The King of the Jungle - The Lion

Our Guestbook

See what our past guests have to say about us !



"If we come back to South Africa again- and we’d love to see more- then we’ll definitely come back to you and use your excellent services again." Gwyneth and Michael, April 2024

"By the way – I should have started by saying how fantastic our holiday was – we loved every moment of it – despite the weather. The accommodation – we loved it all. How do you find these places?" Susan and Peter, April 2024

"I enjoyed the trip tremendously. The perfect organization of airport pick-up and drop-offs was one factor. The choice of accommodation and restaurants in each case was wonderful. The guides were very well selected, with persons very well-informed and attuned to my interests. The range of activities was well calibrated with the amount of time I had available - I would of course have preferred to live the experience with Indira - and I met some friendly people along the way. I cannot think of any area for improvement.

Thank you personally for driving me back to Parker Cottage following the Zeitz celebration.

I would not hesitate to recommend your company to friends and family. Indeed, I have a first cousin and his wife who were inspired by my photos and running commentary and they are likely to ask for a referral.

Many thanks again to you and your team."

“Thanks again for your great suggestions and insights. We are excited to be working with you.”

“Just want to say how excited we are about the input Philip and Where It All Began have provided so far. Their local knowledge and ethical stance really promise to elevate our South Africa experience in all sorts of wonderful ways.”

"WOW! Thank you so much for the itinerary - very nicely demonstrated - impressive. The route and stops look great, I think we stick with this."

“You are a true professional, and I can't wait to meet somebody planning a trip to South Africa. Or any part of Africa.”

"What a truly amazing day! I don’t think I have words available to express how grateful I am for the memories you have given me with my mum so far. Chris was a delight today and despite the rain we’ve loved every second. Thanks so much for all your work arranging this holiday."

“Just touched down in Joburg. Thank you for everything! This trip has been an amazing life experience and we are truly grateful to you for planning it!”

“The trip was truly fantastic. One of the best experience I have had and I have traveled a lot!! So thank you for organizing so many unique experiences for us.”

"The trip went really well and thank you for making it happen. A brilliant job. Thank you for dealing with all the last minute changes. We had an amazing time".

We just wanted to say hi and let you know that the itinerary you set for us has been amazing this past week ? And we still have five more to go! The touring around Cape Town and vicinities was of course interesting as well as beautiful, but the cycling on the dirt roads through the wine and agricultural region has been beyond our expectations! So glad our guide/owner of Cape Velo, Jamie, switched us from road bikes to mountain/gravel bikes. Such a better experience on these quiet back roads :-) (PS all accommodations have been spectacular, it will be hard to get used to our standard traveling stays ever again ?)

Our holiday that you arranged for us along the Garden route could not have been more perfect.

No worries Phil! You are good with me. You are THE best!

This vacation has been amazing in so many ways. We absolutely loved exploring the landscape, its tremendous beauty, being active, the diversity. All the places we visited were great on their own and fabulous together. I am so grateful that you "insisted" we also took the tour through D6. We were invited to learn a about the history and culture of South Africa. Thank you also for "holding our hand" just enough to make us feel safe! We loved the road trip, the car worked very well, even with all our luggage and grocery shopping!
Thank you Philip for being an excellent host, thank you for all the memories!

“Our trip was absolutely fantastic. Thank you for the care you took of us. We knew that all we had to do was call you and you would figure out how to right the problem. We felt like we saw all the best of S. A. The changes from eco to plush were welcome and you made them at all the right times. The Eco-camp Safari was the absolute best. I almost wish we could have saved it for last. The weather did help on that safari. You were right that that was the way to see the Bush.

All of this palaver is simply to say, from both Jon and me, thank you so much for the wonderful time in S. A. We tell everyone we would do it again tomorrow!”

"We just finished a 7 course meal at Augusta de Mist- I'm completely full!! It was delcious! Renate is exuberant as you said and very welcoming.

Chris is a pleasure to work with. He is easy going, flexible and wants to accommodate us. He is quick with a smile. He has also been a great storyteller and his perspective has really enriched our experience of SA.

As for myself, I feel so fortunate to have your help planning our trip! While being very aware of our (white) privilege, we are able to make ethical choices and appreciate your sharing our values- that shows in the kind of trip you offered.

Thanks for checking in with us and for working with Chris to help things run smoothly! Looking forward to the rest of the trip!"

"We have gotten a very good impression of you so far..we appreciate the time and thoughtfulness you have put into your emails." Jennifer, June 2018

"I really enjoyed it to spend my holidays (and the congress) in South Africa. Once more I returned with a lot of different experiences. Thank you very much for organizing us this trip, with so many different good accommodations, tours and transport variations."

Copying in this email is Phil, he owns and manages the tour agency for Africa I found online last year. Though I haven't found my way to Africa just yet, he has been extremely helpful (and patient!) and responsive. I also recommended him to a friend who went to Africa last year and she said Phil was super easy to work with and she was overall happy with her trip.

