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Esther Ruempol

Travelling and discovering new places is one of the things I love most in life, and the best part is to share these special places with our travellers. Our goal as a local specialist is to design your ultimate dream holiday, with a focus on sustainability and authentic experiences.

We like to make sure your trip has a minimum negative and maximum positive impact on the destination you visit. To this end, our accommodation portfolio consists of luxury lodges that have been verified and are known to have a sustainability mindset. They make a genuine effort to contribute positively to the nature, wildlife, and local communities in their direct environment.

I firmly believe that luxury travel and sustainability can co-exist and be integrated with your personal wishes to ensure you have the holiday of a lifetime!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"South Africa is definitely my specialty. I have lived and worked here for the past 11 years and I have travelled extensively. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to have seen a lot of accommodations and visited many of the highlights as well as off the beaten track destinations.
In addition, I make regular visits to the countries surrounding South Africa and I have also gained a lot of knowledge on Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique."

How did you get involved in travel?

"When I was 18 and had finished high school, I was not sure what to study and so I embarked on a solo-trip to Australia for 8 months. This was the best thing I could have done and when I came back I decided to study tourism!
I have never looked back since then. Travelling is in my blood, I love discovering new places and especially to use those experiences to plan the perfect trip for my clients.
"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"That first trip to Australia is something I will never forget. Australia is an immensely large country and because I was there for 8 months and travelled around a lot, it gave me so many different experiences. There are many beautiful and different types of landscapes, activities from wine tasting an visiting the vineyards to driving a 4x4 and diving and snorkelling on one of the islands bay the East Coast.
It also taught me a lot of things about myself and about (solo) travelling in a new country you have never been to. Some of these things I can still use today when designing a tour for my clients. "

Top itineraries and travel advice
Road trip itineraries

Recent trip reviews for Esther

We were pleased with our Namibia trip
Namibia | Apr 7 - Apr 21, 2024

Zvonko
Zvonko D.
Slovenia | Reviewed on Apr 25, 2024
The summary first: in general, we are very pleased with our Namibia trip; it was a great experience and fulfilled our expectations. Let me now give some more detailed, constructive feedback and please keep in mind that this was our fourth trip with Kimkim. Positive things first:
- We were really satisfied with our guide/driver Pagge, who did his job without one mistake during our 14 days of traveling together. He was very experienced and knowledgeable, plus he gave us a lot of...
Read more

The summary first: in general, we are very pleased with our Namibia trip; it was a great experience and fulfilled our expectations.

Let me now give some more detailed, constructive feedback and please keep in mind that this was our fourth trip with Kimkim.

Positive things first:
- We were really satisfied with our guide/driver Pagge, who did his job without one mistake during our 14 days of traveling together. He was very experienced and knowledgeable, plus he gave us a lot of information even beyond classic information for tourists.
- All accommodations were fine. They were quite different in style (from tent style lodge to ordinary hotel) and we liked the diversity. Quite satisfied also with all arranged breakfasts and dinners!
- Most of the time the “intensity” of the trip was just optimal. Meaning that we had some activities every day (except first day), but we also had some free time for some rest or optional activities.

Not so optimal:
- If we compare with our previous Kimkim trips, preparations for this trip were “below Kimkim’s standards”:
o Starting with Kimkim platform: there were a lot of small mistakes (persistent wrong maps, inconsistency in texts, copy-past errors…)
o We needed several iterations before we came to acceptable plan (for example we asked for the driver at the very beginning…) and delays between iterations.
o Our contact Esther was always responsive and cooperative, but we believe that most of the time it was out of her power to fix the problems or to speed up the process.
- Additional surprise came when we got detailed plan from Namibian company executing the trip: plan was in several points different to the agreed Kimkim plan, but it was also more logical and more “executable”, so we accepted it.
o Important to add: during the trip we additionally tuned a trip a little and the trip was very good(!), so we are speaking here only about the preparation phase.
- It is not on us to judge what were the reasons for non-optimal preparation phase, but one simple explanation could be that Ester’s company was just not also the company later executing the trip

- We had one only operational “problem” at the beginning of our trip: we had Windhoek city tour planed for 10am on 8th April and we were waiting for a guide at the gate of the guesthouse. Nobody arrived, so at the reception we learned that they were just informed that the city was postponed till afternoon!? When we complained that we do not intend to wait for a guide the whole day in the hotel, we finally settled that we would meet with a guide by the church at 3pm and we later got originally planned city tour.

