Well we’re back from our trip that you planned for us and it was outstanding!! We had a wonderful time - saw beautiful scenery and many animals including all of the “big five.” Our guides and drivers were all where they were supposed to be and waiting for us. With that said, I’ll give you a review for various parts of the trip:
Johannesburg: we were met at the airport upon arrival on our first night in Africa and delivered to the Africa Rock Hotel where we spent one night. Th e hotel was very nice and clean and the hotel staff very pleasant and helpful. Although it was rather small, it was fine for one night. However, if we were staying longer we would probably prefer something a little larger.
Victoria Falls: the flight from JNB to Victoria Falls was uneventful. Upon arrival we were met by a driver from Batoka Safaris who took us to the A’Zambezi River Lodge. The itinerary identified Premier Tours as the service provider, but apparently you changed that responsibility, or Premier sub-contracted the task. Regardless, it all worked well for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Victoria Falls and the Mpala Village. We were a little concerned about the village tour, thinking it might be a “tourist” village, with dancers and people selling souvenirs. We were VERY pleasantly surprised. It was really interesting and informative. The primary guide/driver provided by Batoka was Brighton. He was excellent. We also thoroughly enjoyed the sunset cruise on the Zambezi.
The only glitch we discovered after we returned home was about the Boma Restaurant. When we went to pay Batoka Safaris for the Boma at the A’Zambezi Lodge, it appeared that my credit card did not go through so we paid in cash, $130 USD. After we returned home we were checking our credit card account and realized that the charge did in fact go through. I have contacted Botaka and they indicated that they will reverse the payment.
Chobe Safari Lodge: My wife and I agree that we liked this portion of the trip best. That doesn’t mean we disliked any other portion of the trip…it’s just that we enjoyed this part more. That is considering everything in total: very nice accommodations, the overall beautiful setting on the river , the food, and the game drives. On our first game drive, our guide was a young man named Kam. The second drive was with another young man, but we preferred Kam. So, we asked at the activity office to schedule us with Kam for the remainder of our drives and she did. He was outstanding – very engaging, occasionally funny, informative and sensitive to very minor things such as positioning the vehicle for the best views of the animals and with the sun to our backs. I would highly recommend him for your future guests.
Cape Town: We were met at the airport by our guide, Derek Keeling, who we would have for the next three days. He took us directly to our hotel, the Cape Town Hollow Hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Cape Town and the tours provided by Derek. We especially enjoyed the scenery along the coast and going to the Cape of Good Hope – that in and of itself was exciting. Regarding the hotel, it was very nice. The staff were very helpful, especially Stephanie. We ate all of our breakfasts there and two dinners. The dinner meals were excellent. The room was nice and clean, but the bath room was really small – the sink size was on the order of what you might find in a small camper trailer – very, very small and no counter space.
Regarding our guide, Derek. He was contracted by Paradise Touring and he was outstanding. Considering that you are with the person for 3 days, if it’s not a good match, it could really put a damper on the trip. That was not the case with Derek. He was outstanding in every respect – punctual, informative, humorous, and a good photographer. I don’t know if you ever deal directly with guides, but if you do, I would highly recommend him to you and your guests. His numbers are ********** and his email is **********
Kapama River Lodge: getting to Kapama could have been a major scheduling glitch. Our itinerary shows our departure from Cape Town as 10:10. Derek picked us up at 07:45 and proceeded directly to the airport. There was a wreck on the main highway, so he was able to make a detour and we only lost about 5 minutes. When we arrived at the airport we thought we had over an hour before take-off. As we checked in, the ticket agent indicated that we needed to hurry, because our plane was already boarding. I questioned that, and said we have a 10:10 departure, and she corrected me and said no, it’s 09:10. I verified the flight number as SA1228. We rushed through the airport and security and obviously made the flight. Had we missed it, I’m not sure what our options would have been. ; Upon arrival at Hoedspruit airport, Kapama was there for arriving guests, but we weren’t on the list. They had us down as “self drive.” Obviously they took us to the lodge and it wasn’t a problem. However, the next day, I just wanted to verify our departure flight information and that Kapama would be taking us to the airport. Again, they had us identified as self-drive and were not planning on having to take us to the airport. It all worked out, but I thought you should be aware of what happened.
Regarding Kapama River Lodge and the Kapama Animal Reserve, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a very good guide and an excellent tracker, Ian.
With all this said, I’ve probably given you more than you want or need to know. I just thought you might want some feedback on your efforts. Overall, we had a wonderful time and we want to thank you for putting such a nice package together.
Jerry and JoAnn Mooney