CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS SOUTHERN AFRICA – OCT-DEC 2019
Flying Safari to South Africa and Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls
thanks so much for the welcome home note! Out trip exceeded all expectations and was enriching on so many levels. Some highlights for us…
Tanda Tula Safari Camp in Timbavati: simply amazing! the attention to detail was notable and nothing was overlooked, THE FOOD (local ingredients, healthy preparation, wake up coffee brought to our tent, bush breakfast after morning game drive, afternoon tea before game drive, a special anniversary meal and champagne, a last night very special sundowner experience for our truck of 6), Our hosts, Britt and Luke and the entire staff. Luke Sweet was our guide and had deep knowledge about every living thing as well as conservation. He took the time to explain to our group everything we were seeing and how the bush ecosystem survived and thrived. He is also a professional photographer and provided guidance on the best shots. They even accommodated a shorter game drive for us on our last morning which was a bonus as we saw a lion kill. And to top it off they sent us off with a boxed breakfast. Tanda Tula is opening another lodge in 2020 and Luke and Britt will be managing. It is definitely a return spot for us.
Victoria Falls: what a stunning place! Our guide, Precious, was a wealth of information…not only about the falls, but the politics of Zimbabwe. We had fun haggling and trading with the shop vendors in the market. For visitors who have an appetite for that experience, its good to bring along items to trade (t-shirts, water bottles, etc); We wanted an authentic African meal experience and not a restaurant that catered to American/British palates. We were fortunate enough to learn about “Dusty Road Township Experience” which was a highlight. It was recently opened by a 4th generation Zimbabwean who grew up on a farm outside of Harare. She employs a number of locals who explain local ingredients and food preparation techniques. We also checked out a newish craft brewery and the 3 Monkeys Restaurant – both nice but typically American. The Batonka Guest Lodge was welcoming and comfortable. The pool was refreshing after walking around in 93 degree heat. A highlight for us a visit to the Wildlife Trust (supported by the Lodge and free to guests). We learned about the KAZA collaborative community and government conservation efforts, anti-poaching strategies and the wildlife rehab and research. It was an impressive operation.
Muchenje Safari Lodge: amazing wildlife viewing in terms of scale in Chobe….more animals, beautiful geography, and river to see the hippos, crocs and birdlife up close. Our guide Ali is a local and a true conservationist. He had a great sense of humor. The lodge itself (a classic) was comfortable but a little dated in some aspects, the food was fine but unremarkable… the staff were lovely and attentive but didn’t interact with guests much outside of their assigned duties. Kaddy and Toff were excellent hosts and always saw us off and greeted our return from game drives. They were generous in sharing of their personal experiences and knowledge of the bush. It was nice to have one of them join us at meals. Also very nice to have the guides included at meal times. A highlight for us was the visit to the local Mabele school that they support (including a school bus!). This community tie is admirable. We bought school supplies and had a visit with the head of the school and the kids. We also toured the town and gained insight as to how the Botswanan government supports home ownership and education. For us, this made the trip all the more meaningful.
The logistics: You made it so easy and comfortable! The transfers between countries and lodges were a well-oiled machine. The drivers were also a wealth of knowledge about local issues, customs and wildlife so every ride was an education. The packing list and tipping guidance was much appreciated including doing it in advance! All the amenities you provided! I loved all of it – especially the wildlife book. The duffle bags were great and made for light travel.
We are so happy with our choice to work with the Africa Adventure Company. We realize that most people plan this kind of a trip well in advance. We started a little late and greatly appreciated your flexibility in working with our itinerary. We hope we have more trips to Africa in our future – there is so much more to see and experience. It is a very special place.
We will be happy to share photos once we get organized!
Laurie & Will Mitchell, Nov 2019
Flying safari to South Africa and Botswana including Tswalu and the Okavango Delta
We had the best trip ever!!! I loved every minute of it. I didn’t mind getting up at 4:30 AM, because I knew it was worth it. Your recommendations were perfect.