- Last comment is our subjective opinion that the whole trip was slightly overpriced. This opinion is based on our comparation with other three Kimkim trips (all of them were cheaper, but approximately same duration and all were including multiple internal flights) plus we learned during the trip that the cost of living in Namibia is quite low. Again, one simple explanation for the high cost could be that in this case just too many intermediate companies were involved.

To end in a positive tone: overall we were pleased with our Namibia trip.

Regards
Zvonko

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Apr 26, 2024

Dear Zvonko

Thanks so much for your feedback, this is extremely valuable for us, especially coming from repeat Kim Kim clients such as yourselves. We will definitely use your feedback for future requests and it really helps us to continuously keep improving our tours and service

I'm so glad you and your wife had a great trip to Namibia, and we hope to see you again in a different destination.

Warm regards
Esther

Great vacation
South Africa | Jan 27 - Feb 3, 2024

R
Ravi R.
Redwood City, CA | Reviewed on Feb 08, 2024
Esther did an amazing job of coming up with a great itinerary and location. Very easy to work with and she knows what is best for the customer. Read more

Esther did an amazing job of coming up with a great itinerary and location. Very easy to work with and she knows what is best for the customer.

Hotel Review
Mhondoro Lodge
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Feb 09, 2024

Hey Ravi, thanks so much for the great review! I really enjoyed planning this trip with you and so glad to hear you had a great time :-)

Esther’s help was invaluable from start to finish
South Africa | Jul 6 - Jul 19, 2023

Lizzie
Lizzie C.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Jan 09, 2024

We unfortunately had to cut our two week trip very short due to a family tragedy but Esther was an amazing travel agent. She meticulously planned our trip and thought about everything and for the few days we’ were there was very responsive when we were in country. Even after we had to cut our trip short she helped us with our insurance claim. I really wish we had been able to complete the rest of the wonderful trip she planned and can’t recommend her enough.

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Jan 10, 2024

Hi Lizzie
Thank you so much for your wonderful review! It was devastating that this tragedy happened while you were so far away from home. I hope you will be able to experience the rest of South Africa some day!

A marquee trip.
South Africa | Dec 22 - Jan 1, 2024

Christopher
Christopher H.
Chicago, IL | Reviewed on Jan 05, 2024
A marquee trip. Our biggest concern now is that we will never have as good of a vacation ever again.
In regards to kimim; Esther made it very easy to plan a trip that we found overwhelming. All of our activities, and transportation handled and executed flawlessly. Our preferences address, and planned for to ensure the trip delivered everything we wanted from our travel budget. Kagiso and Lucy were our mom's in country, their advice, insight, and quick responses took all the stress out of...
Read more

A marquee trip. Our biggest concern now is that we will never have as good of a vacation ever again.
In regards to kimim; Esther made it very easy to plan a trip that we found overwhelming. All of our activities, and transportation handled and executed flawlessly. Our preferences address, and planned for to ensure the trip delivered everything we wanted from our travel budget. Kagiso and Lucy were our mom's in country, their advice, insight, and quick responses took all the stress out of travel. They were friendly and seamed genuinely interested in how things were going and what kind of experiences we were having
In regards to specific events/vendors.

We found the hop on hop off bus easy, informative, and comprehensive in Cape town (blue line)

The botanical garden was nice. Worth seeing, but would have been nice to know that it was part of our cape point tour.

