Adventurer Safari to Tanzania and Botswana
Our trip to Tanzania and Botswana with Sandy and Ralph Larson was spectacular! Ephata, our guide in Tanzania, was incredible at spotting and identifying wildlife, both mammals and birds, and getting us into position to view and photograph them. He also smoothed the way for us everywhere, including ensuring that we got plenty of avocados! With him, we had great sightings of a leopard and a family of rock hyraxes in Tarangire; a black rhino (from a great distance) and an angry hippo in the crater at Ngorongoro; a newborn giraffe near the Maramboi Lodge; wildebeest and an elephant crossing of the Mara River; and a long, lovely time sitting in the midst of the great migration, with the wildebeests and zebras flowing around us.
Botswana has an amazing variety of wildlife, and our guide TJ and tracker KT at Splash Camp took us for a long viewing of the Kwara pack of wild (painted) dogs and their 11 puppies, as well as a small group of lionesses with 3 cubs, who kept us laughing as they played and wrestled. We had some lion drama near camp, with lots of roaring near our rooms, and we got to follow the story as the resident male decided to wait for reinforcements before facing two intruders, then the arrival of his 4 coalition males, and the subsequent disappearance of the intruders. Meanwhile, the staff at camp made sure we were safe, driving us to our cabins, which were nearest the action. The staff at Splash was much more genuinely friendly and helpful than at Lagoon, and the food was much better.
At Lagoon Camp, the rooms are huge and beautifully situated on the lagoon. Guide Spencer and tracker JB took us to see the wild dogs the first evening. Sadly, they had lost their 3 puppies. We had wonderful sightings of kudu and all of the antelopes except the roan. We followed a leopard for a long way, finally getting great photos of it in a tree. We also got very close to cheetahs and lionesses. We were awed at the power and noises as a group of lions devoured the carcass of a Cape buffalo they had killed.
And the beautiful birds of Africa were everywhere!
Accommodations overall were great…The mobile tented camps in the Serengeti really exceeded our expectations. The tents were roomy and had everything we needed. They knew how to make bucket showers fun, and the food was incredibly good! The people of Tanzania were so warm and welcoming. They really touched our hearts…
AAC did a wonderful job in planning our trip and making it as smooth as possible.
Paulette Setzer, Jul 2022
East Africa Safari to Kenya and Tanzania
As usual, we had a wonderful trip. Barbara is gathering photos from the “real camera,” but I am attaching a phone photo of what we have been told is a once in a lifetime event of a lion and a leopard sleeping next to one another on the same tree branch (Central Serengeti/Bushtops).
I think the thing that surprised us most was the abundance of animals in the Serengeti and Mara. It is much denser than anywhere else we’ve been in Southern Africa (saw 13 lions before 9 AM one day in the Mara), and how healthy all of the populations are. It was very dry in Ruaha and Ol Donyo and the stress on the animals showed.
A few observations:
As I believe Susan mentioned, Kichaka in Ruaha has been vastly updated – huge tented suites with plunge pools and outdoor showers. They’ve been building a lot during the pandemic.
Roving Bushtops in the Serengeti was delightful and the clever and lovely portable structures/tents were really nice. Perhaps the best part was the views from the tents over the plains – -which don’t have to be hidden since they are not permanent. Once we had a glimpse of the end of the migration and its aftermath in Grumeti, we were not at all upset that we had missed most of it in Tanzania (the bodies of dead wildebeests piled up at the crossings was sobering and we elected to not drive to see the Mara crossing which had just started when we were in Kenya.)
The Great Plains camps were very nice, although the model/approach they have is the same throughout the camps – so we might have missed some variety. That said, the upside is that the guides we had were really great and the accommodations were wonderful. The one thing that the two Mara camps lacked, however, is a view of the surrounding area as they are sited in groves of trees. Ol Donyo has a wonderful view of the plains and the fantastic waterhole that draws all of the animals. The hide there was really something to be experienced. We also took advantage of special offerings of each of the camps (i.e., horseback riding) and really liked that almost all of the staff and all of the guides are Massai. We also used the high-end Canon camera outfit provide by each GP camp, in addition to our own camera that we brought…
Thanks so much for pulling all of this together for us…we’ll be sending pictures along once we have gone through them all.
Barbara Spitz and Cheryl Cook, Jul 2022
Safari to Kenya, Botswana and South Africa
Once again, your company has exceeded our expectations.
Given that this was our second trip to Africa, my trepidation was that 1) Covid might have changed things there, and 2) since we’d already been once, that our excitement may be tempered by the fact that we now knew what to expect. Our hesitation was laid to rest. We enjoyed ourselves every bit as much as the first trip there in 2019. The locals were happy to see us, and the service at the camps was impeccable.
We started off at Giraffe Manor. We were sad that we didn’t arrive until around 1am, so that the first night was really wasted. However, they were there to greet us, show us around, and asked if they could send up a warm meal to our room, to which we accepted. It was AMAZING. Spent a magical day relaxing at Giraffe Manor, with the magic of the Rothschild giraffes.
Then the next day we boarded our hopper plane (always an adventure!!) to Solio Lodge. The staff there (esp Ava, the mgr) were amazing. We got to meet some of the management, as the mgmt of Safari Collections were making their rounds of their camps. We conversed for quite some time. Game drives to see the rhinos, as well as many other game. Saw both black & white rhinos, WITH their horns! Quite the treat. Lodging was terrific, food was good, and staff was so hospitable.
Then after Solio, we again hopped from the camp to Nairobi, where we spent the night before flying to South Africa. The next day off to MalaMala Rattray. THIS was our highlight! Truly a 5-star experience. Lodging, food, and staff could NOT have been better. We so enjoyed ourselves, it was very hard to leave there for the next adventure.
Off to Botswana, to Camp Moremi. A very unique camp, with the boardwalks and tent lodging…while nice, was not the caliber of others…
By the way, after our first 2 trips, still our very favorite guide has been Hillary (from Tanzania, from our 2019 safari). First class guide.
Anyway, we are traversing through all our camera photos, and will be thrilled to share with you once we slog through them. And we are talking/planning for our next adventure already! Thanks so much for making this again so special!
John & Dawn Lotshaw, Jul 2022
Tanzania Tented Safari and Rwanda Gorilla Trekking
First off, I’m so appreciative of your help with my flight and being sure I had a Swiss port waiting there for me. I can’t tell you enough how easy it was once I landed.
As far as the safari goes, it was a wonderful experience! Both in Tanzania and Rwanda. My guides were exceptional, I’d request both of them again and the other guides in Tanzania were extremely friendly and enjoyed conversations with a few of them, Pascal and Wilfred in particular were great and Pallanjo, our guide, was fantastic.
As far as accommodations go, the Sheraton, Mara Kati Kati Camp, Tloma Lodge, and our last lodge were great and the staff was wonderful, especially at the Kati Kati camp and Tloma Lodge…
In Rwanda…The guide, Tito, was amazing! And both treks were absolutely fantastic, especially the gorillas!
Overall, it was a fabulous trip and I can’t wait to go back to another country in Africa but also would go back to both Tanzania and Rwanda in a heartbeat!
Sarah Abuel-Saud, Jun 2022
Private Kenya-Tanzania Explorer Safari
Thank you so much for the welcome home. We are in the process of getting our bearings back after our return from a truly memorable trip.
