Africa 2022: St. Tropez via Johannesburg

Life is sometimes about one-upmanship, but I’ve become so egotistical that I’m only focused on competing against myself.  Last year I stayed in 5 bedroom Arijiju with my Dad, whilst this year it’s 5 bedroom Kubili House by myself.  Soon I’ll have to Schrodinger’s cat it and go without going, whilst simultaneously being with myself and not existing.

Every year I have one trip that I look forward to more than any other and very often it’s Africa.  That’s not just because I get to witness animals murdering each other, nor that I get to pretend I’m David Attenborough and narrate every moment of the experience, all the way to describing the stomach cramps the malaria pills give me.  It’s because it offers an amazing experience.  Luxury hotels are awesome, but luxury hotels with unique experiences are unforgettable.

The original plan was for us all to go as a family, but when my wife became pregnant we made the tough decision that I should go by myself.  I hate to do it, but if everything is predetermined then there was really nothing I could do about it.  You could say I was forced to go.  So my wonderful, pregnant wife has allowed me to go solo and yes she truly is amazing and yes she does edit my blog.

So here’s the low down.  As usual, I’ve planned everything the way that makes total sense to me at the time, but then no sense once I get there.  I’m starting with the best properties, so inevitable disappointment kicks in right around the time I’m sick of waking up at 5am every day.  First up is Kubili House, an exclusive-use property that suffers from a complete lack of reviews, before I head to Cheetah Plains, an exclusive-use property, that suffers from a complete lack of reviews.  The difference is that Cheetah Plains has three, 4-bedroom villas and all their vehicles are electric, so I’ll get to virtue signal after I fly 6,000 miles to get there.  I think that’s called carbon offsetting.

I’m then staying the night at The Saxon and having dinner with the owner of Angama Mara, a hotel I did not recommend.  If I’m never seen again, please check Johannesburg swamps.  I have stayed in The Saxon at least five times previously, yet never once reviewed it, but this time, oh this time, mister, I’m absolutely going to.  I’m going to at least say I’m going to.  It’s the only hotel in Johannesburg worth staying in, so it at least deserves some recognition on these here pages.

My hope was to stay at exclusive-use Leobo, before heading to Kisawa, but that was squashed, so instead, I’m returning to Botswana to try the rebuilt Xigera and the also rebuilt DumaTau.  Lots of builder jobs going in Botswana, I bet.

I’m then flying to Nice, via Paris, with Air France, where my family will be waiting for me and awaiting my great stories of how I spent 19 hours sitting in a jeep waiting for a lion to move.  We’ll get to try the new Maybourne Riveria, as well as the more established, Cheval Blanc St. Tropez and Château de La Messardière.  I managed to snag the last room in Cheval Blanc, which is “40-50 sqm” and one they call a suite.  I can’t imagine what they call a main course – a single, lonely snail?  Hopefully, McDonalds does deliveries.

Stay tuned for plenty of reviews.


  1. Can’t wait to hear the reviews in Botswana, my favorite place. Duma Tau is on my list. Already been to Mombo, Abu and Vumbura Plains. P.S. if you can stay in Ellerman House in one of their villas on the way to Botswana, it’s a fabulous way to start a safari.

    • I debated going back to Mombo, as I seem to be the only person on earth that saw nothing whilst there, but figured trying Xigera, a newly built camp was the best option.

      Sadly won’t have time to revisit Ellerman House

  2. Duma tau is the most magical place i have been in my life.

  3. I loved the Saxon too, but when we were there it was so quiet you could hear the chef yawning in the kitchen. Was it more lively the times you went I wonder?

    • My last memory of being there is throwing up in the kitchen area in our suite, so that was plenty lively

  4. Really excited for your reviews of DumaTau and Xigera. The former not only for the lodge, but Linyanti is apparently great, but curious to know what it’s like this time of year (most reviews seem focused on July and later). Looking forward to Xigera because I’m wondering how it delivers now that it is (I think) the most expensive lodge in Botswana.

  5. So you lived to travel another day ?

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