WE HAD THE BEST TRIP OF OUR ENTIRE LIFE!!!!
We can not let another moment pass without writing to you…
WE HAD THE BEST TRIP OF OUR ENTIRE LIFE!!!!
Where to begin?!? From the overall arc of the trip, to the smallest details, to the people, places, suggestions, pacing, contrasts, and assurances along the way — it was pure perfection!
THANK YOU to you and your team for every bit of effort you put into the planning for us!
Our driver was right there waiting for us and could not have been more pleasant! The whole Ilios crew is wonderful. We LOVED Cape Cadogan, especially the location right off of Kloof Street. We felt “local” in the best way possible. Their recommendation to try Kloof Street House for lunch one day was awesome! All of their staff was amazing, an the breakfasts were charming! Aubergine and Pot Luck Club were two of our most memorable meals and it was so nice having those reservations all set for us. Hiking Table Mountain was definitely in the Top 3 experiences of the whole trip — what a remarkable landscape to have in the city’s back yard. I’m SO glad we did the group tour down the cape. Such sweeping views and adorable penguins! It was a rainy day, and perfect for our touring activities.
Boy, was this authentic! The staff could not have been nicer, and the tents were in wonderful shape. I have never experienced anything so “rugged” but Chris was quite at home. The safaris were OUTSTANDING and we saw the Big 5 right away. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and we felt so well-informed about the animals after only six drives. It was a remarkable experience, and I’m so glad we had the chance to experience this type of safari. Plus, my new favorite term is “sundowners”.
*The only hiccup we had was the transfer from Honeyguide to MalaMala. Our driver was a lovely older gentleman, but I think his knowledge of those areas was not as robust as it might have been years ago (per his confession), so it took us about three hours to get from one camp to the other. I’m sure that with a GPS system he’d be in great shape for the next transfer!
After three days at a tented camp, we couldn’t believe the oasis that is MalaMala! This was truly another highlight of the entire trip and our room was INCREDIBLE!! Dinners in the boma were so much fun, and our guide Daniel was straight out of a movie. The landscape of Sabi Sands was different, so it was a great contrast to Manyeleti. Each of the next five safari rides offered new sightings, and Daniel consistently went out of his way to ensure a great adventure for us. We were just in awe of the service, grounds, and peacefulness here.
Oh! I should mention that every spot took an opportunity to welcome us as “honeymooners”, which was so much fun! We felt very special with all of the notes and bubbly!
I thought after six days of safari that we would be ready for a change of pace, but we were very sad to depart MalaMala! Being out there felt like another world. However, our in-country flights were so easy and the Skukuza airport in particular is adorable! We were impressed by the efficiency and ease of these little airports. Arriving in the winelands was like a dream come true for me. The beauty of Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek can not be captured by photographs. We arrived on a rainy evening and had a relaxed dinner at la petite ferme with the fireplace roaring — we were in heaven.
Charlie, our guide the next day, was the best person we met the entire time. His wit, humor, knowledge, and energy are unmatched! We felt 100% assured that we would have a good time in his hands — and we did!! I can not say enough about how great he was with us and hope we can tour with him again on a future trip. The vineyards and restaurants we visited were SO BEAUTIFUL and we found a way to get some of that wine back to Michigan…
Leeu House for me was my favorite hotel of all. The staff there went above and beyond in every way to ensure we had a perfect stay, and we did. From the decor (I was obsessed), to their help with reservations and rides around town (horseback riding!), to the breakfasts (delicious!), to the little gifts on the bed each night and the heated bathroom floors — it was like we stepped into another world. We took advantage of their partner brewery next door, Tuk Tuk, too on a few occasions and met Reuben Riffel one night!
So, obviously many more happy moments throughout the two weeks (I’m sure Chris’s recollection would include 20 different highlights), but all of this to say how much we appreciate what you did for us in planning this trip. We will never forget this time in our lives, and it’s thanks to you. South Africa has a firm place in our hearts now, and we hope to visit there again very soon.
With heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation,
Sabrina and Chris