My travels to South Africa visiting this amazing country brought me back home with one important realization. And it’s one that I have successfully communicated with our clients and that is that once you visit this destination, it is likely that it will be the one place in the world that you know you will want to visit again.
Having said that, indeed, the clients I sent this past summer celebrated a 70th birthday on the Eastern Cape, and told me when they returned that they had the best vacation ever and would, undoubtedly, plan another trip with their grandchildren and children.
For me this sums it up. Few destinations have that sort of immediate impact. While I sent my client to an area I hadn’t visited, our team at Alpine Adventures has enough experience to bring together a fabulous itinerary! I loved the experience I got visiting Johannesburg and Sandton City for a couple of days, spending several days in Cape Town areas of the Constantia Valley Region close to the wine vineyards and staying at the historical 5-star hotel, The Cellars-Hohenhort, and touring the Steenberg Wineries. Also, I visited and stayed at the Bay Hotel and had fantastic views of sunsets over Table Mountain and watching big waves from the Atlantic hit the shores of Camps Bay! In the center of town, I visited well known hotels including Cape Grace in the Working Harbor and the very famous and historical Belmont Mt. Nelson hotel.
I finished my tour by staying a night at Hippo Hollow which is about 2 hours from the Kruger National Park. I took a transfer from Hippo Hollow to Jock Safari Lodge. It’s a private concession in the park, giving them the unique access to drive their safari vehicles in the dry river beds during summer months. We were able to view so much wildlife from that vantage point! The only animal we didn’t see was the cheetah. We did get to see the rhino, elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards, wild dogs, hippos, giraffes, hyenas and monkeys!
Hoping to talk to anyone interested in these areas and help put together an exciting itinerary suited and custom built for the client.
Africa fills the senses in a very unique and special way. It is full of surprising vistas, wild animals and adventure at every turn. Your eyes and ears are on heightened alert in search of those large animals in their natural habitat during a game drive. There is something so exciting about being surrounded by untamed nature with the security of being with a trained guide. They are quick to share the knowledge of the land and its inhabitants. It isn’t scripted so every day in a game park brings a totally different experience.
What I found the most impressive was the overall hospitality. From the boutique 3 and 4 star hotels to the amazing 5 star resorts you will find gracious service, truly amazing food and wonderful wines. I think my favorite touch was the hot water bottles tucked under your covers to keep you warm at night. When you arrive at the 5 star Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town they greet you with “Welcome Home!”
Beyond the game parks there is much more do and explore. I spent my time traveling along the Garden Coast of South Africa. I loved the different eco systems so close in proximity to each other. You have the mountains as a magnificent back drop while being close to the coast and the jungle setting in between. This area offers accommodations and activities for everyone and every budget. There are endless activities from hiking, to bungee jumping, visiting animal preserves to golfing and wine tasting.
The one thing I can guarantee is when you return from your first trip to Africa you will be consumed with planning the next one.
Jen discovered a love for Africa after visiting several years ago. South Africa stole a piece of her heart that first trip with the unparalleled combination of big game viewing, stunning landscapes, and local hospitality. She has been back several times since to explore different areas of the country, as well as touring Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Africa is a place she is happy to return to again and again, as it offers different experiences and amazing discoveries each time.
Jen has spent time visiting various game reserves on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, as well as delving into some of the adventures the country has to offer; from bungee jumping off the world’s largest bridge to shark diving with Great White off the coast. After spending time in Kruger National Park, with singular animal sightings, it became clear why it is a bucket list destination for travelers. Her time in the country has been rounded off by driving the Garden Route, getting a taste of city life in Cape Town, and vineyard hopping in South Africa’s inimitable wine country.
Mozambique and Zimbabwe showcase other must-see destinations of Africa. The soft, white sand and crystal clear waters off the coast of Mozambique make it a perfect locale to unwind and bask in the surroundings. On the other end of the spectrum is Zimbabwe, where boating down the Zambezi River with hippos and crocodiles in the distance and Victoria Falls thundering in the background gave Jen an understanding of how wild and incredible Africa truly is.
For the past 15 yrs I have been skiing and providing customized ski vacation packages to most ski resorts in Colorado, Park City, Wyoming, California and Nevada as well as Canada, Europe and Japan. While skiing is still my biggest passion, I have also become a big fan of Africa and a proud South Africa Fundi Specialist.
Melissa’s love of Africa was founded after her first visit to South Africa years ago. As the old saying goes, “Once you visit Africa, it stays in your soul”. This mantra is very true with her and visiting elephants, giraffes and rhinos in the wild is one of the best experiences of her life.
She has 14+ years experience planning luxury individual and group travel throughout the world. In addition, she is a “Certified South Africa Specialist” with additional training on action adventure, luxury, wildlife plus, culture and scenic beauty-focused travel. From zip-lining from Zambia to Zimbabwe to flying over Victoria Falls in a helicopter, walking with rangers looking for poachers in Kenya or boating in Lake Naivasha surrounded by hippos – she’s done it all and knows how to create a memorable experience for her clients.
Her personal travel includes touring throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya with plans of future travel back. South Africa is one of her personal favorite destinations to send clients due to the amazing diversity of the country. In one visit, travelers can experience amazing metropolitan cities, perfect sandy beaches, award-winning vineyards and top it off on safari with the big 7 (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whales). That type of
comprehensive experience is unheard of almost anywhere else in the world.
Melissa has a personal passion for animal conservation and recently spent a month vaccinating animals against rabies throughout rural Kenya. Melissa’s passion for African travel, her experience and knowledge of the continent and personal attention to detail will make planning your African experience perfectly flawless. She wants to give you the experience of a lifetime so Africa stays in your soul also.