Southern Africa

CLIENTS TRIP REPORTS SOUTHERN AFRICA – SEP-NOV 2018

Exploration of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Hi AAC,

Thanks for another wonderful trip, the 4th that I have done through you.  Everything was wonderful.  I’ll try to add some specifics.

Three different stays at the Southern Sun in Johannesburg.  They were all excellent.  Very nice people, good food, the shuttle was excellent. The Apartheid Museum is a MUST see!

Singita Lebombo was terrific.  Great guide and tracker.  The food was great.  Lots of critters.

Duba Explorers was very good. Had a chance to fly fish with the concession manager on his day off, caught tiger fish as planned.  Excellent critter viewing…

Qorokwe…excellent.  These “tents” are actually quite elaborate.  Great views from the room…

Qorokwe Camp

Singita Pamushana…what can one say about something that is perfect.  I thought it was perfect before the extensive renovations, but it is even better now.  Two new villas and I stayed in one of them.  Of course everyone was great—Mark, Emily, Valerie, Jayson, Mavuto and, certainly Sifundo Ncube who is fabulous.  Great game viewing.  Fly fished on the “dam” (caught tigers which I guess had not been done there on a fly before) and on the river… My third visit there.  They welcomed me “home.”  VERY nice.

Again, thanks for everything.

Until next time,

Tom Schenkenberg, Nov 2018

 

The Best of Southern Africa including Cape Town, Private Game Reserve, Victoria Falls and Chobe

Hello Elena,

We really enjoyed our safari experience – everything was wonderful and so well organized.  Our guide Lucia in Cape Town was so delightful and full of great information and she suggested a visit to the Heart Museum which we found fascinating – you should put that on your list of things to see in Cape Town!  The Radisson was a super spot to discover Cape Town.

Lion Sands was superb – the ambience, game drives, food, lodges were top notch.  Miranda and the team and the guides we had Quinton and Noel were amazing.  Hazyview was a nice stopover to transition over to Victoria Falls and the drive was interesting to the airport.  Victoria Falls was superb – hotel and surroundings were lovely.  Our guide Cynthia;  again full of knowledge and willing to take time to take photos and explain and move a little slower due to Herbs knee..  Then we moved on to Zambia and transferred to Ngoma Lodge. It was a different experience but one that we enjoyed.  Roxanne and Wesley were super hosts and we were able to experience a different kind of stay from Lion Sands.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed it and we thank you so much for your attention to every small detail – it made the trip very easy and we have some great memories.   I love Africa and the people…I would love to do another one and will start to just look (for now)!  I have shared lots of stories and pics with friends and I have a feeling you will be getting some inquiries from some of our FTL friends for 2019 or 2020.

Thank you to the whole team for a wonderful experience!

Wendy, Andrea & Herb Cox, Oct 2018  

 

Safari to South Africa and Botswana, including Specialist Guide Brooks Kamanakao

Hi Szilvia,

Our trip was FANTASTIC!  All the flights and transfers went smoothly and everything worked just like it should.

Rattray’s was beautiful and even though it was very fancy it retained a casual relaxed feel which we like.  Garry was our guide.  He was excellent.  We were lucky enough to have him to ourselves for two drives and then shared with another couple.  They were ok but one sure does get spoiled with a private vehicle!!

Not that it was our goal, but we saw the Big Five on the first day.  The rhino was far away in the dry riverbed and we saw him from the deck.  We also saw a male sable near him.  At the time we didn’t know how rare they were there.   A few days later we saw a number of females quite close.  Or at least as close as they would let us get.  They were quite shy.

In total we saw ten white rhino.  One day when we were looking at birds we spotted one rhino in the distance crossing an open sandy area and along came two more and a baby.  Coming home one night in the dark we happened upon one very close.  Another morning we were able to closely approach one…

Lots of lions and cubs.  Very close and out in the open.  It was great…Nice leopard sightings in trees.

Rattray’s celebrates birthdays if you are there the month of your birthday so they gave me an early birthday cake!

