Recently, we posted a story and pictures about the effect that the rains can have on the Namib. This week we have some more amazing news about the rain. Of course, the rainy season has finally arrived in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a magical time as nature explodes into life, babies are born, and the [...]
Its raining, its pouring… and all in the desert! Namibia is normally extremely dry. But once a year, with some luck, it may rain for a few short weeks. Those of you who have been to the Namib Rand Nature Reserve and to Sossusvlei will recognise the cinnamon coloured sand dunes. Can you imagine them [...]
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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, Sorry this took so long, I arrived home with a bad sore throat and have been recovering. So here are some notes about our trip. First of all, you did an amazing job of arranging everything. We were met by someone every step of the way. 1. D’Oreal Hotel was great for our first night, had a very nice dinner. 2. Victoria Falls: The helicopter ride was great (but not the $30 they wanted for a video of us, which nobody bought), and the falls of course were beautiful. Thanks for the Victoria Falls Hotel, we really liked it. The dining room where they serve breakfast is beautiful, as is the dining room on the terrace, our room, and all of the public rooms. 3. Chobe Under Canvas: great service, excellent food (amazing what they can cook out in the bush) and the tents are very comfortable. Took a while to adjust to doing everything by the light of a dim lantern, but the warm shower and the down covered bed were much appreciated. We were teamed up with a couple from Canada for our game drives and meals, and it turned out that we had the first 3 of our safari lodges in common with them, so we became friends. It was nice to just have the 4 of us for game drives, since Ershun was concerned about getting his photos. Saw lots of animals! Easy to charge batteries in the vehicle, and we loved how they had blankets in the vehicles for the chilly morning drives. Weather was great – pretty chilly in the morning, but warming up nicely. The game viewing was excellent – saw a big variety, including a leopard that our guide tracked from our camp. The guide was very good. 4. Savute under Canvas: Hotter and drier than Chobe, and overall the game viewing was not as good. Of course we have been spoiled by the great herds of the Serengeti, in Savute we would see one wildebeest, one Tsessebe. Also, the guide we had here was not as good as Chobe. He was full of interesting facts, but not the greatest at finding animals. We did luck into seeing 3 leopards because other vehicles were there already. The tents were the same as Chobe, food not always as good. I think that since the water in the area was almost all dried up, our experience was not as good. 5. Linyanti Ebony Camp: We were surprised to find that Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony are 2 halves of the same place. They expanded the original lodge, and gave the 2nd part another name, we suspect so that each can be marketed separately as small and intimate, which is the “hot” thing now. Anyway, due to a fire in one of the kitchens, all the guests share one common dining room/sitting room/bar. The tents are large and permanent, which allows for more elegant furnishings. Huge beds, nice bathroom facilities, a deck outside the back of the tent overlooking the lagoon. The deck was a great place to sit in the afternoon and watch the baboons playing nearby. Food was rather uneven, very good sometimes, and sometimes not. Game drives were very mixed, depending mostly on the guide. Two of the 4 guides were awful, and we found very few animals. One guide was excellent, and not only found lots of animals but also was full of enthusiasm and good information. The 4th was pretty good. This was not an & Beyond facility, and except for the really nice tent, it did not measure up. Only place that did not have blankets in the safari vehicles (we get spoiled so easily!) 6. Nxebega Okavango Tented Camp- wow, this place was amazing! The service, the food, the tent, everything was really first class. The game drives were good, the only place where we had a spotter as well as the guide. They were willing to do anything to please their guests. The only thing I wasn’t especially fond of is their habit of extending the late afternoon game drive until after dark so that we drive back to the lodge with a spotlight looking for animals (which doesn’t happen much) and then we arrive back in time to go straight to dinner. Otherwise, this was a wonderful place. Oh, by the way, they did not know about us needing to get to Maun in time for our flight to Johannesburg, so we had to ask them to change our flight to Maun to an earlier time. Just a glitch somewhere I guess. But when we arrived at the Maun airport we were pleasantly surprised by a rep from & Beyond who met us and escorted us through checkin and security. Very impressed! Before going on to Cape Town, Ershun and I want to comment on the Botswana safari experience. While we certainly had some excellent experiences in Botswana, we would most likely not go back. It’s very difficult to figure out the best time to go, because if you want to see animals, the best time is July-Aug because then the bushes have lost their leaves and it is easier to spot animals, but then the weather is cold, it is very dry, dusty and windy. Sept-Oct is good for seeing animals, but it is very hot, dry, dusty, and the animals are sometimes suffering from lack of food and water. (We were given this information by several different guides at several different camps). We seemed to have picked the best time weatherwise, but it was very easy for animals to hide in the thick bushes. At least Nxebega had some open grass lands, which helped with finding animals. For anyone going to Africa for the first time, Botswana would be fine, but we are used to the huge herds of the Serengeti or the Mara, and the variety in Ngorongoro Crater. Yes, you get more people, but there is a reason for that. Of course, there are small, private places to stay, but you still get more vehicles running around. 7. Cape Town - love your city! Everyone is so friendly, the food is excellent, and we felt safe. The Welgelegen was a great choice, lovely hotel. We had the best room, 2nd floor, across the whole front, with a lovely enclosed porch across the front. The owner and employees are so nice, and the location is good. We used the hop on – hop off buses, and were lucky our first day to get to Table Mt while it was sunny and clear, only day it was like that during our stay. We enjoyed the bus trip around Camps Bay, Clifton, etc. as well as Kirstenbosch Garden and Groot Constantia. One day we rented a car and drove to Cheetah Outreach at Somerset West (excellent) and to Boulders Beach for the penguins. We drove part of the way down towards Cape Point but I wasn’t feeling well so we headed back. We really enjoyed Miller’s Thumb, but Bizerka Bistro was amazing! We never made it to Baia the last night because of how I felt, so we had takeout from a local Italian restaurant. The car service from the airport when we arrived, and again back to the airport to go home, was excellent. Even the Cape Town airport was good – they did a great job fixing it up for the World Cup! Wish I could say the same for Johannesburg – that airport is awful. Bad layout, lots of walking, annoying hustlers, and the charging plugs all were broken at the gate. They even made us all get up and line up for a 2nd security inspection, including pat-downs for some passengers. Well, that’s about it. I’m finally feeling better, and we have lots of good memories. Thanks again for all you did. Regards, Carole & Ershun
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
Tom and I are now at almost the end of our time at our Londolozi stay and it has been absolutely incredible. I never dreamed of seeing all the things that we have seen: a lion pride eating a giraffe that they killed a couple of days before, a small herd of about 20 elephants just walking calmly by our range rover, a leopard pulling a warthog out of its den (we arrived after it had killed the warthog—which I was glad not to witness); lions mating, a leopard eating an impala up in a tree; incredible things. The staff and the rangers have been great. The food is wonderful and way too abundant—I am afraid to go home. Thank you for your assistance in making it happen. Best regards Marjorie
It was an absolutely great trip and we loved every minute of it. It was so worth it to upgrade and the accommodations were excellent and all our guides were superb! I am very glad you used you and will absolutely recommend you to everyone I know who will want to see the gorillas!