Past Travel Adventures

Dreaming of the road less traveled. Dying to get back.

Seabourn Cruising- off the coast of Italy

Kruger Lion

Past Travel Adventures

Dreaming of the road past traveled. Can’t wait to return.

Zambian Sunset

Victoria Falls

Cape Town 12Apostles

Travel Wishes

Travel highlights - hoping to get back to Africa

Back to Africa soon- we hope!

Looking to getting back on the road!

A Huge Salute to Africa Inscribed Private Travel

Many thanks to the Africa Inscribed team – especially Dylan Harriss and Bernadette Venter


Thank you Africa Inscribed!
Our Safari was the most memorable experience of Will’s, Lily’s and my life.
The plan went like clockwork. Not one misstep. Dylan, Bernadette and team Africa Inscribed created and planned a spectacular experience from the minute we got off the plane till we got back on.
A big shout out goes to Warren Wright, our private label guide. He was so attuned to the children, they loved him. They learned so much and a huge part of our amazing experience was because of Warren. For a family traveling with children, I heartily recommend Warren as your private label guide.
No words to thank Team Africa Inscribed enough. Treasured memories for a lifetime.

Warren Wright – amazing private guide especially for families with children

Amazing, Unique, Magical Giraffe Manor

5PM visit from the giraffes

Breakfast!

Probably the most unique hotel in the world, Giraffe Manor was created by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. They were very interested in animal conservation, and bought the faux Scottish hunting lodge, in 1974. That year, the amiable giraffes, who kept poking their heads interestedly through the first-floor bedroom window were about to be dispossessed, their habitat lost to farmland development and their lives threatened.
Betty persuaded her husband to allow the giraffes to live on their 15-acre estate, and the couple began the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, based in Kenya and Maryland, which later bought an additional 105 acres for the giraffes. They adopted Daisy, one of the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes—which can be as tall as 20 feet, making them the tallest of the species. Daisy’s descendants have since proliferated, and the Leslie – Melvilles added the Giraffe Center, open to the public, on the southern part of the property.

Angama Mara- New Glamour on the Masai Mara

Fire pit overlooking the magnificent Masai Mara


Dramatically set on the ridge overlooking the Masai Mara, Angama Mara brings glamour and extraordinary comfort to the vast Park. The Camp is within walking distance to the burial place of Denys Finch Hatton, a fittingly romantic overtone to one’s sense of Out of Africa.
Here you can live it.
The Staff is well prepared to welcome us and tries to accomplish our every request.
Meals and drinks on the vast deck is just sublime. Rooms are huge with glass windows- floor to ceiling -to capture that dramatic view.

Comfortable large rooms that give you a sense of Out of Africa

On the deck the view goes on forever

Dawn view from my tent

East Africa – Ultimate Experience for Kids

Chyulu Hills Kenya


Waking up to a kind voice saying Jambo and bringing hot chocolate, African sunrises and sunsets in that unlimited sky, rain storms rolling across the plains, almost running over a sleeping lion in the tall grass, learning about animal alarm calls when a predator is near, smells of a night fire, adopting orphan elephants, feeding Giraffe from your hand, learning polite words in Swahili, making bows and arrows with a Masai warrior, learning to build a fire from dung, visiting a Masai village, seeing the joy on children’s faces when giving mosquito nets to a school, visiting Karen Blixen’s home, sundowners, hearing the sounds of thousands of wildebeest in the migration, experiencing new food and tastes, the list can go on for days.
Learning and understanding wildlife in their habitat, watching them up closely in their daily activities is the ultimate thrill. There is so much the children expeiienced that cannot be listed. The enrichment was immense and incredibly satisfying to experience. A window in time that will never be recaptured. Traveling with children is priceless.

Wildlife along the way in Kenya

Wildlife sightings were amazing!

View from the blind -Ol Donyo Was

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Ol Donyo Was – Chyulu Hills Kenya- Amazing!

Both Relais & Chateaux and Virtuoso, Ol Donyo Was is an amazing Lodge in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. One of the few Lodges with it’s own blind, Ol Donyo affords spectacular safe viewing of wildlife, up close and personal. Suites have huge glass doors open up to the plains and unforgettable views. The staff is highly trained and delightful. Our guide Elijah taught the children how to make bows and arrows out of tree branches. He was amazingly good with the kids. They hated to say goodbye. Perfect place for children on Safari, activities include horseback riding. The day of riding was a huge highlight.

