CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS SOUTHERN AFRICA – JUL-AUG 2017 (SOUTHERN AFRICA)
Ultimate Namibia Group Safari
Ian (and everyone at Africa Adventure Company),
Thank you so very much for arranging a spectacular trip. Our local ground operator and their guide Peter Nuugonya created an amazing and unflawed trip. The safari covered every detail; Peter, in particular, was organized, flexible, responsive, knowledgeable, patient, creative and a delightful part of the group. We traversed the dunes in a raging windstorm and Peter made it magical. We located the desert-adapted elephants because Peter was friendly and had great relations with other drivers. In addition, the sea kayaking was amazing. I thought the trip might be my last to Africa, but I am now contemplating a return combination of travel to the Okavango and part of Namibia…
I was immensely pleased with the entire trip and would certainly recommend Africa Adventure Company to anyone contemplating an African experience.
Marilyn Cathcart, Aug 2017
Flying Safari to Tswalu Kalahari and Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Selinda Reserve
Two weeks flew by in a blink of an eye with so many wonderful memories and a fantastic safari that saw many life firsts as well seeing and photographing many animals I had only fleeting glimpses of in the past.
The unheralded perk of having someone meet you at Joburg both on arrival from the US and also returning from Botswana cannot be overstated. It saves hours of time and frustration and makes what would be a stressful beginning and end to the safari much much less so. Arriving in Joburg we were whisked to Blade Aviation and treated like VIPs…the service, the private room, the food, wine and attention was very special.
Our flight to Tswalu was wonderful and we were met by Kosie who was our guide for our stay. We had an amazing first day seeing both pangolin and aardvark and that was only the beginning. To follow we had a great sighting of brown hyena and then 2 cheetah brothers who we followed for a few hours. More highlights included another 2 aardvark sightings the last in golden light. On our last morning I spent time looking for a family of barn owls that call the lodge home….climbing a ladder and holding on with one hand whilst photographing one of the owls and very slow shutter speed (1/40s) made for quite a challenge but the result was worth it. We then set off to look for a cheetah with 2 young cubs…we picked up tracks but prospects to find them before we had to head to the airstrip wasn’t very good. Literally as Kosie said unless we run into them on the way we’d have to forgo it he picked up ultra fresh tracks and there on the road they sat…we spent the next 15 minutes following them and getting some really nice photos.. We also followed wild dogs hunting over terrain I’d never done before….mountains. And whilst we didn’t see them make a kill, the chase was loads of fun. We also saw more sable, roan and oryx than anywhere I’d ever been….when you drive pass sable because you’ve seen so many you know it’s been extraordinary.
The facility itself was wonderful form service to exceptional food and wine…and a few surprise gifts to both Karen and me to celebrate my retirement and her birthday….quite thoughtful.
Our one day at The Residence was very nice… before was a nice way to relax. Dinner was at The Grillroom and very enjoyable. Then it was off to Botswana and our first camp, Selinda.
We were met by our private guide, Kops…we hit it off immediately as we hit the ground running. We headed off to find a large lion pride of about 15 adults, subadults and cubs. Lots of playful behavior and great interactions but then it was golden light time and we were treated to the most amazing light and some very special photo ops of both adults and cubs. Our sightings were fabulous with leopards, more lions, owls, and off course wild dogs and puppies. Kops was a great guide who catered to our wants and we literally had 2 full 14 hour days…leaving at 6:30am and not returning to camp until 8:30 after most had finished their first course of dinner. On our last night we had great views of hunting servals and one even managed to catch and devour a mouse. We thoroughly enjoyed Selinda..the food was excellent and made our gluten free lifestyle a non-issue.
Then off to Chitabe…we spent two days looking unsuccessfully for leopards but despite that we did have some good sightings….their “go to” when sightings are tough to come by are the wild dogs/puppies….we waited at the den for the adults to come back as well as waited for the adults to go hunting one evening….mayhem ensued with all the puppies running around and playing and begging for food….lots of fun. Trying to go on a wild dog hunt with only one vehicle is folly…we lost them quite easily and then continued looking for other things and found Verreaux eagle owls…two nest with one having a very young, probably about 7-10 day old owlet…super cool.
Last day we went looking for cheetahs, found some low flying vultures and then a wild dog on the hunt….almost impossible to follow but we kept the vultures in sight and eventually found where they landed….what we found was an amazing and heart wrenching scene….4 jackals on a baby giraffe kill with the mother giraffe trying to fend them off although it was long dead….she would charge them and then bend down to sniff her dead calf….a hyena came by and the process started all over….finally the mother moved on and the hyena and jackals ate their fill. To see her “mourn” over her newborn was very difficult to watch.
We then did a road transfer to Sandibe. We had a private guide (Max) and a tracker (Elvis) and they knew we had unsuccessfully looked for leopards for a couple of days…So for the next 4 drives we were leopard-centric….first afternoon we found one lounging high up in a tree with golden light bathing her face. The next morning we tracked two different cats and ironically it was in the transitional area between Chitabe and Sandibe….their tracking skills were at a much higher level and eventually we found her. We followed her hunting and saw her stalk for quite awhile. Later we had 2 great encounters with a leopard and her 7 month old cub. Both of them were excellent and worked very hard (and were successful) in getting us what we wanted
We loved Sandibe…everything about it…they have all new management at the camp who have been there for a very short time. Andrew, the manager, Misty the asst, manager and Murray the chef have been there as little as 2 weeks. We also had a butler, a wee bit unexpected but Moses was wonderful and a fabulous person. Despite having new front office staff, everything was fabulous…the rooms, the food (make your own pizza (gluten free too!!) the special touches for Karen and my birthdays.
Eric Gurwin, Aug 2017
Flying Safari to Botswana and Zimbabwe
Well it has been 2 weeks since we arrived back in Michigan from our African adventure. I am not sure that I have processed all the information, scenery, animals viewed, people met, and memories made. Perhaps I will never be able to process it in total. But it was a great experience for all of us.
First of all let me start in saying the planning and preparation by the staff was unbelievable. My daughter who had just finished a year in Swaziland was most impressed with the way the trip was organized. Her experience was that things did not run especially on time (she called it African Time), but she was impressed with the way the whole trip was organized. Especially impressive were the connections at the various airports and shuttles. I will just give a brief summary of our different locations that we saw on this trip.
