Tess van der Walt
I was fortunate to grow up in South Africa, with parents who had travelled extensively in Europe and Africa. Their stories ignited a passion for travel and by the age of 20 I left South Africa for London, and lived there for many years. My memories of family time on exciting road trips, on the beach and on safari, inspired me to travel in Africa as an adult, from the East to the South. Now, based in our office in Cape Town, I enjoy being able to share my local experiences, from hiking Lions Head to an amazing winery discovered on the weekend, to a newly opened safari lodge. Last year I travelled to Morocco and was fascinated by their ancient Arabic culture and imperial cities, such a contrast to the Africa that I know, down here in the South.
I love my job as getting to share my passion for travel and to add value, gives me a lot of joy. There are not many jobs where you can say that you made an impact positively, not just with a truly memorable trip; but also by directly affecting change in a positive way by booking tours with responsible guides and safari’s, with companies who totally support conservation of the environment and wildlife. In some small way, it’s nice to know that we can make a difference together.
Our travel professional Tess started out as a travel planner but ended up becoming a friend! She was so diligent and took the time to know our family and listened to what we had i mind for our itinerary. Then she took all of that and came up with such amazing suggestions- our hotels, guides, restaurant reservations- all carefully planned for us. I would recommend that everyone use Jacada Travel! I will certainly do so again! Our memories from South Africa and Kenya are priceless- thanks to Tess and Jacada Travel!
The staff at Jacada are friendly, informative, flexible, and well-organized. The trip was amazing and everything was flawless. We felt not only well-taken care of, but that we also fully got our monies worth with the quality of trip and the service they provided along the way.
We had a wonderful experience in Tanzania. Jacada Travel made all the arrangements. The lodges, camps and guides were all fabulous choices. Everything was arranged ahead of time, and all the transfers were efficient and without problems. All of the people that took care of us, from the drivers to the camp managers and safari guides were lovely, professional and excellent. Jacada made it all so easy. All we had to do was sit back and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
We planned our trip with Tessa van der Walt at Jacada Travel in NorthernTanzania. This was our second trip to Africa, so we had certain expectations that on this trip were met and exceeded! Attention to detail was impeccable. But further, the properties and activities that were recommended were very well thought out and planned to provide us with extraordinary experiences. We booked our safari with Legendary Expeditions, a bespoke safari company. The accommodations were outstanding but, more importantly, the people we stayed with were wonderful. We have found that a travel agency is only as good as the people they contract with to provide the services to the client. Jacada we found to surround itself with excellent resources for all aspects of our travel. We would not hesitate to use them again.
After many back and forth in planning, Tessa and Angela made my trip to South Africa a dream come true. I didn't want just a sightseeing trip, I wanted to experience the culture, the good and the bad. My short time in the Townships of Largo and Cape Flat, meeting and talking with locals was enlightening. I also wanted a culinary experience the foodie tour with Anine from Cape Fusion was joyful day. The winelands was beautiful and the ending with the safari at Camp Jabulani with the elephant experience are memories I'll not soon forget. Thank you for making a dream come true.
I usually plan my own trips but I decided to go with Jacada Travel since it was a trip to South Africa. They handle everything and I was not disappointed.
My experience in planning travel to Victoria Falls and South Africa with Tessa and the other members of the team at Jacada was wonderful. I hosted a group of 12 people and at the end of the vacation, everyone stated that this was the best vacation they had ever been on, and most have experienced travel to all over the world. My expectations, which were extremely high, were exceeded. I have no qualms about recommending Jacada Travel to anyone.
Our trip included the best of city sightseeing (Johannesburg and Cape Town) along with Hermanus...coastal marine life sightings, luxurious train travel from Pretoria to Cape Town, thrilling safari experiences in Sabi Sands. Tessa and team at Jacada were wonderful to work with and customized the trip based on our interests and timing. All excursions were well planned and executed. The guides provided were intelligent, helpful, gracious, and knowledgeable. They arrived promptly for our excursions and exceeded our expectations. They represented four different native tribes, and helped us to understand the history, culture and politics of South Africa. The hotels were exceptional in their location, service, and amenities. The guide/driver and tracker on the safari were extremely knowledgeable about animal behavior and made every effort to find and show us 26 different species of mammals. It was a trip of a life time! Thank you, Jacada Travel
2nd time with Jacada. Excellent as usual
Tess and company made sure every detail was perfect. We had the best family trip you could imagine.
Great attention to detail. Very personal interest on the part of the agent and attention to every detail. Exceeded our expectations. Would book with Jacarda Travel again.
