Based in Durbanville

Nicci Hayden

Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here

It's Nice To Meet You

Hello and welcome!

Thank you for visiting my web page.

My name is Nicci Hayden, I am a Travel Counsellor based in the wonderful suburb of Durbanville in Cape Town. I grew up in Johannesburg, but moved here with my family in 1998. I got married in 2008 and my husband and I have a two children, Logan and Lyla! We've moved into my childhood home and live life to the fullest each and every day.

Before becoming a Travel Counsellor in April 2009, I worked in retail travel for 5 years prior to that. What an unforgettable experience, it taught me so many things about people (clients and staff), the world and most importantly about myself. Nothing gives me more pleasure than getting to know you; discussing and planning your perfect holiday and afterwards hearing about how your dream holiday or business trip went.

During my 5 years I took over 2 different stores, turned them around and in the process I was awarded with the titles of Top Producer, High Achiever and 1 Million Dollar Elite Consultant.

I have travelled to: Zanzibar, Mauritius (8 times), Thailand (Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), London, New York, Orlando (Disney World), The Bahamas, Las Vegas, Namibia, Reunion and within South Africa. On my bucket list I have Alaska, Norway, South America & more of the East.

Being a Travel Counsellor has been the most incredible experience; I have invested more in my customers and I have built very special relationships with many of them and their families, and in doing so I received a nomination for the Best Newcomer in 2009. In 2017 and 2018 I received the Highest TC Score, voted by my clients, it's an honour being of service to my clients and being recognized for it means so much to me. As of 2018 I qualified as a Gold TC.

The biggest impact of starting my own business is that I now have more time to focus on learning about destinations, travel products and ways to add more value for money to all my clients travels. My work and life balance is far better, I managed to lose 32 kgs, buy my second home and enjoy more time with clients, friends and family.

The reason I chose Travel Counsellors, is that I get to focus 100% on You, and Your dreams will become a reality and I will be the conduit. Service is my pride and passion. What sets me apart, is that I have the support to be available to you 24 hours a day, and with me EVERY trip is personal!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page… Let us turn the page together.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Nicci Hayden

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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

Do you want to have the best nights rest you’ve ever had in your life?

12 February 2021

The setting is quiet, barring the deafening yet calming sound of the crickets buzzing from the empty dam dense with reeds in front of our cottage. Oh... also the excited screams and giggles from our two children. We arrived at Cederkloof Botanical Retreat in Citrusdal, to be greeted by... well... no one, thanks to Covid Regulations our cottage was ready and waiting on our arrival with the keys in the door. Instructions were emailed and WhatsApped by Anja before arrival, so no surprises there! Our cottage was clean, neat and welcoming. You enter from the veranda which has tasteful decor, a dining table, fat sacks, lounger and a natural spring water jacuzzi. There is an outdoor kuru (braai) on the grass with our first bag of wood supplied (complimentary). Entering our 2 Bedroom Cottage (there are 4 of these and 6 x 1 Bedroom Cottages) we take no notice of how gorgeous it is, as parents we immediately take note of potential danger traps for toddlers - very few thankfully! The units have all you need: fridge, microwave, gas hot plate, cooking utensils etc. Maximising on the space, it’s an open plan kitchen, lounge/tv room and indoor fireplace for those chilly winter months. This lends itself well to the whole family being together when cooking, playing games, reading, watching TV (with DSTV) etc. Leading off the living area to each side are the bedrooms which each have their own en-suite. The last time we stayed here we had baths with beautiful full room windows overlooking the mountain. This time we had showers with no view, a pity but it didn’t detract from our stay. The bedrooms are tastefully decorated, with open storage for clothes and side tables. Then... comes the highlight of this underrated 2* property... the beds! Future visitors... these beds are so comfy, I never wanted to leave!!! King size, cotton percale linen, crisp & clean! I tried to fit it out the door to swap with ours when we left, but we couldn’t fit (smart move on their part). To top it off, if that’s possible, an aircon right above the bed, but high enough not to be like... ON YOU! Now the importance of these two mentions, when you’re inland in the Western Cape during the peak of summer is invaluable! If it hadn’t been for our kids waking us up all night because they could hear wind and nature in all its glory, we would have slept like Kings and Queens. (I actually slept like a Queen, my husband Brendan was the one who silently suffered because he REALLY loves me, thanks babes!). Due to the fact that the property doesn’t really have a lot of activities, I was a bit concerned that the kids would get bored. Boy was I wrong! The solitude is appreciated, which is why we didn’t want to leave the property to visit Citrusdal itself, which has lots on offer from Khoi and San rock paintings, waterfalls, deep fresh-water swimming pools and horseback riding. So we enjoyed our surroundings by hiking their Feetjie Route (20 min) which was easy enough for our kids who are 2 and 6, and our dog Scarlett (did I mention they are Pet Friendly too!). We made use of their swimming pool (which is surrounded by fat sacks to relax on), hunted for scorpions, snakes and any bugs. We walked around the gardens enjoying their abundance of Fynbos. My favourite time was spent stargazing in the evenings with a glass of wine. Overall we were well-rested, tuned out of technology thanks to the fact that there is no reception (for those desperate to have contact with the outside world, or who need to help clients like I did), there is WiFi at the Opstal/Wedding Venue by the pool. If you’re looking to disconnect, sleep deeply and be surrounded by nature, you cannot go wrong with Cederkloof Botanical Retreat, which is only 2 hours from Cape Town! It’s also perfect for a small wedding group and to top it off they even have a NEW Tented Camp with 4 Bell Tents set in a Forrest. Estimated Weekend Rates are as follows: (2 Nights Minimum stay) Tents @ R750 per night Single Units @ R1800 per night Double Units @ R2550 per night Get in touch with me if you want to be immersed in nature, sleep soundly and wake up rejuvenated! 0827113913

