I continue with the theme of winter wildlife viewing off South Africa’s shores. So I have to mention one of the biggest seasons that we have in the Cape – the Whale Watching season. Whale watching has been so well promoted over the last few years in South Africa, that we actually have visitors coming [...]
Tag : mammals
By africansafarisblogadmin on June 8, 2011 in Africa, African Safaris, family safari, private safari, South Africa
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Jeff and Ilze, The trip overall was awesome! While on safari, we were able to see the Big 5, not to mention a Cheetah and a few other unique animals. The Thornybush staff was great and our guide Craig Wild and our tracker Alson were awesome. It definitely surpassed expectations. Our trip to Cape Town was great as well and the boutique hotel right off the water (Sea Five) was also a great choice. We had a nice trip to the Cape of Good Hope and to see the penguins. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate for Table Mountain, but we had a nice tour around town. We also had a lot of good meals along the Waterfront and in Camps Bay. Wine country was great and I am also glad we asked for you to make a reservation at Le Petite Ferme, as it definitely lived up to expectations. We visited many good wineries including: Fairview, Simonsig, Kanoncorp, Waterford and Warwick. The Majeka House was a great choice, thanks. We enjoyed a great dinner their and at Delaire Graff. Timothy was a great guide in both Cape Town and in the wine country. He offered some great information and made some great suggestion for both dinner and lunch while we were in Cape Town Azura was a great way to end the trip because the weather, staff, accommodations and food was excellent. Overall you guys did a great job of planning our honeymoon and it’s worth mentioning that all of our plane connections, transport pick-ups and reservations went off without a hitch. We will gladly recommend you to friends and family and look forward to hopefully planning another adventure through you in the future. I’m sure Megan will add some comments as well. It’s just that I am suffering from jetlag and have been up for the past few hours :o) Regards, Parks
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.
Hello Sarah, I am back from Tanzania, and wanted to thank you for your help in preparing an amazing trip! I took over 3000 pictures, which I am now beginning to sort through, and saw as many other amazing things. I wanted to provide you some comments on the lodges, camps, and tour operator. Kitela Lodge was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, let alone stayed. Besides the spectacular scenery and gorgeous grounds, the amenities provided, including internet, pool, hot water, and satellite TV (for all of us interested in the Africa Cup final) made Kitela feel like a hotel any where else in the world. The staff were also wonderfully friendly and the food was delicious. The coffee, grown right on their grounds, was likely the best I have ever tasted. I would have sacrificed my entire trip to Zanzibar to have stayed at Kitela Lodge for a few more nights. I noticed that they were a bit under-booked, and would encourage you to send as many clients as possible. Ang'ata Camps provided the perfect mix of the bush experience with hotel-like amenities: hot water for showers, clean and comfortable beds, and great food. My guide, who was not a man to be surprised, was even impressed. The staff were also great...I could not walk anywhere without receiving a friendly greeting, offer for food or drink, and question as to how I enjoyed my game drive or sleep. Matambwe Beach Village forces people to relax by providing none of the amenities that could distract from the beach. I especially liked that the use of footwear and the single guest computer were generally discouraged in the gentlest of ways. Finally to Wild Frontiers and Onesmo Sanka, my guide, to whom I owe the biggest of thanks for my trip. The vehicle was sound, the trip well-planned, and they offer what I believe is most important in a game drive: unlimited kilometers per day. I would highly encourage you to request Onesmo for your future clients. First, he drove slow and careful, which I believe is unique! He grew up in the bush and would see things that other guides did not, for instance a pride of 6 lions laying in the grass just 200 meters from the road that four vehicles in front of us had just sped past. Onesmo not only knew the ecology of the animals, but their habits, which provided many instances where my vehicle was placed specifically in front of where something amazing was about to happen. For instance, we did not park in front of the tree in which a leopard and her two cubs had been seen before a rainfall, but in front of a nearby snag, for Onesmo knew that leopards do not like rain, had gone to hide in the grass, and would likely come up on the snag when the rain had stopped. I had front-row seats to two leopard cubs playing on the snag while their mother cleaned herself in the background. I noticed that many of the guides of oncoming vehicles, upon seeing Onesmo at the wheen of our vehicle, would flag him down for advice. Onesmo was also extremely attentive to my habits: by the second day, he would automatically stop the vehicle when I went for my camera, and then start again when he heard the lens cap snap back on. He also started to avoid the crowds, choosing instead to quiet back roads where we may see a bit less but were alone when we saw it. I could go on for hours, but instead will just again recommend Onesmo for your future clients, with one warning: he is a quiet person and may come off as uninterested at first. However, once the ice is broken, I found him to be truly passionate about the animals, their survival and life history, and how everything in the bush fits together. Again, by the second day, I knew not to worry about a single thing: I simply put my trust as to the perfect parking place, vantage point for photos, route, and time into Onesmo's hands, and he delivered perfectly each time. So there is my gushing post-safari email which I'm sure you receive from every client! I want to thank you again for everything, and please let me know if there is anything else I can provide in terms of feedback for you or any of the above. Ben
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
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