Somak South Africa FAM Trip : Mark’s experience
Mark from Escape Worldwide joined us on our FAM trip to South Africa in December 2019 and shared his experience with us. It was actually his 6th visit to South Africa but his first time going on safari there, as well as some significant time since he had been on the Garden Route. We hope you enjoy reading all about it.
1. Was this your first time visiting South Africa?
This was my 6th time (I’m a big fan!), however, my first time on a safari in South Africa, and first time in many years on the Garden Route.
Bo Kaap district of Cape Town
2. Do you feel that being part of the FAM trip and experiencing the destination has made it easier for you to discuss SA with your clients?
Oh yes! Especially with the safari elements as it’s a difficult concept to imagine if you haven’t done it before (I’ve been on safari in other countries in Africa, but the experience is so different everywhere). It’s all the little details that make the perfect itinerary and this trip really showed me details – which gives me the opportunity to say “hello, I really know what I’m talking about – book with me!”
Mark in Franschhoek Valley
Things like using a bigger car for a self-drive that includes a game reserve, as I hadn’t allowed for roads to the reserves being so bumpy; hearing about safety aspects in towns and cities (always come up with clients!) and learning the background to them; and having a local guide to help with pronunciation (I grilled him!) so I can now pronounce the likes of ‘Oudtshoorn’, ‘Outeniqua’ and ‘Matjiesfontein’ like a local!
3. Which was your favourite property during the trip?
Hard to say as there were some fantastic properties, but the One&Only Cape Town really, really impressed me. Generally I’m not one for top-end hotels, but this place really blew me away, mainly through the relaxed (but spot-on) service.
The rooms are gorgeous, the food is incredible, the pool is the best I’ve seen in Cape Town – but the whole atmosphere was just spot-on. I can almost always find fault with any hotel (it’s my job!) but it was difficult to find any form of fault here.
I really loved some of the safari properties too – the Amakhala Safari Lodge has such a lovely setting, and with each room having its own plunge pool, plus a complimentary trip in to the adjoining national park for longer stays, it’s a no-brainer!
4. What were your highlights and special memories from the trip?
So many – the incredible food and the superb wines would be high amongst them though, plus the group were thoroughly lovely. Seeing cheetah, rhino, lion and elephant on safari (in a fairly short timeframe) was incredible, and ending with a helicopter flight over Cape Town was a truly spectacular way to finish.
Rhinos at Amakhala Game Reserve
Mark told us:
“Somak’s FAM trip to South Africa was a superb way to get to know this incredible country a lot better, and the first-hand experiences that it brought are proving invaluable in securing sales.
Ok, so it helps that we were spoilt rotten (helicopter over Cape Town, anyone?) but seeing things first-hand, meeting Somak’s local team and experiencing the details that make a great trip really taught me a huge amount about the destination.
Sign me up for the next Somak fam trip, please!”
All Photos are credited to Mark Haughton.