It’s a new year and that means new adventures are on the horizon. Africa is featuring more and more as a preferred destination for holidaymakers, thrill seekers and honeymooners alike. With so much to think about when planning your vacation, it’s always nice to eliminate some of the guesswork associated with a first time visit. [...]
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- Cameron Duncan on Client Images: Sabi Sand Lions Bonding
- Peter Miles on Client Images: Sabi Sand Lions Bonding
- kruger park safari on Zambia’s Emerald Season
- Namibia: A Paradise you should never be asked to leave - African Safaris Blog on African Safari Consultants Team Profile: Liesl Mathews
- jerry on ASC Launch Scholarship Program
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
Jeff and Liesl, We want to let you know just how much we enjoyed our vacation and appreciate the quality of service we got the entire time. Most importantly, every day was breathtaking and brought a new experience that surprised and intrigued us. That was the ingenious part of the sequencing of the trip you put together as each segment seemed to build onto the prior. We would not have been ready for the Zambia portions until we had experienced Botswana (with a much needed break in between) and even in-country, each camp seemed naturally to flow from one to another. As we arrived at Chiawa, we thought, "What else could we see," and were amazed and delighted with the river safaris and the creative dining experiences there. Traveling for 3 weeks in Africa is bound to have some challenges and logistical problems. We had none. Sixteen flights, seven stops, I don't know how many transfers - everything was perfect. The food and hospitality at the camps were incredible. In particular: Cape Town - Charlie blew us away with his knowledge and careful planning. A perfect intro to South Africa. Xakanaxa - Baams, our guide got us into the spiritual aspect of being on Safari, and the animal variety was fantastic! Savute - Lucky was our guide, and he really impressed the boys with his tracking and we saw amazing lion scenes. Royal Hotel - Loved the Island tour (Though we suggest they overhaul the lunch and dinner menus.) Magnificent property. Chindeni - Amazing property, really enjoyed talking with the manager, James. Peter, our guide was the family's favorite. Chamilandu - Joe's personal favorite of ALL, loved everything. Chiawa - See comments above. All of the camps we surprisingly responsive to our dietary needs, especially in Zambia, where the worked really hard to make great food that was diary-free (Chiawa did the best with the amazing chocolate desserts!). Zambia really captured our hearts. My head has still not left Africa even after 6 days. I took 4000 photos and have begun to narrow them down. I will send you a Zenfolio link once I get everything organized. We will definitely be sending you other customers as we share our enthusiasm for Africa and are committed to return ourselves. With much appreciation, Joe and Meredith Callanan
Hi Liesl, Sadly, our African journey has come to an end! Everything was flawless as far as arrangements. We loved absolutely everything we did. The apartment was great in Cape Town; loved the ostrich farm. African Perfection is worth recommending in Jeffrey's Bay. LOVED Bukela Lodge at Amakhala (very intimate experience, with easy access; though can't be compared to a Chobe, for example - two very different, but positive experiences). Zambezi Sun was great, although that was the only place Jim got violently ill one night from food we imagine, and Olivia had a scary high fever which came and went for 3 days. In Zambia we did the rhino walk and elephant back safari, both of which we loved. The kids and I did the village tour to Makuni Village which was far more authentic than I could've imagined. The guys had fun on their half day fishing. Olivia and I hired a driver and gave out more toys to an orphanage and kids on the streets. Wish we had time to pop into Zimbabwe for the day. LOVED Chobe Game Lodge... worth every penny to have splurged. Phenomenal animal sightings. Not many people were at the lodge (about 20 out of a capacity of 80) so once again it felt very intimate. Bush Tracks was an excellent company who showed up everywhere for every transfer on time and professional. Thanks for your superb planning with me. I wouldn't have changed a thing! Kim
Hello Liesl Yes we have been home a week now. The holiday was a great success mainly due to you and your company. Everything worked like clock work; all flights were on time, all meet and greets worked well. All of the rangers who were our guides were pleasant and very knowledgeable. The game lodges were excellent and the rooming was ideal in most instances. We have absolutely nothing negative to say. The Children were enthralled by Africa, its people and of course the multitude of animals that they encountered. It will be an experienced that will last. You asked about Alfajiri and it was as perfect as it could be. The owners were out of town and there was no one else staying there, so we had the whole place to ourselves. The staff were absolutely great ...as you would expect for a place like this...again though, there was a lot of complimentary stuff that we were not aware of ( i.e all of the massages, the golf, day trips to other beaches)...but it was a perfect end to a great safari holiday. You don't handle driving holidays in Spain by any chance do you? Anne and I are off there next year. Best regards and many thanks for a job well done ! Bob and Anne Robinson
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.