With the South African flag flying proudly alongside my American flag, I can truly say that I am a “citizen” of two very different yet equally special worlds; my heart is South African and my home is American.
Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa I was privileged to spend my formative years in a city surrounded by mountains, ocean and winelands, in a country filled with color, diversity and a palpable energy. I grew up during a time of great change and was blessed to be part of a family that believed in love and diversity. The new South Africa was embraced in my closest circles and from an early age I felt vested in being a part of my country’s continued metamorphosis and success. An interesting road-trip has brought me to this place…
As I entered the University of Cape Town I believed I would one day be a Human Rights lawyer and embarked upon a B.A. and accelerated LLB degree. However, after much contemplation and a ‘lucky break’ job offer I decided to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Completing my B.A. (majoring in Psychology and Political Studies), I embarked upon a new adventure, as Personal Assistant to the owner of Cape Grace Hotel (voted Best Hotel in the World, Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice 2000) and this quickly turned into a sales & marketing role locally and ultimately abroad.
At the age of 22 I found myself hailing cabs in New York City on my first international sales trip, an ambassador for South Africa, Cape Town and Cape Grace Hotel. Two years later I accepted an opportunity to move to Atlanta to set-up an international sales & marketing office for the Meikles Africa Hotels group (properties in South Africa & Zimbabwe). Traveling extensively throughout America to share my African hotel portfolio with travel agents and tour operators, I realized that my true passion was sharing the story of Africa and teaching people about the incredible experiences that this part of the world has to offer.
As with all adventures, the time comes when you seek new horizons. My next direction was the perfect fit, partnering with Bobby Zur of Travel Artistry to launch Travel Artistry Africa. This new role focused on designing unique, personalized and truly special (some will say life-changing) travel experiences throughout Africa. An incredible opportunity to remain connected to my home continent on a daily basis and have fun while doing so. I am very aware that for every American traveler that we send to Africa; tourism industry jobs are created, families are fed and children are educated. Africa is not without her challenges (where is) and yet there is no place like it nor is there any other destination that captivates my imagination and my soul… like Mother Africa.
Shawshank Redemption / Life Is Beautiful / Braveheart
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett / Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien / Long Walk To Freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” Albert Einstein and “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr Seuss
The perfect cocktail and who would you share it with:
A Manhattan or Lagavulin 16 yrs on the rocks, shared with James Taylor, William Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela and Coco Chanel (and George Clooney is always welcome!)
Spare time pursuits:
A good book, a strength training session or long run, a scooter / bicycle adventure with my 2 little people, and finding that perfect meal with my husband (be it fancy spot or hole in the wall)
I will never forget the first time I fell deeply in love. It was 1982. I was an 8th grader suffering through a hot Miami summer and the object of my affection was not the beautiful girl sitting on the sand who did catch my eye, but the country of South Africa as seen through the nearly 900 pages of James Michener’s historical saga The Covenant. My love of travel had been implanted long before that as my family moved from one destination to the next every 2-3 years in my early childhood. Yet I was uniquely inspired as I read about the conflicting paths of the English, Boers (Afrikaners to be), French Huguenots and Zulu tribes through the centuries, the resulting nightmare of Apartheid and the emerging hope that was in Michener’s heart as he depicted the beauty, drama and passion of this region.
Through my years at Stanford University majoring in International Relations and studying languages, then at Brasenose College, Oxford University in England “reading” British Colonial history, I carried my love affair forward, finding myself drawn back to Africa time and again. Even during my ten year detour in the ‘90’s earning a Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law and practicing real estate law, I secretly moonlighted as a travel feature writer, columnist and high-end honeymoon planner. I squeezed in a few hours a week for my private passion late at night and on the weekends, traveled whenever possible and dreamt of a life pursuing as a career what I loved most.
My dream became a reality just prior to 9-11, as I launched Travel Artistry into a brave new uncertain world. I feel fortunate to have developed Travel Artistry from the ground up to an award-winning Virtuoso member agency over the past thirteen years, with a consistent approach emphasizing personalized service and customized travel consulting over product promotion. A significant part of this business has been focused on Africa, crafting each trip by hand along the way.