Cape point was really very good; penguins really delivered, which was lucky because of the fires. Our driver found a back way to ensure we got to hit this spot, and stayed late to drop us at a pharmacy- very nice man

On Dec25th our transfer driver stayed an hour longer than expected when the restaurant took longer with our food than is usual. Nice guy

The hotel in cape town had an incredible view of table mountain, and was so close to restaurants and shopping, it was ideal

Our hotel in Franshoek also had an incredible view of mount Rochel. I stared at the sunset for what felt like an hour watching the clouds swirl. The service and food were excellent, the location ideal to experience the city. They did some some trouble with the pipes, and the smell of pipe cleaner. But we just covered the drains, and aired out the room before going to sleep

I have already written about the bikes n wines guide Eon, but to reiterate, he went over and above, even so far as to ride through injury (we did not tell him to do that)

In Hoedsrpuit. our canyon tour guide Jason, was very candid about his life and growing up in S. Africa, one of the more interesting conversations we had. And he pushed ot make sure we saw everything possible with the time provided

Our first hotel was in a private game reserve that we could walk through- unbelievably nice. We woke up to a waterbuck outside our window. The kind of thing we didn't even know was possible/existed. Had some incredible walks.

Kapama is the ultimate destination. The pinnacle of the trip. We cried. We loved the staff, we loved the animals, we had the most incredible time. We will be talking about it for the rest of our lives.

Hotel Review
Kapama Buffalo Camp
Hoedspruit

perhaps the best place on the planet

Authenticity & Character
The people, the "tents" and the easy friendships
Location
so conveniently located close to the airport. Also a large property with larger trees making for a very entertaining experience
Staff
Hancho and Thulani
Cleanliness & Comfort
Never had such a well maintained room. Bed was incredible, everything I needed at my fingertips. Luxurious and fun.
Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Jan 06, 2024

Hi Chris, thanks so much for the fantastic review and your extensive feedback. This is incredibly helpful for us! We are so glad you enjoyed your trip!

Esther, Kagiso, and Lucy were all so amazing!...
South Africa | Dec 22 - Jan 1, 2024

S
Stephanie O.
Chicago, IL | Reviewed on Jan 05, 2024
Esther, Kagiso, and Lucy were all so amazing! I don't think our trip to South Africa would have ever actually happened without their guidance and advice and expert itinerary. They were incredible and so is South Africa. They handled all of the overwhelming details, which left us to get to simply sit back and enjoy where we were and the incredible opportunity we had. They were often like our "moms" checking in just enough, but not too much, showed interest in our trip, and provided much... Read more

Esther, Kagiso, and Lucy were all so amazing! I don't think our trip to South Africa would have ever actually happened without their guidance and advice and expert itinerary. They were incredible and so is South Africa. They handled all of the overwhelming details, which left us to get to simply sit back and enjoy where we were and the incredible opportunity we had. They were often like our "moms" checking in just enough, but not too much, showed interest in our trip, and provided much needed advice throughout the trip. It was so helpful and reassuring to know we had expert advocates with us. All of the accommodations were clean, safe, and in good locations with helpful and friendly staff. I am sure we will be using kimkim again on future trips. The only bad part about this trip is now wondering how on earth we'll top it, guess we'll have to go back!

As for reviewing South Africa: I can't possibly say enough good things about this country other than what one local said while we were there "It's like cake, and everyone wanted a slice"

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Jan 08, 2024

Hi Steph, this is so amazing to hear, thanks for your wonderful feedback and we hope to see you again! South Africa is so diverse, we have definitely not exhausted the variety of experiences yet ;-).

South Africa honeymoon
South Africa | Dec 12 - Dec 22, 2023

W
Wll O.
Singapore | Reviewed on Dec 23, 2023

Hi Esther and team, thank u so much for such a well coordinated travel itinerary. Hand on heart wouldn’t have asked for a better travel planner. We enjoyed our honeymoon very much and South Africa will always leave special place in our heart. Will definitely recommend my friends to you. Thank u ☺️

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Dec 23, 2023

Thank you so much, it was such a privilege to plan this special trip together with you and we are thrilled that you enjoyed your South African Honeymoon!