I will start with the best
1) Tswalu Kalahari Reserve….what is not to love about this place? The experiences were beyond any expectations. I thought they might be joking about 4:30 am, but I did not want to miss a minute! Motse Lodge is luxurious…great food choices, great wine, amazing wildlife views of the watering hole, two pools (we used every day), and outstanding service. We had an awesome guide, Juan and his tracker, Jonnas for our safaris. We felt so fortunate to have a 100% find rate of the wildlife we wanted to see each day. Such an immersive experience as well. So much knowledge of what we were going to do, and the thrill of tracking it down to see it in action. We had a lovely welcome, as it was my birthday, and had a nice gift for me. My only regret on Tswalu, is that we should have spent an extra day. So much to love here!
2) Ngoma Safari Lodge (Chobe, Botswana) ….We stayed in unit 5. It was perfect. I loved the plunge pool, the views in the distance of wildlife. The room was very nice, and arranged perfectly. Great food, wine, and service. Lots of elephants. Loved it. I really enjoyed the river boat day and seeing the mama elephant crossing the water with her baby. We were so close to several elephants playing in the mud that I had to move in the boat, so as to not get sprayed. We had an elephant crossing to the water hole by us as we ate dinner. So cool
3) Shinde (Okavango Delta, Botswana)….We loved the Okavango Delta wildlife. Great Service. Our guide did a good job. We did see wild dogs going after an Impala. It escaped thru the water. The dogs then found a Reedbuck antelope and it too went thru the water, only to be caught by a crocodile, while the hippos were trying to help it. Amazing experience. We used their pool every day too, which is a nice way to stretch out and refresh. I prefer to have a little more flexibility in eating time. An early rise time, with an 11:30 lunch, makes dinner at 8, later than what I want. Just suggesting that some flexibility on dinner time and choices would be great. I was pleased with our stay.
4) Victoria Falls…..We loved the Victoria Falls Hotel (great food and service), and our guide Precious… Due to the recent drought, the falls are fairly dry, so less impressive than Niagara.. As a waterfall lover, it was disappointing, as it was craggy rocks. I can see that it would be impressive when it had water flowing. I would have taken this day and put it into the Safari.
5) Cape Town (Awesome)…a great way to come back into civilization before the long ride home. We loved the guide, Lucia. She was a perfect match for us. Very informative and flexible to arrange our days to the things we love the most. We toured the Stellenbosch winery region, city tour and some shopping on the rainy day, which was perfect. Loved the Penguin beach, Cape of Good Hope, hiking and her lunch recommendation was awesome plus Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was just lovely. She had great dinner recommendations as well. The third day we were lucky to do Table Mountain. A perfect day to hike and enjoy. A windstorm was predicted to move in around 3. We got up and had all of our hiking done by then. The wind did move in, but not until dinner time. The winds there are impressive. We had a Wharf view for dinner (inside) and watched everything blowing around.
We loved the hotels. All of them. I will say that Johannesburg OR Tambo City Lodge was so easy and convenient. The staff and food there were great. Easy to walk around the mall at the airport get some gelato and shop. It was more than I expected it to be. The Radisson Blu was perfect, of course.
We are so impressed with the job you did, that I want to say thank you. I will certainly let everyone I know and meet what a fabulous job you and AAC did in arranging an unforgettable experience.
Aloise Zuchelli, Nov 2019
Diamond Skies Safari to South Africa
First of all, thank you and your team for arranging our trip. Everything worked exactly as planned. We were met and greeted and escorted and flown and driven easily and exactly on schedule. Just FYI, we had perfect weather throughout–did you order that for us? The only time it really rained was the day we left for home. The trip was exciting and memorable in so many ways. Here is more specific feedback.
At MalaMala Main Camp we had a wonderful and enthusiastic guide, named Lucky–and we felt lucky to be with him. The staff was outstandingly friendly and fun to be around–there was a congenial family atmosphere to the camp. The accommodations were lovely. We are the fortunate recipients of “Big Five” certificates! We saw animals everywhere, including inches from our patio, where we were visited by herds of elephants, giraffes, and too many antelope to count. We felt that three nights there was the perfect length of stay.
