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Clients Trip Reports Southern Africa: Jun – Jul 2023

August 7, 2023 Client Trip Reports

Best of Southern Africa Safari with Mana Pools


This was truly a trip of a lifetime.  Every single person was kind, hospitable, & welcoming. 

Our tour guide in Cape Town (Paul) was so knowledgeable and willing to share with us.  He was patient and did not make us feel rushed at all. Our lodging in Cape Town, the Welgelegen House, was perfect.  They truly made us feel like we were home.  The hot water bottles in bed at night were by far the best part!!!

Welgelegen House

Navigating transport was easy and the staff y’all set up for us made it a breeze.  Whether it was a car or a plane we never had to think about how we were going to get to our next destination. 

Kirkman’s Kamp was the fanciest place we have ever stayed.  They seemed to know what I needed before I did.  I really enjoyed our guides there and the wildlife viewing was spectacular. 

Kirkman’s Kamp

Victoria Falls was amazing.  I cannot write about how amazing Precious was.  She was so generous, kind, and knowledgeable.  We adored hearing her stories and learning about the falls from her.  The boat cruise is a must-do for everyone and thank you for providing that addition. 

Mana Pools was the most unique part of our trip by far.  Mitch, Sophie, & Ant made us feel like part of the family.  We really enjoyed the communal meals, not having wifi, & truly being one with nature.  The first time Mitch told us to get out of the car to go on a walk, I think both our stomachs dropped, but it made for such a deeper experience.  To get out and be alongside the animals was incredible… 

Take care & we will be back for sure

Valerie Chase, July 2023


Wildlife Safari to Southern Africa

Hi Kyle:

Thank you very much for making my recent safari such a wonderful experience…

MalaMala and Mashatu are a great pairing.  They each have their own personality and unique offerings.  The charter flights between the camps significantly reduced the travel time and eliminated the sometimes-painful drive.  I heard Pont Drift border crossing is again open which would reduce somewhat the travel time between camps.  The charter fight to Mashatu was a very pleasant experience… 



The guides at both MalaMala and Mashatu were WONDERFUL. I was very pleased to find out that MalaMala and Sable camps are now owned by the local communities and offer training for locals to get the needed training to work as staff in camps.

Late June and early July seems to be the sweet spot for the number of people in the camps.  Both camps mentioned that they were at or near capacity for the remainder of the summer.

The green canvas pouch you provided was wonderful.  I was able to keep all my documents together and it fit easily into a pocket of my backpack.

The two nights at The City Lodge at the Johannesburg airport were wonderful.  They have done some updating of the public spaces.  We enjoyed our time at the City Lodge.  The best thing was that it allowed us to rest up from the trip and get ready for our safari.  At the end of the safari, I had a lot of time between arriving at the Airport and flying out for home.  I spent the time in the City Lodge lobby.  It was a very nice place to be until I was able to get my boarding pass and into the SLOW Lounge.

City Lodge

We had two days of heavy rain at MalaMala.  I had prepared for every weather possibility except for long periods of rain.  They also had snow in the mountains around Johannesburg.  My recommendation is to prepare for any kind of weather- including rain.

If I think of anything else, I will forward it to you.  I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Chuck Paeth, July 2023


Exploration Safari to Zimbabwe and Zambia

Hi Alison,

First of all, with maybe the exception of one of our trips to Botswana, this may have been our favorite trip. Zambia, in particular, just blew us away!…We enjoyed the combination of bush camps vs. luxury camps. 

Tembo Plains: We cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed the experience of this camp while in camp. It truly felt like we were part of the family with all the staff…The Sapi concession is incredibly beautiful and we were able to be on the water quite a bit, both by boat and canoe. The canoeing was fantastic.

Tembo Plains

Vundu Camp: Mitch was a superb guide and photographer. We had so much fun chasing light and photographing together and he helped me see shots I never would have gotten on my own. As you know, the light at Mana Pools is magic, and Mitch and I had good fun looking for good photos to shoot.

Vundu Camp

We enjoyed the Mana Pools experience…Tusker, one of the large collared big male elephants is near camp fairly often and Mitch and Nick know him well, so we were able to spend quite a bit of time with him on foot. it was an experience we’ll never forget.

