Thursday 16 October 2014

Ebola in Africa

I recently read an article written by Great Lakes Safaris Uganda providing extensive information about the Ebola outbreak and threat.  I thought it was very well written and very interesting.  I have asked Great Lakes to allow me to publish their article here, and they are very happy for me to spread the word.

Although the article refers to to East Africa and specifically to Uganda, the content is absolutely true for South and Southern Africa.  I think it is a very worthwhile read for anyone thinking of travelling to Africa.

Thank you to Great Lakes for a clear and well written article.

Uganda free of Ebola and Marburg virus

"I'm going to Africa and I won't get Ebola" 

Since the last couple of months, the continent of Africa is more and more linked to the word ‘Ebola’, which is frightening many people. Understandable. The deadly virus has killed at least 4,000 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Having that said, Africa is more than only the western part. It’s the world second largest continent and contains 54 different countries. Countries that are all suffering from the impact of the Ebola outbreak, especially East Africa.

For travelers there is virtually no risk of contracting the deadly virus when going on safari in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania. It would be a shame if all the panic over Ebola and the confusion about geography kept them from visiting a vast, varied and beautiful continent.

We will give you 5 reasons why Uganda (and other East African destinations) are completely safe:

1. Africa is a continent, not a country
As already explained, Africa contains more than 50 individual countries. It is over 30 million sq km, a size that can fit the entire Europe, United States, Alaska and China!

2. Distances
The current outbreak is largely confined to a region that is closer to Europe than it is to most of the popular safari destinations. In fact, Paris in France is closer to the outbreak area as Uganda’s capital city Kampala.
3. Actual cases of Ebola
Currently Uganda has fewer cases of Ebola (zero!) than the USA or Spain; it’s completely free!

4. Risk of transmission
The deadly virus can be contracted only through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who is already showing the symptoms. Ebola is not spread through the air, by water or by food.
Click here for more facts about the Ebola virus.

5. Experience & Precautionary measures
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has dealt with Ebola cases in the past and has gained experience in controlling such calamities. This can be drawn from the recent example when the country was sharing its experience at the UN conference addressing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The government has intensified campaigns to educte the public on the virus and how to manage a possible outbreak in the country. They provide updates on the status of Ebola in West Africa and remind people to be alert and vigilant, and advise to postpone all travel to Ebola affected countries. The Ugandan government has recently also intensified screening of travellers coming into the country at its main airport and other border ports.

The East African community stands together against Ebola and other countries have introduced similar measures.

Statistically, the chance of contracting Ebola on safari is effectively zero. You are significantly more likely to be killed by a falling coconut!

Or attract a completely other type of virus, also known as the “Africa virus” which makes you want to come back to Africa again and again. Definitely very dangerous and contagious!

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Friday 10 October 2014

Work Life Balance

Isn't that the simplest notion - divide up your time, equally, amongst the areas in your life that require attention - apportioning it happily across family, friends, work, charitable works, sport, excercise and health, leisure time and your career.

HAHAHAHAHAHA - what a joke.  It is just about impossible to achieve.  There simply aren't enough hours in the day.  And, for goodness sake, wasn't the electronic age supposed to be labour-saving, add efficiencies and give us mere mortals untold hours of extra capacity.  Instead, we seem to be, more than ever, bombarded with information and mis-information - on call and available every moment of every day!  It seems to me that my destination of choice at this moment, would be anywhere in the world that has no cell phone signal!

Any game lodge would do - and if there were no ellies, even better!

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Wednesday 10 September 2014

Walking with Lions

Walking and interacting with wild animals is an amazing and profound experience.  There are so many options - petting cheetah cubs, or lion cubs, visiting animal sanctuaries, with the possibility to pet the exotic creatures that live there.  Recently, I visited a cat sanctuary and the highlight was petting the fully grown cheetahs.  There must have been at least 50 people in the enclosure.  The cheetah looked positively shell-shocked.  What was supposed to be a fantastic happy experience was simply miserable.  As much as us humans get a thrill out of these up-close encounters they harbour a dark and miserable secret...

I am by no means an expert, but, we at Discovering Africa, and, our sister companies, including Thompsons Africa will not sell the Walking with Lions experiences that are all too available within Africa.  The reason is this:  Once the juveniles become too big, and pose a threat to the tourists, they are sold off and used in the canned hunting trade.  It is a despicable practice that I urge everybody to learn about in order to avoid inadvertantly supporting.

Please don't book Walking with Lions.

Some of the sanctuaries do fantastic work.  Please research very carefully the organisations that you support.

There is lots to know and understand and I feel that I have hardly begun to know....
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Monday 28 July 2014

Tea With Grandma at the Best Hotel in the World (The Oyster Box)

I met up with a client yesterday, for High Tea at the Oyster Box - which, in case I haven't mentioned before, is the best hotel in the World!!  I love it - it is so happy and joyful - loads of treats and special attention.

Anyway, that is not what was the most special aspect of this visit.  My client, Nadine, lost her husband and travelling companion, many years ago.  They had travelled extensively together and upon his death Nadine feared that her travelling days were over.  But then, she struck on the idea - each year she would take one of her grandchildren on an exotic holiday - she has ten.  This time, she was travelling with 12 year old Erik - he is number 6. So, she has 4 more years to go - and then, her children are demanding that it  is their turn next!

It was wonderful to see the interaction between Grandma and Erik.  They are truly generations apart, but, the excitment and wonder of this trip was absolutely palpable to see.  Erik was just about bursting with the thrill of his experience, his grandma and I could barely get a word in edgeways!  He has been exposed to new sights and sounds, tastes, cultures and circumstances.  And he and his gran have bonded on a one-on-one basis in a unique and extraordinary way.  It has been a fantastic experience for him, and, as Nadine says - when life sends you lemons, make lemonade!

When I asked her which has been her favourite trip she said: "The next one"

How fabulous - I am stealing that - my favourite trip is also The Next One

Until next time x

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Tuesday 24 June 2014

Thank you and hambe gahle

That means - thank you and "go well".

It was with some trepidation that I asked Francois to be my Guest Blogger during his travels.

Firstly, I thought, what a cheek - it is an imposition and too much to expect and, secondly I thought, what if things go horribly wrong and they have an awful time!!!

Anyway, I decided that it would be an interesting exercise, and, taking risks does add an element of excitement, so, I figured the pro's outweighed the con's.