First of all, our guides, Benson and Mkenda were truly outstanding. They are kind, knowledgeable and they took exceptional care of us during the extent of our time in Africa. We did, indeed, have the opportunity to be in the midst of the migration…it is a sensory event (sight, sound and smell). My recurring line was feeling like we had been dropped off in a National Geographic documentary. We feel like we got the experience for Reagan that we had hoped for.
We have been going through quite literally thousands of pictures and videos and we will definitely look to post our favorites on the Facebook page (and enter the contest as well).
For a trip of that length and complexity to go off essentially without a hitch is a testament to the well-planned program that you put together for us. Many thanks to AAC and to you for bringing this trip of a lifetime to pass.
Darren Cassel, Jun 2022
Family Safari to Tanzania
Hi Alison –
We made it home yesterday. Everything went perfectly, our guide, Ephata, was fabulous (I think my wife and Jayne Ralston really thought he was the best guide ever), very much appreciated his kindness, and of course his expertise in the area. Lots of stories and pics, which I’m sure you have heard/seen before, but very special to us first timers. All travel went without any issues, and getting into Tanzania was simple, all they asked to see was our paid visa and vaccination card, no health survey, QR code, or anything else. They were taking random temp checks as you walked off airplane and into terminal, but they were doing it so quickly, almost looked like for show. Coming home was easy as well, with US Covid restrictions gone. Lodges were excellent- the Kuria Hills especially, but I have to say all the staff at each Camp was so great and made us feel welcome and taken care of. Food was better than we eat here in US, and service better too/top notch.
Thanks again, we are ready for the next one. Will see if we have any unique pics to send for your website.
Mike Kahn, Jun 2022
Safari to Kenya and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Hi Saskia and Mark.
We have had an incredible trip. We even bought some art in Kigali that will remind us of our journey.
Currently I’m in the Nairobi airport waiting for our flight to JFK and I thought I would share some of our thoughts with you.
Lewa was wonderful except for some hot water issues. Our guide Johnson was outstanding and very friendly with a ton of knowledge.
We absolutely loved everything about our two Great Plains camps. OL Donyo was superb and we took advantage of everything. We used the spa and gym and Mycki and Stuart went on a safari bike ride. Jen and Scott slept under the stars on the roof. Seki, our guide, took us to a Maasai village where he had family. Jen received a fertility blessing from the women.
Mara Toto was out absolute favorite experience. The chef at Mara Toto was amazing! We even had the camp to ourselves for the majority of our stay. The guides and camp staff were so attentive and we felt like we were family. They took us over to Mara Plains for some shopping and tea. They even gave us the option of spa appointments at Mara Plains should we have desired. The balloon ride was something special and enjoyed by all. Naballa our guide (Steven) made sure we found game and was a good source of information about the environment and the Maasai.
Amakoro Songa Lodge greeted us with song and on the days we trekked with gorillas welcomed us back with foot massages. The landscaping was beautiful…We met the owner Rosette who is very well connected in Rwanda and a gracious host…The gorilla experience was worth every moment.
We loved our dinner at Fusion at the Retreat and wish that we had stayed there in Kigali. It is a stunning property…Our guide in Rwanda, Mugugu was outstanding! We decided to visit the Genocide Memorial and Museum on our first day in Kigali at his urging to get a perspective on the history of Rwanda and how far they have come. For us as Jewish people who had family that died during the Holocaust, it was eye opening and resonated with us.
Thank you for all of your help in planning this African adventure.
Ilene Kossman, Jun 2022
East Africa Explorer and Gorilla Trekking Safari
I can’t describe in one word the experience I had on my Kenya/Tanzania safari. I know it doesn’t happen every time, but I feel blessed I able to be so close to all these animals and they were calm with us around them. To see cheetahs feasting on a fresh kill, lion cubs with their mothers, giraffes as far as the eye could see, to numerous elephants, zebras, wildebeest, baboons with their offspring was just amazing.
In addition to my safari, my gorilla trek in Rwanda was unbelievable, to be within 3 feet of a silverback was unbelievable, their mannerism and expressions are so similar to humans. It was a pleasure to be able to see these magnificent animals in person. You, my guides as well as staff at the lodges, you all made a life time dream come true.
Thank you Africa Adventure Company!
Judith Owens, Jun 2022
East and Southern Africa Safari
Roving Bushtops Camp – We loved it! Amazing staff, talented guide and animals hanging from every tree.
Kathleen Sullivan, Jun 2022
Safari to South Africa and Botswana
Hello Mark, Saskia et All,
We have now re-entered what the developed countries call civilization, I would call it “civilized chaos”. True Civilization lies in the African Bush!
What an absolutely fantastic trip we all had, THANK YOU!!
I shall try to go chronologically with my thoughts and observations, if something does not make sense, please feel free to ask.
Departure- We traveled on Qatar, Best Airline I have been on! Very clean, lovely food, service, a real Gem!
Arrival in Joburg – Met by Menzies, very efficient, professional and helpful given the Covid protocols that were still in place at that time.
InterContinental- Wonderful as always. Very Clean, and Food was great!
Jabulani – We loved every minute! This gem in Kapama was 4 wonderful nights…they should truly be commended on their wildlife conservation!! The Villas are top notch, in my opinion, better than Rattrays. We were with both the Jabulani elephants (spending time at the elephant interaction as well as with the foraging during the day) and the Wild Herd. We saw lots of general game, lions, buffalo, hippo, and a pangolin! The only illusive creature was the leopard. I would recommend this to anyone, not a single game drive without a spectacular sighting. Our guide was Jason, head ranger! Loved every second and the food, well it is a Relais Chateau property…says it all.
MalaMala – Our personal favorite is Sable. Sable feels like Africa, just a personal preference. The food was good, the Bar area is fantastic, lovely fireplace and great old photos, wonderful “feel”. We spent many hours there before dinner.
Game drives were slower than we remembered but we still saw some great sightings. Thankfully Thor and Hal were clueless and just happy (Laura’s brother & nephew)!! When we arrived, I had said to Jono that we wanted to see leopards and in particular ones we knew from cubs, Piccadilly female, Sibyue female, 3 Rivers female, Split Rock Male and the male cubs of Enswageni female in 2018 if they had survived. We headed to the Southern part of the reserve…we saw the Flockfield Male leopard, the Sand River lions, a herd of 40 elephants in the Sand River where the lions were resting. We witnessed the Ellies catching the scent of the lions and the Full protective trumpeting and charging, unbelievable. The afternoon drive we found the male leopard “Gogo from the Enswageni female from 2018. We saw the sub adult male cub of 3 Rivers, Missed her. Saw Nkoveni female on a hunt and a hyena steal her kill. Last game drive we saw a honey-badger out in the open and spent about 15 minutes following. Additionally in the first 3 days we saw Nkoveni female’s sub adult cubs, Island female on a hunt, about 5 rhinos, dehorned due to the poaching slaughter that has taken place. We loved seeing them and dehorned did not bother us, we would rather have them alive and dehorned than never see one! Beautiful Northern Avo ca male and the Nkahuma pride on a buffalo kill, numerous general game sightings. Our guide, Jonothan was very knowledgeable about the animals and very personable…
Mashatu-Euphorbia – WOW!!!! Loved Euphorbia, loved Mashatu, Loved our guide Kenosi!!!!
