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Deborah Smook

I am absolutely thrilled whenever I have the opportunity to showcase my beloved country to others. It fills me with immense joy to ensure that every visitor who comes here is utterly captivated by the remarkable people, breathtaking landscapes, and the extraordinary value-for-money experiences we offer. I take great pleasure in investing time to understand the unique desires of each visitor, so I can tailor their journey to create an unforgettable experience. My ultimate goal is to provide every visitor to Southern Africa with genuine and authentic encounters that will leave a lasting impression!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in all of Southern Africa (Cape Town, Kruger, Garden Route, Vic Falls, Chobe, Okavango) as well as the Indian Ocean Islands - Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, and Madagascar.

We DO Africa! We want you to have authentic and meaningful experiences. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the local community or prefer mountain biking, motorbiking or hiking the incredible scenery or become one with the Winelands and the mouthwatering food options, we want you to DO is at well."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I pursued a degree in Tourism Management, primarily because it provided me with the opportunity to relocate to the captivating city of Cape Town. At that time, there were limited options available for this program, and Cape Town stood out as an ideal destination. Upon completing my studies, I embarked on a thrilling journey of work and travel that spanned five incredible years. My adventures took me across the Far East and Europe, allowing me to immerse myself in diverse cultures and breathtaking landscapes.

Upon returning to Cape Town, I delved into the tourism industry, and fate smiled upon me when I was presented with an extraordinary opportunity. I was offered a position to promote South Africa as a backpacking, volunteering, and adventure destination for an esteemed industry association. I still pinch myself when I reflect on how fortunate I was to land the best job in the world! I had the privilege of exploring my own country in depth and traversing the globe to share its wonders with others. Along the way, I had the pleasure of meeting incredible individuals who have become lifelong friends and trusted partners within the industry.

However, as life inevitably moves forward, I felt the urge to embark on my own path. Fast forward a few years, and here I am, still filled with boundless enthusiasm, eager to share the beauty of my homeland by curating unforgettable experiences tailored specifically for you! Get ready to embark on an adventure that will leave you breathless and yearning for more. Together, we will create memories that will last a lifetime!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Alaska's stark contrast to my familiar surroundings and the unforgettable glacier hike near McCarthy have left an indelible mark on my soul.
Similarly, Victoria Falls, with its African charm and the presence of elephants roaming freely, continues to captivate me. The proximity to Botswana, with its abundant wildlife, further enhances the allure of this region. The opportunity to embark on a luxurious houseboat journey along the Chobe River, witnessing the grandeur of elephants in their natural habitat, and the chance to indulge in the remote luxury mobile camp in the Okavango Delta.
Another recent highlight was a journey on the Rovos Rail "The world's most luxurious train" through Zimbabwe."

Deborah is part of the following groups: South Africa Travel Agents
Top itineraries and travel advice
Road trip itineraries

Recent trip reviews for Deborah

Once in a Lifetime Trip!
South Africa | May 9 - May 16, 2024

Sharron
Sharron G.
Paradise, NV | Reviewed on May 20, 2024
We began our planning with Debra months prior to our trip and she was always helpful with information and flexible for our requests about the area and what was the most important places for us to visit.
Our hotel, Queen Victoria, was gorgeous and right next to the waterfront. The transportation from our ship to our hotel and to our different destinations was impeccable. We did have one problem with a lost credit card and they took care of that. Our guide to the cape and to the wine...
Read more

We began our planning with Debra months prior to our trip and she was always helpful with information and flexible for our requests about the area and what was the most important places for us to visit.
Our hotel, Queen Victoria, was gorgeous and right next to the waterfront. The transportation from our ship to our hotel and to our different destinations was impeccable. We did have one problem with a lost credit card and they took care of that. Our guide to the cape and to the wine country, Christine was fabulous! We had a rainy day at the cape and honestly it made it more fun. The vineyards chosen for us to visit were first class. No one should miss Table Top Mountain. What a fantastic view. From there we went to Umkumbe Safari Camp and had a fabulous five days full of game drives where we saw all the big five. Again transportation was right on point. The staff at the camp were fun. The luxury tent accommodations were nice. All in all, you expect a great experience when you go that far and that is what we had!! First class.

Hotel Reviews
Queen Victoria Hotel
Cape Town

Amazing hotel in a perfect location next to the waterfront dining and shopping center. Daily breakfast was more than you could ask for and gorgeous. But what made it was the staff. They were so friendly, helpful and professional. Loved this hotel and would recommend it to anyone.

Authenticity & Character
History and decor
Location
Next to the waterfront
Staff
All the reception and dining staff.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Umkumbe Bush Lodge
Sabie Park

The staff here are what make it. The game drives with Charne and our trackers were great and we saw all the big five! The food staff, reception staff and the food were also terrific. Abagail and Sharon were particularly wonderful. If it weren’t for the staff I would rate the accommodations at a four, as we had a toilet that ran even after they tried to fix it. Lighting in the tent was poor and we never could regulate the shower temperature. However, the beds were very comfortable, linens first rate and we even got hot water bottles in the bed at night!!

