Holiday review by Mr. Eric Stelfox
Name: Mr. Eric Stelfox
Date of trip: 08/05/2019
Number of people: 2
There were so many magical moments that we could spend all day listing them. Amongst the most memorable were: -the friendliness of everyone we met -seeing rhinos in Africa for the first time -helicopter ride over Victoria Falls (a must do) -the special experience of the Pans -looking up at night and seeing the stars in all their glory -watching Michael, our guide at Somalisa, spotting a lion print on the road and following it leading to seeing two male lions and a unhappy leopard (they pinched his kill).
Madagascar was magical and we could easily have spent longer there. However, we would then have missed out on the fantastic camps in Botswana and Zimbabwe. For the first time in Africa (at the fifth attempt) we saw rhinos in the wild and Victoria Fall was not to be missed.
Christine was very knowledgeable and helpful in putting this trip together.
Given the nature of our trip we had a lot of guides and, with one exception, we would rate them all as very good to super-exceptional. The skill of Michael our guide at Somalisa in tracking lions was a pleasure to behold.
The one exception was our guide at Camp Kalahari who we had to speak to about his driving technique (frustrated rally driver?). To be fair he was driving with his arm in plaster.
TRIBES REPLY: Thanks for the information about this Eric. The camp have been notified and we've already been told that the driving has been addressed with the guide. Knowing the camp, I trust this will be the case.
Social & Environmental Responsibility:
All of the places we stayed were proud of their environmental credentials. However, any environmental benefit they gave was probably negated by the amount of air and road travel we undertook.
We also felt that a number of the attractions in Madagascar were zoos, or as close to to make no difference, (butterfly farm and lemurs at Vacuna). Whilst we didn't have any strong objections anyone who felt strongly about zoos would not have been happy.
The places you stayed
A quirky (in the best sense) hotel with each of the 6 rooms different. we stayed in the 'Fred Flintstone' suite (so christened by us because it resembled a series of interconnecting caves.) Part of the suite was open to the stars so a night you had a fantastic view of them-especially if you had to use the loo.
Ifaty, west coast
A great beach side hotel with all of the amenities you would expect. It was very quiet when we were there-at times only 1 other couple.
The snorkeling is excellent but the equipment provided less so. we would recommend that people take at least their own snorkel.
Sally loved this place. If she had her way she would have packed it up and brought it home!
We thought the lodge itself was fine. A close encounter with an elephant outside our tent led to a frisson of excitement. Our stay at this lodge was chalk and cheese. On the negative side we thought our schedule was chopped and changed to meet the requirement of the lodge and guide, rather than with any consideration of what we wanted to do. Due to this we had to do the meerkat trip twice-once is OK, twice is underwhelming. We have commented on the driving above. On the basis of this we would have rated it as average/poor.
The one thing that led to the excellent rating is the quad biking experience on the pans (we are sworn to secrecy!)
One thing on the quad biking, some people seemed concerned about was insurance-it never crossed our minds.
Great lodge, great guide but with average food. There is a drought and no water so the water based activities were not available. These were replaced by game drives. First time we had seen the big five in one location.
Victoria Falls to Hwange
An experience! The coaches (sleeping car and dining car with a saloon) date from the early sixties and in their heyday were undoubtedly splendid. They are now shabby chic. The host is a very jolly man who works exceptionally hard to make sure you have a good time. It helped that besides ourselves the only other group were a very friendly party of 5 Australian ladies of a certain age who were on a school reunion and could represent their country as a female drinking team. Food was excellent.
The carriages are decoupled at Dete and there was lot of shunting them around during the night-without this we would have rated it as excellent.
Hwange National Park
One of our favourite places ever. Very well thought out accommodation and food was excellent. With a water hole adjacent you really didn't have to leave the camp. Fantastic guide with lion cubs thrown in as well - what else do you need?
After the experience of the lodges room seemed a little cramped. Things that worked in its favour were the friendliness of the staff, the efficiency in booking us a helicopter trip at short notice and the Boma dinner show which sounds quite cheesy but we would suggest is a must do-unless your a vegetarian.