Mavros Safaris unveils hottest African destinations

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Says Mavros Safaris founder Alexander Mavros: “In 2019, our clients are opting for more adventurous, multi-destination safaris due to an increase in international and regional flights. And, with a growing awareness of sustainability, demand for eco-conscious trips continue to soar. There’s greater focus on experience too, including involvement in wildlife conservation projects such as rhino tracking.”

With this in mind, Mavros Safaris has put together a definitive list of the hottest destinations and itineraries throughout Africa to book now.

GO OFF-GRID IN NAMIBIA: A GOURMET ROADTRIP TO THE COUNTRY’S NEWEST OPENINGS LED BY THE SAFARI BUTLER

The travel industry kept a close eye on Namibia throughout 2018 as new places to stay opened in the form of spectacular lodges and luxe desert camps. The glare is set to intensify in 2019 as opportunities to go off-grid are coming to light, making the most of the remarkable landscapes Namibia has to offer.

Exclusively available through Mavros Safaris, travellers can explore Namibia on an off-road foodie adventure with Dean Dowdney as the Safari Butler – in a brand new itinerary for 2019.

Accompanied by his gourmet bush kitchen and craft gin bar on the back of his 4×4, guests will travel through Namibia’s vast landscape, meeting locals and dining at places no person has ever dined at before.

mavros safaris

This expedition-style journey includes a mixture of stays in campsites and lodges, and with a grande finale in Wolwedans Lodge in the Namib Desert.

Wolwedans Dune Lodge  is positioned on the edge of a 250 metre high dune, and offers magnificent views of the surrounding environment.

HOW:   Rates for the 12-night Namibia Safari Butler itinerary start from £5,777 per person based on two people travelling. This includes  return flights from London, accommodation on a full-board basis and all transport. For enquiries please call +442038246000 or email  explore@mavrossafaris. com    www.mavrossafaris.com  / @mavrossafaris. 

WITH RWANDA ON THE RISE, LOOK TO CONGO FOR LESSER-KNOWN GORILLA TREKS & PIONEERING CONSERVATION INITIATIVES

Rwanda is fast emerging as the epicentre of progressive sustainability in East Africa, with multiple sustainably-minded, luxury lodges opening up in 2019. However, for an intrepid travellers seeking a primate experience beyond this hotspot, an often overlooked experience can be found in the neighbouring Republic of the Congo.

The Virunga National Park re-opened for tourism in February 2019 and is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. There are many habituated gorilla groups here, the viewing is superb and low visitor numbers mean that it’s common to have only one or two other tourists visiting the lowland gorillas.

Incredible visionaries and scientists have gathered to protect this species, which is critically endagered due to poaching, and they have created a truly exceptional guest experience to accompany it – exclusive to Mavros Safaris guests.

mavros safaris

The itinerary includes stays in three camps with activities including daily gorilla treks, time with the gorilla research team, forests walks, night walks to view nocturnal forest life and river sundowners.

It is an incredibly conservation focused style of tracking and the guests become an extension of the research team in this way. One special experience for Mavros Safaris guests includes guiding by Magdalena Bermejo. Bermejo is the lead researcher at Ngaga Camp and was among the first group ever to study lowland western gorillas.

HOW:   Rates for the seven-night gorilla conservation experience with Odzala starts from £7,650 based on two people sharing. This includes international flights from London, domestic flights and all accommodation on a full board basis as well as gorilla trekking permits and conservation fees.   For enquiries please call +442038246000 or email  explore@mavrossafaris. com    www.mavrossafaris.com  / @mavrossafaris. 

BUSH & BEACH  Visit to the only community-owned elephant orphanage in Africa, a treehouse stay in Kenya and a privately guided tour of the brand new Patrick Mavros Atelier in Mauritius

For the ultimate bush and beach itinerary, begin in Kenya at the incredible  Sarara properties. Arrive at the main Sarara camp in the Northern frontier of Kenya and utilise the next four nights to take in the rich Samburu landscape.

On arrival, guests will walk to the famous Sarara singing wells, where Mavros Safaris’ expert guides will bring the history and magic of the wells and Samburu tribe to life. In the afternoon, guests will return to singing wells by game drive to watch the wildlife stream in to share the same water point, in the hopes of finding big northern elephant herds and the elusive leopard.

The following morning, guests will enjoy a picnic breakfast at the nearby rock pools and hunt for honey with the Samburu Warriors, before taking a two-hour camel trek to Sarara Tree. Here, guests will stay at Sarara’s incredible treehouses for two nights.

These beautifully-appointed treehouses are raised 30 feet up into the forest canopy, with wildlife roaming below – offering a wilderness experience like no other. The next day, guests will enjoy an exclusive Mavros Safaris experience with a morning visit to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary – the only community-owned elephant orphanage in Africa.

To top off the bush experience, that evening guests will dress up in Kikoy chique for an evening bush dinner and Samburu dance under the stars.

From Tanzania, it’s a short hop to Mauritius for three nights at the iconic Royal Palm . Three nights of island relaxation will be spent in style at the Grand Dame of Mauritius. Guests can relax by the beach or explore the island with fishing, snorkelling and diving.

Exclusive to Mavros Safaris, guests will also experience a privately guided tour by Kate and Forbes Mavros of the new Patrick Mavros Atelier. The impressive new showroom, in the heart of the Beau Plan historical sugar estate, is a working jewellery Atelier, where guests are invited to meet the team of master craftsmen who create intricate pieces of art inspired by nature.

HOW:   Rates for the Bush & Beach itinerary start from £7,600 per person based on four people travelling. This includes  return flights from London, four nights at Sarara including meals, drinks, activities, private viewing at Retiti, camel trek, conservation fees, and domestic flights, and three nights at the Royal Palm including breakfast, airport transfers and a day at the Patrick Mavros Atelier. For enquiries please call +442038246000 or email  explore@mavrossafaris. com    www.mavrossafaris.com  / @mavrossafaris. 

