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Travcoa reinvents the classic safari, extends brand in Africa


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — In its 55th year, luxury travel operator Travcoa is going back to its expeditionary roots with the launch of a new product line — the African flying safari.

Unlike any other travel product offered in Africa, the flying safari combines the concept of a grand expedition with private air service linking remote destinations and the continuous company and expertise of an African pilot, crew and guides.

“We re-envisioned the grand safaris made famous by Roosevelt, Hemingway and British royalty,” said Travcoa President Randy Durband. “The flying safari is different than any other product on the market because it expands the scope, depth, and ultimately the meaning, of the safari experience beyond what has been available.”

Each expedition explores the African continent with an emphasis on exposure to the places and people who define Africa’s culture and future, among them the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Rev. Claude Bouchet, a missionary and anthropologist.

While the flying safaris are true expeditions at the core, creature comforts haven’t been overlooked. Travelers will fly directly between small, regional airports and private airstrips, and stay in some of the finest lodges, camps and hotels on the continent, such as the five-star Relais & Chateaux Plettenberg Bay property in South Africa and the Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia.

Avoiding the constraints of commercial air travel is not the only benefit of the private Douglas DC-3 airliner. While it’s spacious enough to carry up to 18 travelers and fly directly between distant destinations, it’s also rugged enough to land on bush airstrips in the Zambian bushveld or the islands of Mozambique. A business jet or bush air taxi could not offer the same combination of capabilities.

“Africa hides its most interesting experiences in places far beyond the established tourist infrastructure,” said Dr. Loel Fenwick, Travcoa’s flying safari expedition leader and a fourth-generation South African. “Very few world travelers are able to experience more than a small sample of what Africa has to offer. Adventurers on our flying safaris will be the exception.”

In addition to private expeditions, where friends or family choose the destinations, experiences and dates of interest to them, Travcoa also will offer two scheduled, 19-day departures. Limited to 18 travelers, both scheduled expeditions will visit more than 10 ecosystems and explore more than 3,000 miles of Africa’s most interesting regions by land and low-level flight, and combines Southern Africa’s best game reserves, coastal retreats and cultural events.

The “Once in a Lifetime Africa” expedition costs from $34,400 per person, and departs from Johannesburg on Sept. 21, 2009. Hosted by Durband and Patricia Shultz, best-selling author of “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” and led by Fenwick, the expedition visits Cape Town, Kwandwe Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Zululand, Plettenberg Bay and Oudtshoorn in South Africa; Okavango Delta in Botswana; Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; South Luangwa National Park in Zambia; Lake Malawi and Mua Mission in Malawi; and Bazaruto Island in Mozambique.

The “By Royal Invitation” expedition is specifically timed for guests to accept a special invitation to the Zulu King’s Reed Dance festival, an annual, invitation-only celebration recognized as one of Africa’s most significant cultural events.

The expedition costs from $34,900, and departs from Johannesburg on August 30, 2009. The expedition includes Cape Town, Phinda Game Reserve, Zululand, Plettenberg Bay and Oudtshoorn in South Africa; Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; South Luangwa National Park in Zambia; Lake Malawi and Mua Mission in Malawi; Bazaruto Island in Mozambique.

About Travcoa Long synonymous with personalized attention, exclusive access to exceptional venues and all-inclusive luxury, Travcoa has been leading in-depth explorations of the world's most exotic destinations since 1954. For more information, visit or call (800) 992-2005. ###

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