On the first issue - I think Francois enjoyed his Blogging job - I don't think it did become onerous and, I guess, had he got fed up with it, he could have given up on it, with no hard feelings.

On the second issue - well...  Perhaps it is the nature of travel that things can and will go wrong.  It is how these hiccups are resolved that make the difference, and prove a measure of the worth of the tour operator or travel professional.  It is fantastic to work for a company that has such a solid reputation throughout our Region - our suppliers are diligent about providing a top class service, and, if for whatever reason they fall short in this delivery, they generally do all necessary to make good.

I think that the few hiccups that Francois encountered were speedily resolved.  The grumpy border officials, and in-efficient airline staff are probably the "luck-of-the-draw" in Africa and, actually, anywhere in the world!  I had a very interesting body-search by an American security officer once - I really thought he should have sent me flowers afterwards!  Often during my travels the border staff have been charming and lovely, but, once, travelling with friends and family, they were just revolting!

I think our guest blogging experiment was an unmitigated success and I enjoyed the experience a lot.

Thank you Francois for your wonderful African Tale!

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Monday 9 June 2014

Homeward Bound...

We've come a full circle - almost.  We are flying home as I write this.
Let me answer the easy questions first.
Yes we had a great time.
Yes we felt safe everywhere we went.  (Of course, we applied common sense and big city rules in our travel and were aware of that crime is an issue that South Africa is aggressively combating.)
Yes absolutely we would use Elizabeth Edwards as our southern Africa travel consultant again.
If one had enough time and money to visit one of the countries we visited which one would it be - South Africa is hands down the first choice.  Zimbabwe would be a close second.
Now for some final random thoughts and musings.
We've travelled extensively in the USA and internationally - pretty much as independent travellers. We wanted to do an African trip on our own without relying on a guided mass sales tour or using a package reseller who has never set in Africa.
The down side is that as independent travellers things can go wrong and as much as I plan and research (and pester Elizabeth with questions) the resolution of issues cannot simply be delegated to the tour leader.
We also recognize that we covered a lot of ground in various modes of transportation - after a few weeks of driving, flying, flight connections and such the rigors of travel would catch up with us.  This especially true when things happen at a much slower pace.  Or if minor expected conveniences such as a jetway to get to a plane, orderly boarding of an aircraft and an orderly retreival of luggage usually never materialized.
In many instances along our travels we were approached by people who wanted to sell us something or ask for spare change (even in Cape Town) and invariably one had to negotiate and bargain for many purchases.  That could be a grind.
We encountered first hand the issue of luggage theft and tampering in Jo'burg airport.  Very early in our trip one of our suitcases was tampered with - locks picked and contents ransacked but nothing of value or interest so nothing was stolen.  But we still felt violated on a certain level.    The solution was to wrap all our luggage for every subsequent leg of our trip.
And yes the domestic airline we used several time manged to lose one of our bags on one of the last legs of our trip.  Of course, that is an expected part of travel. The unexpected and unacceptable part is the lackedaisical and almost apethetic response to this fact of travel that we encountered.
Speaking of the domestic airline - carry on luggage (hand luggage) is a source of constant irritation for airline staff and passengers (all over the world).  Yet in South Africa we observed people who appeared to be locals ignore the airline rules with impunity.  In many cases the individuals would simply argue or walk past gate agents, ramp personnel and even the flight crew with a certain sense of entitlement.  Yet, over and over again the tourist types would be singled out for arbitrary and uneven application of baggage rules even when none were violated.  Full disclosure: I filed a formal complaint against the purser of one of our flights for her complete and utter unprofessionalism and extreme discourtesy.
As one reads this post one may get the impression that the trip was a dismal failure.  This is CATEGORICALLY not true.  We had a FANTASTIC time and have had memorable experiences which will continue to mould us as individuals interested in travel and more importantly as humans looking for a better future for all of us.
I mention and blog about our experiences not to dissuade anyone from making a simply magnificant trip to Africa.
I hope our experiences will prove helpful in others' planning and establishing a base line of expectations - both crucial aspects of a successful trip.  Keep in mind a trip to Africa is not similar to a trip in Europe or USA.
Elziabeth, thank you for all your help and giving me the opportunity to describe our experiences.
Borrowing a phrase, we indeed have dreamed the destination and lived the journey!

Hope many others do the same.
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Thursday 5 June 2014

Last Stop: Cape Town

Cape Town is a beautiful city.  We enjoyed our visit.  It is winter time now and many people we encountered asked why we visited in the winter.  Short answer is we planned the trip around our various safaris and as a bonus we would be in Cape Town during the Food and Wine Show.
Thus our expectation was for wind, rain and cool weather.  The weather turned out better than we had hoped.  We had wind (which prevented us from visiting Table Mountain) and made our return trip from Robben Island an hour long journey buffetted by waves and wind.  We had some rain showers that were brief and periods of brilliant sunshine that gave us great photos with colorfully lit clouds, mountains and landsacapes.  In a nutshell - the weather was variable and changed frequently but was not a factor except for the winds and the mountain.
The winelands and  peninsula tours were a nice way to see the natural beauty of the area and experience what the area offers.  Really enjoyable.
What we really wanted to do is visit Robben Island and The District Six Museum.  We did both and that gave us some more context and history - essential for understanding for where we are today.
As I mentioned the ride back from the island was long and rough.  It was on an old tug boad (the Dais) and most of us sat in the seating area below deck.  Most of us were glad to be on solid ground after the ride. 
A few people told me that the tug was used in the past as a cargo and prisoner transport ship to Robben Island.  Then, really how can I complain about a rough hour's ride when a similar ride for many was the beginning of years of confinement and deprivation.
The visit to the island gave us a better understanding of the island's history and past and current use.  The tour of the Island and the prison gave us a glimpse into history and the first hand experience of our guide made history alive.
Our visit to the District Six Museum was equally fascinating - in large measure due to our conversation with Noor - the gentleman who lived through the whole district six chapter and conveyed his experiences during the tour he gave us.
The museum and the island are powerful and constant reminders of history and the dichotomy that exists today in South Africa and in fact the entire world.
Amid the bounty of the land, great scenic beauty, and affluence of the Cape area lay the constant reminders such as the Cape Flats area and townships that we as humans have a long way to go - all over the world.
While in Cape Town we stayed in the V&A waterfront area.  A very convenient location that has tons of shopping and eating options.  I think, though, one our favorate parts of town is Bo Kaap and its colorful homes and excellent Cape Malay cuisine!
Oh - the food and wine show was a nice way to spend an afternoon to sample wine and food and interact with foodies.  (Some locals told us they avoid the event because it has become too crowded.)
That's all folks.
I'll have one last post with final thoughts and impressions on our trip.

