A group of curious and nosy meerkats

Who We Are ...

So just who is "Where It All Began" ?



We are Philip Rendel and Elizabeth Sayigh: we came to live permanently in South Africa in 2000, originally to work as teachers (and we’re still very much involved in education). We have two dogs, Peanut and Jasper (Jasper’s the one in the photo).

Around 2006, we moved to Cape Town and bought a guesthouse, which was in need of a great deal of work. Over eight years, we took it from no. 148 on TripAdvisor to no. 1, an award which we won three years in a row. With the guesthouse at the top of its game, we decided to diversify.

We sold the guesthouse in 2017 and started 'Where It All Began', a travel design company exclusively focused on South Africa for the discerning, independent traveller. As a bespoke tour operator, we build our tours with an emphasis on ethical choices and personal engagement with the people and communities of South Africa.

Contact Us

Exceed House
Springfield Office Park
Belleville, Cape Town

Office +27 21 424 5347
Cell +27 72 136 9096

WhatsApp +27 72 136 9096

Email: travel@whereitallbegan.co.za

Skype: philrendel

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.