A Note from Our Founder, Sandy Salle
For some travelers, the beach is their “happy place.” For me it’s Africa.
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and travel back to Africa each year. While I’m happily an American citizen today, I’m always aching a bit for home.
For the smiling faces that first greet you as you step off a plane in the bush.
For the smell of renewal that comes with the first rains of the season.
For the wild, wide open spaces, and the warm people you meet along the way – in the rural villages and vibrant cities.
A little bit of Africa is always with me—and that’s why I’m so honored to share a piece of my home with our clients.
My mission at Hills of Africa is to show you the side of the continent many tourists never glimpse, with a personalized escape that takes you deep into the most magical landscapes imaginable. Simply put, we know Africa. We’ve cultivated relationships with top guides and property managers across the continent. We know who to get in touch with at each lodge to arrange a special birthday or anniversary surprise. We know which safari guide to recommend based on your particular travel style.
But more than our deep knowledge, we care. My team and I are committed to maintaining the highest possible standards for your African vacation. You can expect a safari itinerary that unfolds with ease and leaves you feeling pampered throughout, with a guide to meet you for each bush plane transfer and beyond. You’re in for an adventure, one that’s safe, comfortable, sustainable, and beyond all expectations.
That’s why our wonderful clients have returned to us again and again (some are on their 10th Hills of Africa escape!).
My team would love to show you the magic of Africa, too.
If you’re ready to experience the unforgettable for yourself, I invite you to reach out. We look forward to making your Africa dreams come true.
Meet the Team
Founder & President
A native of Zimbabwe, Sandy was born and raised in southern Africa and was fortunate to travel to many places in the southern part of the continent. While she is now happily an American citizen, she does miss Africa—the smell of the first rains, the beautiful sunsets, and the magic of the people. Believing the next best thing to living in Africa is sharing it with others, in 2002, Sandy founded Hills of Africa travel. Sandy is Hills of Africa’s personal escort and takes great pride in giving her clients the once-in-a-lifetime, magical African experience they’ll remember forever.
Director of Client Services
Knowing that she possessed a deep passion for exploration, and helping friends plan exciting outings and adventures, Amy left a 19-year career in teaching to pursue opportunities in the travel industry. Joining the Hills of Africa Travel team in the fall of 2010, Amy has been an extremely valuable asset to our team ever since. From getting processes and procedures in place for the team to managing everything a client could need prior to travel, her role with Hills of Africa has changed over the years. Amy’s days are now spent dreaming with clients to put together the perfect trip, drawing from her years handling travel documents and pre-travel needs combined with her experiences on her many trips to the continent.
‘People ask me all the time what my favorite place is to visit in Africa. The answer to that changes with every trip I take…the waterways of Botswana, the plains of the Serengeti, the hustle and bustle of Nairobi or Cape Town, the thunder of the Victoria Falls, the gorillas of Uganda, the beaches of Mozambique…the list goes on and on and I cannot pick one favorite! There are so many different landscapes and animals to experience. But the common golden thread woven throughout is the people of Africa. My heart is filled to the brim and my life more rich for the encounters and interactions with so many beautiful people!’
Client Experience Concierge
Sam was born and raised in Southern Africa, she immigrated to New York in 2000 with her husband Mark, they have 3 boys all born in the USA. She Moved to Mooresville In December 2020 to be closer to family, joined the Hills of Africa Team May 2021 and is so excited to be working with this lovely team. Things she misses and loved about Southern Africa were the sunsets on Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe or sitting by the fire in the Kruger Park and hearing the lions roar or the hyenas laughing.
Amy Kaufman Relihan
Client Sales Experience Manager
After spending over 15 years in the retail industry where she served many roles, Amy discovered her need to share the world through travel and opened her own travel agency. During her time as an owner she was lucky enough to experience Africa personally with our very own Sandy Salle. Amy fell in love with Africa and became determined to bring more people to this magical destination.
In September 2021 an opportunity became available for Amy to join our team as the Client Sales Experience Manager. Amy’s wealth of experience in client care and worldwide travel is a perfect fit to the exceptional level of service we provide our clients every day. Amy spends her days speaking to, and dreaming with, clients about their travel dreams and wishes. Then taking all those dreams and wishes, she creates beautiful, breathtaking bespoke itineraries that exceed all expectations and desires.
“One of the best days of my life was when I came to work with the team at Hills of Africa. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to bring more people to magnificent continent and share the magic of Africa.”
Director of Marketing
Travel has been a part of life for Kati ever since she first stepped on an airplane at age 12 — when her family relocated to Singapore.
After spending 15 years in the publishing and event planning business, Kati decided to pursue her passion for travel full time and became an independent travel advisor in 2017.
As an advisor, Kati loved helping families plan their perfect vacations and sharing the joys of travel with all of her clients.
During her time as a travel advisor, she was able to travel with Hills of Africa several times, visiting South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. Of course, Africa found its way into her heart pretty quickly, so in 2022 when she had an opportunity to join the Hills of Africa team, she jumped at the chance.
Now she spends her days writing about the unforgettable continent of Africa and helping both clients and travel advisors learn more about the experiences it holds.