The importance of Travel Insurance

Travel is a lot of fun! You see new places, meet amazing people and discover things you never knew were out there in the world… Unfortunately, travel is filled with lots of unforeseen circumstances. Weather, Holidays, Local Celebrations, Strikes, Flight delays and the likes are not uncommon and even the best pre-planning can’t always save you from everything. When planning your travels, make sure you consider the unplanned. Trip interruptions can be a nuisance, or they can turn into the best part of your trip. It’s all about preparation and how you deal with it.

Travel insurance can help make that difference. When flights are delayed or cancelled, insurance can help arrange hotels for the layover and even help rebook your flights. If a family member gets sick and you have to interrupt your trip to come home, insurance can help. They even help with lost luggage, can assist with identity theft and much more.

You’re not feeling well during your trip abroad and need to find a licensed doctor that speaks English, insurance will help get you to the best physician in the region. And if you feel that you can’t make it there, a doctor will come to your hotel room.

Some policies even include a concierge service. You’re traveling abroad and need dinner reservations or translations? No problem. Your insurance company is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can help.

Insurance is not just an optional add on to consider, it’s something I never travel without myself. It’s an added service to protect your investment. Not just your financial investment into a trip, but also your time, your health and your family. This way you can be at ease, knowing you’re protected wherever you go.

For more on the topic, visit: http://www.travelguard.com/whybuy/whytravelguard.asp?intcmp=clc-001-Nav-3-10Reasons

Now make sure you get the right coverage for you. Read the fine print and know how to contact your insurance while traveling, in case you need to.

Other than that, Happy Travels!

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South Africa Packing List – a quick reference guide

People ask me all the time, what to pack for Safari. With luggage weight restrictions it can seem a bit scare… I like to share my quick list from my last South Africa Trip (this was packing for 10 days). Almost all lodges have complimentary (or very inexpensive) laundry service. Most of it is same day service. So use it upon arrival to a new camp.

3-5 T-shirts
2 Tank tops
1 long sleeve jacket for the early mornings and evenings
1 pair of long pants
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of flat black shoes (dinner, shopping and driving tours)
1 bathing suit
1 PJ set
Enough undies and socks for the days needed
1 tube of sunscreen
1 can of insect repellent – with Deed
1 pair of Sunglasses
1 good camera, single lens (didn’t have enough time to switch between lenses as animals don’t stay still that long…)
1 wide brimmed hat – cover face and neck, especially on safari
1 scarf – can be windy on safari and covers your neck from the sun
1 notebook / journal to keep track of all the amazing things you are going to see and experience
1 bag pack to keep everything in while you tour throughout the day
1 refillable water bottle

Medications needed (prescription, malaria, over the counter like aspirin, Pepto, etc…)

Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, sanitizer, shaving razor and other items not provided by hotels/lodges)

Adapter/converter

Binoculars

Soft sided duffel (not roller bags) for light aircrafts (especially when camp hopping in the bush)

Currency used: Rand for South Africa (get from ATM at airport upon arrival)

15 Things to Expect on a FAM and How to Prepare

What to expect on a FAM and how to prepare?