AMAZING trip for 2 of us
South Africa | Nov 22 - Dec 1, 2023

Y
Yin Ling K.
Singapore | Reviewed on Dec 03, 2023
I travelled with my close friend and kinda had a budget going on this trip. Quote made by other aganecies were all pretty steep. Esther made our trip possible by providing necessary changes to become our personalised trip. Both of us were quite worried for the trip, especially safety wise. We really enjoyed the services, including Kagiso and Lucy's contact, even though we didn't meet them. Be it before when we were preparing to when we are travelling, they were always in contact till the day... Read more

I travelled with my close friend and kinda had a budget going on this trip. Quote made by other aganecies were all pretty steep. Esther made our trip possible by providing necessary changes to become our personalised trip. Both of us were quite worried for the trip, especially safety wise. We really enjoyed the services, including Kagiso and Lucy's contact, even though we didn't meet them. Be it before when we were preparing to when we are travelling, they were always in contact till the day we depart. The transit from places to places were seamless. We felt really welcomed and assured through the trip. Thank you so much!

Hotel Reviews
The Onyx Hotel
Cape Town

The room was great! The receptionist was even better! We felt so welcomed for those few days. We were always greeted as we go in and out the hotel. They do make sure your stay or rest would be at its best too. But the area doesn't seem to have much going on. Waterfront was just 10mins away. Didn't manage to use the facilities in the hotel. The view from the room itself has Table Mountain in the background! Bed and pillow were all comfy too. Very spacious and clean!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
There were 2 that made a huge impression. The one who helped to check in and the one we spoke to last the day before we left. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get their names. But I do remember their cheerful friendly smiles :)
Cleanliness & Comfort
Washroom was very clean!
Simbavati Hilltop Lodge
Hoedspruit

It was amazinggggg. Stayed for 2 nights amd wished we could stay longer. We were so well fed and game drives were all exciting! The services were really were the best I had. The view from the lodge was so good that I could see all the wild coming to the waters in such heat.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Thank you both Danielx2 and Clement!They were so knowledgable! We learnt alot through the trip!
Cleanliness & Comfort
All things required are provided and all you need is just be there, enjoy and relax.
Pioneers Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

Everything was going great till the time I was going to bed. We felt welcomed and things were explained to us in details before checking in. I was glad to see mosquitoes net being provided in the room. We weren't told that there would be another small room in our room itself and was pretty shocked to see two extra beds in the dark room as we opened it. Spooked us a little at night and the mirror was just right in front of our bed with the small room's door in sight. When I flipped the blanket all I see is black dots like somebody stepped on with muddy shoes. I was really unhappy and called the reception for a change. All we got was two flat sheets with no service to change those dirty sheets. We had to rip out the dirty sheets ourselves. The new ones aren't exactly clean as well. The corners of it were stained. We didn't have much energy at that time so we just lay the cleanest side over. Pillows were bad too. The first night was pretty hot even though we had the aircon full blast. Fan is creaky and noisy too. We had the most unpleasant sleep. Toilets are fine and clean, all things provided. The walls can be a lil more soundproof or if you like nature, it might not bother you. But lightsleepers might have issues with it. The pools were not visually clean so we didn't use them. Food was great though, plenty of choices. Place out from the room itself was quite well maintained, comfortable. Hopefully room slippers can be provided too. Area is near to vic falls. Didn't explore outside the accomadation so not so sure about the location.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Near to vic falls
Staff
The houseleeping staff should check those sheets while changing.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Sheets not clean. Pillows can be better. Not too soft which doesn't support. Pool can be cleaner.
Nut Grove Manor

We only had a night stay before transiting to MQP flight to Vic Falls. The room is very spacious and the manor as most things provided. We didn't explore out from the manor but we didn't see much things going on and don't feel safe enough to go out from it. There are plenty of mosquitoes as we dine in their restaurant but the food was great. The bed was hard though.

