IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

Racontours is not a conventional tourism company. Rather we are a specialist guiding collective, using the talents of people who are the best qualified and most knowledgeable in their fields. While we are obliged to and are happy to visit all the popular spots of the Cape, we strive to show you more than you would otherwise get to see or experience.

Whether your interests run to flowers, walking, history or culture or if you would simply like to experience the amazing Cape, our guides are Racontours’ trump card. No other company is quite like us in this southern tip of Africa. (Modesty prevents us from bragging that we’re ‘better than’ others but we’re happy for you to decide.)

David Bristow

“The Story Teller” – “a walking enviro-pedia”

As well as being South Africa’s most experienced travel writer, David Bristow is the author of more than 20 books on South Africa and Africa beyond. Colleagues at Getaway travel magazine – where he was editor for 14 years – dubbed him the walking enviro-pedia. “It’s unlikely there is anyone better traveled than him and his knowledge of The Cape and indeed all of South Africa is indeed encylopediac,” commented Don Pinnock who suceeded him as editor.

With degrees in journalism and environmental sciences, you could say he has a well-rounded grasp on most things that do not involve rocket science. The Story Teller has an abiding passion for all things pertaining to nature, culture, travel, history, Africa and just about anything else that is interesting.

But it is his love of life and the world around him that has led to him to be the pre-eminent story teller of the Cape – dramatic stories, racy stories, ghost or horror stories, love stories, comedies and tragedies; stories about the places and people who created the Cape. Interwoven with all this will be current issues, international trends and local anecdotes – you name it and he’ll provide the details.

One thing’s for sure – a day or two out and about with the Cape’s foremost Story Teller will be an outing with a difference/oomph. It will have you saying many days, or weeks, or even months later “Wasn’t it amazing, that story about how Table Mountain ….”

Selected books by the Story Teller: 

  • Mountains of Southern Africa (Struik)
  • Natural History of Southern Africa (Struik)
  • Drakensberg Walks (Struik)
  • Soweto: Portrait of a City (Struik)
  • Best Hikes in South Africa (Struik)
  • Illustrated Southern African Wildlife Encyclopedia (Jonathan Ball)
  • Been There, Done That: A checklist for the Curious and the Brave  (New Holland)
  • Riding the Spine of the Dragon –pioneering a mountain bike route across South Africa (New Holland).
  • Poles Apart (Macmillan)
  • Africa’s Finest: The most sustainable and responsible safari destinations in sub-Saharan Africa ( www.africasfinest.co.za )
  • African Icons: 21 must-see places in Africa – hand-bound collector’s edition only
  • Zulu: The Story of an African Stallion – a novel to be published in 2017.

Fiona McDonald

“Wonder Woman of Wine”

“It’s a sad day when friends and family will no longer play Trivial Pursuit with you!” says Fiona McDonald. But that’s because her eclectic reading habits, combined with a two decade career as a hard news journalist on a provincial morning daily newspaper and then another eight years as Editor of WINE magazine have provided a wealth of information to draw on…

Fiona became involved in wine by accident – but took to it like the proverbial duck, immersing herself in the subject and product to the point where she is now a highly-regarded international wine judge, serving as either a taster or panel chairman at the Decanter World Wine awards, International Wine Challenge, International Wine & Spirits Competition and Concours Mondial – as well as chairing a range of local wine panels.

Her extensive network of contacts and friends in the South African wine fraternity means that cellar and winery doors spring open – providing personal ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses and anecdotes.

She hates being asked what her favourite wine is… simply because there’s too much choice to narrow it down to one style. “There’s a wine for every mood, every occasion and for every taste because we all differ in what we like. Besides which, it’s such fun trying everything that’s out there!”

Fiona is a regular taster and writer for the respected annual Platter’s South African Wine Guide and is the Regional Chair for the South African panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards as well as the Editor of Cheers magazine. But the ace in her hand is that she knows every one of the more than 600 winemakers in the Cape and can arrange special tastings. Her “behind the barrels” tours are something no-one else can offer at this level of expertise and intimacy.

JD Dunn

“The Bush Baby”

At six foot and several inches, “JD” aka John Daniel Dunn is the gentle giant baby of the collective. While he runs his own safari guiding business (Prestigious Africa) while in Cape Town you’ll find him slogging up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head, smelling the flowers in Kirstenbosch indigenious botanical garden or on his knees looking for some gogga* that you would otherwise miss.

began his guiding career at Phinda, Zululand, after completing the gruelling &Beyond ranger training and selection course. This led to a life in the bush as a game ranger at Singita in the Sabi Sands reserve, then as a ranger and lodge manager with Wilderness Safaris in Kafue National Park in Zambia. Wishing to return to city life in order to study finance, JD moved to Cape Town where he was manager and guide with a large touring company. Finance degree completed JD found the call of the winds irresistable and so he escaped the shackles of a desk job to start his own private safari guiding operation while also joining the Racontours specialist guiding team.

When he is not doing any of the above, you are most likely to find him staring at the ocean – the sign on his door “gone fishing” is for real.

(* insect or other small critter)

Find me on Facebook