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Dragon ladies and does lightening strike a tourist twice?

Let's answer the lightening question first.  During our Nambia trip we called on Elizabeth for help.  As we tried to check in to our lodge on the south side of Etosha we were informed that due to overbooking they could not accomodate us and we would be moved to the camp/lodge next door with a complementary dinner or game drive for our trouble.
It seemed like deja vu all over again.  We went next door and the place was definetely geared to the camper and backpacker.  In the meantine we had emailed Elizabeth with our predicament.
It is worth mentioning that a few days before our trip I had contacted the main office of the hotel to ask for reconfirmation, directions and GPS coordinates.  At that time they reconfirmed my reservation.
Anyhow within an hour Elizabeth and lodge staff informed us that there was an "opportune cancellation" and we would be moved back to our originally reserved lodge.  (I am very certain this would not have happened without Elizabeth's efforts.)
Moving on to dragon ladies and Namibian impressions.
During our stay in Namibia we came to appreciate that almost everything important is a two step process.  Let me explain.  Starting with our dragon lady encounters.
On arrival we queued up at passport control.  There were multiple officers handling passengers.  Most couples on line would approach an officer and would be processed accordingly.  When our turn came up we approached an officer together - because it is rather obvious that we are travelling as a couple.  Dragon lady cautioned us to approach her one at a time and if the other person was not called they would have to wait behined the line with their own travel documents.  The area was extremely crowded and noisy so I had to ask dragon lady to repeat her instructions.  She grew increasingly combative as my wife was called by the next available officer.  Meanwhile, dragon lady asserted her authority by asking me to repeat and confirm every detail on my passport and the entry form I completed.
In the meantime my wife was waiting with her officer because obviously we would have to be given the same duration to stay in the country and dragon lady was the more senior officer who would decree the length of our stay and the officers would have to coordinate!
When departing Namibia there were two officers. So logically (applying lessons learned from arrival) we approached the officers separately.  WRONG!!! Dragon lady II barely looked at my wife and continued to do what she was doing without any attempt to provide further instructions or start the exit formalities. After waiting several minutes and seeing that I was done my wife walked over to my line and off we go.
I wish that border control agents ( for whatever country) keep in mind that they help shape the first and last impressions of visitors.  I digress....
Securing park entry permits was an interesting process too.  At some parks like Etosha and Namib you drove past one gate where you filled out a form or provided some required details.  Payment of fees required a second stop.  Securing a permit to drive to the moon scape (mentioned in an earlier post) also required going to two offices in the same building.
Car rental process took forever both picking up and returning.  On pick up one agent literally counted and documented every ding and scratch (but failed to tell me that the GPS unit they rented me could not be recharged because the cigarette lighter was broken.  So I had a working GPS for a whole hour of the rental.)  The condition of the car and spare tire etc had to be checked at the exit gate again.
Returning the car required enduring a discussion about the exact location of a windscreen chip that was clearly prexisting and documented.  I requested a copy of the rental closeout paperwork - and had to get the copies in the terminal.
Why am I mentioning all this?  A long winded way to say nothing happens fast in Namibia.  If you are looking for western style speed and efficiency you will be surely frustrated and dissppointed.
If it is the destination that interests you and not the journey to the destination you will find the long drives on mostly dusty and unpaved roads boring and uninteresting.  If you seek rest stops, shops and places to stop along every road you drive you are in the wrong place.
In my research and reading I came across a blog that described driving on unpaved roads in Namibia as a "freeing experience."  I would not agree with that.  Driving in Namibia demands your full attention and wit.  Yet if you keep in mind that things are slower in Namibia, that driving will be slower than you may want, that your drive will invariably take longer - but all these are not negatives- you will have a good time and experience great natural beauty.
These are the realities if Namibian travel by road.  We heeded the realities and planned accordingly.  We were rewarded with spectacular landscape and nature. Along with a couple of moments when fatigue and the road wore us out.

Would recommend Namibia with the proper preparation and time - you'll enjoy it.
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Wednesday 4 June 2014

Off to the Dunes

It is day break so we are on the road again!   We are heading to the dunes.
Our drive is along C roads again and we make our way through two mountain passes - simply magnificient.  Another long tough drive but we are rewarded with splendid landscapes and a ton of photo opportunities.
We make the obligatory stop at Solitaire for apple pie and continue to our lodge about 30 kms to the south.  The lodge is set in the Namib desert with fossilized dunes within walking distance.
The lodge is approximately 60 kms (on a C road) from Sesreim - the gateway to Soussuvlei.  From Sesreim the big dune is about an hour away on a paved road.  Of course the trip took longer because we stopped along the route for photos and a dune 45 visit.
We did not climb "big daddy" but enjoyed walking around and exploring the area including Dead Vlei.
One suggestion - if you are interested in seeing the dunes in the early morning or late afternoon sun and lighting you may want to consider a lodge closer to Sesreim so that you will not have to drive too long in
the dark.
For us the lodge was a good base for exploring the area.
Besides the national park, a few other memorable moments: Taking a walk along hiking paths in the lodge area and enjoying the scenery with a setting sun, birds and the solitude of the desert.
Another enduring memory will be the night sky.  I am not an astronomer - but was fascinated by the number of stars we saw in the sky - so clear and so vivid.

From here we drove to Windhoek arriving in time for some shopping,  an almost mandatory meal at Joe's beerhouse ( very enjoyable meal with a mix of tourists and locals) and preparing to fly on to Cape Town to wrap up our trip.
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Tuesday 3 June 2014

Swakopmund! Does Zebra taste like Chicken?

