“I think sometimes we all get wrapped up in fixed ideas about how we should travel. We might cling too rigidly to a certain pre-planned agenda or burden the places we visit with unrealistic expectations. We might hope that a trip will magically fix our lives. But, in the end, places are just places. The seeds of what we will take from our travels are already there before we leave home.” These wise words from novelist Maggie Shipstead (who was shortlisted for a 2021 Booker Prize) seem ever more important now as we continue to navigate the vagaries of Covid’s ongoing global drama.
Every year at this time, I start dreaming about off-the-beaten-track destinations which offer a disconnection from reality and a reconnection with myself. This year is no different, although my dreaming is more fervent than ever. While I’m invariably drawn to beautiful places in Africa, the personal inspiration I take from these journeys is more about how I feel when I’m there. I value the change of routine, the speed with which I drop my guard and lean into vulnerability, the sense of quiet that quells my busy mind and the opportunity to gain a new sense of perspective. And of course the freedom – that we will never again take for granted – of being able to visit these destinations. But ultimately what I’ve realized is that knowing how to surrender to travel makes it life changing. My passion for designing these journeys with that idea of surrender in mind is an art that informs every itinerary we create at ROAR AFRICA.
And, while I’m constantly exploring new destinations – these remain my top five life-changing and Covid-friendly journeys in Africa:
The Greatest Safari on Earth
Hands down the most epic trip of my life was The Greatest Safari on Earth on the Emirates Executive Private Jet. A world first, the concept of the trip was conceived prior to Covid as a way to showcase four of Africa’s most iconic destinations in one fell swoop. Since Covid, it’s become the ultimate beyond first-class experience, taking in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Maasai Mara in Kenya and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. With just five couples or 10 people aboard a customised Emirates A319 private jet, guests have private cabins and the full use of an expansive communal lounge and dining area. Such was the phenomenal success of last year’s inaugural journey that we will be repeating it again next year and in 2023. There are no words to explain what this trip means to African tourism in the face of all it has endured these last two years and I could not be prouder to have been part of it – and of the friendships made, the fun-filled days and most importantly, the hope restored.
Marching with Penguins & Gazing at Gorillas
You haven’t truly experienced life until you’ve heard the silence of the vast, white desert in Antarctica or communed with a mountain gorilla – a magnificent mammal with which we share 96% of our genetic DNA. Incredibly, just a five-hour flight from Cape Town, you’ll soar over thousands of icebergs and pass into Antarctica’s 24 hours of continuous sunshine where more than 6 000 emperor penguins await. If you’re lucky, you might witness their migration ritual, one of the least observed wildlife sightings on earth. From there, you’ll travel to the deepest green forests imaginable at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest in Rwanda where you will come eye-to-eye with giant silverbacks – which, despite their imposing size, are peaceful and calm in your presence. There is nothing as deeply moving, as humbling, as inducing of gratitude as being in the presence of such majesty.
If you dream of escaping the heavy footfall of tourism but are put off by the idea of the “roughing-it” usually associated with pioneering adventures, ROAR EXPLORERS Heli Safaris are for you. Travel in H130 helicopters and stay at hand-picked luxury lodges and camps with access to some of the world’s most remote places. Whether swooping through the multi-hued canyons of the Great Rift Valley, landing on the beach at the jade-colored Lake Turkana (the world’s largest permanent desert and alkaline lake), or flying over Kenya’s ancient cycad forests or thousands of flamingo's on lake Bogoria, these remarkable sights will offer a rare sense of perspective.
Created for small groups or families, ROAR PRIVÉ is a private end-to-end travel option that offers smarter itineraries, smaller footprints and all the privacy, safety and security you require in some of Africa’s most magnificent places. Our partnership with VistaJet means we have access to private air terminals around the world, so you’ll fly on private planes to a ROAR VILLA that is exclusively yours. From the Kalahari to the Indian Ocean and everywhere in between, we guarantee the lowest contact with the highest attention to detail, and personal touch, in places that capture the beauty, heart and soul of Africa whilst offering a deep, instinctual reconnection.
A culinary journey
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food,” said George Bernard Shaw. At ROAR AFRICA our passion for the extraordinarily diverse yet consistently excellent cuisine of the continent is trumped only by our love of Africa itself. Our Flavors of a Rainbow Nation experience will ensure you savor some of the continent’s most incredible food from Cape Town to the Kalahari. This seven-night gastronomic adventure, following on from the enormous success of our inaugural trip, promises the quintessential insider’s guide to Cape Town's best markets, delis, restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars. Inspired by Cape Town’s nomination as the “Best Food City in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler, we will celebrate its iconic eating experiences and reveal its long food history, after which we’ll jet off to the Kalahari’s magnificent semi-arid savannah where the sumptuous Tswalu Motse Lodge awaits. This promises to be a safari experience like no other – in addition to diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the flavours of the Kalahari courtesy of South Africa’s only Michelin-star chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. Having enjoyed huge international success with his one-Michelin star Restaurant JAN, in Nice, Jan has come home to his culinary roots to create Klein Jan in a 100-year-old farmhouse at Tswalu. Tswalu has one of the lowest guest footprints of any South African camp – a fact that inspired Jan’s menu, which captures the ingredients and history of the landscape. This is a magical dining experience that we cannot wait to share with you.
If you would like more information on any of these life-changing trips, please email