Flying Safari to Botswana’s Central Kalahari and Savute Game Reserve
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.
Ann Badger, Sep 2014
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools
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.
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
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
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
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
We had a wonderful trip, enjoyed it all and all transfers and transportation went smoothly. So, great job.
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.
Eloise Hanner, Sep 2014
‘Eyes on Elephant’ Group Safari to Zimbabwe
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:
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
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
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 regardsLarry & 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.
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…
• 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.
• 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!
• 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…
• 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!
Betty Rose, Sep 2014
Hidden Gems of Botswana and Zimbabwe – Chitabe, DumaTau, Vundu Camp and Pamushana
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)
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!!
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
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
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!
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.
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!
Miggy and Steve Scott, Aug 2014
Exploration of Southern Africa and Flying Safari to Botswana
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Eduardo Gerlein, July 2014
Big Five Safari to South Africa and Zimbabwe including Sabi Sand, Hwange and Victoria Falls
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!!!
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!
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...
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.
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.
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.
More beautiful than Niagara Falls. We highly recommend the helicopter ride, tour with Esther, and staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel…
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
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
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
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