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Meet the team - Africa

For expert Africa travel advice, look no further than the Cox & Kings team who have lived, worked and travelled across the continent. As our travel consultants are sent to experience a destination, luxury lodges and tented camps on the ground, their advice is informed by first-hand experience and they can tell you which option is best suited to your needs.

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James

I come from a small village of about 60 people in the Peak District and with a thirst for travel, headed to Australia at 22. I spent a year travelling the length and breadth of the country by road. My next adventure was supposed to be a week in Bangkok, but quickly turned into a six-month voyage through south-east Asia, sampling all the wonderful sights and sounds of the Far East.

It was inevitable I would find myself in the travel industry on my eventual return and I know how lucky I am to combine my passion with my career. I’ve hired out surfboards to tourists in Bali, rode like a gaucho through the hills of Argentina, busked in Laos, skydived in Queensland and, more recently, proposed on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro..

My Insiders Tip

Tanzania holds a special place in my heart. It has an amazing diversity of wildlife, epic landscapes, a colourful culture, delicious food and some of the friendliest people in the world. To me, it’s the ‘best of Africa’ condensed into a single country. This special country became even more memorable after I got engaged at the summit of a very cold Kilimanjaro; my reward after a week long trek to the top! My recommendation is to rise early, the Big 5 are liveliest from 5am. The light is perfect for photography and the sunrises over the plains alone are well worth the early mornings.

Favourite Experience

I met a chap once in Lumphini Park in Bangkok. As usual I was lost and was asking for directions to The Golden Buddha (nowhere near Lumphini Park). He clearly twigged I had recently arrived and asked if he could accompany me for the day to show me some places. He explained he was studying English and would benefit from my conversation. Despite an initial apprehension I decided the very worst case would be I would find myself in his brother’s suit shop and agreed. I was taken to the suburbs where tourists rarely venture and shown the local temples. He explained the Buddhist culture, their rituals and practices. He introduced me to his friends in the monastery. We prayed a little together. And then he took me home to his wife who made the most amazing fish suki while we got drunk on Thai whisky and swapped tales of our homelands. Not once was money ever asked for. For me that gentleman defines Thailand and its people.

My Favourite Place

For most of the year, Calgary is a sleepy city. The annual Calgary Stampede lasts for two weeks and the city comes alive. As a self-appointed British cowboy, I’ve been several times and it’s my favourite time to visit. Streets are lined with live music, a variety of local cuisine and offices are shut so all can celebrate. You can watch some of the best bull-riding, saddle bronc – the rider has to stay on a bucking horse – and nail-biting barrel racing. Each evening local Canadian music and talent acts perform, which is followed by an impressive firework display.

My Favourite Hotel

My hidden gem is La Maison Minervetta in Sorrento. I’ve always had a passion for Sorrento, and the Maison epitomises everything great about the place. It is set high on the cliffs where you can sit in the comfort of your suite, watching the sun set over the bay of Naples. The hotel is small and cosy with 13 bedrooms, and has a wonderful homely feel – particularly at breakfast where owners and guest mingle over what’s to come in the day ahead. The decor is a mish-mash of traditional and modern art which makes it a stand-out option in Sorrento and the attention to detail, particularly in the rooms, is outstanding. Most importantly, however, it has a wonderful courtyard style decking where you can sit with a spritz in the Italian sunshine and watch the fishing trawlers hard at work in the Bay of Naples, possibly catching something for your dinner.

Order a Brochure Online

See Africa’s splendours come to life in print and order your brochure copy here. Order Now >

Discover Africa

From Botswana to Zimbabwe, Africa offers some of the most spectacular landscapes and wildlife in the world.… Read more
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Shameem

My family come from Johannesburg so from an early age my school holidays were spent in South Africa. We would have big get togethers in the green spaces of the city with a braii (barbecue) at the weekends. I have travelled all around the country, from the stunning city of Cape Town to the wild beaches of KwaZulu-Natal and the amazing wildlife of the renowned Kruger National Park. I love that with each visit there is something new to discover. India has also always been an intrigue to me as my ancestors came from the state of Gujarat around 1900 before migrating to South Africa. My first memory of India is a visit to the Taj Mahal, a spectacular sight that my mother and I had always wanted to see. The forts and palaces of Agra and Jaipur are also incomparable to anywhere else that I’ve been.

 

My Insiders Tip

Instead of flying from Johannesburg to Mpumalanga, a four-hour drive will take you through some stunning scenery, passing dozens of nature reserves, lakes and dams. Stop midway at Dullstroom, one of the oldest towns in South Africa, to enjoy a light lunch in a quaint deli serving traditional homemade bakes such as milk tart and koeksisters. Then drive up to the Drakensberg Plateau through Long Tom Pass, named after a large silver cannon. Used by the Boer army, it was the bane of the British generals and their brigades. The pass is the highest road over the Mpumalanga Drakensberg and the most stunning part of the road trip.

Favourite Experience

One of my favourite animals is the elephant so it’s always been a thrill to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. My most memorable encounter was at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe while on a relaxing sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. I had never realised that elephants could swim so I was amazed to see a family making their way from the banks of the river on the Zimbabwean side across to the Zambian side. It was surprising to see how swiftly they move through the water using their trunks like a snorkel.

My Favourite Place

There are so many places that I love in South Africa, each offering a different experience, which makes it hard to pick a favourite. For adventure, head to the rainforests and mountain ranges of the Garden Route or the canyons and valleys of Mpumalanga. You are spoilt for choice for wildlife viewing experiences with the Big Five at home in Kruger National Park, Madikwe, northern KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. For urban exploration, look no further than Cape Town, a beautiful city set against the backdrop of Table Mountain. Finally, for unspoilt beaches and a dramatic coastline, the golden sands of the Dolphin Coast are the answer.

My Favourite Hotel

This has to be Wolwedans Dunes Lodge in the NamibRand, a private nature reserve in the Namib desert in south-west Namibia. The Wolwedans Collection has six different lodges and camps across the reserve, each offering a different level of comfort in a slightly different setting. The Dunes Lodge offers the perfect combination of comfort with the atmosphere of a camp. The beautifully appointed chalets feature canvas sides, opening up to fantastic views of the surrounding dunes. By day I appreciated the magnificent landscapes of red sand dunes, golden grasses and rugged mountain ranges. Our local guide was a San Bushman and could tell us in detail how the local tribes lived in this harsh environment. By night I marvelled at the starry skies from the comfort of my bed.

Order a Brochure Online

See Africa’s splendours come to life in print and order your brochure copy here. Order Now >

Discover Africa

From Botswana to Zimbabwe, Africa offers some of the most spectacular landscapes and wildlife in the world.… Read more