Walt Disney World - The Happiest Place on Earth

15 June 2012

I have had the privilege of travelling to Disney World in Orlando, Florida on two occasions. Once in 2007, as part of Thompsons Holidays Educational and again in 2010 with my husband, sister and brother-in-law. When you read or hear the quote: Disney World, The Happiest Place on Earth, it is no exaggeration. Every day I woke up smiling, I laughed and had fun all day, and just before I went to sleep each night I sighed happily! The first time I stayed just outside Disney World, but this time I chose to stay at one of The Disney Value Hotels: All Star Music Resort. Staying at the Disney properties you have the benefits of free transport to each and every park, this saves you money and time as you don’t have to pay for parking every day. The All Star Music Resort is rated a 2 Star property, I would rate it 3 Star +. I highly recommend it for families with children or for a group of friends. Each day there is entertainment for the children, movie nights, competitions and more. They have their own American Diner type restaurant, with different buffet options. I bought the bottomless drinks package, where you get a mug and you get to top up on Soft Drinks, Tea, Coffee, Water & Energy Drinks as many times as you want each day. I stayed in a room with 2 double beds and an en-suite bathroom. The rooms are clean, comfortable and had everything I needed. I also made a trip to Wal-Mart where I bought daily snacks to take into the parks; it saves you a lot of money as the snacks in the parks are quite pricey and not exactly friendly on the waistband, although walking around with a Flintstone Sized Turkey Leg is a must! For a first time traveller I would recommend 10 days. My favourite Theme Parks are: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. I’m not a huge fan of Epcot, once was enough for me, but it is a must see. I have only been to one of the Water Parks; Blizzard Beach. With the amount of fun I had there, I would recommend for families or younger travellers, visiting Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon would be a must! Downtown Disney is wonderful to visit in the early to late evenings, with Music, Artist, Theatre and other shows as well as many restaurants with live entertainment. Boardwalk is also a great evening experience with nightclubs, shopping and restaurants. What I love is that each Park has something to offer for all ages - you will not get bored. Eating in Disney World is quite expensive, should you want to save some money, visiting local restaurants in Orlando is a great money saver! I haven’t personally visited the ESPN World Sports Complex or the Disney Golf Courses, but again – there is something for everyone! Another must whilst in Orlando, is visiting Universal. They are not part of Disney World, but offer 2 theme parks. Islands of Adventure, which is exactly as it sounds… an adventure! Around every corner you get a new thrilling ride revolving around your favourite cartoons, comic books and childhood tales. Secondly Universal Studios which is a TV and Movie based theme park, they too offer rides as well as shows, theme-dining and shopping. Having been there twice, I can safely say that when I have children… Disney World will be seeing me again… and again… Visit the Happiest Place on Earth, you won’t regret it! You will remember every moment for the rest of your life! If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to call or email me… Disney World is a destination I never get tired of talking about… I look forward to planning a Dream Visit for you soon!

Langebaan Houseboats, A Dream Destination!