Puku Ridge: It may have been the most luxurious place we’ve visited in Africa. Food and wine were also top notch…One thing we particularly liked about the Puku Ridge location was that even though it is located in the national park, on “their side” we were able to go off road and do night drives. This was a huge plus!. We will definitely return to South Luangwa later in the season and most likely Puku Ridge.

Puku Ridge

Tusk and Mane: Probably our best overall experience!  We absolutely loved this camp. The service, camp vibes, guiding, attention to detail. Everything and everyone was spot on!…We had unbelievable luck with sightings. Leopards everywhere (5 individuals seen multiple times) and a huge pack of wild dogs (29 adults). In just one day we saw wild dogs successfully hunt 3 times. On the next day we saw a leopardess bring down a kill and was then joined by her two adult daughters. To see three adult leopards sharing a kill is something we have never seen….nothing could prepare us for the sheer beauty of the Lower Zambezi. I know we’ve never seen anything like it in Africa, and it may be one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. Even had there been no animals, I could have happily spent four days there just doing landscape photography. The light was like no place else I’ve ever seen.

Tusk and Mane

Shumba: Shumba definitely lived up to its name as meaning “lion”. After not seeing many lions on the rest of our trip we were amply rewarded at Shumba. In just one morning we found 3 separate small prides with cubs and that evening found another mother and cubs and watched her make a kill. This was my favorite sighting. To watch her successfully hunt a small warthog and then call her small cubs (4-5 months old) to the kill was so wonderful…


I hope you can tell we were thrilled with our experiences! Zambia blew us away. Thank you so much for putting together yet another amazing trip for us. We can’t wait to return!


Debbie and George Warren, July 2023


Safari to South Africa

Hello All.

Here is a report on our two-camp visit to South Africa. As you know this is my third trip over 15 years. We stayed four days each at Singita Lebombo and Rattray’s. Second time at MalaMala Rattray’s, which remains my “All Time Favorite”. I know you know this but in case you want to share.

Singita Lebombo


I am a Cats/Big Five kinda guy and wishes were fulfilled at both venues. In fact, multiple times. Saw seven different leopards at Rattray’s. Big 5 multiple times over. Unlike last time, no live kills.

Both lodges are top notch operations. Accommodations as good as any Four Seasons. Service was superb as were guides/trackers. Our guide, Mike Bote at Rattray’s, never disappoints. Manager Rebecca was ubiquitous. We saw over 17 species there not counting birds and those I forgot…

Going forward, if, when we return, we will probably revisit Rattray’s and add a camp or two of a different variety. Lebombo was first class but the game viewing mirrors Rattrays, which is superior in that regard.

Great job by your organization as usual.


George Bubrick, June 2023


Safari to Southern Africa

Good morning Miles.

Now that our African Adventure has come to an end (sadly), I would like to take a moment to thank you and your staff for the trip of a lifetime!!  Once on the flight out of the US everything you planned went like clockwork.  The guides, trackers, and staff at all of the locations took excellent care of us.

All of the locations you booked us in far exceeded our expectations! 

We felt safe and in good hands all through the trip and have so many memories to share with our family and friends.

Thanks again for all of your planning and guidance for this trip.  Hopefully we will go again and certainly will highly recommend your company to all who ask us.

Diane Carter, June 2023


Kwando Flying Safari to Botswana

Hello Miles and Daniella,

I truly enjoyed my Kwando Safari to Botswana and the visit to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  In retrospect, I think another night/day at Victoria Falls would have been good, due to travel/arrival/departure times.  It would have given me a bit more time relax and appreciate the area, and visit the Falls area again on my own–Victoria Falls is amazing to experience.  I would have enjoyed that for sure!

The safari camps–Lebala, Lagoon, and Pom Pom were terrific–each different and unique, with wonderful guides and trackers, camp staff, and accommodations that were so comfortable and relaxing. The various folks in the different camps were great to meet and share experiences with each day.   The animals “visiting” the tent areas during the nights was a highlight, although the elephant munching on the leaves around my tent was so loud (in a good way!). The lions roaring in the distance, the leopards and hyaenas calling around the camp area and their tracks seen in the morning certainly reminded me that it’s wild out there!