Fast forward to 2008-09 – an incredible opportunity to take the Travel Artistry dream to the next step in its natural evolution and formalize our Africa division as its own entity providing incomparable experiences with a unique, transparent approach. Travel Artistry Africa is the product of two essential gifts – first the gift of Tamsyn Fricker who made the leap to come aboard as Director of Travel Artistry Africa to spearhead our efforts, and second the gift of all the special relationships Tamsyn and I have been fortunate to develop with the owners of the top lodges, camps, hotels and resorts in Africa and the Indian Ocean as they partner with us to execute our vision on the ground.
Good Will Hunting / Dances With Wolves / Three Days of the Condor / Groundhog Day
The Covenant by James Michener (an epic story of South Africa) / The Foundation series novels by Isaac Asimov / Shogun by James Clavell
“Problems create opportunities” / “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” Mark Twain
The perfect cocktail and who would you share it with:
A pint of amber ale after a foursome of golf with Gary Player, Bill Clinton and my father
Spare time pursuits:
Any activity with my wife Tracy and our three kids, reading, basketball, golf, singing, NY Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle and P90X
Hailing from the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, my love affair with Africa is deeply rooted. From an early age, thanks to my parents’ love for “the bush” and travel, I was extremely fortunate to spend endless holidays and weekends exploring the many game reserves the country has to offer. Trips along the coastline and into the Drakensburg too were some of my favourite, further entrenching my passion for a country filled with diversity and beauty. My travels were far and wide as I also explored international destinations with my family. Travel is in my blood.
Finishing my schooling in Durban, I was bound for Cape Town to fulfill a dream of attending Stellenbosch University in the winelands (what’s not to love, right?). It was here that my heart was stolen by the magnificent Cape and eventually my now husband. After completing an Honours Degree in Brand Leadership, I decided to make Cape Town home for good and forged a career in the fast-paced advertising and digital agency world. This has been my focus for almost a decade now and throughout this time I’ve continued to travel extensively, journeys in Africa and abroad.
As life will have it; some fortuitous timing, an unexpected conversation and an opportunity to pursue my love of travel has led to me joining the Travel Artistry Africa team, based in Cape Town. And so the adventure continues!
Pearl Harbour / Gladiator / The King’s Speech / The Harry Potter Series
Chinese Cinderella – Adeline Yen Mah / The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins / Anything written by Michael Connelly
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” – Winnie the Pooh
The perfect cocktail and who would you share it with:
A moijito with extra lime shared with Emma Watson, Nelson Mandela and Sir Richard Branson to inspire some interesting conversations.
Spare time pursuits:
A great read and a cup of tea, long runs, lazy days spent on the beach and a fantastic meal with a bottle of Cape wine shared with my husband.
At heart I’m a country girl, having grown-up on a farm outside the small town of Paarl situated in the Cape winelands. My love for nature and the outdoors is deep rooted and being in the country is still my “happy place”.
Directly after school, I left South Africa to work in the United States. This gave me the opportunity to travel extensively and it was during these travels that I discovered my passion for the hospitality industry. Upon returning home, I was now fully engaged in my studies and graduated with a degree in Hotel Management. I have since managed boutique hotels throughout Cape Town and have particularly enjoyed the guest interaction and opportunity to assist in making their time in South Africa extra-special.
Fast-forward to 2016 and I find myself embarking upon the most exciting part of my career to-date. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Travel Artistry Africa over the last few years – as a hotel supplier – and have always found their approach to travel both insightful and relevant. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to truly impact visitors’ experiences in Africa, as I join the Travel Artistry Africa team based in Cape Town.
Forrest Gump / Pretty Woman / Mary Poppins
Anything written by Jodi Picoult
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
The perfect cocktail and who would you share it with:
My favorite cocktail is a dirty martini. To find one made correctly is the challenge; however, my brother makes the best on the planet! A pitcher of these around a “braai” (barbecue for non-South Africans) fire with close friends and family is happiness.
Spare time pursuits:
I love a day filled with moseying through local markets and village farm stores with family or friends, stopping for a bite to eat and just enjoying the setting. I also love to bake and cook and am often found creating something delicious in the kitchen!
Travel Artistry Africa was born of a love of Africa and the desire to create unique, personalized itineraries that have an artist’s stroke. Understanding who our travelers are, where they’ve been before, what they are passionate about and what their expectations are for Africa, is the “psychology” of what we do.
Part of what makes us unique is our rejection of all preconceptions – we approach each project and each client with a clean slate to avoid making assumptions or diving into trip planning prematurely. We have an intense desire to step into your shoes, visualize your wish list and then connect you with the best properties and experiences to match that vision.
