Client Trip Reports: Dec 2021 – Feb 2022
Tanzania Flying Safari
Just back from a wonderful safari in Tanzania. The rains finally arrived with us and we watched the plains turn green and the migration arrive. The highlight was witnessing the birth of a wildebeest from the placenta showing to the first walking and nursing by baby. The strength of the little one and the mother is amazing and watching the imprinting occur among thousands of other wildebeests is remarkable.
We felt so safe and free in the camps, Covid seemed a world away. It seems a great time to take advantage of the low volume of travelers and the camps are so grateful for the patronage. All the staff is vaccinated and guests have been tested twice before their arrival in camp. AAC set everything up and we were handled seamlessly from start to finish.
Mara Perkins, Feb 2022
The Best of Tanzania and Kenya
We are finally recovered and sort of caught up from our marvelous trip.
Just like our trip to Southern Africa in 2019, this trip was amazing. From the logistics (made MUCH more complicated by COVID) to the places, accommodations, guides, etc., everything was outstanding. You all do an amazing job!
– saw the Big 5, including 6 rhinos in one day at Ngorongoro Crater.
– achieved our goal of seeing cheetahs (way overachieved this goal, which is great). In fact, we saw 7 cheetahs in one day and also watched a cheetah stalk, chase, take down, kill and eat a baby wildebeest!
– watched a herd of wildebeest cross a river. Another Circle of Life moment as wildebeests are not well designed for swimming and several lost their lives!
This was our first experience with tented camps, both permanent and mobile. We were very pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the tents were. Very luxurious. It took a little getting used to the camps where there was no running water in the tent for showers. But it was a fun experience. Loved having coffee delivered to our tent, especially Tanzanian coffee.
We enjoyed all our accommodations but the tent at Olmara Camp was our favorite – spacious and relaxing. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate for the Stargazer part of our tent! The road into Olmara was atrocious- thank goodness, we didn’t have too much rain or we might never have made it in or out of the camp!
The food was excellent – we are still trying to figure out how they get their supplies as many of the camps were VERY remote. The best food was at Offbeat Mara Camp – it was unbelievable! And they sure did Valentine’s Day right – roses, chocolates and champagne in our tent!
Our guides….wow! The camp guides at Tortilis in Amboseli and at Offbeat Mara were awesome. Knew their area and wildlife very well. And Servuli – our guide in Tanzania! What a wealth of information he was. So knowledgeable and educational! We learned so much from him. He clearly loves what he does and loves sharing it with us…
Thanks again for a trip of a lifetime…again!
Ann and Tom Slaughter, Feb 2022
Private Safari to Tanzania
Hi Szilvia and team,
We had a FABULOUS time! Once we got all the pre-paperwork complete, and all the COVID related items taken care of, it was smooth travels. At every step of the way, we felt cared for, safe and pampered! This includes the multiple PCR tests we had to take. All went so smoothly, we even had a test in the middle of the Serengeti! We loved the choices of accommodations, the food was outstanding, the people we met were so kind, happy and friendly. I felt as if we made friends at every stop. I especially want to highlight Emmie and Ana at the fantastic Acacia Farm Lodge as well as the chef. The entire staff at Ndovu Tent Camp were so fun and wonderful. The entire staff at the Zebra Tent Camp were FANTASTIC, but especially Peter and Andrew. The chef was kind enough to let us “tour” his tent kitchen. The meals that came out of that small tent were 5-star!! The young Masai man who escorted us and guarded the camp had the most beautiful smile, so even though we couldn’t communicate well, he was such a kind and friendly young man.
The stop at the Masai village was very educational. We had fun dancing and interacting with the people. We also enjoyed our conversation with the chief. It is impressive what he is doing to move his people toward education.
Last of all, Wilson, our guide, had such a passion for Tanzania, and a love for the wildlife that our trip went from outstanding to EXCEPTIONAL!! He was so calm, mature, wise, and knowing. He answered all our questions about not only the wildlife that we saw, but the system of government, tribal affairs, conservation efforts, collaboration with other nations, etc. He also guided us in the fine art of negotiations when purchasing souvenirs! On the first day alone we saw antelope, warthogs, hartebeest, ostrich, about 20 varieties of birds (which he was expert on identifying), steenbok, elephant, giraffe, 2 types of gazelle, lions (which we saw 8 days in a row!), waterbuck, leopard tortoise, vervet monkey, mongoose, and baboon!! Add to that cheetah, leopard and rhinos on the following days. He was patient with our questions, taught us lots of Swahili, and we all laughed a lot!! When we return to that region, I will be requesting Wilson again.
I left Tanzania with such a love for the people, the country and the wildlife, and a very good impression of the Tanzanian efforts to protect their resources.
Thank you for your professionalism, your patience with all the rescheduling, and your care of us on the trip.