UNLOCK THE PRIVATE HOMES OF ZIMBABWE’S MOST ILLUSTROUS FAMILIES Retreat to the country estate of Lord Tyrone and Lady Lucy Plunkett and hike the Chimanimani quartzite mountains, uncovering natural rose quartz caves and secluded waterfalls for wild swimming

Brand new for 2019, the Mavros family have put together an unrivalled itinerary unlocking access to the (normally firmly-shut) doors of Zimbabwe’s most beautiful private homes.

This itinerary begins with a stay at the  Mavros Family Estate  in Harare, staying at the private home of the Mavros Family – M’pata Farm. Here, Patrick and Catja Mavros invite guests to experience their top spots in Harare and will guide a personal tour of the original Patrick Mavros workshop, as well as host guests for supper and an overnight stay at the farm.

From Harare, guests will take a private charter to the Chimanimani mountains and stay at  Rathmore Estate  – the private home of Lord Tyrone and Lady Lucy Plunkett. The estate is incredibly historic and has been home to the Anglo-Irish Plunkett aristocratic family for nearly a century.

mavros safaris

A private charter to Matobo Hills will then lead guests to  Khayelitshe House  – the private weekend retreat of Professional Guide and African Bush Camps’ CEO Beks Ndlovu and his family. Drawing inspiration from Beks’ travels throughout Africa, the house’s interior design is both eclectic and entirely personal.

Staying at Khayelitshe, guests will also have access to Beks’ private land, which covers over 1,200 acres of breath-taking wilderness. Three nights at the property will offer guests an opportunity to explore the iconic rock kopjes with a noted historian in search of ancient cave art, as well as a rhino trek in search of highly endangered black and white rhino.

Guests will then fly over to west Lake Kariba to stay at  Halsted Safaris Camp,  which is owned by members of the Mavros family. Based in the Zambezi Valley and situated on the banks of the lower Zambezi River – the camp is situated within Zimbabwe’s most beautiful and exclusive wildlife conservancies known as the Nyakasanga

HOW:   Rates for the nine-night insider   itinerary of Zimbabwe start from £10,500 per person. This includes all accommodation on a full board basis, all guiding and activities. This price also includes transfers, charter flights in Zimbabwe and international flights from London to Victoria Falls. For enquiries please email explore@mavrossafaris. com    www.mavrossafaris.com  / @mavrossafaris. 

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Book Experiences in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls: Guided Walking Tour

Victoria Falls: Guided Walking Tour

Nothing is quite like the heart-pounding sensation of actually standing on the edge of Victoria Falls, under the guidance of a professional whose knowledge about the falls is very vast and extensive.

From Kasane: Victoria Falls Day Trip (Zimbabwe side)

From Kasane: Victoria Falls Day Trip (Zimbabwe side)

Discover one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls, on a day trip from Kasane. Appreciate why locals call the falls "The Smoke That Thunders" as you visit different viewpoints. Explore local markets and the Victoria Falls Rainforest.

Victoria Falls: Dinner Cruise on the Zambezi River

Victoria Falls: Dinner Cruise on the Zambezi River

Embark on the Zambezi River with a dinner cruise and take in the glorious sunset color palette, surrounded by a wildlife paradise. Savor a unique 4-course meal on board as you admire the beauty of the setting sun.

Chobe Day Trip from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Chobe Day Trip from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

On this full-day tour you’ll go on a boat trip on the Chobe River and a game drive in Chobe National Park. The park is well known for its elephants and variety of animal species.

Victoria Falls: The Eatery Lunch Experience

Victoria Falls: The Eatery Lunch Experience

Celebrate the art of leisurely lunches with an indulgent afternoon lunch experience at the Eatery on the banks of the Zambezi River.

From Livingstone: Victoria Falls River Safari

From Livingstone: Victoria Falls River Safari

Explore the upper Zambezi River on an exciting safari experience. Enjoy the thrill of speeding over rapids and then slow down for a leisurely game viewing trip around the islands.

Victoria Falls airport transfer

Victoria Falls airport transfer

We will meet you at Victoria Falls Airport, holding a meeting board with your name. Following a professional greeting, we will then transfer you to your hotel in Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Chinotimba Walking Safari

Victoria Falls, Chinotimba Walking Safari

See like a local and discover more about how the locals relate socially and how they live Explore the rich culture, history, fun facts, stories and useful tips about Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls: Scenic Helicopter Flight Over Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls: Scenic Helicopter Flight Over Victoria Falls

Experience the Victoria Falls from the sky onboard this panoramic helicopter with included hotel pickup. Embark on a 15-minute flight and enjoy the scenic views above the Waterfalls.

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Mavros Safaris’ Top Three Eco-Friendly Itineraries For 2019

From the family behind Africa’s iconic silverware brand Patrick Mavros, comes Mavros  Safaris . As fifth-generation Zimbabweans, the Mavros family have tapped into their extensive contacts across the continent to offer unrivalled insight and access to the most exciting developments across Africa.

With an increase in international and regional flights, as well as a growing awareness of sustainability, the demand for  eco -conscious trips continue to soar. This spring, embark upon one of the hottest African adventures through these incredible itineraries – sustainable escapes await.

1 Try a gourmet roadtrip in Namibia The travel industry kept a close eye on Namibia throughout 2018, as new places to stay opened in the form of spectacular lodges and luxe desert camps. In 2019, opportunities are going off-grid – making the most of the remarkable landscapes Namibia has to offer.

Exclusively available through Mavros  Safaris , travellers can explore Namibia on an off-road foodie adventure with Dean Dowdney as the  Safari  Butler – in a brand new itinerary for 2019.

Accompanied by his gourmet bush kitchen and craft gin bar on the back of his 4×4, guests will travel through Namibia’s vast landscape, meeting locals and dining at places no person has ever dined at before.

Dean’s passion for Africa and bush fire cuisine will see guests enjoy entertaining stories around the campfire, while feasting upon authentic treats such as thick rump steaks cooked on mopani wood kindling, freshly caught bream and traditional sadza and stew.

