Our Man in Africa: Safari Experts' Tim Lapage

Safari Expert Tim LaPage

Safari Expert Tim Lapage

What’s your dream of Africa─luxury platform tents overlooking watering holes rife with wildlife; open-air jeep rides tracking herds of elephants; sunsets with silhouetted lionesses and cubs in the bush? Wandermelon’s friend, Tim Lapage, a fellow travel aficionado, has navigated the continent as a pilot, resident and passionate explorer.  His low-level flying safari, the ultimate African adventure, is a trip of a lifetime for four fortunate passengers, who soar in his Cessna over migrating wildebeests, coasts brimming with seals, charging rhinos, and remote Maasai villages, while staying at off-the-beaten-path luxury lodges.  “It’s a spiritual journey as you see the continent in a continuous progression from above.  It’s the best way to truly appreciate the vastness and wildness of Africa,” chimes Lapage.

Born in 1949, Lapage grew up in Kenya near Karen Blixen’s farm just outside of Nairobi, not far from the Great Rift Valley, an area famous for its soda lake that hosts millions of flamingos during much of the year. Lapage spent his childhood roaming the continent with his parents, meeting the likes of female pilot/writer Beryl Markham and George and Joy Adamson, the creators of the Born Free story.  He began his aviation career as a bush pilot, then flew airliners for Gulf Air for seventeen years, quickly ascending to the role of Captain.  After the Gulf War, he moved to Park City, Utah, the home base for his company Safari Experts since 1993.  While his expertise expands across the globe and he can aptly create custom-designed adventures in myriad places, Lapage holds Africa close to his heart and returns every summer from June to September. At the end of August he personally leads an inimitable low-level flying safari revealing the soul of Africa.azyewaso061

This unique aerial adventure starts in Nairobi and travels from the source of the Nile to the southernmost tip of the continent, soaring over Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, the Luangwa River, the Zambezi River, the Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, and the Atlantic Ocean’s Skeleton Coast.  The multi-day flight finishes in stunning Cape Town.

In Kenya, guests visit a luxury tented camp for a hot air balloon ride and a chance to meet the local Masai, while also experiencing the wildebeest migration at its peak.  Next, a flight over Lake Victoria to Rusinga Island means a day of fishing and exploring the lake.  In Tanzania, a traditional dhow transports visitors to Greystoke Camp where according to Lapage, “thousands of butterflies flutter like confetti” in the tropical forest. These lowland mountains serve as the home to habituated chimpanzees accustomed to humans at a close proximity, so a trek into their territory proves extraordinary.

Flying south along Lake Tanganyika to Katavi, you’ll witness hundreds of hippos and estivating crocodiles lazing below.  In Zambia, safaris by car and on foot reveal elephants, buffalo, giraffes and lions lounging in the bush.

zimvicfalls5 Two days exploring the infamous circuitous Zambezi river follows. As a highlight, Lapage circles you over the thunderous Victoria Falls, then delivers passengers to the comfortable wooden chalets of Sindabezi for more breathtaking views of the Zambezi and game spotting by boat, canoe, or on foot with professional guides.

Heading south, next you explore the Okavango Delta, then fly ever so low along the Skeleton Coast dotted with seals, flamingos, and shipwrecks.  Guests also explore the world-famous Sossusvlei red sand dunes and stay at a nearby luxury safari camp.  Circling the Cape of Good Hope culminates this amazing odysssey.

Lapage’s lifelong passion for Africa and expertise makes him the perfect person to host such a magnanimous trip as he knows all the secret spots and the most erudite guides.  As he says, “Tell me your dream of Africa and I will create it.”

For pricing and other safari trip information, please contact Sarfari Experts and Tim Lapage
Lapage’s Flying Safari runs August 17 through September 2, 2009

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