South Africa is the perfect blend of wild and sophisticated. A few days in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands reveal a magnificent culture, while a safari shows off the spectacular wildlife you expect on a trip to Africa.
Stefany got to see the beauty firsthand on a recent study tour with African Travel. The journey began in Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands with a night at the boutique Le Quartier Francais. The hotel has the feel of a bed and breakfast with stunning mountain views from the pool area. Among the other properties in the Leeu Collection, Leeu Estates has magnificent views of vineyards and mountains, really providing a wow factor, while the 12-room Leeu House has a charming homey ambiance.
Each property is conveniently located near the wineries at La Bourgogne Farm and Haute Cabriere. The charming La Bourgogne offers tastings at a picnic out back with pleasant views, while the larger Haute Cabriere has grand views and allows guests down into the wine cellar for some hands-on learning.
About an hour from the Winelands, Cape Grace Hotel across from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a revelation. Views from the rooms are either of the harbor or Table Mountain. Each floor has different decor while maintaining an overall nautical theme. Tastings with a whisky expert can be arranged, and the wonderful Pinotage served is South Africa’s signature red wine. Virtuoso guests can have their own lockers to store wine or liquor. The service is excellent, and it’s possible to reserve a BMW car service with advance planning. Michael, the Cape Town guide, even managed to get them to the top of Table Mountain despite inclement weather that threatened to shut down the cable cars.
A day exploring the Cape Peninsula is a must, but be sure to dress in layers so you can enjoy the seaside views in comfort. A stop at Boulders Bay gave a preview of the amazing wildlife South Africa boasts, as a colony of African penguins calls the beach home. There are now 3,000 of the penguins thanks to a conservation effort that started with a single pair of breeding birds in 1982. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa on the peninsula offers panoramic views.
From the Cape, the group headed out on safari. The first stops were Lion Sands River Lodge and Kapama Karula in the country’s northeast. They also saw the Tree House at Lion Sands, a great escape for honeymooners, and the upscale Lions Sands Ivory Lodge. Morne, the safari guide at Lion Sands River Lodge, was fabulous. His passion for the animals and sharing them with guests was on full display. He really got into the game drives, cutting his way through trees to make sure the group saw lions. He has a deep knowledge of the wildlife and their habits, helping to maximize the game-viewing experience. They even came across a leopard that got up close to Stefany’s feet! Every day was a new adventure!
Kapama Karula was breathtaking. The service, the food, and the decor all had a wow factor that made the stay so memorable. The guide here, Elmero, was just as passionate and knowledgeable as Morne. He made sure to explain the animals’ behaviors, which added a great deal to the game drives. They even pursued a leopard through the bush at night! All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and one DMC Travel Tailor is happy to specially arrange with valued clients.
Click here to watch the highlights of Stefany’s South Africa adventure:
Is Africa on your Bucket List? If so, reach out to Stefany at firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning your African adventure.
We covered the best trips for solo travelers a couple weeks ago, so now that you’re relaxed or have a de-stressing trip to look forward to, let’s discuss the best trips to take the whole family on. Multigenerational trips have become increasingly popular in the last several years. An informal poll of Largay advisors yielded some great response on the best multigen adventures for your family.
Italy is great for everyone because there are so many different Italies. The history of major cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice is great for grandparents and students alike. Young adults will appreciate the romance and nightlife. There are perfect spots for coming together as a family in a villa. Rentals are typically weekly, and there are amazing countryside options in Tuscany and Umbria or the lake region in the north. Along the way, a great option to stop in medieval towns for a guided tour. From Puglia to Liguria, there is plenty to see. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands could make a trip until themselves.
It’s close and fairly easy to reach. There’s good service into two airports, one near the beach and one closer to the rainforest and Arenal volcano and its accompanying hot springs. There are fabulous treetop lodges full of activity — horseback riding, waterfall hikes, birdwatching — and spa treatments — coffee exfoliation, mango coconut wraps — in equal force. The Pacific coast has the great beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula, and there’s river rafting throughout, sometimes even right up to your lodge.
It’s quite possible most of your family might only go to this part of the world once. You might as well all go together. Marvel at the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, tour the Sydney Opera House behind the scenes and sea unique wildlife in Australia. Golf your way through New Zealand, and take time to cruise Milford Sound and trek Middle-Earth in between courses. After all that, somebody is definitely making a return trip.