Authenticity & Character
Location
I am not so sure what you can do here because I really don't see anything as we drove in. The long drive from our last sightseeing really makes a problem but we were very close to the airport.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
VOCO Hotel Rosebank

Gugu was really welcoming! She helped us with the check in and informed us the safety around the area. Even though it was just a night stay, we really had a good one. Breakfast was perfect too! I would stay here again if I'm back!

Authenticity & Character
The room itself and lobby. Never seen such a pretty decorations.
Location
Staff
Gugu
Cleanliness & Comfort
Just looking at the sun rays in our room as we checked in was so warm and comfy.
Activity Reviews
Classic Table Mountain Tour
Classic Table Mountain Tour
South Africa

Didn't make it for the trip. Was only at the foot of the cable car. It'd be better with sunny weather.

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

Area is quite self explanatory. The guide didn't really explain as the group member were all moving from point to point at different speed. Time was a lil too short and had not much time to explore the area on our own.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Panorama Route & Blyde River Canyon
Full Day Panorama Route & Blyde River Canyon
South Africa

Distance was a lil too long for thre route. I don't think we experience the best we could. The guide wasn't really participating, more like just a driver? I guess it was because of the long journey as well. Places we go are pretty but the journey to them, not so much. The vehicle we were in was too old, very hot and we don't feel comfortable throughout the route.

Quality of Experience
the route
Guides, Drivers and Staff
was a safe driver but not a good guide. it seem he was there not for a choice.
Transport
the vehicle is too lousy
Cape Point Tour - Full Day
Cape Point Tour - Full Day
South Africa

The introduction and guide was great. Journey was smooth and enjoyable with Ulrich.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Ulrich is an interesting guide!
Transport
Afternoon Cape Town City Tour
Afternoon Cape Town City Tour
Cape Town

Guide wasn't very engaging. The group of people travelling were not the best as well. Quite some waiting time around. It was our first tour in Cape Town and since we were still in good mood, didn't affect us that much as we did some self entertainment. The places of visit doesn't seem so exiciting as well. Weather was very cloudy and didn't manage to see most views either.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
The knowledge and stories to tell maybe? There were a lot of uncertainties as the guide spoke.
Transport
Came on time and safe travel throughout.
Foodies on Foot walking & tasting tour
Foodies on Foot walking & tasting tour
South Africa

I wasn't much of a drinker so I didn't really enjoy this area as much. But Stellenbosch is a pretty area itself, full or galleries and restaurants. Guide has quite a character and was quite interesting as she shared her knowledge. Food wise was going great, interesting to taste what the locals eat in the area. Stellenbosch wasn't big, so we realised we walked around and round the same places. 6 streets is all you need to recognise and get around.

Quality of Experience
Food
The red cuppocino and lamb samosa! Dessert was good too.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Marlene is pretty cool and authentic. I like how she guides us in her unique way.
Transport
Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise
Victoria Falls

Hippos and crocs! The ones that we didn't see much during our safari game drives came visiting us during the cruise ride. The captain captures our attention pretty well, Grey served us well too. Plenty of food but not so much of sunset. The weather was cloudy and we quite missed the sun. There were quite some other cruise going on, so I guess the river really seemed very busy. Comparing other cruise, I'd say our crowd is good, not packed, which means chances of getting good pictures and less noise.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Jan 06, 2024

Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback. It was a privilege planning this trip with you and your extensive report is incredibly valuable and helps us improve continuously!

A Perfect South African Honeymoon
South Africa | Sep 18 - Oct 5, 2023

J
Jessica W.
Manhattan, NY | Reviewed on Nov 22, 2023
We recently entrusted our honeymoon plans to Esther, and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Over 18 unforgettable days, we explored Cape Town, Franschhoek, Sabi Sands, and Mauritius. Right from the beginning, Esther took the time to understand our preferences and seamlessly integrated them into a personalized itinerary. Her responsiveness was remarkable, making us feel like a top priority. The accommodations Esther curated in Cape Town and Franschhoek were nothing short of... Read more

We recently entrusted our honeymoon plans to Esther, and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Over 18 unforgettable days, we explored Cape Town, Franschhoek, Sabi Sands, and Mauritius. Right from the beginning, Esther took the time to understand our preferences and seamlessly integrated them into a personalized itinerary. Her responsiveness was remarkable, making us feel like a top priority.

