Acendas Vacations

The Pachyderms Leave Their Mark 

(NOTE: In early May of 2024, Acendas Travel’s Brent Blake traveled to Africa on a 14-day trip as part of a 75-person group who were associated with the Signature Travel Network. The trip had two phases, the first featuring visits to Johannesburg, South Africa, and various regions of Botswana and Zimbabwe. The second phase was travel to South Africa: to the city of Capetown and then the outer bush country. The blog below focuses on phase two. It was arranged by African Travel, an experiential travel company based in Africa. 

The second half of our African sojourn took us to South Africa where we got a taste of the big city and the outer bush country. 

It was co-sponsored by the South African Tourist Bureau and organized by the experiential travel company African Travel. And like the first phase of our travels, the people, food, sights, and experiences were spectacular. 

Culture in Capetown

Our experience in Capetown was immersive in the culture. Our hosts wanted us to get an up close and personal look at the people, so we were treated to a party where the citizens played music, taught dance and singing, and displayed art and jewelry.  We also were able to taste the South African red wine known as Pinotage, which is a cross between a Cabernet and Pinot. The South Africans are quite talented. 

Winery in Capetown

Because this trip had a philanthropic component, we went to parts of the city that were more economically depressed and lacking sufficient resources. We helped build facilities that were to serve as after school centers, much like the Boys and Girls Clubs we would see in the United States. Here, the kids would come from attending school and learn to make many of the crafts we saw at our welcoming party. 

Capetown is a big city on the coast. On one side you have Table Mountain, a popular tourist stop which is a large, flat mountain where you can take cables or hike up to get a view of the city. On the other side is where you find the penguins which you see in the iconic photos. If you have been to the Monterey Peninsula or Big Sur areas of California, you will see a similar terrain. There are no beaches, but the rocky coastlines with the waves splashing up against them were impressive. 

Back to Bush Country

It was back to the bush country as we flew inland to the Matetsi Lodges. There are numerous lodges at this resort, making it ideal for group trips such as those for sales incentive winners or company meetings. This was a different terrain than the open delta of Botswana as the brush was higher and there were more trees.  The experience at the lodge itself was again top-notch.  


Similarly, we took game drives to see the terrain and animals. One aspect which I know will remain vivid in my mind was the sight of a herd of 20 elephants. The elephants were moving in a pack, like what you might see in a cattle drive to find food and water.  

The devastation they caused was like a row of tanks moving through a battlefield. Everything in their path was beaten down.  In fact, when it was time for the younger elephants to eat, the male and female parents would work in tandem to knock over the trees so the leaves would be accessible for consumption. It took little time to bring them down. It was a memorable way to end our safari. 

The travel companies working with our travel advisors made this a special two-week experience. One misnomer when you go on a safari is that as a traveler you are “roughing it” and getting an exhaustive physical workout. I am sure you can find those itineraries, but ours was anything but that. We had extremely helpful guides, support to transport luggage and plenty of downtime. If you can get in and out of a Jeep, you are a perfect candidate for the experience. 

Just be careful if you see a herd of elephants coming your way!