Dear Partners in Travel,
We trust you and your family are safe in these difficult times and like us eagerly awaiting the day that we can again welcome tourist to our shores.
With the current “nationwide lockdown” that the South African government declared the Royal African Discoveries team is working from home. With this we thought this is an opportune time to give you a bit more insight into the team of tour consultants that make up Royal African Discoveries.
We posed a couple of questions to each member of the team and we would like to share their insights with you over the next couple of weeks.
- What is your favourite destination or area to visit in Southern Africa and why?
- What is your favourite hotel or lodge that you have stayed at and why?
- What has been your favourite tourism activity that you have participated in and why?
- Which area of Southern Africa would you like to travel to next and why?
- There are so many where do I begin! If I have to pick one I would say the Garden Route and more specifically the Featherbed Nature Reserve area. Where else do you get that spectacular scenery where nature meets the ocean and fresh oysters like nowhere in the world? It is just such a beautiful place, I lost my heart there…
- Picking one place is hard as we have such a big variety of fantastic places, but if I have to pick one I would have to say Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/sabi-sabi-bush-lodge/) in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. It is a combination of luxury, great people and great food combined with the excitement of looking for the Big 5 when on game drive. Nothing better than the South African bushveld…
- I did a daring zipslide activity in Victoria Falls when I was there. Definitely a highlight of things that I have done in my tourism career, it was amazing.
- I would love to go to the Eastern Cape area and visit the game lodges there. As a malaria free area it is growing in popularity and a fabulous destination for family safari travel (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/eastern-cape-garden-route/).
- Although I’ve been to Cape Town 100’s of times, the mountains and oceans and scenic beauty overall, still mesmerizes me.
- Strangely enough, my favourite hotel is the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence in Cape Town. Although the hotel is in the city centre, the service level and staff are just fantastic. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/radisson-blu-hotel-residence-cape-town/).
- Powerboat trip to Seal Island. Unlike the normal Seal Island cruise, this experience is exclusive and one is so close to the water and you get so close to the island. Great photo opportunity and then the exhilarating return, when the powerboat skippers show off what the powerboats can do. Such a fun experience.
- Although I’ve travelled extensively through Southern Africa, I have not been to Mozambique so this is on my list to visit next. With white sandy beaches and super blue oceans, seafood and sun, what more could one want. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/mozambique-2/).
- My Favourite destination would have to be Cape Town, due to its cultural background, the vibe and endless attractions which lay in and around the city itself. The scenic vistas are one of a kind and it’s always nice to be close to the ocean.
- My favourite lodge, personally I like Gondwana Game Lodge the most. Located about 25 kilometres (30 min drive) from Mossel Bay. This Lodge is fantastic as it has something to offer for a variety of different clients, from their Kwena Huts (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/kwena-lodge-at-gondwana-game-reserve/), to Bush and Fynbos Villas (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/bush-villas-and-fynbos-villas-at-gondwana-game-reserve/) as well as a tented camp. This lodge provides a lot of exclusivity to clients during their stay, especially for families staying in the Villas. Overall a very child friendly property and the staff are very interactive, the game rangers are especially impressive. From a game viewing perspective, it is up there with the best. The reserve is home to the Big 5 and clients will enjoy up close and personal encounters with a variety of different animals. The landscape is breath taking and fully complimented by the array of vegetation. With an approximate 300 species of bird life, it’s also a bird watchers paradise.
- Bungee Jumping, I enjoy adrenaline fun filled activities – always looking for my next thrill.
- Eastern Cape, simply because I have not been there yet and from the pictures I’ve seen and talks I have had, it is apparently extremely beautiful and like all places in South Africa, different from the other Provinces, unique.
- Namibia – a whole lot of nothing and quietness! Wide open spaces of sand and sea. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).
- The camp where I stayed at is closed now but it was on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. Saw brown hyena hunting seals on the beach. Visited an authentic Himba village. Came across desert elephant. First fishing experience as well – from the beach and I caught a fish! The scenery changes constantly from one dune to the next!