The accommodations Esther curated in Cape Town and Franschhoek were nothing short of spectacular, and our Safari at Dulini Moya in Sabi Sands Game Reserve was the absolute highlight of our trip. Each of the hotels was truly a 5 star experience with incredible and attentive staff, luxurious accommodations, and delicious food.

We found ourselves stuck in Franschhoek during a natural disaster. Due to unprecedented flooding, there was no way in or out of the town, and we were unable to depart for our safari. Esther truly went above and beyond, tirelessly working at odd hours to find a solution. Her dedication and support during this unexpected situation not only alleviated our stress but demonstrated her professionalism and genuine care for her clients.

From the outset, every detail was meticulously planned, allowing us to relax and fully immerse ourselves in the joy of our honeymoon. We can't thank Esther enough for this truly unforgettable experience!

Hotel Reviews
Tintswalo Atlantic
Cape Town

A very small, intimate hotel with absolutely breathtaking views, incredible staff, and the most delicious food. Can't recommend enough!

Authenticity & Character
Location
While the hotel is about a 40 min drive from town, the views and service make it worth the stay!
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Mont Rochelle

Beautiful location and incredible staff. We found ourselves here during an unexpected flood and we were taken care of by the absolute BEST staff.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Dulini
Sabi Sands

We spent 3 nights here and it is hands down the best experience we have EVER had. The staff is absolutely incredible and went above and beyond to make sure it was an unforgettable experience. Our guide and tracker were experts and helped us to see all of the Big 5 and so much more. Can't recommend this place enough.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Nov 22, 2023

Hi Jessica
Wow, what a lovely review, you are making me blush ;-). It really was an honour to plan this special trip together with you. The floods were indeed an unexpected adventure! I am glad that we got you to your safari destination eventually and that you enjoyed all the accommodations and experiences during your trip.
Warm regards
Esther

Epic tour of South Africa
South Africa | Oct 22 - Nov 11, 2023

Rich
Rich S.
Portland, OR | Reviewed on Nov 16, 2023
Our three week self-driving tour of South Africa far exceeded our hopes and expectations. On past vacations we've always done our own research and booking, and typically that's worked out great. But for our first African vacation, and our first safaris, we reached out to the experts and they really delivered for us. Our trip was a mix of animals, landscapes and culture. We started in Joburg with a bicycle tour of Soweto. From there we drove to Graskop and the Panorama Route along the... Read more

Our three week self-driving tour of South Africa far exceeded our hopes and expectations. On past vacations we've always done our own research and booking, and typically that's worked out great. But for our first African vacation, and our first safaris, we reached out to the experts and they really delivered for us.

Our trip was a mix of animals, landscapes and culture. We started in Joburg with a bicycle tour of Soweto. From there we drove to Graskop and the Panorama Route along the Blyde River Canyon. The highlight was a half day hike into the canyon, where we saw our first monkeys and baboons and swam in a lovely water hole. Then it was on to Kruger, where we spent three nights at the Umkumbe Lodge in Sabi Sands and two nights at the Mjejane Lodge on the Crocodile River. The animal sightings were nearly constant, including a morning drive at Umkumbe where we saw the big 5 plus a cheetah. Watching a herd of elephants come to drink, play and cool off in the Crocodile River from the patio at Mjejane was another highlight.

From Kruger we headed south for two nights at Stone Camp in the Mkhaya game park in Eswatini. There the focus was on rhinos, including a pair that walked right through the camp! We continued south from Eswatini with two nights in Mkuze. The highlight there was a private birding safari in the Manyoni game park, which oh by the way included time with a pair of lions. We finished this segment of the tour with three nights at St Lucia, exploring the iSimangaliso World Heritage Park (hippos! crocodiles!) before flying to Cape Town. The weather on the cape was perfect for a drive to the Cape of Good Hope (penguins!), an exploration of the Kirstenbosch gardens and a hike on Table Mountain.