As mentioned Phil's rates we're a lot more affordable as the other agencies I've found as well.

Smile doesn’t describe my face right now!! More like a big huge grin! We are absolutely thrilled, thank you so much. We struck gold when we came across your company....I can see you’re well connected!

“its been great dealing with you and i'll certainly recommend you to any friends thinking of visiting SA. We've had an amazing time and will certainly be back, I hear March is a great time to visit... might be March 2019 though. Thanks for your all your help and patience in dealing with us we really appreciated it.”

“Thank you so much for all your hard work! I really appreciate it!”

“Thank you so much for all the work you have done to sorting out the risks we have with our contract. Wow…. All the mails you sent to AVIS ! Thanks for your advice and recommendations.”

“Thank you for taking care of this final detail! It is certainly nice to get the discounts that come from working through you and, even better, to have the confidence that each small item, like how we get from X to Y, is taken care of. Those are not really small, of course, but major for tired travelers. Thanks!”

“Phil Rendel with Where It All Began booked basically our entire trip. He’s AMAZING (seriously, I don’t give that recommendation lightly) and knows everything and everyone who could make your trip memorable. Highly recommend.”

“Pleasure doing business with you, Phil. It was awesome that you were on standby seemingly 24/7 for any and all things. Damn glad to have met you!”

“Thank you Philip for your lovely message! The Elephant House was a perfect place to celebrate my birthday and I truly enjoyed my stay there!”

“In terms of your planning, we were entirely satisfied not only with the choices but with the speed of response to our enquiries.”

“Yes — the PDF opened beautifully and the details look amazing. I am so appreciative of all your help and care. It’s a lovely document. It really makes the adventure come to life!”

“You are awesome! Thanks so much foe taking the time to provide details on a suggested route. You have really put my mind at ease.”

“Your suggestions are most helpful! Please let me know if any additional information would be helpful and many thanks for your assistance!”

“ Thank you for your quick response, and wealth of information. Wow!”

“ I'm happy to introduce you to Phil Rendel. He always made sure I was well taken care of when I stayed at Parker Cottage and is thorough and very helpful with arranging independent travel. He has helped me set up a 4 day get away after the program and I'm sure would be happy to support you with questions, etc.”

“Wow! THANK YOU so much for all this valuable information! We'll do our research at get back to you once we've decided where to go etc. Thanks a million for your time. We are looking so forward to coming back "home" and seeing SA again!”

“Thanks for all your work and advice, we very much appreciate your efforts. Will it be possible to call in and thank you personally once we're settled in Cape Town?”

“We really appreciate your organization talent and offered ideas!! I‘m sure to have a great adventure in Cape Town.”

“At a later will provide more commentary about, thanks in large part to you, our outstanding holiday.”

“It is great to have someone that can efficiently assist our guests with other parts of their holiday, and will certainly be referring others! “

“Thanks for your work. You truly have made this trip so easy for me. I am truly grateful.”

Just Amazing! You get this feeling "What a wonderful world"....

"I really appreciate all you've done. You've both been most accommodating. I am very pleased with this solution."

“You are the best! THANK YOU! If you ever come to Alabama, I will return the favor!”

“Great trip and good choices, both safari lodge and Arathusa. Were perfect for a single person.”

You have been amazing! Many thanks again for all of your help. I know I sprung these requests on you at the last minute. Your guidance has more than exceeded my expectations. I sincerely appreciate your assistance.

You are awesome! Thanks so much foe taking the time to provide details on a suggested route. You have really put my mind at ease.

Your suggestions are most helpful! Please let me know if any additional information would be helpful and many thanks for your assistance!

Thank you for your quick response, and wealth of information. Wow!

I'm happy to introduce you to Phil Rendel. He always made sure I was well taken care of when I stayed at Parker Cottage and is thorough and very helpful with arranging independent travel. He has helped me set up a 4 day get away after the program and I'm sure would be happy to support you with questions, etc.

This is AMAZING! I can’t believe I fly out in just over a week. I am thinking about all of the suggestions you included in this itinerary, and will let you know.

Thanks Philip for your sensible and relevant advice. We have never been to SA before and are very excited by our visit.

Thanks Phil! Really appreciate your quick response and all your ideas.

It’s so helpful, as always, to get your detailed responses to our many questions.

We know you are patient about this and so much appreciate that. Your willingness to answer questions and even support travelers while on the road (you saved us a couple of times, even magically opening a locked gate from hundreds of miles away - put that in your testimonials!) is one of the things that makes your service unique.

Thanks Phil. I really appreciate you helping me navigate this. You were born to do this and am glad to see Where It All Began taking off.

We do appreciate your attention to details and your responding quickly to our changing requests.

