First-time-to-Africa trip review

Lise,

A brief note to let you know how pleased we were with all the plans you made for us – well done!

All transfers took place on time, the vehicles were neat and tidy and the drivers courteous and safe. The hotels we’re fantastic. We couldn’t be happier with The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town and were pleased we didn’t make you change us to the One and Only or whatever the one was I mentioned to you in one of my emails. The location can’t be beat, attached to the mall as it is. The breakfast buffet is out of this world. There must be 100 selections, at least. We’ve never seen anything like it. If you haven’t experienced it, you must. And the rooms were top notch, a great place to book clients.

The Royal Livingston Hotel was also fantastic. The setting, the rooms, the meals and the service all top notch. The one thing that is intended to be unique and charming are the animals, but to some, not so much. The zebra and giraffes are OK, they mind their business but the monkeys are another matter. There’s an awful lot of them and they are pesky, especially the young ones. A couple of them chased us one day and bared their teeth: I had to swing my messenger bag at them to get them to back off. And another couple had one jump up on their breakfast table and steal a roll. Not pleasant. The hotel is located on a reserve so there is nothing that can be done to manage this situation.

Also, with animals there will be droppings. The staff is really good about cleaning the walkways every morning but with animal droppings come flys and boy, they are everywhere. To try to avoid them we ate inside all the time but even then it was a bit tricky to cut and eat food and at the same time, swat flies. The staff bring these little citronella candles for the table but they aren’t effective. Staying for 2 or 3 nights as we did, it’s not that big a deal but we wouldn’t want to stay  any longer.

The property is also ideally situated to visit the falls, which were spectacular. We didn’t bother to go right in front of them because you get soaked, even wearing a raincoat, and we didn’t want any of that.

Incredibly you see these boats from time to time zipping right in front of the head of the falls and there is no apparent barrier to prevent them from going over. I mentioned to Lise that that wasn’t something I was anxious to do.

The Tea you arranged on Livingstone Island was special and we really enjoyed it even though we wound up zipping in front of the head of the falls in one of the boats I had seen earlier and said I wouldn’t go on and, once on the island, walking to within maybe 40 feet of the falls in raincoats and getting soaking wet!!! There were only 3 of us for tea and the other guest was a 30 something adventurous sort from Vancouver that we really enjoyed. Incredibly, she went over the head of the falls with a guide and sat in “Devils Pool” or some such name. Lise and I couldn’t believe it! All in all a really great experience and something we would recommend you plan for all your guest staying at The Royal Livingstone.

We must add a special word about David, our guide in Cape Town and Tracy (or is it Tracey) our wine guide. David is awesome, someone you ought not to let get away! As mentioned in an earlier email, being with him was like being with an old friend. He is so gracious, down to earth and helpful. He provides some background and history about the sights but not so much that he boars you. The idea is for the guest to enjoy what they are seeing with just enough context to appreciate the sight but without an in-depth history lesson and he has that approach down cold.  He’s also quick to take advantage of situations and to improvise like getting one of the grounds people at the Delaire Graffe estate to show us around the property in a golf cart and then to be aware of the situation when I tipped the attendant so he didn’t need to. He’s very special.

We felt bad we couldn’t have utilized Tracy better. She did a fantastic job of showing us around the  Stellenbosch wine region. The wineries she selected were top notch and she toured us through the art district of Stellenbosch which we thoroughly enjoyed. Like with David, we felt immediately at ease with Tracy. The two of them together make a strong team. Once she realized it was not practical for us to order wines she expanded her emphasis to touring along with wine selection – cleaver and much appreciated.

So, all in all a great visit to South Africa and Zambia.

On a different note, we are curious about the pronunciation of your name.

Two people, David and Nick, the principle of the transfer company used for the safari, pronounced your name “Lisa”. The French Canadian pronunciation is “Leez”.  How do you pronounce your name?

Again, many thanks for all your hard work on our behalf. It was a fantastic holiday.

Gerry

View Table Bay Hotel
View Singita Boulders Lodge
View The Royal Livingstone