Entering the Virungas Mountains

Jeremy’s Rwanda Gorilla Experience

Rwanda is so many things, and my time there was magical. Here’s the first video from my visit, starting with the gorilla tracking experience. I did two treks: first to the Susa group, and then to the Hirwa group.

The Susa trek was nearly a two hour climb into the misty highland. It is the largest tourist-accessible group with multiple silverbacks, some young babies and a rare set of twins, and it is one of the original groups studied by Diane Fossey. The hike was exhausting and my legs were shaky with fatigue, but it was so rewarding to spend an hour observing the young gorillas tumbling around.

Hirwa Family Tree

Hirwa Family Tree

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Photo by Carole M.

The noise was incredible!

Every sunrise and sunset, I found the African skies to be as beautiful as the animals. On arriving at my first camp, I saw zebras right across the river! And, elephants, elephants, elephants!

For Redge and Carole’s safari, we developed a 15-day itinerary in Botswana that included the Kalahari, Moremi, the Okavango Delta and Savuti as well as a visit to Vic Falls.

In Moremi, we followed wild dogs. They cornered a lion by jumping in a circle about 3 feet in the air. At the same time on the other side of the car, a leopard showed up stalking wildebeest, and then, because the dogs were noisy, a hyena came as well. All within 30 minutes!

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Safari Portraits by Bruce M.

Bruce and Patty’s South Africa, Uganda and Kenya Safari

Bruce & Patty first travelled with us 5 years ago on a Wilderness Dawning camping safari. This time around they wanted to return to some of their favorite camps on a self-driving safari in Kruger National Park.

They also planned their own visit to Uganda for Gorilla-tracking, and we wrapped their month-long safari up with a few days camping in Kenya.

Here are their top 7 moments…

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Our Rock – Kenya’s Maasai Mara – Photo by Taylor Phillips

Anisa & Taylor’s Semi-Extreme Honeymoon Safari

Both Anisa & Taylor were eager to get out of the vehicle and experience the African wilderness first hand. Check out this awesome video to see how they did…

Not only did we arrange a variety of activities, we also developed their itinerary around a diversity of environments and camp styles. We opted for private or community-owned reserves allowing for greater flexibility, privacy and special arrangements like impromptu picnic lunches, romantic bush dinners, private vehicles and specialist guides.

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View of the Coffee Fields - Gibbs Farm

Safari Seasons, They Are a-Changin’

It’s true!

Big 5 game viewing is best during the Dry Season. Usually July-October when water is scarce, a great number and variety of animals congregate without the obstruction of thick foliage or tall grass. Perfect conditions for first-time safari goers: it’s easier to find concentrations of wildlife, animals are easier to spot and it’s easier to take great photos.

However, with such perfect conditions, prices go up, availability at the best camps and lodges goes down, and prime wildlife viewing areas get crowded. Now, as more safari enthusiasts return to Africa and the conservation tourism industry matures, the traditional safari season is expanding.

More small owner-operated camps are open during the Green Season with reduced rates, less crowds and the added thrill of having to search for wildlife through dense bush. It is also the absolute best time for waterfalls, spotting baby animals and bird-watching. It’s also possible to find last minute availability on quality scheduled departures or at the best camps in the Serengeti.

Here’s this year’s top picks for summer adventures and holiday safaris…

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namibia kunene river valley

Five Reasons We Love Namibia

1. A Landscape Like No Other

Maybe this is true of any place, but there is nowhere on earth like Namibia. In population density, it ranks right there between Iceland and Mongolia.

namibia dune drive

Namibia Dune Drive

The Atlantic’s north-flowing Benguela current brings 180 days a year of fog to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast which is dotted with whale bones, shipwrecks and lions. Meanwhile, twenty mile long dunes crest at 1000 feet above the vast sand seas of the great Namib Desert. From gravel plateaus and bushveld to fossil forests and quivertrees, Namibia is a fascinating world of contrasts and extremes.

