Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Bucket List Trip

This year is my husband’s 50th Birthday and also our 20th Wedding Anniversary – so much to celebrate! Because it’s Dave’s big year he wanted to take a Bucket List Trip – for my international readers a Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you die; a once in a lifetime excursion! We have rarely traveled without our children and this trip is no exception. I have been planning it for months and months and so excited to share it with you.  Later this summer where are we off to……..AFRICA!!!
Our first stop will be gorgeous Cape Town, South Africa.  We will be staying at the beautiful Cape Grace Hotel on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. This photo also shows the spectacular Table Mountain in the distance.
You may be familiar with the Cape Grace Hotel. It’s been recently remodeled by the fabulous South African Designer, Kathi Weixelbaumer.
Cape Grace lobby2
She used local hand painted fabrics created by the artists at African Sketchbook as wall coverings, drapes and upholstery to depict the story and history of Cape Town. You can read more about the beautiful Cape Grace Hotel and the décor HERE in a wonderful post by Joni of Cote De Texas
African Sketchbook VOC-Plates1
The fabrics are extraordinary.  Here is another room done by Kathi Weixelbaumer that highlights the beautiful fabrics.
I will be meeting with the African Sketchbook folks and we will be touring the wonderful factory/studio to see how all the fabrics come to life. You see each fabric is hand painted and is a perfect work of art!
We will take in all the sites of Cape Town and the surrounding wine country.
And of course visit the Nelson Mandela Gateway and Robben Island Museum. What a great education for the kids.  Then we are on to Zambia!!
We will be visiting Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. (and I thought Niagara Falls was big!)
Then off the Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma Lodge along the edges of the Zambezi River.
Apparently we shouldn’t  be surprised if a herd of elephants come up on our deck and drink out of our pool!
We will also spend time at the Nakatindi Village and Community School. We can't wait to meet some of the local children.
Then we are headed back to South Africa and Kruger National Park to go on safari to see the big 5 - elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo!
We will be staying in Sabi Sands, the center of the Kruger National Park at the Singita Ebony Lodge.
The lodge is lit entirely by gas lanterns, so you really get the “Out of Africa” experience.
The lodge looks spectacular. You can take your meals indoors in the “library” or
Signita EbonySuiteDeck
on your private veranda over looking the River…
Signita Boma
or outdoors in the “Boma”.  I’ll let you know which is best.
sabi lion
Of course I am a bit of a worrier – the tiny planes to get there are freaking me out.  And what if the kids get malaria or are attacked by lions?  I know I’m thinking crazy thoughts, but you know how mothers can be. 
Still, we are all excited and looking forward to a life changing experience! We will have many evenings to celebrate Dave’s 50th and our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  I am sure I will find inspiration at every turn.  I will be sketching and writing notes the entire time.  I can’t wait to show you all my photos!  If any readers have been, I would love to hear about your experiences before we go!!

(All content property of Willow Décor and not to be copied with out consent. All photos Google images)


  1. This will be a wonderful experience! My aunt and Uncle lived in Capetown for about 7 years and loved it.....Happy Anniversary!

  2. That is so awesome!! The places you are staying look absolutely amazing. Africa is still on my list of places to go... espcially South Africa!!


  3. Wow, that is beyond amazing!!!! The photos are fabulous cannot wait to see posts of those sketches!!!!

  4. Now that's a trip! It sounds wonderful! ... and so exciting to be meeting the local little school children. A-M xx

  5. Wow that sounds like an amazing trip....and amazingly well planned. Bon Voyage!!! Jennifer

  6. This sounds like the trip of a lifetime - just stunning!!! I love the South African style - so unique and beautiful. Enjoy. Tracey xx

  7. This is surely a trip of a lifetime. How wonderful that your children can share this experience with you. I am excited to see the photos and hear your accounts of the trip. Have the best time.

  8. How wonderful! It sounds like an amazing, life-changing trip! I hope you have a ball and take LOTS of pictures!!!! xo Diana

  9. You are GIVING ME CHILLS!!! That is "another one" of Joni's "essays" I've saved. Hooray for you and your family...I can't wait to "live vicariously" through your "journal!" franki

  10. Looks like the trip of a lifetime...and cannot think of two better reasons to celebrate and just go for it then your anniversary and your husbands big 5-0!

