Dreaming of the road less traveled. Dying to get back.
Dreaming of the road less traveled. Dying to get back.
Dreaming of the road less traveled. Dying to get back.
Dreaming of the road past traveled. Can’t wait to return.
Looking to getting back on the road!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Shambala Zulu Lodge is owned by the same family that has the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.
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. Lamu 2010
&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. Welcome song from Grumeti River camp.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
View from the deck of &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.