I realize not everyone likes the same things, but I wanted you to know what the highlights have been for us, and also what we would have done differently.
Overall, this has been an extraordinary experience! There was no way you could have convinced me to make it a longer trip, but I already wish we had a few more days. The time at Kanana Camp was amazing. Every single staff member there made us feel like family. They took such pride in everything they did. Our guide, Junior, was so much fun. We so enjoyed that we could go “off road” to get closer to the animals. As you know, at Chobe Game Lodge the park restricts the guides from doing that. There were many more sightings but most were from a greater distance. I realize the sightings are a matter of timing and luck, but overall we have done well so far. At Kanana we created bonds with the other guests and also got to know the staff a bit because we ate all meals together at one long table. The food was quite good too. Of course we also were at Kanana for an additional day. We really could have used another day at Chobe and at Victoria Falls.
Although transfers across borders cost a bit more and were a bit more complicated, we are glad we stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel. We met one group at Kanana (a group from New Mexico who planned their trip with you) and someone else at Chobe who stayed at the Royal Livingstone in Zambia. Both felt the hotel was poorly managed and had terrible service. The Victoria Falls Hotel was lovely, but certainly not intimate. Serendipitously, right after we arrived we ran into two gentlemen we met at Kanana. (We had shared a jeep for one day and a couple of meals in Kanana and got along fabulously). We toured and dined with them in Victoria Falls which made it so much more fun. Together we hired a guide to be with us to walk the Falls and then another in the afternoon to tour the town. That tour actually included a visit to a nearby village which was an extraordinary experience. The time with the guides enhanced the experience of the visit because we learned so much, we got to visit places we would not have otherwise seen, and they facilitated passing from one point to another. What might have been uneasy because we are not experienced travelers, was made much more comfortable because we were with a local guide crossing borders, walking across the bridge and visiting the Falls. It was a much more efficient use of our time, although we did not experience all that we would have liked. We hardly even were able to see and enjoy the hotel. Again, an additional day here would have greatly helped.
We have been ill prepared for the amount of cash (American dollars) needed. Some services would not accept credit cards and cash was needed. We also did not have enough small bills ($5 and $10) and it has been difficult to exchange larger bills for smaller denominations. It would have been helpful if more specific guidance was provided about this.
The weather in Cape Town was cloudy so we had to adjust our plans a bit, but we still made it to Table Mountain. Saturday with David as our guide, worked out well. He was knowledgeable and delightful company. Sunday, after Table Mountain, we used the on/off bus and shopped for souvenirs and helped the local economy.
Welgelegen Guest House was charming and we liked the location with one exception. Walking back after meals did not feel safe and one evening one of the restaurant waitresses escorted us to the school guard to let us through the gate closest to Welgelegen. We had an issue with our first room there because the “shower” set up was not proper and it was slippery. They moved us to another room and apologized profusely. They could not have been nicer or more accommodating about this. They told us they will be changing and upgrading the shower. We had only a little interaction with guests here, but enjoyed our conversations with guests and staff alike. Once again, we could have used an additional day here.
We had a fabulous time at Notten’s Bush Camp. The lack of electricity was a bit off-putting, but we got accustomed after the first day. Again, we met up with 2 very nice couples and spent most of our time with them. Like Kanana, the intimacy of the camp made it easy to get acquainted with all the guests, which we once again enjoyed. There was a bit more down time here than at Kanana in that the morning drive was earlier, but only lasted 3 hours, which is when breakfast was served. Other than the walking tour, there was a long break before the afternoon drive. Some guests probably enjoyed the time at the pool, or just relaxing. I wanted to keep going. Everyone was extremely nice and wanted to be sure everything was to our liking. Extraordinary service.
So many people we met had been to Africa multiple times. I can certainly see why. I am already wondering if I will return.
Thank you for arranging such a great trip for us.
CarolView Kanana Camp
View Chobe Game Lodge
View Victoria Falls Hotel