Herewith, my Hits & Misses from the recent vacation in Africa (in no particular order) …
Hit: South African Airways — excellent planes; on-time flights; lovely staff; no baggage issues. We were told (by a retired pilot) that their maintenance standards are so high, many other airlines use them to service their planes.
Major Hit: The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg — beyond gorgeous and luxurious with impeccable service. Miss: No Oprah sightings (the girls school she founded is roughly an hour from the hotel and she is a frequent visitor).
Miss: The mosquito bands and repellents purchased from REI — good news the mosquitoes were an issue only in one location (The Elephant Camp, Victoria Falls). Bad news: Ridiculous amount of bites.
Hit: My boots — Dunham by New Balance from Zappos. My surgically-repaired foot was still recovering and these were amazing. And fashion forward, no? I also recommend compression socks — mine were knee-hi’s — from TravelSmith. On long flights, who needs DVT (deep vein thrombosis which is actually very serious).
Hit: Four Seasons Mauritius with the magnificent scenery and international flair.
Miss: American Airlines for changing equipment (i.e. the plane) at the last minute on the overnight Dallas-London. If you want to compete with the foreign big boys, step up your game. Note that in a recent conversation (after this trip), an AA representative told me that equipment switching is practically ubiquitous and will continue to be so until all the dust settles from the U.S. Airways merger.
Hit: British Airways — Loved the first class from London to Cape Town.
Hit: All those photography classes taken years ago. I am a serial deleter, which not only makes everyone think all my shots are really good (get rid of the bad ones, folks), but reduces the process at home when I make a Shutterfly book. Many have asked about my camera. It is a Samsung Galaxy with 21X optical zoom (purchased three years ago). I saw lots of people carrying enormous cameras and zoom lenses .. just not for me anymore; and perhaps not even necessary with sophistication of today’s cameras.
Hit: The Royal Portfolio, which company operates both La Residence in Franschhoek and Royal Malewane in Kruger National Park. Cannot say enough about this company, particularly their personnel — just fabulous.
Hit: The people of Africa. We met so many wonderful people and loved hearing their stories. What a joy.