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!