Pom Pom

At Pom Pom the water was just starting to arrive, so although the water-based activities weren’t available, it was amazing to see the water increase each day, and more and more birds arriving each day because of that–so spectacular!

I did see the wild dogs (and puppies!) at Lebala and Pom Pom–so extremely happy to experience that–they are amazing!  At Lebala, the guides and trackers attempted to track and follow leopards, to no avail, although it was interesting to watch and learn about their tracking skills.  However, I did see leopards at Pom Pom–a magical experience during the day and at night.  Spotting the rarely sighted animals that we encountered–honey badger, pangolin, aardwolf–was very cool for sure. The male black sable antelope just causally walking past the safari vehicle as we were parked while the guide & tracker searched for leopard tracks certainly kept us all silent and amazed!  All in all, a wonderful, exciting adventure.

Still going through the many, many photos I took during my trip, and they bring back such incredible memories of my various experiences.  I will certainly remember this trip. 

Thanks for much for all your organizing and planning.

Take care,

Andrea Gormley, June 2023


Safari to Southern Africa

Dear Alison,

I apologize for the delayed response…I did want to give you my views on our trip – which was magnificent…

Victoria Falls:  The Sunset Cruise introduced us to some of the wildlife we would later see.  Cynthia was wonderful.  She met us when we arrived and prepared us for the tour the next day.  Her knowledge of Livingstone was spot on and made the tour for me though I was amazed of the amount of water that poured over those cliffs.  Thank goodness for ponchos!!!  I would endorse you recommendation of Dusty Road.  It was another look into the culture.  We admired Sarah for all she has done to help the children in her community. 

Davison’s Camp:  My absolute favorite place.  Thought more rustic than the others, the staff was so welcoming and friendly.  Chamu gave us every opportunity to see so many animals.  My favorite was sitting among a journey of 16 giraffes—incredible creatures.  And were you’re the “little bird” that mentioned my birthday was coming up?  We shared two bottles of champagne with the other guests as we toasted the wonderful staff. 

Davison’s Camp

Muchenje Safari Lodge:  Magnificent view of the Chobe River with various herbivores grazing.  The lodge and rooms were lovely and Kitty and Toff were always there to greet us and answer questions.  Rambo was our guide and again the variety of animals we saw was amazing.  The highlight here was visiting the local school that Muchenje helps to support…  

Muchenje Safari Lodge

Cape Town:  We loved the location of the Victoria and Alfred Hotel.  Going out walking along the pier; watching the shows in the street and at the amphitheater; trying to decide which wonderful restaurant to try; wonderful experiences.  Rob was excellent.  Always there early; knowledge of the area and sites we visited were great.  Loved the Stellenbosch winery and wines…  

Victoria and Alfred Hotel

Notten’s Bush Camp:  Loved the atmosphere and staff—friendly and welcoming.  Thulani was our guide and again we saw many amazing sights.  The guides are permitted to go off road there and so we really got close to the carnivores.  We celebrated my birthday with cocktail and barbecue in the bush and then an outdoor dinner with fresh baked chocolate and lemon birthday cakes back at the lodge.  It was a marvelous celebration!

Notten’s Bush Camp

Transfers:  Being me at each stop and ushered through customs and the terminals made light of what could have been an ordeal.  Thank you for being so organized. 

I have been telling everyone we know that they HAVE to go to Africa and that I want to go back.  I’ll be in touch!

Pat Hagen, June 2023


Safari to Botswana and Zambia

Camp #1- Lagoon Camp. We had Spencer as our guide, so we knew what to expect. Spencer is an experienced pro and an enthusiastic, fun, and kind man…For four nights, we had a fabulous time with terrific sightings and memorable experiences. The camp itself was extremely comfortable and convenient with excellent food and great service…

Lagoon Camp

Camp #2- Kwara Camp

After Lagoon Camp, we flew to Kwara Camp, a sister camp, where we spent 4 nights. Dalton was our guide and Mike, our tracker, the same as we had in April…We had some very nice sightings with Dalton and Mike including a pack of 19 dogs trying to hunt wildebeest, but finally settling for red lechwe…

Kwara Camp

We did the helicopter ‘sans doors’ with Fondy, the pilot, again, but this time we took our guide, Dalton, along with us. He was thrilled to go for his first helicopter ride! We all had a terrific time!

