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Client Trip Reports - October - December 2014


Big Five Safari to MalaMala and One&Only Cape Town


Gosh, favorite moments are hard to pick as we had so many and indeed debated over them with the kids. Mine was finding ourselves parked in our vehicle surrounded on three sides, including front and back so we could not move, by a pride with three lionesses, a male, and 8 cubs who played in front of us. 

 

 

One of the female lions laid down next to us and then all of the adults started roaring while the cubs tried to roar but only squealed and whimpered. It was amazing and the animals were beautiful. Second best was stopping just under a leopard lying on a long tree branch above us. Like I said, there were too many to favorite moments but these are two. What a wonderful experience.

April & Michael Egge, Dec 2014





Family Safari to Botswana, Victoria Falls and Cape Town


Elena,

 

We had a wonderful experience. All of the arrangements went extremely well.

 

- Kings Pool Camp was amazing; the managers (Dave and Michele) were extremely focused on service; the camp is beautiful

- The diversity of wildlife at Chitabe was fantastic

- Cape Grace was perfect; great location, beautiful; great service

- The guides at Chitabe and Kings Pool were all superb

- Chris in Cape Town was perfect for our group; transfers went well

- Game drives were all fantastic

- Shark diving was fun, but limited sightings

- Zip lining was great

- Elephant safari was great experience

- Wilderness Air flights went okay

 

Thanks again for all of your help.

 

Best regards,

Steve Garten, Dec 2014





The desert of the Central Kalahari and the Delta waterways of the Okavango Delta


Season's Greetings Ian,

 

The trip of a lifetime was indeed this spectacular adventure to Botswana, the Kalahari Desert and Moremi Delta with two days in Zimbabwe as a finishing touch. There was so much to see that I hardly know where to begin.

 

Some of the highlights were:

 

Seeing a live wildebeest birth in the wild. Ban, my guide, spotted the large female laying on the ground and then seized the opportunity by getting closer to where we had a full range of view but were not too imposing on the herd. Moments later the soon-to-be mother stood and we could see the hind legs of her infant protruding from her body. Minutes later she expelled the new baby calf. And within eight minutes the calf was standing and then walking. So amazing!

 

And then there was the time the "Elephants Came to Tea". Ban had just set the Landrover "table" for afternoon tea when a herd of Elephant decided to join us. Well, we hurried into the vehicle and just watched. Elephant after Elephant passed by and it was amazing to watch. Such huge creatures.

 

We watched as a large male Lion ate his Buffalo prey. And saw a Lioness and her cubs chewing away on a Baboon.

 

Driving with Geoffrey in the Kalahari, we saw Honey Badgers flitting across the plain. And we saw lions, fabulous birds, and oh so much!

 

Again, in the Moremi there was the lone Hippo, Baboons, Giraffe, Zebra, and the elusive Leopard. Was able to capture much of the action and I can't wait to forward the photos.

 

And at Victoria Falls, the Lion Encounter was amazing! I actually petted a Lion. And seeing the Falls from Helicopter was spectacular.

 

And Esther gave me a fabulous tour of the Falls on my arrival.

 

And I did get to visit a school in Zimbabwe that is sponsored by Wildlife Safaris, which Barbara of The VF Hotel arranged.

 

What more can I say? Thank you for putting together such a seamless trip which was totally AMAZING!

 

I will write again and tell you more but I wanted to get this off to you.

 

Looking forward to more Safaris.

Merrilee Fiedler, Nov-Dec 2014





Iconic Adventure to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Cape Town including the Rovos Rail


Hi Lynne and all others who made this wonderful African experience work for us,

 

Yes, we're back and anxious to share our stories and experiences. First, I want to express how impressed we were with Wilderness Safaris as your partner on the ground. All the camps, staffs, guides, drivers met and exceeded expectations. We were at all times well cared for and never had a moment's confusion about what happens next. The camps were all very comfortable, both physically and interpersonally. Our only complaint is that we were fed too well, and too often.

 

I will definitely send some photos as soon as I get them better organized. I have beautiful photos of a black maned Kalahari lion, up close and personal! I even have cool video of dung beetles at work! We all functioned well as an effective photo team, Herb with his wide angle and me with my telephoto, then Barb and Henry with the point and shoots around camp for the opportunistic short shots when other batteries were recharging. Herb got so many birds in flight, and shot so many rounds, I'm afraid it will take a very long time to get his contributions under control.

 

Since feedback is what you're needing, I will try to be objective and not altogether gushy. Henry's and my favorite parts of the trip were the game drives, hands down. Considering that we had no choice but to go at this time, we got some pretty great breaks. We missed the oppressive heat of a few weeks prior to our arrival and experienced the first big rain of the rainy season in the Kalahari. Since this camp had also experienced a devastating uncontrolled fire in August and had only just reopened, we were able to see the greening up and recovery during the few days of our stay.

 

Doing the Kalahari camp was the best place to start. We got our game viewing eyes on in a place where everything seemed to be off in the distance, and things closer were so completely camouflaged we were pretty good by the time we moved on. We also were intrigued by all the bird and insect life. I kept wishing there were a way to see life emerging after dark. That's when the desert really comes to life! We slept under the stars the first night in the Kalahari, heard the lion calling his pride just within a stone's throw, and had the first raindrops of the season on our faces by morning. You can't say that was an everyday experience!

 

We saw two leopards. a pair of cheetahs, a couple of white rhinos (from the plane), red hartebeest, sable (with calf), spotted a honey badger, to name a few of the rarer spottings. One of my favorites was watching a pair of dung beetles at work.

 

At Victoria falls it was unexpected that we were seeing it at low water, but could really see the way it has changed through the eons because it wasn't just mist in our faces obscuring views. We all really enjoyed the visit to the village at Victoria Falls, and will continue to send support to their school, and we loved the Elephant Camp experience. We did go on one of the smaller crafts for the Zambezi sunset cruise. It was very nice, and quite personal - got pretty close to the falls and saw plenty of hippos. Also saw the big party boats. Glad we hadn't gone that way. The Boma dinner was just OK because it felt "touristy," although the drumming was fun. We had already had a better Boma experience at the Kalahari Plains Camp.

 

At Tubu Tree we were fortunate to be in the company of Mike Meyers (principal photographer for Wilderness Safaris) and his wife, Marian. Watched a lion hunt with them. He actually critiqued (and complimented) some of my photos.

 

Hwange was saving the most animals for last. Couldn't believe the number of elephants! Best night was our last one there with a heard of elephants and hippos at a waterhole, a beautiful sunset, and good wine. We truly did not want to leave.

 

The Rovos Rail experience was primarily for Herb with the stop at Kimberley and his infatuation with trains. Henry was afraid he'd die of boredom before we got to Cape Town, but it turned out to be a completely enjoyable experience. The only criticism is that we barely finished one fabulous meal before there was another, and with no exercise to burn it off. Yet nobody turned any of it down.

 

Cape Town was a fun end to the trip, but in retrospect we could have gone to more safari camps in the same period. We did get down to the cape, which is a thing to check off your list, and we did go visit a women's project in a huge township there, as well as visiting the 6th district museum about the bulldozing of communities at the onset of Apartheid. I'm glad we did those things. It's good to see first hand the needs in those places. We will continue to support that project and are encouraging our friends to see Africa, too. I'm emphasizing how much tourism is important to the local economies.

 

Thank you for walking us through the uncertainties of making this big trip. We had so many questions that you must grow tired of answering.

 

Thanks again,

Sue and Henry Knueppel, Nov 2014





Flying Safari to Botswana’s Linyanti Reserve and Okavango Delta


We had the most wonderful trip possible, enjoying everything about it.

 

Here’s a couple points to highlight:

 

The airport hotel in Johannesburg, Southern Sun, had the largest buffer breakfast we had ever seen. Even the birds in the gardens were wonderful and let us know we’d be having the trip of our lives.

 

We loved the Victoria Falls River Lodge. The “tents” were air conditioned, the staff went all out to anticipate our desires(we ended up having a dockside dinner attended by a wonderful server who we enjoyed throughout our visit), the the evening boat trip was a highlight of the whole trip. Ester, our guide at the Falls, made us attend to the history of the fall and made it a more memorable experience than we would have had without her. Sometimes you need someone to tell you what you don’t even realize you need to know! The manager Brian Mullins, made us feel like our visit was special. We loved being greeted by staff on our arrival.

 

I loved how my underpants were washed and ironed and folded at two of our camps. The little things like that exceeded our expectations. I tell our friends we stayed in tents, but is was a luxury experience all around.

 

We were totally happy with what we saw, the photos we brought home and our experiences.

 

Duma Tau was a wonderful initiation into Botswana. They presented a beautiful candlelight experience one evening and we enjoyed the larger camp there. We also learned to get some rest after lunch since there doesn’t seem to be 8 hours after dinner to sleep. Our guide, Tank, wanted to show us leopard and was successful under light at the end of the day…

 

Chitabe Letibe was our favorite camp in many ways. The staff did a fabulous song/dance presentation before dinner (thanks to Monks) which we got into since we saw kitchen staff extend themselves in new ways. Kay, one of the managers, sat with us at dinner and talked about marriage and funeral practices in her village. She brought Africa to us in ways we had sought out, but made our trip richer. .

 

Little Vumbura was at the end of the trip and there we did the mokora (which was lovely but didn’t bring us new species except for frogs) but also had the best guide, Rain. We wanted sable, and he found them for us. He also suggested we bring our bags and he’d deliver us directly to the airstrip, which made us feel we received hours more on our last drive.

 

We were never bored, lived in the moment throughout and really felt taken care of by Wilderness. Their pilots were personable and helped us relax and enjoy the trips. We got a strong sense of how everyone relies on others there—that no one is left on an airstrip alone and that the guides are in constant communication about what species have been sighted.

 

The sounds of the night were beautiful, both of animals and of staff singing in their areas.

 

Thank you for making it such a wonderful trip. It made us want to travel more widely, like to the Galapagos but also return to Africa in the future.

Jennifer Kuehn, Nov 2014





"Big Five" Game Safari to Sabi Sand, South Africa


Kollin,

 

We want to thank you for the well-planned safari that was executed perfectly. Every detail was taken care of without a single snag. We thoroughly enjoyed both of the camps, although they were quite different.

 

Tanda Tula was an adventure for us to stay in a tent (quite nice!). We cannot rave enough about our guide, Formen, and tracker, Given, they made sure that we saw everything. The atmosphere at this camp was so friendly and sincere. It is obvious that everyone who works there is quite happy with what they are doing. It was wonderful to have the owners joining us for evening meals and mingling with the guests as well.

 

Rattray’s at Mala Mala was a very pleasant upgrade – quite luxurious! We are glad that was our 2nd camp. The atmosphere was quite different from Tanda Tula in that it was more of a resort feeling. The staff was very friendly and there for anything we needed. Our guide, Michael, was excellent. Not only did he do a marvelous job of tracking animals but his diplomacy skills were wonderful – we were paired with a couple from Germany who really were not there to see animals. Michael made sure that all of us were attended to. The accommodations were spectacular, not one thing to complain about, only rave about!

 

We would be quick to recommend both of these camps to anyone making plans to go on a South African safari.

 

                             

 

Thank You Again,

Bryan & Nancy Goff, Oct 2014





"Savannah Grasses" Safari to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe


Dear Elena and the whole staff.

 

Great Safari !!!

 

Our travel arrangements worked to perfection. That made our trip even more enjoyable.

 

Cape Town is a great city and we wish we would add a day. Both tours, Peninsula and wine region tours were excellent, especially wine region tour, with our excellent guide Abe.

 

We lucked out with the Table Mt. During our tour days, it was closed due to high winds. It opened on our leisure day. It was beautiful day with a great walk all around the top.

 

Victoria & Alfred Hotel, perfect location and view of the Table Mt.( it was worth the extra surcharge). Both camps were great and the accommodation, staff, food, service excellent.

 

Staff was always ready to help. E.g. something went wrong with our camera and without Kim in the Davison camp fixing if, the quality of pictures would probably be lesser quality as they are now.

 

Guide in Moremi at Xakanaxa, Caltex deserves special note. So persistent, he never gave up.

 

Davisons Camp with the view of the water hole was something to remember. Elephants provided great show. The guide Elliot, which we had for 7 game drives was very knowledgeable , witty, friendly and very good spotter. He always carried a rifle with him, so we felt safe.

 

What we loved most was the savannah landscape /mosaic of grassland, woodland blended with wildlife, especially at the dusk and sunsets. We saw all the animals we're supposed to see. Only cheetahs eluded us. We loved the late afternoon drive stretching stops with tasty snack and great glass of wine or gin and tonic.

 

In Davison’s Camp it was incredible elephant viewing at the water hole. They were coming and going as a marching regiment one from left and next from right. At night they were cruising around our tent. One could see droppings just few feet from the tent.

 

Sighting of lions was incredible experience. At one point there were 21 lions in the vicinity of our vehicle.

 

One episode is kind of funny and worth to mention. The lions made a kill and dragged its catch to bushes under huge tree, where a large baboon was resting. Poor baboon got so scared that he climbed all the way to the top and was stucked there. Nobody knew how long he could hold on. It was a great show for all the guides. We came back several times to check on him and worried. We think that he made it to safety, because next day he was not there and lions were still sleeping.

 

When we arrived in Victoria Falls we right away made the arrangement with Esther for the afternoon. Esther was a dynamite guide and storyteller. She made the walk very memorable.

 

In the morning we did helicopter fly over the falls and to look at it from the top, was breathtaking. Dinner at Ilala lodge was outstanding, so was the service…

 

This is a must to mention. It was the extra effort of all our guides. Always add the extra mile to look for the wildlife

 

Thanks arranging such fantastic trip for us and making it such an unforgettable life event.

Paul and Viera Benko, Oct 2014





Iconic Southern Africa including Hwange, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Cape Town


Dear Lynne

Yes we are safely home from absolutely our trip of a lifetime! The four of us all agreed that each day was perfect. We are all seasoned travelers and can honestly say this was our best trip ever for several reasons. We cannot thank you and your team enough for listening to us as carefully as you did in order to plan the perfect trip. Each of the areas we visited had some new and different adventures for us to discover. From the moment we arrived in Africa, Wilderness Safari staff treated us like royalty and left us nothing more to think about than enjoying every moment.

Of course, as you know, we were excited to see the animals in their habitat and we did, lots of them. I took about 1500 photos and Linda took almost as many. We were astounded at how gracious the animals were at accepting our presence and just how close we were able to be with them. The number of animals and species we saw was beyond our expectation. The guides were so knowledgeable, not just about the animals but the plants, the birds, the geography and history of their country as well. They were always eager to share their knowledge with us.

We wanted to go to Africa to see and learn about the animals, however, we all fell in love with the people we met. The staff (all of them) at each of the camps could not have been more gracious and friendly. It was delightful at the end of each safari to be greeted by at least two of them wearing smiles and asking us about what we had seen. It was also very nice to have them share meals and good conversation with us…


The camps themselves were lovely. They were well maintained, clean and very comfortable. Perhaps because Little Makalolo was our first stop, and where we saw a magnificent male lion and his three females, we have a special fondness for it. The other things that stand out were Bea's amazing smile, good conversations with Eddy and sipping coffee with watching the large elephant herd in the morning.

 

What really stood out for us at Savuti Camp was the extra ordinary efforts made by the guide to make sure we saw a very regal leopard and the time we spent with the painted dogs.

 

The camp staff there were also very gracious and helpful.

