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CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST AFRICA – JUL-AUG 2018


Safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara Dear Mark and everyone at Africa Adventure Company,

We have now been back from Africa for almost a week and I am missing it!  I cannot thank you enough for planning such a fantastic trip for us!  Everything was perfect.  We were taken care of every minute that we were there by friendly, knowledgeable and helpful guides.  The itinerary was perfect.  We loved the diversity of places that we stayed and visited and enjoyed each of them very much.  I hope to ask you to plan another trip to Africa for me soon!

Catherine James, Aug 2018   African Journeys Safari to Kenya and Tanzania Elena,

I just wanted to thank you for arranging a fantastic trip to Kenya and Tanzania. I had a wonderful time and am so glad that I was able to join the group. Also, thanks very much for arranging the single accommodation for me for all but one night during the trip. I really appreciate the ground crew's persistence in making that happen.

First, we had an enjoyable visit in Nairobi. Newton was fantastic and worked very hard to arrange all of our activities to fit our schedule and avoid the crowds. The visit to the orphanage was a real highlight - I am so glad that we fit that into our schedule. The people working there were so committed to the children…

On safari, I can't quite get over the amazing wildlife that we saw. Each day was a real adventure and we saw something new every minute. We attribute our experience largely to our excellent guides. In Tanzania, Davis and Ephata were incredible. They had an in depth knowledge of the animals, their behavior, and their habitat. Most of the time, they were the first to spot the wildlife. They knew where the animals hung out and got us there first before the other vehicles arrived. Many times we were absolutely astounded at their ability to find the animals when they were so well camouflaged. We could never have seen so much without them. In Kenya, Amos and Steven were also very good in Amboseli, and Amos and Sayeed in Masai Mara. They sometimes relied a little more on the other guides to find the wildlife, but they were still very good. They knew the animals and birds very well and taught us so much about their behavior. Our last day, we had the incredible experience of witnessing two lionesses take down two wildebeest in the morning and then saw a huge wildebeest crossing in the afternoon. Absolutely amazing!!! …

The lodging and meals were also great. The Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi was lovely, and has some amazing history. All the other lodges were also very good or excellent. The rooms were clean and spacious, and the food was very good - especially for vegetarians. The food at the Fairmont and Kichwa Tembo was particularly good, but all of the food was more than adequate…

Finally, I just want to note that the coordination between the different ground operators was excellent. I know there were a lot of different moving parts, the guides in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania, and the other staff at the airport and the hotels. They all worked very well together, so we hardly knew that we were being handed off from one to another - even at the border crossings!

Bravo for a job well done. Best, Amy Nelson, Aug 2018   Kenya Flying Safari to Amboseli, Lewa Downs and the Maasai Mara Hi Szilvia,

Thanks for planning an exciting safari for me.  I enjoyed myself but wish it had been longer.  Lewa Downs was my favorite by far.  So much so, I would consider returning, which is rare for me because there is so much of the world left for me to explore.

Again, I had a great time. Karen Barratt, Jul 2018   Tanzania Explorer Safari to Tarangire, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Hello Mark and Saskia,

Thank you again for putting together such an amazing African safari for me and my family. It was a trip that we will never forget and one that has surely changed the perspective of both my son and daughter.  The fact that we NEVER had to concern ourselves with transportation, accommodations or meals on any portion of the trip allowed us to focus on the beauty of Africa and the adventure that was all around us.  I wanted to comment on part of the itinerary and provide some feedback for you.

1)  Meru Hotel :  This was a nice hotel and very comfortable after 24 hours on an airplane.  Getting acclimated to a different time zone in a western style hotel was perfect.  The Arusha tour was interesting . Cosmas took us to the large food market which was totally authentic and African. Although we stuck out like sore thumbs, it was great to see the chaos of a genuine market.

2)  Maramboi Tented Camp:   This is a great property!  The staff, the tented lodge style rooms and the fact that it is situated right in the middle of a wildlife reserve was amazing . Great first property to start the adventure.  The food was excellent and the staff were so warm and welcoming, My kids were very sad to leave.  The game drive in Tarangire was rich and full of wildlife.

3)  Village walk thru Mto wa Mbu was very cool.  Amos , the worker at the center, was excellent.  We expected this to be a staged 2-3 hour tour of a cultural center, but it was totally different than expected.  We spent 3 hours walking all around the village visiting great spots.  Amos shared the richness of Mto wa Mbo and the rich culture throughout the city.   He even took us to a ‘bar’, which was a mud hut, and tasted and explained the cultural significance of banana beer.  Great stop over on our way to Lake Eyasi.

4)  Kisima Ngeda Camp:  Probably our favorite tented camp.  So comfortable and nestled in the grove of palm trees next to the lake.  The owner, Chris, came out each night to introduce himself to all of the new guests.  That was a great touch.  His staff of all male employees was exceptional.   The visit to the Hadzabe tribe was amazing.  Authentic in every sense of the word!   A local Datoga tribes person was on hand to help locate and introduce us to the Hadzabe people.  His name was Quadra and the dude was excellent.  We were able to go on a 2.5 hour hunt with some of the young men.  They caught a bird and a squirrel with their bows…  Highlight of the trip for me.  He also took us to two other tribes.  One was the Blacksmiths and the Datoga tribe.  Great all around experience.

5)  Balloon ride in the Serengeti :  This was fantastic !  What a highlight. We had to get up an hour earlier because Bologonya is farther away from the balloon launch site.  We left at 3:30 am …  The pilot was very skilled. He navigated perfectly and we were able to skirt acacia tree tops and lion rock. We saw plenty of wildlife and it was a much different experience in a balloon vs. a rough jeep.  The champagne breakfast was wonderful as well.

