Wilderness & Winelands
Updated: Feb 20, 2020
a pinnacle journey through the thickets and vines,
South Africa extends diversity in adventure and luxury
"The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to
Africa, for he has so much to look forward to."
CHAPTER ONE: THE ALLURE
My neuroses is in full swing, as I find myself yet again at odds with the Achilles heel of my traveler existence. I’m doing it again; over-packing for any and every possible scenario. My suitcase can’t decide if I’m going to South Africa or the moon. Just in the nick of time, an envelope from Alluring Africa arrives at my door. Inside is a personalized spiral bound itinerary and travel companion, ideally compact for someone who already has too much stuff. The cover page inspires a moment of sheer excitement, boldly printed with my name, and designating my journey, “South Africa: Wilderness and Winelands”. Thoughtfully tailored in every respect, its 28 pages of contents include my schedule and transfer times down to the very minute, photographs of my accommodations, important contacts, maps, location specific travel tips, and A-Z information for everything from entry visa requirements to recommended reading to the weather. There’s a special section with a thorough packing list, and it’s as though this little pocket reference knows me where it underlines “do not over-pack.” I’ve never seen such a comprehensive presentation for any of my trips. Ordinarily, I get a loosely drafted itinerary in a PDF, and I’m often left doing a bit of guesswork as to how it will go. Then again, I’ve never worked with a safari outfitter before. I’m not sure if this is an industry standard, but up to this point, I have reason to believe that as a luxury tour operator, Alluring Africa has perfected the process.
I’d been communicating with Becca Fritz for several months now. Based in Florida where Alluring Africa’s office is located, she is among a small expert team spearheaded by its president and founder, Sunit Sanghrajka. We’d had many conversations since the seed of visiting South Africa had been implanted in my mind. She’s not just someone I’d venture to call a friend at this point; Becca is my trusty source of knowledge for all things pertaining to South Africa. I’d been to the second largest continent in the world only once before, but Uganda is worlds away from South Africa, and I’m a little out of my element. Fortunately it doesn’t really matter; as my point of contact, Becca makes me feel heard, really understanding my vision and desires for this journey, and squares away the rest. Sunit, a Kenya native that grew up in the safari business, and has been been recognized as a Top Travel Advisor by Travel + Leisure for six of the last seven years, remains an accessible presence as well, and I’m feeling confident about my upcoming adventure before its even begun.
As I am engrossed in my packet, the phone rings, and it’s Becca for our scheduled pre-departure call to go over the final itinerary and documents. As we recap the day-to-day events ahead, Becca offers keen insights into the places and regions I will see. As each member of the Alluring Africa team personally travels to various countries throughout Africa to scope out new experiences and gain firsthand knowledge that can’t be found online, she thinks of things I’d have never thought to ask, but will make a huge difference in the long haul. I have a few random questions of my own, which she happily addresses, but in this moment, I’m most of all grateful that she’s convinced me to unload my clunky hiking boots I’d brought on my gor