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Zarafa Zebras - Selinda Reserve - Botswana

Grant & Miriam’s Grand Tour of Southern Africa

Grant & Miriam’s three week trip in August of this year included some of our favorite destinations in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, and they have the photos to prove it… (click thumbnails to enlarge images)

It wasn’t easy culling 4,000+ shots, but here’s a glimpse into some of the things we saw. What you won’t see are the places we stayed, people we met and many, many other pictures of the wildlife and surroundings where we traveled.

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Fig the Leopard - Olare Motorogi Conservancy - Kenya

Kili’s Kenya Safari – October 2013 – Trip Report

After a few days of meetings in Nairobi and a stay at the lovely new Hemingways Hotel, my Kenyan safari began with a flight past Mt Kenya to the Northern Laikipia Plateau. Here, I spent 2 nights at Sabuk Lodge perched on a cliff overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River. This privately-owned lodge remains a family home run by the entertaining owner, Verity, who hosts all the meals regaling with stories of her rich history in the safari industry. Verity coordinates each guest’s schedule with unique adventure activities such as walking or hiking excursions and Masai-guided camel safaris with stunning views of the Laikipia plains, Mount Kenya, the Karisa Hills and the Mathews Mountains in the North.

For me, the real highlight was a surprise breakfast out in the bush after we had just walked past a breeding herd of female elephants and their young. I also really enjoyed jumping into the Ewaso Nyiro River for a refreshing swim in the heat of the day and can’t wait to return to do a longer overnight walking safari sleeping out with a simple mosquito net under the stars!

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Luangwa Valley from the Air…

We recently featured Chindeni Bushcamp, located on the edge of an oxbow lagoon in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, for being one of our favorite small camps for families and groups of friends.
The Luangwa Valley is a safari-lovers paradise with unique camps in spectacular settings surrounded with abundant and diverse wildlife. That’s why we were so excited to see this amazing video giving “a fish-eagle’s view of Luangwa life.”

Safarious Luangwa Valley from the Air Video

Safarious Video – Luangwa Valley from the Air

And here’s a great video all about Chindeni Bushcamp…

Andy & Melinda’s Zambia and Botswana Safari

Andy and Melinda’s first trip with Next Adventure was three years ago to Tanzania and Kenya. For this year’s trip Kili put together a 17-night safari including Zambia’s renowned South Luangwa National Park, Victoria Falls, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and a day tour of Johannesburg exploring South Africa’s history.

We had a spectacular time! Our camps in Zambia—Kaingo and Mwamba—cater to photographers and each has a hide (blind) from which we got stellar opportunities to see a leopard kill and photograph hippos and elephants.

We got an overview of Botswana’s ecological diversity, from the watery Delta to the barren Kalahari. Selinda was probably our favorite camp (though it is nearly impossible to choose) where an intrepid guide led us to wondrous sightings of African Wild Dogs, cheetahs, and a pride where a lioness dragged a roan antelope to feed seven hungry cubs.

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Elephant in Marsh - Camp Shawu - Kruger - South Africa

Memories and Photos from Bill & Cindy

We asked Will & Cindy if they would share some of their stories and pictures from their past trips, and we got this wonderful array of safari memories and their ten best pictures from over the years…

We’ve done three African Safaris with Next Adventure, as well as a more recent India trip that Kili and Louise planned for us. We have so many stories…

The glass-walled cabins in a forest where I opened my eyes from bed in the middle of the night and was looking directly into the eyes of SOME large animal on the other side of the glass, having baboons swarm our jeep in Kruger with “Old Bob” and refuse to leave without handouts…

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Chimpanzee Trekking - Greystoke Mahale

New Greystoke Mahale Video

Nomad Tanzania just released a series of 3-minute videos about some of our favorite places including this one about Greystoke Mahale:

Remotely-set on the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika, Greystoke Mahale is your home-base when trekking through the Mahale Mountains with one of the largest remaining populations of wild chimpanzees. It is also consistently praised for its tranquil setting and exceptional hospitality.

