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When it comes to the things we want to do before we die, there are some commonly heard experiences like skydiving and visiting London.  After a recent trip to South Africa, I can confidently say this country should be high on the list and there are many reasons why.

Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and see some stunning places. South Africa however, almost makes everywhere else pale in comparison.

Safaris Are Just the Beginning

Giraffe in Kruger Park

First and foremost, are the amazing safaris, which can appeal to almost everyone; young, old, singles, families, couples, active, sedentary, rural, and urban. Yet, safaris are not the only reason to visit the country; in fact, you can still have an amazing South African adventure without them. Once you factor in a relatively low local cost of living and a favourable exchange rate, the trip is not only life-changing but more affordable trip than you might think.

My Experience

African PenguinDuring my time in South Africa I had the chance to tour Kruger National Park in Lion Sands. I also had opportunities to visit the Apartheid Museum, important locations related to Nelson Mandela, Cape Town, Table Mountain, and more. With inviting waterfront areas, you can explore a wide variety of shops, and sample the local cuisine. To me, the Cape Town area has a feeling similar to Sydney Australia with it’s many beachfront suburbs.

With Cape Peninsula not too far away, you can witness 50% of all land-based colonies of penguins on the planet. The more adventurous travelers can take helicopter rides over Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope while the wine country will welcome aficionados with open arms.

Cape Town

Although the facilities are a bit behind those you might find elsewhere, it hardly matters.  A simple day trip can totally immerse you in this remarkable region where they know how to treat all guests with a smile.

After visiting Cape Town, I finally took my flight to Kruger National Park and was sitting in a lodge five minutes after landing. Once I had rested a bit, my first safari experience began in one of the world’s most famous wildlife locations.

Over the years, I had considered taking the safari option off my bucket list but I’m so glad I did not! Almost immediately, I was at a loss for words as an unparalleled number of animals came within view.  I saw zebras, buffalo, giraffes, Leopards, elephants, lions, hippos, rhinos, and more in their natural surroundings (where they belong!).

Of course, you aren’t guaranteed to see every animal, every time, since this isn’t a zoo.  The excitement comes from eagerly listening and watching for the different species that may come along.

Regrets and Concerns

Tinga Lodge Lion Sands

Unfortunately, I do have one sincere regret: that I only spent two nights in the park. The became especially apparent when a baby elephant stepped close to our jeep just outside the lodging area.  That’s when the regret hit me.  So, I simply made the most of every minute I had.

I often hear understandable concerns about malaria, but there are safe, simple and effective precautions you can take. Despite not seeing many mosquitoes, I did wear repellent and my lodge was safe and well protected. There was also an electric fence around the area to guard against unexpected animal encounters, and a staff member is always available to accompany you on the walk back to your room.


All things considered, I cannot recommend South Africa highly enough!  For me, it really is the ‘trip of a lifetime’. Perhaps this is why I always recommend working with an expert.  A little professional knowledge can go a long way in turning an ordinary trip into something spectacular.

I’ve helped many others plan trips to South Africa with the same care and attention I plan my own.  It’s an area in which I am honoured to be experienced.  It would be such a treat to help you experience this magical land for yourself. Contact me to make an appointment.  You’ll be glad you did!

Contact Dean

Dean Barreca

Luxury Travel Experience Specialist based in Woodstock, Ontario. Dean Barreca’s career and purpose are guided by one simple truth: Life can be a magical experience when lived to the fullest. With that in mind, Dean tends to take a different approach to the business of luxury travel.