Migration! Wow!

Migration!
What a thrill!!
We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the migration on the Grumeti plains.
We saw thousands of wildebeest, and zebras. I did not realize there was a such a sound factor to the migration- all those animals talking at the same time. We very lucky to see river crossings, and lots of interaction between the masses of animals.

Highlights of ILTM Africa

Image courtesy Camp Kuzuma – Botswana


Image courtesy of Camp Kuzuma Botswana


Highlights from ILTM Africa

We found some fab new vendors and renewed friendships with our favorite suppliers that are clearly a cut above. Here are some of our favorites:

In Residence – Cape Town New villa concept. Pieter Brundyn is the founder.
Camp Kuzuma, Botswana – delightful husband and wife team running the beautiful camp.
Royal Portfolio properties :
The new Silo Hotel -Cape Town,La Residencia – Franschhoek , Royal Malewane Camp – Thornybush, and Birkenhead House -Hermanus
Delaire Graff estate near Stellenbosch
Makani Game Lodge South Africa
Mara Engai Lodge Kenya
Elewana Collection – so many great properties in the Elewana Collection
Chitwa Chitwa Camp
Cape Grace -Cape Town
Ellerman House – Cape Town
Groot Bos Lodge

Some of the great Elewana properties:
Tarangire Treetops -Tanzania, Loisaba -Kenya, Arusha Coffee Lodge among others

Image courtesy of Elewana Collection Arusha Coffee Lodge -Tanzania

-Tanzania,

Image courtesy of Elewana Collection. Loisaba

ILTM Africa – Small but Mighty

Cape Point South Africa

ILTM Africa – Small But Mighty

Vendors and Buyers alike agree that ILTM Africa is a hugely successful show. It a small show and because of the size, we as buyers can really get to know our prospective suppliers. The quality of the vendors is top notch. The show is carefully vetted, and we know we are talking to tour operators, camps, lodges, resorts, intra country airlines, helicopters and villa companies that can do a top quality, reliable job. For travel advisors focusing on Africa, it is a must see.

Impressive New Villa Concept in Cape Town – In Residence

Villa 5 -In Residence, Cape Town


I had the pleasure of experiencing a new Villa Concept in Cape Town- In Residence. It is a group of extreme luxury villas that change the game.
Pieter Brundyn, founder of In Residence, is offering a complete concierge service – a support system for their guests. From transfers, to arranging touring, to helping with dinner reservations, chef, majordomo, butlers, security – you name it.
They offer an inhouse service to cover their guests every need.
We experienced Villa 5, a 5 bedroom villa, and Villa 1 ( pictures are coming in the next writing).
Spacious is not the word: Villa 5 is 14,000 square feet on 4 levels, serviced by elevator.
Villa 1 is 9,000 SF on 4 levels. Both Villas have pools.
It is the last word in privacy and elegant space.

In Residence – Villa 5

Sunset View In Residence with infinity edge pool – Villa 5


And the villas decor and comfort are off the charts! Located in Clifton, a Cape Town suburb- on the waters edge, the views are jaw dropping.
For guests interested in over the top decor, service, ultimate security and privacy, In Residence is your best best.

Views of the new Silo Hotel, Cape Town

More views of the fab new Silo Hotel, Cape Town

View from the Silo Roof


Rooftop Bar Silo


Rooftop Pool Silo

Gift Shop -Silo Hotel


Reflection of the Suite’s Chandelier

Silo Hotel Cape Town – Simply Spectacular!

Room 801 Silo Hotel


Finally open, Royal Portfolio’s latest property, the Silo Hotel Capetown is simply spectacular
We knew it would be impressive, but the Silo surpassed all expectations.
It is impeccably decorated in bright colors, and incredible African art. Liz Biden searched the world over, and came back with an smashing collection of art, mirrors, lighting and furnishings.
The ever changing waterfront scene can be viewed from the rooftop bar and floor to ceiling windows in the rooms and throughout the hotel.
Bright, happy, elegant and absolutely the place to be in Cape Town.

Views from Shambala Zulu Camp

Lodge Zulu Camp

Lion Zulu Camp

Zulu Giraffe

Shambala Zulu Camp South Africa

Shambala Zulu Lodge is owned by the same family that has the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.

