Based in Bloemfontein

Nina & Mercia Travel Counsellors

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It's Nice To Meet You

Fellow travellers, welcome to my website!

Travel is, was and will forever be a motivating force of my life!

After completing my law degree, I was in an existential predicament because I realised that my heart was not devoted to the scales of Madame Justitia. My wise father encouraged me to take a travelling sabbatical. I travelled through Africa with my brother, who was doing sub continental tours at that stage. With the sun rising over the Great Rift Valley, I realised that my heart irrevocably belongs to this mystical continent of ours. In that moment I understood the gentleness of the mothers of Africa, the laziness of time, the force of the Great Zambezi, the joy of a, “Jumbo” in friendly greeting, the humour of the locals over a Tusker, (the local beer of Tanzania), the devastation caused by famine and poverty, the beauty of a sunset and the shy smile of an umfaan.

The United Kingdom was next on my list. For three years I worked on and off in Stratford upon Avon and used the rest of the time to explore the history and diversity of the cultural life in Europe. Back in South Africa I married my best friend, one magical night under the bright stars of a Free State sky. Fortunately for me, he also loves the great beyond and shares my passion for travel. We have two children and we use every opportunity that we can to take them with us, whether it is to Clocolan, Cape Town or Lesotho!

I get my biggest kick out of sharing in the huge smiles of satisfied customers. The awards that I have accumulated through the years, have made me proud, but the best reward that I can receive is a client coming back from an awesome journey and having no words to describe the joys experienced.

I am now a proud Travel Counsellor. I am home-based, so I can manage my time between my family and my clients. I am available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to assist where ever I can.

My passion and love for travel is what encourages and drives me to give the best personalised service to my clients.

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence, but in the mastery of his passions.
–Alfred Lord Tennyson-

For all your travel requirements




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Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:

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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.

Beautiful Italy!

05 June 2012

Italy is one of those places, where you feel at home, at ease and peaceful. Where else in Europe can you find the blend of great art, delicious food and wine, and human warmth and welcome that awaits you in Italy? This Mediterranean country has made a profound contribution to Western civilisation, producing some of the world's greatest thinkers, writers, politicians, saints, and artists. Impressive traces of their lives and works can still be seen in Italy's great buildings and enchanting countryside. This time around, I decided to make Florence our base. From there, I explored Tuscany and Cinque Terre at my heart's content! Arezzo, Chianti, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano and Montepulchio only a busride away. Country roads wind around cypress trees on hilltops that often appear to catch and hold onto the clouds. Planted vineyards, fields, and orchards turn those curving hills into a patchwork of colours and textures that have inspired artists and delighted travellers for centuries. Sitting majestically in the midst of all this natural splendour is Siena, longtime rival of Florence and one of Italy's best-preserved medieval cities. Other hilltop towns will beckon you as well: San Gimignano, with its lofty towers; the ancient city of Volterra, once capital of a flourishing Etruscan state; and a myriad charming villages dotting the rolling hills of Chianti. Central Tuscany has an enticing landscape, one that invites you to follow its meandering roads to see where they might lead. Perhaps you'll come to a farmhouse selling splendid olive oil or one of the superb wines produced in the region; or perhaps you'll arrive at a medieval pieve (country church), an art-filled abbey, a castello (castle), or a restaurant where a flower-bedecked terrace looks out on a spectacular panorama. Whatever road you take, Siena, Italy's most enchanting medieval city, is the one stop that's mandatory. The perfectly preserved centro storico, with its medieval palaces, is a delight to walk around; vehicle traffic is banned. Once in the region, however, there are plenty of other places to explore: San Gimignano is known as the "medieval Manhattan" because of its enormous towers, built by rival families, that still stand today. Like Siena, it benefited from commerce and trade along the pilgrimage routes, as the wonderful art in its churches and museums attests. With additional time, consider venturing farther afield to Volterra, with a stop in Colle di Val d'Elsa along the way. After the wonderful time in Tuscany, I set off to Venice. Venice is called La Serenissima, "the most serene," a reference to the majesty, wisdom, and impressive power of this city that was for centuries the unrivaled leader in trade between Europe and the Orient, and a major center of European culture. Built entirely on water by a people who saw the sea as a defense and ally, Venice is unlike any other town. No matter how often you've seen it in photos and films, the real thing is more dreamlike than you could ever imagine. Italy, one of my favourite destinations, was once again a delight to my senses! Please contact me for more information, I have great tips to share!