 

The birds at Kwetsani Camp were amazing and we were surprised to be as taken with the fabulous birds of the delta. Hundreds would fly up as we boated to the big island and many were around the camp. We were fortunate to have Dennis, who is quite a birder, as our guide…We were interested in what happened behind the scenes to make a wilderness camp run and Charmaine and Dan were gracious enough to tour us through the kitchen, storage and laundry facilities. It seemed that all staff were always eager to meet our wishes.

The hotels in both Victoria Falls and Cape Town should be recommended and no one should go to Southern Africa without going to Cape Town! Esther (Vic Falls) was a delight and we had two wonderful days touring with Clive in Cape Town. He too is a fountain of knowledge.

Lastly, one of the reasons we chose to travel with The Africa Adventure Company was because your literature mentioned a commitment to supporting African communities and conservation. After speaking with some of the staff, we were left with a very positive impression of Wilderness Safaris as a good employer and we were happy to witness the company's efforts to support communities and concerns for conservation.

Again, thank you and your team for your patience addressing all of our questions and for your perfect planning. Also, please extend our many thanks to all of the staff in African that made the trip happen flawlessly.

 

                             

Cheers,
Jean Dunning & Jim Reain
Linda & Don Flynn, Oct 2014





Wildlife Safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana - Mana Pools, Hwange and Linyanti Reserve


Hi Alison and Team,

 

We wanted to get back to you in more detail about our trip, so here goes!

 

First of all, staying at Vundu Camp and having Nick Murray as our guide was the experience of a lifetime. Although the camp is more rustic than the others we stayed at, the overall experience could not be matched-from being 2 feet from an elephant, canoeing among the hippos, crocs and elephants with a birds-eye view of the shore birds along the Zambezi, to tracking lions on foot, finally finding the African wild dogs after 3 days of searching, etc. Nick is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the animals of Mana Pools. Peter, Nick's father-in-law, was delightful to spend time with; the food was delicious and the hospitality so very gracious. The light reflected off the Zambezi in the early mornings was beautiful...and the sunsets were the most gorgeous in the world.

Little Makalolo Camp was our second stop. Themba and Bee welcomed us to the camp like you would be welcomed to someone's home. Bee is one of the sweetest people we ever met. All of the staff was delightful and warm. The cold towels and warm" welcome home" after each game ride was such nice touches. The guests who were at camp at the same time were very enjoyable as well. Themba (so knowledgeable and so much fun) was our guide and treated us to some amazing wildlife viewing in Hwange. We were able to check off seeing cheetahs-about 3 feet away from a mother and her playful son lounging on a termite mound before their evening hunt. The elephants were too numerous to count and we had sundowners at one of their watering holes each evening. They are fascinating creatures!...

 

Duma Tau-stop #3, was beautiful. We felt like royalty while we were there. Name was our guide and although it wasn't a private vehicle/guide situation, we had only another couple or just ourselves quite often. We were able to go for a river safari one night on the small boat and had the extremely luxurious experience of sundowners on the Barge another night. We witnessed elephants swimming across the Linyanti and had an exciting, very close (and a bit frightening) encounter with a ferocious male lion. We saw 3 leopards on separate occasions-such a treat. Of course the sunsets were gorgeous, the hospitality so warm and the staff so caring. The boma dinner with African music and dance by the staff was a beautiful experience. All in all another wonderful stay.

 

It would be impossible to name our favorite camp or highlight of the trip. Each camp was different but wonderful and every experience will be a forever memory. Thank you so much for all of your help in arranging our trip. You have our full endorsement and would be happy to recommend you to anyone thinking of traveling to Africa.

 

Warm regards,

Tom and Carol Kerr, Oct 2014





The Best of Southern Africa including Sabi Sand, Cape Town, Botswana and Victoria Falls


Hi Ian!

 

Thanks! We had the most amazing time EVER! The whole trip was far more than anything we could have ever imagined! It still is so surreal that we actually got to see so many animals in the wild and up close! I still can't believe it...I think I was saying "Wow" and "Oh my God" the whole time. I was just in shock and awe with everything I was seeing and experiencing.

 

It's really hard to choose some of our favorite moments because the whole entire 2 weeks was amazing. But I guess if I had to choose, the following REALLY stood out:

 

- Seeing lions and elephants for the first time in the wild. Just seeing them up close and in the wild, in their natural habitat was something I will never forget. I almost cried!

 

- Doing the cage dive with great white sharks. Absolutely unreal and a huge adrenaline rush!

 

- Going on the river boat cruise in Botswana and seeing huge herds of elephants in the hundreds by the river. We got SO close to the elephants...I couldn't believe it. We got to see elephants playing and splashing around in the water next to us. It was incredible!

 

- Swimming in the Devil's Pool! A little scary but the views were unreal! I loved it!

 

- Doing the gorge swing into the gorge in Victoria Falls. It was absolutely terrifying but I'm so glad I did it! I have some great video of that.

 

- Walking with the lions and cheetahs in Victoria Falls was a dream come true!

 

- All the sunsets in Botswana - the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen!

 

- Visiting the local schoolchildren in Botswana and handing out school supplies to them....this experience was so humbling. I will never forget the looks on the kids' faces when we came. They were so excited and happy to see us!

 

…Anyway, thank you so much again! This was my dream trip and you helped make that happen! I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work with planning this! I don't think we'll ever have another vacation that will top this...although I'm already hooked on Africa and can't wait until we make it back there again for another safari.

 

Thanks,

Pam Stanford, Oct 2014





Return to Africa - Cape Town, Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve and Victoria Falls


I truly enjoyed the whole thing and thought it a wonderful experience.

 

I loved the "Sundowner" time. The special appetizers and wine and time to share our highlights of the day. Nice that there was wine or other drinks without extra charge. That sort of ended the day with some kind of mellow glow and helped us to sleep in a strange place. The dinners also were so good. I just missed eggs in the morning.

 

The Guides in both camps were absolutely great. I marveled at their visual acuity and loved how they shared some of their knowledge with us. They were so important in our experience and they were awesome.

 

The Victoria Falls Hotel was a welcome comfort, so grand, like a time in the past when things were much more formal and gracious. A special treat indeed.

 

I would not change a thing. It was beautiful from beginning to end and I am so glad that I did this.

 

My sincere thanks to the Africa Adventures and all of the other many people I saw who contributed to our experience.

 

Thank you and please send on my thanks to those you depended on to make our time so memorable.

Barbara White, Oct 2014



Client Trip Reports - July - September 2014


Flying Safari to Botswana’s Central Kalahari and Savute Game Reserve


Dear Lynne,


Thought I would respond to your email now have caught up with other stuff here.  This was a lovely trip - very different from last year.  


Here are a few comments:


Leroo La Tau - great setting on the river in flood with elephants swimming below the camp every afternoon.  Exceeded expectations and as the blurb said “it was just on a waterhole where now it is a magnificent river (Boteti) that has been flowing since 2010” and every drive starts with a boat ride up river to where the camp keeps its landrovers. Game highlights were the herds of zebra/wildebeest coming down to drink and elephants… 


Savute: - again great setting on a river as the Savute Channel goes right past the camp… Our guide, Metal, was very well informed and terribly conscientious - he was desperate to deliver on our desire to see wild dogs and managed on the last morning! We learned a lot about Botswana!.  The game viewing was great as the Savute area is so beautiful and varied; we saw plenty of lions as well as herds of elephant in front of camp and a rampant male in the camp one night so the military had to be called to dislodge him.  We enjoyed this!


Zambia - We LOVED the Livingstone hotel - such a beautiful location with wildlife by the pool!  Helicopter was great and walking by the falls spectacular for someone who has imagined doing this since they were 8 (me!)  Michael and Alan also loved the Falls and the hotel…


I would go back to Botswana in a heartbeat as it is a lovely unspoilt country and the people are great.  Thanks again for organizing.


Best

Ann Badger, Sep 2014




Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools


Hi Kyle,


We had an absolutely incredible experience and will send more photos once we have them (somewhat) organized! I've attached a few though.


Namibia was a total revelation and perfect counterpart to the Zimbabwe portion of our trip. We were expecting to see very little wildlife, but daily were surrounded by incredible desert adapted lions, elephants, oryx, giraffes... just to name a few. The Skeleton Coast was remote in the best possible way.  Also, because we spent 4 nights there, we ended up doing our third day as a desert rhino excursion. The landscape was equally breathtaking to the Skeleton Coast and we ended up coming upon one rhino up close and personal (sending video separately), and another in the distance.


The Zimbabwe portion was equally a revelation. You were one hundred percent right in recommending the trip down the river with Nick Murray. Wow. Elephants crossing in front of our canoe, hippos popping up yards away, all kinds of birds and the occasional crocodile -- which we took a nice wide birth to avoid. Once in a lifetime and not for the faint of heart. The first day of the canoe trip we also covered 30 miles, which is apparently what they usually do in two days... so we got to experience the beautiful smaller channels between islands in the Zambezi further down the river. All said though, I think crawling up to wild dogs the first night in Nick's camp was probably our favorite moment of the trip.


 

We'd love a copy of the Guidebook "Top Wildlife Countries". We've definitely been bitten by the Africa bug and are looking forward to the next trip-- whenever that might be.


Thank you!

Pepper and Marshall Binkley, Sep 2014




“Wilderness Explorations” Group Safari to Botswana


This trip exceeded my dreams! 

 

Kyle was always helpful and courteous in phone conversations that I had with him…My fellow travelers on this trip and I compared our experience in booking the trip and we all thought I had the most seamless experience and the most thorough and best itinerary information.  Also the complementary duffel bag was great.

 

Wilderness Safaris had a very well planned itinerary. Pacing of the trip was good--I liked having three nights at each camp instead of changing location more often. I also liked flying from camp to camp instead of driving.  This gave more time at each place instead of in transit and it was interesting to see the landscape below. 

 

 Lodging ranged from a little more basic at Gomoti (which I did enjoy) to very comfortable at Toko Leya and Jacana Camp. The only change I would have liked was two nights at Toko Leya instead of one.  It felt too rushed.

 

Staff at each camp were great--friendly and welcoming.  Food was good mostly… 

 

I can't say enough good things about our guide, Ollie.  He was very knowledgeable about the geology, animals and plants.  He had made an informative presentation on his laptop of the formation of the Okavango Delta and he gave that to us one evening.  Ollie is very personable and has a good sense of humor.  We laughed a lot but he was also at all times serious about our safety and respected the animals.  He has a vast knowledge of animal behavior which helped him locate and track animals.  He was interested in having us observe the animals and wait for drama to unfold not just see the animal, take a picture and move on.  I think he liked guiding our group because we were eager for adventure and also enjoyed spending time observing the behavior.  Ollie has respect and appreciation of the environment.  He had a good rapport the staff at each camp and with his fellow guides.  He is an exceptional individual.

 

So what else can I say.  You can tell that this trip was a success!

Sherry Coker, Sep 2014




Luxury Safari to South Africa including Cape Town, Rovos Rail and Rattray’s

 

Hi Ian,


We arrived home on Tuesday from our fabulous trip but I am just now feeling better from jet lag.  Our trip was absolutely wonderful! The Michelangelo Hotel was stunning and perfectly located for us next to that huge mall! We dined there both nights in their bar where they had light snacks and meals which was perfect for us.  Our guide for the day took us through Johannesburg and Soweto which we found so informative and eye-opening. He was a fountain of facts and history and walked us through the Apartheid Museum. It was a great day!


The Rovos Rail was the height of luxury and a great way to see the varying terrains of South Africa. The champagne and hors d'oeuvres awaiting us at the train station was an elegant touch and an indication of a very special trip ahead of us. Our accommodations were lovely and the staff catered to our every needs. The meals and wines were outstanding! We found the stop at the Kimberly mine very informative and were blown away by the staff awaiting us on the platform with champagne and wet towels when we returned from our tour! It put pampering to a new level!  I know the trip was pricey but so well worth it! We would have missed a lot of South African scenery if we had not taken this trip.


We arrived right on schedule in Cape Town…Our driver was prompt and whisked us away to the amazing and luxurious Cape Grace Hotel which we loved! Our room was huge and so comfortable and convenient! We loved the dressing table and walk-in wardrobe. What a nice touch. We had a lovely balcony with a view of the waterfront. The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. We had dinner and a lunch at the hotel and they were the best meals we had in Cape Town. We found the hotel convenient to the waterfront shops and restaurants and the Robben Island ferry.  Our guide Lucia was fantastic and such fun. We had a great trip with her down the Cape Peninsula and the weather was perfect. She seemed so attuned to our needs and wishes.  She also took us to the wine lands and she was so knowledgeable and helpful. Our lunch at La Petite Ferme was perfect. We probably could have spent another day in Cape Town because we didn't see the Kirtsenbach Gardens which were recommended (we had to allow some time for shopping!). Table Mountain was perfectly clear the day we had our tours but was too overcast the other days for us to ride the cable but at least we saw the mountain!


Rattray's was the ultimate in luxury.  Each couple had a villa and what a villa!  The accommodations were gorgeous! Our porches overlooked the river where we saw elephants on several occasions! The meals and drinks were fantastic and the staff was so friendly and helpful. It was truly an experience of a lifetime and a perfect way to end our trip…


Thank you so much for arranging a trip of a lifetime. We loved South Africa.

Marie Copeland, Sep 2014

 

 

 



‘Best of Southern Africa” Safari including MalaMala and Victoria Falls

 

Hi AAC,


Well it’s been almost 2 weeks since my return and I’m still on cloud nine! Having been on safari before to Kenya, I generally knew what to expect on this trip, but even so, this trip exceeded my expectations ten-fold!


Cape Town was a wonderful starting-off point and our guide, Andrew Brink was superb. Andrew was extremely knowledgeable about the city and the surrounding areas including the Winelands and the Cape of Good Hope areas, and he is just as charming and funny as he is smart. Andrew is a real “gem.” My only regret is that our stay was too short. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to visit Robben Island and have some “free” time to walk around the city and discover new neighborhoods, restaurants, visit museums, etc.  I think another day/night in Cape Town would have been helpful.


On to MalaMala, otherwise known as “heaven on earth.” Mala Mala was perfection on all counts. The grounds, accommodations, public rooms and pool area were beyond beautiful. The food was delicious and plentiful, staff friendly and entertaining and our guides, (Neil and Morne) were wonderful in sharing their vast knowledge of  game and regaling us with stories of other drive experiences. They are two very charming young men.  At Mala Mala we saw the Big Five (and have the certificates to prove it!) which in itself was so exciting.


Victoria Falls was our next stop. The Falls are truly a wonder to see and our guide, Esther was charming and very informative.  The Victoria Falls Hotel is beautiful; the grounds and public rooms were charming…


Our last stop was Imbabala. Again beautiful grounds and good location. Food was wonderful and staff were fine. Our guides, Richard and Jefferson were informative and friendly as well as helpful…. Imbabala’s access to the Zambezi River, allowing us to cruise on the water, was a highlight of the stay.


In general, the flights were fine as were the transfers. Was pleasantly surprised to find South African Airways to be so efficient.


Thanks to everyone in the office for helping to make this an amazing experience!


Best,

Mona Goldberg, Sep 2014


 


South Africa’s Big Five Safari

 

Once again we had a fabulous time! Thank You. This was our third trip with the Africa Adventure Company and again everything went off without a hitch. Our prior two trips to Botswana/Zambia and the Serengeti were spectacular, so we went with high expectations .....and you exceed them.  


