SAM LOVED THE IMPALA, KUDU AND MANY THINGS THAT REALLY SURPRISED US!
We are home. The trip was an outstanding experience. You had everything seamlessly arranged and we did not have one glitch. It was so smooth and we were very happy with your attention to detail. We felt so well taken care of – from the drivers, to the detailed itinerary, to the flight arrangements. We adored South Africa. Yes – already missing our favorite part of the day – the sundowner!
The Peech was the perfect start – great drive through joburg, gorgeous and comfy room, delicious food. Really nice way to start the trip.
As far as the 2 game lodges, we loved both. Both lodges were wonderful in such different ways. The game viewing was excellent at both – slightly better at Simbambili. The staff at both places were outstanding. The food was excellent. Our guide at Simbambili was much more relaxed, funny and just a lot of fun to be with. Both places went out of their way to cater to Sam (our 11-year-old) – as well as the rest of our family. I am not sure all 10-15-year-olds would enjoy Simbambili as it is very quiet, more formal and much more downtime. Fortunately, Sam loved the lodge and was exhausted from the early mornings and late dinners so was happy to relax and chill during the afternoon – but I think some preteen/teens may not. But for us it was wonderful.
Tanda Tula – Chef Ryan always came out each day to make meal suggestions and discuss the day’s menu with Sam. He also always prepared a safe entree in case Sam did not like the offered food. Interestingly – Sam LOVED the impala, kudu and many things that really surprised us! Other awesome highlights: coffee in the tent at wake up, pool area with a watering hole behind it and many animals coming to visit, waking to monkeys and birds in the trees outside the tent, and so many other things. Most exceptional were the staff. They were friendly, kind, always available and so nice.
We met awesome families and I think this is a must-visit for families who might enjoy the “upscale tent” experience. There was even a 10year old boy there at the same time who made great friends with my son. They ate meals together, and also swam and played soccer during downtime. Really made it nice. The other families were delightful and the group dinners were really nice. We loved the surprise celebratory dinner with drums and dancing. It was such a highlight! The only negative -our guide was a bit crabby the first 2 days -I think he did not mesh well with the NYC mother and 2 children we were grouped with so that was the only negative. After they left he was incredibly fun and knowledgable so the only slightly negative improved.
Simbambili – gorgeous rooms, plunge pools, patios and posh beds. Very deluxe. Such personalized service, amazing food and drinks. The spa was OUTSTANDING. I got the africani massage and it was the best massage I have ever had. The staff went above and beyond anything we could have asked for. Our game driver and tracker were an awesome team – we saw so many amazing and beautiful things. The butler and cook worked together every day to make our son special meals off-menu or modify planned meals. I think this lodge had much more of a honeymooner/couple vibe – but fortunately, we were with fun and outgoing people and the staff was so sweet that we felt perfectly in place and enjoyed every minute.
Looking back, I do wish we would have to take your advice and visited Cape Town. Everyone we met who went just raved. We regret that we did not follow your original recommendation to go there but now we just need to plan a return visit!!! I think your initial recommendation of a slightly shorter safari and time in Cape Town could have made the trip even more perfect.
Thank you for planning a wonderful trip for our family!