Phil Rendel is an amazing person. I was nervous going to Africa since it was my first time there and I did not have local contacts (like I normally do). I work hard and when I am traveling for fun it really helps if my vacation stays fun and care-free. He helped me design a fantastic stay in Cape Town: shark cage diving, vineyards tour, penguin watching and so much more. Wish there was one of him everywhere I traveled. UNFORGETTABLY FABULOUS!!

I would like to thank you as well on behalf of my family and myself for such great assistane. You were expertly helpful and nice and I would recommend everyone that croses my path who plans on coming to South Africa to get in touch with you.

Thank you Philip for the warm gesture. We were very pleased with your prompt replies. We have enjoyed this trip thoroughly. We will surely recommend your name to all my friends and send them the link above. Thank you for your assistance and help.

Phil, our trip was great and one that will be a memory for us for some time. I am sure we will be back.

I feel pity to see you farewell, because it means next time we won't see you in Parker Cottage. But more I feel happy for you. I truly wish you all the best in your next projects. And please, do visit Beijing, China some day, I will welcome you with my warmest heart!

I was going to write to you today: I spoke with the guests yesterday and they are as pleased as Punch and lots more at your service. They said it is all the little details, like booking dinner, cell phone numbers. I hope that I have more than I can send your way.

It was a lovely place! We had a great time and we would not have found the place if you would not have suggested it.

Thank you for once again responding quickly with good advice.

Wow! you don't hang about Philip. Straight out of the blocks! Thanks for your help, much appreciated. Many, many thenks for the time, effort and imagination.

It was great, really good service! We picked up the car at Sixt. We booked the insurance at around about cars. Very friendly staff. Thank you Phil.

Many thanks for hotel upgrades - we were a little open mouthed when we saw the room! Lovely setting too. Bob very much enjoyed the eve meal and I was ready for the very nice breakfast. Fascinating and pretty sure not many Europeans will have travelled those roads. So great trip and one we couldn't have planned without your help. The distances between the destinations was just right for us as it gave plenty of time to stop on route or to take a diversion as we did on the Agulhas detour which was so worth doing. We loved the golden countryside through which we drove even though all had been harvested. In fact we loved all the scenery so the combination of desert, mountains, vineyards and rural landscapes was great. Hadn't done dirt roads since Namibia.

What a great price! I am smiling !! A very big smile! Thank you Philip - I really appreciate what you have arranged for me!!

There is absolutely nothing you could do to improve the service and we will be recommending you to any of our friends who are thinking of travelling to South Africa. We just wanted to say that your suggestion to stay at Parker Cottage, together with our time at Goodings Grove and Jan Harmsgat was absolutely fabulous!! And then there were the meals at Haute Cabriere and Bread and Wines that you arranged. We did not have a bad meal in South Africa but those were exceptional. I am sure we will be back in the next few years as we both loved it as a destination. Glad you enjoyed the wine! We wanted to do something to show our appreciation for all that you did to ensure we had a wonderful time.

My mum, aunt, and my boyfriend, now my husband, visited South Africa in Oct, 2013. And we enjoyed very much! The travel route you had advised proved to be perfect, and we really appreciated it!! As a linguist, if my memory doesn't mess, you pronounced our Chinese name perfectly, no doubt the best foreigner I've ever met. When we left, you even packed some croissant when you had heard that we had to drive a long way to our next destination. Our South Africa trip started in Cape Town, and it was a really really good start. All thanks to you!

My stay in Cape Town, thanks to your splendid planning, has been glorious. Michael and Roland are guides extrodinaire and very nice people to boot. My meals at Miller's Thumb and The Savoy Cabbage were exquisite. They now are two of my favorite restaurants in the world. I would like to express my gratitude for everything you have done to make my trip to Cape Town a wonderful experience.

We are now back in a rainy UK! Got back early this morning. All went really well... fabulous trip and no issues, all went exactly to plan. All places wonderful – Amanzi is a stunning place. Addo was great – we were lucky enough to see lions on both mornings we were there, plus tons of other game. Thanks so much for organising everything for us. It was great to see you again!

Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Cell / WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096


Contact Us


Where It All Began is committed to crafting active adventures that not only thrill but also preserve the natural wonders and cultural heritage of Southern Africa.

Our mission is to provide sustainable adventure travel experiences that connect travellers with off the beaten track experiences in this diverse region through cycling, hiking, sailing, diving, off-roading and other low-emission methods of travel.

Through responsible tourism practices, we aim to leave a positive impact on local communities and ecosystems, ensuring that future generations can continue to explore and cherish the places where it all began.


Our logo is an image of a skull found in the Rising Star Cave System in Gauteng, South Africa in 2013. It was named ‘homo naledi’, meaning ‘human of the stars’.

The cave system has so far given rise to the remains of over 15 individuals, making it the largest hominid fossil remains site ever discovered.

Travelling to Southern Africa is truly a return to the source of humankind, to Where It All Began.

Whatsapp Icon
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.