06 November 2009

Good Day Travellers! Are you looking for the perfect domestic getaway with family and or friends? Are you an overseas traveller looking for a different experience in South Africa? I have the perfect solution for you. It was my fathers' dream to go on a houseboat. So our family researched it and we found the biggest houseboat in the Southern Hemisphere, in Langebaan, Western Cape, in our very own backyard! Langebaan is approximately 100kms from Cape Town City Centre and thanks to the good roads, we got there in no time at all and we were welcomed by the West Coast National Park Employees, where we had to pay our daily conservation fee to enter the park (not applicable if you are a 'Wild Card' holder). After a 20km drive through the peaceful and picturesque park we arrived at the jetty, from which we could see the Houseboat. Set in the Langebaan lagoon at Kraalbaai, approximately 500 metres from the shoreline, this incredibly safe calm anchorage affords visitors a unique and heavenly experience. Two of the rangers helped us pack a speedboat with what I can only describe as an over indulgent amount of luggage, and then ferried us out to the boat which was to be our home for the next few days. As we made our way towards it I could see that this was literally a house floating on the water and not a small house at that. Once onboard it proved to be much more than I had imagined. The downstairs can accommodate a maximum of 14 people and comprises of a kitchen, lounge, 3 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms. Upstairs accommodates 10 people with facilities like; a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and 3 bedrooms. All bedrooms have 5 Star quality bed linen. The kitchen is fully equipped and the downstairs lounge even has a fireplace! The majority of the bedrooms have sliding glass doors onto a private deck. The boat has 12v electricity and they do have a converter but they charge the boats generator on it on a daily basis which provides for the lighting and onboard electrical goods. A cleaning service comes each day to empty bins and to check that all is in working order and even lights the fire should you so wish! The upper deck is so spacious and there is enough room for everyone to relax in the sun, it would also make a superb dance floor! Downstairs has an outside dining area as well as a braai / barbeque deck. We arrived with enough food and drinks for the weekend, fortunately there is plenty of storage space. Should you feel the need to go to the shops you are more than welcome to travel the 40km drive into Langebaan where you can not only stock up but enjoy this pretty coastal town with its' excellent restaurants and shops. The rest of our weekend was spent relaxing, tanning, swimming and fishing. There are many other activities to keep all personalities and age groups entertained such as water skiing, tubing, walking, hiking, bird-watching and beach fun. The rangers are at hand whenever you give them a call to come and ferry you ashore and back. To visit the Langebaan Houseboats you will need to get a minimum of 10 friends/family members together, but the more the merrier and the cheaper! There is also a smaller houseboat (6 guests) available to rent on the same lagoon. For unforgettable weekend away or any further information, please don't hesitate to contact me. Kind Regards Nicci

Phuket, An Island of Adventure, Relaxation & Fun!

25 June 2009

Well Hello Travellers! Phuket is a little piece of Heaven. Yes many say that Phuket has become over commercialised but it’s what you make of it, and frankly I haven’t enjoyed myself more than on any holiday I have been on yet. What an amazing place. On one side you have the peaceful expansion of an endless ocean which reminds me of Cape Town (except the water is much warmer!) and on the other side you have the dense green jungle like city. The people are incredibly humble and so welcoming, you feel like you have arrived at home. We chose to stay just outside the hustle and bustle of busy Patong Beach, in a hotel called the Aqua Marine Resort & Spa which was set in the mountains just above Kamala Beach. What a beautiful place, with horizon pools and pool bars with Island music playing in the background. I could have stayed in the pool for days if it wasn’t for the fact that I was going to turn into a prune. Just a 5 minute terrifying yet exhilarating tuk tuk drive from Patong we were perfectly located. Of course for the first 2 days we indulged in the pool, the coconut cocktails, the sun chairs and the buffet of delicious food, especially the seafood! As well as taking advantage of the Spa, a Thai massage is like no other, first you wonder if these women are going to hurt you when they get up on the massage table, but they are nothing short of spectacular! After the relaxation it was time to explore the island. There is nothing better than taking the tour of Phuket. This is a half day tour that gives you history of the island. We had the pleasure of embarking on a tour of a lifetime, the Canoeing James Bond Island Tour. They picked us up from the hotel early in the morning and took us to the harbour where we put on our life jackets and hopped onto a sheltered boat with a bunch of travellers from all across the globe. We headed off into the islands ready to explore. You stop off at about 3 islands before you start canoeing, where you get to play soccer with the locals and see how they live. Let me express that these islands are tiny, nothing bigger than a rugby field. We then headed off on our canoes into the limestone caves. You lie down in your canoe and move with your hands until you come up into an enclosure filled with plants, monkeys and beauty. Half way through the day they serve you a finger food lunch just before you head off to the famous James Bond Island. This is where you can spend some time exploring and the rest roaming around the market before you head on back to the harbour. We also had the pleasure of attending the famous Phuket FantaSea. This is a mixture of a carnival/dinner and a show. It’s is an evening of fun and entertainment. The dinner you have is at the biggest buffet in the world, which is impeccably run and the service is outstanding. The show you attend is beautiful; it reveals the history of the island and it expresses the Thais' love for the elephants. Famous Patong… this strip is not to be missed; there are markets, restaurants, pubs and discos etc… You can keep yourself busy for a good few days. The markets are more expensive than cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, this is because Phuket is more of a tourist town, but you can still get bargains, so don’t give up too quickly. The rest of your stay can be spent walking up and down the long sandy white beaches, snorkelling, tanning or even getting massages on the beach. Phuket is an island of adventure, relaxation and fun. Enjoy it! For more information about this fantastic destination then give me a call. Regards Nicci

