Cheers: South African Safari
Real Life Story: “E” is for Expertise
This is another Real Life Story article in our We Speak Travel-Ease campaign.
While it sounds exciting, even sentimental, to plan your next travel adventure on your own using the wealth of resources available on the internet, it can be a daunting task and ultimately end in frustration and disappointment without the expert guidance of a professional travel advisor. At Avant, travel is our passion. It’s what we do … all day, every day. Our advisors are experts in travel planning and we’ve been doing it for almost 30 years!
Wendy is one of our “travel experts” and she recently put together an amazing trip for Sara and John that combined a trip to Cape Town and the surrounding wine region, followed by a safari with one of our preferred suppliers, Cox and Kings, in the Sabi Sands of South Africa. Sara and John were so kind to take the time to each write their own testimonials below, both of which illustrate Wendy’s expertise in putting this complex itinerary together to maximize their enjoyment and minimize any inconveniences associated with their trip.
I just wanted to drop a quick note to thank Wendy for arranging such a wonderful visit to Cape Town and the wine region in South Africa. The entire trip went according to plan, with rapid and efficient transport between all hotels and wineries as well as the historical sights in Cape Town. Franschhoek, in the heart of wine country, was one of the most picturesque cities I have ever visited, and we were very happy to have an enthusiastic and dedicated driver (Thomas) to take us to several amazingly high-quality wineries. In Cape Town, Thomas proved an amazing guide, providing political and historical background to all the sights we visited, including Table Mountain, the fur seal colony, and the Cape penguin reserve. It was amazing to see the Cape of Good Hope; its rocky shores and wind-swept cliffs made sense of its original name (Cape of Storms), and it came as no surprise that so many shipwrecks have occurred there. The reserved hotel in Cape Town was beautiful and centrally located (near some fabulous shopping), and we also appreciate the restaurant reservations you were able to arrange for us – some of these are on the San Pellegrino list of “Top 50 Restaurants in the World” – and they were spectacular. Avant made this trip so easy – we can’t wait to go back!
Thank you Wendy for arranging an amazing 4-day safari in the Sabi Sands of South Africa! Although you can only access the Ulusaba game reserve by a chartered small plane, your arrangements had us met at our hotel and personally escorted to the small airport for the trip – no way for us to get lost! Once at the reserve in our perch high above the bush (we could photograph impala and elephants from our room), everything was taken care of, and the free massages we were provided for booking through Avant were much appreciated. But of course, the most amazing thing was the wildlife. On our first excursion (which happened within 3 hours of our arrival), we saw leopard, elephants, and rhinos – 3 of the big 5 right off the bat. I still can’t believe how close we were able to get to the animals; we just had to rely on our ranger to keep us at a safe distance. Within the day we were able to watch lions hunting, stampeding giraffes, and a leopard hiding its recent prey in a tree – although just a few days later we caught hyenas pulling that same prey back down. Our ranger was also an avid bird watcher, and he pointed out quite a few species that are unique to that part of Africa. Having sun-downer cocktails or sunrise Amarula hot chocolates while out in the wilderness was quite a bonus! By the end of our stay, we had seen African wild dogs, cheetahs, and even a pangolin (one of the rarest mammals in the world). We had thought that this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but we had such an incredible experience, we will be getting in touch with Avant soon to arrange another trip next summer. Easily the most amazing experience of our lives!
Thank you, Sara and John, for sending me such an informative and flattering client testimonial. I’m so glad you had such a fabulous trip and loved hearing that you will be booking with us again soon. I can’t wait to hear where you’re going next and I’m excited to help with all the arrangements!