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Top 10: Safe Adventures for 2021

Posted on 7/7/2020 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

The #1 adventure on this list features lodging and transportation exclusive to our small group, for a greater sense of safety and security.

As we prepare to begin traveling again, we’ve been working closely with our 36 regional offices and more than 2,500 associates and Trip Leaders worldwide to determine which O.A.T. adventures we’ll be able to operate most safely. These 10 adventures visit destinations where we feel confident about the management of COVID-19. We believe that low case counts, combined explorations off-the-beaten-path and the health and safety measures we’ve put in place for all Small Group Adventures, will create the safest possible experience for our travelers.

Please note: COVID-19 data is accurate at the time of writing, but cases fluctuate on a daily basis.

10. Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge & Tented Safari—13-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Tanzania: 305 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: We fly in and out of small airports (Arusha and Kilimanjaro); stay in small lodges and tented camps; and use three 8-seater safari vehicles for our small group of 16 maximum (average of 13)

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Kenya: Masai Mara National Reserve—4 nights or Tanzania: Kilimanjaro & Sinya Private Game Reserve—3 nights; Post-trip: Tanzania: Zanzibar

The legendary plains of the Serengeti teem with one of the densest concentrations of wildlife on Earth, lending them an aura of Africa at its most primitive. Thomson’s gazelle, Cape buffalo, and elephant vie for survival here amidst grand backdrops, such as magnificent Tarangire National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater, a twelve-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep caldera. At night, retire to unique and varied lodgings, including a four-night stay at our exclusive O.A.T. private tented camp in the Serengeti.

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9. Northern Italy: The Alps, Dolomites & Lombardy—15-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Italy: 20,292 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: After an alarming surge of cases early in the pandemic, Italy’s lockdown model has become a model in Europe; our itinerary features several off-the-beaten-path locales exclusive to O.A.T.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Italy: Genoa, Cinque Terra—5 nights; Post-trip: Italy: Venice

Witness the awe-inspiring landscapes and cultural treasures of Northern Italy on a journey from the fashion capital of Milan and romance of the Lombardy Lakes to the snow-covered Alps and towering pinnacles of the Dolomites. Discover a different side of Italy, and explore the enchanting juxtaposition of Italian and bordering cultures in this scenic region of woodlands, vineyards, and valleys dotted with medieval villages. Witness hidden gems and off-the-beaten path locales that are exclusive to O.A.T.

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8. Tuscany & Umbria: Rustic Beauty in the Italian Heartland—15-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Italy: 20,292 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: As of this writing, there are only 324 active cases in Tuscany and 10 in Umbria, making these especially safe regions in a country that has successfully managed to control a major outbreak.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Italy: Bologna, Parma—6 nights; Post-trip: Rome—4 nights

From the grape-laden vines of Chianti to the thick olive groves blanketing the hills of Trevi, Italy’s Tuscany and Umbria regions are ripe for discovery. Wander through fields of wildflowers to explore an abandoned abbey. Stand atop the walls of an ancient city, and gaze upon the marble churches and tree-lined piazzas below. Travel along the narrow lanes of small towns, marvel at medieval hilltop fortresses, and stroll between proud stands of cypress trees.

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7. Morocco Sahara Odyssey—16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Morocco: 986 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: Morocco had a swift and early response to the virus while cases were still very low.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Morocco: Casablanca, Chefchaouen, Tangier—5 nights; Post-trip: Morocco: Essaouira, Casablanca—5 nights

During this comprehensive adventure, we’ll truly get to know the people of Morocco, experience their traditions, and taste the secrets of their flavorful cuisine. Along the way, we'll enjoy intimate stays in authentic riads—Moroccan homes converted into elegant, ornately-tiled hotels with open-air, Andalusian-style courtyards. Plus, to get a true feel for how the Sahara has so decisively shaped this culture, we’ll camp under its starry skies in a tented camp for two nights—and even explore by camel.

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6. The Baltic Capitals & St. Petersburg—16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia: 4,869 | Active cases in St. Petersburg, Russia: 6,791 | Percent of population: 0.2%

Safety highlights: While overall the massive country of Russia has a high number of cases, our stay is limited only to St. Petersburg; we fly into a small airport in Vilnius and spend the majority of this trip in small cities and villages.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Poland: Krakow, Warsaw—5 nights; Post-trip: Russia: St. Petersburg, Moscow—5 nights

When you travel to the Baltic capitals in a small group with O.A.T., you'll discover the turrets, spires, and winding cobbled streets of Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn—three capitals that preserved the timeless elegance of their Old Towns. And you'll cast your eyes to Mother Russia as you discover the wonders of St. Petersburg, the glorious city on the Neva, founded by Peter the Great early in the 18th century as a showcase for Russia’s imperial might.

