I can’t even describe what a special experience the trip was! I have been trying to find the words since I got back. Each time I sit down to write you this note (which I have attempted to do many times over the past few days) I stop myself as I struggle to find words more adequate than “thank you” and “amazing” to truly capture what I’m feeling. Last week was an adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a reminder to be present, a gift and so much more. I am so lucky to have spent the week with you and the rest of my new friends laughing, learning, growing and laughing some more! We are truly bonded for life. Again I find myself coming back to that magic word; grateful. From the cheesecake on that first night to the note waiting in my bag from you when I got home -and everything in between – I am so very grateful.
Guy and his team take safari travel to a new level. While every detail of luxury travel is accounted for, it is truly the experiences Completely Unique Safaris creates that sets them apart from everyone else. The attention to detail and personal touches that come along with a Completely Unique Safari ensure a life-changing travel experience that leave guests planning their next visit before they’ve even departed.
Thank you for creating these lasting memories that will be with me always. Marc and I are so honored to have been along for the ride.
- Amy Zwerdling, Fischer Travel, New York
While I’ve been super lucky to trapeze into the Med at the Hotel du Cap, stay at Villa Rockstar in St. Barths, and dance till dawn on the Ulukartel yacht in the Turkish Riviera before hopping on a plane to Paris to meet the guy with the power to shut down Versailles for a private afternoon stroll, it was the experience that I had on safari recently with CUS that was life-changing. I know it will be some time before I travel at the level of CUS again, as it will have to be with CUS. It’s hard to put into words the profound beauty of walking through the Kalahari Desert, with only the moonlight to guide our way, and being surprised deep in the bush with champagne, oysters flown in that day and a gallery exhibit with one of Africa’s most gifted, up-and-coming artists. Guy’s CUS trips are complete buyouts of reserves for essentially off-piste safaris (and quite VF-worthy – they only do a handful of trips a year) but he is a safari expert, with almost 1000 safaris under his belt. Like Galavante, where our team are all Wall Street and luxury goods professionals, Guy is a hedge fund/private equity investor in his day job, so his purview is that of a consumer of high-end travel.
– Christine Drinana, CEO, Galavante, New York
If you’re looking for totally unique, daily surprises, an itinerary loaded with anticipation and “good life” elements one after the other—Completely Unique will fit the bill. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s truly the best safari I’ve experienced. “Completely Unique” is the right name. You’ll focus on the natural wonders, the depths of local culture, the vast history, the tastes and the sounds that make Africa so unique. And you’ll do it in style. Something magic happens when it’s only YOUR group on the plane…or in the lodge….or in the safari vehicle. Dining is over-the-top with local chefs who are literally writing the book on African Fusion cuisine as you travel! This incomparable safari experience is anything but run-of-the-mill, on the contrary it’s out of the box all the way. The people running the show are so well connected throughout the continent, I did things I would never be able to do with another safari outfitter. Everyone should visit Africa at least once. You get the full blown, no holes barred experience when you do it with Completely Unique.
It’s the “completely unique” part. So most safari lodges and outfitters have a programmed way of doing things, a sort of “one size fits all” and the CUS folks have rebelled against that, trying to climb out of the box whenever at all possible. So you end up hiking through the bush at midnight, then sitting around out there drinking champagne under the stars. Most of our meals were taken out in the open bush with a personal chef (who dragged the Weber Grill out there) and our own mixologist serving up the amazing cocktails. Also unique is the company’s requirement that everyone in the party travel and stay privately. So you fly around on private charter airplanes and usually stay in private villas. Does your party of ten want Singita Boulders? That’s fine, but be prepared to buy the place out (all 24 rooms) for the duration of your stay. CUS wants to bring in their own staff (especially for the culinary side of things), so you have to be the only ones staying there. I would say the other big factor is the element of surprise. What you end up doing is unexpected all the way—and super pleasantly surprising, so the trip is not for the control freak who has to have the minute-by-minute itinerary and refuses to be “wow’ed” by someone else’s originality. I would say that the owner’s personal connections around the continent have a lot to do with the uniqueness. “Atypical access” seems to be a specialty for him!
One dusk after hanging out with hunting cheetahs for a while, we went for a sunset hike across a wide, open plain. Just as the last bit of color was disappearing into starry, starry night….we climbed over a hill and when we descended the other side were greeted by the concierge distributing oysters and champagne and were then met by a local South African artist who had created a pop-up art gallery (out in the bush of course), and he proceeded to explain his striking works, all of which contained interesting political and cultural messages. This wonderful artist joined us for dinner (right there) where the chef served seven courses and the mixologist served one different type of brandy with each course. Upon returning to my villa bedroom that night, I had an original piece from the same artist, dedicated to me by name. I would say another great touch was the inclusion of a super high-powered camera—something more spectacular than I will ever own, no doubt, and we had a one-hour seminar on how to use it the first day. So I was able to take much better wildlife photos than I might have otherwise. And of course the owner of the company has been on a thousand safaris, but still had his “unicorn” (that’s the term among frequent safari people for the one animal they’d love to see that they’ve never seen), and his is the Pangolin. A pangolin is a type of anteater, like an aardvark, but covered with green/yellow scales—it looks like an artichoke! Well….guess what…..we found one.
This product is for the few. The company has no desire to be big in terms of numbers of travelers annually. The price point is significantly higher than that of any other safari outfitter, and the emphasis is NOT on the accommodation (though that part is always excellent) but more on the uniqueness of the experience. It’s for clients with very little budget limitation seeking something completely out of the ordinary and fairly over-the-top. You have to be willing to cough up a lot of cash, but Completely Unique Safaris will truly deliver.
- Richard Engle, ProTravel, Chicago
Thank you for sharing what is dearest to your heart: Africa, South Africa, Safaris.
Thank you for giving me an experience of a lifetime.
Thank you for introducing me to some of the most special scenery and land that man has known.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to explore the Kalahari Desert with you, and most of all, thank you for sharing such beautiful wildlife with me. The wild beasts of the Kalahari are fascinating and they have touched my spirit, just as you have touched my heart.
Thank you for all of the very special gifts that you gave me, from the awesome running shoes & gear, to the very thoughtful presents that we received each night on our beds. I am deeply touched by the autographed copy of “Good Morning, Mr. Mandela” and I plan to read it in the near future. I am also honored to own a piece of Original Robben Island Wire Art and I look forward to having it properly mounted and proudly displayed in my home. Last but not least, it was my sincere pleasure to meet Azael Langa and to view his art in such a spectacular setting, right in the middle of the red sands of the Kalahari, while noshing on fresh oysters and caviar that were flown in from Cape Town that day. Not to mention the six course Guy Ellis dinner that we devoured while drinking the very best wines of South Africa, again, right in the center of the Kalahari. Then to have an original Azael Langa waiting for me on my pillow was just way too cool!
Thank you for the months of time planning the thousands of details that went into making this trip an adventure of a lifetime.
Thank you to your mother and to your father both, who shared these gifts with you so that you could share them with others.
Thank you to your mother and sister and grandmother for all the fabulous snacks and foods that they have shared with you and now you have made it possible for myself and others to enjoy.
I loved it all, every detail, every infused concoction and every morsel of goodness that I consumed. I especially enjoyed the awesomely delicious wines and the exotic gourmet foods along with their extremely unique presentations. Your culinary visions, all-encompassing design talent, along with your gentle character, generosity, gracious hosting abilities and perceptive nature, adds to your extraordinary personality.
Guy Ellis, you are a one of a kind person and I am most grateful that we met and honored to share this friendship.
- Tony Driskell, CEO, Departures Travel, Atlanta