Iconic Safari to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe including Mana Pools
I am still on a high after being home 3 days from Africa. I can not even find the right words to tell you what a unbelievable, wonderful holiday I had. You and your whole AAC team did a great job from start to finish. I felt like I was in complete competent hands wherever I was at. From all the wonderful ladies who guided me effortlessly thru the airports to the drivers, like Victor and Alex and so many more who transferred me from one location to the next filling me in on the country's history and their own enjoyable stories.
Cape Town with its stark beauty unfolding before my eyes was breathtaking. My guide Chris Tromp was totally awesome. He was a wealth of information. I let him redesign my second day of sightseeing. And he did not disappoint me. I can't say enough wonderful things about him.
My stay at Cheetah Plains was a good start for my first safari drive. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. I got to see a leopard kill through out different stages while I was there. And I must says "hats off "to the chef and the whole team. The meals were "over the top". Everything was excellent!
My helicopter flight in Hazyview was breathtaking as well. The beauty of the landscape was astounding. Burtis my pilot was excellent. We were lucky enough to see a herd of wild horses running across the plains. This adventure was one of my highlights.
Victoria Falls and Esther go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. Esther was very informative,and what a sweet heart she is. The falls were spectacular. They make a great team. The Elephant ride was also a lot of fun. Harrison my guide was very informative and taught me a lot. It was a very enjoyable experience.
Muchenje Safari Lodge in Bostwana was another highlight of my holiday. The drives in Chobe National Park were amazing, along with the boat ride in the Chobe river. My guide "B" did a fantastic job seeking out the wildlife and was very informative, along with a sly sense of humor. My walking guide, "Paul" was also fantastic and with a great sense of humor. He taught me a lot about animal tracks and termite mounds and so much more. All the guides there,"Lips, Sam, Rambo"and the others who I might of left out,all did an excellent job. I can't say enough about the entire staff. They all went above and beyond what was expected of them. Joy and Robert who manage the camp were welcoming and quickly put you at ease. The sunrise and sunsets in Bostwana are spectacular. They are in themselves true beauty.
My final destination,Vundu Tented Camp in Mana Pools was absolutely "mind blowing". My guide "Fischer" made this Safari "over the top"! Between the overnight canoe trip down the Zambezi river and watching a pride of lions with their elephant kill. Fischer was extremely competent. I truly felt I was in safe hands. He was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
Another highlight in my holiday. What a way to end it!
I can't say enough wonderful things .It was a great holiday from start to finish.
Beth Chiodini, Sep 2015
Namibian Spectacular and Botswana Flying Safari
The trip was wonderful and each camp/place offered a unique experience so congratulations on the itinerary. In particular, over 2 years I had contacted numerous travel agencies but chose AAC because you suggested adding Botswana which certainly enhanced the trip. So thank you for knowing exactly what I wanted. I made a good choice in AAC and you and everything was planned/ executed well.
My two favorite camps/experiences are Hoanib and Vumbura in no order. The other 3 were also good and ranking is probably not fair due to the variety of game, location, and experience….
So again thanks and I always have one question when I return from a trip—What’s next ? I certainly would like to return to Africa in the next few years.
Ken DuBose, Sep 2015
Deluxe Tour of South Africa
Hello Africa Adventure Company,
Ann and I had a wonderful trip to South Africa. All of our accommodations were simply outstanding (including Rovos Rail’s steam train). Our extremely knowledgeable guides (especially Chris Tromp in Cape Town and Mike at Rattray’s) really made the trip special. All of the transfers went well and you all supplied just the right amount of “hand holding” throughout the trip. It was simply a trip of a lifetime.
Ann and Glen Georgehead, Sep 2015
Best of Southern Africa including Cape Town, Sabi Sand and Chobe National Park
Both Mauryne and I enjoyed our trip very, very much. Thank you for all of the excellent arrangements and the great accommodations.
In Cape Town, Graham was both informative and considerate. I hope you can use him as often as possible, I am certain your other guests will appreciate him as well. We enjoyed a ride to the Cape of Good Hope Reserve, Cape Point, and Simon’s Town. He dropped us at Table Mountain and waited for our return. He made the day a highlight.
Lion Sands Tinga was splendid. The accommodations were grand and the staff as disciplined and professional as any I have found anywhere. While we saw 4 of the Big 5, plus other animals, the groups/herds were not as large as those later in the trip. Nevertheless, this was a fabulous experience.
Mauryne absolutely loved the Elephant Experience. As the manager remarked, “If she didn’t have ears her smile would go around her head.”…
I truly enjoyed Vic Falls. The accommodations were equal to Tinga and the staff nearly so. The vistas are great and the boat safari delightful. The food was awful. The night of the cookout, the meat was tough and dry; the other meals were not appetizing. The Falls are magnificent.
Kyle, I wish I could identify the highlight or the best experience or even the best day of our trip, but they were all very special. You did great work and I will recommend you to anyone who asks. This trip was truly beyond any expectation I had.
Again, thank you so very much for your hard work and patience.
Joe Johnson, Sep 2015
Southern Africa “Big Five” Safari to Private Reserves and Okavango Delta
I continue to digest, or try to, this most wonderful trip. My intention was to see and get as close as possible to animals in the wild, and you made that possible. I will never forget Ephraim, the guide at Cheetah Plains maneuvering the jeep to be alongside of a sitting full grown male lion and I, in the closest seat asking, " So how many leaps would he need to take to get me?" "Two, maybe one," was the answer! Of course, as he explained, the animals see only the jeep, not individuals, and he knew the limits of the animals' comfort zone. And that was during the first morning drive. It got better and better, which I didn't think possible.
My favorite lodge was Seba Camp in Botswana because it was completely open, not fenced off as were the other camps, and animals, an elephant and monkeys, were seen about and in the lodge and cabin areas, although I also saw other tracks leading to my cabin. And my cabin was spacious, allowing Gene and I each to have our own suites. I really appreciated the high ceiling fan, rather than air conditioning, which cooled the room as soon as it was turned on. A little thing perhaps, but a good ecological choice. The last evening dinner out in the bush with typical food and entertainment was a treat.
Cheetah Plains was a good camp to begin my adventure and was the place we saw the most animals in the shortest amount of time. And you weren't kidding about it becoming cold early in the morning and at night. I had to buy a fleece scarf to cover my head and neck, but it says Cheetah Camps so a useful souvenir. No cheetahs here, but pretty much everything else. All meals were communal, as were the ones at Seba Camp and meals were a fun social occasion, aided by the staff.
Buffalo Camp, Kapama, was in a different class and more like a fancy resort than a camp out in the wilds of Africa. It was beautiful and the food was gourmet…There was both a guide and tracker here and on the last morning drive we see a cheetah! I had given up on that so it was a lovely surprise. And a baby elephant just born the morning of a different drive! Cannot get better than that.
The managers, guides, tracker, and staff at each of the camps were kind, considerate, and helpful. The atmosphere, especially in Cheetah Plains and Seba Camp was laid back, relaxing and most conducive to interaction among travelers and staff. The guide at Kapama was the most knowledgeable, but no complaints about the other two who had many strong points and were actually more personable.
