CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS EAST & SOUTHERN AFRICA – APR-JUN 2018
Multi-Generational Safari to Southern Africa including Sabi Sand and Okavango Delta
Hi Kyle and Rhoda and the rest of the team at the Africa Adventure Company,
We have returned from a truly magical trip to Africa. We are excited to share our experiences with you.
First, we want to tell you that the trip was beautifully planned, and everything went off without a hitch. Everyone was where they were supposed to be. There were no delays. Traveling with our family party of 9 (including 3 children ages 11, 11, 13) and 4 grandparents, we were delighted that every time we arrived at an airport, we had someone to meet us and guide us through the transition. This was terrific…
Our transfer to Ngala Safari Lodge was very easy…The lodge was wonderful. Mama Connie was a wonderful hostess. We saw the Big 5 in the first 24 hours. That was not all we wanted to see, but we did not see most of those animals again while in Africa, so we were happy we saw them there. Also go to see wild dogs! The service and quality of the guide (Barney) and tracker (Given) were superb. We knew they were outstanding, but we really came to appreciate them even more when we went to our next lodge and realized how outstanding they were in comparison. We enjoyed being able to have all 9 of us in one vehicle. We were not sure if this was a good idea when it was proposed to us initially, but Barney assured us that we should do our first game drive all together on the afternoon of our arrival, and if we wanted to have 2 vehicles the next day, he would make it happen. Needless to say, they were right, and we only wanted one vehicle. Barney has been nominated to participate in a competition for best guide in South Africa, and we totally know why. Cannot say enough about them…We did do a walking safari (me and my husband Steven) with Barney and it was a highlight. Our butler Marcus was wonderful. The rooms were beautiful (we loved the outdoor showers), the food was excellent and plentiful, and game drives outstanding…
The transfer to Livingstone was very well organized as well. We had the perfect amount of time there- about 1.5 days. The hotel was perfect- Avani. Great breakfast and we also had dinner there one night and it was actually one of our best meals…The next day we went to the falls, and had a blast with the kids. It was great being able to walk there from our hotel and having admission included with our stay. The next afternoon we did the African Queen boat ride down the Zambezi, and this was really fun. It was so beautiful and we enjoyed the sunset. The service was excellent and the snacks were good…
Our transfer to Botswana went well. It was eye opening to ride across the Zambezi on that motor boat and to see the bridge being built! The assistance with transfer, immigration, etc was excellent and timely. Everyone was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.
We arrived at Shinde via small plane to a welcome with a smiling, singing staff. We had a quick lunch and then went on afternoon game drive. Our guides were Mathes (who is usually a manager) and Simon (who was new to Shinde but not to Ker & Downey) in 2 separate vehicles. Our time at Shinde was wonderful in many ways. We took advantage of opportunities for motorboat ride (where we really got to spend time with hippos), the mokoro (where we learned so much about the delta), and fishing (where the kids caught a ton of fish and the staff cooked a handful of them for dinner- thanks BT)… What we really enjoyed about this camp were the staff. The managers- Gosego, Angie, Thuso- were welcoming, wonderful. We enjoyed spending our meals and down time with our guides. Our favorite time of day was after the second game drive when we arrived back at camp and all sat around the fire drinking cocktails before dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with and really get to know the staff. This was truly a highlight. I know the staff are working so hard, and part of their job is to be with the guests- but we really felt they wanted to get to know us, and we really wanted to learn all about them as well! This really made this lodge special to us! We loved the open bar, open fridge, and ability to help yourself at any time to a soda or cocktail. The wine choices here were really excellent, and we found several we liked and enjoyed. Two other highlights were a surprise lunch in the bush (with the whole camp), and on our last night, they surprised our family with a private dinner under the stars. Our accommodations were excellent. We loved the tents and the “hushbabies” (hot water bottle) in our beds at night. The bathrooms were spacious and modern, and I understand they were added relatively recently.
I cried when we left. I am sure you hear that often. I cannot wait for our next trip to Africa.
Thank you so much for all you did to arrange our trip and to make such wonderful suggestions about our itinerary.
