Good morning traveler,

I am happily home from South Africa. Two weeks away is a long time (especially when it’s closely following a previous 2 weeks away). 

But it was so worth it! 

South Africa is amazing! Yes, there are incredible safari experiences. Yes, you are close enough to hop over to Mozambique, the Seychelles or Madagascar. But even more convenient are Cape Town and the Winelands. I love contrasts and to be able to have such varied experiences in one trip makes for a very special trip. 

As I wrote the details below, I thought about editing it to be shorter. But all of the experiences I've had you can have on your trip to South Africa, so I kept them in. I hope some of these inspire your next adventure!

Since last Wednesday, we were in the Winelands and Cape Town. Both destinations to put on your list! The Winelands are made up of three towns - Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. I loved walking around quaint Franschhoeck. It is here we visited a boutique that one of the safari lodge managers told us about. I think every one of us bought a dress there. Franschhoeck also happens to be where Richard Branson’s winery, Mont Rochelle, is. Visiting his winery is just one of many reasons I’ll be back to visit. 

A few other highlights:

Dinner with Christo Brand, the prison guard for Nelson Mandela

We had dinner at the Bailey, a glamorous Cape Town restaurant, where the delicious food was outshone by our dinner guest. Christo Brand, the prison guard for Nelson Mandela, who became his friend, continuing their relationship once Mandela was out of prison. His stories and the secrets he kept are fascinating. His book is about to be re-released with additional details. He sent us each home with a copy. I can’t wait to dive into both that and Long Walk to Freedom. If you plan a trip to South Africa, I suggest reading both before you come. I also suggest you meet with Christo, whether over coffee, dinner or even with an excursion to Robben Island to see the prison first hand through his eyes.

Watching the World Cup with a group of internationals

I've watched the World Cup outside the US on several occasions and it's always fun. Fun to be with a mix of people from all over the world. On this occasion it was in one of my favorite rooms at the Belmond Mount Nelson - the Tavern.

Learning to cook in Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap is a very colorful neighborhood of Cape Town. It was exclusively for colored Muslims during the Colonial and Apartheid times. Today that group still makes up most of the residents. We had a lovely cooking class making roti, somosas and sambal. They were delicious and will be showing up on my family's dinner table.

Wine tastings

We spent a full day experiencing the best of South African wines, paired with delicious foods and chocolate. It’s quite obvious that wine is front and center in this area. We tasted reds, whites and MCC (their version of Champagne), we ate local foods and we learned about unique experiences to have in this area. 

It was 90+ degrees and you can see how my chocolate was melting. It was delicious!

For the ultimate splurge you can do wine tastings via helicopter. At one winery, upon landing in your heli, you are picked up in a Land Rover and driven to a private area of the estate for a romantic wine tasting and picnic. If you are looking to impress someone I think this will do it. And there are many more low key ways to go wine tasting - by bicycle (yes they will pick you up after the first couple of stops if needed) or by a retro train.  

Site visits & the Amazing Race

We did so many site visits on this trip, including many safari lodges, boutique hotels in the Winelands and the best hotels in Joburg and Cape Town - the two main cities you would normally fly into. Joburg has the Peech Hotel, Fairlawns and the Saxon (on the surface the last two appear similar but they are very different). Cape Town has even more options. We stayed at Belmond Mount Nelson, which I loved for a resort like setting in the middle of the city. We also visited three of Liz Biden’s properties, the newly opened Waterside Lodge (safari), La Residence (Franschhoeck) and the SILO Cape Town (Top photo above. Imagine waking up to that view!?). I am absolutely in love with her unique and well curated style. These three properties are so beautiful, and so different. 

Your bathtub at the Silo

In Cape Town we were slated to do five site visits, which is a lot in one day. But my partner in South Africa made it fun and memorable for us. He organized an Amazing Race style competition with us in teams on side cars racing about town. It was a blast! My teammate, Tate, and I came in second. We did have a shot at first, but as we were zooming down the coastal highway and our driver asked if we wanted to see a particularly scenic neighborhood called Bakoven that jutted out in the sea, we opted for that. It was worth it! 

Hiking Table Mountain

As I had a 9p flight out on Saturday, we had the day free to explore. First on my list - hiking up Table Mountain. An important item to note about hiking Table Mountain is it is very weather dependent. Ideally I wanted to hike up the Platteklip Gorge trail and take the cable car down. But it was not to be. Although it was a spectacular day, it was windy and the cable car was closed. Luckily there was a plan B. A more moderate (but also challenging) hike to half way up the mountain. Still spectacular views and good exercise. 

Check out the elevation!

I could fill up the weekly Highlight for months, just with places in Cape Town and the Winelands. Accordingly below you will see my absolute favorite cafe in Cape Town that we went to after our Table Mountain hike. I’ll sprinkle in other favorites over the coming months. 

If you haven’t been to Cape Town, you absolutely should have it on your list. If Cape Town was less than 19+ hours of flying from Boston, I would hop over for a long weekend or a full week as often as possible. The combination of incredible dining options, wineries, beaches, shopping, cool neighborhoods, active adventures and many ways to luxuriate, make it an ideal destination.  I've had two friends who each lived in Cape Town with their families and they've been telling me for years how amazing it is. I 100% agree!