Authenticity & Character
Very authentic. Sundowner game drives and drinks as well as coffe in the bush perfect!
Location
Right next to Kruger National Park
Staff
They were all amazing!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Beds were very comfortable and linens great.
Activity Reviews
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Cape Town

This is obviously for tourists but so amazing we were blown away! The entertainment fabulous and the sixteen different food items were simply delicious! The decor beautiful and the staff terrific!

Quality of Experience
Just the whole very unique experience!
Food
Authentic and delicious!
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Driver was totally mixed up but Kim Kim kept in touch with us to get us there and back.
Transport
Driver needs to know where he is going.
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
South Africa

It was windy and pouring rain that day but we still had a fabulous time. Christine was great and the scenery perfect. Loved the funicular.

Quality of Experience
The scenery is beautiful.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Christine was knowledgeable and flexible- also picked out a great place for lunch.
Transport
Nice van
Full-Day Wine Tour
Full-Day Wine Tour
South Africa

Napa Valley move over because the vineyards in Africa were fabulous. Our favorite was the Babylonstroen, but we liked the two others for professional knowledge of wine, staff and different wines paired with chocolates as well as the views. A day that should not be missed!

Quality of Experience
Variety of experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Helpful and fun
Transport
Nice van
Arrive at Your Lodge in Kruger & First Game Drive
Arrive at Your Lodge in Kruger & First Game Drive
South Africa

Lovely arrival and we were greeted by a drink and warm staff. We jumped right on the safari jeep and took off for gorgeous and peaceful scenery. Luckily we saw lots of animals and then had our sundowner drinks in a perfect setting.

Quality of Experience
Saw lots of animals. So different to see them in their environment.
Food
Loved the evening snacks and drinks.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Good ranger. Charnae.
Transport
Lots these land rover safari jeeps. Blankets and panchos in case you need them and you can see perfectly from each seat.
A Day in the Kruger Bush with Two Private Game Drives
A Day in the Kruger Bush with Two Private Game Drives
South Africa

Fabulous game drives. We ended up seeing all the big five and the elusive Cheetah and Leopard. The animals were often within ten feet of us. Each day was different but you had the same ranger. Chantae was very interesting and a great ranger. She knew exactly where animals would pop out. The scenery was beautiful. It did rain on one drive but we still saw animals. Ponchos were provided.

Quality of Experience
Lots of animals and so close!!
Food
Coffee and pancakes in the bush.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Great tracking
Transport
Loved the fact every seat was great.
Another Day in the Kruger with 2 private game drives
Another Day in the Kruger with 2 private game drives
South Africa

Another awesome day viewing lots of animals!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Final morning game drive & next stop
Final morning game drive & next stop
South Africa

We had not yet seen lions and hoped to see them on our last drive and voila - we did.

Quality of Experience
Best last drive.
Food
Lovely pancake breakfast on this morning.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Found the Lions. Knew right where they would emerge from the bush.
Transport
Local specialist: Deborah Smook

South Africa Trip
South Africa | Jul 16 - Jul 28, 2023

E
Elizabeth C.
Four Corners, FL | Reviewed on Sep 30, 2023
We had a wonderful once in a lifetime trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Many many thanks to Deb and her team. They were always friendly and quick to respond to my many questions. I had no idea what to do or how to plan this trip and Deb put together an amazing itinerary that had us see so many different places. Our favorites were the game drives and staying at Ivory Wilderness. Special shout out to Corlia who helped us in-country in so many ways from helping with lost... Read more

We had a wonderful once in a lifetime trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Many many thanks to Deb and her team. They were always friendly and quick to respond to my many questions. I had no idea what to do or how to plan this trip and Deb put together an amazing itinerary that had us see so many different places. Our favorites were the game drives and staying at Ivory Wilderness. Special shout out to Corlia who helped us in-country in so many ways from helping with lost luggage, scheduling a doctor's visit to our hotel, to booking last minute game drives. She was friendly and helpful and so accommodating with her time. We can't thank you all enough!!

Hotel Reviews
Ivory Wilderness River Rock Lodge
Hoedspruit

What a wonderful place to stay and experience our safari drives. Everything was first rate. We loved the lodge rooms and the outside areas. Food was fabulous. Andrew was so very gracious and saw to our every need. We can't say enough about Shain. He spoiled us for all other game drives and guides for the rest of our vacation. His smile and laugh were so joyful and he was super friendly and knowledgeable. Thank you to everyone at Ivory Wilderness for our wonderful stay! ALL GOOD!!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Tree House Boutique Hotel
Cape Town

Really loved this hotel. Rooms are huge and clean. Great location. Staff super friendly and helpful. Great breakfast and great drinks bar. Highly recommend.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Shongwe Lookout
Victoria Falls

Loved the Shongwe Lookout! Rooms were spacious and clean. The Lookout with the dumbwaiter for the bar was a hit along with the views and relaxation. Fantastic food and fantastic staff. One young lady helped us schedule a last minute game drive and it was one of the highlights of our trip. Highly recommend!

