Adventures in Africa

How it all began…

Have you ever wanted to go on an adventure and prove to yourself that all is possible, face your fears and fall in love all without realizing what started as a fun idea that turned into a fun adventure of a lifetime?  My grandson recently did just that.

The Planning

Like all trips, one must plan accordingly and so he did just that.  After three months of researching, the adventure of his lifetime was planned.  The best time to visit Africa is August as it is the last few months of their winter, where the weather is mild and the animals are wild.

Some great sources to plan:

  • Google.com
  • Travelocity.com
  • British Airways
  • Airbnb.com
  • &Beyond.com
  • Locals

He was luckily connected with some locals as well as friends who have been to Africa before.  With the right tips and tricks he was able to plan the perfect experience.

Travel to Africa

The short and sweet is that British Airways is the most direct and efficient path to take.  Other airlines and websites offer $300 to $400 less of travel however it will take you almost 30% more time to reach your final destination.  He traveled from Phoenix to London, London to Cape Town in roughly 20 in flight hours while other airlines work closer to 45 hours.

Cape Town

From his stories, I think it is safe to say that Cape Town is very commercialized.  If you are expecting to land and be treated by animals, you are going to be disappointed.  Cape Town was filled with great restaurants and many different cultures from all around the world.  By renting a car, you have the freedom to drive down the windy roads and find yourself in quaint private beaches such as Camps Bay, Llandudno Beach and Sunrise Beach.

Shark Dive at Seal Island

One of the main attractions to his journey was diving with great white sharks at the infamous Seal Island off of False Bay.  If you have ever watched Shark Week you are probably envisioning a large island of seals circled by these large majestic and mysterious man eaters.  To much of their surprise upon their arrival, they were greated by a small grouping of large rocks, a horrific smell and loud barks from the seals.  Within minutes several great whites were breaching out of the water to only leave pools of blood behind with seagulls picking at little remains all within a flash of an eye.  After watching these glorious beasts hunt in their natural environment, my grandson and his friends jumped into a homemade diving cage to be circled by five 16 foot great whites.  They described this experience to be one of the most terrifying yet peaceful experiences they have ever had while they made eye contact with these creatures jet black eyes that felt as if they were staring into their souls rather than as food.  The sharks had no interest in the divers and appeared to be much more afraid of them than the kids were of the sharks.  For only $200 US dollars, this experienced proved to be a much more educational experience than any Shark Week program could ever illustrate.

Adventures of Africa - Diving with Great White Sharks at Seal Island
Adventures of Africa – Diving with Great White Sharks at Seal Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safari in Kruger National Park

There are many ways to go about your travels through the vast traitorous terrain of Africa.  There are different parks, land types,  animals, tracking ways and much more that will come into affect when planning your perfect Safari.  My grandson opted for &Beyond after much research.  The quaint camp offered 9 “tents” that were more luxurious than any other hotel I have ever seen.  They also came with a personal butler, chef, game tracker and guide.  Plotted in the middle of Kruger, visitors are greeted by warthogs, giraffes, baboons and elephants by day and amongst leopards, lions and more at night.  With two 3 hour safaris a day, the kids were able to see lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hippos, hyenas and more.  While there they learned the reality of rhinoceroses and poaching as one beautiful rhino was brutally slain during their stay.  They now have a new found love for rhinos and are driven to help change this crisis.  They also learned that when they go back that they will be doubling their time on safari and will only stay with &Beyond due to the world renown hospitality and adventourous experiences that came with it.

Lioness and her cubs
Lioness and her cubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until Next Time…

LA

Honey Salt Restaurant

Have you ever found a restaurant that when you happen upon it, there is a sense of “oh this is going to be darn good!” Maybe it’s the aromas, the decor, the large amount of people enjoying their cuisine. Regardless of the sense you get, you do know it’s right when you show up! One such place that I recently had the immense culinary pleasure of enjoying while traveling to Las Vegas, NV was Honey Salt Restaurant.

Honey Salt Restaurant
Honey Salt Restaurant

Honey Salt Restaurant Experience

I must admit that upon entering the Honey Salt establishment, I was somewhat weary as it’s in a strip mall in Summerlin (a high-end suburb of Las Vegas). However, if you do eat off the strip in Las Vegas, you will quickly learn of the little food gems around the city. One gem is the Honey Salt. Right when you walk in, you will notice the brick wall with the restaurant name. The tables are a mix of a picnic and spring festival combined into an elegant masterful layout.

  • The Music: the music was low and mild which was pleasant
  • The Seating: a mix of cushion and seats, all were comfortable and ready for a meal of a life time
  • The Bar: positioned right by the door, the bar offers around 10 seats and it’s a full bar experience, even with some unique draft beer (Scrimshaw).
  • Other Need to Know:
    • There is no Happy Hour
    • Make sure and make a reservation as it’s gets busy!

