CLASSIC PORTFOLIO private * unique * committed


Thought Provoking, Honest, 
Inspiring, No Nonsense Updates
for Kindred Spirits.
Week 12
25th March 2021

Seeing the wood for the trees

365 days ago we went into lockdown in South Africa.
I remember, quite clearly, the state of disbelief as our world ground to a halt, the skies emptied of planes, and we were all glued to the news watching the impact of C-19 unfold on a global scale.  At this stage I optimistically thought tourism would be back on track for the safari season from July 2020.
How fundamentally wrong I was. 
This year, amidst all the craziness, grief and despair (and there have been many tears) has also given us time to pause, think and recalibrate. It has given us time to see the wood from the trees.

365 days later I am reflecting on what has HURT, what we are THANKFUL for and how we are EMERGING.


  • Watching the disbelief and pain as our industry shrank to nothing overnight.
  • Feeling the enormous financial pressure our Members faced as their costs and responsibilities remain unchanged with radically reduced tourism revenue.
  • The negotiating and haggling over deposits, payments, postponements and cancellations... and on it goes.
  • The fear, losses and radical shift many of us have experienced in both a personal and business capacity.
  • Seeing how threatened and vulnerable our wild spaces are when no park and concession fees are paid.
  • The devastating impact on African based businesses together with already impoverished and marginalised communities who have no government support.


  • Our extraordinary Classic Portfolio Members: in the past year, only 2 have moved on (Gibb's Farm and Machaba Safaris) while the remaining 15 have been rock solid in their commitment to Classics and the future of tourism in Africa.
  • My team of 19 amazing women who have supported each other and our Members through a year of radical change.
  • New business opportunities: from launching Marataba Conservation Camps and working with the investors to launch Coot Club, to a new management consultancy role at HBD Principe and taking on numerous projects for other Members.
  • Being able to connect with exceptional industry colleagues around the world via Zoom has radically changed how we interact. I have so enjoyed the regular catch-up session we have with other product owners as we share ideas on best practice going forward.
  • And finally, online school which gave me the opportunity to take a 16 week working road trip around South Africa with my girls (aged 10 and 11, this was a very special time).


  • While we will create a direct (B2C) narrative around our Portfolio, we neither have the capacity nor the desire to manage bookings and become a tour operator. We remain committed to our strategy of working closely with our key travel trade partners through our TOP500 campaign. 
ACTION: EMAIL US to be aligned as a Key Partner going forward.
  • We are fully committed to driving purposeful and conscious travel across Africa and continue to strive towards: Transparency + Accountability = Sustainability.  Be on the lookout for the Conscious Journeys we have been launching.
ACTION: CONTACT ME to find out more about our sustainable tourism philosophy.
  • Being brave, we are stepping out of our comfort zone and looking to make some big changes to the brand Classic Portfolio. We look forward to taking you on this journey with us!
ACTION: ANSWER 3 QUESTIONS on what you value most about Classic Portfolio.
  • As a 100% women powered business, we will be celebrating the impact and contribution women make by launching Wild Women Journeys (totally inspired by the way I personally love to explore Africa).
ACTION: GET THE SCOOP on what we have planned.
  • Across Classic Portfolio, our Members are open (besides HBD Principe and Odzala Conservation Camps due to access and wildlife protection), ready to welcome guests.
ACTION: CHECK AVAILABILITY and start journey planning across Classic Portfolio!


15 Visionary owners.
51 Privately owned camps and lodges committed to sustainability.
21 Protected areas in 10 African countries.
Suzanne Bayly-Coupe
We are fully supportive to our trade partners and as always, Classic Portfolio remains your trusted group of PRIVATE owners offering UNIQUE experiences COMMITTED to the future of Africa.  

While we are still traversing this dense jungle, I do hope you feel as feel excited as I do about the journey ahead.

Warmest regards

Suzanne Bayly
OWNER, Classic Portfolio

Check the easy to use online availability across our Portfolio

Lodges and Camps Online Availability Crib Sheet
Agents Area Special Offers Suggested Journeys


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CLASSIC PORTFOLIO private * unique * committed