Recognized throughout the travel agent community as a creative and innovative leader with global experience, Nikki F. Upshaw has been with Oceania Cruises since 2011 and is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales. She notes that she was first attracted to Oceania Cruises for its great vision and potential for growth. Nikki recently traveled to South Africa, and below shares some fascinating details from her experience.

1From your time in Cape Town, what left a lasting impression?
The pride they have in their country and culture – you can feel it when you talk to anyone, a shopkeeper or a business person. It’s an incredibly diverse and cultural city, and it’s also a really warm and welcoming city – not to mention stunning. You have the beautiful Table Mountain in the backdrop, and when the clouds drift over the mountain they refer to it as the “table cloth,” which is just so fitting. Their sunsets are just amazing.

2Do you have any tips for first-time travelers to South Africa?
Yes – take advantage of your proximity of everything: the city and culture, wineries and safaris. Just an hour and a half outside of Cape Town, you can experience some really beautiful vineyards and round out your wine cellar. And then with just a few hours of flight time, you can 3be “in the bush” as they say and explore some incredible private game reserves.

During the day, don’t be afraid to wander and experience the many neighborhoods of Cape Town. Be open to meeting some of the people, you’ll enjoy more authentic experiences that way.

4What was your most memorable encounter “in the bush”?
We saw so many different types of animals on every single drive  at Londolozi. The Big Five for sure, and so many more. I was blown away by the variety.

At one point, we tracked a leopard and were watching it… wondering if it was going to hunt. Finally, it jumped up a tree – which I knew they could do, but to witness it was something else entirely. And it had a kill draped in the tree, an impala. The leopard just started chowing down, and under normal circumstances I would have been put off, but in this environment it was just so natural – this is their dinner. The natural simplicity of it was really memorable.

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Photo Credit: Sondra Brunone