Ghana – Elmina Slave Castle

The 500 year old fortress sits on the Gulf of Guinea and for centuries it was a major hub of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  “The Door of No Return” — a glorified hole in the castle’s stone wall that led countless captive Africans to enslavement or death.

There is a dungeon with no windows, with a painting of a skull above its door.  This is where those who  tried to revolt or escape were sent to rot. Someone told me yesterday, “I’ll pass, Ive got enough depression in my life”.   Well, yes, I guess I do too as a lot of us do but it can’t always be about fun and games. That’s not what life is.  This tour has been cancelled once and may not resurrect but I’m connected to my past. Some of those Africans taken from that African coast, crammed into the hulls of ships and sold on another continent could have very easily been my people, your people.  It will be quite a journey and I’m going to thug it out…. solo if it comes to that but I’m down for it..,,February 2019.

More Kibbles and Bits– THIS IS TANZANIA

2019 Sept/Oct will find us in Tanzania, The Serengeti and a stay on the island of Zanzibar.  I’m so excited about this I can barely contain myself.  2019 KATTRAX WORLD TOUR is quickly filling up.

Trina Mitchell, I’m sorry to disappoint you about Montreux 2019 but I promised to give you excitement and here it is —–ZANZIBAR.   Montreux July  2019 cannot work because our Italian Countryside by Motorcoach tour is in that slot and to make a few others happy like Betty Jacobs, Marcia Cooke and her crew and with 19 on the waiting list…..YES, I will!  Will what, Kat?  I will add a 2nd tour and do a back to back.    What happens if someone was trying to go along with others on Tour 1?  Well,  they will have to work it out on their own. I’m not getting into any of that.

Ghana is trying to resurrect and if there is enough interest THIS TIME, it will happen in February 2019

Okay, my friends…..that’s it for now.  Let me hear from you and all about the desires of your heart.

Kat’s Kibbles and Bits

Hello World Travelers!

Here is an update for you:

March 2018 –  Jazz in the Gardens has been replaced with Vietnam – Land Cost $1995pp mid- March.  Airfare as low as $700 r/t from SFO

May 10-17 2018  – Negril Mothers Day Getaway – Suites still available

August 2018 – Rio & Bahia –  Rates and exact dates will be announced soon

September 15-26, 2018 – South Africa –  3 more rooms added

November 14-19, 2018 – Exotic Dubai —  We have added 3  more rooms.


March 20-28, 2019  Stroll Through Black Paris –  Accepting Reservations Now

July – Italian Countryside by Motorcoach –  Dates and Rates TBA –   Waitlisted

Good Morning Vietnam!

One of the most beautiful countries in the world…. VIETNAM.  We will travel there mid March when the weather is best.  We will visit North, South and Central. Flying into Ho Chi Minh City formerly called Saigon; visiting Mekong Delta, DaNang, Hoi An, Halong Bay, and flying out of Hanoi.

There will be a spa treatment included each day at the Naman Resort in DaNang.  While in DaNang you’ll get some beach time at the famed CHINA BEACH and We’ll have a cooking class in Hoi An, renowned throughout Vietnam for its delicious culinary specialties.  In 2013 Robbie Bell and I made a special trip just to find some of the best cuisine in Hoi An and it did not disappoint.  Hoi An, a quaint little village that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually is not to be missed.

From Hanoi we will drive to Halong City for a cruise on Halong Bay, (translated as the Bay of Descending Dragons).  The mystical landscapes there are one of Asia’s most iconic sights.

Also Included in the 8 night package: daily breakfast, 3 dinners, 3 lunches , flights within Vietnam, and all tours.  Land Cost: $1995pp dbl occupancy.  Need help arranging international flights?  Our ticketing agent is available to assist.

Dont sleep on this one….likely to sell out quickly.

Winelands Tour – One For The Road

Our day began with a trip up to Table Mountain. Because of the high winds, it had been closed for 2 days so you can imagine how long the line was.  It was crazy!  Wine   Tasting and lunch was in Stellenbosch at TOKARA. This wine estate offers visitors a unique combination of award-winning wines, brandy and olive oils, a gallery of fine art and a restaurant featuring one of South Africa’s leading chefs.

