Take the whole family on a private 11-day safari in South Africa on custom tours available year-round.
The first three days will be spent in Cape Town at the historic Mount Nelson Hotel. A host of excursions in a private car with driver will include such places as Table Mountain and the Two Oceans Aquarium and activities such as go-carting for the kids and wine tasting for the grown-ups.
Families will stay in separate areas of the camp from other travelers, and each family will have its own open safari car and guide.
"Africa was considered a destination that was more mature," said Anne Bellamy, president of African Travel Inc. "People didn't want a 12-year-old's voice in the background on their safari video."
The tour operator also is providing a lot of supervised activities for children.
The tour includes two nights at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, home to a unique botanical and marine ecosystem, and a whale-watching boat trip. Then families will fly to Kwandwe Private Game Preserve, a 49,000-acre home to lions, buffalo, leopards, rhinos, elephants and rare birds including the blue crane. There they'll spend three nights in private suites, each with a plunge pool, and two days on game drives led by Kwandwe rangers. (Trips are to areas where malaria is not considered a threat.)
Cost: $4,535 per adult and $1,805 per child younger than 12 staying with two adults (single surcharge not available), including accommodations, breakfast daily and all meals on safari, transfers, excursions and flights within South Africa. Air fare is not included.
Contact: African Travel Inc., Glendale, Calif.; (800) 421-8907 or (818) 507-7893, www.africantravelinc.com.
BAJA, MEXICO: WARM UP ON THE BEACHES OF BAJA ON A SEVEN- DAY TRIP DEPARTING FEB. 19, MARCH 19 AND 26.
Families will spend a day touring their base, the city of La Paz, learning about local life and visiting the Museo de Antropologia e Historia de Baja California Sur. They'll venture by small boat to the island of Espiritu Santo for snorkeling and other water sports. Day 4 will be spent searching for fossils at San Juan de la Costa, followed by a day each of snorkeling with sea lions at Playa Ensenada and kayaking or bird-watching.
Cost: $1,799 per person, double occupancy ($400 single surcharge); children younger than 12, $1,499. Price includes meals, ground transportation, gratuities, guides and all related entrance fees.
Contact: Generations Touring Co., Seattle; (888) 415-9100, www.generationstouringcompany.com.
SICILY'S WEALTH OF HISTORY: STUDY THE HERITAGE OF SICILY ON A 10-DAY TOUR LED BY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES PROFESSOR KATHRYN MORGAN BEGINNING MARCH 26.
The group will examine the mix of Norman, Baroque and Arabic architecture in Palermo, Agrigento, Bagheria, Corleone and the fishing port of Cefalu.
Morgan, author of a book on the fifth-century BC Sicilian tyrant Hieron, will lecture on the history and culture of the island. Classes by local artisans include ceramics and Sicilian cooking.
Cost: $1,895 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $300), including accommodations, meals, all excursions and local guides. Air fare is not included.
Contact: UCLA Alumni Travel; (800) 825-2586 or (310) 206-0613, www.uclalumni.net.
A CIVIL WAR ODYSSEY: VISIT THE BATTLEFIELDS AND HISTORIC FORTS OF THE CIVIL WAR ON A SEVEN-DAY TRAIN TRIP FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW ORLEANS BEGINNING MARCH 30.
Along the way the American Orient Express will stop in Fredericksburg, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; and Jackson and Vicksburg, Miss.
The itinerary includes visits to Magnolia Plantation and its gardens in Charleston; Fort Pulaski, east of Savannah; and Vicksburg Military Park, as well as other plantations and museums.
Cost: $3,190 per person, double occupancy (singles sold out). Includes receptions, train accommodations, meals, house wine with dinner aboard the train, excursions and other group activities, lectures and presentations, live entertainment on board, tour managers, local guides, escorts and drivers. Airfare from Los Angeles is not included.
Contact: American Orient Tours, Downers Grove, Ill.; (800) 320-4206, www.americanorientexpress.com.
Los Angeles Times