Africa + the Middle East
Bob Berghaier *
New Favorite: South Africa’s Balule Game Reserve—35,000 acres of former farmland traversed by the Olifants River. Here, there are excellent, service-oriented lodges, including Pondoro, with chalets designed by local architects, and Toko Yaka, whose six large suites come with hardwood floors, antique English canopied beds, and private decks.
Years as Agent: 10.
Other Specialty: Wildlife travel.
Special Booking: Cadar orchestrated a southern African odyssey for a family of five that involved game tracking in South Africa, a flight to Malawi for a day of volunteering with children from the local community, overnights in an English manor, a tented camp in the Serengeti, and scuba diving on a small private island off Zanzibar.
Years as Agent: 24.
Other Specialty: French Polynesia.
Fee: From $100 per person.
Insider Clout: She recently arranged for a group of friends on a stopover in Cairo to have after-hours access to the Egyptian Museum, where they toured its antiquities galleries for two hours with a guide.
Years as Agent: 40.
Other Specialties: Southeast Asia, India.
New Favorite: A new full-service cruiser, the Zambezi Queen, that makes two- and three-night excursions along the Chobe River through some of northern Botswana’s most picturesque countryside. The ship’s airy, contemporary suites (with private balconies) are complemented by its eco-creds—co-owner Tony Stern, a former engineer, constructed the boat to strict efficiency standards.
Years as Agent: 18.
Other Specialty: Adventure travel.
Fee: From $100.
Sandy Cunningham *
Insider Clout: Because of Cunningham’s amazing contacts, she can arrange for clients to see Africa’s “sardine run”—in which hundreds of thousands of migrating fish form massive shoals in the waters off Transkei—from the comfort of a live-on catamaran.
Years as Agent: 15.
Other Specialty: New Mexico.
Jeanie Fundora *
Insider Clout: With just a couple of days’ notice, Fundora secured eight permits to track mountain gorillas in Rwanda for a group of VIP clients who arrived in their private G5.
Years as Agent: 11.
Other Specialty: Indian Ocean islands.
Special Booking: For a private celebration for 80 guests, Hilton organized a tent at the foot of the Pyramids with chef Roy Yamaguchi, who served a meal with wines from the Ferragamos’ Il Borro Tuscan estate—poured by members of the Ferragamo family.
Years as Agent: 16.
Other Specialty: Africa.
Fee: $250 per person.
Rachel Epstein *
New Favorites: Israel has a new cultural icon—the Design Museum Holon, created by Ron Arad and home to a rotating exhibition of international furniture, product, and industrial designs. Epstein also cites the Conegliano Synagogue & Museum, in Jerusalem, which she calls “the heart and soul of the Italian Jewish community.”
Years as Agent: 28.
Other Specialty: Spain.
* Tour Operator
** T+L’s Travel Agent Advisory Board, 2010
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