Stop over at Hippo Hollow before your Safari One of the best things about work in the tourism industry in Africa is that we have the opportunity to see many, if not most, of the places we recommend daily for clients. This gives us a huge advantage as we are able to create perfect vacations for our clients. [...]
Tag : panorama route
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Dear Liesl, Thanks for your note. We did have a wonderful trip and thought you would be interested in the following comments. 1. The Westcliff Hotel was just adequate. But we did get a good nights sleep. 2. We found all of the lodges to be wonderful. The accommodations, the food, and most importantly the staff at each place were extraordinary. 3. One criticism. If we were to plan the trip again we would eliminate Jao and substitute Mambo. We would have liked to have seen far more big predators, which were scarce in the Delta. We were told over and over again that Mambo offered much better viewing of predators. We would love to return one day to Abu. We found it a very special place. We did have a memorable trip and we thank you for your arrangements. Lynne and Harold Handler
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
Ilze, I’ll let Caty add on, but in a word the trip was outstanding! The place you got for us at De Waterkant was great – lots of character and an excellent location. The experience at Shamwari was also superb! We had great service, an outstanding ranger, and excellent accommodations. We’ll send you some pictures soon – I’m now trying to wade through them – I took almost 500! Thanks for all you help on the trip! Regards, Larry
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!!