The trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe was wonderful. The landscape of South Africa is stunning both northeast and southwest. The Panorama route might be God's Country. Dulini Lodge deserves every accolade it has earned, and then some. Victoria Falls is awe-inspiring. Franschoek is Napa Valley or the Cote du Rhone transported into Africa. Every game drive is a unique experience, and the word that kept coming to mind was 'magical'. The people are warm and friendly, and clearly recognize the importance of tourism to the local economy.
Our Africa safari travel agency was an important element of making it so. I usually plan the details of our international trips, but since this was our first trip to this part of the world, we looked for some outside help. We provided the outline of what we wanted to do, and this company filled in all the details in an interactive manner; considering our wishes, schedule constraints and costs. We would up very pleased that they convinced us to make a few changes to our preconceived notions.
After we booked the trip, our travel company proactively provided helpful information and rapid responses to a variety of questions we had. Having reps both in the US and Africa helped. They also went above and beyond to surprise us with a few 'special extras' in our itinerary when I mentioned that we would be celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary while overseas.
- Everything about Dulini Lodge. Those people are really pros. No detail is missed.
- The look on my wife's face when she realized that if she reached her arm out of the jeep she'd be petting a large male lion.
- Up close and personal with a penguin colony on the Cape Peninsula tour.
- Watching elephants drink from 5 feet away in an underground hide.
- Bomas (look it up) and some of the food that was available.
- Looking DOWN at a rainbow in Victoria Falls.
- The Southern night sky. Viewing the Milky Way and the Southern Cross.
- Seeing a very experienced guide get as excited as a kid at Christmas when he spotted a rare black rhino.
- Visiting a school and having coffee with the village chief and his wife in a village over an hours drive from a paved road.
- Converting Rand prices into USD!
Too many more to mention.
1. We spent 22 days, including some long distance travel, on this trip. With multiple transfers or activities scheduled for every day except one. And 5am wake-ups on safari. I should have planned in 2 'down days' just catch our breath bit.
2. Added a 3rd safari experience. That was the reason we went to this area in the first place.
3. I now know the real difference between a 5star and a 4star safari experience. Given that it is a full experience, and not just the accommodations, it is a bigger difference than say the difference between 4 and 5 star hotels in the US.
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