A week or so ago, we at African Safari Consultants (ASC) were fortunate enough to chat with Dr Bool Smuts of the Landmark Foundation – a South African NGO dedicated to building South Africa’s conservation economy so that it’s natural landscapes can be more effectively conserved. The paragraphs that follow are from notes made during [...]
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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!
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!!
On Safari, we saw all of the Big Five plus a multitude of animals and a beautiful array of birds. Included was the first spotting of a white rhino in the last several weeks at Mombo and following a pride of lions from laying around and cubs playing, to their stalking a herd of buffalo, isolating one and eventually taking it down. National Geographic definitely abridges their footage and removes the sound track! What an experience!!! All of the camps were excellent, with highly knowledgeable guides who made sure that we saw all. Thank you so very much for the work you did to put this together for us! It was truly a fantastic dream of a lifetime trip!!!http://www.africansafaris.com/ →
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
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