The City of Cape Town has recently installed a popup tribute to the iconic Mr Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s first democratically elected President – honouring the former statesman and his longtime affiliation with the city. Situated in Cape Town’s Civic Centre, the exhibition is hugely informative whilst still being visually appealing and inspirational. Containing [...]
Have you ever had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela? I have – it was brief, I didn’t get to say a lot, I was mesmerized, I was speechless – there is SUCH an aura surrounding this man! It’s very hard to quantify and describe and I guess; only those lucky enough to have had [...]
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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 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
Unfortunately we are back. I could have stayed forever. I could easily live in South Africa. Loved every part of it. It was the perfect balance. Of course the safari was the crown jewel, followed by an instructive and inspiring day in Jo'burg and at the Apartheid Museum. Now I'm furiously trying to track down my habit -roiboos tea. Took over 1500 photos!!!! I could not imagine a more beautiful property than the Lions' Sands, and the safari experience was the best ever! And yes, our dinner with Liesl was delightful. We were brimful of enthusiasm then, and we had yet to go to the winelands, and safari and Jo'burg. Wish you could have joined us. But you can't be envious. You get to go there all the time. I'm the one who's envious. Will give you a call this week to gush some more. In the meantime thank you both for three weeks that went far too quickly and memories that will stay forever. Best, Gabriella
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.
Hi Sarah, Xaranna was the most remote place we visited while we were in Southern Africa. It's about 45 minutes by air from Maun to the Pom Pom airstrip, then 10+ minutes by vehicle to the landing and 30+ minutes by water to the camp. The + depends on the wildlife one encounters en route. Our tracker and guide met our plane and the safari began as we drove away from the airstrip. The tents, lounge and dining area were well-designed and decorated, well-maintained and very comfortable. (Special treat: hot water bottles in the beds at night!) Meals were delicious and served beautifully. I am a vegetarian and was impressed with the vegetarian options. Service in all respects was first rate: we were very well cared for. Despite the casual, laid-back feel of the camp, everything ran like clockwork. They were completely flexible about activities, dining arrangements, etc. Our tracker and guide were knowledgeable and did an excellent job. Although, as I understand it, game in the delta at this time of year is not concentrated and still a little leery of vehicles, we saw really good variety on land and got very close to birdlife(and hippos) on the water. & Beyond/Xaranna are involved in a project to relocate hippos to Botswana (Hippos Without Borders). A PhD student from the UK working on the project for the next two years is staying at Xaranna and provided a wealth of information about her research and the project. There is nothing to keep wildlife out of the camp, and wildlife do come through, during the day and at night. While we were there one couple encountered a young elephant on the path outside their tent at mid-day; we had kudus eating leaves from branches just outside the screened wall of our tent in the middle of the night, and on our last evening a hippo grazed alongside the dining deck during dinner. Talk about a real wildlife experience! The warmth and good humour of the staff really struck me. On arrival at the camp we were greeted by perhaps 10 of the staff who were on the dock singing a welcome - in fact, we heard the singing before we saw the dock. Throughout our stay we were treated with warmth and there was lots of laughter. It felt like a large happy family welcoming us to their home. Because the camp is remote, the staff put on the boma entertainment themselves and all the staff participate. They even managed to get the guests up dancing and singing! The manager and all staff are indigenous Botswanans and welcomed questions about their country, their culture and their lives. We were seen off, as we were welcomed, by the staff singing on the dock and waving. It was very touching. I'd go back in a nanosecond. Sincerely, N. Smith