It's hard not to be at least a little anxious when choosing a travel agency for an exotic vacation in a far off land. At some point, a small leap of faith is required to assure oneself that the planned trip will be a comfortable fit and go smoothly.Whatever anxiety I might have had was short lived.I can honestly say that the South Africa vacation, planned for us by Senior Safari Designer, Tessa van der Walt and Jacada Travel, was not only the most interesting, educational and exciting vacation of our lives, but also the most comfortable, enjoyable and worry-free.Attention to detail begins in the early planning stages, as robust communication, combined with extensive personal knowledge of the region, allowed Tessa and I to craft an itinerary that fit our life style and desires.Jacada provided detailed information on all aspects of the upcoming trip at regular intervals, including essential details on important topics such as vaccinations, clothing, packing tips, currency, food and the like. By the time we were ready to leave, we really were ready to go.As the trip approached, we were introduced to our Concierge, Angela Thomas, who provided some details about what to expect from Jacada upon arrival in Africa and an emergency number where she could be reached if necessary. She also suggested some great restaurants to try in Cape Town, arranging reservations for us in advance of our trip.The trip itself could not have gone better. The airport gate greeters, drivers and tour guides were all friendly, courteous, knowledgeable and on time (early). The hotels were uniformly charming - in some cases spectacularly so - with attentive staff, eager to please. I won't get into the details of the tours here, but each was a perfect fit. The tour guides were all energetic professionals and by the end of the tour, friends.Everywhere we went, personal notes from Tessa greeted us on arrival. Hotel staff provided us with both small surprises in our rooms, up to an incredible birthday dinner on safari. Each day a delight.All of this attention to detail does more than just provide a five star experience. It allows you to relax and really enjoy it, secure in the knowledge that you are being cared for.So my sincere thanks to the staff at Jacada Travel for a vacation that almost goes beyond description. That's how you do customer service, folks.Bravo.
From start to finish Team Jacada were truly amazing,especially Tess and Amanda,true professionals who sorted everything out for us.Nothing was too much trouble,even when we changed our itinery around slightly.They answered all our annoying questions big or small and gave honest opinions on places to go,visit and restaurants to try etc. Everything they arranged and organised all worked by total clock work,we didnt have to worry about anything other than having an amazing South African adventure.I cannot recommend these guys enough,I will certainly be using Jacada again if and when we come back to Africa,which I know I will,too beautiful not to.I have just recommended them to a friend of mine,after months of emails back and forth to both Tess and Amanda you feel like you have made new friends.Absolute top class and I thank them again for all they did for us and making our holiday so fabulous!
Our group consisted of 4 adults and 4 teenaged daughters. We used Tessa at Jacada Travel to plan our Killi climb and safari, all in Tanzania. The entire trip went off without a hitch and was fabulous. Would use Tessa again if we travel to Africa.
Tess and her team listened, asked questions, made recommendations and were very flexible throughout our planning process. She put together an amazing experience that far exceeded our expectations. The accommodations were incredible, service impeccable, food excellent and each day surpassed the previous. Absolutely incredible experience.
I chose Jacada virtually sight unseen--simply by plugging in "luxury safari in South Africa" last February. Several company names came up and I began corresponding with two. Quickly, Tessa at Jacada stood out because she immediately grasped what our family was looking for and what we needed and understood the parts of the tour that I didn't even know how to ask questions about. She created a luxury tour with lodges, hotels, private tour guides and transportation that was literally seamless. While we were too late to get into the lodges we thought we wanted, Tessa found us lodges that were easily comparable or better. We were so pleased with all that she did to make sure we felt comortable, confident, and so happy on our 12-day family trip.
This trip was vey well organized, not a glitch, everything went as planned and we had a wonderful time. Great trip!
Jacada is the best for South Africa travels.
I can honestly say this tour was beyond all expectations. I was blown away by all accommodations and experiences, and Tess was a dream to deal with.