Authenticity & Character
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Sanctuary Mandela
Johannesburg

What a special place. Rooms were large, clean, and beautiful. Staff were so welcoming. I felt very humbled to be there. Highly recommend!

Authenticity & Character
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Oct 03, 2023

Hello Beth

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was such a pleasure planning your trip with you and your family. We hope to see you here again soon!

Deb

Roll out the superlatives!
South Africa | Aug 16 - Aug 25, 2023

Andrew
Andrew F.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on Aug 27, 2023
All three of us thought this was a truly wonderful trip, beautifully planned by Deb. There were so many high points: In Jo'burg: the Peech Hotel and the tour of Soweto,. The amazing Ivory Wilderness Lodge near Kruger NP and the extraordinary guides Warren ("elephant whisperer") and Shane (infectious enthusiasm). The enjoyable Panorama Route tour. In Cape Town: our excellent tour guide Matthew for both the Cape Peninsula tour (including Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden) and the breathtaking... Read more

All three of us thought this was a truly wonderful trip, beautifully planned by Deb. There were so many high points: In Jo'burg: the Peech Hotel and the tour of Soweto,. The amazing Ivory Wilderness Lodge near Kruger NP and the extraordinary guides Warren ("elephant whisperer") and Shane (infectious enthusiasm). The enjoyable Panorama Route tour. In Cape Town: our excellent tour guide Matthew for both the Cape Peninsula tour (including Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden) and the breathtaking spring flowers in the West Coast NP.
Deb and her team were exceptionally responsive throughout. This was a once in a lifetime experience.

Hotel Reviews
The Peech Boutique Hotel
Johannesburg

A great place to get over jet lag. Staff exceptional.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Ivory Wilderness River Rock Lodge
Bushbuckridge

Incredible service way out in the bush. Extraordinary guides. Fine dining among the animals. Our agent, Deb, really pushed this place and she was 100% right.

Authenticity & Character
Slept in rondavels with all the modern conveniences.
Location
Location was great, but it was 2 hours on a bumpy road to reach it.
Staff
Cannot say enough about our guides Warren and Shane--experienced and in love with the animals. The rest of the staff was great too.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hard to believe this was far out in the bush.
Unembeza Boutique Lodge & Spa
Hoedspruit

Very comfortable but had to leave room before our flight pickup. My family loved the private reserve right outside our door.

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel
Cape Town

Very comfortable and great staff though we got one of the smaller rooms with no view.

Authenticity & Character
Fine but not distinctive.
Location
In the center of the V&A waterfront.
Staff
Very responsive.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Soweto & Apartheid Museum
Soweto & Apartheid Museum
Johannesburg

The Soweto tour was led by proud residents who showed us the full spectrum of Soweto. Very educational. The Apartheid Museum was sobering but necessary.

Quality of Experience
Food
Authentic African cuisine.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Soweto tour by Lebo was very informative.
Transport
Tuk tusk were fine, but bumpy.
Arrive at Your Lodge in Kruger & First Game Drive
Arrive at Your Lodge in Kruger & First Game Drive
South Africa

As said in lodging section, a long and bumpy drive, but amazing accommodations out in the bush.

Quality of Experience
See comments in lodging.
Food
Hard to believe this fine dining out in the bush.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
I wish there were six stars for this. Up close to animals with someone who loves them.
Transport
Very bumpy, but unavoidable.
A Day in the Kruger Bush with Two Private Game Drives
A Day in the Kruger Bush with Two Private Game Drives
South Africa

Both drives with the infectiously enthusiastic Shane. Among other animals, saw a lovely parade of elephants.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Another Day in the Kruger with 2 game drives
Another Day in the Kruger with 2 game drives
South Africa

Both drives with Warren, who is extraordinarily knowledgeable. Loves the animals, a true "elephant whisperer." Can't say enough about his quality.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
See above.
Transport
Final morning game drive & next stop
Final morning game drive & next stop
South Africa

A fine finish to an extraordinary experience. Got up close with a lion. Enjoyable Panorama tour, dramatic scenery. Unembeza Lodge was a good way station stop.

Panorama Route Tour
Panorama Route Tour
Hoedspruit

Not the most amazing scenery ever, but well worth the trip.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Driver/guide explained things well.
Transport
Like all the SUVs, comfortable.
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Cape Town

Worth the experience, though a little discomfort about cultural appropriation .

Quality of Experience
Very well thought out. Good portions of food. Entertainers could have explained the cultural history of the music and dance at least a little.
Food
A good sampler of African food.
Transport
Explore Table Mountain
Explore Table Mountain
Cape Town

It was a little hazy, but glad to have done it.

