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Samantha Hartman

Roseland, New Jersey Travel Agent

Nature & Wildlife: South Africa and Beyond

Eco-tourism, outdoor adventures in nature and wildlife encounters are among my passions. I’ve arranged eco-adventure trips to South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other destinations. When I arrange your trip, you won’t simply be looking out the window of a bus as the scenery rolls by; you might stay in a wilderness lodge where expert guides will take you on a sensory and educational expedition—whether it is in a Jeep, on bicycles or on foot. I’ll offer you opportunities to go hot-air ballooning, heli-hiking and other active adventures as well as to enjoy pampering spa treatments and gourmet dining. I always spend quite a bit of time getting to understand which experiences will be the most meaningful to each client and then put them together in the most logical, time-efficient and pleasing way. 

For example, South Africa is huge bucket list destination because of the tremendous variety of things to do. You have Cape Town, the wine country, safaris, and that is just the start. One of the most amazing things I’ve done there was cage-diving amid great white sharks in a place called “Shark Alley.” It was both terrifying and wonderful. We went out in a boat a few miles off-shore. As we rode out, marine biologists told us about the habits of the sharks. It was amazing to know that we soon would be diving with sharks that are out in the wild and might view you as food. You go down in a cage so you should be protected, but still, I felt good to be with an operator I knew and trusted. 

I bravely went first. My heart was pounding because ten great white sharks were circling the cage. They came right up to me, almost close enough to touch. Back on the boat, I looked down, and they looked even bigger in comparison with the boat. It was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done.

An absolute must in South Africa is a safari. It's an experience that everybody should have at least once, and South Africa offers some of Africa’s most intimate and wonderful wildlife viewing. You have probably seen a giraffe before. You may have seen an elephant before. But seeing them in their natural habitats feels indescribably surreal.

I am also a New Zealand (see my blog below) and Australia specialist, and each offers amazing wildlife and eco-adventures. New Zealanders popularized bungee jumping, and their gorgeous natural surroundings seem to constantly inspire wilder and crazier ways to be out in nature. But you can also explore more simply by hiking, kayaking, and driving around its amazing land and seascapes. In Australia, Kangaroo Island is a very special place where koalas, wallabies and sea lions abound, and you can go sand-boarding and tobogganing on huge dunes.

Whatever your interests or travel dreams, you can trust me to ferret out the most quintessential and authentic eco-tourism experiences so you can fully immerse yourselves in the uniqueness of each place you visit.

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