African Safaris Consultants Blog » Client Testimonials http://blog.africansafaris.com Fri, 23 May 2014 09:43:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The McClay’s African Adventure http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-mcclays-african-adventure/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-mcclays-african-adventure http://blog.africansafaris.com/the-mcclays-african-adventure/#comments Wed, 30 May 2012 08:17:27 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2762 The team at African Safari Consultants recently received this amazingly positive feedback from the McClays, for whom we’d organised their dream African safari. Donna McClay was kind enough to provide us with some excerpts of her travel diary, which we’ve included below. Enjoy!

After all the months of planning and research, I can honestly say that everything exceeded our expectations and then some!  You both provided us with fantastic guidance and our final itinerary of Cape Town, Botswana and Zambia could not have been more perfect for us and our 2 adult children.  Nothing can quite prepare you for the magic that is Africa.  Here then are the highlights of our trip.

As you know, this trip was planned to coincide with our daughter, Mary, finishing her semester abroad program in South Africa.  We arrived in Johannesburg on May 4th and met up with Mary at the airport.  We spent the night in Johannesburg and left for Cape Town the morning of the 5th.  Charlie, our guide in Cape Town, was just the best!  He deftly arranged for us to see all the highlights Cape Town has to offer in 3 full days.  Our tour of the Cape Peninsula, the Eagle and Cheetah conservation projects in Stellenbosch, and our excursion to Table Mountain were spectacular indeed.  Charlie was even able to find a store in the Cape Quarter for me to buy some of the Cape Malay spices to take home.  Of course, having the opportunity to meet up with Jeff at Beluga our last night in town was a special treat.

Camps Bay © Jeff McClay

Camps Bay © Jeff McClay

 

The morning of the 9th we departed for Botswana via Johannesburg and Maun.  From Maun, we took our bush flight to Savute Safari Lodge in the Chobe National Park where we were met by Gee, our guide during our stay at Savute.  The lodge is just fantastic – our rooms overlooked the watering hole where elephant herds would make regular visits during our stay.  Our hosts, MC and Michelle made sure we had all the comforts of home.  The game drives in Savute were the best viewing we had the entire time on safari.  In the first two days we saw leopard and lions, which according to my daughter, is very lucky indeed!  Gee’s skill at tracking wildlife made the game drives very exciting, and we loved the sundowners out in the field with our safari buddies from the Netherlands.

During our last sundowner, the call came in that lions had been spotted and we literally dropped everything and jumped in the jeep for a wild ride reminiscent of the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland!  Our wildlife sightings also included elephant, zebras, cape buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and warthogs.  After 2 nights, we departed Savute for Camp Moremi in the Okavango Delta (Xaxanaka Lagoon).

 

Zebra  © Jeff McClay

Zebra © Jeff McClay

 

Camp Moremi was a very different environment where we were able to see many avian species on the water (and kept our distance from the hippos!), including a fish eagle who had just scooped up a tilapia and was enjoying his dinner in a tree.  Frank, our guide, was delightful, and even made a necklace for Mary out of a water lily during our afternoon cruise on the lagoon.  We found the elusive wild dogs hanging out under some bushes during one of our game drives.  BK, Hannah and Charity were lovely hosts and we so enjoyed the evening choir concerts before each dinner.  After our 2 nights at Moremi, we left for Leroo La Tau in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.

Our rooms at Leroo La Tau faced the channel where we watched herds of elephant and zebra come down to the water.  We even heard lions roaring during the night.  Juan, Priscilla and Fred were terrific hosts, and arranged a lovely 21st birthday celebration for Mary, complete with birthday cake and candles!  It certainly was a far cry from the standard Las Vegas blowout most of her friends have experienced.  How many college students can say they spent their 21st birthday in Botswana?  Calvin, our guide took us on a tour of his village where we visited a primary school and a clinic.  We brought some school supplies and marveled at the dedication of the teachers and the politeness of the students who greeted us as we walked into their classrooms.  By the end of our week-long safari in Botswana, we had seen everything but rhinos.