Another early start - seems to be our Namibian routine.  Early breakfast and on the road within a half an hour of sunrise.
Today's mission - a long drive on C roads to the coastal city of Swakopmund.  Our drive was through some very scenic areas but very remote.  Along the way we saw a few Himba woman in their traditional dress selling their crafts.  Otherwise the ride was bumpy, dusty and long.
For the most part no other vehicles either.  We occasionally saw tourist types ( like us) but most were heading inland - in the opposite direction.  Most opt to do the circuit we are driving in a clockwise direction.  We are going counter clockwise for no particular reason.
No sighting of desert ellies along the way.  But a wonderfully strange experience and in an absolutely positive way - is the moment we approached the ocean.  The desert literally meets the ocean!  And a bonus..... a paved road.
We had decided to bypass the Cape Cross seal colony so we can take our time along the inland route and also to explore the coastal route.
As we drove south to Swakop we stopped in Henties Bay - a Namibian summer town with upscale homes.  The town was in full winter mode - mostly empty summer houses and only the locals minding the town.
Eventually we made our way into Swakop.  It was a national holiday - so as expected the town was pretty much closed down.  What a great opportunity to walk around for photos without much interference from cars and people moving around. The afternoon was also a good time to map out our shopping expedition around town - since the next day shops will be open for a few hours only - in actual celebration of the national holiday.
While in Swakop, we opted for desert exploration over cruise and ocean activities.  So after some shopping we headed out to a spectacular drive ( some of it on D roads - you've been warned!) to see landscape that is aptly called "moon landscape" and the wonderfully unique Welwitschia plant.  A truly great experience despite some tough driving conditions.
We enjoyed our stay in Swakop.  Our hotel was in all respects one you could easily find in Europe.  As a matter of fact, if one were blind folded and dropped off in Swakop one could easily conclude that they are in a Bavarian town.  (Many shop keepers would greet and address us in German as we stopped in their shops.)
We also enjoyed two excellent multi course meals in our centrally located hotel and at a moored tug boat.  Great service (totally unpretentious) along with the freshest of Namibian seafood including oysters and kingklip.  And I had a mountain zebra steak.  It was very good and did not taste like chicken!

From here we are going to the dunes....
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Monday 2 June 2014

Francois Ghanem - Now in Damaraland

Onward to Damaraland.
Our drive from Etosha area to Khorixas was an easy drive on paved roads.  Khorixas would be our  base for one night.  While planning the trip we made the difficult choice of reducing the number of nights from two so that we can workout flights and have an additional night in Cape Town.
We wanted to visit several landmarks in the area including Twyfelfontein (historic rock paintings), Organ-Pipes (rock formations), Burnt Mountain, and Petrified Forest.
Our run in paved roads ended a few KMs out of Khorixas. To get to the spots mentioned travel on C and D roads is necessary.  C roads are "primary" unpaved and have a posted speed limit of 100 KMs.  D roads are "secondary" unpaved and are much worse that C roads.  While one may get long stretches of C roads that handle almost like paved roads, there will be stretches that are rutted and uneven.  D roads tended to be like driving on a washboard.
Needless to say the drive to the sites was slow - as I had planned it to be - average speed was 60 KMs or even less on the D roads as we got closer to the sites.
Also keep in mind that it is not advisable to drive in the dark in Namibia.  So we simply ran out of time and did not see all the sites planned.  We actually decided to skip Organ Pipes and turned back due to the condition of the D road.
So after a day of mostly bone jarring and teeth rattling driving we saw some great rock formations and spectacular sites and landscapes - some of it reminicient of what one would see in the southwest of the USA.
Wish we had more time to explore but we must move on.  Two nights would be ideal to visit the areas of interest here and would strongly consider hiring a guide/driver for the day for a circuit tour of the sites.  I think this would be easier driving (you are not doing it) and will be more convenient and efficient in an allotted day or two.

Swakopmud is our next stop.
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Francois Ghanem - Self Driving in Namibia

We are in Namibia! We overnighted in Windhoek with high hopes of getting our rental car and be on the road by 9:30 AM at the latest - for our long drive to Etosha.
First thing this morning we had a very informative pre arranged meeting with Birgit - one of Elizabeth's Namibian colleagues.  The meeting reviewed our plan and was very helpful in answering some last minute questions I had.  Birgit's first hand knowledge of driving conditions throughout the country provided "real" confirmation to the stuff I've been reading and researching for months.
Anyhow, due to a car rental snafu (Disclosure: I made car rental arrangments independantly of trip arrangements made with Elizabeth) and really slow rental process (including actually counting the number of dings and scratches in the car) we got a start about 2 hours later than we wanted.  (more on that in a subsequent blog.)  So with little time to spare we made the long but easy trek (on paved roads - except within the park) in time to see a bunch of Zebras, elephents, wildebeasts and a wild dog - and another spectacular African sunset.
We spent two nights in a centrally located lodge in the middle of Etosha, and another night just a few kms south of the park.  So basically we had sufficient time to explore diferent parts of the park.
The lodge in the park was in a great location and allowed convenient access to a significant portion of Etosha.  Accomodations were practical and comfortable. We ordered lunch packs for our planned drives around the park.  The packs were very good and ample.  Dinners were a small buffet with the entrees cooked to order - typically a beef steak and a game steak grilled as one likes it.  I tried the Springbok steak here and I enjoyed it very much.  Staff was perfectly fine and helpful.
The lodge a few KMs outside the park  was good and in all aspects would be comprable to a mid level hotel in Europe or USA.
Now that is out of the way - let us talk about the park.  We did most the exploration on our own guided by a good map and seeking as many waterholes as possible.  We supplemented our drive with guided game drives offered by the lodge.  Both approaches yielded great game watching opportunities.
We saw more ellies, giraffes, zebras, wildebeasts and black rhinos - alas no big cats sighted.
The pan and varried landscape were a very interesting and beautiful backdrop as we looked for the animals.
A couple of highlights to mention.  On one of our independent drives we came across two ellies that appeared to be tussling in the middle of the road - with no intention of moving.  So we turned off the car and observed and waited....  As we waited we quickly recognized that the ellies were not fighting but were an amorous couple.  After they finished their " activities" the female ellie walked over in our direction and stopped about half a meter from the front of the car.  With my hand on the car keys we watched with interest and nervous caution.  Miss, or more aptly, Mrs. ellie looked at us raised her trunk and opened her mouth as in a yawn.  (she was so close we could see her teeth.)  At this point I slowly  took a few photos (could not let this go by) through the windscreen and started the car and slowly reveresed out of our spot.  Ellie seemed to lose interest and retreated into the bush.
Another fantastic memory was as the sun was setting on the park lodge's water hole.  Two adult and a baby black rhino came by to drink.  Simply magnificient!
We found the combination of the lodges, locations, and the three nights were ideal for our exploration of Etosha.  One could spend weeks exploring this massive expanse of a national park and without any doubt find every moment exciting.
A very rewarding experience indeed!!!
I think the "animal" portion of our trip is over.  Next, we are moving south and will focus on scenery in other Namibian national parks.  But who knows we may run across ( not literally - I hope) the desert ellie that makes Damaraland its home.

