Custom Golf Travel

Local businessman & golf travel specialist, Jack Smith, in affiliation with Lazy Lizard Travel LLC, has launched Custom Golf Travel with a focus on Ireland and Scotland.

Mark James (Europe Ryder Cup Captain 1999) with Jack Smith - 2009 SAS Pro-Am

Mark James (Europe Ryder Cup Captain 1999) with Jack Smith – 2009 SAS Pro-Am

Jack’s attention to golf detail, intimate knowledge of Ireland and the Irish golf courses as well as his in-depth personal travel and trade contacts all help to ensure each golfer receives an excellence of service coupled with a unique golfing experience.

Mr. Smith graduated from the University of Oklahoma and served in the US Army as a Cavalry Troop Commander, attaining the rank of Captain. He is a Cary Town Council Member, currently serving his 7th four-year term.

Lazy Lizard Travel is based in Cary, NC and is committed to designing customized vacations to specific needs.  Their aim is to provide a highly personalized and specialized service to those who value the richness of travel.

“We are destination specialists focusing on key regions of the world.  Our expert local knowledge and strong relationships with travel providers on the ground place us in a unique position to give our clients a deeply satisfying travel experience.”

“We are delighted to be working with Jack and look forward to providing first class golfing vacations to not only Ireland and Scotland, but also to South Africa.”

CHAMPAGNE OCCASIONS & HONEYMOONS

There is something so delicious about this time of year!  Apart from the turkey and trimmings….. it’s a thing called love and family and sweet beginnings. Many a canny mother or dad seem to know to keep a special bottle of champagne hidden away for that “unexpected” occasion.  Champagne

We are going to the New Year’s Eve celebration of the NC Symphony again this year and I hope we are treated once more to another romantic evening.  Last time as we gathered for the second half of the concert the young girl sitting next to me, a total stranger, turned to me in sweet joy to show off her brand new engagement ring!  Her boyfriend had proposed to her during the interval and she was beside herself with delight!! A whole row of unassociated persons united for a few short minutes rejoicing, laughing and exclaiming with the happy young couple.

Yup, it’s the time of love, family and sweet beginnings.  Planning a wedding can be stressful and a somewhat daunting undertaking – but planning the honeymoon afterwards can be the easiest part if you turn to experts for help!  We have that expertise in romantic destinations.

This is the perfect time to try an exotic trip to Africa.  It’s surprisingly affordable.  Combine the elegance of the Cape winelands and the stunning scenery of the Peninsula with the thrill of a photographic safari in the bush.  Makoro canoeOr travel to the golden sands and pounding surf of the Indian Ocean and on to Big Five Wildlife in Zululand.  Glide on makoro canoes through the Okavango Delta, watch elephants splash and play in Botswana, marvel at the magnificent Victoria Falls and end your journey sipping sundowners as you watch the sun set from the top of ancient granite boulders. Marriage is a big adventure and what better way to celebrate than starting out with your own African adventure?

Do you dream of the sun-bathed islands of the Caribbean and see the two of you relaxing on white sand beaches, toes in warm aqua oceans while sipping something tropically colorful?  There are so many wonderful resorts to choose from on a bewildering array of islands, each with their own particular charm.  It makes all the difference to have expert assistance in picking out the one just right for you.

Perhaps it’s the time-drenched cultures of Europe that appeal.  A rambling wander through countryside dotted with castles, vineyards, olive groves or lavender fields.  Castle ChateauxJourney down a river on an elegant cruise, ride bikes or hike mountain trails, take a fast train or test drive a new Mercedes, focus on food or beer or art.  There are so many ways to make memories in Europe and what a special way to begin your life together!

Planning honeymoons and destination weddings are some of our most favorite trips.  It’s such a wonderful way to begin and as we celebrate our 33rd year of marriage – we think we know what we are talking about!  We’re looking forward to hearing from you in 2014 and beginning those plans.

