I have been dreaming of going to Africa for over ten years and this year that dream finally came true. Our travel company was wonderful - particularly our agent who helped us every step of the way. I gave her some vague ideas and she came up with a wonderful itinerary and recommendations on where to stay. We went through several iterations and our agent was always helpful and very responsive. If I contacted her during business hours I never waited more than an hour or two for a response and many were much faster. Every partner they worked with in Africa was very professional, on time, and provided excellent service. Honestly, after having visited I would imagine that you can't go wrong - everyone we met had nothing but positive things to say about everywhere they had been. If you're on the fence or worried, don't be!! Everything was taken care of every step of the way and I felt 100% safe and cared for the entire time.
We were fortunate enough to see FOUR leopard on our trip - a mother with two cubs and another with a kill in a tree. We saw a pride of lions feeding on a zebra that must have been killed during the night. We didn't see the actual migration but we saw one of the splinter groups that split off and even that was pretty incredible - zebras and wildebeest everywhere. The absolute craziest thing we saw was a group of crocodiles eat a hyena. It was the most awesome and horrific thing I've ever seen!
We very much enjoyed having some very modern accommodations mixed into the trip. After several days in the bush you REALLY appreciate that nice, indoor shower with water pressure! It was my birthday in the middle of the trip and we were leaving one camp and heading to Nairobi. The staff at the camp surprised me with dinner in the bush, they made a cake, and the entire crew came to sing. In Nairobi the hotel we stayed at gave me a bouquet that I swear had over 5 dozen roses in it and the girl at reception sang happy birthday to me. What a great b-day!
I can't say enough about the guides and staff along the way. Each one was wonderful and they go above and beyond to make sure you're comfortable and enjoying yourself. I swear I couldn't even untie my shoes without someone jumping in to help! Each had their own unique style that made them great. Can't say enough about the people in Africa - just wonderful!!
For a lot of our trip we were in transit from one accommodation to the next and it was pretty exhausting - 8-10 hours in the jeep each day. I would have narrowed the focus into just a few places and stayed longer at each.
I would have brought way more cash than we did. You tip just about everyone and once you see how good the service is, you'll need more cash for tips!
We didn't purchase hardly any souvenirs because we were worried about making weight for the domestic flights. Not sure if this was unusual but no one even took a second look at our luggage. You basically pull up to the airstrip and your driver loads it right onto the plane. Knowing this, I would have purchased a lot more things along the way. Most of the items are handmade or handcarved, very beautiful, and unlikely to be found anywhere else. We did buy some stuff towards the end but I wish I had purchased more!
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