Spirit of Africa

A full-service travel company for African destinations, with particular focus on educational/academic travel. We sit at the sweet spot between Travel, Education & Development, delivering experiences at the meeting point of Curiosity, Learning and Impact.

The Spirit of Africa is a Destination Management Company that specialises in professional, student, alumni and topic-focussed adventure holiday travel. PROFESSIONAL: special-focus knowledge exchange tourism for professionals visiting South Africa to learn more about their industries in an emerging economy. STUDENT: facilitating learning through foreign travel and interaction with learners on a loc

Operating as usual

Home 23/03/2022


We are very excited to share news of the the launch of this splendid initiative in South Africa which will help travellers and travel designers make ethical choices around animal interactions!

Ignorance, in this day and age, is truly no excuse for supporting ethically questionable businesses.🧐

Home WildChoices aims to assist local and international tour operators, agents, and individual travellers to make informed, ethical choices about captive wildlife tourism facilities in South Africa. HOW IT WORKS WildChoices identifies the captive wildlife facilities* in South Africa that offer tourist at...

Looking to Binge-Watch a new Series. Explore local Cuisine with Nederburg! 18/03/2022

Looking to Binge-Watch a new Series. Explore local Cuisine with Nederburg!

Start your journey of discovery here, with some real insight into South African food & culture.

Looking to Binge-Watch a new Series. Explore local Cuisine with Nederburg! Move over Chef’s Table and Parts Unknown. There’s a locally made cooking show that’s causing quite the stir, both at home and abroad. I’ll Bring The Wine is a brand new five-part series presented by

10 Reasons Joburg is a cultural capital 03/03/2022

10 Reasons Joburg is a cultural capital

In case you needed them, here are some reasons to put Jozi on your must-visit list!

10 Reasons Joburg is a cultural capital Big 7 Travel, an online guide that specialises in "50 Best Guides" listicles, included Johannesburg in its 2022 list of The 50 Best Cities in the World for Arts & Culture, and of course that left us positively beaming.It's something we've been saying for years. However while we thoroughl

Jaftha's Flower Farm in Cape Town: A Painful History, A Bright Future - Gardenista 18/02/2022

Jaftha's Flower Farm in Cape Town: A Painful History, A Bright Future - Gardenista

A story about reclaiming land and memory ... amongst beautiful flowers!

Jaftha's Flower Farm in Cape Town: A Painful History, A Bright Future - Gardenista "We are people of the soil, me and my family," says Charles Jaftha, standing beside buckets filled with the kaleidoscopic bunches of dahlias for which Jaft

SA’s new Covid-19 rules: No isolation unless you have symptoms – then only 7 days 01/02/2022

SA’s new Covid-19 rules: No isolation unless you have symptoms – then only 7 days

It is important that travellers are apprised of the latest local C-19 rules:

SA’s new Covid-19 rules: No isolation unless you have symptoms – then only 7 days Enough South Africans are now immune to the coronavirus that isolation requirements for those who test positive can rely on symptoms, government says.

THE CONVERSATION: Five exciting African museums to add to your travel wish list 20/01/2022

THE CONVERSATION: Five exciting African museums to add to your travel wish list

Our Maropeng Visitor Centre at the Cradle of Humankind is featured here, really worth a visit!
When are you coming to see South Africa's treasures?

THE CONVERSATION: Five exciting African museums to add to your travel wish list Museums don’t often feature on vacation itineraries. That’s probably because people think of these spaces as dull houses of antiquities. But there are few better ways to learn about a country’s history, its people and their cultures than by visiting a museum.

The Mail & Guardian recognises iloveza.com's Co-Founder as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans 12/01/2022

The Mail & Guardian recognises iloveza.com's Co-Founder as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans

Celebrating one of our exceptional young people who co-founded iloveza.com

The Mail & Guardian recognises iloveza.com's Co-Founder as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans In a virtual reveal on social media on the evening of 24th June 2021, the Mail & Guardian newspaper announced their prestigious list of the Top 200 Young South Africans, and iloveza.com's Co-Founder, Ziyaad Plaatjes was among the list of young incredible innovators and trailblazers in South Africa.....

Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back 'as quickly as possible' 06/12/2021

Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back 'as quickly as possible'

As per Morgan Keith's article in Business Insider US on Dec. 4th, Dr. Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back "as quickly as possible".
Spirit of Africa agrees strongly with the assertion in the article that "the location of its initial detection does not necessarily indicate that the variant originated in South Africa. The country already had a robust surveillance system in place for tracking viral diseases and genetic mutations like HIV, Ebola, and tuberculosis, which put it in a strong position to monitor variants of Covid-19." We are extremely proud if the outstanding role our top-class scientists have played, as global citizens, in the international scientific and medical community, collaboratively working to understand this virus, the pandemic and bring an end to the havoc it is wreaking around the world.

The article repeats what is now well known, that "While Omicron's origins remain unknown, cases have been found in several countries, including the UK, US, Netherlands, and Belgium.'"
We, therefore, encourage our clients to consider their travel programmes to Southern Africa in the same light as anywhere else. Not only are our total infections way below that of European destinations, our country offers wide open spaces with no congestion and packed travel hot spots. Tourism protocols, as reported on this page previously, are robust and world-class.

For the full article, see here: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/fauci-biden-omicron-travel-ban-african-countries-rolled-back-2021-12

Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back 'as quickly as possible' "When we first saw and heard about what was going on in South Africa, we really were blind," Fauci told "Science Vs." host Wendy Zukerman.

Speaking South African 30/11/2021

Speaking South African

Some South Africanisms for you to practice ahead of your next trip ;-)

Speaking South African South Africa has 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. Most South Africans speak more than one language, but city life happens in English. In addition to the official South African languages, Joburg is also h

Intro to Fynbos Plants of South Africa 22/10/2021

Intro to Fynbos Plants of South Africa

An American exploring our fynbos, these are great vidoes!

Intro to Fynbos Plants of South Africa In this very brief video we take 10 minutes to explore the coastal "Fynbos" landscape of South Africa - a plant community dominated by shrubby growth forms, ...


Looking forward to supporting the awesome work of the S.A. COY16 team by running their Open Dialogue on Climate Change today, as part of our knowledge-exchange work for the E.U. Delegation to South Africa. Open Dialogues on Climate Change- South Africa ODCC-SA Event 1 Keira Lee Powers Harry Gavin Reynolds

South Africa: A place of many names 13/09/2021

South Africa: A place of many names

Come. Come and add your name to our circle of family.

South Africa: A place of many names Siphokazi Jonas creates a bespoke love letter to her country, South Africa. Listen to her words as she takes you on a journey across South Africa showcasing ...

The Quintessential South African Food Pantry | Crush Magazine 10/09/2021

The Quintessential South African Food Pantry | Crush Magazine

Here's some food familiar to locals, as a handy guide before you do grocery shopping on your next trip to South Africa:

The Quintessential South African Food Pantry | Crush Magazine What makes up the quintessential South African food pantry? We'll show you. There are some much loved nostalgic food items in there.


Tomorrow the E.U. Delegation to South Africa's series on Climate Change kicks off. First up, is a knowledge exchange for journalists, writers and those in communications portfolios who have a substantive interest in Climate Change and their role in making sense of the science and policy for citizens. I'm stealing from Naked Data Issue #302 || The Last Jedi Edition || 2021-07-26, who gave the programme this punt on Friday:

"There’s a brilliant four half-day conference brewing over the next couple of weeks for South African journalists who use the mighty pen to push for climate change action. The lineup of speakers is stellar, including the likes of Kevin Bloom, Sara Schurmann and Sipho Kings, and there’s even a data journalism slot on 5 August at 15:00 on open data tools. Registration is free — the EU is picking up the bill. You even get a certificate for coming, so there’s no reason to not register and attend as much of it as you can.
See the full schedule and join at https://www.spiritofafrica.co.za/studytours/"

Daily Maverick Climate Change Survey 26/07/2021

Daily Maverick Climate Change Survey

Being the change starts with spreading accurate knowledge. Do the world a favour and help Daily Maverick’s Burning Planet do an even better job getting South Africa onto Climate Action.

