Sent by Louw Marais
Abu Dhabi 12/07/2023
Whether you enjoy off the beaten track adventures, luxury safaris or travel because of your sport & hobbies - please ask ME!
I am uniquely positioned to help give you the best possible travel experience! I have explored Africa extensively from the cool waters lapping Cape Point to the peak of Kilimanjaro and the African Serengeti, which it watches over.
My travels have also led me to South America from the ancient Inca Trail to Brazil's sunny beaches; Indonesia; Sri Lanka, Singapore, Britain; USA; Iceland; the blue lakes, mountains and romantic cities of Europe as well as exploring the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.
It is my passion to bring this first-hand experience to people all around the world. I have been working with many travellers since 1995 to make their dreams come true from 5-star exclusive lodges to budget vacations.
Whether it’s the most vibrant cultural experience, action-packed adventure or breath-taking tranquil scenery that inspire you, I want to help you create that life-changing experience!
I'd love to hear from you.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
17 June 2019
A friend of mine described it as a city of neighbourhoods and eats – and I found him to be spot on while visiting this iconic city. San Francisco is at the coast with one of the most hilly city centres I’ve ever experienced. It is a bustling city offering nature lovers some space to go for hikes and bicycle rides, the art lovers space to express themselves as well as the many musicians. Some of the ‘have to see’ things here include the impressive Golden Gate Bridge with its massive steel structure (take a walk across the bridge), Alcatraz Island with its prison and Pier 39 with its fantastic markets. For families travelling with young children I can highly recommend the Exploratorium museum which allows visitors to explore the world through science, art, and human perception. Its mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. Take a tram or simply drive through some of the neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, the Mission and North Beach to get a feel for everyday life in San Francisco and its colourful characters.
17 June 2019
If you are short on time and wish to experience a bit of the famous Californian coast, take the drive south of San Francisco to Big Sur. Stop for lunch at Santa Cruz or take a cruise on one of the yachts at this beautiful coastal town. Continue south to Carmel by the Sea which has an overwhelming amount of art shops, boutiques, restaurants and boasts a fresh food market on some days. You can easily spend a few hours strolling the quaint streets and simply enjoying the interesting architecture of this historic town. Follow the coast further south to Big Sur and be rewarded with a dramatic coastline where you may stop along the way and take short hikes to enjoy the coastal vegetation – a real palette of colours in season! At Big Sur there are numerous hiking options and option to go to the beach, however expect cool waters and a fresh coastal breeze as the Pacific ocean here is not warm at all! Big Sur offers camping, motel and hotel accommodation to suit all price brackets.
17 June 2019
Ski in winter or sunbathe in summer. Among one of the oldest fresh water lakes in the world, Lake Tahoe has a surface elevation of 1,897 m and depth of up to 501m. In winter the surrounding mountains lie white with powder snow - ideal for snowboarding and skiing with easy access via cable cars. In summer months you can cycle & hike the mountains and surrounding areas or enjoy boat rides, swimming in the lake or simply relaxing on the shores of the lake. Accommodation varies from camping to luxury hotels with loads of options. The towns around the lake offers plenty of shopping & dining out. South Lake Tahoe is my personal favourite with its breath-taking views of the lake and yummy cuisine. The drive to and from South Lake Tahoe leads you over winding scenic mountain passes with lush green forests, mountain peaks and deep valleys with rushing rivers below.
17 June 2019
An aerial perspective – take a helicopter or fixed wing flight over the Grand Canyon to grasp the magnitude of this World Heritage site! The canyon is massive with a north, east, south and east rim to visit (though the north rim is closed for some months during the year due to weather conditions). The south rim is open year round with plenty of accommodation options from hotels to camping, be sure to pre-book at least 3 months in advance as spaces fill up quickly. You can get there by plane, rental car or train. Once in the Grand Canyon South Rim Village you can rent bicycles to get around or make use of the free shuttle busses between points. While in the park keep an eye out for elk wondering through the village as well as a number of different bird species. If you dare to hike down the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel trail be sure to take plenty of water and sun protection as the return hike is steep and may take you twice the time compared to hiking down – keep an eye on your watch! There are a number of short day hikes around the south rim viewing areas to various lookout points as well as some overnight hikes (such as the Bright Angel trail). You can easily find food at the shops and restaurants in the Village. The Grand Canyon is a wheelchair & pet friendly destination rewarding visitors with incredible sights of the massive canyon with its red, yellow, green and brown colour spectrum. This is totally worth a visit at least once in your life!
17 June 2019
It’s aridly dry on first glance, but once you start exploring Death Valley National Park’s little gems you will find so much scenic contrast. Yellow-red canyons cut into the earth offer you a chance to hike for a few hours to higher terrain to enjoy splendid views of the dry valley floor below. Follow the tar road from Furnace Creek to Badwater and stroll out into the desert to find yourself 282 ft below sea level. Here rocks ‘sail’ slowly over the harsh terrain with winds sweeping over the salty crust of earth. To the north and central part of the park you will find soft red dunes before mountainous terrain hugging the western side of the park. If you ever wondered what it feels like being on the moon – this is it! In fact, NASA use this terrain as a testing ground for some of their space equipment such as the upcoming Mars lander planned for 2021. Check with the visitor centre on arrival to find out what talk is on for the night, you won’t be disappointed to attend one of these informative talk evenings. Spend a night here looking up to the sky with bright stars and galaxies above. Accommodation varies from camping to hotel, though pre-booking well in advance is essential as space is limited.
