or more, and calves can stand almost immediately. We saw a newborn elephant learning how to walk, staggering forward, backward and sideways as it was gently guided by the trunks of its mother and other adults.

Once they can see and walk, calves are as playful as puppies and are curious when they see a vehicle. They'll walk straight toward our Land Rover with ears flapping and trunk raised as if to trumpet until an adult nudges them in a new direction.

Elephants rarely stop moving and they don't look for trails, they MAKE them as they munch their way straight through the thickest part of the bush. Uprooted and trampled bushes, limbs stripped of bark and leaves, and the sound of trees cracking and falling are sure signs that elephants are close by.

A single elephant consumes up to 300 pounds of vegetation every day, and it takes up to 20 hours of eating to do it.

Elephants are intelligent and peaceful by nature. Despite their unmatched size and strength, they do not bother other animals, except in self-defense. They protect their young and each other. They adopt the calves of adults that die or are killed by poachers or other animals.

Elephants are said by some to have human emotions, to cry and feel loss and mourn their dead. They may return for years to stand by the bones of a fallen family member.

One herd was documented pushing and pulling the carcass of the family matriarch for a week after she died, as if to say, "Get up!"

Elephant families are led by the oldest female. When males in the herd near sexual maturity, they leave or are driven out of the family and will spend the rest of their lives alone or in loose association with other bulls.

The old fellow across the river may be past his days of mating. He's too massive for lions to bother and he should be safe from ivory poachers on this private game reserve. He could live to be 70 before he grinds down the last of his six sets of teeth and starves to death.

That would be a long and lucky life in the bush; a noble life.

Alan Fox



To view photos or a slideshow from this leg of my journey, please click here.



Alan Fox is traveling for the second time with the deluxe safari operator SITA World Tours. The company has more than 80 years of experience and specializes in guided travel to exotic destinations.

SITA offers upscale safaris throughout Africa on scheduled departures for small groups but will also customize a safari for as few as two people. They work with the best lodges and guides in each destination and take care of every detail.

The safari experts at Vacations To Go can help you find the perfect SITA safari. To see SITA safari itineraries in Africa, click here. To see all SITA tours worldwide, click here.



Here are this week's Top 15 Tours. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability.

1) London to Rome Highlights, 10 days with CostSaver by Trafalgar. Begins in London and ends in Rome. Save $50 per couple. Starting at $1,750. Departs September 8, 15 & 22 and October 6 & 20, 2017.

2) Manila & Boracay Sojourn, 6 days with SITA Tours. Begins and ends in Manila. Starting at $850. Daily departures from August 28 through December 18, 2017.

3) Holland and the Romantic Rhine Valley, 7 days with CroisiEurope. Begins in Amsterdam and ends in Strasbourg. Save 15%. Starting at $1,783. Departures from April 20 through October 22, 2018.

4) Best of Morocco, 11 days with Insight Vacations. Begins and ends in Casablanca. Save up to 10%. Starting at $1,868. Departures from April 6 through October 26, 2018.

5) Italian Sampler, 9 days with Globus. Begins in Rome and ends in Venice. Save 10%. Starting at $1,949. Departures from April 21 through October 13, 2018.

6) Southern Literature, 8 days with American Queen Steamboat Company. Begins in Memphis and ends in New Orleans. Save $800 per couple, plus receive free shore excursions. Starting at $1,999. Departs March 12, 2018.

7) Elegant Ireland, 10 days with CIE Tours. Begins and ends in Dublin. Save 5%. Starting at $2,150. Departures from April 22 through October 21, 2018.

8) Highlights of Spain and Portugal, 13 days with Trafalgar. Begins and ends in Madrid. Save up to 10%. Starting at $2,205. Departures from April 8 through October 14, 2018.

9) Sensations of Southern France, 8 days with Emerald Waterways. Travels between Nice and Lyon. Fly for free from select gateways. Starting at $2,995. Departures from April 21 through October 13, 2018.

10) Impressions of South America, 10 days with Trafalgar. Begins in Rio de Janeiro and ends in Buenos Aires. Save up to 10%. Starting at $2,999. Departures from January 11 through December 6, 2018.

11) Three Kingdoms of Indochina, 20 days with Collette. Begins and ends in Ho Chi Minh City. Save $400 per couple. Starting at $3,549. Departs October 2 and November 27, 2017 and January 29, 2018.

12) Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief, 6 days with Quark Expeditions. Begins and ends in Longyearbyen. Save $2,000 to $3,000 per couple. Starting at $4,595. Departs July 22, 2018.

13) From the Outback to the Glaciers, 21 days with Collette. Begins in Cairns and ends in Christchurch. Save $500 per couple. Starting at $4,999. Departures from September 11, 2017 through April 23, 2018.

14) 15 Day Jewels of Europe, 15 days with Scenic Cruises. Travels between Amsterdam and Budapest. Save $6,300 per couple, plus receive a free 150 euro onboard credit. Starting at $6,745. Departures from September 25 through October 25, 2017.

15) Discover Patagonia and Antarctica, 16 days with Hurtigruten. Begins and ends in Santiago. Companion saves up to 50%. Starting at $8,796. Departs December 3, 2017.

Customers in the US and Canada can call us toll-free at 800-680-2858. For a list of our other toll-free numbers worldwide, click here.

For savings of up to 82% on ocean cruises, click here.
For river cruises up to 50% off, click here.
For discounts of up to 50% at hotels and all-inclusive resorts, click here.
For the lowest rates on Africa safaris from budget to luxury in quality, click here.

Please email me your comments, suggestions and questions at alanfox@tourvacationstogo.com and I will respond the same day.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please forward this email to family and friends.

Sincerely,

Alan Fox
Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go



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