And I appreciated being met at the airport stops by someone who could carry my AAC duffle.
If you have any further questions for me, do call. As for my pictures, I still need to cut them by half and half again.
Barbara Kligerman, Sep 2015
Legends of Zimbabwe Flying Safari to Mana Pools and Hwange
This is a huge thank-you to you, and to all your staff who helped us with planning our recent trip. I’m so glad I picked up a copy of your book and called you, many months ago. Your knowledge and encouragement then (and after Cecil’s death) was immeasurably helpful. We can’t say enough good things about Africa Adventure Company. We especially appreciated knowing that a share of our safari costs was donated to conservation non-profits. We also appreciated the opportunity to visit the Rose of Charity orphanage, and we’ll be making a donation there…
Vundu Camp was great; we loved seeing the vervet monkeys and hearing the hippos right outside our tent, and Gaddy (Gadrick) was an excellent Mana Pools guide. He was kind, funny, and enthusiastic in sharing all kinds of information about the area. (We were lucky to have him to ourselves on most drives.) On our last day, he led us on a walk by the river, and we learned about people who had lived in the park area until the 1950’s.
We saw every animal at Mana Pools except lions, including packs of wild dogs, both day and night. (An added bonus was informative conversation with Peter Blinston, of Painted Dog Conservation, who was staying at Vundu with some BBC filmmakers.)
Other highlights were our daylight leopard encounter (a half hour!), and a 3-hour sunset Zambezi canoe trip—with lots of hippos, elephants, and birds.
Lewis, another excellent guide, picked us up for the ride to Linkwasha, and right away we were aware of the grand scale of things at Hwange—we stopped at a water hole on the way from the airport and not only saw a herd of about 40 elephants bathing and drinking, we heard the croaking of what Lewis said were 200,000 frogs!
Linkwasha Camp was fantastic: tasteful, comfortable, and elegant, and visually compatible with the surrounding environment. All the staff were eager to make our stay perfect, and they did. One reason we want to return to Linkwasha is because of the accommodating staff.
Our private drives with Lewis were extraordinary. Every day we were astounded by the variety and sheer numbers of wildlife. He educated us about the history of poaching and trophy hunting, and possible positive options for the future. We had leisurely lion viewings (all Cecil’s descendants)—eleven on one evening, four young ones the following day.
The memory of one sundowner stands out: pink light reflected on the water, and a giraffe, hippos, elephants, baboons, and various antelope all in and around the pan. (Karl hadn’t used his digital camera since our Zambia trip in 2009—he took about 700 photos on this trip.)
Another highlight was our 4-hour walking safari with Lewis. Exciting—because of needing to navigate between the paths of a breeding herd of elephants and a young bull, and educational—learning about insects, birds, and medicinal dung and plants.
We ended up talking with both our guides about their jobs, lives, and families, and current political and economic conditions in Zimbabwe. We were really moved, and humbled by, their commitment to wildlife conservation, and to improving their families’ lives through employment in the camps. The long stretches of time away from family were unimaginable to Karl and me, and we truly admire all the camp staff.
At both camps, the guests were nice, interesting people, and some of us will be keeping in touch.
Our time at beautiful Victoria Falls was a pleasure, too. And Esther was the perfect guide for our educational tour of the falls. We found out she’s been doing this for 26 years! I fell in love with the Victoria Falls Hotel. Our VIP Stable Wing room was wonderful, as were the restaurants and gardens. The Jungle Junction show was fast-paced and fun. We loved seeing banded mongooses, baboons, and monkeys on the lawns. Plus, our room came with a free couples’ massage—so nice.
And Mark, I really appreciate all your guidance and recommendations about upgrades—to the concierge room at the hotel, the private guide/vehicle, World Traveler Plus airfare, private transfers, etc. This all made a big difference. And thanks for all the well-organized details in the documents, especially concerning tipping—very helpful.
Mary Lee Moser, Sep 2015
Namibian Flying Safari to Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Ongava and South Africa’s Sabi Sand
Hi Ian -
We had a great trip. The Namibian dunes were amazing, Damaraland was interesting… In South Africa, we loved Tanda Tula, especially the tents, food and service and at Idube the service was also good but the animal sightings were outstanding…So all in all, it was a great trip…saw more leopards and rhino that I ever saw in my other 2 trips combined!
Maureen Noland, Sep 2015
Safari Adventure to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana
This was one of our best trips!
We adored Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp…We were very lucky to see the 5 musketeers and Bianca and MG- who were apparently just about finished letting the males breed with them. We also saw a lot of elephant and giraffe and oryx and springbok. The beauty of the desert and the amazing ability of these noble animals to adapt to the conditions was really inspiring.
In Mana Pools, we had a fabulous time with Nick and Des and the kids along with Nick’s sister so we felt so privileged to feel like part of the family. We loved the canoeing wish was gorgeous and had tons of fun mobile tenting. We got really close to most of the gang: Tusker, Impy, Stumpy, Stompy, Handstand and at the very end, the very best was Mutzi.
In Botswana, we loved loved loved both Chitabe and DumaTau. We had a particularly eventful time at Chitabe as we saw mating lions, a cheetah with two young sub-adult cubs kill an impala, a warthog who had slept with the wild dog pups in their den get run out of town in the morning, a lion chasing a cheetah, a tire puncture and got stuck in the sand. Quite exciting! At DumaTau we got a special wine tasting on Cleopatra’s barge which was lovely.
A bit of a let down to return to our bourgois life here!
Mara and Bob Perkins, Sep 2015
Luxury South African Safari to a Private Game Reserve near Kruger and Madikwe Private Game Reserve
We had a wonderful trip. We enjoyed Cape Town and both safaris.
Cape Town. The Taj Hotel is beautiful and well located with plenty to do very nearby, including the Company Gardens and the shops and restaurants on St Charles. We reserved a one bedroom suite, and were given a very spacious two-bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms. Great way to start! Wilderness Touring did a fine job for us. Everything went off without a hitch, and Chris Tromp was an excellent guide for our day of driving around.
Safari. Both Singita Ebony and Mateya were terrific. Here are a few comments:
Guiding Standards: Both were very good with excellent guides and trackers. At Singita we had Daniella and Renneck and at Mateya, Werner and Paul. On our 2006 trip there were guides but no trackers, and we think having a tracker is beneficial. Werner at Mateya is the best guide we have had in our five safaris. He shares a great deal of knowledge to bring more interest to the drives. He sizes up his customers and tailors his commentary to their interests while obviously imparting his love of Africa and everything in the bush.
Accommodations: Over the top for both. Plenty of space, excellent viewing right from our rooms, wonderful food and service. Just what you would expect from high-end facilities. We were encouraged by another guest to take a meal at Singita Boulders to see what it is like - we found it very nice, but maybe a little too modern by comparison with Ebony, which is more "African" in feeling. Mateya is something special. We were delighted to find such luxury in the bush. The art work is fantastic, and the design of the entire facility is itself a work of art. The entrance doors throughout (from Zanzibar we were told) are beautiful, the common area is vast, and everything reflects one person's approach to design. The furnishings are very attractive and comfortable, and the color palette used is entirely appropriate. We later discovered that Mateya has been featured in Architectural Digest, and deservedly so.
