Renowned global wine authority, Wine Spectator, features South Africa in their July 2013 issue and we couldn’t be more pleased. We’ve long said that South African wines are amongst the very best in the world, with the country producing wines of equal or greater quality as established producers such as the United States, Australia and [...]
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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!
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
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.
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
Thank you very much!I can’t begin to explain to you how wonderful everything was. To be honest, even though I had agreed to everything, I was still a little skeptical about some of the recommendations you had made. Turns out, some of the things I had been most skeptical of (Cape Town, Victoria Falls, San Camp) were the absolute highlights. You and your team did a remarkable job and Milena and I have already begun trying to figure out a way to get back. If there is ever anything that we can do to help you all convince prospective clients that this is something that they need to do, we’d love to help.As far as pictures go, Milena and I are far from good. However, that didn’t stop us from taking ~2,000 photos. I’ll send you an invitation to our Snapfish folder. Additionally, I’m a fan of African Safari Consultants on facebook. I’m not sure if that gives you access to my photos, but if it does, we’ve got a bunch of them posted there as well. Again, most of them are pretty bad, but if you happen to see anything that you’d like to use, they’re all yours.If I get some time later today or over the weekend, I’ll try to put together a more thorough review of everywhere we went/stayed. Needless to say, we were impressed by everything and we only have good things to say.Thank you all so much for everything you did.