TL Advisor: Africa With Krissy Concannon
TRAVELLUSTRE travel advisor Krissy Concannon’s passion for exploring new places and meeting new people has taken her to 40 countries. Some of her favorite travel memories were born in Africa, from cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa to spotting the Big 5 on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Most recently, she spent more than two months traveling across five countries in Southern Africa. Here, our Boston-based luxury travel advisor and Africa expert shares her favorite places and experiences in Africa.
What draws you back to Africa again and again?
Africa opens your mind and heart, adjusting your perspective and shifting your mindset while also providing you with a trip of a lifetime. It’s both humbling and awe-inspiring.
The contrast between the dramatic landscapes, the warm and welcoming people, the unbelievable wildlife encounters on safari, the world-class culinary and wine experiences and the natural beauty make Africa so incredibly unique and special.
When it comes time to say goodbye to Africa, I find myself heartbroken because no matter how many times I go, each trip has a profound effect on me, like nowhere else in the world can. I have left Africa many times, but Africa has never left me.
Is there one country that you keep traveling back to? South Africa is one of my absolute favorite countries in the world. I’ve discovered that the more times I visit, the more I want to keep returning. South Africa is as diverse and exciting as it is calming and peaceful. Whether you are on safari in the Greater Kruger, sleeping in a sky bed under the stars, cage diving with great white sharks, hiking Table Mountain or sipping wine in the Winelands, South Africa is more than an incredible destination.
What’s your perfect South Africa itinerary?
The perfect vacation to South Africa would start in Cape Town. This coastal city has so much to offer travelers, from stunning beaches to ocean-based activities like whale watching excursions or a sunset sail. The city has a delicious and diverse culinary scene and lots of opportunities to explore South Africa’s rich history. And no visit to Cape Town would be complete without a hike at Table Mountain, a walk through the botanical gardens or a visit to Boulders Beach to see the penguins.
Although only one hour from Cape Town, the Winelands of South Africa offers a completely different experience and should be included on every itinerary. World-class wineries line the valleys, giving travelers the perfect combination of stunning scenery to enjoy wine in a serene setting.
After a few days spent relaxing in the Winelands, it’s off to see the Big 5 in one of the most famous safari destinations in Africa, Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger is home to some of the most luxurious safari lodges and guides in the world. Wildlife is abundant in this area of South Africa, so travelers can anticipate seeing the Big 5 up close while on safari.
I advise my clients to end their vacations with their safari because it is an incredible opportunity to disconnect and immerse themselves in nature with the wildlife.
For a once-in-a-lifetime safari trip, where would you recommend?
Botswana! This small Southern African country is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after destinations in Africa and for good reason.
A safari in Botswana’s famous Okavango Delta is one of the most memorable travel experiences I’ve ever had. Taking a traditional mokoro down the waterways of the Delta while getting up close to the animals was incredible. Botswana is not only home to the Big 5, but it is also home to more elephants than any other African country.
Botswana prides itself on creating phenomenal safari experiences with low impact, meaning unparalleled safari experiences for travelers. The lodges are small, intimate and luxurious, with some of the best hospitality in the world. This also means that you will not find any crowds, nor will you ever see multiple jeeps all lined up at wildlife viewings.
Skipping the safaris, which African destination do you love?
When you think of far-flung beach destinations, a chain of islands located 900 miles off the shores of East Africa may not be the first destination that comes to mind, but it should be!
The coral and granite islands of Seychelles are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With white-sand beaches, bright turquoise waters and a tropical climate year-round, the Seychelles make for the perfect destination in Africa outside of safaris.
What's the biggest tip you give to clients traveling to Africa for the first time?
While sharing pictures or videos of your travels in Africa is always fun, unplugging and truly immersing yourself in each experience is one of the best ways to truly understand the depth of all that Africa has to offer. I always like to advise clients to do their best to stay present and use the opportunity to fully disconnect from the outside world.
I also advise my clients to make sure to get to know their safari guide and tracker. They have the most diverse backgrounds and almost always have an interesting story about wildlife encounters.
Where is left on your Africa travel wish list? My next trip to Africa is to fulfill my dream of trekking with gorillas in Rwanda. I also can’t wait to explore the deserts of Namibia.
Contact TRAVELLUSTRE for assistance planning a trip to Africa.