Leroo Le Tau © Jeff McClay

Leroo Le Tau © Jeff McClay

 

Our last stop was Zambia and the Isands of Siankaba, located about an hour from Victoria Falls.  Our trip would take us by plane from Leroo La Tau to Kasane, where we were met by a Bushtracks guide who drove us to the Chobe River.  From there we transferred to a boat to cross the river into Zambia, where we were met by another Bushtracks guide who drove us to the lodge.  We were able to experience the African version of Four Corners where the countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet in the middle of the Chobe River, much like the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet in the southwest U.S.

The lodge is located on the Zambezi River and is an idyllic setting located in the treetops and connected by rope bridges and platforms above the river.  Nothing can compare to listening to the sounds of the mighty Zambezi at night as you are falling asleep, including the occasional hippo snort!  What an incredible ending to our vacation.  The lodge is truly 5-star with amazing food and lovely accommodations.  Graham, Brett and Claire and their staff are definitely top notch.  They arranged a lovely birthday celebration for Paul’s 60th birthday.  Matthews took us on a tour of his village which included a stop at the preschool where the children entertained us with songs and imitations of Zambian chameleons!  They were thrilled to line up for happy face stickers which we brought along with more school supplies.

 

Leopard © Jeff McClay

Leopard © Jeff McClay

The highlight of our stay was the trip to Victoria Falls escorted by Lucky, our guide.  He took us on all the trails for the best views of the falls, and gamely carried 5 sets of rain gear for us to put on!  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous listening to Jeff and Mary talk about swimming in Devil’s Pool and white water rafting (both of which were closed, thank goodness!).  When they decided on the zip line across the gorge, I felt my stomach turn as I realized they expected me to do it too!  Well, there was no way I was going to wimp out, and on the video you can hear Jeff say, “I can’t believe she actually did it!”  The falls was truly awe-inspiring and like nothing we’ve ever seen.  We left Zambia on the 18th for our marathon flight home to San Diego.

Jeff and Liesl, every aspect of our trip was spot on – no delays, missed connections, late flights or missing transfer drivers.  We came home with thousands of pictures, some of which I have included here, and many incredible memories.  Thanks to your expert consultation, we had the trip of a lifetime and have been smitten by the people and places we’ve experienced.  We hope to plan another adventure to Africa – perhaps Namibia next time and will be sure to call you!

Many thanks to the McClay’s for the kind words and awesome pictures! If you’d like to see more of the McClay’s pictures, check out our Client Submissions pin board on Pinterest.

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Londolozi Client Feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/londolozi-client-feedback/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=londolozi-client-feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/londolozi-client-feedback/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 14:30:46 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2593 Tom and I are now at almost the end of our time at our Londolozi stay and it has been absolutely incredible.

I never dreamed of seeing all the things that we have seen:  a lion pride eating a giraffe that they killed a couple of days before, a small herd of about 20 elephants just walking calmly by our range rover, a leopard pulling a warthog out of its den (we arrived after it had killed the warthog—which I was glad not to witness); lions mating, a leopard eating an impala up in a tree; incredible things.

Londolozi is famous for regular leopard sightings

The staff and the rangers have been great.  The food is wonderful and way too abundant—I am afraid to go home.

Thank you for your assistance in making it happen.

Best regards,

Marjorie

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Feedback from the Campbell Family http://blog.africansafaris.com/feedback-from-the-campbell-family/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feedback-from-the-campbell-family http://blog.africansafaris.com/feedback-from-the-campbell-family/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2012 09:59:47 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2282 Jeff and Lise,

We are sorry to report that we are home. We are thrilled to report that every aspect of the trip was amazing.  I am in the process of downloading photos as we write this and can’t wait to go through them and relive every minute.  We can’t thank you enough for the superb job you both did in putting this trip together, staying on top of everything, making sure we were well informed as to what we would need and what we should expect.  With all the changes in venues and connections that needed to be made there was not even close to a blip along the way after the first SAA excitement. Jeff we can’t thank you enough for being on top of the flight change information and Lise getting us picked up and taken to our J’burg lodgings on short notice was much appreciated. Although leaving a day early was a bit of challenge it was well worth it and we appreciated the time to acclimate our bodies to the time change.

