The group has now chosen the tour operator that we are planning to use for our safari and wine country tour to South Africa, and here is an outline of the itinerary that they have provided.
- September 3: Arrival in Johannesburg and meet & greet with Thompsons / GoWay
- September 3-4: Accomodation at Peermont Mondior Emperors Palace (1 night)
- September 4-6: Accomodation at Kapama River Lodge private game reserve (2 nights)
- September 6: Transfer Kapama River Lodge to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
- September 6-8: Accomodation at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge private game reserve (2 nights)
- September 8: Transfer Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
- September 8: Transfer Cape Town Airport to Cape Town hotels
- September 8-13: Accomodation Table Bay Hotel (5 nights)
- September 13: Transfer Table Bay Hotel to Franschhoek Country House and Villas (2 nights)
- September 15: Transfer from Franschhoek Country House and Villas to Cape Town
The itinerary has the group already excited and eager for the time to fly by quickly as we are all anxiously looking forward to this adventure of a lifetime.Read More»
Recently, I made what I can only describe as a ‘rookie’ mistake when it came to the maintenance of our website. The problem started when I made a decision to upgrade the operating system, which I had been able to perform cleanly from another system that I use as a test environment. Thinking that everything looked in order, I plunged in and started the upgrade to the backend of the web server, and discovered that while the installation went pretty much as expected, the end result was the realization that my image gallery was no longer present, and in fact, neither was the website !
Earlier this week, Lisa received the quote from the tour operator we will be using that outlines our itinerary for September 2014 in South Africa.
Under a separate blog post, I will highlight the specifics of the itinerary, but one of the major reasons our group is traveling to SA is to experience the Big Five (Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Cape Buffalo, and Leopards) in the heart of Kruger National Park, where we will be staying at two separate luxury private game reserves including Kapama River Lodge which is situated in South Africa’s northernmost province of Limpopo and home to over 40 different mammal species and approximately 350 different bird species, and Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge which is this properties flagship luxury private game reserve, situated in the world-renowned 65000 hectare Sabi Sand Wildtuin in the South-Western section of the Kruger National Park.
The group is already scouring the internet and the excitement is already building with what’s in store, as many of us have “Liked” these two properties on Facebook and we are tracking the daily updates from the properties and the guests that are staying there. Needless to say, the photos speak for themselves, so you can imagine how geared up (no pun intended) I am to put my DSLR’s into full swing. Sharon recently pulled down this map of the various game lodges that are located in Kruger, which I found interesting so I decided to post it to give everyone an idea of exactly where the two lodges are located that we will be staying at. I highlighted the two properties to make it easier to spot where we are headed. Click on the image to view a larger version.
Tomorrow, Lisa and I are finally planning to have our long awaited wine & cheese party and gather up several family and friends to start the discussion on an “adventure of a lifetime – South Africa”. We are now one year away from this extraordinary journey and it’s time to start putting together some of the critical pieces of the puzzle. The first step is to lock down on the specific dates, which Lisa now has based on what limited availability there already is even this far away. There are a number of items to cover off, from routing through US or Europe, and extended stays pre (or more likely post) South Africa.Read More»
Typically when we arrive back home from wherever we have recently been globe trotting to, one of the first things I do is start scouring through the photos, but I rarely get to see myself in any of the pictures. I guess such is the case when you are behind the lens. So it’s nice to actually see one that I’m in, and even better, one that actually speaks to the subject of me “getting in the weeds” as the expression goes.Read More»
