With the midyear break looming many people have their vacations planned and will soon be gathering the family together for the annual summer break. The other day I found an app that you download that helps you pack for your vacation! I thought to myself “wow, we really don’t have to think about much these [...]
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By africansafarisblogadmin on June 27, 2011 in Africa, African Safaris, big 5 safari, Botswana, family safari, Kenya, luxury safari, private safari, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia
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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
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.
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
Dear Camille – Thank you for checking in. Our trip was FABULOUS! It exceeded expectations on all counts. My wife, who was a little hesitant, said of the trip “It was like being in the palm of the hand of God.” WE loved all three camps, but we thought each one was better than the last, and we loved Savute the best. WE particularly enjoyed Gee, our guide in Savute. I have written glowing comments on all 3 camps on Trip advisor (I’m “transplantdoc”). WE were sad to leave, and consoled ourselves with the idea that we will definitely come back, and make sure too bring our son, David. Thank you SO MUCH for organizing this brilliant trip. I would be happy to serve as a reference/provide a testimonial if you need one. I have already given your website to several of my colleagues here. I include several pics – I have over 1000, and these are just a couple. Best regards, James
Camille Thank you so much for all your help, we had a GREAT time, and everything worked like clock work. All three properties were fantastic !!! The private planes worked great and the crews were excellent. The group that helped us through immigration at the airport the last day were a wonderful surprise and made the entire process very easy. We got off to a great start at Londolozi, managing to see all of the big five on our first day. The facility was great and the kids fell in love with the rangers and entire staff, for families it is wonderful. Jamala Madikwe was very very nice, with a bonus of a sofa safari on the deck, something I doubt you would get anywhere. Once again the staff was great and Rodney make us feel like we were guests in his home. The biggest and BEST surprise was Camp Jabulani, WHOW!!! The property is beyond description, probably the best place I have ever been. Once again the staff was great and the opportunity to interface with the Cheetah and ride elephants was clearly the highlight of the trip. Once again thank you for all your hard work and for doing such a great job. Wade