Tuba Tree Camp (Botswana)
Arrived at the camp with enough time to do an afternoon drive, after a seamless flight from Johannesburg to Maun. Trip by Wilderness Air was great and the pilot pointed out interesting sights along the way. We were treated like queens and kings at this resort and fully enjoyed the amenities of the camp. Our guide, Steve, did a great job at getting us to the action like cheetah eating impala, leopard in tree eating impala, lions eating zebras. I do not want to sound like this was the only thing we saw, animals eating animals, but it was just so impressive. We even witnessed warthogs trying a little bit of Impala, but it did not agree with them. Steve mentioned that he had never witnessed this phenomenon. Lions, elephants, water buffalo, giraffes, hippos were also viewed and observed. One afternoon we took a leisurely boat ride and saw many hippos, birds and papyrus.
Chitabe just reemphasized the abundant wild life on the Okavango Delta. More abundant sightings of animals with “Ant” our guide. So many lion prides just enjoying each other and the bonding of the cubs and mothers were amazing. Saw our first of wild dogs and hyenas during our stay. My highlight was the picture of the lilac breasted roller that I was able to take. I have attached it and it was probably the best picture I think I took during the trip. Staff was also very good at this camp and I was impressed as to how many of the staff had been there 10 years or more. It was here that we met another group of Africa Adventure customers, who were doing the exact same tour as us. We would meet up with them in Vundu later on.
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
The Falls were very impressive with water levels still being high for this time of the year. Cynthia, our guide, gave us a great tour of the falls and Catherine, my daughter and her had a great conversation about Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular. I think Cynthia enjoyed the conversation as much as we did. The following day was surely the most strenuous of the trip as we opted to go white water rafting on the Zambezi River…As I mentioned before, the river was still high enough that we had to start at rapid 11, instead of rapid 2. We have now experienced Class IV and perhaps a Class V rapid and lived to tell about it, Finally what can be said about the Victoria Falls Hotel. We spent the last evening there just wandering the hall ways looking and reading the old travel posters and other historic documents that are on the walls of this hotel. I would also mention that having this break in our safari itinerary was a great idea as it gave us a chance to do some walking and exploring.
Vundu Camp – Mana Pools (Zimbabwe)
The Vundu Camp was voted the best experience of the trip by all of us. I think the reasons for this were the following:
- The walking and canoeing portions of the stay added to the feel of being in Africa. I feel that because of the varied and numerous animal sightings at the first two camps, the walking safaris (Nick and Alex both) allowed us to track and experience specific animals, especially the wild dogs (Nick) and elephants (Alex) in a very special way. The 1/2 day canoe trip with Nick was utterly fantastic, observing crocodiles and hippos
- Having Nick being our guide was a pleasure. His knowledge about dogs and his devotion to them is utterly remarkable. We cannot wait for the next Planer Earth TV special which will highlight the wild dogs, Nick has tracked for so many years.
- The very relaxed nature of the camp, especially having Alex’s wife and new baby at the camp was a highlight.
- On the second night at the camp, we were the only people there. After a wonderful meal, we all adjourned to the campfire and Nick announced that the cooks had baked a very special cake for Catherine and her service in Africa. The whole staff came out, sang and danced and presented Catherine a cake which had white frosting and Congratulations written out. Nick told Catherine that she needed to make a speech before she could cut the cake, which she did. She then cut the cake (which seemed very dense and hard to slice) and passed it our to all in the group including the staff. Nick told everyone that they could not eat the cake until Catherine had the first bite. As she raised her forkful of cake, Nick exclaimed, “don’t eat it is elephant dung!!!”. The prank was great, everyone roared with laughter. I don’ know if they do this for all the guests, but it made our stay special.
All of this made us feel like family and is probably the main reason that this was our favorite camp experience. My photo from Vundu is a picture of a lioness and her cub that we observed for quite some time.
Your wisdom that you planned our experience that way (2 camps with lots of animals, Victoria Falls break, and then a very family oriented camp, worked! We were blessed with seeing and observing so many animals.
Thanks again for putting together this trip. So many animals, so many great people, so many great conversations, so much history and knowledge gained, it is no wonder that I have not processed the trip’s entirety yet.
Jim Dell, Gail Dell, Catherine Dell, and Alex Potter-Weight, July 2017
Family Safari to Zimbabwe and Cape Town
Our family of 10 had the trip of a lifetime with your company. If we could only go to Africa once, it would be on an AAC designed trip. Every detail was attended to. Hotels, transfers, the bush pilots, guides, safari planning, packing tips, field guide/diary, everything. My sister had real concerns about traveling with her kids without her husband, and a nice woman in your organization helped steer her toward getting the proper paperwork. The friendliness and thoroughness of your organization were outstanding.
We will always remember our guides, Nick Murray at Vundu in Mana Pools and Nic Polenakis at Somalisa in Hwange- as well as Henry and Lewis. The staffs were friendly, polite, and helpful; we appreciated their dedication and hard work. As visitors we learned so much about flora and fauna, as well as the history of Zimbabwe and its inhabitants. Because of what we learned, we are committed to helping the people at both Vundu and Somalisa sustain their conservation efforts. Thank you for opening our eyes to this need.
We can’t say enough about the trip. It brought our family together in a magnificent setting for a fabulous experience.
Jennie Iglehart, July 2017
Private Safari to Botswana with Specialist Guide Nic Polenakis
We’ll just hit the highlights as you can be assured we saw plenty of giraffes, impala, baboons and birds.
First, meeting our Sepcialist Guide, Nic Polenakis, at the JNB airport was an exciting unexpected bonus — as always as soon as Nic is involved all worries disappear and the fun begins!
And Second, your itinerary and arrangements were flawless. We enjoyed seamless transitions between camps and venues for the entire safari. Thank you again for your careful, conscientious planning. Your attention to detail is obvious and appreciated.
Mashatu Tented Camp — a great location and feel — like we were out in the bush camping but with an appropriate level of luxury and comfort. Just right for our tastes. Due to the considerable travel to and from Mashatu we were there five nights, an excellent decision as game was plentiful and the terrain most interesting and beautiful. Cheetah was the main menu. We spent time with a mother and three year old youngsters and a separate group of three young males. Leopard sightings were also excellent with two different females with kittens. These were especially enjoyable as Mike and Susan had not seen cheetah or leopard previously.
