How this Fort Worth travel pro rediscovered her heart and soul in South Africa
By Meda Kessler
Above photo courtesy of Tiffany Figueiredo
While the world’s top destinations beckoned, this travel pro rediscovered her heart and soul in an unexpected place
F riends, family and the familiar kept her firmly rooted in Fort Worth for many years, but Tiffany Figueiredo’s wanderlust could not be denied.
After a long career as a journalist — including a short time at 360 West — Figueiredo segued into a career as a travel planner and hospitality consultant in 2016. Today, she’s the owner of Fig Travel Co., part-time resident of Fort Worth and a new homeowner in Franschhoek, a small village about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, South Africa. Settled in the 1600s, the town is filled with lush vineyards, picturesque wildlife trails, stunning views and some of the best restaurants in the country.
Nicknamed the “valley of dreams,” it became Figueiredo’s home base in South Africa, and it’s easy to see why. While her career takes her around the world, there’s no denying her love of the southernmost country on this vast continent.
“I am admittedly biased, but I cannot sing southern Africa’s praises enough,” says Figueiredo during a visit to Fort Worth this past Christmas. “The region ticks all the boxes for the far-flung, bucket-list-worthy trips we see such demand for lately. You can choose your own adventure, from photographic safaris in Kruger National Park to casting for tigerfish on the mighty Zambezi or desert-dune climbing in Namibia. Cape Town is the perfect jumping-off point, with new nonstop flights from the U.S. on Delta and United. The city and its surrounds have a vibrant, diverse culture, some of the best wines in the world, impressive and progressive art and food scenes, and a stunning landscape with mountains, beautiful sun-drenched valleys and a dramatic coastline. From there, it’s easy to connect to Zambia and Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia or Mozambique, which are all unique and worth visiting. I’m especially fond of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. … It’s breathtaking and life-giving all at once.”
Figueiredo’s job is to create memorable — and no-hassle — trips for her clients, which means she must explore South Africa in person. Friends and family who visit her there also enjoy the fruits of her labor, as she takes them to eat, drink and experience favorite places and new finds.
The pandemic, of course, shut down the country in 2020, but Figueiredo’s photos of wild creatures in the bush, scenic vistas and food pics from places such as FYN Restaurant in Cape Town, lauded as one of the top restaurants in the world, helped keep her love of South Africa in focus.
“Being away those many months only deepened my love for this special place and its incredible people,” she says. “There’s a soulful, joyful magic to South Africa, and I love nothing better than helping others discover it.”