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.

Singita Sasakwa- Holy Cow!

Singita Sasakwa – Holy Cow! Pride of Tanzania
Situated in the Grumeti concession, Singita’s Sasakwa is uniquely outstanding. With a highly trained staff, along with the most wow decor I have ever seen in a Tanzanian Lodge- Sasakwa is probably one of the top 2 resorts in all of Africa.

Tanzania – Surprising Arusha Lodge, Legendary Lodge


Superb staff, warm welcome, the place was an old homestead, and it feels like a charming home.
Upon arrival, they offered a fabulous dinner on their verandah overlooking a lovely garden.
I had duck breast, and the children had crispy prawns. We had a connecting suites as big as the house. Snuggling down between Egyptian sheets, with the africology amenities smelling of Africa, we feel immediately to sleep.

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.

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.

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

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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.

Grumeti Sunrise and Sunset

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Grumeti Cats

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Ending with a high note: Singita Serengeti House and Singita Explorer

imageSingita Serengeti House- 4 bedroom Villa next to Sasakwa.

image Bathroom -Singita Sasakwa

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Singita’s collection of properties : Sasakwa, Sabora(stationary tented camp), Faru Faru, Serengeti House and Explora( mobile tented camp) are probably the finest group of properties in Tanzania, if not all of Africa. Singita has a well established conservation plan, and philanthropy. One of the most successful ongoing community development projects at Singita Grumeti is the Grumeti Horticultural and Marketing Co-op Society (GHOMACOS), supplying the lodge kitchens with a constant flow of high-quality, freshly harvested, locally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. Lodge guests are often surprised at the freshness and diversity of the juices, salads, vegetables, desserts and sorbets on the menus at Singita Grumeti, given the remote location of the five lodges and camps. Many guests are also appreciative of the fact that the food they’re enjoying is locally grown, benefits small-scale producers, and hasn’t clocked up unnecessary transport miles.
Every detail is perfect, the decor is to die for. All unique, all 5 Star in every way. Singita Saskwa also has the most comprehensive and beautifully equipped Equestrian Centre in Africa. SONY DSC My favorite SIngita Sabora

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!

Top hotel in Ngorongoro Crater- hands down is AndBeyond Crater Lodge

Champagne welcome AndBeyond Crater Lodge

Champagne welcome AndBeyond Crater Lodge

Cozy main Lounge AndBeyond Crater Lodge

Cozy main Lounge AndBeyond Crater Lodge

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North Lodge bathroom seen thru a cut hole

North Lodge bathroom seen thru a cut hole

I rarely add picture of interiors of resorts or lodges, but this lodge is so stunning and completely unique, I felt I had to share it. A visit should be on anyone’s bucket list.

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

Lake Manyara Tree House- a most pleasant surprise

href=”https://catherinewhitworth.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/image6.jpeg” rel=”attachment wp-att-3789″>Lake Manyara Tree House
We had the pleasure of staying at Lake Manyara Tree House, an And Beyond property. Rooms were spacious, luxurious, 5 star in every way. The exceptional staff made us feel so welcome. A complete pleasure and I hope to return.

Lake Manyara Tanzania

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Known for it’s lions resting in trees to escape the dreaded Tsetse fly, and the glorius flamingos on the lake, Manyara was a delightful surprise. The national park has some of the most lush jungle vegetation I have ever seen. We visited a Massai village, always a warm experience. image

Lake Manyara Tanzania

Leopard tucked away nicely

Leopard tucked away nicely

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

&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.

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!

I feel like I have a PHD in Safari planning!

 
As you have been reading, I recently completed a phenomenal 16 day Educational with Africa Inscribed, hosted by their Directors Dylan Harriss and Gavin Ford
 
Properties we either saw or *stayed in were:
 
*1. Saxon Hotel – Johannesburg  10+
*2. Jack’s Camp-  Salt Pans on the edge of the Kalahari Desert Botswana  9
3. Camp Kalahari- Kalahari Desert Botswana 5
*4. Wilderness – Vumbura Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana 10+
5. Wilderness – Little Vumbura_ Okavango Delta Botswana 8+
6. Duma Tau- Linyanti Reserve Botswana  9
*7. Savuti- Linyanti Reserve Botswana  9
8. Victoria Falls Hotel- Vic Falls Zimbabwe 10
*9. Singita – Pamushana- Pamushana Reserve Zimbabwe 10+
*10. Royal Malewane- Thornybush Preserve South Africa 10++
*11. & Beyond – Exeter Leadwood- Sabi Sands South Africa  9+
12. Dulini- Sabi Sands South Africa 8(under renovation)
13. & Beyond – Exeter River Lodge – Sabi Sands South Africa  9
14. Singita Ebony- Sabi San Reserve South Africa  10+
15. Singita Boulders- Sabi Sand Reserve South Africa  10+
16. Lion Sands – 1933- Sabi Sands   9+
17. Lion Sands – Ivory- Sabi Sands       10
18. Lion Sands – River Lodge- Sabi Sands 8+
*19. Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge – Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  10+
20.  Selati Camp – Sabi Sabi – Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  9
21.  Little Bush Lodge- Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  8
*22.  Singita Sweni – Kruger National Park   10+
23. Singita Lebombo _ Kruger National Park    10+
*24. Molori- Madikwe Game Reserve ( Malaria Free) South Africa    10 but expensive
25. Lion Sands – Madikwe Lodge – Madikwe  9
26. Mateya – Madikwe   10
27. Jaci’s Safari Lodge 5 and Jaci’s Tree Lodge- Madikwe    7
*28. JNB Intercontinental – Johannesburg Airport South Africa   9
 
 
The numbers after the resort names are the ratings I personally gave them -10 being the highest.
It really depends on the client but these were my personal impressions.  
I totally defer to Dylan on resort choices.  He is really picky.
 
When I say educational I really mean educational. At the beginning of the EDU we were given a manual which included all predeparture information for every country in Africa. We also received a map covering the destinations AI favor. We actually had a map session one afternoon, locating preferred camps in Botswana, SA and Zimbabwe on the map. We went over zones that were malaria free and those that were not. We went over destinations near beaches, marshes, plains, mountains, best game viewing, and best locations for particular game. Best locations for families, honeymooners, groups, couples, photographers or special interest groups.
 Each day we learned about birds, mammals(predators and grazers), birds, insects, trees, birds, grasses, seeds and the environmental impact on the climate on each area, did I mention birds? We also learned about animal conservation,  land conservation, water and the impact on the reserve we happened to be traveling in. We learned about resort management, land management, and safari planning down to details as to why one wants a private game vehicle- and the enviromental impact too many cars can have on the resort. I feel like we have a PHD in Safari planning.
We traveled in style, Dylan chartered a Pilatus PC12NG ( the largest Pilatus). And we learned what a luxury having a less pressured schedule can be.  
The biggest take away for me was the tremendous knowledge, creativeness, and passion  Dylan and Gavin have as a DMC.  Their excitement was contagious. We were on a high from the moment we landed to the moment we left. And it was so much fun!
We had the best group- we laughed all the time, and never stayed still for long. So we were the best exhausted group.
If there was a glitch, we never knew it. Dylan and Gavin travel to camps and resorts 200 days a year, so they REALLY know what they are talking about. We looked at high end, medium and low end camps. All came with value for the right client. They are very selective. 
It was a privilege to participate in this EDU with Africa Inscribed. I can’t wait to book Africa with them

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