Park East: Demographics shifting

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NEW YORK -- In the last four years, Park East Tours here has seen a shift in its base of safari clients, from travelers in their 60s and 70s that still make up its core, to a younger crop of 40- and 50-year-olds in search of an active experience, according to marketing manager Alice Uhl.

"We're seeing a lot of Wall Street people, music industry people, a lot of honeymooners and a lot more families," Uhl said.

These younger travelers are more active than their predecessors, Uhl said.

They're also booking in closer, taking shorter trips and expecting a more extraordinary experience, said company president Eric Gordon.

Riding the trend, lodges are offering more-active programs, according to Uhl, such as bungee jumping at Victoria Falls and whitewater rafting on the Zambesi River.

Safari honeymoons also are on the rise because U.S. travelers are discovering that tented camp accommodations are luxurious, Uhl said.

"Americans are always amazed that they're not camping," she said. "They have four-poster beds, the food is wonderful and the people they meet at the camps are interesting, as well."

As part of its effort to accommodate the new breed of traveler, Park East is offering a nine-night Classic Tanzania Safari during April and May at 20% off its normal price.

April and May is considered the "green season" in Africa, with the best opportunities for game viewing.

The Classic Tanzania itinerary includes three nights in Serengeti National Park: one night at the Serengeti Serena Lodge and two nights in tented camps.

Included are stays at lodges in the Great Rift Valley near Lake Manyara National Forest, a trek 2,000 feet into the Ngorongoro Crater and a visit to the world's oldest archaeological site, the Olduvai Gorge, where hand axes from 2 million years ago were discovered.

The $2,995 price tag includes two internal air fares, accommodations, all meals and wildlife viewing with an English-speaking guide in a four-wheel-drive Land Rover.

Park East also is offering a special winter price on its 12-night Delta Wing Safari to Botswana and Victoria Falls. From December through March, the price will be $4,995, 20% off its high-season price.

The trip includes five nights in Botswana's Okavango Delta, a 7,000-square-mile oasis that is home to lions, cheetahs, impala, giraffes, wildebeests, buffalo and 300 species of birds.

The itinerary includes nights in the Linyanti area, west of Chobe National Park in Bo-tswana, and Victoria Falls.

For more information, contact Park East at (800) 223-6078 or visit the Web at www.parkeast.com.

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