Wildlife Viewing: Excellent at Singita, very good at Mateya. At Singita we were fortunate to see plenty of wildlife on every drive. In the first two days we saw the "magnificent seven" - big five plus cheetah and wild dog (twice in one day), not to mention many other land animals and birds. The Sand River is a big draw, and on one afternoon we saw a large herd of elephant (23 or 31 depending on who was counting) plus baboon, kudu, and the ubiquitous impala, all from our suite. At Mateya a few drives offered sparse animal sightings, perhaps because of their drought, but on other drives we did see numerous rhino (white only), elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, kudu, springbok, giraffe, a couple of brown hyena, and one ostrich. We had one sighting of 4 sleeping cheetah, and 3 sightings of various members on one lion pride. The first sighting had 5 of the lions sharing a recent zebra kill. The third sighting featured 3 young members of the pride playing like overgrown kittens. While Mateya does not have a river running right by it, their watering hole attracts many animals throughout the day. We did not see the wild dog as they have lost some to rabies and it would have been an hour or so each way to where they were probably located.
Singita Specials: Two sets of guests were taking advantage of an offer to obtain 1 or 2 free nights out of 8 by staying at Singita sites, in their cases Ebony, Sweni, and Lebombo. We were told that Sweni and Lebombo differ in terrain from Ebony and Boulders, but in retrospect we are glad we went to Mateya, and not to other Singita properties, to round out our trip.
Phil and Nell Schaefer, Sep 2015
Private Game Reserve near Kruger and Phinda Reserve near St Lucia Wetlands
Elena at AAC patiently worked out our Africa trip itinerary with us and the result was that old cliché: The trip of a lifetime:
Ngala Tented Camp:
I can only describe this lodge as an elegant oasis in the African bush. A stay of four nights here was the perfect length. The “tents” are amazing, the service is great and the food was wonderful. Guide Andrew and tracker Arab were friendly and a wealth of knowledge. We saw 30 different lions at Ngala including a pride of 14. One night, we heard loud groaning noises throughout the night. In the morning we learned the sound was two lions signaling each other. We set out to find them and succeeded in watching two lion brothers meet and greet each other; a very special moment for us. Also, having a leopard walk around your Land Cruiser is an experience that I doubt we’ll ever match.
Phinda Rock Lodge:
AAC arranged a small plane that flew us from Ngala to the Phinda Game Reserve. Ngala set the bar high but Phinda was up to the challenge. We saw an incredible amount of wildlife here. The game drive highlight was watching a cheetah with five cubs make an impala kill. It was an amazing display of the life and death nature of the African bush. Our guide Divon and tracker Malusi were amazing in their ability to find animals. We took advantage of the rhino tracking hike at Phinda and spotted a white rhino with a baby. We also paid extra for an excursion to Sodwana Bay Beach on the Indian Ocean. It was a perfect half day of sunning at the beach followed by an evening game drive. The Rock Lodge staff arranged everything and, as in Ngala, the service was outstanding. The Bedrock design of Rock Lodge is unusual but fun. We loved the intimacy of this small lodge. Be warned – there are a lot of steps between Room 5 and the main lodge!
A small plane (we filled the only 4 seats) delivered us to Durban and then we took a flight to Cape Town. At Phinda we laughed as our tracker used the Land Cruiser to chase zebra from the runway so we could take off. We stayed 5 nights at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel in the Waterfront. This was the perfect location as it offered many dining and shopping choices within safe walking distance. AAC arranged a car and driver for us for 3 days. We went to Hermanus the first day for a whale watch boat ride (Southern Right Charters). We enjoyed the ride but only saw a few whales. I think we were a little early in the season.
We toured Cape Point on the second day. The scenery, especially Chapman’s Peak Drive, was amazing. We visited the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, watched seals at Hout Bay and saw wild ostrich on the cape. A drink at an outdoor café in Camps Bay topped off a great drive.
The third day we took the cable car to Table Mountain. Go as early in the day as possible as the car queues grow quickly. The view is nothing short of magnificent. Our driver, Lazarus then took us to Stellenbosch for the afternoon. We had incredible food and drink at the 96 Winery Road Restaurant there.
From the time we left our Cape Town hotel to the time we stepped off the plane in Detroit, it was 29 hours of travel. That’s a long time. But if you told me I could go back to South Africa tomorrow, I’d pack my bags in an instant.
Jim & Sherry Everlove, Aug 2015
Private Safari to Botswana’s Moremi Reserve
The trip was fabulous...one of the best ever.
Every place we stayed knew about this being my 80th birthday celebration, and we received gifts and daily attention. Brooks at Mombo could not have been more helpful and taught us so much...he knows everything about everything. I even forgave him for presenting me with a beautiful birthday cake in the Boma the last night made out of elephant dung.
An unforgettable trip with 20 close friends.I thank Monica and you for the outstanding detail work you put into making this trip perfect.
Dick Henning, Aug 2015
“Diamond Skies” Safari to South Africa
We are back from our amazing trip to South Africa. You did a wonderful job selecting locations for us!
** Londolozi was everyone's favorite place. Our guide and tracker (Werner and Euce) was incredible in every way. We had spectacular animal sightings and encounters and a lot of fun with them. Euce was especially great with Violet (our 5 year old who went on 19 of 20 game drives!). Our rooms were beautiful and spacious and the food and service were top notch! And the kids program was fabulous - all 3 kids loved every minute we were there! We have nothing negative to say about our experience there
** Ngala was so different from Londolozi and took a day to adjust to but we ended up loving it. We enjoyed the waterhole right outside our room and the spectacular game drives. Our guide (Barney) was incredibly experienced and taught us a lot. We had a wonderful bush dinner and some incredible sunset celebrations. The highlight of the trip for all of us was participating in a rhino tagging with the SA Wildlife College. We heard about the program from our guide and they were able to arrange for us to sponsor a rhino (#242) on very short notice. It was a once in a lifetime experience and something we will never forget. We would definitely return to Ngala again (and hopefully get the one large family suite).
** We all fell in love with the Cape Grace and Cape Town itself immediately. We were thrilled you convinced us to stay there. Our room was enormous and the service was impeccable. We loved being so close to the ferris wheel, aquarium, shops and restaurants. Our driver (Lazarus) was terrific and we were able to take advantage of the nice weather we had. We will return to the Cape Grace at some point as we feel like there is so much we did not get to see in Cape Town.
** Tswalu was another wonderful place. The room we had was great with a spectacular view of the watering hole which was constantly visited by animals. The food and service were excellent, and the attention to detail was the best of all places… We did the sleep out which was a real highlight of the trip. So well done and something we will always remember! So glad we did it!
Overall it really was a trip of a lifetime and we will be going back at some point! We would highly recommend The African Adventure Company as you put together a first class vacation for us start to finish and all of your recommendations were spot on!
Heather Kelley, Aug 2015
Big Five Game Viewing Safari to Southern Africa
Patty and I had a great time! I didn't realize until we were well into the trip that so many experiences could be packed into that much time. Each new destination gave us a glimpse into the variety and richness of southern Africa. I am still sorting through my pictures and video to try to cement all of this into my memory.
