Client Trip ReportsSouthern Africa

CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS SOUTHERN AFRICA – JUL-AUG 2018

Flying Safari to Zambia’s Lower Zambezi, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and South Africa’s Tswalu Reserve

Hi Szilvia,

Here is our review of the camps from our recent trip:

Sausage Tree

This camp totally exceeded our expectations. When you first arrive at the camp it looks very much like a classic camp but after a while you realize it is more like a premier camp. Our Suite consisted of a sitting area with a stocked bar and refrigerator, large sleeping area, large bathroom with tub and outside shower and a large deck with plunge pool. Our butler named Laston would serve us dinner every evening on our outside deck. Collins our private guide was terrific he was a great tracker and would always find the animals we were looking for. The food was always great and they were careful to make sure Barbara always had her vegan food. Even though we stayed six nights it seemed to fly by and would have liked to stay longer. I would highly recommend this camp.

Thorntree River Lodge

An excellent stopover point in Livingstone. The lodge was modern and very well run with fine dining. We decided not to do the river cruise and chose the rhino safari instead which we loved because we got a private guard to walk us very close to the rhinos.

Duba Explorers Camp

Upon landing at the airstrip we were taken by helicopter for the short flight to the camp. The new location is fantastic, surrounded by wildlife the gaming was great. Lungi the chef is wonderful, he would make the most spectacular meals for Barbara and myself. We love this camp because it resembles the more rustic camps yet affords all the luxuries one would expect at the finest camps.

Qorokwe Camp

Very nice new camp with wonderful guiding. The rooms were very nice and modern.

Tswalu

What can I say, this is absolutely the best Lodge/Camp we have ever stayed at. Our guide this year was Nelson and our tracker Ben which we had last year, between the two of them they could track and find any animal no matter how small or hidden they were. My only regret is five days were not enough!!!!!

Thanks,

Jay Berkowitz, Aug 2018

 

Zimbabwe Heritage Safari to Mana Pools, Hwange and Matobo Hills

Hi all –

Great trip – very hard to leave, as always.  Here’s some feedback:

Mana Pools and Vundu – really the highlight of the trip.  Nick & Desiree were there which I’m sure made it feel like a family situation. Also very welcoming mgrs., Melanie and Daryl.  The elephants were stellar and great walking.

Amalinda and the Motobo Hills – beautiful camp, gracious hosts, fantastic design.  A great way to end the trip.

Looking forward to next trip!

Nancy Gubman, Aug 2018

 

Zimbabwe Legends Flying Safari including Mana Pools

Hi Lynne:

We are back and safe and somewhat sound.  We had an absolutely incredible time and did things that I couldn’t imagine us doing even a few weeks ago.  The accommodations were wonderful, our flights and transfers were flawless and according to our guides and trip mates, we were incredibly lucky in what we saw.

One thing I do want to emphasize is that Lynne was right on the money about Vundu camp and the guides being the best.  We are so incredibly thankful that you recommended Vundu.  While all of the camps had good guides and excellent accommodations, our guide at Vundu made the trip.  Period.  Daryl Martin (and his wife Melanie, who rode with us several times) was incredible and made our trip.  I’ll give you more details later, but Daryl, Melanie, Nick, Des and their kids were wonderful.  If I sat here for hours, I couldn’t thank them enough for the experience they gave us.

Talk to you soon and I will send some pix when I get them downloaded.

Lee Sherman, Aug 2018

 

Botswana Flying Safari to the Okavango Delta and Linyanti Reserve

Hi Alison,

We had a great trip! Thanks again for everything. Highlights include:

All 3 camps. Great wildlife every day. Chitabe and Duba Plains continue to be fabulous. Lesh our guide at Chitabe was very good…LetZ at Duba was world class. Great guide. The camp was over the top. Great food, people and ambiance. It was fun to be there again

Anyway a great trip all around. The guys in the airports were great. The lounge in Maun was a nice addition as well.

Thanks again!!
Kathleen Sullivan, Aug 2018

 

South Africa Romance Safari

Hello Jessica,

It is hard to believe we have been back over a month now and are going back to school tomorrow.  We are still going through our photos. We have been enjoying sharing our experience with family and friends as it was the best trip we have ever taken. Thank you so much for helping make it a reality.

