Marula Escapes are experts in creating a unique and memorable experience in traveling across the continent. Whether a traveler is looking to connect their mind and body on a wellness escape, or indulge in a romantic experience, they have it all covered. They have traveled to search for destinations and hand-select partners in order to provide the best travel experience beyond imagination. As such, they offer packages for honeymoons, family vacations, luxury holidays, ocean and river cruises, adventure travel, all-inclusive resorts, and beach and island escapes.
With their extensive experience, they have managed to save time and money for clients while enhancing the vacation experience. Their credentials include recently being nominated for the coveted International Travel awards :Best emerging travel company. One can enjoy a selection of hand-picked hotels and lodges across the continent. Their portfolio is selected to offer the exceptional service for the most memorable experiences.
About M.E. (Marula Escapes)
Established in 2014, Marula Escapes (M.E.) was born from a profound love for the Mother of Humanity and Modern Civilization, our vision is to showcase the incredible diversity and splendour of the continent, whilst providing greater accessibility to the numerous, enriching adventures and encounters that await across the African Continent.
Marula Escapes (M.E.) is a Luxury Travel brand offering an exclusive, hand-picked selection of exceptional properties and bespoke services throughout Africa.
Deriving its name from the ancient tree, Marula Escapes was founded to reveal some of Africa’s most exclusive travel experiences.
We have a chat with the owner of this amazing company Neo Matee.
MY- Are your tours only servicing around Africa?
M.E. Yes, we have decided to focus our efforts on promoting the beautiful continent of Africa for various reasons:
- International destinations are well marketed and communicated… most people, especially on the continent, know about the powdery white beaches of Thailand and Bali, but are surprised when I show a picture and tell them that it is located somewhere on the Continent, highlighting the lack of information and poor marketing of our destinations.
- During the 12yrs years I spent in Barcelona, Spain, I realised that Europeans an Americans alike, first explore their own surroundings and continent before venturing out. My realization on returning home, was that, unfortunately, this is not the case. On our continent, the moment someone has the financial capability to travel, they immediately take those financial resources outside of the continent … I cannot say I blame them as unfortunately, our destinations do not market as efficiently WITHING the continent as they do outside. The few destinations that DO marketing internally (Mauritius, Seychelles, Cape Town, Zanzibar) do actually get the numbers in terms of tourism from within the continent, but I believe that these numbers can still grow.
- I LOVE this continent, its diversity and splendour…
MY- Why is Tourism important and how expensive is it to travel?
M.E. Tourism is responsible for about 10% of global employment. While the travel and tourism industry’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) in South Africa was 6.9% in 2019, it dropped to 3.7% in 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In Africa as a whole, the research estimates the travel and tourism performance is down 49%, so you can just imagine the number of people currently unemployed due to this drop.
Aside from the economic impact, travel help one get a greater understanding of other cultures and ways of life. “Because travel produces encounters between strangers, it is likely to prompt empathetic-type imaginings, which simply wouldn’t be there without the proximity created by travel,” says Hazel Tucker in a 2016 study on empathy and travel.
Regarding the expense, this is all relative. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Much as in retail, you can spend as much or as little as you want, depending on the quality of the product / service you want or can afford there are travel options for everyone, it is simply a matter of prioritizing. You can spend Thousands of rands, going out every weekend, swiping at your favourite hang-out spot or buying those designer items and then come end of the year, you are stuck at home or you can ration and save about R250 per week, which is 1 less bottle of wine at your favourite restaurant or 1 less Uber Eats a week for a year and have R13k that you would have otherwise spent on something you will likely forget about to rewards yourself with the gift of travel and create lasting memories.
Also, please do not discard day-tripping this is just as fulfilling to escape the day-to-day, especially in these times and quite often still more cost-effective than a night out start with knowing and experiencing your immediate surroundings! Hop in the car and get lost somewhere, there is so much beauty around us, waiting to be discovered!! SO many small towns that we just wizz past in our endeavour to reach our Final destinations.
The one thing we REALLY look forward to doing once again, is hosting our Extraordinary Experiences by M.E. and taking the touring from Online to Live.
Something which has always bothered me about being an agent is that, I send people on all these incredible Escapes and the hotels, airlines and guides etc get to MEET my client but I only get to speak to you via email or whatsapp… I do not like this at all as part of the enjoyment of what I do is the fulfilment you get from the interaction with people… this brought about the Extraordinary Experiences we also want to MEET you in person.
We look forward to hosting more of these monthly events where we can meet clients and anyone else looking to experience the extraordinary, encounter new people and learn a little more about what’s around them and an opportunity to meet the people behind the brand.
The second initiative we are EXCITED about is the recently launched Travel Registry!! What this does, is to enable those around you to give you the Gift of Travel, making travel even more accessible. We are all aware of the gift registry you open one at @Home or ToyrsRUs etc for your wedding, Baby Shower etc. The Travel Registry allows you to tailor-make a trip you would like to experience, be it your Honeymoon, Graduation, Babymoon, Birthday etc and share that link with friends and family for them to make donations towards your dream escape. You then use those contributions to Fund Your Travel. The idea was birthed from the realization that, in this day and age, by the time you get married, most people are already in 2 households and therefore combining that into and after the expense of the wedding, likely cannot afford a honeymoon and really can live without another dining room set… so why not let those who love you, help you go on that honeymoon also, what do you as for on your 2nd Baby Shower or for your milestone birthday celebration or graduation etc?! Why not receive the Gift of Travel and take out the guessing games.
MY- What is virtual tourism and how is it different?
M.E. Virtual tourism is an opportunity to “Taste B4 U Travel”
This is NOT a pre-recorded experience not to be confused with the Virtual Tours we see these days of a hotel, where you are taken on a walk-through of an establishment and this is recorded.
Virtual Tours with M.E. are LIVE. We connect online, either via Zoom or some other online, video platform, with a guide in our various destinations and he takes us on a walking tour and experience. We see what he sees and get to ask questions, request close-ups of what we would like to see and interact with that local community and its people for the safety and comfort of our homes.
This allows one to get a TASTE of what they can expect when visiting that destination and are therefore able to determine whether they would like to add said destination or experience to their to-do-list or not. It also allows one to reminisce if you have already been, re-live that moment once more.
It is also a cost-effective way of trying before you buy and dipping a toe in the water if you have never ventured beyond the borders of your community or country.
MY: Tells us about the exciting news of the award nomination and how it came about?
M.E. International Travel award is crafted to honor the excellent performers in the tourism and travel industry around the world. The participants are from Tourism boards, travel companies, hotels, villas, apartments, attractions, theme parks and tourism individuals. KSA Tourism Marketing (KS Aadhavan Enterprises LLP) is a leading Tourism Marketing and PR company which helped over 5,000+ tourism companies to increase their brand to the next level globally.
This nomination recognizes service delivery and standards with the likes of global organisations such as Four Seasons Hotels, InterContinental Hotel etc and is an honour within itself as a recognition of exceptional service. We are elated by the nomination and would be honoured to walk away with one of the 3 category nominations we have received.