The tent was lovely with plenty of room to relax and to prepare for early morning wake up calls. The food was fantastic and the staff wonderful! Amex, one of the staff, is destined to become a manager herself in our opinion. She was helpful, kind, friendly and had a good sense of humor.

REST-UP TIME! Chundukwa Lodge

For 2 nights we stayed at Chundukwa Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia just to catch up a little before we began our 12 safari nights in Zambia…The rooms were very comfortable with a beautiful deck overlooking the water. The food was spectacular and Linda made sure it was available when we requested it…One of our highlights was the river cruise with Victor, our guide. He was fantastic! We really enjoyed his company. We definitely would love to visit this Lodge again in the future.

Chundukwa Lodge

Camp #3- Tafika Camp

…We were greeted warmly by the camp staff and the daughter and son-in-law of the camp owners…We had some fabulous sightings of wild dogs and spent some time talking with the film making couple who were doing a documentary on the dogs! Bryan was a superb guide with unbelievable experience. The food was excellent. We were well cared for by the staff. At lunchtime, the owners, Carol and John, often joined us. It was very interesting to hear of some of their experiences in the Bush. Four nights at Tafika flew by, then we drove the short distance to the crossing point on the Luangwa River and were taken across by boat to transfer to Kaingo Camp.


Camp #4- Kaingo Camp

…Our sightings started out immediately and were spectacular. Our accommodations were excellent with a lovely seating area outside overlooking the Luangwa River. The shower there was one of the best we have had in all the camps we have visited.

Kaingo Camp

Camp #5- Busanga Bush Camp

We flew to Busanga Bush Camp after driving to Mfuwe, then flying to Lusaka…we were picked up by our guide, Isaac Kalio. Isaac was very nice and right away, we noticed that he understood the needs of photographers. He did a great job of positioning, giving recommendations on what to watch for, etc. We had a fabulous time with him. Any photographer would be delighted to have him. We had wonderful sightings throughout our stay…

Busanga Bush Camp

We truly had a fantastic time on this whole trip. Our thanks to all the camps and staff where we spent time and to the wonderful Africa Adventure Team who made this all happen. You all are terrific at what you do and we say that over and over again as we talk about our fantastic safari trips arranged by AAC.

Mark and Darlene Knott, June 2023


Botswana Wing Safari with Specialist Guide Brooks Kamanakao

To Mark Nolting and everyone at Africa Adventure Company . . .

It has taken way too long to thank you for creating and executing the “trip of our lives.”  Every aspect of the trip exceeded our expectations, which were high to begin with.  From the up-close experiences with the animals, the sensational sunrises and sunsets, the enormously knowledgeable guides and trackers, the warm and gracious hospitality of the camp staff, the delicious food, the interesting itinerary (including jaw-dropping Victoria Falls and Cape Town) … it was simply INCREDIBLE! 

Some specific kudos:

  • Loved the Palm River Hotel in Victoria Falls – accommodations, food and staff were all excellent.
  • Brooks Kamanakao is a national treasure of Botswana.  Thank you, thank you for booking us on a six-person, intimate safari with him. 
  • Paul Burke in Cape Town was an awesome guide.  Perfect temperament, so knowledgeable and personable.  Really enjoyed out time there and learned so much from him.
  • I am so glad the Victoria and Alfred hotel was selected for our Cape Town stay.  It was EXACTLY where we would have chosen.  Glad the Cape Grace was closed for remodeling because the location and accommodation at Victoria & Alfred were ideal.
  • All of the Airport Meet & Greet staff were first-rate.  Always on time and always super friendly and helpful.  It was very nice not having to drag our luggage around – in fact, not having to deal with hauling luggage at all.
  • EVERY single person at the Africa Adventure Company that we dealt with was professional, responsive and helpful.  Thank you to your entire organization.  We have never been so well-prepared for ANY trip.
  • Super helpful to have the tipping info ahead of time as a guideline…

Thank you again for your attentiveness to our trip.  Although we thought it was an expensive investment, we have told everyone that it was worth every penny… 

Thank you, thank you.