Our guide Cosmas was a very good guide. Thank you for the upgraded camps.  Kitela was beautiful and luxurious and Bologonya was treat in the middle of the Serengeti.  We will highly recommend Africa Adventure Co. to our friends and relatives who are interested in this adventure !!!

Thanks again. Joseph Pangelinan, Jul 2018   Safari to Rwanda and Tanzania and Private Mt Kilimanjaro Climb Hi Mark, We had a fantastic trip!  We really enjoyed all of the different parts of the trip, especially:
  • Gorillas in Rwanda - Sam did a great job navigating all the curvy/hilly roads, and seeing the gorillas up close was an amazing experience.
  • Safaris in Serengeti and Ngorongoro - Daniel was an exceptional guide, very upbeat and with extensive knowledge of wildlife. He made it fun even though we did some very long all-day game drives to see the wildebeest migration, lions, and cheetahs.
  • Killi Villa - It was great to have our own villa and chef and swimming pool; almost too fancy for us. It's a little far off the main road though.
  • Kilimanjaro Climb - Our guides (Abraham and James) were also great, and helped us make it to the summit. The food was good, and private toilet tent was so much better than the bathrooms there.
  • Zanzibar - Breezes was a wonderful break after the Kilimanjaro climb. We did a Stone Town tour one day and snorkeling another.
  • Selous - Rufiji River Camp was great, and the staff went above and beyond to provide internet access for Claire to register for her college classes! The animals weren't as amazing as Serengeti, but we still saw a lot of cool things on safari there, and it was awesome to see/hear the hippos from the camp.
Thanks for planning a wonderful trip for us, and quickly moving our first week to Rwanda when the DRC didn't work out! Steve Perrin, Jul 2018    Exploration of Madagascar’s Berenty and Andasibe-Mantadia Reserves and Tanzania Safari to Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti Hi All,

Thanks for pulling together such an amazing and unforgettable trip for us.  We really had an epic time.  Here is some feedback as requested.

  1.  It was easy and a pleasure working with Szilvia and her team.  They were very responsive, patient and really tried to meet all of our needs and answer all of our questions and get us prepared the best they could.
  1.  The itinerary was great (as originally planned) to optimize all that we wanted to see and do.
  1.  The logistics were very smooth; ground transport, air, guides, etc.
In Madagascar, Tuki our driver to Vakona was exceptional. In Tanzania all the ground transport was fabulous (the lounge at the airport was lovely and Mussa our driver was a delight).
  1. The caliber of guides was very high.

Francis in Tanzania served as driver and guide for our Ngorongoro leg was a standout in his patience, knowledge, flexibility, humor and endurance.  We also were impressed with our Vakona guide, Patrice, our Berenty guide, Mbula (he taught us many words) as well as our Chem Chem guide, Emmanuel.

Kidas (Kuria Hills) was solid, but he was the hardest to communicate/connect with (to be fair, he was having a hard time in his life just back from his mother's funeral and dealing with an unideal wildebeest situation).

      5. Packing list, tipping guidelines, preparation materials were all very helpful.  We tipped everyone generously (slightly higher than the high end of your suggested range)

  1.  When something went wrong and we contacted you, you were receptive and responsive even though Szilvia was on vacation.
  1.  Most accommodations were amazing:
Madagascar:

Vakona was beautiful; not updated, but not at all an issue. It felt comfortable and luxurious for being in the middle of the rainforest.  The laundry service was heroic (we arrived with soaking wet bags from thunder storms from our 8hr. Istanbul layover). We were very glad we stayed there as the location is very nice.

Berenty exceeded expectations. Accommodations and setting have all be recently updated and it felt quite luxurious and the food was the best we had in Madagascar.  The lights out thing remains, but it's part the charm.

Tanzania:

Lemala Killi Villa: was almost too large and remote at first, but it was very comfortable and served the purpose of a gateway to Arusha national park and views of Killi. Very friendly and accommodating staff

Little Chem Chem: the height of decadence for us. It was simply amazing on all levels.  The only complaint is perhaps we ate too much because they were constantly feeding us. Massages were a special treat for us all including the kids. Thanks for the great recommendation to have the kids try it out as well.

Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Crater: they had these lovely shows at night: Masai and acrobats that were super fun to see.

Lemala Kuria Hills: Gorgeous and luxurious. Enjoyed the rooms, plunge pool and dining.

Arusha Coffee Lodge: very comfortable, accommodating and a great place to recoup and shower. Good food.

  1.  Really hard to pick a highlight location.  We had very lucky days from views of Kili to many lemurs day and night to crazy amount of lion in Ngorongoro to close encounters with elephants at Chem Chem to close encounters with giraffe in Arusha.  It was only the Serengeti which was a challenge.
  1.  Glad we were able to add the market and the city tour in Madagascar and also glad to add the shopping in Arusha (could have used more time, but our flight was delayed in arriving to Arusha).
  1. Picnic breakfasts and lunches were well worth it for longer game drives (especially at Chem Chem and Ngorongoro)
  1. The visit to the school and the Maasai village were highlights and very easily arranged with Chem Chem.  It seemed less touristy than could have otherwise happened.  Thanks for trying to accommodate the orphanage request; totally understand it was not possible in the end.

Overall, we had an amazing time and are still digesting the surreal wonder and majesty of what we were able to experience from the landscape, people and the wildlife. It was incredible. We would definitely use/recommend your services as we felt very well cared for and overall well curated to our desired goals.  Thanks for all that you do!