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guide Matthew was excellent.
Transport
SUV good as usual.
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
South Africa

Very enjoyable, especially as sun came out at Cape Point.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Great guide.
Transport
West Coast Wildflowers Tour - August & September
West Coast Wildflowers Tour - August & September
Cape Town

We were really looking forward to this, and the fields of flowers did not disappoint.

Quality of Experience
The flowers were awesome.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guide Matthew knew exactly were to go.
Transport
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Aug 29, 2023

Hello Andy

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed and good review as well as adding some photos! It was wonderful planning this trip with you and meeting you.

I look forward to seeing you in Denver soon. Please send my regards to Sam and Sharon.

Thank you for trusting us to plan this special trip for you!

Deb

A Magical Trip
South Africa | Aug 6 - Aug 13, 2023

L
Lauren L.
Nixa, MO | Reviewed on Aug 24, 2023
There are just no words for out trip, it was truly amazing! Everything went seamlessly and Deb and her team were absolutely wonderful to work with. We had wonderful guides, and drivers, and the staff at our lodgings were world-class. When we told Deb and her team that we wanted to see all the nature that South Africa has to offer and do it within a comfortable setting, they really nailed it. The Tree House Boutique Hotel and the Ivory Wilderness Resort were the perfect places to rest our... Read more

There are just no words for out trip, it was truly amazing! Everything went seamlessly and Deb and her team were absolutely wonderful to work with. We had wonderful guides, and drivers, and the staff at our lodgings were world-class.

When we told Deb and her team that we wanted to see all the nature that South Africa has to offer and do it within a comfortable setting, they really nailed it. The Tree House Boutique Hotel and the Ivory Wilderness Resort were the perfect places to rest our heads at night and the staff were some of the kindest people I have ever met. Our guides were always on time for our pickups, had so many interesting facts to tell us along our journeys, and really made us feel taken care of. Everyone just went above and beyond to ensure that we had a wonderful time in South Africa.

A huge thanks to Deb and her whole team who constantly checked in on us and even met us in Hermanus and took us to a local winery! I managed to find that wine here in San Francisco and bought a few bottles the other night...what a memory!

When we boarded the plane to go back home, we found ourselves extremely sad to leave this beautiful country and so appreciative that we got to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip as mother and daughter. Seeing all the animals and learning about their daily lives and habits was truly such a pleasure and privilege. It won't be my last trip to South Africa, and I will 100% use Deb and her team again in a heartbeat.

Hotel Reviews
Tree House Boutique Hotel
Cape Town

The staff at this hotel was wonderful! They were constantly eager to please us and make sure we were having a great time. The location was perfect and the rooms were spacious! Their breakfasts were out of this world good! It was so great to feel so taken care of and highly recommend this hotel to any travellers passing though Cape Town!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Ivory Wilderness River Rock Lodge
Hoedspruit

There really are no words! When I messaged friends back home to tell them about our days and game drives, they simply could not believe the experience we were having...because they had all been on safaris and not had the personal touches, care, and intimacy with the animals that we were having! We saw so many animals very up close and got to observe their habits and routines. Our guide Craig went above and beyond to answer my constant questions and educate us on the conservation, flora, fauna, and animals from birds to buffalos! I felt like I not only saw the animals but truly understood them after our drives. Prudence, Xoli, Origin, Craig, Warren, the maids and the gardener were outstanding hosts, I really cannot emphasize enough how kind and attentive they were. This is an intimate lodge with only 6 rondavels, so it was perfect to experience the authenticity of the area and really gave us a chance to get to know the staff well. Origin made the most delicious and nutritious meals for us and Xoli and Prudence somehow always knew what you needed and wanted. I am so incredibly grateful that Deb and her team chose this lodge for us as it really was magical!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Review
Lunch at Crofter's Kitchen
Lunch at Crofter's Kitchen
Cape Town

Nicky is amazing! DO NOT MISS THIS ACTIVITY! She welcomed us into her kitchen and made us a 6 course meal that was out of this world! She also walked us through her garden where we tasted leaves, flowers, and berries and we even got to take home a spice blend from her! This was so special...a must do!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Aug 28, 2023

Hello Lauren

It was so nice to meet you and your mom and experiencing your love for travel and the wildlife. I can't believe that you found the same wine when you got home. I just told the winery (:

Thank you for the amazing review for Ivory and for Nicky. I have passed both reviews on to them as they love good feedback as much as I do.