Cheryl Minnick, Jan-Feb 2022
Family Safari to Tanzania
Thank you Mark and team and hope you all had happy holidays. We had a fantastic trip and one we will remember for a long time. The game viewing was spectacular…
Some thoughts: Arusha Coffee Lodge was great and authentic while Legendary Lodge (our dayroom) was great and felt colonial/British; two great choices in arusha. Chem Chem was fabulous in terms of camp and service and our guide Mike was fantastic. We would have benefited from staying an extra night there and taking one night off of Ndutu. Tarangire is a must and could have spent more time there…Really, really great. Ngorongoro Tented Camp was wonderful and ideally located for quick entry into crater. Great team, service and wildlife including picnic in the bush. “Talking” shower was fun. Samwell, our guide, was very good. Ndutu Mobile Tented Camp was very good and team was very good… Migration was just about to happen and we drove to see it. Wildlife fantastic and our guide Hassan was great. Lemala Nanyukie Lodge: fabulous camp and team with great leadership by Andreas and Rebecca. Great wildlife but unlike Ndutu and Chem Chem had to stay on the paths vs. being able to go right to animals. Really, really great…
Overall, as said, fantastic and life changing.
Jamie Sabatier, Dec 2021
Safari to Botswana including Duba Plains Game Reserve
If you want to visit Botswana – come now! Camps are empty, very safe Covid protocols in place. It is probably safer here than the USA! Wildlife viewing out of this world…come quickly!
Kathleen Sullivan, Feb 2022
Flying Safari to Botswana
WOW!!! I cannot even put into word the incredible safari experience we just finished!!! We are now in Johannesburg after overnighting at the City Lodge, which was great as always. As a side note…it’s a very good thing that we didn’t have to jump right onto a plane to Nairobi as there was LOTS of confusing paperwork, online uploads that I had to do here at the hotel as there was no other opportunity to do it. We didn’t get our PCR results until we got to the Maun airport, and then we only waited a short time before we got on the plane. It took me 2 hours to do the required documentation to enter Kenya, so it worked out for the best that the original flight was cancelled and we were “forced” to spend the night at City Lodge. Honestly, we’ve had very little down time on safari so it’s been nice to sleep in and relax.
But I’m NOT COMPLAINING!!! We were very busy but it was FANTASTIC!!! Brooks is as good as ever and we just love him!
All the accommodations were just awesome, everything went off perfectly without a hitch. Camping at Deception Valley was very fun and a great way to start the safari. We had been to the Kalahari Desert before during the dry season, but this time of year it is totally different! So many animals!!! We saw huge herds of oryx and springbok, lots of lions, oodles of birds (that was a nice surprise for us!), and the “glamping” experience was unique. We got extra-special treatment as our mobile camp owner Brian Gibson was there with us, enjoying the safari along with us! He was so grateful that we came…he (like all the tourism businesses) is so eager for people to start traveling again. He ate with us and we had many wonderful conversations around the campfire and dinner table.
Qorokwe is a gorgeous camp! We were the only guests there for most of the time and received excellent service. Again, the camp staff was delighted to have guests again. As guests, it is wonderful to be the only ones there and get lots of extra attention. But we feel so badly for the camps as many of those employees are struggling to make ends meet due to reduced hours and pay during the pandemic. We had many wonderful animal sightings, especially wild dogs and lions which were probably our highlights. (Honestly, we saw SO MUCH that it’s hard to pick out favorite sightings!)
And then…MOMBO. Now we understand why Mombo is so special!!! Not only is the camp the definition of LUXURY, the animal life close by is just astonishing! Herds and herds of zebra, giraffes, impala and we saw several leopards there too as well as a big pond full of hippos. Just an incredible place, a safari dream come true!
Thanks for your suggestion of doing the camping first and then working our way up…Qorokwe was a big step up in luxury and Mombo was, well, MOMBO! Mombo is the BEST place we have ever stayed in our travels and I seriously doubt any other will ever top it! We would love to go back there! The Covid test we took was probably the most unique we will ever have…a nurse helicoptered into the bush during our morning game drive, did our tests, and then we continued on our drive. We met some other AAC clients while we were there.
Our dream is to bring our entire family here…22 of us, with 12 of them being children. We are expecting our probably-last grandchild to arrive in May, so we’re thinking we might go in 2029 or 2030, which seems as long way off, but definitely something we want to do. 🙂 My mind is already pre-planning that trip…ha ha! We just so much want to share Africa with those we love most!!! Such a special place!!!
Thanks again for all you did to make this happen! Travel these days is stressful and complicated, but once you get there it is worth all the hassle! I would encourage people that this is a GREAT time to do a safari as the crowds are non-existent and the camps are eager for guests. (We have traveled through Johannesburg airport many times, before Covid it was packed and so busy. Now it is nearly empty…good for travelers, but not good for the tourist industry)…
We’ll be in contact again! We definitely have more safaris in our future!
Terry Gray, Jan 2022
Mother Africa Voluntourism in Zimbabwe
We just had a terrific dinner at Khulu Retreat with Philip and their energy manager Wayne… We spent this afternoon with Mother Africa at an Old Age home. We will be building a boma in the pouring rain tomorrow hopefully with smiles on our faces.
Gordon Hecker, Jan 2022
Safari to Southern and East Africa
If you want to share our trip with our fellow Africa Adventure followers…..
