Welcome to Japan, the first stop of Abercrombie & Kent’s phenomenal 25 day Around the World by Private Jet Wildlife Safari. I was the official Photographer and Photo Enrichment Coach for this dream assignment. As well as documenting the thrilling and unforgettable adventures, I was on hand, ready with tips and advice for the guests to ensure they got superb shots of all the iconic and regrettably, often critically endangered wildlife as we observed them in their native habitats around the world.
From Madagascar’s playful lemurs to the placid whale sharks of the Philippines, from the Bengal tigers in India to the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the incredible diversity of Earth’s wildlife is arguably the true wonder of the world.
To travel on an A&K Private Jet Journey is to experience the ultimate in inspiring adventure, incorporating everything they have learned and enhanced in their 50 years as the world’s luxury travel pioneer. Accompanied by like-minded guests with the best experts at our sides, with an exclusive itinerary packed with insider access, fine dining and invitation-only cultural events arranged by local professionals throughout.
This trip really was one of those ‘once in a lifetime dream trips’ with every detail expertly put together by the wonderful A&K team who are true travel experts. Guests enjoyed jetting around the globe from one destination to the next – from the USA to Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Rwanda, Madagascar and Kenya – with 8 legs in total aboard the A&K Boeing 757 private jet with 50 fully lie-flat, first class seats, their own flight crew throughout, onboard executive chef, white glove passport and visa handling service, a dedicated luggage manager overseeing the luggage handling service for every destination, a physician accompanying the entire journey in the air and on the ground, hand-selected one-of-a-kind accommodations, off-the-beaten-path itinerary, unrivalled local expertise, authentic insider access and exclusive experiences that reveal the true essence of each destination, accompanied by a number of experts in fields ranging from photography which was of course my department, to conservation, talks with world-renowned scientists, custom-crafted culinary experiences and festive local entertainment. This epic journey combines luxury, authenticity and expertise as only A&K can.
Departing from Seattle, Washington State, USA and flying westbound across the North Pacific, crossing the International Date Line to Tokyo, our time in Japan was wonderful and this first destination really set the bar extremely high for the 25 day trip.
We were welcomed with a sumptuous sushi and sake dinner on the top floor of The Peninsular Hotel which had the most stunning views of the bustling, neon-lit city below.
Seeing the Japanese macaques, commonly know as the snow monkeys was one of the highlights of our visit. From central Tokyo we rode on a privately-chartered Royal Express Train to Nagano where a short trek through the soft, falling snow and bitter cold of the Joshinestu Kogen National Park led us to the natural spring water hot pools where were privileged to enjoy and observe the snow monkeys in their natural habitat.
The macaque, Japan’s most beloved primate, live farther north than any other non-human primate and soaking in the thermal pools helps them deal with the cold. That wonderful experience was followed by a talk from the director of the national park.
More adventures included a trip to Kawazu to enjoy the spectacular hues of Japan’s cherry blossoms where champagne was sipped under the cherry trees, exploring more of Tokyo, taking in the Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine and Asakusa Manon Temple, one of the most revered Buddhist sites in Japan, relaxing and enjoying complimentary spa treatments, shopping excursions alongside a personal shopper, dining at one of A&K’s hand-picked restaurants in Tokyo and our final evening with a celebratory dinner hosted by expert geisha included incredible performances by Samuri warriors.