CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST AND NORTH AFRICA – SEP-NOV 2018
Adventure to Morocco including Rabat, Marrakesh, Skoura and the Atlas Mountains
Dear Alison and Team,
We had a fantastic trip to Morocco!!!!
Thank you so much, Alison and all who helped plan such a wonderful vacation for us. You really listened to everything we wanted to do, and the types of places where we wanted to stay, and suggested an itinerary that fit us perfectly. We spent just the right amount of time everywhere, (of course we would have enjoyed staying longer everywhere!), the order was right, the drive times not too long and broken up with nice breaks. All the riads, kasbah and desert camp were spectacular! Much nicer than I expected on our budget. And perfect locations.
Best of all was our driver, Soufyane. He was very personable, but not at all pushy. He was quiet and respectful but answered all our questions. He was a great driver, always early, and very helpful with everything. He spoke very good English. We especially appreciated Soufyane’s driving back to Casablanca to pick up Zach at 10:30 pm after delivering Steve and Mary to Rabat at noon, due to Zach’s flight being delayed out of JFK. He also did a great job driving us safely across the High Atlas during a snowstorm, where the road was under construction and we saw several car wrecks. He also found a Berber carpet dealer for us in the Todra Gorge area, and we bought a beautiful rug there, much more affordably than the ones we looked at in Fes. Our van was very comfortable- Mercedes with wifi and leather seats, and I think Soufyane must have washed and vacuumed it every night!
We were impressed with your group operator’s guides and services throughout the trip. They even called us midway to check in and see how it was going. The step on guide at Volubilis was especially knowledgeable.
All the riads were beautiful and different, and in great locations. And the people at all of them were so nice! At Riad Kalaa in Rabat, they helped connect us to Soufyane and Zach when we had trouble with the phone service. Collette and her team at Kasbah Ben Damiette in Skoura were so welcoming and the entire staff walked us to the car to say goodbye, and gave me roses from their garden! We loved their gardens, pool and bacci ball court, and roof deck…Riad Slitine and Riad Myra were just beautiful as well, and the breakfasts were delicious. We had two rooms at Riad Myra, which was very nice, and a nice 2 bedroom suite at Riad Slitine- also wonderful.
The Bedouin Desert Luxury Camp was a trip highlight. We expected it to be a bit touristy (camp and kitcshy) but it was not at all! We loved riding the camels into the camp. Our tent and the setting were lovely. it was cold at night with no heat, but the beads had extremely heavy wool blankets and electric blankets as well, so we stayed cozy. And the water in the shower could not have been hotter! The food at dinner and breakfast were among the best we had on the trip- very tasty and lots of variety. The Bedouin drummers around the fire were very authentic after-dinner entertainment. And the sunrise camel ride to the top of the dunes was spectacular! We were the only people who went- left camp at 6:45 when it was still pitch dark (seeing the spectacular stars was a plus)and very cold. So quiet and peaceful, and just beautiful to see the desert as the sun rose!
We saw just about everything we hoped to and enjoyed all the tours as well as our free time. We especially liked Volubilis, the Sahara, Skoura, El-Bahai Palace, the Berber Museum and the souks of Marrakesh. We ran out of time to see Dades gorge (due to my wanting to rug shop on the way), and it was a little too wet to really tour Ait Ben Haddou- we tried, but it was raining and muddy, so we only stayed a short time…we were a little intimated of the souks that early in the trip to try to go back on our own, plus it was drizzling at that point. In Marrakesh we were braver and really enjoyed walking thru all the souks on our own (with Zach and google maps leading the way), including deep into the medina to find the specialty craft areas. And we enjoyed bargaining as well! We did enjoy the ceramic “factory”in Fes, as well as all the other sights there.
To sum up, we were very, very pleased with everything- you exceeded all of our expectations! We all three would go back to Morocco- in fact we hope to do so. And several of my friends want to go after seeking my social posts, so I will of course direct them to AAC!
In the meantime, we are thinking of Namibia for our next Africa trip, maybe in 2020. Any ideas or suggestions to help us as we begin to plan will be appreciated.
Alison, thank you again for all the exceptional planning. AAC has a well-deserved reputation for being the best in African safaris, but I think your Moroccan expertise will be soon recognized as well!
Mary, Steve and Zach Henslee, Nov 2018
Flying Safari to Kenya’s Maasai Mara
Thank you for another epic safari! I loved my time at Off Beat Mara Camp. The staff was amazing and the food was excellent. The game viewing was unreal. I saw so many lions and cheetahs. My Maasai guide, Stanley, was the best. I learned so much from him. We did witness a wildebeest river crossing in the Maasai Mara with three wildebeest being taken by crocodiles. I definitely preferred the Mara North Conservancy due to the ability to go off road. It makes a huge difference for photography. I shot over 2,500 photos.