From initial conversations to customized questionnaires to collaborative brainstorming, we will guide you through the process, bringing Africa to life in vibrant color. And perhaps most important, you will never begin planning with us only to be handed off to a junior consultant or third party as we believe in guiding you every step of the way at the highest level of service.
Having studied the landscape of Africa’s luxury travel industry for years, with its layered approach to travel planning, we decided to do it differently, with a focus on transparency and exclusivity.
We believe in maximizing value for luxury with line-item pricing and direct communication with Africa in every phase of the planning process.
We enable you to own your experience in the most direct way possible while still benefitting from our leverage and relationships at the highest level of travel.
“What separates us is our knowledge, leverage and understanding of this industry and region like no other.”
bobby zur, Founder
Special spot in Africa: Seated outside at Birkenhead House, Hermanus on a sunny October morning brushed by a cool breeze while perched over a sandy cove with Southern Right whales frolicking in full view in Walker Bay.
Best meal in Africa: Surrounded by hurricane lanterns and in the middle of the bush; dinner is served, wines are poured and the sounds of Africa are heard… magic!
Favorite experience/s in Africa: Being in the bush on foot is unlike any experience as you are truly reliant on the expertise and instinct of your ranger & tracker. Another wow moment is floating over the Serengeti on a sunrise Hot Air Balloon safari, it’s quite surreal.
A “gem” to watch: Tswalu Kalahari Reserve for sweeping night skies, black-maned Kalahari lions, tracking Desert Black rhino and visiting with Meerkats… to mention a few!
Special spot in Africa: Skeleton Coast, Namibia at night… a ceiling of stars that is just breathtaking.
Best meal in Africa: Fresh-caught South African Yellowfin Tuna served with a bottle of Cape wine and a slice of milk tart (a local treat), with ocean views.
Favorite experience/s in Africa: Too many to just mention one, here are a few highlights: Meeting President Mandela, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge, Great White Shark cage diving in Gansbaai, haggling in the Medina of Marrakech, sipping on a glass of Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc with then wine maker Mike Dobrovic feeding us home made bread, cheese & olive oil and sharing readings from RUMI, visiting the Himba People of Namibia and being reminded of the value of tradition, and being on safari is ALWAYS unique and magnificent (yes, I do have favorites!).
A “gem” to watch: Singita’s “new” Castleton Camp is perfectly suited to a family group. The setting, comfortable style and exclusivity of Castleton, not to mention the excellent game viewing, makes for a real winner!
Special spot in Africa: Sunset on the private deck at Royal Chundu, Zambia overlooking the Upper Zambezi with a glass of wine in hand. The sounds of nature and the gentle flow of the river are something quite magical.
Best meal in Africa: A rare beef fillet while seated amongst the vineyards in the Cape Winelands accompanied by a full-bodied Pinotage and views of the Cape Mountain Range – superb!
Favorite experience/s in Africa: There are so many! If I had to say, some special moments have been travelling across the Namibian landscape with my family and climbing Big Daddy, the highest sand dune in Namibia. Swimming in the Devils Pools on top of Victoria Falls in Zambia and holding on for dear life whilst white water rafting down the Zambezi – quite a thrilling experience. Exploring the little towns and white sand beaches of Mauritius and taking a catamaran to Gabriel Island. A boma feast with African dancing under the stars at Singita Lebombo and tracking a cheetah for hours in the Kruger Park National Park.
A “gem” to watch: A recent visit to the “Wild Coast” in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, meant an opportunity to experience the very special Prana Lodge. This small, intimate luxury hotel packs a big punch in terms of romance and exclusivity. With only 7 suites hidden under a canopy of dune forest and perched on a quiet stretch of pristine beach, it really is a dream spot to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And if exceptional cuisine gets your heart-racing then look no further, mouth-watering dishes are their passion and it shows!
Special spot in Africa: The Valley of Desolation, also know as “The Cathedral of the Mountains, outside Graff-Reinet in South Africa is breathtaking. The diversity of fauna & flora and the walking trails are great but it’s the majestic precipices that are just astounding. It is a beautiful sight.