Kyle and I were awestruck with the wildlife and how close we could get to the animals. We saw the big 5 and a very well-fed cheetah on our first full day on safari at Savanna Lodge! A lioness with cubs crunching on an impala and two leopard cubs, one in a tree playing around, incredible to witness. Unforgettable!

Savanna Lodge was outstanding! Everything and more than what we had imagined. The suite and amenities were very impressive, they had everything you could think of.  Kyle used the plunge pool and outdoor shower.   On our anniversary night they had a lovely private dinner for us and some special touches inside. The staff was amazing, our guide Dan, was fantastic, finding the wildlife, sharing his knowledge and expertise as well as creating a good atmosphere among all the guests. It was a pleasure spending time with him.  The food was incredible and the waitress and staff were very friendly and attentive.  On our last night we had dinner in the boma with the choir performing, an experience I will never forget.  We were so impressed with it all that we were genuinely sad to leave.

The Cape Grace was the perfect location, again great accommodation and restaurant, we ate there several times. Concierge service was great. The shark dive was kind of a far drive, it was our whole day but we did see sharks! We were lucky to have a fantastic day to hike Table Mountain, cable car wasn’t working due to wind so there were very few people at the top.

The Phinda Game Reserve had a great variety of wildlife but it was hard to compare it to Savanna and the Sabi Sand…We had a fantastic dinner in the bush. We did appreciate how the land was different and the plane in and out was an exciting experience.

Now that we know what a trip like this is we would have liked to stay a day or two longer at the safari parks. It was a lot of travel to get there and around the country.  The Bidvest lounge in Johannesburg was very much appreciated, a good real meal and an opportunity to move around.

It was a great trip overall. Very smooth meeting all the transportation people and connections.  We will recommend the company to friends and family and would certainly use you again. Africa is a very special place and we would love to go back.

Thanks again for your help in organizing and planning this unforgettable trip for us.

Sincerely,

Danielle and Kyle Astle, Jul 2018

 

Iconic Safari to Southern Africa

Szilvia, thank you for planning our safari trip of a lifetime! It was a great experience that we will cherish forever. You have requested from feedback about our adventure, so here goes! These are my opinions and possibly not reflective of the entire group.

Arrival in Johannesburg, transfer and Southern Sun hotel – were great! The staff at the Southern Sun were extremely friendly. The restaurant was delicious. You should add to your description of the hotel that a HUGE buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. I highly recommend the Southern Sun restaurant and the InterContinental Hotel Quills restaurant. The Intercontinental Hotel is next door to the Southern Sun. The Southern Sun provided transportation to and from the InterContinental Hotel and the Southern Sun highly recommended the InterContinental restaurant and made reservations for our party of 7. Delicious food and great wine list at the 5 star hotel restaurant.

Kirkman’s Kamp – the most outstanding and breathtaking experience ever! Words cannot describe how fantastic this place was. The Staff were the best. Food and Accommodations were exquisite. Our Guide – Mark Shaw – was the most knowledgeable and best ever. Without his expertise and knowledge, we would have been lost. He not only showed us the wildlife and game, he taught us about every aspect of the Safari. Because of what we learned from him, we were able to apply and appreciate the other safaris on our trip…

Khwai Shared Mobile Tented Camp Okavango Delta – this ties in 1st place with Kirkmans’ Kamp. Words cannot describe how fantastic this place was. The Staff were the best. Food and accommodations were exquisite. We are all still talking about our wonderful experience of tent living, sitting around a camp fire, eating by candle light on a beautifully and elegantly set table, everything was outstanding. Our Guide – Josh Iremonger – was the most knowledgeable and best guide ever. As with Mark Shaw from Kirkman’s Kamp, without his expertise and knowledge, we would have been lost. He not only showed us the wildlife and game, he taught us about every aspect of the Safari. He found every animal we requested to see and then some. His dynamic personality created an atmosphere of togetherness and caring. The game that we saw were incredible and so awesome. Mel Albers, our hostess, has the expertise and attention to every detail that made our safari absolutely the most wonderful experience. She and her team welcomed us with open arms and we left feeling as if we were a part of their family. We all said that we wished we had more time with them and had shorten other parts of our trip so we could have enjoyed more of her, Josh and the Okavango Delta. Our every desire was met and exceeded. Words cannot describe the beauty and incredible experience we will cherish forever.

