EXPLORING THE UNEXPLORED
When planning a trip to Africa, only a few destinations come to mind because travel agents have limited offers and only focus on a few countries, and yet... it's an incredible continent full of marvels and treasures worth exploring.
Our five-month-long sabbatical began as a simple ten-day-long trip to see the Great Migration of the Serengeti and, little by little, grew to become a journey of unthinkable beauty through all East Africa. From the deserts of Sudan to the shores of South Africa, we weaved an adventure full of natural and magical encounters using the Nile and its legends as the golden thread of a story covering millions of years of history.
This African Sabbatical was created as a once in a lifetime trip to discover and witness the greatest migrations in the world. In a way, an adventure at the heart of nature.
It all started when our jet landed in Khartoum's airport before two helicopters flew us to the middle of the desert to discover the archaeological sites of the Island of Meroe and the Nubian pyramids built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. From there, we embarked on a helicopter adventure west to explore the Sahara in Sudan and Chad before going back to the Nile to reach South Sudan.
For decades, South Sudan was consumed by wars and violence that plunged the country into poverty and caused great harm to the region's rich wildlife. Yet, scientists believe the biggest migration of wild animals on Earth takes place here. This is where we wanted to start our journey through Africa's migrations and, to better understand it, brought with us some of the scientists that have been researching this natural phenomenon for the past years.
We then moved east to Ethiopia and Somalia in search of the cradle of mankind in the Ethiopian Rift Valley in the company of one of the most renowned living palaeontologists.
After this historical and archaeological part of our sabbatical, we continued exploring the natural marvels of Africa, but this time, by involving ancient tribes to better understand how they have lived for thousands of years in harmony with nature and wild animals.
During the remaining three months of our sabbatical, we explored several countries and witnessed incredible migrations such as the Great Migration of the Wildebeest in the Serengeti, the Flamingo migration in the Rift Valley in Kenya, the fruit bat migration in Zambia (where over 10 million straw-coloured fruit bats descend into a tiny patch of evergreen swamp forest in Northern Zambia) and finally, the Southern Right Whale migration in South Africa.
Our sabbatical was also the chance for the couple and his family to have memorable encounters with endangered species such as the critically endangered Eastern Lowland gorilla (also called Gauger's gorilla) in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the incredible Aldabra giant tortoises in the protected archipelago of Aldabra (north of Madagascar).
A TRIP DICTATED BY NATURE
To create this large scale sabbatical englobing 21 countries worked for months with a team of several dozens of people and experts to get everything right.
Our first challenge was to time everything perfectly in a flexible way so we could move the pieces of this gigantic puzzle in real-time and adapt to the rhythm of nature. Indeed, as it is impossible to predict the timing and mostly the movements of animal migrations, we had to find creative solutions to always be in the right spot at the right time to witness the most magical moments ever.