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Amboseli National Park in Kenya is a wonderful place to meet the local Maasai- kids love the colourful culture that is so different from our own.

THE ULTIMATE
ADVENTURE

Bespoke, tailor-made, intimate, authentic- there's only one way to adventure with kids in tow.


WORDS Rebecca Lawson

Adventure travel is definitely a buzz term these days, but when you’ve got kids in tow it is difficult to find the right mix of authentic adventure and family-friendly luxury. That’s where The Shackleton and Selous Society comes in, but this isn’t just another tour company. In fact, it isn’t a tour company at all. The Shackleton and Selous Society is an invitation-only group of elite guides chosen not only for their exhaustive knowledge of the area they cover, but also because they understand the concepts of ‘adventure’ and ‘luxury travel’ and know how to combine the two.


The S&S guides take the term ‘bespoke’ very seriously, as well. They work hard to get to know their clients and to understand what they need and want out of their experience. Children’s ages, interests and abilities are forefront in their minds and the person who creates the itinerary is also the guide and, by the end of the trip, will often have become a friend as well.

AFRICA
A well-explored family favourite, it is the combination of intimate settings, flexible routines and interest-based itineraries that makes these family safaris so distinct, and gives visitors a far more extraordinary experience than generic tour groups can.

In the guide's words
“The sunburnt natural wonders of Africa are always a hit with kids – the big game never fail to impress. However, the trip crafted for the Fredericks family was a totally holistic African experience that truly took them under the skin of the country. The family count the highlight as the time spend in Amboseli, nestled at the foot of Kilimanjaro, alongside the iconic images of elephants striding across the lakebed in front of this great mountain.


“But it was the opportunity to have some sincerely authentic interactions with the Maasai community who lives here that really moved the Fredericks, both children and parents. A day spent visiting a traditional village and a nursery school, a bead market and then cheering on the teams at the Maasai Olympics will never be forgotten. The games were spectacular – scarlet costumes and dark painted faces were offset against azure skies, while incredible athletes sprinted and threw spears, reaching a crescendo with 100 warriors dancing on top of a hillside, Kilimanjaro towering behind, while Mum and Dad sipped gin and tonics, and the kids were decked in authentic Maasai beads.”

Guide: Howard Saunders
Howard is a professional safari guide based in Kenya. Born and raised in Australia, he first visited Africa at 17 and was smitten. He returned to Kenya after finishing university and hasn’t looked back since. Howard has been a guide for 20 years, so he knows his way around.

Horseracing is a major part of Mongolia's Naadam Games.

Guide: Jan Wigsten
Jan is a Swedish tour guide who has been taking groups through Mongolia since 1980. He also takes groups through the Andes, the Amazon, the Himalayas and the three Guianas, so he definitely knows his adventure travel.

MONGOLIA
Mongolia is arguably the least developed country in the world and so offers intrepid families the opportunity to enjoy a profoundly authentic experience, educational and perspective-changing.

In the guide's words
“One of my favourite adventures was with the Spiller family, who explored the country during Naadam, Mongolia’s largest festival, held to celebrate the 1921 revolution. Sporting competition is a major part of the festival and colourful heats are held in wrestling, archery and horse riding. Combining bold military uniforms, endless grasslands and competitive athletes, the Naadam Games is held just outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where many residents still live in felt yurts called gers. While enjoying the ‘big smoke’, the Spillers also did some local shopping Mongol-style, braved archery training and visited the Gandan Monastery, before retiring to the five star Corporate Hotel.


“The Spillers’ two teenagers were also interested in hiking through the Gobi Desert where they encountered the East Gobi wildlife found in the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve which included cinerous vultures, lynx and Siberian ibex.


“The family travelled via chartered flights to the country’s iconic grasslands and sand dunes, which still house nomadic tribes. Accommodation was in a ger camp, set up exclusively for their use in the Arburd Sands, where local nomads acted as hosts, sharing their homes and lives with the visitors. Here, the family was immersed in the traditional nomadic way of life in Mongolia, experiencing camel treks, but also enjoying a personal chef.”

AUSTRALIA
There is much adventure to be found on our home shores as the Duffy family and their four young daughters discovered.

In the guide's words
“During planning, they were incredibly focused on experiencing Australian wildlife and Indigenous culture in an authentic and exclusive manner. They were already extremely well travelled, so we had to go above and beyond to impress and it was essential to include a number of very special moments.


“The Duffys were met on arrival in Sydney and immediately transferred to a private jet which flew them out to Uluru where they had the leading local guide introduce them to this iconic region, using private art classes and bush tucker tastings with local Indigenous elders, as well as hikes through both Uluru and Kata Tjuta with a private guide at sunrise and sunset. This really brought the area alive and helped them interpret the Indigenous magic found in this sacred land.


“From Uluru, the family flew back to Sydney in the private jet to experience the fireworks of New Year’s Eve with dinner at the Park Hyatt, after which they were whisked away to a private platform for the spectacular show. While in Sydney, the family also enjoyed an exclusive Bridge Climb and private surfing lesson at the iconic Bondi Beach, followed by lunch at Icebergs. A one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of Taronga Zoo was followed by a helicopter transfer to a private wildlife haven in the Southern Highlands to view koalas, wombats, kangaroos, platypus and wallabies in the wild. Next, the Duffys travelled to Brisbane to spend a full day behind the scenes at Australia Zoo before taking in the Great Barrier Reef from Orpheus Island. This included private boat excursions to the Outer Reef as well as snorkelling straight off the island and picnic lunches on private beaches.”