This expedition-style journey includes a mixture of stays in campsites and lodges, and with a grande finale in the magnificent Wolwedans Lodge in the Namib Desert.

Rates for the 12-night Namibia  Safari  Butler itinerary start from £5,777 per person based on two people travelling. To find out more, please email  explore@mavrossafaris.

2 Track down gorillas in the Congo Fast emerging as the epicentre of progressive sustainability in East Africa, Rwanda’s landscape has seen multiple sustainably-minded, luxury lodges open up in 2019. However, for an intrepid travellers seeking a primate experience beyond this hotspot, an often overlooked experience can be found in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Virunga National Park re-opened for tourism in February 2019 and is one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. Many habituated gorilla groups can be found here, as the viewing is superb and low visitor numbers mean that it’s common to have only one or two other tourists visiting the lowland gorillas.

Incredible visionaries and scientists have gathered to protect this species, which is critically endangered due to poaching – and exclusive to Mavros  Safaris  guests, they have created a truly exceptional guest experience to accompany it.

The suggested seven-night itinerary with  Odzala  leads guests on expeditions into the Marantaceae forest in. Treks are limited to a maximum of four guests as well as a guide and a tracker from a team of researchers in an untamed forest environment.

The itinerary includes stays in three camps– Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp and Mboko Camp – with activities including daily gorilla treks, time with the gorilla research team, forests walks, night walks to view nocturnal forest life and river sundowners.

Rates for the seven-night gorilla conservation experience with Odzala starts from £7,650 based on two people sharing. To find out more, please email  explore@mavrossafaris.

3 Glimpse inside the private homes of Zaimbabwe’s most illustrious families Brand new for 2019, the Mavros family have put together an unrivalled itinerary unlocking access to the (normally firmly-shut) doors of Zimbabwe’s most beautiful private homes.

Start at the Mavros Family Estate in Harare, staying at the private home of the Mavros Family – M’pata Farm. Here, Patrick and Catja Mavros invite guests to experience their top spots in Harare and will guide a personal tour of the original Patrick Mavros workshop, as well as host guests for supper and an overnight stay at the farm.

From Harare, guests will take a private charter to the Chimanimani mountains and stay at Rathmore Estate – the private home of Lord Tyrone and Lady Lucy Plunkett – home to the Anglo-Irish Plunkett aristocratic family for nearly a century.

Here, Mavros  Safaris  has cherry-picked the very best mountaineering guide, Collen Sibanda. Collen will guide guests up the Chimanimani quartzite mountains, telling stories of local legend and uncovering secrets such as natural rose quartz caves and secluded waterfalls for wild swimming.

A private charter to Matobo Hills will then lead guests to Khayelitshe House – the private weekend retreat of Professional Guide and African Bush Camps’ CEO Beks Ndlovu and his family. Marvel at the house’s interior design, which is both eclectic and entirely personal.

Staying at Khayelitshe, guests will also have access to Beks’ private land, which covers over 1,200 acres of breath-taking wilderness.

Three nights at the property will offer guests an opportunity to explore the iconic rock kopjes with a noted historian in search of ancient cave art, as well as a rhino trek in search of highly endangered black and white rhino.

Finally, fly over to west Lake Kariba to stay at Halsted  Safaris  Camp, which is owned by members of the Mavros family. Based in the Zambezi Valley and situated on the banks of the lower Zambezi River – the camp is situated within Zimbabwe’s most beautiful and exclusive wildlife conservancies known as the Nyakasanga.

Rates from  £10,500 per person. This includes all accommodation on a full board basis, all guiding and activities. To find out more, please email  explore@mavrossafaris.

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Mavros Safaris

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Global Excellence Awards 2018

Best Bespoke Travel Specialist – Zimbabwe

Mavros Safaris is a bespoke, luxury African safari operator, headquartered in London with roots in Zimbabwe. Owned by Alexander and Alexandra Mavros and with an experienced team on the ground in Harare, we specialise in authentic, custom journeys throughout Africa. The Mavros Family are 5 th generation Zimbabweans, the and also run definitive luxury Africa brand, silversmith, jeweller, sculptor and purveyor of African luxury goods, Patrick Mavros.

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A Slow Safari Along Zimbabwe’s Back Roads

By Peter Browne

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

We climbed slowly through the forest on a steep path cut through dense ferns, wild figs, and dragon trees. Ahead of us, tiny blue duiker antelope crashed through the undergrowth; up in the canopy, weaver birds announced our arrival with shrill cries and samango monkeys followed our progress with curious, darting eyes.

At the summit, we emerged into a garden planted with white rhododendrons and blue hydrangeas. Beyond it, partially obscured by ebony trees, stood a castle. Climbing its square turret, we paused to drink in the views: the banana plantations of Burma Valley; the imposing edifice of Chinyakwaremba (“the hill of tired legs,” in the local Shona language), where ancestral spirits are honored; and the Bvumba Mountains, which form Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique . My mother used to say that you could smell the sea from here. You can't, of course—the Mozambique coast is a good four-hour drive away. But even now, some 40 years later, I inhale deeply and imagine the salty tang of the Indian Ocean ebbing toward me.

I have returned many times in the 30 years since I left my homeland, but this trip felt different. I arrived almost one year after Robert Mugabe had been toppled from power (and, it turned out, one year before his death, at the age of 95, in a Singapore hospital). The initial euphoria following the coup had dissipated into disappointment, and the battered economy was proving stubbornly difficult to revive. And yet I had sensed optimism for a post-Mugabe era from afar, and it was time to see it for myself.