I thought all of the accommodations were very good starting with the Raddisson in CapeTown through Muchenje Safari Lodge. The garden shower at the Rissington was a little chilly at this time of year though. The guides were good at showing us the country, especially Andrew Brink in Capetown. Chris Hamilton at Cheetah Plains added a good bit of humorous commentary to his observations of the animals. Esther at Victoria Falls was charming and a great guide. Lipps at Muchenje provided a genuine Botswana perspective on Chobe park and the animals.
I am sure Patty has told you about all of the animals that we saw, not just posing for us but engaged in some very real actions that were sometimes exciting and other times disturbing (like lions taking down and killing a buffalo). It makes it a lot easier to see them as unique creatures rather than as an epitome of some human characteristic. After the buffalo kill and abuse of the lionesses, I can't really see lions as "majestic nobility" for example.
Thank you for putting together such a great itinerary for my sister and I!
Dave Leifheit, Aug 2015
Safari Adventure to Mashatu, MalaMala and Tswalu
Thanks so much for sending us to Tswalu. Here are some general comments about the camps.
African Rock -- great little hotel with delicious food. Every connection they were responsible for went smoothly and on time. I really appreciated them.
Mashatu -- the new tents are a welcome improvement - clean, better lit than before, with a great raised veranda. We had the same ranger, Daniel, as we had in 2008, and he was as good as ever. Our tracker was Commander who we also remembered from our first trip. I think this is our favorite camp because it combines "camping in the bush" with modern conveniences. The guests we met there were also so nice. The game was better than ever and the photo hide incredible. Kyle from C4 taught me more about my camera in five minutes than I had figured out in 5 years.
MalaMala -- beautiful setting, great people. We were upgraded to a Sable Camp suite and some meals at Sable Camp. The rest of the time we ate in the Main Camp boma. Our guide Adi has ADD and drove like it. Loved it! He is a fly fisherman like Chris and so the talk was always about places to fish! The first 2 days we had the truck to ourselves. We finally saw the wild dogs in the wild. This is a camp for families as the morning drive starts later and the evening drives end very early compared to Mashatu. The food was bountiful. We want to bring our daughter here.
Tswalu -- What can we say -- so many endangered species to marvel at. It was a little over the top for Chris and I. For example we had four people hovering around the dinner table to make sure we didn't run out of wine or water. That said, the park is incredible. We had our first female ranger, Marelise, and she did an excellent job. Jonas, our tracker, was so talented and found what we wanted even if it took us hours. We sure enjoyed being able to pick and choose exactly what we wanted to see on any given day. Our suite was lovely, especially the wood burning fire to help us relax and fall asleep. I would love to go back and sleep in the Malori tent again.
After five nights at Tswalu we said good-bye to our fourth safari, hoping to return someday to all three camps. Thanks AAC for making this a true trip of a lifetime and we are looking forward to working with Elena on the next grand excursion.
Barb Lyndrup, Aug 2015
Big Five Game Viewing in South Africa and Visit to Cape Town
We wanted you to know that we had the most wonderful time and all your selections and services were spot on perfect. We cannot thank you enough... we will for sure recommend you to anyone going to Africa 100% we have some amazing pictures and after the dust settles here we will send off a few to you.
Our guide Rob was fantastic and he was flexible due to having our daughter there.. and he was knowledgeable and he made the week fantastic, he went over and above with his efforts. Nothing was ever too hard or too inconvenient.
Each safari village offered us different experiences.. be it different guide experiences, different guests etc.. so your choices were perfect. We loved the option of going to a village in Sabi Sands We brought a duffle of sports equipment to give out to kids so we visited schools and gave some kids some balls etc..
We absolutely loved our hotel in Cape Town also!! Cape Town was a gem and a must for all to go to in our opinion.
The elephant safari was fair but we expected that.. we really wanted to be able to ride one and learn about them which we did at that. The town of Hazyview was actually fantastic and we would love next time to return here for a few days.. to experience their canyons, and falls and rapids etc.. Very pretty area.
All the best and pictures to follow
Jamie Pawlan, Aug 2015
Safari to Southern Africa including Sabi Sand, Hwange and Chobe
Dear Szilvia and the Africa Adventure Company,
Adam and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our vacation! The itinerary was perfect and all of our air and ground transportation went very smoothly. Each place was so different in terms of terrain, lodging and animals.
Lion Sands was absolute luxury. The staff, food and safari drives were all great. We did like how we were able to go off road there. We wish we could have done that more.
Linkwasha was very good. We did enjoy the safari experience there though. Ngoma lodge was the perfect ending. It was so peaceful there and we love what they are doing for the community.
Thank you again for planning the perfect trip for us. We look forward to returning to Africa in the future!
Nancy Salpepi and Adam Tarkin, Aug 2015
South African Big Five Safari and Cape Highlight
I'm so sorry that I haven't gotten back to you since we returned from our trip…However, I did want to email and tell you how exciting and wonderful our South Africa trip was. It was truly an incredible experience for our whole family. I also want to thank you for all your help and arrangements. I am pleased to report that every detail, every transfer, every bit of timing went smoothly and effortlessly. It really was as easy as it could have possibly been.
ALL the places we stayed were fantastic (the Peech in Johannesburg, Tanda Tula, Cheetah Plains, and the Radisson Blu in Cape Town). However, I must add that Tanda Tula, in particular, is a very special place. They were so friendly and accommodating, and such a beautiful camp, and incredible food.
The game viewing was absolutely amazing and actually much better (and closer) than any of us expected. We saw "the Big 5" and so much more, and got unbelievable photographs.
All in all, we had an absolutely phenomenal vacation. Thanks again. I certainly hope we get to return to Africa some day (so many other countries and sites to see!).
Todd Simon, Aug 2015
Zimbabwe Flying Safari to Mana Pools and Hwange plus South Africa’s Sabi Sand
Let me start by thanking you and your team for providing excellent service from start to finish. The custom tour you created met and often exceeded our expectations. With 12 flights, multiple transfers in remote locations, and 7 different accommodations it took a high level of expertise to have every connection go seamlessly. We were met on time at each location by a guide or transfer agent and taken to our lodging which was ready for occupancy.
Each camp was a different experience. We started in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Ruckomechi Camp which we loved because of the beauty of the location and the diversity of the flora and wildlife. Karen and her staff are always available to help and the guiding was quite good, especially their guide Honest. On the water we had Chris who did a nice job. In camp the food and accommodations were exactly the level we were looking for. The best part was you felt totally immersed by the animals that wandered into camp throughout the day. I was sleeping in a patio chair outside my room and an elephant walked right by me, so close I could reach out and touch (but I didn't).
We then moved on to Davison's camp in Hwange. We loved the setting on the water hole outside and the accommodations were very comfortable…The managers Shayne and Johnny are always around to provide good service. Again the accommodations were the level we wanted and the constant parade of animals to the pan made us feel surrounded by wildlife…They also did a great job creating a private dinner for us to celebrate my wife's birthday.
