Adventure. It's in our DNA. We introduced adventure travel to North America in 1972 and never looked back. Now you can choose from over 4,000 small group trips, or have one of our experienced adventure travel specialists build one just for you. No one has the experience, depth of knowledge and range of itineraries of Adventure Center!
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What our travelers have to say
What we hear most about our style of travel is "Why haven't I done this before?"
Responsible travel is rooted in respect, socially & ecologically . Since 1972 we've helped shape the meaning of traveling responsibly by introducing small groups of travellers to local people, wildlife and culture while sustaining the delicate balance that enables these communities and ecosystems to thrive.
People who makeit happen!
Guess what we do on vacation? That's right, we get out and travel. We're all passionate about new destinations and new experiences. We know adventure because we live it, and that helps us to better prepare you for yours. Let us know how we can put our knowledge and our experience to use for you.
Are you an adventurer, an explorer, or just plain curious? Do you love discovering new cultures and places? If so, we should talk. We're always looking for people who are committed to making adventure come alive for others.
I visited Cape Town several years ago, and did not venture into the townships. The remnants of apartheid were noticeable enough on the train my companions and I took to Stellenbosch. We bought the cheapest tickets available and rode in a car filled almost exclusively with black South Africans. It became clear very quickly that white South Africans did not ride third class. With our backpacks and casual naivety we stood out as tourists. We encountered no problems but the vibe, for lack of a better word, made us stow our happy-go-lucky demeanors.
This was the late '90s and in the intervening years the townships that sprawl out from South Africa's cities have become part of the country's tourist trail, especially Soweto outside of of Johannesburg where Nelson Mandela lived for years. Hostels have been started and township tours organized. But the townships are still poor communities, some of which can be dangerous. Andrew Evans, National Geographic's Digital Nomad, recently filed this report from the Umlazi township, outside of Durban. He tells of a Sunday visit, being fed and sharing the local maize-based home brew, umqombothi, with the locals. In his words: "I was a total stranger, an out-of-place mlungu wandering around the township, but I was suddenly included, pulled in off the streets of Umlazi and made to feel welcome . . .Everyone kept telling me that Umlazi was dangerous, but I honestly think that's a generalization based on the past."
The closest I've been to returning to South Africa was editing photographer Simon Weller's South African Townships Barbershops & Salons, an astounding book that documents the handmade signs used to advertise these very specific township businesses. Weller traveled across the country, visiting townships, including Umlazi, and relying on the kindness of locals. Like Evans, Weller often received warnings when he told people of his project. While he did encounter a bit of tension, his experience overwhelmingly mirrored that of Evans's. Rather than being constantly on guard, the townships' residents welcomed Weller with open arms, showing him just how strong the bonds of community are even in the face of the hardships that do still exist.
What both Evans and Weller make clear through their very different adventures is that to truly get a sense for South Africa's history, and how that history informs the present, the townships cannot be ignored.