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 - on eternal maternity leave

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.

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!

Clara Fauque

Marketing Aficionado Trainee

Bonjour ! I am Clara, the latest French addition to the BELAFRIQUE team.

I was born and raised in Paris, France and I have always wanted to travel the world. After three years studying Economics, Management and English, I entered a Master’s Degree in a Business School in Lille, France and now need to get some real-life experience.

Since my passion is travel, the Tourism industry was an obvious choice to convert my theoretic skills into practice. 

I’ve always wanted to discover South Africa and I was lucky enough to come across BELAFRIQUE based in the Western Cape, who was looking for a trainee to help with their marketing strategies.  I’m very excited to take on this new challenge. 

BELAFRIQUE’s main clientele at the moment come from word of mouth & together with Melody, BELAFRIQUE’s marketing manager we’ll be looking at more & different angles to reach new potential travellers – likeminded people who share the same value’s as BELAFRIQUE/me.  

I’ll be here till mid-January so I have 4 and a half month to make my mark here and to show why YOU for all your Southern Africa adventures should book with my new family,  BELAFRIQUE.

Laura Vroege

Travel Planner Trainee

Hoi! My name is Laura, born and raised on a farm in Driebergen in The Netherlands.   

I am in my third year of tourism management at Breda University. From when I was a little girl, my dream is to become a travel planner & explore the world. 

As part of our course, we need to complete a 4 and a half months traineeship to get experience in the real world. I knew I wanted to go to South Africa as I love wildlife & wanted to extend my experience a bit further than National Geographic & the cows on our farm (as beautiful as they are – smile). 

Whilst visiting BELAFRIQUE’s website and reading “We don’t just book a hotel, we create life-long experiences.” I knew this was the company I wanted to work for and could visualise designing these trips of a lifetime for their guests. Something else I  could completely relate to on BELAFRIQUE’s website is their favourite word UBUNTU:  "I am happy if you are happy" and that is what I want to achieve during this internship.