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 I have traveled. Can’t wait to continue

Olonanna Tent, Kenya

Wine country South Africa

Royal Malewane Chettah

Travel Wishes

Travel highlights - hoping to get back to Africa

Back to Africa soon- we hope!

Looking to getting back on the road!

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


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.

Villa 1 Nettleton Road, In Residence Cape Town South Africa

Staircase Villa 1 Nettleton Road Cape Town- it also has an elevator

Villa 1 is more intime: 4 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, a study, kitchen, dining area, and pool. 9000 square feet. On 4 floors, upstairs bedroom views are as stunning as Villa 5 Nettleton Road.

Master bedroom Corner suite – Villa One , In Residence

Kitchen Villa 1 , In Residence Cape Town

One of the two living rooms, In Residence Villa One Cape Town

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

Saxon Hotel – Top Choice in Johannesburg


The Saxon Hotel- Top Choice in Johannesburg.
The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg never fails to please. Impeccable service and an a superb decor- tastefully furnished with African artifacts throughout the hotel.

Lobby of the Saxon Hotel.

Guests experience a great sense of place. Located in the tranquil, tree-lined suburb of Sandhurst, within minutes of Johannesburg’s world-class shopping and business hub, the Saxon the Saxon treats you to personalised, discreet service and unparalleled South African hospitality. Room categories are all suites, either in the hotel or in the adjacent villas.  Butler service is provided for all.

The Saxon is a luxurious private retreat, set on ten acres of landscaped gardens. The Saxon entrance exudes an air of quiet majesty with its sweeping feature staircase and spectacular ostrich egg chandelier. The neutral shades of the interior reflect the tones and textures of Africa. Nelson Mandela wrote much of his memoir at the Saxon.

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

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.
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


Tswalu Kalahari – Motse Lodge

Part of the villa - Motse Lodge , Tswalu

Part of the villa – Motse Lodge , Tswalu




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

The Iconic Mount Nelson Hotel- Cape Town

The iconic Mount Nelson Hotel- Cape Town

I stayed in the Mount Nelson and the Cape Grace, both fabulous properties where personal service is top notch.

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.

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!!

Protea – National Flower of South Africa

Seen in an arrangement at Molori, Madikwe South Africa

Gorgeous Cheetah- Madikwe Reserve, South Africa

Yes the clay is really that color!

Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park


Pool – Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park


Bar- Singita Lebombo, Kruger National Park


Ahhhhh- visiting Singita Sweni and Lebombo, Kruger National Park


Located in the most famous game rich preserve in the world, Singita Sweni and Lebombo live up to all their hype. Considered as one of the top resorts in Africa, they work hard to make sure their guests are comfortable and happy.  Trackers, Rangers, Chefs and hotel staff are all top of the heap. The Wine Cellar is enormous!!  And the gift shop is one of the most comprehensive and beautiful I have seen. 
Sweni is situated on the river and more intime. Lebombo is on a ridge with vistas over the thickets with gorgeous public spaces. One can experience both properties when staying at either Sweni or Lebombo.  Rooms are similar- just a different view. 
I think Sweni is one of my personal favorites and I hope to return very soon. Anyone want to go? I’m ready!

One of my favorites: Singita Sweni, Kruger National Park


A member of the Selati Pride – not sure if this is in Sabi Sands or Kruger National Park


Find the Owl in this picture- Singita Sweni, Kruger National Park

Image courtesy of Gavin Ford

Bath with plunge pool and outdoor shower – Singita Boulders, Sabi Sands


What’s in the fab gift shop – Singita Boulders, Sabi Sands


Lobby – Singita Boulders, Sabi Sands South Africa


Singita Boulders


Singita Boulders – Sabi Sands South Africa

Singita Ebony is done in a more traditional style, warm colors and lots of English Safari antiques and decorative accessories. Singita Boulders is more contemporary, walls are stacked boulders, and the color palate is soothing blues, taupes and greens. Both have an appeal and the staff in each is above par.

Lobby Singita Ebony


Family Villa Singita Ebony – Sabi Sands South Africa


Bedroom -Singita Ebony, Sabi Sands South Africa


Singita Sabi Sands: Singita Boulders and Ebony

Next stops were the fabulous Singita Sabi Sands : Singita Ebony and Singita Boulders.
Singita Resorts and Lodges are always at the top of any Safari Lodge rating. They are in a class by themselves. The best rooms, staff, decoration, and amazing attention to detail. Like Royal Malewane, Singita employs impeccable staff and educates them well. They are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, passionate, and extremely welcoming. No request is too difficult; one feels like you are in a private home. Care of their guests is extremely well thought out, down to a warm bubble bath waiting for you after an afternoon game drive- with a bucket of chilled champagne sitting on the tub!! Food selection is top notch – innovative, gourmet standard and the wine cellars are eminently well filled with thousands of bottles from all over the world to choose from. All part of their incredible service.

Chilled champagne set by my hot bubble bath – awaiting me on my return from an afternoon game drive- Singita Sweni

How were they able to keep the bubbles and the water hot????