Susan Portnoy, Senior Executive Director of Corporate Communication at Conde Nast, recently started uploading her photos from a recent trip to Tanzania, and I was impressed to say the least. The set that she has uploaded are pretty incredible, and her ability to seemingly put the viewer right into the action is uncanny. My favorite [...]
Our newest video of the week, and first of 2011, is an old one but a classic nonetheless; and if you haven’t seen it, you must have been living under a rock for the past year. This is one of the most watched and well-known safari videos making its rounds on the internet. It features [...]
Is there anything better than a baby animal being rescued? Yes, when that same baby animal is rescued by other animals! Our video of choice this week features another incredible rescue operation caught on tape by a lucky safari-goer. A baby elephant gets stuck while stopping for a drink at a watering hole. Cue mama [...]
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Hello Friends!! Well, we have been back for a while now, and I have just finished cleaning up after the second set of guests since arriving home. And the boys have finally forwarded their pictures to us. So I am finally taking some time to reflect on our wonderful two weeks in Africa. Let me begin by saying thank you, thank you. The trip you planned for us was amazing. We saw so much, and there are so many of these experiences that are imprinted on my soul. In reflecting back, our time in the Kalahari was probably our favorite. Everything about that camp was amazing - the food, the guides, Michael and Cam (managers) and especially the meerkats!! One of my favorite memories is my son Jesse laying on the ground with a meerkat on his arm and another, pregnant, meerkat standing in the curl of his body. The bush tribe were great too - they were as curious about us as we were about them. We had a great time at the delta too. The floating lodge was good, but by that time, I think that we were just exhausted. The next time you plan a trip for us, remind me to keep it to 10 days, ok? The kids will probably fill you in on the first week of our trip, but it was truly amazing. Lou and I officiated a western wedding, helped to negotiate a lebollah (dowry) danced and sang african songs - what an experience! While I know you were puzzled Jeff about why they scheduled the first few days at Tau in the Madikwe, it had its charms. A great place to schedule a destination wedding. The staff were lovely, and they went way out of their way for us. We saw lots of animals there, and the accommodations were very comfortable. The food was good, and they even had a disco dance floor. Camille - I just have to say that all of the transfers were spot on. Lou was amazed that we didn't wait more than a few minutes for anything. You guys hit a home run, and I'll be happy to recommend you at any time!! Thank you again from the Loosbrocks!!
Hi, Johannesburg: the spa day at M'Mangwanani; totally relaxing and excellent way to prepare for trip after long journey to South Africa. Zambia: Zambezi River Islands of Siankaba; loved the accommodation( Bob was uncomfortable with the swinging bridge, I liked it); the cuisine was probably the best we had anywhere throughout our trip. Dinner was served for us under the stars with delightful artistic touches from our waiter. The rhinoceros walking safari allowed us to see all eight of the rhinos. Bob enjoyed chatting with our guide. This walking safari was one of his highlights. The swim in "devil's pool" was a great experience. I have already documented the unfortunate behavior of our guide who was compelled by one of our group to "dump" the rest of us. This tourist works in Lesotho, is from Europe, has done this swim before but wanted a private tour and refused to leave the pool when the next group of tourists w guide arrived. Ultimately we asked a different guide if we could leave. Our guide was giving a private tour of the falls to the demanding tourist. Botswana: everyone said we would love it and we did. The camp was wonderful; the food very good with good variety and well prepared. The staff was so pleasant. Our guide was amazing finding many opportunities to enjoy animals. Bob enjoyed it but ultimately felt we had been on safari in Tanzania and did not need to repeat the game drives. The walking in Zambia he enjoyed. Victoria Falls leaves me wanting to return at a different season to view it again. Zimbabwe: the Hide was an unusual camp. My biggest concern was the night we lost power. I wondered how they would manage our wake-up coffee. Answer: they put another log on the fire. We saw honey badgers and bush babies. The people of Zimbabwe are very interesting to meet. Cape Town: we disappointed David, "that is your luggage"? Despite his initial disappointment we did enjoy our tours