This was a much shorter safari with only two camps, but we may have been “lucky” to see all the Big Five three or more times. Highlights included both black and white rhino (a first for all our trips), nine lions at a Cape buffalo kill (3 males, 3 females and 3 cubs), a male lion walking next to our vehicle, a male leopard in a tree with a kill observed by a hyena and a young leopard, up close and personal with a Cape buffalo and several warthogs at our porch.

We stayed four nights at Ngala Tented Camp.  It was near the high end of our prior camps in terms of accommodations. The tents were set up around a grassy area with small trees which attracted warthogs and a variety of the smaller antelopes which were fun to watch in camp. The camp overlooks a river which was dry at this time of year. The staff was very friendly.. Our guide, LeeAnn and Tracker, Richard, were wonderful...perhaps our all-time favorites. She also made fabulous mid-morning bush coffee with Cream Amarula liqueur to go with the crispy biscuits.  The brush in this area ranged from thick to open, so it was easier to take longer range photos than at Narina.

Our last three nights were at Lion Sands Narina lodge. It sits up high overlooking a Sabie River which is flowing, so you often get a great view of Elephant herds and a variety of antelope.  This was the most luxurious of all our camps with dual air conditioners, indoor and outdoor showers, tub, a large seating area, and a deck with a soaking pool.  Very nice, especially when the afternoon temperature hit the high 90’s (we expected maybe 80F), but almost too formal for the feel of a Safari. The camp highlight was the Chef.  In retrospect I can’t remember what we ate on all our other trips, other than that it was healthy and nourishing. This camp had the best pasta sauce I’ve ever had along with great soups, Barbeque beef, steak and fish. The desserts were also irresistible….

We were fortunate to be the only ones at Narina our last night, so the staff went all out to impress us...which they did!  They surprised us with a “Sundowner” in the bush with hot appetizers and a full lineup of drinks. That night they set up a lantern lit dinner for the two of us on the front lawn which made us feel like royalty.  The brush in this area is very dense, so photography is sometimes difficult, but there were a lot of lions and leopards and we got some great photos.

We’ve traveled all Around the World, including this trip which included 9 days in Switzerland and stops in Sydney and Hawaii. People will ask us, “What is your favorite trip?” We always say an African Safari. When they ask me what it costs, I tell them. Sometimes they respond that they’ve seen trips with an African Safari for a lot less. My response is two fold. If you want an overview with stops in Cape Town, South African wine country, Livingston Falls and a few days on Safari to see if you want a more focused visit, then those are ok and you might get lucky and see some spectacular wildlife scenes. But if this may be your only trip to Africa, spend some quality time in the bush (7-14 days). The cost per safari is comparable, even though the total cost is higher and it’s a long, long flight to return. I also tell them how delighted we’ve been with the Africa Adventure Co.


Thanks Again for another of our most memorable trips.
Al & Glenda Hallden, Sep 2014


 


Safari to Zimbabwe’s Malilangwe Game Reserve and Botswana’s Tuli Reserve

 

Dear Kyle,


The arrangements of the six camps and lodges was outstanding! Every lodge or camp was totally different. All flights and transfers on time including charter flights.


While there was not much wildlife in the Matobo Hills, our stay at Amalinda Camp and the surrounding areas, the rock paintings, the “View of the World” with sensational panoramas made up for it.


We had amazing wild life viewing in Mashatu. Four different locations with leopards , hyenas with babies, four lionesses with cubs , three cheetah boys and one cheetah mom with four cubs. Not only did we see them, they were doing different activities, ignored us – so it became “Africa”. The scenery was excellent incl. all different antelopes.


I selected all the camps, but you Kyle took it nicely together so it became enjoyable going from place to place. The quality of accommodations was splendid – especially the last lodge – Singita Pamushana Lodge…


After game drive, lunch, dinner or sleep, it would irresponsible of us not to mention the food was clean, plenty full, prepared nicely and tasty.


The tents were spacious, clean and nicely organized, the guides were knowable and sometimes outrageous funny.  Going from and to the tent after dark was done in a secure and careful manner. We had splendid  experience with all camp people we came in contact with.


With our guide at Singita Pamushana, Mark, took us on some fantastic walking safaris: we tracked three different times – elephants – lions – and rhinos. It was one of the highlights in the bush. When I look back we only had highlights.


Thank you again for a wonderful time.

Rudolf and Erina Hanka, Sep 2014




Mobile Camping Adventure in Botswana’s Moremi Reserve and Zambia’s South Luangwa


Dear Alison,


We had a wonderful trip, enjoyed it all and all transfers and transportation went smoothly.  So, great job. 


Some specifics…

Mobile camping in Moremi:  Fantastic, in every way.  Staff wonderful, food outstanding and Alwyn was a delight!  He made the stay, as was an amazing guide and tracker and funny to boot.


Vic Falls:  Very nice accommodations and our guide for the falls (Esther) was very good.  In hindsight, we probably should have spent two days as was very relaxing.


Tafika:  Again, fantastic.  Hard not to be impressed with everything, especially the owners and the work they have done in the community.  Guiding was very good and our visit to the village a real highlight.  Food exceptional!!


We had a wonderful time and please thank all in your staff who worked on our program. 


My best,

Eloise Hanner, Sep 2014


 

 



‘Eyes on Elephant’ Group Safari to Zimbabwe


Dear Szilvia,


Susan and I would like to thank you and the staff at AAC for our ‘Eyes on Elephant’ trip which started September 19. Our experience was highly informative and exceedingly enjoyable. Here are a few comments:


Guides:

Dave Carson – extremely knowledgeable, helpful, humorous. Dave continuously offered information and answered questions in a thorough manner. Naturally entertaining.


Nick Murray – also extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Terrific sense of humor once comfortable with clients.


Both guides consistently set us up with lion and elephant encounters which we’ll remember forever. Both gauged risk responsibly yet insured we were exposed to memorable drama. As you know, these two guides play an enormous part in making this trip a five-star experience. I believe all six participants felt Dave and Nick were exceptional. Susan and I certainly did.

 

Accommodations:  Since we did not seek high-end accommodations and are campers, we found all to be comfortable and totally enjoyable. We think the mixture of rustic and luxury was just right. Staffs were consistently great.


Food:  Excellent! Tasty, healthy, sometimes unusual.


Trip administration: The attention to detail from the Ft. Lauderdale staff was excellent. We experienced no glitches or surprises. Szilvia was extremely attentive, informative, and helpful.


Thanks again for the outstanding experience.

Jack and Susan Havens, Sep 2014

 




 

‘Cross Country’ Migration Safari to Botswana

 

Dear Lynne,


Back from our wonderful safari! Finally, I have ploughed my way through the “must do” list on my desk and have a few moments to describe our guide, Richard Avilino’s truly exceptional skills as not only a first-rate tracker but someone gifted with rare pedagogical talents.  


Having taught in two universities for 40 years, I recognize people who seem like “born teachers” for their ability to engage students in the learning process. Rather than just providing information, teachers involve learners in a two-way process. We four (Janet Roth, John Roberts, Jan Paris and I) remarked several times a day on how fortunate we were to have Richard as our guide.  Rather than leading us to animals, he involved us in the tracking process – he would pause the vehicle to explain how to recognize the time and direction of spoor and describe scat patterns that signaled animal activity.  One evening at Xigera Camp, for example, he heard a terrible outcry among the buffalo just across the water.  All the next day, while he guided us to other animals, he kept track of the lions he believed would be dining on their prey. Early the next day vultures confirmed his reading of the tracks and he drove us to watch a lion feasting.  Imagine our (and Richard’s) surprise when, on another day, he led us to six lions sharing a young elephant. Because Richard so patiently explained the process of tracking, we had the thrill of discovery and a keen appreciation of his immense knowledge about animal habits – and habitats…


In closing I’ll add a few words in praise of Richard’s multi-tasking abilities.  While driving us over or through dense brush, tracking animals’ footprints in the sand to his right, answering our “what is” questions, and keeping an eye out for birds and mammals, Richard would be communicating via radio with staff at the camp. AND his cheerful good humor never left him.  After years of guiding, he made us feel like the first people he introduced to this amazing piece of the globe.  He would laugh with surprise, joke about adversity (like not finding an animal or changing a tire), exclaim with wonder at an animal’s antics, and wake us up with a cheerful good morning. These people skills would make him an excellent candidate for promotion at Wilderness – although his evident love of the bush might make a new position undesirable to him. 


Thank you for an experience created not only by lovely camp staff people, flawless logistics, and an abundance of wildlife (as well as the near total absence of other safari groups) -- but by a guide of rare distinction.


Sincerely,

Claudia Koonz, Sep 2014



 

Classic Flying Safari to Mana Pools, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Cape Town


Dear Elena,


I have been meaning to write to tell you how fabulous our trip was. Every day a new experience and adventure. The sights, the accommodations, the staff at the camps, the animals and birds we saw, the food we ate, the connection services, etc were beyond our expectations. And your responses to our little needs were also much appreciated. 


All of the camps were beautiful, different and with wonderful staffs. Connie at Chitabe and Bea at Little Mak were fabulous...gracious, thoughtful and encouraged a very positive atmosphere at their camps. All the guides at all camps -Gordon, Robert, Onx, and Brian - were very knowledgeable and interesting. It was amazing how they could be driving on those bumpy swerving roads and still be able to see and point out a tiny Lilac Breasted Roller about 5 meters away from us. Lions, leopards, cheetah, Cape buffalo, ele's, hippos, crocs, wild dogs, hyena, impala, kudu, sable, élan, giraffe, ostrich, wart hogs, beautiful birds birds birds, etc but no rhino. Will have to go back some day for rhino and migration, at least!!


Dave Bowers in Cape Town was the best. His initial 2 days with us were very interesting and fun...wine region and Cape Point trips...and a great personality. Marilyn got to see her penguins !!


Vic Falls was beautiful and we saw the Lunar Rainbow with the full super moon. The helicopter ride is an absolute must but the sunset cruise much less so. It was pretty but an anticlimax to what we'd already seen at our sundowners at the camps. And there was a loud private guide taking up 3 prime seats speaking with his 2 clients that disturbed the atmosphere. 


The Welegelen was very pretty and well situated. Off the beaten path and yet easy walk to galleries and restaurants. Never met Fiona but Coleen was nice and helpful. And guess what?...June and Oliver again!


We had a great tent at Vundu directly in front of the pan. And the hide allowed us to be up close and personal with the Ele's…


The Wilderness Safari people were also great. They met us everywhere and were on time and extremely helpful with all our transfers. As I said, their camps were all well managed and staffed. We were told that they run their camps on the same formula but the camps were different enough that we did not notice.




Elena...thank you for helping to plan this wonderful trip. The Vic Falls stay after the first 2 camps and before the next 2 was a perfect "rest over". And we are very glad we spent the xtra 2 days in Cape Town as it is a wonderful city and area to explore. Even on our own it was very beautiful and exciting- walking to the V&A ,Table Mtn, the Gardens, etc. 


Best regards

Larry & Marilyn Krantz, Sep 2014




World Heritage Safari to Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills, Hwange and Mana Pools


Dear Ian, Thanks very much for your hard work in putting together what turned out to be a wonderful trip.  Here are some comments and observations while everything is fresh in my mind.

 

Amalinda Camp was wonderful and it was a good choice to spend 5 nights there.  Although not as game rich as Hwange or Mana Pools, we were primarily interested in other activities while there.  The camp setting is spectacular and we were fortunate to have the "bridal suite" which was only reached via a cleft in some boulders with its own suspension bridge to a separate sitting area and a completely private setting.  Suggest that clients with limited mobility be warned about the numerous rock stairways within Amalinda in assigning rooms.

 

Paul Hubbard was an outstanding choice as private guide and we got to know him quite well. His expertise and background was of great help to us as we visited various rock painting caves, explored the Great Zimbabwe World Heritage Site, successfully tracked rhino and went to an interesting museum in Bulawayo. A day was also spent at the Ethandweni Children 1 s Home in White Water to witness the wonderful work they are doing.  A great choice in a beautiful area and unique camp.


Off we went to Hwange Park which is a game viewer’s paradise.  Our experience at Davison's Camp was very good with great guides and a typical well organized Wilderness Safaris operation…animal viewing was excellent, including cheetah, lion, roan, buffalo and lots of other species both large and small. Hwange has a huge elephant population estimated to be as high as 60,000.

 

Somalisa Camp was outstanding and continued the great game viewing of Hwange.  The camp waterhole is very active with elephant who often drink from the plunge pool within feet of the outside deck.  Evening game drives were productive along with the beautiful "sun downers" that are so much a part of being in Africa.  As with all of our camps, nothing ever felt crowded or rushed and all of our drives were just ourselves or one other couple at most.  Because of the huge size of Hwange (third largest park in Africa) we seldom saw vehicles from other camps or self-drivers camping.

Vundu in Mana Pools was a tossup (tied with Amalinda) as our favorite camp. It is very informal, relaxed and lots of fun just being there.  Unlike some rather structured camps, the Vundu staff encourages doing whatever you feel like. Everyone (owner, guides and staff) all pitch in to make sure all guests are well taken care of. Since it was our 2Q1 h wedding anniversary, Peter arranged an intimate private dinner on the river bank.  Thanks again Ian as it was a complete surprise!

Our guide Alistair Chambers was super and the combination of day and night drives, frequent walks, and a canoe outing on the Zambezi made our 4 nights delightful.  In addition to lots of hippo, crocks, and elephant, we had some "up close and personal" times with several packs of African Wild Dogs (also more recently known as Painted Hunting Dogs).  Nick Murray is a real expert on this endangered species and, after doing the "butt crawl" to within a few feet of a pack… What a rare and wonderful experience and Jennifer was able to get some good camera shots…

Finally, some brief comment on Zimbabwe.  It is a beautiful country in which the human spirit is alive and well in spite of the longstanding corrupt and heavy handed government.  The national parks are doing a remarkable job of conservation in spite of inadequate funding and continued poaching pressure.  Progress has been made since switching to the US dollar, resulting in much reduced inflation and more products on store shelves. 

 

A wonderful trip and thanks to you and all the AAC team involved in putting it together.

Warm Regards,  

Peter Lindsley, Sep 2014





Flying safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve


First, let me congratulate you on a professional, high level set of arrangements.  With multiple stops, high expectations and trans-border planning it is impressive that you were able to set out an itinerary and activities that exceeded expectations. We have travelled a great deal but this trip stands out as the best we have ever taken. I would certainly recommend Africa Adventure Company to anyone who asked. From first contact through to the end we remained impressed with your planning, responsiveness and quality.


There are so many highlights to the trip that I cannot pretend to mention them all. I will say that the Little Tubu camp was truly phenomenal—helped in part by the fact that it is such a small place. The meals were excellent as was the staff.  Chitabe was also great, though I would say that both the meal and the accommodation at Little Tubu were at a slightly higher level – especially breakfast. On the other hand, while both guides were good a special mention has to go to Brooks at Little Chitabe. He was more than a guide to animals and land but a tremendous resource on the history of Botswana and the Okavango. Also, the game was probably better at Chitabe—especially the big cats. For that reason the order we had with Little Tubu first, worked very well.


We are still talking about the trip and all the things we experienced. Thank you for a great adventure.