 Cheers, Nadya Ramsaroop and Maneesh Jain, Jul 2018   Private Tanzania Family Safari

First, let us emphasize that we had a marvelous trip! For our small group, the four Pangelinans including two teenagers and ourselves, the trip was the perfect mix of varied experiences. The kids made friends with whom they are still in contact through social media.

The Hadzi Bushmen walk (and run through the acacia bush at times) was a tremendous experience as was the hike into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to see the elephant caves. The physical activities were perfect for our group. We all learned that people all over the world are kind, helpful (teaching us to use bows and arrows) and friendly.

The visits to the artists’ and wood carving studios, Arusha city market, banana beer bar, metal jewelry craft making, and rice mill helped us learn how local people make a living for themselves and their tribes.

All of our lodging was excellent from the high-end Kitela Lodge to the extremely nice mobile tent camp (Kati Kati). The chefs were wonderful and the food always tasty except the selection of food items for some of the picnic lunches was very limited. The staff at all of the lodges was very helpful and friendly. We guess they are just a sample of the many wonderful people who live in Tanzania. We highly recommend you continue to book all of the lodges.

We appreciate the tipping chart very much. We have traveled many places in the world with a number of different travel companies. Tipping is always a big mystery and a huge concern. Thank you! We want to be correct and to help support the local residents, and have never been quite sure of the appropriate amounts to tip…

We will be very happy to book a trip with you again in the future! We have given your business card to someone already.

Dave and Karen Sharpe, Jul 2018


CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST & SOUTHERN AFRICA – APR-JUN 2018


Multi-Generational Safari to Southern Africa including Sabi Sand and Okavango Delta Hi Kyle and Rhoda and the rest of the team at the Africa Adventure Company,

We have returned from a truly magical trip to Africa. We are excited to share our experiences with you.

First, we want to tell you that the trip was beautifully planned, and everything went off without a hitch. Everyone was where they were supposed to be. There were no delays. Traveling with our family party of 9 (including 3 children ages 11, 11, 13) and 4 grandparents, we were delighted that every time we arrived at an airport, we had someone to meet us and guide us through the transition. This was terrific...

Our transfer to Ngala Safari Lodge was very easy…The lodge was wonderful. Mama Connie was a wonderful hostess. We saw the Big 5 in the first 24 hours. That was not all we wanted to see, but we did not see most of those animals again while in Africa, so we were happy we saw them there. Also go to see wild dogs! The service and quality of the guide (Barney) and tracker (Given) were superb.  We knew they were outstanding, but we really came to appreciate them even more when we went to our next lodge and realized how outstanding they were in comparison. We enjoyed being able to have all 9 of us in one vehicle.  We were not sure if this was a good idea when it was proposed to us initially, but Barney assured us that we should do our first game drive all together on the afternoon of our arrival, and if we wanted to have 2 vehicles the next day, he would make it happen. Needless to say, they were right, and we only wanted one vehicle. Barney has been nominated to participate in a competition for best guide in South Africa, and we totally know why.  Cannot say enough about them…We did do a walking safari (me and my husband Steven) with Barney and it was a highlight. Our butler Marcus was wonderful. The rooms were beautiful (we loved the outdoor showers), the food was excellent and plentiful, and game drives outstanding…

[caption id="attachment_6858" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Ngala Safari Lodge[/caption]

The transfer to Livingstone was very well organized as well. We had the perfect amount of time there- about 1.5 days.  The hotel was perfect- Avani. Great breakfast and we also had dinner there one night and it was actually one of our best meals…The next day we went to the falls, and had a blast with the kids. It was great being able to walk there from our hotel and having admission included with our stay. The next afternoon we did the African Queen boat ride down the Zambezi, and this was really fun. It was so beautiful and we enjoyed the sunset. The service was excellent and the snacks were good…

Our transfer to Botswana went well.  It was eye opening to ride across the Zambezi on that motor boat and to see the bridge being built! The assistance with transfer, immigration, etc was excellent and timely. Everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.

We arrived at Shinde via small plane to a welcome with a smiling, singing staff.  We had a quick lunch and then went on afternoon game drive.  Our guides were Mathes (who is usually a manager) and Simon (who was new to Shinde but not to Ker & Downey) in 2 separate vehicles. Our time at Shinde was wonderful in many ways. We took advantage of opportunities for motorboat ride (where we really got to spend time with hippos), the mokoro (where we learned so much about the delta), and fishing (where the kids caught a ton of fish and the staff cooked a handful of them for dinner- thanks BT)… What we really enjoyed about this camp were the staff. The managers- Gosego, Angie, Thuso- were welcoming, wonderful. We enjoyed spending our meals and down time with our guides. Our favorite time of day was after the second game drive when we arrived back at camp and all sat around the fire drinking cocktails before dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with and really get to know the staff. This was truly a highlight. I know the staff are working so hard, and part of their job is to be with the guests- but we really felt they wanted to get to know us, and we really wanted to learn all about them as well!  This really made this lodge special to us! We loved the open bar, open fridge, and ability to help yourself at any time to a soda or cocktail.  The wine choices here were really excellent, and we found several we liked and enjoyed. Two other highlights were a surprise lunch in the bush (with the whole camp), and on our last night, they surprised our family with a private dinner under the stars. Our accommodations were excellent. We loved the tents and the “hushbabies” (hot water bottle) in our beds at night. The bathrooms were spacious and modern, and I understand they were added relatively recently.