Chiang Mai - A wonderful experience!

24 June 2009

Good Day Travellers! If you are looking for a destination that gives you an all-round experience, Chiang Mai is the place to be! This was one of my favourite cities on my Thailand adventure holiday. When you arrive the local guides want to show you every part of their city, they have so many factories from silk to umbrella to the world’s biggest jewellery factory! You can keep yourself busy for days! I had the pleasure of visiting The Maesa Elephant Camp which is the home of one of the largest assembly of elephants in Northern Thailand. We got to interact with and ride the elephants through the dense forest (our elephant decided to take a swim whilst we were on her back, so you get an amazing journey). We also got to observe them painting, dancing and even playing soccer. There are so many things to do in Chiang Mai like bird watching, rafting, mountain biking, go-carting, Thai cooking lessons, Bungee jumping, temple exploring and even paint ball! One of my favourite Chiang Mai attractions was the Night Bazaar; it runs for about a mile down Changklan Road. For those who enjoy honing their bargaining skills, this is the place to be. The Night Bazaar is probably the largest outlet of local handicrafts with hundreds of stalls and shops. Interesting products are hill tribe crafts, hand-woven fabrics, clothes, silver jewellery, antiques, lacquer ware, woodcarvings, pottery, basketry, and other local items. We stayed at the Chiang Mai Plaza, which was a beautiful hotel located near Changklan Road. We also had the pleasure of visiting the Orchid and Butterfly Gardens, which were absolutely breathtaking! If you travel to Thailand then a visit to Chiang Mai is a must; it will complete your Thai Experience! For more information about this fantastic destination then give me a call. Regards Nicci

Zanzibar, The Spice Island

24 June 2009

Hello Travellers! If you are looking for a destination that is quieter than but just as intriguing as Mauritius then Zanzibar is the place to go. This awesome destination is full of life and diversity. I stayed at what was the Protea Hotel and is now called the Zanzibar Beach Resort, what an amazing setting. Each room has beautiful views, you step out of your room onto the beach sand. The bar and restaurant area are right on the beach, so every morning and evening you can enjoy a variety of meals from fresh fish, meat, fruit & vegetarian buffets whilst watching the sun rise or set. You can happily spend the day lying by the pool, drinking cocktails, getting massages and henna tattoos, or you can drive around the island to see historic Stone Town and many other beautiful sites. My personal favourite was Nungwi Beach – a “hidden paradise” We spent many afternoons and evenings there. They have a bar on the beach that is made out of the bow of a ship with a bonfire and a grill on the edge of the water. A lot of locals meet at Nungwi Beach at night, but guests from all over the island which are of different nationalities mix in as well and it makes for a night of getting to know the world and enjoying the festivities. If it’s adventure you’re looking for then Zanzibar is fabulous. You can go snorkelling on the reefs or if you’re lucky you could swim with the dolphins even though it is a rare occurrence. One of the most popular outings is the famous Zanzibar Spice Tours. Driving in Zanzibar is an adventure on its own, with barely any tarred roads, you find yourself driving along the sea sand through palm trees and wild life. They have strange rituals where they put their brights’ on when approaching other cars and indicate as if they are going to turn in front of them, it is their way of saying “Jambo” – “Hello”. Getting from place to place in Zanzibar takes a minimum for 45 minutes, but along the way there are loads of interesting places to see. I loved driving through the local towns, where the houses are made out of coral and the windows are made from palm tree leaves. Families sit on their doorsteps waving as you go by, and you are more than welcome to stop and spend some time with these humble people. Zanzibar is full of surprises, go and explore it – you won’t regret it!

