Giraffes, Lions and Other Safari Critters

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Safaris to the game parks of East Africa escorted by Prof. Leonard Moite of Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, leave on various dates in June, July, August and January. The 21-day itineraries focus on the national parks and game reserves that are home to exotic wildlife in Kenya and Tanzania. Participants will visit Kenya's Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru national parks; Masai Mara Reserve, Samburu National Reserve; the Treetops, and the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. The Tanzania tour program includes the game reserves of Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plain. A three-night stay in Nairobi at the Serena Hotel will provide participants the opportunity to meet Kenyans, visit the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen (author of "Out of Africa") Museum and kazuri (beads) industry. Stops are made at schools, African villages and markets, coffee and tea plantations. Moite will give informal lectures on contemporary issues in Kenya. Optional extensions are available to Mombasa and Lamu in Kenya, the Seychelles, Victoria Falls and South Africa. Cost: from $4,050 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, all meals while on safaris, bed and breakfast in Nairobi, and museum and park entrance fees. Contact: Leonard Moite, Kenya Study Safaris, 30037 Via Borica, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; telephone (310) 377-6790.

Jewish Heritage

"Discover Swiss Jewish Heritage" is the theme of a 16-day tour of Switzerland June 24. Tour members will get a view of Swiss Jewish life through historical sights, some dating from as early as 1222. Participants will meet with local Swiss Jewry, visit the former shtetl towns of Endingen and Lengnau and pay a special tribute to a Holocaust hero, the late Paul Gruninger with a dinner with former refugees who were saved by Gruninger. They, along with his daughter and locals who helped him, will tell the story of how this "Schindler of Switzerland" saved the lives of hundreds of Jews attempting to flee Germany and Austria. On a walking tour of Basel, members will see the Stadt-Casino where, in 1897, Theodore Herzl convened the first World Zionist Congress that led to the founding of the state of Israel. Many of Herzl's mementos are on display at the Basel Jewish Museum. The group will also visit several synagogues, including the Endingen National Landmark Synagogue, and will attend Friday night services in Lausanne. Cost: $5,285 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from New York, hotels, all breakfasts and dinners, some lunches, all gratuities, taxes, service charges and baggage handling. Contact: Gunther Tours, Inc., 29 Chestnut Hill Lane, Stamford, CT 06903; tel. (800) 395-6661.

History Cruise

A 12-day cruise around Italy and the islands of Greece leaves Aug. 12 and will be led by Santa Monica College professor Richard Robinson. Participants will visit the historic sights of Rome, Sorrento, Capri in Italy, Malta, and Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens in Greece. Cost: $3,149 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, cruise, and meals. Not included: port charges. Contact: Richard Robinson, Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405; tel. (310) 450-5150, Ext. 9731.

Mongolian Trek

A 12-day tour of Mongolia departs LAX June 29 led by Arnold Springer of the Ulan Bator Foundation of Venice, Calif. Springer has led tours to Mongolia every year since that country opened to tourism in 1990. Following an overnight in Tokyo, the tour will arrive in Beijing to visit the White Dagoba Temple in Beihei Park. Then the group will visit the Lama Temple, a Tibetan Buddhist temple in China. It is a residence for Tibetan and Mongolian monks and participants will be able to attend a service there. In Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, the group will attend national holidays and festivities that include competitions in archery, horseback riding and wrestling. Visitors visit the Fine Arts Museum, Choijin Lam Museum and the Bogd Khan Palace Museum. In Ulaanbaatar, the group will deliver medical supplies to the Maternal and Child Health Care Clinic, its adopted charity. The group can split up and have a choice of flying to the west of Mongolia, to Ulaangom, or go to the yurt camps in the Gobi desert, near the Karakoram Pass between China and India.

Cost: $3,250, including international air fare, lodging and most meals. An extension tour for $2,350 will be 17 days in Western China to see the Uighur region, the oasis of Turpan, the medieval market town of Kashgar on its grand market day, the capital of Urumqi, and also visit Dunhuang and Xi'an. Contact: Ulan Bator Foundation, P.O. Box 3059 Venice, CA 90294; tel. (310) 821-3459.

Peru and the Incas

Three 10-day explorations of the Inca Empire in Peru will depart from LAX June 18, Oct. 15, and Dec. 21. The trip will overnight in Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas; spend time in Cuzco; go river rafting, visit old Inca towns and ruins such as Ollantaytambo, and the famous market of Pisac, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and the Indian crafts markets. Visits to village schools will be included in the program to distribute much needed school supplies to the Quechua Indian children. Cost: $1,899 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, hotels, all sightseeing, breakfasts daily, all transportation, entrance fees and some dinners. The June group will spend a day at the annual re-creation of the Inca festival of Inti Raymi. Contact: Escapes Unlimited, 626 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92666; tel. (800) 243-7227.

Finland's Lapland

Two unique areas of Finland not commonly visited are part of a tour of the Laplands of Finland Sept. 4 for 14 days. After stopping at the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi, participants will continue on to Enontekio, an ancient Sami (Lapp) settlement for the ruska season with its flaming autumn red and yellow leaves. Most of Finland's 300 fells (wooded hills) are here in northwest Lapland. Guests will take a city tour of Helsinki, largest city in Finland. Next is a visit to the eastern Lake district on the Finnish-Russian border, a favorite playground of the Finns, but not known to the most foreign visitors. The Erakeskus Hotel, a wilderness lodge, will be home base from which to canoe, hike, tour and try local delicacies, such as beaver, reindeer and trout. Then it's by train to Russia to see St. Petersburg. Provision has been made for both organized touring and for individual exploration. Cost: $3,725 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, most meals and guides. Contact: Audrey Kopp, P.O. Box 9502, Marina del Rey, CA 90295; tel. (310) 823-7482.

French Education

Combine study with travel to the French Riviera and Paris on a 24-day French language program that leaves Los Angeles July 1. The program is at the University of Nice overlooking the Mediterranean. Participants visit museums to see the art of Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Chagall. They will also visit Cannes, Antibes, Grasse and Monte Carlo. Tours take in medieval towns, Roman ruins and a steam train ride in the lower Alps. Classes include dance, music, theater and an optional cooking workshop. Cost: $2,685 per person, including air fare from LAX, classes, campus activities, all meals except Sundays, dormitory accommodations and hotel in Paris. Contact: Prof. Kenneth Carter, Foreign Language Department, Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808; tel. (310) 420-4335. or (714) 494-2059.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.

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