1. Please note that a FAM is a work trip, not a vacation. Most have very structured daily activities and you are expected to participate in all of them.
2. Do some research before you go! You’ll know which properties you’re staying at so get to know them before the trip so you can ask detailed questions throughout the site inspections. It’s quite embarrassing to visit an adults only property and ask about their kids club…
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Hoteliers and managers invite you to learn more about their product. They are expecting questions, so don’t hold back!
4. Bring plenty of business cards. You will be shaking a lot of hands, so make sure you have enough cards on you.
5. Wear comfortable walking shoes – ALWAYS!
6. Show up on time for scheduled activities
7. Be excited to be there, even if a particular activity is not your first choice
8. Be professional (dress nice – country club casual always works), be polite and don’t drink too much and say things that will reflect poorly on your profession, your company, or Signature as a whole. (Remember – you are always representing your company AND Signature while on a FAM!)
9. Have a camera and notepad with you on site inspections
a. It works great if you write the name of hotel and room category down and take a picture of the page before taking room pictures. Do this for each room category to stay organized! If you see multiple hotels with various room categories at each hotel it can get quite confusing. And after a weeklong trip you won’t remember which picture was taken at which hotel…
10. Don’t assume that just because you’re a travel agent you’ll get certain ‘special’ privileges. You’re a guest at the property, just like everyone else.
11. Be humble. Hotels and suppliers invest a lot of time and money to have you come visit and experience their products/properties. Even if it isn’t your personal preference – ultimately you’re there to learn about it so you can be an expert in selling to someone else who will LOVE it!
12. Try to be engaged. A lot of FAM trips include round table discussions or supplier presentations. Do some research on the destination, suppliers, products that are being discussed and make sure you have some input.
13. Thank You notes are huge! Make sure to say Thank You after you return home. An email, a phone call or even better a hand written card are all it takes to establish long term working relationships. Let the suppliers and hotel managers know you value their time and appreciate the experience. It doesn’t have to be much, just acknowledge their efforts.
14. Most FAM’s will include a survey at the end of the trip. Take your time and really use the opportunity to give detailed feedback so they can provide the best experience for future guests.
15. Last but not least, have fun! Become friends with your fellow participants; enjoy the destination and the properties. There is always some free time to explore and have a good time.

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1. Please note that a FAM is a work trip, not a vacation. Most have very structured daily activities and you are expected to participate in all of them.

2. Do some research before you go! You’ll know which properties you’re staying at, so get to know them before the trip so you can ask detailed questions throughout the site inspections. It’s quite embarrassing to visit an adults only property and ask about their kids club…

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Hoteliers and managers invite you to learn more about their product. They are expecting questions, so don’t hold back!

4. Bring plenty of business cards. You will be shaking a lot of hands, so make sure you have enough cards on you.

5. Wear comfortable walking shoes – ALWAYS!

6. Show up on time for scheduled events.

7. Be excited to be there, even if a particular…

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Welcome to the Signature Young Advisors Community Blog!

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We have created this space for the Signature YAC members to write, share, educate, and promote pertinent travel information. We will be using this space as an outlet for not only Signature staff and board members, but all YAC members. We will create calendar events, post past webinars and announcements, and welcome guest bloggers (this means you).

Essentially this will be a hub for the YACers to hang out virtually and share their thoughts and expert advice. If you have any questions regarding the blog, feel free to contact us via the contact for found at the bottom of the Contact YAC page.

View original post

Barbados – May 2012

WOW! I just returned from Barbados and that really describes it best!

What a beautiful Island! I was fortunate enough to explore this amazing destination. We stayed at the Crane Resort which hosts stunning rooms with incredible views. (Click for Important Disclosures) The staff was very friendly and helpful and the food is great! A big thumbs up! I would also like to thank Michael the general manager for everything he did for us. He really went out of his way to make sure we are happy.

I also got to inspect the Fairmont Royal Pavilion. What a property. The patio rooms are literally leading right into the water. So amazing! The staff there was very nice and polite and the rooms are stunning. Definitely stop by and take a look for yourself. I added pictures below as a reference.

We also toured the West Coast Villas and had lunch at Aliseo – a stunning 9 Bedroom Villa! You will have to come see me to check out the pictures! They are amazing!

I can also recommend to Coral Reef Club, I have pictures as well.

We did the Island Safari Tour, which was hilarious! Our driver and guide Dwayne was a hoot! We had to pull over and stop for a few minutes as we were all laughing so hard that Dwayne couldn’t drive… We visited amazing viewpoints, saw monkeys, spend time on the beach and enjoyed some very delicious rum punch!

We also got to enjoy a Tiami Catamaran Cruise. The weather was great, the staff was a lot of fun, the drinks were flowing and we had multiple stops to swim and snorkel. The highlight was the snorkel with the turtles. But we also snorkeled a ship wreck and a Reef.

When you find yourself in Barbados a visit to Oistins is a MUST DO! Friday nights are the best! There are vendors with local arts and crafts, life music, and tons of people. It is the local hot spot! The food is amazing. It’s very casual as you sit outside. For dinner choose from the most amazing BBQ ever! It smells so delicious! To work off all the amazing food, life music is being played and you can just join the crowd in the street!