Lion stories

The meals in the hotels, lodges and camps of South Africa generally come as something of a revelation to our American visitors.  They are fresh, healthy, colorful and simply delicious.  What is more surprising to them, and many are world travelers, is that they are delightfully “normal” looking to their western eyes.  Of course this is not always the case and one should always be prepared to be more adventurous in culinary pursuits when visiting new cultures and lands.

Ngomo SL buffet stretchSuch was the case recently when I was leading  a Corporate Group in South Africa.  A carefully selected meal of hot and cold canapés of South African delicacies crafted to appeal to the North American palate had been prepared.  And this had been thoughtfully paired with the appropriate world-class South African wine.  It was a charming evening and perfect introduction to the delights that lay before them as they traveled exotic South Africa.

As hostess I did the rounds talking to the guests and enquired after their comfort and enjoyment.  I was greeted enthusiastically by several of the groups as they raved over their experiences thus far.  One group told me how delicious the food was, however “they didn’t care much for the lion!”  I laughed and replied that they must be mistaken as there was certainly no lion on the menu.  They assured me that was what they had eaten.  Thinking perhaps too much good SA wine had been enjoyed, I smiled and moved on, only to be told at the next table as they too raved about the delicious spread, that they had “loved the lion”!  More than puzzled, I decided I had better find this particular hors d’oeuvre and try it for myself in order to clear up this misunderstanding.  It was clearly small bites of something meaty.  As every delicacy was thoughtfully labeled, I leant over to peer at this label in the somewhat dim cocktail lighting, to see

“SPRINGBOK LION CRUSTED WITH COFFEE AND CUMIN WITH SWEET POTATO FONDANT”

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The next day, I was at pains to point out that my guests were not to go back to America and tell wild stories about their gourmet African experience and eating lion all because of some dyslexic typist!  That Lion they thought they were eating was really Springbok Loin –  and yes, I had to agree it was truly delicious!

A ‘disgusted’ male lion strides into the sunset and away from any mention of Springbok and Lion in the same sentence!

Europe 2013

Derek, Alka & family

Derek, Alka & family

Thanks, Su, for making our European family vacation a great success – we loved it all: the Swiss chocolate, the scenic train in the Alps, the nice hotel rooms, the tapas in Spain, the warm, multi-lingual people, and the Mediterranean cruise!

Thanks also for the tips and recommendations.  Now that we’re home, we’re ready to pack our bags and go back!

~ Derek   Cary, NC

INDABA 2013: Africa’s top travel show

INDABA 2013 meetingsTrip Report by Keith Holshausen, Lazy Lizard Travel LLC

Even though I grew up in Southern Africa, every visit ‘home’ is filled with excitement from the moment I step onto the South African Airways flight in JFK, to the first sight of the rising sun and that unforgettable orange glow as we wing southwards.  SAA is an award winning airline with three South African airports ranked the best in Africa which are also currently rated higher than any American airport (Skytrax survey).

INDABA is owned by SA Tourism and attracts some 13,000 delegates with 750 exhibitors.  At INDABA you can discover all the latest travel products available and window-shop for travel opportunities, as well as network in an industry that thrives on connections. I squeezed in 38 meetings in three days not to count the various ‘sundowners’ and cocktail events that go with the territory.  Show organization is top notch and the service and efficiency is undoubtedly ‘first world’ but with a delightful flavor of Africa.  May is a perfect time to be in South Africa as you get to experience Autumn at its best.

Numerous African countries are represented, including the hearty Southern African contingent of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique (not forgetting the host country, South Africa) to the East Africa clan of Tanzania and Kenya with a special contribution from the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion.

The South African Minister of Tourism was also visiting INDABA as tourism is a leading earner of foreign currency, even overtaking gold exports.  They say that one job is created for every 12 foreign arrivals in South Africa.