As we wind down this tour, it couldn’t have been capped off in a better way. It was a most delightful afternoon.  The wine lovers seemed to enjoy the tastings as I saw several order forms floating around to have wines shipped home.

The chef and his team showed us what they were working with From starter to dessert. Each course was perfectly paired with one of their wines.  My taste buds still seem to remember my starter of tempura fish with sticky rice, avocado with a slight hint of wasabi.  My main was roasted pork belly —- yummy.  The dessert I chose was the yuzu parfait. Yuzu is a small fruit mainly cultivated in Japan.  What Chef did with it was amazing. As we departed, the chef and his team made an appearance and allowed us to thank them for an exceptional dining experience.

En route back to Cape Town, we stopped in Paarl at the prison where Nelson Mandela was under house arrest for 17 months, where he and Winnie walked the Long Walk to Freedom.  In past years our group has been invited twice inside Madiba House by correctional officer, Edgar, who worked there when Mandela was there.  Sadly, our friend passed away last year.  He was escorting an inmate to another facility.  The vehicle had a blow out and rolled over.  Edgar died a few days later.  Thank you Edgar for showing us what most never see.

This evening we fly home with wonderful, unforgettable memories.  Next year, we will return. The tour is about sold out, however We may  be able to add a few more rooms if there is more interest.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Bracelet Update

Greetings my friends!

The bracelets are $50 —- a special introductory Kattrax price.  Get yours now while the sale is on.

Measure your wrist and contact Gwen at   And tell her your wrist size and what your choices are.     Your checks will be made payable to: GG’s Gems.  Gwen will advise you of the mailing address .

Sincerely, Kat

Chi Town or Cape Town?

11 straight years in Cape Town this same time of year and I’ve never experienced such high, gusty winds.  It really felt like we were in the “Windy City” , feeling the effects of the almighty hawk.

Upon our arrival, our cheerful, knowledgeable guide, Desmond De La Cruz was standing by to meet and greet us. Just like our Joburg guide, Joe; I knew they all would love him.  It was almost time for our welcome dinner in the Atlantic Restaurant so we had to hurry. We didn’t have far to go.  It is located in our hotel, the fabulous TABLE BAY.   Upon entering the dining room,   The table was impeccably set and I couldn’t be happier. Rveryone seemed happy with their selections from the menu and the wines I chose: a Cabernet, a Riesling and a Chardonnay seemed to make them happy as well.

The next morning would be an early start for the Cape Peninsula tour along the Atlantic seaboard past Camps Bay then over Chapman’s Peak Drive.  As we entered the Cape of Good Hope they all had a chance to see ostrich and baboons.  It was so very windy, I imagined what Vasco de Gamma and those other  explorers experienced sailing through this ferocious  Atlantic Ocean not in the spring but in the dead of winter.

Since we changed our itinerary slightly by flying to Kruger, this group missed our diamond shopping in Joburg but got a surprise stop at Shimansky here in Cape Town.  By the time they got to Green Market Square, ready to barter and make some deals;  it was even windier. The vendors were packing up.   I know they  were saying, “to hell with this…. we are outta here”.

I’ve seen it half this gusty when the ferry to Robben Island would not operate so I was worried the weather would not permit it the next day. So sadly, that’s what happened but  They made the best of it.    They were itching to do more shopping on Long Street anyway so that was it and then a chance to interact with the local residents of Langa Township tour afterwards.    Tonight some are going to enjoy some Cape Town jazz and others going to the multi level Gold’s Restaurant to enjoy a true African evening.

Tomorrow: The Winelands Tour — lunch and wine tasting followed by our farewell dinner.

In closing, you all know I’m about uplifting and promoting my sisters and brothers.  Joyce Crum’s college room mate, Gwen Tabb and her husband Willie of Michigan are on this tour.      Shout out to Joyce, “Thank you”!!   Gwen is a very talented and awesomely gifted jewelry designer.  I’ve posted some of her DST, AKA & OMEGA bracelets.  They are absolutely gorgeous. She’s got tons of designs and she will even customize.    I can’t wait to get my signature “White & Silver Kat” bracelet and my specially designed bracelet for  F1 race car driver, Lewis Hamilton ( who is racing in the Singapore Grand Prix tomorrow).  Go, Hamilton!!!!  Whatever your heart desires,    If you need that bracelet,   drop me an email and I will hook you up.