Throughout the trip the accommodations were excellent. We very much appreciated Esther and Lucy's suggestions for things to see and do and places to eat and shop. Three weeks went zipping by and we feel like we just scratched the surface. We hope we can come visit again soon.

Hotel Review
Stone Camp

We stayed in some beautiful places on our 3 week tour, but Stone Camp was our favorite. We loved the fact that there is no electricity, no phone and no internet. The huts are gorgeous, the food excellent, the people friendly, and the feeling of being out in the bush is unparalleled.

Authenticity & Character
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Despite being totally off the grid the huts felt quite luxurious
Activity Reviews
Soweto Cycling Tour
Soweto Cycling Tour
South Africa

The 4 hour cycling tour through Soweto was an excellent introduction to South African culture and history from the perspective of those who suffered most under the apartheid system. We very much appreciated the local guides sharing their lived experience.

Quality of Experience
Food
Transport
Manyoni Birding Safari
Manyoni Birding Safari
Mkuze

Our birding safari was a welcome change from the safaris we had done previously in Kruger and Eswatini. While it was thrilling to chase the big game on the typical safari, it was quite satisfying to slow things down and have the birds come to us. Our guide Lucky was quite knowledgeable, teaching us not only about the birds we were seeing but also about the whole Manyoni park and ecosystem.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Cape Malay Cooking Safari
Cape Malay Cooking Safari
Cape Town

It was fun to learn about the history and culture of the Cape Malay population, but the highlight was making and eating amazing food with Faldela. We are so grateful to her for opening her home and sharing her expertise and personal stories.

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Nov 16, 2023

Hi Francine and Rich

Thank you so much for the extensive and raving review, we are so glad you enjoy your first South Africa visit! It was great to meet you in Johannesburg and we love hearing about all your experiences.

We hope to see you again soon!
Esther

Excellent & Personable Service for a Seamless Trip!
South Africa | Aug 13 - Sep 18, 2023

Kemi
Kemi I.
Shaw, DC | Reviewed on Sep 21, 2023
My husband & I enjoyed a wonderful 5wk journey through Namibia & South Africa thanks to the expert help of Esther! We had a general outline of what we wanted to do, but working with a local company was invaluable. Esther helped us refine & enhance this outine into a wonderful & varied itinerary. In Namibia, we did a 2wk road trip that included the Namib Desert & Damaraland. In South Africa, we spent time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, of course... but also took a fantastic road trip between... Read more

My husband & I enjoyed a wonderful 5wk journey through Namibia & South Africa thanks to the expert help of Esther! We had a general outline of what we wanted to do, but working with a local company was invaluable. Esther helped us refine & enhance this outine into a wonderful & varied itinerary. In Namibia, we did a 2wk road trip that included the Namib Desert & Damaraland. In South Africa, we spent time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, of course... but also took a fantastic road trip between the two cities! Our hotels (mid/high-range) were excellent, including several that we would not have found on our own. We always had beautiful rooms, and she often had special treats waiting for us upon arrival (welcome notes, bottle of wine) . She also suggested many wonderful excursions that helped us get on & off the beaten path while experiencing both beautiful countries. And Sandra, her lovely concierge, helped us book restaurants and other events... what wonderful people! Our group chat was full of information, humor & timely responses! They both helped make our trip seamless and unforgettable. We recommend Esther very highly!

Local specialist: Esther Ruempol
Esther
Esther Ruempol
Local specialist in Johannesburg, South Africa | Replied on Sep 21, 2023

Hi Kemi

Thanks so much for the lovely review!! Sandra and I loved meeting you and Steve in Joburg and we are so happy you had a great trip! We also love your blogs and you gave us some great tips as well!!

Until we meet again :-)
Esther