Tanda Tula Safari Camp is the first in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve to offer overnight walking safaris, an incredibly unique experience. Itineraries are individually tailored to suit guests’ requirements. A 4 night package is generally recommended, with 2 nights at the base Tanda Tula Safari Camp and 2 nights in the bush at the remote Machaton Hide. All the [...]
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By Vanessa Ratcliffe on January 10, 2011 in Africa, African Safaris, family safari, private safari, South Africa, walking safari
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Hi Liesl, Yes, everything went smoothly with the transfer and we are home safe! Overall, the trip was lovely. As expected, our favorite places to stay were the small tented camps, and both had their own special qualities. The Kichche mangers and staff were especially wonderful and the food there was some of the best I've had anywhere in the world (and I'm an annoyingly picky eater). Lemala was so impressive and we had an enchanting evening around the fire hearing stories about the bush and old Africa from an owner and one of his friends who happened to be there. We were pleased and we thought you'd like to know that when we first arrived, after the mix-up with the guide, the manager (Mark) assured us that although we didn't have a game package, they would make sure we were accommodated if the guide never arrived and he got on the phone right away to try to help sort it out. As you explained, Soroi was an important stop on the trip and a great location for game viewing, though we missed the small personal touches of the tented camps. We had heard great things about Exploreans from friends and we agreed that it was a wonderful spot and offered many welcomed perks after so many days in the truck. The the beach at La Gemma was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time exploring Stone Town. The Palacina was fantastic and very accommodating. As far as game, we saw everything we could have hopped to (all the big 5, 2 major crossings, and lots of big cats) and our guides throughout the trip were incredible and, of course, a major reason we had the wonderful experiences we did. At Kicheche we were with a man named Jonathan who was top notch at his work and a lovely person. We felt the same about the private guide you arranged, David, who was also exceptional. He was very knowledgable, professional and, honestly, a joy to be around for so many days. Thanks for your work preparing the trip we dreamed of and, importantly, always being available to receive our questions and concerns. It did not go unnoticed that you answered every phone call and were immediately proactive. Overall, we are officially in love with East Africa and hope to return again very soon. Cheers, Eleni and Nick
Hi Liesl, I'm in London waiting for my flight back to the ice and snow, and I have to be honest - everywhere you booked us was absolutely beyond amazing! Plettenberg Bay (Starfish), the Garden Route farm (Malvern Manor) and especially Nottens were fantastic and great value. In 2008 my profession had a World Congress in Cape Town and I was accompanied by 12 North Americans. The trip was great, BUT I needed to find a better travel agent. YOU GUYS passed with flying colours! Will keep in touch, Vic
Hey Sarah, Kari and I just got back from the safari and beach honeymoon that you prepared for us. We could not be happier how the trip turned out. Everything went smoothly and effortless. All the lodges you picked for us exceeded our expectations. We were so impressed and amazed at each of our locations, just can't say enough. All the staff at each place were also just great. We can't even pick a favorite because they all were so unique and wonderful in their own way. A couple of the places had bottles of wine and flowers waiting for us upon arrival, so nice. We thank you personally for this Sarah. We felt so special upon arrival at every location. Our guide that you guys picked for us could not have been better. Jim was so knowledgeable and professional. He was like our own personal teacher for the trip. We asked so many questions and he knew everything and more. Jim not only knows all the animals and cultural aspects of Tanzania, but he also know his birds very well, which made my trip so much better because I am a bird enthusiast and Tanzania's birding was just incredible. He was such a laid back and nice person. We are so happy that we got to spend our time on safari with such a great individual. We truly missed him once we left for Zanzibar. He could not have fit our personalities better. As far as the safari goes we also could not have been more pleased. We saw every animal that we had hoped to encounter. Kari and I both had two animals that were tops on our list, these were the leopard and rhino. Both of which we got to see. So incredible!! We also got to see a cheetah, which I guess can be very difficult to find. A couple other favorites were the Serval cat and the pack of wild dogs that we found in the Serengeti. We felt very lucky to have been able to see the hunting dogs as they are extremely rare and nearly extinct. Our guide said he hasn't seen them in 15 years in the Serengeti! So he was as excited as us to witness them, he believes they may be the only pack in the Serengeti area. Pretty amazing to be able to find them in such a vast area. Of course we saw an abundance of all the other animals you would hope to see on a safari in Africa. Lots of lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, wildebeests and so much more! The ending in Zanzibar was a perfect way to end the trip. Diamonds resort was a great place. We loved the beach and the weather could not have been better. We took a tour of Stone town and a spice tour, which was really fun. The rest of the time we relaxed, had some great walks on the beach and ate way too much great food and drinks. Once again thank you so much for the trip of a lifetime. We both agreed this was the best trip either of us had ever had. Best wishes, Jake
Hi Ilze- Nicole and I are back in the US and wanted to thank you again for all the help that you gave us to make our trip truly fantastic! We're happy to give you some feedback on some places that stood out to us, as well as some learnings for future travelers. I'll also try to address your questions in the respective sections. Below is a quick summary: South Africa
- Cape Town accommodations were fine. Nothing "special" but we knew that going in. It was very comfortable, clean and convenient.