Cape Town

  • Victoria Alfred Hotel – Luxurious!
  • Restaurant recommendations – you should add the following restaurants to your listing: Willoughby’s at the Waterfront – located in the Waterfront Mall adjacent to the Hotel. Outstanding food and reasonable prices with great wine selection. Very busy but well worth the wait. The Hussar Grill Mouille Point – delicious steak and reasonably priced again with great wine list and only a short Uber ride from the Victoria Alfred Hotel. Reservations recommended. Pot Luck Club – highly recommended but we couldn’t get in.

Thanks again,

John Courtney, Jul 2018

 

South Africa Deluxe Safari including a journey on the luxury steam train “Rovos Rail”

Hi Szilvia and the AAC Team,

Thank you for your welcome home greeting.

After four trips one would think that there wasn’t much to say.  But, as always, this was an outstanding adventure from start to finish.  The Saxon Hotel was wonderful.  We tried “Grei” the new restaurant, which was an amazing experience in itself.  We never had a dinner that lasted three and a half hours, but it was time well spent.  The Rovos Rail added yet another unique experience that we will long remember.  An extra bonus was that about a third of our fellow passengers were South Africans, which made for great conversations about life in South Africa along the way.  Cape Town and the Cape Grace were as delightful as we remembered.  We finally made it to Robben Island. By the way, the dinner at Guardian Peak winery was beautiful and an excellent choice. Thanks for that and all the other special things along the way.  Our guide for the winelands tour was excellent as well.

The game reserves: Lions Sands was as billed, quite elegant, the accommodations and food were top notch.  Our guides, Luke and Abraham were quite good, and especially accommodating, besides the usual two game drives, we did long walks each day as well.   We were particularly lucky with leopards and rhino.

Last but not least, Tswalu was stupendous.  Our guide, Kali, and tracker, Jonas, were incredible.  We were the only vehicle in the section of the reserve with the two male lions and the two prides.  Our guides single-handedly tracked the two lions.  Although it took a few hours, it was well worth seeing them in action.  We saw numerous cheetah, rhino, both the habituated meerkats, and those not so habituated, as well as the pangolin and aardvark.  The high point of our time there was spending time with the pack of African wild dogs and their 12 young pups.  In addition to the family fun, we finally managed to follow the dogs on a very successful hunt. My condolences to the mother oryx whose child is no longer with us.

All we can say is thanks again for an amazing safari and a memorable 25th wedding anniversary.

Best wishes,

Peter and Mary Ellen Cvek, Jul 2018

 

The Best of Botswana, Zambia and South Africa

Kyle,

Splash Camp was a very pleasant surprise. The facilities were very comfortable. The game viewing was among the best I have experienced in one concession. To top it all the staff was outstanding. The guide Thomas was very pleasant, and exceptionally knowledgeable. As a bonus he knew a lot about photography and was willing to share his knowledge. He also had a good sense of where to stop to get the best lighting. His guide, Ike, was likewise knowledgeable and had a good eye. This will be remembered as one of our best experiences in all our trips to Africa. (Not to detract, but Old Mondoro is still the all time favorite)

The new Matswere mobile tented camp (Okavango Delta) was a once in a lifetime experience. I cannot say enough about Josh, very personable, good stories, good eye. It did not take him long to figure out what we wanted to do and see, so he was not fixated on the big 5, of which we did see all except rhino. He was most helpful with photography and was wonderful with the grandkids. Flo, the chef, can create wonders. I would do this again in a second, but unfortunately, I am not sure the old body would agree. Too bad.

Mwamba (South Luangwa) was great for game viewing, saw more lions than ever before. The camp was most comfortable. A drawback is that it is not on the water, which I think adds a positive dimension. The facilities are perfectly good, but the food was a little below par. Even though the guide took a  while to get a fix on our interests, once he did he was very good.