[caption id="attachment_6860" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Shinde.[/caption] I cried when we left. I am sure you hear that often. I cannot wait for our next trip to Africa. Thank you so much for all you did to arrange our trip and to make such wonderful suggestions about our itinerary. Sincerely, Shireen Sims, May 2018   “Big Five” Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserves and Cape Town Hi Kyle,

The safari was amazing! Even though I had thought about what it would be like to be on safari, it was so much better than I could imagined! I didn't realize how very close you get to all the animals and how many we would get to see. Both Tanda Tula and MalaMala were great! I think the combination of Tanda Tula and MalaMala were perfect as we got to experience both tented and lodge based safari camps. Honestly, before going I was a little apprehensive about the "tented" experience, but Tanda Tula takes "glamping" to a whole new level! At Tanda Tula our guide, Luke, was really great and we learned so much about the animals and environment from him. He even gave my dad a photography lesson. Our tracker, Jack, had an astonishing ability to locate animals from far distances. On top of the safari experience, the food was amazing! I loved the outdoor bush breakfasts and one day we had a special sundowner with a gin tasting and lanterns.

MalaMala was the perfect contrast to Tanda Tula. I loved the huge individual lodges with thatched roofs at Sable Camp (where we ended up since the Main Camp was be renovated)! Both our guides at MalaMala, Pieter and Kyle, were also great! They were fun while also being informative. I think we saw the Big 5 every day at MalaMala! Plus we got super close to the animals--and there were multiple leopard sightings everyday. Although it is hard to pick a favorite moment, some of my favorite moments included being surrounded by almost 150 elephants (including babies) at Tanda Tula and literally following a lion and lioness one morning at MalaMala. We also saw a leopard attempt a kill.

Cape Town was very beautiful despite the rain! Our guide did a great job making sure we got to see everything we wanted in the 2 days we were there and was flexible in changing around the itinerary due to the weather. It was also nice to learn more about South African history from him. The Welgelegen hotel was very cute and in a good location.

Everything was planned perfectly, and we did not have to think about any pick-up, transfer, or airport departure the entire time we were in South Africa. I know we would all like to go on another safari sometime in the future, and we would definitely use the Africa Adventure Company again.

Thanks! Saira Khan, June 2018   Southern Africa Adventure to Mashatu Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, Victoria Falls and Mana Pools Africa Adventure Team –

THANK YOU!!!  It was an amazing family adventure.  Your collective support, guidance, patience and insight to the continent/culture/location was imperative to our highly successful trip.

We could never have done this without you and truly value your support and guidance.

Our favorite guide was Tim from MalaMala.  He was able to connect with our family in a great way – making the adventure truly more memorable.  Mashatu was phenomenal and the sunsets/animals reflect that  -- the Mashatu Team were so welcoming and made us feel welcome/wanted and very safe.

[caption id="attachment_6866" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Our guide Tim from MalaMala.[/caption]

The way you all laid out our trip was perfect – every few days we went to a new venue/met new friends/experienced more of Africa.   We got to experience Safaris, wonderful Camps, variety of transportation methods, physical activity (mountain biking/hiking) and amazing food/wine.  We really appreciate your support to our family’s needs/desires and building a truly unique adventure just for us.

Thank you. Catherine Clinch, May 2018   Iconic Southern Africa Safari Dear AAC,

I have been blessed to get to travel with you three times and each time has been a real treat!  Each trip has been different & very special.  Your attention to detail is unparalleled.

I love MalaMala & the off-road game drives that allow you to truly track animals.  This was my second trip to MalaMala and it was as wonderful as the first.

Victoria Falls was wonderful again!

The Chobe Game Lodge was beautiful & their environmental awareness was very refreshing.  This is my second trip to the Chobe River.  My first trip I stayed at Muchenje Safari Lodge.  Muchenje was not as upscale as the Chobe Game Lodge, but I enjoyed my stay there equally well (we were very spoiled on our trip to Muchenje because we got to see elephant herds crossing the river right next to us.)

[caption id="attachment_6869" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Chobe Game Lodge.[/caption]

We truly enjoyed our time in Cape Town.  Our guide, Rob, was very nice & knowledgeable.  The weather cooperated and allowed us to hike on Table Mountain.  We enjoyed wine tasting, seeing the Cape of Good Hope, & seeing the penguins.

We cannot thank you enough for arranging another wonderful trip to Africa.  I hope to be able to go back again! Best Wishes, Helen Close, June 2018   Botswana and South Africa Wildlife Safari and Cape Explorer Good Afternoon Elena, I do not use the words, great, fantastic, and awesome very frequently, but they fit this adventure. Our trip was not good, It was FANTASTIC!

We had thought that this would be a once in a life time trip, but all of us quickly agreed that we have to plan another trip!

You put together a great trip for us and we thought that we could start gathering information for another trip to Africa.  We loved the accommodations at Mashatu and MalaMala and the quality of camps. The connections worked like clockwork, very impressed!

Again, The trip was fantastic!...

The African Rock Hotel was very neat and different. We were very pleased that we were not staying at a regular hotel. The food was good, as were the rooms, and the staff were very nice.

Off to Mashatu, what a great experience! Debra was so concerned about having a bucket shower. The tent set up was very nice and we all enjoyed them. Food and staff were all great. Our Guide was Jakes, he worked hard to assure that we saw a variety of animals and lots of them. One time, we had a herd of about 300 elephants walk past us. The lines of elephants just kept coming and coming and coming. We never expected to be so close to so many different animals. Every game drive held exciting new experiences. Being away from the crowds was very nice.  We hated to leave Mashatu!...