Then off to Botswana we went and met our guide.  BROOKS!!!!  What can you say!!??  There are not enough superlatives to describe him.  He is brilliant.  If there is anything he does not know about the bush, the animals or birds, their habits, any road in any camp, any particular animal or group of animals in any particular camp, or anything else I can think of, we have not found it.  He is passionate.  He is modest.  Consequently it took us a little while to ascertain just HOW good, famous, and incredible he is.  We were told by a guide in one camp ‘Brooks is one of the best guides in the country.’…I can’t BELIEVE what he can see.  While driving.  We love his laugh.  There are two versions.  A giggle.  And a ‘Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!’ laugh.  It makes you laugh just to hear him laugh.  He is also an incredible and giving human being.  Helping kids and everything else.  We always were the first people to leave breakfast and the first people to leave tea.  Off we went in the vehicle.  We were usually the last vehicle to return too.  We usually didn’t stop for sundowners because we’d all rather keep looking or watching what we had found.  He is just the BEST!!!!!!!!  Thank you!!…

Our last drive at Chitabe Lediba did not disappoint.  We hit the road about 5:40am.  We found the cheetah and three cubs.  They had been elusive thus far…They tucked in under a tree and we were struggling to take shots.  Brooks ALWAYS looking around said ‘you want to stay with the cheetahs or do you want to go see the leopard?’  WHAT LEOPARD??  Eagle eyes himself spotted the ears across the grass clearing next to a termite mound.  It would generally be unheard of for a leopard to be this close to cheetah at the same time but this particular leopard has the nasty habit of stealing food from this cheetah family.  We went for a beautiful sighting of the leopard.  We followed him to a tree to catch the climb but he kept walking.  Then he walked past another tree and took us all by surprise and shot up it before we could get ready.

Brooks’ count is 6 leopards.  37 lions.  And 4 Cheetah.  No cheating.  These are different individuals.  Not bad, huh?

It was a FANTASTIC trip.  Thanks a million.  Brooks is too good to be true.

Helen Reinhardt, Oct 2018

 

Safari to South Africa’s Private Game Reserve near Kruger and Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Hi Mark – Elaine and I are back from our safari and wanted to thank you and your team for putting together such a magnificent trip.

Everything went off as planned and we could not have been happier with the arrangements you made for us.  All of the people looking after us along the way were absolutely fabulous.

We will certainly keep The Africa Adventure Company in mind should we decide to “safari” again and will recommend you highly when asked who put our trip together.

Take good care and best regards,

Lenny and Elaine Roberts, Oct 2018

 

Adventure to Madagascar including Andasibe-Mantadia, Berenty and Nosy Be

Dear Elena,

Thank you so much for all your support in arranging this adventure for us – we really loved it! It was planned exactly as I requested and the logistics were flawless. We saw a ton of wildlife (perhaps 12 lemur species, lots of reptiles, huge sea turtles, etc.) and had a fabulous day fishing in Nosy Be – the best fishing experience ever as we hooked 2 sailfish (2.5m) and about 12 other varied large fish…

I am incredibly grateful for all of your planning and support. We really had a great trip and it was exactly as I had hoped.

Thank you!

Dawn and Mike Spina, Oct 2018

P.S. This is our 3rd and likely last trip to Africa (all through AAC). I continue to refer your company to all that ask as I couldn’t be happier – You, Kyle and the entire staff are awesome. We will plan to do some travel in Asia before we get too old for these long plane rides 😊. Should that change, I will be reaching out again for sure.

 

Private Safari to Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park

Dear Mark and Staff,

Thank you so much for a wonderful trip to Africa. You planned a marvelous trip for us. The guides, Hillary and Henry, were outstanding as promised. You seem to have thought of every detail to make our trip so positive and memorable. It was a dream come true for us and we are deeply grateful for all the work you put into the trip.

Regards,

Walter and Donna Beam, Sep 2018

 

South Africa Wing Safari to the Phinda Reserve and Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve plus visit to Livingstone, Zambia

Thank you for planning a perfect safari!

Phinda was as wonderful as we remembered. The property has had a makeover and is beautiful. We had a brilliant ranger/Warren and tracker/Siopho. They were relentless in every drive. We saw the Big Five and probably the favorite drive was the evening we finally found the big male lion and he roared within 5 feet of our landcruiser.  An other favorite was spending a half hour with a cheetah and her 4 playful cubs.

Jocks was also a good choice. We had an excellent ranger/Micah. Our first drive brought us to a river bed with a pride of 10 lions, 2 males, 2 females and 6 cubs. We were the only land cruiser at this site for a half hour. Our last drive he found a leopard with its prey in a tree. We were the only vehicle here and had an excellent viewing. Returning to camp after dark we encountered a pack of spotted hyena.

Chunduka River Lodge in Livingstone is a beautiful property and the owners and staff are very warm. The tree hut open to the Zambezi River is a wonderful experience and the food is fantastic. Of course Victoria Falls is the highlight of our trip to Livingstone.