Thank you for choosing us to help plan this once in a lifetime trip and we hope to see you again one day (:

Deb, Anna & Corlia

Expertly curated trip by travel planner Deb Smook
South Africa | May 31 - Jun 13, 2023

Joan
Joan K.
Atlanta, GA | Reviewed on Aug 06, 2023

With our travel planner Deb Smook's impeccable guidance and insight, we had a truly remarkable, custom trip in June, 2023. Deb really heard and understood what I had envisioned for this trip for our family of four and she expertly curated a memorable and impactful adventure, far exceeding my wildest expectations. Our favorite experience was the photo Safari at the Pangolin Lodge. Deb and her support staff were 'with us' behind the scenes every single step of the way, allowing us to travel comfortably and securely thru South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Aug 07, 2023

Hello Joan

Now that I see your review, I am actually missing you! It was so incredible to plan this trip with you and to meet your family. I'm finally planning my trip to the US and it looks like I will be in Atlanta for a day or 2 in Oct. It would be great to meet up.

In the meantime, if you need us, or need to travel to Chobe, you know where to find me (:

Deb

The Best Vacation Ever
South Africa | Jul 20 - Jul 28, 2023

James "Frank"
James "Frank" J.
Medina, OH | Reviewed on Aug 05, 2023
The Ivory Wilderness Lodge was The Best Safari ever!! Shane our guide couldn't of been better!! The food serves was delicious as well!! Then onto Victoria Falls, what a beautiful natural wonder!! And The Palm River Resort was absolutely beautiful!! The sunset cruise was nice as well!! The helicopter broke was a unique way to see the Falls!Then we were off to a Photo Safari at The Pangalon hotel, absolutely awesome place and people!! The Camaras they let you borrow get you up close and... Read more

The Ivory Wilderness Lodge was The Best Safari ever!! Shane our guide couldn't of been better!! The food serves was delicious as well!! Then onto Victoria Falls, what a beautiful natural wonder!! And The Palm River Resort was absolutely beautiful!! The sunset cruise was nice as well!! The helicopter broke was a unique way to see the Falls!Then we were off to a Photo Safari at The Pangalon hotel, absolutely awesome place and people!! The Camaras they let you borrow get you up close and personal to several species of animals, even seen a wild dog attack on a Kudu, then a female lion come in and take it!! All in all, The Best Vacation Ever!! Thank you KimKim, especially Deb and Corlia!

Hotel Reviews
Ivory Wilderness River Rock Lodge
Hoedspruit

This place is simply Awesome!! The Best guide in the universe works here!! SHANE! IF YOU WANT A SAFARI, You found the place!!! Andrew the server, was excellent as well!! You won't regret visiting here!!

Authenticity & Character
Nice lodging in the Bush!
Location
The Guide Shane!
Staff
The Best Guide Ever, the great service
Cleanliness & Comfort
The whole place!
The Peech Boutique Hotel
Johannesburg

Beautiful hotel, great restaurant, and very good service from the workers!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Nice neighborhood, gated community! Compared to other parts of the city!
Staff
Very clean and nice hotel!
Cleanliness & Comfort
The room was immaculate!
Palm River Hotel
Victoria Falls

Absolutely beautiful hotel, on the Zambezi River!! Very close to Victoria Falls!!

Authenticity & Character
Beautiful and clean, great restaurant!
Location
Close to Victoria Falls!
Staff
Very nice staff!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Very clean and nice hotel!
Pangolin Chobe Hotel
Kasane

Clean and beautiful!

Authenticity & Character
The guides were outstanding! A lot of animals to view!!
Location
Close to ChOBE
Staff
Great men and women working there!! Always greeting you when you arrive!
Cleanliness & Comfort
The room was clean, the staff was awesome!
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Aug 07, 2023

Hello Frank & Kim

Wow, thank you so much for the incredible review and also for the amazing feedback on Whatsapp. We really enjoyed working with you and we are delighted that you enjoyed the trip so much.
Hopefully we will see you on our side if the world again soon!

Deb, Corlia & Anna

Using a Local Expert is Essential and Deb and Team are the BEST!
South Africa | Jun 29 - Jul 8, 2023

Chad
Chad S.
Manhattan, NY | Reviewed on Jul 09, 2023
Deborah and her team were amazing! I have not used a travel agent for about 20 years. When I last did it was someone local to me who had been to the location 2-3 times at best, so was basically giving limited anectdotal experience or assempling reviews from the same sources available to me. But, having never been anywhere in Africa, I knew I needed some additional help with this trip - to Cape Town, the wine region, and a safari in Kruger. Even still, I approached the whole thing... Read more

Deborah and her team were amazing!

I have not used a travel agent for about 20 years. When I last did it was someone local to me who had been to the location 2-3 times at best, so was basically giving limited anectdotal experience or assempling reviews from the same sources available to me. But, having never been anywhere in Africa, I knew I needed some additional help with this trip - to Cape Town, the wine region, and a safari in Kruger. Even still, I approached the whole thing skeptically at first. But Deborah, Anna Marie, and the whole team were fantastic.