Lodge Zulu Camp


Shambala is a Tibetan word meaning “peace on earth”. The Camp is built in Zulu Style- undaluting thatched huts. Huts that are very specious and comfortable with tall ceilings, and beautiful bathrooms. Attention to detail, down to crisp linen sheets, is delightful. It is a small place – 9 chalets. It welcomes a lot of heads of states and security is top notch. We can helicopter from Johannesburg or take a two and half hour drive up into the Waterberg Mountains- north of Johannesburg. A Malaria free zone, Shambala las 12,000 acres of private game reserve.
I found the staff to be completely warm and welcoming. My butler, Norman, anticipated every wish. I never had to repeat a request. Always there with a smile. The food was outstanding, by chef Tshepo. Probably the most inventive, beautifully presented and just great tasting meals I have ever experienced on Safari. I will dream about his homemade bread. Teamed with his wife, Elizabeth, the manager, the operation of the camp spins like a top.

Saxon Hotel

Superb attention to detail. Saxon Hotel

Thank you, Africa Inscribed : Dylan and Gavin

Another perfect adventure. What a privilege! Great group of first time safari explorers, such fun. 6 Shuttle flights, 8 Camps, unlimited laughter.
Thank you Dylan Harriss and Gavin Ford for another perfectly planned and executed experience.
My first welcome card from May at &beyond Manyara Tree Lodge says it all: welcome to the ancient drama of Africa. The hidden secret of Lake Manyara: the jungle and magic in the bush. Feel the rhythm of its soul and share the beauty of it’s land. Thanks for sharing this special moment of your lifetime with us. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Lamu 2010

Grumeti Cats

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&Beyond Grumeti River Camp

&Beyond Grumeti River Camp provides a private Serengeti experience with exclusive game viewing in some of the most secluded parts of Africa’s most famous game reserve. The Grumeti Reserve is located in the remote Western Corridor of the Serengeti. Its rustic yet sophisticated safari tents are tucked into the shade of an evergreen forest on the banks of a tributary of the famous Grumeti River. The staff was superb: very warm and welcoming. Food again was outstanding We had some of the best wines selections there. image Welcome song from Grumeti River camp.

image Wake up calls come with a Cheerie “Jambo” and tray of coffee with biscuits.

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Big Sky Serengeti

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Magnificent Serengeti Game

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It is easy to become caught up in the complexity of Africa: the history, the people, the camps, the tribes. To me, the magic of the continent is the interaction of the animals. Everyday is a new discovery.

Lemala Kuria Hills Camp

Taking a short flight further into the Serengeti, we visited Lemala’s Kuria Hills Camp.
No bucket showers here! Gorgeous bathtubs, blow driers, bright lighting, a completely different tented camp experience. The terrain was rocky with giant boulders, reminding me of Zimbabwe. Beautiful location. imageimageimage

Fond Farewell to Serengeti Under Canvas

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It is a basic mobile tented camp designed to follow the migration. Bucket Showers, and minimum services. But the staff made it a first rate experience. The food – out of a really basic kitchen -was some of the best we had. The staff was friendly, engaged, and welcoming. I will remember this camp fondly, and plan to return.

&Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp- following the Migration

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Limited to Tanzania and Kenya, the Great Migration is a movement of millions of Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by smaller numbers of Zebra, grant’s and Thompson gazelles, Eiland, and Impala. They move in an annual pattern constantly following the rains, seeking fresh grazing. This November, the migration was near the &beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp. Because they are mobile, the camp can move with the migration.

Tracking the Migration in the Serengeti

Coffee and Amarula- yum!

Coffee and Amarula- yum!

 

&beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

&beyond Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

We have flown to the Serengeti to see a different terrain, and to follow the migration. Serengeti Under Canvas is a true mobile camp- everything is folded up, packed and moved when needed and one would never know it had been there. No fooprint!

Ngorngoro Crater Tanzania -one of the wonders of the world!

Ngorngoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world, about 30 kilometers across. An estimated 25000 large mammals are resident in the crater, including a population of approximately 6000 resident wildebeest,zebra, giraffe, and around 70 lions. Visiting it should be a must on everyone’s list. image

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Lions in the tree!

Lake Manyara Tree Lion

Lake Manyara Tree Lion

A new experience to watch a lion leap into the tree

A new experience to watch a lion leap into the tree

Return to Tanzania

I am checking out some new camps in Tanzania. First stop is Lake Manyara about 25minutes flight from Arusha. Lush green jungle. Beautiful landscapes, on the edge of the great rift.