Thank you again,

Marie Clifford, Sep 2018

 

Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari with Specialist Guide Brooks Kamanakao

Yes, it was fantastic!  Our 5th trip to Africa and best ever!!!  Every detail was seamlessly planned and executed, no hiccups along the way.  The accommodations were absolutely fabulous and our guides Josh (Sabi Sands) and Brooks (Botswana) were truly amazing!  I’m already itching to go back.  We’re even talking about bringing our whole family…21 of us!…on a safari in a few years when the grandchildren are a little older.  That would truly be a dream vacation, sharing Africa with those we love most!

I am still in the process of going through my thousands of photos of amazing sightings…and plan to enter a few in your photo competition when I get through them all.

THANK YOU for connecting us with Brooks…we’ve always had great guides on safari, but Brooks is THE BEST we have ever had!!!  We definitely want him again on our next adventure trip!

Fantastic job, all the way around!  I’ve already handed your business card to a couple of people…we will definitely use AAC again!

Until later….

Terry Gray, Sep 2018

 

Repeat Safari to MalaMala Game Reserve and Visit to Cape Town

Hi Guys,

Yes we’re back….and now the fun starts as I try to process many many thousands of photos. Lots and lots of leopards including the 3 little 5 week old cubs we were lucky to see on two occasions. Some quite special sightings of rhino as well as some tiny lion cubs. All in all it was a wonderful trip albeit with a hiccup or two.

I love being met at the airport and ushered through passport control without having to wait on a long queue. It is a perk that I’m sure goes unnoticed but not by me. Fortunately, the lines appear to be shorter as they’ve stopped attempting to fingerprint everyone. We passed the hours between our arrival in Johannesburg and the flight to Skukuza in the new Aspire Lounge which was fabulous.

We arrived at MalaMala and was greeted by our guide who seemed pleasant enough and drove us the 35 or 40 minutes to camp. Our kaya at Rattray’s was beautiful with a great view overlooking the aptly named Sand River. We had daily visits from nyala, giraffe, elephants, rhino and also an occasional lion or three.

We were fortunate to see and photograph many leopards, cheetah, wild dog, lions, rhinos, eles and all the antelope species including a large herd of sable.

Meals were wonderful and they took great care of us and handled our various dietary issues perfectly including making venison for me only one night….quite special. And of course, singing Happy Birthday and making a gluten free cake were unexpected surprises (thanks for giving them the heads’ up….or maybe not as I’m not big on being the center of attention J)

The staff at MalaMala is truly extraordinary, from Johan to Hannah to Trevor and all the housekeeping and restaurant people.

I can’t wait to go back….thanks again for making the trip a raging success!

Best,

Eric Gurwin, Sep 2018

 

Honeymoon Safari to South Africa and Mozambique

Hi Jessica!

My husband and I want to say a huge THANK YOU for everything you did for us to make our honeymoon/one year anniversary trip to Africa so special. Everything from our airport pick-up to the activities you planned in Cape Town then of course to the safari and Benguerra Island was nothing but top par. Coming from someone who always plans our travel I appreciate all the small details and you listening to our interests to craft a trip specific to us! Everyone we met (from our driver in Cape Town, Lazarus to the folks at Lion Sands) spoke highly about Africa Adventure Company and I can see why! My husband and I are already trying to find a time to make it back to Africa- and everyone who asks us about our trip we will send your way!

Thank you again for the wonderful memories!

Anna & Russell Ingram, Sep 2018

 

The Best of Southern Africa including Cape Town, Sabi Sand and the Okavango Delta

 Good Afternoon Lynne,

Oh Yes, my Africa Adventure was more than I expected. It was amazing! I loved all of it from Cape Town, a wonderful urban city with interesting history, sights and fine food, to our fantastic visit to Sabi Sands and Kirkman’s Kamp, Victoria Falls and off to the Delta at Camp Moremi.  The sights, the sounds, the culture all filled me with gratitude and joy. Memories will remain with me for my lifetime.

The moment I was wheeled off the plane in Johannesburg seeing a sign with my name on it I felt a sense of security. All the transfers and our guides were on time and well informed. Andrew Brink in Cape Town provided for us well. He was thoughtful, suggesting he sign us up to use the motorized tour of the Kirstenbosh Gardens enabling us to see twice as much than walking. A great idea! His personal insights into many things were eye-opening. One was his story of how the houses became so colorful in the Muslim district of the city.

Kirkman’s Kamp was the best. The quality of the accommodations, the hospitality of the staff, the food, the knowledge of our guide Josh and tracker, Vuzi … all tops. We had a great group of folks in our vehicle making the game drives fun. We saw the Big 5 at least two times while there, including a total rhino family – mamma, papa and baby.