 

Lion Sands was spectacular.  We saw Zebras, Rhinos and Warthogs from the time we turned off the road on to the property. Every aspect of our stay was first rate.  The staff was wonderful, the room beautiful and food superb.  We were really getting used to having a butler to look after our needs, we were sorry to leave Jeffery behind.  Our ranger Simon was amazing.  He was literally born on the property before his family was moved to create the park and he knows every inch of it.  His knowledge of where the different animals would be and his anecdotes about them and their habits made our game rides exciting and informative.  Our tracker was Levi, Simon’s nephew and together they were able to show us the big five in the first 24 hours.  The great thing about being on a private reserve was that there were fewer vehicles around and the rangers had much more freedom to pursue game off the regular trails.  This really allowed us to get up close and personal with all of them, including having a leopard snag a rabbit within feet of our vehicle.  Heart stopping to say the least.  On our last game ride, we put in a request to see Zebras and Simon knew what grass they preferred to eat and went to that location. As if on cue a group of Zebras appeared in the distance, grazed their way across the road right in front of us and headed into the woods.  Simon anticipated their next stop and drove to a water hole where the Zebra’s appeared and stopped for a drink.  This was followed up by a week old baby rhino sighting. That was quite something.  Simon also introduced us to Amarulo on one of our game drives and we were hooked for the rest of the trip. If we had to leave Africa at that point we would have been quite satisfied.

 

Lise your advice/insistence that if we were coming to Africa we needed to see Victoria Falls was spot on. Although it made for an interesting array of travel connections the brief stop at VF was breathtaking. Our pictures, as beautiful as they are, don’t capture the awesomeness of the site, sound and spray. We would have made a huge mistake in not seeing this natural wonder if you had not given us the proper nudge.  The travel for the day that included, cars, planes and boats was amazingly flawless.  Seasons in Africa in South Africa and Bushtracks Africa in Zambia and Botswana were on time, informative and friendly. The people from Bushtracks did a great job of the tour of the Falls and were extremely helpful in getting us through the immigration transfers from Zambia to Botswana.

Victoria Falls Sunset

Victoria Falls Sunset

Chobe Game Lodge is a bit of a misnomer. It really is a luxury hotel. Again the staff was wonderful and the food terrific.  The room was wonderful also.  The one downside is that it really is a bit too big.  The number of vehicles from there and other local tour groups makes game viewing a bit too congested and competitive to really soak it in.  The restrictions of being in a National Park make getting close to some animals impossible.  That being said we saw the cutest baby leopard up a tree, tons of elephants and we got great shots of a huge crocodile and a pod of hippos.  The chance to watch Giraffes drink was worth the trip alone.  Chobe has all female guides and ours proved to be as knowledgeable, friendly and outgoing as any of the ones we had on our trip.

 

We knew things were going to get a bit less formal from there when our pilot from Safari Air greeted us at Kasane Airport.  Mark looked to be about 18 and was dressed in shorts, sneakers and a baseball cap. We knew we weren’t in New York any longer.  Our six seat Cessna flight to the Okavanga Delta ended on a grass airfield with Elephants grazing along the side. Amazing.  We were greeted by Johnson, our young guide for our stay at Camp Okavanga.  We took about a 40 minute boat ride through the Delta, seeing birds and a baby crocodile.  We still don’t know how the guides can tell which path through the papyrus to take but they were flawless.  The island setting and smaller venue make Camp Okavanga a much more intimate experience.  The management staff, Robin, Monica, John and Kelly made us feel like family and they spent a great deal of time interacting with all of us at meal times or just sitting around the fire after dinner. Our luxury tent was just that. It was great.  The food and wine again were wonderful.  We were introduced to the term “Bush Babies” for our hot water bottles for morning boat rides and bedtime. They were a really nice touch. On our first afternoon we took a Mokoro trip around the Delta. That was a nice relief from the bouncing of game tracking jeeps.  The game activities at Okavanga are by boat and on foot.  We saw a small variety of game, adding the Red Lechwe Antelope to our list of animals sited.  The walking safaris were a great change and we were able to enjoy knowledge of the guides in the areas of plant life, birds and animal behavior.  I think if this had been our first camp we would have been more concerned by the lack of game, but coming in the middle it was a great change up.