They asked a lot of questions about what I cared about in terms of accomodations, the experience in each of the locations, and the schedule I wanted to keep. The itinerary they put together, restaurants they recommended, and specific guides they made sure led the various tours were all top notch - including setting up a private 7 course lunch in the home of a famous South African chef to taste local flavors and cuisine and tour her gardens and listen to her stories cooking for rock stars around the world. Cape Town exceeded every one of my expectations. And then they found us the best cottage in Fraschoek, under the radar restaurants, and an awesome guide for our bike tour of the wine region. These are all things that you NEED a LOCAL to find you. They had been to all of the places they recomended - knew the people who worked there, and hadn't just visited Cape Town and the wine region, but LIVED there.

For the last, and most important stop, the safari lodge they found us was amazing. They offered a number of choices and we worked to arrive at one that was exactly what we were looking for (I told them I was willing to spend, but cared a lot more about the quality of the game drives than the quality of the sheets, and they found us a lodge where the owner is the main guide, and the tracker has been tracking and working in Kruger for more than 25 years). We saw everything - including three separate leopards; and learned so much from the two of them who had lived their entire lives in that portion of the reserve.

Finally, Deb and Anna Marie connected on WhatsApp in advance of the trip and checked in with us throughout to make sure everything was exceeding expectations. When we had United-related travel delays at the start of the trip, they made all necessary adjustments. And when we had a change of mind about a dinner - or spending longer somewhere - they were basically on call (in the same time zone!) to address and adjust everything as needed.

We could not recommend them any more highly! Absolutely amazing vacation!

Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Jul 18, 2023

Hello Chad & Katie

It was such a pleasure to help you plan your dream trip to South Africa! It was also great fun for Anna-marie and I and our girls to meet you.

Thank you SO much for the great review! It really means to much to us.

Hope to see you in South Africa again soon (:

Deb, Anna-marie & Corlia

Southern African Family Adventure
South Africa | Apr 12 - Apr 21, 2023

Julia
Julia M.
New Zealand | Reviewed on Apr 24, 2023
We enlisted the help of Deb and the Kim Kim team to help us organize a whistle stop trip to S. Africa and Zimbabwe. We only had 10 days so needed help getting the most out of our limited time.
We were so impressed with the level of communication throughout the planning process and whilst on the trip itself. Some great dinner spots and additional activities were suggested which made a huge difference to our experience. It was also great to be given a variety of accommodation options which we...
Read more

We enlisted the help of Deb and the Kim Kim team to help us organize a whistle stop trip to S. Africa and Zimbabwe. We only had 10 days so needed help getting the most out of our limited time.
We were so impressed with the level of communication throughout the planning process and whilst on the trip itself. Some great dinner spots and additional activities were suggested which made a huge difference to our experience. It was also great to be given a variety of accommodation options which we could select to best suit our budget.
All transfers and activities ran like clockwork and took the worry out of traveling in a new country with kids. Every guide we came across was exceptionally knowledgeable and professional.
We would definitely use the Kim Kim service again and wholeheartedly recommend Deb and her team for anyone considering a trip to S. Africa. Thank you for the most amazing holiday - we didn’t want to come home!

Hotel Reviews
Parker Cottage
Cape Town

This was a holiday highlight for us. Tomas and his team and the accommodation was exceptional - a home away from home and a blissful sanctuary after a busy day sightseeing. Outstanding!

Authenticity & Character
A beautiful old heritage villa.
Location
A safe walking distance to restaurants in the area and close proximity to Table Mountain and the Waterfront.
Staff
Great advice and super friendly!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Southern Sun De Wagen
Stellenbosch
Authenticity & Character
Location
Walking distance to restaurants.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The rooms/ beds needed to be bigger!
Phezulu Guest Lodge
Victoria Falls
Authenticity & Character
Location
Lovely quiet location but it was easy to organise taxis.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Capital On The Park
Sandton
Authenticity & Character
A big hotel with a great pool area.
Authenticity & Character
Location
Close to the shopping mall.
Location
Close to the shopping mall.
Staff
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
A great 2 bed apartment for our final night.
Cleanliness & Comfort
A great 2 bed apartment for our final night.
Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa - Kasane
Chobe, Kasane
Authenticity & Character
The isolation of this place was quite special - we loved the open air dining areas and viewing deck and of course the thatched roof.
Location
It took 3 border crossings to reach this lodge but it actually added to the experience. Loved that it was only accessible by river.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Super big beds!
Activity Reviews
Horseback Riding in the Winelands
Horseback Riding in the Winelands
South Africa

My kids loved this activity! It was an amazing setting.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Explore Table Mountain
Explore Table Mountain
Cape Town

We loved this trip! We headed straight here after checking in at our accommodation. We took a later cable car up to catch the sunset. It was super quiet and the sunset/ views were beautiful!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
Cape Peninsula & Penguins
South Africa

We had a friendly and experienced guide. We loved the penguins, haggling with the street vendors and the views.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Robben Island
Robben Island
Cape Town

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. We had an amazing guide on the bus around the island and a former inmate for the prison tour. Very interesting and humbling. It was quite a big group and sometimes hard to follow what was being said when we were off the bus.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Dinner at GOLD Restaurant
Cape Town

The additional drumming workshop was well worth it. We all loved it! It was great to taste various dishes from around the continent and to watch the dancing/ entertainment. This was definitely a very touristy activity but something I would recommend.