That will be our next spot and our next report.
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Tuesday 27 May 2014

Francois Ghanem - Chobe Experience

Finally settled into a routine at Chobe.  Game drives were nice.  We did not see all the Big 5 here.  "Just" ellies and buffalos.  We saw the most adorable baby ellie nursing.  We saw many giraffes along the way and at one point a "journey" of 8 giraffes together - so graceful to watch.  We saw dung beetles industriously doing what they do best along the way too.
Most magnificent, however,  was the time we spent on the Chobe river.  The river plain was still "flooded". So we got to see many birds and beautiful water lilies.  We saw crocs and ellies in the water eating and bathing.  We observed a lot of ellies at the shoreline drinking and hanging out on shore and water's edge.
And how about the hippos we wanted to see "smiling" or " yawning"?  We saw plenty of hippos mostly in water in various depths - and a few smiled at us and we have the quintesential photos of hippos smilling with mouths wide agape! 
We saw a sad sight of a scratched up hippo on shore tending to its wounds - which resulted from a fight with another male.  We also came across a hippo "couple". Well we only saw the male - as the female was submerged in the water as the couple was " busy".
That's it for the animals.  To end our Chobe river experience was a spectacular sunset with the requisite river, a tree and a setting flaming orange sun!  Simply magnificient!!!

How about some personal thoughts on our experience?  Here we go....
Our game drives were small in size - on one we had just three of us.  The river cruises we took were on smaller boats 10 passengers on one and just us two on another.  The smaller boats allow for closer access to spots which is really great.  However, after a few hours they are not the most comfortable.  Myself - I'd choose closer access to the animals others may opt for a bigger boat where one can walk around and may be more conducive to enjoying a sundowner or two.

About the morning drives - when we stopped for coffee, tea and rusks we did so in a spot with 8  or 9 game drive vehicles and 50 or 60 people milling around.  We admit that we were spoiled by the more personal experience we enjoyed at the Sabie Sands area game drives.
We ventured into Kasane for a short while and found it safe and hassle free without any one trying to sell us anything.

Chobe was a very nice place to experience and we really enjoyed it.  
On to Namibia.
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Francois Ghanem: Chobe we've got a problem!

So we arrived at our lodge in the Kasane area on a Sunday shortly before noon.  The front desk staff quizzically looked at us and told us we do not have a reservation.  When we produce a reservation number the story changes to this: the lodge is fully booked and the river view accommodations reserved for us are occupied by a sick guest who extended their stay.  So the solution is to move us to a comparable lodge a few minutes down the road.
At this point I called an emergency number that Elizabeth has provided.  On a Sunday getting an answering machine would not be surprising.  To my delight I spoke with one of Elizabeth's colleagues and explained the situation.  He followed up with the hotel reservations staff.
As for us - we waited in the front desk area with a lodge employee that seemed to be taking the lead in dealing with us.  Several hours of frustration ensued - the details of our arrangements were debated and discussed and ultimately, we were shifted to a nearby lodge with our activities to be done by the one that "walked" us.

On Monday Elizabeth and I exchanged several emails in which she kept me appraised of what was happening and her investigation.

During conversations with the lodge's deputy general manager, she acknowledged that the lodge mishandled our reservation and the situation.  She offered us a formal opology and a bottle of wine as a gesture of good will.

Anyhow the accommodations  in the other lodge we ended up with were very nice.  Only a little knock on their food.  A la carte lunches were very good.  Buffet dinners - not so hot literally and otherwise.
Enough already about this travel mishap.  As independent travellers we should expect something to go wrong. (When was a tour group bumped due to an overbooking or some other problem in error?) (Actually  Francois, it does happen too! EE)
Bottom line is the situation was resolved and we got to see Chobe National Park.  That was our objective- right?

More on our park experience in the next blog post.
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Monday 26 May 2014

Francois Ghanem: Vic Falls - "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times..." (And is a baboon smarter than I am?)

Let me start by saying the Falls are spectacular!!!  As for the baboon question I am afraid you'll have to read on....

We had decided to see the Falls from the Zimbabwe side to avoid yellow fever vaccination issues and the walking proximity of our accommodations to the Falls.
Upon arrival at the tiny airport - the situation for the 150 or so passengers waiting for passport formalities (including visa aquisition for some nationalities) and baggage collection ranged from  mad mayhem to absolute chaos.  But we made it through unscathed!
Our objective was to see the Falls and the Zambezi animal and bird life.   What success we had!!!
On a sunset river cruise we saw crocs and hippos;  birds and a magnificent sunset.  I was hoping to see a hippo on shore and a yawning (aka smiling) hippo - alas the hippos we saw were all in the water.  But it was great to see and experience the Mighty Zambezi with all its life.

We also enjoyed a walking tour of the Falls.  In preparation for the tour we were advised that we wd oulget soaking wet.  We expected that since the Falls are at peak flow this time of year.
We did get wet.  Some portions of the falls were obscured by the mist.  Conditions were  variable - in some spots the mist would dissipate and give us a chance for a great look.  At a few spots the mist was like "rain falling upward."  When we encountered this "rain"  - it ranged from a light showery mist to a thunderstorm-like downpour that required umbrellas.  Managed to keep camera dry for many falls photos. 
Peak flow at the Falls also means rainbows and double rainbows.  We enjoyed seeing some!  (Not to mention some birds and interesting fauna along our path.)
So that was the best of times.  Read on for the worst of times and the answer to the baboon story....

Worst of times: Touts and street vendors.  We ventured away from the hotel and walked around town to a supermarket, restaurants, the Elephant Walk "Mall" and the curio shops around it.
WARNING: if you do not like to bargain, do not like your personal space invaded, and do not like persistent sales pitches that involve vendors following you - then you should stick to hotel areas and areas where the tourist police are found.
I did not find the vendors threatening or menacing - but way way way beyond pushy. (A few would even ask for a handout if you don't want to buy their wares). We put up with the vendors and touts because we wanted to check things out on my own.  To most others we chatted with at our hotel - not something they wanted to  deal with.
In conversations with locals, the authorities are aware of the severity of the situation and are working on it.
Another thing is prices.  Essentially Vic Falls is an "island" (so to speak) in Zimbabwe.  It is a tourist town that prices things at what the western world market can bear.