Elephant bathing

Elephant bathing

Safari Air again picked us up right on time and we returned to the Chobe National park and the Savute Safari Lodge.  Like the other Desert & Delta camps we stayed at the staff was wonderful.  Ollie, Candy, Fred and BK were so friendly.  Like in all the other camps when we returned from game drives we were met with warm wet towels and wide smiles. It just makes you feel great.  Savute’s location is amazing.  Sitting on the edge of the newly flowing channel and with the much desired water hole just off the dining porch it was a wonderfully entertaining place to hang out.  We were mesmerized by the behavior of the Elephants that were constant visitors to the water hole.   We were that last ones to bed every night as we just couldn’t stop watching the interaction of the various herds.  We think everyone should see this.  The accommodations, food and service were again flawless.  We will be working off the extra pounds we put on for many weeks to come.

Our guide while in Savute was Baba.  Much like Simon from Lion Sands, Baba proved to be a tremendous guide.  We enjoyed his knowledge, sense of humor and insight into the changing life in modern Botswana.  We took some of the most amazing photographs of Leopards and Lions here.  That coupled with the Elephant show should make the Savute Safari Lodge and must stop for everyone going to Africa.

Sunset at Savuti

Sunset at Savuti

We were sorry to have to head home, but again the connections from Savute to Maun and then to J’burg were right on time.  We can’t thank you enough for putting this package together for us.  It was flawless every step of the way.  The staffs everywhere were extraordinary and we ended up exchanging emails with several of our safari mates from various continents around the world.  That was an unanticipated bonus.

 

Please feel free to use us as a reference for anyone planning a trip to Africa.  We went in to this thinking it was a once in a lifetime experience and now we are trying to figure out when we can go back.  We hope it is sooner rather than later.

 

Kind regards,

Jim and Elizabeth

 

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Grootbos & Ulusaba Client Feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/grootbos-ulusaba-client-feedback/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grootbos-ulusaba-client-feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/grootbos-ulusaba-client-feedback/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 07:29:52 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2214

Hi Liesl and Jeff:

We really enjoyed our trip to Grootbos and Ulusaba.  Even my 14 year old son loved it– you know how cynical teenagers can be.  He even used the word “awesome.”

We’d like to send a special shout-out to Annie at Ulusaba.  She was the perfect combination of guide and family friend.

Thanks for helping us have the trip of a lifetime!

Happy Holidays,

Allison, Angel, Jack, Cal & Drew

 

A lion sighting on an Ulusaba Game Drive

A lion sighting on an Ulusaba Game Drive

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Gomo Gomo & Elephant Plains Feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/gomo-gomo-elephant-plains-feedback/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gomo-gomo-elephant-plains-feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/gomo-gomo-elephant-plains-feedback/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 06:25:03 +0000 http://blog.africansafaris.com/?p=2224 Hi Liesl,

Thanks for the email.  We had an amazing time in South Africa.  everything worked out smoothly with our car rental, and the two lodges Gomo Gomo and Elephant Plains were awesome.  We would definitely recommend both lodges to anyone.  The wildlife was terrific, the food and accommodation top-notch, and the staff (particularly at Gomo Gomo) friendly, helpful and informative, and made the stay all the more pleasurable.

Thanks for all your help putting the trip together, it was the perfect way for Claire and I to finish our African adventure

Ben

Elephants in Gomo Gomo Game Lodge

Viewing elephants from the deck at Gomo Gomo

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Ulusaba Client Feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/ulusaba-client-feedback/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ulusaba-client-feedback http://blog.africansafaris.com/ulusaba-client-feedback/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2011 07:23:11 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1188

Brian Kalchbrenner recently returned from the African Safari of his dreams, including Sir Richard Branson’s beautiful Ulusaba lodge in South Africa. Brian had the following to say to his African Safari Consultant guru…

Hi Liesl,

Finally getting all settled after our trip!  The South Africa and Ulusaba portion of our trip was flawless!  Thank you so much for your impecable travel planning.  Cannot heap enough praise on the entire staff of that lodge.  Everyone was friendly and inviting!  I continued on to Kenya, Tanzania and Egypt.  Believe it or not, the rest of the trip was flawless as well.  Everyone was inviting and hospitable.  If we do any future travel to Africa, we will be sure to include you in our plans.

Have a great weekend!

Brian

Ulusaba Rock Lodge - Makwela Suite Deck

Ulusaba Rock Lodge - Makwela Suite Deck

Take advantage of this extended offer at Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson’s Private Game Reserve

Stay for 4 nights or more and you’ll get one night FREE  for arrivals up to 31st March 2012 (excluding Christmas and New Year). Plus kids still go free when combined with this offer.

