Our Safari Honcho, Jeff Ward, recently spent a week exploring the beautiful country of Tanzania. The below are excerpts of his trip as he recounts his amazing experiences… Day 1: I arrive at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha after a long spell of travelling. It’s the perfect spot for a one night pre [...]
Tag : Ngorongoro Crater National Park
By Cameron Duncan on November 11, 2011 in Africa, big 5 safari, classic safari, family safari, honeymoon safari, luxury safari, Tanzania
africa big 5 big 5 safari botswana cape town conservation East africa elephant family safari gorilla's gorilla trekking hippos kenya kruger national park kruger park kwa-zulu Natal leopard liesl lion lion sands lise londolozi madagascar madikwe malaria free safari masai mara mozambique namibia natal okavango delta rhino rhino poaching rwanda sabi sand safari safaris serengeti south africa southern africa south luangwa tanzania uganda ulusaba victoria falls zambia
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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.
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, Johannesburg: the spa day at M'Mangwanani; totally relaxing and excellent way to prepare for trip after long journey to South Africa. Zambia: Zambezi River Islands of Siankaba; loved the accommodation( Bob was uncomfortable with the swinging bridge, I liked it); the cuisine was probably the best we had anywhere throughout our trip. Dinner was served for us under the stars with delightful artistic touches from our waiter. The rhinoceros walking safari allowed us to see all eight of the rhinos. Bob enjoyed chatting with our guide. This walking safari was one of his highlights. The swim in "devil's pool" was a great experience. I have already documented the unfortunate behavior of our guide who was compelled by one of our group to "dump" the rest of us. This tourist works in Lesotho, is from Europe, has done this swim before but wanted a private tour and refused to leave the pool when the next group of tourists w guide arrived. Ultimately we asked a different guide if we could leave. Our guide was giving a private tour of the falls to the demanding tourist. Botswana: everyone said we would love it and we did. The camp was wonderful; the food very good with good variety and well prepared. The staff was so pleasant. Our guide was amazing finding many opportunities to enjoy animals. Bob enjoyed it but ultimately felt we had been on safari in Tanzania and did not need to repeat the game drives. The walking in Zambia he enjoyed. Victoria Falls leaves me wanting to return at a different season to view it again. Zimbabwe: the Hide was an unusual camp. My biggest concern was the night we lost power. I wondered how they would manage our wake-up coffee. Answer: they put another log on the fire. We saw honey badgers and bush babies. The people of Zimbabwe are very interesting to meet. Cape Town: we disappointed David, "that is your luggage"? Despite his initial disappointment we did enjoy our tours and chats with him. Either we did not have enough time in Cape Town or the weather was less than cooperative, I do not have a strong impression. Table Mountain was very foggy, the Cape much the same, Kirstenbosch closed greenhouse early. Probably needed more time and better weather. High tea was wonderful at Nelson Hotel and our accommodations at Four Rosmead excellent. Grootbos: very relaxing place, beautiful accommodations, too bad it rained so much though that fact did allow us to see the whales cavorting which they did not do when it was sunny. Going to southern most point was important, our guide excellent, and we found orchids, Satyrium carneum, orchid along road to Agulhus, blooming along the side of the road. Riding, a horse, into the hills was special for me. The hikes were interesting. Again, weather and time precluded our enjoying more of these activities. Wine country and penguins: excellent. We do enjoy our penguins. We did enjoy the wine especially at our first stop. Lise, thank you for all the champagne which helped this anniversary trip celebration. The people we met throughout our trip were a pleasure. Many of the guides have led interesting lives. It was our privilege to meet them. The staff of each accommodation were pleasant, helpful, made our trip special. Wake-up coffee is my favorite. Bob enjoyed meeting people and the walking at Grootbos and in Zambia. He definitely looked very relaxed and happy at the day spa in Johannesburg. What was best for me? Probably the very nice people we met throughout the trip. Showering under the Milky Way in Zimbabwe; dinner under the stars at Islands of Siankaba; meals enjoyed outdoors; swimming at Victoria Falls; Grootbos; coffee in the morning! Thank you, Lise, for all the special arrangements. Thank you, Jeff.
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
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