Kiss a Giraffe???

Adults Can Be Kids at Giraffe Manor

By SANDY SALLE on Nov 13, 2018

This is a guest blog from Sandy Salle, President of Hills of Africa, my go to supplier for African safaris. We are recreating Sandy's trip to Kenya, for our trip in October 2020. Here's glimpse of what you will experience.

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Giraffe Manor is everywhere on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more. It almost seems as if everyone wants to be at Giraffe Manor.


I was lucky enough to spend a night at Giraffe Manor recently and I have to tell you it’s better than seeing the property and giraffes through the social media lens.

I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was fortunate to stay in the Garden Manor at Giraffe Manor, in a beautiful room called Kelly.

We were told the night before, over a delicious dinner, that the Rothschild giraffes come for breakfast and that we had food in our rooms to give them.

Well I could hear something outside my room at about 5am. I tried ever so quietly to walk across the room to the window, as I didn’t want to wake my friend Tracey. I saw outside in the complete darkness one of the giraffes – I of course woke Tracey up, who said “it’s way too early Sandy, go back to bed”. I am an early bird so it was a pointless effort. 5.30am, peek outside the window again and the giraffe is there.

Tracey’s not waking up, what do you do? Just get up and feed this gorgeous giraffe in total darkness with pellets. I then needed some coffee, so went downstairs and the giraffe wants more – even when we ran out, she managed to sneak a rose from the vase and munched that.

Giraffe Manor is a special place – you can be a kid and wake up at 5am all giddy with excitement to see these beautiful animals, or you can be an adult and pretend to kiss them.

If you’re a movie buff, you can even pretend that you’re walking into the film “Out of Africa” and stay in the Karen Blixen Suite.

If you’re staying at Giraffe Manor, a couple of things to remember. Good times to see the giraffes at The Manor are early mornings for breakfast and afternoon tea, when the giraffes come to the terrace for food and kisses, whilst you are having a gorgeous cocktail. I’m not sure which is better, so why not give yourself two nights to really soak in the beauty of this gorgeous property, whilst also being able to experience some of the other activities in Nairobi, for example the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage where you can visit with baby elephants that have been rescued from the wild.

So instead of looking at social media, I highly recommend you start living in the now and get yourself to Kenya and stay at Giraffe Manor. You will never forget this experience.

- Sandy Salle

Needless to say the demand for space at Giraffe Manor is high and availability is low. You really do need to sign up now, for 2020, so we can confirm the space we are holding.

Giraffe Manor is just the start of this amazing adventure in Kenya.

Come with me, you'll be so glad you did.

Are you a travel enthusiast? Do you want to share your unforgettable travel experiences? Well, our doors are wide open for you. We are looking for guest bloggers who have the passion of traveling and writing about their travel experiences. We can feature your work on our blog as your portfolio. Get in touch with us! 


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Catch the wave!

In the travel industry, we are now in the Wave Season. What does that mean?

The holidays are over and many people want to get a vacation nailed down so they have something to look forward to during the long winter months. Companies encourage their employees to schedule their vacations as early as possible. Employees know, if they don’t book their vacation time now, they may not get their choice of vacation dates. That can be problematic if they have limited travel dates due to school schedules or other restraints.


What this all leads to a is a “wave” of vacation inquiries and planning that happens in this first quarter. If you don’t jump in now, you may not get that cabin on your dream cruise, or that special safari camp that only has 10 spots, or your Inca Trail pass, or the reservation at that Michelin Star restaurant, in the charming little village.

What’s on your Bucket List for 2019?

Need some ideas? Here are the destinations Conde Nast Traveler thinks are the not to be missed for 2019.

Here’s the overall list of the 19 best places for 2019:

Is wine your interest? How about these wine regions to taste your way through?

Are you a city person? Then this is your list; the 50 most beautiful cities. I’ve been to 32 of these cities. I guess I have some traveling to do. 😊

A picture is worth a 1000 words. These photos will make you want to pack your bag and see the world.

You dream it and we’ll make it happen. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to refresh, reconnect and reinvigorate.

