A couple months ago I received an email from Grootbos Private Nature Reserve inviting me to spend a weekend there to check out just how one of South Africa’s preeminent ecolodges goes about its business. I gave it a cursory glance, flagged the email without much thought and carried on with my day. Fast forward [...]
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 [...]
We have received some great feedback from a few clients that have recently traveled with us. It’s often something that is quite hard to get as clients are so busy catching up with life once they return from their vacations that they don’t have a chance to send through their thoughts. So, when we do [...]
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Hello Liesl, I am so pleased with this trip to Botswana. The country was beautiful and green. The weather was very comfortable. We saw many of the animal life, certainly a successful safari with lions; leopards; cheetah; painted dogs; elephants; hippos; giraffe; zebra; impala and much more. The lodges were marvelous, really. The food was great, no one became ill. Everything went exactly as planned, everything. I thank you so much for arranging this adventure for our family. I am so impressed that a trip of this sort with so many different arrangements to be made, that it can go as flawless as it did. We had a great time. Thank you so much, and thank you to all that did such a memorable and remarkable job in a service of providing a great safari. Happy New year! I will send a picture or two.
Hi Ilze! How did the photos work out? First of all thanks so much for arranging such an amazing trip for us we're never going to be able to go on vacation again as nothing will live up to the experience we just had!!! All of the sites were perfect and the connections were great - everyone/thing was where it was supposed to be when it was supposed to be! The weather was perfect - we only got rained on the first morning for an hour; after that we had rain for 2 or 3 nights, but only during the night so we didn't get wet anymore. It was very comfortable for the first three sites then got hotter in south Luangwa, really hot at Bilimungwe, but we perfected the bush air conditioning!!! The food was amazing and the knowledge and passion of the guides/trackers/mokoro guide was astonishing!! The Chindeni staff stood out as a group and Ryan at Siankaba was very helpful suggesting and arranging extra activities. Neither of us got one mosquito bite which was a plus!! At Shinde we saw a leopard on our first drive!!!! Then lions, elephant, zebra, monitor lizard, hyena and a leopard again on our last drive. We went on the mokoro the 2nd evening and Collen who took us out was great. We ate kudu here, which was yummy! Chobe had lots of fun other guests!! Here we saw bigger groups of animals - elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, buffalo. A black mamba! Python, mongoose, leopard tortoise, lechwe. The first night was a bit rough as we had a thunder storm so the scorpions came out during dinner (we all had our pants tucked into our socks!!) and the hurricane lanterns all blew out because of the wind. Also the wind blew the walls of our tent so much the mirror was knocked off the table and broke (I discovered I didn't really need a mirror in the bush!!!!) and then I was woken up at midnight by a rather large kalahari ferrari spider on my neck!!!!!!! Almost had a heart attack at that point but survived!! The second night there we only had the scorpions......easy peasy!!!!! The food at Chobe was amazing considering Prince cooked the whole thing on wood! The 2nd afternoon we all went on the pontoon boat on the Chobe river - fun! Despite the first night in the tent, we would go back!! The guide Stanza was very entertaining!! The trip between Chobe and Siankaba was really interesting with the little ferry at the junction of the four countries and being able to see the villages - that was an eye opener seeing how many people live in Zambia.. Islands of Siankaba was beautiful. We went on the mokoro almost as soon as we got there and did the sunset river cruise. Michael went fishing on the 2nd afternoon, after our terrific horse ride in the bush and the Zambezi. He managed to catch a small tiger fish. We didn't do the regular tour of the falls because of the lack of water, but at Ryan's suggestion we went to Livingstone Island right to the very edge of the falls (arrrrr!!!), no devil's pool though - we're not that crazy!!!! And then we did the helicopter tour - both spectacular!! We did both of these after the fun elephant ride and the Bushtracks driver who took us around also took us to a market in Livingstone as we had an hour to spare between the elephants and Livingstone Island. That was great, we would have liked even more time there!! The third afternoon Michael went out in the mokoro with Brighton the ferry guy, just 30 feet from the dock and caught more tiger fish!! We ate crocodile for dinner one night! Chindeni was beautiful and we really enjoyed the