After a nice stay in Victoria Falls and Cape town (Guide Andrew was perfect), we moved on to Cheetah Plains in Sabi Sands. This was our best guiding experience. We had Craig for every drive and he was an amazing tracker of animals. He also did the best job of staying in touch with the other guides from surrounding camps to keep us immersed in wildlife while running a constant dialog. Although the accommodations here are a bit dated, and the food quality slightly lower, because the guiding was so superior we had a fabulous time. They do a great job after the drive meeting every vehicle with a drink and wash towel, a nice cocktail service, and lovely communal dinner setting. The animals also wander through or close to camp which we loved. We saw an amazing amount of wild cats; cheetahs, leopards, and lions. There is a film crew in the area documenting the movement and relationship of the lions. We had a great time following the different prides and there relationships to one another. It was thrilling. This is where we got that great guide experience we were hoping for and we are staying in touch with Craig through social media.
I have tried to be complete in my analysis so that you can help us with a future trip we hope to take and any other clients. We had 24 game drives and 21 of them had an amazing highlight. We saw 2 cheetahs,5 leopards, dozens of lions, and hundreds if not thousands of elephants, buffalo, rhinos, jackals, steenbok, antelope, etc. etc. etc.. We learned an amazing amount about the wildlife and look forward to more adventures in Africa. Thanks for your help. We look forward to recommending you and your team at Africa Adventure Company to our many friends who are planning a visit to Africa.
Leslie Fagenson and David Scherer, Aug 2015
Safari to South Africa’s Sabi Sand and Botswana’s Okavango Delta
It was so nice to receive your welcoming message and mail upon our arrival. I'll be happy to share some thoughts with you.
Four days in Cape Town was just enough. We loved our guide, Lucia. She was delightful, very accommodating and so very knowledgeable about many different things. We were impressed. I would definitely recommend her to anyone visiting the city…I would highly recommend visitors add a visit to the Lwandle Migrant Labor Museum and Township which was exceptional. Lucia said she had never been there but would recommend to her office that it be added. We also loved our visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and to the Cape of Good Hope.
MalaMala was fabulous and the right camp for us. We loved the fact that we woke up in the morning with impalas and kudos on the lawn just outside out door. The accommodations were terrific, the guides were very good, the food was very good and the animal viewing was great. We saw the big five and much much more. One of the more exciting sightings was of a leopard which just sat on the ground for at least 20 minutes while three range rovers were parked nearby…I would definitely recommend MalaMala as one of the top safari camps.
Kwetsani is a lovely camp…we had the best guide - Dennis - who was exceptional. What a gem he is. We saw all of the same animals but had two experiences we really got excited about. One of them was being charged by a female elephant who obviously was not familiar with the range rover. It saw us and immediately started running after us - followed by a herd of about 20 other elephants. We were terrified though Dennis assured us afterward that he could outrun the elephants. It was something we talked about constantly. The other experience involved five sleeping lions. We parked less than five feet from them, poured a glass of wine, and just watched them waking up, pooping, and then falling back to sleep. It was amazing. We still don't fully understand how they can ignore our vehicle.
All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime, and one we will never forget We have wonderful memories and can't wait to share them with friends and family. I want to thank you and your staff for doing such a great job in planning this trip. It was everything we hoped it would be.
Tala Hoffman and Bob Stern, Aug 2015
Safari to Zambia and Zimbabwe with Specialist Guide Nic Polenakis
This was our 5th trip with The AAC and it was our best trip ever. It turned out to be an amazing adventure. By the second or third day we felt the trip was totally worthwhile even if we saw or experienced nothing more. And then it continued to be amazing. There was no let up and no day ever came close to being uneventful.
This all started with Nic Polenakis, our Specialist Private Guide. There can be no more dedicated, competent, knowledgeable or personable guide than Nic. Everyday with him was remarkable. By the end of our trip we all felt like family.
Without your and Nic’s input we never would have considered going to Zambia. We now know that Zambia has a great deal to offer. The selection of camps: Busanga Bush Camp, Tafika Camp, Old Mondoro and Somalisa was ideal. The staff at each was totally helpful and bent over backwards to meet our every need. The food was excellent and as we have learned to expect on safari, too plentiful. An example of helpfulness, which was way above and beyond, was the retrieval of my cased sunglasses that had fallen out of my pocket while driving to Camp Busanga from the airfield. I can’t conceive of how they were found along that road!
At Busanga the two camp managers Leah and Raphael were particularly helpful and a lot of fun. Our local camp guide Newton was highly skilled and very personable. He spotted 2 cheetahs by noticing the tail of one of the cheetahs approximately 100 yards away. We spent the next several hours tracking and observing the cheetah brothers. They climbed trees, which Nic assured us they never do, and later in the day took down a Puku. The balloon flight at Busanga was a spectacular experience. Not only was the flight beautiful looking out over the plains but was made even more spectacular by changes in altitude which allowed us to closely hover over a variety of animals and points of interest. As the flight was ending we witnessed Newton rescue our breakfast chef from charging elephants. Quite a morning!
Tafika Camp was a very pleasant open facility with everyone helpful and engaging. Food and particularly lunches were great. We had the experience of tracking a lion on foot and discovering him lazily laying in the shade watching us as we watched a giraffe. Morning tea in the bush with a fire started with a stick and a board was memorable. On a night drive we spotted a mother and baby leopard. Before we knew it another leopard entered the area and a brief territorial dispute took place. Pretty intense! We also saw a wild dog take down an impala and then leave the area for a few minutes. Sixteen dogs returned and in a few minutes the kill was entirely gone. An impromptu visit to a nearby village that is home to all support staff and local guides was a fun and unique experience. We talked to villagers, visited the school, children sang to us and we all danced! Local guide Lloyd was particularly charming as he entertained us with a bush quiz as we waited for the second flight to Old Mondoro.
The location of Old Mondoro is spectacular and beautiful. Room views look out over the Zambezi or a lagoon with elephants eating and bathing. A wooded area is behind the camp.
There are excellent opportunities for water activities here. We had 6 leopard sightings in the area. Four of them were in a one night drive within about an hour’s time. One very large male leopard briefly focused his attention on us and let us know in no uncertain terms we were annoying him. We moved on to more relaxed leopards! We were particularly impressed with local guide Sebastian who tracked and spotted an almost invisible leopard in a dense tree. In general he displayed a very relaxed easygoing confidence in everything he did.
The one night respite at the Victoria Falls Hotel was appreciated. We slept in until 6:30 AM! The VIP check-in and associated benefits were nice and we appreciate that The AAC made them available to us.
As you know, Somalisa is a true African bush camp and we felt very much at home there. What a spectacular location and what great experiences we had with elephants. We never expected to be so close to so many elephants. They were everywhere! It was a very friendly camp overseen by Gloria and Denzel. The guides were enthusiastic, friendly and skilled like Nic, who probably hired and perhaps trained them. Two that stood out in particular were Michael and Calvert. Here we had another peak experience with the locating and viewing of Cecil’s 7 lion cubs still alive and in good health. We wish them and their moms all of the best in what is a very dangerous world.