Doug Owram, Sep 2014

 

 

 

Best of Southern Africa – Kwazulu Natal, Private Game Reserve, Chobe and Victoria Falls


We enjoyed our trip to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe so very much.  Every experience was fascinating.  The accommodations were first class, the food was excellent and everyone we had as guides, drivers and rangers went out of their way to provide us with great experiences.  Of note, our guide, Lucia in Capetown; Greg, the ranger at Mala Mala, Alistair at Fugitive's drift were outstanding and went out of their way to make our experiences memorable.  Mala Mala  provided us with the ultimate safari experience.  As soon as we got to our room, we saw a giraffe right outside our room.  To see lions mating; a leopard eating his kill, watching the sun go down with a glass of wine out in the bush each night made this so special.  The river cruise  at Chobe certainly complimented the experience at Mala Mala.  Fugitive's Drift was an unforgettable place and the accommodations, setting, food and service was in a class by itself.  They wake you up with a knock on the door, tray of coffee and shortbread.

   

Thank you for all your planning and a wonderful vacation experience.

Charles and Karen Panchari, Sep 2014




Flying Safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia – including Hwange, Selinda Reserve, Okavango Delta and Sossusvlei


Hello Everyone at AAC,

 

Just now able to carve out a bit of time to submit feedback on my extraordinary safari, a week each in the above countries. It was an excellent journey overall…

 

ZIMBABWE

• Little Makalolo

I had an excellent licensed guide, Eustace. It was a lovely camp, organized, friendly staff, excellent food. The blind at the water hole provided an outstanding opportunity to observe elephant behavior. I learned about wild animal science from Eustace in this game rich area.

• Victoria Falls

Esther Gwekwerere was a delightful lady and excellent guide to Victoria Falls. She told me so much about the history and geology of the falls and her interesting life as well. I also enjoyed walking around the town as well. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was comfortable and well located.

 

BOTSWANA

• Tubu Tree Camp

The transfer to Kasane & flight to Tuba Tree were seemless. My guide, Kambango was excellent and we saw many animals on lush Hunda Island. The camp and staff were very good.

• Selinda Camp

This was my favorite experience...bush plane, then boat to camp on the spillway. Walked into my cabin outfitted with a bathtub, hair dryer, Swarovski binoculars, paint set to use, gorgeous books written by Derek & Beverly Joubert...heaven in Africa! The chef, Steve, created outstanding menus - the best food of my trip. The staff was outstanding. And the best...they had comfortable Toyota Land Cruisers! It was the most game-rich camp of my 3 weeks; guide, Donald drove us to two lion kills (buffalos), two packs of wild dogs on the hunt, lots of other animals & birds and my darling warthogs and an aardwolf!

 

NAMIBIA

• Windhoek Olive Grove was a pleasant experience.

• Kulala Desert Lodge

The Sossusvlei Dunes were amazing - the colors & shapes were breathtaking… I loved the scenery from the bush plane of the dunes, the coastal fog over the Skeleton Coast & the Eduard Bohlen shipwreck in the sand to Swakopmund. Amazing!

• Damaraland Camp

The first afternoon we drove to the desert-adapted elephants in the Huab River area. Very interesting to see them foraging, then going to the tank for water…

• Serra Cafema Camp

I loved the contrast between the arid air strip and the lush camp on the Kunene River (a boat ride early one morning was memorable for crocodile and birds). Toyota Land Cruisers made the drives comfortable in this desert area. The highlights were two visits to the Himba people. The mothers and children are beautiful. I so enjoyed sitting with them, taking pictures, just being there…

 

Highlights:

• The amazing bush pilots - professional and capable in any condition

• The excellent guides described above

• The safari chic camps, chefs & staff

• Toyota Land Cruisers

• The itinerary that Mark Nolting designed

• Getting to know the personal lives of some of the guides and staffs

• Experiencing the conservation programs protecting the unique flora & fauna

• AAC African Safari Journal & Field Guide - my constant companion. I used all but one blank page writing in the journal; then put dates sited beside the pictures of the animals.

• As always, seeing my "darling" warthogs!

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark, Saskia, Szilvia & Cinthia for making my African safari dreams come true! And Janet...Air Department Guru who can sort out international flights, inter Africa flights and charter bush flights with a wave of her magic wand!

 

Best Regards,

Betty Rose, Sep 2014

 

 

 

Hidden Gems of Botswana and Zimbabwe – Chitabe, DumaTau, Vundu Camp and Pamushana


Hi Alison,

 

We had a fabulous time!!! Saw a female leopard bring down a full grown female kudu 20 minutes after our plane landed at DumaTau…saw 15 dogs hunting the next morning…..ended up with Chantal as our guide, as Brian was sick….she was so fabulous….best guide ever…it was fabulous to have her for both camps as well…..Chitabe offers incredible game these days, leopards and cubs every day, two great dog sightings ….

Singita Pamushana was fabulous!! Over the top, we saw 27 rhinos, two black and 25 white…..all in all a great trip…..Chantal really made it special…I love Nick, but Chantal is  very sweet and fun, plus a great guide…..just different…sort of the old style vs the new….cannot thank you enough!!!

 

 

Thanks again!!! Tell Chantal and Nick how much we loved hanging out with them

Kathleen Sullivan, Sep 2014

 

 

 




AAC’s Signature ‘Eyes on Elephant’ Safari to Zimbabwe and Flying Safari to Duba Plains (Botswana)


Hello Kyle,

I returned from my safari almost two weeks ago. Fantastic!!! I've never seen more elephants in my life than in both Hwange and Mana Pools! The canoeing was also quite the experience, with all of the hippos popping up or running from the embankment into the water ahead of us or as we passed by. It was sooooo much fun!... And Duba Plains was out of this world! Every connection was seamless, the camps were all great, and Dave Carsons and Nick Murray are both fantastic guides, and quite the characters. I can see why you chose them to guide these trips. I appreciated the way Dave was rebellious about the time structure preferred by some of the camps, opting instead to let the happenings in the bush dictate our schedule.

Somalisa Acacia camp was very nice, with elephants day and night. Herds constantly wandered by and through camp to visit the water hole/pool in camp. Sitting at the edge of the pool while the elephants came was quite fun. A few tried to climb across the wood pile to get a closer look at us. And tracking lions on foot with Dave was great fun! Once we tracked them with both Dave and Nic Polenakis as a team. Several times as we were driving along, Dave found very fresh lion tracks. He would immediately pull the vehicle over, jump out, and say ok let's go!...

 

Little Makalolo. Herd multiple lions calling every night from the tent. One morning before sunrise, we were having coffee by the fire, and were talking about the lion calls and the directions they were coming from, as we were drawing up a plan for the morning. Just then there was another call; it was VERY close. We looked to one side and there was the silhouette of a big male lion walking from the waterhole in front of camp. We chucked what was left of our coffee, grabbed our cameras, and ran to the vehicle. We found the lion sitting next to a buffalo carcass within sight of the camp. Not only that, but there was a second big male with him; they must have killed the buffalo within sight of camp during the night! We sat with them for some time as the sun rose above the horizon showering them in that beautiful golden morning light.

The water hole in front of camp drew enormous numbers of elephants. One afternoon during siesta, Dave and I took a vehicle by ourselves and just parked at the water hole for several hours. We just watched the endless parade of elephants as they drank, bathed, and just had fun in the water. I counted them; many times there were more than 100 elephants around the water hole at the same time! At one point, two elephants began mating, and the herd got all excited and surrounded the pair. So amazing to be in the middle of it….

Vundu camp. I knew Vundu was going to be fun before I even got to my tent. As Nick was taking me to my tent and giving me the standard safety briefing about not walking alone in camp at night, he says to be "very careful on the path even during daytime and look sharp. Because as you can see there is a lioness right over there." He points to the right and there is a lioness sitting under a tree on the other side of the mud hole, watching some warthogs that were just to the right of the path!

Many times we walked around tracking lion and approaching big bull elephants on foot….We also approached several elephants on foot, getting very very close. Every time it was thrilling…

Twice we hiked the 45 minutes up to the wild dog den. The first time we heard them as we arrived but they moved further back to another safety spot in the trees. We never saw them. Nick explained that the pups are with a week of leaving the den for good, and that the alpha male died. A new male was taking his place, but he seems to be more suspicious of Nick and often moves the pups away.

 

On our second attempt, we left well before sunrise and hiked in so that we would arrive at the den just before sunrise, hopefully before the pack returned from their overnight hunting trip. Just as we arrived at the den, we heard a few growls from the sentry. As we sat down to watch the den from a distance, two adults appeared in the bush, and then two others around us. Some of them had already returned from the hunt. We stayed quiet and still. The four adults took turns laying down in different places and walking around the area, keeping a watchful eye on us. I had never been on foot with wild dogs before. Knowing what extremely successful hunters they are, how well they communicate and work together, it was a little eery but also magical. Finally several of the pups came out and sat together in direct view...

 

Now for the canoeing. What gorgeous scenery, with the backdrop of the Zambezi escarpment. We came across tons and tons of hippos and elephants, both out of the water and in the water. It's quite the feeling to be canoeing along and have a whole pod of hippos run from embankment into the water ahead of you or as you pass, or to have one unexpectedly pop up ahead and snorting at you. Several times we had to quickly back paddle and reassess or path. One time it was clear that bugger was not going to move and was not going to let us pass. So we had to drag the canoes overland and bypass the bend in the channel that had this particular hippo. We saw elephants crossing the river, and wading into the water from the shoreline to graze. Several times we rafted up as the elephants came extremely close.

Duba Plains (Botswana). I was a little apprehensive before I left, since there are changes occurring in the structure of the Tsaro pride. In the months before the trip I had heard that the notorious Silver Eye had died, and another lioness, who was also a bold and very skillful buffalo hunter had been killed by a new male lion. The Tsaro pride was splitting, and it was becoming unclear what these changes in the pride structure would bring.


As it turned out, I could not have dreamed what an exciting stay it would be. I loved every minute. I was very lucky to see two complete lion hunts over two consecutive days. The morning of my first full day, we headed to the air strip since the buffalo herd was seen the night before nearby. We found a bunch of them on the air strip. We then quickly noticed a lioness sitting at the other end of the airstrip watching the buffalo. A minute or so later we spotted another lioness in the bushes also watching. And then we spotted a big male nearby doing the same thing. As the buffalo made their way off the airstrip and into the bush, the lions got up, stretched, and slowly followed the buffalo into the bush. No way!! They were hunting! The buffalo slowly made their way to the back of camp, at which point the lions started to get aggressive, actively trying to separate stragglers. My guide, Spike, radioed camp to alert them that the lions were hunting *in* camp. So the camp staff all piled into a third vehicle and came to watch the action behind us until the lions cleared the area.  For the next four and a half hours, it was classic Tsaro pride action at its best. These lions fearlessly and boldly charged into the buffalo herd, trying to cause panic and separate their prey. The big bulls would then rally and push the lions back, only to have them return and try again. For four and a half hours we followed this action through the brush, through water channels, and over open plains. These lions were relentless and fearless. I was both in disbelief and absolute heaven. By 10am I had nearly filled two 32 GB flash cards and the chase was still on, with no telling how long it would last! It was just like in the film the Last Lions, and the other Nat Geo specials about the Tsaro pride. It was absolutely unbelievable! It ended with the lions finally bringing down a cow, but not before a few bulls made several failed rescue attempts…


Duba Plains was absolutely perfect, and great way fro me to cap off the Eyes on Elephants trip. Everything about Duba was perfect; the wildlife, the camp, the staff, and the guides. I could not recommend it more highly.


 


Thanks again Kyle and to the rest of the team at AAC for another fantastic trip!!


Best regards,

Chris Swindal, Sep 2014




The Best of Zimbabwe and Botswana – Hwange, Victoria Falls, Linyanti Reserve and Okavango Delta


Alison & Team, 


I finally had the time to write up my trip report for my and Chanda's trip in September 2014.

  

After an overnight stay in Johannesburg, we started out at Davisons Camp in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.  It was clear that AAC has a special relationship with Wilderness Safaris and we were given special treatment.  AAC arranged a private guide for us, who was clearly the best guide at Davison's.  Dondo (not sure about the proper spelling this nickname) was quiet at first, but once he warmed up to us he had tons of fascinating information to share.  We could not have had the experience we did without his excellent guiding.  We saw hundreds of animals on the drive between the airstrip and the camp and it only got better from there!  I skipped siesta one afternoon to watch over 200 hundred elephants come to the waterhole to drink.  We saw elephant, zebra, buffalo, lions, giraffe, hippo (with week old baby!), sable, wildebeest, kudu, impala, springbok, warthogs, tons of birds, baboons, vervet monkeys and more!  After our three day stay, we were only missing leopard, cheetah, and rhino.  

  

A highlight of our stay was a visit to the Ngamo village and school.  The kids were incredibly friendly and curious and spontaneously performed songs and dances for us.  Also, the headman welcomed us into his homestead and allowed to ask any question we wanted.  Be sure to request a village visit during your stay!  The accommodations were more than I expected for an "adventure camp" and were very high quality.  I had everything that I needed.  Davison's has full electricity (no solar), which was a nice surprise and convenient for charging batteries!  The food and wine was unexpectedly good.  I am a vegetarian and they went out of their way to ensure that I had plenty of tasty food to eat.  The staff was cheery and helpful and the service was excellent.


Next we flew to Vic Falls for a few days at Ilala Lodge and non-safari activities.  The lodge was charming and convenient to the Falls, restaurants, and shopping.  I enjoyed watching the warthogs on the lawn!  The hotel restaurant was pretty tasty and had some native meats (that I did not eat), but my travel companion enjoyed.  AAC arranged for Esther to take us on a walking tour of the Falls.  She's very energetic for a 70 year old. lady!  I had trouble keeping up! 

 

…On our last day, my travel companion braved the Devil's Pool on the Zambian side while I stayed in Zimbabwe and tested my nerves on the half-day adrenaline package (gorge swing, flying fox, & zipline)…After the heli-tour, we went on the bridge tour which was way more than I expected.  It began with a live dramatic solo performance explaining the history followed by a walk on the underside of the bridge (complete with harnesses).  We had a little excitement when a pack of baboons came running at us on the scaffolding, but they went right around us.  The views were great and on the way back, we got to see the bungee jumpers off the bridge.  If you're afraid of heights, I wouldn't recommend this, but otherwise it was a great little activity and totally worth the low price.   We finished the day with sunset cocktails at the Victoria Falls Hotel with all of its colonial splendor.


The next morning we drove over the Botswana border and hopped a plane to Savuti Camp.  AAC arranged for us to have Goodman as our guide, who is a big of a local legend and guide to the stars (or at least some of them!).  Goodman was fascinating, entertaining, informative, and a joy to have as our guide.  The other guests were jealous that we had him.  He is an amazing tracker and unbelievably dedicated to his job.  It was very clear that he was extremely concerned that we have the best experience possible and we did!  It took a bit to get used to the crazy bushwhacking in the Land Rover, but once we got the hang of it, it was an awesome adventure!

  

We saw even more animals -- the same list as Davison's and 5 leopard, hyena, eland!  The highlights were many!  My first favorite was the wild dog den with pups.  Goodman spent weeks tracking the dogs to figure out and properly protect the den so the pups were safe, but everyone could still see.  My second favorite was the leopards and giraffe carcass.  A giraffe died of a natural causes and we happened upon it while a leopard mom and her cub were feeding.  It was a scene out of NatGeo complete with the Jouberts, who are famous wildlife photographers, on the scene.  That night, Goodman took us on a night game drive to the giraffe carcass where we got to watch a pack of hyena fight and feed by the light of a full moon.  An experience of a lifetime!  


