Last Chance to Explore Western India & Myanmar in 2014

December 3, 2013

Whether seeking out western India’s prolific wildlife or meeting the tribes people who live along the Mekong River, we have two unique ways to begin 2014.
 
Departing January 8, 2014, our Wild Western India overland adventure takes you to several national parks and reserves to search for the region’s incredible wildlife. In Gir National Park you’ll be on the look-out for the rare Asiatic lion and the elusive khur. The grasslands of Velavadar National Park are home to a colorful variety of birds, including the largest known harrier roost in the world, as well as larks and sandgrouse. And the Little Rann of Kutch offers the chance to spot white-footed desert foxes, golden jackals, and wolves.
Asiatic Lion
 
Myanmar & Laos: Land of a Thousand Temples, departing January 31, 2014, is a cultural immersion into these emerging destinations. Visit Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset, Bagan’s whitewashed Mon Temple, and the floating gardens of Inle Lake. Plus, you’ll enjoy an Irrawaddy River cruise to the 11th-century capital of Bagan, and an overnight stay on the banks of the Mekong River in a serene teakwood lodge.
Inle Lake
 
Don’t miss your last chance to visit Western India and Myanmar in 2014—contact us today!

Top 5 Photos from Wild Alaska and the Best of the Russian Far East

October 7, 2013

We recently completed two wildly successful voyages to Alaska and the far eastern corners of Russia. Not only was the wildlife plentiful, our designated photographer onboard the Caledonian Sky, Mike Moore, was able to capture some beautiful images. Here are the top photos from our Wild Alaska and the Bering Sea, and Best of the Russian Far East expeditions.

1) Alaska's Geographic Harbor is set among magnificent volcanic scenery, hidden at the far reaches of Amalik Bay. As our explorers sailed in, they were greeted by marbled and Kittlitz's murrelets and saw their first brown bear of the day!

Brown Bear

2) Due north in the Bering Sea lies the tiny archipelago comprising the five Pribilof Islands discovered in 1786. St. Paul Island is home to a population of only 800 people, but the collection of islands are home to over 600,000 northern fur seals.

Northern Fur Seal

3) July 29, 2013 will go down as a magical day on our Best of the Russian Far East expedition. In Anastasiya Bay, our adventurers came across large groups of walrus, both loafing on shore and curiously checking out our enchanted photographers! 

Walrus

4) Later that same day, a massive herd of over 2,000 reindeer approached and gathered just below our group on a coastal plain. They watched the herders swirl the reindeer in circles, lasso the antlers, and capture a large male.

Reindeer

5) Our trip began to wind down in Petropavlovsk, the administrative center of the Kamchatka region, and home to around 200,000 people. Our explorers enjoyed dinner on deck, while sailing away under a beautiful sunset.

Petropavlovsk

To see this (and much more) for yourself, join us on our 2014 adventures to the same region! Wild Alaska with the Aleutian Islands and Wild Siberia: Kamchatka, Sea of Okhotsk & Sakhalin.

Welcome to Private Travel

October 1, 2013

Did you know that Zegrahm has a Private Travel department? Launched in early 2013, we offer individuals, families, and groups of friends the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our scheduled expeditions—but on a more flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. We know there are times when you may prefer the camaraderie that comes with a group departure; other times you may want to explore the world independently, at your own pace, on your own schedule, and with very specific activities in mind. That’s what our Private Travel department is here to help you do!

The world is really your oyster and no adventure is too big (or small) for our Private Travel team to craft. Here are a few interesting events to consider planning your travels around:

The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament | Hua Hin, Thailand
Introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is one of the biggest charitable events in Thailand dedicated to the lives of the nation’s elephants. Consider timing a private Southeast Asia itinerary to coincide with this one-of-a-kind spectacle and raise some much-needed funds for a great cause while you’re at it! Learn more.

World Orchid Conference | Johannesburg, South Africa
Universally loved—and often the object of a (healthy) obsession or two—orchids not only thrive in some of the most incredible environments on Earth, they do so with refined sensibilities. Imagine building the perfect South Africa custom itinerary around next year’s 21st annual World Orchid Conference in Johannesburg. Learn more.

