Rebecca East

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

The Many Sides of Africa

Growing up in Malawi and going on safari all around Africa with my family, I developed a deep appreciation for the diversity of wildlife and cultures and the vastness of the continent. Those trips were very different from the five-star tented camps, hot-air balloons and expertly-guided expeditions I arrange for most of my clients these days.

These luxury experiences can be wonderfully enriching as well. Imagine taking a photography-focused safari. You will enjoy wildlife photography classes and use of the best equipment as you go out in the bush and learn to frame the landscapes and animals at their best angles. Since wildlife is the big draw, I send a lot of clients to the places I grew up exploring such as Kenya and Tanzania where the abundance of wildlife is awe-inspiring.

South Africa is wonderful because it provides access to many different types of experiences in a relatively compact area, so you do not have to spend your precious time traveling from one remote place to the next. My favorite itinerary starts in Cape Town, getting to understand South Africa’s unique history and enjoying its urban sophistication. Nearby, you can explore the wine country, and then head to Kruger or one of the private game parks to see the Big Five that everyone wants to check off on their first trip.

For visitors who can add another four or five days to their trip, I love to suggest heading to Zambia or Zimbabwe, where you can combine a stay at a luxurious game park with a visit to Victoria Falls. And if you’d like to add in some beach time, I suggest going to one of the amazing offshore islands in the Seychelles or Mauritius, where you might unwind at a Four Seasons resort or a boutique seaside hotel. Seclusion-seeking adventurers also can fly to Mozambique, where Anantara has two dreamy hideaways.

Africa is a place that keeps calling me back. Each time I go, I discover something new and new ways of discovering Africa. On a recent photo safari, we spotted a pack of wild dogs, also known as painted dogs. They are often hard to find, so our guide was very excited, and we raced after them and got some incredible photos. I also checked off Pangolin’s from my list for the first time ever – such an incredible find!

On the other hand, what makes Africa the trip of a lifetime is the amazing diversity of wildlife and the fascinating blend of traditional and modern cultures. Because of my knowledge and experience, I can be creative and plan great experiences at more approachable rates for those on less-rarified budgets. Plus, whatever your budget, my personal experience and knowledge allow me to connect you with the Africa of your dreams.