05 June 2012

What a pleasant surprise Mauritius is! I have heard so many different stories: Mauritius being too commercial, too full of honeymooners, too expensive. On the contrary, I have only found wonderful scenery, hearty people, great food and exquisite resorts. I was lucky enough to spend 10 days on this beautiful island and made sure that I criss-crossed the whole island to see as many properties as I could, to make sure that I have firsthand knowledge. From the luxurious 5 Star properties to the bungalows on the beach, everything is a wonderful experience. Obviously Mauritius is known as the island of palm trees, white sand and clear waters, but it is the heart of the locals that caught my attention. So eager to please and to show and introduce you around. I have grown my list of Facebook friends, which delights me, because now I know what is happening in Mauritius! The resorts I have visited, caters for all your needs and I really appreciate what they do to keep children happy, active, nourished and busy, while mum and dad have a peaceful moment. Nothing is too much to ask. The well known tour operators are very professional and make sure that all the arrangements are spot on. It is wonderful to stay in the well kept resorts, but the secret of Mauritius lies in getting out and about. There are beautiful places and gems to be explored. The excursions that can be done in Mauritius are amazing. Snorkelling, swimming with dolphins, quad-biking and parasailing, to name a few. Mauritius is a wonderful destination, only 4 hours away from Johannesburg. Just make sure that you take the whole family with, everyone will have good time. You will not be disappointed!

4 Days in Dubai!

15 January 2012

Dubai has become a very popular tourist destination. So when the opportunity arose, I was excited to eventually go and see for myself what makes Dubai such an interesting destination. For 4 days, I had the privilege to experience the Emirate of Dubai. Dubai constantly dwells in a suppressive competition with itself trying to magnetise tourists to a dreamy world of attractions and unheard of luxuries. I experienced this first hand. The idea that I got is that where ever we went, there was a constant urge to construct something bigger and better than the previous. From the Palm and World Islands, the Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and the amazing fun parks, it is indeed a city of superlatives: biggest, fastest, tallest and highest. Dubai still has some areas, where you can feel the Arab mystic, of decades gone by. Dubai creek, where you can get in an Abra (watertaxi) to cross the creek and get glimpses of beautiful views of the city, Bastakiya District, some of the Souks, Jumeirah Mosque and having dinner on an original dhow. For me it was a little artificial, but still I could not help liking it. If you want a cosmopolitan atmosphere, wonderful shopping, fascinating buildings, opulent hotels, mind boggling malls and some of the best restaurants in the world, you will just have to see Dubai. You will be amazed by all that Dubai has to offer!

Tantalizing Thailand!

15 January 2012

There is no better way than to experience Thailand other than with great friends. Especially friends that are laid back, explorers, fun, crazy and open to everything that a country has to offer. So yet again, we packed our bags and opted for Thai Airways that offers a direct flight service to Bangkok. This airline makes sure that all your needs are met, from the seats that offer more legroom to the very professional and attentive staff who made sure that we arrived fresh at every destination. Bangkok is one of those cities that never sleeps and so we never slept. As usual, we roamed the streets, day and night to smell, taste, feel and see all the wonders of the hospitable and extremely friendly Thai people. We could not get enough of the Singa beer, the incredible tasty noodles of the street vendors, the hours spent in the massage parlours, the rich legacy of the Thai culture and of course the insane shopping. The capital of Bangkok is an astonishing city of neon lights, soaring skyscrapers and crazy energy, intertwined with deep spirituality and century-old traditions. Here you’ll stumble across everything from enormous shopping malls to floating markets, to magnificent temples to chic hotels and clubs, to electrifying Thai boxing matches to Saffron-robed monks collecting their daily alms. Bangkok is unforgettable! After our three days in Bangkok, we wanted to relax, so we took a flight to Phuket and then the ferry to Phi Phi Island. Once a backpacker’s best kept secret, this island is one of the most pristine, tropical islands in the Andaman Sea. For 5 days, we enjoyed the beauty of swimming in luke warm water, soaking up the sun, strolling the picture perfect beaches, snorkelling around Phi Phi Leh and enjoying long evenings of fire shows on the beach. Taking a long tail boat around Phi Phi Don is a must. The classic butterfly shape of Phi Phi Don, with its two distinctive back-to-back bays is one of the world’s most spectacular destinations. Beautiful Thailand will definitely see me again!