Quality of Experience
Food
Authentic and rustic - some dishes were really tasty, some were more interesting.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Gourmet Dinner on a Sunset Cruise
Gourmet Dinner on a Sunset Cruise
Victoria Falls

This was outstanding! It was stunning scenery on the Zambezi and we saw our first hippo! The 4 course meal was delicious.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Guided Tour of Vic Falls
Guided Tour of Vic Falls
Victoria Falls

What’s not to like? The Falls are breathtaking!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Dusty Road Township Lunch or Dinner Experience **highly recommended by our team
Dusty Road Township Lunch or Dinner Experience **highly recommended by our team
Victoria Falls

Loved the little tour that you get upon entry. Great atmosphere and loved the community aspect of this place and the focus on sustainability.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
We took our own taxi and paid more than we were told to pay.
Arrival at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Arrival at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Chobe National Park

We crossed 3 borders to get here. This sounds overwhelming but each crossing was slick and efficient and we were directed by the driver on where to go. It added to the whole experience. The river ride to the lodge was beautiful - we spotted lion, hippos and elephants. It was nice to be offered a cold drink on board.

Quality of Experience
Food
N/a
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Last morning at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Last morning at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Chobe National Park

We actually saw very little wildlife on the morning safari. We ended up watching a troop of baboons for ages. The river ride and sunset was perfect though.

Quality of Experience
Food
N/a
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Apr 28, 2023

Hello Julia

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this detailed review. It was such a pleasure planning this trip for you and your family and I am so glad that you enjoyed it.

Deb

Family Southern Africa Trip
South Africa | Mar 19 - Mar 26, 2023

M
Mackenzie M.
Evanston, IL | Reviewed on Apr 07, 2023
The trip was a 10/10 experience. Deb really took the lead on planning everything for us because we came in with limited knowledge. We got to do everything and had the greatest of times. All the staff was extremely accommodating. Having all of the drivers planned out made the trip carefree and seamless. Read more

The trip was a 10/10 experience. Deb really took the lead on planning everything for us because we came in with limited knowledge. We got to do everything and had the greatest of times. All the staff was extremely accommodating. Having all of the drivers planned out made the trip carefree and seamless.

Hotel Reviews
Chobe Game Lodge
Serondela

Extremely nice facility with amazing food, views, and people. Being able to get into Chobe earlier allowed us to see a family of lions without any other trucks blocking our view!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Ilala Lodge
Victoria Falls

The lodge was a great location to walk to the falls. The service was extremely accommodating. Food was delicious. Our driver for the majority of the trip, Frank, was amazing! Extremely informative and kind.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa - Kasane
Chobe, Kasane

This is a very secluded and peaceful experience. The food was great and authentic. However there was a large fly problem while eating.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Flight of the Angels over Vic Falls
Flight of the Angels over Vic Falls
Victoria Falls

The 15 minute duration trip was plenty. The guide explained everything we were seeing and sights were amazing. Really good safety briefing as well.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Sunset Cruise & Riverside Dinner
Sunset Cruise & Riverside Dinner
Victoria Falls

We had a private cruise with a full staff. The guide got us really close and allowed us to take as many pictures of the hippopotamus. The dinner course was unexpected and really amazing. Drinks and pretty views made this excursion very relaxing and wonderful. They provided rain ponchos which were very helpful.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Dusty Road Township Lunch or Dinner Experience **highly recommended by our team
Dusty Road Township Lunch or Dinner Experience **highly recommended by our team
Victoria Falls

This was definitely a highlight of our trip. The food was delicious and the entire experience of learning about all the ingredients was very interesting. The entire ambiance of the place was amazing and could not be replicated elsewhere. We even purchased the owners cookbook. Staff was great!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Mukuni Village Tour
Mukuni Village Tour
Victoria Falls

This was a very unique experience. The guide was great and the villages were extremely kind. We wish we knew prior to bring some clothes to donate. Got to purchase some great souvenirs here straight from the people who make it. Also needing another visa to get back into Zimbabwe and to pay for everything in cash is important info.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
The Exclusive Black Rhino Conservation Experience
The Exclusive Black Rhino Conservation Experience
Victoria Falls

This luxury lodge was a great treat for the evening. Our safari guide, Michael, was extremely passionate about his job and made the tour very fun for us. He really put the effort in to make sure we saw as many animals as possible especially the black rhinos.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Arrive at your lodge in Chobe National Park and First Game Drive
Arrive at your lodge in Chobe National Park and First Game Drive
Chobe National Park

Although it started pouring rain, it was still amazing since they provided really nice and heavy ponchos. These rides are extremely enjoyable just to see all the views. We also got to see a family of elephants which was really exceptional.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Game Drives in Chobe National Park
Game Drives in Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park

