Greetings from Marakele National Park!

Seven extra hours. That's the bonus time I had to get this out to you today with the time change to South Africa. Which I needed. We arrived from Johannesburg yesterday. Almost immediately we set out for our afternoon game drive, followed by sundowners in a treehouse (see the 7 types of gin below. I loved the rose petal!) and a beautiful boma dinner under the stars. There are so many magical moments on safaris! And after that, I finished off the day staying up too late watching the end of the US - Iran World Cup game. I was pleasantly surprised it was available in the bush.

I'm excited the US (and Spain) are still in it! Go USA!

I admit the 5am wake up call this morning for an early game drive and site visit at nearby lodge was not easy. But as I'm here for work, I did it.

Backing up to yesterday - because these educational trips are focused on learning, we opted for a 4 ½ hour drive to our first safari lodge to see what it’s like to do a road transfer instead of a flight. The rest of the transfers will be bush planes. Driving provides a more reasonably priced transportation option, and it gives you a bit of a view of life on the ground outside of a camp. 

However, here’s my assessment – you are paying a lot of money to go on safari, time off of work and perhaps your kids out of school. The trade-off is not worth it. In Kenya for our family’s personal safari we flew between all of the lodges. It saves you time, allowing you to see more in less time and perhaps even reducing your stay by a night, which actually saves you money. That would be my preference. 

So far we've seen dung beetles rolling up a ball of dung (fascinating - the female just holds on to the ball for dear life as the male pushes it around), baby warthogs (my favorite), lots of impala, zebra, water buffalo, rhinos (including a baby) and had a very exciting encounter with a herd (possibly several) of 50+ elephants romping in the river. You can see the video here.

What I love about safaris is the excitement of never knowing what you are going to see!

Rewind a bit - my bonus day in London (because a month ago my morning flight to the UK was cancelled so I had to go out the night before) was so fun! My colleague, Kerry, and I spent the day exploring with one of my UK partners. 

We went Christmas shopping, walked through Mayfair, visited a couple of tea spots, ate our way through Borough Market (loved it so much!), and drove around to see the holiday lights in a MiniCooper. We talked about a wide variety of creative experiences in London and brainstormed new ones. 

Then I lucked out on the plane to Jo’burg sitting next to a young London investment banker who was of Indian decent. Guess what one of his favorite Indian restaurants is? Dishoom! (last week’s newsletter Highlight). I mentioned I have clients going there and to Bombay Bustle and he loves BB too. There is no shortage of great Indian food in London! 

With only 24 hours on the ground, Johannesburg was a whirlwind. Shopping for extra gear (my colleague’s duffle was never put on the plane from the US), dinner with our African partners, site visits at three hotels, including Fairlawns and the Saxon – two of the most luxurious and popular hotels that on the surface appear comparable. But they are quite different. Although I’d previously learned about the differences from colleagues, nothing beats seeing a place in person. One of them has a villa that I will be renting the next time I’m in South Africa with my family or a group of friends. It was amazing and surprisingly affordable. 

Below you will see photos from Fairlawns. I absolutely loved the color and patterns in these two rooms. One for a traditional tea and one for a private dinner. Plus their spa looked amazing! Individual outdoor treatment rooms with a 60 minute massage for $50. The current strength of the USD is an extra bonus.

This evening's game drive will be on the water and we are hoping to see crocs, hippos and lions. But of course you never know what will happen on safari!

Enjoy your week!



Fun and funky tea spot

Whimsical private dining room


  • This week's highlight - kayaking at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
  • Where to Next? The Athenaeum London
  • Favorite Articles - gift ideas for the holidays


📷 Louvre Abu Dhabi


Being active

They don't typically go together.

But sometimes they do.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Our clients were there earlier this month. They raved about the art and particularly enjoyed the unique way the art was exhibited. The galleries "tell a chronological history of human creativity that explores the shared ideas and issues that have defined our common humanity

from pre-history to the present."

Paintings by many of the masters...

Monet, Manet, Gaugin, Caillebotte, Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, Magritte

And a highlight - Page of the Blue Quran from one of the oldest ever Qurans, dating from the year 900 and discovered in North Africa. This page is displayed in a room with a Gothic bible, Buddhist sutras and a Torah from Yemen.

"The idea of the room is to illustrate what is universal among different people around the world."

After your visit indoors, you aren't quite done.

First visit the Art Lounge, a hidden gem, nestled in the rooftop of the museum. Have a cocktail and light bite looking out on one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy the sunset - with unobstructed views of the Abu Dhabi skyline.

Then continue with a tour by kayak from the stillness of the Arabian Sea. From this unique vantage point, you will marvel at the Louvre's architecture from a different perspective.

There are sunrise tours at 6:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and moonlight tours

at 7pm and 9pm during the full moon each month.

You may recall from a previous Highlight, the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit, that I enjoy art presented in an unusual way. The Louvre Abu Dhabi does that and I've put it on my list to visit.

Particularly with teens and kids, pairing art or history with something active is a great way to balance your day and keep everyone engaged.

Do you know of other active experiences at museums? If so, please let me know.

📷 Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi

📷 The Athenaeum

🌟 We have several families traveling to London over the holidays. They will be attending festive shows, strolling the city streets lined with Christmas decorations and dining in delicious restaurants. One family will be staying at The Athenaeum in the Mayfair neighborhood of London. 


Why is The Athenaeum so special?

  • Perfect for families because of their variety of rooming configurations - including apartments with kitchens, connecting rooms and bunk beds 
  • The top floor lounge, The View, has jaw-dropping views over London for VIP guests (yes, our clients are VIP of course!)
  • A YOTO player (children’s audio book reader) will be waiting in your room if traveling with kids


Do as much or as little as you like:

  • Afternoon tea is a London tradition and offered daily 
  • Beautiful Green Park is just across the street, perfect for walking and running by Buckingham Palace. The fitness center has a Peloton just in case the weather isn’t perfect
  • Make an appointment at the spa for a facial or massage or relax in the jacuzzi
  • Dine in one of Mayfair’s best restaurants – Hide or Hélène Darroze At The Connaught or venture over to a fun spot on Carnaby Street

‼️ Don’t miss… visiting The Bar, with more than 100 rare whiskies, cocktails by an award-winning barman and floor to ceiling windows showcasing the living wall.

📷 The Athenaeum


With the holidays coming up, this week we are focused on gift giving.

Check out these lists and articles for ideas.

Here are a few of my favorite gifts for the traveler in your life...

books!, see-through packing cubes, a lightweight portable charger (I recently received Clutch as a gift and so far I love it!) and the Away Expandable Carryon.

Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Best 10 Sustainable Luxury Travel Gifts, Forbes

16 Experience Gifts for the Traveler Who Already Has Everything, AFAR

The 46 Best Gifts for Travelers, According to Travel Experts, AFAR

Holiday Gift Guide 2022: The Best Travel Gear For Frequent Flyers, Forbes

The Best Travel Gifts for the Active Adventurer in Your Life, Sunset

Holiday Gift Guide 2022: The Best Gifts For Teen Travelers, Forbes

(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