On our second night, we slept out at the hide.  Anelle set up the hide with mattresses, mosquito nets, and a wash basin plus a great bonfire and tasty drinks for a fun night under stars.  I thought I would be scared to sleep out (despite our guard Onxy in the next hide over), but I fell asleep almost immediately and slept soundly  I woke to the sounds of elephants crossing the river and got up to watch them and a massive croc swimming down the channel… I recommend that one sleeps out at least one night.  


Savuti Camp is lovely.  The tents were clean, luxurious and fully stocked.  While we were at Savuti, Kahn was there training the staff in food and beverage service.  The food was so amazing and so plentiful that I actually felt a little bad - until they told me that the staff gets to eat the leftovers!  The food was gourmet (think pavlova at tea) and the drinks delicious.  If we stayed more than three nights, we have weighed as much as the elephants!  All of the staff did everything they could to make sure that all of our needs and wants were met.


Our final camp was Kwetsani in the Okavango Delta.  Because this is a water camp, it was a much different experience.  The camp is in the wetlands and you take a boat to another island for the game drives.  Our guide Moyo was quite good, but had a quieter style from our other guides.  I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of large game that we saw on Hunda Island while we were there.  I assumed we were done with big game, but we saw lions, leopards, zebra, elephants, and 14 giraffe at once!  We almost saw a giraffe fight between two males, but the interloper chickened out and left before the fight began.  Moyo took us on a walking safari that was very interesting and a nice change from riding in the car.  Of course, the walking safari is specifically designed so that you will not run into any dangerous animals or big game, but was a really good experience to get closer and feel like you're on an old-fashioned safari.  The boat rides between Hunda Island and the camp were a nice relaxing change of pace.  There were great opportunities to see all sorts of birds, painted reed frogs, red leweche, and even several elephants crossed the water in front of us.  Also, we had all of our sundowners on our boat on the way back to camp, which was cool -- despite becoming the bug deflector if you sit at the front of the boat at dusk!  We also got to experience culture night while at Kwetsani and enjoy the traditional dancing and singing performed by the staff.  Everyone really enjoyed the performance and it was nice to work a little bit of the local culture.  On our last morning, we got to take our long awaited mokoro ride.  It was relaxing and fun to get close to the water, but it was more scenic then anything…



  

All in all, it was an amazing trip of a lifetime and I can't wait to go back!

Heather Walters, Sep 2014



‘Great Wilderness’ Group Safari to Livingstone, Chobe, Linyanti, Santawani and the Okavango Delta


Dear Kyle:


We had a wonderful time on safari.  The wildlife viewing was incredible at all the camps.  Linyanti offered the most variety, but the other camps each had something we did not see anywhere else (rhinos at Toka Leya, lions at Gomoti, and red lechwe at Xigera).

               

Our guide, Andy Sekgwa, was outstanding.  He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife, but he was also a fun and engaging companion to travel with (we were the only guests in our "group," so we got to know Andy pretty well).  We would highly recommend him to anyone going on safari in Botswana.

 

The camps were more comfortable than we had imagined, and the staff at each were friendly and helpful.  We were at Gomoti for Meredith's birthday and they prepared a private candlelight dinner on the veranda of our tent and baked her a cake!  All the camps accommodated our vegetarian diet with excellent food choices, so that was never an issue.

 

Thanks so much to you and everyone at AAC for your help in planning the safari.  Everything went very smoothly and exceeded our expectations. It was Meredith's "trip of a lifetime" and made her 40th birthday very special.  Of course, now we've got the bug and I'm sure we'll be planning another trip to Africa in the future.  Whenever that may be, we will definitely be in touch.

Rance & Meredith Craft, Aug 2014



‘Best of Southern Africa’ including Sabi Sand, Cape Town, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls


Alison,


I do not even know where to begin describing the absolutely incredible time we had on our trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  It was more spectacular than I could have imagined—and that says a lot considering I had been looking forward to the trip for a year!

 

I would like to thank you and everyone else at Africa Adventure Company for the amazing job you did putting this trip together. The planning process could not have been easier on me, which was perfect considering I was in my last year of law school and studying for the bar. It was stress-free and I always enjoyed getting an updated itinerary and the little kits along the way! Additionally, everything ran like clockwork while we were on our trip and everything was as I had expected it to be. If someone was supposed to pick us up or meet us somewhere, they were always there waiting on us. I never once had to worry about anything and was able to just relax and enjoy the trip.

 

Your selection of tour guides was fantastic! Everyone had so much knowledge about the area and the history, and they were just a pleasure to spend the day with. Thomas in Cape Town and Sam in Hazyview were wonderful. Cape Town was absolutely gorgeous and we thoroughly enjoyed the peninsula and wineland tours. The views were breathtaking! Shark diving was incredible and we were lucky to have perfect weather in Cape Town. More Quarters was wonderful and had a wonderful personalized surprise for us on arrival of cupcakes celebrating my graduation. It was quite a way to start the trip!

 

Before I even begin to tell you about how much we loved Lion Sands, I’ll just let you know that I thought Andrew was going to have to drag me out of there; I could have stayed there forever! Lion Sands was by far our favorite place we stayed. The whole experience was just fantastic. The game viewing was incredible—we saw 9 sightings of 7 different leopards!—and our guide and tracker were incredibly knowledgeable and just really fun to be with all day. The lodge is gorgeous and very well appointed. Additionally, the staff were very accommodating and welcoming. The game drives were of course exciting and the lodge atmosphere was very relaxing during the day. It is hard to describe the wonderful atmosphere there. It was truly a special place. It will also always be a special place to us because we got engaged while we were there!!

 

Our Panorama Tour in Hazyview was also really wonderful; the whole area is just beautiful. We loved Victoria Falls. It is truly an incredible place. The hotel was gorgeous, and all of our activities were a lot of fun. Esther was incredible! She was so much fun to tour the falls with and she is so knowledgeable. We thoroughly enjoyed spending the morning with her. We added on a helicopter tour because, although we originally didn’t think we wanted to do it, we changed our minds watching other people do it. It was spectacular! It really allows you to appreciate the sheer size and magnitude of the falls.

 

We could not believe the amount of animals in Chobe National Park! It was really neat to see herds of zebras, elephants, buffalo, and so much more. What we enjoyed the most was how so many species would mix together. I never imagined I would see so many giraffes!! We were also really fortunate to see some great sightings of giraffes fighting and were woken up by lions roaring outside our room our last morning. What a wonderful goodbye from Africa! Ngoma Safari Lodge was absolutely beautiful with breathtaking views. John and Babs were incredibly accommodating and welcoming. They were so sweet to create a special surprise for us in our room our last evening.

 

We had such an incredible time and cannot thank you enough for all of the help and guidance you gave us to make it all possible. I have no doubt we will be back to Africa. We have truly fallen in love with the bush and the wonderful people. And of course, I will be contacting Africa Adventure Company for our next trip! I have also given your information to family members who may be interested.



 

Once again, I appreciate all of your help so much!

 

Sincerely,

Megan James and Andrew Matthew, Aug 2014




Private Specialist Guided Safari to Botswana’s Khwai Reserve and Zimbabwe’s Hwange, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls


Hi Elena -


Frankly, superlatives fail me.  Didn't think it was possible to top our 2013 safari, but this certainly did.


The biggest factor in our rave review is Nic Polenakis.  His skills as a safari guide are without equal, as is his love for the wildlife and the land.  How do we describe tracking three lions, then having them walk out of the bush right in front of our vehicle?  Or watching dozens of elephants of all ages drink, play and relax at waterholes?  I could keep going on - every hour was a new adventure - but you get the idea.  In addition to the extraordinary wildlife viewing, Nic's encyclopedic knowledge of the wildlife and his extraordinary ability to communicate (he's a real "people person" as well as wildlife expert) added immeasurably to the experience.


We stayed at three different tented camps (Khwai Tented Camp in Botswana, Somalisa in Hwange National Park, and Rukomechi in Mana Pools).  All three were very nice and we would definitely recommend any of them.  As before, Somalisa was our favorite - just the right combination of comfort, a "real" bush camp experience, plus small enough that you could interact with other guests and large enough to have other guests.  Also, the meals at Somalisa were particularly good.


The Victoria Falls Safari Club was excellent.  Can also highly recommend the Makuwa Kuwa restaurant next door at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.  Based on our experience, would probably recommend the Victoria Falls Hotel for first-time visitors, the Victoria Falls Safari Club is better for repeat visitors who just want to relax...


We also enjoyed our tour of The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, near Pretoria…In addition to cheetahs, the Centre has painted dogs, serval, caracal, and many vulture species, all of which we were able to view close-up.


Thanks!

Harriet and John Olson, Aug 2014  




‘Cross Country Safari’ to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Khwai, Linyanti and Chobe


Africa Adventure Team:


Thank you so much for putting together such a great safari! It was probably the best trip Steve and I have been on so far. Wilderness Safaris was outstanding! Everything from our flights to transfers were handled smoothly…I can't say enough about the guide we had, Francis Kudumo. He's the best. His attention to detail and obvious love of his country came through in everything. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the wildlife and lands we traveled in. I was a bit surprised at first of the camping experience we had, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We had such an "up close and personal" experience with the wildlife. I love the use of solar power at the Khwai Camp.  To have such luxury at a remote camp was wonderful. The meals were good and the staff treated us so well at all the camps…Our particular favorite was the River Club. Oh my gosh! What a place. We were treated like we were the only visitors there.


Thank you guys for introducing us to the beauty that is Africa. We will come back someday. I got two different reactions from my friends before we went: One group asked "Why Africa?"; the second " I love it and want to go back." Now I understand the second group.


Again, thank you!


Regards,

Miggy and Steve Scott, Aug 2014 




Exploration of Southern Africa and Flying Safari to Botswana


Dear Elena,


We arrived home with stars in our eyes and a song in our heart.  This was truly a trip of a lifetime.  Every minute was perfection!  From the time we arrived at the African Rock Hotel until we returned home.  Each and every hotel and camp was truly outstanding and so beautiful! The food…..outstanding.  The guides……so warm, thoughtful, and knowledgeable.


The staff at each camp was friendly, efficient and made us feel at home. Management was excellent and everyone we came in contact with had a smile and a warm welcome.


The animals were mind blowing and the monkeys so funny as they played on our terrace.  From camp to camp the planes were on time and the range rover waiting for us.


The planning of our trip was exactly what we would have hoped for, and we loved the diversity of the camps which gave us a chance to experience so many different ways to see the natural life of Africa.


Thank you Elena and staff for your superb planning.


Sincerely,

Joyce & Jerry Skobinsky, Aug 2014

P.S.  Everyone knew we were celebrating our anniversary and made a lovely fuss.




Botswana and Zimbabwe Wildlife Safari to the Okavango Delta and Mana Pools


Kyle and Africa Adventure team,


We had an amazing time! We really loved Africa. We loved our time in  Zimbabwe especially.


A highlight was our stay at the Ruckomechi Camp. Elizabeth and her staff were wonderful; they really cared for all our needs and you could tell they enjoy their job. Our guide was named Honest and he was great: he was personable, very informative, and great at finding the animals. I really appreciated the length they went to accommodate my gluten free diet. They had a quality alternative for every snack/tea and meal. I was very impressed…We really enjoyed the setting of the camp and the wonderful spots they took us to for sundowners. It was just beautiful!  Also there were a variety of activities which we really liked.


Davison's Camp was very nice…We had great animal sightings at both camps in Zimbabwe. I was glad that Kyle talked me into these camps because of my love for elephants. I was not disappointed both camps were great for elephants. My husband even got his safari wish by seeing a cheetah kill! Pretty amazing!


We did a walking safari at both camps and really enjoyed them. We learned a lot and it was nice to get out of the vehicle for a change. I thought it might be too dangerous but felt very comfortable with our guides and the level of training they have there.


Victoria Falls was amazing! We loved our guide Ester she really did a great job…



…I must conclude by saying again we did have an amazing trip & saw so much! We saw 40 animals (the only thing I feel we didn't see was Hyena) we also saw almost 40 birds!

Jon and Joy Snyder, Aug 2014




‘Best of Southern African Safari’ to Sabi Sand, Chobe, Cape Town and Victoria Falls


We had a wonderful, wonderful trip and I have already given your name and the Africa Adventure name to all of my friends who have been thinking of an Africa trip.  I hope some of them will actually decide to go!...


Mala Mala – What a wonderful place!  Main Camp was my dream location for our safari.  Teddy Roosevelt would have felt quite at home and I kept expecting him to walk through the door.  Lovely guide – Robin Nester - took exceptional care of us.  Brought drinks at dinner, arranged early morning coffee in the room before breakfast, scouted for leopards like a maniac.  Charming and interesting guy. Last night there we ate with the owners and heard lots of local and English stories that were fascinating to us Americans.  Nice people, lovely room, terrific food and we loved eating in the kraal.  The whole style of the camp was perfect for us.


Hazy View – We had a great guide that day…We loved Pot Holes.  One of the most interesting natural wonders we have seen.  Had a lovely, short stay at the Rissington Inn.


Muchenje (Chobe) – Also a lovely camp.  Much smaller and newer, but also an interesting style that we were looking for and we had a wonderful time.  Service was excellent.  The owner, manager and manager’s wife ate with us, entertained us and gave us those wonderful, warm ponchos for night game drives.  Again, very nice people and guides. 


Victoria Falls – What an amazing old gem.  We had a spectacular time.  Seemed extremely expensive after the rest of our adventure, but it was worth it…We ate in the formal dining room one night and had a wonderful dinner… 


Guides – All the guides and drivers were wonderful.


We had a spectacular time. Thank you all so much for making this happen for us.

Janet Arnold, July 2014




‘Big Five’ Game Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserves


Greetings Kyle!


Our trip was perfect from beginning to end.  Thank you for making excellent arrangements.


Everyone loved the trip and loved both camps.  The flights went off without a hitch.


The elephant encounter was great for the kids and they really enjoyed it.  It was a great way to fill that first day.


I think we made good choices for the group.  Kapama River Lodge was a good place to start them and Simbavati gave them more of a taste of the bush, Our sightings in both camps were awesome, often seeing the big 5 twice in one day.  The guides at Kapama were outstanding for the kids.  they really related to them.  Our guides at Simbavati were very good, but related more to the adults.  It was a good balance. 


Thank you,

Barb Broomell, July 2014




Adventure to South Africa’s Private Game Reserves and visits to Cape Town and Victoria Falls


To The Wonderful Staff at The Africa Adventure Company,


We would like to take the opportunity to Thank You immensely on a “Beyond Expectation Trip” to Africa with a profoundly put together itinerary. Beginning with the exceptional service aboard KLM Airlines to the greetings of the drivers to the hotels and lodges. The hotels and lodges were exceptionally outstanding from the food and services that were provided.


I have to say the safari was a magnificent experience for our family. As we love animal life we live on a parcel which houses cows, horses, buffalo, pigs, lamas, peacocks, chickens, etc. To see BIG animals live in their world is beyond words. We cannot say we love just one animal we love them all the lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, leopard, impala, zebras, giraffes, the wild dogs, the beautiful birds, the warthogs and all the baboons oh so beautiful. It was such an AMAZING experience.


I have to give a special “Thank You” to Elena for chatting with me about the safari it was everything she stated and much more. Our African Momma Connie ,Safari guide Bernard Meeshek our spotter our Butler Noel were ALL so AMAZINGLY inviting at Ngala and made our time so memorable. The staff members were superb.