If I could, I would give Jacada six stars. I have traveled extensively over the last fifty-five years everywhere in the world except Sub-Saharan Africa which was an unknown region to me. I decided to rely on a travel firm to arrange this trip due to my ignorance. Having looked at several travel organizations, I decided on Jacada due to the positive information available and the outstanding way in which they handled my initial inquiry. I was not wrong. The entire process of finalizing the trip was a pleasure and I was treated both courteously and efficiently. I more or less went along with their recommendations and have to say that the trip was one of the most pleasant of my life. Everything was perfect, both from a logistic standpoint and cultural one. All of the guest houses, lodges, and hotels were wonderful as were the sightseeing which was arranged for us. Before leaving, I wondered how it would be possible for so many arrangements to work as planned but they did! I was amazed that there was not even the slightest glitch. The places we visited on our sightseeing were exactly what we wanted to see and do. The travels around Cape Town took us to places which are stunning and unique. A gourmet tour of Cape Town was special including visits to local eating places.. Our stays in the game reserves near Kruger Park were a grand success in all senses. We saw all of the different animals, the accommodations were stellar, as was the food, and the attention both from the guides and the house staff incomparable. I cannot recommend any firm more highly and without question will use their services on my next trip to Africa. They know the area and what their clients like to see and do. I congratulate them on running such a good organization.
When we contacted Jacada we knew we wanted to go to southern Africa and had a vague idea of what we were looking for (safari, young animals, nice accomodations, etc.) But other than that we were clueless. Tessa Van Der Walt from Jacada listened to us, took into account our budget and time allowance and designed the PERFECT trip from start to finish. It far exceeded our expectations and was the trip of a lifetime. We saw and experienced much more than we thought possible; not only the big five, but youngsters of every species. The people we met along the way were incredible and the accomodations, food and service were fantastic!
We have just completed a two week adventure to Tanzania and Zambia with a day trip into Chobe National Park in Botswana. Planning for a trip to Africa is not like planning a trip to other North American destinations. It requires a lot of research and is very different from we are used to arranging. Accommodations vary from hostels to luxury. With what we wanted in mind we contacted several companies and the one we chose was Jacada Travel based in London, England. Jacada planned an amazing safari for just the two of us. Everything was totally planned and that is what we wanted. Questions were answered quickly and the trip was exactly what Jacada set out for us. We couldn't have been happier. Way to go Jacada!
The best trip I have ever taken! From the first phone call to throughout the trip to the return flight home I felt 100% taken care of! There was no travel stress because jacada took care of everything! I felt like a celebrity being whisked through the airports, bypassing lines, and having people do the check- ins for me! My next few trips will be with Jacada because you truly get your money's worth. Tess, in particular, was fantastic! She took the time to get to know us and planned things according to our likes and interests! 2000% better than expected!!!
Our trip designed by Tess at Jacada Travel could not have been better. She took care of every detail and we were treated like royalty. She booked us into lodges that were gems and they had all the amenities that first class travelers should have. Tess was a dream to work with, listening to all our concerns and wishes. She was easy to contact and responded in a timely manner after hours. This trip turned out to be much more than we imagined it would be. We highly recommend Jacada Travel and be sure to ask for Tessa Van der Walt for your African trip.
Tess did the most amazing job organizing our trip to match out wants. South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, johanesburg and Mozambique with never a hitch. Never a single late driver, perfect transfers through many countries, and a trip tailored to our desires with the right amount of direction. Would use again in a heartbeat!
Tess listened to what we were looking for and followed through in every way. No detail was left unattended, and we loved every one of the properties she selected. Can't recommend her heartily enough! We can hardly wait to get her help planning our next big trip.
We choose Jacada based on the easy to use and informative website. We had a very good experience planning our African honeymoon with Jacada. They provided us a dedicated agent and really listened to our opinions to personalize every detail of our trip. We had many locations and flight transfers in our trip. Each transfer was seamless, we were met with personal greeters and friendly guides at every stop. I loved the attention to detail from the travel package to champagne waiting for us at every hotel. I also think we got the best rooms because of booking through Jacada. I would recommend Jacada and Tess to anyone and will continue to use them over and over again. We already booked our next trip through Jacada to Ecuador!