No visit to INDABA would be complete without a few ‘site inspections’ and the travel industry is always ready to showcase their splendors.  I traditionally visit the game reserves in the Kruger National Park area and my sightings of leopard at Mala Mala this year were breathtaking to say the least.  I then dropped in at Kapama Private Game Reserve which stretches over 30,000 acres and has four sophisticated bush camps.  In Cape Town the Table Bay Hotel on the waterfront boasts stunning views of Table Mountain and you are also pampered with exceptional service.  The scenic Cape Winelands have been described by many overseas wine experts as the most beautiful in the world.  The Cape wine industry dates back to the 17th century with the Dutch settlers and French Huguenots.  My wife’s ancestors were wine farmers and settled their Paarl estate ‘Den Soeten Inval’ as far back as 1688.

So next time you are looking at your ‘bucket list’, I strongly suggest you write in Africa and perhaps even write it in twice.

Hamba kahle….travel well.

Sleeping Partners

Keith Holshausen

Keith Holshausen

There’s an old saying that goes “let sleeping dogs lie” and while that may be true for dogs, sleeping partners, don’t!  For that I am heartily glad as my “sleeping partner”, financial backer and Number One Encourager joined the business full time at the beginning of the year.

Keith has watched and coached from the sidelines as the Lazy Lizard steadily became more of a Busy Lizard.  Satisfied clients, happy travelers and inroads into specialized Corporate Incentive travel have meant a steady stream of referrals, repeats and new work.  This convinced us that Lazy Lizard Travel needed someone to take on the growth and development of our business towards a glowing future.

Keith now comes on board full time to help grow this vibrant business, which has already become established as a well respected player in the travel industry.  With over 30 years of experience in running and managing businesses, Keith now looks forward to employing these skills at Lazy Lizard Travel.  His knowledge and understanding of the components involved in successful business operations include financials, business development, marketing and management and these combined with Keith’s attention to detail and personable nature will make him a valuable partner at LLT.

Keith has already added his expertise in the constructing of some exciting new trips that appeal to our golf, safari and wine enthusiasts and we’re looking at combining all of those interests in our future trips!  In the last six months, Keith has met with our suppliers on the ground in Southern Africa, Scotland and Italy as we take Lazy Lizard Travel to the next level.  Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for more fun travel adventures from us both!

It is with a large measure of excitement I welcome my new business partner who, far from sleeping like a dog, is rather wide awake and roaring like a lion, eager for the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from a business well run and going places. 

Bermuda

Hi Su–the Bermuda cruise was great and we are already planning on another in the future.  Thanks for all your work and the room arrangement was perfect.  Thanks again.

~Pat    Virginia

African Sunrise

It happens sometimes when you travel across time zones that you take a while to settle into the time change.  That can mean waking or sleeping at times not usual to you and in turn hearing or seeing things that you would normally not experience.  I woke sometime during the night and lay listening to the African night sounds.  The fiery necked night jar calling his distinctive “Good-Lord-deliver-us!” and an owl with his mournful hoot.  Somewhere a disturbed cockerel begins calling for the sun but it’s still too early for that.  We drift back to sleep only to wake again in the pearly light of dawn and lie quietly talking about the journey we have come.

Granite kopjie Zimbabwe

With a jolt I remember how dramatic the sunrise is in Africa and we jump out of bed to fully open the drapes.  A rosy hue touches the tops of the trees and suddenly the glowing orange orb of the rising sun pushes its way into view over the horizon.  We watch fascinated as pale pastel light rapidly changes to bright colorful vibrancy.  It lights up the room, the garden and beyond in a matter of minutes.  It’s almost as if some giant Hand reaches down and plucks the sun up and then hangs it in the sky.  Time will seem to move slowly for the rest of the day – until the sun once more approaches the horizon when suddenly it will drop and darkness will fall almost instantly.