Daily Maverick Climate Change Survey Turn data collection into an experience with Typeform. Create beautiful online forms, surveys, quizzes, and so much more. Try it for FREE.

CITY OF ALL: Jozi’s good neighbours enhance its flavours 03/07/2021

CITY OF ALL: Jozi’s good neighbours enhance its flavours

There is such a richness of cuisine and culture in Jozi, we do hope you'll come and experience it with us when travel becomes easier again.

"When we can understand what people eat and why and how, we are often softened in our attitude towards them. Sharing food is a wonderful pacifier, as history has shown."

CITY OF ALL: Jozi’s good neighbours enhance its flavours If we unpicked our rich fabric that is Jozi and pulled out the foreign or other strands, we’d be so much the poorer of course but we’d be unrecognisable. As food, these strands are deliciously accessible.


The first of the Team Europe Climate Action Virtual Study Tours is open for application. See the invitation attached and go to www.spiritofafrica.co.za/studytours for more info.


The Team Europe Climate Action effort in South Africa is bringing a useful opportunity to professionals working in sectors affected by climate change policy. The European Commission and German government is funding 5 virtual Study Tours with Spirit of Africa as their implementing partner.


Still on the subject of penguins, if you'd like to adopt a chick, you can support SANCCOB by doing so here:


Penguin Town | Trailer | Netflix

Our travellers love to see these endangered creatures when they come to Cape Town!

Kirstenbosch is celebrating a legend – Andrew Jacobs 07/05/2021

Some of our travellers will have met this lovely man, Andrew Jacobs, who is celebrating his 45 years at Kirstenbosch this year!

Kirstenbosch is celebrating a green-fingered legend – Andrew Jacobs. For over 45 years, Andrew Jacobs has become well known for his warm, bubbly personality, affable smile and ability to make his enchanting tales about Kirstenbosch. 𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗽𝗵𝗼𝘁𝗼𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘄, 𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗼𝘄!

Andrew joined Kirstenbosch as a youngster in January 1976 and today he still works as a Communications Officer and Tour Guide at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Those who have had the pleasure of enjoying one of Andrew’s much-loved guided tours will tell you that his light-hearted, yet passionate manner and highly informative narrative instantly connects with audiences of all ages. He quite literally makes the garden come alive as he paints with his words.

Often, the young families that join his guided tours, have sceptical and reluctant husbands, kids or teenagers that deem a botanical garden tour to be a total drag. However, scepticism quickly turns into conversion, as tour guests of all ages constantly walk away enlightened and in high spirits.

Andrew is one of 12 children and coincidently, his dad also worked at Kirstenbosch for many decades. Andrew’s journey to the greener grass on the other side began in the nursery under the guidance of Walter Wisura, who had immense knowledge of succulents, teaching Andrew how to create cutting seedlings and tending the older plants.

When reminiscing about his life as a young child growing up in Protea Village, where in 1968 his family was forcibly removed, seeing them relocate to Lotus River, he admits it is a sad part of his past. But he quickly brightens the mood by saying that when he finished school and he came to work at Kirstenbosch, the people that came into his life, such as botanists Walter Wisura and Ernst van Jaarsveld, took him under their wings and mentored him with their invaluable knowledge of succulents and trees. As importantly, they also supported him emotionally and gave him the freedom, space, and confidence to use his own initiative at a young age – in Andrew’s own words, “Ernst van Jaarsveld specifically gave me a paradigm shift”.

In 1979, Andrew was appointed Plant Recording Officer, working alongside Michelle Botha. In the engraving department, he had to follow an intricate process of creating plant boards by hand, which heightened his attention to detail. Some of his boards can still be seen today at Kirstenbosch.