Chimpanzee Trekking in the Mahale Mountains

Chimpanzee Trekking in the Mahale Mountains

It’s easily one of the most unique places in the world, and one of Kili’s all-time favorite experiences. Here’s some photos of her trip there in 2012:


For more, visit the gallery here, then get in touch to start planning your next safari…

Yawning Lion

Photos from Jerry & Patty’s South Africa Safari

Rhino-marking at Tswalu

Rhino Marking at Tswalu

Jerry & Patty’s safari earlier this year included visits to Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and the Cape Winelands as well as some very exciting wildlife conservation encounters including witnessing a rare Rhino-marking.

In the ongoing battle between poachers and wildlife conservationists, we’re proud to support the efforts of partners like Tswalu Kalahari, and we’re especially glad that Jerry & Patty could experience this important work firsthand.

Here’s what Jerry had to say:

Once a year they look for young rhinos (about 18 mos) and tranquilize them for about 15 mins. They notch their ears for identification, take blood samples, microchip the horn, complete a general description, and when that is all done they reverse the tranquilizer and the rhino is up and ready to charge in about 3-5 minutes.

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Mekoro at Sunset - Botswana Migration Routes Safari

Five Friends’ Flying Safari

Earlier this year, we put together a private group camping safari for five friends. The trip started with everyone meeting up in Johannesburg and then moving on to Livingstone for a visit to Victoria Falls. From there, they embarked on a 9-day “Migration Routes Safari” with private air charters to three different mobile camps throughout the Okavango Delta, a great introduction to Botswana’s diverse ecology.

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Chindeni Veranda Zambia

Small Safari Camps for Groups & Families

Traveling with your family or a small group of friends can be complicated: making restaurant reservations for a group can be tough or impossible, getting around isn’t easy with tourist maps and a couple of rental cars, and hotel arrangements for groups are expensive and inconvenient. Families and small groups of friends can avoid those complications and experience some great benefits by teaming up on an African safari.

Safari Houses can be a great choice, but one of the most authentic safari options for families and small groups is to buy-out or exclusively reserve small tented camps or private mobile safaris.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Chindeni Bushcamp – Zambia

Sublime, peaceful, tranquil and perfect are just a few of the words guests use to describe Chindeni Bushcamp. Located on the edge of an oxbow lagoon in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Chindeni Bushcamp accommodates up to eight guests in classic canvas tents with vaulted ceilings and private verandas that reach out over the lagoon.

Spend the day watching birds, hippo and elephant visit the lagoon, or go deeper into one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa on a guided walking safari or game drive.

Naibor Tented Camp – Kenya

Somewhere in the middle of the vast Masai Mara Game Reserve’s 1500 square kilometers sits a small collection of luxury tented camps called Naibor. With three separate camps, Naibor is a great choice for a group or family to explore the Mara. It is perfectly situated to experience the wildebeest migration crossing over the Mara river, plus cultural visits to the nearby Masai communities just outside the reserve can be arranged.

Of course, spectacular sundowners are on the menu, but guests can also enjoy a “bush meal” far out in the rolling grasslands.

Wilderness Dawning Mobile Safaris – Botswana

Wilderness Dawning offers the adventurous family or group 10-day & 14-day overland safaris that “endeavor to enrich our guests and enhance their love of Africa.” Days are spent with some of the best guides in the business game-driving through Botswana’s renowned wilderness areas including Nxai Pan, Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango and Chobe National Park.

Experiencing diverse habitats and a tremendous variety of wildlife while relaxing night after night in a rustic camp under the stars makes Wilderness Dawning’s mobile safaris the ultimate adventure.

Selinda Explorers Camp is also a great tented camp option for families and groups. Read about it here as a Featured Destination.

Get in touch to learn more about these or other safari options for families and small groups.