Visiting Zimbabwe was a joy. Our tour guide Esther was wonderful and extremely knowledgeable and we thought Victoria Falls was exquisite. Learning about Livingstone and the falls directly from Esther made it more enjoyable.  Our visit at the school touched our hearts. The children are all so beautiful and so polite. They will all have a place in our hearts. The elephant ride by far was amazing. It was so amazing to see how smart elephants truly are. A huge animal and yet so loving. To actually touch them and feed them was a joyous experience. 


Cape Town what a beautiful place, captivating views from every point. Thomas our driver was superb, intelligent in all aspects. The Cape Point Lighthouse the views were out of this world. It was incredible to see the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean and seeing the colors of the two as well as the waves. The penguins and seals were so sweet.  The butterfly farm was more than beautiful bright colored butterfly’s.  Gorgeous birds reptiles, and interesting monkeys.  The vineyard was exquisite the grounds the tour and the wine. Everything was magnificent. The chocolate tour was delicious a real sweet treat. The lunch places were delicious. As our stay at Table Bay Hotel was outstanding we enjoyed our teatime in the hotel as well as their spa. The shopping was great and the dining was exceptionally delicious. The wines were Outstanding and truly enjoyed the Amarula liquor.


To Elena and ALL at The Africa Adventure Company it’s a great pleasure to thank you for making our Family Africa Trip such a memorable Family Vacation. A true outstanding trip with a lifetime of memories.  THANK YOU AGAIN


With Sincere Appreciation,

The Carabetta Family, July 2014




‘Best of Southern African Safari’ to Sabi Sand, Okavango Delta, Cape Town and Victoria Falls


Dear Szilvia and Africa Adventure Company team,


Mary Ellen and I wanted to thank you all for our outstanding safari to South Africa and Botswana this summer.  The adjective “seamless” is often over used in these contexts, but in this particular case appears to be an understatement.  We could not imagine a more perfect safari.  More importantly, all of the camps we stayed at were wonderful in their own way and all of our guides (Brett, Willie, Kagee, and Luke) were enthusiastic and determined to give us the experience we were hoping for.  As this was our third safari, we had a few special goals, like seeing wild dogs and a cheetah, and thanks to our guides we got both. 


Rattray’s on MalaMala lived up to its “Big Five” reputation in the first two game drives, which gave us plenty of time to relax and spend time with multiple leopards and one large lion pride.  Savuti Camp felt like home, lots of elephants, and our first goal fulfilled: a large pack of wild dogs, as well as a pack of hyena devouring a baby elephant.  Tubu Tree camp gave us a taste of the Okavango Delta, along with plenty of lions and two competing mother leopards and cubs.


Last but not least, Chitabe got us our elusive cheetah!  Of course, this is only a list of some of the highlights of our trip.  And lest I forget, seeing Esther again at Vic Falls was a true homecoming, like meeting up with an old friend.



So once again, many thanks for yet another memorable safari experience.


Best wishes,

Peter and Mary Ellen Cvek, July 2014




Namibia and Botswana Wing Safari to Ongava and the World Famous Okavango Delta


Dear Elena,


We cannot describe the magical week we've had so far.  Ongava far exceeded our expectations!  You name it, we saw it: lions having breakfast, cheetahs having breakfast, water holes being emptied by approaching lioness, breathtaking rhinos, etc.  We had 4 days to wander around and each day was better than the previous one.


Little Tubu was nothing short of phenomenal and Chitabe was outstanding as well.


The organization has been A+, not a single hiccup.  Auto and flights have run with Swiss precision.  And more importantly, the attention and friendliness of the staff has been amazing.


Thank you!

Eduardo Gerlein, July 2014




Big Five Safari to South Africa and Zimbabwe including Sabi Sand, Hwange and Victoria Falls


Kollin,


Thanks for the welcome home greeting! I wished I was still over there as we enjoyed every moment and wished we had more time there. I want to thank you, Africa Adventure Co. and Wilderness Safaris for an absolutely perfect once in a lifetime experience! Everything went without a hitch, every detail was taken care of, we loved every place we stayed, the food, the people & the safari experiences. We saw all the Big Five plus numerous other animals and gorgeous birds. Kellen and I took thousands of pictures which will provide memories for a lifetime. You did an outstanding job of putting together the perfect combination of places, tours & safaris. Especially on short notice. I have already and will continue to tell friends about what a wonderful job you & your company did. Thanks!!!


Sincerely,

Kim Gregori, July 2014




Adventure Safari to Zambia’s South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi


We loved all three of the camps.  We couldn't have been happier with them.  Tafika was beautiful.  John, Carol, and their daughter, Jenny, took good care of us.  The game drives were excellent and the food was fantastic.  We even enjoyed hosting, Vixie, (their cat) when she came to spend the night with us the first night we were there.

Kaingo was wonderful.  Izzy and Yvonne were very attentive, easy to talk to, and always there to greet us when we came back from a drive.  The rest of the staff was excellent and the food was awesome.  I really liked our guide, Meyam, and our scout, Mathew.  We became very comfortable with them and I really think it made the experience even better because, as we got to know each other, we could talk about everything (including their families and their culture) in addition to the animals.  I was grateful to have Mathew with us as I felt very protected during our walking safaris.  The walking safaris were fantastic as so much can be learned from looking at what is on the ground as opposed to just looking at the animals.  Meyam was excellent - he knew everything!

 

Old Mondoro was incredible too.  I think it was our favorite camp for several reasons: there was so much to do: driving, walking, and canoeing safaris as well as fishing. Because of the elephants that frequented the camp throughout the day, we were definitely "up close" when they decided to visit.  Ryan and Pam were amazing.  Again, always there to greet us when we came back from a drive.  Because we were their only guests, they joined us for meals (5-star food) and we had some great conversations.  Sebastian, our guide, was very knowledgeable and easy to talk to… 

 

Prior to the trip, Richard told me that he thought this would be our last trip to Africa since there are so many other countries that we want to see.  HOWEVER, he had such a great time that he was talking about going back (this time to Ethiopia with, of course, a side trip to Kenya) mid-trip.  He also wants to go back to Old Mondoro!  I couldn't be happier as my heart belongs to Africa!

 

All of us are thrilled with AAC.  I would never go to Africa without your company.  I think you do an excellent job and I feel safe with you.  Especially after our airport experience, I know that you are there for us and that is so important.

 

So, thanks yet again - for everything.  You have changed my life in so many ways.  I look forward to my next African adventure!

 

Sincerely,

Cheryl Hillery, July 2014 




Classic Safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park

 

We are finally returning to normal after having one of the best vacations ever!


We want to thank all of you at Africa Adventure for your expertise and guidance for our first and definitely not last African Safari. Everything was sooo seamless that it totally surprised me how many aspects had to be planned…The Victoria and Alfred hotel in Cape Town was beautiful and the location couldn't have been more perfect at the waterfront. The excursions to the Cape of Good Hope and wineries were fun and interesting. Such nice people everywhere.


We then went to Botswana and enjoyed the Banoka Bush Camp’s game drives. Everyone was very professional and we had a great guide (Chief!). Then off to Victoria Falls and was mesmerized by the Falls. Again the hotel, the Ilala Lodge was charming and I rode my first elephant! Off to the last camp which was my favorite - Davison’s Camp. The staff was beyond exceptional including Shane, Kim, Johnnie and Brian (our guide).


I was a little nervous around the animals and the camp staff was very understanding since this was my first exposure to the bush animals. I have to commend Shane as she made me feel right at home and was truly interested in making this a nice experience.


Thank you again for all of your planning and again with so legs to the trip- everything was very smooth.


Again - thanks again,

Capt. Jeff and Dr. Bonnie Jerome, July 2014




Iconic Flying Safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Linyanti Reserve and Namibia’s Sossusvlei


Dear Africa Adventure Company,

Our safari and travel to Botswana, Victoria Falls, and Namibia surpassed all our expectations!  Here are some of our thoughts...

 

Wildlife sightings-

We stayed only 2 nights at Duma Tau Camp, but saw so many animals:  leopard, female lions, elephants (many!), hippos (many!), giraffe, zebras, warthogs, hyena, pack of wild dogs, birds, etc.  We especially enjoyed the hippos that were outside our tent both nights, watching the hyena eat his (or someone else's?) kill, following the wild dogs, following the lions, watching elephants cross the river and observing the leopard as she sat upon a termite mound.


…At Tubu Tree, in addition to the leopards, we saw many birds, Cape buffalo, elephants, zebra, etc.  We liked that this camp environment was different from Duma Tau.  The boat trip and mokoro experience were a great chance to learn about the very unusual environment of the Okavango Delta.  We saw hippos, elephants, and so many beautiful birds.

Of course, Little Kulala was more about the dunes (stunning!) than the wildlife, but we still saw animals we had not seen anywhere else such as oryx, ostrich, jackals, and an aardwolf.  We were very proud of ourselves for climbing Big Daddy and awed by the view at the top.

 

Accommodations-

Wow!  All were wonderful and it was fun to see different camps.  The food was delicious, the staff was so friendly and helpful, and the tents had everything we needed to be comfortable.  One of our favorite things was the hot water bottle!  One of our favorite experiences was our sundowner at Tubu Tree.  We were surprised when we came around a corner during our evening game drive to see a full bar and food table surrounded by candlelight in the middle of nowhere!  We were pleased to find out that the cost of the quad bikes were included at Little Kulala. 


Guiding-

All 3 of our guides were amazing, both in terms of their knowledge of the wildlife and environment, and in terms of their willingness to meet all our expectations.  For example, Mocks at Duma Tau extended the game drive until noon because we were on the trail of some lions, and Broken at Tubu Tree offered us a night drive.  Since we were only at Little Kulala for one full day, Mervyn filled our day with more activities than I think are normally done in one day.  It was so interesting to see how they tracked the animals through their footprints and the actions of other animals in the area.


Victoria Falls-

More beautiful than Niagara Falls.  We highly recommend the helicopter ride, tour with Esther, and staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel… 

 

Windhoek-

The Olive Grove Guest House was very nice!  The tour of Windhoek, with emphasis on Namibia’s history, was fascinating, since we really didn’t know anything about this before we came.  Our guide took us to Katatura, where he grew up, which we also highly recommend.  He showed us the market in Katutura, where we tasted meat right off the grill.

 

We were so impressed with the organization of the trip, Wilderness Safaris, and Wilderness Air.  We were always met at all our destinations, and transferred efficiently to our next accommodation.  Part of my “dream” of a trip to Africa was to travel to camps via bush planes, and we highly recommend this mode of travel!

 

…We would be happy to highly recommend Africa Adventure Company to potential future clients.

Debbie and Ken Lee, July 2014




Multi-Generational Family Safari to Southern Africa including MalaMala and Chobe National Park


Hi AAC,


I want to thank you for the most AMAZING family vacation ever!!!  Everything was perfect. From the lodges to the transfers and the staff but most of all the wildlife.  It was great. You guys did a terrific job and everything went smoothly.


Cape Town was beautiful and the Radisson Blu was great.  The shark cage dive was awesome! The Cape tour was beautiful, including the penguins and the ostrich feeding. Our guide Chris was very good.  The day spent sand boarding and the Winelands was very good.


MalaMala was beyond words. What an amazing experience,   Our rangers Mat and Mornie were GREAT! They explained everything so well and were terrific with our kids. The animals we saw were incredible. We saw the Big 5 and much more. The lodging and food were also great.


Our transfers to Muchenje was very exciting, especially the crossing of the border from Zambia to Botswana on a little boat.  Muchenje was also great, facilities beautiful and a very different experience to watch the animals from a boat safari and all interacting together!.


Victoria Falls hotel was terrific and so were the Falls. The Elephant safari was great.


Overall the BEST vacation of our lives.


Thanks for everything,

Ayleen Pinera-Llano, Eduardo Llano, Silvia Pinera-Vazquez, and Roland Vazquez, Rolando, Tiziana and Arianna Vazquez, Gabriella and Eduardo Llano Jr., July 2014




Zimbabwe’s Legend Flying safari to Hwange, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls

 

The trip was fantastic! Everything went so smoothly, it was so enjoyable. I am so glad we used Africa Adventure and went to smaller parks, after speaking to others on different safaris...and even bush pilots said we had better experiences than we would have at the larger parks.


Hwange was very unique....we saw lions, giraffes, elephants, gazelle, kudo, oryx (yes...a rarity), hippo, zillion birds and an African wild cat....I’m sure I missed mentioning something! Gloria and Denzel were wonderful hosts and treated us like royalty! Mike, our guide was the best! It’s amazing everything he found for us....and was extremely knowledgeable. Did you know that the elephants drink from the swimming pool there and you sit in lounge chairs 7 feet from them while they slurp up fresh water! I had palpitations, but it was an amazing experience! Oh, and the cook? A 5 star NYC restaurant equivalent!..

 

Mana Pools was also amazing. Peter and Alister were quite a pair. Our guide, Henry, was exceptional! We walked to a lion kill and African dog den. Actually we did quite a few walks. We saw so many animals! Henry tried to track a leopard ......but those little buggers are sneaky. We did a canoe trip that was amazing....we were told it would be 1.5 hrs and made it back to camp in 3....... I think every hippo in Zimbabwe was in that section of the river! We were by ourselves there (at camp)....except for the first night.  When Henry asked us what we wanted to see, we told him we were game for anything....to show us "his" backyard......I think he did way more than he usually does on outings.


And what can I say about Victoria Falls Hotel (I’ve said amazing, how many times already!). Beyond our wildest dreams! They really treat you like stars/ royalty. It was the most beautiful hotel we ever stayed at. Ester was fantastic on the falls tour. The elephant safari was a unique experience. And we loved the canoe trip (although after the Mana Pools one....it was quite tame)


The people in Zimbabwe were wonderful and most gracious. They really are happy to see you visit their country…Thank you for planning such a wonderful trip for us. Our hosts and tour guides were like family by the time we left, even though we were there a short time.....we had the best time......and you can bet that we will recommend your company to anyone we hear is interested in safari....... and, if we get the chance to return......well, your on our speed dial!


Again...thanks for everything!

Linda Quinlan, July 2014 




Family Safari to Southern Africa’s Cape Town, Lion sands River Lodge, Chobe and Victoria Falls

 

Dear Szilvia:


Our recent Africa trip was an amazing, unforgettable adventure! We are very grateful and appreciative of the expert advice, guidance and coordination on your part and that of the entire Africa Adventures team, which made it such an enjoyable experience. We were very pleased with all the hotels and lodges you recommended and booked for us. Your ground operators for transfers and tours were prompt, courteous, knowledgeable and helpful, and our guides were wonderful.  In addition to our tours with Chris Tromp in Cape Town, the safari drives at Lion Sands River Lodge and the Ngoma Lodge in Chobe were the highlights of our trip. These lodges were truly 5 star in every way.  Our guide at Chobe, Simon, was especially excellent. The food was delicious and plentiful at both lodges, and breakfasts at the other hotels were good also.