This time, though, I wasn't flying to visit the hot spots of Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park; they could wait. My route would take roads less traveled to the Eastern Highlands and the southern Lowveld; the deserted ruins of an ancient city and the granite mountains of Matobo; the southern shores of Lake Kariba and the great Zambezi Valley. This would be a safari in the old-fashioned sense of the word—a journey of discovery.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

A wildebeest at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

I have traveled the road from the capital, Harare, to Mutare, in the Eastern Highlands, all my life. As children we'd take turns sleeping in the back of my dad's DKW station wagon, swapping places at Mutare as we headed into Mozambique on our way to the sea. Much later, I would hitchhike along it to walk in the whispering pine forests of Nyanga National Park or climb the Bvumba Mountains.

Now I was back with my own driver and guide, Dean Dewdney, a former professional rugby player who's known as the Safari Butler. Dean is in his element on the open road, stopping to cook under an acacia tree while serving drinks from the back of his Land Cruiser. There is an old saying in Zimbabwe that if there is a problem, we make a plan, and Dean always has plans.

Mutare was built in 1890 by British settlers drunk on the prospect of gold. Another wave of immigrants followed in the late 1940s, my parents among them, desperate to escape rations and start a bountiful new life bathed in sunshine. Considerably more well-to-do arrivals were Sir Stephen and Lady Courtauld, millionaire philanthropists who left London to retire near the gold mines of Penhalonga, north of Mutare. Here they adorned their modernist new home with a French-style château tower and christened the estate La Rochelle. When the couple died, the house and grounds passed to a national trust, and so it has remained. I had heard that the estate had new investors, and we decided to check it out before pressing on.

Sir Stephen's botanical and woodland gardens, orchid greenhouses, and arboretum of indigenous trees had always been remarkable, if neglected; now the old place was looking sprightly again. I recall the food at La Rochelle as gruesome nursery fare, but that's all changed with the arrival of Crispen Garapo, a talented local chef who makes the most of a huge field of organic herbs. Parts of the famous grounds have been redesigned, but a stone obelisk in the rose garden still marks the place where the remains of Mah Jongg, the Courtaulds' pet ring-tailed lemur, lie buried. Just beyond it stand the now-restored grand greenhouses, where 63-year-old Nicholas Kashiri has been tending the descendants of Sir Stephen's orchids for 47 years. That night I slept peacefully in a corner bedroom of the house, furnished with slightly wonky, period-appropriate antiques and pictures, and woke to the sweet, earthy smells of the Eastern Highlands. I have seldom felt happier, or more at home.

It's a short drive from Penhalonga to Christmas Pass, the dramatic gateway to Mutare, from which the city can be seen slumbering in a valley at the foot of the Bvumba Mountains. In high summer, the early mornings along these forested slopes are coated in mist and the woodlands drip with sweet, pure spring water. Wild orchids grow in profusion, and flycatchers build their cupped nests on low-hanging branches. Villagers make quinine from the bark of the native knobwood trees, and gondolosi roots are collected to sell as an aphrodisiac in the markets of Mutare.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020  Zimbabwe

Leopard Rock hotel

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Many years ago, my uncle bought a sun-dappled plot of land here, where he thought he might retire. But by then—it was the 1970s, and the Rhodesian Bush War, which ultimately brought an end to white minority rule, had escalated—the Bvumba Mountains were under siege. When peace returned, the bullet-scarred barns and thatched cottages were converted into guesthouses and artisanal workshops. Tony's Coffee Shop was among the new arrivals, and 25 years later owner Tony Robinson was still up there baking decadent cakes and chatting coquettishly to guests as he took orders from his handwritten menus. We stopped there on our way to Leopard Rock hotel , a triple-turreted pink manor house embedded in a thick patch of jungle known as the Enchanted Forest, a fanciful anomaly built by Italian POWs during World War II. In 1946, the owners, Leslie and Anne Seymour-Smith, built a fairy-tale castle for themselves above it on a granite outcrop, where they invited the Queen Mother to stay on her 1953 royal tour of southern Africa with Princess Margaret.

When the hotel was shuttered in the years during and after the Bush War, I used to stay in the Seymour-Smiths' castle, which in those days was run as a guesthouse by fun and brilliant hosts. Six years ago, both Leopard Rock and the castle were bought by a Zimbabwean financier, and while the hotel has been much improved, the castle is now only used for special suppers or cocktails.

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We walked up there, taking in the view of the Bvumba Mountains, guided by Benny Katsika, an ornithologist who knows everything about the traditional medicinal uses of the forest's roots and bark. Everyone will tell you that Zimbabwe has the best game rangers and guides in Africa, and it's true.

Leaving the cool of the mountains, we headed south, dropping into the hot Save River Valley, where black-granite boulders are balanced in precarious formations like pyramids of giant billiard balls. We drove for hours beneath diaphanous blue skies, past isolated schools and mission stations, stopping to buy diesel from a butcher's shop in a tiny village (Zimbabwe was on the cusp of another fuel crisis, and Dean has a sixth sense for sniffing out secret supplies). It was late afternoon when we turned off in the direction of Singita Pamushana , Zimbabwe's fanciest safari lodge.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana’s pool

After World War II, huge tracts of the Lowveld were parceled up as cattle farms. One of the most enterprising ranchers was Ray Sparrow of Lone Star Ranch, on the border of Gonarezhou National Park. Sparrow eventually sold Lone Star in the 1990s to the American billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, who went on to create the private Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The land is now crowned by Singita Pamushana Lodge , a structure built from local stone, with conical towers and impeccable, Shangaan tribal-inspired interiors. Pamushana's Malilangwe Trust supports community projects—the rich, dark blue honey at the lodge is produced by 20 nearby families—and local schools. It is also at the forefront of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe, particularly the rhinos.

We arrived just as the sun was beginning to wane, the late-afternoon light bouncing off the deep-green lake far below the swimming pool terrace. Tea and cakes were being served to guests dressed in immaculate pressed khaki before their afternoon game drive. That evening we photographed lions and elephants drinking at a water hole as a flock of red-billed queleas flew past. As twilight descended we were joined by a pair of white rhinos, and then another and another, followed by two black rhinos , until we were surrounded by 13 specimens of one of the most endangered species in the world, primordial and perfectly at peace in this protected refuge of Zimbabwe's seldom-seen south.