The only hiccup on the departure today was the minor problems that we encountered in the Maple Leaf lounge, not only in Ottawa, but also in Toronto. One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is that the business class lounge has really deteriorated in terms of overall quality of service. There’s plenty of floor space and generally speaking an interesting view of the aircraft arriving and departing, but finding a place to sit is like drawing blood from a stone. The selection in Ottawa was abysmal to say the least, including no beer as the tap was broken according to the service staff. That’s fine, it’s only a short hop over to Pearson anyways, and we have a 2.5 hour layover, so ideally we will be able to grab a bite and connect to the internet to catch up on things and post some thoughts. Wait…arrival in Toronto was even worse, absolutely no place to sit, and we ended up separated temporarily, but within a short time managed to be sitting together. Food selection much better as they had a nice cold pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, along with hot pasta dishes including my choice, marinated beef in egg tortellini. Things are looking up, there’s even a selection of draft on tap and it’s working. Ah, but then I fired up the laptop only to discover, NO INTERNET ! I think I managed about 15 minutes of total connection time over 2 hours, oh well.Read More»
We had a very long day ahead of us when our fantastic guide (Stefano – Tuscan Sunshine Tours) picked us up at 7:00 AM from our villa in Lucolena which is located very close to Greve in Chianti. In fact, we anticipated that the journey ahead would take us through the Tuscan countryside, around Florence, and all the way to Cinque Terre and back, lasting upwards of 12 to 13 hours. Of course the highlight of the day was Cinque Terre and those five wonderful villages of Riogmaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterroso al Mare which are all nestled along the coastline of the Italian Riviera.Read More»
What’s that you ask? Actually pay to stay and sleep in a cave? You’re kidding right? Actually, no I’m not. During our recent trip to Turkey with our great friends Sharon and Gary, we did exactly this and we had been anticipating it for months after getting the recommendation from our tour operator (Tourcan Vacations). The image above is a shot of the Roman King Suite, which is actually the suite that Sharon and Gary stayed in Click on the image to see a larger version.
We planned to split our time on this trip between renting a 6 bedroom villa in Tuscany and touring the Tuscan countryside, and then spending 8 days in Turkey divided between Istanbul and Cappadocia. We chose to stay at Gamirasu Cave Hotel, which is located in Ayvali Village near Urgup in the heart of Cappadocia, Turkey.Read More»
I had been discussing the idea of a long-weekend getaway with Dave a couple of times in passing in the office, and it came up more than once. So instead of continuing to just think about doing it, Dave, Chris and I brought up the subject over a couple of pints one Friday afternoon, and from there is was simply a matter of “when should we go”. We decided the Easter long-weekend was an ideal situation, so the only thing left to do was check with the girls and book the trip. The details as usual were handled by Lisa, and after conversing back-and-forth on some ideas, the six of us gathered as Dave & Cindy’s about a month before the adventure to throw some ideas on the table and next thing we knew, it was time to board an overnight flight from Ottawa to Heathrow.
We couldn’t have asked for or planned a better time, and in my case, being as this was my first time in the U.K. it was that much more special to be with Lisa and great friends. While the weather was brisk (apparently the coldest on record for Easter in 25 years) we still have a fantastic time with plenty of sight-seeing, a lot of laughs, some great food, and of course, one or 2 of London’s finest ales and lagers . I couldn’t think of a better tune to plug in this photo-video recap of our adventure than the iconic Beatles – it just seems to fit perfectly in this case.So, what’s up for next Easter guys? Shall we do Ireland or France !
Sunday was our last full day in the UK, and as a group we had decided to each head out and do our own thing and then meet up later for lunch (if possible) but for certain to have dinner together, after all it was Easter Sunday and who wouldn’t want to have a little bit of Yorkshire pudding in London at some quaint little pub?
London is such a fantastic city, chalked full of history, architecture, museums, diverse food and cultures that picking out a few things to focus on for our last day was no small task. But one thing both Lisa and I agreed on was a trip to see Harrods. I didn’t really have anything in mind to purchase, but the idea of picking up some little trinket just so I could have a bag was high on the list, so we dropped by the Concierge desk in the hotel, and asked what time they opened. The concierge advised us that it would not be open until 11:00, but was quick to point out that even though it was Easter Sunday, rest assured it would be open ! Great…looks like we are off to an excellent start, so we headed out and decided to head over to Buckingham Palace to kill some time since we had a few hours ahead of us. That was an added bonus because as we proceeded along Birdcage Walk (the street which parallels St. James Park), we happened to pass by the Victorian Guards who were on the parade square and getting ready for a changing of the guards. As we got closer to the palace and rounded Constitution Hill the sheer number of tourists was overwhelming but as luck would have it, we managed to find a spot where we had a reasonable view of the street and I managed to get several good photos.Read More»