In Cape Town, our guide, Lucia, was delightful. We toured with her for three days and she also transported us to and from the airport. What a sweetheart she is. She helped us understand the impact of immigration and the political situation (the recent corruption, the heartbreaking unemployment, how visibly hard it is for the poor to live, etc.). Lucia steered us to excellent restaurants both in the city and at the waterfront. The hotel (the Victoria & Alfred) was more than adequate and terrifically located. We were happy to stay there. Our last morning at the V & A happened to be Susan’s (my sister’s) birthday, and the lovely restaurant staff helped us celebrate–the women singing birthday songs with us in English and one of their native languages. I know you will recall that we cancelled one of the guided days in Cape Town, deciding to navigate on our own. We don’t regret that decision. In the morning of that day we took the Free City Walking Tour (where you pay with tips according to what you think the tour is worth.) We’ve done tours with that same outfit in European cities and it provides a different perspective. This guide walked us around for 90 minutes, including through some dicey parts of the city. He was a local who assured us he could keep us safe and he did. Then we shopped a little in the square where the Green Market is. After lunch, back at the V & A, in the afternoon, we took the ferry to Robben Island. When not with Lucia, we got around by Uber–very efficient in Cape Town.
Tswalu in the Kalahari is such a special place. One of those places that makes you (well, me) think about civilization (“and its discontents”) in a somewhat startling way. I felt, after we left, that I was leaving sanity and moving into insanity again. I dreamt of the Tswalu landscape for four nights after we left there, dreaming I was traveling through the scrub and seeing the animals peek at me from the bushes. It is an extraordinary experience and a privilege to be in that small corner of Africa. If the world weren’t so full of places to see, this is the place I would return to. In contrast to MalaMala, the staff was sedate, the whole experience quiet in keeping with the landscape. The women in the restaurant were extraordinarily wonderful and in their quiet way, felt like intimate friends…
To sum up, the trip was practically perfect. A few people so far have asked me, “How was your trip?” and my unequivocal answer is “Fabulous.”
Thank you again for all your help.
Eleanor Bluestein, Oct 2019
Bespoke Wings Over Namibia
Thank you for arranging a wonderful trip to Namibia! We enjoyed all aspects of the trip and were pleased at the flawless transfers provided by Wilderness. The camps were all very nice in different ways. Little Kulala stood out for its outstanding food, professional and welcoming staff, and the star beds where we spent both nights. Damaraland, while a bit less polished, was in a beautiful setting and we enjoyed the ability to go on 2 hikes right from camp as well as the Boma dinners, breakfast on the bluff, and the communal dining which makes for a more congenial atmosphere where it is easy to get to know other guests. Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was also excellent with beautiful accommodations, friendly and fun staff, an interesting presentation from the brown hyena researcher on site, and of course the trip to the Skeleton Coast. Andersson’s Camp had the most beautiful accommodations and common areas of all the camps but having been only open for 6 months or so seems to be suffering from some service lapses in comparison to the others. We did see lots of animals though both on the reserve and in Etosha park.
Thank you again for your assistance.
Jan Carrington & Gary Michel, Oct 2019
Honeymoon Safari to South Africa including Notten’s and Kapama Buffalo Camp
The trip was absolutely amazing! We couldn’t have asked for a better honeymoon! Everything went very smoothly. Thank you so much for making all of the arrangements and all your recommendations during our planning. We will highly recommend Africa Adventure Company to all of our friends and family! We will most likely even go back ourselves!
Thanks again and you will probably hear from us again in the future!
Merima Darrin, Oct 2019
Luxury Getaway Safari to South Africa
Dear Dan and all the folks at AAC,
Wanted to express to you all how much we enjoyed our recent trip to South Africa. Each day for us was a true joy and it seemed that every day was better than the one that came before. We felt so special being treated to extra surprises to celebrate our anniversary, and for first time visitors to Africa, felt very well cared for with not needing to think about a thing.