While at Somalisa we visited the new close by luxury camp that is under construction and to open in early September. We all thought, from what we could see, that it is going to be spectacular. One of the finished rooms, which was mostly decorated, was beautiful and very thoughtfully designed. There is every reason to believe it will be a spectacular success if it can be afforded.
We finished our adventure at Victoria Falls with a falls tour with Esther. This is always a treat. We also found our driver “Big Boy” very knowledgeable, informative and friendly.
Although very touristy, the elephant ride was all right. However, elephant riding did clash a bit with our elephant experiences in the wild.
We know that The AAC added in some “extras” for our trip in the way of beverages and experiences and for these we are most appreciative.
All of this is a bit rambling but we wanted to give you feedback on our trip. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please let us know.
What a great trip, what a great adventure and experience! Thank you so much!
Dave, Lugena and Michelle Wahlquist, Aug 2015
Safari to Sabi Sand, South Africa and Chobe National Park, Botswana
What an amazing trip our African adventure turned out to be for all of us. From the time we arrived in Africa until we left on our return flight to the United States, we were met by escorts who walked us through the immigration and customs process, transfer drivers who were waiting to take us to our destinations and eased us through transitioning from one country to another. Everyone was friendly, knowledgeable and provided very useful information about our immediate location. They also reminded us of what was next on our schedule including the time we would be leaving. To a person, they were all personable and took the stress out of trying to negotiate getting around in a foreign country. I can't imagine how that process could have gone any better and it was very appreciated.
In Cape Town, Lucija Bellairs was the guide for my sister, brother-in-law and myself the majority of the time. Lucija is a delightful person who knows the area well and brought out the history and current issues of the area. She was attentive to our interest and easily adjusted to accommodate what was most important to us. She was absolutely wonderful.
Cheetah Plains was very enjoyable and exciting as we had our first experience in viewing wild life in their natural environment. There were many opportunities each day for game viewing. As in other locations, we were struck by how friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable everyone was throughout our visit. Lodges were comfortable, food plentiful and delicious, and guides focused on meeting our daily request for animal viewing. Because this was a private reserve, vehicles were able to leave the road for better game viewing. We had some absolutely amazing opportunities to see game. I loved every minute of my time there.
Visiting Somerset West Cheetah Sanctuary was educational and it was a great experience to be up close to these magnificent cats. I was glad we had this experience prior to seeing animals in there natural habitat though as it would have been harder to see them confined after seeing them roam freely.
The white water rafting experience was exhilarating and in such a beautiful setting. The water portion of this adventure was exciting. However, the climb down the mountain and back out at the end of the day definitely required a high degree of fitness and endurance.
The Elephant Back Safari at The Wallow was so much fun and was another nice educational opportunity. Prior to arriving, I was a bit concerned over the quality of life for elephants in captivity. However, that concerned completely disappeared after experiencing the care given to balancing natural needs with those of a working elephant. I loved the opportunity this provided to be close up and even feed such a wonderful animal.
The setting of Muchenje Safari Lodge offered a different environment than that of Cheetah Plains and therefore a different animal mix. It was a nice balance. Lodging was very nice and food delicious.
One of the outstanding features of the trip was the warm reception we received from the African people whether at the lodges, in the villages we visited or in Cape Town.
It was an absolutely breathtaking experience from the time we arrived in Africa until we departed. It was as stress- free as it could possibly be for a first time visitor to the continent of Africa.
Luci Weber, Aug 2015
Best of Southern Africa including Sabi Sand and Chobe National Park
The trip was amazing, our best vacation ever. The accommodations were perfect, Rattrays was too much, over the top. We really liked the ambiance of Tandu Tula and Muchenje, like being part of a local family. The chef at Tanda Tula was incredible. The staff at all 3 places were so personal. Robert and Joy at Muchenje were like old friends. Our guides and trackers were excellent. Our first afternoon game drive the 1st day we saw the big 5 and a leopard and TWO white lions. Saw leopards everyday. Everything went well, flight connections, pickups. Our daughter was blown away and didn't want to leave. The safari could not have been better.
So, when we start to plan our next Africa trip, you will hear from us. And I will recommend you to anyone thinking of Africa.
Michael and Sandra Velkoff, Aug 2015
“Eyes on Elephant” Safari to Zimbabwe
I wanted to let you know that my recent trip, “Eyes on Elephant”, to Zimbabwe was absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for everything you and your team did to make my trip so memorable. I was met and assisted at all points throughout the trip. The accommodations were beyond expectations and the guides were fabulous.
My first guide, Nick Murray, was incredible. We spent days alternating between game drives and bush walks. We had two separate lion encounters on foot. The first on foot lion encounter consisted of a large male lion with two lionesses. The male and one of the lionesses mated three times while we were nearby. The second on foot lion encounter was discovered by the growling of a lioness. As we approached we discovered three lionesses...one lioness had two cubs, and another lioness had one cub. We were able to observe them for about 20 minutes. We were able to get up close and personal with elephants numerous times. We walked to the Vundu wild dog den and were fortunate to find the mother with two puppies at the den, and watched the other 10 adult pack members just beyond the den. The game drives also provided great game viewing. The canoe trip down the Zambezi was a highlight. We saw many different animals species along the shore as we paddled to our mobile camp site…Vundu camp was beautiful and very comfortable. The staff was awesome and the food excellent.
Camp Linkwasha was beyond fabulous… We decided to spend two full days out in the bush. We packed lunches and spent the time walking, sitting by water holes and game drives.
We walked to elephants on numerous occasions and a group of 8 giraffe, as well as many other animals. We were fortunate to witness two cheetah brothers kill a young wildebeest.
We visited the local village one afternoon as well. My most memorable time spent with him was the last evening when we stopped at a hide to watch the elephants at a water hole at sunset. It was the most beautiful scene I have ever witnessed…so peaceful and in fact emotional for me. I felt so privileged to be in the presence of those magnificent creatures.
My last stay was at Camp Amalinda, which is absolutely breathtaking. I spent a full day with my guide Paul Hubbard who is a walking encyclopedia. We visited a cave to view the rock paintings which was a highlight. We gathered two rangers to participate in a walk to track to rhino because we definitely wanted to find the rhino that day! We were successful in tracking a mom and baby rhino within 15 minutes and were able to spend some time viewing and photographing them. Once again - what a privilege it was to be in their presence.
Everything went like clockwork. When I was told someone would be at a specific point to meet me and escort me to the next location , they were there. It was such a great feeling to see someone standing holding a sign with my name on it! The charter planes were waiting for me at both locations and delivered me to my next destination on time. The staff at all the camps were so nice and helpful. It seems they go out of their way to give extra attention to “solo” travelers. The camps were beautiful and beyond my expectations and the food was wonderful.
Thanks again for making this a trip I will never forget. I’m going through photos and trying to decide which ones I want to print. (I took over 5,000!)
Have a great day!
Sharon Zell, Aug 2015
Adventure to South Africa’s Kruger, Botswana’s Linyanti and Periphery of the Moremi Reserve
Africa Adventure Company -
Just a quick note to tell you how amazingly awesome our trip was to Africa! I will first give credit to my wonderful wife for all of her research and planning and selecting the places to go. But above all, I want to thank the entire team of Africa Adventures for putting the whole plan together and making the trip come off seamlessly and without a hitch. Wilderness Safaris was great and we really appreciated how they met us at each place, coordinated the transport, etc. They do a great job and made the hassle and stress free. Thank you!
