New and Unique Trips Around The World
Unlike other tour operators, Zegrahm’s calendar of expeditions changes from year to year. 2019 is no different, with 15 brand-new itineraries that have been carefully curated to immerse you in the culture and natural history of each exotic destination.
We recently caught up with Director of Planning, Jon Nicholson, to find out more about the trip planning process and the exciting new expedition lineup.
Q: How does Zegrahm come up with new itineraries?
A: We plan each new season based on feedback from our expedition staff and guests—we literally sit around a giant map of the world each spring to plot out where we are going to go the following year. Our operations team then takes this “wish list” and begins the enviable task of researching and scouting each new destination to create a unique lineup of trips.
Q: What are some of the trips that were on the “wish list” of the expedition staff?
A: Our expedition staff is extremely well traveled and always comes armed with interesting and original ideas on where to go next. If only we could do them all! Below are the “wish list” trips that came to fruition in 2019.
Parks & Palaces of Rajasthan combines the amazingly diverse natural history of Rajasthan with stays at some of India’s most luxurious properties, including a maharaja’s palace.
Underwater Wonders of Western Australia offers a comprehensive exploration of one of the least-visited and most pristine corners of Australia—you’ll search for whale sharks off Nigaloo Reef, glide past colorful gardens of hard and soft coral, and step ashore on remote, protected islands that provide safe nesting sites for numerous species of turtles and seabirds.
Time of your Life South Africa is a revelation of the diversity and natural beauty of the Rainbow Nation. You’ll discover fields of fynbos, an entire floral kingdom only found in the south-western corner of the country; search for iconic African wildlife; stay in luxury accommodations; and sample world-class wines and cuisine.
Cultural Gems of Sri Lanka—a trip inspired by Travcoa—explores the impressive ruins of ancient kingdoms, as well as sacred Buddhist sites, beautiful colonial architecture, and a tea plantation. Even if you’ve traveled on Zegrahm’s Natural Wonders of Sri Lanka, this expedition offers a new perspective of this dynamic country.
And finally, explore the Iberian Peninsula “Zegrahm-style” with visits to the very best sites along with plenty of hidden gems.
Q: Several of the “new” small-ship cruises are visiting places that Zegrahm has gone to before. What makes these trips new?
A: Our new small-ship cruises combine some of our favorite stops from past voyages, plus some very expeditionary stops that were proposed during our spring planning meeting. All of these voyages incorporate brand-new stops for at least half of the itinerary. On Bay of Bengal: Chennai to Yangon you’ll explore Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Bangladesh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and make stops along the coast that are difficult to reach by other means.
We couldn’t resist the opportunity to trace the Path of the Vikings: Reykjavik to Quebec. We’ll combine our favorite spots in Iceland and Greenland, plus all new explorations along Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence Seaway aboard Le Champlain, a brand-new vessel boasting luxe accommodations and fine French cuisine.
Papua New Guinea is rightly known as the ‘Land of the Unexpected,’ and after dozens of visits, we’re still discovering new islands, beaches, and underwater landscapes to explore—many are almost untouched by the modern world.
Q: Zegrahm has been offering African safaris for more the 28 years; what’s special about these new expeditions?
A: For many people, one trip to Africa is never enough. That was certainly true for me after my first safari in 1976! Since then I’ve returned to Africa a dozen times and have used my experiences to craft Ultimate Kenya and Iconic Africa: Kenya & Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls.Kenya is an ever-popular safari choice. In fact, the concept of “safari” was invented here—it means journey in Swahili. With an amazing range of habitats and the full panoply of East African wildlife, Kenya offers a classic and rewarding safari experience for beginners and safari aficionados alike. For those who want a taste of both East and Southern Africa, Iconic Africa offers the perfect combination of habitats, plus the impressive spectacle of Victoria Falls.
Q: Which new itineraries do you think are the most unique, adventurous, or expeditionary?
A: Cultural Treasures of Northern Vietnam & Laos, Gorillas of the Congo, Ultimate Ethiopia, and In Search of Snow Leopards. Each of these expeditions travel to places that can be difficult to navigate on your own and take you to some very remote areas.
Q: Which of the new trip would you like to go on?
A: Oman & Jordan! I’ve been to over 100 countries but never traveled to Oman. Unlike its northern neighbors, Oman has maintained its traditions and offers an authentic taste of Arab culture. And though I’ve already been to Jordan, the ruins of Petra are worth another visit, and the people are always so welcoming.