First drive witnessed the female cheetah with 5 sub adult cubs chase, catch and eat an impala. Kenosi knew exactly where she was going, positioned, re positioned us perfectly, explained every action before it happened. He absolutely blew away All of us!! The Villas are wonderful, I hope this receives more guests as we loved Euphorbia and will return, God Willing. The Hide was amazing, the breakfast in the bush following a nature walk where we were within 30 feet of a herd of wild elephants was memorable. The lion pride with 6 small cubs on several kills on different days was magical. The topography and history were amazing. We saw 7 different leopards including a large male while driving to the airstrip. We spent 30 minutes with a mother leopard and her 4-month old cub. She lost one the night before but was very devoted to the one she has left. Great sighting! We spent wonderful time in the Nest and had a family of warthogs visit our Villa. Mark, you were right this is a well-kept secret and I would say if anyone is interested in cheetah, this is the place!!!
…No buffalo but the rest of the Big 4 and LOVED every minute. Euphorbia really is ready to receive guests so I hope people will go to Mashatu. It is such a wonderful place and everyone was so welcoming, Loved every second!!
Kwando Safaris – Lagoon Camp – The staff surprised us with a July 4the celebration! They really worked hard to please. We saw Wild dogs hunt and followed for about 30 minutes before we lost them. 2 unsuccessful hunts, hopefully they were successful as the female was denning new pups. Loved the location and the boat cruise. If we return we would look at going August to September when the large herds of buffalo and elephant are there. Saw a sable bull, he was exquisite!!! Our guide and tracker worked hard to find sightings of cheetah, leopard and wild dog. They were successful on Wild dog. We were fine as the Cheetah and Leopard sighting at Mashatu had been wonderful. Our guide was Ricco and our tracker Kern. Both were good.
Kwara Camp – This is a gem!! What a wonderful finale to an absolutely fabulous trip! Our Guide was Dave, Tracker was KJ. The new tents are fantastic, loved the hippos, the ellies, giraffe, impalas and baboons wandering through the camp. The lions with cubs, the pair of honey badgers (we were with them 10 minutes!!) the 11 wild dog pups at their den with parents feeding were all incredible sightings. We fished, caught 6 Tilapia which the camp prepared and added to the dinner menu. The boat cruise along with the mokoro was wonderful. We loved the time on our porch during Siesta, reading and watching an African Fish Eagle every afternoon. Kwara is now on our favorites list along with Euphorbia, Sable and Jabulani!!
In closing, thanks again for all your patience during the planning and re-planning of this trip. It truly was a trip of a lifetime and we all enjoyed spending time with each other which we don’t get to do here in “Civilization”. It was a GIFT! Great Job!
Laura and Jon Eberly, Jul 2022
Exploration Safari to Zambia
Where to start…
First, I would like to thank you and your team on the ground for all your efforts in putting this together from my sister and me. The itinerary was perfect with the right amount of time in each location. I could go into a lot of detail on each camp, however, this doesn’t need to be a novel so will try to keep it brief.
Accommodations: All camps were exceptional, comfortable, clean and private. The locations of each camp were top notch, either very close or right in the park, even the airstrips were close to the camps. All the camps for the most part had 24 hours of power and hot water. The exception was Wasa camp, however, even there you still had power for most of the day and well into the night and had hot water twice a day (morning and late afternoon), so at no point was it at all an inconvenience. The food at all camps was just delicious and required a fair amount of constraint not to over eat. They feed you extremely well! All camps also provided filtered or bottled water for drinking…Anabezi was certainly the most luxurious of the camps and having it at the end was a nice treat, especially for my sister. Out of all the places, Takwela was our favorite. It is for a number of reasons – Alex was an exceptional camp manager and guide, all meals were served in different locations in the camp, and the remoteness. I think it is what most people would think of when on a safari – crossing rivers, having very few defined roads for the games drives so mostly driving through the scrub and plains, not running into any other guests or safari vehicles and the walking tours where we went place inaccessible to vehicles.
Activities: All the activities were as expected, up in the morning for a game drive or walking safari, back by 10, afternoon tea and then out for an afternoon game drive, sundowner and night drive. Shoebill was mostly the same just exchanging driving game viewing with canoe game viewing. They all went well and we saw plenty of game and birds…
Staff: The staff at all camps were very professional, polite, accommodating and personable. The guides at Flat Dogs, Takwela and Anabezi (Yotam, Alex and Lawrence) were exceptional, not that the other two weren’t, but these 3 had a way of truly connecting with the guests. We learned many new things from all of them. All camp managers truly made an effort to learn something about each of their guests to make their stays memorable…
Highlights: There were many highlights – cheetah and shoebill, the large herds of black lechwe, baby hippos and elephants, sitatunga, of course lions and hyenas, jackals, gobs of birds, feasting crocs and the list goes on. However, one of the more memorable experiences was on our very last day. We went for our morning game drive to look for the wild dogs as was everyone else in the Lower Zambezi, including the BBC. Everyone was driving around the area where they were last sighted and near where they believe to be denning. Our guide, as most of them did, had given up and we were heading back to camp. My sister and Lawrence were looking right and I was looking left and all of a sudden there they were trotting through the scrub. I got so excited I couldn’t utter any comprehensible words, fortunately Lawrence understood and stopped the vehicle and we watched them trot right in front of us. We were the first group to spot them, even before the BBC with all their fancy equipment. We followed them for a bit, but it wasn’t long before word got out and there were many vehicle around, so when it got crowded we departed for camp. Being the first to see them after several days of no sightings was exciting. They truly are a beautiful animal.
The only unfortunate thing that occurred was my camera stopped working, which in the overall scheme is a minor inconvenience.
It truly was a very memorable experience, one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We can’t thank you enough for all the efforts you and the ground team put into this.
Many, many thanks.
Jeff and Lynn Hacker, Jul 2022
Botswana Flying Safari
Many thanks to you and the Africa Adventure team for organizing our return trip to Botswana. It went very smoothly compared to 2021 (how could it not?): no last-minute flight cancellations, no PCR tests vs. four plus an antigen test last year, shops open, airports well-staffed but still not crowded. Only Maun Airport still required masks and a health questionnaire; most immigration officials didn’t even look at our vaccination cards.
The two Menzies meet-and-greets in Johannesburg airport were a big help in finding our way through that vast facility, and the representatives knew some great shortcuts (e.g., the “Visa Required” immigration stations will process passengers who don’t need a visa, and the line is much shorter).
Chitabe Camp is lovely and beautifully maintained in a beautiful grassland setting, and the meals were the best we’ve enjoyed in Botswana. The rooms are comfortable, well-equipped, and decorated with stunning photographs taken by the owner. The Monday evening cultural performance by the staff was extraordinary—how can everybody sing and dance so well? It’s well worth some scheduling effort to include it in the itinerary. Our private guide, Goodman, showed us a range of wildlife that exceeded our high expectations based on last year—Chitabe is teeming with animals in July. We saw giraffe, a coalition of cheetahs on the hunt, their antelope prey, two wild dogs calling for their pack, and many birds—and that was just on the ride from the airstrip!
