2017 Epic midyear update
A word from Brad
It has been an eventful year to date with trips across multiple continents; Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, South America and Antarctica.
Epic has now been operating for 14 years and enjoys a large percentage of repeat custom. The challenge for Epic is to keep our clients engaged by offering new destinations and adventures. The key to doing this is to ensure we continue to offer unparalleled expertise and service.
We achieve this in two ways;
- personally visiting would-be destinations, that is, never sending a client to a place we have not personally been ourselves and
- engaging with accomplished local experts. This is paramount to managing risk and ensuring we get the very best out of the destination.
We are very much indebted to you, our “family” of clientele who continue to entrust us with the planning and operation of your travel endeavours. Thank you.
To that end, here is an update…
Until next time,
Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition
Earlier this year we operated our inaugural small group expedition to Antarctica and Patagonia.
This small group expedition was a roaring success. Antarctica is a once in a lifetime experience.
We were blessed with calm seas, sunny weather and a daily display of incredible biodiversity including orcas and seals.
The second leg of the trip, hiking Patagonia was also extremely memorable and included a variety of activities such as; glacier hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking through a spectacular setting.
Plans for next years journey are well underway with only 4 cabins left available.
Return to Everest
In April, Brad guided a small group to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
For a number of clients this was their second attempt, as they were with Brad in 2015 when the earthquake hit and cut short the journey.
This year we could not have asked for better conditions! All of the group safely made it to Base Camp where they spent a night before helicoptering back to Kathmandu.
In May, Brad guided a safari to Namibia, a vast land of incredible beauty. The breathtaking landscape is like looking at a water colour painting.
This safari took in the spectacular Namib Desert and the Skeleton Coast. Namibia is a destination for the repeat African traveller and is as much about the landscape as it is the game. Being semi-arid, wildlife is uniquely desert adapted. Whilst not as abundant as the savannah and grassland habitats of the continent it is nonetheless equally enthralling.
Watch the Namibia trip highlights video.
Walking the Kokoda Track in PNG
In late June, as part of an Epic expedition, Brad took his family to walk the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Steeped in military history, the Kokoda is fast becoming a “rite of passage” for young Australians. The hardship and the sacrifice faced by those young men who defended the track 1942 is difficult to comprehend. Its historical value, combined with the rich culture of indigenous people populating the track and the spectacular virgin rainforest, makes it is one of the great challenging walks of the world. In completing Kokoda, trekkers climb more vertical metres than an ascent to Mt Everest.
The impact on Brad’s daughters was profound. This is an ideal family adventure or group challenge.
Big news! The long awaited Kokomo Island (Private Retreat) is up and running!
Brad and his wife visited in May this year and were not disappointed. The lodge offers a great mix of luxury, adventure and relaxation. Serviced by its own Twin Otter seaplane, Kokomo is logistically an easy “get to”. It is a great destination for Australians wanting to escape the winter or a fantastic addition for Americans wanting to break up the long journey “down under”.
For more on this destination email
Update from Pedro
Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to privately guide American clients on a diving trip to beautiful Lizard Island, a gem in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, in Australia’s Tropical North Queensland.
The clients had dived many of the best locations on the planet over the past 30 years and diving with the resident family of 4ft long Potato Cod at The Cod Hole on Ribbon Reef 10 was on their bucket list. Despite the reef being extensively damaged by cyclone Ita in 2014, it did not disappoint! Watch this spectacular underwater experience on the Epic blog
In May, I also visited the ever sublime Orpheus Island as part of a ‘classic Australia’ family adventure that also included Kangaroo Island, Tasmania and Sydney. Stay tuned for more on this epic Australian experience.
If you are interested in diving or experiencing the spectacular marine world, right now is prime time for swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland or with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.
And if you missed out this year, consider June -July 2018. We have a 110 ft private luxury charter yacht from Port Douglas which offers the ultimate eye – to – eye wildlife encounters. Contact me for details.