Shireen Sims, May 2018
“Big Five” Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserves and Cape Town
The safari was amazing! Even though I had thought about what it would be like to be on safari, it was so much better than I could imagined! I didn’t realize how very close you get to all the animals and how many we would get to see. Both Tanda Tula and MalaMala were great! I think the combination of Tanda Tula and MalaMala were perfect as we got to experience both tented and lodge based safari camps. Honestly, before going I was a little apprehensive about the “tented” experience, but Tanda Tula takes “glamping” to a whole new level! At Tanda Tula our guide, Luke, was really great and we learned so much about the animals and environment from him. He even gave my dad a photography lesson. Our tracker, Jack, had an astonishing ability to locate animals from far distances. On top of the safari experience, the food was amazing! I loved the outdoor bush breakfasts and one day we had a special sundowner with a gin tasting and lanterns.
MalaMala was the perfect contrast to Tanda Tula. I loved the huge individual lodges with thatched roofs at Sable Camp (where we ended up since the Main Camp was be renovated)! Both our guides at MalaMala, Pieter and Kyle, were also great! They were fun while also being informative. I think we saw the Big 5 every day at MalaMala! Plus we got super close to the animals–and there were multiple leopard sightings everyday. Although it is hard to pick a favorite moment, some of my favorite moments included being surrounded by almost 150 elephants (including babies) at Tanda Tula and literally following a lion and lioness one morning at MalaMala. We also saw a leopard attempt a kill.
Cape Town was very beautiful despite the rain! Our guide did a great job making sure we got to see everything we wanted in the 2 days we were there and was flexible in changing around the itinerary due to the weather. It was also nice to learn more about South African history from him. The Welgelegen hotel was very cute and in a good location.
Everything was planned perfectly, and we did not have to think about any pick-up, transfer, or airport departure the entire time we were in South Africa. I know we would all like to go on another safari sometime in the future, and we would definitely use the Africa Adventure Company again.
Saira Khan, June 2018
Southern Africa Adventure to Mashatu Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, Victoria Falls and Mana Pools
Africa Adventure Team –
THANK YOU!!! It was an amazing family adventure. Your collective support, guidance, patience and insight to the continent/culture/location was imperative to our highly successful trip.
We could never have done this without you and truly value your support and guidance.
Our favorite guide was Tim from MalaMala. He was able to connect with our family in a great way – making the adventure truly more memorable. Mashatu was phenomenal and the sunsets/animals reflect that — the Mashatu Team were so welcoming and made us feel welcome/wanted and very safe.
The way you all laid out our trip was perfect – every few days we went to a new venue/met new friends/experienced more of Africa. We got to experience Safaris, wonderful Camps, variety of transportation methods, physical activity (mountain biking/hiking) and amazing food/wine. We really appreciate your support to our family’s needs/desires and building a truly unique adventure just for us.
Catherine Clinch, May 2018
Iconic Southern Africa Safari
I have been blessed to get to travel with you three times and each time has been a real treat! Each trip has been different & very special. Your attention to detail is unparalleled.
I love MalaMala & the off-road game drives that allow you to truly track animals. This was my second trip to MalaMala and it was as wonderful as the first.
Victoria Falls was wonderful again!
The Chobe Game Lodge was beautiful & their environmental awareness was very refreshing. This is my second trip to the Chobe River. My first trip I stayed at Muchenje Safari Lodge. Muchenje was not as upscale as the Chobe Game Lodge, but I enjoyed my stay there equally well (we were very spoiled on our trip to Muchenje because we got to see elephant herds crossing the river right next to us.)
We truly enjoyed our time in Cape Town. Our guide, Rob, was very nice & knowledgeable. The weather cooperated and allowed us to hike on Table Mountain. We enjoyed wine tasting, seeing the Cape of Good Hope, & seeing the penguins.
We cannot thank you enough for arranging another wonderful trip to Africa. I hope to be able to go back again!
Helen Close, June 2018
Botswana and South Africa Wildlife Safari and Cape Explorer
Good Afternoon Elena,
I do not use the words, great, fantastic, and awesome very frequently, but they fit this adventure.