Pam, Carlos, Carolina and Carlos Rodriguez, Jo Durow, Max Echandi, Brenda Rodriguez and Luisana Echandi, July 2014




Luxury Southern African Safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa


Alison, Elena and AAC team -


We had a great trip - here is a brief summary:


We saw just about everything that anyone could expect on safari, and much more, including a pangolin.  We actually never saw the head, as it was in a defensive ball when we arrived; so it looked like a giant, African artichoke.  But all the guides were excited, so we knew it was something unusual.  We also saw sable, hartebeest, and roan antelope; white and black rhino; lion, leopard, and hyena cubs and wild dog pups; lots of leopard; a fleeting glimpse of a cheetah; many interesting birds, including a rosy breasted long claw; other sightings include a honey badger, a couple varieties of mongoose, nile monitor, fighting buffalo, and “all the usual suspects” — zebra, lion, fabulous elephants, giraffe, hyenas, impala, warthog, kudo, klipspringer, rock hyrax, waterbuck, steenbok, nyala, reedbuck, red lechwe, etc.   We also saw a he/she lioness who has a mane like a male but is actually a female.  Apparently this is not the first seen at this camp; it was amazing.  There were lots of exciting moments including a chase with wild dogs hunting, eluding stubborn hippos while canoeing (had to portage canoes around them in a narrow channel), tracking black rhino and many other interesting quests. 


We enjoyed the canoeing and walking with Nick Murray at Vundu, and Alan was treated to a Poo Cake to celebrate at belated birthday.  That was good for a laugh for several days.  Nick said for me to tell Elena that we had some quality time with “Mudzi” the elephant….a wonderful experience.  We received a gift at both Mombo and Jao as a returning customer, a pleasant surprise.   Also, it was nice for you to arrange for the guide to be with us at both camps; it was very considerate, but not necessary. 



Thanks again for everything,

Linda and Skip Shipman, July 2014


‘Best of Southern Africa Safari’ to Cheetah Plains, Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Chobe Game Lodge


Dear Saskia,


Summarized, we had an amazing trip. Everything that was planned worked out perfect!; the transfers, guides and check-in everywhere was well organized and went very smooth. Our kids summarized it as awesome, insightful, learning experience, beautiful nature trip and so much more. They have the “Africa bug” as much as we have it!


Thank you and your team for supporting us and create such a great experience for our family. We totally understand you are named a top 3 travel organization!


We do have some feedback for you:

 

Looking at the hotels/lodges, the following:

 

  •   The Radisson Blu in Cape Town worked well for our family of 6; location is great, service was outstanding as well as the breakfast.
  •  
  •   The Belvidere Manor provided a spacious cottage. We enjoyed the property and the on site restaurant. A good spot to stay for a couple of days. The cottages have a full kitchen.          It was great to be able to prepare our own meals a couple of times.
  •  

    We loved Tanda Tula; the kids shared one tent and Adriaan and I another one. Everything about that camp was outstanding. We had a great guide and tracker team. Both kept the   kids involved and taught us so much about the nature and animals. Within 2 days, we “met” the big 5 and many other animals. The camp only has a limited amount of guests. We   really enjoyed the smaller scale and the way the dinners are on large tables so you get to meet all kind of different people. As a lodge/camp, our absolute favorite.

  •  

  The Chobe Game Lodge is beautiful with a very unique location. We had a great guide again who went beyond her duties to show us the park and animals. From an animal   perspective, this was our favorite; two large lion prides, two leopards, wild dogs eating a zebra, hundreds of elephants, zebra’s and buffalo’s and many more. The lodge is less   personable; it is a large lodge with many safaris vehicles on the road. We made the right choice to have our own private guide. It made the larger lodge still feel a bit smaller.


Victoria Falls Safari Club was a good hotel. One of the restaurants, the Boma, has an African buffet dinner with all kinds of entertainment; fun!

  •  

Overall the places we stayed in exceeded our expectations. Without hesitation, we would refer anyone to the places we stayed.

 

Some other things:

 

All communication about the travel arrangements with you and your colleagues was very easy. All changes and request were honored and patiently worked with. A very positive experience!

  •  

All the extra’s you provide (the books, backpacks, hats, lounge passes, etc.) are nice...

  •  

Our guide in Chobe was very impressed with your Safari guide; we left one of our copies with her, which we hope she will show other guests!

  •  

Friendly regards and who knows, there will be a next Africa trip ……..

Margriet Van de Steeg, July 2014 




Client Trip Reports - April - June 2014


Scenic Southern Africa to Madikwe Game Reserve and Chobe National Park


Hi Kyle and Kollin,


What a wonderful vacation.  Everything went smoothly.  The hotels were wonderful, especially The Residence. 



Bee at Chobe and Nicky at Madikwe were outstanding guides, as was Buz in Cape Town. The weather was perfect, food delicious and we all had a wonderful time.  Thank you for planning such a great vacation.




We saw the Big Five, wild dogs, cheetahs, jackals, and many, many more animals and birds.

Peg Fearon, June 2014




Botswana Classic Flying Safari to the Selinda Reserve, Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve


Dear Mark, Saskia, Irene, Janet and staff,

 

Our safari was spectacular! We understood all your recommendations as we encountered them. Each venue was enchanting in its own right, the people of Botswana were extraordinarily warm and welcoming, our guides were terrific, and the lodges were amazing. The firsthand extraordinary wildlife viewing was beyond our expectations.

 

One of our kids mentioned that in addition to the above, our trip was seamless. Of course that's due to your expertise and care. Thank you, thank you.

 

Warmest,

The Kaminetsky Family, June 2014



Luxury Safari to Namibia and Botswana – including the 5-Star Little Mombo Camp


Dear Alison,


Thanks so much for your email.


  •      - We had a fantastic time on our African Safari.
    •      - The kids really loved seeing all the animals.
      •      - Thank you for organizing our trip - we really enjoyed every place that we went to.
      •      - The staff at each camp were excellent in their service and we were so grateful to have Brooks as our guide.
      •      - He was great - kept us and the kids entertained as well as teaching us so much about the wildlife and animal behaviors...
      •      - He is such a great tracker too - found the leopards for us at Little Tubu and Little Mombo.
      •      - Took so many photos - had 5 cameras going...
      •      - Ate too much though (as the food was so good). Stephen asked for some recipes from the cooks at Little Tubu..
  •  

Thanks again!

Regards,

Elaine Kuo, June 2014





The “Best of Southern Africa” – MalaMala’s Rattray’s, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls


Thank you Kyle,


For the trip of a lifetime.  Everything could not have gone any better.  The travel arrangements, the private guides, the accommodations, the weather and the sites of true Africa, everything was wonderful...  Everyone was exceptionally kind and gracious.  The guides went out of their way to make sure we got an outstanding experience.  Buzz and Esther were really great.  They really made their part of our trip worth the little extra costs and it was worth it.  Without their help we would probably still be walking around airports wondering where to go and how to get there.  Their knowledge of the areas really made a huge difference.


The lodges were outstanding and thank you very much for the upgrade at Mala Mala, the Rattray’s Lodge made the whole trip worthwhile for our wives.  They were WOWED at the extravagant furnishings and decors, but the guides, Fritz and the whole Rattray’s team, were exceptional.  We could not believe how close we could be to the wildlife.  We experienced eight leopard sightings in the four days that we were there and so close we could literally reach out and touch them, but we didn’t.


Chobe offered so many animals that we actually got tired of seeing them and their numbers were astonishing.  We actually had lunch with a herd of elephants in the middle of the Chobe River.  So exciting.



Anyway, thank you very much for a truly memorable African Adventure.  You did a great job and we will be using you services again in the near future.

Jeanne & Mick Presco, June 2014




South African Safari and Cape Highlights


Hi,


We had a great time! Cape Town was spectacular! It was soooo cold and raining. But the sights were still beautiful. We didn't expect to see some animals on the cape tour but we did which was awesome. The natural beauty is just beyond words of description. I was surprised that I loved Cape Town because I'm not a huge city girls but Cape Town surprised me. We visited the penguins and we saw ostriches and baboons along the road. We did get hop-on hop-off tour bus tickets, this was a great way to see the whole city while listening to the history of the city. We stayed at the Four Rosmead it was great, the staff was helpful and super nice. The breakfast was amazing. The rooms were so cute and the art was so beautiful.


The safari was wow! Cheetah Plains was nice.  The staff was nice and inviting, the chef was amazing. Andrew, our guide, was the best! He was knowledgeable, he could find animals like crazy (animals blend in really well in the bush), and he was really respectful of the animals and the bush… We also learned a lot and met some cool people from around the world. We also learned in the dark scorpions glow fluorescent green under black light is was so cool. We had an amazing time.


Thanks

Kirsten Reinhold, June 2014



Classic Botswana Safari to Chobe National Park, World famous Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve

 

Elena,


Just wanted to follow up on our trip:


  •      • Unanimously all 8 of us felt this was the best trip we had ever been on.
    •      • All 8 of us want to do this again and everyone is asking when.
    •      • The Food was phenomenal.  You failed to warn us of the quality and volume of food.  Some thought they would lose weight, everyone gained weight.
  •      • Though we only stayed a few days in each camp, it was sad to leave each one.  We felt like they had become part of our family.
  •      • In Victoria Falls we had a great visit with Mr. Mpisi and the local school.  When we return we would love to see and understand more of the local culture.  Our guide was fantastic,       even took us to his home so we could see his house as a comparison (not sure his wife was happy about it).
  •      • Esther in Victoria Falls was a treasure.  Great personality, extremely knowledgeable, and fun to be with.
  •      • The coordination of our pick-ups and transportation was perfect.  We never even came close to missing a flight or having to adjust the itinerary. This also provided a lot of comfort     as we would enter a different airport or cross a border.

All in all, we wanted to thank you for the impeccable planning and making very detailed arrangements.  We already have two groups asking us about who we used for arranging this.




Regards,

Mark Rosser, June 2014




“Big Five” Game Safari to Tanda Tula and MalaMala Game Reserves


Hi Saskia,


Just wanted to let you and everyone at The Africa Adventure Company know what a wonderful time we had on our trip. Cape Town was a beautiful city and we regret not having the extra day to visit the wine country there. Although we did enjoy our fair share of the local wine! Our guide for the peninsula tour, Dave, was very knowledgeable and friendly. Tanda Tula was a great stop for an introduction to our first safari rides. The people there were beyond friendly and accommodating and the animal sightings were plentiful. The tents were also a nice change. MalaMala is in a class by itself and a great way to end our vacation in luxury and style. The staff there was also amazing as were the safari rides and sightings.


Thanks for all your help in planning this amazing experience –

Rochelle Bass, May 2014



Zimbabwe and Botswana Flying Safari to Hwange National Park, Chobe and the Okavango Delta


Dear Elena

 

I wanted to send you some feedback about our trip while it is still fresh.  First of all, I want to thank you for arranging for us the most incredible trip imaginable!  We loved every minute of it.  We appreciated that the transfer agents were always there to greet us, and we were never left to figure out where to go or what to do next. We were always treated with warmth and respect, and truly felt like VIPs.


Our first camp, Davisons Camp in Hwange, was wonderful.  The young directors were warm and friendly, and our guide, Mike, was brilliant…The camp was charming and the food great…Mike knew every bird, gave us a lecture on the usefulness of elephant dung, etc.,  and kept us entertained the whole time. He also had a wonderful sense of humor.


Victoria Falls was amazing, and the hotel stay was like stepping back in history.   Esther stayed with us most of the day, and we agree with the reviews that suggest that she's one of the loveliest ladies in Africa. 

The tour of the falls with her was very interesting, so much better than having done it on our own…We enjoyed the helicopter ride over the falls…


Our next camp was Ngoma Safari Lodge.  It was clearly the most elegant lodge in the most beautiful setting.  And it had the most animals close by and in larger concentrations.  They even had wi-fi right there from the dining room overlooking the great view…Our guide at Ngoma, BG, was very good and we managed to see a wonderful assortment of big animals.  The room we had was on a par with any at a nice hotel…

  

The last camp was Little Tubu.  The director, Philly, was very welcoming and a 'bigger than life' type of person.  She and the guide, Bee, ate meals with us, and we spent a lot of time laughing during those meals. They're great people.  Bee was also very knowledgeable about the animals and environment, though he was not quite as polished as our other guides.  But I can't say it enough--all of the guides we had were top-notch.  Little Tubu was a unique little place in that it was basically built up in the trees. We really enjoyed ourselves there.


Again, there were only four of us staying there, so we got a lot of attention.  We had a good concentration of animals there (although not as much as at Ngoma). I don't know if Little Tubu would be right for everyone, but it was right for us.


And thanks again for everything!  We will always remember this trip.


Love,

Betsy and Emil Kloske, May 2014




Wildlife Safari to Southern Africa - Mashatu Game Reserve and Timbavati Game Reserve


Hi Lynne,

 

The trip was awesome.  We are so grateful for all your help, insight and execution.  Thanks to you and all your team.

 

Cape Town was beautiful.  The Radisson was lovely and a great location.

 

Mashatu was incredible.  The property was fantastic, the food top notch, the people were all so enthusiastic and friendly - and the wildlife so varied and abundant.  We loved everything about Mashatu.  From the very cool cable ride-in over the Limpopo river, to our great guides, to the beautiful and diverse terrain - we couldn’t have asked for more or been more pleased.

 

Tanda Tula was beautiful.  The property and facility was stunning.  Our tents were first class, spectacularly luxurious…

 

The weather was awesome.  And as we learned, this was the ideal time to go, at least from our prospective.  The days were pleasantly warm, and nights/mornings cool.  But what was best was the fact that bugs and other creepy crawlers were at a minimum… Don't think we saw even one mosquito and certainly no scorpions...  Our weather in Cape Town was perfect as well.

 

All the transfers worked perfectly.  All were exceedingly friendly, courteous and always on time.  We appreciated the passes to the airport lounge.

 

We absolutely loved the trip and are so grateful for all your help.


 

Thank you again for everything.

Richard McLaughlin, May 2014


 

 

 



“Great Namibian Journey” and Botswana flying Safari to Linyanti Reserve


So we are back, after a long, long, flight home.  The trip was in all respects; fabulous.  We had top notch accommodations, service, food and our guides were beyond wonderful.   Can't say enough about Jeremiah and Francis, who knew everything about plants, animals, rocks, minerals and even the stars.  They were great.  Their knowledge and love of their country and it's riches was infectious. They both took special care to insure that I had my preferred food each night often in consultation with the lodge managers which was very thoughtful.  They even made special "lunch bags" for me. I do know that Billy really enjoyed the food, which was excellent at all places.


Wilderness Safaris was impeccable in their service, hospitality and style.  The lodges were better than pictured and our two nights camping was great, but made us realize how spoiled we had been.


The first trip part in Namibia we were with only one other couple, a lovely Swiss couple who we immediately liked and enjoyed.  On our Botswana trip we were along with our guide which was also great.


At one lodge we were the only guests in Botswana (Linyanti Camp).  It was a great place with hippos and elephants chomping in the Channel all evening…


Thanks for a great trip...hope to travel again with you someday.  This was our second trip with Africa Adventure as our very first African trip in 1993 to Tanzania was planned by you.  I still have Mark's "Top Wildlife Countries" after all these years and fond memories


Thanks again,

Valerie Merrin and Billy Deyo, May 2014




Classic Botswana Flying Safari to the Linyanti Reserve and Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls


Elena:

 

Had a great trip.  Here is feedback:


Victoria Falls was a great suggestion even though we have seen many of the big falls around the world.  The Victoria Falls Hotel was superb….Chitabe Lediba - the highlight of the trip.  Great camp and guide. Saw everything imaginable and all made possible by very willing staff and management.


The time of year was perfect.  There was plenty of greenery and even though the wildlife was not focused around watering holes, there was so much wildlife everywhere, it didn't matter.  Also, the temperatures were perfect.  Early May is a great time to go. Wilderness Safaris is very organized and made all transfers easy.


Overall. the trip exceeded our expectations.  Thank you for arranging such a great trip.



