Normally we plan our vacations and travel ourselves, but with a trip like this, we definitely knew it would be easier to work with an agent. Especially trying to plan the timing on domestic flights and transfers, and to help us narrow down the hotels and lodges. It's so easy to get overwhelmed by Trip Advisor reviews! We found this Africa safari operator via Zicasso and from the moment we received the first itinerary, we knew it was who we wanted to work with. Everything was so detailed and put together so well. Our travel specialist was such a pleasure to work with, talking us through our options and helping us pick our accommodations. She seemed to know exactly what we wanted and offered up suggestions that fit our preferences.This trip was a dream vacation for both me and my husband, and every single aspect exceeded our expectations. I would have said "trip of a lifetime" but we will certainly be going back! Everything ran so smoothly, from check-ins to car rentals to flights and transfers. All the hotels and lodges were even better than we could have imagined. We had amazing sightings on safari. Our specialist answered all our questions, but also mentioned not wanting to give everything away, especially for the safari portion, because she wanted us to be surprised. And surprised we were! We were away for a total of 11 nights, but I wish we could have stayed for two more weeks. We had 5 nights in Cape Town, and honestly we could have used 2 more. We did so much but there was still so much to see that we didn't get around to. And I'm so glad we opted to stay in two different lodges on safari. They were both totally different experiences and it was great to have the comparison. We both cried on our last night. It was a magical experience.
There are just too many to list! As far as Cape Town, it seems a lot of people go with guides, but we were glad we opted to rent a car. It gave us freedom to do things on our own timeline and work around any bad weather. We loved the Kirstenbosch Gardens, the beautiful Cape Point drive and the vineyards. We had amazing food and wine and witnessed some incredible sunsets and landscapes. As far as the safari portion, we lucked out at Camp Jabulani. Our guide was fantastic, and due to it being slow there, we had her and the truck all to ourselves. So we were able to ask a ton of questions and she was also able to be super patient with my photography, and even took us out to photograph the stars at night. We went to Camp Jabulani specifically for the elephant interaction, which was truly amazing, and we were able to do 3 elephant backed safaris in our time there. They are fascinating animals! The lodge is beautiful and the food was excellent, with the lunch and dinner menus planned by the day, so no two meals were ever the same. I had no idea it was a Relais & Chateaux property, but that explains the food and all the beautiful details in the rooms. We felt like one of the family and didn't want to leave! But Dulini lodge in Sabi Sands ended up being our favorite location. Our room was more of a house. And we got lucky to have a herd of elephants playing in the dry river bed being the lodge, so they were so enjoyable to watch. We also got lucky with the overall game sightings and we saw SO MUCH! Elephants, lions, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, rhino, hippo, giraffe, zebra, hyena, warthog, wildebeest, all kinds of antelopes like nyala, waterbuck, kudu, and of course, impala...to name a few. We were in the truck with a really fun couple, so we had a lot of laughs. Our guides were an impressive duo as our ranger and tracker and they got us so close to the animals and somehow found these animals that you never knew would be there. We had more of an off-roading adventure at Dulini which was a lot of fun! I loved the group dinners (at Camp J we were on our own since there was only one other couple there) and we had a lot of laughs. The scheduled game drives allowed us time during the day to relax. But the thing I won't forget, and I'm still dreaming about, is hearing the sound of lions roaring all night, mixed in with elephants trumpeting and leopards growling.
Honestly, nothing. We ended up adding a day to the Cape Town portion of the trip and I'm glad we did. Even with that additional day, we didn't get to see everything we wanted. I don't know how people do it in 3 days! If we go again, we'd probably just stay at one safari lodge, since we've had the experience of two, but I'm so glad we did both for our first time. This trip was absolutely perfect and I don't think I'd change a single thing.
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