Zinguilia (South Luangwa) was very pleasant, food good and the staff what you would hope for. Steven the manager and also our guide was special. He expedited the change of transportation, and the return if Nick’s passport, which he had left at Mwamba.

Phinda, I am still trying to figure out my reaction. As you know it is not the type of place we normally visit. Too structured, and too much emphasis and focus on food. The staff was as good as any. Saw a lot of rhino, but it is sad to see them without horns.

All in all a very pleasant experience.

Terry Ellis, Jul 2018

 

Safari to Southern Africa’s Private Game Reserves, Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park

Dear Kyle and Team,

Our trip was perfect and flawless!  We just could not believe how well planned and varied all of the lodges and our experiences were.  Each was unique in its own way.

At the airports the person that picked us up was always well dressed and had the most professional sign J It always gave you a great feeling and set the tone for your experience from the very beginning.  You knew you were in for the best of the best!

One night at Victoria Falls was adequate and shorter than 3 nights at the lodges would have been too rushed. All the guides were amazing and we saw all of the animals.  One really doesn’t need binoculars!! Chobe Lodge was a fun different experience from the Tent Lodges but love the Tents too! Tanda Tula is the perfect place to start and Splash Camp is amazing.

The ELLERMAN Hotel in Cape Town was out of this WORLD.  We have no idea of how much money it was a night since it was not broken down in our package and we are glad it wasn’t because we probably would of requested something less expensive and missed the experience.  We just loved the place and they gave us a corner suite overlooking the ocean!

Preparing the envelopes with tips ahead of time saved us a lot of trouble! Brilliant!

We just can’t thank you enough for our “once in a lifetime” experience and please have anyone reach out to me for a reference!

Sincerely,

Linda and Al Grier, Jul 2018

 

Flying Safari to a Private Game Reserve near Kruger and the Mashatu Reserve

We are back and finally adjusting to the time and real world.  Here’s a quick review.

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities we have ever been too.  We loved both Welgelgen Hotel and its location, as we could easily walk to lunch, dinner, Lord Nelson hotel, etc.  The staff at the hotel could not have been more accommodating.  They bent over backwards to make sure that our stay was great.  We had to be up and out the door by 7 AM one morning.  Breakfast is not served until 7:30 AM.  Us, “Could you have just some cold things laid out for us about 6:30?”  But instead everyone came in early, everything was laid out by 6:30, and someone was there to make us a full breakfast if we wanted.

I cannot say enough about our Cape Town guide, Chris Tromp.  I would recommend him to anyone for just about anything.  I didn’t realize he would be our guide as well.  I just thought he was a driver that picked us up and took us wherever.  I had planned on walking tours of the city.  Nope, Chris would take us.  I had planned on getting a guide to hike Table Mountain.  Nope, Chris could take care of that.  We went out one evening to a really awful restaurant.  The next day Chris says, “Why didn’t you ask me; I would have told you not to go there!”  He took all of our suggestions and then constructed everything we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.

I loved both Notten’s and Mashatu.  Both camps our game drivers and spotters were exceptional.  I did slightly prefer Notten’s Bush Camp in part because it was a bit smaller, the amazing ambience, we got to know almost all of the staff, and they went to great lengths for a memorable stay.  For example, arriving home the first night from the game drive we found our cottage already lit up with lanterns and candles AND a hot bubble bath with iced down Champagne waiting for us.  Same thing 2nd night for the bubble bath.  Third night in the middle of nowhere everyone showed up for a bonfire where they had setup a bar, appetizers and were grilling kabobs.  Then we went stargazing.  I also liked the fact that each group had separate seating for breakfast and high tea, but at night it was communal seating and we got to talk to and know more people.

Not to say that Mashatu wasn’t exceptional and probably the most spectacular event was the hide at Mashatu.  Thank you for giving us that.  I don’t think I would have done it otherwise, and it was truly a highlight of the entire trip.

Anyone that wants to go to Africa, I wholeheartedly recommend the Africa Adventure Company.  Thank you for making my 60th birthday and Dan’s and my 25th anniversary over and above our expectations!