walking safaris and the night drives. We saw lots of hippos and elephants, also giraffes, lions, monkeys and saw a fishing camp on the other side of the Luangwa river. The manager James, and the guide Charles and the tracker Michael were all great and really interesting and fun at this camp. Also the waiter Sam and the wildlife policeman Leonardo who came on our walks were terrific. One day we had to take quite a big detour around some elephants to get back to the car!! Bilimungwe was beautiful!! Hot, hot, hot!! We saw wild dogs three times there, that was great! Also some pretty big towers (new word I learnt) of giraffes!! Elephants, lions, zebras, hyena, wart hogs. One day we were out with a guy who's really interested in birds so our guide James took us to a place where there were loads of birds nesting. It turns out we're much more interested in birds then we thought!!!! The water holes in the camp were fascinating - what a great feature, you could almost just sit in camp all day and be happy watching all the animals coming and going!!! During the last night we were woken up by elephants eating the tree about 6 feet from the back of our bed!!!! The trip home was very long (35 hours) but everything went very smoothly and we washed with wipes and changed in Johannesburg and then sprayed ourselves with perfume in the duty free so we weren't quite so disgusting on the last plane!! We were able to do some shopping in Johannesburg airport too! The whole trip from start to finish was an amazing experience - 20 times better than we ever imagined it would be - and we'd do the whole itinerary again next week if we could!! Great trip with lots of variety; we wouldn't change a thing! We met so many interesting people and discovered that out of all the people we met only one had never been to Africa before (apart from us!) which was very interesting!! Most of them have been multiple times!! Have you been to all of the camps we went to? If not, you should!! Again, thanks so much for arranging the trip of a lifetime for us - it's something we'll never forget!! Louise
Hi Jeff and Lise – I wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time on our trip to Tanzania (I travelled with the Haurand party). Our accommodations were great, and our guide, Solomon was simply the best! I don’t know how else to describe him – to say that he was great, or wonderful, or professional or knowledgeable simply doesn’t do him justice! He was all of that and more! When I return (and I’m already thinking about how and when to return to Africa), I’ll definitely request Solomon as our guide again! I’ve attached a few photos, and I’ll send a subsequent email with a few more. I have ‘friended/liked’ your page on Facebook, and I’ve posted more pictures on my FB page if you’d like to see them. I invested in a new camera for this trip, and it was a good investment!! Thank you again for your assistance, and your attention to detail, and for everything that you did! Sandra
Gabriella: I have worked with Jeff and Liesl on our annual "Around the World Gang" for the last 5 years and during that time there was NEVER ONE tiny detail left undone. Both Liesl and Jeff are enthusiastic, thorough, dependable, very knowledgeable and committed to their profession. From my experience, they are "above & beyond" anyone's expectation and you will find no one that could surpass their performance. Dee Phillips
Hi Ilze, We are writing to thank you for organising such a fantastic trip for us. Without doubt, it was the best trip ever for us, even though we travel overseas from Australia regularly and all our trips have been great. Africa was the last of the major continents for us to visit and your superb organisation made it wonderfully unforgettable for us. Without exception, we loved each of the places you recommended and arranged for us to stay in: Cape Cadogan/Cape Town, Villa Violet/Windhoek, Kulala, Swakopmund, Dora !Nawas, Etosha/Onguma, Ilala/Victoria Falls, Chobe, Savute and Xugana. Each location provided something a little different and fascinating. Each was excellent: friendly, helpful and professional staff, outstanding accommodation, food and drinks, fabulous guides and activities, great wildlife and settings. We were enthralled. And your travel advice was flawless: accurate, comprehensive and valuable. We can't thank you enough for making our first journey to African (and hopefully not our last) so absolutely wonderful. We also really appreciated meeting you, even briefly, in Cape Town. We have no hesitation in recommending you and your company to any of our friends who plan to visit Africa. Also we would be glad to post our views on your website or trip advisor. We plan to place enthusiastic reviews of each of the places we stayed and of the activities on trip advisor, but first wanted to pass on our most sincere thanks to you for your efforts on our behalf. Thanks to your efforts our trip was flawless, seamless and fantastic. You do great work! Thanks again so much. Very best wishes, Don and Gael Gartside.