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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Jeff and Liesl, We want to let you know just how much we enjoyed our vacation and appreciate the quality of service we got the entire time. Most importantly, every day was breathtaking and brought a new experience that surprised and intrigued us. That was the ingenious part of the sequencing of the trip you put together as each segment seemed to build onto the prior. We would not have been ready for the Zambia portions until we had experienced Botswana (with a much needed break in between) and even in-country, each camp seemed naturally to flow from one to another. As we arrived at Chiawa, we thought, "What else could we see," and were amazed and delighted with the river safaris and the creative dining experiences there. Traveling for 3 weeks in Africa is bound to have some challenges and logistical problems. We had none. Sixteen flights, seven stops, I don't know how many transfers - everything was perfect. The food and hospitality at the camps were incredible. In particular: Cape Town - Charlie blew us away with his knowledge and careful planning. A perfect intro to South Africa. Xakanaxa - Baams, our guide got us into the spiritual aspect of being on Safari, and the animal variety was fantastic! Savute - Lucky was our guide, and he really impressed the boys with his tracking and we saw amazing lion scenes. Royal Hotel - Loved the Island tour (Though we suggest they overhaul the lunch and dinner menus.) Magnificent property. Chindeni - Amazing property, really enjoyed talking with the manager, James. Peter, our guide was the family's favorite. Chamilandu - Joe's personal favorite of ALL, loved everything. Chiawa - See comments above. All of the camps we surprisingly responsive to our dietary needs, especially in Zambia, where the worked really hard to make great food that was diary-free (Chiawa did the best with the amazing chocolate desserts!). Zambia really captured our hearts. My head has still not left Africa even after 6 days. I took 4000 photos and have begun to narrow them down. I will send you a Zenfolio link once I get everything organized. We will definitely be sending you other customers as we share our enthusiasm for Africa and are committed to return ourselves. With much appreciation, Joe and Meredith Callanan
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
Liesl, Yes, we had a safe journey home. That JoBerg to Atlanta flight is so long. Wow! But at least we had the lay flat seats so we were able to try to sleep more comfortably. Londolozi ended up being our absolute favorite...loved the suites, the staff and the Internet. Tom and Jerry ended up to be the best guides by a mile. Wish I could have gone back to re-tip them bigger. We did promise to send a movie to Jerry, our tracker, and I am having a hard time getting a physical address for Londolozi complete with zip code. an you get me that? Botswana was great but much different and I know that was what you were trying to do. The elephants at Kings Pool And the lions at Mombo were incredible. At Mombo we saw a Wild Dog named solo, who was abandon by her pack and adopted by Jackals. They just put a movie on National Geographic called a wild dogs tale about her life. My birthday was spent on a helicopter and a train in Livingstone. The falls were incredible. We also white water rafted that weekend as well. Very kind people in Zambia. Thanks again for the African Queen boat trip. We enjoyed that very much. We will keep your name handy when/if we decide to come back. I would love a referral for South America including Maccu Piccu and the Galápagos Islands. And also one for Japan. Thanks! Kathy Deal
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- 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.