Postcard from…Nina Griscom

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nina Griscom heads to Africa for adventure

Nina Griscom is a lifestyle expert and consummate foodie. A former model and longtime staple of the New York social scene, Griscom has an undeniable passion for travel, stopping in flea markets and antique stores all over the world. Though the world may be her oyster, there’s no place Griscom loves more than Africa, where the safaris and crafts are well worth the 12-hour flight.  

It’s all about Africa 

I have been so incredibly fortunate to travel to many extraordinary places in my life, but at this moment I am completely smitten with Africa. Specifically South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia. I adore traveling there for the extraordinary range of culture, the exquisite wildlife and the great spirit of innovation and inclusion coming from the people living there.

I am on the Advisory Board of the Africa Foundation (AF), and have traveled to several countries in Africa during the past 18 months where AF writes grants to build medical clinics, water supplies, schoolrooms, and kitchens. Along with the community visits, a large percentage of my time in Africa has been spent on safari with fellow members of the AF and good friends.


Starting off on the right foot

When I land in Johannesburg—the departure point for many safaris—I stay at the Saxon Boutique Hotel, one of the most notable hotels in the world. It is a hedonistic experience; one which you will never forget and will always long to revisit! The Saxon is the ultimate in opulence, even for the most jaded of travelers. Every aspect of the hotel screams discreet elegance and attention to detail. Indigenous blonde wood floors and walls inform the exquisite décor in the villas, and the contemporary riff on tribal motifs, masks, and African artwork hanging on the walls is to die for! Bring your love interest because this is the sexiest hotel. I am going with my divine husband this June.

Flights from the U.S. land early in the morning, so I like to go to the Saxon and get a quick nap and maybe a massage—ask for Precious or Princess—before setting out to see the local art galleries. Traffic is bad, so you need to plan out your day in terms of neighborhoods, which are far flung.


Sub-Saharan swag

I adore going to outdoor markets wherever I go in the world. In Johannesburg, I always visit the indoor/outdoor market, which has all manner of tribal objects from Kenya and Tanzania, as well as local wares. One can find colorful hand-beaded fly swatters, textiles, and carved wood animals.

Anna Trzebinski’s LeMarti’s Camp in Kenya is awesome, and her small shop has extraordinary things to buy: pashminas embellished with guinea fowl feathers, crocodile wrist cuffs and sandals, gorgeous linen tunics, and even beautiful wooden toilet seats, crafted by local artisans (I bought one). She is the high priestess of African style.


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