- Sandboarding probably more because of the operator and guides that ran the activity that made it an experience I will never forget. Definitely was not easy climbing up the dunes but well worth the effort and great fun.
- Mozambique –the only southern Africa country I have not been to yet. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/mozambique-2/).
- Garden Route, The views are simply amazing.
- Misty Waves Boutique Hotel in Hermanus. The property has the most amazing views and feels like a home away from home.
- Hot Air Ballooning in the Magaliesburg. The scenery is amazing and once you in the air, it is silent while you drift in the wind.
- I would really love to visit Namibia. I have been there before when I was young and would love to experience Namibia again. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).
- The Cape Winelands. I am a big foodie and I love wine and the winelands scenery is always stunning. You will find some of the best restaurants in South Africa in the winelands and there is definitely something for everyone in the family to do.
- Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. The scenery is stunning, there are so many activities to do and the food and service is great. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/grootbos-private-nature-reserve-forest-lodge/).
- Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai. The whole experience was amazing and so informative. And it is a big high coming so close to a big white shark.
- I would love to go to the Kruger National Park or one of the Private Game Reserves in South Africa for our next trip. I love the bushveld and the fact that it is one of the best places to disconnect from the busyness of life. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/safari-in-the-greater-kruger-national-park/).
- Botswana for its animals & landscapes (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/botswana-2/). Cape Town for its vibe and Knysna for its beauty.
- The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town for its location, friendly staff and I also liked how the rooms looked & felt. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/the-table-bay-hotel/).
- The Featherbed Eco Experience in Knysna with Featherbed Co. it was fun and educational and I saw Knysna from a different point of view. Plus doing safaris & boat activities in Botswana, the experience was humbling and I think people find a new love & respect for nature after visiting Bots.
- The nature reserves and lodges in the Eastern Cape because I’ve never been there before, would like to compare it to the Kruger Park and also to be able to sell it better (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/eastern-cape-garden-route/).
- I have two destinations that I love to visit. The first is Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, followed by the Garden Route, especially Knysna. The diversity of activities to do in and around Cape Town is endless. It is a beautiful part of our country, especially with Table Mountain and the winelands. There are various wine estates, each with their own unique style and offerings. Second, Knysna is such a beautiful town. Other towns on the Garden Route are also easily accessible from Knysna, including Mossel Bay, George, Oudtshoorn and Tsitsikamma, which gives you the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities. The lagoon and Knysna Heads adds to the charm and beauty of the town.
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/sabi-sabi-bush-lodge/) in Sabi Sands Game Reserve is my favourite lodge that I have stayed at. The level of service is excellent, we had great sightings and the guides and trackers are of a very high standard.
- My favourite activities has been the Canopy Tour in Tsitsikamma forest, it is a beautiful forest filled with birdlife. Another one of my favourite activities was the Featherbed Eco Experience in Knysna, seeing the Knysna heads from the other side of the lagoon. The lagoon cruise and the eco walk contributes to the uniqueness of the experience. During the eco walk you can also see how the forest has healed after the fires.
- I would love to travel to Namibia. It is an entire different experience and landscape than South Africa with unique activities to experience. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).
- Northern Cape and Southern Namibia. Flowers and desert and a lot of nothingness. The best game sightings in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The people in the area are the friendliest people that I have ever met. ((http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/sabi-sabi-bush-lodge/). Love wildlife and had a great game experience.
- Hiking the Fish River Canyon in Namibia and the Featherbed Eco Experience in the Knysna Heads
- The Cape Winelands. There is a lot of wine farms that we haven’t visited yet, and what a beautiful area!
- Botswana’s Okavango Delta (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/botswana-2/) without a single shadow of a doubt. Majestic and a true safari experience. Unspoilt concessions make for vast areas of wilderness, low guest ratios to thousands of hectares of land. Indescribable mokoro rides in the flood plains with water lilies as your props. Botswana is truly a place of pristine beauty.
- Singita Boulders Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/singita-boulders/), it was years ago I visited this lodge but the fact that this remains such a vivid memory for me is testament to the impression that is etched in my mind all these years later. Of course the lodge is jaw dropping beautiful but the game experience was second to none. Was one of my first visits to the Sabi Sands and when they say “leopards fall from trees” it is no lie. This is where my love of the leopard was firmly rooted.