On to MalaMala, We thought that it would be hard to beat Mashatu but MalaMala did! The main lodge was closed so we were in Sable Lodges. What can we say? The rooms were fantastic, we had wild animals wandering around outside of our decks, Food, staff, guide (Bens), Staff. Michael (wine steward) went out of his way to give us a list of African wines that he thought we would enjoy. Everyone made us feel like celebrities! Our guide did everything he could to put us on the different animals and tried very hard for us to see a Kill, but that did not happen. We even saw the Big Five in one day.  Now we REALLY hated to leave.

On to Victoria Falls, the connections went great, they helped us though the customs and immigration of the countries. It was obvious that they knew some of the people behind the counters. Smooth process!

The falls were beautiful, but the information that she shared was fantastic. Lodging at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Rooms and staff were very nice…

[caption id="attachment_6872" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.[/caption]

The day tour of the falls with Cynthia was great. She has a tremendous amount of knowledge and pride of her African culture. We could only start to comprehend a tiny bit of what she shared.  Chobe National Park, the river cruise was very nice. We were able to see a few different animals and how they acted around or in the water. Hippos were amazing. We never knew that elephants could swim!

Onto Cape Town and Lucia, another great guide. She made sure that we were able to see all of the places on our list even if it took a little longer than planned. We had two full days for adventure, seeing the sights, tasting the wines and listening to Lucia share her knowledge of the different areas.  The accommodations at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront were very nice. They gave us rooms facing the ocean. A storm had come through a few days earlier and the waves were very large. The waves crashing on shore sounded like we were back on the coast of Maine. Everyone there was very nice and friendly. The breakfast here was great! Nice way to end our trip!

We have always been ready to get back home from other trips, but we all could have extended our visit in Africa. We hope that this was not too much information. Blaine, Debra, Wayne, & Rebecca Richardson, May 2018   Botswana Premier Flying Safari to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve Dear Jessica, Leonard and I want to thank you for planning another memorable trip to Africa for us.

The places we stayed: The Saxon—Elephant Camp—Kings Pool—Vumbura Plains—Mombo Main Camp were all 5 star.  Okay, I have to admit Mombo is more than 5 star.  It is so special and we hope we can return one day.

Botswana and The Okavango Delta is truly a magical and unspoiled land.  Once there you return home hoping to help preserve this natural resource that is like none other.

Africa has so much to offer the environments, the animals and especially the African people who are so caring and gentle and it is they that we keep telling our friends about.  They have seen our photos but it’s impossible for them to feel the spirit.  In each camp we enjoyed talking to the staff and finding out about their lives and we feel that we have left new friends in Botswana.

The Boma dinners are always a highlight for us since we enjoy the singing and dancing of the different villages. Here are just a few of our photos.  The interior photos are of our “tent" at Mambo. Stay well and keep in touch. Warmest regards, Barbara Bernstein, May 2018   Honeymoon Safari to South Africa and Mozambique Hi!

Sorry for the delay, Drew and I are just getting around to providing feedback on our honeymoon! We wanted to give some feedback on the amazing honeymoon we had!

Cape Town - Clarendon Bantry Bay

Very relaxing and wonderful accommodations.  The place was amazing and the staff always went above and beyond. We really enjoyed the wine tour on the bike, although it was definitely more strenuous than we thought, especially since we biked through several dirt/sand roads!  The guide was great!...We also LOVED the shark diving trip - the tour guides were excellent and we saw three great whites a handful of times!

[caption id="attachment_6883" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Clarendon Bantry Bay.[/caption] Safari - Savanna Lodge

This was definitely our most enjoyable part of the trip.  Neil (our driver) was fantastic.  Between him and the other guests we were paired with, we had an absolute blast!  We still keep in touch with the other couples from London and Chicago we met on safari!  The resort staff and all the special touches (dinners, baths, dessert wine, etc.) were all very much appreciated and made each night so incredibly special!  We've talked up the safari and Savanna lodge specifically to all of our friends and family!  We want to go back!

Mozambique - Santorini

This was the definition of relaxation.  We really got a chance to unwind and relax during this portion of the trip.  Some days we just moved from beach to pool to couches reading books (something we never get the chance to do)!  Our host, Sergio, did an excellent job of making us feel welcome and taking care of every need!  We were amazed by the level of service, the accommodations and especially the food!  Every meal was so incredibly delicious and all the personal touches (flowers, butter writing, etc.) made each meal very unique and exciting!  The managers of Santorini were also very welcoming and easy to talk to!...

We really had the trip of a lifetime and can't wait to go back some day as the pictures and videos don't do it justice! All of the details were impeccable and everything was executed so well thanks to you guys. You made the trip the easiest thing to plan while giving us the trip of a lifetime. We recommend you to everyone and anyone we can so thank you!! It was an incredible trip and we owe it all to you and your wonderful staff!

Dave & Drew Brophy, April 2018

EAST AFRICA CLIENTS TRIP REPORT

AAC Signature Primate and Plains Safari to Uganda and Rwanda Dear Ian

Sadly I have returned home. This trip was EPIC.  Your ground team is amazing and we really developed a close bond with Eric, our guide.  Outstanding!  Penny thought Peter, their guide at Murchison was amazing also. Everything went so smoothly. The treks were awesome and it is easy to see why Rwanda permits cost more. Uganda treks are harder and much more challenging but that was part of the experience. Rwanda, as you know, is less strenuous (we did supposedly have an easier trek given our time constraints), but they really have it down to a science. We were with a family of 12 gorillas and at one point we were surrounded by them all! I can see why you work for an African company because this just gets into your soul.