Photos are courtesy of the camps.

Chongwe House - Zambia

The African Safari House

When our clients come home from safari, they usually say, “We’re going back?” followed by, “Next time, we’re taking friends.” Increasingly, families and small groups of friends are taking advantage of the benefits of sharing a safari. Traveling as a small private group opens up a world of value and possibilities unavailable to couples or solo travelers.

The growing availability of “Safari Houses” is one of the most exciting new offerings for safari goers. These private, exclusive-use accommodations are specifically designed to allow for the privacy and personalized service families and small groups enjoy. Safari Houses can usually accommodate 8-12 guests, and they can come with exclusive amenities like customized activities, flexible schedules, private vehicles, specialist guides and a dedicated house manager, personal chef and dining team.

Here are three of our favorite Safari Houses:

Chongwe Safari House – Zambia

Located on Zambia’s Chongwe River near the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chongwe River House sets the standard for the classic African Safari House. This four-bedroom house looks like it has literally grown out of the riverbank. Earthen walls mimic the lines of the surrounding terrain, and the sitting room furniture was carved from a single fallen winterthorn tree.

Wildlife viewing doesn’t get any better than in the Lower Zambezi with hundreds of species of bird, large herds of elephant and lion and leopard viewing.

The Villa at Grootbos – South Africa

The Villa at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve might be one of the most unique and distinctive Safari Houses in Africa. Located 2 hours from Cape Town in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Grootbos is a luxury eco destination that has grown from one family’s passion for the unprecedented marine and botanical diversity found on the Southern tip of Africa.

The Villa offers spectacular views, stunning contemporary design and architecture, and exclusive opportunities to explore: guided fynbos nature tours, Milkwood forest walks, breathtaking coastal drives, marine safaris, wine tours and tastings and cliff-side cave excursions.

Singita Serengeti House – Tanzania

Singita Serengeti House sits on the slopes of the Sasakwa Hill, near the world-renowned Singita Sasakwa Lodge, with a wide, endless, unobstructed view of the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve and the wild Serengeti Plains. This private, exclusive-use lodge accommodates 8 guests with 2 suites in the expansive main house and a garden suite on each side.

The decor is a stimulating mix of contemporary European design with classic safari artifacts and details, and the world-class amenities include a private 25-meter infinity pool, a tennis court, an 18-horse equestrian center, and one of the most extensive wine cellars in all of Africa.

Each one of these Safari Houses boasts extensive children’s activities like tracking animals, star-gazing, flower-pressing, cooking and baking, young ranger programs as well as babysitting services and kid-friendly menus.

To learn more about these and other Safari House options, get in touch.

Click here for more safari options for families and small groups.

Photos are courtesy of the camps.

Selinda Explorers Camp - Main Tent Interior

Selinda Explorers Camp – your private safari getaway

Sometimes, you just want to find a hammock and sway next to a lazy African river. Sometimes, you want to hike far into the bush to listen to the wilderness. Sometimes, there is nothing more important than watching wild elephants drink from the river in which you’re canoeing.


Selinda Explorers Camp is just the place to get up-close and personal with one of Africa’s most treasured wild places. Selinda Explorers Camp is a private, exclusive-use camp remotely-set in Botswana’s remarkable Selinda Spillway, a crucial gathering point for wildlife in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve. Depending on the day, guests can enjoy a guided wildlife walk, a canoe safari or traditional day and evening game drives.

The camp is easy to miss, accommodating a maximum of 8 guests and having a minimal environmental footprint. Four classic campaign-style tents, furnished with unique and exotic soft goods from north and east Africa, are set in a forest of jackleberry and mangosteen. Selinda Explorers Camp comfortably balances a rustic “bohemian flair” with simple, relaxed luxury.


Due to its size and setting, Selinda Explorers Camp offers families and small groups of friends a private and exclusive opportunity to view the best of Botswana’s wildlife including lion, elephant, hippo and wild dog, as well as Slaty egrets, wattled cranes and sometimes hundreds of buffalo.