Malamala - This place was amazing and the perfect start to our Safari. Great drive in from the airport with lots of animals to be seen on the way. The Camp (really a resort) was beautiful. We highly recommend Jonathan Short as ranger-guide. He was knowledgeable and fun. Anyone going to Malamala should request him. Along with seeing the Big 5 and seeing painted-dogs, one of the highlights was to see a leopard eating an impala at the base of a tree, the sister leopard grabbing the carcass and taking it up into the tree, only to have the father leopard come in and chase the other two away so he could eat.
DumaTau - Here we met Brooks. He was amazing. Thank you for connecting us to him. He made the safari experience exceptional!! DumaTau was a great camp and we enjoyed it a lot. Along with the elephants and lions and zebra, a highlight was to see spotted-dogs chase an impala into the water -- where it stood for about 10 minutes perfectly still -- it then made a run for it, only to be taken out by crocodile! The camp and staff were phenomenal.
Chitabe Lediba - Another amazing camp -- and more of what we had thought Africa would look like based on our images. Many animals sitings -- lions (male, female, cubs), angry hippos, and great interaction with elephants. Went to sleep each night listening to either an elephant outside our tent eating, lions roaring in the distance, or hippos grunting. The camp and staff were amazing.
As between the three places we went, we liked Malamala and Chitabe the best.
Again, thank you for the coordinating all of this for us. We will highly recommend you to others.
Peter Brautigam, Jul 2015
Safari to Sabi Sand, Panorama Route and Victoria Falls
I am writing to give feedback on the adventure I took July 25-Aug. 9, 2015.
First of all, I am very impressed with The Africa Adventure Company. Everything was done professionally and in a timely fashion. All my questions were answered promptly and I had confidence that Lynne understood my needs and was able to fulfill my expectations. She listened to me as I explained where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see. Lynne created my itinerary exactly as I asked, managing to arrange every transfer needed along the way. THANK YOU LYNNE!
My experience was fantastic; the trip of a lifetime. Here are the highlights of the BEST of my trip:
My all-time favorite destination was Cheetah Plains. Although every location was wonderful, Cheetah Plains was warm, welcoming and made me feel very comfortable; like family.
The food was topnotch and plentiful. The safari guide Craig went out of his way to provide the best sightings possible. There was no problem spotting the Big 5! I began to recognize some key words in Shangana as I listened to him on the radio with other guides. I enjoyed my days in Cheetah Plains thoroughly.
Tanda Tula was another great experience. The guide & tracker (Dan & Isaac) taught me many things during the game drives. They were both very knowledgeable about plants & birds, as well as mammals. It was here that I viewed 2 white lionesses napping after joining a tawny male & 2 tawny females at a kill. Thank you Dan & Isaac for following that lead. It was truly magnificent to witness these rare creatures. The food was delicious here as well and the staff catered to my needs.
Your ground operators provided dependable transfers & guides for my connections and Panorama Tour. I have nothing but praises for the individuals that provided this service. They not only got me to my destination, they told me about the land, people and customs. I enjoyed learning about the people and villages.
The food at all my stops was fantastic. I was surprised at the variety and bounty of delicious fruits, vegetables, protein and sweets. It was a culinary experience that cannot be matched! I ate kudu, impala, goat, venison, crocodile and ostrich. Everything was delicious!
Esther, my personal guide for Victoria Falls, is a down-to-earth woman who knows the history behind David Livingstone & Victoria Falls. She walked with me pointing out plants along the way. She also told me about the seasons at the Falls. I am grateful to have met her.
So this is my feedback. I would return to Africa in a minute if I had the opportunity. I may never be able to pay for a trip like this again. I am thankful I put my trust in African Adventure Co. to give me the trip of a lifetime! Thank you all.
Denise Claire Donahue, July-Aug 2015
Diverse Namibia Group Safari
Thanks for your request for feedback on my just-completed travels!
Here are some quick notes on the trip...
Overall, it was a worthwhile, sometimes magical experience. The highlights, by far, were the bookends-- Sossusvlei and Etosha. The dunes were as glorious as I hoped, and the wildlife in Etosha, especially the enormous herds of elephants moving in formation and the black rhino (on my must-see list), were awe-inspiring…I would have loved another day in Sossusvlei to do the balloon ride (I passed so that I would have time on the dunes on foot) and certainly at least another day in Etosha, which is the spectacle of a lifetime. Both seemed so short....
Jeremia was a great guide-- tireless, patient, attentive, funny and informed, with a superb eye. He had to drive such long distances, and fix a flat tire at one point--but he was always on his game. And the camps were lovely; the tents were good, the food was good, the scenery stunning…And in Andersson's camp we saw two black rhino, kudo, jackals and more sip at the waterhole (I would have gladly spent a day just in the hide!)…
Thanks for doing all the arrangements, which were smooth and problem-free.
Chris Donovan, July 2015
Botswana Flying Safari to Makgadikgadi Pans, Okavango Delta and Linyanti Reserve
The safari you planned was amazing in every way! It far exceeded my expectations!
The camps provided beautiful and very comfortable accommodations. The guides were intelligent, very knowledgeable, and eager to make our experience in witnessing life in the wild wonderful and enlightening. And, they accomplished just that! Every member of the staff, at each camp, was pleasant, resourceful, attentive and always there to greet us with a smile. It was so wonderful to be met at each transition point by one of your delegates. Their presence and guidance were so welcoming and comforting.
There were so many highlights from the safari: the comfortable African Rock Hotel with an amazing chef; private tour of Johannesburg; sleeping all night in the Makgadikgadi Pans with a full moon overhead and watching the sun rise in the morning; walking with the Bushmen; following the Wild Dogs on their hunt; watching the Leopard and her cub enjoying a fresh kill; the marvelous elephants with their babies in tow; the lion and his pride languishing in the shade after their lunch; the romping of three lion cubs next to their mother; the cheetah who gave us a quick look and then continued her nap; the mischievous, noisy baboons; the hippos; the hundreds of beautiful birds; the zebra, red lechwe, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, bushbuck, buffalo, mongoose, African wild cat and hyena...many in great numbers.
Thank you for providing a positive and invigorating life-changing experience for me! I have the Africa bug and wish to return. Any suggestions for my next safari with you?
Elaine Goodman, July 2015
Multi-Generational Private Flying Safari to South Africa and Botswana
Vumbura Plains Camp: Amazing!! Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and peaceful locations any of us had ever been to! The guides and staff were all very helpful and friendly, especially with the kids! Brooks was a wonderful asset!
Tswalu Motse Lodge: Amazing!! A stunning ending to our trip! The staff, guides and trackers were also great
All the planes and flights were perfect.
As far as food, the best was Singita, although the others were perfectly fine.
Overall a MAGNIFICENT Family Trip - thank you so very much!! We will send photos as soon as we have them!