Again, thank you for another great experience.
Next we are interest in seeing the gorillas in either Rwanda or Uganda.
Steven Main, Oct 2018
Exploration of East and Southern Africa including Kenya and Rwanda and a visit to Victoria Falls
Dear Africa Adventure Company,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to give feedback on our trip. It was, in a word… INCREDIBLE! I did a usually twice-daily Facebook blog and I felt like I kept using the same superlatives but I was at a loss for words to describe our adventures. In hopes of hitting what I want to comment on, I’ll break it down per country.
Victoria Falls was a bucket list item for me and it did not disappoint. Our tour guide, Precious, was fantastic. She was sweet, funny, welcoming, knowledgeable, and clearly takes pride in what she does. The Victoria Falls River Lodge was amazing! That we got to experience elephants and hippos off our deck and a 3:00 in the morning wake-up call by lions were truly the experiences we were hoping to have. The river cruises were wonderful and very relaxing ways to begin to experience Africa. We certainly enjoyed the game drive and getting to see who in the animal kingdom we were sharing space with. What a unique location. And the tents? FABULOUS! How can you beat a bathtub with a view like that! Finally, the staff at the lodge (and all along the way) was wonderful and attentive; they knew what we were doing each day and asked how things were going. It was the perfect way to kick-off our trip!
I could have stayed in Kenya for a month!
Our first stop to Amboseli was my favorite of our trip; Tortilis Camp was fantastic from the welcome at the airstrip by our guide, Juma, to the greeting when we arrived at the camp, to the rooms, the food, the view, and especially the staff. Our waiter, William, was one of my favorite people I met while in Africa. Each time we did a game drive, when Juma brought us back to the camp, we all wondered “how can we top that drive” and sure enough, the next time out, Juma would. I kept wondering to myself, there’s no way this trip can truly be this amazing but it was. Juma was the most incredible guide; he could sense where animals were going to move to and would get us in a spot to not only view in the best lightning for pictures but to give us unique experiences. One morning we headed out early for a sunrise and were just driving around looking for something different and Juma got word there was something we should see. He told us “change of plans…have your cameras ready” and off we went! We got to a spot where a cheetah and her cubs were playing and like the other jeeps, we got in position to watch them. However, when the babies started to doze off, other jeeps drove off or just lingered at the spot. Juma, though, took us to a spot where the mother cheetah had been looking and got us where he thought her path would be and sure enough we got to see them all come through the grass, her park the cubs in one spot and stay put, and watch her hunt and eventually chase a waterbuck. It was an awesome site to see and we were the only jeep to see it! Tortilis was my favorite of the places we stayed…everything about it felt like a place I could stay for an extended period of time. And they set up a bush breakfast for us with the backdrop of Kilimanjaro…wow!!
Our initial reaction to Mara Intrepids was that it felt more like a hotel than our previous stops and that we didn’t feel as “individual” as we had up to that point…However, once we got settled and were able to have conversations with the staff (particularly Kevin, the manager, and George, our waiter), we changed our minds and wound up really enjoying our stay there. George in particular also became a favorite person of our group. Our guide, Silas, was fantastic and found us amazing things to witness, including four young lions hunting a cape buffalo, several kills, and other hunts…
What a beautiful country! Abou, our guide, was wonderful. The Hotel Des Mille Collines was incredibly comfortable. We enjoyed the fact we actually got to sleep in and have a relaxing breakfast. Our trip up to that point and been jam-packed so a slow-down was needed. The genocide memorial, although difficult emotionally to tour, was an amazing experience. The drive to Musanze was beautiful and Abou was extremely informative and willing to answer all the questions we had. For some reason, we were so lucky to be upgraded to the Bishop’s House and it was wonderful! From the accommodations to the food to the incredible staff, we loved it!!
The gorilla trek was pretty challenging; we knew it would be strenuous…Our actual gorilla experience, though, was incredible because we got to see two families together. What a surreal rush that was! Obviously the hike down was much better and my porter, Thomas, was a God-send…The hike to the golden monkeys, although it didn’t have the “oh my God” feel that seeing gorillas had, was well worth it. The hike was comfortable—perfect for our travel home day—the scenery was beautiful, the local children all came out to greet us!, and was just a really nice way to end the trip. When we checked out of the Bishop’s House, the staff came out to say goodbye…it felt very family-like and we loved it! The country made me sad…I could feel their tortured history like a cloud hanging over everyone no matter how they try to move on.