Selinda Explorers Camp is the newest in the Great Plains Conservation family of camps. Great Plains Conservation is a unique “conservation organization, which operates ecotourism to maintain conservation as a sustainable land use alternative.” Their executive team consists of some of the world’s most well-known conservationists including Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the renowned filmmakers behind National Geographic’s “The Last Lions” and “Eye of the Leopard.”

Selinda Explorers Camp is a great fit for families and small groups and can be easily added to itineraries with destinations throughout Botswana and neighboring countries.

Get in touch to explore how to include Selinda Explorers Camp in your next safari.

Photos of Selinda Explorers Camp are courtesy of Great Plains Conservation.

JKIA Fire Update

News of the fire at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport kept us up last night. From what we are hearing, the fire was not nearly as bad as it looked or as bad as initially reported.
We have heard that the terminals were not damaged by the fire, flights are resuming, and auxiliary Immigration and Baggage Claim Halls are being set-up.
Our thoughts are with the people of Kenya and all of our friends and colleagues on the ground in Nairobi, especially African Horizons Travel & Safari whose regular updates on this event have been greatly appreciated. We invite you to check out their Facebook page to stay up to date: www.facebook.com/African.Horizons
Get in touch if you have questions about how the Nairobi International Airport fire will affect your travel plans.
Stay safe everyone!

JKIA Fire Update via African Horizons

JKIA Fire Update via African Horizons

namibia kunene river valley

Busy Week at Next Adventure

three outgoing itineraries

Busy week!

While Co-Founder Louise is out & about on a 27-day trek in Northern India, we’ve been busy bees putting the finishing touches on three very exciting and very different itineraries:

namibia kunene river valley

Kunene River Valley – Namibia

Namibia – 10 days in Namibia for some of our most enthusiastic clients, The Clarks (WooHoo!) whose daughter has caught the Africa bug and works with World Camp in Malawi.

They’ll be meeting in Windhoek for a safari that takes them to Southern Etosha National Park, Mowani Mountain Camp and NamibRand Nature Reserve. Namibia  is one of the most unique destinations in the world: vast and ancient with an incredible diversity of wildlife and ecosystem.

desert and delta botswana safari map

Botswana Safari destinations

Botswana – Starting from Cape Town and finishing up at Vic Falls, this custom 14-day trip is a great value with visits to all of Botswana’s major destinations including Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, and Makgadikgadi National Park.

We worked very closely with our partners Africa Pass and Desert & Delta to turn this trip around from initial inquiry to confirmed itinerary in less than SEVEN days!

aerial zanzibar tanzania

Flying over Zanzibar

Tanzania & Zanzibar – A very special 12-day honeymoon through Tanzania’s classic Northern Circuit including Tarangire, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, with a final stop on the spice island paradise of Zanzibar, a bright tapestry of Arab, African and Swahili culture with remarkable beaches and a World Heritage Site for a capital.

Stone Town offers a labyrinth of winding lanes and ancient stone houses, Arabian arches and heavy carved wooden doors and a fascinating selection of bazaars, curio shops, art galleries and spice troves.


That’s just a little bit of what we’ve been working on.

Get in touch so we can start working on your Next Adventure…

Handsome Lion in the Serengeti

Peter & Ellen’s Pics from Tanzania

Peter & Ellen visited some of our favorite camps and lodges during their trip to Tanzania earlier this year.

Here are just a few of Peter & Ellen’s amazing photos… Thanks for sharing! 

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Jerry & Patty’s South Africa Safari

Jerry & Patty along with friends Florence and Frank just got back from their trip to South Africa which included time in the Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and the Cape Winelands.

In short, we had a really excellent trip.  All the facilities were great, the game viewing fantastic, the Johannesburg and Cape Town  experiences memorable, the winelands fantastic. The Johannesburg and Cape Town guides were especially good.

