Welcome to the 2nd edition of the NEW Curious Curator. We hope you found last month’s edition full of useful news and reviews, and thanks to those who gave us positive feedback.
Bookings of the Month:
We had two bookings which stood out last month.
Firstly, thank you to Sarah Coombes from Trailfinders in Birmingham for the highest value booking (over ZAR300,000) to Victoria Falls and Botswana.
Secondly, a fabulous Malawi and Zambia booking made by James Brown (AKA Edward) from DialAFlight. A lovely bespoke Malawi tour and then a stay at Flatdogs Camp in South Luangwa National Park. It’s spectacular and there are definitely no flat dogs there, despite what the name might suggest. Originally Flatdogs used to be a Crocodile farm and Flatdogs is a nickname for Crocodile.
Interview with Angie:
Our lovely UK Senior Account Manager Angie gives us a taster of her life inside and outside of work!
Q1.) Give us a bit of background about yourself and how you ended up at followme2?
It all began way back in 2006 when I was working for Octopus Travel, Travelbag, Ebookers and Travel 2 under the Cendant umbrella as a trainer and fam trip co-coordinator. A company called ECCO Tours approached us about a Travel Academy fam trip they were running in South Africa and asked if we had some agents we could sent on it. As it happens we got 20 agents confirmed on the trip and one of them was me! At the time a lovely lady called Caroline Hall was working at ECCO Tours as the Sales Manager for UK & Ireland and she was the person I liaised with, with regards to the Academy. This type of fam trip was the 1st of its kind as it was an Academy of learning too! The day came 23 June 2006 and we all flew to SA with ECCO Tours – here I met Norma Meyer & Steve Bailey, Caroline Hall and our infamous Mr Clinton Lamb to mention a few. To cut a long story short – I remember saying to Caroline on the trip ….’Man I’d love your job’
Well a few months passed and I kept in contact with Caroline and one day she emailed me to say she was going off travelling and wondered whether I knew anyone that would like her job!!! I jumped at the opportunity – sent my CV to Caroline and the next thing I know I’m sat in Patisserie Valerie in Soho being interviewed by Norma. I got the job and a decade later I’m still with the most amazing company (family) I’ve ever worked for!!! The rest, as they say, is history.
Q2.) What is the most terrifying thing to have happened to you?
Picture this. Your husband tells you that one day he’d like a python. Yes folks that’s right a snake, not just any snake but a Royal Python ……eeeek!! At the time we still didn’t have a ‘will’ so I (stupidly) gave an ultimatum. If I get my will he can get his snake. Little did I know what was around the corner for me and this snake who BTW is/was called Jambo. You’re probably questioning why I have it in the past tense ………..all will be revealed…
We went away as a family for a long weekend only to find that when we returned home Jambo was no longer in her vivarium. Yes folks, the python escaped through a hole in the back of the vivarium AND has not been seen since (it went missing in April)! Needless to say for the 1st few months I slept with my eyes open with our cats protecting me. I checked on the kids all the time as I feared I may wake up one day with Jambo around their necks, or mine for that matter. We turned the house upside down trying to locate her but have not found Jambo yet…………….watch this space !!!
Q3.) What is your favourite place to visit in Africa/best place you have ever been?
Ahhh wow, there are so many of my favourite destinations in Africa, however if I had to choose one then it would have to be Zambia. We did a fam trip in conjunction with Emirates for their Inaugural trip to Lusaka & Mfuwe. I’ve never seen the bush so untouched. When we flew over all you could see was bush – hardly any roads! I got a sense of being in the middle of nowhere and the Zambian people were super friendly. South Luangwa game viewing was amazing! This was the 1st time I’d experienced a walking safari and it was such an incredible experience being on the ground with all the wildlife. Very special!
Someone once said to me, game drives are like watching a movie, however, game walks are like reading the book. I could literally write a book – there are soooooo many destinations in Africa that I could mention that have a special place in my heart.
Q4.) What is your greatest achievement, inside or outside of work?
In my late thirties I discovered the love of street dance. Yes, you heard it correct ‘street dance’! My kids had joined a street dance club called Blaze and they had a parents’ team on Monday’s, so I decided to try it out. I’ve since entered 2 team competitions winning 2nd place and just recently 1st place! I also got 2nd place doing a dance battle between myself and one other dancer. Blaze also awarded me with a trophy for Overall Achiever. Who would have thought of me as a street dancer!
