The BelAfrique team of experts

Let's start planning your African adventure of a lifetime!

Isabelle Dechamps

Founder & director

Hello, I am Isabelle Dechamps, the founder of BELAFRIQUE. I was born and bred in Antwerp in Belgium but I have been living happily in Cape Town in South Africa for over 15 years. Or rather I should say “Africa has been living in me” because once bitten by the contagious African love bug, it stays with you forever. And gladly so! The people, the beauty, the lifestyle and not to forget, the adventure Africa has to offer, it all fits me like a glove. But sharing all these experiences with you excites me even more. I like to call myself the Mary Poppins of Travel. I want to share my love and passion for Africa and making sure that you have a wonderful journey is my mission. Talk to me, write to me, share with me. I love to listen and will poke you until I have all the ingredients I need. This is what I enjoy doing and what I do best: translating all your information into a perfectly TAILOR MADE HOLIDAY just for you. At BELAFRIQUE, we don’t just book a hotel, we offer you A LIFE TIME OF EXPERIENCES. My favourite African word “Ubuntu” is a word often used by Nelson Mandela & Desmond Tutu, which in simple terms means “I’m happy, if you are happy”. The English equivalent is probably “No man is an island”, I therefore try to surround myself with like-minded people & BELAFRIQUE is very proud & happy to say that a few kindred spirits keenly joined BELAFRIQUE’s philosophy to share our passion with you.

Sophie Van den Hove

Senior travel planner

All my life I have had a deep passion for travel and have wanted to explore this world as much as possible. Almost a decade ago, I got an opportunity to do an internship at a Tour Operator in Cape Town and for me, this is when the magic all started... I fell absolutely head over heels in love with the city, with South Africa and indeed with the whole African continent. For 2 years after this experience, my travels led me to other parts of the world like Australia and Asia and I spent some time back in Belgium, my country of birth. But I realised how much I missed Africa and its alluring rhythm and made the decision to settle down in Cape Town, which I now happily call home, along with my husband, my daughter and my dog. This country has so much to offer, it is easy to see why I was swept away by its diversity. Whether it is beaches, mountains, flowers, animals, cultures, cuisine... you name it, you'll find it here. Cape Town is my favourite city, its natural beauty is indescribable. Imagine a small, compact city that on one side is entirely surrounded by mountains with funny shapes - Table Mountain, Lions Head, Signal Hill - and on the other side, it hugs the ocean. It is a vibey city with many different cultures and lots of trendy places to hang out at. But it isn't just South Africa that holds my heart, being in the tourism industry for a decade, I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to do a lot of travelling all over Southern Africa and every trip was a totally different experience: from a desert to a tropical environment, every place I visited was unique and special. I have spent many years creating many unforgettable trips for my guests and I really look forward to the opportunity of sharing my love and passion for Africa with you!

Sarah Phitides

BELAFRIQUE's Muse - because we all need one (smile)

Hello, I'm Sarah, your travel expert on all things in Southern Africa.  I am South African born and bred and have a deep love and passion for this beautiful continent that I luckily get to call home. When I'm not soaking up the sun on my local beach or spending time with family and friends, my favourite thing to do is go travelling and nothing beats a long road trip with a stop in the African bush! I have travelled the length and breadth of Southern & East Africa and everywhere in between and despite all my travels, I still get goosebumps from all the experiences that this gorgeous part of the world has to offer. I have a passionate love affair with Africa and I fall even deeper in love with her when I meet her friendly people, see her wild animals and stand in awe in one of her beautiful places. I studied at the University of Cape Town completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Politics, Philosophy & Economics (Dean's Merit List) and then a Post-Graduate Diploma in Tourism Management (placed First in Class). After a few stints of living and travelling overseas, I returned to South Africa and have been working in the tourism industry for close on a decade. I am devoted to conservation and responsible tourism and my favourite thing about what I do for a living (other than the numerous travel opportunities and that I get paid to do what I love) is that through my skills and experience, I get to share my love and passion with like-minded individuals and at the same time make a positive contribution to the sustainable development of a continent that has given me so much to be thankful for.

Platon Trakoshis

Fly-fishing aficionado

Growing up in Zimbabwe, I went fishing with my father virtually every weekend. It was a mild obsession for him and the gene was passed onto to me. As fun as it was catching Bream in the often muddy, still water dams of my youth, there was always something alluring about fishing running crystal clear water. Finally one day, I had the opportunity the to fish in Nyanga, Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands, full of crystal clear lakes and streams and the thrill of catching my first Trout on fly has never left me. Living in Cape Town for a fly fisherman is paradise. Only an hours drive out of the city, one can be knee deep in crystal clear, free stone streams, framed by huge rugged mountain peaks and beautiful fynbos, sight fishing to free rising wild Trout.  Spending the day slowly fly fishing upstream with a leisurely lunch next to a cascading pool and even a dip if it’s hot, is one of the best ways to spend a day in the Cape. I have been fly fishing the Cape streams for around 22 years now and still get excited when preparing for a trip. I love fishing but also get great pleasure from showing fishermen the beauty of the Cape streams.