Wine Harvests | Spain, Northern Italy, Sicily, Argentina
September marks the beginning of wine harvest season. Consider timing a private itinerary that takes in some prime vineyards throughout Spain, Italy, and Argentina. We’ll find the best accommodations, chefs, sommeliers, and wine-centric experiences available, all planned around your tastes and expectations.

North America’s Hop Harvest
Are you a beer drinker? North America produces some of the most sought-after hops in the world, and harvest begins in September. Let us plot a hoppy course for you and your friends which takes you through the lush farmlands of Oregon and Washington, all while sampling the best when it comes to hop-forward ale and the food that so often accompanies it—cheese!

Bahía Bustamante | Argentina’s Secret Galápagos
A spectacular 210,000-acre privately-owned farm on the coast of Argentine Patagonia, Bahía Bustamante lies within one of Argentina’s newest national marine parks. Boasting vast pristine terrain that could pass for the American Southwest, let us plan your journey to this one-of-a-kind destination few have heard of, let alone visited. Learn more.

Planning a year in advance is highly recommended for any private travel excursion. Please call us at 800.454.4149 or email privatetravel@zegrahm.com to start crafting your adventure.

Sicily's Menu - Celebrate Fall with Sicilian Fare

September 23, 2013

It's official: summer is over (at least it is here in our Seattle headquarters). But what better way to celebrate fall than to use up the last of your summer vegetables, as part of a Sicilian menu? Try out this recipe for Eggplant Caponata as a starter; we recommended enjoying it with a glass of fruity white wine and reflecting back on the long, warm days of summer.

Sicily's Menu

Eggplant Caponata
Make 6-8 appetizer servings
Adapted from epicurious.com
 
Ingredients
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, cubed
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
Toasted pine nuts
         
Preparation
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, pepper, onion, and garlic cloves. Sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes with juice, then red wine vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in fresh basil. Transfer caponata to serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. (Caponata can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
 
Serve with crusty white bread, cheese and a glass of fruity white wine.
 
To enjoy even more Sicilian delicacies, join us on our Circumnavigation of Sicily expedition, departing in August 2014, where you will attend cooking demonstrations on how to prepare traditional Sicilian dishes, plus enjoy several wine tastings from the Marsala and Licata regions.

If You Can Pronounce Zegrahm, You Have to Give These Sites a Try

September 19, 2013

At Zegrahm, we pride ourselves on taking our explorers to the ends of the earth, be it the continent of Antarctica, or an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean with seven syllables—we're looking at you, Thiruvananthapuram. Here is a list of our favorite, if hard to pronounce, off-the-beaten-path destinations you simply can’t miss in 2014:

Sea of Okhotsk - Wild Siberia: Kamchatka, Sea of Okhotsk & Sakhalin

The expansive region bordering the Sea of Okhotsk is one of the planet’s least-explored and most remarkable destinations for untouched forests, pristine tundra, and vast amounts of wildlife. You’ll find a number of whale species including beluga, orca, and bowhead; basking seals and sea lions by the thousands; and millions of seabirds, from northern fulmars, puffins, and guillemots to black-legged kittiwakes, auklets, and more.

Jan Mayen Island - Across the Arctic Circle: Iceland & Svalbard

Jan Mayen Island claims the northernmost active volcano on the planet. The Beerenberg volcano is entirely capped in ice and boasts numerous glaciers, many of which calve directly into the sea. We will be on the lookout for seabirds such as fulmars and puffins, and we may go ashore to view the old whaling and weather stations.

Sigiriya - Natural Wonders of Sri Lanka

In the heart of Sri Lanka lies Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, a huge granite monolith rising out of the jungle. This stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site features the ruins of a 5th-century fortress and palace, colorful murals, and the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and fountains.

Karasjok - Lapland: Home of the Sami People

Karasjok is the social and cultural center of the Norwegian Sami, a semi-nomadic culture based on reindeer herding. Both the Sami Parliament and a Sami language radio station were established here, and on our adventure, you will meet Sven Engolhm, an eleven-time winner of Europe’s longest dog sled race, plus visit his kennels and highly-trained sled dogs.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Uganda: A Primate Paradise

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. It is home to half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, and our overland adventure spends two full days tracking these great primates. A plethora of bird species and other chimpanzees also live here.