After more than a dozen trips with Africa Adventure Consultants (and many more before we were introduced), Gail Laviola is still as in love with Africa as she was when she first set foot on the continent several decades ago.
Her trips with us over the last six years have taken her from South Africa all the way up to Kenya (and lots of countries in between). The only difference between her first safari and her next one is that she is completely comfortable with what to pack and how to make sure she gets the most out of every experience.
"Book a private vehicle...you can stay at sightings as long as you wish." - Gail
Botswana is a close second. Gail described it ‘like Africa was 40 years ago.’ She says it’s the least commercial of the destinations she has visited.
Ol Mondoro Camp – Located in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Ol Mondoro is the smallest camp and is one of the most remote. It’s an amazing location for hippo and elephant and the setting is exceptionally beautiful. Boating safaris are an option.
Liuwa Plain – Sticking with the remote theme, Liuwa Plain National Park is way off the beaten track in Zambia. Liuwa Plain has prolific birdlife, vast open grasslands and Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration. It’s well worth the journey to get there. The camp Gail stayed in closed to make way for a new luxury camp, King Lewanika Lodge.
Namiri Plains Camp – Namiri Plains Camp is located in a game rich area of the Serengeti that is not frequented by tourists. In fact, the Eastern Serengeti was closed to tourists for 20 years to allow the cheetah population to replenish itself. Now it is big cat territory, and Gail loved the lion and cheetah sightings she had there, including seeing cheetahs with their kills every day during her visit.
Kwihala Camp – Kwihala is in Tanzania’s little-visited Ruaha National Park. It offers both day and night game drives as well as walking safaris, and is home to 10% of the world’s lion population. It’s a great destination for big cat lovers like Gail! It is one of the largest wildlife conservation areas on the continent and incorporates multiple ecosystems that support a great and varied number of species.
What do these camps have in common? They are all small and intimate. They are all remote or in less touristy areas, and all are in areas known for incredible wildlife viewing.
“Choose camps in private concessions – you get exclusivity and fewer vehicles/tourists.” - Gail
"Don’t bring too many clothes – most camps do laundry. You don’t need anything fancy." - Gail
Gail is an animal rights advocate who donates to many causes. She’s feisty and is not afraid to speak out of she sees the wildlife is not being treated with proper respect by inexperienced or unaware tourists. On one safari, she hurt her ankle but did not let that stop her! She didn’t miss a beat and never missed a game drive despite the pain. Gail mails photo albums of her travels to the AAC staff, which we all treasure.
Gail nearly always has her next safari booked and on the calendar. Whether to Kenya, South Africa, Botswana or another of our destinations, there’s nothing better than having a trip to look forward to!