Our camps and hotels couldn’t have been better and made for a wonderfully comfortable and safe experience.
Our game drive guides were terrific and wanted to make sure we got the best experiences possible…and we did!!
Each time we had a great day, we thought nothing will come close to that but every day was incredible!
This was a trip I dreamed about all my life but never thought would happen. Through a series of circumstances and a lot of saving I was able to make it happen. Because I had wanted to do this all my life I was worried it would not live up to the expectations I had but not only did it, it exceeded them! It took at least a week for me to stop pinching myself and pick my jaw up off the ground knowing I was in a place I had only imagined. The friends who followed my blogs commented that what I was showing was not really what they had expected a trip to Africa to be. Based on their comments, my memories, and my pictures, I think I truly experienced the beauty that is Africa!!
Thank you for all the arrangements and the details of making this vacation the best ever and the trip of a lifetime I was hoping for!
Karen Keller-Boyne, Sep 2018
African Journeys Private Safari to Tanzania and Flying Safari to Kenya
We arrived in Tanzania to lovely people & met up with Wilfred. Thank you so much for matching him to us. We enjoyed all of his explanations & narration of the Natl. Park & Crater. We saw nearly every animal imaginable (even the elusive Rhino) & as many birds as we could possibly see. He spotted a leopard in a tree that was really cool! It was so camouflaged that it was amazing anyone could spot it! His knowledge was impressive (all the guides were great & well informed).
The camp at Maramboi (near Tarangire) was superb. View fantastic. The infinity pool with vistas of the sunset & lake were like a post card. It is a well laid out & well run, friendly & happy place. We loved the tents that were very comfortable. The zebras, gazelles, wildebeest & warthogs just wandering through camp was such a feeling of being out in the wild. The food there was great & imaginative with local flair. (Their “Pack your own lunch” area was a brilliant idea). Getting a personal wake up with coffee was sooooo luxurious!…
Our trip through the Ngoromgoro Crater we saw lions, hippos, elephants, giraffe, water buffalo & the usual herds of zebra, wildebeest, impala & comical warthogs. We found flamingos & piles of other great birds along with the predator birds. This is where we located the Rhino. Though we tried we couldn’t get too close. But it was just great to actually see one. Oh & we caught an Ostrich mating fan dance!! Wow!
We flew to the Serengeti on the small planes which were a kick! (My husband wants to “thank you” for insisting that the luggage only weigh 33 lb. We couldn’t buy lots of souvenirs- (until later) & he thought that was a great clutter defense!) We were met by our guide Elia & transported to Sayari Camp! OMG! Wonderful greeting- fabulous “tents”. We were able to see 2 crossings during our stay. We saw mother nature at her best & most brutal. Elia was so enthusiastic about everything that you couldn’t help but enjoy. Breakfast & lunch in the wild was so much fun we never noticed that we were out for more than 12 hours & still had more to see & do. We enjoyed the camp fire & communal dining at Sayari. It gave us all a chance to meet others & compare notes on what we had seen etc. through the day. Once again we got so close to some animals that it was astounding we did not touch. We watched babies take elephant mud baths & others romp with their lion mothers & siblings. We found a pack (20+) of hyena where they were “living” in their borrows & were able to observe their behavior. We even found a leopard that decided to pose on a huge rock with the sun setting in the background. Magnificent!
Our last camp was in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, Little Governors & it once again was super great. We loved the “swamp” that was the vista. It had resident hippos, zebra & frolicking silly warthogs. Birds, gazelles & water buffalo wandered in & out of the pond. The tents were spacious, well appointed & comfortable. The food was great & the people were friendly & nice. Moses our guide was top notch. Every time we thought we had seen it all, Moses found something new. We saw a lioness that had stashed a kill & then had it stolen by a croc & all she could do is watch as the croc consumed her hard work. Then we saw elephants & lions with a kill coexisting within feet of each other. We also saw a funny adolescent female of the same family have a trumpeting fit & just one of those “pissy days”. She chased & charged a lion she didn’t like & just trumpeted & stamped around letting everyone know she was NOT happy!!! (She was really funny) We also saw an ousted male lion challenging the boys that took over his pride & then we saw the “boys” (4 other younger more fit males) show up for his challenge. All were roaring & calling to each other. We also found the rhino that we saw on the balloon ride – that was amazing. The rhino was in & out of the brush & we did manage to get some very close up pictures of this very shy animal. There was always something amazing to see, hear & watch.
Sadly it all came to a conclusion & we had to return to the other jungles we live in & make our own coffee in the morning (Waaaa!). We had the adventure of a lifetime! Thank you for all you lists & prep info. Nearly everything was spot on!