The ship itself has shows, plenty of dining options, activities for kids, even babysitting in some cases. The places the ship takes you are breathtaking, especially wildlife destinations such as Alaska and the Galapagos. You’ll see incredible animals in their natural environments along with the gorgeous scenery. A Mediterranean cruise or select family-oriented European river cruises take you in the heart of cities rich in culture. Your travel advisor will help you find the cruise line that fits your family best.
A safari is a wonderful experience at any age, and something every traveler should experience at least once. Game drives make for a perfect all-inclusive day out, and everybody loves observing wildlife in action. Africa has so many beautiful natural wonders, from Victoria Falls to Ngorongoro Crater to the Okavango Delta. Those lucky enough to spot all of the Big Five will never forget it. Even if you don’t see them all, you’ll have invaluable memories with your family. By the time your grandkids tell their grandkids about it, the story will be embellished enough that you did see all five.
It might not be that big, tucked on the side of Spain on the western edge of Europe, but Portugal is the hottest destination going this year. Combine the capital of Lisbon — think a European San Francisco — with second city Porto and the beach-laden Algarve region with the diverse islands of Madeira and the Azores, and Portugal becomes a lot bigger than you might have previously imagined. That was one takeaway from Virtuoso Travel Week this month in Las Vegas, where more than 6,000 attendees from 100 countries shared the latest and greatest in the travel industry.
Another important trend is the rise of sustainability. From resorts such as The Brando in French Polynesia, where 95 percent of the energy used is renewable. Buildings made from local, renewable and recycled material blend with their natural surroundings and even waste is turned into compost that is used in organic gardens. The resort’s conservation program focuses on fish and sea turtle replenishment as well as atoll conservation. Seawater air conditioning and coconut oil biofuel help power the resort while getting it closer to carbon neutrality.
Kevin Molony, president of New Orleans-based Royal Insider is working to preserve the culture in and around the city his family first came to in the 1720s by showing clients the authenticities of life for those who call the Big Easy home, far from the tourist haze of Bourbon Street. That could mean hanging behind the scenes with a Mardi Gras crew to see how much blood, sweat, and tears go into preparing not just afloat but a celebration of heritage or dining in a historic home with a meal prepared by the city’s top chefs.
With the launch of www.galapagos.com, www.safaritours.com and www.visibleasia.com, Big Five Tours & Expeditions, ranks countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia based on the sustainability of tourism there, and works in the destinations it services to improve those scores. As Lesa Bain of Lindblad Expeditions succinctly put it in her acceptance speech for Virtuoso’s Sustainable Tourism Leadership award, “Sustainability rocks!”
All told, more than 40,000 meetings took place over the course of a week between travel advisors and suppliers, resulting in an exchange of information that will benefit our travelers. Looking for a great meal? Meadowood Napa Valley’s The Restaurant, winner of Best Dining Experience, has you covered. A nice drink? The Donovan Bar at Brown’s Hotel in London was voted Best Bar. As for any other experience you can imagine, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Is Africa on your Bucket List? Micato, one of our Virtuoso preferred partners is a luxury safari company that continues to get rave reviews. Here are 7 reasons to go on a Micato safari.
1. World’s Best Safari Outfitter a record 9 times
They have been voted World’s Best Safari Outfitter 9 times by Travel + Leisure
You know the saying… “If something is not broken, don’t fix it!”
2. A highly credentialed Micato Safari Director accompanies every East Africa safari
Micato has their classic packaged safaris and they also offer custom-tailored safaris. Even on their custom safaris, they have a safari director who is with you for the whole trip. The safari directors are employees of the company. Micato feels this really makes for a personalized experience while attaining continuity. So much of the “magic” that happens in Africa is attributed to your guide.
3. Every departure is guaranteed
No trips are ever canceled. People can feel secure to book their flights once their trip is booked as it will go as scheduled.
4. No tipping, ever, from beginning to end
You don’t have to worry about bringing a certain amount of cash and finding the person you wish to tip at the end of the trip. This policy alleviates that stress altogether.
5. Micato’s 24-hour concierge team
They have a concierge team that is available 24/7 to help with any unexpected or unusual requests, making guests feel completely at ease while they are away, letting them focus on each precious moment of the trip.