Travel is the way to a happier and more productive life.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
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What's Wellness Got to Do With It?

At ILTM this year, the focus was on Wellness Travel, one of the fastest growing sectors of the travel industry. People are feeling the stress of 21st century lifestyles, with the constant demands of emails, texts, social media, work and personal life balances. There is a need for a time away, that truly allows one to feel refreshed, rested, rejuvenated and reconnected with loved ones. Wellness travel is becoming more desirable, as options to experience spiritual, emotional and/or physical well-being are being offered in amazing and beautiful places around the world.

You can identify your own unique personal issues and begin your inward journey that will leave you feeling enriched and ready to return to your daily routine, with skills to keep you balanced and grounded.


Wellness travel no longer means going to an ashram with basic accommodations, boring food and a single focused experience. Here are just a few of the ways Wellness Travel can contribute to your health and wellbeing.

Visiting Masters: The offerings range from renown spiritual leaders, famous chefs, athletes, healers, teachers, doctors, who are invited to work with guests, to teach and train, healthier habits, spiritual healing and improved skills. Experiences can run the gamut from sleep training with world-famous practitioners to food prep with Michelin-star chefs.

Sugar Detox: We all know the “addiction” to sugar, especially now, during the Holiday Season. If you need to “kick the habit”, There are spas and resorts offering sugar-free detox diets, that result in clearer skin, better digestion and increased energy (and possible weight loss, too). To enhance the nutrition program, are a number of activities like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, energy healing and massage. You’ll feel so good, you won’t miss that sugary dessert.

Grief Retreats: As we age, along with the benefits of maturity, wisdom, financial security, comes the passing of loved ones. We can also experience many other forms of loss that result in grief; divorce or an empty nest when the last child goes off to college. I know, from personal experience, that travel is one of the most beneficial ways to find solace and personal healing.

A retreat, where you focus on stress reduction and spiritual healing can go a long way to giving one the strength to move on, after a difficult time in one’s personal life.

Medical Testing: The term “spa” has been expanded to include more than just massage and facials. One can find centers, called spas, with hard-science medical offerings. People with serious health concerns or others with a need to lose weight or make a lifestyle change, can find a medically enhanced program, offering genetics testing and biometrics, along with medical counseling.

A guest can experience equal parts relaxing and regenerative. A staff of trained specialists will run a battery of tests to determine what the issues are and how a very personalized regime can be established specifically for you. It can be as customized as a diet based on DNA and blood type.

Sleep Therapy and Sleep Recovery: Sleep deprivation can be a serious issue. It has been linked to medical problems; heightened stress, weight gain, depression and a weakened immune system, to name a few. Some centers offer programs specifically designed to improve the quality of your sleep. If you sleep better, the quality of your life improves dramatically.

Programs might focus on internal coping mechanisms through stress management or external improvements through fitness programs, like yoga. Most will include massage and meditation. A thorough intake examine and questionnaire, can uncover a very personal and intimate reason that may lead to a very successful treatment.

Silence: With all the beeping and ringing, we are bombarded with, from all our devices, the idea of turning it all off for a time, can be blissful.

If you don’t have the self-control, you can check into places where guest rooms have Wi-Fi blockers. Enjoy blindfolded floating massages. Try a quiet mindfulness session or a meditative forest walk. The Japanese call it Forest Bathing. The purpose is to slow down everything and experience all of your senses.

So where do you find these amazing life changes experiences?

Check out what happens when wellness meets luxury. Six Senses Hotels, Resorts, and Spas have locations in Europe Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

There are many other options, at different levels, to fill whatever wellness need you have.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
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What's the best use for your sunglasses on the plane?

Tired of holding your phone to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones? By sitting your sunglasses upside down, you'll create the perfect phone stand for the plane. Thanks to Huffington Post for this tip.


As the Holidays approach, how do you pack for yourself, the kids, gifts? How can you squeeze it all into one carry-on and/or one checked bag? Those baggage fees can add up quickly.