Besides the gorillas, Eric set up an amazing visit to a local school that gets no donations. I was there 2 hours and now my family and I are going to support the school and begin to help fund them. I have never been more focused on any project. We felt strongly that the Ugandans are so friendly and warm…

Gorilla Forest Camp in Bwindi: Our favorite place hands down. Maybe because we stayed 3 nights and just fell in love with it. The tents are top notch, food was great, the spa area was wonderful and really necessary after 2 tough hikes. Nicholas the main manager was spot on. All the wait staff were highly trained and motivated. Would not stay anywhere else. Nailed it!

[caption id="attachment_6888" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Gorilla Forest Camp[/caption]

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: great location for us. Much much better than we expected…The rooms as you know are large and odd with marble floors-and leather sofas. Fire place was nice and beds were very comfortable…

[caption id="attachment_6891" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.[/caption] I know I could go on and on. I want to thank you and your company for a great job! Thank you so very much!!! Deedee Geib, June 2018   Private Safari to Tanzania, Flying Safari to Botswana and Cape Town Exploration Hello Mark-

First of all I want to thank you for offering such a wonderful trip. My husband, Al, and I were so very pleased and impressed with the guides, Davis was simply outstanding in every way, Cynthia was knowledgeable and focused on us having the best experience possible. The accommodations were all A+++, and we were treated to several anniversary celebrations throughout our trip.  Bush babies are our new best friend! The food was plentiful, and varied and allowed us to sample the local cuisine. We got a taste of the local culture with a visit to a local Maasai village and a stop at the Oldepei Gorge. The animal sightings were incredible. I’m still editing my  photos and will post some shortly. We saw the Big 5, Ugly 5 and 4 /5 of the Little 5; all in Tanzania!

Shinde Camp in Botswana offered us the other experiences unavailable in national parks; walking safari, night drives, mokoro canoes.  Fabulous adventure and another wonderful guide, Sam (the man)! Victoria Falls was a great intermission between safaris and some welcomed civilization. But not too long! The helicopter ride was fantastic and so exciting, I will definitely do it again. Our finish in Cape Town was excellent. The Kensington Place staff are heads above Americans in hospitality and customer service.

I do need to point out that our guide in Tanzania, Davis Matafu absolutely made the trip for us. His knowledge of the animals, the country and its history, the people (his people), their customs, his driving skill and spotting skills (he taught us a few tricks of the trade) were impeccable. We were frequently the first to spot the lion in wait in the tall grass, and witness the kill. He spotted both rhinos, the leopards and cheetahs before anyone else.  Its like if we asked for something it would appear. Amazing. Plus he is a genuinely likeable guy, or as we joked, son from another mother!...Unfairly, we compared all other guides to him, and they just didn’t compare.

We would love to go back and see Uganda, Namibia and who knows, Davis spoke highly of the Serengeti during the birthing season? Thank you so very much for making this a trip we will never forget! Sincerely Marguerite and Alan Voorhees, June 2018   Private Honeymoon Safari to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Hi Jessica,

We wanted to thank you very much for helping us organize the honeymoon of our dreams!  Everything was perfectly organized, we had absolutely no worries throughout our trip.  From the moment we landed in Tanzania, until we left, we felt very welcomed.  The driver that picked us up from the airport and took us to Arusha Serena was friendly, his vehicle in impeccable condition.  We would have loved to stay one more night at Arusha Serena, the place is quaint and relaxing.  The staff had arranged our room with rose petals and a welcome cake congratulating us on our marriage, which we loved!

The next day we got to meet Mkenda, who we had read had been the best guide in the past, and we absolutely agree that he is the best! Knowledgeable, truly loves his country and the animals and nature within, we got to learn and see so much thanks to him, he helped us make our honeymoon a memorable one!

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is fantastic!  5 star!!!  I would go back and stay there a whole week.  Not just that the tree lodge itself is incredible, but the staff makes you feel at home. Patrice was phenomenal!   We got candle light dinner for our honeymoon celebration, and a bubble bath after a game drive, these details made us feel incredibly pampered.  Animal viewing at Lake Manyara was great, even though it had been raining until just before we got there and some roads were not accessible, we got to see leopards, lots of different bird species, baboons, giraffe, elephants, amongst many others. Picnic breakfast/lunch were our preference and Mkenda made it happen.

On our way to Ngorongoro we stopped at Gibbs Farm, beautiful place!  Lunch was fantastic, and getting to learn about their organic farm was educational.

Mkenda took us to an Iraqw tribe and also to a Massai tribe.  In both we got to dress in their typical wedding attire and participate in what some wedding dances would be.  We loved to get to learn about these cultures and are very thankful to Mkenda for taking us there.  I have many pictures that I will share with you soon!

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge has breathtaking views!  The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the view of the crater upon awakening is priceless!  Ngoronorgo Crater itself was spectacular!  We got the see the Big 5 there, which says it all!

On our way to Serengeti we stopped at the Olduvai archeological site, which was quite interesting and allowed us to learn about human origin theories.

