[FINAL COVID COMMENT] How we are preparing for what lies ahead
01 September 2020


Our final COVID Comment reflects on what we have learnt and how we will emerge into 2021.

The past six months ending in August have been relentless. While COVID-19 may not be over, as a team we would like to share our vision on how we plan to build our way out of what has essentially been a completely shitty year.

2020 has been the biggest business challenge many of us have ever had to face, yet the long marathon of recovery ahead has yet to begin. However, with every challenge, there is also an opportunity, and I feel excited about how we will adapt (aka pivot) going forward.

For us, September is the start of our emergence. We are sharing our thinking and some of our future plans with you, at the same time we invite you to join us on our journey.



The initial five months was a crazy scramble as each of us navigated our way through our industry literally collapsing. During this time I wrote our first COVID Comment: PAIN. REMAIN. GAIN. This communication and thought process guided us through the initial COVID-19 shake-down.

OUR MEMBERS: During the 'scramble' months our Classic Portfolio members remained strong, steadfast and fully committed to their massive responsibilities within the areas they operate and toward the teams they employ. Only one resigned and I cannot thank the remaining 15 members enough for their continued commitment to Classics.


COMMITMENT FEE & BOOKING TERMS: Across our Portfolio we reviewed the booking and payment terms and conditions. As far as possible we have streamlined these with a policy of refundable commitment fee or an on-demand commitment fee with full payment at 45 days prior to arrival. In special circumstances postponement may be considered if travel is cancelled 45 days or fewer prior to arrival due to a COVID-19-related issue.

TUESDAY TALKS: While I have begun to personally loathe ZOOM, we had a fabulous response to our TUESDAY TALKS. These interactive sessions, featuring our members and at times, partners, have been a great success. Tuesday Talks will continue and be more destination focused going forward.




A mentor and friend said, "August is the month of acceptance".

The past few weeks of travelling with my kids, I have gained perspective and really considered the impact of this crisis. It has been a time to breathe; accept that the life and business environment we knew in the past has been fundamentally altered; and consider how we are going to adapt going forward.

SUSTAINABLE AFRICA MEGAFAM: With much regret, we felt it was in the best interest of our Portfolio Members and Partners to cancel, what would have been, our third and final MegaFam. But watch this space, we will roll out something new.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: As our camps and lodges have started to reopen, they have calm, measured and government compliant protocols in-place to ensure the health and safety of both guests and staff teams. Please review these on our website under each member on the same tab as the 2020-2021 rates.

TRADE RELATIONS STRATEGY: We are consolidating our core group of trade partners who share the same business ethos, and want to build sustainable partnerships with us in the future. As a team we have opted not to take part in any online trade shows, instead, our sales team is always available to discuss product updates and business building collaboration.

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Over the next four months, we will dedicate time and energy to evolving.
We cannot divulge all our ideas, but be assured we are more committed to the success of our members than ever before, and seeking out more visionary, authentic, sustainable and trusted experiences across Africa.

WEB PLATFORM: Today (1st September) we begin our new web platform project dedicated to a modern and inclusive narrative for tourism across Africa. Watch this space for a tech-inspired website that will support availability checking and itinerary building across our Portfolio.

NEW CAMP LAUNCH: Considering the year of chaos we have been fortunate to be part of the most fabulous learning experience from conceptualisation to launch (first guests arrive today) of active participation at Marataba Conservation Camps.

CONSCIOUS JOURNEYS: Next week we launch "Conscious Journeys" focusing on our members who have been fully committed to Africa during 2020 and emerging as stronger players in 2021. These range from exclusive-use villas and camps in remote locations to active conservation participation and true adventures for travellers seeking off-the-beaten track, truly authentic destinations.

It is amazing what opportunities arise in a crisis. We have been exploring numerous new avenues for future business growth and as things develop we will keep you in the loop. We would love to hear what your plans are and how we can collaborate and build our way forward.


Finally, to all of you who read, engage and support our Portfolio through our regular communications and sending ongoing bookings, THANK YOU.

We need to be brave and continue to live our lives and drive our businesses with purpose and passion. As a result, we will overcome this bump together and come out stronger.

Warmest regards
Suzanne Bayly-Coupe
OWNER, Classic Portfolio


WHAT WE LOVE: Kenya is the one country that offers everything. From the fun and funky capital city of Nairobi to the pristine beaches along the coast - Kenya offers fantastic diversity. The gorgeous Laikipia with its lush landscapes is crowned by its vast conservancies, the arid Northern Frontier which is home to the colourful and proud Samburu is an experience best complemented by the open plains of the Mara. Kenya's savannahs are rich with game, the cultural encounters are authentic, and the dramatic landscapes characterised by equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains. Safaris have been the mainstay of Kenya’s tourism for many decades and it also rates as one of the top five bird-watching destinations in the world.


Kwandwe Fort House

Kwandwe Fort House is situated on a knoll overlooking the wide open plains of the 54 000-acre reserve. This is a sole-use safari villa in a private setting with sweeping views of the Great Fish River valley. Fort House discreetly combines the very best of an exclusive safari lodge with the latest conveniences of a modern home, it offers total privacy and an abundance of space to reconnect with loved ones.

Guests can unwind on the front terrace with an amphitheatre vantage; overlooking the wildlife-rich expanse of grassland leading down to one of the major waterholes on the reserve. The heated rim-flow pool shares the same view, as does the boma which is sunken into the grounds of the expansive lawn in front of the house. Further features include a dedicated spa treatment room, wine cellar, guest pantry as well as indoor, outdoor and covered outdoor dining areas. Its central location allows for easy access to the prime game viewing areas of Kwandwe, while being far from any of Kwandwe’s other lodges - affording guests ultimate privacy. The Fort House is ideally suited for families of up to 8 people, comfortably accommodated in 2 master bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms, all of which are en-suite. Multiple relaxation and entertainment areas ensure that there are more than enough places to connect with family members or spend some quiet time alone.