Tag Archives: Africa

South Africa and Mauritius Itinerary

10 Dec

Are you interested in traveling to South Africa and Mauritius?  Well, check out my 2 week itinerary!

Day 1:  Depart for Cape Town.

Day 2:  Arrive in Cape Town.  Hotel:  An African Villa.  Transportation from airport provided by Discovery Tours.

Day 3:  Cape Point morning tour with Hylton Ross (penguins, Cape of Good Hope).  Lunch at V&A waterfront (in particular, the market).  City & Table Mountain afternoon tour with Hylton Ross of Cape Town including Table Mountain, Camps Bay, City Hall, a market, and Malay quarter.  Dinner at V&A Waterfront.



Day 4:  Great White Shark cage diving with Great White Shark Tours.  4:10am pick up.  Returned to Cape Town around 3pm.  Dinner near hotel – Sawadee (Thai food).


Day 5:  All day wine tour with lunch through Wine Flies.


Day 6:  All day Cape Town cultural and Robben Island tour through Hylton Ross.  Visited District Six Museum, Langa Township, and Robben Island.  Dinner at Raj in Camps Bay.


Day 7:  Depart Cape Town for Kapama Game Reserve.   Hotel:  Kapama Karula.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 8:  Morning elephant-backed safari.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 9:  Morning game drive.  4+ hours at the spa.  Afternoon game drive.


Day 10:  Morning game drive.  Afternoon depart for Johannesburg.  Hotel:  D’Oreale Grande Peermont.


Day 11:  Depart Johannesburg for Mauritius.  Hotel:  Sugar Beach Resort.


Day 12:  Beach day.


Day 13:  Beach day.


Day 14:  Catamaran – snorkeling, see dolphins, visit an island and lunch.


Day 15:  Beach day.


Day 16:  Depart Mauritius.  Return home.   7 hour layover in Johannesburg was spent exploring airport shops, lunch at City Lodge Hotel, and working out at Phela Live Wellness Centre.

Day 17:  Arrive home.

Options for a Layover in Johannesburg

8 Dec


Stuck at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg for a while?   Well, we were too.  So, I created a list of some of the options for layovers.  Please note that the pricing may have changed.  Enjoy!

Have only an hour or two before your next flight?  I would just stay in the airport – there are quite a few stores and restaurants.  However, make sure that if you sit at a restaurant to let them know when your flight is.  We thought we had plenty of time – about 50 minutes before our flight started boarding – but the food came out after our flight was already boarding.

Want to workout?  Right outside the airport (it’s really across the street – walkable) is Phela Live Wellness Centre (see picture above).  They charged us $15 per person to use their gym for the day.   The gym is great: lots of treadmills and other cardio and weights.  They also have classes, but not while we were there.  In addition, they have a spa.  At the time we were there (November 2013) they had a great deal – $40 for two half hour sessions (for example, 1/2 hour foot massage followed with 1/2 hour head massage).   This is a great option if you have three + hours between flights.

Have a while and you want to rest, maybe hang by a pool, possibly even workout?   Head to City Lodge OR Tambo.  It’s about a block or two away (there are signs – it’s walkable).  City Lodge was going to charge us $60 total for a day pass (until 6pm) where we could get a room to wash up & rest, use the pool and utilize the gym.  Also, their restaurant had good food.

Have 1/2 a day or more?   Check out Emperor’s Palace – there are restaurants, a casino, shops, and a movie theater.  There is also a free shuttle from the airport.

Have almost a full day?  Check with local tourist agencies and book a day or 1/2 day tour of Johannesburg, Soweto, or the other sites nearby.

Are you arriving in the afternoon and leaving the next morning?  I recommend getting a room at the Emperor’s Palace complex.  We stayed at D’oreale Grande Peermont and really enjoyed it.  We slept well, had dinner at the Italian restaurant and were able to workout.  There is also a movie theater, a free shuttle to and from the airport,  a pool, shows, a casino, restaurants and shops.

Hope this helps!   Enjoy JoBurg!


Our Honeymoon to South Africa and Mauritius

2 Dec


I created a video of our honeymoon to give you an idea of what can be done in two weeks in South Africa and Mauritius.   Soon I will be posting our itinerary and more detailed information about each of the locations.  Stay tuned to CourtneyMara.com!

What is/are your 2013 Travel Resolution(s)?

1 Jan

As indicated yesterday, my 2013 travel resolutions include traveling to Jamaica, South Africa, Mozambique and at least one U.S. state that I have never traveled to (e.g., Hawaii, Vermont, Utah, Kentucky, Alabama).  What are your 2013 travel resolutions?

Courtney Mara’s 2013 Bucket List

31 Dec

My 2013 DC bucket list:

  • Go inside the National Cathedral
  • Bureau of Engraving & Printing
  • Go to the top of the clock tower at the Old Post Office Pavilion
  • National Geographic Museum
  • Air & Space Museum in Dulles, VA
  • National Observatory
  • US Capitol building tour
  • Explore 14th Street NW

My 2013 personal bucket list:

  • Get married (May 2013)
  • Have more DC dates with my fiance/husband
  • Spend more time with friends and family

My 2013 travel bucket list:

  • Jamaica (wedding): (1) jump off of a cliff (even if its a baby one) in Negril and (2) Margaritaville in Montego Bay
  • South Africa and Mozambique (honeymoon): (1) see a great white shark, (2) swim with a whale shark, (3) go with Matt on his first safari, (4) ride an elephant with Matt in Africa, and (5) go to Cape Town. 
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Travel to at least one state that I have never been to (e.g., Hawaii, Alaska, Alabama, Vermont, etc.)

What is on your 2013 bucket list?

Arusha, Tanzania

27 Oct

In 2007, when I was living in Kenya I took a bus to Arusha, Tanzania for a weekend.  The bus ride from Nairobi to Arusha is about 3 1/2 – 4 hours. On the ride you will see giraffes walking in the fields and Mt. Kilimanjaro.  I spent the weekend with my friends walking around Arusha and visiting a boys orphanage.  We also went out at night and shopped the markets.  Arusha was a calm, peaceful city.  It is a good place to start before a journey to Mt Kilimanjaro.  Please take note of visa requirements; visas for U.S. citizens are $100.

MUST READ: Rules of the Wild

22 Mar

“Rules of the Wild” by Francesca Marciano is a great read about the life of an expat in Kenya. This is a fiction story and should in no way be thought of as what it is really like – in other words, it is a romanticized version of the expat life in Kenya. However, it is a great read especially for anyone familiar with East Africa, anyone who has been an expat, or for those that just fantasize about living abroad. “Rules of the Wild” is truly a book I still think years after having read it. I highly recommend this book.

Previous Post

23 Feb

Great post by Sarai Quiel about a trip to Morrocco! Check out her blog!

Little Brown Wonder

[I apologize for the excess photos but there were too many favorites! Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do]

Sooooo.. About a month ago, Lenny and I took a trip to Morocco. Morocco?! Why Morocco?! Well, back in 2009, Lenny and I went to Tangier for a day trip. Tangier to Morocco is like Tijuana to Mexico. Of course we loved Tangier so we decided to sniff and investigate Morocco more in-depth. After doing extensive research between going with Discover Sevilla or We Love Spain, we opted to go with We Love Spain and do the Sahara Desert Adventure. For €390, we got:

4 nights in bitchin’ hotels
1 night sleeping in tents in the Sahara Desert
Breakfast and dinner
Transportation from Malaga to all the destinations in Morocco
Guided tours throughout the 6 days
I’m going to break down our trip by the cities we visited…

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