Contact a Safari Consultant for details.  Rates will include all meals and drinks (plus champagne), twice daily game drives and safari walks.

 

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Frank client feedback about Sabi Sands safari and Vic Falls http://blog.africansafaris.com/frank-client-feedback-about-sabi-sands-safari-and-vic-falls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frank-client-feedback-about-sabi-sands-safari-and-vic-falls http://blog.africansafaris.com/frank-client-feedback-about-sabi-sands-safari-and-vic-falls/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2011 09:33:13 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1077 Trip feedback: Notten’s Bush Camp, Kirkman’s Camp, The Royal Livinstone

Liesl & Jeff, Thanks for checking in….we will get back to you with more granular details, but suffice it to say that the safari at Notten’s suggestion was utterly brilliant. We would go back for sure. The staff, the physical plant, the food, the execution was perfection. Kirkman’s was just ok (food not so good, rooms fine but not great, wildlife viewing spectacular.) In retrospect, Kirkman’s was bigger, had more groups, and we much preferred the more intimate setting of Notten’s- as a private camp.

Transfers and flights were fine. No disruptions.

Livingstone: the Victoria Falls were amazing. The Royal Livingstone Hotel was…..I would portray it as all dressed up for the party, with no understanding of protocol of how to act at a party. They had all the accoutrements, but poor in execution. I would say very poor.

More later…..trying to catch up on being out for so long, but wanted to give you some feedback.

Beth

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We’ve been nominated for Travel & Leisure magazine’s A-List Travel Agent awards! http://blog.africansafaris.com/we%e2%80%99ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%e2%80%99s-a-list-travel-agent-awards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=we%25e2%2580%2599ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%25e2%2580%2599s-a-list-travel-agent-awards http://blog.africansafaris.com/we%e2%80%99ve-been-nominated-for-travel-leisure-magazine%e2%80%99s-a-list-travel-agent-awards/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 08:50:42 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1057 “As long time T&L (Travel & Leisure Magazine) readers and subscribers, we want to tell you about our recent trip to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia & Namibia, and to nominate our Tour Operator, African Safari Consultants, for your 2012 A-List. We were celebrating our 20th anniversary, and wanted to plan a “trip of a lifetime.”  We knew we wanted to go to Africa, but had no idea where to start or how to narrow down our choices.  Enter African Safari Consultants.  With over fifteen years of experience, and a wonderful, informative website, ASC’s head honchos Jeff Ward in NY and Liesl Matthews in Cape Town worked tirelessly with us to figure out which countries, habitats, and lodges would best suit our needs.  They were wonderful at planning a trip that fit our budget, and the varied needs of two old fogies, as well as our teenage children.  They were endlessly patient as we went back and forth about cost, level of luxury, and types of lodges, giving advice that was helpful, accurate, and based on a thorough first-hand knowledge of the locations we were considering. They even considered when we would need unscheduled down time (after our two day journey from IAH-LHR-CPT), and when we would be happy to go-go-go.

We were particularly cognizant of the value of having someone in NY and in Cape Town looking out for us when, in the middle of our trip, a Chilean volcano eruption caused the cancellation of one of our flights.  Liesl quickly got us rebooked and all of our downline transfers re-organized so that we were able to rejoin our intended itinerary as soon as the skies cleared.  This had the potential to be a nightmare, but ended up being a small blip on our radar screens thanks to the excellent in-country support of ASC.

Our expectations were high, but our trip far surpassed them.  Every part of the trip was just as advertised by the folks at ASC.  There were no unpleasant surprises, and we would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Africa.

We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about our experience with ASC.”

Jill & John Pollock, Houston, TX

 

 

 

 

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Trip feedback: Cape Town, Rovos Rail, Botswana, Vic Falls http://blog.africansafaris.com/trip-feedback-cape-town-botswana-victoria-falls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trip-feedback-cape-town-botswana-victoria-falls http://blog.africansafaris.com/trip-feedback-cape-town-botswana-victoria-falls/#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2011 11:41:45 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=1040 Hi Liesl and Jeff,

We’re back home reflecting on our trip as John goes through his hundreds of photographs.  We just want to let you know how fantastic our trip was!  From beginning to end all worked out to be all we wanted and more.