The next two days we saw a lion finishing off its giraffe kill, jackals and vultures moving in to “share” it, baboon families, a big herd of Cape buffalo, a rare African wild cat out in daylight, a civet (!), a battle-scarred, limping male lion, elephant, a lioness carrying one of her two cubs, zebra, wildebeest, slender mongoose, a leopard hunting, and the wild dogs’ home den. The big drama was that an invading pack of sixteen dogs had located the den but wasn’t challenging even the old “babysitter” left behind while the local pack hunted. Goodman told us it was probably an attempt to merge the packs under control of the invaders. The upside for us was a display of more than 20 wild dogs running, playing, mating, and doing just about everything dogs do. It went like that for our entire visit: kudu, dog pups, golden mongoose, crocodile, ostrich, red lechwe, another leopard with its kill stashed in a tree, hippo—one fellow traveler said the wildlife was so plentiful the waterholes looked like a Disney movie!
Our return visit to Lagoon Camp was primarily to enjoy private guiding by the extraordinary Spencer Mathambo, assisted by his tracker Ken. Lagoon has put a lot of thought into the private guiding experience, and it is an exceptional value. We got up early every day for all-day game drives, breakfasts, and full, sit-down, catered lunches overlooking beautiful ponds and estuaries, with return to camp on our own schedule. The Lagoon staff also treated us to a private dinner in the second-story library on our last night—highly recommended. Game tracking with Spencer was the real thing—looking for tracks, timing them based on superimposed bug and bird tracks (e.g., was that track from a diurnal or nocturnal beetle?), and anticipating whether the animal was going to hunt, rest, or drink. Spencer and Ken found hunting cheetah, leopards in trees, and lions, along with jackals, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, lechwe, antelope, hippo, elephant, and birds everywhere. Wherever possible, Spencer positioned the vehicle for the best view and the best lighting—as a photographer/videographer himself, he knows how to help his guests get the best shots.
We took a morning boat ride on the lagoon and river just as the birds were waking and starting to warm up (from last year, we know this cruise is also great around sunset). We saw a monitor lizard, a flock of bee-eaters flitting around, hippos, an African sea eagle up close, kingfishers, and too many shorebirds to count. We spent the afternoon with the “Holy Pride” of 20+ lions, trying to push its territory north against a smaller but stubborn pride. Theatrics included a Holy Pride male courting a female from the other pride, and of course, these being lions, a lot of sleeping in the shade. On our final morning at Lagoon, our trip wrapped up with a return visit to the leopard’s tree, a rare daytime sighting of an aardwolf in its den, and breakfast at the airstrip before the long ride home.
It’s so great to see tourism in this wonderful country back on its feet after two tough years. All our fellow-travelers had “war stories” about their experiences last year, and we contributed our share. Thanks again for arranging a second memorable visit.
Patrick and Liz Mulvanny, Jul 2022
Best of Southern Africa Safari
I wanted to respond to your request for info about our Africa trip. In a word, Magnificent! We felt like precious cargo the entire way. Being handed off from one person to the next made our trip so easy and enjoyable!…
Muchenje was perfect! The people, the lodge and the safaris. We loved every minute. Our room was beautiful, well attended to and had a magnificent view. We had the best day of our entire trip on the boat safari on the Chobe River. Lunch was great and so many animals to watch. Elephants came into the water to play and cool off right by our boat. Loved it! Then the jeep safari all the way back to the lodge. It was so exciting to see lions so close up for the first time.
The Victoria Falls tour was at just the right time of day. It was sunny so there were rainbows everywhere! We also enjoyed the sunset cruise on the Zambezi and lunch at The Lookout Cafe on the gorge. Ilala Lodge was great as well. Very nice eating outside on their patio.
Cape Town was beautiful everywhere. We really enjoyed the wine country, Simon’s Town, Table Mountain, the Capes Point and Hope and the scenery everywhere. Our guide, Paul, was professional, punctual and accommodating. The Radisson Blu was beautiful, the view to the ocean was soothing and the sunsets from our balcony were breathtaking.
Beginning and ending our trip on safari was perfect! The experiences were totally different and both exciting. Seeing the white lions in Timbavati was a treat as was tracking a will dog kill. We also tracked the elusive leopard but never found one. Ngala Lodge was beautiful! Our guide, Daniel and our tracker Tonight were so knowledgeable and friendly. The atmosphere at dinner was always special…
Thank you for perfectly planning and executing a trip of a lifetime!
Joy and Sam Hillman, Jun 2022
Safari to South Africa and Botswana
Mark and Colleagues,
We left Mala Mala with wonderful memories. Totally impressive experience! Our guide (Stephanie) was incredible. Knowledgeable, engaging and just a total pleasure to be with. We also met Daphne who joined our daily drives- she spoke highly of her AAC experience. The staff were very friendly and operated like a family. We were sad to leave.
The transit experience to Victoria Falls went smoothly in terms of point to point but was very interesting!!
Ilala Lodge was wonderful and we worked with Ruth upon arrival and scheduled a zip line for the afternoon of day 1 (Ken and Chris – with Karen and I filming). We had dinner at the hotel which was great. On day 2 we started with a helicopter tour, lunch at the Lookout Cafe, Victoria Falls tour with Cynthia (she was fabulous) and a sunset diner cruise on the Zambezi. What a day!
Sofret was our driver and kept the whole itinerary coordinated. She was amazing. Also, She drove us to the Botswana border. The folks and companies that you have working for you here in Africa are extraordinary.
Our experience to date has been remarkable. It’s also very humbling to receive the gratitude of everyone we have been meeting for coming to Africa and helping the tourist industry. Some of the personal stories of what folks endured during the COVID shut down were quite moving. Everyone is happy to be working again.
Thanks for everything
The Marcoux, Dellemann and Sherry Party, Jun 2022
Active Wildlife Safari to Southern Africa
We just wanted to say thank you for all you did to make our trip to Africa the best adventure ever! Everything went seamlessly and we had a wonderful time! I will definitely be recommending your company to my friends and I’m already thinking of doing another safari in the future. Thanks again!
The Ottmar family, Jun 2022
Family Flying Safari to Botswana
We had a marvelous time on our trip. Everything worked out as planned.
Game drives were excellent, the guide was excellent. Splash Camp was great. The accommodations were top class. Again, great guide. Would have liked one more night there. I think in general, each stay should be three nights minimum. Everyone loved the luxury of Kings Pool and its special bush lunch and singing and dancing (also at Splash). Really wonderful experience for the kids– they were full of questions and the guides were so good to them. Jenny was given a birthday treat at each place which was fun. Only thing missing was seeing a leopard which the younger grandson had his heart set on. Elephants, lions, cheetah, wild dogs with pups, etc. couldn’t console him. He’ll just have to go back.
Thanks for setting up the adventure.
Sara Penhale and the Winkler Family, Jun 2022
Hidden Gems Safari to Zimbabwe and South Africa
I had a blast! All of the places were wonderful and the guiding amazing.
It was great to go home again to Mana Pools- it just feels like home and I have picked out my tent site and with some persuading I think Nick Murray may hire me to do the camp laundry. Had a wonderful time with Mara Perkins and family while in Mana Pools. Tusker and Violet and pups are doing well.