We left the sanctity of Malilangwe and headed north to Great Zimbabwe, the remains of an old city ruled by Shona royalty. The magnificent stone-walled ruins, scattered over 1,784 acres, date from the 11th century, and their scale and grandeur are still remarkable: The three-foot-thick walls are constructed with enormous granite blocks that rival those of the Egyptian Pyramids.

We had Great Zimbabwe to ourselves that morning; the small, dimly lit museum, containing Chinese porcelain and Arab glassware excavated from the site, was quiet. The main exhibit consists of ancient sculptures depicting the Zimbabwe Bird, now the country's national emblem. Some say the soapstone effigies are of hornbills or fish eagles; others that they represent Zimbabwe's Shona ancestors. Myths and legends—including one that links the city to the Queen of Sheba—still swirl around these walls, once the thriving capital of a kingdom rich in gold.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

The castle at Leopard Rock

Our safari continued west to the Matobo National Park, south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. Our home for the next couple of nights would be Khayelitshe House , an eclectic four-bedroom home built by Beks Ndlovu, the Zimbabwean founder of the safari company African Bush Camps, as a private retreat for himself and his young family. It's an exuberant amalgam of weathered Indian doors, carved four-poster beds, bright West African fabrics, and bronze carvings picked up on Ndlovu's travels, and you will not find its like anywhere else in the world. This goes for its surroundings too. The Matobo is an otherworldly landscape of bald granite hills, dense woodland, and inselbergs, with some 50,000 caves containing rock art dating back to the 11th century. King Mzilikazi Khumalo, the first Matabele monarch, is said to have been buried here sitting on a stone chair looking out over the land he had conquered. Cecil Rhodes, the British mining magnate and politician who claimed this land for the crown in 1895, was well aware of the significance of these hills when he chose one as his own burial site, creating a place of pilgrimage for decades to come. We spent an evening at his grave in the company of Ian Harmer, a fifth-generation Zimbabwean guide. Earlier in the day, he had taken us to see the rock paintings at Nswatugi Cave—a gigantic frieze of giraffes, elephants, kudu, zebras, and hunters etched by ancestors of San bushmen. Now, with the sweep of the earth before us, I listened as Harmer helped put several centuries of cross-cultural Zimbabwean heritage—from the dispersal of the original San people by the Bantu to the arrival of the white settlers and the fight for independence—into perspective. Brightly colored lizards scuttled on the still-warm rocks as the sun set, and for a moment the orchestra of Zimbabwe's discordant ancestral spirits seemed to fall into an easy, amicable silence.

My road trip came to an end at Bulawayo airport, where I caught a flight to Lake Kariba, a vast inland sea in the extreme north of the country. Most of the hotels here have been closed for a decade or more, but then a couple of years ago Ndlovu overhauled Bumi Hills Safari Lodge , the lake's oldest outpost.

My father kept a small boat on Kariba for many years, setting up camp on one of the lake's deserted islands after checking for crocodiles and elephants. Even when Bumi Hills opened, in 1972, it was too smart for the likes of us, and the updated version, with its flawless contemporary African design, is far more beautiful and polished. But the point of the place has always been the views of elephants on the red sand beach below, wallowing in the shallows and swimming in family formations, the tips of their trunks breaking the surface like periscopes.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

Fishing on Lake Kariba

I took an afternoon cruise, hugging the shoreline as three young bull elephants swam. A lone kingfisher stood guard on the drowned branch of a petrified tree as a pair of African fish eagles swooped to catch one of the lake's silvery sardines. Crocodiles basked everywhere, absorbing the last heat of the day, while huge pods of hippos laughed in unison as we passed.

The next day I flew along the Zambezi River's majestic course to one of the wildest places I have ever been in Africa. The Zambezi Valley in October is a brittle, arid oven, a tough yet extraordinary environment: Regiments of baobabs stand at attention in the shimmering heat; piles of bone-white hyena feces lie on the black basalt plains. And through it all glides the cool, life-giving force of the Zambezi.

The Sapi Concession is 296,526 acres of raw, untrammeled Africa bordering Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. There has been nothing here forever, save for a couple of small fishing camps. The rest was left at the mercy of poachers and trophy hunters. Then, three years ago, the concession was leased to Great Plains Conservation, the safari company set up by the wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert. All hunting ceased and two tiny seasonal camps opened for the exclusive use of small groups on photographic safaris: Sapi Explorers Camp , on the riverfront, and Sapi Springs Camp , amid red mahogany trees.

Cond Nast Traveler Magazine JanuaryFebruary 2020 Zimbabwe

Here I swam in the fast-flowing river and cruised up and down the invisible line that forms the boundary with Zambia. I watched carmine bee-eaters nest on the steep banks, their iridescent blue and orange plumage bright against the red earth, and huge herds of elephants splash through the rapids, crossing between nations. At night hyenas rampaged through the area while lions called. At Sapi Springs Camp, I woke at daybreak on an open-air platform high up in the trees, encased in a hazy gauze of mosquito netting, a baboon staring down at me, blinking. We drove to Mana Pools, where I saw a gray heron catch a ride on the back of a hippo. Back at the camp that night, we ate chicken that had been roasted to perfection in a hole dug in the earth and covered in hot coals.

It may be that nothing lasts forever, but in Sapi I felt the call of eternity, and the pull of a simpler time and place. If I had set out to rediscover the essence of a country I have loved all my life, I left relieved to find that its bruised heart still beats soundly.

How to do a safari in Zimbabwe

Although Zimbabwe is safe to visit, the country continues to experience severe economic difficulties, and it is essential to book with a specialist tour operator. On-the-ground experts Mavros Safaris offers a similar two-week trip from $15,000 per person, for full board, including all flights and activities; private guiding by Dean Dewdney, who takes guests by road through the Eastern Highlands, Lowveld, and Matobo; air transfers to Lake Kariba and the Zambezi Valley; a stay at Amanzi Lodge in Harare; and a tour of the studio of jewelery designer Patrick Mavros. mavrossafaris.com

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Zimbabwe back on map with mavros safaris.