It is difficult to put the adventure of a lifetime into a few words. Szilvia and the Africa Adventure team guided us through three postponements and two years later we were finally able to make the trip happen. They supported our decision to postpone each time and were able to work with their partners to make sure that our trip got even better with each change made. Our 22 day trip included 3 countries, 17 flights, 10 hotels/camps, 16 days of games drives and 5 Covid tests. Every piece came together and worked out perfectly! Szilvia thought of every detail, made the arrangements and clearly communicated it all. It was reassuring to know that they were following our trip and would intervene if any problems arose (which, thankfully, they did not). They did an impressive job of preparing us for the trip (including Covid testing and documentation requirements) so we were able to leave home with very few questions.
This was our first trip to Africa and we were amazed by the abundant wildlife we were able to see with a guide, vehicle and often, the entire camp and reserve to ourselves. It seems that this is a unique time to visit Africa. So many tourists have stayed away because of Covid. Of course, we had some reservations about traveling with Covid, but we quickly realized Covid was not going to be a concern while on safari. The benefit of seeing Africa and its wildlife virtually alone at our pace far outweighed any disadvantages.
We visited South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania. Each camp we stayed in made us feel so welcome and special. The people were the best part. The accommodations and food were top notch. We spent a few days in Cape Town in the middle of our trip. Cape Town is not to be missed and it was a nice break after almost two weeks of game drives.
We had a fabulous trip in every aspect. Thank you Szilvia and Africa Adventure Company! Your knowledge, advice, professionalism and planning were impeccable in every regard. We could not have done it without you (nor would we want to)!
Jan and Joe Leuman, Jan 2022
The Best of Southern Africa Safari
We had an excellent time in Botswana and Zimbabwe! Everything went just as planned and we really appreciated all the planning that went into ensuring the COVID tests, transfers, etc. went smoothly.
We enjoyed all three of the locations we visited (Okuti, Shinde, and Old Drift Lodge) but our favorite lodge was Shinde. We really enjoyed the open-air tents at Okuti and Shinde even though it was rather warm in the afternoon and the birds woke us in the morning. We were the only guests at Okuti while we were there so we got a lot (almost too much) attention and we really enjoyed our guide, Baams! We were able to see lots of animals at both Okuti and Shinde but the animal sightings at Shinde were easier and we often found more animals together. At Shinde, we saw a whole pride of lions, a large packs of wild dogs, watched a leopard for almost an hour, saw a large herd of elephants, caught a glimpse of a hyena and serval, etc.). Being able to drive off road made getting up close to the animals easier and the night drive was fun. At Shinde, there were a few other guests which made things a bit more comfortable. We didn’t feel bad skipping high tea for instance since there were other people and they didn’t just make it for us. There was way too much food at both Okuti and Shinde for us with breakfast, morning tea and biscuits, lunch, high tea, sundowner, and dinner. Both Okuti and Shinde did a great job of providing gluten free options for us. We were amazed at the bread and dessert alternatives they baked for us!
Old Drift Lodge was lovely and the location on the river was perfect but for how nice it was the service could have been better… We enjoyed the sunset boat cruise. We especially liked our tour of Victoria Fall and especially loved our guide, Cynthia. She was very informative and made a special stop at a grocery store on the way back at our request to pick up some necessities. She went into the store with me to make sure I could find what I needed and make sure I didn’t have difficulty paying. I also wanted to mention that Shami was very helpful in guiding us across the border from Botswana to Zimbabwe. We decided to do the zipline and gorge swing one afternoon which everyone enjoyed and we really liked the Elephant Encounter and getting to feed the elephants and then watching them play in the river.
Finally, we found the tipping guide and all the information you provided like the packing list very helpful. I’m still wading through the 1000+ photos we took and are waiting to post anything to social media until we are sure no one has COVID after the flights home but I will definitely share some on the AAC Clients FaceBook page and tag AAC when I post to my social media.
We would definitely recommend Africa Adventure Company and the lodges where we stayed!
Jill Bengis, Dec 2021
Southern Africa Safari with Cape Town
What an adventure! We meet no other Americans while on safari – mostly local people from Zim or Botswana and it felt like it was a private African trip!
We had great guides and vehicles throughout and most were private so it was a bonus. Our best guide was at Little Makalolo. We were not able to take the flight to Hwange (due to rain) so we were driven to Hwange main and then it was a game drive to Little Makalolo. It was a long day but lots of sightings.
Our time in Victoria Falls was wonderful. Our guide, Cynthia, was great ambassador for AAC. The Victoria Falls River Lodge had all of maybe 8-10 people in total the two nights that we were there. We loved Clive in Cape Town – who gave us extra time and helped with every request. He was kind enough to wait with us while heading through to immigration.
Our favorite camp was Little Makalolo followed by Kwara – but we really loved every accommodation! We saw tons of lions and cheetahs and no leopards. But fantastic game viewing even with the thicker vegetation.
This was my best trip ever and I enjoyed it even more sharing it with my godson.
J. Ross, Dec 2021