David Carson at Camp Hwange was a joy! He was so intuitive knowing what would make me so excited- adventure from beginning to end. Tracking buffalo on foot only to be surprised by “ellies”, spending hours watching a leopard eating (half in/out) zebra foal and its mother then a lion take over, racing to see Sable.
Head over heels for Sam Mushandu (Khulu Bush Camp, Eastern Hwange). He is an amazing guide, and will be a lifelong friend. We are siblings from a different mother and lifetime. We could be heard laughing all the way down the vlei at Khulu and beyond. What a gem! I want him for my next adventure, which will be in two years, and I need to start planning now!!
Paul Hubbard at Amalinda – what can I say- I learned so much. It has been years since I received my degree in Anthropology and Archaeology and he brought back my interest and love for both. He was also great at challenging me to climb higher and push myself farther than I thought I was capable. Lost ten pounds on this trip woohoo!!!
Stephat, and tracker Difficult, at Pamashana were amazing learned so much about the Shona culture, natural medicines, and just plain great guiding.
Will send more updates and pics but wanted you to know what a great time I had. Thanks to everyone who pulled this trip together for me and thank you Alison
Nancy Randall, Jun 2022
Family Adventure to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique
WE had such a great trip! And everything felt very smooth and well planned out. Thank you!
Some quick feedback for you:
Cape Town: the Air BnB was great if anyone asks for suggestions…The guide and experience in the township with Uthando was a 9/10. I highly recommend it. I liked the realistic view that was presented along with a big dose of hope in the programs that we were introduced to. Thanks for setting that up.
Zimbabwe Safari: Linkwasha was amazing. The people were so warm and welcoming. The food and setting were great. It was very cold, and we didn’t have our luggage for about 36 hours and they worked hard to make us all comfortable and to get our bags for us. (Thanks for your help with that as well.) We loved our Guide there, Peter Gava. He was a great person to introduce us to the world of safari…
Chitabe Ledibe was my favorite camp experience, closely followed by Linkwasha. Our guide Lesh was perfect for our group, a 10/10. The tents were nice and the facility itself was lovely. I think besides Lesh I enjoyed the staff at Linkwasha better, but not by a lot. The food was very good. We ate with the other visitors and some of the staff which was nice, and different from Linkwasha. Besides an excellent guide, the reason I liked this camp the most is because we saw an unbelievable amount of animals. It was quite amazing, we saw lots of elephants, giraffes and female lions at Linkwasha. In Chitabe we saw many more male lions, leopards and cheetahs. The viewing was incredible.
Tubu Tree: I think we were all ready to be done with safari by the time we got to Tubu Tree. For future groups with kids, you may suggest that two camps, 6 nights of safari, are enough…We enjoyed the water adventures…The food was excellent and we really enjoyed the camp itself. We had fun getting to know the other guests as well.
Santorini Mozambique was amazing. A perfect end to the trip. It was good that they put us in the villa because we would have been a lot for the main house. It is a pretty quiet place, mostly with honeymooners. The beach was beautiful. The day out on the boat, which was part of the cost of the stay, was our favorite day. We also got lovely massages. The food was unforgettable. I highly recommend this place and this area. It is remote, and very poor, but very beautiful and we really enjoyed the local people we met.
IT was a trip of a lifetime and we have some many amazing memories and photos!
Meghan Sheridan, Jun 2022
Honeymoon Safari to Cape Town, the Winelands and Botswana
Mark and team –
We had a wonderful time. La Residence and Franschhoek were absolutely amazing. The Silo was also spectacular, and we had fabulous meals at Kloof Street House and The Test Kitchen. We wish we had done four nights at La Residence and one night at The Silo. Everybody at The Silo and La Residence was extremely accommodating and hospitable….we were very impressed. Chris was a great guide. La Petite Colombe was fabulous for dinner.
Chitabe was beyond our expectations, and our guide, Goodman, was legendary. The food was delicious, and we loved the people.
While we liked Little Vumbura as a camp, it was a little bit of a let down after Chitabe. The people were great and the accommodations were nice. We are grateful we got to see the Okavango Delta and experience a water-based camp. Ultimately, we would 100% go back to Chitabe…
Elizabeth Thompson, Jun 2022
The Best of Botswana Flying Safari
For me it was the most wonderful trip ever, with so many amazing sightings. After 10 wonderful safaris, it seemed like Botswana had saved their most amazing sightings as a farewell gift on our last trip. I would need a Thesaurus to find enough superlative adjectives to express how fantastic it was.
The first picture is “The Cheetah Mother of the Year” or decade with her five sub-adult cubs. We were completely in awe of her, since she had been able to feed and protect her cubs until they were almost fully grown. The second picture was taken just after we saw her dash off to kill an impala, with the five cubs racing after her. We must have watched them eating and jockeying for better positions for over an hour, without a sign of other predators or scavengers. Sightings like this are why I had to go back to Chitabe.
The second picture was taken from. a boat at Lagoon. We watched riveted as two make hippos on the riverbank attacked each other with wide-open mouths and lethal teeth. Their mouths were inside each other’s. While one was still intent on fighting the other backed off and slid into the water. Our guide said it was an extremely rare, five-star sight as hippos usually fight in the water. And to think that all I had hoped to see on the river was a malachite kingfisher.
We saw a unique game viewing moment at Chitabe Camp. An impala that was killed by a leopard was stolen and moved by hyenas. When we came into the story the leopard was searching for the impala. When she found it, she moved a short distance away to rest. An extremely nervous slender mongoose surveyed the area from one angle after another. Completing a final circle around the impala, it began eating. Every few minutes it looked up to see if it was still safe. “The Mongoose and its Kill”. This was at Chitabe. The people at all the camps were wonderful.
Because of health, age, bumpy rides, and long flights I think this was our last trip. Kirk isn’t so sure. We really can’t of think of anywhere we would rather go. You and Africa Adventure Company have done a wonderful job for us. We are really glad that you suggested Lagoon and Sable. We had wonderful guides at both camps. As usual, Chitabe lived up to and surpassed my expectations.
Joan and Kirk Beales, May 2022
Flying Safari to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Hwange
We had an incredible trip! Thank you and your colleagues for organizing our safari for us. All of the little details were taken care of which made it so easy for us. We very much enjoyed where we stayed at both of the African Bush Camps, Khwai Leadwood in Botswana and Somalisa Camp in Zimbabwe. The food was delicious and accommodations quite lovely. Our safari guides were very knowledgeable and tried their best to make sure we saw a lot of wildlife which we did. We also enjoyed our time in Victoria Falls and our tour of the falls. I would definitely recommend this trip and AAC. I look forward to my next safari!
I took a lot of photos so will go through them and try and submit a good one or two.
Terri Bray, May 2022
South Africa Safari
I’m happy to report that we had an excellent trip, thanks in no small part to the fine recommendations and bookings provided by yourself and others at The Africa Adventure Company!