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Lake Manyara Lion

Tip of my hat to Dylan Harriss – Africa Inscrbed

Safari Planner Extraordinaire

Safari Planner Extraordinaire

A Safari has a thousand moving parts.
Planning a seamless safari requires extraordinary knowledge, passion, experience, ability to anticipate all possible problems, patience, good taste, a sense of humor, a touch of supernatural forecasting, and a lot of love. Dylan and his partner- private label guide extraordinaire, Gavin Ford are constantly on the move checking camps, hotels and resorts. Staff and service are observed with an eagle eye, nothing is missed.
Details like which tent or room is best for a birdwatching client, or where a giraffe might be drinking out of a plunge pool are carefully noted.
Based in South Africa, they cover Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia in their search for the best possible choice for a guest. Our guests!
He loves sharing his continent.
When presented with an inquiry, Dylan usually returns with a first quote and proposal within 24-48 hours. He asks for as much information about the client as we can supply. These safaris are completely tailor made. He usually follows up with a conference call between the client and consultant to gage the best options and give the client important information. Such a win, win.
I had a blissful recent experience with his travel planning – all absolutely amazing.
As a guest or mostly as a travel consultant that wants the very best, he is the greatest.
He makes us, Brownell consultants look like stars.
Thank you Dylan.

&Beyond Phinda – South African Private Game Reserve

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View from the deck of &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Phinda Vlei cottage Phinda Vlei cottage
&Beyond Phinda’s private game reserve measures 56,800 acres. It has 7 different habitats, and 6 vastly different lodges: Vlei, Forest, and Homestead on the upper part of the property and Zuka, Rock and Mountain in the more mountainous, western part of the reserve Phinda is know for it’s abundant wildlife- especially their pride of Lion and coalition of Cheetah.
What I recognized immediately was the heartfelt care of the staff. Katherine, Grateful, Happiness, Madu, Baby Jake, Mr M, France, and Essence embody what makes African service unforgettable. They mean it from their heart.

Phinda Lion

Phinda Lion

Travel is more than a destination in mind…

It is discovering a place in your heart you’ve never been before.
Anon.
Giraffe at Phinda

Four Seasons Westcliff – Johannesburg South Africa

Brand new pool at the Four Seasons Joberg

Brand new pool at the Four Seasons Joberg

Fabulous new rooftop bar.

Fabulous new rooftop bar.

Four Seasons fans will not be disappointed with the newly renovated Four Seasons Johannesburg, formerly the Orient Express Westcliff. 20-30 minutes from OR Tambo international airport, the Four Seasons displayed it’s usual outstanding service. I can attest to that personally. After coming off safari with “safari” hair, I emailed to see if I could get a simple wash and blow dry. The Spa manager, Julanda Marais responded by arranging for a beautician to come to my room! That was with one day’s notice!
Offering a spectacular new spa, five outstanding new restaurants, bars and lounges – the View restaurant opening with 1 Michelin star- the Four Seasons has a fun and lively buzz.

Usual Four Seasons Fab Flowers

Usual Four Seasons Fab Flowers

Tswalu Kalahari -South Africa

Top notch guide Warren and out tracker, Jackson

Top notch guide Warren and our tracker, Jackson

A few of the details that make Tswalu Kalahari so special are the shuttle flights: private jets like the Pilatus PC-12, the lounge for your transfer -Fireblade – is in a class all it’s own with day rooms a massage therapist, and private chef on call. Offering a small number of cottages on property, the resort suits both families and honeymooners. Most especially the best offering is the private vehicle , guide and tracker for each set of guests. If you booked singly or came with 4 friends, you get you own land rover, guide and tracker. That is the height of luxury on safari! They dedicate up to 9 vehicles, guides and trackers for their guests. The reserve is so large, you never seem to see more than one other vehicle when one is out on a game drive. Our guide, Warren, knew that reserve like the back of his hand. He even found a pack of wild dogs in a impossible to find location!! Wild dogs!! What a thrill!!! My first sighting in all my years of safari tracking.
Guides and trackers focus on what a guest wants to see, ie birds or predators- or both!! You see it all!!!

ultimate  luxury - private vehicle, guide and tracker

ultimate luxury – private vehicle, guide and tracker

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Tswalu Kalahari – Motse Lodge