A side note: I opted for a "last minute "  ( 2 hours before flight time) arrangement for a  helicopter flight over the falls.  The 12 minute flight has the potential to be spectacular.  I say " potential" because you are not guaranteed a window seat.  In my case I ended up in a middle seat contending with a passenger who insisted on using an IPAD for a camera.  You must be kidding me!    Also, the whole process from pick up to return to hotel took almost 2 hours (including an obligatory viewing of the flight video for purchase and waiting for others to finish whatever they were doing to get a ride back to hotel.)
Was it worth it?  I have a once in a life time experience and a few spectacular aerial photos!!!  So in retrospect - absolutely!!  At the time when every thing was  happening - not so much!

Oh yeah the baboon story....
At breakfast one morning I saw a troop of baboons  around the hotel grounds.  (later in the day saw a bunch of warthogs).  One of the baboons with an adorable baby approached our table and stopped for a few moments as if to show us her baby.  In the split second I reached for my camera the baboon dumped the baby and swooped in on a pastry I had on my plate and moved on to the next table before it was chased away.  So there you have it....
In summary,  we enjoyed our visit to the Falls and found the people to be very welcoming.  The vendor problem was not an issue for us and we felt safe walking around.  We'd recommend a visit to see the Falls.  (Whether or not you are seeing the "real" Zimbabwe is an open question I 'll leave for others in other forums to discuss.)

On to Chobe next...
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Wednesday 21 May 2014

Francois Ghanem: Jo'burg - The Tale of Two Cities

Our hotel was located in Sandton - in the vicinity of Nelson Mandela Square.  Within easy reach were up-scale restaurants and shopping such as a Gucci store in a big shopping arcade.
The area also had professional buildings, international banking offices and the South African stock exchange.  A highly polished area that offers a glimpse into potential!  From conversations I had - Sandton is a well to do and a highly desirable area that many aspire to work and live in.

We spent a day visiting Soweto and the Apartheid museum.  So much history and to peek at that history is so fascinating and highly disturbing at the same time.  Seeing uniformed and smiling school children at the Pieterson museum learning about and absorbing a critical period in South African history was touching and filled with emotion.

As we visited different parts of Soweto we began to get a basic understanding of the history and the toll it took (and arguably continues to) on so many.  We gained an appreciation that Soweto in more than a neighbourhood.  It was and continues to be a crucible of history in the making and contains a strata of people from Winnie Mandela to recently migrated people from other parts of Africa.  Neighbourhood areas ranged from the "Beverly Hills of Soweto" to flood prone metal shacks without water and electricity.
What is striking are conversations with"Born Frees" and older ones of many backgrounds and races.  The common theme: a better future in peace and security.  Indeed is that not what all of humanity is seeking?

Speaking of humanity - we visited the UNESCO World Heritage site - the cradle of humanity.  We only visited the visitor's centre (not the caves).  Admittedly, I have some fundamental questions about the timelines and theories presented.  However,  as an attraction - the site was mediocre, at best (as compared to other world heritage sites we visited).  At times, in my view, the site ventured into the cheesy realm.  Case in point: a boat ride reminiscent of Disney's "Its a small world" boat ride. 

We also visited the Lesedi Cultural Centre. The centre is intended to provide an introduction to the various peoples of South Africa.  Some may argue that the whole experience is touristy and staged.  I would not dispute that.  However, the experience was informative and entertaining.  The dance demonstrations were great!  Lunch at Lesedi consisted of a buffet of African dishes.  An ample selection was available, but the quality was adequate.

Earlier in the trip I tried a Kudu steak.  At Lesedi at one of the tour stops they offered cooked mopani worms in sauce.  Much to our host's surprise (and subsequent delight) I tried the worms.  I would eat them again.  And - no - they don't taste like chicken.

There you have it - a brief look at our very limited experience in Jo'burg.  It is a big city but one we found fascinating, friendly and filled with hope and potential.  A city that tells many tales with a common thread.
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Monday 19 May 2014

Guest Blogger: Francois Ghanem - Panorama Route

When I was planning this trip most resources and guide books barely (if at all) mentioned the "Panorama Route."
The "Pano Route" (as I heard it referred to several times during our day discovering it) is a wonderful day trip.  The problem was itinerary planning.  I was a day short elsewhere on the trip and told Elizabeth to cut out the Pano Route.
Elizabeth persuaded me not to.  We were glad we had the opportunity to take a day trip  to explore the Pano Route.  The route is a great way to appreciate the Blyde River canyon - one of the biggest in the world and 2nd biggest in Africa. 
Along the way we saw lush forests, great waterfalls, interesting rock formations and mountain peaks up to 1900+ meters.
We ended our day with a bit of shopping in Graskop.

All in all a great day and a different one than the bush. Glad we did not skip it.
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Saturday 17 May 2014

Instalment 2: Guest Blogger - Francois Ghanem

So we've finally arrived in South Africa.
I've been thinking about what to write and what my guest blog focus will be.  I will be giving an overview of our experiences and not obsessing about details of accomodations and hotels.

Our first stop was a Sabi Sands private reserve.  We stayed at a lodge recommended by Elizabeth.  The accommodations were perfect.  The food was very good and abundant.  The staff was hyper-attentive to our comfort and were excellent host.  Suffice it to say that when we checked in to the lodge my wife declared Elizabeth a travel advice goddess.
(The lodge routine was fairly typical of all lodges: early morning and late afternoon drives, bush walks, meals etc... a busy schedule indeed that started at 5:30 am and ended at 9:30 pm.)
But I digress....  The reason we are here is to see the bush creatures  - not to talk about the generous creature comforts we enjoyed.   The big 5 parade started on the drive to the lodge when we saw two lions.  It gets better.  Over the next 6 game drives we saw the big five multiple times.  We saw babies, adults and ageing animals.  We saw some of the "little 5" and some of the "shy 5".  We saw a nursing baby rhino and two lions " in flagante delicto."  We even saw an elusive cheetah - we were told the first sighting in the area in 4 months.
Really memorable!  Yet just as thrilling were the bush walks where we got an overview of the flora and fauna and lessons in tracking animals by tracks and dung.  The best part was one walk with just me and the ranger.  We enjoyed conversations along the way but we also stopped to enjoy the bush silence punctuated by the sounds of animals doing what they do and at times you could actually hear the bigger birds flapping their wings as I stood there in silent awe.
The guests were an international bunch with an American majority.  A few south Africans visiting the bush with us certainly provided an interesting perspective on bush tourism as well as past and current events in the country. Also of interest was a conversation with the lodge proprietor about rhino poaching and eco-tourism.   Thought provoking!