It's hard to imagine a more spectacle-packed trip than what we wanted for our honeymoon in South Africa. Being from the United States, I had reservations on travelling such a far distance to a place I had only read about in school. My fiance (now wife) had been saying for years that an African safari trip was on her bucket list. After 2 years of convincing me to take the dive, we decided to plan our honeymoon in Africa! 4 weeks and 3 travel agents later we landed on the webpage for Jacada Travel. Seeing that they were based out of London, again I had reservations. We emailed Jacada and received a rather quick response from Tess Van Der Walt. Seeing that there was a 6 hour time difference, I was quite impressed. We told Tess that we noticed a travel package on their website called "The Magnificent Seven Safari" that really seemed to encompass everything we wanted to do. After all, travelling that far I decided we were going to do it all! Tess asked us some preliminary questions to get an idea of just what we wanted. Not only did she offer us multiple options for places to say and things to do, she put it all down on paper so we could sit down and review together. We picked out exactly what we wanted with the help of Tess' wonderful recommendations and expertise and 4 months later set out on what would be the best journey we had ever taken. We arrived in Cape Town only to be greeted by a nicely dressed man, wearing a name tag and hold a sign with our name on it. This made me feel totally at ease considering I was in a foreign country with no idea what to expect. He greeted us with a smile and escorted us to his Mercedes sedan parked in the garage. Needless to say, I was again impressed. Our private drive took us directly to our first destination with no problems along the way. We checked into the Cape View Clifton guesthouse only to find a bottle of champagne and a fantastic view in our room! Yes, Tess called ahead and informed the guesthouse that we had just been married so they took extra special care of us. The next afternoon we were picked up by another private driver who's task was to take us on a private tour of the city and table mountain. Again, we were greeted by a well dressed man driving a nice car and wearing a name tag. He immediately offered us a bottle of water and explained exactly how the day was going to go. Throughout the day we saw amazing views, learned a lot about the history of South Africa and got some great pics! He dropped us off back at our guesthouse that afternoon safe and sound. The next day was a full day tour of the peninsula, cape point, wine country and the waterfront. By this time I was at ease and ready to explore! We had the same driver as the day before which was very nice as we developed a rapport with him and made things very fun! We experienced so many things in that one day I could've gone home happy! A few days later we had another private transfer about 1.5 hours away to the town of Hermanus. The Whale coast. What a breathtaking place! We were greeted upon arrival at the Ocean Eleven guesthouse with a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates. Yes, Tess made them aware of our nuptials. The re was even a note in our room from Tess welcoming us to our next destination! We spent the next 3 days walking along the cliffs, watching the wales, having romantic dinners along the water and doing a shark cage dive!! Yes, I was very nervous to do such a brazen task but hey, we're in Africa! The company that Tess recommended was awesome! They picked us up from our guesthouse and drove us to Gaansbai (shark alley) where we boarded a boat andd set out for shark infested water :) All I can say is bring your submersible camera. What an experience!! At no time did I ever feel unsafe or like the crew didnt know what was going on. Excellent recommendation Tess! Our last stop on our journey was in the Kruger National Park at a safari lodge called Ngala. Due to our finances, we had to pick a "middle of the road" lodge instead of the "high roller" lodge. Boy was I surprised by what awaited us! We again were greeted by a hot towel, a drink and an escort to our room. The rooms were quaint, well maintained and perfect for our needs. We spent 4 days seeing things I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. We were served breakfast, lunch and dinner every day as well as snack and drinks while out on safari in the morning and evening. On our last night there, the staff set up a private candlelight dinner on our porch complete with my favorite drink (which they handily took note of sometime during our stay) a bottle of champagne, and even a live singing performance by their staff members...right on our porch!!! We made friends with our safari ranger as well as 2 other couples from New Zealand while we were there. I never thought I'd have friends more than a continent away! All in all, Jacada and the companies they work with are second to none. All of the detail and planning that goes into each trip makes you feel like you are their only client. Tess emailed us the day after we got back to see how our trip went and asked for photos as well. She was genuinely interested in what we wanted, how we felt, how our travels went and what worked for us. I would absolutely recommend Tess and the rest of the Jacada team for any and all of your travels!! Thanks again and we will definitely be using your services again on our anniversary!!!
Our South African honeymoon was a truly flawless experience from start to finish! Despite the 6-hour time difference, we were able to plan a personalized trip with Jacada Travel. We received a quick response to our initial inquiry from Tess. From that point on, all communications were very easy and timely. Tess was incredibly attentive and thorough. She took the time to piece together our desires with her EXCELLENT recommendations to give us an amazing custom tailored honeymoon. It was apparent from the start that she was very knowledgeable with South Africa and definitely an expert in the various attractions, dining, accommodations, etc. The trip itself was a once a in a lifetime experience that went flawlessly. Tess was able to coordinate each detail of our pre-booked outings/tours/dining reservations so that we had a completely stress-free experience! All of the accommodations she recommended were absolutely LOVELY and LUXURIOUS with impeccable service. Each accommodation made us feel like true honeymooners with special touches/surprises/upgrades. The dining experiences were all top-notch as were their colleagues on the ground at Ilios Travel who were very knowledgeable, welcoming, and friendly. We cannot thank you enough for creating a honeymoon that exceeded our expectations, and we hope to use your services again in the near future!
