Being in East Africa’s Masai Mara and Serengeti national parks during the annual migration is high up on every animal lover’s wish list. The awesomeness is in the sheer numbers and the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most incredible spectacles. Not everybody is lucky enough to be at the right place at the right [...]
Tag : vultures
By Vanessa Ratcliffe on September 26, 2011 in Africa, African Safaris, big 5 safari, Kenya, luxury safari, private safari, Tanzania
africa big 5 big 5 safari botswana cape town conservation East africa elephant family safari gorilla's gorilla trekking hippos kenya kruger national park kruger park kwa-zulu Natal leopard liesl lion lion sands lise londolozi madagascar madikwe malaria free safari masai mara mozambique namibia natal okavango delta rhino rhino poaching rwanda sabi sand safari safaris serengeti south africa southern africa south luangwa tanzania uganda ulusaba victoria falls zambia
- Cameron Duncan on Client Images: Sabi Sand Lions Bonding
- Peter Miles on Client Images: Sabi Sand Lions Bonding
- kruger park safari on Zambia’s Emerald Season
- Kruger park safaris on Take a Walk on the Wild Side
- Namibia: A Paradise you should never be asked to leave - African Safaris Blog on African Safari Consultants Team Profile: Liesl Mathews
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 Liesl! Livingstone and the Riverclub were wonderful. Victoria Falls is one of the most breath-taking sites we've ever seen! No one minded getting a little wet and we got some fabulous photos. The market there was fun for the girls. The staff at the Riverclub were top notch! We really enjoyed getting to know everyone. The highlight there has to be the hippos - the sundowner boat trip was so fun, we did it both evenings. In Mombo, we got to see the leopard Legadima and her cub AND one of the white rhinos with her 3 week old baby! We were told that there hadn't been a rhino siting in a few months so we were thrilled. We're still going through our thousands of photos (we had 5 cameras between the 4 of us), re-living the fun! I know that Kevin and I will be looking to do a few more safari holidays while we're still in Africa. So, we may be in touch for help with that.. Here's wishing you all the best for the New Year! Thanks for all your help! Warmest Regards, Dana
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 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.
Dear Jeffrey, Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me plan probably the best trip of my life. You and Liesle helped me look like a pro in the eyes of my family! Everything went smoothly. There are so many highlights. I'd like to list just a few. We all fell in love with Charlie. He was the perfect fit for our family. The kids were still talking about him days later when we were on safari. We also really enjoyed our driver/ guide at Savuti. (Richard) He was really informative. We also felt very safe with him. I really felt like we were in the wilds while we were there. We were not as enamored with our guide at Chiefs but really enjoyed the rest of the staff. There was a couple there studying the plant life. Since I love to garden I tagged along with them one session instead of going on a drive to see the animals. I finally swallowed my fear of Class V rapids and decided to go rafting. It was so much fun. The hard part was walking/crawling my way down the hill/ mountain. I was very shaken by the time I got to the bottom. JIm gave me about two seconds to gather my wits and then he threw me in the raft. Believe me when I say there's no way I would be able to hike back out. My thighs hurt for three days. One guide was nice enough to help me down. Again our guide was great fun and we felt very secure with him. The other raft lost people after the first set of rapids. There's nothing like going with your family and spending a great deal of time with them without the interruptions of cell phones, TV. and computers and discovering you still like them at the end of your trip. All kidding aside everyone had a great time. They'll already dreaming up the next big trip. Lori