Where to start…
Accommodation booked at Welgelegen House was very good, exactly what we were looking for, quiet, clean and comfortable with excellent staff…
Airport transfers, Cape Peninsula Tour and Franschhoek visit guided by Paul Barker were all well managed and enjoyable. Paul is very personable and knowledgeable, we really enjoyed our time with him, he did well to cater the tours to our interests…
Kapama Buffalo Camp was a good camp to start at, we experienced rain for the first two days on site and staff did well to keep us warm and dry. Being our first safari experience we were impressed with the wildlife viewing… despite rainy conditions and vegetation which made viewing from the road difficult at times. That said we really enjoyed the elephants, giraffe, rhino viewings, which seemed plentiful; lions more rare but two good sightings and only a very brief glimpse of a leopard on our last evening. Food at Kapama was very good, better than MalaMala; as was the camp staff and their service.
MalaMala blew Kapama away with scenery and animal sightings. We saw more species and larger numbers of animals at MalaMala… larger herds of elephants, more rhinos and many lion, leopard and hyena sightings… also more species of antelope. The camp itself and the room at MalaMala were very nice.
The guides at both Kapama and MalaMala were great, very pleasant, accommodating and knowledgeable.
The trip really exceeded all expectations and we’ve been telling everyone we know it’s a trip they have to take… and we’re happy to recommend the services of the Africa Adventure Company!!
The only change I’d make next time and recommendation to others is to consider a day off between safari camps to rest, relax and reflect on what you’ve seen. The days on safari are long and full, there isn’t really any down time to process the experience.
Thank you Kyle for your support, advice and recommendations, we really enjoyed our trip and look forward to visiting Africa again in the future.
Scott Horner, May 2022
Safari to Southern Africa
Glad to be back in the Good Ole USA but to live life, go to the African Bush. Where else can you…
–have a sundowner under a tree gazing up at a leopard
–see an ostrich being chased down by a pack of wild dogs though thankfully we missed the kill
–be absolutely drenched by a downpour but get rewarded with sightings of rhinos, an active
pride of lioness and wild dogs
–see flying rainbows otherwise known as bee-eaters and lilac breasted rollers
–have your Land Rover bested and turned around by a single lone elephant
My brother’s favorite African saying was, “Why does anyone want to come to Africa?”
Away from the camps we wisely chose to see Soweto — learned so much and saw sites that were difficult but needed to be seen — and Victoria Falls – yes, it smokes and thunders! Guides, Precious at Victoria Falls and Pisho in Johannesburg, were both A+ as were all the guides. They are not only highly skilled but most attentive. It’s good to be with them over several days as they start to relax and you see their humor and passions. We were never fearful but always felt secure and knew we’d be ok whether we were catching a small charter flight on a grass runway or getting across a border or being in the bush after dust trying for that last sighting of the day.
Other general observations:
Our camps were wisely chosen for us as we experienced different terrains and animals from the dryness of Savute to the aquatics of Okavango to the wildness of Moremi and Xakanaxa but Sabi Sand is a gem of a reserve. Nowhere else did we see cheetah and white rhinos so marked off the Big 5 and Notten’s is a great intro to camps for first timers.
Big game are the stars I suppose but smaller sightings are special too. Dung beetles and owls and warthogs and the graceful impala and resident hippos at Camps O and X.
The food is very good and if you are adventuresome you can try kudu stew and mopani worms. Yum. And how about High Tea and after dinner drinks by the bonfire? Now that is cultured living. The camp bars aren’t bad either.
Good people like to Safari. We met people from all over the world which is a fun experience and Safari people are just kind and curious and thoughtful and fun.
The people of Africa are a joy. They are welcoming and care so much for family and community. It is just like getting together with old friends from KY.
So thank everyone at AAC for this adventure…We hope to return to Africa (though the 16 hour flight across the Atlantic is brutal) so will give you a call. During my day I’ll find myself smiling as I remember an Africa moment. And all thru our 18 days on the continent we just kept saying, can you believe we are really here and can you believe how smooth everything is going and why did we wait so long to do this? And did I mention the African night sky!!! Wow, all those stars!
Julie Hurst, May 2022
Safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe
I have already been asked who planned our safari and I of course have heartily recommended you! I am still trying to get back on my feet here and sort through the myriad photos and videos…I did write down my general thoughts and feelings, as we were flying from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg.
My eyes are still smarting and swollen from all the tears I shed as we departed from our last camp in Zimbabwe and began our long — two and a half day/six flight journey homeward — back to our other wonderful, but oh so different, reality. I hardly know where to start to describe our trip. Africa somehow speaks to both Tim and me. It is our favorite destination on earth. We have visited three times and want to return again. And again. And again. There is something so primal and authentic there. The wildlife. The people. The skies. The stars. The slow pace. Time passes so slowly there whiteout all the plans and schedules that we so often allow to run our lives by.
Yet it is brutal. Nature is harsh and unforgiving. Some of the most striking memories I have are the saddest…
A mother giraffe searching for her young calf who had been killed during the night.
The sad, insistent, lonely call of a jackal for his mate. Probably lost to a predator.
The skeletal remains of a young elephant who died giving birth.
The dead giraffe calf accompanied by the lion who had killed it and whose belly was now very full.
The hollow remains of an adult giraffe, also accompanied by the male lion who remained there to protect it from the scavenger vultures await in the treetops, and anyone else who would steal it away from him.
Other memories are dramatic and adrenaline filled…
Stalking a herd of 500+ Cape buffalo and hiding in the grass while they stared us down.
Sitting near four dozing lions who suddenly came alive when four warthogs came onto the scene,
followed by three hyenas hoping to steal away any kill, and then two elephants came strolling by. Happily, no one died while we sipped our coffee!
Stalking a huge male white rhino. 5000 pounds of an unpredictable living tank. SCARY!
Sitting in a hide while 600+ buffalo approached and entered the watering hole where we hid behind open windows — without glass. The heavy breathing and snorting and pushing and grunting of those animals was intense, particularly as those in the front stared seemingly into us from a very close distance. Adrenaline rush!!
Stalking a leopard and scaring her from her kill. And encountering a young crocodile hidden in the bushes in the process. Exciting!
Slowly and carefully approaching a huge bull elephant affectionately named Tusker, because he has broken one of his tusks. Taking a picture — albeit an awful one, as I really was far from comfortable! — with him behind us.
Sitting in our Land Cruiser while fifty or so elephant — huge females, clumsy babies, defiant teenagers — flow around us. Completely surrounding us. Some stopping to shake their heads in mock threat, many others pausing to raise their trunks to catch our scent, a few trumpeting. But ultimately a slow, peaceful parade of gorgeous, intelligent, sensitive animals. Animals who have strong family ties, incredible memories and actively mourn their dead. We saw one stop and gently fondle the skull of a departed fellow elephant.
Following a pack of ten wild dogs as they chased and attacked a pack of hyena, who they hate for always stealing their kills.
“Trouble” the slightly deranged bull elephant who liked to threaten guests at one of our camps by stalking around the perimeter of the living and dining areas.
Then there were moments that were sweet and funny and just odd!
A newborn giraffe being introduced to its extended family as the elders followed him or her around, eagerly sniffing in order to learn its scent.
A hyena peacefully resting in the shade gets up, vomits, and then rolls around in and eats its vomit. We think he was concealing his scent for future hunting expeditions.
A rhino male marking his territory by defecating and then stomping on it and strewing it all around.
Elephants playing in a watering hole and giving themselves dust baths.
A rhino toddler whining to its mom to nurse! It sounded just like a child and was relentless in its pathetically pleading with its mom to “please let me nurse!” Hysterical.