We had an amazing trip in South Africa over the Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays! Tessa at Jacada Travel listened to our wants and needs and helped to plan a great personalized trip, giving us time in the Cape and on safari. Everything ran on time, and the lodging accommodations exceeded our expectations. There were a couple of snags with respect to a portion of our itinerary, but Jacada and their local South African partner New Frontiers worked together to resolve all issues. Thanks, Jacada, for an unforgettable experience!
I had an excellent experience working with Jacada from the time I first contacted them all the way through my amazing honeymoon trip! Great people, great recommendations and great travel accommodations; I would definitely work with Jacada again.
Tessa, has the impeccable ability to plan an exciting itinerary. We had eight different airline flights, and the planned assistance and transfers at each airport was very helpful and appreciated. Each location we stayed had luxury accommodations with a wonderful restaurant. It was great experiencing such elegance and style. Riding the Blue Train was a unique opportunity - fantastic food, amazing views and comfortable accommodations. This was opulence on rails. The beautiful Royal Malewane safari was marvelous. We had spectacular drives and was able to see the Big 5 the first two drives. We also enjoyed a massage at the lovely spa. The lodge is lavish, with the dining area outside with a view of the surrounding bush. We had an amazing trip with some wonderful memories. We highly recommend Jacada Travel.
I appreciated the pesonal attention we received from our travel agent, Tess. She was attentive to our particular travel needs and responded to our tastes. We had a wonderful trip to South Africa and Zambia, which included some of the most comfortable accomodations I've ever encountered. Most importantly, Tess was always available to answer questions and willing to answer all questions, and make changes when we wanted them. All of the places we stayed were 'high end' but they were incredible value for the cost. Absolutely wonderful! I would definitely recommend this travel service, and Tess, in particular.
We have traveled extensively in Western Europe and North America and have always self booked our own tours and accommodations with great success. As experienced as we are, we were out of our comfort zone with Africa. This was our first experience working with a travel agent and Jacada Travel was simply outstanding. Our agent, Tess did an excellent job interviewing us about our interests and travel style and created a spectacular, fully customized agenda for us. Every detail was covered from transfers at the airport to top notch private tours, and excellent restaurant recommendations. This was one of the best vacations we have ever been on, largely due to Jacada's planning and execution. They truly brought our dream African vacation to life! We are already thinking about planning a future trip to South America or Antarctica with Jacada. We highly recommend Jacada travel for your African adventure!
Everything was superb, except for a guide in Franschoek named Leslie. She immediately shared her "world view" on controversial topics without knowing us at all; it was very off-putting. She also lacked basic knowledge of several local topics, with a typical response of "you'll have to Google that," rather than saying she would find out and get back to us later in trip.
They were amazing! Instead of fitting us into an already establishad tour, they allowed us to design the tour we wanted and accommodated all our eating quirks and also our budget!
If you want a seamless dream vacation the best travel agency for that is Jacada. Nothing but good things to say about this company and their employees. Especially Tessa van der Walt.
I thought Jacada travel were very professional and helpful with anything from planning the trip ,transfer and what activities to do.
Everything was perfect, Exactly like we had planned it. Travel agents were great in planning everything down to the tiniest detail; it felt like they were traveling with us along the way.
Jacada travel provided the very best vacation I have ever experienced! The trip to South Africa included tours of Capetown, cage diving with great white sharks, whale watching, and a safari at Sabi Sands. Every aspect, including rooms, tours, and guides were simply fantastic. I would highly recommend Jacada travel!
15 day trip that was magical. We normally book our vacations ourselves but we were first timers to Africa and decided to use Jacada. They exceeded our expectations in terms of choices and delivery of services. Tess knew the right "pace" of the trip (how long on safari, when to move back to Capetown, when to do wine country and then back on safari). She made all the right choices for us in experiences and accomadations. Even met us mid trip for a cup of tea! Highly recommend
We used Jacada to plan our honeymoon to Africa. The trip consisted of 4 nights in Capetown, 3 nights in Sabi Sands at Dulini, and 2 nights in Livingston, Zambia visiting the falls. The overall experience was amazing. Our only regret was that we didn't have more time. My wife wished we had more time to shop... I thought it was perfectly timed. Every recommendation that Tessa made for our trip was brilliant. Dulini was an absolutely amazing place and we highly recommend getting May or Steve as your guide. In Capetown, make sure you go to the Flagship. Try to work in a day to visit Stellenbosch and the wine region. In Zambia, visit Livingston island. Angels/Devils pool is not for the faint of heart, but the lunch they served was amazing. Amazing Experience!!!