A group of curious and nosy meerkats

Who We Are

So just who is "Where It All Began" ?

How did we meet ?

We are Philip Kane-Rendel and Frances Glyn-Owen – Philip and Frances are two friends who met on a beach in Salcombe, UK at the tender ages of 19 and 17 respectively. Our paths went in completely different directions after that but reconverged totally by chance in Cape Town back in 2008, which was when Phil and his late wife Liz had bought Parker Cottage, the guesthouse they owned until 2017.


Liz and Phil came to live permanently in South Africa in 2000, originally to work in education. Around 2006, they moved to Cape Town and bought a guesthouse, Parker Cottage, and slowly built it up. Over eight years, they took it from no. 148 on TripAdvisor to no. 1, an award which they won three years in a row, as well as being awarded the coveted Fair Trade in Tourism accredited status for their work in socially and environmentally responsible tourism. With the guesthouse at the top of its game, they decided to diversify and started Where It All Began, a travel consultancy focused on independent and ethical travel in South Africa.


Frances and her husband Justin met whilst working on the superyachts in the Caribbean in 2004 – returning to Justin’s place of birth, Cape Town, they started a family here and Justin returned to the other love of his life, fishing, which he still does to this day. Frances has worked in marketing in the UK, project management in South Africa and travelled so extensively that it was just a natural fit to combine her talents in travel and tourism. Frances is an associate with Where It All Began and is based in Cape Town.


Meet Ann-lee, the creative powerhouse behind our content, back-office wizardry, accounts magic, and the official invoice guru of the team. She's not just married to Gary, our web wizard; they tied the knot in August 2015 after an unforgettable journey that might or might not have involved a slightly delayed proposal – but all's well that ends well.

Ann-lee's journey with Phil, the then owner of Parker Cottage, began in 2011 when they came to Cape Town for what was initially meant to be their honeymoon (Gary took his sweet time with that proposal!). Their stay at Parker Cottage marked the beginning of a lasting friendship and collaboration.

When she's not keeping our financial ship sailing smoothly, Ann-lee dotes on her three grown-up daughters, showering them with love from afar. And let's not forget her unique furry friends - eight pet rats who have mastered the art of charming their way into her heart!

With Ann-lee in the mix, we've got creativity, organization, and a fantastic sense of humor all rolled into one delightful package.


Meet Gary, our tech wizard with a twist! Hailing from the bustling city of Johannesburg, he brought his IT magic to Cape Town in 2022. Gary's been happily married to Ann-lee since August 2015, proving that even web developers can have a heart of gold! With a fantastic sense of humor (yes, even in the world of coding), Gary's been making waves in the digital realm.

Gary's journey with our team began when he met Phil, owner of Parker Cottage at the time, in 2011. A simple conversation about his IT and web design skills led to a lasting friendship and collaboration. When he's not weaving his digital spells, Gary loves casting his fishing line, even though fish have a knack for evading him. With Gary on board, our website's coding and our team's spirits are always top-notch!

Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Cell / WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

Email: travel@whereitallbegan.co.za

Contact Us


We’re an ethical private travel planning company focused on Southern Africa.

We offer ready-made and also customised holidays and journeys across this unique region of the world.

When our clients travel with us, they are assured that their travel spend is directly supporting local African companies that offer sustainable products and services, both in terms of people and planet.


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.

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