Our stays at the Cape Grace, Delaire Graff and Rattrays were all suburb. At each spot, the staff was hospitable and attentive without being overbearing. In Cape Town and the Winelands, we very much enjoyed the time with our guide Clive, who was instructive about the history, landscape, wine, and flora. We had many enjoyable conversations with him, and felt he was open to making sure that we were getting what we wanted from our time with him rather than just shuttling us through the regular tourist schedule. He was very aware of trying to keep us ahead of big crowds without making us feel rushed, and it is a testament that everywhere we went, the staff greeted him with genuine warm hellos. The Cape Grace was a beautiful facility and was so close to be able to walk to points of interest on the waterfront. Delaire Graff is unmatched in its beauty, simply stunning in every regard. I could have stayed there forever.
Our experience at MalaMala Rattray’s Camp was beyond expectation, and since we had been anticipating this trip for so long, that is saying something! We had a most excellent guide, Michael Botes, and we were lucky to see the Magnificent 7 (or the MalaMala 7) during our time. The reserve provided excellent viewing, and would highly recommend any of the MalaMala sites given that the guides have the ability to take vehicles off-road unlike in the Kruger. This allowed us to see more animals up close (following a rhino, a pack of cape hunting dogs, visiting a hyena den, leopards mating, lions feeding on a kill) that we would have never seen from the roadside. We loved the adventure of each day, the facilities and the food and drinks were great…not extravagant, but just right, and we loved the small setting that allowed us to get to know folks and share stories (only 16 guests)…
In short, we had an incredible trip. We are already wanting to return knowing that we could have stayed at least an extra day or two everywhere we went.
Thanks so much for such an excellent experience, and for the extra care and touches that helped us feel spoiled and celebrated!
Photos to come!
Kelly Hoover, Oct 2019
The Best of Southern Africa including MalaMala, Victoria Falls and Cape Town
What an experience! A trip of a lifetime….except we want to do another safari! We are hooked.
All the arrangements the Africa Adventure Company made for us were wonderful. It was customized to what we wanted to do, where we wanted to go, what we wanted to experience and when we wanted to go. Awesome. The best part was being able to travel independently, rather than as a part of a group that travels as a “clump” – that is so NOT us.
And all the information, guidance, background material, detailed packing, tipping, country information and specifics on the itinerary (who’s meeting us, when, etc) was incredible. This was the first trip we’ve taken where someone else made all the arrangements (we travel to Europe regularly but know it very well so plan the trips ourselves). And it was wonderful.
We loved the 2 safari camps – small, personal service, great guides and in the heart of the wildlife (especially at MalaMala Main Camp – where a “friendly” elephant kept coming into camp). I think we liked MalaMala better than Chobe (though both were great) because we could go off road to find the wildlife. And the guides knew the animals and their behaviors so well.
The Victoria Falls Hotel was just exactly what we hoped for – it kind of transported us back to a different era. We wished we had more time to just relax there…next trip. We survived the High Wire Adventure – what an experience….and want to go back to Vic Falls when the water is high!
Cape Town was amazing – well, more the area around it as we are not big city people. We loved the peninsula tour and the Winelands – wow (have I said “wow” too much?). We knew there was great wine from that area but didn’t realize how spectacularly beautiful it was.
Our personal guides – Andrew and Precious – were outstanding. Very knowledgeable, not only about the area but also the history. It was very educational for us…
Our next adventure with you – we started talking about doing another safari while still on our trip!…
Again, thank you to everyone involved in our recent safari experience!
Ann and Tom Slaughter, Oct 2019
Ultimate Namibia Group Safari
Just like our safari or visit to Morocco last year, our safari in Namibia exceeded our expectations. It was fabulous, full of unforgettable memories, sights that we thought would never see. Our guide, Vincent, was knowledgeable, helpful, courteous, generous with his time, and who went out of his way to make this safari a very special and thoroughly enjoyable trip. I climbed the sand dune ‘Big Daddy’ in Sossusvlei which would never have been possible without the encouragement of our guide Vincent.
In all, it was a memorable lifetime experience, definitely not to be forgotten! Wow!
Jurgen Sygusch, Oct 2019