Part of the villa - Motse Lodge , Tswalu

Part of the villa – Motse Lodge , Tswalu

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Tswalu Kalahari – Malaria Free Zone

Lodge image courtesy of Tswalu Kalahari

My first safari experience this trip was to Tswalu Kalahari. The Kalahari is a desert, so I was amazed at the lush greeness of the preserve. The property encompasses 250,000 acres, yes I said 250,000 acres. The largest property I have ever seen, and vistas are stunning. Chosen as a National Geographic Unique safari lodge, Tswalu’s capacity is 30 people. Prime game viewing is black mane lion, meerkats, wild dog, giraffe, sable, oryx, giraffe. Owned by the Oppenheimer family, Tsawlu is dedicated to conservation. They use their own private planes so the experience starts with a bang. They offer the usual car and driver and also horseback. Formerly a Relais & Chateau the food is a cut above.

Unspoiled luxury!!

Unspoiled luxury!!

My transfer to Tswalu- awesome

My transfer to Tswalu- awesome

ILTM Africa – a huge success!

Cape Town

Cape Town

Table Mountain   -Cape Town South Africa

Table Mountain -Cape Town South Africa


I visited Cape Town to attend the International Luxury Travel Market. Meeting with suppliers from the best hotels, safari camps, African resorts, tour companies, ground operators, flight companies from all over Africa gave me the opportunity to establish continued connections and find out about new exciting properties. Some of the highlights for me were Mount Rochelle, recently opened by Richard Branson near Franschoek (the wine lands), Grand Dedale- another beautiful bed & breakfast in the wine lands, Residence in Zanzibar, African Elite properties ( privately owned villas that are a cut above), Residence on the Rocks in the Seycelles. The most exciting new camp is Angama Mara, a new safari lodge being built on the edge of Africa’s Rift Valley and overlooking Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Set to open in a few months, this camp will be a must experience! Can’t wait to go!!
Another exciting opening is Royal Portfolio’s fabulous new hotel in Cape Town : the Silo. A completely new build. The Silo hotel will occupy an old Silo on the waterfront. The lower floors will house the new African Contemporary Art museum. The mock ups of the rooms and public areas are spectacular. All glass, the views will be unforgettable.

Another Incredible Virtuoso Travel Week

4000 talented travel consultants, suppliers and press converge in Las Vegas one week each year to connect, learn and enhance their clients’ travel experience. The energy and passion for this travel connection is immense. Classes are offered by the top travel experts in the business- highlighted by Helen Nodland, and the always delightful Ann Scully. An active network called VAST offers an all day exposition to better learn about the latest and greatest offerings in the active travel industry.
We meet hotel General Managers, heads of hotel marketing, destination management companies, tour operators, safari operators, airline representatives, destination wedding suppliers, and sales directors from all over the world – 396 meetings over a four day period. We meet before the general meetings, at specialized luncheons, cocktail parties and dinners, in addition to the 396 presentations. By the time the week is over, I can say I am thoroughly ensconced in travel information. I came home energized, inspired, armed with the best information and fabulous new connections to enable me to make my clients dreams come true.

Recipes from the Road

Tart MoloriPeacan Treacle Tart

Recipes from the Road

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Pan Fried Kabeljou

Pan Fried Kabeljou

I have so many divine recipes from recent visits, I have to post some of the best ones! This one is from Wynand Van Der Watt at the incredible Molori Safari Lodge on Madikwe Game Preserve, South Africa.
Wynand, from Port Elizabeth South Africa, is the Head chef at Molori Safari Lodge. Previous duties were Head Chef at Sabi Selati Lodge, Sabi Sabi Private Game reserve, Sabi Bush Lodge to name a few. He sent me two recipes and here they are!

A Pleasant Surprise- the Intercontinental at OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg South Africa

Steps from Baggage Claim. You can just push the trolley with all your bags right to it. Rooms are large, bright and very nicely done!
What a convenient choice if you have a layover in Johannesburg.
Service is outstanding, the welcome is warm after a long flight, and the restaurant is wonderful! Delighted to discover such a classy airport hotel.

Molori – Madikwe Reserve, South Africa

Fabulous, glamorous Molori in Malaria Free Madikwe Reserve, South Africa
Image courtesy of Molori

Ending with a bang! MOLORI, Madikwe (Malaria free) Reserve, South Africa

Stunning Lodge!!