Good bye Joburg, Hello Kruger

It was time to say farewell to Joburg until next year as we prepared for a new and exciting adventure.  Before leaving,  the group spent the day at Lesedi Cultural Village where they learned all about tribal life as it once was and then were treated to a bountiful feast.  Some remember Joey and Susie Smith of San Francisco, who were on the Greek Isle cruise 2013 he led the group in all the new line dances, then 2015 on the Montreux/North Sea Jazz tour; I don’t remember what he did but I know he cut up, and then 2016 Australia/New Zealand he did that remarkable dive off the yacht; well somehow he managed to get in the chief’s chair at Lesedi and his new name is “Chief   Dahbazee”.   Joey is quite a guy, a stranger to no one!!   After the Lesedi visit, a few wanted to visit the Lion Park to get up close and personal and pet a few.  I love to see individuals venture out on their own

The next morning, we prepared for Kruger beginning with our  1 hr flight to  Hoedsprit.  They all had been briefed that there was a strict 20kg (44 lbs) weight limit on the 1 checked bag and a carry on not to exceed 7kg (15 lbs) but we said 11 just to make  sure all would be  in compliance. This was no joke.  In 7 years my “World Traveler” carryon had never been separated from me on any flight but I knew I would be forced to give her up on this small aircraft at “sky check”.  That’s when they take your carry on at the aircraft to store in the baggage compartment.  I sucked it up  and got through the separation,  After all it was a short flight.

Another “no joke’ was the damn airport. It’s not big as a minute and the collection of luggage, well another no joke.  We waited outside in the hot sun waiting for a tractor to bring it to us and then we identified ours and it was loaded onto the 3 vehicles that would transport us — another freaking hour to the camp. I was beginning to feel a little “Jim Jones-ish”. No, not my boy the rapper but the Rev. (With tractor on the air strip and the Kool aid ).      You all already know, this was not my cup of kool aid  and most definitely not the Kat’s Meow.  Our driver, wanted to stop so we could take pictures as we passed all kinds of animals.  That was cool but I had to tell him,  ““look, let’s keep it moving, we have some place to be”.  Plus I was thinking about my hot stone massage appointment I went through so much trouble to make.  I sure did not want to miss that.

After arriving at the camp, we were given an orientation and then served a very delicious lunch. I quickly cut and headed for the spa. It was truly what the doctor ordered.  Later we met our Rangers and Trackers. Wow! What a team we had. Bradley and our Tracker was Orlando, a brother who was amazing.  At one point he left us, set out on foot to find the leopard we had briefly sighted, He didn’t find that one but he did find one.  Nice job!!! Then we saw a pride of Lions —- about 8, the king and his boys on the prowl in search for food.  Who would it be???

Tonight dinner would be at a “Boma”, around an open camp fire.  Boma-  dates back to pre-colonial Africa when native groups such as Zulu & Xhosa used wooden fences to enclose livestock and fortify family homesteads.  A few of us watched workers set up the buffet and Mama Africa, an elderly woman was unbelievable doing her normal routine with at least 5 bowls on top of her head.  Dinner was amazing:  salads, soup, grilled veggies, beef fillet with this mild creamy horseradish, sausage, chicken skewers all from the grill with chef Brotha Man doing his thing.

You already know, I had a date with the outdoor shower under the midnight African sky.  Trina from Boston  wanted to experience it but was apprehensive because she heard monkeys and baboons on her roof earlier in the day.   I tried to convince her to go for it but I knew a little monkey business would not stop this Kat.

After my wonderfully, hot shower I put on the warm velour robe provided and then realized  Ole scaridy Kat was in this huge family suite by myself.  Damn, usually I have a room mate…..It would not be “lights out” tonight  but definitely “lights on”; every last one of them.  One day my prince will come along to enjoy this game reserve experience with me.   He knows who he is.  I’m patient.

