by Justine Ryan on June 15, 2020
6 min read

I know it may sound like a cliché, but honestly, I love my job with Rhino Africa. The travel experiences we get to enjoy, so we become experts in our field, and passing this knowledge onto our guests gives me immense satisfaction. But the real joy comes in working for a company dedicated to giving back to society and invested in protecting our wild animals and spaces. It makes me so proud knowing that what I am passionate about directly supports wildlife conservation projects, local rural communities and children’s education. And thats why, even after a decade of working for Rhino Africa, I could never imagine myself working anywhere else.

An incredibly humbling experience being this close to a wild elephant

Why Travel to Africa?

As Covid-19 has swept across the world, we have all been confined to small spaces during lockdown. I’m sure this has given you time to start working on that bucket list! Now is the ultimate opportunity to visit Africa, its vast open landscapes and wildlife in abundance. You will reconnect with nature and all it has to offer. I recommend an itinerary, which includes a vibrant beautiful city, world class culinary options, unique wildlife habitat in the largest private reserve along with the Big 5.

Enjoy a travel experience that avoids commercial airports, and only exposes yourself to wide open spaces. Think elephants, rhino, leopard, lions, buffalo, pangolin, meerkats, aardvark – these are bucket lists of their own! There simply is no better time to book, as the favourable exchange rates mean Africa has never been more affordable – and what’s more most of our partners are holding their 2020 rates into 2021! This is a trip to clear the mind and enjoy the open space of Africa.

My Ultimate “Sense of Freedom Safari

Cape Town is a perfect place to start and acclimate after your long-haul flight. Staying at MannaBay, a boutique hotel boasting the best city and Table Mountain views, you will have time to adjust from your jet lag and an opportunity to experience a scenic city surrounded by mountains and oceans. You might want to immigrate!

I always recommend at least four nights, which will give you three full days to explore the surrounding areas with your private guide. Not to be missed is Cape Point, the penguins at Boulders Beach, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the V&A Waterfront. You can reach the top of Table Mountain by cable car, but if you’re fit enough I highly recommend hiking up with a personal guide. Visit local art galleries, markets, boutique stores, beaches and our Cape Winelands to top up on world class culinary experiences. There is more than enough in our Mother City to inspire you.

After your stay in Cape Town, we will fly to Tswalu Private Game Reserve, Africa’s largest private reserve. Departing from a private lounge alongside Cape Town International Airport, you will avoid the crowds, long queues and paparazzi!

Treated like royalty on safari with my husband Terence. Photo Credit: Belmond Safaris

Tswalu Private Game Reserve is located in the Kalahari, offering a unique safari experience. Imagine 110 000 hectares of wilderness and forever landscapes crawling with unique wildlife. Tswalu is listed as one National Geographic most unique Lodges in the World.

Travelling to Tswalu, you will most likely see pangolin, aardvark, wild dog, lion, meerkats, black-main lions as well as other wildlife and predators. I love to pair Tswalu with the Sabi Sand as they are two vastly different eco-experiences to tick off on one bucket list trip. Tswalu has an arid terrain in contrast to Kruger’s bushveld, which has a rich river system, allowing an opportunity to experience vastly different fauna and flora.

With a quick connection in Johannesburg, the transfer between Tswalu and the Sabi Sand in Kruger is effortless. Don’t tell anyone I said so, but there are only two places to stay in Sabi Sand – Silvan Safari, or Londolozi – both luxury boutique lodges in the heart of the Sabi Sand!

A phenomenal family holiday at Silvan Safari, with my husband Terence and my 2 nephews

The Sabi Sand is well known for incredible leopard sightings, wild dogs, the Big 5 and much more. Wherever you stay, your time in Sabi Sand will expose you to the true magic of the African bush as never before! The only thing you’ll be thinking at the end of this holiday is – When can I return!

Why I recommend this Tour

With us all excited to start travelling again and uncertain as to the airport procedures, this city and bush itinerary is the ultimate “social distancing” holiday. The combination of destinations, hotel and lodges ensures you can relax and enjoy the freedom of Africa’s open spaces and incredible wildlife sightings.

The wide open spaces make Africa the perfect social distancing destination. Photo Credit: Belmond Safaris

Here are a few reasons why I love these properties so much:

MannaBay

  • Only 8 suites – Home away from Home with legendary service
  • The best views of the Mother City
  • Table Mountain – A natural wonder in your backyard
  • Private airport and city dinner transfers with their private vehicle
  • Max of 16 guests

Tswalu

  • Unique habitat and wildlife “once in a lifetime” sightings for pangolin, aardvark, meerkats, honey badgers and other predators
  • Every rooms enjoys their own private vehicle
  • 110 000 hectares of private wildlife reserve
  • Max of 28 guests – but you might not even notice them

Silvan Safari & Londolozi

  • In the heart of the Sabi Sand Private Reserve
  • Best Big 5 game Viewing
  • Leopards Leopards & more Leopards!

 

What makes my job so special?

I’m always honoured to be able to work so closely with my clients; in the end I often feel like I become part of their family, creating the most exciting Africa travels together with them. To be the curator of what is sometimes a “once in a lifetime” experience, or even a 5th African Safari, gives me so much joy and satisfaction.

All aboard! Justine, the ranger in action

This is often just the start, more often than not, I get to meet my clients during their time in Cape Town and share highlights of their trip or reconnect once they have returned home safely and share in their exciting safari tales.

I can’t explain the goosebumps and smiles I get from this. The most common response is “we will be back, it was the best holiday experience ever and everything exceeded our expectations”.

Featured Image Credit: Belmond Safaris

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