Africa, Travel, Travel Tips

What Happens When Disaster Strikes on Your Vacation?

What Would You Do If Disaster Struck on Your Vacation?

I don’t pose that question to scare readers, but as something to seriously ponder. Would you be prepared or ready if disaster struck on your vacation? Let’s take a look at a situation.

You’re having lunch and receive an email that your lodging for the next night has burned down. If you’re traveling alone and in a big city, you might spend the next couple of hours securing new accommodations. That may seem like a minor inconvenience, but that’s a couple of hours that could have been spent exploring. What if the hotel was in a remote outpost like say the desert of Namibia and alternate lodging is few and far between? You might miss a major leg of your itinerary.

Or what if you were on a traditional tour with 25-50 people? Would the tour guide be knowledgeable enough to find alternate lodging? Would there even be a hotel that could accommodate that many guests at the spur of the moment? The answer to both of those questions is, “not likely.”

When Disaster Strikes on Your Vacation

Toshari Lodge the Night before the Tour Group Arrived

This Exact Situation Recently Happened on the African Culinary Adventure.

The tour stopped at Boschendal Winery in Franschhoek, South Africa for a picnic lunch. As they were unpacking their picnic boxes, Sidney received a text. The next morning the tour headed north to Namibia for the safari portion of the tour. Their destination was Toshari Lodge on the outskirts of Etosha National Park. The text Sidney received contained photos of Toshari Lodge on fire. During a lightning storm, the lodge was hit and burned to the ground in less than 30 minutes.

This scenario would have spelled disaster for most tours, but not for a boutique outfit like Le Calabash. Not only are Sidney and Allison the owners of the company, allowing them the autonomy to make decisions on the fly, but they’re also well-versed in all countries they lead tours to with friends all over the world (once you meet them, you’ll understand why). Sidney called one of those friends and within two hours secured new lodging for the tour of eight group members.

The New Lodge Sidney Found for the Tour to Stay At

The New Lodge Sidney Found for the Tour to Stay At

Below is a Comment from One of the Tour Guests:

I was always apprehensive to visit Africa on my own, and am now convinced that my decision to travel with ‘le Calabash’ Sidney and Alison after meeting them on a Culinary Week in France was the right one.


The vacation was awesome and was so much more than what I expected.


I felt safe, secure and exceptionally lucky to have these two people share with me their passion and love for this wonderful part of the world and its people.


Sidney’s calm approach to the fact that our accommodation burnt down due to being hit by lightning 12 hours before arrival in Namibia was amazing to witness and the fact that he is so well connected and known, saved the day.


Whilst having dinner the night before we were to depart at 5am in the morning by air to Namibia, Sidney received a text message with photos attached of our lodge burning down, I was sitting next to him and was in awe of how calmly he proceeded to contact a good friend and in a matter of two hours the problem was solved and our welcome in Namibia made me feel as though we were returning family.


I would highly recommend this vacation to anyone who wants to experience a truly awesome trip to Africa with two lovely people. It was life changing for me and an experience I will never forget.

When Disaster Strikes on Your Vacation

Not Bad Accommodations for a Moment’s Notice

Who Is Leading Your Tour Group?

It truly pays to know that you’re in good hands when traveling. Know who your tour guides will be before booking. Ask how many guests will be on the tour. Pose the question on how disasters like the above are handled, especially if it’s a large group. Most importantly, try to book smaller tour groups whenever possible for a more intimate and controlled experience. And always purchase travel insurance.

If you’re interested in learning more about culinary tours with Sidney and Allison, please check out my Tours Page. You can also email me with questions at