Reprinted from Horizons, a British Airways in-flight magazine August 2011
Traveltroll Africa is a Joburg-based tour operator that specialises in tours to West Africa – ‘the new travel destination.’ A childhood spent trotting the globe with his flight-attendant mother got owner Gordon Triegaardt so hooked on travel he started a tour company.
Why West Africa as a destination? The countries are in the infancy stage of tourism development and yet have the infrastructure to grow tremendously, and they are developing and growing daily. I knew I wanted to be part of West Africa and its growth and development. It’s safe, it’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s beautiful and the people are warm and friendly. I wanted to share what I am experiencing with others.
How did you discover West Africa? After many months of reading business and interest articles on the growth in West Africa, and its history and political changes, I decided to visit out of interest. I loved what I saw and experienced … the sights, sounds and smells of West Africa. The varied political and cultural history, colonial influences, tribal interest, architecture, music, food, beautiful and varied landscapes, glorious beaches, woodlands, lakes, animal-filled grasslands and sanctuaries, and friendly, wonderful folk who spoke English, French, Portuguese, Wolof, Twi, Ga, Ewe, Bambara – to name but a few – were inspiring and thrilling.
Grodon Triegaardt’s West African Top 10:
- Colonial forts and slave castles along the coast in Ghana – in Elmina, Cape Coast and Dixcove.
- The magnificent Saloum Delta in Senegal.
- Canopy walk in the rainforest in Kakum National Park in Ghana.
- The coffin makers of Accra in Ghana.
- Dakar, Senegal’s capital and most western point on the African continent – a dynamic city with lively music and great restaurants.
- Île de Gorée, a UNESCO-protected island off the coast of Dakar that was once the nucleus of the West African slave trade.
- Parc national des Oiseaux du Djoudj – one of the world’s best bird sanctuaries in northern Senegal [on the banks of the River Senegal].
- Djennes Grand Mosque in Mali, a masterpiece of Soudanic architecture and largest mud-built structure in the world.
- Santa Maria Beach on Sal Island in Cape Vert is a gorgeous stretch of white beach with aqua-azure ocean and wonderful resorts dotted along the beach.
- Pedra da Lume on Sal are salt mines reminiscent of the setting of a Wild West movie set. It’s fantastic to laze and float in the saltwater pools.
In an interview for the Travel Industry Review, Triegaardt further explains his passion, “West Africa is what East Africa was ten years ago but without the animal pool.”
Traveltroll is actively seeking to grow its partnership base with other wholesalers and suppliers in the hospitality industry.