Holiday review by Diane Connolly
Name: Diane Connolly
Date of trip: 02/08/2018
Number of people: 2
First dinner at Kafunta with the view over the flood plain realising that we were really were looking at and hearing hippos; the pontoon crossing; Andrew reversing sharply to avoid an elephant in must; Andrew hearing the baboon alarm call, noting where the baboon was looking and finding a leopard and 2 cubs in the bush at that spot; the first time we stopped for tea on our game drive - climbing out of the truck and standing on the ground after we'd just seen a lioness and 3 cubs a few hundred metres away; Three rivers Camp - the whole experience; the pool at Blue Zebra island lodge; kayaking around Nankoma Island with my son Joe.
Definitely exceeded expectations.
Chris deserves a huge thank you for inspiring me to book this trip. She listened to my ramblings and managed to pick out the salient points, nudging me in the direction of Zambia and Malawi instead of South Africa. I'm so glad she did. The information packs were very useful, can't think of anything I needed to know that wasn't in there - although I definitely should have read through them a bit earlier!
Andrew was the perfect guide for us - quiet to begin with, not overbearing or in our faces. We weren't expecting to have a guide and a truck to ourselves so it took a bit of getting used to. Andrew was so knowledgeable, so skilled at spotting wildlife and made us feel really well looked after. We particularly enjoyed the tea and sundowner stops, giving us a chance to stand on the ground where the game had been or, in the case of one lion spotting - would be later. Andrew also took us on a walking safari at Three Rivers which again, was so interesting - although a bit hot for the children in the end. Andrew felt like part of the family by the end of our stay and we really missed him when we got to Blue Zebra Island!
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
I don't know really - certainly the Kafunta Safari set up seems to be about benefiting the local people - employing locals, contributing to Project Luangwa and, through Andrew, raising awareness of the poaching problem and what's being done to try to improve the local's opinions of the wildlife.
I'm not sure about the Blue Zebra Island part of the holiday - I don't know if they are doing anything for the local people or environment (other than adding 50% to the tip box each month). There was no information.
The places you stayed
Superb - beautiful lodge, beautiful staff and fabulous food - especially the lunches! The attention to detail was second to none. It was such a relaxing place - even though the safari experience is really full on.
You have a real star in TJ - he's a force of nature or really makes this camp such a fabulous experience. We actually preferred it to Kafunta because it's more intimate and feels closer to nature. Great tents - loved the outdoor shower and the star beds.
I think this probably would have been an excellent but nothing can compare to Kafunta and Three Rivers I'm afraid.
Beautiful spot with a truly spectacular view across the flood plain both in the day and at night. The wildlife is literally on your doorstep. The staff are incredibly friendly and very professional. The food is excellent but, for me personally, I would like to have tasted a greater Zambian influence.
The camp manager, TJ, is a force of nature and adds greatly to the experience. I thoroughly enjoyed his company in the evenings. If anything, the accomodation is even better than Kafunte and you certainly feel close to nature. I also really enjoyed the communal dining. The highlight of the holiday for me.
Again, great staff. Only suffers in comparison to the Kafunte experience in the fact that the accomodation isn't quite as good. Although the food is very good I think they might be better doing a buffet at lunch. Certainly, the Saturday lunchtime BBQ was tremendous.