Best,

Deb Laufer, Jul 2018

 

The Best of Southern Africa 

Dear Szilvia,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for an outstanding trip to Africa.  All of the arrangements you made were excellent choices for our family and gave us a real taste of southern Africa.  The pre-trip documents were spot on and helped us know what to expect on the trip.  I especially appreciated the tip guidelines since I wouldn’t have had any idea of appropriate amounts (and recipients) otherwise.

Some specific comments about the various stops:

Southern Sun Waterfront – excellent location, great service, comfortable rooms, and the best breakfast buffet we’ve ever seen.  Lazarus, our guide for the day trip, was very informative and helped us squeeze a lot into a short period of time.

Skukuza Airport – I’ve never seen such an airport!  It looked like a hotel lobby!  Mpumalanga Airport was also very modern and clean.

Kirkman’s Kamp – spectacular in every way.  It felt like being a guest in the days of the old hunting lodges.  The service was impeccable, the accommodations elegant, the food was terrific and the safari guide (Matt) and tracker (Richard) really made for a special adventure.  Matt in particular was extremely knowledgeable about the animals, their habits, their life styles, etc.  It seems that the guides receive a lot of training to be rangers including frequent firearms certification. The wildlife viewing was great – we saw lots of leopards, elephants, giraffe, zebras, rhinos, and the omnipresent antelope varieties.  Some of the animals graze on the lawn in front of the lodge. Everything at Kirkman’s was very professionally done to the highest standards.  The food was wonderful – every few hours a new meal or snack awaited!  The only suggestion for you would be to consider adding a tip category for the “Butler” (the server assigned to you for meals) for your guests at Kirkman’s.

Batonka Guest Lodge – Comfortable, friendly family lodge.  Very good breakfast.  They wrote us a nice departure note and gave each guest a parting gift of a beaded key ring!

Muchenje Safari Lodge – Location, location, location.  Wow, what a view!  We loved being able to look over the river plain and see herds of elephants, impala, and zebra roaming below.  Chobe offers spectacularly large herds of animals down by the river.  No need for a tracker there!  Since vehicles can’t drive off-road, you see whatever animals come near the established roads.  Fortunately, there were lots of them, especially elephants.  Whereas Kirkman’s was very professional with a capital P, Muchenje was like a family.  Guests eat at communal tables, with some of the guides and managers.  Food is served buffet-style.  The quantity of food was fine, but the quality wasn’t at the same level as Kirkman’s.  They made up for it in very friendly management who went out of their way to interact with guests rather than just answering requests.  Also, the lodge staff are mostly from the local area, so there is a real sense of community among them that is different from Kirkman’s, which isn’t near any settlements.  For example, the lodge supports the local village elementary school and one of the activities offered is a tour of the village and visit to the school.  Community is very important to them.  Several of the other activities are canoe tour and boat tour to see the river islands and their wildlife (especially crocs and hippos)

In short, we had a WONDERFUL trip.  I especially appreciated the care you took to schedule our stops logically and logistically.  I am glad we went to Kirkman’s first; going to Chobe first and seeing the herd upon herd of animals would have spoiled us for the Sabi Sand area where you need to go find the animals.  (although oddly, the early morning drive at Chobe yielded no animals at all whereas we saw lots at Kirkmans on the early drive.)  Breaking up the safari with a stop at Vic Falls helped us catch our breath.  We saw/did lots of wonderful things and could have spent another day in each location.

I wanted you to know how much we appreciate the work you did for us!

Best regards,

Betsy Munz, Jul 2018

 

Flying safari to Botswana’s Linyanti Reserve, Okavango Delta and Moremi Reserve

Dear Mark and the staff at Africa Adventure Company,

First and foremost, let me thank you for arranging a wonderful vacation for our family! The level of customer service and quality of the experience far exceeded my expectations! Michael has asked me to provide feedback to you as I tend to be the hardest to please in the family!

Other than a bit of jostling and crowding in the Maun airport, all went well in terms of transport. The accommodations at Savuti were lovely – the rooms were gorgeous. Our guide, Onyx, was a man of few words but that was fine for this family as we tend to not enjoy too much small talk…Quality and density of wildlife viewing were good. There were times when we would drive for an hour or two without seeing really much of anything, but at the time we didn’t see this as an issue.