We also had some nice elephant encounters and spent time at a hyena den which was a first for us.
Our resident guide Richard wore a radio headset which we thought was a nice touch as it left us out of the back and forth radio chatter and he worked well with Nic. Very professional.
Khwai — There is just something special about a mobile camp — partly because Nic enjoys it and partly because the staff is always so friendly and pleasant. Almost a family atmosphere. In particular Grant our resident guide and Flo the chef made our stay warm and memorable.
Our exciting encounters here included time with the wild dogs, both hunting and around the den site. We love wild dogs and Nic made sure we had lots of experiences and got lots of pictures.
A large MGM maned lion gave us excellent photo opportunities and roared repeatedly. A wonderful sighting. We also had a close daytime encounter with an African wildcat and later on with a female leopard and cub on a giraffe kill.
Chitabe Lediba — The flight over the Okavango Delta was wonderful! The camp was perhaps more luxurious than we anticipated but we soon grew accustomed to the extra amenities and almost unlimited hot water and electricity. We again had fabulous sightings of leopards with cubs and a hyena den. We had wild rides after the dogs on a impala hunt.
The climax though was when two intruder lions came by to spar with the resident males. We heard the battle and followed the two intruders as they left the field. Two magnificent lions, one with a light mane, one with a huge flowing black mane. We haven’t seen anything like that since Cecil and Jericho joined up. It was great and we were able to stay with them for almost two hours. Nic and Ant (Anthony) worked in perfect harmony.
Grootbos — excellent accommodations and dining in the interesting fynbos cape floral region. Our shark encounter fell through due to weather and orcas.
This was quite possibly our very favorite trip. Nic makes everything and everybody so special and Africa Adventure planning means no problems. Add this to the wonderful animals and scenery and our dear friends Mike and Susan, truly an unbeatable combination.
Fred & Karen Peters, July 2017
Flying Safari to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe
I wanted to give you some feedback on our recent trip to Southern Africa. It’s our 8th trip with AAC and this might have been the best ever.
Hoanib Skeleton coast:
Papa G was out guide and Clement was the manager. The Namibia guides in general have to work harder I think because game is scarcer and Papa G definitely worked hard to find animals, tell stories and generally inform us on the state of wildlife in Namibia. The highlight for me was the roaring sand dunes and the trip to the skeleton coast. I would recommend this camp to people like us who are happy to be in nature and learning about wildlife/nature and don’t feel too pressured to take 1000 pictures of the Big Five. The desert adaptations were fascinating…
I don’t think we have ever stayed at a Kwando camp before but after Little Kwara, I would look for them again. We had great game viewing. I also love the old school vibe of the camp. Personally- I love coffee by the fire in the morning, tents that feel like tents, and more of an old fashioned culture. Super fancy camps with spas and massages feel weird to me but many camps have upgraded and I know other people like them. For me, the combination of great game and a safari experience that felt old school was perfect. I also have to confess that I packed insufficient pills for one of my medications and Okie in camp was able to get me more from Maun. Totally saved the trip for me and honestly- the camp staff were generally wonderful and sweet…
I thought it was weird that you arranged a guide to take us to the falls since we had been before and it was just across the road but in the end- I am glad you did. Cynthia was incredibly informative -not so much about the falls but about her culture, politics in Zimbabwe and her life view. Really grateful we had a chance to talk to her.
In general, everyone was very pleased with Zimbabwe. Both camps were wonderful. Joshua was our guide at Linkwasha and he seems quite young although he said he has been guiding for awhile. Folks loved Joshua because he was very personable and tried so hard to please us, it was charming. He played a beautiful welcome song on the thumb piano which was haunting. Game was very abundant and he let us get out of the landcover and walk a bit which was a nice change. One person broke her ankle three weeks before coming to Africa so we didn’t think we could do big walks but this was a nice option. Linkwasha as a camp structure was a bit modern for my tastes with electric blankets, room heaters and glass doors but the camp is beautiful and I certainly used my electric blanket so I guess it didn’t bother me too much!
What a great ending! Chris was our guide and you should try to get him for all your clients. He is very experienced, insightful and just wonderful. Game here was fantastic. Birders were happy, cat people were happy. Our main photographer loved the Zambian mountains as a backdrop for his photos. Everyone was happy! I loved the old fashioned tents and elephants wandering into camp. We had lions in camp our last night putting on quite a show for the lioness but the humans were probably more impressed than the lioness.
Overall- our best set of guides ever. We felt like we had an excellent mix of game and scenery. We also found the people to be exceptional. This was truly a great trip. Thank you.
Kate Sullivan, July 2017
Multi-Generational Safari to Botswana and South Africa
First of all – it was amazing! I think we all were a little worried that a second trip couldn’t be as good as the first, but it was. We were gone a little over two weeks and had absolutely no issues at all, none. Every travel arrangement, transfer etc was perfectly executed.
Starting with Cape Town, we loved the One and Only – how could you not? Lazarus was a fantastic guide. His love for the city and its history was obvious. He took great care of all of us, especially my parents, finding “shortcuts” so my Dad didn’t have to walk far or wait in long lines. We did the Table Mountain Cableway and Robben Island tour along with the shark diving. I’d say the shark diving was just ok – a fun experience to do once but we didn’t really see sharks. We knew that was a possibility and certainly, it was no one’s fault.
Chitabe was our first camp, and Todd’s favorite. We particularly loved the camp managers Joyce and Metaloosey (I’m sure I’m not spelling his name right.) Being in a small camp and getting to spend time with them was great. Francis, our guide, was exceptional. His knowledge and tracking skills were both phenomenal. We’ve loved all of our guides on both trips but again, I can’t speak highly enough of Francis. He went above and beyond to make sure every detail was taken care of from making sure I had plenty of vegetarian options (I did,) to getting my mom extra hot water bottles, taking time with my Dad etc. He was incredible. One afternoon at Duma Tau just as we started to take our break after lunch, elephants started crossing the lagoon. We had all already started back to our tents but Francis ran to catch up with us, told us to come back to the water, got a motor boat and took us out with the elephants. He could have easily done nothing and taken a longer break for himself, we would never have known. He was like that all the time, always finding something “extra” to share with us.
