Dreaming of the road past traveled. Can’t wait to return.
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
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.
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.
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.
Southern Zimbabwe is stunning, visually. It is probably the most beautiful country we have visited. Green, heavily wooded areas with major rock formations forming ridges and canyons all around. The country seems untouched by the outside world- innocent and welcoming.
We are visiting Singita Pamushana and it is one of the most elegant camps I have seen. The lodge is set up on the top of a ridge, and the view over the lake of the rock hillside is amazing – especially with the sunset shining on it. We are greeted by Jason , and the camp staff – hands in the air waving- with a sparkling lemonade drink. Everyone is so happy to welcome our little band of travelers. Service and attention has been incredible everywhere we have been but it seems very special at Pamushana. We had dinner that night on the deck under a huge Jackelberry tree hung with lanterns. Jason told us about an Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker, Kim Wolhuter, who is doing a study on the property about cheetahs. He won one of his Emmys for a documentary about the misunderstood hyena, and he has moved to a study of cheetahs- their habits and daily life. He creates a relationship over several months with the animals and habituates them to his presence. By the end of the filming, he was running with the pack and filming in the middle of kills- literally in the middle of them. Of course we went out to find him the next morning. Our group had a jeep with no roof so we could roll through the heavy thicket to reach him. Kim was tracking cheetahs and we found him most generous in sharing where he was located and seeing those incredible cats. We heard the cheetahs call to each other and in the stillness we saw them turn on a dime and tear after some prey. The thunder of their paws on the forest floor was stupendous. What a thrill!!
He joined us for a dinner that evening and his stories about hyenas and the animals he documents for his films were riveting. I hope we can get him to the US to speak about animal conservation, land conservation, land management and how it all has to work in harmony. His efforts to save wildlife is fascinating. He is a gracious, engaging and delightful fellow.
On our nightstand is a poem by Wayne Visser, about Africa.
The poem is delightful, and stikes a chord with all of us .
Excerpts from it:
Africa calls to me
With the beat of her drums that mark my days
And the words of her poets that guide my ways
With the crash of the waves that hug her shores
And the sounds of the rain that soak her pores
Africa calls to me
With the crackle of fires that light her skies
And the rustle of leaves that swish her sighs
With the chant of her songs that move my feet
And the pulse of her heart that makes mine beat.
We were preparing to leave Savuti Camp and our host, Dylan Harriss had come up with a big surprise. We are going to make a little detour to Victoria Falls to vist one of his friend’s shop and factory. One of the perks of having a private charter!! We can change our plans!
The name of the shop is Ndau located at Elephant Walk in Victoria Falls and it lived up to it’s considerable reputation. I love any excuse to stop and shop for exotic gifts, so I was thrilled. I came out with crocodile bracelets and feathered earrings. Yay!
We were also delighted to visit the Colonial Grand Dame – Victoria Falls Hotel established in 1904 and beautiful. Recently renovated, if has that old colonial feeling- I hope to get back to stay there soon.
We were cleared to circle the Falls and I have never experienced such a spectacular sight. A wonderful memory we will all treasure. Thank you Dylan and Gavin.