That's it for now.  Till the next update.....
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Saturday 10 May 2014

On route to Africa - Guest Blogger - Francois Ghanem

So my wife and I are on a plane 5 hours away from Jo'burg and an incredible journey of 4 weeks that Elizabeth helped make a reality.
Some history first...  We started planning for our Africa trip 14 months ago.  It all began with an email describing who we are as travellers, what we enjoy doing when we travel and what we want and what we dont - and possible dates for trip.  We did not want a mass marketed tour, a camping trip,  or an ultra expensive "spafari".  We were looking for good value which I know is not necessarilly inexpensive.
Out of the dozen or so companies (in USA, UK and South Africa) we contacted we selected Elizabeth. Why?
Because,  some responded that they do not cater to customers with our specific requirements (read not interested in value minded travellers).  Some ignored our email and told us what they wanted to sell us and why it fits our travel requirements.  Some even would not even talk unless we established a budget (I do not like to start the process with this important aspect of travel for reasons beyond this post).  And some said the trip is 14 months in the future come back in 8 months when pricing is available.
Elizabeth, on the other hand - responded with a thourogh email that gave specific feedback and suggestions for every aspect of our inquiry.  We fine tuned the trip with Elizabeth providing guidance along each step of the way. 
In a nut shell, Elizabeth understood us and our requirements.  Her emails clearly reflected this along with a sense of humor and a keen understanding of the Southern Africa travel scene.
Most important in our dealings with Elizabeth was the transparancy in pricing and her openness in sharing pricing of alternatives.  Remarkable, also, is the fact when she found a pricing error (in my favor) she let me know and credited me the amount!
One last thing - I research quite a bit and ask a million questions.  Elizabeth handled everything so well for 14 months and addressed all my inquires with efficient professionalizm along  with responsiveness and humor.
Enough about how we came to this point.  On to the trip.... Over the next four weeks we will visit South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.  Will be on safari,  some city stays, and self drive in Namibia.
We are thrilled as we embark on this trip and look forward to all the experiences and food (yes including smiley, mopani worms and monkey gland sauce - it is not what you think !)

Till the next installment with some travel observations and recap of what we're doing....
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Guest Blogger

For some time I have been working on the travel arrangements for a client, Francois Ghanem.  He is just about due to arrive into South Africa, and, during one of many conversations, the idea of a guest blog was proposed.

I thought it would be ever so interesting to hear from a client, during his travels, about how he finds the whole experience - the good, the bad and the ugly!  So, look out for our first ever guest blog - to follow

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Saturday 12 April 2014

The Big Five

The Big Five are simply magnificent - there is something absolutely magical about seeing one of these amazing creatures in the great outdoors, from the safety of your game drive vehicle.  It is impossible to forget one's first safari!

The rangers will ask what it is you want to see - and, who can resist the lure of the Big Five.  (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino).  Tracking them down and finding them is just thrilling!

But - there is more to the game experience than the Big Five only!  For me, Wild Dog remain the sighting of sightings!  They are incredible to watch - they work together and move in a choreographed unity that is just fascinating to see.  They are very elusive - they have a massive range so, it is not always certain that you will find them - it means that, when you do, you feel like you have found treasure!  Best options to look for them include the Madikwe Game Reserve, Tembe Elephant Park in Northern Kwazulu Natal and regions of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Often, these are areas that are not visited on the first time to Southern Africa - so, it is a great reason to come back.

Another of my favourite sightings was seeing bat-eared foxes feasting on flying termites one evening near Botswana - they were a delight to see - and, had the added benefit of being a lot smaller than an elephant (just saying - ellies are just too darn big!)

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Saturday 5 April 2014

Okavango Delta Moment

I find it ever so intriguing how a tiny incident can stand out in your mind and capture a moment that you remember forever.

We visited the Okavango Delta and stayed at the most gorgeous accommodation, with sublime food and scenery and game viewing.  But, what I will never forget was the moment we were drifing in our mokora, close to the reeds in the waterway when the tiniest jewel-coloured, Faberge-styled tree frog let out a mighty squirt of something - I have no idea what it was, but it was horrible!!!!  There was a LOT of shrieking and we nearly fell over-board - it was hilarious. 

I don't even remember which lodge we were at or what area - but, I remember that frog most fondly.

Just a silly moment on safari!

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Thursday 27 March 2014

Kruger Park Safari

The Kruger National Park is an incredible place to visit and explore.  It is hard to sum it up in just a few words!  Along the western border is the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.  The fences between Sabi Sands and the Kruger were dropped decades ago and the animals move freely between the 2 reserves.  So - the obvious question is - which is the better option, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, or Kruger National Park?  Here are my thoughts:

Inside Kruger you are obliged to stay on the roads.  You do often see the animals close to or on the roads, as they find them convenient too!  But, if they wander off, you may not follow.  Whereas in the private reserves, the vehicles track the animals wherever they go.  It means that if you are following a hunt, you will go wherever the hunter leads - sometimes around, and sometimes over, small bush and scrub - it is very exciting and exhillarating!

In the Sabi Sands Game Reserve the game viewing is carefully controlled - the rangers confer with each other so there are never massive numbers of vehicles around any sighting - in Kruger National Park, this may not be the case. 

In the private reserves, you could easily encounter a huge variety of animals within a day or two - this may not be (but often is) the case in Kruger Park.  The size of the herds in the private reserves can be smallish, but in Kruger you stand the chance of seeing massive herds - which are absolutely spectacular - the sheer volume of numbers can be incredible and provides an unforgettable wildlife moment.

The private reserves provide all arrangements from the time you arrive - so, meals and game drives are included.  In Kruger, you either self-drive, or book packages through your tour operator that include game drives and usually, dinner and breakfast.  These can and do range in price, depending on how many game drives you opt to take.

Lastly - the quality and luxury of the accommodation in the private reserves is of a very high standard.  The lodges are generally 5 star and prices are reflective.  In Kruger, you get basic comfort, and a reasonable rate.   

If I had to choose...  Very tricky.  I think I would probably go the "money-is-no-object" private game reserve - for the accommodation more than for the game experience!  (But - I have done many, many game drives and I am rather scared of elephants - so the game viewing for me, is best done from a deck overlooking a water-hole with G&T in paw!)