A male Cape buffalo, who upon seeing us proceeded to violently attack with its fearsome horns a little tree he was standing next to, in what seemed to be a message for us…this is what I will do to you if you get too close to me! We did not get any closer!
And there was so much more. Thank you again for everything!
Joanna McPartlin, May-Jun 2022
Botswana and Zimbabwe African Bush Camp Safari
We had an amazing trip and got to see some unforgettable things! We were able to see a pack of wild dogs and a leopard at Leadwood. We also got to witness a cheetah and her cub being chased by two very full male lions on our transfer drive from Somalisa to Little Mak!
We were thankful to have someone walk us through the Johannesburg airport both times because we definitely would have gotten lost or at least in a few wrong lines. Our days in Hwange were colder than normal and colder than the weather predicted. Some mornings it was 30F when we started our morning game drives. Luckily they have insulated ponchos or we might have had to skip out…
Our guides really made the trip unforgettable. At Khwai Leadwood we had Sinka. He was very good at finding animals and kept everyone in the vehicle very engaged with his expansive knowledge and sense of humor. At Linyanti we had Esse as our guide. He knew the answer to every question, was very easy to get along with, and even tried to help us find a very elusive leopard. Helga, our host for Linyanti, was our favorite host that we had. She said she had only officially started two months ago, but she was fun to chat with and really knew what she was doing as a hostess. Godwin was our guide at Somalisa and did a great job at finding us our male lions that we had not seen yet. We had a great time, especially on our waking tour, with Charles at Little Makalolo. He found the cheetahs on our transfer over!
Thank you so much for booking such a great trip. We will definitely be sending our friends and family your way for safaris in the future.
Bailey and Bill Milillo, May 2022
Best of Southern Africa including Mana Pools and Gonarezhou
The trip was great…We did see a ton of beauty. The two Wilderness Safaris’ camps were very good and both guides were very good – especially at Little DumaTau. We saw healthy packs of dogs at both camps. Elephant Camp in Victoria Falls was fun and we would recommend the elephant encounter.
In Mana Pools we were able to meet “Tusker” twice… We also got to “play” with the 5 pups and Violet.
The time with guide Clive Stockil was really amazing. I feel so privileged to have spent 5 days with this remarkable humanitarian and successful conservationist. Again the timeframe was not ideal for sightings (no cats and only 2 predator – a lone hyena) but tons of eles and gorgeous antelopes. Clive was very open about his work and I hope we can discuss some ideas with Nick sometime…
Thank you, Alison for setting us up again for a smooth and fabulous trip.
Mara Perkins, May 2022
Zimbabwe Legends Safari to Hwange and Mana Pools
My ears are still plugged from our flights home, and I have not washed our travel clothes yes (the positive impact of luggage lost on British Airways), yet I am compelled to send you our trip report. Thank you again, Kyle, Alison, and our Africa Adventure team for another phenomenal safari! We cannot thank you enough!
Linkwasha exceeded our expectations, in part due to the excellent staff and guiding. Liberty the manager was with us at Little Mak in 2019. He manages Linkwasha now and with his team, make this a wonderful camp. Paolo and Nikki were great assistant managers. Our guide from the airport, Livingstone, found the wild dogs 45 minutes after we landed – a pack of four which were beautiful!
Eustace, our guide on safari drives, always looked out for us and ensured that we had a fantastic experience. Except for the first day of drives, Eustace was our private guide for our stay at camp! He has exceptional teaching skills re: nature and photography. This man would be extraordinarily successful if you put together a photography group and he guided it – my idea not his! He taught Ed great sundown photography tips and ensured that Ed knew how to use them. We visited the hide in Linkwasha, Little Mak, and Davidson and have fantastic elephant photos! He was relentless in finding us great experiences and photo opportunities. It would be wonderful to work with him again someday. Staff member Patrick also is noted as exceptional, as he repaired my hiking boot when the sole dislodged – how he could sew the shoe and sole back together is a wonder to me!
Nick and Des Murray once again provided the outstanding Mana Pools and Vundu camp experiences. “Tusker”, our Bushlife Conservancy mascot was also in outstanding form, and we have the pictures to prove it! What an intelligent and handsome gentle giant that Tusker is!
Vundu Camp has a wonderful young couple, Sophie and Anthony (Ant) helping to co-manage the camp. They are a very hospitable young couple, and they work cohesively with guests, staff and guides. The guiding by Nick is always excellent, and we also enjoyed the experience of being in camp with guides Mitch, Siraj, and Dave. They are absolutely fantastic – great teachers, highly engaged with clients, great conversationalists…I asked every one of them to stick around until we get back again in two years as they are a fantastic group of people and exceptional guides and staff.
We were privileged to spend time with owners, Nick and Des, and were their first campers and their new Little Vundu camp location. This continues to be an outstanding camp experience. The new location and camp layout unimaginably exceed that of the old Little Vundu (which was my number one favorite camp in Africa). The new camp is also directly on the Zambezi River (as is Vundu Camp) and it faces an island that has ongoing wildlife and bird activity. If you want to enjoy sleeping to the sounds of safari at night, this is the place to go! Tusker made it into camp for the first night’s “grand opening” which was an intimate soiree of brilliant camaraderie, service, food, and beverages.
Not everyone gets to spend time with Des in camp and we were truly fortunate to be with her. Des makes sure that all logistics, supplies, décor, and staff are pulled together to make these camps a premier safari experience. She also managed all the steps for our Covid testing in camp, as was required for us to go back home to the U.S. The process was flawless, including Admire meeting us at the Harare airport at our departure, and handing us our certified test results.
We saw Violet’s wild dog pack three times, once while they rested during the day, and twice as they prepared for their early evening hunt with their pre-hunting rituals. The wild dog experiences in Mana are superior to any experience we have seen wild dogs on safari in south and east Africa. Nick’s expertise regarding the dogs is truly incomparable!
Finally, Nick found “Eddie” the elephant who we met in 2017. Eddie is maturing into a handsome elephant with a tiny bit of an edgy personality. We loved spending time with Eddie.
Lots of elephant babies. It was still green and the grass was not as high as Hwange and Linkwasha. We walked, took several trips on the pontoon on the river, and did multiple safari drives. Ed and Nick went fishing a couple of times on the Zambezi and we have the pictures to prove it! Nick always asks what we would like to do and develops the best plan for the day’s safari. Seven days still is not enough time spent at Vundu camps as far as we are concerned.
We highly recommend Africa Adventure as the premier safari planners that you are. Thank you for working with us since our first experience on safari in 2000. Thank you for introducing us to Mana and Hwange many trips ago.
Our best to all of you!
Patsy Samuel & Ed Callen, May 2022
Best of Botswana and Zimbabwe
Good afternoon Kyle – We returned to reality last Friday and have now had time to settle back into a routine. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you and your team for an amazing trip. From the accommodations, to the staff, the food, the transfers it was all just perfect. We saw a tremendous amount of wildlife at the 2 camps (Khwai Leadwood and Somalisa Camp) and our tour of Victoria Falls with Precious was nothing short of amazing – although I wished I had done a bit more research about just how wet you get at the Falls – we weren’t fully prepared to get so soaked but in the end it was worth it! We enjoyed both camps and the different experiences they each provided. I would highly recommend both of them! If I ever plan another trip to Africa – AAC will be my first call!!