A visit to South Australia
In April the Epic Australia team visited the beautiful southern state of South Australia. Recognised as home to some of the best wines in the country, South Australia is also home to a broad array of quintessential Australian experiences. On Kangaroo Island we enjoyed the finest, and freshest, chef-inspired dinner in a 150 year old sheep shearing shed and ate lunch in the bush with kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas walking around while eating freshly caught King George Whiting and haloumi made on the farm next door.
Imagine sitting around a wood fire under the Milky Way and star-filled night sky whilst staying in luxe accommodation and experiencing the best ‘wildlife in the wild’ encounters in Australia. Or experiencing ‘wild bush luxury’ in the heart of the Flinders Ranges and Outback Australia. See more on the Epic blog
Knowing where to be, at the right time with the right guide, brings a destination to life and is absolutely priceless. Ask us to create an experience of a lifetime just for you.
If you have ever wanted to swim with manta rays in large numbers then Komodo National Park in Indonesia is ideal between June – September. Pedro was lucky enough to swim with 23 of these spectacular creatures at Mauan Island in February, which is off season.
Sailing on a traditional phinisi sailing boat is the ultimate way to enjoy an incredible multi-generational holiday in this stunningly beautiful destination. Komodo is a short 90 minute flight from Bali but worlds away from the crowds and bustle.
Trek to the top of ancient volcanos and enjoy spectacular views out over the surrounding Komodo and Flores islands of Indonesia. For more see Diving Flores Indonesia
Update from Rob
It has been a very busy start to the safari dry season in East and Southern Africa.
I had the chance to review some new camps,lodges and potential adventures in Botswana and South Africa in May. Many of the existing lodges and camps have had refurbishments over their quieter months and are fresh and ready for new season.
In June, I guided a successful Kilimanjaro Climb on the Lemosho route with a family and their friends from the US. This route of 7 nights/8 days offers a very safe route to the summit and Epic’s success rate on this route is close to 100% over the last two years. The same family went on to trek chimpanzees and gorillas in Uganda. A doubling of the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda may see a swing of clients into gorilla trekking in Uganda. Epic is well placed for this potential eventuality, having many clients already travelling in Uganda.
Having said this, the opening of the luxury Bisate Lodge in Rwanda keeps this destination in the spotlight for having a range of luxury accommodation options available for gorilla trekking travel.
The wildebeest migration is in full swing as the rain falls in the northern Serengeti and the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the wildebeest follow the rain to access the sweet green grasses. The crossings of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers have been spectacular with many Epic travellers being lucky enough to see the spectacle.
Free and fair elections in both Rwanda and Kenya in mid August sees the governments returned for further terms and some much needed stability in the region. This is reflected in the successful season seen so far and the positive projections into next year.
I am now preparing for a walking safari supported by camels in Northern Kenya in mid September with an intrepid group of trekkers and another Kilimanjaro Climb for a corporate group in November.
For more on any of the above, email Rob.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Early this year, Epic hosted a journalist and photographer from New York based Departures Magazine, on a successful ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro. The story was featured in the May/June issue of Departures magazine. You can read about this epic journey here.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is ideal for families and other small groups, as a corporate experience or charity fundraising challenge. If you are interested in climbing this epic mountain, find out more about our Epic Kilimanjaro – Lemosho Route – 7 January departure guided by Rob or contact us for a tailored itinerary.
A Father & Son African Bush Adventure
This was an adventure I had been anticipating for a very long time. My son has long been fascinated by hunter gatherer tribes and how they live, the tools they use and what they eat and their social structures and language. As an amateur anthropologist, he had been pestering me to take him somewhere to meet such people and experience it for himself.
To be honest the interest is mutual so this was no hardship for me. So, on the eve of his 14th birthday, we wanted a special adventure together (gifting experiences rather than things) so off we went to meet the Hadzabe people who live a hunter gatherer existence at the arid Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanzania.
Read more on the Epic Travel Blog.
For more on any of the journeys featured or tailored travel