and chats with him. Either we did not have enough time in Cape Town or the weather was less than cooperative, I do not have a strong impression. Table Mountain was very foggy, the Cape much the same, Kirstenbosch closed greenhouse early. Probably needed more time and better weather. High tea was wonderful at Nelson Hotel and our accommodations at Four Rosmead excellent. Grootbos: very relaxing place, beautiful accommodations, too bad it rained so much though that fact did allow us to see the whales cavorting which they did not do when it was sunny. Going to southern most point was important, our guide excellent, and we found orchids, Satyrium carneum, orchid along road to Agulhus, blooming along the side of the road. Riding, a horse, into the hills was special for me. The hikes were interesting. Again, weather and time precluded our enjoying more of these activities. Wine country and penguins: excellent. We do enjoy our penguins. We did enjoy the wine especially at our first stop. Lise, thank you for all the champagne which helped this anniversary trip celebration. The people we met throughout our trip were a pleasure. Many of the guides have led interesting lives. It was our privilege to meet them. The staff of each accommodation were pleasant, helpful, made our trip special. Wake-up coffee is my favorite. Bob enjoyed meeting people and the walking at Grootbos and in Zambia. He definitely looked very relaxed and happy at the day spa in Johannesburg. What was best for me? Probably the very nice people we met throughout the trip. Showering under the Milky Way in Zimbabwe; dinner under the stars at Islands of Siankaba; meals enjoyed outdoors; swimming at Victoria Falls; Grootbos; coffee in the morning! Thank you, Lise, for all the special arrangements. Thank you, Jeff.
Dear Jeff and Camille – So nice to get your holiday greeting and bad me for not ever writing “officially” to thank you both for the most amazing experience of my life – Simbambili and my safari experience. Your nose and ears must have been itching dozens upon dozens of times as I’ve recounted my adventure to friends and family and colleagues – and most recently, in our holiday letter. It still seems a bit like a dream…Funny, people have said things like, “Wow, now you can check that off your bucket list.” And I always reply, “Check it off?! Now I just want to go on safari again and again!” My time at Simbambili was life changing and life enhancing and there’s something about Africa that seems to have gotten under my skin. Guess that happens doesn’t it? Endless thanks to you both for helping to make my childhood dream come true! You guys rock! Happy holidays and all good things to you in the New Year ahead! Warmly, Melissa
Dear Jeffrey, Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me plan probably the best trip of my life. You and Liesle helped me look like a pro in the eyes of my family! Everything went smoothly. There are so many highlights. I'd like to list just a few. We all fell in love with Charlie. He was the perfect fit for our family. The kids were still talking about him days later when we were on safari. We also really enjoyed our driver/ guide at Savuti. (Richard) He was really informative. We also felt very safe with him. I really felt like we were in the wilds while we were there. We were not as enamored with our guide at Chiefs but really enjoyed the rest of the staff. There was a couple there studying the plant life. Since I love to garden I tagged along with them one session instead of going on a drive to see the animals. I finally swallowed my fear of Class V rapids and decided to go rafting. It was so much fun. The hard part was walking/crawling my way down the hill/ mountain. I was very shaken by the time I got to the bottom. JIm gave me about two seconds to gather my wits and then he threw me in the raft. Believe me when I say there's no way I would be able to hike back out. My thighs hurt for three days. One guide was nice enough to help me down. Again our guide was great fun and we felt very secure with him. The other raft lost people after the first set of rapids. There's nothing like going with your family and spending a great deal of time with them without the interruptions of cell phones, TV. and computers and discovering you still like them at the end of your trip. All kidding aside everyone had a great time. They'll already dreaming up the next big trip. Lori
Ilze, I’ll let Caty add on, but in a word the trip was outstanding! The place you got for us at De Waterkant was great – lots of character and an excellent location. The experience at Shamwari was also superb! We had great service, an outstanding ranger, and excellent accommodations. We’ll send you some pictures soon – I’m now trying to wade through them – I took almost 500! Thanks for all you help on the trip! Regards, Larry