- Has got to be Devils Pool in Livingstone. Right on the edge of the falls it’s an experience to behold. I feel truly blessed to have been able to experience this, how many people can say they have literally sat on the edge of the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
- The Eastern Cape in South Africa, I have not visited any lodges in the Eastern Cape. A great area for game viewing and landscapes. Many beautiful, beautiful lodges to be explored!
- The province of Mpumalanga – nothing so far in my travels around the country beats the landscape, scenery, the tranquillity of being one with nature that one can experience in Mpumalanga (the place where the sun rises).
- Savanna Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. As a lover of all things family and nature, staying at this lodge in particular has ticked all the right boxes for me. Their dining area where you are meant to feel like a real multi-generational family with everyone sitting together braking bread and discussing your daily activities or just having a conversation getting to know each other better.
- Gorge Swing on the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls – I am adventurous and like trying new things when possible. I like to live a life without regrets so I love anything that will challenge me in any way possible and conquer any fears I might have. And above all else, I like exploring and learning new things all the time.
- Lesotho – the mountains, landscape of the country, the culture of the Basotho people and the weather (during snowy season). More importantly though, to understand the history and the lifestyles of the Basotho people and understand the infrastructure available in the country as compared to South Africa.
- I have a few favourites but if I have to choose only one I would choose Mozambique. The most beautiful gem located in the Indian Ocean with many remote islands all offering a unique and beautiful experience ‘True paradise style’. It is biologically and culturally diverse. Beautiful remote islands with their crystal blue waters, white sand beaches. This is a perfect destination to kick off your shoes, forget the stressful outside world and just enjoy the slow pace of island life, with many activities offered at your feet. Swimming, snorkelling, dhow cruises, deep sea fishing, snorkelling or just lazing in the sunshine sipping on cocktails. This is a lovely option for honeymooners. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/mozambique-2/).
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge is definitely on the top of the list. Situated in the private Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Kruger National Park. Words just cannot describe the experience featured at this lodge. Warm and friendly greeting from staff, exquisite game sighting. Rangers and trackers always working together to make sure your game experience is truly memorable with as many interesting sightings as possible. Superb Cuisine, and a fantastic option for families, where your little ones will be kept very busy with very interesting activities. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/sabi-sabi-bush-lodge/).
- I would have to say Cultural Village Tours are definitely my favourite. Experiencing the culture and history of the villages, how they live and their beliefs. They teach you all the different cultures and how each culture is different. The whole experience from the way they live, to their different dances and their food is a very interesting.
- Namibia is on the top of my list. I would love to experience and see the beautiful safari country with a vast spread of history, culture, wildlife, and its beautiful landscapes. To understand the dynamic of the country and the areas within. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).
- The place I now call home – Cape Town. Not only because of the scenery, from the iconic Table Mountain that can be seen from almost anywhere in Cape Town and the beautiful West Coast to the colourful, vibrant city and the winelands. There is just so much to do! From my childhood family holidays to work educational visits I felt like I left a piece of my heart here every time I left.
- Difficult to pick just one…In Cape Town it definitely the Cape Grace (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/cape-grace/). Such charm and luxury without the ‘stiff upper lip’ atmosphere that so often surrounds a 5* hotel. Attention to detail, friendly and helpful staff and just a warm “home away from home” experience. Another favourite is Kapama Karula Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/kapama-karula/). I had the privilege of spending 2 nights there a couple of years ago. Awesome food! Great game viewing and very attentive staff. Their spa is out of this world… top class!
- The elephant walking experience I had at Stanley’s in the Okavango Delta. Walking with these majestic animals through the bush, learning their stories and eating lunch in the middle of nowhere with them right behind us while they ate. Truly humbling!
- Definitely KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields. I have never been in that part of our beautiful country but I love the history and it would be very educational.