Regards,

David Tattersall, May 2014




Luxury Safari to Vumbura Plains and DumaTau (Okavango Delta and Linyanti Reserve)


Hi Kyle,


I know that Lauren called and gave you an update on our trip, but I also wanted to say THANK YOU for organizing such a wonderful vacation for us.    Whatever expectations I had (which were few as I didn’t  really know what to expect) – this trip FAR exceeded them.  We had such a fantastic time from beginning to end!  It was flawless each day to the next… the transfers, the accommodations – from the shower at Vumbura to the shower at the Vic Falls hotel, the staff, the food (especially the food at Vumbura), the scenery, the game drives, the sundowners, the EVERYTHING.   We usually don’t “back track” on trips  much as there are so many things to see in the world, but we might just have to re-think that now.

  

I thought the “trip of a lifetime” comment that everyone uses was such a cliché – but now I understand it.

I still daydream about it every day.




Thanks again to you and all of AAC for creating something so special!

Kathy Hocking, Apr 2014 – (Dickman file)




Botswana Safari to Chobe, Okavango Delta and Linyanti Reserve


Hi Elena,


The trip was truly wonderful and though I did not think anything would be as good as my Tanzania trip I was wrong.


Victoria Falls was lovely though the ever-present helicopters hovering were a drawback.


The tour of the Chobe River was wonderful with a ton of bee-eaters and other critters, just great…


Duma Tau was great, so new and sparkling with wonderful management. Guide was very energetic and seemed to really want to please…there was plenty of action from the vehicles and the boat. We saw the 17 wild dog pack every day, wow.


At Xigera the mokoro’s were super, great guide who really loved showing the birds to me. I loved the quite to that method of transportation…


And finally Chitabe - the camp I definitely want to go back to in the dry season. The most amazing guide, who really respected the animals, did not approach them rapidly and was just as excited about sightings as we were. Lovely hosts and a really beautiful place that deserves another visit from me.  We saw a leopard with her cub there and too many birds to count.


In total, I was again amazed by the number of birds and animals I saw and the respect of the people of Botswana for their patrimony. I need to save some money so I can go back in 2016 but in another season as still would like to see the younger babies. Thank you so much for the help with the planning of another adventure. I am attaching one of my favorite photos. I plan to send some for the photo contest but am still choosing which one.


 

Thank you again for all your help,

Lee Ann Palmer, Apr 2014




Adventurer Safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe – Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, Hwange and Matobo National Park


Hello Saskia and team,


We thoroughly enjoyed our Africa trip.  Thank you for your help in finding properties that fit well with our family, private drivers, and transfers.  It met my expectations and the kids said “it’s as good as Galapagos” (and that was by far their top trip so far, so a HUGE compliment)… 


The flight to Davisons Camp was great.  Davisons was by far the best part of the trip.  At first I was nervous, seeing how high the grass was, but I knew it was that season, and thought if nothing else, we’ll enjoy sleeping in a tent.  Was I wrong!  We saw tons of game—comparable to East Africa at times, and had TONS of lion encounters.  They told us that it was very unusual for us to see lions multiple times per day…


Our guide was wonderful.  We actually saw a leopard CLOSE UP.  We were driving down a road that had fairly thick vegetation and came up to a termite mound right next to the road.  I turned my head and locked eyes with a leopard only 6 feet away, at eye level!...My husband didn’t get a great photo of its face because he had too large of a zoom lens—caught is ear and shoulder! 


The accommodations were wonderful and we can’t say enough about the warmth of the staff.  I felt like I was leaving family when we left and was so sad to go.  However, one thing helped us be ready to go—a mix of super cool and exhausting.


The final night of our stay at the camp, the lions arrived at camp at dusk.  We were escorted to our room and instructed not to leave, and the staff left us a bedtime story called, “How the Lion Got its Roar.”  As I was reading this to our children, the lions helpfully provided sound effects to the story.  And did that all night long.  We know they were hungry as we could see the bones sticking out of the hips of the cubs, and the leanness of the adults, and we’d seen them stalking eland, but not successfully.  As we heard them roar, moan, and even breathe at midnight, 1am, and finally a big ruckus around 3:30, the lions who had been circling our tent seemed to have made a kill.  We saw them early in the morning and they left the camp area by 8am.  We learned that they had taken down a buffalo during the night, and the cubs now had bulging bellies.  The prints in the sand around our tent made it clear why we could hear them breathing and roaring all night.  They really liked our tent area, at the farthest end of the camp.  That was cool, but we needed to get a good night’s sleep after that experience.


…We found Amalinda architecturally interesting and our guide, Paul, was AWESOME.  We did in fact see rhino, completing the Big Five, and we found the cave paintings and rocks interesting.  Also visiting the natural history museum in Bulawayo was a nice change from game drives.  We visited the orphanage also—the flexibility with Paul was fantastic.  It felt very much like a family atmosphere and was a good way to round out our trip.


Thank you for arranging our trip for us.




Kind regards,

Teri Thomas, Apr 2014




Namibian Spectacular Flying Safari and Visit to Cape Town and the Southern Cape


Hi Ian,


I received your “welcome home” letter, thank you very much. Namibia was outstanding. The dunes, mountains, and desert really sets it apart from any other safari jaunts.  The camps, Wilderness Safari people, (guides & camp staff) were all amazing! Every detail was looked after to perfection. Again, Africa Adventure Company has shown itself to be a superior company compared to the stories I heard in camp of the companies others had used. They were quite impressed with my itinerary. I don’t think I would go back to Namibia as I do enjoy the jungle settings and seeing animals and birds. There wasn’t much of either going on.


The Mosaic Farm Lodge outside of Hermanus was the best choice you could have made for me to unwind. It was absolutely beautiful, lots to do....or not..and the food was memorable! The little town of Stanford was an awesome place to poke around in—and sample the home made gelato with chocolate sauce.


Thanks again for putting together an itinerary that was well paced, safe but adventurous, and wonderful accommodations. I noticed that most of the camps are making use of solar panels for light  & hot water.


Not sure what I’m going to do next year. Wish you did trips to the Himalayas.

Barbara Young, April 2014 




Client Trip Reports - January - March 2014


Wildlife Safari to Botswana's Okavango Delta and Linyanti Reserve and Visit to Victoria Falls


Dear Elena,

 

Our safari was excellent and thank you for organizing such a amazing trip. Wilderness Safaris is outstanding. 

 

 

As you know, Esther is a treasure and she gave us a most enjoyable private tour of Victoria Falls. 

 

We also did a helicopter tour which Wilderness Safaris arranged for us. What a view! Our room at the Victoria Falls Hotel was huge and luxurious with a big balcony. All our transfers and flights went smoothly.

 

DumaTau camp was new, beautiful and very comfortable. We loved the night sounds - the bell frogs, the hippos and the lions. Our driver/guide Lazi was very special. He found us the wild dog pack interacting with hyenas, two African rock pythons and we were chased by a bull elephant in musth! Two other delightful couples were in our group and we celebrated Gail's birthday on the boat at sunset. A very special time. Everyone in the camp was so nice, especially Chris, Greg, Chloe, Alina and Mr. B. The chef took excellent care of our food issues.

 

Little Tubu Camp was just as special. Michael was downright spoiled by the chef there! Our driver/guide Bee was excellent and Phily was so much fun. The flood had come in enough so we were able to have a mokoro ride. It was very special - right before sunset - and was so peaceful and beautiful. Then we had drinks afterwards at sunset.


So thanks again. We are already thinking about where in Africa we would like to go next.


Sincerely,

Laura Garrick, March 2014




The Best of Southern Africa – Safari to a Private Game Reserve, Chobe and Visits to Cape Town and Victoria Falls


We are home from our great adventure with stories and memories that we will be sharing for our lifetime. As an older novice traveler, traveling with a minor, the one thing I knew to do well was to research the travel company I chose. I could not have done better. So many thanks for the prompt replies and reassurances for the many questions I had. You guys are awesome!

 

Every thing went exceedingly smooth. Each time we got off the plane there was someone to greet us and take us to our destination. Dropping off at the airport meant taking us and our bags to the ticket counter and making sure we had our tickets for the next flight. Special thanks to driver Wilbert in South Africa and Bigboy in Zimbabwe.

 

Our hotel in Cape Town was excellent. The rooms were clean and the staff friendly. The day trips suggested were full of interest. And if I was thinking that hotel was excellent I had no idea what was waiting at Buffalo Camp. Really, there are no words to describe the luxury of these permanent tents. The reception was warm, the food wonderful, the guides knowlegeable and approachable, it was spectacular. My grandson learned so many things from the guides and was spoiled with kindness at the camp. The hotel in Zimbabwe was again excellent. I appreciated knowing to take cash and try and refrain from using a credit card or bank. It was really good advice and I was able to follow it. I was unprepared for the cost of food and personal items in Zimbabwe. I believe it was at least twice what I paid for similar expenses while in South Africa. We ended our safari at Muchenje Safari Lodge in Botswana. I was surprised at the completely different feel between the two lodges. This lodge had a more homey, going to camp as a kid feel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated the different experience that each camp offered.

 

This was the kind of trip I had imagined. I had a knowledgeable company to do the planning and have as support, without the stifling nature of travelling in a herd of folks... The tips on tipping were very helpful and taking 100 one dollar bills is something I shall always do now wherever I travel.

 

Thank you all so very much.

Dawn Lowe, March 2014




Botswana Wing Safari to the Linyanti Reserve and the World Famous Okavango Delta


The trip we just completed was amazing. We have used every superlative that we know to describe this trip, the accommodations and the people we met. The facilities were definitely A+, that is if there is no higher mark. The staff at each camp were friendly and helpful beyond our imagination. The food was also great, everywhere. The logistics worked flawlessly and the animals ... oh the animals, WOW! Our guides never failed to deliver. They were so very knowledgeable and patient.

 

The fact is we are already planning a return trip next year during the dry season. Is now too soon to start?

Cleve and Barbara McGehee, March 2014 




Wilderness Flying Safari to Botswana’s Xigera Camp, Chitabe and Victoria Falls Hotel


Hi Kyle,


We had a trip of a lifetime!  Thank you for making it special.

 

Both hotels were wonderful places to stay.  I hope to return to the Victoria Falls Hotel with its setting and history and ambiance.  The Residence had a unique layout, and we had a wonderful dinner there.  We appreciate too the opportunity to use the club at the airport at Johannesburg.  And all the flights and shuttles worked like clockwork.  Your planning relieved a lot of our stress in traveling.

 

Both camps were exciting places to stay.  It was good that we stayed at Xigera first because Chitabe had so much more wildlife.  The reverse could have been disappointing.  For us, it seemed that each day in the bush got better and better.

 

We saw lots of animals.  We saw four of the Big Five (really didn't expect to see a rhino). Probably the most memorable event was seeing lions feeding on a giraffe.  And no one will forget Matt trading his clothes for crafts at the market.

 

It is possible that we could return to Africa.  I would be interested in your guidebook "Africa's Top Wildlife Countries".  We still have to see a rhinoceros and I'm interested in seeing chimpanzees.

 

Thank you for planning such a memorable trip.  We appreciate your work.  

Jerry and Val VanWoerkom, March 2014




Wing Safari to Botswana’s Desert & Delta - Central Kalahari, Okavango Delta and Moremi


Dear Elena,


We are home now from our great Botswana adventure and as I'm writing this it is snowing outside, such a contrast to the warm temperatures we got to experience for 10 days.  Of course we had rain, but as one of our guides said, "It's the rainy season."  True it was. We had such an exciting adventure!  All our camps, guides, food, and service were all excellent.  Everyone was helpful and travelling from camp to camp was flawless.

  

We saw loads of animals, including an entire pride of lions, a cheetah and 2 cubs and 2 elusive leopards. The highlight for me was of course observing so much animal behavior, but getting to know the people at the camps, especially our guides, was equally rewarding for me.  Richard took thousands of photos and he was able to get some really great shots, particularly when we were with our private guides.

  

Africa has a kind of magic that draws you there and then back again.  We are already talking about where we'll go next!  Thank you and everyone who made our journey to Botswana one we will never forget.


Sincerely,

Irene Maxcy, Feb-Mar 2014




“Diamond Skies” Safari to South Africa’s Sabi Sand and Tswalu Game Reserves and Cape Town Visit


We have arrived home from our Africa Adventure and Safari. We truly had an amazing time and already want to go back.

 

Lion Sands River Lodge:

We saw so much game here it was amazing. We saw the Big 5 and truly enjoyed seeing the wild dogs as an added bonus.  The rooms were lovely and the view from the patio was breathtaking.  The food options were delicious and they accommodated my 9 year old niece’s food needs as well.

 

Tswalu:

Oh gosh, where to start. The scenery here was unbelievable (red sand and dunes) and such a dramatic difference from anywhere else we have been.  The staff were truly exceptional as were the rooms. The game viewing was nice but not as good as at Lion Sand. I truly enjoyed my yoga sessions and all the extra attention we received from the whole staff.  My niece loved all the activities that they provided for her and the backpack for kids upon arrival was a lovely touch.  The food was delicious and the attentive extras they provide their guest was incredible.  I loved the ability to plan our day as we liked and have everything catered to our needs. This was truly a 5 star lodge and I hope to return one day. P.S. The black maned lion was so amazing and large, it was my favorite animal of the whole trip.

 

Attached are some photos from our Safari.


 

Thanks so much,

 

Kristen Walsh and Donnie Payne, Feb-Mar 2014




Flying Safari to Botswana’s Central Kalahari and Linyanti Reserve and Visits to Cape Town and Victoria Falls


Dear Lynne,


All I can say is you "heard" me and helped provide an experience we will never forget. And, we are determined to go back, so begin thinking about our next adventure.


I believe I suggested that we go to Botswana and that the less people we were with the better, and rustic was fine with us. We loved the Kalahari Plains Camp and Savuti. They were the highlight of our stay in Africa. Our guides were knowledgeable and caring. Half the time it was just Bill and me and the guide. Other times there was one couple, always from another country rather than America (great!).  A few times there were two couples in addition to us. We rarely saw other jeeps on the road. It seemed our jeep was the predator searching for game. We knocked down low brush and small trees to get to the animals the guide was determined we should see. And, did we see. We didn't experience too many herds of animals, rather, we had to search for them, which made it fun.

 

We spotted 28 different mammals and 68 different birds. It was phenomenal. Turning a curve on the dirt road to face a lion head-on sitting in the road. Or, a mother cheetah playing with her cubs. Warthogs, kudu, giraffe, elephants, hippos, and dung beetles pushing their home down the road. We loved it all, and I literally cried when we left Botswana to fly to Zimbabwe.

 

We enjoyed Victoria Falls, but given we live near many water falls, we were less in awe than maybe some people. We found Elephant Camp almost too nice after our experience in Botswana. But, we enjoyed a two hour hike with a guide and loved meeting the resident cheetah up close and feeding the elephants.

Cape Town is beautiful. We enjoyed Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, the Botanical Gardens, eating in great restaurants, especially Baia on the Harbor. The Radisson Blu was a lovely hotel to end the trip, but I believe both of us would have given up Cape Town and Zimbabwe if we had known what Botswana was like.

 

Lynne, we would like to return, perhaps to other camps in Botswana, and if you can suggest another country that would be similar, without much commercialism or too many people. Botswana may be unique as there are only 2 million people in the country and their emphasis on sustainability is easier to attain with a low population.


I can't thank you enough for helping to plan this amazing adventure for us.


Sincerely,

Karin Ash and Bill Huling, Feb 2014




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