I spoke to this Africa safari travel company just about 2 months in advance of our planned trip and was very surprised about how easy it was to arrange the trip we had hoped for. Our contact was knowledgeable and within a few days of our request, knowing our budget, she had prepared a complete itinerary to include sightseeing and wine-tasting in Cape Town and Franschhoek and 3 days safari in Sabi Sands, next to Kruger as well as 3 days in Chobe, Botswana, concluding with a day at Victoria Falls. The best part about the entire trip was the ease with which we were able to accomplish everything. We arranged for our international plane and told our agent the dates and she arranged for everything else. The cost per person excluding all air and gratuities to guides was <$6000 each and we had really 4-5 star accommodations and most meals included. The transfers were flawless as we were met at each transfer site by a greeter with our name on a board and we never worried about missing a connection. The information packet we received before the trip prepared us well and we could not have been more pleased with the results!!
We loved everything about the trip, but if we had to rank different parts, here's the ranking:
1. Inyati Lodge in Sabi Sands had the best game viewing. We saw the Big 5 including a leopard "kill" as well as a fight between a leopard and 2 hyenas over an impala carcass. The guide and tracker were experienced and we were able to go off-road tracking many animals. Our accommodations were spacious with great view of river and many animals in front of the lodge. Food was ample and except for the "sundowner" drink during the afternoon drive, all additional drinks were additionally charged for.
2. Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana was elegant with Moorish architecture, a huge terrace and plentiful animals on site as well as on the game drives. As it is in the Chobe Reserve, there was no off-road driving, so we were not able to follow tracks and thus did not see all of the big 5 but saw MANY elephants, rhino, giraffes, baboons, impala and birds. Also this lodge did 2 game rides and 1 boat excursion each day so that there was ample time for viewing. The guides are all women and were very competent and delightful. This Lodge provided laundry service, 3 meals/day, high tea and alcoholic beverages as well as the 3 game viewing opportunities per day in the price with no extras except for gratuities.
3. Cape Town: We stayed at a wharf-front hotel--the Victoria and Albert--and our room was large and breakfast was included. We took a 1/2 day tour of CapeTown including Table Mountain and the Botanical Gardens and a full day tour of Cape Hope and the penguin colony and Boulders Beach. Both of these activities were well planned and our guide was knowledgeable and easy to work with. He also accompanied us to a 1/2 day wineland tour which was terrific with 3 tastings in different wineries including pairings with cheese and chocolate.
4. Franschhoek: We spent a day in this town and enjoyed the WineTram which we took to 5 different wineries. Our only complaint was that the town itself was small and the best restaurants were not available for dinner on the 2 evenings we were there as the reservations for dinner needed to be booked in advance. We did find good food, but wished we had known about the difficulty in getting the reservations.
5. Victoria Falls: We arrived in the afternoon and stayed at a beautiful hotel in a large suite. We took a wonderful sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and the next day took a walking tour of the Falls with an excellent guide. VF had too many street peddlers or our taste and it seemed like it was not possible to walk any distance without encountering them which was unpleasant.
It was a long drive from Nelspruit to Inyati and I understand there was a closer airport--if we had known that the ride was 2 hours, we may have opted to get a smaller plane to the closer airport.
We would have reserved dinner space at the best restaurants in Franschhoek in advance.
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