I shared with Mark when we talked about planning this safari that we didn’t see any leopard on our previous trip and only one rhino from a very great distance. On our first game drive at Chitabe we saw a leopard within minutes. My Dad was convinced that it was a “set up” and someone was on the road and let it out right before we drove by. I lost track of how many leopards we saw over the entire trip. The same thing happened at MalaMala. On our first morning, not five minutes from camp we sat and watched a rhino from just a few feet away. It too, was the first of many we saw.
Duma Tau was beautiful, being on the water was incredible and something we didn’t experience at all on our previous safari. The food was amazing and game viewing great. The camp had a surprise lunch in the bush which was one of the highlights.
The drivers and transfer agents were all great as well – everyone was right there ready for us, we never waited or had to look for anyone. We also enjoyed that not a only did they get us where we were going but they also shared stories about their countries. The transfer agents between Zimbabwe and Zambia were particularly helpful in getting us back and forth efficiently. Cynthia was great at Victoria Falls.
The planning of locations was perfect. All things being equal I think we all prefer tented camps because they feel so different than anything we know but ending our trip at MalaMala was really great for my parents. They love the tented camps too but at 80, were getting tired towards the end of the trip, and having something more like a “resort” vs a tent really helped them get some good rest and keep up their energy at the end. The game viewing at MalaMala was amazing. We saw not only the Big Five, but the MalaMala Seven in one day. Every day we said “nothing could top today” and every following day something equally amazing happened.
We all loved all the camps and yet all had a different favorite and would gladly return to all of them. There really was nothing that we were ever concerned or worried about during the whole trip, the camps were all different yet fantastic, food was great everywhere, every single person we encountered was friendly and efficient. Three generations of our family have experienced things we never thought we would together. My nephews will have memories that last a life time. We can’t thank you all enough. Thank you also for the anniversary and birthday celebrations that you organized. We had several surprises for them and they were all wonderful. Is it too soon to start planning the next one?
Tami Thomsen, July 2017
Safari to Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Hwange
Good morning Szilvia. Our trip was incredible. Your team put together a fantastic agenda. Scheduling a custom trip is the way to go. We are hooked.
The first night at Vundu Camp we were the only ones in camp. For our 30th, they set up a gourmet private dinner in the tree house with candles for lighting. We used a torch to shine on animals below, finding them by their eyes. The slow moving deadly crocodile is most memorable. Not sure where he went during the day. Marie and Alex think of every detail and those “tents” were like being at a spa. But with monkeys playing in trees outside of our tent, and a hippo living in the Zambezi in front of us. She walked by our tent after gorging on land for a few hours each evening.
Canoeing was fantastic. We wove thru birds, hippos and alligators. Your guide makes all the difference, for both safety comfort and tracking. Simian was our guide there and he was wonderful. Had him to ourselves the whole time. Food was wonderful and we never went hungry – that’s for sure. Chefs prepared fresh meals and desserts including homemade ice cream and cakes from scratch.
Similar experience at Davidson’s Camp in Hwange. They might be a little more corporate, but still a wonderful experience. Hopper flights were the way to go since quickly got us to our next camp while flying at low elevations. As for Victoria Falls – thank you!!! You might know that we were upgraded to a suite. That room was better than the falls. Best part of the falls was meeting Cynthia. We learned a lot about Zim culture from her.
As for animals, we probably saw the usual, but here are a few I can think of that we saw:
kudu, impalas, water bucks, elephants, eland, hippos, crocs, Cape buffalo, zebra, termite mounds, black tail mongoose, warthogs, ring tail cat (forget name), baboons, umpteen birds yellow build stork, hyenas, genet, painted dogs with pups in den (adults ran back to den in a pack barking and regurgitated food for pups – cool), lions, hyenas, jackals, steenbuck, spring hair, giraffe, sable, cheetah, storks, banded mongoose eagles, ostrich, secretary bird, Long tailed shrike/magpie, weaver nests and umpteen other birds.
In Cape Town we hiked to the top of Lion’s Head and also drove out to see the penguins. So cute and something not to miss.
Julie and Mike Trueblood, July 2017
South Africa Getaway to Cape Town, Winelands and Private Game Reserve
Dear Elena and everyone at Africa Adventure Company & Wilderness Touring,
Gary and I want to thank you for providing us with an amazing trip! It was extraordinary in every way, and everyone we encountered was fantastic.
We especially want to commend Kenneth, our guide, and Eddie our tracker at Lion Sands River Lodge, as well as the gracious and warm Johannes who took such great care of us. The room was gorgeous and our Safari rides were an adventure we will always cherish – we saw so many beautiful animals, and learned so much from Kenneth and Eddie! We especially loved our Leopard sightings, even one across from our breakfast one morning, spotted by Johannes!
Our guide in Cape Town, Andrew Brink, was wonderful, and accommodated our touring around a big storm that hit Cape Town the night we arrived. We still managed to see a lot, and do the drive to Cape Peninsula and see the Penguins, as well as the wonderful wine country. A special highlight for us was a visit to Iliso Care Society in Kayalicha Township, where we toured this beautiful organization, met the children and learned about the dedicated staff that do so much for the local community. It truly touched our hearts, and we feel grateful to have had the experience of learning more about the local situation and this admirable organization.
Thank you all for providing a trip we will never forget, and memories that will stay with us a lifetime.
Laurie & Gary Baum, Jun 2017
Flying Safari to Zambia and Botswana
We had a wonderful time on Safari and will try to summarize our trip below:
Tswalu was fantastic I would compare it on the same level as Mombo Camp. Our guide Kosie and tracker Ben were great, they were both extremely dedicated and would not give up until we found what we were searching for. The Lodge was wonderful and the large wine cellar was a great touch. At first we were a little concerned because a number of families with small children were at the camp but it soon became apparent that because we had our own guide and sat at individual tables for meals we would have no problem. On the third evening we did the Malori Star-Bed, what an experience. We were taken to the Malori after our evening game drive and a chef came to prepare our meal. After the meal we were left alone to enjoy the wonderful evening and gaze at the stars. We hated to leave Tswalu and would defiantly consider returning on a future visit.
Next stop was Chiawa Camp. Beautiful rooms and great game drives. Our first lunch was just Barbara and me on a motor boat where we watched elephants on the shore a very nice touch. The next day we took a 2 hour walking safari and the third day we did a canoe trip down the Zambezi. The meals were superb. All in all it was a great camp.