Best regards to all,
The Hojel Family, July 2015
Safari to South Africa’s Phinda Reserve, Sabi Sand and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
I wanted to write and offer some feedback regarding our vacation. First of all we had a great time and all your preparations, the staff you contracted, were on time, courteous and expedient, I didn’t have to think or worry about anything. As you know this was our first safari but we are nature lovers, avid hikers, amateur birders and jungle trekkers, as such we had certain expectations and I think I was very realistic about what I was going to encounter.
54 on Bath - Great boutique hotel and some of the best food we had on the trip. The exchange rate made the meals ridiculously cheap.
Phinda - this is a wonderful place. It is large enough that it gives you the feeling that you are in the "real" wild. We thoroughly enjoyed going out to the bush and trekking the animals, sometimes for hours, sometimes unsuccessfully. In order for this to remain fun, however, it is imperative that the guide be engaged. We were very fortunate to have a man named Matt Yardley as our guide. Matt was more than willing to be out there all day, teaching us about the environment, sharing stories, trying to find elusive animals. We loved having a private guide and vehicle which meant that we had it available for the whole day. This is huge and more than worth the money. We were worried about all the down time we were going to have and were delighted to find that we would come back for breakfast after the early drive and leave after breakfast with a small packed snack and come back for dinner. It was great. Again, Matt was more than willing, even taking us for long hikes in the huge reserve. The lodge was very nice, the food terrific, the staff great. No complaints, more than we needed.
Kirkman’s - The camp was perfectly fine, the food very good and the staff went out of their way with special touches..zero complaints there. The guide was friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable.
Tswalu - ok, so now you have ruined me for life with this place. We were so incredibly lucky to have the house all to ourselves..wow. First of all the fact that it is such a large property was so exciting. I would look all around me and see nothing but nature, as far as the eye could see..wonderful. We had a guide, his name was Adrian Bantich, he used to work at Tswalu but now he is a private guide and he comes in when they are understaffed or something. The man has been guiding for 10 years, which is not the norm as you know with guides. The man is a total encyclopedia, and so nice, so engaging. This place is what I had in mind when I thought "safari" a vast area, working hard for viewings, etc. I obviously thoroughly enjoyed the house with the whole staff, but I think that even in the lodge it would have been magical. We usually left after breakfast and came back for dinner so we used the house very little (visited the second floor once when I got there, never went to the third). Jaku the chef (what a genuinely nice human being) jokingly complained that he had nothing to do. The food was wonderful, of course, but it is the setting, the guide and tracker (Sim) that made it for us.
Again Szilvia, thank you for a great time.
Alain Lantigua, July 2015
Flying Safari to Zambia’s Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa and Botswana’s Okavango Delta
We had a great safari and appreciate all your help with the arrangements.
Chiawa Camp was excellent. The staff was wonderful and made the time there all the more memorable with all their creative mealtime arrangements such as a private dinner on the river. We had one of the nicer tents with a view of the lagoon from our back deck. In the afternoons, we saw herds of elephant, impalas and a variety of birds go by. For our safari drives, they switched safari guides which we thought was a good idea so we got to go out with different guides. We particularly liked their docking station to get on and off the vehicle! and that they had a maximum of 4 in a vehicle. We had fantastic wildlife viewing with my favorite being the leopard mom and her two cubs. One was very curious and would come up to the vehicle till mom called him back and he bounded back to her. We also saw several lions, several other leopards, beautiful kingfishers and so many safari animals and birds.
Tafika was very good. The staff and owners were also wonderful as well as the safari guides. Again, we like that there was a maximum of 4 in a vehicle. We particularly enjoyed seeing the large numbers of cranes fly in.
Kwando Lagoon was excellent. It was our favorite camp on this trip followed very closely by Chiawa. What gave it an edge over Chiawa was that we saw wild dogs which we had come on this trip wanting to see. Although their den is no longer near the camp, the dogs had come up to hunt and we found them after they had filled up on a kill and were starting to head back to the den. We followed them for close to 2 hours and I think we became part of their pack as they did not seem bothered by us. There were 14 of them and they trotted along for a bit then rested before taking off again. What beautiful animals! We also saw a group of 7 lion, a leopard during the day, sable antelopes as well as other safari animals and birds. The staff at the camp were wonderful and the tents so luxurious! Although the vehicles could hold 6 passengers, they only put 4 in a vehicle.
Thanks again for all you help!
Patti Rhymer, July 2015
Iconic Safari to South Africa and Botswana
Elena and Team,
You truly did give us the best trip of our lives. It is hard to exceed expectations at our age especially with all the traveling we have done, but you did. And every day was better than the last. You told us we would want to return and I have to say, you are right!!
Here are some of our thoughts:
The Intercontinental was a convenient way to start. We were met as expected, whisked through everything, registered and fast asleep just as planned. Massages and dinner were great.
Met the next day as scheduled (they called to confirm the night before) and the trip to Singita was easy.
Lebombo. I hardly know where to start. Unbelievable people, service, location - a perfect way to start the transition into the ‘bush’. Wifi and heat in the rooms, such luxury yet still in the middle of Kruger. They had a birthday gift waiting for me and surprised us with a romantic, candle and rose petal strewn bathroom and champagne our last night to celebrate our anniversary. Our guide (Chris) and tracker (Christof) were amazing and we saw everything (except rhinos - more later)!! We would definitely return to this Lodge…A perfect start.
It is hard to know where to start on Vumbura Plains. They were the highlight for us. From our room, to the views, to the extraordinary people from the guides (we had Zee) to the staff to everyone we interacted with. So proud of their country and culture. Our ‘bush dinner’ was a surprise and amazing, the BOMA was fascinating and the game rides got better every day. I will share pictures later, but again, we saw every animal (but rhinos - more later) and saw cubs and babies even in winter!! And our highlight was they served us a private dinner on the deck of our room - again a total surprise - to celebrate our anniversary. So unbelievable.
Then on to Mombo. There we did see rhinos - finally. Had learned their horrible poaching plight at all the camps and will focus some of our contributions in the future to save this amazing animal. We loved this camp and found it very comparable to Vumbura in many ways. They too celebrated our anniversary with a lovely gift and champagne at dinner. So sweet and caring. And our guide, Sefo, was amazing. Knew we wanted desperately to see a rhino before we left and tracked one for over an hour. Fascinating. And the perfect camp to end our bush experience. A charming outdoor lunch watching the hippos, animal noises as you said every morning and the kindest people. And our last sundown was surrounded by a large friendly herd of elephants. Amazing.
Loved the Cape Town airport. Would use that one anytime!! And Thomas was an amazing guide. Cold and rainy our first day there so no visit to Table Mountain (gale force winds) so we went to the Cape of Good Hope and saw the penguins too. Thomas took us to a great restaurant, Harbor House, and we had a great day. Went Italian for dinner that night and very happy. No tram the next day due to winds so we went to the wine country and had an amazing afternoon at Ernie Els Winery. Thomas is well known there and we were treated accordingly. Pleased that he joined us for lunch. Also told us where to shop in Cape Town for real African gifts to bring home.
We said it was a once in a lifetime trip - and it was. But I can’t say for sure we won’t be back. Africa changed our lives forever.
Betsy & John Richardson, July 2015