Transport to Little Vumbura went smoothly. Our guide was K, who was far more chatty than Onyx. Jack’s “bush buddy” there was OB and she was phenomenal. She taught him games and how to weave a bracelet and was overall amazing. He looked forward to seeing her and played mancala with her constantly. Accommodations were also lovely (particularly the porch area) and we enjoyed the boat ride to and from the camp. Quality and density of wildlife viewing were good.

…Our last camp was Sandibe and it was probably the entire family’s favorite place to stay. The lodge was gorgeous and our rooms were fabulous. The level of customer service and attention to detail were off the charts! Max was our favorite of all the guides we had on the trip. And the quality and density of wildlife viewing was exceptional. We all agreed that it was good Sandibe was our last stop as it would have set the bar for game viewing so high that the other camps could not have met it!

I hope this was helpful. Again, thank you for planning an incredible trip! I absolutely want to return to southern Africa in the future – maybe Namibia next? A few different camps in Botswana? You’ll be hearing from us again!

Many thanks,

Lisa Seyfried, Jul 2018

 

Wildlife Safari of Southern Africa including MalaMala and Mashatu Game Reserve

Hi Alison,

Here are some of our comments, trip reviews.

MalaMala – Beautiful renovated rooms. We were the first to stay in our room since the renovation. Great food, great lounge area. The guides and staff were all excellent, friendly, helpful etc.  You can clearly see what you are paying in the higher price range for-nice toiletries, nice thick soft towels, laundry and drinks included, etc. Also they mentioned that they have a significant anti-rhino poaching ranger program and I assume some of our costs go to supporting that-which is great…Game viewing was outstanding! We had some good rhino sightings, which we were looking forward to as we had only seen them once in 2000 in Ngorogoro crater, from very far away. Some good leopard sightings and lots of everything else.

Mashatu Tented Camp – More rustic, as expected, but the tents were nicely appointed and comfortable. The hot water bottles at night and on the early game drives were much appreciated…Staff and guides again were helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. Game viewing again was excellent, we saw a cheetah and her 2 cubs several times (no cheetah in MalaMala). Also some good leopard sightings, and all the other game. We did spend a morning in the hide (not the hide right there at the camp, but the big one) which was well worth it. I would definitely recommend this.

It was great that they gave us each a refillable insulated water bottle to use. Much better than plastic bottles. I wish all the camps would do something similar…

Thanks again for all your work on planning, changing plans etc to end up with this great adventure!

Laura Sullivan and Jon Krohngold, Jul 2018

 

Botswana and Zimbabwe African Bush Camp Safari with Nic Polenakis

Greetings Alison, Elena and everyone who worked on our Safari! As always, it was beyond our greatest expectations.

Your choice of camps was perfect for us. The tents on the Zambezi were just as I like, giving the real feel of being in the bush. Kathy did like running water and hot showers in Khwai and Somalisa, and I can’t disagree with her there. The hospitality was as good as it gets, and we never wanted for anything, the cheery staff think of things before we realized we wanted them. And they all mix a great G&T! We agreed that Somalisa Expeditions is the perfect camp for old people. Comfortable, plush without being ostentatious. Quiet, small, the perfect place for us.

The charter flight team are an excellent group. They were always there, showing us the right way to go, on time, and very organized. And again, so eager to please and cheerful. Especially, whatever they do at Kazungula border crossing is worth their weight in gold. Instead of the 3-4 hour wait that everyone else had to endure, we were in and out in 15 minutes. Whatever magic they have there is a real godsend.

And of course, all your planning and attention to detail made the travel seamless and easy. You have never left us wandering, scratching our head, not knowing what to do or where to go. Listening to other travelers made us realize how fortunate we are to have you planning our trips.

Nic Polenakis was in fine form, and hit it off with Kathy right away. Having the “Professor of the Bush” with us takes the safari from interesting to astonishing. We were also fortunate to spend some time with guide Paul Hubbard, another fascinating character. He unfolded African history for us, and made it alive as we drove through places where history took place.