Also a MUST DO is dinner at Daphnees! It is one of the top 3 restaurants on the island. Every bite melted in my mouth! A 3 course meal will run about $100 per person (US Dollars), but it is worth every bite! An absolute must!

I hope you will enjoy my pictures. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!

 

** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **

Matterhorn, Glacier Express and Switzerland – September 2012

My husband always wanted to hike on the Matterhorn. This summer, we were able to cross this trip of our bucket list! (Click for Important Disclosures about Author)

We were visiting family in Dusseldorf and took an Air Berlin flight into Zurich. From there we ventured into Zermatt via train!

What a train ride! The scenery is amazing and behind every turn you find more amazing views.

We had a 1st Class train ticket and were the only passengers in the 1st Class Train Cart. As we got closer to Zermatt we were able to see Glacier appear in front of us, until they finally gave way to the magnificent view of the Matterhorn!

We arrived just around sunset and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. It was perfect!

From the train station we walked over to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Bellerive, which was suggested to us by the Zermatt Tourism Office. The hotel was fantastic. Very spacious rooms with an amazing free standing bathtub in the middle of the room. We didn’t have a Matterhorn view from our room, but once we stepped outside and crossed the street the view was amazing! All the tourists came to our street corner for sunrise to see the sun reflecting of the mountain.

After a very large meal of Swiss Cheese Fondue (which we easily could have shared with 4 more people) we walked the streets of Zermatt. It is a very charming town with cobble stone streets and many historical buildings.
The next morning we got on the train up to Cornergrat (the prime location to view the Matterhorn). We had a swiss rail pass so we were able to buy reduced tickets for the Cornergrat Tram (They are usually CHF 80 per person, but were discounted to CHF 40 per person). The train ride up takes quite a long time, as the mountain is very steep. Try to get a seat on the right hand side of the train, so you have an unobstructed view of the Matterhorn as you climb in elevation.

Once you arrive at the top, get off and enjoy the view! You are surrounded by Glaciers and have the Matterhorn directly in front of you. We opted to hike down the mountain, as it was a nice day, but you can also take the train back down. The hike is quite steep and on parts pretty slippery, but a wonderful path to walk. The views are stunning!!!

The next day we boarded the Glacier Express into St. Moritz. Now I have been on a lot of train, but this is something special! The entire train is made from glass, so you get amazing 180 degree views. We boarded the train in Zermatt at 9:30AM. We had first Class Seats, at a table for two. Around lunchtime we were served a 3 course meal (salad, spaetzle with goulash and steamed carrots and Tiramisu for dessert). The food was excellent and the service was fantastic! We actually were presented with warmed plates, and then 3 servers came by serving us continuously. They even came by for a second serving to make sure we had enough to eat.

What a fantastic way to say Good-bye to Zermatt! The landscape changed dramatically and my favorite spot was the Rheinschlucht. The water was so blue! Words fail to describe it, you just have to go and discover this train ride for yourself.

Feel free to reach out fwith questions.

 

** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **

Northwest UK – February 2013

I was just recently invited (Click for Important Disclosures) to go and explore beautiful Britain! As a certified Brit Agent, this was a great opportunity to explore a new part of the country. I flew from Phoenix to Atlanta and met up with some old friends and met some new friends as well.

We all got together in the Delta Airport Lounge in Atlanta. from Atlanta we boarded out non-stop flight to Manchester.Upon arrival we boarded a private transfer to our hotel.

We were staying at the midland Hotel in the heart of Manchester.

We were greeted with coffee, tea and pastries before getting to our rooms.
The Midland Hotels offers a few different room categories. I had the pleasure of being located on the top floor of the hotel in a Superior Room with large Bathroom. There are pictures below. The room was very spacious and offered nice views of the city.

After we all freshened up we walked two blocks to Albert’s Square where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Albert’s Chop House. I can highly recommend the Homity Pie and Syllabub for dessert! 😉

After a very filling lunch we started our Magical Mystery Tour. Our tour guide met us at the hotel and drove us to Liverpool. There we followed he footsteps of the Beatles! We saw John Lennon’s House, visited Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane and much more… A great tour for anybody! We ended the day with drinks at the famous Cavern Club.