Thank you again!
Charlene Simmens, May 2022
Botswana “Great Plains” Wing Safari and Victoria Falls
Hi Kyle and crew.
I’m finally over the jet lag and a cold I caught after I got home. I just wanted to report back on how the trip went. Okay…it’s really more of a novel instead of a short story.
I realize this trip took extra planning on your end with our budget and all the changes that were happening on the ground. Thank you…thank you…thank you!
We really enjoyed the Great Plains camps and the fabulous staff members and guides. The food was the best I’ve ever had. That was apparent when I got back and climbed on the scale. My plan had been to eat everything I wanted, but in moderation. Well, that went out the window on the first day in camp. It was worth every calorie! Having four days at each camp, instead of two or three, was amazing. I initially worried we weren’t going to see a variety of landscapes. While it was a little limiting, I loved not having to unpack and pack so often, the opportunity to really connect with the staff and our guides and being able to see so much area in each preserve. It took some of the pressure off. I would definitely plan that way again in the future.
Our first guides were Nthabiseng (Tabby) and Kingginjay (G). Tabby is a brand-new guide and was still in training. What she lacked in experience, she made up for in passion and excitement. G was with her in the vehicle and he was such a great and supportive teammate, never taking over, but being quietly in her corner. I can’t wait to see how she learns and grows into her new role. Maggie, KP, BK, Daps, Gift, TShepo (I’m sure I don’t have the spelling right) and every other staff member, welcomed us as family. I can’t speak for Travis and Mary, but my take is that they were shocked by the kindness and sincerity of the Duba team. I was so impressed, even after experiencing it in other places.
Parks was our guide at Selinda Explorers. I’ve had some amazing guides in my travels and have to say, Parks is one of the very best. He was so patient with all of our questions and really listened. He’d turn off the vehicle so he could hear the question and take time to answer in a way that we could understand. At times when the animals weren’t easy to find, he’d stop and talk about the environment and the plant life. And just when we thought nothing was going on, another guide would radio after discovering cheetah, lions or other amazing things. They worked well as a team for our benefit. Travis was in his own tent at Selinda and Mary and I were planning to share a tent. Tshepo, ensured that Mary and I were in the family tent, which was really two tents in one. What a treat! Again, the chef and crew created such amazing meals and desserts. Coming home has been a bit of a disappointment as I eat my morning oatmeal and ham sandwich for lunch. Boy, were we spoiled! Family? Yes, once again we felt as though we were family with all the staff. As a matter of fact, Mary became Auntie Mary. We were sad to leave.
Ash ended up being our pilot for all small flights and was such a delight. We cheered every time we discovered we’d be spending even a little more time with him.
Having Cynthia meet us at the airport and assist us across the border into Zimbabwe was such a treat. Then, meeting Bigboy who was such a part of our Zimbabwe adventure, was another highlight. We were tired, but still ready to hit it and Cynthia helped us plan going to Victoria Falls for the Lunar Rainbow and dinner at Three Monkeys, before she left us at the Palms. We’d heard of both on our flight to Victoria Falls from a fellow traveler. It was a whole different experience from the first time I was here in 2004. Dinner was awesome and way too much for us to eat. Highly recommend! It was nice to have a burger and fries and pizza. Seeing the falls at full moon was a bit of a challenge. We hadn’t thought to bring a flashlight so it was scary at times because the wind was up and we couldn’t see well, but other tourists helped us find our way. Still, we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We had dinner at the Overlook the following night and Cloud was our driver. We loved Cloud too!
Visiting the orphanage was emotional and I’m so grateful there are such loving and dedicated people helping the children. The school was a good visit, although it felt a little scripted. We’d love to donate as long as we know our funds are going to the right organizations making a difference on the ground. Bigboy took us to the location where many of the sculptures are actually created. We loved meeting the actual artists and bought things we will treasure. We had time to talk to them, watch them work and of course, negotiate our way to a purchase. I can’t wait to go back.
Our day with Cynthia visiting the Falls was so much fun. She’s an incredible person that we were honored to get to know. Visiting the falls again during the day just reminded me how spectacular they are. And…Cynthia was on board when we just wanted to walk over the bridge and get our passports stamped in Zambia. Crazy tourists!!
Our final day was spent at the Elephant Encounter and a visit to the Elephant Walk market. WIN/WIN! We loved interacting with the elephants. It’s something I’ll never forget. I learned so much and am even more intrigued. It’s high on my list to visit again someday. I wish we would have had a little more time at the Elephant Walk Market. The artists were incredible and very talented. The creations were unique and I would have loved to purchase more pieces. Our goal was to leave as much of our funds in the country as we could and I had taken that to heart and didn’t have much left by the time we visited the last artists. Now that I know, I’ll reserve some extra funds for next time. Special thanks to Cynthia for this special treat.
The Palms was beautiful and the staff was so kind and helpful. Breakfast was wonderful…especially the banana bread french toast. We’d definitely stay there again…
We would go back to the Great Plains Camps, especially Selinda, any time. The classic tented camps are definitely the way to go with a flexible schedule, off road capabilities and four-night stays. While we shared the vehicle with fabulous honeymooners during the first day or two, the rest of the time we had our own vehicle and guides. That was amazing! I hope to have Parks be our guide in the future. In discussions with staff at the camps, we talked about the importance of guides. Thuto, (Savuti) and Chief (Little Vumbura) were our guides on my very first trip. They helped inspire my love of Africa and Botswana in particular. Parks is that kind of guide.
I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to share with my family members. Watching Mary, and especially Travis, experience this amazing place with incredible people, was truly the trip of a lifetime. And…you all made it happen. I’m so grateful, I can’t even put it into words. If I think too much about it, I’ll end up ugly crying. Thank you! I’m a lifelong AAC groupie. Before we even arrived home, another family member who had been invited but wouldn’t commit to coming, had already set a goal of scheduling a trip in 2024. So, everyone has already begun saving.
We’ll be in touch later this year to see if we can start planning.
I’ll be posting on Trip Advisor in the next few weeks.
Please send my thanks to everyone, especially those I might have missed. Feel free to use any of my comments and we’ll be submitting photos for the contest. BTW, I bought a new camera so I wouldn’t have to carry the heavy lenses. It is a Sony RX10 IV. Expensive and worth every penny. I can’t wait for you to see the pictures.
Jennifer Steck, May 2022
Dear Elena ~
Let me be the first to applaud you and your staff for putting together another first class trip for us. Paula and I will be digesting the history, culture and food for quite some time.
Like South Africa, the people of Egypt, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel welcomed us with a smile and opened arms.
I want to especially make sure that you know how vitally important Samy (our guide) was. Simply put, he was amazing, kind, gentle, knowledgeable and personable. My only disappointment was that he didn’t complete the entire journey with us. There was definitely an appreciable drop of in the level of our guide once we arrived in Abu Simbel. I do realize that it was just for a short period, however Samy woul have made all the difference in the world.
As we say in Louisian lingo:
Geaux Samy and Geaux Africa Adventure Company.
Until the next great adventure, be present and be blessed!
Chris and Paula Fryou, Jul 2022