So, all in all, an excellent adventure. For me it gets better each time I visit, and Kathy’s first visit was more that she had ever expected. Thanks for that…

Thanks again for an incredible journey, and we look forward to talking soon!

Craig Woloshyn, Jul 2018

 

The Best of Southern Africa to Cape Town, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, Chobe Game Park and Victoria Falls

Hi Szilvia and all the staff who contributed to making this a “bucket list” adventure!

Bouquets to you for the absolutely perfect arrangements from start to finish!

How shall I ever get thru any airport again without Menzies!  Oh my!  They made what could be a long, long frustration in an endless que absolutely zip thru in minutes.  Without a doubt one of our greatest gratitudes of the trip.

You asked what we liked best.  Hands down, the stay at Notten’s Bush Camp was amazing.  Perhaps because it is privately owned there was a whole different atmosphere.  The welcome, the care, the courtesies were over the top wonderful.  I think we all agreed that the 4 stars rating needs definitely to be raised to 4.5.  I can’t recall when I have had better food!

Although as a “bloodless” Floridian I was in 5 layers of clothing much of the time, the staff made sure I was next to the heaters or had a hot water bottle for the early game rides or on a very cold night in bed.  The manager personally saw that during quiet moments writing my log in the living area, I had hot chocolate or a cool drink.  The devoted and constantly working staff somehow managed to take time to relate to the guests – with their long hours I have no idea how they remained so cordial and caring.  After being in the other places on our itinerary, we recognized this as unusual and truly exceptional.

I hope you will pass review this along to Dale and staff.  Our guide, Timyika and tracker, Gideon made this adventure so special – they got the vehicle closer to the wonderful animals than I ever would have imagined possible.

However, our guide,  Lips, at Muchenje was also so personable – an incredible driver over difficult trails – his good humor even after hours of navigating the safari vehicle over brain joggling trails was wonderful.  He was always up and ready to hit the trails and the day on the boat – up close to the herd of mud bathing elephants was beyond a dream…

The experiences at these two places were vastly different – one true bush country, the other flood plains.  One a more up close to individual or small groups of animals, the other the interaction of larger herds.  Both coming together to give a fuller picture of African game.

Cape Town was very nice.  I have to admit I am NOT a city person and shopping holds minimal appeal to me but the others enjoyed the Victoria Mall and I had my first ever Ferris Wheel ride.  We very much like Lucia and she did a fine job escorting us to Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape of Good Hope…

Radisson Blue was excellent!  The meals there were superb! The Staff welcoming and ready to help at all times.  We had a bit of hilarity when one of the doormen gave us a brief lesson in the “Click” language.

The visit to Victoria falls was lovely.  The grand old hotel gives a real feeling of stepping back into the past – with the colonial uniforms of the staff, the lovely old rooms and hotel grounds.  We had to laugh when at our first TEA on the veranda we were kept amused as 3 warthogs were grazing just feet away – so totally unafraid.  They are so cute (can warthogs BE cute?) when they kneel to graze. As one guide informed us it is because the grass was mowed and their necks are short.  I checked off another bucket-list item with a lovely helicopter flight over the falls.

Our guide, Cynthia “stand-up Elephant” as she explained her name, was very nice and informative as she led us thru the wet experience of viewing the fabulous falls.  We also enjoyed visiting the Orphans and the school.

Our Group felt that the 3 of the extra activities: Cape Town cooking/spice market, the sunset cocktail cruise and the Jungle Dinner did not have the same quality as the rest of the itinerary.

When the girls returned home and Joan and I were to make our way to Zambia for the homestay with my “adopted” son and family.  We found the arrangements were letter perfect.  It was a day of many rides, van, safari buggy, “john” boat, and plane.  All three guides met us on time and guided us thru the passport checking or visa purchasing.  We made all connections and had a most wonderful time with our Zambian family, meeting and getting to see a more “people oriented” side of Africa.  It was a perfectly balanced trip.

On behalf of Kristen and Gaelen, I want to thank you for the months of preparation in making this an adventure of a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Kate VanNoorden Zerner, Jul 2018

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