I will be back to Cape Town. I hope sooner rather than later. And here are just a few of my reasons why:

  • hiking to the top of Table Mountain up the Platteklip Gorge trail and taking the tram down
  • doing an Amazing Race adventure around town with my kids
  • having my family meet Christo Brand to hear his stories of Mandela and that time in South Africa’s history
  • mountain biking the lower slopes of Table Mountain and in Paarl
  • visiting the penguins on the peninsula, while enjoying more hiking and a picnic
  • reserving a tee time for Jason at Jack Nicklaus designed, Pearl Valley Golf course 
  • hiking up Lion’s Head with locals on a full moon
  • paragliding off of Signal Hill
  • enjoying a flat white and spending hours reading in Truth
  • staying at Birkenhead House in Aug/Sep during the peak of whale season
  • staying at the SILO (and likely putting my college kids at a cool hostel in town)
  • SUPing the inner waterways around the V&A waterfront
  • dining at La Colombe, the Pot Luck Club and the Table at de Meye
  • picnic-ing in Babylonstoren 
  • wine tasting at Mount Rochelle
  • going cage diving with great white sharks

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. I wish you all cozy days and fun adventures with your families!




  • Results of the recent poll
  • Adventures in Luxury Travel Podcast - Hotel AWA
  • This week's highlight - TRUTH
  • Interesting Articles


I realized I have neglected to update you on the results of the last poll.

You are flying with your spouse & teen and only you are upgraded to first, what do you do?


  • Enjoy your first class seat and let them bond together in Comfort Plus - 50% 
  • Offer the seat to your spouse - 30% 
  • Forgo the seat altogether and sit together in coach - 20%
  • Offer the seat to your teenager - 0% 

Full disclosure - I sat in first class, felt guilty and decided if it were to happen again, I'd give the seat to my son and sit in coach with my husband. Funny how no one picked that option. (But if it was an overnight flight, my answer would change and I'd offer it to my husband.)

This week on Adventures in Luxury Travel I was joined by my friend, Milagros Scavarda, of Hotel AWA. 

Hotel AWA is a remote, boutique property on the edge of beautiful Lake Llanquihue on the northern edge of Patagonia. It’s surrounded by volcanoes, lakes, rivers and fjords. The views from the rooms are stunning! And just wait until you see the pool. My daughter is headed to Patagonia in March and I so wish I could join her so I could stay at Hotel AWA. But it will have to wait for another year.

Milagros and I talked about how the unique, secluded location offers many adventures – both active and cultural. 100% of your excursions are with a private guide and driver. 


• Hiking

• Road and mountain biking 

• Fly fishing 

• Kayaking

• White water rafting 

• Horseback riding

• Cooking classes

• Nearby golf

• Puerto Varas – fun to explore

• Carretera Austral, one of the world’s most scenic routes

In addition to being active, there are many ways to relax and luxuriate with a massage in the spa, or resting in the steam shower, jacuzzi or sauna. Or simply curling up with a good book in front of the view. 

Gastronomy lovers – AWA’s culinary program uses produce from their own farm, local products and a mix of local and international cuisine as a central part of the experience. Top that off with delicious Chilean wines and you will be well nourished for your active adventures.


• They have several options for programming – bed&breakfast, ½ board, full board (all meals), all-inclusive (private transfers, activities and meals)

• Logistics – Puerto Montt has 17 daily flights

• Hotel AWA is great to combine with:

• Northern Patagonia in Argentina (Bariloche) or 

• Southern Patagonia in Chile (Torres del Paine)

You can find the episode on Apple podcasts here

*Your exclusive gift when you are a Truvay Travel client:

A private, romantic dinner for two at the end of the pier.

📷 Hotel AWA




Those are some big statements.

I'll give you my assessment...

They are true.

My partner in Cape Town raved to us about Truth - calling it a blend of...

Alice in Wonderland




Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 

He was right. It was fun, funky and delicious.

If we lived in Cape Town we would be hanging out there.

Working. Talking. Enjoying life.

He described the coffee as bitter first then sweet.

(note: the guy above is there to remind you that you don't need sugar in your coffee)

He recommended the flat white.

And to ask for Big 5 latte art.

That's what I ordered. She asked for clarification on the latte art. I said a cat.

That is exactly what I got.

See a video walkthrough here.

📷 Truth and Mimi

And there's more!

In the back there is a secret speakeasy.

"the hippest secret bar in Cape Town"

Go before or after dinner.

Bang on a steel door.

Provide a secret code.

They let you in and you walk down an alleyway that makes you wonder if

you are making a good decision.

I highly recommend a visit when you are in Cape Town!


8 New Hotels for Winter Enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe, NYT

Our family will be staying at one of the hotels on the list, the Hotel de LEN.

Faster Rides, Shorter Waits: New Ski Lifts Changing U.S. Slopes This Winter, NYT

Happy Hour with Hippos, Dinner with Elephants,

and More Unforgettable Safari Experiences, Food & Wine

I've experienced these moments on safari and agree they are magical!

Best Room At… The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington D.C., Town & Country

The RC and Rosewood in Georgetown are less than a block apart, both walkable to the best areas for shopping and dining. I love them both - for different reasons. The RC has a hip vibe, and their lobby is a great place to hang out.

It would be my chosen destination if taking my girls to DC.  

Croatia Joins Schengen, Europe’s Free Travel Zone, AFAR

The EU Will Allow 5G Use—Including Phones—On Flights In 2023. Here’s Why That Won’t Happen Anytime Soon In The U.S., Forbes

Why Dresden is Europe's capital of Christmas, CNN Travel

As Croatia joins the euro, which 7 EU countries still use their own currency?, Euronews

Delta Air Lines Is Resuming Flights to Cuba in 2023, AFAR

(If you aren't able to access an NYT, WSJ, Washington Post or Outside Magazine article, send me a note and I'll send it to you in a PDF.)


Do you enjoy these emails?

If so, please share with a friend who also might like them and encourage them to sign up. 

Thank you!

View as Webpage

LinkedIn Share This Email
Facebook      Instagram      LinkedIn      Email