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While talking about a recent hybrid bleisure trip to Tanzania, Rashad Frazier, co-founder of the travel company Camp Yoshi, admits that combining work and play can be rewarding: “Sometimes I get to take advantage of an experience that Camp Yoshi might offer in the future. When you have an affinity for travel and seeing new places and experiencing the world, yeah, it’s an easy low-hanging fruit kind of decision.”
Based in Portland, Oregon, Camp Yoshi creates and leads adventure trips where Black travelers and their allies can unplug and reconnect with the wilds of the wider world. This requires careful vetting of sites, routes, food supplies, guides, and more—everything that makes an all-inclusive trip memorable and worthwhile. Already conscious of the overwhelming whiteness of adventure travel, Frazier was both inspired and challenged by a scouting trip to Tanzania while exploring the possible inclusion of the destination into Camp Yoshi’s trip portfolio.
It’s hard not to feel a little jealous of Frazier’s swashbuckling time in Tanzania. There’s levity, seriousness, and warmth in his voice as he talks about what his adventure—replete with safari excursions, lion sightings, village visits, and resort stays—meant for him as a Black American visiting Africa. Frazier chatted with Condé Nast Traveler about the importance of ethical and respectful travel, the most interesting person he met, and why you should always bring Birkenstocks on a plane.
What was the destination?
Tanzania: Arusha, the Serengeti, and the island of Zanzibar.
What was the purpose of the trip?
The trip was technically a scout trip for Camp Yoshi, but it was also for my wife’s 40th birthday. This amazing ten-day trip took place last summer.
Who were your travel buddies for those ten days? You mentioned your wife—who else?
I went with my wife, some of her best friends, and their awesome husbands and partners. We had, like, an entire convoy of people.
How did you all get there?
Qatar Airways out of Atlanta to Arusha, Tanzania, via Doha. We were in first class—epic. I always recommend first class for anything over six hours. I know it’s not cheap, but your body will feel way better. It cuts down on recovery time. I’m not a fan of “travel days.” Let’s say you have a four-day trip. If you have a travel day on either end, that’s just a two-day trip. The transit should be a part of the adventure. It’s a little corny, but it’s not just about the destination. It’s about the whole experience.
Where did you stay?
We spent our first night at the Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge. One of Tanzania’s biggest exports is coffee, so we had this coffee-making experience—the beans were cooked in a skillet to release the oils, and ground using a massive pestle and mortar—and we had fresh Tanzanian coffee with the local village chief and his family and learned about the area. The next day, we stayed at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge where we saw all kinds of animals: lions and elephants and wildebeests and—what are the creepy-looking dogs? Hyenas! After that, we spent three nights at the Lahia Tented Lodge, a Black-owned property that sits at the edge of Serengeti National Park, and then we spent four nights in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. We stayed at the—well, I don’t want to give away the hotel because it’s our spot. I don’t have to? Good.