- Kruger National Park; The smell, sounds and the beauty of the bush enchants me. But mostly I tend to think that it’s the mere closeness to these wild, exquisite creatures that leaves me holding my breath and wishing I could stay here forever. If you have never experienced a guided game drive this vast South African wilderness is a global hotspot. Kruger National Park is an immersive experience and you’ll find that small things will capture your imagination along with the big five. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/safari-in-the-greater-kruger-national-park/)
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/sabi-sabi-bush-lodge/); is for me a luxury home in the Bush. The service is excellent and you get effortless personal attention. There are endless views of the African bush surrounding you. Highly trained and experienced rangers and trackers made sure that my safari experience ranks amongst the best with exceptional close wildlife encounters.
- No activities that come to mind at the moment.
- Eastern Cape Lodges; Since I am a fan of the bush and have never been to the Eastern Cape, I would like to experience the wildlife at one of the Eastern Cape Lodges. Since there are a number of Big Five game reserves, I am sure the game viewing adventures will delight any wildlife enthusiast.
- Definitely Knysna for me – due to the different activities offered, marine life & the beautiful scenery most of all. The ambience of Knysna overall was relaxing for me.
- Protea Hotel Knysna Quays (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/protea-hotel-by-marriott-knysna-quays/). The staff were very welcoming and friendly once we arrived which made a very good first impression. Their breakfast layout was great as there were a variety of options to choose from. The property is also in a great location with lovely views if staying in a lagoon facing room. Overall, the hotel provided excellent service – I could see that they go out their way to always satisfy and accommodate their guests.
- Featherbed Eco Experience Tour- this gave me the opportunity to see Knysna from a whole different perspective as well as to learn more about the area. It also gave me the opportunity to see a lot of diverse fauna and flora which is something I love. The walk down was definitely my favourite part of the tour as this allowed me to enjoy the scenery even more! The lunch and service offered was also excellent!
- The Kruger National Park. I would love to see the Big 5 and experience a full day safari within the national park as I have a love for animals. If driving down to the Kruger – I would also be able to partake in the Panorama Route which is something I would definitely enjoy. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/safari-in-the-greater-kruger-national-park/).
- I have an infinite love for landscapes and nature, so when describing my favourite destination within Southern Africa, I connect with the energy of the landscape and the emotion evoked upon its sight. For this reason I have to say that my favourite destination is Namibia (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/). Its diverse landscape, epitomizes one of Salvador Dali’s surreal paintings, the combination of its rusted dunes, ghostly coastline and burnt mountains is an absolute must for any a bucket list!
- My favourite property has to be Babylonstoren, situated in Franschhoek, South Africa. The owners have managed the perfect balance between gardens, functional room design, and not forgetting the cuisine, which is not only fine dining but they incorporate the fresh produce grown on the property. This is not just an overnight hotel stay but a complete experience! (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/properties/babylonstoren/).
- My favourite activity has to be the scenic skeleton coast flight, even though I suffer terribly from motion sickness, I think that this was forgotten when I experienced this flight. The aerial view of an arid landscape, quenched by the breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The skeletal remains of not only animals but ship wrecks, coupled with a bright pink flock of flamingos flying by, is just breathe taking!
- Next on my bucket list would have to be the very southern tip of Namibia including the Fish River Canyon and the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop.
- I would say the Garden Route. It has everything from scenic beauty to adrenaline filled activities. Mountains, ocean, friendly people and lots of undiscovered small towns that enriches your life once you visit them.
- Molori Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve. It is a place of absolute luxury tucked away in a silent part of the reserve where you can just be… They also provide a unique stargazing experience as they have their own very powerful telescope. The guides are also very knowledgeable about not only the stars but the wildlife as well.
- Because of the fact that I am an adrenaline junkie I would have to pick two. Bungee jumping the world’s highest commercial bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge and the magical ziplines running along the tree canopy of the Knysna forest. I was lucky enough to do these activities a lot as I used to work as a guide there.
- The wide open spaces intrigues me and in some cases looks like a totally different planet. As space travel is not possible yet I guess this will have to do for now. (http://www.royalafrica.co.za/namibia/).