  11. Gina this is soooo exciting. Most definitely a life changing (in a good, safe, healthy way) adventure for all of you. So romantic too. I would find myself slowly but surely turning into Meryl Streep in my long flowing linen skirt and huge straw hat writing in my leather bound journal with the Out Of Africa soundtrack looping in my mind. Maybe the kiddos could go on a little side safari and you and your hubby could find a quiet secluded spot where he could wash your hair with the water from a cool flowing stream....ok I'll stop.
    I know you will make it memorable in your own very stylish and special way because you do have a way Gina. Your family has know this all along and through writing Willow Decor, so do we!
    xo Lisa
    p.s. don't worry, I don't think they let lions on those little planes :)

  12. It sounds like a wonderful trip! Can't wait to see the photos.

  13. Love your post and i want to welcome you to our lovely Cape Town - the jewel of Africa. You are in for a treat at the Cape Grace just oozing with Cape Dutch antiques and delicious foods. Our wine estates are gorgeous and the gameparks a wonderful experience to get the real Africa sand between your toes. Enjoy your special trip.

  14. Wow Gina this is so exciting! I started planning a safari with my mom (her bucket list trip) a couple of years ago but put it off due to fear (crime in Tanzania due to economy, flights, my mom isn't very mobile, etc). ;) I can't wait to hear all about it when you return and may reach out to you for advice once I get back to planning the safari for my mom.

  15. Holy crow!!!!! That is amazing!!!! I am sooo happy for you and the fact that you have planned it all out is the icing on the cake. I will also live vicariously through your journal.

  16. Wow that is going to be the "trip of a lifetime" I am so jealous. Can't wait to see the pictures. Have a wonderful and safe trip.

  17. Wow!
    What a fantastic trip this will be.
    Congratulations to you and your hubby!

    Have a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear all about it.

    xo xo

  18. Gina, your trip sounds incredible! it's my fantasy vacation and I will be following closely and taking notes! If you haven't already read them, I highly recommend 'Don't let's go to the dogs tonight' and 'Cocktail hour under the tree of forgetfullness. Both by Alexandra Fuller.

    Have a wonderful time and don't worry! It will be fantastic!

  19. I am extremely interested in seeing the photos of this amazing trip. I'm wondering what else is on your bucket list as this is pretty big!! safe travels. love your blog.

  20. What an adventure, Gina! I am so happy for you!!! Talk about creating life long memories!

    Will call you next week.

    Warm hugs to you,


    P.S 1 Are you sure you don't need me to come along and carry all your notepads?

    P.S 2 I expect a real postcard from Africa. Have never received one from there (:

  21. You will have a fantastic time! I have been to all of those places and it is breathtaking. Be sure to take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.

  22. Gina, I am so excited that South Africa is on your bucket list. I am living near Cape Town and follow your blog for a very long time. You and your family shall enjoy South Africa for sure and you picked some of the best places to stay. Enjoy your trip!! Comien

  23. what an adventure!
    am so happy for all of you and for us, reliving your trip vicariously. never been, hope like crazy to go, want to go into a shark cage.....really

  24. Very interesting list! Paris would be on the top of my list. Enjoy the trip!

  25. I do agree! Africa is in my bucket list too.

  26. Oh, wow! I know you are going to have a smashing time. I have never been to Africa but I hope to visit someday. Since you mentioned Victoria Falls, I realised I have never taken a really good look at it. Goodness, it is HUGE! Make sure to visit the The Devil's Swimming Pool!

  27. Oh- this looks like a wonderful trip!! Most definitely on my "Champagne Bucket List" as well- in fact, perhaps next year for our 25th wedding anniversary!

  28. Hi, if you have yet to visit this summer and you are a reader, I suggest reading Nelson Mandela's autobiography. I was riveted and it sure made touring Robben Island even more interesting. We lived in SA a few years and genuinely loved the country. Have a terrific time. :)

  29. What a breathtaking adventure!!! Happy Anniversary and Happy 50th to your hubby! What a way to celebrate... have fun on your bucket list trip!

  30. you are taking my dream trip!
    i have always wanted to go to exactly where you are going and staying.
    i am sure this will be the trip of a lifetime.

    take tonz a pics and make a book for your family.

    have fun!! xoxo

  31. Victoria Falls looks beautiful. It's great that your able to visit so many beautiful places. Enjoy the opportunity to see the world.

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. It sounds like an amazing, life-changing trip

  34. Such an exciting bucket list trip, very exotic! I myself have a bucket list, of many places I'd like to visit but I've always said I would live in NYC for 1 year before I die; which I have yet to do but still am planning on accomplishing.
    Have a great week,
    Jenah xo