The world is opening back up, and everyone is flocking to adventure. And not just any adventure—so many are doing big ticket bucket list type trips.
Close your eyes and think about it—if you could choose anywhere, where would you go? For a lot of people, an African safari is at the top of that list. That selection is completely understandable. But, there are things you may not have considered about a big trek to East Africa, and some things you should totally consider about South Africa.
Before we begin, though, let me reiterate that all my suggestions are based on my experience, my associations, the extensive contacts I’ve gained throughout my experience and travels, and because either myself or one of my team members have actually visited the places I write about. You may not necessarily agree with my findings, but you can absolutely trust them.
So let’s start with East Africa. The gamelands of East Africa are probably what you picture in your head when you think of an African vacation. It’s the scenes you remember from Out of Africa. It’s what you pictured as a child when you were playing animal safari.
East Africa is vastly beautiful. It’s also more culturally authentic. The local people are much more involved in tourism. When traveling with a guide into the countryside, you can actually glimpse tribal living. You can meet the natives. You have opportunities to see how they hunt and how they live. It’s an amazing experience.
And then as for the safaris—if you’re seeking a big animal safari-dominated itinerary, this is your destination. You will see the big animals in ways you’ve only dreamed of. An enormous proportion of the country is national parks and wildlife reserves. It is wilder, more expansive, and untrammeled than other parts of Africa. It is the stuff of your childhood imaginings.
But here is where a trip focusing on East Africa can be problematic. For some, the thoughts of a safari trip is a big bucket list item. The lure and imagination draws you to it. But when you’re there, after you’ve seen a few elephants, you may be like, “okay, what’s next?” And while the safaris are grand and the cultural element is amazing, there may not be much else for you to see.
And this is why you should consider South Africa.
I’ll be honest. South Africa is completely not what I expected.
For the most part, it’s very first world. Incredibly diverse. Completely entertaining. If you want a lot of variety in your vacation (or if you’re a family seeking a little bit for everyone), South Africa is a great choice.
Start in Franschhoek in the beautiful countryside for some top notch rest and relaxation. Zip line through the forest. Scooter through the vineyards and sample some amazing wine and fine cuisine (yes, it’s actually as if you were visiting Napa). From there, travel to the dazzling Cape Town. It’s an incredible city right on the water with amazing mountain views and tons of hip bistros, elegant hotels, and eclectic shopping. Visit Table Mountain—one of the new seven natural wonders of the world (it has its own eco system!).
But you also don’t have to forego the safari experience. While Kruger National Park may be a little more tamed than the East African landscape, you can still get a classic safari experience and even see the big five in the bush.
You can even stay at the Tswalu Kalahari—one of the best hotels in the world, with basically a Michelin Star Restaurant onsite, in the middle of no where.
South Africa’s unofficial motto is “A World in One Country” and it certainly is that. You can experience safari, city, beach, desert, bush, etc., all within one relatively small area.
But, if you’re wanting to experience big time safari and the native culture, South Africa may not be your cup of tea.
Now here’s where I and my team come in.
Planning vacations are stressful. Super stressful. There are some people, though, who find the planning very stimulating, sort of the thrill of the chase. But on both of those scenarios, whether you enjoyed the planning or hated it, the end result is lackluster.
So don’t do it. Experience your ultimate vacation.
Here’s the thing—like I said earlier, I have years of experience planning vacations. I have associates and friends all over the globe and in every nook and cranny. But beyond that—I’ve actually traveled to these places. And, I’ve done it as a single, as a married couple, and as a family.
How can you be expected to plan the perfect vacation when you’ve never been there (or even select the location best for you, like our East/South Africa examples)? Or you’re trusting the opinion of your sister-in-law’s friend who may or may not have been there? Or even the advice of travel “influencers” or amateur travel planners who haven’t experienced your destination, and are only after the swag or kick backs?
- Having a wonderfully smooth airline experience
- Getting a VIP meet and greet at the airport
- Staying at a world-class hotel that is ideal for your needs and wants
- Having an amazing itinerary (perfectly planned out for you) where all you have to do is show up
- Utilizing guides with cars at your disposal (even if your family is doing different itinerary excursions
- Ending your trip of a lifetime with the nicest hotel in the best location
- And more
Details and nuances matter. Experience matters. Working with a luxury travel advisor can take your trip from just okay to something that your family will remember forever.
Trust me. My team can make all that and more happen for you. Give us a call today to set up your dream vacation.
P.S. Did you know that I ate a meal with Nelson Mandela’s prison guard when in South Africa? I did. And that’s the kind of access we can get you, too.