History

Pieters, MiamiTHE KARELL TRAVEL GROUP HISTORY

Family owned and operated, The Karell Travel Group, takes its name from the original owners, close friends of Norman & Cathy Pieters who acquired the business in 1991.

Karell owners Norman & Cathy Pieters and their four year old son Craig emigrated from South Africa in 1988, green cards in hand and ready to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in the United States. They settled in Worcester, Massachusetts for three years before an extraordinary series of events led to an opportunity to acquire Karell Travel from close friends in 1991. Before taking over, Norman promised that two things would never change: the name Karell and the original K logo.

One year later, Hurricane Andrew swept through South Florida, leaving mass devastation in its wake and a grim economic future for many of the businesses in its path, including Karell. Necessity is the mother of invention, however, and these hard financial times became the catalyst for Norman’s decision to completely re-invent the agency as a specialist in one area: African travel.

23 years later, the company continues to flourish, known for its honesty, commitment and personal attention in orchestrating customized trips to Southern and East Africa as well as its most recent addition, the Indian sub-continent. With Craig’s addition to the company in 2008, it is truly a family owned and run business now.

Norman & Cathy have ninety years of collective travel industry experience, having worked in South Africa, London, Australia, Swaziland and the United States. In 2013, Norman was named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s exclusive A-List of the world’s best travel agents for the 5th consecutive year, one of only two in the safari category.

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