Our time in Cape Town was excellent — including being actually able to meet you, Liesl.  As we told you before, Pepe was an excellent guide — not only with her expertise and wanting to share all with us, but she was truly like one of the family.  Our visit to the Ncedolwethu Educare Center was very special.  We felt privileged to be able to give them some materials for the children.

The Rovos Rail was very enjoyable.  People on board were enjoyable, staff very helpful, food fantastic, and a great way to see central South Africa. Sidney, our driver from the train to Athol Place and then to the airport was most helpful.  It was great to then see him when we returned to the airport with our suitcase in tow.  He was just one of the many super people we met!

Our transportation went from 747/777 KLM  to a Caravan to a Cessna 207 to a helicopter, from vans to Land Rovers, and even included a motor boat (across the Zambezi).  All were great!

On Safari, we saw all of the Big Five plus a multitude of animals and a beautiful array of birds. Included was the first spotting of a white rhino in the last several weeks at Mombo and following a pride of lions from laying around and cubs playing, to their stalking a herd of buffalo, isolating one and eventually taking it down.  National Geographic definitely abridges their footage and removes the sound track!  What an experience!!!  All of the camps were excellent, with highly knowledgeable guides who made sure that we saw all.

Thank you so very much for the work you did to put this together for us!  It was truly a fantastic dream of a lifetime trip!!!

Karen and John

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Client Feedback: Jim & Elizabeth – August 2011 http://blog.africansafaris.com/client-feedback-jim-elizabeth-august-2011/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=client-feedback-jim-elizabeth-august-2011 http://blog.africansafaris.com/client-feedback-jim-elizabeth-august-2011/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 14:16:32 +0000 http://africansafaris.com/blogdirectory/?p=958 Great feedback from an African Safari

Jeff and Lise,

We are sorry to report that we are home. We are thrilled to report that every aspect of the trip was amazing.  I am in the process of downloading photos as we write this and can’t wait to go through them and relive every minute.  We can’t thank you enough for the superb job you both did in putting this trip together, staying on top of everything, making sure we were well informed as to what we would need and what we should expect.  With all the changes in venues and connections that needed to be made there was not even close to a blip along the way after the first SAA excitement. Jeff we can’t thank you enough for being on top of the flight change information and Lise getting us picked up and taken to our J’burg lodgings on short notice was much appreciated. Although leaving a day early was a bit of challenge it was well worth it and we appreciated the time to acclimate our bodies to the time change.

Lion Sands was spectacular.  We saw Zebras, Rhinos and Warthogs from the time we turned off the road on to the property. Every aspect of our stay was first rate.  The staff was wonderful, the room beautiful and food superb.  We were really getting used to having a butler to look after our needs, we were sorry to leave Jeffery behind.  Our ranger Simon was amazing.  He was literally born on the property before his family was moved to create the park and he knows every inch of it.  His knowledge of where the different animals would be and his anecdotes about them and their habits made our game rides exciting and informative.  Our tracker was Levi, Simon’s nephew and together they were able to show us the big five in the first 24 hours.  The great thing about being on a private reserve was that there were fewer vehicles around and the rangers had much more freedom to pursue game off the regular trails.  This really allowed us to get up close and personal with all of them, including having a leopard snag a rabbit within feet of our vehicle.  Heart stopping to say the least.  On our last game ride, we put in a request to see Zebras and Simon knew what grass they preferred to eat and went to that location. As if on cue a group of Zebras appeared in the distance, grazed their way across the road right in front of us and headed into the woods.  Simon anticipated their next stop and drove to a water hole where the Zebra’s appeared and stopped for a drink.  This was followed up by a week old baby rhino sighting. That was quite something.  Simon also introduced us to Amarulo on one of our game drives and we were hooked for the rest of the trip. If we had to leave Africa at that point we would have been quite satisfied.

Lise your advice/insistence that if we were coming to Africa we needed to see Victoria Falls was spot on. Although it made for an interesting array of travel connections the brief stop at VF was breathtaking. Our pictures, as beautiful as they are, don’t capture the awesomeness of the site, sound and spray. We would have made a huge mistake in not seeing this natural wonder if you had not given us the proper nudge.  The travel for the day that included, cars, planes and boats was amazingly flawless.  Seasons in Africa in South Africa and Bushtracks Africa in Zambia and Botswana were on time, informative and friendly. The people from Bushtracks did a great job of the tour of the Falls and were extremely helpful in getting us through the immigration transfers from Zambia to Botswana.