Going back to Andrew’s mentors, he recalls that in the 1970s, Ernst van Jaarsveld treated everyone the same, regardless of race, even when discrimination was still rife in the country. He and Ernst enjoyed many pap-fuelled field trips together, which were significant not only for his acumen advancement, but also for building camaraderie. They travelled to Pretoria, Potchefstroom, and Namaqualand – where he stayed with Ernst at his family home. They also visited the border of Namibia in the Richtersveld and hiked mountains for what they call ‘collecting trips’, to learn about the natural habitat of the species, specifically to recreate the right environment in the conservatory, that to this day exhibits plants from a number of different regions, including savanna and the Karoo.

Andrew still walks past sections of Kirstenbosch that offer fond memories of his father, who worked with John Winter in the 1970s when they were developing the special yellow-flowering Mandela’s Gold Strelitzia. The normal flower colour for strelitzias is orange, and yellow-flowering plants are natural variants that crop up infrequently. Andrew explains that to get yellow-flowering plants to produce more yellow plants, one must cross yellows with yellows. The process is both intricate and delicate, which includes hand-pollinating the flowers with pollen from yellow plants. Strelitzias are also slow-growing and take three to five years to flower.

Strelitzias flower in autumn, winter, and spring. The Mandela’s Gold Strelitzia can be seen at the bust of Mandela at the Visitors’ Centre entrance to the Garden, beside the Concert Stage lawn and behind the annual spring display beds.

In 1983, Andrew joined the Information Office and completed his Tour Guide certification at the Livingstone Tourism Academy in 2007. He has giggly memories about starting out as a rookie guide and how shuttle driver Ron Ferguson, a true Englishman and a gentleman, helped him with language delivery and how best to explain complex botanical jargon in a captivating way to his audience.

Andrew was also instrumental in developing the three main fynbos flora sections, those being Protea, Erica and Restios, still a very prominent feature in the Garden, where pathways were built and sections expanded to what it is today.

Over the years, Andrew has had many highlights in his career and having the opportunity to join the team at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in 1989, travelling to Scotland to the Hutchinson Hall, then again in 1997 and 2013, stand out the most for him.

He has also rubbed shoulders with many celebrities such as multiple Oscar winner Meryl Streep. He regrets not having a photo with her, as she wore a scarf to deter the paparazzi and he respected that she, her family and friends just wanted to enjoy a normal experience like everyone else in the Garden.

Asked about holding the hand of the President of Mauritius, Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Andrew’s face lights up and he grins sheepishly, saying it was only to guide her on the rocky steps of the Protea garden. He even sang the words “I wanna hold your hand” by the Beatles to break the ice. Other notable visitors that joined Andrew’s tour were Dr Paul Bremer and his family and they became lifelong friends and are still today with his grandchildren.

Andrew Jacobs is known as one of the Garden true legends and a role model. Every year he hosts the Geographical Adventure Tours and the third year Botany students from the University of Johannesburg. He is also a champion for SANBI and Kirstenbosch, sharing knowledge and educating on the conservation, sustainability, appreciation and enjoyment of South Africa’s exceptionally rich biodiversity for all South Africans.

Andrew Jacobs has made an immense contribution to our organisation over his 45 years of service. I would like to thank Andrew for his lifelong dedication and his passion for Kirstenbosch, which never seems to diminish," says Carmel Mbizvo, Acting CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

Our Story

This company has heart! It’s origin lies at the heart of a family who sought learning through travel, and then decided to share that...first with their children and then with clients. Since 1994, Spirit of Africa has dug deep in Southern Africa’s cultural, natural and developmental landscape to discover the idiosyncrasies and gems to share about this raw part of the world.

We are a good match for:

  • International travel programs needing solid educational and/or curriculum content

  • Those who are purpose-driven and curious about life; who want ethical learning/travel experiences
  • Videos (show all)





    Curated travel curriculum for:
    Academic Institutions (community-engaged learning, global immersion programs, faculty-led & custom trips, internships)
    Alumni, Donors & Affinities
    Special Interest Groups
    Leisure & Adventure Explorers
    Professional Associations
    High Schools (classes, teams, choirs, performances)



    12 Roosevelt Road

    Opening Hours

    Monday 09:00 - 17:00
    Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
    Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
    Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
    Friday 09:00 - 17:00

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