My customer stories

Sent by Bakkies Eksteen

Very helpful and always trying to give the customer the best deals. I appreciate the patience dealing with the difficult requests and changes from me, your very satisfied customer. Thank you Nicci!

Sent by Russel Giger

Great, friendly, efficient service as always!!

Sent by Michelle Morgan

Really amazing person to work with. I didn't really know what I wanted, all I knew was that I wanted to go to the UK on holiday. Nicci gave me suggestions and advised why something wouldn't work. She makes me feel confident that everything is sorted.

Sent by Ronelle von Hoesslin

It was an absolute pleasure to deal with Nicci, she was super efficient and got our trip booked in record time, thanks Nicci !

Sent by Ella Myburgh

You know how in primary school when you found out your best friend had another best friend ... but it's okay cause she's still your best friend?! Our family feels the same way about Nicci! During the planning of a trip to France, we dropped emails and made requests as if we were her only clients and in return she answered & assisted with everything as if we were! She is truly amazing! And we are not the only ones appreciating her for who she is and what she does for her clients - every single entry on her Facebook page reflects her excellent service! So again ... THANK YOU for everything! We will definitely share our travels and testimonials! You deserve a few more of those certificates and awards!

Sent by Avista Dukhanti

Nicci, you're amazing! This is my 3rd trip booked with you and never again will I ever try booking a holiday myself. You're not only a pleasure to deal with, but you've learnt about my likes/dislikes and you're just an all round master at what you do. Thank you a million times over! Avista xx

Sent by Maurice van Bergen

I have booked a number of trips with Nicci and she has always been most helpful and friendly, no matter what time of the day you contact her and how trivial the matter might be. Why should I spend hours on the internet when Nicci can do it for me with a smile.

Sent by Nadia van WYk

Thank you for all your support, you are always available when we need your assistance and are super efficient via email, whatsapp and just a call away. My husband has done 50+ flights within 6 months between Africa - Middle East - India - Europe and we have relocated from South Africa to Dubai as well. We are a very tech savvy couple, I have the skyscanner, emirates and tripadvisor app on my phone, I could just as easily look for flights and book online myself, but you know what, I don't, not ever, because nothing beats Nicci!"

Sent by Jo Edgar

We have worked with Nicci for many years arranging group trips to places all around the world. She is an absolute pleasure to deal with and is always ready to assist in any way she can - arranging the best possible flights and routes, appropriate accommodations, timeous transfers and recommended tourist attractions. She works with integrity and has a great sense of humour and we value her as our Travel Counsellor.

Sent by Marcus Neustetter

Nicci has provided me with excellent service for many years. Quick, easy, and that extra effort when I keep changing my dates and mind... Thank you! My next booking through you is soon : )

Sent by Michelle Smyth

WONDERFUL Service, nothing is too much trouble. Nicci replies every time. She is willing to go the extra mile! Great stuff :)

Sent by Candy Ricketts

Nicci was extremely helpful, patient and she went that extra mile to ensure that my booking was completed correctly at the best price possible. I would highly recommend the services of this agent when booking from the United Kingdom or anywhere else in the world. Fantastic service and she has taken away the stress of having to sort it myself.

Sent by Rinda Hunt-Davis

Always the absolute Best Service from Nicci

Sent by Jennifer Aikins

Nicci was fantastic in organizing an amazing safari and shark cage diving experience. Given it was a business trip, I had little notice of my trip to South Africa and attempting to do it myself was overwhelming and frustrating. Coming highly recommended, Nicci met my criteria and relieved my burden. She created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you, Nicci.

Sent by Catherine Boulanger

Honestly speaking, as a frequent and experienced worldwide traveller - if you're wishing to find an extremely efficient and friendly travel consultant then look no further - Nicci Hayden should be your 1st choice. I've booked many flights be they national, intercontinental or international over the past 5 years with her and have never been disappointed with the routing or value for money aspects.