After all that activity we enjoyed a great dinner at The Restaurant. I can highly recommend the Seabass and roasted butternut squash tarts… Delicious!

Feb 16: Today we got up early and made our way to the Lake District. We visited Windermere, Ambleside & Tarn Hows, Coniston, Langdale and Grasmere. The landscape is amazing! I can highly recommend it to any hiker. I wish we would have had a few days there to hike ourselves! A definite must come back to for me!

About mid-day we stopped for a great lunch at Hawkshead (great Soup, Sandwiches and Fish&Chips)!

After a long day of exploring we rested for about an hour or two and walked a few blocks to enjoy Cocktails at Cloud 23( a beautiful night club lounge on the 23rd floor of the Hilton). It’s a very stylish bar, and offers great cocktails while enjoying a fantastic view – You can see the whole city from here!

We ended the night with a fun dinner at Yang Sing. They have a taste menu, which will give you a nice across the board taste of the entire menu offered.

Feb 17: We started out last day with a Manchester Walking Tour. The city is very walkable and very clean. It’s a nice way to get some fresh air and explore the city.

We ended our walking tour at the MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry). This is a fantastic place for families with children. It’s a very interactive museum!

We walked through the main shopping areas to enjoy lunch at Aubaine Le Restaurant. It overlooks the entire Exchange Square.

From there we took the famous English taxi’s to the Old Trafford – Manchester United Stadium. The tour there is a MUST DO when in Manchester. Our guide was so passionate out the team and the history of the stadium. it was an amazing tour! We even got to go into the Locker Room! There are some pictures below as well.

From the stadium we headed to the Imperial War Museum. At first I wasn’t sure of this stop, but what a neat museum. They have the best artifacts and make it entertaining for young and old alike!

We celebrated out farewell dinner at Rosso, just a few blocks from the hotel. Rosso offers fantastic Italian Cuisine in a very unique atmosphere. The interior is stunning, with vaulted ceilings, live music and more… The staff is very friendly and the food is great!

It was an amazing trip. A huge THANK YOU again to the organizers: Visit Britain, Europe Express and Delta Airlines.

For questions, feel free to reach out!

** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **

Rhine Cruise – April 2013

We had an amazing time on the Cruise for the Critters Fundraiser! This was my first group trip, since I’ve become an agent (further explanation). At the high point here were 14 of us, including my husband and myself. We formed some great friendships and I am so excited we got to share this experience. A huge THANK YOU to everybody who traveled with us.

We started out trip in Lucerne, Switzerland. We flew into Zurich and got on the train to Lucerne. From the train station, it was a quick 6 minute bus ride to the hotel. the bus stop is conveniently located right outside the hotel. In the summer there is also a ferry connecting the hotel and the train station, but it was still too cold for that.

Hotel Seeburg offers amazing lake view rooms and includes a fantastic breakfast spread to choose from. Dinner at the restaurant is also a great options.

We spend our first full day touring Lucerne. We took the train into downtown and walked the narrow cobble stone streets. We found a small market and admired swans on the lake. When making your way through downtown, head up hill towards the old city walls. You can climb into the towers and find amazing views of the city. There are quite a few stairs, so you will get a nice workout…

For dinner we went to the “Stad­­tkeller”, where we enjoyed a traditional 4-Course Swiss Meal. Cheese Fondue, Rosti and all… The performances were a lot of fun. We had Alpen horns, Accordions, Played Waterglasses, saw Flag Dances, Yodeling (yes, we took part in the yodeling competition. There was free beer after all…), and much more…

The next day we took the train to Lugano. The ride is pretty shaky, but beautiful! We went straight through the Alps and were rewarded with Palm Trees and a very Italian atmosphere. We enjoyed lunch at Ristorante MARY. They serve a 1 meter long pizza. Delicious!

Now it was time to say good bye to Lucerne and make our way to Basel. We took the train into the city and met the ship at the Dreilaender Eck in Basel, Switzerland.

We boarded the AMA Cello and were welcome with a nice spread of sandwiches, coffee, tea, soups and cookies. Soon after we were able to check into our rooms. The ship is gorgeous, as you can see in the pictures below.