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5. Ultimate Australia—17-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Australia: 429 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: Public health officials in Australia expect to have the virus largely eradicated by July.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Tasmania: Hobart, Cradle Mountain National Park, Launceston—6 nights; Post-trip: New Zealand: Auckland, Fairlie, Queenstown—7 nights

Travel to Australia to uncover some of the continent's best-kept secrets, unparalleled beauty, and cultural allure. Our small group will get an intimate glimpse of how Aussies and the indigenous people come together to weave an inviting and culturally-rich fabric of life. Meet Australia's original residents to understand the controversial history that still affects the indigenous people, and discover how this group is maintaining ancient traditions while adapting to modern day customs. And, let local Aussies share their laidback lifestyle and daily lives with you as you explore their big cities and small towns.

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4. Enhanced! A South Pacific Odyssey: Australia, the Outback & New Zealand—16-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Australia and New Zealand: 432 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: This adventure combines Australia with New Zealand, which has essentially eliminated the virus save for a few cases.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Tasmania: Hobart, Cradle Mountain National Park, Launceston—6 nights; Post-trip: New Zealand: Paihia, Bay of Islands, Auckland—4 nights

On this newly enhanced adventure, you'll enjoy a 2-night remote Outback camping experience and 2 nights in Christchurch—both new features for 2021. Plus, you'll spend more time in culturally-rich Queenstown and Rotorua. Equally as fascinating as the local cultures of Australia and New Zealand is the mosaic of landscapes. Visit modern cities from Sydney to Christchurch, remote sites sacred to Australia's "First Peoples" and Maori people like Uluru and Rotorua, and natural wonders from the Milford Sound to the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback.

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3. Pure New Zealand—17-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in New Zealand: 3 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: Under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand has received worldwide acclaim for its COVID-19 response; the virus is essentially eliminated.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Australia: Palm Cove, Great Barrier Reef, Sydney—6 nights; Post-trip: New Zealand: Paihia, Bay of Islands, Auckland—3 nights

Travel to New Zealand, where hot springs contrast with icy glaciers and snowcapped peaks pierce the sky. Behold Milford Sound's crystalline fjord from the comfort of an overnight cruise—a newly added feature—where mighty peaks and roaring waterfalls beckon ... trace Victorian history through the streets of Dunedin—a new destination for 2021—and walk among clouds of steam, spouting geysers, and bubbling mud pools in Rotorua's geothermal wonderland during our extra time in the city, a NEW feature.

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2. Japan’s Cultural Treasures—15-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Japan: 803 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: After a belated government response, the virus is under control due to the diligence of the public around social distancing and hygiene; we expect high standards of hygiene on bullet trains between cities.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: Tokyo—3 nights; Post-trip: Hiroshima—4 nights

Travel to Japan with O.A.T. and discover the country you’ve always dreamed of. Discover an Asian land both modern and ancient … where a colorful Shinto festival snakes past neon lights and Tokyo skyscrapers … a modern bullet train speeds past a farmer tending his rice paddies … a well-dressed businessman stops in a Buddhist temple to light incense … and majestic Mount Fuji provides an iconic backdrop for Hakone, where locals and travelers alike relax in volcanic hot springs.

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1. New! Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe Safari—17-day O.A.T. Small Group Adventure

Active cases in Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe: 1,958 | Active cases in South Africa: 37,233 | Percent of population: 0%

Safety highlights: Stay in small lodges and tented camps exclusive to our small group; small aircraft for most internal flights are exclusive to our small group; on the base trip, our time spent in South Africa is limited to an overnight stay in Johannesburg.

Optional extensions: Pre-trip: South Africa: Private Game Reserve Safari—4 nights; Post-trip: South Africa: Cape Town—4 nights

On this adventure, we’ll spend 12 nights in small lodges and tented camps. Enjoy up to 19 game-viewing drives with our sharp-eyed Trip Experience Leaders and expert, naturalist driver-guides; individual interactions in remote villages due to our small group size of just 8-16 travelers (with an average of 13); a rhino tracking excursion (January-February and November-December departures); and flights via bush plane over the legendary African landscape.

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