Best meal in Africa: Too many to mention, people might not think that they come to Africa for the food… but just wait! If I’m not the one preparing the meal then I tend to prefer street food / tapas to sit down meals. I just love the more social and interactive nature of markets, shared meals and pop-up restaurants. Thus a favorite meal would be at the weekly market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town. There is so much to choose from; however, I do have a fondness for the Bitterballen at the Dutch stall (my Achilles heel)
Favorite experience/s in Africa: I will never forget my safari adventures as a child. One particular moment still stands out in memory. I had fallen asleep in the vehicle at a tranquil watering hole only to wakeup a short while later with the vehicle completely surrounded by Cape Buffalo. I will never forget the sound of their grunting and snorting; nor the smell of freshly upturned earth by the hundreds of hooves marching past us. It was a humbling, terrifying (as a child) and yet very exciting moment.
Cape Town is always a favorite experience. It is not often that one can work a full day to then leave the office for “sundowners” (cocktails at sunset) on the beach and dinner in the Winelands. The natural beauty and diversity is astounding.
A “gem” to watch: I’m excited about a new property, Thanda Island, just off the Tanzanian coastline. This private island – 5-bedroom villa and beach – is the perfect hideaway for families and friends and offers a marine reserve and too many water adventures to mention. Paradise!
Special spot in Africa: It’s true, I love Franschhoek. I love its “French-ness”, the vineyards, the delis and restaurants, the coffee shops and art galleries, the boutiques and soaring mountains. A perfect day is one spent with my fiancé, starting with a run through the Franschhoek Valley and ending with a glass of local bubbly as we watch the vivid pink sun set over the mountains. I live in such a beautiful country!
Best meal in Africa: Dorado freshly caught and cooked off the back of a catamaran in Mauritius. Simple and delicious salads to accompany the meaty fish and a glass of crisp cold Sauvignon Blanc.
Favorite experience/s in Africa: A recent holiday to the most picturesque and secluded piece of paradise – a small Seychelles Island. Daily activities included kayaking, swimming with turtles, snorkeling, reading, cycling around the island, watching out for falling coconuts, pampering spa treatments, exceptional food, endless cocktails and bonfires. A dream come true!
A “gem” to watch: All things Madagascar, and to be more specific, the exceptional Miavana lodge located off the northeast of Madagascar on Nosy Ankao island. This property brings a new level of conservation-oriented, ultra-luxury adventure to Madagascar. Designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens (think North Island, Leobo Private Reserve and Chinzombo) this is the hottest playground for those seeking aquamarine waters, wild beaches, and a plethora of adventure activities including: whale and dolphin watching, kite surfing, deep-sea fishing, diving off the island’s pristine reef, rain forest treks and lemur safaris on helicopter day trips and more. Me personally, I’d include an extra day or two just to unwind and enjoy Miavana’s world-class spa, lounging at the pool and sipping on sundowners (sunset cocktails) overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean. Time is precious, spend it wisely!
Travel Artistry Africa’s founder – Bobby Zur – and the Director of our Cape Town office – Claire Adams – are gearing-up for another inspired We Are Africa in the “Mother City”. This invite-only trade event is a gathering of Africa’s finest suppliers, travel designers, innovators and conservationists. Travel Artistry Africa returns again this year and […]
There is no exact science to planning the perfect safari adventure – as each traveler and experience is unique and should treated with different insight and advice – BUT there are definitely points to consider when looking to plan a truly successful, bespoke African trip. Tamsyn Fricker shares a few thoughts: 1. Get your timing and location right – […]
Travel Artistry Africa’s Tamsyn Fricker featured in Travel & Leisure with a trip to South Africa. Since this trip was posted we have seen significant strength in the USD against the ZAR (South African Rand) which means even GREATER value for luxury when considering such an adventure! Be sure to reach-out for further information, […]
This Winter Break (Feb 2016) we decided to seek-out the sun and take our kids on safari. Enjoy the piece that I wrote for the Angama Mara blog and know that a family safari is by far the most fun we’ve ever had. Visit: Leaving out the dull parts – my children went on sforee […]
As you look to that bucket list trip, that trip of a lifetime in Southern or East Africa and then read about Ebola in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea), we want to share some perspective and our view on what is fact and fiction. OBSERVATIONS: INCIDENTS OF EBOLA AS OF OCTOBER 22, 2014: […]
Landing at the Madikwe East Airstrip we almost immediately encountered elephant and were quickly reminded why the Madikwe Reserve (South Africa’s fifth largest Big Five reserve and a malaria free region) is such a stellar option for big game viewing. The transfer – think short game drive – to Molori Safari Lodge was an experience […]
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