Our trip was not good, It was FANTASTIC!
We had thought that this would be a once in a life time trip, but all of us quickly agreed that we have to plan another trip!
You put together a great trip for us and we thought that we could start gathering information for another trip to Africa. We loved the accommodations at Mashatu and MalaMala and the quality of camps. The connections worked like clockwork, very impressed!
Again, The trip was fantastic!…
The African Rock Hotel was very neat and different. We were very pleased that we were not staying at a regular hotel. The food was good, as were the rooms, and the staff were very nice.
Off to Mashatu, what a great experience! Debra was so concerned about having a bucket shower. The tent set up was very nice and we all enjoyed them. Food and staff were all great. Our Guide was Jakes, he worked hard to assure that we saw a variety of animals and lots of them. One time, we had a herd of about 300 elephants walk past us. The lines of elephants just kept coming and coming and coming. We never expected to be so close to so many different animals. Every game drive held exciting new experiences. Being away from the crowds was very nice. We hated to leave Mashatu!…
On to MalaMala, We thought that it would be hard to beat Mashatu but MalaMala did! The main lodge was closed so we were in Sable Lodges. What can we say? The rooms were fantastic, we had wild animals wandering around outside of our decks, Food, staff, guide (Bens), Staff. Michael (wine steward) went out of his way to give us a list of African wines that he thought we would enjoy. Everyone made us feel like celebrities! Our guide did everything he could to put us on the different animals and tried very hard for us to see a Kill, but that did not happen. We even saw the Big Five in one day. Now we REALLY hated to leave.
On to Victoria Falls, the connections went great, they helped us though the customs and immigration of the countries. It was obvious that they knew some of the people behind the counters. Smooth process!
The falls were beautiful, but the information that she shared was fantastic. Lodging at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Rooms and staff were very nice…
The day tour of the falls with Cynthia was great. She has a tremendous amount of knowledge and pride of her African culture. We could only start to comprehend a tiny bit of what she shared. Chobe National Park, the river cruise was very nice. We were able to see a few different animals and how they acted around or in the water. Hippos were amazing. We never knew that elephants could swim!
Onto Cape Town and Lucia, another great guide. She made sure that we were able to see all of the places on our list even if it took a little longer than planned. We had two full days for adventure, seeing the sights, tasting the wines and listening to Lucia share her knowledge of the different areas. The accommodations at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront were very nice. They gave us rooms facing the ocean. A storm had come through a few days earlier and the waves were very large. The waves crashing on shore sounded like we were back on the coast of Maine. Everyone there was very nice and friendly. The breakfast here was great! Nice way to end our trip!
We have always been ready to get back home from other trips, but we all could have extended our visit in Africa.
We hope that this was not too much information.
Blaine, Debra, Wayne, & Rebecca Richardson, May 2018
Botswana Premier Flying Safari to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve
Leonard and I want to thank you for planning another memorable trip to Africa for us.
The places we stayed: The Saxon—Elephant Camp—Kings Pool—Vumbura Plains—Mombo Main Camp were all 5 star. Okay, I have to admit Mombo is more than 5 star. It is so special and we hope we can return one day.
Botswana and The Okavango Delta is truly a magical and unspoiled land. Once there you return home hoping to help preserve this natural resource that is like none other.
Africa has so much to offer the environments, the animals and especially the African people who are so caring and gentle and it is they that we keep telling our friends about. They have seen our photos but it’s impossible for them to feel the spirit. In each camp we enjoyed talking to the staff and finding out about their lives and we feel that we have left new friends in Botswana.
The Boma dinners are always a highlight for us since we enjoy the singing and dancing of the different villages.
Here are just a few of our photos. The interior photos are of our “tent” at Mambo.
Stay well and keep in touch.
Barbara Bernstein, May 2018
Honeymoon Safari to South Africa and Mozambique
Sorry for the delay, Drew and I are just getting around to providing feedback on our honeymoon! We wanted to give some feedback on the amazing honeymoon we had!