Luxury African silverware and jewellery brand Patrick Mavros has launched a safari tour company specialising in Zimbabwe.

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The company is hopeful UK travellers will show renewed interest in the destination following the resignation of the country’s president Robert Mugabe in November.

Many have since rushed to highlight the nascent tourism industry but Alexander Mavros – one of the four sons of Patrick Mavros, founder of the silverware business – said Mavros Safaris would be “the world’s only specialist by a mile”.

Fifth-generation Zimbabwean Alexander oversees the operation from the company’s UK office, and an Atol has been applied for. Mavros Safaris also has an experienced on-the-ground team in Zimbabwe.

“We grew up in Zimbabwe and have an intimate knowledge of the best spots, and we anticipate the UK market will be a very important one for us,” he said.

The company already has a jewellery and homeware store in Chelsea and has built up a prestigious database of clients.

But Mavros added he was keen to work with anyone who wanted to help send clients to his beloved Zimbabwe. “Tourism fell off a cliff and as a family we now have a huge opportunity and real purpose – to send people to the country and help conserve the experiences and the national parks, which make up 13% of the country. We want anyone’s help to do that,” he said.

Among the experiences on offer are stays in private homes, riverboat safaris and cultural retreats. Luxury product includes Matetsi Victoria Falls and Singita Pamushana lodge.

UK market critical for Seabourn

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Mavros Safaris www.mavrossafaris.com - The Mavros Family has been in Zimbabwe for four generations and deeply connected with and passionate about the lands, people and wildlife the continent holds

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Zulu Safari Lodging Adults Only

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Kilimanjaro Suite at the Zulu Lodge

Pets Prohibited

Starting at $200 per night | Ages 18+ only | 2 guests | No pets

  • The Kilimanjaro suite offers a luscious, exotic palette of color throughout. Delicately carved African masks adorn the cabin as well as the art of Lisa and D. Arthur Wilson. The large, rustic entertainment unit is home to familiar games and books as well as Scott Smith’s charming photos of some of the residents at TCWR! The private deck of this suite boasts views of the sprawling valley and beautiful sunrises.
  • This suite sleeps 2 guests above the age of 18-years old.
  • The Refuge is a nonprofit organization and the cost of your stay goes toward the care of our animal residents.

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Congo Suite at the Zulu Lodge

  • The Congo Suite offers a beautiful reminder of Africa. The color scheme is tan with pops of color in the art that D. Wilson and Lisa Wilson placed throughout. With the rolling hills of Ozarks surrounding the Congo, you will get the full “Africa in the Ozarks” experience! The private deck of this suite boasts views of the sprawling valley and beautiful sunrises.

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Okavango Suite at the Zulu Lodge

Starting at $200 per night | Ages 18+ | 2 guests | Ramp-Accessible (not ADA)

  • The Okavango suite is artistically styled with a beautiful blue hue and aluminum colors providing you with a feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation. Meerkats are waiting to greet you in D. Arthur Wilson’s “No Meer Family” giclee print. The spacious bathroom offers a shower large enough for two people. A shower seat is available if needed. Also available if needed are the toilet safety frame and rails in the shower. Both decks are charming with the back deck boasting lovely views of the sprawling valley and beautiful sunsets.

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Serengeti Suite at the Zulu Lodge

Starting at $200 per night | Ages 18+ | 2 guests | Sunset motifs

  • The Serengeti suite is designed in a purple and red combination delivering the colors of our breathtaking Ozark sunsets. This suite’s artwork by D. Arthur and Lisa Wilson might have you believe you are actually in Africa! The presentation of Lisa’s Mixed Media original art, Passion 2 and Passion 4, hangs over the Queen size bed. The Serengeti suite has many giclee prints like along with a beautiful male lion print over the love seat. Wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes fill this room along with fantastic photographs taken by Scott Smith, our TCWR resident photographer. The private deck of this suite boasts both views of the sprawling valley and beautiful sunrises.

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Kalahari Suite at the Zulu Lodge

  • The Kalahari suite is a cozy escape with an exotic theme of bamboo and jewel tones throughout. The artistic bamboo headboard above the Queen bed is complemented by original abstract art from Lisa Wilson and D. Arthur Wilson’s Wild Expressionism limited editions. As you relax on either the front or back decks, the gentle caroling of the big cats is music to your ears!
  • This suite sleeps 2 guests above the age of 18 and is open from March until November.

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  • How to safari

What, Where & When How to safari

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How to imagine Africa?

Our specialty is translating the different adventure and luxury appetites into the ideal itinerary, with careful and unbiased consideration of each destination, lodge and guide.

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What does it cost?

Whatever your budget, we will do our best to offer the best possible quality experience. We consider ourselves custodians of your financial investment, which we protect…

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Where do I go?

Planning a trip to Africa can feel overwhelming, but we are here to guide you. In our initial consultation, the right country typically unveils itself after uncovering your vision, passions and comfort levels…

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When to Travel?

Every month in Africa offers different opportunities for exploration, and it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each season. We can uncover the best destinations based on your dates, however…

Luxury in the bush

IMAGINE AFRICA

Everyone has a different vision of luxury in the bush… for one person it is a rustic tented adventure, walking amongst elephants with an expert guide, and for another it is sipping a cocktail from your pool, overlooking the herds below on the savannah. For some, it’s a mix of both.

From off grid safari adventures to interactive culinary journeys, to Indian Ocean islands, together we concoct your ideal African journey.

When is the best

TIME TO TRAVEL

Every month in Africa offers different opportunities for exploration. We are at your service to assess your available dates and travel goals and advise the pros and cons of each season and destination.

Dry Season offers the best game viewing opportunities, however carries the highest costs and is quite busy.

