As someone working in travel, it’s imperative that I spend a lot of time on the ground. Doing so ensures that I’m able to thoroughly discover, uncover and, in turn, share my findings with our clients.
Today I wanted to share my thoughts on the travel I’ve done this year: places I’ve visited, discoveries I’ve made and moments that have left a lasting imprint. These range from the African wilderness to urban hotspots around the world.
One thing I’ve been reflecting on this year is time. With each year that goes by, the principle that guides my travels is the commitment to not rush and that less is truly more. It’s about savoring moments and giving yourself the time to truly explore a destination and uncover its hidden treasures. I recently wrote about the concept of ‘Slow Safaris’, which is a philosophy I try to live by when on the road.
In May I traveled to Cape Town for the ‘We Are Africa’ travel trade event, which I consider to be the most significant gathering of people in the safari industry. As the epicenter of African tourism, and with its incredible food scene and densely layered culture, Cape Town is the perfect setting for this impressive event.
This was the first time since Covid that it felt that the industry was back in full swing; everyone was looking forward with energy and enthusiasm. It was great, as always, to reconnect with travel partners and very interesting to learn about so many suppliers that have really leaned in and upped their games since the pandemic.
I also love visiting South Africa at this time of year. Considered the tail end of the season, this is a period when you can feel the real essence of the Cape more. Winter is starting to creep in, yet it remains a beautiful time to be in the country.
Laikipia, in Kenya, is probably my favourite place in Africa and somewhere I was lucky to visit a few times this year. The natural beauty and diversity of the landscapes combined with the sense of peace you still are able to experience there makes it very unique. Still largely uncommercialised, the area maintains a feel about it that is very raw, original and untouched.
Vic Falls in Zimbabwe is my hub in Africa. As somewhere where I used to live, and where my mother is now based, this feels in a way like home. Visiting in my favourite season – April and May – is always a great experience. After the rains, the region is so lush with wonderful warm temperatures. Not yet peak season, the crowds have not yet arrived. All in all, it’s a lovely season to visit.
A recent recce to the Seychelles unveiled the distinct character of each island and the extraordinary biodiversity that sets this region apart. The combination of marine and terrestrial biodiversity in the Seychelles is truly unique and unlike anywhere else in the Indian Ocean. While there, I enjoyed visiting a number of resorts that had been on my wishlist for a while, while also revisiting old favourites.
A very enjoyable visit to Art Basel earlier this summer offered a window into the current state of the contemporary art world. A beautiful historic town, Basel itself is a super interesting contrast to the art on display. Incredibly varied and inspiring, I loved every minute of the show; from observing attendees and exhibitors to visiting the different galleries and works on display. A particular favourite was New York-based Pace Gallery. We hope to return next year for a longer stay.
A week of relaxation in northern Ibiza was a refreshing break. I savored curated experiences and rediscovered the island’s original charm and energy; which is especially present and in its original form in the north. Highlights included a private Eduardo Castillo event in a Blakstad finca; an extremely well-curated experience that reminded me of the magic on offer on this one-of-a-kind island.
During a layover in Dubai, I took a few extra days to delve into this ever-evolving city, where I remain continually impressed by its dynamism and go-getter spirit. I first visited Dubai 20 years ago and have been back several times; each time I visit I feel that it has leap-frogged forward and that things are continually ‘happening’. The city fascinates me and excites. A highlight was visiting the Honeycomb Hi Fi Listening bar, a joint effort with Brookly-based Devon Turbull.
A weekend in Milan offered an insight into its incredible culinary scene. I was lucky enough to experience one of the best meals in a long time at Langousteria; a restaurant with a real edge that offers a refreshing take on Mediterranean cuisine, using only the highest quality ingredients. Another new discovery was the Portrait Milano Hotel (part of the Lungarno Collection) which is located in an entire (fully-restored) historic block; the result is beautiful.
In Nairobi, I connected with clients travelling through the region and a range of key suppliers. While in town, I popped over to the world-famous Giraffe Manor and spent time researching new immersive cultural experiences that we will be incorporating in future itineraries.
I hope you enjoyed travelling with me. I’d love to hear about the travel discoveries that you made this year. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.