Mary & Ralph Miller, June 2023


Grandchildren Safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe

Hi Mark,

This has been an amazing experience.  My grandchildren had an awesome time.  At all three camps (Muchenje Safari Lodge, Sable Valley Lodge and Vundu Camp), the staff was attentive, the guides were excellent, the food was very good, the locations beautiful…this has been everything I hoped for and more. Loved that we got to walk in the bush, not just ride in jeeps.  Swimming and fishing and lunch, boating, although it turned out to be a motor boat, added a variety of experiences.  Also, going to a village was special. 

Muchenje Safari Lodge

Sable Valley Lodge

Vundu Camp

Best Regards,

Mimi Osiason, Jun 2023


Northern Highlights Safari to Botswana

Thanks Kyle!

Great trip!! Everything went smoothly and seamlessly, as usual! The Letaka mobile camping safari was very well done, and both Duba Plains and Duba Explorers were top-notch all the way around. Because of the high-water levels at Duba Plains and Duba Explorers, Great Plains was providing a helicopter transfer from the Duba Plains airstrip to Duba Explorers camp and back again rather than make a one-hour drive back and forth. While it’s a short hop by helicopter between camps, it was a nice bonus…

Letaka Mobile Camping

Duba Plains

Duba Explorers Camp

Sightings included:

– just missed a lion pride in Savuti make a kudu double-kill. The 4-week old lion cubs of one of the lionesses came bounding out all wide-eyed, yelping, and trying to examine one of the carcasses as a lioness was dragging it to the cover of some bushes.

– watched a wild dog pack one evening as the alpha female called out her puppies from the den. As nine! tiny puppies came bounding out to greet and nurse their mom, the other excited pack members came to excitedly greet them. The puppies were only ~4 weeks old, and reportedly were only seen out of the den for the first time 2 days earlier.

– just missed another wild dog pack in Xakanaxa make an impala kill. Judging from the state of the carcass, we missed the kill by only a couple of minutes.

– followed a lion pride in Xakanaka as they stalked a herd of zebras, but the sub-adults blew the hunt when they accidentally bumped into a porcupine, flushed it from the bushes, and had a minor altercation.

– encountered two 8-month old leopard cubs hanging out and playing together. Mom must have been out hunting because she was not there. One cannot take a bad photo of leopard cubs… or adult leopards for that matter!

– and much more

But the highlight of the entire trip happened at Duba Plains. Surprise surprise. The lions at the moment are scattered. Two new males have come to the area and are causing havoc among both the Tsaro Pride and the Skimmer Pride. Both prides have moved a bit away since the two males are just roaming the Duba Plains area, being bullies, and just beating up all the lions. Oddly, they don’t seem to be trying to take over the other prides; just causing trouble for now. So the two have been nicknamed the Bad Boys. For the first time ever, I did not get good lion stuff at Duba Plains. We saw the Tsaro pride watching a big herd of buffalo in the distance, but we could not get there because of the high-water levels.

BUT… the one full day that I had a private guide and vehicle, we found the wild dog pack in the early morning and were extremely lucky to watch an entire hunt from start to finish. The wild dogs cornered and trapped a red lechwe in water. The dogs repeatedly ran around and through the water harassing it. They worked to tire it out, after which one of the dogs ran in, grabbed it in neck deep water, and dragged it out. Amazing. The other dogs, including two nine-month old puppies, then ran through the water to join the feeding at the water’s edge. With the early morning light, the off-roading, all the water and splashing, and colors of the Delta’s vegetation, it was an incredible several hours! When the feeding was almost finished, a tawny eagle came in for scraps, while a hippo came out of the water, walked by the puppies and expressed his unhappiness with their proximity. Finally, feeding completed, the puppies spent some time playing, with some of the adults joining in. Just an incredible sighting!!!

Thanks again for all the arrangements!


Chris Swindal, June 2023