17 June 2019
Lace up those hiking boots and head on over to the Yosemite National Park in California to enjoy fabulous day hikes (or overnight hikes if you wish). Yosemite is an all-round family destination with accommodation options from camping to hotel stays, but be sure to book at least 6 months in advance if you want to stay in, or near the iconic Yosemite Valley! Most of the facilities are wheelchair & pet friendly. There are a number of shops to either get food supplies or get specialist outdoor clothing & gadgets in the Yosemite Valley. From the moment you enter the Yosemite Valley you are rewarded with breath-taking views of the towering El Capitan, Half Dome and other famous mountains along with waterfalls, river and lakes. Elk antelope, various birds, squirrels etc are common sights here. Be sure to follow the very strict Bear food storage policies here to avoid a hefty fine. There are around 500 bears in Yosemite who are more active in summer months. Rent a bicycle to make your way around or use the free of charge Yosemite shuttle busses between points. These shuttles can get very busy, especially in the summer months. Personally, I can recommend the hike up to Nevada Falls and taking a drive to the south of Yosemite to view the giant Sequoia trees near Wawoma camp! A short wheelchair friendly walk between the Sequoia trees will leave you feeling like a ‘tiny ant’ as one of my friends described it. If you are heading to California and enjoy the great outdoors, this should be on your itinerary for sure!
17 June 2019
If you enjoy late night parties, wish to try your luck at winning some $$ and see some fabulous shows, Las Vegas might tick those boxes. Be sure to stay on the ‘strip’ as they call it if you want to be within walking distance of various casinos, shows, restaurants and shops. Accommodation on the strip is widely themed from Venice, Paris, to Circus inspired, each offering their own unique architecture, entertainment and restaurants. This may be overwhelming if you are on the conservative side in which case you can stay just outside the strip, and visit some of the iconic sites in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. You can enjoy a day tour with helicopter to Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon. If you are planning to travel with children keep in mind alcohol use, skimpy dresses, smoke and gambling are the order of the day on the strip, no matter the hour. Make the most of your journey to Las Vegas and add a few days to go see the Grand Canyon (approx. 4 hours by road from Las Vegas) or head to some of America’s National Park such as Sequoia National Park and Joshua Tree en-route to Los Angeles.
26 September 2016
Scenes from ‘Out of Africa’ are not just for Hollywood actors or movie lovers. These scenes are accessible to any traveller wanting to enjoy a safe safari in Africa whilst paying a fair price. Imagine sipping your tea early morning on a veranda overlooking the Masai Mara with thousands of wildebeest grazing right in front of you. Imagine cooling off in the Indian Ocean waters whilst staying at a beach resort in Mombasa or Malindi beach. Kenya offers the best of both worlds. Kenya is an all-round destination offering incredible cuisine and great cultural interaction with tribes such as the Maasai. The pristine beaches and fantastic wildlife seem at odds with today’s modern world - it almost doesn’t seem possible anymore. But thank goodness there are still places like Kenya! Adventurous travellers can enjoy golf in the Great Rift Valley, camel safaris in Laikipia, kite-surfing at the coast or mountain climbing/hiking at Mt Kenya. Kayaking, sailing, cycling and much more are also on offer. The Great Rift Valley Lakes, known for their stunning birdlife as well as game are a must on any traveller’s list. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the three alkaline lakes of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita are on the floor of the Great Rift Valley where major volcanic and/or tectonic events have shaped a distinctive landscape. Thirteen globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world are found here. For the lesser flamingo it is the single most important foraging site in the world and it is also a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. In addition this area features mammals such as the black rhino, greater kudu, lion, cheetah, Rothschild’s giraffe and wild dog. The Masai Mara is no stranger to animal lovers and is a worthy contender to be on anybody’s bucket list. No visit to Kenya is complete without a few days in the bush observing the animal kingdom. This national park is also home to the annual wildebeest migration where thousands of wildebeest and zebra go in search of water and better feeding grounds. The best time to view the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara is generally from August to early October (subject to rainfall patterns). There are many stunning lodges in the area to stay at which cater for families, private VIP parties and also more budget travellers. A number of other wildlife areas such as Samburu, Amboseli, Tsavo, Abedares and Shimba Hills are well worth a visit. Ask ME now to assist you in putting your perfect holiday together. I’ve personally travelled extensively to this stunning part of Africa and have all the tips in the bag for an unforgettable experience!
