The Travel Specialists

We know you are looking for the very best, competitively priced travel experience and The Travel Specialists team are dedicated to delivering exactly that. Each destination under The Travel Specialists umbrella, is headed by a specialist with at least 10 years of experience in that destination. You can expect that their knowledge and expertise are second to none.

Meet Richard and The Travel Specialists team…

We have built a reputation over the years for offering the best in travel to Africa, South America, Antarctica and India.

The wonderful and varied travelling experiences of myself and my staff form the basis of the tours, expeditions, safaris and the range of accommodations packages that I am proud to offer you along with tailor made itineraries designed to meet your specific needs.

Giving Back

Women for Women in Africa

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Hoedspruit Volunteer Program

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Village Visits

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Rhinos Without Borders

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Our weekly blog

All About Africa...

The largest land mammal on Earth, African elephants are both incredible and improbable looking creatures, with their large flapping ears, elongated trunks and menacing tusks...read more

Our Photographic Gallery

View the entire collection

Richard Ruskin (our Managing Director) and Darren Backx (our Senior Consultant) each have a collection of photos of animals, birds and people, taken over many years, which have been hugely popular. These photographs can be purchased in various sizes from A4 to Poster size (or even bigger). Ideal to feature on the wall at home. Many of the photos can be seen in our brochures but if you are interested please contact us to see or purchase these beautiful photos.

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WOMEN FOR WOMEN IN AFRICA

Imagine an area of one square kilometre with over a million people living in tiny tin shacks with no running water or sewerage – this is the slum “that does not exist” – Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. Women for Women in Africa (WFWIA) is a registered charity that is run by a group of like minded people offering their services and expertise for free. Its aim is to give the children of Kibera an education and a future, and the women skills and training, to be able to support themselves. As a Director of WFWIA, our Managing Director, Richard Ruskin is passionately involved in ensuring a future for the people of Kibera, by using his expertise, knowledge, donating safaris and other initiatives. It is also through the amazing generosity of many of our clients donations that help raise some of the necessary funds so desperately needed.

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, has thousands of children that have nothing and often don’t eat for days at a time. They live in tin shacks with no toilet, no running water and no electricity. They often have open sewers outside their “homes”. For these children and their families, education is the key to finding a better life outside Kibera and to breaking free from the cycle of poverty. Whilst the Kenyan Government supports education to the end of primary school, they don’t offer any support for secondary or tertiary education. In Kibera around 45% of children attend primary school yet only 1% complete their secondary education. Nonetheless, there is a burning desire amongst the children of Kibera for education. Currently WFWIA have over 400 children in boarding schools all over Kenya. All of these would not have the opportunity for secondary education if it were not for the generous sponsorships of people like you living in Australia. All it takes is $1,250 a year for four years and you can have the chance to make a difference to a child, and it is tax deductible. This money covers accommodation, books, clothing, transport, uniforms, shoes and food for one year for one child. The philosophy of WFWIA is simple – “We cannot solve all the problems of Africa, but we can make a difference to the lives of some of the people living in Kibera”.

GIRL’S EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM

The Girl’s Empowerment Centre provides a two year boarding program for poorly educated and homeless young women from the slums of Kibera with a framework to learn life skills and personal health issues. They are taught valuable skills like tailoring, catering, basic education, health care and computer knowledge. Many of the centre attendees are young mothers. WFWIA provides education on teenage pregnancy, health advice, life skills, self–esteem development and self-respect and assertiveness.

WOMEN’S CENTRE – SKILLS TRAINING

This is a truly exciting part of what WFWIA does in Kibera. Using old fashioned sewing machines and needles and threads, the women make superb clothes, school uniforms, jewellery and other items. The small amount of money they make ensures that they will eat and provide for their children. In 2022, we finalised the purchase of land and housing in Otiende, as a meeting place for these women, generously donated by one of our couples that was introduced to WFWIA, on one of Richard’s safaris.

