TRULY ONE OF THE BEST, IF NOT THE BEST, VACATIONS WE HAVE EVER TAKEN.
We have run out of adjectives to describe how wonderful it all was. The One & Only was over the top. We were treated royally and the room was beautiful. We would have liked to have some friends with us to use the dining room table which sat 6 people. We did not need such an elegant room, but it did contribute to the ambiance of the vacation. Mark Murison was great – what a nice person. Besides his knowledge of Cape Town and South Africa, we had interesting conversations about the politics of SA (and the US). The day trips were all enjoyable: the general tour of the area, wine country, Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, Robben Island, Penguins, and great lunches. The only thing we did miss was a tour of the Townships. Mark did drive us though one of the towns, but we would have preferred to be able to spend more time and perhaps walk around and visit a school.
As our stay in Cape Town was winding down, we thought that we could have spent another 2 days just to hang around the hotel and pool. However, once we got to Phinda, we realized that Cape Town was only the appetizer and now we were into the main course. Both Phinda Vlei Lodge and Exeter River Lodge were all we could hope for. The accommodations at both places were lovely, very romantic (plunge pools, privacy, sun decks), food was excellent (better at Phinda Vlei which was spectacular vs. only excellent), the staff were friendly and helpful and warm, and as for the game drives … 1,182 pictures or videos and I don’t usually like to take pictures.
No mosquitos (never needed to use spray). The weather was great. At Phinda, I wore short sleeves and shorts for the game drives. At Exeter, the weather was a little cooler so pants and long-sleeve shirt or jacket were put to use. Flight connections in country were fine, on time, and fun. We did not get the upgrade on either British Air flights, but the flight from Johannesburg to Heathrow was much better than the flight down. More comfortable seats and a little more legroom.
We thank you for designing a trip that will not be forgotten. Truly one of the best, if not the best, vacations we have ever taken.