The Trip of a Lifetime
by Robbie and Mascilline
Hello one last time (at least for a while!), Tony!
Now that we’ve been back for a few days, we thought we’d better send one last “thanks for everything” email! As you promised, this was truly “the trip of a lifetime”, and without a doubt your thoughtful suggestions, expert guidance, and precise planning were the big reason why it all worked out so well. I know you said you wanted specific feedback, so here goes...
Transfers – All of the transfers you booked for us worked out perfectly. The vehicles were always on time, the drivers were excellent, and they all had plenty of room, even for those of us who brought suitcases full of things to leave for friends and family! The one slight issue was with the Zimshuttle folks – they didn’t pick us up from the Pathfinder as I thought we’d arranged, but you hadn’t arranged that one, so clearly, we need to make sure that we have you do all the bookings in the future! One question we talked about later was whether for future similar trips if it might be cheaper to book one transfer company to do the entire the trip (essentially, they would just follow us around from location to location), but given that we spent several days in some locations, I assume that would get a bit pricey. Bottom line on the transfers is that they worked out beautifully (and given some of the transport issues getting around Zim, I definitely know that’s never a guarantee, so thanks for that!)
Ridgeway House – A beautiful place with wonderful staff – for the 4 folks in our group who had never been to Africa before, it was a terrific place to start and end their African adventure. The food was amazing, and the location was conveniently close to the crafts market – our gang probably did 75% of their total Zim shopping on our first morning there! The other thing that needs to be stated about Ridgeway was how helpful folks were there – in particular, Janine went above and beyond in helping one of our group eventually meet up with her missing luggage!
Kariba – As we discussed with you in Vic Falls, some of the folks in our group were a little unhappy with the speed of service at the Cutty Sark, but to Mascilline and I, that seemed like a bit of a “first world problems” situation. We loved the location (great view!), and the food was very nice (if a bit slow in arriving!) For future trips, we talked about maybe adding another day in Kariba to take advantage of the activities there, since we never really had time for that, so that might be a consideration for future trips.
Ferry – This turned out to be a highlight for many of our group – the thought of spending 22 hours on it seemed like it could get boring, but it never did! The staff was excellent, and the food was wonderful, too. We heard some of the folks on the ferry saying that they’d heard that it might not run next year; that would be a shame, since we’ve already decided that we definitely would want to include that in any future trips we take thanks to the relaxing, fun experience it gave us.
Gorges Lodge – This place was by far the most beautiful and “high end” of the trip – the food was exquisite, the facilities were 5 star, and the staff was incredibly helpful and welcoming. Obviously, the one down side is the condition of the road to get to and from Vic Falls, but given the amazing beauty and serenity of the property itself, it’s well worth it. For future trips, it will be tough to not go back, just given how luxurious the place is!
Vic Falls activities – Thanks for all your help in setting these up, Tony – everyone had a terrific experience – the two grandmothers on the elephant ride, the 2 folks (45 and 60+ years old!) who apparently put most of the young folks to shame on the whitewater rafting trip, the helicopter ride, and the jet boat ride were all activities that were thoroughly enjoyed by all. I really appreciated the fact that you had forwarded the list of possible activities ahead of time to us so that folks could think about what hey might want to do before they got there, too. Definitely many more lifetime memories were made there!
Bomani – As you suggested, Tony, this was the place for an amazing wildlife experience. The countless animals we saw, the variety of activities (the “elephant hide” and school/village tour were particularly appreciated by our group), and the knowledge and passion of the guide would have made this place a “must go” for any future trip. And then when you add the quality of the facilities, phenomenal food and drink, terrific staff, Bomani’s commitment to eco-tourism and so on, and we cannot imagine going anywhere else for our next Hwange trip – and hopefully next time, the Elephant express will be running, too!
So, one last time, Tony, thanks again for all your work in making this happen! We had a great time, and look forward to doing it all again in a few years. Of course, given all your help and support, we will definitely contact you when it’s time to go back to Zim (our pattern has been every 4 years, so look for our email in early 2019!) It was great to meet you in Vic Falls, and we look forward to working with you again in the future!
Robbie and Mascilline