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS

There is a wide choice of volunteer programs for those wanting to assist with the many children at the WKW Centre or helping the women with skills training at the Women’s Centre. Please contact African Travel Specialists for more details, or Women for Women in Africa. So please help us now by supporting a child or by donating today – see the website for details on how you can help. Website: www.womenforwomeninafrica.org.au

HOEDSPRUIT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM (www.hesc.co.za)

The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), located in Hoedspruit South Africa, is a facility dedicated to the quest of ensuring the survival of rare, vulnerable and endangered species (in particular the cheetah) in South Africa, as well as the rehabilitation and care of orphaned and injured animals. The centre is home to cheetah, wild dog, black–footed cats, lion, African wild cat, ground horn bill, sable antelope, and many other species.

Participation – Students will work alongside the team at the HESC as they go about their daily activities of feeding the animals, ensuring their environment is clean and safe and administering medical care. Students may also get the opportunity to view surgical procedures in the veterinary facility, as well as sharing in the education and involvement of underprivileged children from the surrounding rural communities. The programme aims to equip students, to actively participate in conserving the wildlife of Southern Africa and build awareness of conservation on a broader global scale to experience the beauty and rich diversity of South Africa. The course includes daily lectures on all major aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity. Practical exercises include a trip to the reptile park, identification of plants on walking excursions, tracking in the bush, a visit to a local tribal village, an excursion to the World famous Kruger National Park, stargazing, natural and traditional food preparation as well as game drives.

The centre is actively involved in:

• The breeding of endangered, vulnerable or rare animal species

• The release and establishment of captive–bred cheetahs to the wild

• The treatment and rehabilitation of orphaned or injured animals which are brought to the centre

• The education of students and the general public in conservation and conservation activities

• Eco-tourism

• A hands-on Student’s Program to educate on the methods of conservation from around the World

VILLAGE VISITS

Richard’s Village – Masai Mara

This Masai village is located in the heart of the Masai Mara, not far from Olonana Luxury Camp and is one of the friendliest villages and most welcoming in Kenya. The village and its people are closest to the heart of Richard Ruskin, African Travel Specialists’ Managing Director. Richard was given the highest honour by being “named” as a Masai elder into the village – a rarity for a Muzungu (white person). It is a great opportunity to see the Masai culture up close and personal.

Ipitek’s Village – Amboseli

This Masai village is located in Amboseli and is one of the most pro–active there. With the help of our clients and our support, the village successfully survived one of the worst droughts in Kenya’s history a few years ago. Financial support has been given to the village to replenish their stock of cows, goats and sheep, as well as plans for a bore hole to be dug. A school has now been built close by, and all the clients who have visited the school have voted it as one of the most moving and special visits they experienced on their whole safari.

Josphat’s Village – Samburu

This village is located in Samburu, Northern Kenya. This is a great opportunity to see a village in one of the harshest environments in East Africa. It differs to a Masai village in both the style of the huts and the dress of the people. One of the great highlights is being invited inside a family’s home. There is also an opportunity to learn about how the village operates.

RHINOS WITHOUT BORDERS (www.rhinoswithoutborders.com)

One of the most threatened species in Africa is the rhinoceros, poached for its horn, in the misguided belief that it will enhance men’s virility and now as a valuable commodity to trade. With demand for rhino horn now at the highest level in history, two leading conservation and tourism companies, Great Plains Conservation and and Beyond, teamed up to translocate 100 rhinos to the safe haven of Botswana.

Since 2008, 7,130 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. Now, with over 100 rhinos killed by poachers every month, more of these African icons are lost to these poachers. With rhino killed every eight hours, more of these African icons are lost to poachers every year than are being born. The project is very costly, as the rhinos have to be transhipped by air, with just one rhino costing USD 45,000 to be moved. The whole project, including ongoing monitoring and security, requires a total budget of USD 4.5 million.

Rhinos Without Borders has already succeeded in moving 77 rhinos from high-risk poaching zones with a remaining 23 to be translocated within the next 12 months. African Travel Specialists is a proud supporter of this very worthwhile and important project, and we ask all our clients and those reading this brochure to please help. You can help by donating to the fund via their website below.

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For tailor-made itineraries or enquiries…