This morning, while the group went on the early morning drive, I watched the African sunrise from my bed.  In a few hours, after breakfast, back to the spa for me for the Jewel of Africa treatment —- crystals and warm oils for 90 mins.   After lunch and before the evening drive, there will be Congo Bridge (bid whist) and champagne on my deck.

Needless to say, all are having the time of their lives.  Tomorrow morning, after the Game Drive and breakfast, we fly to my beloved CAPE TOWN.


Joburg, City of Gold and Diamonds

We flew one of the best airlines to Johannesburg.  The routing is a bit longer but the experience is so well worth it.  Some flew from Chicago, some from San Francisco, some economy, some Business Class but whatever the case, they all enjoyed the experience. Flying on  Emirates’ A-380 is one experience not to miss.

Our flight landed at 5:10am and as we walked off the plane there was an airport rep with a KATTRAX GROUP sign.  Our group had airside “meet and greet”.  The rep ushered us through Immigration, stayed with us to collect all luggage and handed us off to our guide, Joe Motsogi who was patiently waiting for us in the arrivals hall.  Joe has been my Joburg guide for several years.  He is a soft spoken, very knowledgeable, most humble gentleman who was part of the peaceful protest in Soweto back in 1976 when the racist police opened fire on the young students. Killing, injuring, abducting and even burying some alive.  Every time I think about the cruelty I get emotional

Most hotels don’t start check ins until 3p but we had favor this day.  Before 830a we were all in our rooms at the fabulous 5 star Michelangelo.  This is my 11 straight year coming to South Africa and The Michelangelo has always been my hotel.  It’s the perfect location; adjacent to Nelson Mandela Square and one of the largest malls, Sandton City.  It is truly a city within a city where high end shops abound as well as restaurants with fine dining.  Our welcome dinner was at Pigalle –   A 5 minute walk from the hotel within the mall.  All wines and the menu selections were selected by yours truly.  There was a choice of a  huge seafood platter filled with giant Mozambique prawns and other goodies, or duck with orange sauce, or salmon teriyaki or beef filet.  The amuse bouche, the appetizers and the decadent desserts were all on point.

The next morning we were picked up for our city tour, a stop by President Mandela’s home, then on to Soweto, the very emotional Apartheid Museum, the famous Vilikazi Street where the 2 Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu once lived.  Our lunch was in a private room at Sukhumzi, also on Vilikazi Street and just for our group we were treated to a tribal performance of singing and dancing.

Since last year, I’ve been thinking about Wangthai Restaurant and their succulent grilled KingKlip fish with the spicy cilantro sauce so that’s where my second dining experience would be.  I was joined by Deborah, Sonya and Gloria. I can’t speak for them but I was quite satisfied,  Several others took a taxi to Moyo’s in the Melrose Arch. It’s a 7 level restaurant where all kinds of fun things pop off — face painting, cigar Lounge, and music to name a few.

Today, our last day would be spent at LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE.  I will be certain to share some of their photos later.   I stayed behind, took a private car to Harley Davidson for DeeDee,  picked up a few things for the kids at nearby store and do what I do…. work on future travel.  So far so good… the group loves the  Michelangelo and they are blown away by the bountiful breakfast. Just wait til they get to Cape Town at The Table Bay Hotel where they have over 243 items on the breakfast buffet. They will be totally blown away.   In the past,  the fabulous Table Bay hotel has been home to our beloved Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and Mary J.  It’s straight fabulosity, also adjacent to one of the largest malls at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Early tomorrow morning we fly 1 hr to Hoedsprit to be guests at Thornybush Game Lodge for 2 nights, 3 days where we will search for The Big Five at KRUGER. Because of this flight , the group was cautioned on the 44 lb baggage limit and 1 carry on 11 lbs.  This group wins the prize!  There are 32 in the group and This is the first time all were in compliance.  They listened, they showed up and they showed out —– some with weights of 26 lbs.  Husbands were giving me props for instructing their wives on what they did not need to pack.  As Gwen Tabb of Michigan said, “Kat you put it where the goats could get it”.  Yes….. it’s a great group.