My customer stories

Sent by Marina Fourie

Thank you for the opportunity! I HAVE already and WILL confidently recommend NINA to family, friends and colleagues in future. My husband and I do much travelling and have had the pleasure and disappointment of working with many travel agents before. NINA IS ONE IN A MILLION! She is prompt, effective, helpful and very professional. If I were to allocate rewards for service: SHE WOULD BE THE WINNER.

Sent by Martial Staub

I haven't in my whole life experienced a travel advisor as effective as Nina Gerdener. I would like to thank her for everything. I have absolute peace of mind, knowing that she would address any query swiftly. I shall contact her when I take my family on a trip to South Africa.

Sent by Sechaba Mahlomaholo

It has been a pleasure to work with your travel agency. I have received first class treatment only befitting Royalty. I am truly blessed and privileged.

Sent by Carlo Luus

Excellent Service ... Do not hesitate to make use of Nina! She is very kind and easy to work with, and has the right information always on hand or is very quickly available. Make use of her with confidence! Luus Family

Sent by Anneri Meintjes

Nina Gerdener is really great. She helped me to organize my first trip abroad and one of the most special things about it was that I could genuinely sense her excitement to help me organize my trip. She really goes the extra mile and I'd not only recommend her to friends and colleagues, but I would definitely make use of her services myself again.

Sent by Leon en Leoni Kruger

Nina, Weereens baie dankie vir die professionele wyse waarop jy al ons reelings na Mauritius getref het (verblyf en vliegkartjies). Alles het perfek afgeloop met geen "hick-up.”. Ons het 'n heerlike tyd in Mauritius gehad en is al klaar besig om die volgende vakansie te beplan, en natuurlik sal ons met liefde van jou dienste gebruik maak. Groete Leon en Leoni

Sent by Masedi Manenye

Nina just want to thank you for organising my trip to Greece, everything was well planned from the word go...I did not find anything hard to understand nor did I have any problems with the preparation of the trip nor the trip itself. I just want to say- job well done and I now know who to consult with my future trips. Kind regards Godfrey

Sent by Dirkie Barnard

Nina het vir my en my man 'n naweek weg gereël vir ons 10de huweliksherdenking. Sy kon haar eie diskresie gebruik oor ons verblyf. Haar beplanning was FANTASTIES!! Sy het vir ons 'n naweek geboek by Spier, ons vlugte en huur motor gereël! Alles was perfek beplan! Soos ek vir haar laat weet het, was Spier die PERFEKTE keuse vir ons twee! Baie dankie Nina, jy was wonderlik, met uitstekende diens!

Sent by Luna Bergh

Nina het my reisreëlings vir 'n besoek aan die VSA in fyn besonderhede en met persoonlike aandag, belanstelling en opvolg hanteer. Die ander gaste in die hotel was verstom dat ek selfs ontbytkaartjies as deel van my pakket ontvang het. Dankie Nina - jou hulp en diens is uitmuntend!

Sent by Joan Nel

It always gives me such pleasure to recommend Nina and Mercia because what you see is what you get! What do you see? 2 Ladies that are always friendly, professional and helpful who never say "no" to a problem, but rather "let’s look at how we can solve it", they never over promise and always deliver. The benefit that I enjoy most is the fact that they work from home which enables me to contact them 24 hours a day!

Sent by Annemarie Ferreira

Nina booked my family a trip to Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket). Everything from the specially booked seats on the plane, to the hotels, day tours & taxis – it was all excellent! She really went the extra mile for us!

Sent by Evelyn Strydom

We had a wonderful trip to Brazil and I can only say thank you. Our tour plans had been initiated by another person who withdrew from all the arrangements at the end of March and we were fortunate to be referred to Nina who took over the reins and not once did we have any hiccups and were kept up to date at all times. We have no hesitation in recommending and referring all our colleagues to Nina.

Sent by Philip Nel

Every bit of my trip to Turkey and India was carefully planned by Nina and we experienced no hiccups or uncomfortable surprises!! A great and friendly service provided!