Q5.) What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
The most rewarding thing about my job at followme2AFRICA is working with such incredible people and getting the opportunity to travel and experience all that Southern Africa has to offer! I was born in South Africa however I’ve seen more of Southern Africa in my time at followme! It truly is the BEST job I’ve ever had and I will continue to strive to be the best I can be for the followme2 family!
New Cape Town attraction:
The long-awaited opening of ‘Zeitz Mocaa Museum’ has arrived. Situated in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, this museum of contemporary African art is a public not-for-profit museum which collects, preserves, researches, and exhibits twenty-first century art from Africa and its Diaspora; hosts international exhibitions; develops supporting educational and enrichment programmes; encourages intercultural understanding; and guarantees access for all. Over one hundred galleries, spread over nine floors, are dedicated to a large cutting edge permanent collection; temporary exhibitions; and Centre’s for art education, curatorial excellence, performative practice, photography, the Moving Image, and the costume institute. Read our Tony’s (FM2A’s Product Director) review here: www.followme2africa.com/inspired/zeitz-mocca-new-museum-contemporary-art-africa/
Tony also visits Lalibela in the Eastern Cape to check out what the new owners have been doing: www.followme2africa.com/inspired/lalibela-changing-guard/
A drink with a view to die for:
Ok, so we might be a bit biased as we’re based in Cape Town, but this place rocks. The rooftop bar at the Silo Hotel has the most amazing views! You actually feel like you can touch Table Mountain and there’s such a good buzz. As we’re heading towards Spring, it’s the perfect time to go, as the weather is stunning, but the bar isn’t too crowded and it’s not too hot. Silo also serves up a delicious Sunday roast, but advance reservations are definitely recommended! email@example.com
Restaurant of the month:
Cape Town is awash with fantastic restaurants, but we thought we’d highlight The Shortmarket Club which opened in late June. Another addition to the city bowl area and set within a heritage building on the vibey Bree Street, we’d definitely recommend you pre-book a table here for your guests during their Cape Town stay. They could even take a stroll around Greenmarket Square before they enjoy lunch. Take a look at their menu here: www.theshortmarketclub.co.za/menu/
Helping the community:
It’s that time of year again where we all dig a little deeper into our pockets and support the kids of Abaphumeleli House of Safety. For everyone who doesn’t know, we support a safe house in Kayalitsha Township. The charity currently looks after 30+ kids.
In Khayelitsha many parents are unemployed, are struggling to provide for their children and don’t have the funds to put them into pre-school, so the children would otherwise be subject to abuse or neglect. Although some children are orphaned, most are there because they’ve been abandoned, or their parents are simply unable to look after them.
Towards the end of each year we take them to a Christmas party which happens in Rondebosch, run by the Round Table, called Noddy’s party. It’s a really fantastic evening where we take all the children a gift. To see their faces light up when they open their gifts is so special and we all look forward to this evening every year. Our VP’s daughter and her class mates went to visit and hang out with the kids for the day. This short video clip they made will melt your heart:
A makeover for a Botswana camp:
Desert & Delta Safaris’ Camp Moremi will undergo a complete rebuild, commencing from the 1st December 2017 and they will open 1st May 2018.
Camp Moremi will be rebuilt on its existing site with the dining, lounge and other public areas raised high up in the ebony tree connected by elevated boardwalks. Guests will access the camp on gradual elevated decks leading up to a welcome area and curio shop. The elevated public areas will be beautifully positioned to create more private areas for our guests to relax and enjoy the environment as well as the views of the Xakanaxa Lagoon.
The twelve rooms, consisting of eleven standard rooms and one large family room, will be constructed using a combination of traditional canvas tenting and modern natural materials designed to keep the rooms cool, bright and spacious. Each room will be built within the rich riparian forest which will provide cooling shade and a myriad of bird and animal life around the camp.
While the camp remains closed you can continue to book Camp Xakanaxa for the Moremi Game Reserve portion of your safari.
A new office location for followme2AFRICA:
Our lovely Vanina (Groups Department) has just left our Cape Town office and has flown home to her native Argentina to set up our next Followme2 office. We already look after many South American clients visiting Southern Africa, so having a base there will be great for our agent partners. Good luck Vanina, you’ll be fabulous!
In other news:
Don’t forget our sister brand followme2RUSSIA for all your Russian Enquiries. For inspiration and ideas go to www.followme2russia.com