The Serengeti Explorer Camp was everything we had imagined it would be, nested in the middle of nowhere, we felt it to be our home during the time we were there.  The staff was exceptional!  Being able to take a warm shower in the middle of the Serengeti, sipping on a cocktail after a game drive, enjoying “bush TV” (fire pit), seeing all the stars at night we had not gotten to see in our lifetime, tasting their deliciously cooked meals, are amongst the highlights, obviously besides of the unforgettable game drives that Mkenda took us to, where we got to see many lions, the migration, cheetah, leopards, more than 150 birds (he knows all of them!!!), etc.  Serengeti is a special place, we absolutely are fascinated by it!  The balloon ride was smooth, and the views from above worth the 4:30 am awakening.  Upon landing we did hear a lion from afar, which added some excitement to the experience.  The bubbly breakfast was yummy!

Star of the East in Zanzibar was the perfect ending to our honeymoon.  Our villa was astonishing!  It was the perfect relaxation time after our active Safari.

I hope to get to send you a few pictures from our trip soon.  We are looking forward to another safari experience in the future. Best, Diana and Diogo, May 2018


CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST & SOUTHERN AFRICA – JAN-MAR 2018


Honeymoon Safari to Southern Africa  Hi Jessica - thanks for everything. It was truly an amazing trip!

Our tour guide in Cape Town was incredible! (Lucia Bellairs) she was warm, welcoming, patient and everything you’d wish for in a tour guide. She knew the answer to every question and kept things very interesting and flexible. She will be a friend for life.

The Greenhouse Restaurant in Cape Town is one of the best meals I’ve had in my life.

We don’t have enough good things to say about Savanna lodge. It was perfection. We saw every animal we wanted to see, the room was beautiful and the staff was perfect. We left there and Cape Town so sad to leave and eager to go back. Our guide in particular was extremely knowledgeable and made us feel warm and welcome throughout our stay.

Lastly the Zambezi Queen. This was the perfect ending to our trip. Very relaxing, beautiful room, different experience being on the water. This is highly recommended for someone who wants a nice relaxing cruise. The trip over through the three countries is a pain which we expected based on your coworker and reviews online but once we got there it was perfect. Highly recommended.

Thanks again for everything. We can’t wait to go back! Hope this is helpful. Brooke Kornberg, Jan 2018   South African Odyssey Group Tour Dear Elena, We had a wonderful time in South Africa!! What a beautiful country and friendly people!! We also enjoyed the itinerary because we got to see a lot of the country and Cape Town is a jewel; too bad it is so far away... I have a lot of beautiful pictures and I'll ask my daughter to help me sharing them on your facebook page.

Maybe in the future we will go back or try other safari countries like Botswana or Namibia and stay in a lodge and enjoy more the wildlife.  We met a couple that really enjoyed a lodge near Port Elizabeth; I'll get the name of this lodge and let you know.

Thank you for putting together this great trip!! Tom and Selma Savage, Jan 2018   Private Safari to the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Elena,

What an adventure! Thank you for helping us experience the beauty and magnificence of the Great Migration. I would not have changed a single day on safari. Most importantly, thank you for the selection of our wonderful guide, Ephata. In just one week he became what feels like a life-long friend. It was a special treat to watch my brother, the animal behavior expert, and Ephata share their knowledge and excitement. It didn’t matter if we were watching a cheetah hunting impala, lions mating, weaver birds building nests or the lowly dung beetle rolling a ball of dung. Ephata shared his knowledge with wit, humor and warmth. We are all planning to attend the Africa Adventure Company evening in Seattle in April and we all are looking forward to our next safari with AAC.

Regards, John Holmes, Jan 2018   “Best of Tanzania” Safari including the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti Dear Elena,

Linda and I have finally caught up with our “at home” lives after returning from our safari so I can share some of my thoughts and impression with you about our time in Tanzania.  Without qualification, I can say that we had wonderful trip which met all of our expectations.  First, I appreciated how organized and thoughtful your communication was with us before our departure.  You anticipated potential questions and answered them in documents you sent even before I could ask the questions and when I did email a question I always got a clear, prompt reply.

You and your team put together a safari that was just the kind our group wanted: one that emphasized seeing an array of animals rather than lounging in “comfortable” accommodations.  And where you really hit a home run with us was pairing us with Ephata Lotashu as a guide.

You may recall that I spent my professional career as an animal behaviorist and faculty member so I knew that our safari guide was going to be of paramount importance.  Ephata was exactly the kind of guide I had hoped for and our group could not have been happier or more satisfied with his work on our behalf.  Not only was he adept at finding animals for us to watch but he could also tell us about their behavior and ecology.  He and I had several exciting conversations in which he’d be sharing something about the animal we were watching while I shared relevant evolutionary theory that could help explain why the animal had evolved to behave the way it was.  My brother, sister-in-law and wife quite enjoyed these Ephata-and-Warren exchanges and often joined in to broaden and extend our discussions.  Besides Ephata’s knowledge about animals, his personality and style of interacting with us was consistently impressive.  All four of us would pick Ephata in a heartbeat to lead us on another safari!

Another high point of our trip were the various staff members with whom we interacted in the camps where we stayed.  They were uniformly friendly and helpful and did a great job of caring for us, including all the great meals that we had.  Perhaps because it best matched our “style,” we especially enjoyed our time at the Serengeti Shared Explorer Camp on Lake Ndutu.

