I was born in Los Angeles into a travel loving family (my mother was born on a tea plantation in India). I was able to spend a lot of time on the beach and exploring the National Parks on the West Coast as a child. My family are English, and we eventually returned to London. While at university I met my future husband, who is from Cape Town. He took me on my first safari, and I caught the safari bug!
When we were students, we spent our holidays driving through Namibia in a VW Golf with a tent in the boot or camping in the Serengeti. We spent 10 years living in South Africa, travelling as much as we could and enjoying the amazing lifestyle Cape Town offers. We returned to London in 2019 and I am lucky enough to still work in African travel and share my love and passion for the continent with my clients.
Q&A with Elaine our Africa & Morocco Specialist
What is your favourite travel memory?
Taking my children on safari for the first time was incredible. I was able to share with them my favourite thing to do. We went on a malaria free safari in South Africa and they became ridiculously excited at every animal sighting. Seeing an elephant up close for the first time shocked them both into silence. In the evenings I would watch them dancing to African drums around a campfire before passing out with exhaustion.
Your most annoying travelling habit?
I have a thing about travelling with the smallest bag possible and I always struggle to close it!
What 5 things do you always travel with?
A good book, snacks, phone charger, flip flops and music.
What is on your bucket list?
I have always wanted to visit Vietnam and Cambodia. The combination of great food, history, culture, and beautiful beaches appeals to me!
You are stranded on a desert island with 2 famous people, who are they?
David Attenborough to explain what the wildlife is on the island and because I suspect he has a lot of good stories to tell. I love food so a chef would be a good choice to take with me. Gino D’Acampo would be great as I love Italian food and he makes me laugh, which is a bonus.
Why would you recommend an African Safari?
An African safari is a totally unique holiday – observing animals in their natural environment is an addictive experience! You are up early for a game drive to catch the animals when they are active in the early morning sun. Your guide will track and explain the animal’s behaviour and habits. Then you return to the lodge for a full breakfast and then in the midday heat, you can relax by the pool. You then head out again in the late afternoon on a game drive, stopping for a drink in the reserve as you watch the sunset. When you couple this with luxury accommodation and outstanding food and wine, it is unbeatable!
Throughout my travels there are some experiences and memories which stand out. I would like to share these recommendations with you for some travel inspiration..
Favourite Safari Destination
Linkwasha Camp – Hwange Park – Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is an incredibly special place to visit where the warmth and hospitality of the local people is legendary. They also have some of the finest guides in Africa, many who are trained to do walking safaris for those who want to get up close and personal with the wildlife!
My favourite camp is Linkwasha Camp which is contemporary and luxurious. It holds a prime position in front of a remarkably busy water hole, so you there is wildlife often parading in front of your room. The guides at Linkwasha are some of the best in the business and their passion for the wildlife is infectious. The rooms are enormous, offering every facility you could wish for. It offers a more modern safari feel as opposed to the classic safari camp atmosphere.
Groot Constantia Wine Estate – Cape Town, South Africa
Founded back in 1679 by Simon van Der Stel (Governor of the Cape), this is the oldest wine estate in Southern Africa.
There is evidence that Napoleon Bonaparte enjoyed wine from this estate and had it shipped to him in France. It is now a perfectly preserved example of a historical wine estate.
You can walk amongst the vineyards, tour the cellars, explore the original manor house and, of course, indulge in some wine tasting. I love this estate as it is a beautiful place to walk in and allows you to imagine what life was like so long ago. I am also rather keen on their rosé wine!
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi
For me, no trip to Nairobi is complete without a visit to this charity. The charity rescues orphaned baby elephants in the wild and brings them to the centre in Nairobi. Here they raise the baby elephants and prepare them to be released back in the wild.
Watching the baby elephants was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. You can watch them play together, have a milk bottle and splash around in the mud. This is a seriously heart-warming and emotional place to visit. I of course immediately agreed to sponsor an elephant!
My Favourite City
This is an easy one for me as I spent 10 years living in Cape Town and I still think it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city is set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and is surrounded by the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. The area is home to some of the absolute best restaurants in Africa and world class wine estates. The city is full of colour, music and has a rich history and heritage. There is something for everyone.
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