26 September 2016
Kilimanjaro, also known as Africa’s Leading Lady, is close to my heart! I’ve seen her more times than I can count, not just from below, but also from above. It’s been a privilege to have hiked up the dusty crater walls to the peak three times, and be rewarded with the most magical and unforgettable sunrises from the roof of Africa. How do you reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro? ‘Step by step’! There are 7 main routes up Kilimanjaro. With unique and incredible sights, all of them lead to where most hikers ultimately want to be – the summit! In order to decide on a route, prepare for the hike as well as what to pack, ask me for advice. With over 17 years’ experience operating Mt Kilimanjaro hikes and a lot of first-hand experience climbing her; I’m in a great position to guide you every step of the way! The best time to hike Kilimanjaro is generally in January – early March and then again from July – October. Stop procrastinating about your once in a life time climb and call me now to set your dream in motion!
19 September 2016
Pack your mountain bike, snorkel & flippers and head to Khorfakkan. Nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Shumayliyah Mountains, rising to 1,023 metres (3,356 ft) at Jebel al Hilqah, this coastal town offers a great escape for those wishing to escape the busy cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I found this area to be pleasant, quiet and most interesting. Explore some of the many wadis between the rugged mountains with your mountain bike and be amazed. Just remember plenty of water and sun block! Or if you fancy, jump into the cool ocean and snorkel around Snoopy Island. The access from the beach to Snoopy Island is ridiculously easy for young and old. Within a minute or two of snorkeling you will encounter a marine wonderland - from sea turtles, colorful parrot fish, clown fish to cuttlefish. There are also opportunity to go deep-sea dive for those wishing to wonder deeper into the blue ocean. Khorfakkan also have something for those interested in history and culture. It is for sure a great escape, even if just for 1 night! I felt as if I was away on a week holiday after just a short stay in this area. It is for sure ideal for families with small kids and adventure seekers alike. Allow me to help you escape the city too!
22 July 2016
After swimming amongst giant sea turtles, spotting Dory’s and Nemo’s while snorkelling, I just sat on the front of the boat, wind blowing through my hair admiring the Shangri La Villingili Resort and Spa on the tiny island as we approached. I have totally fallen for this gem in the Maldives! Just over an hour’s flight south from Male (the capital of the Maldives), and under 4 hours flight from Dubai, this Indian Ocean Island is great for a short or long getaway. Villingili is 3km long and offers great water sports activities including diving, snorkelling, kite-surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing and sailing. It’s enchanting spell isn’t limited to the white beaches and torquise water. There is a lush 12 hectare forest, towering banyan trees, approx. 17,000 coconut palms, 45 species of plants, 3 natural fresh water lagoons and nature trails for adventurers to explore. Each villa has its own complement of bicycles for you to use or if ultimate relaxation is your goal, you can be shuttled around in a golf-car. There is also a golf course, spa and yoga centre, kids club and 3 restaurants to choose from on the island. Accommodation varies from stunning villas built on silts in the ocean to beach villas with private infinity pools. The rooms are amazingly luxurious with loads of space, a beautiful bathroom with bath, inside and outside showers as well as the expected mini-bar and coffee station. There are options for Villas which cater for families with small children while others offer complete privacy with a separate living room. Aside from being a superb establishment, Shangri-La has a great biodiversity conservation plan in place, supports local business and has good recycling practices. This island really surprised me on so many levels. Overall the Maldives was a fairy-tale experience and I would love to share it with as many friends as I can! I highly recommend this part of the world to anyone – from water sport junkies to those just needing to put their feet up in an idyllic environment. Ask me for more details or a cost estimate: email@example.com
08 November 2015
If you enjoy a good bottle of wine, loads of sunshine and interesting shopping experiences, I would highly recommend Cape Town, South Africa. The city’s trendy restaurants, vibrant nightlight and many creative arts and craft markets cater for the discerning travellers. Wander down Long Street or find yourself lost in the Food Lovers Market at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront. For families and children, including those young at heart, the aquarium is a great place to learn more about Southern Africa’s unique marine life. If you fancy putting on your walking shoes, a hike up Table Mountain is an unforgettable experience with a real feeling of achievement when you get to the top! Otherwise the state of the art revolving cable car delivers breath-taking views of Cape Town and surrounding areas in comfort without breaking a sweat. After some scenic selfies from Table Mountain what about a crafters beer tour with your friends followed by a once in a life-time paragliding tandem flight off Lions Head (maybe having that beer to steady the nerves earlier wasn’t a bad idea!) Or why not head down to the beach to enjoy some sailing and hop on a bicycle for a guided tour around the city. The possibilities are endless! Just a short drive north, outside of the city, some of the finest wine farms in the world can be found. Explore the towns of Stellenbosch, Tulbagh and more within a 2 hour’s drive from the ‘Mother City’, Cape Town. The wine tours in the region offer spectacularly good wine at even better prices. The only problem is you’ll be left wondering why one pays so much for average wine in the rest of the world! To the south of Cape Town you will find more wine farms in picturesque settings such as Constantia and also the towns of Muizenberg, Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town each with their own unique feel. Take a short walk in the Cape Point National Park to reach the most south-westerly tip of Africa! Follow the road from the south past Hout Bay and Noordhoek along Chapman’s Peak, the views are simply astounding, don’t crash your car eyes on the road! Some of the annual events in and around this beautiful city include the Two Oceans Marathon and Argus Cycle Race which make great use of the spectacular scenery. Contact me to tailor make you a holiday to suit your needs… as ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ paced as you want it!
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