6. Pinto family invites you to their home
Felix and Jane Pinto, second-generation Kenyans founded Micato in 1966. It started out as a small safari company. Since then it has grown into a big company, but they are committed to making their employees and guests feel like family. They live in a suburb of Nairobi and when you are there you will get an invite for lunch or dinner at their home. This makes for an authentic experience, not only meeting with a local, but also with successful business owners.
7. Micato pays for a child’s education for every Micato safari sold
They have a one for one commitment, for every safari sold; they send one child to school in Nairobi. Micato won a World Saver Award from Conde Nast for their education initiative in Kenya. Guests can visit the school in Nairobi and meet the children who have been privy to this Micato advantage. This is a special experience to be had for people to see some of the difference they are making to help bring more good into this world.
We at DMC Travel Tailor have a theme of Travel with Intention. We believe as Tony Robbins said, “The secret to living is giving.” This is why we contribute 5% of our profit to Camp Happy Days, a local charity in Charleston to help kids fight cancer. Everyone who books travel with us can feel good knowing that they are also giving towards a great cause. We would be happy to help you choose which Micato safari is right for your travel needs. Email Stefany, Co-Founder/Dream Travel Designer at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Rest assured you will be in good hands. And if your dream is to go on a safari, why not also provide a child’s education and contribute to help kids fight cancer while at it?
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” –Ben Carson
“For it is in giving that we receive.” –Francis of Assisi
About DMC Travel Tailor:
We believe in living life to the fullest. Travel is the gateway to self-transformation that touches your soul, connects and unites you with different cultures, fills your life with passion, realizes your fairytale dreams and gives you a story to tell.
What We Do
We are Stefany and Daniele, your Dream Travel Designers!
We believe in a personalized, custom-tailored travel experience that we create together. Our goal is to expand your world, rejuvenate you, and make you feel alive. We want to ignite your spirit with the memories of your adventures.
We contribute five percent of our profit to a charity and volunteer our time to make this world a better place.
Ask anyone who’s been on safari, and you’ll hear all about the transcendent beauty of sunsets, the majesty of the vast open spaces, the thrill of getting up close and personal with exotic animals. It’ll leave you with only one conclusion: You have to go see for yourself. As Richard Mullin said, “The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.” Now that’s it decided you’re going, the question is which area you should choose for your safari.
Kenya / Tanzania
When most people picture a safari, they’re thinking of East Africa. The great migration of wildebeest and zebras takes place annually across Tanzania’s Serengeti Plain and Kenya’s Masai Mara. Hundreds of thousands of animals make the trek in search of grass to graze on. The Maasai people provide an enriching cultural exchange. Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is rich in wildlife, while Olduvai Gorge is a goldmine for the study of human evolution. Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the tallest mountains in Africa and make for excellent, if challenging, climbing.
Though it’s nearly 1,000 miles long, the Okavango River never does quite find its way to the sea, instead of crashing into the sands of the Kalahari Desert to form the sublime Okavango Delta, a maze of swamp, salt and lakes that provides a staging area for a dramatic interplay of animals large and small. Botswana attracts colorful birds, a huge migration of zebra and large numbers of elephants. The San people, the famed Bushmen of the Kalahari, share insights on their culture and its relationship to the natural world.
South Africa / Namibia
A safari in South Africa offers loads of advantages. First, you can pair it with time in the spectacular city of Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands. Second, malaria-free reserves make it an ideal choice for families with young children. Private game reserves are packed with lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, and zebra. To the northwest, Namibia is a vast wilderness of sand dunes where elephants, lions, and endangered black rhinos manage to eke out a living and thousands of birds, including flamingos and pelicans, flock to the infamous Skeleton Coast.
Zambia / Zimbabwe
Separated by the Zambezi River, these two countries are more or less defined by water, making them excellent venues for abundant wildlife. The main attraction is Victoria Falls, “The Smoke That Thunders,” but each country also offers national parks filled with Cape buffalo, impalas, zebras and elephants, among many more diverse species. Zambia’s Kafue National Park is a great place for leopard-spotting, while Zimbabwe boasts splendid game-viewing along the shores of Lake Kariba.
Uganda / Rwanda
In the highlands of the Virunga Mountains that straddle these two countries, you’ll find an entirely different and rare game: gorillas. Only a few hundred mountain gorillas are left in their natural habitat, and they offer a fascinating study in primate behavior. It is in Uganda that Lake Victoria drains into the Nile River, and Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to traditional safari species. Rwanda is renowned for its wide variety of bird and plant species, including more than 100 varieties of orchids.