But that's just me!

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Saturday 22 February 2014

Comments are Welcome!

If you would like to comment on any of the blogs I have posted - you need to click on the title of the blog - this brings up a section where you are able to comment.  I am trying to find a way to make it simpler, but, for now - that is how it is!

Until next time
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Friday 21 February 2014

Searching for the Migration

At the very top of my bucket list was to see the animal migration in the Serengeti or the Masai Mara.  I was very excited to visit Kenya and the experience was a phenomenal one.

Because of the seasonal nature of the migration there is no guarantee that your travel plans will coincide perfectly with the spectacle.  At the time I think I was the victim of too many hours watching the BBC Wildlife channel.  I absolutely expected to encounter a gigantic herd of Wildebeest hurtling across the endless plains, with lions to the left, hyenas to the right and the occasional crocodile thrown into the mix. Instead, we met up with the leading herds - wildebeest and zebra, grazing as they mooched rather than thundered across the grassy plains.  We did see them crossing a stream that was more like a puddle than the mighty Masai river - and they made a real production out of it - bucking and leaping and snorting, for no apparent reason.

We had driven most of the day, with a packed lunch, in order to find the herds.  Afterwards, driving back to the camp, with animals dotting the plains as far as the eye could see, was a surreal and amazing experience - but - instead of  the animals providing the spectacle, it was something (at that time) a lot less expected - it was the magnitude of the sky that was the stand-out factor.  We were a speck on the universe and the canopy of blue above stretched forever.  It was the first time I understood the concept of a Big Sky.  I was glad to have seen the migration, but it was far from the only reason to visit this incredible destination and I look forward, ever so much, to my next visit!

Until next time

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Monday 17 February 2014

But is it safe?

This has to be the most frequently asked question, when talking about visiting Africa. 

A client who had booked a massive Africa safari, travelling with his young family, asked me this question, almost as an after-thought, as the departure date drew closer.  I think he started to feel nervous and was looking for reassurance.

This is what I told him:

It is a sensible question - and the issues that make people nervous about travelling to South Africa are very complex.  I would like to start by reassuring you that in the 15 years I have been in the travel industry, we have hosted thousands and thousands of passengers.  In all that time, and with all those people I can count on one hand the number of people who have been victims of petty theft and, at worst, a mugging.

The legacy of apartheid is that there is a lot of poverty in South Africa - and a big population of semi-skilled and somewhat illiterate people.  It means that crime is an issue - and, in South Africa security is an expensive business.  The value of your house is determined by where it is (is the area safe - if yes, it is worth a LOT more than in a less secure area), and also by the security features it boasts.  South Africans are naturally vigilant - when you get in your car you lock your door without giving it a second thought!  All the houses have fences, burglar bars and electric fences.

When we started up our Inbound business we decided that we wanted to be in charge of where our passengers travelled right from the moment they arrive into the country, up until they leave.  It is the reason why we have such a huge Client Service and vehicle infra-structure.  Wherever you travel with us, our own people will be transporting you (in the Transport division of our business - Hylton Ross) - into the Region and within Southern Africa. 

The main reason is this - you don't want to get lost in Africa.  (if you did, chances are excellent that you would find the locals helpful, charming and very kind - but you don't want to run the risk of bumping into a bad element).  Travelling on the traditional tourist routes, you will be completely safe. 

You will find the South Africans very friendly - and, if for some reason you bump into anyone, looking a bit indifferent, or grumpy, give them a big smile and say How are You - and you will get an absolutely beaming smile in reply!

It is an idiosyncrasy of our African people - they say How are You before they introduce themselves -  and it is considered rather infra-dig if you ask them a question or for service before you greet them - so, the trick is to say, Hello, how are you?  Wait for the response, and then say, we would like to check in or whatever.

You will have a fantastic time in Africa - and you will be completely safe.

Until Next time
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Saturday 15 February 2014

Safari or a Refrigerator?

"Don't forget", I used to say to my team, back in the day, "if we mess up we can always refund the money, but we can't refund the time".

It is the reason why we strive so hard to make sure that every detail and piece of planning is done with meticulous care and attention.

Buying a holiday can be a major financial decision that, nowadays, also has to be considered in the context of the grotty global economic climate and the inevitable list of boring necessities that seem to get more expensive and onerous as time goes by!

On returning home from safari - what do you have to show for the money spent? 

Well, I think that a holiday is more than an intangible moment of fun - I think it is mind-broadening, relaxing, exciting, and can certainly be life changing.  In the busy-ness of life we often lose sight of who we are and what our dreams and aspirations are.  It is all we can do to make it through the challenges that face us in our day to day lives.  But, we leave all that behind us when we set off on our holiday adventure - and return with incredible memories of new sights and sounds and experiences that rejuvenate us, mentally and physically, and provide a store of hope and joy that we draw on once we return to the routine of our ordinary lives!

So - perhaps you make do with your too-old refrigerator/car/washing machine or wife, for another year, but it is my view that the sacrifice is more than worth it.

Yes - a holiday may be the delivery of a dream - but the wonder of it is real and lasting

Until next time

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Thursday 13 February 2014

An Introduction - More to follow

For about 14 years I worked as the General Manager for a leading Tour Operator in South Africa.  I was lucky enough to join this incredible industry just before our first ever free and fair democratic elections.  Travel to South Africa was minimal and the infrastructure and expertise was pretty thin on the ground!

After the elections we were inundated with enquiries and people wanting to visit and see for themselves the remarkable success of a vote for change.  It was a really special time to be in Inbound Travel in South Africa.  Our business prospered and grew to a multi-million Rand success story.

14 years later, with lots of personal stress in my life, I decided to improve the work/life balance of my journey - or, technical term - opt out!  But, I soon discovered that having all the leisure time in the world is all very well - but, not that much fun without a commitment, an interest and cash!

So now - I have the best job in the world!  I am a Tour Operator and my business is to sell holidays within Southern Africa to individuals, usually well travelled, looking to book their holiday with an African based service provider. 

I have travelled all over Southern Africa and have personally experienced the wonderful lodges, hotels and spectacularly beautiful wilderness and city areas that comprise this fabulous destination.  I offer my clients my personal perspective, input and advice.  It is rewarding and satisfying to fulfil people's dreams and I get to do it on a regular basis!

Hopefully my blog will be interesting and useful - I look forward to seeing how it unfolds. 

Until next time

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