Karen & Rodger Comstock, Sep 2018
Private Safari to Tanzania’s Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti and Cape Town Extension
We had a fabulous time on our Safari adventure. The two tent camps Maramboi and Mara River you had us stay out were fabulous…I would highly recommend these accommodations to and all of your clients 5 star locations. At the tented camps the staff was far better then any 5 star hotel we have stayed at. We had Martin and Jadim as our first tour guides they were fabulous, we learned so much from them they work great as a team. The second ones we had Tobias and Moosa they also were very good, they had a hard act to follow after Jadim and Martin. Then in Cape Town we had Samsong, it was great I would make sure you use him in the future for clients in Cape Town he is so full of knowledge about the area and showed us many areas. The B&B Welgelegen we stayed at in Cape Town, we highly recommend and everything about it was a 5 star place. Your company was great to work with as well everything went very smooth because of all the work that you had done…Again thank you for making this a trip of a life time!
Irene Fick, Sep 2018
Safari to Kenya and Tanzania and visit to Victoria Falls
We are finally back on Cincinnati time after that long ride back home.
Our African adventure was truly outstanding. Everything came off without a hitch. The 2 camps where we stayed really enhanced the experience. We had high expectations from other family members who had also stayed in dedicated camp sites. And they were easily met. We loved staying in the Serengeti and Mara.
Our safari guides were really excellent. We loved the time we spent with Jabshir in particular. His knowledge and insights really enhanced the experience. We were fortunate to experience the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. Our brief time in the Maasai village added flavor to our trip.
Robert at Little Governor’s Camp had a particular skill of getting us very close to the animals. His persistence allowed us to get sightings of the last of the Big Five.
We had a delightful time with Cynthia at Victoria Falls. She gave us a great tour of the falls.
All of our connections were on time and we were always met with courteous locals who helped us through customs and handled our bags. For what it’s worth I don’t think anyone paid much attention to the weight of our luggage on the small-plane trips. As long as they looked reasonable in size.
Thanks for working with us to make an itinerary that captured the sights and culture of the national parks and game preserves. We loved the experience.
Bill James, Sep 2018
The Best of East and Southern Africa
I returned from our amazing trip very late last night. I must tell you this trip was the most fantastic adventure and experience I’ve ever had and that is thanks to you and all your efforts. I not only speak for myself but also for our group. I’m sure you will hear from them also. Every where we went we were met promptly and graciously by hosts/guides/escorts that you arranged.
Every place we went to was better and better. The Tanzania portion of the trip was more than I could ever have hoped it to be thanks to the itinerary and our guide, Mkenda. The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge and staff was fantastic. The Asanja Camp was equally amazing if not better. When we arrived a herd of female elephants and calves were in camp and we watched and waited in awed wonder to go to our tents. Your upgrade for us to the Serengeti Migration Camp was above and beyond expectations. The staff and quarters were amazing. I cannot give enough praise to Mkenda our guide. He was the epitome of character, personality, knowledge and expertise. He went above and beyond to help make our game drives spectacular. We learned so much from him and consider him a new friend. Don’t ever lose him.
Phase 2 to Zanzibar was equally wonderful. I fell in love with that beautiful place. It was the rest and relaxation that we needed after 6 days of safari. Down to Victoria Falls and the Illala Lodge was just as nice and interesting with Cynthia Movo. The Chobe cruise and game drive was a spectacular trip that had us watch a herd of 250-300 elephants come to the river, wallow in shallow mud and cross with their babies. In Cape Town, the Winchester Mansion was excellent not only for their hospitality, but also the location. We fell in love with the wine country and its beauty. Our guide, Clive de Villiers was equally as amazing, knowledgeable and fun as Mkenda. He also went out of his way to make our experience exceptional. LeQuartier Francais Hotel was the perfect place to stay in Franschhoek. The staff there went out of their way to accommodate our winery visits by shuttling us to and from. Their driver was knowledgeable about the wineries and helped us choose some exceptional tours.
On a scale of 1 to 10 this trip was a 20! Your knowledge, expertise and advice was what made this a trip of a lifetime. I will be telling everyone I know that there could NOT BE A BETTER organization to help plan a safari and East and Southern Africa trip. They would be a fool not to use you. I will be rating you and all the accommodations a 10+ on Trip Advisor. I want to take my family on a trip like this in the future. You can rest assured that I will be contacting you for those arrangements when the grand kids are old enough to do it. Please pass this on to Mark Nolting. We were so fortunate to meet him at the Denver Travel and Adventure Show in February 2017. It was evident even then that he was special in his knowledge and experience.
Thank you again SO MUCH for all that you did for our group.
Barbara Selzer, Sep 2018