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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Four Top Tours to Take Your Teens from Angst to Thanks!

In one respect, I am my teenage son's worst nightmare. My idea of a dream family holiday revolves around a secluded rustic farmhouse in deepest Corsica. My son’s, of course, bears no resemblance to mine. My 17 year old respects fast, furious and way, way over the top.

If - like mine - your teenager reckons he's seen it, been it, done it.... here's a shortlist of four guaranteed over-the-top top teenage tours to give you ultimate cred and to lift that eternal cloud of pubescent indifference.

Learn the skills of a cowboy, acquire bush tracking skills, swim in lakes, take part in fun games, enjoy thrilling pony rides and become a young wildlife photographer on this family riding safari through South Africa. The horses are extremely well natured and sure-footed and the expert riding team at the Horizon Safari Lodge are well-seasoned in looking after all levels of riders, from those that have never touched a horse to those who have been riding all their lives. 

Shane the bushman will take your teens out for the day on foot to teach them how to track animals and demonstrate his bushman’s skills in order to utilize natural resources as valuable survival aids. Other skills they'll learn include; billy boiling, fire building and cooking, how to muster, cut and draft cattle on the ranch and lasso from horseback. Guests also have the chance to learn advanced horsemanship skills and simple dressage manoeuvres and jumping. The trip includes a two-day wilderness adventure deep in the bush at Camp Davidson, where you will sleep in luxury safari tents surrounded by nothing but nature and the sounds of Africa. Here guests can learn photography, take their horse swimming in the lake bareback, fish for bass or learn how to build rafts. 

With plenty of teen-orientated activities on offer the Big Apple is a great option for any family looking for action, adventure and discovery. First stop the instant gratification of the wham-bam mega screens of Times Square. Check-in at The Hotel @ Times Square. Its top floors provide added space with deluxe family suites including two connecting rooms with one king and one queen bed and a shared bathroom plus complimentary continental breakfast and wi-fi.

Throughout May New York Ghost Tours offer fun spook-themed walking tours of the city, with ghoulish stories of New York’s most popular ghosts. Starting from Fifth Avenue,  just five-minutes walk from the hotel, the tour guide is dressed in Victorian costume and leads the group by lantern light. By day a set of shady East Village stairs lead to the inconspicuous second floor store, Toy Tokyo.  Savvy young shoppers head to this Mecca for imaginative, collectible Japanese toys. Teen nirvana.
For thrill & spills take a spin on 
The Beast, an action-packed 30-minute speedboat ride, which start at the beginning of May. Every Saturday in August the annual Summer Streets festival opens up miles of the city’s streets to allow people to walk, bike and play. Last year’s festivities included a climbing wall, zip line, picnic spaces and a whole foods market. For an all-American family day out, take the team to a baseball game at the New York Yankee Stadium. It’s just a short subway ride from the hotel, and with more hot dogs and flag-waving than you can shake a baseball bat at. For a high energy treat, take a stroll from the hotel down Fifth Avenue to Max Brenner on 841 Broadway, for a host of chocolate-themed delights including sugar star landscape waffles with chocolate asteroids and Yumminummiwoopdidoohoo Chocolate Bagels.  

Get up close and personal on a offer a once-in-a-lifetime 25 day tour of Rwanda & Uganda   Aimed at teenagers 15 years and and above, it is full of abundant wildlife, gorilla and chimpanzee tracking. This tour will expose you to Uganda’s unique National Parks ranging from Mountain Elgon National Park famed for its hiking, Murchison Falls National Park for fantastic game viewing, Kibale forest National Park with it is chimpanzee tracking safaris, Semuliki National Park for unique hot springs not found anywhere else in Africa, Queen Elizabeth National Park with the wonderful launch drive along the Kazinga channel, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a gorilla tracking experience and onto Rwanda for golden monkey tracking, a cruise across Lake Bunyonyi, game drives through Lake Mburo National Park, as well as the culture of Kampala.

The Brazilan Pantanal, a vast area of wetlands in Brazil is an incredible place to see a wide array of flora and fauna. There are very few lodges dotted around this incredible environment and a firm favourite is the family run fazenda of Barra Mansa in the southern area of the Pantanal. The charm of this place is all about the owners, their lifestyle and their intense knowledge of the area. There are an excellent variety of horse related excursions including getting involved in the cattle management and helping with exhilarating round-ups to experience the cowboy way of life. Best of all are the endless amount of trails to take riders through fields, golden savannahs, forests and lakes on horseback in the armchair-like traditional saddles for an even better view of the wildlife all around. For a real ‘in the wild’ experience, guests can ride and stay overnight in the forest, sleeping in hammocks in a specially built casita with the bonus of hot water washrooms.

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