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Thank you for all your help – A fabulous Victoria Falls and Chobe experience.

by Martin

Hello Boo,

We are back from our southern Africa trip. South Africa was excellent but all the highlights were in the week you arranged in Zim and Chobe! Thank you for all your help – you couldn’t have been more helpful in putting everything together for us and helping make it a fabulous experience. I have also put a short review on the Facebook page.

I thought you might also appreciate some feedback on all the separate components for future recommendations/customers:

Lokuthula Lodges
• We loved them – the self-catering worked really well for us and access to the Safari Lodge hotel and Boma mean best of all worlds (though we didn’t actually use them – though hotel in particular looked lovely). We stayed in lodge #27 for first 2 nights, then #8 on the last night. Recommendation – lodges 7 or 8 (or at least low numbers) are ones to ask for. Not only closer to everything else, but direct view of small watering hole and we had so many animals come through our terrace that last evening – warthogs, kudu, monkeys, impala (whereas #27 not so much). Hourly shuttle bus works well – we found OK Supermarket behind Shearwater the best to go for. With all the restaurant food we had on the rest of the holiday it was nice to cook something basic and enjoy the terrace in the evening at our own pace.

Sunset cruise
• Awesome! Surprised by (a) how uncrowded the boat was, (b) quality of dinner (best food we had anywhere), and (c) enthusiasm for making us another drink! An absolutely stunning start to the week and in the context of a fairly expensive country (we found) – this is good value. Saw hippos and crocs, but mainly just enjoyed the river and the amazing sunset – what an end of day after having started it leaving our hotel in Cape Town at 4am.

Canopy Tour
• A success! All 4 of us loved it. Wild Horizons were very organised and the zips were fabulous – and just a small amount scary…

Lookout Café
• A highlight by itself. Relaxing, great views, great lunch, great service. The Canopy Tour ended early but they were happy for us to park ourselves an hour before reservation time and take lunch slowly. Would be foolish not to book the lunch as we did with you if you’re doing Canopy Tour or similar – also it was full and wouldn’t have got great (or perhaps any) table without the reservation

The Falls
• Lived up to expectations – though $30 each quite pricey… but then who’s not going to do it? You were right about the rainbows in the afternoon….

Chobe Camping
• OK, this was a great recommendation! Chobe – and particularly camping – was a TRUE highlight for me. SO MANY animals to see (lion cubs attached taken there), and all so close. Slightly chaotic organisation between Shearwater in Zim and Chobezi in Botswana (even though they’re the same company? No one seemed to know we were going camping) – in fact Shearwater generally were always late on pick-ups, nothing serious, 15 mins or so, but others were on time. The Chobe river cruise immediately turned up lots of animals and was great, then we had a good lunch and then our camping guide found us – and everything was great from there. Chobezi in fact did great – our guide Gabriel was outstanding (always knew just where the best photos were and had so much knowledge of the bush) and we had 4 people in total looking after the 4 of us. Luxury camping (beds!) and free bar and a constant supply of great food, don’t know how the chef did it. About the right number of drives (2 a day) with the siesta in the middle of the middle day working well. Saw leopard, lions as well as so many herds of elephant, giraffe, zebra, hippos, crocs, buffalo, all kinds of birds and antelope, baboons, everything really. BUT – it’s not for everyone – it was a bit more ‘wild camping’ than even I expected with the elephants crashing through the bush 100m away all evening and we could hear the lions and hyenas all night. Our 17 year old had a bit of a meltdown when Gabriel told us what to do if a lion sniffed at our tent, but everything OK in the end. Gabriel made the trip much easier at the end by taking us to the border and making sure we were handed over to Shearwater before departing.

Ivory Lodge
• Actually, the one place I wouldn’t really recommend to be honest. Too regimented and at the (for us, very high) price, not quite slick enough. Although there was in principle a set of options as to activities, within 5 minutes of arriving we were ‘told’ what was thought best – which included all day the next day out from 6.30am to 6.30pm. Other guests said they had the same. When we asked for a half day rather than full (being slightly safari’d out after Chobe), with the other half for relaxing at the lodge, it was clear this was unwelcome and a bit inconvenient for them. There was a bit too much of a sense that we needed to fit around what worked for them. Although we were led to expect to be back at 1pm (a proper half day), in fact by 10.30 the guide was already leaving the park without consulting us. Also, not their fault, but after Chobe there was a lot less to see – many fewer animals and they were a lot further away, although as a park Hwange is beautiful. That said even in the short time (2 hours) we were in the park, we saw lions hunting and a cheetah which was good. The lodge itself was a bit too ‘holiday camp’ – one big communal table and everyone lining up to collect food, school dinners style. The guy in charge was too full of himself and mildly annoying, though admittedly a source of entertainment for post-dinner chats with the other guests. The lodges themselves were just slightly too faded to justify luxury pricing, though the evening camp fire was nice and the drinks flowed. It’s also quite a long way from the park entrance – that’s OK but we’d been led to expect plenty to see in their adjacent concession, whereas in truth there wasn’t. Overall, given the cost, it wasn’t really very good value. However, we still enjoyed it and had a relaxing couple of days there.

Travel Africa
• Particularly efficient and prompt transfers, with good drivers

That’s it – I hope it helps for you to know how it looks from the customer end.

I can only finish by thanking you again – what you do is great and facilitated a truly memorable week for all of us.

With very best wishes

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