Long time safari enthusiasts love the Green Season, where the bush is green, healthy and vibrant. There are fewer guests traveling, with better rates, and opportunities to have your guide all to yourself.

East Africa

Dry Season: April to October and December and January / Migration is concentrated in August and September.

Southern Africa

Dry Season: April to October Western Cape of South Africa – Cape Town / Garden Route / Eastern Cape Safari – Dry Season / Summer – November to April

What does it cost Luxury safaris

We consider ourselves custodians of your financial investment, and will offer the best quality experience within your budget through unbiased and intelligent choices. As we are on the ground in Africa, we have the confidence and personal experience to understand when it is worth it to splurge, and when it is not necessary. We will not compromise on safety and quality of service. Each journey is custom and fully inclusive of transfers, internal flights, accommodation and meals, drinks and activities whilst on safari. We offer transparent pricing so you know where your investment in Africa is going, including what is devoted to conservation and sustainable tourism.

Should budget allow, our services include a black book of Africa’s best private guides, exclusive villas and camps, private planes and aspirational destinations.

Planning a trip

WHERE IN AFRICA

Planning a trip to Africa can feel overwhelming, but we are here to guide. In our initial conversation, the right country typically unveils itself after uncovering your vision, passions and comfort levels.

Each country has it’s own color – culture, landscape, lodges, wildlife, history, experiences, formality / informality, comforts, services…

Our advice is usually to commit to one country, as each has so much to offer, and save other endeavors for the future. At times, an ‘add on’ to the beach, to Cape Town, or Victoria Falls at the end of a safari offers the perfect compliment.

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Safari Pearl celebrates 31 years in community

Moscow and Pullman regulars are the reason local game store is still open, owner says

%E2%80%9CWhat+used+to+be+niche+no+longer+is%2C+what+used+to+be+entirely+nerdy+is+now+not+quite+so+nerdy.+I+wouldn%E2%80%99t+quite+go+so+far+as+to+say+it%E2%80%99s+hip+and+cool%2C+but+it%E2%80%99s+pretty+darn+close%2C%E2%80%9D+Simmons+said+Saturday+at+Safari+Pearl.

COURTESY OF SAFARI PEARL

“What used to be niche no longer is, what used to be entirely nerdy is now not quite so nerdy. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say it’s hip and cool, but it’s pretty darn close,” Simmons said Saturday at Safari Pearl.

RACHEL KOCH , Evergreen reporter September 23, 2019

On Saturday in Moscow, Safari Pearl Comics celebrated 31 years of operation with a sidewalk sale. Displays of comics, board games, costumes and more sat on tables outside of the shop with two employees outside.

All the items outside were marked 31 percent off in honor of Safari Pearl’s anniversary.

Store founder Kathy Sprague left managing a restaurant in Seattle to open a comic shop in Moscow, where she grew up, she said.

“My first location was about the size of our bathroom here,” she said. “It was a mud porch in the front of a used book store. I started in this one tiny room with two long boxes of comics.”

Sprague first developed an interest in comic books in 1984 when she would go to a local comic book shop with a friend, she said.

“My best friend was flirting with the guy who owned the comic book store at the time. For her cover to go in and flirt with him, I would go in and buy comics,” she said. “They dated for a while, they broke up, and I own a comic store.”

Sprague and Tabitha Simmons co-manage Safari Pearl Comics.

“I’ve worked here off and on for 22 of our 31 years,” Simmons said. “I’m Kathy’s partner. We’ve been married for 25 years. She needed some help in the store, so I just stepped in and started helping.”

Simmons attributed the longevity of Safari Pearl Comics to its adaptability to meet the customers’ requests over time, she said.

She added that the comic industry is growing in popularity due to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, which has also opened people’s minds to try stereotypically nerdy things.

The UI football team came to Safari Pearl to buy miniatures for their new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign, she said.

“What used to be niche no longer is,” Simmons said. “What used to be entirely nerdy is now not quite so nerdy. I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say it’s hip and cool, but it’s pretty darn close.”

Simmons added that those who do not know as much about comics have no reason to feel nervous about entering Safari Pearl.

Another reason for Safari Pearl Comic’s longtime success is that it stands out in the industry, Sprague said.

“Our store is kind of unique,” she said. “It’s one of the older stores in the country at this point because we are 31 years old. I believe we are the only lesbian-owned comic book store in the country. We’re certainly the only 31-year-old lesbian-owned comic book store.”

Many of their regular customers have helped keep their business afloat thanks to the close relationships both Sprague and Simmons have formed throughout the years, Sprague said.

“I have a customer, I’ve watched his daughter grow from a toddler,” Sprague said. “She just finished her Ph.D. in economics.”

Sprague and Simmons also host an all-day Thanksgiving dinner at Safari Pearl in which people can come in and play board games, Sprague said.

Safari Pearl Comics is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays. It is located at 660 W. Pullman Rd. in Moscow.

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IMAGES

  1. Uncovering the Wonders of Maasai Mara Safaris

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  2. Bush & Beach Safari

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  3. Uncovering the Wonders of Maasai Mara Safaris

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  1. Excellent Safaris SA Wisneski Full Aug 2023

  2. Мавроди

  3. Lion's hunt Тропление африканского льва с Tokkroos Safari

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  5. Μαύρος Ήλος feat. Σέξπυρ

  6. Очарованный Странник #19 // Kambo frog poison, Iquitos // Амазония, Перу

COMMENTS

  1. Luxury Safaris

    Mavros Safaris is a family-owned company with over five generations of experience in Africa. It offers tailor-made safaris to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and other destinations, with a focus on conservation and local communities.

  2. Map of Africa

    Walking safaris in the South Luangwa National Park helped put Zambia on the safari map, and many are still run from small, family-owned camps in the area and with expert guides. The Lower Zambezi National Park is known for its high concentration of game, including large herds of buffalo and elephant, best viewed by kayak on the shores of the ...