Australia offers travellers amazing indigenous culture and unique wildlife.

Guide: Drew Kluska
Drew established his luxury travel company The Tailor in 1998, which is dedicated to showcasing the best of Australia through the eyes of the locals, while maintaining an exceptional level of quality. Drew’s passion has led to The Tailor being voted number one in Australia by National Geographic Adventure, USA .

A helicopter joy ride over Mount Cook.

Guide: Jean-Michel Jefferson
Jean-Michel spent the first half of his career working at PwC as a Management Consultant and Aviation Strategist. He has worked around the world but decided to settle in Auckland to raise his family. With his wife, Jean-Michel now runs a successful luxury travel business, Ahipara, showing others the beauty of New Zealand.

New Zealand
Although a close neighbour, there is still plenty of adventure to be found on New Zealand’s fair shores, namely the fascinating Maori culture, awe-inspiring geothermal forces and glacier hiking.

In the guide's words
“A key factor that I always keep in mind when planning an itinerary is optimal management of logistics to hit just the right level of travel versus fun versus downtime – this is especially important when kids are involved.


“One especially interesting family trip involved three generations – two grandparents, two parents and two children. They did a helicopter tour over Milford Sound with a glacier landing, fly-fished and rode horses in Queenstown, luged, were transported via private water taxi to the Bay of Many Coves, hiked in the Marlborough Sounds and had a helicopter ride over White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano. It was definitely a packed trip.


“From Uluru, the family flew back to Sydney in the private jet to experience the fireworks of New Year’s Eve with dinner at the Park Hyatt, after which they were whisked away to a private platform for the spectacular show. While in Sydney, the family also enjoyed an exclusive Bridge Climb and private surfing lesson at the iconic Bondi Beach, followed by lunch at Icebergs. A one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of Taronga Zoo was followed by a helicopter transfer to a private wildlife haven in the Southern Highlands to view koalas, wombats, kangaroos, platypus and wallabies in the wild. Next, the Duffys travelled to Brisbane to spend a full day behind the scenes at Australia Zoo before taking in the Great Barrier Reef from Orpheus Island. This included private boat excursions to the Outer Reef as well as snorkelling straight off the island and picnic lunches on private beaches.”


“Another interesting family adventure we planned was for the Connor family – eight adults and nine children. They were very interested in the Maori culture and experienced a traditional hangi and took part in a Maori challenge. They went hunting Maori-style, relaxed at Peppers on the Point, undertook part of the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing, enjoyed Christmas Day at Grasmere Lodge, and had a helicopter joy ride over Mount Cook and through the Southern Alps and Fiordland.


“These were two very different trips for very different groups of people, but both were as fascinating, exciting and luxurious as the other. In New Zealand, you really can have it all ways.”

Alaska is 'endless and invigorating' for children.

ALASKA
Alaska is truly remote and rugged, but with proper equipment, exceptional guides and adequate preparation, even a trip to the ends of the earth can be safe, relaxing, outrageously fun – and luxurious.

In the guide's words
“We have guided all sorts of families on expeditions throughout Alaska, and each trip was different because they were tailored to suit the individual guests and their children. One that I loved being involved in was a two-week canoe trip with a couple and their six- and eight-yearold children.


“A great new canoeing trip we are offering is in the Kasegaluk Lagoon. This is very exciting for guests who want to experience the most remote region of the Alaskan Arctic Coast – it is rich, crisp, fragile and completely undisturbed. The kids love being so close to the wildlife of the region which includes beluga whales, caribou, loons and arctic foxes, which are so snowy white and fluffy it is hard to believe they aren’t soft toys.


“Another trip I did which was really spectacular was an eight-day backpacking trip with a family including 10- and 12-year-old daughters. I was really surprised at how well the girls kept up, though the itinerary was very much tailored to their abilities, although some preparation is always a good idea. When backpacking, we frequently use streams as highways, as do the migrating wildlife, so you can image that we saw some truly majestic landscapes and wildlife.


“Another interesting family adventure we planned was for the Connor family – eight adults and nine children. They were very interested in the Maori culture and experienced a traditional hangi and took part in a Maori challenge. They went hunting Maori-style, relaxed at Peppers on the Point, undertook part of the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing, enjoyed Christmas Day at Grasmere Lodge, and had a helicopter joy ride over Mount Cook and through the Southern Alps and Fiordland.


“Rafting trips in Gates of the Arctic National Park and base camping trips high in the Arctic are other trips popular with families and it is truly amazing to see the change in children when they are removed from all modern distractions – they can see the nature as it really is, learn to appreciate it, and really discover how endless and invigorating the world can be.”

Guide: Michael Wald
Michael is the co-owner of Arctic Wild and loves nothing more than sharing his passion for the wild with clients. He also works as an educator and researcher on projects ranging from marine mammal studies to songbird habitat characterisations. He also runs tours of all areas from Newfoundland to the Arctic.


INFO:Arctic Wild www.arcticwild.com 
 Nomadic Journeys www.nomadicjourneys.com 
 Howard Saunders Safaris www.howardsaunders.com 
 Ahipara www.ahipara.com 
 The Shackleton and Selous Society www.shackletonandselous.com
 The Tailor www.thetailor.com.au



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