Cynthia, our guide at Victoria Falls was very patient with me. She offered me a wheelchair but I declined. I desired to take my time and walk the Falls experiencing all the majesty of this wonder of the world. Slowly and carefully I did it. Our accommodations in Victoria Falls at Batonka were excellent. The manager was quick to see that walking uneven terrain may be a problem for me. I was assigned the room off a ramp with a bannister close to the lobby and dining area. Good of him to notice. The sunset cruise was a fun way to relax and prepare for the next steps of our journey.

Camp Moremi was indeed a “glamping” destination. The tents were incredible. I can hardly call them tents. The staff beyond hospitable and caring. KT our guide, was thoughtful and helped me to make the most of the experience. I got used to riding shotgun in the vehicles.

As a person who grew up on the water, the afternoon boat – rides on the delta where a plus. Seeing the different environments of desert and delta in juxtaposition to each other was eye-opening. Elephants splashing each other and crossing the channels was a lovely sight. Sundown cocktails with the hippos, who knew?

I am a person obsessed with planes so I was thrilled to fly off dirt air strips with very competent pilots.

…Africa Adventure did a marvelous job in preparing this Adventure for Naomi and me. Thank you, Lynn for all you did. I suspect my daughter and son-in-law would really enjoy a safari. If they find time to go, I will recommend Africa Adventure Company as the right one to use.

Peggy Muncie, Sep 2018

 

Big Five Adventure to Southern Africa

Dear Ian:

I want to thank you and all your colleagues at Africa Adventure for planning an exceptional tour for us. Everything was perfect!!  The safari camps were exceptional. We got to see all the Big Five at our first camp, MalaMala. Our tour guides were all very knowledgeable and would highly recommend them all. My husband and I couldn’t be any happier with all the great experiences on our vacation. We will be sure to recommend your company to anyone wishing to visit Africa. I hope to return someday and will be sure to contact you again for a wonderful trip.

Again thank you for a great, great job.

Marlene Patino, Sep 2018

 

Flying Safari to Botswana’s Linyanti and Okavango Delta and South Africa’s Garden Route

Hey Lynne,

Our trip was great.  I am probably not as big a fan of Capetown than a lot of people are, but I am glad we went.  The scenery around Cape Town however is quite spectacular.  I guess we also didn’t realize  that it can be quite chilly there and that it rains quite a bit in the beginning of September.  I think my favorite thing was the hike up Lion’s head.  It was a bit surprising that the last third of the hike was quite steep and very narrow but I am very glad I did it.

Both Larry and I LOVED the penguin colonies in Boulder’s bay and then again in Betty’s Bay near Hermanus. We both loved Hermanus and we were absolutely amazed how well you could observe the whales from the shore.  We even saw a white whale calf!

The place where we stayed in Hermanus (Auberge Burgundy) was probably our favorite place.  We stumbled upon a restaurant that had just opened, called “The Wine Glass” , it literally opened 8 days before we got there.  It seems that we were the only tourists there and we met everybody : the manager, the owner, the cook…. anyway, we came in as strangers and we left as family…

We absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED our 6 nights in Botswana.  We had amazing sightings, 2 packs of wild dogs, one pack (in DumaTau) had 4 adults and 12 puppies.  Unfortunately, while we were there, one of the adults was killed while chasing an impala.  The impala jumped in the water, one crocodile got the impala and another crocodile got the dog.  It happened in our camp and I was just as happy I was not there when it happened…..

We saw leopards, a cheetah with two cubs, two prides of lions, one if which was very active every times we saw them and 3 big males who hung out together.  Elephants of all sizes (coming through our camp at Vumbura Plains one afternoon so they were RIGHT there), giraffe, warthogs and amazing birds.

Both our guides, Rogers at DumaTau and Willy at Vumbura Plains were great, very knowledgeable and accommodating!

I want to give a special mention to Johan and Anneri, the managers of DumaTau.  They make a very big effort in everybody feeling welcomed, comfortable and they work very hard at creating a little “family” while you are there!  They insist on the staff knowing the names of the guests but they also try to make sure that the staff is treated with respect and encourage the guests to know the names of the staff as well.  I would go back to DumaTau in a heartbeat because I thought the effort by the managers made the place very special…

In general, I cannot get over how well Wilderness Safaris runs…it really is like a well oiled machine and everything seems to be effortless!  I kept saying to Larry that I would like to go back sometime and get a look behind the scenes to be able to appreciate better how much work and effort it takes to make it all look so easy.

Thank you again for organizing this for us.  I am sure it will not take 9 years before we go back.  We would love to see the gorillas sometime but whenever we go back to Africa, there will always be a little jaunt to Botswana I think.

Lief Sannen, Sep 2018

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