Beth Mc Donald

Travel planner &environmental science aficionado

I am proudly South African, I grew up in Johannesburg and moved to the beautiful Cape Town in 2016. I am a holiday addict… any opportunity I get to travel and explore I am there. I love the tranquility and peace of mind that comes when one relaxes with a good view and soaks in the beauty of nature. Its food for the soul! A break from our busy daily lives is crucial to rejuvenates one’s energy.

To me a sign of a holiday done right is when one loses track of time and lets the day just happen. I have been in the tourism industry since 2011. I have a Diploma in Tourism Management as well as a Degree in Environmental Management.

When one travels and immerses themselves in the beauty of their surroundings whether it is the wild savannah bush in the Kruger Park, the tropical beaches of the KwaZulu Natal or the winelands of Cape Town one cannot help but appreciate nature and relax! I cannot wait to send you to your own little piece of heaven.

Alessandra Klein

Former travel planner - now student

Alessandra will pause her work @ BELAFRIQUE indefinitely from 1 April as she's will be completing her studies to get her university degree - we wish her all the best!

Buongiorno and Guten Tag – My name is Alessandra and I am Italo German by descent and proudly call myself BELAFRIQUE’s newest addition. After having lived in Europe, Israel and China love has lead me to move and settle and now I can call Cape Town - the gorgeous Mother City - my home!

To me a client request for a holiday is like a blank page of a book ready to be written and I just love being able to supply you with all the tools for you to fill those pages with fond memories of Africa - of amazing adventures, precious moments and images of its magnificent nature and the amazing people that inhabit it!

When I am not busy sharing my love for this country with my clients I enjoy spending time with my sunshine of a daughter and what for me is ‘La Dolce Vita’ – good food, lots of happiness and laughter, beautiful places and the people that are dear to me!

Melody Deunier-Lisene

Travel planner &marketing aficionado

Bonjour! My name is Melody and I am the French addition to the amazing BELAFRIQUE team. Born and bred in Niort, France I have always dreamed of travelling the world and I am trying my best to make it happen. I have lived in Ireland, Canada, the USA and China before finally settling down a couple of years ago in Cape Town, South Africa.

I feel very lucky to call this amazing city my home, everything you could wish for you can find here hidden somewhere between the mountain and the ocean. What’s more, the Western Cape is also home to wonderful wineries and incredible wines, which is my other passion.

I got a master in International Business and in a previous life I used to organise events which is where I developed the nick of  meticulousness planning . A great skill which is much more exciting implementing whilst looking at a map and dreaming about which beautiful places I will send you to whether it’s to the red dunes of Sossusvlei in Namibia or on Mokoro rides in Botswana. I look forward sharing my love for this part of the world and to create unforgettable lifetime experiences for you!

Lynn Vleugels

Assistant travel planner

Hi everyone! My name is Lynn Vleugels. I normally live in Belgium but  for the next few months Paarl (Cape Winelands) is my home. I’m currently in my last year of my study Tourism & Recreational Management. Before graduating I needed to do an internship. Thanks to a friend I came across BELAFRIQUE and now a year later I am an intern here. I love to travel and have travelled quite a bit. Mostly in Europe but also in Asia and last but not least Africa off course. Apart from travelling, I love photography. I am always taking pictures, I started taking pictures with my Dad’s old camera but a few years ago I finally bought my own and ever since then it became part of me.

My love for South Africa started 10 years ago when I first visited this beautiful country. Since then I visited South Africa two more times. The breath-taking nature, the friendly people, the wild animals and culture stayed with me and made my holidays here unforgettable. Even with all my other travels, I always wanted to come back. So I didn’t think twice about taking this opportunity to learn more about Southern Africa and her hidden gems. Under supervision of the senior consultants, I can’t wait to be part of designing your Southern Africa holiday.

Laurenz Dehondt

Assistant travel planner

Hi, I am Laurenz, trainee at BELAFRIQUE, I’m in my last year studying towards a Bachelor degree in Tourism and Recreation Management at VIVES University College situated in Bruges, Belgium. I have always loved travelling. I have been to the USA a couple of times as well as a few European countries, I visited Asia (Sri Lanka) for the first-time last year.

Africa has a special place in my heart, even before I visited the continent! I knew of Africa from my hobbies such as TV, music and PlayStation games. Also, from the band Toto, who sings about Africa, it is still one of my favorite groups and songs of all time. The continent is still unspoiled and I am excited to explore awesome places that are off the beaten track that makes one smile. I see Africa as a charming mixture of nature, cultures, food and friendly people, it commits you to stay (forever?).

My family and I have also travelled on a trip organized by BELAFRIQUE and I have to say, I really had a great time seeing a variety of things. From the history on South Africa at the Voortrekkers monument in Pretoria to the Big 5 in the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga. To borrow a saying from Richard Hamilton (one of my favorite artists): everything in a holiday made by BELAFRIQUE is so different but yet so appealing! I would recommend BELAFRIQUE to everyone!