Then on to Tafika which was exactly as we remembered it. John and Carol were great hosts and although Brian was not our guide we did get to go on a long morning walking safari with him. We visited Isaac’s garden which he was so proud of, all of the fruit and produce for the camp are grown there. Our guide Stephen took us on a walking safari the next day. Obviously you can tell we love walking safaris…
Linyanti Bush Camp…Great camp with a wonderful staff. We got to do the helicopter ride which I was thrilled with, I have been a pilot for 40 years and have never been in a helicopter this was a great adventure for me.
Next camp Duba Expedition Camp was fantastic, wish we would have stayed three nights instead of two. The camp and people, especially our guide Carlos, were great. The game viewing was spectacular. A special mention to Lungi the chef, he was great and offered dinner at our room the first night it was so romantic eating with an elephant rustling in the bush next to us, we loved it so much we requested dinner at the room the second night. Both nights Lungi came to make sure everything was perfect. This is another camp we would consider revisiting in the future.
Chitabe Camp was exactly as expected and to our surprise and delight we had Lesh as our guide. Two years ago Lesh was our guide when we saw the mating cheetahs. The game viewing was amazing, seeing lions, leopards, cheetahs and a pack of 20 wild dogs on the hunt. Definitely a great way to end our safari. Hated to leave.
We are already thinking about next year.
Talk to you soon,
Jay Berkowitz, June 2017
Luxury Safari to South Africa and Livingstone
Hi Alison –
It was so nice to get your email welcoming us home. I meant to write back right away but time got away from me.
AMAZING does not even begin to describe our trip! John, Laura and I have done a fair amount of world travel and we all agreed that this was our best trip ever. We hardly ever use a travel agent because we don’t like to give up control but we’re all so glad you made all the arrangements for us. Your expertise really paid off.
I would have never thought of flying South Africa Air but it was fabulous. The lay flat beds, service, meals and lounges were all great. Its going to be hard going back to Delta and American!
Johannesburg airport is huge and we would’ve been lost if it weren’t for your guide who greeted us and took us right to the front of Customs. I think his name was Leonard? We breezed through.
When we arrived, we wanted to feel like we were in a foreign country. Illyria House was perfect! It was like stepping back in time and living in a colonial mansion complete with a butler and (somewhat eccentric) owner. Our antique filled suites were incredible (and huge!) The gardens were gorgeous. The food was delicious. We capped the night off with a bottle of champagne on our terrace overlooking the gardens. It put us in the perfect mood to start our adventure.
The Blue Train was wonderful and a great way to see the countryside. Plus, more champagne! The train was quite luxurious and from another era. The Silo was the perfect contrast – it was ultra modern and our rooms once again were huge (two stories and amazing!) The manager Luis went out of his way to greet us. Jessica at the front desk was super nice. The roof bar and breakfast were incredible. We all decided we have to go back to Cape Town – it’s such a cool city. The restaurants in Cape Town were outstanding (especially The Bungalow and Il Leone.)
We kind of wanted to spend more time in Cape Town but John had his heart set on Victoria Falls. In the Livingstone airport a really nice guide named Brooks came over to say hello while we were looking for our driver. He said he does a lot of work for you and wanted us to say hi. We found our driver Hillary (who was quite entertaining) and headed off to Siankaba. The boat ride to the island was like something out of a movie. The tree houses were amazing and so cool. It was like our private jungle compound with monkeys running around, gorgeous surroundings and great food. The chicken at lunch was the best chicken we’ve ever had. The sunset cruise to an island in the middle of the Zambezi, surrounded by hippos, where Sydney set up a cocktail party for us was incredible. We definitely don’t that every day! The bonfire after dinner and walking back to our tent room over the wooden plank bridge added to the adventure. It was like an African version of The Point (in NY.)
Victoria Falls was very cool and then we headed back to South Africa…We pulled up to Londolozi at dusk. There were dozens of lanterns lighting the way and the friendliest people ever greeting us. The rooms were the most beautiful rooms we’ve ever stayed in (and we’ve stayed at some nice places – The Paris Ritz, The London Savoy, etc.)
Walking into the candlelit Boma for dinner literally took my breath away. Helen (the manager?) and Greg (our guide) made us feel like old friends. I was thinking of skipping the morning drive (who wants to get up at 5:30am?) and was so glad I didn’t! Watching the sunrise was incredible. Greg and our tracker, Equilizer, were an amazing pair! They made the trip! Either they’re really, really good or these animals were just hanging out waiting to see them. I cannot believe how many incredible animals we saw and how close we got. Kruger is unbelievably gorgeous. And Londolozi was incredible. Tree Camp was so beautiful I can’t imagine staying anywhere else. And they treated us like royalty. Helen set up the most wonderful lunch in a tree house just for us. Regular lunch was fabulous, too. How often do you have elephants walking by while you’re having a fantastic meal? It was simply amazing.
We all agreed that you are a genius. The trip worked perfectly finishing in Londolozi. It would’ve been a let down to do it in reverse. No where can compare to Londolozi. It really is a magical place. I know it sounds corny but I get choked up just thinking about it. We can’t wait to go back!
Allison , you really did an amazing job. Without ever having met us you picked the perfect places for us to stay. You minimized travel time, had great people to meet us, and organized the trip of a lifetime that we’ll never forget.
We seriously are talking about trying to go back as soon as possible. Thank you again for doing such a great job!
Jane Hettrick, June 2017
Iconic Botswana Flying Safari including Victoria Falls and Cape Town
Hi all, we had a phenomenal time in Africa, and want to thank you so much for setting up such an amazing experience.
- Brooks was such an accomplished and experienced guide and really took care of us, not just in finding animals but in really understanding our needs and making each day an adventure that took all of our expectations into account. We saw so many animals! Way more than we might have anticipated and Brooks was intuitive in his ability to track and find them. You couldn’t have selected a more perfect person for our family.
- The accommodations were spectacular. We did prefer the tents and maybe the food too at Duma Tau and Little Vumbura more than Chitabe Lediba, but the experience with the staff and guests at Chitabe was really awesome. We aren’t really accustomed to the level of pampering by the staff toward the guests…Connie and Ruby made this stay our best experience, and our sundowner in the bush on the night of the full moon was brilliant. In hindsight, we might have liked an additional day at Little Vumburu, maybe next time!
