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Meet the Southern Africa Travel Experts Monique Dean

Monique has been with Southern Africa Travel (SAT) for over ten years, and loves being part of a team that has grown from strength to strength. Before joining SAT she worked in the airline industry; with Italian, Turkish and German inbound incentive groups; and in hotels and hospitality. With her vast experience in all sectors of the tourism industry, Monique has found her niche in inbound individual travel and thoroughly enjoys putting that extra special luxury trip together for an unforgettable holiday!  

Countries Visited: Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius, England, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Austria

Which destination in Africa stands out for you?

If you’re looking for a vast range of experiences in a single destination then you simply can’t beat South Africa. This country has so much to offer from its Big 5 game reserves to its beach-fringed coastlines, the infrastructure is great and the roads are easy to follow with magnificent drives like the world-famous Garden Route. To top it all off, South Africa offers fantastic value for money, and being based here I can offer my travellers plenty of insider tips and first-hand advice.

What are some of your favourite lodges?

  • Grootbos Private Nature Reserve on the Cape’s Whale Coast is a wonderfully unique destination. There so much to do – horse riding along the beaches, hikes through the fynbos, quad biking, boat trips, whale watching – although the beautiful surroundings also invite lazy afternoons soaking up the views, and as for the food and wine, it’s fantastic!
  • Savanna Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands Reserve stands out because of their staff who really go out of their way to make you feel welcome, giving the lodge that ‘home away from home’ feel. On game drives our guide would carefully position the vehicle to ensure we got perfect pictures and even give us a few photographic tips. It’s these extra touches that make a stay special.
  • Royal Malewane is another Kruger Park property that blew me away. This lodge gets that perfect balance between a luxury safari with sensational villas and exceptional service, and a relaxed, put-your-feet-up atmosphere. 

Your most memorable safari moment?

Tiger fishing on the Zambezi River! My husband is a keen fisherman, but it’s never really interested me, so initially I just went along for bragging rights. But I soon got the hang of it, and after a few nibbles I didn’t want to leave. I had a flight to catch so there I was checking my watch while casting for another bite. It was incredible!

What keeps you motivated?

I also make the most of Cape Town’s outdoor lifestyle; all it takes is a cycle around the coast to remind me why I live here. Being proudly South African makes it easy for me to encourage people to visit this country along with our neighbours, although after a while in the office I start itching to go back out on safari. The smell of the African bush, that early morning coffee surrounded by silence, being away from technology – it’s an instant fix to modern-day stress.

Which destination is next on your wish list?

I haven’t been to Mozambique yet, so I’d love to go there. It combines easily with the Kruger Park and is the perfect, feet-in-the-sand ending to a big game safari.

  • Bush or Beach?  Definitely bush, nothing quite beats sipping on a G&T in the African bush at sunset.
  • Cruises or Trains?  Trains! I love the social side of this very relaxed form of travel.  
  • My tip for flying is ...  When travelling on smaller planes the flight can be bumpy so be sure to pack some water to sip, it's a great help to settle queasiness.  
  • Best Safari Destination?  The Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa; it's the best place to see the elusive leopard.
  • Golf or Fishing?  Nothing beats Tiger Fishing on the mighty Zambezi River - it's a must for any adventurer.  

Feedback from Monique’s Clients

We never expected it to work so perfectly … but it did. Thank you.

Posted  |  Review by , Belgium  |  Travelled in November 2016

Hi Monique,

We completed our tour successfully and it was a wonderful experience. Everything worked like a swiss clock and we have nothing to complain about.

All flights were fine - we arrived on time and could use our extra day for a daytrip to Victoria Falls. The bush flights were fine, just one was an operational mistake as the plane had space for 5 and we were 6 … So the pilot flew the 4 others to Maun first, and picked us up later for a direct transfer to Savute. We did not miss any activity as this was just happening over the long lunch break.

A short ranking from us:

  • Chobe Game Lodge - stands out in everything. Very much to see and a good combination of drives and boat rides.
  • The camps are very different. Camp Moremi was the oldest, but the staff was the friendlies and happiest of all. They made up for it. Wildlife was very good - not as big in numbers as in Chobe but really good.
  • Camp Okavango was the best camp as it is brand new from April 2016 - but there is not much to see because you sit low in the boat and the grass is high. Sometimes we saw an elephant or two making their way through the grass to the water. The walking safari is nice, but not much to see besides the on spot education in animal poo ...
  • Leroo la Tau I liked best for the view from the “tent” and the landscape overall. Upon arrival the river banks were loaded with zebra and wildebeest - wonderful to watch. That night it rained and the next morning nobody of them was home … The drives were a bit the same - as there are not so many different roads. Besides Blondie and Blackie not a lot new to discover. Transportation was in a car with six, but only two seating rows, so the guys in the middle seat were disadvantaged. We mentioned this to the guide and did not want to go on the last drive. So he left with 4 people and we hang around in the lodge, but management came and offered us another guide and car for the two of us. So they acted accordingly and made us happy again.
  • Savute Safari Lodge was a nice accomodation - but the staff was different. They were not as happy and friendly as in the other camps. It is nicely situated at the waterhole and one can see a lot during the day and at dinner time. The drives and the landscape are a good variation, but it is a bit crowded, as a lot of private cars drive around and there is also Belmond close by. Everybody listens to the radio and hurries for the animal spot.

Yes - we are very happy with the trip - the choice of lodges / camps - your personal involvement in getting the trip together.

We will (and have already) recommend you and your organisation as much as we can.

And lastly, we never expected it to work so perfectly … but it did. Thank you.

Best regards from 2 happy customers - will see what you can do for us in 2017.

Erich & Danielle

all good things must come to an end

Posted  |  Review by , United Kingdom  |  Travelled in November 2015

We are safely back home and went back to work today, we have a saying that goes "all good things must come to an end" which really sums up how we are feeling after our wonderful holiday.

Thank you so much for all of your help, we really appreciated having somebody recommend suitable accommodation for us, they were all really good, in fact Sea Five was great. Marco and his team couldn't have done anymore for us, we felt like royalty!!!

We have had such a great time we have spent a lot of time talking about our next visit and how we might change things, so I guess that tells you what we think of your beautiful country.

Wonderful trip

Posted  |  Review by , Canada  |  Travelled in May 2015

We are finally home after 31 hours in transit and feeling jet lagged but happy. Nottens Bush was wonderful in every way. The accommodations, the staff, the game drives, the food, the size of the group, the knowledge of the guides - we could not have asked for a better experience -although the unusually cold weather was a bit of a challenge. We saw the big five many times. The only small disappointment for me was that the monkeys had been chased off the previous week, as they were getting too rambunctious, stealing food and being a big nuisance. I guess we have to go back so I can see them!

South Africa is such an interesting country. We learned quite a bit, but of course, it is a complicated place and we only saw a small bit. We also enjoyed Stellenbosch, a charming place. We are glad that we chose to spend a day there, walking around and enjoying the charming architecture.

We hope to return some day soon and will, of course, seek your guidance. Again, thank you for making the arrangements for our wonderful trip.

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