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Why are you passionate about South Africa?

I was born in South Africa during the Apartheid regime (segregation), and since we were considered “Non-Europeans”, we were denied basic human rights. We weren’t able to vote or own land, our mobility was restricted. Can you imagine? Laws governing where we could live or go to school.

We weren’t allowed to use the same buses, eat in the same restaurants or sit on the same benches as White people. So I grew up hating South Africa and after coming to Canada, I only went back to visit family. After 1994, when South Africa became a free country – I returned and couldn’t believe how much it had changed.

I went to places I never had an opportunity to visit and fell in love with the country. I’m grateful to all the people who fought for our freedom, those who sacrificed so much and to those who lost their lives. I’m passionate about South Africa because it is a country that has been through so much and still came out on the other side with so much resilience, forgiveness and Ubuntu! I’m thrilled to show people all that South Africa has to offer through our tours.


Why is South Africa a great destination?

South Africa is a magnificent destination which has something to offer every kind of traveler. Whether it’s a safari experience, a deeper understanding of a turbulent history, a cultural excursion or spectacular beauty, South Africa has it all. The people are outstanding, they are friendly, hospitable and always have a great story or joke to share. South Africa is more than a travel destination, it’s an experience that you won’t likely forget.

Why should people travel with Integrity Tours?

I would say that Integrity Tours offers travelers more than your average tours. We take the time to find out what you really like, the type of traveler you are, what kind of budget you want to work with and with this information, we put together an itinerary that is customized to suit you. When I travel, I like to get recommendations and tips on where to go, when is the best time to travel and so on. Sure you can do a search on the Internet but you may not know whether the source of that info is credible. With Integrity Tours, we specialize in South Africa – so we know first-hand about the travel experiences that are available. We are your trusted travel advisor and we make sure from start to finish you have a stress-free, seamless travel experience.

It’s the one time you don’t mind hearing your alarm at 5:00 a.m. that’s because you’re about to set out on an adventure of a lifetime. As you throw on your casual clothes, a light jacket, running shoes and your hat, you grab your camera and head to the breakfast area. You quickly consume a cup of coffee or tea and a rusk (hearty Afrikaaner biscuit) before mounting the safari jeep. You breathe in the fresh morning air still moist with the dawn’s dew.

Rhino at SunsetAs the jeep leaves the lodge, you start to anticipate what might be the first animal you see. Your guide says that he hopes you will see the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard) soon. And just like that, 10 minutes into the trail, you soon see a rhino marking his territory. You marvel at this large, prehistoric looking animal in its natural habitat while the guide gives a full commentary on the rhino. And so it begins, one sighting after another, giraffes, impalas and buffalo. The lioness and her cuddly cub, the dominant, male elephant and the list goes on. All the while, the knowledgeable guide and savvy tracker provide insights into the animals’ behaviour and habits. Mesmerised by the these amazingly beautiful animals, you wonder how you could have ever missed this experience.

You return to the lodge after a three hour drive and as you sit down to your delectable full breakfast, you sigh at what you have just witnessed. After a leisurely afternoon at the beautiful lodge and a light lunch you get ready for your afternoon drive. You again search the bush with an eagle eye hoping to spot more of these splendid animals! Once you return to the lodge and freshen up, you look forward to enjoying dinner under the African stars. Over a glass of wine, you share your experiences with your fellow travellers before you head to bed. This is the not-so-typical day in the African bush.

Based on stay at Thornybush Waterside Lodge.

Lekker is South African slang and means tasty or pleasurable or very excellent. Originally referred to food, but used widely to describe any excellent or pleasurable thing.

Any good traveller knows that eating at local establishments is a must! I always look for places where locals eat and the prices are just right. There’s only so much wining and dining one can do, so a little meandering can go along way.

Akhalwaya’s Fast Foods

Akhalwaya’s Chip RollA great spot to visit in Johannesburg is Akhalwaya’s Fast Foods in Fordsburg for awesome burgers, pizzas and fish and chips. My all-time favourite is the Chip Roll, a simple roll filled with fresh chips (French fries) sprinkled with masala and ketchup. Sounds like carbs on carbs, but trust me it tastes amazing and hits the spot every time. They also have AK47 sandwiches which is filled with different types of meats and cheese. Although they are a fast food joint, all their foods are made fresh to order and have a just the right hint of spice.

Mzoli’s Meat

Just a little outside of Cape Town, there is a township called Guguletu (affectionately known as Gugs) where you’ll find the famous Mzoli’s. Make your way there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to get a true township braii (bbq) experience. The place has a great vibe: dejays are blasting South African house-music, street vendors are selling their wares, there’s lots of young African fashionistas and tourists mixing and mingling. Get there early because the line-ups get longer as the afternoon progresses. You simply choose you lamb, boerwors, chicken or beef from the meat counter – make sure you ask for the special sauce! Your meat will be put in an enamel bowl and you’ll be given a number, at which time you can head out to the make-shift dining room. You can buy wine or beer at the local shops while you wait for your cooked meat. Suddenly your bowl will appear with scrumptious-looking, tasty meat. You can get a side dish of pap, a local staple…just dig in – it’s fine to use your hands! No cutlery provided.

Sir Richard Branson’s South African Hotel and Vineyard

During a recent visit to South Africa, we had an opportunity to visit the stunning Mont Rochelle Hotel and Vineyard in Franschhoek.

First of all, Franschhoek has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s no wonder that Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group set up one of his properties here. Wines have been cultivated in Franschhoek since the 18th century by the French Huguenots who fled to the Cape to escape religious persecution in France. This idyllic setting is surrounded by mountains with beautiful valleys perfect for wine making and considered to be the food and wine capital of South Africa.

The dining options at Mont Rochelle are superb at either the upscale Miko or the casual fare offered at the Country Kitchen. The property also has a superb wine cellar, so no worries about finding the exact match for your meal!

The 22 rooms are stylish and modern, with great views of the mountain and tons of privacy from your deck. Everything you would expect from a top-class hotel with great service as well. Lots of nooks and crannies throughout the property to read a book, enjoy a glass of wine or just take in the scenery.

Pool at Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard - Sir Richard Branson's South African Hotel & Vineyard

And of course, there’s always the heated pool, gym and the state of the art Hamman spa. They will even pack you a picnic lunch to enjoy on the 100 acre property. You’re never far away from wine tasting which is offered at the restaurants and bar. This is an ideal and intimate setting to celebrate a honeymoon, anniversary or just explore Franschhoek.