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Traveler’s Corner – Karen & Craig Say ‘Cheers’ to Africa

March 12, 2021  By: Gretchen

Cape Town is an unexpected introduction to Africa, and is hardly the kind of place that most people expect when they think of the continent.

It’s a stunning city with a cosmopolitan vibe perched on the southwestern tip of Africa. Nestled within the ‘bowl’ of iconic Table Mountain, the city pulses with life. Some of the world’s best restaurants are found in the area, as well as rich history and culture, biodiversity, adventure activities and incredible beauty.

Cape Town, South Africa is a great pre or post-safari destination. Whether it’s to ease into Africa or to ease back into ‘real life’ at the end of your vacation, it’s a memorable place to kick back and enjoy the finer things in life.

group at top of Table Mountain
"We loved cosmopolitan, diverse Cape Town - our trip had absolutely everything and something for everyone. An amazing city, diverse experiences, spectacular wine country, sheer beauty, delicious food...we have to commend you!"

A few years ago Karen, Craig and friends Russell and Nancy took Cape Town and the Western Cape by the horns and didn’t let go! They spent enough time to get to know the city, the Cape Peninsula and the Winelands before heading on a Southern African safari.

group at wine tasting

Winelands tips from Karen and Craig:

  • We loved Neethlingshof wine farm for their beautiful grounds, the charm, sculptures and lakes
  • La Motte was our favorite winery for the wine itself. We especially enjoyed the tasting there.
  • Fairview winery is known for its goat cheese, which is a really nice addition to the wine pairings. They also had a huge market with cheese and baked goods and candy – it was fabulous!

They also knew that the region is a food destination and took full advantage, including two particularly memorable meals. Karen and Craig were among the last lucky people to dine at the famous Flagship restaurant before it closed its doors. While food was fantastic, their meal was made even more memorable as they saw enormous pod of dolphins and two whales as they were dining.

They also visited The Tasting Room in Franschhoek, which is consistently voted among the world’s top restaurants.

group at dinner
"The Tasting Room was so unusual and incredibly artistic. We have eaten all over the world and this was probably the best meal and wine pairing we've ever experienced."

They chose the tasting menu and were served eight courses – each couple got a different course with enough to share, so they were actually able to appreciate sixteen different dishes over the course of the evening. Their favorite course was a dessert called “Snow Globe Num Num Ginger & Rice Pops” – a spectacular blown sugar snow globe, 5″ in diameter, with fruit and sweet marscapone inside with chocolate drizzled on top. While beautiful to look at, the taste was extraordinary.

Karen and Craig suggest making reservations well in advance (which AAC can do for you!).

2 wild dogs

Appetites sated, Karen and Craig headed off on safari in South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls. Being seasoned safari-goers after travels to East Africa, we were curious as to what experiences stood out the most for them. They were most impressed with their close encounters with lions and leopards, as well as with their special sighting of wild dogs.

Karen had especially wanted to see wild dogs, as they had not seen them while in East Africa, and Chris, their guide, worked hard to help her find them. He coordinated with all of his colleagues to ensure that if the chance arose that Karen would be there. Sure enough, Chris managed to find them, and Karen and Craig got to watch the pack track an impala, and even followed them off road for a while.

lions at night
"Game drives in Sabi Sand were over the top. Being able to go off road is great! We followed several animals through the bush - you don't know what's around the next corner. Your adrenaline really gets going when you're tracking a predator and hoping to see a kill. Another sighting highlight was seeing five male lions at night. After dusk they slowly took off - one came really close to the truck. It seemed like the lion could just jump in our open vehicle, but guides know their habits and behaviors, so we weren't concerned. As they left, they all roared - it was so exciting!"

Karen and Craig appreciated their expert guides throughout the trip. During many of their adventures, they chose to have a private guide.

"If we had planned without AAC, we wouldn't have done many of these things. Guides make the trip - this is why we want private guides."
leopard by game drive vehicle

Overall, there were too many highlights and exciting moments to mention. All of us at AAC enjoyed listening to stories of Karen and Craig’s adventures, as well as seeing their photos and videos. Hearing from our happy clients is one of the best parts of our jobs!

"We appreciate your excellent customer service. We travel extensively and we will gladly recommend (and already have) AAC to our friends and colleagues."

We appreciate being entrusted with a trip that many consider a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience, though after a taste of Africa, many travelers go back for more. Whether it’s your first time to the continent or your 10th, we have the expertise to create an unforgettable experience for you.

Want to Experience South Africa for Yourself?

Photos courtesy of AAC Livingstone Club member Karen W.