Holiday review by Mr. Mike Gormley and Mrs Jean Gormley

Name: Mr. Mike Gormley and Mrs Jean Gormley

Date of trip: 02/09/2015

Number of people: 2

All of it !! It was all very special. I had lived in Africa for several years and spent lot of time in the bush and in Botswana and Zimbabwe but my new wife Jean it was her first ever trip to Africa and she had never been 'on safari'. For her it was all new. Neither of us were disappointed in any way at all. We saw a lot of game - always a hit and miss affair. We had some very special moments with Leopards, saw lots of Wild dogs but the list is long. Over this trip we were able to spend time just sitting and quietly watching many animals, close up, and just be part of their lives for a while. Often they had young with them. Many very special moments. If I were to comment in a slightly negative way it would be to say we should have spent more time at each location. ( Our fault ). We mostly did two nights but would have been better to have three or more. The locations themselves are great in their own right and we had little time to actually enjoy them for what they are. With early morning and evening game drives and other activities it left little time to chill out and relax a bit. At all locations you can view game from your 'room' and the buildings if you are lucky ! Can be VERY close as well. At most locations we had to be escorted to our room after dark as most are not fenced and animals can roam freely.

  • Game drive snacks at Stanleys Camp

    Africa, Botswana, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp

  • Meet the orphaned elephants while at Stanleys Camp

    Africa, Botswana, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp

  • Stanleys Camp at sunset

    Africa, Botswana, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp

  • Water lilies at Stanelys Camp

    Africa, Botswana, Sanctuary Stanley's Camp

  • Chiefs Camp from river

     

  • Chiefs Camp pool

     

  • Chiefs Camp view after dark

     

  • Bath and view at Chiefs Camp

     

  • Chobe Chilwero boat safari

     

  • Suite bedroom at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

     

  • Chobe Chilwero campfire

     

  • Private dining at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

     

  • Waterberry Lodge from the Zambezi River

     

  • Waterberry Lodge sunbird and wagtail cottages

     

  • Waterberry Lodge, pool

     

  • Waterberry Lodge, dining room

     

  • Ilala Lodge terrace and falls spray

     

  • Executive suite at Ilala Lodge

     

  • Victoria Falls is a short walk from Ilala Lodge

     

  • Swimming pool at Ilala Lodge

     

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Tribes Overall:

Our trip was a bit of a complex one with many links, pick ups, flights, transfers, border crossings and a section to a self arranged destination. Planning was a bit of a challenge. It all worked perfectly with absolutely no issues what so ever. If ever there was a trip which had opportunities to go wrong this was it. It did not. Our only travel issues were after the Tribes content when we got to Heathrow when transfer bus failed to arrive and train was full and so had to sit on the floor !!!! Not a great welcome back to England !

Tribes Service:

Tribes did a grand job throughout. From an immediate response - on a Sunday afternoon - through a 'fussy' planing phase as I knew some of what I wanted ! Tribes suggested locations and lodges / hotels and integrated it to what I was after and also built in a side visit to a location I wanted to visit, arranging transfers and so on all which worked like a well oiled clock. The info provided was both informative and useful and well presented. On top of all this it was a honey moon trip but not really a 'honeymoon' as such. At many locations we were treated very well indeed with a good few 'surprises' - special rooms / lodges / champagne - clearly Tribes had given them all the heads up we were newly weds. Very thoughtful and very special...

Guides:

We visited several locations and all involved guides. All were good to great and some even better ! Punctual, pleasant, polite, often good humoured and all extremely knowledgable. We were lucky to quite often have a 'personal' guide and vehicle / boat and they soon adjusted to our specific interests and knowledge levels. Most were very adept at my interest in photography helping to get me well placed for photos. I have to say some were a bit tricky to understand at first but we normally over came that with a bit of practice ! As an experienced off road driver I have to say that all were good and most very good and again seem to respond to us being quite used to and happy with the likes of deep water crossing and rough roads and of road driving. They all did their best to make a good trip great, and succeeded.

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

Indeed. Just going to wild and out of the way places employs a lot of people. This clearly feeds back down the logistic chain to food supply, local transport and so on. We also went on trips to villages and saw some of the local scene.


The places you stayed

Game drive snacks at Stanleys Camp

Stanleys Camp

Okavango Delta

I have only marked this as good as the "tented' accommodation was a bit on the tired side. Not so say it is not good and a great location and all else about Stanley's was top end. Staff were all great, food excellent, guides first class. We were greeted at the bush airstrip by 'Ice' ( born on a frosty morning he told us !) who was to be our guide. Not long after our pick up we stopped in the bush and were treated to champagne and snacks !! There were many great game moments here but topped by Leopard. With very many 'bush days' behind me I had only once seen one and no photo. By the time we left Stanley's it was a very different story. We also had some very personal time with a family of Wild Dogs. Even in this dry time Stanleys area is wet and so we had a lot of wading in the 4x4s. We did a Makoro trip here which was somewhat shortened by the Leopard ....but was a wonderful experience at sun set. All in all a great spot to spend some time.


Chiefs Camp from river

Chiefs Camp

Moremi Game Reserve

Our transfer to Chiefs was by helicopter. Worth it. Yes ! Chiefs is a special location. Wonderfull accommodation and animals just wander in ! Views out from the location are very good with wild life all around. We did have a very large Ellie right outside our lodge here... we also had our best lion experience here as well as leopard. Here there are lots of viewing opportunities and we did well. After some very determined tracking by our guide Kenosi we got to see an elusive Black Rhino. Staff and food here were first class.


Chobe Chilwero boat safari

Chobe Chilwero

Chobe & Savuti

As we drove from the air port we saw Wild Dogs on the road side ! Things never looked back from then on. We were treated very specially here ! Our lodge was great and even had a private pool and wonderful facilities. The main area is very good with spectacular views over the river Chobe way below. When we arrived we could see hundreds of elephant, buffalo and other game. The evening boat trip took us right up close to these and we were lucky on our first night to see them crossing the river. The game drives were extensive and we had good viewings and perhaps the largest herd of Buffalo we were to see. Ishmael


Waterberry Lodge from the Zambezi River

Waterberry Lodge

Zambia

The ferry crossing over the Zambezi and border was a different experience and was smoothed through by our guides. Waterberry is a lovely spot on the bank of the Zambezi. Very different to our other locations. More chilled out. Good accommodation in very well tended gardens. The main buildings are very nice with great river views. Food was good. The river trips were really good with good viewings. We took the local Village visit which was by boat and we really enjoyed it. Although necessarily set up to some degree came over as very natural. We went to the Zambia side of Vic Falls from here. Again a good trip and well planned, even down to the anti Baboon catapults with full instructions ! They worked...and not a shot fired ! The water level was very low indeed for our trip but the positive is you can see right into the gorge. Another very enjoyable stay.


Ilala Lodge terrace and falls spray

Ilala Lodge

Zimbabwe

Very well located at the bottom of Vic Falls town, next to banks, shops, other facilities and hotels and a short walk to the Falls themselves. A very nice hotel and our room was large and very well appointed. There is a nice pool and bar area. A large and very good resturant with extensive out side dining.
There is a large extension being built ( while we were there ) so new rooms will soon be available. A very good location and base for Vic Falls. We took a sunset cruise from here which was very good, and an evening game drive and 'bush dinner' which was excellent and got us our best Black Rhino viewing.