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Just Back: Exploring South Africa with World's Best Winner Micato Safaris

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We here at T+L know that our readers are the savviest around. So when I decided to go to South Africa essentially on a whim with three weeks’ notice, I decided it would be prudent to leave the trip planning to the experts. And if Micato Safaris’ impressive showing in our annual World’s Best Awards is anything to go by—they were voted Top Safari Outfitter for the ninth year running in the 2012 survey, out in the August issue—they must be the best.

The Micato experience begins before you’ve even boarded your flight, with the delivery of a mammoth safari bag filled with a bound itinerary, helpful packing list, and some gifts (a handy flashlight and a stylish passport holder), all wrapped in animal-print tissue paper to get you in the safari spirit. But even for someone like me, who likes to plot out every detail on my trips, it was nice to surrender myself to someone else’s expertise for a week and let them handle the logistics.

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Twin Farms Extends Family Weeks

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Darling cottages decorated with private art collections, bicycle trails through wildflow-strewn meadows, farm-to-table dinners of grilled halibut and prawn gnocchi in saffron broth are all part of the experience at Twin Farms, a luxury resort and spa in Barnard, Vermont.

Though this all-inclusive retreat has traditionally only opened its doors to families for select days throughout the year, they're now expanding their dates so that families can enjoy all the resort has to offer (2012 family days include July 29-August 3, August 31-September 4, November 19-25, December 7-10, and December 14-19). After all, Twin Farms has 300 acres of forests, streams, and fields—who else has enough energy to take advantage of it all besides kids? 

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. 

Photo courtesy of Twin Farms 

Tech Thursday: Two Fab (and Secure) Camera Bags

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Anyone with an SLR camera knows there are about a million cases to choose from to lug around your camera, lenses, and accessories. But recently, I was shown a couple of cases from Lowepro that I absolutely love. The Flipside Sport (pictured above) is a backpack-style case that’s perfect for outdoor/adventure photography. It fits securely over your shoulders, but also has an extra strap that clasps around your waist. Plus, since it’s made for outdoor activity, there’s a special H2O compartment on the side that’s designed to allow a sports straw to feed through, so you can rehydrate without digging through your bag. On the other side? A convenient spot to store a modest-sized tripod.

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Book Now! T+L Trip of the Month - Exploring Alaska with Black Tomato

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Travel + Leisure's March Trip of the Month is an adventure in the far north with U.S.- and U.K.-based tour operator Black Tomato. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

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Take a Smithsonian Scavenger Hunt

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Over the cold MLK weekend, my kids and I headed south to meet some cousins in Washington, D.C. and had the chance to test-drive a Smithsonian Art Adventure mobile-phone-based scavenger hunt from Stray Boots.

On Sunday morning, bundled up and armed with instructions for the hunt (the company’s website calls them “interactive walking tours” and “urban games”), we headed to the designated starting point, the Smithsonian Castle, punched our confirmation code into the phone, and the questions started coming.

Players participate via text message or, by using a smartphone, type answers into a web interface.  Points are awarded for correct answers and hints are available for incorrect ones, and additional interesting trivia is served up with each answer.  The cost to play is about the same as joining a human-hosted walking tour, but the phone-delivered narrative allows for more pausing, food breaks, and general messing-around, which suited our group better.

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T+L Trip of the Month: Quintessential South Africa

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Don't miss Travel + Leisure’s January Trip of the Month, Quintessential South Africa. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

Micato Safaris, our No. 1 World's Best Awards operator, has designed this dream South African adventure, the perfect mix of city, beach, wine, and the Big Five, just for our readers.

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T+L Trip of the Month: Big Sky Montana and Yellowstone National Park

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Don't miss Travel + Leisure’s December Trip of the Month, Big Sky Montana and Yellowstone National Park. In association with Travel + Leisure Elite Traveler, our travel club for deals on hotels, cruises, and more, the Trip of the Month offers T+L readers exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime itineraries from the world’s top tour operators.

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Explorer Richard Wiese on His New Adventure Show

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By the age of 11, the average kid has learned how to climb a jungle gym. But not Richard Wiese. That was the age when the former Explorers Club president climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for the first time—and he’s done it 15 more times since. The Emmy Award-winning journalist/adventurer/field scientist has also cross-country skied to the North Pole, tagged jaguars in the Yucatan jungles, and was a member of the largest medical expedition ever conducted on Mt. Everest. But his latest undertaking is as the host of the aptly named Born to Explore, a new syndicated ABC travel program that highlights cultures from around the world, including Aboriginals in the Northern Territory of Australia, Batwa pygmies in Uganda, and Mayans in Belize.

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The Runner's Tour: Sightseeing Stride-by-Stride

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One side effect of having a partner who is training for the New York City Marathon (Go, Bob, go!) is that it has upped my own mileage as well. I tell myself, if he is out on an 18-miler, I can certainly pound out eight. This increase in my own distance has had another unexpected and pleasant side effect: On my last trip to London, wanting to keep up my running schedule, I found myself out running around in new areas of the city I’d never seen—I was sightseeing by accident.

Stride-by-stride is such an enjoyable way to take in a new city. I suddenly wanted to run everywhere! Wouldn’t it be great to run over the Golden Gate Bridge, or through tulip fields, or by the Pyramids? During sunset on the Côte d’Azur, in cherry-blossom season in Japan, along the coast in Perth?

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New Way to Take in Fall Foliage: On a Zipline!

The Catskills Mountains are a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and a great place to soak in the best of fall, with picturesque hiking and horseback riding trails, quirky antique shops to explore, and gourmet restaurants and markets. But if bucolic tranquility isn’t enough to get you pumped for fall, I’ve got a suggestion for all you thrill-seekers out there.

Hunter Mountain is a popular spot in the winter with skiers and snowboarders in the northeast, but it's also home to the largest Zipline course in North America, with 4.6 miles of runs at higher than 600 feet in the air. I sought out the ultimate thrill not too long ago, with New York Zipline Adventure Tours’s Skyrider course, which includes five dual runs (so you can challenge the person opposite you to a race), a 500-foot jungle bridge, and a self-powered Zipline, where "take off" means taking a running jump into thin air on a downhill slope.

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