Getting to be the first ones out into the park allowed us first access to seeing all the morning animals. We got to see a whole family of lions without having to compete with any other cars for the best photos ops. The lunch provided had a lot of food in it and was very filling. We really got to see almost every animal in the park and the guide, Ellie, did a great job spotting out exotic birds and plants.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Arrival at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Arrival at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Chobe National Park

You need to take a very small boat with all of your luggage to this location which was a surprise. The guide that took us Felix was very nice and informative!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full day at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Full day at Chobe Savanna Lodge
South Africa

This is a very peaceful resort with limited visitors. The staff is extremely accommodating and the food was great.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Last morning at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Last morning at Chobe Savanna Lodge
Chobe National Park

We did a bird viewing cruise in the morning and got to see hippos out of the water as well as some elephants drinking water. Also a lot of baboons on the water.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Apr 14, 2023
Hello Mackenzie It was SUCH a pleasure to plan this trip with you and I am so happy that your parents decided to join in the end to share it with you.
Thank you so much for taking the time, not only to write a review of us but also of all your activities and accommodation. I will be sure to pass this on and it makes my heart sing to hear the smaller details. We try our best to make your trip as memorable as possible by adding the little surprises that makes it a little different. I love...
Read more

Hello Mackenzie

It was SUCH a pleasure to plan this trip with you and I am so happy that your parents decided to join in the end to share it with you.
Thank you so much for taking the time, not only to write a review of us but also of all your activities and accommodation. I will be sure to pass this on and it makes my heart sing to hear the smaller details. We try our best to make your trip as memorable as possible by adding the little surprises that makes it a little different. I love that you remember so many of the guides names!
I will definitely make a note to advise guests to bring old clothes if they have some space left in their suitcases coming here.
There is actually this lovely initiative "Pack for a Purpose" that informs people of what they can bring and also what not (:
This link is to a friend's hostel in Livingstone and what they request - purely for interest sake. Or for when you come back to Southern Africa - which I'm pretty sure you are planning to to already!
https://www.packforapurpose.org/destinations/africa/zambia/jollyboys-backpackers-camp/

Again, thank you so much for trusting me with your trip!

Have a wonderful rest of 2023!

Deb

We were very grateful to Deborah and her team...
South Africa | Feb 28 - Mar 3, 2023

M
Maureen G.
Canada | Reviewed on Mar 04, 2023
We were very grateful to Deborah and her team to help us plan our trip to South Africa. The personal touch and great recommendations for driving routes, accommodations made the trip amazing. The Mosaic Lagoon Lodge was a perfect place to start the trip, (amazing atmosphere) and ending at Ivory Wilderness Lodge was a lovely bookend the whole experience.
We would highly recommend getting Deborah and her team to assist in your trip due to their local knowledge, insight, great communication and...
Read more

We were very grateful to Deborah and her team to help us plan our trip to South Africa. The personal touch and great recommendations for driving routes, accommodations made the trip amazing. The Mosaic Lagoon Lodge was a perfect place to start the trip, (amazing atmosphere) and ending at Ivory Wilderness Lodge was a lovely bookend the whole experience.
We would highly recommend getting Deborah and her team to assist in your trip due to their local knowledge, insight, great communication and personal touches. Thanks very much.

Hotel Review
Ivory Wilderness River Rock Lodge
Hoedspruit

We had an unbelievable experience at Ivory Wilderness. The accommodations were beautiful and authentic yet luxurious. Food was plentiful and delicious. The highlight was Craig, our guide who has us out at the crack of dawn and was relentless is making sure we saw amazing animals but also taught us about the flora, birds and how they are all interconnected with life in the Savanna.

Authenticity & Character
The long history of the proprietors in the region
Staff
Great food and service
Cleanliness & Comfort
Beautiful sheets, lovely showers
Local specialist: Deborah Smook
Deborah
Deborah Smook
Local specialist in Cape Town | Replied on Mar 08, 2023
Hello Maureen Thank you so much for the amazing review. I spent a night at Ivory Wilderness this week and I agree, it is such a special place and the guides are really great at connecting their guests with nature. There really is a magical atmosphere to that spot and I will definitely go back.
It was incredible to meet you and welcome you to my home and show you a little bit of Hermanus. I really enjoyed your company and it was such a pleasure to plan this trip with you.
I hope you have... Read more

Hello Maureen

Thank you so much for the amazing review. I spent a night at Ivory Wilderness this week and I agree, it is such a special place and the guides are really great at connecting their guests with nature. There really is a magical atmosphere to that spot and I will definitely go back.
It was incredible to meet you and welcome you to my home and show you a little bit of Hermanus. I really enjoyed your company and it was such a pleasure to plan this trip with you.

I hope you have a fantastic time during the rest of your travels and I hope to meet up with you again someday.

Thank you for trusting me to plan this special trip.

Deb