- You did a great job with all of our “handlers” getting us to and from places, especially when we first arrived in Jo’berg after our cancelled flight.
Anyway, it was spectacular, and my mom wants to go back! We’ll see. . . Thanks for all your help!
Laurie & Hunter Mortensen and Bill & Ellie Greco, Jun 2017
Wildlife Safari to Southern Africa
Dear Alison, Elena, Monica and the Team from Africa Adventure!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for recommending and arranging the most amazing vacation for our family!
We had the most memorable time and somehow I don’t think it will come off the bucket list. …..time to save up again and make arrangements for another trip! It’s been really difficult returning to work when my mind is still in travel mode.
The pre-departure information was fabulous – from general information to suggestions of having money prepared in envelopes. Everything was very detailed and covered so no extra surprises.
All the transfers were great- all on time and drivers very personable. Even those that assisted us through the airport were excellent.
Mashatu, MalaMala and Ngoma Safari Lodges were all different yet were so special. The accommodation excellent, staff so hospitable and the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and easily relatable. All so passionate about their work and also about making our experience such a memorable one. Loved the ability to go “off road” at Mashatu and MalaMala. It’s lovely to know that all the guides were still excited about their job and the animals they saw- they even had their cameras out taking photos too.
We thoroughly enjoyed having the private vehicles which gave us options as we were following various animals for as long as we were able to, watch a sunset, skip breakfast and have it “to go” so that we left by 6am, take milky way photos etc. Loved the photographic vehicle at Mashatu and MalaMala. This made it easy for Steph, Ellie and David to swing across from one side of the vehicle to the other when taking photos with large lenses. The animals were incredible in their natural environment.
At Mashatu we found the photographic hide incredible and saw so many animals coming to the water hole. Thank you of reserving the hide for 3 mornings. Apparently there were 2 hides. We were fortunate that the one we went to had many animals visit the water hole, unfortunately the other one had minimal animals. Also having the photographer, Ruth from C4 photography for the whole time allowed us to fine tune our photography at the beginning of the vacation. She was so patient and taught all of us so much especially as animal photography is very different to landscape photography which David and Steph are more specialized in.
Animals are unpredictable- we saw so many animals at Mashatu and yet we spoke with other guests at other game parks who had been there and they saw few animals…
Food at all of the lodges were amazing!! Think we all put on weight. hahaha!
All the internal flights were excellent…
Victoria Falls Hotel and the Falls itself was spectacular. Helicopter ride was incredible and the Angel’s armchair was an awesome experience. Cynthia our guide was delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Falls.
We’re back at work and hard to believe that the vacation is over.
THANK YOU AGAIN to your whole team for organizing such a special vacation for us. Although we have so many photos to go through, it will be delightful to go through and relive our vacation when sorting through them to make our photo book.
We look forward to organizing another trip with you in the future.
Dave, Ness, Steph and Ellie Yee, June 2017
Flying Safari to Botswana Including Mombo Trails
Dearest Kyle and All ~
I fear we are now assimilated back to life in the USA after a most extraordinary and wonderful safari in Botswana. After six safaris with AAC, one could think a person could become blasé about the whole of such an experience …. WRONG! Oh my, I think this trip exceeds all past trips, if possible; and not to compare, but my o my ~ what an experience and awesome trip!!!!!
DumaTau and Mombo Trails highlight the highlights for all four camps (Chitabe, Vumbura Plains, DumaTau, Mombo Trails), but I shouldn’t even say that because each camp/concession holds its special place with memories, great sightings and outstanding experiences.
Thrilled to be able to report that we saw multiple wild dog sightings in ALL FOUR camps! One evening sighting at Chitabe even brought about my first NON-mock charge by trumpeting elephants! Needless to say the guides of the three vehicles were unexpectedly caught off guard when we found ourselves deep in brush between the charging eles and wild dog/impala kill sighting. Love to report such exciting stories after the fact, knowing everyone escaped unscathed. I thought it very exciting and told Perr, well, if this is “it”, everyone at home will know I died happy.
A quick report on the new Mombo Trails (in case you’re wondering) ~ Wilderness has put in place the best of best management and staff… There is a special, joyful and simple ambience about MT that makes one even a little more relaxed and “at home”. While the “tents” do feel more temporary than what we are accustomed to from other camps, we were charmed in the step-back from ultimate luxury. My shoes will forever have the dinge of Botswana dirt and sand, and that’s just fine by me! We loved it and wished it could be a permanent fixture in the concession. But, no doubt, we will be back, and back to Mombo. This trip Mombo lived up to all and every hype of having the best wildlife, and a most excellent and exhilarating Guide in Doc … and that’s all the reason I need to go.
Also extra kudos to all at Duma Tau for a most excellent and forever cherished stay. It is no wonder why DumaTau is usually fully booked far in advance. Again, management (Johan and his lovely bride) and staff were beyond tops and went beyond most in providing a spectacular time. Bush brunch for all the guests one afternoon, a special private fireside dinner under the stars for Perr and me, and most special, making/allowing arrangements for Bobby Rakaru to come from Kings Pool to be our personal guide during our stay. No depth of words to convey our gratitude and appreciation for that.
More reports to follow with pics. Just want to drop this quick line to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for yet more cherished life memories and another incredible safari. In all seriousness, I want to go back, now.
Happy grateful tears,
Stacie Brink, May 2017
Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserve and Botswana’s Chobe, Linyanti and Okavango Delta
We had the best trip ever!
We saw 13 leopards, a pack of 22 African wild dogs, a Pangolin (no kidding!!!), 3 young lioness kill a warthog, a lions roar!!! We were extremely lucky! My husband took 5000 pictures and a few videos.
It was the most magical vacation and even surpasses our trips to Costa Rica and the Galapagos. It’s hard to believe that we actually were fortunate enough to have an experience like this.
The guides were so knowledgeable, all the staff at every lodge we went to was so nice and accommodating. They were excited with us at our new experiences and shared our joy. The lodges had incredible views and our experience at each one was a little different. If we hadn’t gone to multiple places it would have cut the number of species that we were able to see.