Low light on eles at waterhole Zim

There is nothing stealthy or subtle about sunrise or sunset here in the African tropics.  The beginning and ending of every day is a dramatic enactment of life – a moment or two to pause and rejoice, a moment or two to pause and consider.  Each takes your breath away and it is a comment I hear often while traveling in this incredible continent “why is it that the sunrise/sunset here is so much more beautiful than anywhere else?”  I don’t know the answer to that – but I have to agree!

Homecoming

After nights of sleepless excitement we have finally arrived!  We are back in Zimbabwe – our home land – as visitors.  How strange it all looks and yet how familiar.

Familiar sights

Our son was there waiting for us at Harare International Airport, the plane was early, all our luggage arrived and accounted for, the immigration and customs officials polite and rather bored, the airport clean if shabby and outside the sun is shining in a blue sky.  The countryside looks lush and green with long grass and flowering trees evidence of the past season’s good rains.  It seems informal markets selling wonderful woven grass and reed goods, wooden furniture and sculptures are back in business along with the tree-cutters who advertise their wares on hand painted metal signs hammered into the trees on many a corner.  A new addition are the sellers of “air time” who rush out into the traffic at each intersection to help you keep your all-important cell phone topped up!  Incredible dodging and weaving in between vehicles who behave as if these intrepid vendors are bionic or at the very least, invisible!

Baskets and benches

Avenues of dappled shadow and hard-edge sunshine bring good memories flooding back.  Riding home from school, heading off to matches, afternoon teas and morning playgroups.  There is a smile growing inside of me.  We drop our bags in the spacious guest suite of our friend’s home and gather outside on the patio to begin the unraveling of time and stories.  We sit under the shade of a large canvas umbrella and look out over the impeccably manicured lawn, luscious tropical plantings, their swimming pool and tennis courts as we chat and exchange news and slowly the last few hectic days fade steadily away.  And then as if to complete our homecoming, at four o’clock Blessing arrives carrying the tea tray.  It’s laden with teapot and mugs for a hot cuppa and freshly baked home-made crunchies, our most favorite of biscuits.  Ahhh!  Such a civilized tradition and one we have missed!

St Martin in the Fields

I love classical music!  And whenever I hear a piece introduced which includes the words “St Martin in the Fields”, I am immediately transported to London, England.  St Martin in the Fields is a church and famous for its contribution to the world of classical music lovers.  This landmark church in London has been holding free concerts since the end of the Second World War.

St Martin in the Fields stands next to the English National Gallery and overlooks Trafalgar Square, with fountain and pond, huge lion statues and iconic Nelson’s Column.  It offers a wonderful spot to relax, sit a while, visit and, if you pick the time correctly, a musical treat.  The church is in fact, famous for its music.  The acoustics are special and to listen to a live performance or even a rehearsal during the noon time lunch hour, is definitely worth working into your London itinerary.  When the concert  is over, wander downstairs into the church crypt to the Café for a tasty sandwich or soup in the ancient underground of this London landmark.  It’s a good place to get warm and filled – physically and spiritually.  Both fascination and satisfaction together.  There are not many places you can get that at the same time!

I read somewhere that the reason that the famous façade of the St Martin in the Fields is so familiar to American visitors is that it is repeated hundreds of times over in churches this side of the Atlantic.  The huge portico held by Corinthian pillars, the wide flight of stairs leading up to it and the soaring white steeple piercing the sky above the church and figuratively pointing the way to God.  A comforting, beloved sight while at the same time awe inspiring and dominating.  A church has been on this site in London since the 13th Century and this particular building of such pleasing architectural proportions was designed by James Gibb and completed in 1726.  It predates the Square itself.  It remains a bustling, working church to this day.

A 10 minute walk from the Charing Cross tube station and standing quietly overlooking Trafalgar Square, St Martin in the Fields is the place to aim for at lunch time on your next London trip.  You don’t need to book, just turn up and enjoy.  You won’t regret it.

101 Painted Fall Way, Cary, NC 27513 | email: su@lazylizardtravel.com or keith@lazylizardtravel.com | tel: (919) 463-8009
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