Sent by Charl Uys

Beste Nina Baie, baie dankie vir al jou moeite met ons besprekings en kaartjies en die ekstra myl wat jy bereid is om te loop. Dit was regtig 'n plesier om met jou te werk en jy kan verseker weet dat ons jou weer sal kontak vir enige toekomstige reisreëlings. Vriendelike groete. Charl en Annene Uys

Sent by Tienie & Santie Britz

Nina assisted us in getting flights and accommodation to suit our budgetary needs. In addition, she helped us getting our British and USA visas with lots of tips and information to help us prepare for our visit to London and the States. As we had specific seating requirements, our seats were pre-booked. We will definitely use Nina again for our next holiday abroad. Thank you Nina!

Sent by Maria De Wit

Heil die leser Ek wil graag vir Nina uit die diepte van my hart bedank vir al haar moeite met ons toer na Turkye. Reeds in die beplanningsstadium het sy ons bygestaan met inligting en talle vrae sorgvuldig uitgeklaar. Talle oproepe het sy met groot grasie be-antwoord. Die vlugbesprekings het ook baie vlot verloop en het Nina ook telkens ons kleinste wense aandag aan gegee. Nogmaals baie dank

Sent by Dineo Gaofhiwe-Ingram

I was very happy with the service offered by Nina for my recent trip to the USA. She had very little time to book my complicated travel itinerary and handled it very well. Great work!

Sent by Hugo Naude

Boys and girls please take note that Nina ROCKS! Excellent service, friendly and always in the mood to help! We had NO problems on our trip to Barcelona.

Sent by Annette Prins

Nina has delivered an excellent and personalised plan for our tour to the USA and Canada. It was very affordable with good accommodation in excellent locations. She listens well and attempts to accommodate one's wishes. Thanks Nina!

Sent by Sarah Jane Smith

Nina's very professional service has always made for a problem free holiday.

Sent by Phillip vd Merwe

Hi Nina, baie dankie vir al die moeite wat jy gedoen het met my besoek aan Frankryk. Van die aansoeke van visums tot by die bespreek en bevestiging van die vliegtuigkaartjies was uitstekend.

Sent by Hugo Naude

Baie dankie Nina vir 'n vakansie sonder enige probleme, als het glad verloop. Baie dankie vir jou moeite om al die nodige dokumentasie persoonlik te kom oorhandig en die vinnige diens om die "hick-ups" vooraf uit te stryk. Dis duidelik jy weet wat jy doen en dat jy jou werk geniet. Nogmals baie dankie - jy ROCK!

Sent by Mvula Mochesela

Thanks so much for the effort you put in when arranging our travel arrangements. Given that it was my first time travelling abroad I was very anxious and was intimidated when thinking about all the procedures and paperwork that I'd have to handle but with the package which you compiled for me made everything that much easier. I'd recommend your service to anyone.

Sent by Derek van Wyk

Nina is without any doubt in my mind an incredible travel advisor and Travel Counsellor. Nina's service is world class and her dedication to meeting your requirements is nothing short of phenomenal! I have no hesitation in recommending Nina going forward. I will always engage and secure all my travel arrangements with Nina! Nina is simply the best Travel Counsellor I know!

Sent by Elizabeth Oosthuysen

Nina, se opgewondenheid en vriendelike diens met ons gesinsvakansie na Frankryk en Duitsland is as persoonlik en professioneel ervaar. Besprekings en dokumentasie deur haar gedoen was foutloos. Nina, wees verseker jy het kliente "for life". Lizeth en gesin

Sent by Marietjie Kock

What an eye-opener to do business with you. All my years in using travel agents, I have never received the service, dedication and excellent personal attention we received from you. I will never use another travel agent. Thank you for another unforgettable trip!

Sent by Wessel en Hester Nolte

This lady knows what the word SERVICE means. Thank you Nina, you gave us your best and we will recommend you to everyone we know.

Sent by Nalize Marais

Nina Gerdener has organised several trips for me and my colleagues. Thanks Nina for walking the extra mile. You are doing a fabulous job. Your 24/7 availability and personal assistance adds value to the Travel Counsellor Service. Nina arranged everything in advance and on time.....and delivered it to my office!! Thanks for ensuring that my trips are enjoyable experiences!

Sent by Estelle Heiedman

Nina was professional and extremely helpful in assisting me with my travel arrangements. The hotel was superb. I was one of a lucky few who had air-conditioning during the blazing hot days in Vienna.