(As an aside, if you travel a lot, you must have a credit card from the airline you use most. Not only does it add to your Frequent Flyer account, with a huge amount of miles as a signing bonus, it also allows you one bag checked free, every time you fly. I feel the annual fee pays for itself in saved baggage fees, not to mention added Frequent Flyer miles for all your purchases. Request that the credit card has the EMV Smart Chip. You'll need that for purchases when traveling internationally. Be sure your ATM card has the chip too. Otherwise you might not be able to use a foreign ATM.)

Okay back to packing. We all have been told to pack our socks in our shoes, to roll instead of fold, yeah, yeah. Well my colleague, Theresa Jackson, shared this packing video that I thought had some great new ideas and was fun to watch. I love the plastic wrap. That’s my new trick for my trip to Israel over Christmas and New Year’s.

What’s your take away? If you have any clever tips you've discovered, please share. I’ll post them next time.

Great packing video

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Taking My Own Advice

We all have thought “Gee I just can’t take any time off now because_________”. You fill in the blank.

However, Dr. Bruce Weinstein, The Ethics Guy would disagree and say you have a moral obligation to take a vacation. In an article he wrote for the Dow Jones Market Watch, this is what he says: Taking a vacation regularly is not only acceptable; it is our ethical obligation.

Consider how you feel after working for a long time without a break, and how you feel during and after some restorative time at the beach. Can you really be at your best when you're running on empty? Aren't you more likely to do a good job when your batteries are recharged?

Leaving work behind from time to time to relax enables you to be of service to others to the best of your ability, and this is one reason why we ought to take vacations. Another reason is because we simply owe it to ourselves to rest. The ethical obligation to be compassionate applies not just to how we treat others, but how we treat ourselves, too. Going on vacation is a great way to meet this obligation.

Some of the most common reasons for not taking time off, and how to respond effectively to these challenges:

1. "I work for myself. My employer doesn't provide paid vacations. I've been laid off, and I need to work."

The reluctance to give up some future revenue is understandable, particularly in our current economy. But how often is an excuse, rather than an accurate reflection of one's financial situation? A vacation need not break the bank. We budget for meals, clothing, and transportation. Shouldn't we also budget for a vacation? Yes, there ought to be a law mandating paid vacations, as is the case in many countries, but until that comes to pass; we'll have to find creative ways on our own to take time off.

2. "I love my work, and I'm miserable when I'm away from it."

Maybe it's time to get a hobby. It's wonderful to be jazzed about one's job, but a rich, meaningful life involves things beyond work.

3. "Most of the people I work with aren't taking vacations, so I don't want to burden them with the extra work they'd have if I left for a while."

It's praiseworthy to want to avoiding causing undue stress on your colleagues, but you and they are entitled (ethically, if not legally) to some time off. Ultimately, the fair distribution of labor is a management issue, and employees shouldn't have to worry that a justifiable absence will result in an undue burden on the team.

4. "I'm the only one at work who can do my job. The company, and my clients, can't afford for me to be away."

It's nice to feel wanted or needed, but few of us are truly indispensable, as much as we may hate to admit it. The idea that you, and only you, can do your job is a delusion of grandeur rather than a reflection of reality.

5. "I feel guilty when I take vacations."

If you're not yet convinced that it's ethical to take time off, perhaps it's time to talk with a trusted adviser about why you feel you aren't worthy of a trip to the mountains or the shore, or even just some time to yourself. You have every reason to feel good about treating yourself right, and vacations, however you choose to spend them, are self-indulgent in the best possible way.

Checking e-mail, taking work-related phone calls, and reading material related to one's job are not the elements of a true vacation. A working vacation makes about as much sense as showing up for a corporate job in shorts and a tank top with a margarita in your hand.

Take a break, a real one.

Call me, let's talk! 415 931-1945.
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What Is Your Passport IQ?

September is Passport Awareness Month

You can't leave the country without it. How up to date are you on the rules and regulations?

1. When do you need to renew your passport?

2. What is the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?

3. What is the difference between a passport book and a passport card?

4. What is the Real ID Act? How does it affect your travel?

5. What is the difference between a Regular Book and a Large Book?

6. What is STEP?

For the answers email and then let me know how well you did.

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