Chobe Game Lodge is a bit of a misnomer. It really is a luxury hotel. Again the staff was wonderful and the food terrific.  The room was wonderful also.  The one downside is that it really is a bit too big.  The number of vehicles from there and other local tour groups makes game viewing a bit too congested and competitive to really soak it in.  The restrictions of being in a National Park make getting close to some animals impossible.  That being said we saw the cutest baby leopard up a tree, tons of elephants and we got great shots of a huge crocodile and a pod of hippos.  The chance to watch Giraffes drink was worth the trip alone.  Chobe has all female guides and ours proved to be as knowledgeable, friendly and outgoing as any of the ones we had on our trip.

We knew things were going to get a bit less formal from there when our pilot from Safari Air greeted us at Kasane Airport.  Mark looked to be about 18 and was dressed in shorts, sneakers and a baseball cap. We knew we weren’t in New York any longer.  Our six seat Cessna flight to the Okavanga Delta ended on a grass airfield with Elephants grazing along the side. Amazing.  We were greeted by Johnson, our young guide for our stay at Camp Okavanga.  We took about a 40 minute boat ride through the Delta, seeing birds and a baby crocodile.  We still don’t know how the guides can tell which path through the papyrus to take but they were flawless.  The island setting and smaller venue make Camp Okavanga a much more intimate experience.  The management staff, Robin, Monica, John and Kelly made us feel like family and they spent a great deal of time interacting with all of us at meal times or just sitting around the fire after dinner. Our luxury tent was just that. It was great.  The food and wine again were wonderful.  We were introduced to the term “Bush Babies” for our hot water bottles for morning boat rides and bedtime. They were a really nice touch. On our first afternoon we took a Mokoro trip around the Delta. That was a nice relief from the bouncing of game tracking jeeps.  The game activities at Okavango are by boat and on foot.  We saw a small variety of game, adding the Red Lechwe Antelope to our list of animals sited.  The walking safaris were a great change and we were able to enjoy knowledge of the guides in the areas of plant life, birds and animal behavior.  I think if this had been our first camp we would have been more concerned by the lack of game, but coming in the middle it was a great change up.

Safari Air again picked us up right on time and we returned to the Chobe National park and the Savute Safari Lodge.  Like the other Desert & Delta camps we stayed at the staff was wonderful.  Ollie, Candy, Fred and BK were so friendly.  Like in all the other camps when we returned from game drives we were met with warm wet towels and wide smiles. It just makes you feel great.  Savute’s location is amazing.  Sitting on the edge of the newly flowing channel and with the much desired water hole just off the dining porch it was a wonderfully entertaining place to hang out.  We were mesmerized by the behavior of the Elephants that were constant visitors to the water hole.   We were that last ones to bed every night as we just couldn’t stop watching the interaction of the various herds.  We think everyone should see this.  The accommodations, food and service were again flawless.  We will be working off the extra pounds we put on for many weeks to come.

Our guide while in Savute was Baba.  Much like Simon from Lion Sands, Baba proved to be a tremendous guide.  We enjoyed his knowledge, sense of humor and insight into the changing life in modern Botswana.  We took some of the most amazing photographs of Leopards and Lions here.  That coupled with the Elephant show should make the Savute Safari Lodge and must stop for everyone going to Africa.

We were sorry to have to head home, but again the connections from Savute to Maun and then to J’burg were right on time.  We can’t thank you enough for putting this package together for us.  It was flawless every step of the way.  The staffs everywhere were extraordinary and we ended up exchanging emails with several of our safari mates from various continents around the world.  That was an unanticipated bonus.

Please feel free to use us as a reference for anyone planning a trip to Africa.  We went in to this thinking it was a once in a lifetime experience and now we are trying to figure out when we can go back.  We hope it is sooner rather than later.

Kind regards,
Jim and Elizabeth

I really enjoyed their great detailed feedback.  Have a look at their stunning photo album herehttp://ow.ly/6iHBy

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