Jackie Calinsky, May 2017
Botswana Flying Safari and Visit to Cape Town
To Elena and our AAC team:
Carole and I want to express to you all our appreciation for everything you did to make our recent trip to Africa such a wonderful experience. The trip was everything we hoped for, and then some. Mere superlatives are inadequate to describe what we saw and experienced during this trip.
Your advice and counsel, your suggestions and AAC’s finalization of trip logistics were faultless and had a great deal to do with our enjoyment of this vacation. It became apparent that the best camps for us were chosen, that they were arranged in the most sensible order and that topping off the trip at Cape Town at the end was preferable to starting there. We observed other travelers on our trip who were not AAC clients who stayed at different camps, or who used a different order, or who began their trip in Cape Town. We are confident we had the best approach, so we sang the praises of AAC along the way.
Victoria Falls was very impressive. The helicopter flight was outstanding, and we very much enjoyed the private walking tour of the falls (generously provided by AAC)… We also enjoyed the Elephant Camp. It was a good way to easy into “camp life” before heading to Botswana.
We enjoyed each of the three safari camps in Botswana. The staff at DumaTau and Chitabe Lediba were exceptionally friendly and hospitable. Our guides at all three camps were very good (Rodgers at Duma Tau, KG at Kwetsani and Luke at Chitabe Lediba). Our accommodations and food were very good. We saw plenty of wildlife at each camp, and the delta wetlands at Kwetsani provided additional viewing experiences with boat and mokoro excursions.
The Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town was the finest hotel we’ve ever experienced. The level of service and the amenities were exceptional. (Thank you again for the champagne we found in our hotel room.) We enjoyed the sites at Cape Town as we decompressed from our 14-game drive safari experience. Lucia was a very good tour guide.
We had no problems with ticketing or any of the other logistics AAC arranged for us and that went a long way to providing an enjoyable experience. In fact, other than the typical issues relating to queuing at airports for customs, security, etc., we had no travel problems with flights or transfers.
Again, thank you all so much for your part in making sure we enjoyed the trip of a lifetime. We hope, with our recommendations, to send you business in the future (maybe some of it will be ours!).
Steve and Carole Dixon, May 2017
Big Five Safari to MalaMala Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta
Dear Mark and Kollin,
Sorry for the delay in writing and thanking you for helping us to plan such a memorable vacation in South Africa and Botswana.
The positives were many and unforgettable.
The game viewing was superb and we saw many, many rhinos in Sabi Sands. We also saw the wild dogs in Sabi Sand but a disappointment was that we didn’t see them at Chitabe, but sometimes that happens.
The guides at Sabi Sand and Tube Tree were superb…One of the highlights was that through the binoculars I was looking at the right place at the right time and saw a lioness with a one day old cub in her mouth moving it to safety. She was in a pride of five pregnant females that we saw the day before and the day of the sighting we saw the remaining four and the new mother on a bluff the next day.
But probably the ultimate highlight was in Chitabe where a mother elephant her daughter and her baby came in the evening to eat the trees and shrubs directly outside our tent. We tried to take some pictures but they didn’t come out as well as we would have liked but it was a thrill. We saw the mother’s ear laying on our patio and could see the baby hiding under the mother’s torso. Priceless memory!!!!
The accommodations were superb and we truly felt taken care of. The food was plentiful and varied and they truly cared about our comfort and experience.
…Thank you for the pass to the lounge in Johannesburg. We certainly enjoyed it and we did the same thing at Heathrow and it was great. We were there for almost the entire layover. It was a little pricey, but we had breakfast and lunch, comfortable chairs, quiet, and could take a shower, change clothes and even shave. It made all the difference.
Anyway thanks for all of your diligence and taking such good care of Sandi and me.
Mark and Sandi Greenberg, May 2017
Best of Southern Africa
Kirkman’s was great. Treated Caitlin with great respect and had all sorts of activities for her. Game a little sparse, but we arrived in a heat wave. When a storm broke the temperature, the game improved. Wonderful room and excellent guide. Had the privilege of Brian, top management for &beyond, accompany us for two drives and he was extra nice to her. The leopards!!!
Ngala Safari Camp was perfect for a family or for couples. Guiding and animal sightings were amazing and the activities outstanding. Food tasty as was the variety of meal settings: bush breakfast, interesting variety to sundowner locations, hot soup at sundown time in the bush, wonderful fire-lit boma, fun singing and dancing in the outdoor dining room (a different venue than the boma and the breakfast dining room). Caitlin’s birthday was out of this world (thank you Elena very much!) and she danced to the point of wearing the show cast out. A bit of a long drive to get to the main game area, but nice variety to the topography. Would highly recommend…
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was lovely. The chef cleaned and cooked the guys’ fish they caught on the Zambezi. Loved the vulture feeding and the hide was good. Our meals at Victoria Falls Hotel were lovely — thank you Elena for the Stanley Terrace dinner…Esther was beautiful all dressed up in her Africa Adventure clothes and hat. While with her at the Falls, we met, shook hands with and conversed with vice-president Mphoko who was also touring the falls. He approached us which was fun. Our driver went out of his way to accommodate us when we wanted to visit the craft market and to stay later at the drum show at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
Muchenje Safari Lodge was by far the adult’s favorite place to stay because it seemed “African”, if that makes any sense. Lots of wonderful game drives with a very knowledgeable ranger. Lovely evening campfire and camaraderie around the dining table. Most memorable experience was the morning boat safari on the Chobe River where we accompanied a large herd of elephants as they swam over to an island.
The V&A in Cape Town was as comfortable as I remembered it. The breakfast buffet was by far the best of the trip. Of course having a huge homemade chocolate cake delivered while eating our breakfast eggs made for a great laugh. We talked them into saving it for us until night where we ate it in the bar and gave the rest to staff. Lucia was so special as was the 2 and 1/2 hour lunch at La Colombe you set up for us. The wine overflowed everywhere we went and was paired with magnificent chocolates and cheeses and olive oil and breads. Dinner at Baia’s was incredible. We skipped Cuvee on the Simonsig Estate because our friends hadn’t seen any cheetah. So Lucia arranged for us to pet the cheetah cubs and Deb cradled a meerkat.