We had some group members join us here. A flight delay had them arriving pretty late. Our Chef (Stefan) and Sou-Chef stayed up and made up some fresh plates just for our 3 ladies. They were amazing! Thank you so much guys!

Our first stop was Breisach, Germany. We walked through the city a bit and then had a choice of going to Freiburg or Alsace & Riquewhir. I chose Freiburg and got a very nice city tour. Upon our return, my husband and I took the bicycles out for a spin. We went all over Breisach! There was a lot to explore. We saw the old Monastery, found a vineyard and went across the river to the other side a biked along the water for a while.

Our next stop was Strasbourg. We did a fantastic city tour in the morning. We saw the Strasbourg Notre Dam and explored the old city. After lunch we enjoyed a canal boat ride through the old town.

The next day we were in Speyer and did the excursion to Heidelberg. What a beautiful city. We went to the Heidelberg Castle and had plenty of free time to explore the city. We bought a few wines and schnapps and kept tasting the goods all throughout the cruise…

In the morning we arrived in Rudesheim. Here we had many choices of tours and decided on a Gondola Ride up the vineyards. It was a bit chilly, so after taking amazing pictures we went back down and warmed up with a local specialty: Rudesheimer Coffee. After lunch we cruised the “Rhine Gorge” which is lined with 31 medieval castles along the way. Our cruise manager Reka did a nice commentary along the way. For our group, we reserved the back lounge of the ship and had a private wine party all afternoon long. We arrived in Koblenz around dinner time and spend the night in port. We went to a local bar (Peanut Bar) and mingled a bit before heading back to the ship.

The next morning we found ourselves in Cologne. Since my family is from that region, I planned a special excursion that day. We got off the ship and boarded a private mini-bus. We drove to my mother’s house and got to see a real German home. My mom and grandmother prepared a fantastic home cooked lunch for all of us. We toured the neighbors house as well, where we were greeted with home made schnapps and lots of hugs! We only had 2 hours there, but on the return to the ship we had time left to stop at the Dome and have a look around. That evening we had our Gala Dinner and cruised over night to Amsterdam.

We arrived in Amsterdam in the morning. We enjoyed a Dutch Fruehschoppen (Brunch) with dutch beer and all, before getting off the ship. Most people in our group signed up to go on the Amsterdam Culinary Delights Tour. We knew it was going to include a cheese tasting, little did we know, we were making the cheese by hand… We arrived on a small farm and were presented with bowls of milk. The farmer/cheese maker told us by the end of the tour we would turn the milk into cheese. We had a blast and learned all about cheese making. I think we did rather well… 🙂 We also got some much needed animal interaction. There were cows and sheep and we got to hold a lamb. We also enjoyed coffee, tea, cookies and of course cheese!

In the morning it was time to say good bye to the AMA Cello and the dear staff! We took a taxi to our hotel in Amsterdam and were greeted with a lot of rain! We tried to walk around and explore, but being wet and cold is not much fun. We all needed a big nap and decided to break up until dinner. When the clouds broke up, I went into town and walked around a bit. This was not my first time to Amsterdam and I wanted to see how much had changed. Turns out, not much! We had dinner at the “New King” in Chinatown. Make sure you have reservations. Wait times can be up to 2 hours! After dinner we did a walk through the red light district as well.

The next day we split up into groups. A few people opted to visit a diamond fabric. Gassan is your best choice if looking for diamonds. Make sure to validate your receipts at the airport to get the VAT Tax reimbursed. Some others went to the Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh Exhibit and explored the city. For dinner we chose a small Pizza place downtown.

The last day in Amsterdam, we did an excursion into the countryside. We saw Voleendam, Marken and the Windmills. There was a lot of cheese making, clog making and of course the Windmills. The sun was out and we had a great time! For dinner we went to De Waag! It’s a stunning restaurant, all lit by real candles with an amazing menu. It was the perfect end, to a perfect trip!

I am so happy I was able to share this experience with many of my friends and clients. I hope you all had as much fun as I did! It was a very special trip and we raised a great amount of money for our non-profit organization: Paw Placement of Northern Arizona(ww­­w.ppnaz.org).

 

For questions, contact Daniela!

** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **

Wine Cruise, Danube – November 2013

This past November we sailed the Danube fro Budapest to Prague with our Arizona Wine Makers Group (click for important disclosures about authors relationship to group).

We started our trip in Budapest, with an overnight at Le Meridien. Not only is this a stunning hotel, but it’s within walking distance to the ship. We had a fantastic stay! The hop on hop off bus has a stop across the street and the pedestrian only shopping area is out the back door. It doesn’t get much better than that! Continue reading

South Africa – March 2014

I was lucky to have been selected one of 7 travel consultants to participate in an Educational Journey to South Africa this spring (click for further explanation). After completing my FUNDI Specialist Training for the destination, I was so happy to have a chance to visit!

Our journey started in Cape Town. We spend a few nights at the beautiful One&Only, which has very large rooms, a great view of Table Mountain, great food and excellent service. I loved every second here and can’t wait to go back to visit!

We explored Table Mountain, make sure to arrive early as the crowds can become quite overwhelming and there are no shady spots to stand in line in. The tram up the mountain only takes about 2 minutes, and revolves 360* for excellent views. Once at the top, plan about 1-2 hours to walk around on the top and explore the area. There are easy walking trails all over the place. For the more avid hiker, you can hike to the top instead of taking the tram.

After a long day, we had a phenomenal dinner at Cape Grace! The hotel is set in the perfect location at the Waterfront, between the marina and the harbor. There is an adult only floor, a very popular wine bar and my favorite: a whiskey bar! The Cape Grace stocks over 580 different whiskeys and arranges tastings, parties and whiskey-fo­­od-pairings!

Next we went to the Western Peninsula and visited Boulders and the Cape of Good Hope. It’s a beautiful drive along the stunning cliff side of the country. Depending on the time of year, you have great whale watching here. It’s a nice leisurely drive. Stop at Boulders, where you can visit the South African Penguins. They are adorable and love to pose for pictures!

On the way back we stopped at the Boat House! Chef Bruce prepared a special lunch for us in his private home. It was quite the experience. He only uses ingredients that he bought, gardened or harvested within a 12km radius from his house. How cool is that!?! It’s farm to table style food and was delicious!

Next we stayed at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, the oldest hotel in Cape Town. The property is a historical landmark, more than 150 years old. It was the hot spot when the big steam ships crossed the oceans and is still a hot spot today! The restaurant is stunning and it’ a definite evening highlight in the city! Make sure to dress to impress when you come for dinner or cocktails, and request the special Chef’s Table Dinner. you’ll be served in the kitchen, by the chef itself!

The waterfront area is very safe to walk around in and explore. We did some great shopping at the Red Barn! I also went to visit Robben Island. It’s a bit depressing, and you need to plan at last 4 hours for this tour! Make sure you have a vested interest in the subject, otherwise you are losing a lot of time! The views are worth it though!

From Cape Town we worked our way to Franschhoek. Along the way we stopped at Waterford Vineyards in Stellenbosch. A very quaint vineyard that offers a unique chocolate-wine tasting. make sure to stop by for a quick taste or two…

In Franschhoek, we stayed at La Residence. Words cannot describe this place! The hotel started as a private residence, and was converted to a boutique hotel. Every room decor has a completely different theme and the grounds are to die for! Just imagine sipping champagne in your bathtub, while overlooking the entire vineyard…! An absolute must a definitely a trip highlight for me!

After our relaxing stay at La Residence it was time for safari! I flew all the way to Hoedspruit, and visited Royal Malewane. The hidden lodge takes your breath away! You have the amazing Liz Biden decor throughout and the staff is the friendliest I have ever met. Everything about this place makes you feel familiar! It’s not like visiting a new place, but rather like coming back home. Everybody greets you by first name, gives the best hugs and treats you like an old pal! It was incredible. i felt so at home, it was very hard to leave! Our guide and tracker were amazing and very educational.

We got so close to the wildlife, it was unreal!

I sincerely hope that everyone will have to opportunity to visit Africa at least once, but let me warn you it is addictive. I can not imagine anyone visiting and not completely falling in love with this beautiful and amazing continent! Contact me for questions!

**Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation).**

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