Happily, we had some really good luck on the trip.  We got to Table Mountain first thing on the first morning we were there, and after an hour we were set to leave, and the cloud came over at just that moment.  The cable car was closed from that point on for the rest of our stay due to the cloud and wind! At Tswalu, we were able to see a buffalo repositioning (only day in the year that this occurred) and some rhino marking (only happens during a three day period once each year.)

Also at Tswalu we saw the reintroduction of the African Wild Dog.

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elephant trunk tarangire

Tanzania Family Safari Trip Report

Arrival in Tanzania
Our guide, Emanuel, met us at Kilimanjaro International Airport for the 45 minute transfer to Lake Duluti Lodge. We enjoyed a small late dinner before a good nights’ rest in a comfortable forested cabin.


View tanzania family safari 2013 in a larger map

Overland to Maramboi Tented Camp
After a delicious breakfast, we drove through bustling Arusha Town to Maramboi Tented Camp located between Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks. This medium-sized, classic tented camp is spectacularly set with open views on Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley Escarpment. While Kili enjoyed a sundowner, Jeremy and Rainier took a dip in the pool, and herds of zebra and wildebeest surrounded the deck and took advantage of a waterhole near the main lounge.

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Bridge over the Mbagthi - Nairobi National Park

Something Special at The Emakoko

In May of this year, we finished our Northern Circuit family safari with a great stay at The Emakoko. Not only is it beautifully set, stylish and comfortable, it’s deep in the African wilderness of Nairobi National Park, less than an hour from Nairobi city center and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Anton and Emma Childs, owner-managers of The Emakoko, have achieved a chic modern lodge that celebrates it’s surroundings. Game driving from the park gate to the lodge, we encountered a magnificent baby white rhino. Upon arrival, we crossed a footbridge over the Mbagathi River and felt hundreds of miles away from the airport we’d left only an hour before, and, from the open-air bar & dining room, we could feel a late season rain drench the forested valley.

The rooms are simple and sophisticated with wide-open spaces, curving walls and panoramic views. Dining at The Emakoko felt more like enjoying excellent home-cooking than fancy restaurant fare, and the service and hospitality was personal and friendly, more like visiting with locals than staying in a hotel.

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Pat and Charley’s Birthday Safari

Maybe our favorite thing is receiving detailed trip reports from our clients after they’ve returned from their custom safari, and this might be the best one yet. Pat and Charley celebrated his birthday on a safari that took them through Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Selous Canoe Trail and Kalahari Desert. We’ll let Pat tell you all about it:

Hi Kili, we had the most amazing trip, thanks to you and Louise. It was a dream come true, and Charley loved EVERY camp, even though he initially had concerns they would be too “fancy” (as I had expressed, he’s a real low-key guy).

He said many times that he was so impressed how you had responded to our discussions and came up with such a perfect itinerary. We loved the diversity of the locations, from the desert to the woodland and waterways.

Of course he loved the canoe trip best, as did I. It was a wonderful end to the journey and I’m glad the sequence worked out as it did.

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Art and Alison’s Mahale Chimp

This is a great photo of a great subject. Just look at this wise old chimp shot in the Mahale Mountains National Park.Chimpanzee in Mahale Mountains National Park

Art and Christine brought their kids along for this safari that took them through Tanzania…

Rosemary’s Kenyan Lake Safari

Sitting at Lake Elmenteita listening to the frogs with Bombay Sapphire gin martini in hand.  Fabulous day at Lake Nakuru National Park…both black and white rhinos, baboons galore, zebras, Rothchild giraffes, so many wonderful birds I cannot count…flamingos, pelicans, storks, eagles, etc. Scenery wonderful…

Il Ngwesi was so amazing in its own way. The leopards and baboons were vocalizing under the almost full moon while we slept under the stars on the deck of our Banda… Wonderfulness all.

– Rosemary R., Sunnyvale, CA