  3. Mavros Safaris unveils hottest African destinations

    Exclusive to Mavros Safaris, guests will also experience a privately guided tour by Kate and Forbes Mavros of the new Patrick Mavros Atelier. The impressive new showroom, in the heart of the Beau Plan historical sugar estate, is a working jewellery Atelier, where guests are invited to meet the team of master craftsmen who create intricate ...

  4. Mavros Safaris in Zimbabwe

    The Mavros name is well known because of the Patrick Mavros brand, world-famous for Luxury jewellery and sculptures. Now the Mavros family have created a unique hospitality business called Mavros Safaris. This company offers bespoke safari experiences to those who would like to explore the African continent.

  5. Mavros Safaris' Top Three Eco-Friendly Itineraries For 2019

    Exclusively available through Mavros Safaris, travellers can explore Namibia on an off-road foodie adventure with Dean Dowdney as the Safari Butler - in a brand new itinerary for 2019. Accompanied by his gourmet bush kitchen and craft gin bar on the back of his 4×4, guests will travel through Namibia's vast landscape, meeting locals and ...

  6. Mavros Safaris (2018 Winner: Global Excellence Awards)

    Global Excellence Awards 2018. Best Bespoke Travel Specialist Zimbabwe. Mavros Safaris is a bespoke, luxury African safari operator, headquartered in London with roots in Zimbabwe. Owned by Alexander and Alexandra Mavros and with an experienced team on the ground in Harare, we specialise in authentic, custom journeys throughout Africa.

  7. Mavros Safaris

    Mavros Safaris. Mavros Safaris. 874 likes · 4 talking about this. Mavros Safaris.

  8. Mavros Safaris (@mavrossafaris) • Instagram photos and videos

    30K Followers, 1,254 Following, 1,286 Posts - Mavros Safaris (@mavrossafaris) on Instagram: "Five Generations worth of knowledge & passion for Africa, harnessed to create your bespoke African Safari; Our home, yours to explore "

  9. A Slow, Back Roads Safari in Zimbabwe

    On-the-ground experts Mavros Safaris offers a similar two-week trip from $15,000 per person, for full board, including all flights and activities; private guiding by Dean Dewdney, who takes guests ...

  10. Home 1

    Mavros Safaris is an African specialist safari operator with a particular passion for Zimbabwe. It was launched in 2016 by the family behind the African luxury brand Patrick Mavros and represents the culmination of all the knowledge they have gained over five generations living on the continent. Mavros Safaris welcomes guests as they would a ...

  11. Mavros Safaris

    Log in to see photos and videos from friends and discover other accounts you'll love.

  12. Why us

    Mavros Safaris, where she helps create itineraries and has a lot of fun hosting. Her favourite camping spot in Zimbabwe is Chipin da Pools in Gonare zhou National Park in the south east of the country, not far from her family home, and she says the quiet fishing village of Vilankulo in Mozambique is her ideal beach holiday destination. ...

  13. Luxury travel news

    Mavros Safaris also has an experienced on-the-ground team in Zimbabwe. "We grew up in Zimbabwe and have an intimate knowledge of the best spots, and we anticipate the UK market will be a very important one for us," he said.

  14. The Beginner's Guide To Planning Your First Safari

    Enjoy the quiet moments in between." -Alexander Mavros, Founder and Managing Director, Mavros Safaris "Consider trying a walking safaris: Walking safaris provide a wonderful opportunity to see ...

  15. The Safari Store

    Mavros Safaris www.mavrossafaris.com - The Mavros Family has been in Zimbabwe for four generations and deeply connected with and passionate about the lands, people and wildlife the continent holds Email: [email protected]

  16. Mavros Safaris

    150 likes, 6 comments - mavrossafarisNovember 5, 2021 on : "S U R P R I S E • S A F A R I //\\//\\//\\//\\//\\//\\//\\ Imagine this... you're on an afternoon game ...

  17. Mavros Safaris

    Mavros Safaris is an African specialist safari operator with a particular passion for Zimbabwe. It was launched in 2016 by the family behind the African luxury brand Patrick Mavros and represents the culmination of all the knowledge they have gained over five generations living on the continent.

  18. Journey inspiration

    Every Mavros Safaris journey is tailored to your vision of Africa. Please explore some of our Signature journeys for a glimpse of our favourite lodges and destinations, with so much more on offer to explore. Our canvas is Africa, and the inspiration, is you! Family Safari. BOTSWANA "Kids Love Safari"

  19. Zulu Safari Lodging

    Starting at $200 per night | Ages 18+ | 2 guests | Sunset motifs. The Serengeti suite is designed in a purple and red combination delivering the colors of our breathtaking Ozark sunsets. This suite's artwork by D. Arthur and Lisa Wilson might have you believe you are actually in Africa! The presentation of Lisa's Mixed Media original art ...

  20. Richard Ayoade & Greg Davies in Moscow

    Richard and Greg Davies attempt to extract the essence of Moscow in two days, as they clash with army tanks, head into space and visit one of the strangest c...

  21. How to safari

    Long time safari enthusiasts love the Green Season, where the bush is green, healthy and vibrant. There are fewer guests traveling, with better rates, and opportunities to have your guide all to yourself. East Africa. Dry Season: April to October and December and January / Migration is concentrated in August and September.

  22. Crocus City Hall attack

    On 22 March 2024, a terrorist attack which was carried out by the Islamic State - Khorasan Province (IS-KP or ISIS-K) occurred at the Crocus City Hall music venue in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast, Russia.. The attack began at around 20:00 MSK (), shortly before the Russian band Picnic was scheduled to play a sold-out show at the venue. Four gunmen carried out a mass shooting, as well as ...

  23. Safari Pearl celebrates 31 years in community

    On Saturday in Moscow, Safari Pearl Comics celebrated 31 years of operation with a sidewalk sale. Displays of comics, board games, costumes and more sat on tables outside of the shop with two employees outside. All the items outside were marked 31 percent off in honor of Safari Pearl's anniversary. Store founder Kathy Sprague left managing a ...