- The lodge in Franschhoek was really nice.
- The Elephant Lodge was a really nice location. Very unique and charming.
- You definitely warned us about the distance between all locations - we probably should of listened. While it was great to see the towns that we did, it was often after a long day of driving only to have to leave again first thing in the morning.
- All in all, the locations and lodges were all lovely in S. Africa.Mozambique
- Everything was amazing! LOVED Islands of Siankaba.
- We've already given feedback here. It was an amazing island. Beautiful, tranquil, etc.
- The Banguerra Lodge had a lot of potential. It was beautiful, the food was good.
Overall Feedback Aside from the above, we were very very happy with all the other elements of our trip (food, boarding, activities, transfers). That said, we thought we’d summarize some things that may have made our trip a bit more seamless so that you can pass along to future customers. Looking forward to connecting at your convenience. Thanks again for your help in planning a truly amazing, life changing trip. I hope the feedback above is helpful, and in the context that it was intended - which is that all in all, we are VERY happy. Have a great day. Colby
- We really loved the Stanley.
- Travel time between parks.
Good morning, Yes, we are back and had a wonderful vacation! I'll give you our honest feedback. We just loved Kirkman's Kamp. In truth we actually saw more animals just driving in our rental car through Kruger National Park ourselves, but the experience of the drive was awesome. For example, we saw a leopard eating it's impala kill and had the ability to sit under it in our land rover for about 45 minutes while a hyena was nearby. This is something we wouldn't have seen on our own car drive. The staff there gave us first class treatment - with greeting us as we arrived and giving us fresh moist towels to clean up with. For the game drive, we loved the touch of having hot water bottles and blankets to keep us warm! They wound up giving us two game drives (we thought there was just one evening one and a walk). The food there was excellent and the room/accommodations superb. Everyone needs an escort to their room as animals can be everywhere. In fact, they said the night before a lion chased an impala through their camp! Too bad we couldn't have afforded another night because we might have been able to spot the only animal of the big five we never got to see, the lion. Riley's Rock was unique. My sister was disappointed with it initially feeling it was too 'rustic', but the rest of us really loved the look and 'feel' of it. She wound up coming around to really loving it - who wouldn't with all the dinners under the stars around a fire? We were blessed with having our first dinner with Ted Riley himself. Apparently he had guests that were in for some important conservation business and it allowed for some very serious and interesting dinner conversation with all of us...a great and memorable experience. Interestingly, they asked about how we booked their hotel and we told them about you (and they were quite grateful). How had you heard about them? We also loved the Swaziland excursions we took through Swazi-Travel. Kosi-Forest Lodge though beautiful, was probably our least favorite. The place was truly lovely yet simplistic. We loved the look of the tiki torches around so we can find our room at night. It would be a much better place to stay in the spring or summer as it was too cold to go snorkeling. It was also more geared for honeymoon couples. The food was tasty and it's presentation very nice. Thula Thula was nice, though disappointing for game viewing. If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed one day there (just because my wife read the book), and two days at a big game reserve hotel. They don't have the big 5 there - and really the main thing to see is their signature elephants, which are breathtaking. The tracker and driver were magnificent, but they excelled more on the bush walks. We only got to see elephants and rhino there...they have no lions and in 3 game drives we never saw buffalo or leopard either. In fact they hadn't seen a leopard since last December. The tented accommodations were nicer, in our opinion, then Kosi-Forest Lodge. They were bigger. Both had family tents, which might have been preferred for us - if less expensive. The meals were good and we especially liked that there was a game meat option each day. We wound up downloading the South Africa map for our GPS and we are glad we did. While it wasn't perfect, it did fill in missing spots when using the directions provided. The GPS did wind up giving us totally wrong directions to Thula Thula though. Looking back, it would have been better doing the trip in reverse...as it is hard to top seeing so many animals (Kruger and Kirkman's Kamp). Again, thank you so much for organizing the trip for us - it was really a once in a lifetime experience and our whole family has memories that won't be forgotten! P.S. - your telephone call to us at Kosi Bay was a wonderful touch and much appreciated. The Toro family