Thanks, Warren Holmes, Jan 2018   Private Safari to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater and Flying Safari to the Serengeti Hi Szilvia, The trip was very memorable and a true adventure for both of us. Here are my comments and input on all stops.
  • Lake Manyara Tree Lodge was incredible. The service and the accommodations at the lodge were wonderful. The staff was so welcoming and friendly and went out of their way to make our stay lovely. Food and drink was also very good. Memorable as you are really staying in an animal park. Lion tracks in the morning outside our room and an elephant coming towards us when we were leaving. Our guide, Fadhili Mtoro was the very best. He was accommodating to our schedule and interests and treated us to some of the best game viewing. The lunch that he provided us on our drives made it so special. His knowledge also appreciated and helped make the days educational as well…This stop was really great to start our 2 weeks.
  • Gibbs Farm was also wonderful. A different feel, more colonial and a different side of Tanzania. The grounds are lovely and the service also was most welcoming. We would have a wake up call early with the best coffee and hot chocolate we have ever tasted. We had dinners outside and every meal was delicious. The breakfast and the eggs coming from an organic farm made us aware how fresh everything is. From here Fadhili took us to the Crater, which as you know has spectacular views and that day we saw some of the best animal interaction. Overall very good.
  • Namiri Plains - Serengeti. Very good and gave us more interaction with other people on safari, which made for fun conversation around the fire in the evening for "Bush TV". The weather here had started to change, so rides were a bit more bumpy and rough, but manageable. Our guide here, Patena was good and knowledgeable. At this leg of our journey we were able to see many lions. Some of the best lion photos came from here. Including a female and her cubs lunching on a zebra and also a male lion up on a rock that seemed to be posing for us especially. Truly incredible.
 
  • Kilindi - Zanzibar was bliss. The room and the surroundings and services were top notch. The view from the room and the outdoor experiences were so memorable for both of us. Anything we requested, on the menu or off was provided for. Victoria, our butler, was great…We were able to swim in the Indian Ocean, which I will never forget. Here we were able to relax and rest. We both wish we could have stayed longer.

On one flight at the end I was able to get a photo or Mt. Kilimanjaro, which was very memorable as we heard many people say you can never get a shot as it is always covered in clouds.

All in all the trip was wonderful and an experience we will not forgot. Thank you for your guidance in planning.

Regards, Lenora Larson, Jan 2018    Explorer Safari to Kenya and Tanzania and Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Dear Lynne,

Thank you for setting up a wonderful trip.  Alan and I had a wonderful time. It’s hard for me to pick out a favorite moment.  All the parks were beautiful and special in their own way, and the gorillas, oh  my.

I guess my three favorite parks in no specific order were Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and the Serengeti. But as I previously stated all the parks were gorgeous.  We were lucky enough to see the big 5 or 6 because we were able to see both black and white rhinos.

I fell in love with Alex, our guide in Kenya.  He was incredible.  Very professional, friendly, and compassionate.  Always went out of his way to make sure you could get the perfect picture with the sun just in the right spot.  He was very knowledgeable, and the enjoyed sharing his knowledge.  He made you feel at home.

Uganda is a beautiful country.  The guides, park rangers, and porters are incredible people.  They made sure everybody got to enjoy the gorillas and were very patient with the slower clients.  Gorilla trekking is no joke but I absolutely enjoyed every step.

All the lodges were great.  It was certainly nice to be able to have a hot shower after being out on safari all day.  All the workers were very nice and more than attentive. I love the people.  The Buhoma lodge in Uganda was wonderful.  The food was incredible.

Most of the transfers went off without a hitch.  It was nice to have someone at the airports and borders to help us negotiate our way through.

The Protea Hotel staff were absolutely wonderful and very helpful.  Francis, our Speke Uganda guide in Bwindi was also wonderful.  He was always on time, very informative, and professional.

Overall it was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to go again.  I fell in love with the countries and the peoples.

Again thank you for setting up a wonderful trip.  I will definitely book a trip with you again and recommend you to anyone looking to go to Africa.

Sincerely, Ronda Kennamer, Feb 2018   East Africa Adventure including Tanzania and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda Hi Mark,

We just got back from our 2 week adventure in Tanzania and Rwanda and it was beyond words.  I can’t thank John Decker enough for recommending your company.   The details your team provided on what to expect, pack and gratuities was very helpful in planning.   We were so glad we did the private tour.  The charger in the safari truck in Tanzania was very convenient for battery charging.

I would not have changed a single detail.  Our guide, Servuli Harri was incredible knowledgeable about so many topics both in scientific terms and ability to describe it in story form.   We felt his passion for what he does and for the wildlife.  We received a good education not only on the wildlife, their anatomy and physiology but of the country, culture and history of the area. We felt well taken care of and it was wonderful spending time with Servuli, who turned into a kind friend that we were sad to leave.  He even helped fellow guides on several occasions which was very admirable. His driving on roads that did not seem passable was impressive. On the first day of our trip we saw and experienced so much and yet each day continued to be just as exciting.  I believe we saw every animal except the leopard.  We even saw a lion attack a hyena, which I understand is rare.  It is our opinion that Servuli has to be the best guide in Tanzania!

All accommodations were wonderful.  I’m fussy when it comes to food and all meals were delicious with far too much food served.  The Chaka tent camp was not “roughing” it at all their attention to detail was wonderful.

We were surprised how different Rwanda was from Tanzania in feel and culture but just as interesting.  The genocide museum is a must for anyone visiting Rwanda as it’s both heartbreaking and educational.  Guillaume was very open in helping us understand the history and the culture.  We enjoyed his company. He provided a detailed city tour and stroll through the local markets. He’s very proud of the direction of the country.

If I didn’t have tons of photos (literally 10,000) I wouldn’t believe we were so close to gorillas, it was dream like.  The guides and trekkers were so calm and reassuring we were never worried.   The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge had a beautiful cottage for us, hot water bottles and even soaked our feet and massaged our legs after trekking.

Truly an experience of a life time that I can’t stop talking about. Thank you, Suzanne Shindle, Mar 2018


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