The Delicacy

Food is varied, food quality is even more so even at the finest restaurants in Las Vegas. Salt Honey offers the best food quality in Las Vegas…yes a bold statement, but let me tell you – I would back it up with any taste test out there!

  • Appetizers: I would strongly recommend the Turkey Meatballs, which are smothered (but not overly so) in a red type sauce. It’s not marinara that I could tell, as it was slightly sweeter. As a bonus and if you are hungry, order the bacon wrapped dates!
  • Salad: If you are still hungry, go with the “grain power” salad which has a beautiful mix of quinoa, onions, baby tomatoes and pine nuts.
  • The Main Course: I went with 2 friends who ordered the Grain Power salad and then we both ordered the speciality of the month – Lamb. Upon arrival of the main course, it was as if the appetizers were just teasers to the magnificent flavor of the main course. The Lamb was tender, well cooked and shredded from the fork upon contact. It was accompanied by homemade egg noodles and peas – a perfect combination for the hearty lamb.
  • The Dessert: And if the lead up to the amazing courses wasn’t enough…the dessert finished  the experience to PERFECTION! We ordered the Cracker Jack Sundae and The Brookie. The sundae infused Cracker Jack popcorn with vanilla ice cream. The Brookie is the updated “touchdown” of desserts, placing a warm brownie, chocolate chip cookie and ice cream.

Pricing

The variety of drinks and food are typical $10-$25 for the type of middle to high end restaurants. Check out the full menu to get a sense.

Bottom Line

If you are in Las Vegas, get yourself over to Salt Honey as it’s worth the trip for the most enriching food experience you will find in Summerlin and arguably Las Vegas!

Sedona Weekend Via the 89A

As Spring comes, it becomes the perfect time for a Sedona Weekend! In fact, as the weather begins to warm up in Phoenix, AZ Sedona and the surrounding areas offers a nice break from the heat, about a 20 degree break! So when the stresses of Spring start to come and you worry more about cleaning and getting your taxes done, head to the place known for it’s majestic feel! And en route maybe enjoy a journey or two from the surrounding towns as I did, which this little writing is all about – My Sedona Weekend via Page Springs, Arizona.

Sedona Way of Paige Springs, AZ

Paige Springs, AZ
T Paige Springs, AZ

This quaint little Arizona town is located about 10 miles from Sedona, AZ which boosts some of the richest hiking and exploring around the Phoenix area. While the town isn’t the largest, it’s beautifully surrounded by many streams like in the photo which help feed  the numerous wineries. That’s right I said WINERIES! Who would have thought about wineries!

This town is located off the 89A Highway, which can be found be taking the 89A exit off of the 17 N on their way to Sedona or Flagstaff.

Taking the 89A

What rich and fun excitement it is finding little treasure troves as you adventure for the weekend to Sedona! While taking the I-17N is the fastest way to Sedona, the 89A is a sure way to find yourself through great small towns such as:

  • Corneville
  • Page Springs
  • Cottonwood
  • Jerome – more to come soon on this Ghost Town!

When you take this route you find yourself through winding back rounds of beauty, woodland and the entrance to Sedona! But before heading to Sedona, you have to check out the wineries in Page Springs, AZ!

Wineries and more!

There are 3 main wineries in Page Springs:

  • Page Springs Cellars

    www.pagespringscellars.com

    4.7

    19 Google reviews · Google+ page

    1500 N Page Springs Rd
    Cornville, AZ
    (928) 639-3004
    1565 N Page Springs Rd
    Cornville, AZ
    (928) 649-2681
    1555 N Page Springs Rd
    Cornville, AZ
    (928) 649-0290
    Each boast their own unique attributes, but by far Page Springs Wineries is the verbose in the art of wine tasting experience. Upon entering, you are greeted and seated – taken to either their comfortable couches, fun wine bar experience or beautiful outside experience.  All 3 ranged in $5-10 tasting fees, but well worth the small expense for a little bit of fun!

    In Cottonwood

    My highly recommended place in Cottonwood, Arizona would be Hog Wild, located near the Old Town of Cottonwood. This tasty and delicious BBQ is one of the best places to get your finger linkin ribs or moist and mouth watering brisket. And the price is just right, at about $10/person which includes 4 choices (Homemade Fries, Potato Salad,  Coleslaw or Baked Beans) – I went with the fries and they hit the spot!

    So Now Off to Sedona…

    Well folks Sedona deserves it’s own credo and I’ll soon be writing back shortly…

     

    Until Next Time,

    LA