Cape Town – Clarendon Bantry Bay
Very relaxing and wonderful accommodations. The place was amazing and the staff always went above and beyond. We really enjoyed the wine tour on the bike, although it was definitely more strenuous than we thought, especially since we biked through several dirt/sand roads! The guide was great!…We also LOVED the shark diving trip – the tour guides were excellent and we saw three great whites a handful of times!
Safari – Savanna Lodge
This was definitely our most enjoyable part of the trip. Neil (our driver) was fantastic. Between him and the other guests we were paired with, we had an absolute blast! We still keep in touch with the other couples from London and Chicago we met on safari! The resort staff and all the special touches (dinners, baths, dessert wine, etc.) were all very much appreciated and made each night so incredibly special! We’ve talked up the safari and Savanna lodge specifically to all of our friends and family! We want to go back!
Mozambique – Santorini
This was the definition of relaxation. We really got a chance to unwind and relax during this portion of the trip. Some days we just moved from beach to pool to couches reading books (something we never get the chance to do)! Our host, Sergio, did an excellent job of making us feel welcome and taking care of every need! We were amazed by the level of service, the accommodations and especially the food! Every meal was so incredibly delicious and all the personal touches (flowers, butter writing, etc.) made each meal very unique and exciting! The managers of Santorini were also very welcoming and easy to talk to!…
We really had the trip of a lifetime and can’t wait to go back some day as the pictures and videos don’t do it justice! All of the details were impeccable and everything was executed so well thanks to you guys. You made the trip the easiest thing to plan while giving us the trip of a lifetime. We recommend you to everyone and anyone we can so thank you!! It was an incredible trip and we owe it all to you and your wonderful staff!
Dave & Drew Brophy, April 2018
EAST AFRICA CLIENTS TRIP REPORT
AAC Signature Primate and Plains Safari to Uganda and Rwanda
Sadly I have returned home. This trip was EPIC. Your ground team is amazing and we really developed a close bond with Eric, our guide. Outstanding! Penny thought Peter, their guide at Murchison was amazing also. Everything went so smoothly. The treks were awesome and it is easy to see why Rwanda permits cost more. Uganda treks are harder and much more challenging but that was part of the experience. Rwanda, as you know, is less strenuous (we did supposedly have an easier trek given our time constraints), but they really have it down to a science. We were with a family of 12 gorillas and at one point we were surrounded by them all! I can see why you work for an African company because this just gets into your soul.
Besides the gorillas, Eric set up an amazing visit to a local school that gets no donations. I was there 2 hours and now my family and I are going to support the school and begin to help fund them. I have never been more focused on any project. We felt strongly that the Ugandans are so friendly and warm…
Gorilla Forest Camp in Bwindi: Our favorite place hands down. Maybe because we stayed 3 nights and just fell in love with it. The tents are top notch, food was great, the spa area was wonderful and really necessary after 2 tough hikes. Nicholas the main manager was spot on. All the wait staff were highly trained and motivated. Would not stay anywhere else. Nailed it!
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: great location for us. Much much better than we expected…The rooms as you know are large and odd with marble floors-and leather sofas. Fire place was nice and beds were very comfortable…
I know I could go on and on. I want to thank you and your company for a great job!
Thank you so very much!!!
Deedee Geib, June 2018
Private Safari to Tanzania, Flying Safari to Botswana and Cape Town Exploration
First of all I want to thank you for offering such a wonderful trip. My husband, Al, and I were so very pleased and impressed with the guides, Davis was simply outstanding in every way, Cynthia was knowledgeable and focused on us having the best experience possible. The accommodations were all A+++, and we were treated to several anniversary celebrations throughout our trip. Bush babies are our new best friend! The food was plentiful, and varied and allowed us to sample the local cuisine. We got a taste of the local culture with a visit to a local Maasai village and a stop at the Oldepei Gorge. The animal sightings were incredible. I’m still editing my photos and will post some shortly. We saw the Big 5, Ugly 5 and 4 /5 of the Little 5; all in Tanzania!
Shinde Camp in Botswana offered us the other experiences unavailable in national parks; walking safari, night drives, mokoro canoes. Fabulous adventure and another wonderful guide, Sam (the man)! Victoria Falls was a great intermission between safaris and some welcomed civilization. But not too long! The helicopter ride was fantastic and so exciting, I will definitely do it again. Our finish in Cape Town was excellent. The Kensington Place staff are heads above Americans in hospitality and customer service.