Fantastic trip! Thank you,
Barbara Lyndrup, May 2018
South Africa Luxury Safari and Cape Getaway
We had a fabulous time! Everything was just perfect, and we would not change anything. All the arrangements worked exactly as you planned them, the accommodations were all fantastic, and the service everywhere was spectacular. Our guide in Cape Town was excellent, and our safari guide, tracker, and the rest of the staff at Singita Boulders were all outstanding. We have stayed at many other luxury hotels and resorts, but the service at Singita was the best we have experienced anywhere, and Cape Grace had the most personal service we have ever seen at a mid- to large-size hotel. We will post a review soon online, but we wanted to share this with you right away.
Thank you again for your great work!
Joanna, Rob, Daniel and Julia Stavins, May 2017
Iconic Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserves and Cape Town
Oh, my Oh my, Oh my
Where do I begin? That was THE most well run perfectly executed vacation I have ever had.
Even the weather you organized to perfection. Cool mornings and evenings, lovely warm days. Animals everywhere we turned. I don’t know how you got the animals to show up right when we were there. Even warthogs waiting near the tarmac as we landed near Kruger.
We saw a leopard eating an impala 20 feet from us. We are sitting at a waterhole in Ngala and over 120 elephants show up, play and disappear quiet as can be. We are having our tea and coffee on a small cliff over a water hole and a hippo immediately below us is yawning and showing his teeth and rolling and cavorting just for us. We had a herd of bachelor elephants swimming right next to our boat in the Chobe river. We are driving back to camp in early dusk and a tower of 11 giraffes is standing in the road waiting to say goodnight.
I could go on forever. We were met everywhere we went so no stress as to how to get from here to there. Our private guide in Cape Town was knowledgeable, friendly and flexible. We changed our minds on one stop and asked for another and it was done and fitted into our schedule smoothly and efficiently.
I cannot thank all of you enough for the wonderful job. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.
Thank you so much
Deb Strob, May 2017
Botswana Flying Safari to the Okavango Delta
Our trip was astonishing and I cannot thank you enough. You were always responsive to our million questions and you were very helpful, compassionate and flexible when I needed to rearrange this trip. I had complete faith that all of the transfers, etc. would happen seamlessly and they did. You made this safari a trip of a lifetime. I can’t figure out how to review your company so if you have ideas let me know. I appreciate the extra business cards because I will be sharing them. We met two men who were safari experts, they knew your company, and said that we made the right choice. And we did.
We LOVED Kwetsani Camp. They have great managers and staff and we felt part of a family. Jacque and Nardia were incredible. They couldn’t do enough for us and they were interactive, as was the staff, during meal times. I miss them. 3 days was perfect after a long airflight. Our guide, Dennis, was the best of the best. The lodge and room were magnificent…
Vumbura Plains Camp is, quite simply, incredibly beautiful. The room was the best room I have ever stayed in. The drives were great. The staff were pros. It was complete luxury.
Elephant Camp in Victoria Falls was beautiful and Bradley, the manager, was very friendly and accommodating. We had a magnificent time with Precious, our guide for VF…The homestead visit was very pleasant and enlightening. Our driver to many of our excursions, Duncan, was absolutely priceless. The cruise and lookout Café were great…
In short, you and your company are the best,
Thank you so much,
Karen Russo, May 2017
Ultimate Namibian Group Safari
I had an absolutely wonderful time. There is really little that could be improved. The itinerary was great and people friendly. The most important part of the trip was, however, the fantastic guides. A special cheer for Johann in Namibia. Truly a knowledgeable and friendly guide. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for the travelers. He and I even went out of the camp together one night for some star viewing and photography nearby. He went above and beyond expectations. When parting with him at the end of the trip, it was like losing a friend. He also made many picnic lunches enjoyable along the route with good locations and food.
The highlights from the itinerary:
- Sunrise at Sossusvlei – we were there in plenty of time to watch the whole morning spectacle.
- Visit to Himba village – a remote village of amazingly gentle people living in their traditional ways. The drive to the Himba village – a four-wheel trek that I was not expecting, but reminded me of my younger days camping in the mountains and driving the the Baja California desert.
- The ‘magic box’ lunches – several locations along the way that we had our picnics, including the absolutely beautiful palm-studded river valley on the way back from the Himba village.
- The stay at Camp Kipwe – fantastic location and rural/rustic quarters, truly a safari lodge. Gorgeous rock formations all around, a must see in early morning.
- Evening game drive – out of Treetop Camp, wherein we were able to see and hear a fight between 2 large male kudus at sunset, the dust they were kicking up glowing yellow in the late afternoon sun and the sound of antlers clashing.
- Food cleanliness – sometimes in developing countries the food does not follow proper sanitation and cleanliness standards. Had no problems whatsoever. A relief.
…Namibia does not allow drivers and guides to diverge from existing roads to view the animals. Sometimes we were quite a distance from the various animals…
A wonderful trip and would gladly recommend your company to others.
Tom Lyons, April 2017
The Best of Southern Africa
Hello Alison, Mark, Saskia & The AAC Team.
Hoshi, Sanaya & I want to thank you for arranging a flawless trip, which we are always going to remember.
- AAC exceeded all our expectations.
- The Pre trip planning and continual communication, with prompt responses was impressive.
We are very grateful and appreciative of your staff and all the hard work and planning to make our trip memorable.
- There are so many moments and experiences, it is very difficult to choose.
- The accommodations, transfers, cuisine (really enjoyed our vegetarian options!) was great.
- We got to see the Big 5 and much much more.
- The entire trip was amazing.
Sanaya is already planning her next trip to Africa with you.
Once again thank you to the whole team at Africa Adventure Company. It truly was a trip of a lifetime!
Best Wishes and many thanks!
Anahita, Hoshi & Sanaya Tamboli, May 2017
Big Five Safari to South Africa and Botswana
Alison did a fabulous job planning our trip. I cannot say enough good things about how smoothly everything went and how wonderful the accommodations and service were. We had the time of our lives and my husband, who was hesitant about taking an independent trip, is telling everyone he knows about how wonderful it was. Both Savanna and Ngoma were spectacular. We were treated like royalty. At Sabi Sands we saw all of the big five and much more. Chobe offered elephants, giraffes, impala by the thousands, and tons of birds. This was a good combo of wild life experiences.
All of our guides and transfers were excellent. We could not have done this without you.
Betty Cruikshank, April 2017