In this month’s Magazine, A2D Founder and CEO Stig Egard takes us behind the scenes of his summer trip to South Africa and Zambia, which turned out to be one of his and his family’s favourite vacations to date.
We’ve been talking a lot about A2D’s Travel Smart concept in previous Magazines: Stig’s story is a perfect example of what that looks like. From whales giving birth to bungee jumping over the Zambezi river: this is a little behind-the-scenes insight into how travelling smart offers unforgettable experiences in an easy and hassle-free manner.
Read his step-by-step run-through below, and click the button below to see a personal travel log video recorded on the beach in South Africa.
My Smart Travel Trip to Africa
I decided to take my family in July to South Africa and Zambia during their wintertime to showcase how people can travel during the summer months for cheaper and with fewer crowds while experiencing even better service than usual and sunny, comfortable weather.
First of all, we managed to easily book 5 seats in business class with our miles. This is a real jungle and most of the time impossible to use, which is why we help our clients with these too, taking care of the use of their miles. The 5 adult tickets cost €2,800 altogether, and despite all the trouble at airports and transiting first from Brussels to Frankfurt, we experienced little to no queues throughout the entire journey: the flight wasn’t full, and upon arriving in Joburg we went through immigration and picked up our luggage within 30 mins of landing.
We then checked in to a new flight to Cape Town with a low-cost airline called Lynx Air and paid a total of €500 for the 5 of us with luggage included (just make sure you have a maximum of 8kg hand luggage and 20kg for the hold luggage as they will charge you for any kilos above that). The staff were very friendly at check-in, with flight attendants in sneakers and casual outfits, and snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks included on top of it! The trolley went back and forward up the plane, making sure everyone got a fill-up for their drinks. My only recommendation for the 2h15 flight would be to bring something to eat since it is not possible to buy anything on board.
Upon arriving in Cape Town, we got our luggage and were out of the arrival hall within 20 minutes. South Africa definitely does not have any of the chaos at the airports we have been experiencing in Europe this summer!
Our driver picked us up and took us to the 12 Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay, a great hotel with a fantastic view and incredible location nestled in between mountains and sea. We had a room facing inland, which is recommended since there is a bit of traffic outside sea-view rooms due to the beautiful scenic road that passes in front of the hotel. We dined at the Azure restaurant in the hotel: with a great kitchen and service, I would recommend it.
LEKKERWATER BEACH LODGE
The next day we got picked up by a friendly driver to go to the Lekkerwater Beach Lodge in the De Hoop Nature reserve in the Western Cape, approximately 4 hours on the scenic road.
If you book a vehicle from Lekkerwater, do check which type of vehicle you are booking: we got an old Toyota, not very recommendable for such a long trip. However, upon arrival this was quickly forgotten!
The peaceful and relaxing lodge has 7 units only and the location is one of the most unique locations I have seen: right on the beach (in the middle of the whale season which goes from July until November), with dolphins visiting the beach all the time.
We were met by Virgilio and Penny who were very hospitable. The Lodge has a great kitchen with wonderful service (by super-friendly Brian Lee and his colleagues). It was an incredibly good experience: food and drinks were all included and the list of wine choices impressed me.
We did not miss anything to do there: long walks on totally empty white sandy beaches, lunch on the beach set up by the Lodge (during which we saw a whale giving birth 100 meters from our location).
The Lodge is remote so pick-ups are only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My family and I cannot say how much we recommend Lekkerwater for any family who would like to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in South Africa.
We had a maximum temperature of 25 degrees with various levels of sunshine throughout our stay. After spending 2 nights at Lekkerwater, we would definitely make it at least 3 nights next time.
After our incredible time in Lekkerwater, we drove back to Cape Town and checked in at the Belmond Mount Nelson, an oasis of a classic old-school hotel just under Table Mountain with direct access to the buzzy Kloof Street Hotel.
Our colleague Lucia arranged for us to get 2 bedroom suites (rooms 309 and 311), which I would sincerely recommend – especially with winter rates, far lower than the high season.
We arrived in the sunshine and left in the sunshine the next day, with a temperature of 17 degrees at 11 am while on our way to the airport, onwards onto Zambia and Victoria Falls.
We stayed at the Royal Livingstone by Anantara, where I have stayed many times before (the last time in 2017). The location and hotel surroundings (open for local wildlife to wander in) are absolutely stunning, located only a 15min walk to Victoria Falls, with its own private entrance and free unlimited access for all guests.
We had a great time there, enjoying a river safari, flights in a microlight (gliders), lion walks and even bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bride. We stayed for 4 nights, though I would shorten it to a maximum of 3 nights next time: the service was a bit rusty after Covid, however, I blame this on the management and not the staff. For our next trip there, I would recommend the Victoria Falls Hotel instead.
DURBAN & OUR RETURN HOME
Finally, we finished our trip with a flight to Durban to stay at our favourite beach hotel The Oyster Box, which is old-school and the best African Experience for the beach.
The hotel is set in a dramatic location along the coastline, just meters away from the sea. We were hoping to see the sardine run but unfortunately the sea was too rough. We chose instead to try out the Spa, with fabulous treatments for everyone: the all-natural B|Africa and Tata Harper are highly recommended.
I suggest everyone give it a try between May and July and stay some extra days in Umhlanga (the area around the Oyster Box).
We returned home filled with memories and having had a fantastic experience all-around. We are definitely considering returning to South Africa next summer, using Cape Town as our base to go exploring new areas of the country and beyond!
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