I do need to point out that our guide in Tanzania, Davis Matafu absolutely made the trip for us. His knowledge of the animals, the country and its history, the people (his people), their customs, his driving skill and spotting skills (he taught us a few tricks of the trade) were impeccable. We were frequently the first to spot the lion in wait in the tall grass, and witness the kill. He spotted both rhinos, the leopards and cheetahs before anyone else. Its like if we asked for something it would appear. Amazing. Plus he is a genuinely likeable guy, or as we joked, son from another mother!…Unfairly, we compared all other guides to him, and they just didn’t compare.
We would love to go back and see Uganda, Namibia and who knows, Davis spoke highly of the Serengeti during the birthing season?
Thank you so very much for making this a trip we will never forget!
Marguerite and Alan Voorhees, June 2018
Private Honeymoon Safari to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti
We wanted to thank you very much for helping us organize the honeymoon of our dreams! Everything was perfectly organized, we had absolutely no worries throughout our trip. From the moment we landed in Tanzania, until we left, we felt very welcomed. The driver that picked us up from the airport and took us to Arusha Serena was friendly, his vehicle in impeccable condition. We would have loved to stay one more night at Arusha Serena, the place is quaint and relaxing. The staff had arranged our room with rose petals and a welcome cake congratulating us on our marriage, which we loved!
The next day we got to meet Mkenda, who we had read had been the best guide in the past, and we absolutely agree that he is the best! Knowledgeable, truly loves his country and the animals and nature within, we got to learn and see so much thanks to him, he helped us make our honeymoon a memorable one!
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is fantastic! 5 star!!! I would go back and stay there a whole week. Not just that the tree lodge itself is incredible, but the staff makes you feel at home. Patrice was phenomenal! We got candle light dinner for our honeymoon celebration, and a bubble bath after a game drive, these details made us feel incredibly pampered. Animal viewing at Lake Manyara was great, even though it had been raining until just before we got there and some roads were not accessible, we got to see leopards, lots of different bird species, baboons, giraffe, elephants, amongst many others. Picnic breakfast/lunch were our preference and Mkenda made it happen.
On our way to Ngorongoro we stopped at Gibbs Farm, beautiful place! Lunch was fantastic, and getting to learn about their organic farm was educational.
Mkenda took us to an Iraqw tribe and also to a Massai tribe. In both we got to dress in their typical wedding attire and participate in what some wedding dances would be. We loved to get to learn about these cultures and are very thankful to Mkenda for taking us there. I have many pictures that I will share with you soon!
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge has breathtaking views! The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the view of the crater upon awakening is priceless! Ngoronorgo Crater itself was spectacular! We got the see the Big 5 there, which says it all!
On our way to Serengeti we stopped at the Olduvai archeological site, which was quite interesting and allowed us to learn about human origin theories.
The Serengeti Explorer Camp was everything we had imagined it would be, nested in the middle of nowhere, we felt it to be our home during the time we were there. The staff was exceptional! Being able to take a warm shower in the middle of the Serengeti, sipping on a cocktail after a game drive, enjoying “bush TV” (fire pit), seeing all the stars at night we had not gotten to see in our lifetime, tasting their deliciously cooked meals, are amongst the highlights, obviously besides of the unforgettable game drives that Mkenda took us to, where we got to see many lions, the migration, cheetah, leopards, more than 150 birds (he knows all of them!!!), etc. Serengeti is a special place, we absolutely are fascinated by it! The balloon ride was smooth, and the views from above worth the 4:30 am awakening. Upon landing we did hear a lion from afar, which added some excitement to the experience. The bubbly breakfast was yummy!
Star of the East in Zanzibar was the perfect ending to our honeymoon. Our villa was astonishing! It was the perfect relaxation time after our active Safari.
I hope to get to send you a few pictures from our trip soon. We are looking forward to another safari experience in the future.
Diana and Diogo, May 2018