Michelle, travelling on her own, started her trip in Cape Town at the V&A Hotel in the Waterfront. In the Winelands she stayed at Majeka House, outside Stellenbosch.Then she flew up to Botswana and stayed at AndBeyond Xaranna Lodge.At Vic Falls (on the Zimbabwe side), she stayed at Victoria Falls River. She then flew (via Johannesburg) to Kenya and off on safari to El Moran Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara. She then returned to Nairobi and stayed at Giraffe Manor, from where she vsited Karen Blixen’s House and Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage.
I had a fabulous trip. Except for a few issues, I would not change a thing. Here are my comments by country.
South Africa. I loved Capetown and the V&A Hotel in the Waterfront was the perfect place to put me as I was wandering around at night and felt very safe. I loved my room and as I said the location. they gave me a bottle of wine for my birthday which was very nice. as a woman traveling alone, I felt very safe and comfortable in the room, bar and restaurant. food was very good and great deals for dinner at least for an american! i shopped a lot in the small mall adjacent to the hotel and recommend it. I would highly recommend this hotel.
Charlie – what can I say? He was just fantastic…he seemed to quickly guage my interests and planned accordingly. I cant rave about him more. I loved the tour to the cape of good hope (I could have passed on the boat trip to the seals – I am an environmental lawyer and am on boats all the time watching seals so dull for me but then he didn’t know that. ) Charlie also gave me some recommendations for what to do in Capetown on my free days and I did them all and was very happy with his recommendations.
Stellenbosch– this was a great day – great wine! I dont know how much fun charlie had watching me drink wine but he was good company. His tour of the old buildings in town was great as was lunch. Majeka House was quite an experience…great room, outstanding service and the food was amazing. The dinner I had at the restaurant was one of the best I have ever had…and for me with wine and tip was only 50 dollars which is just unheard of…would have been several hundred dollars at home. staff could not have been nicer…I never felt awkward eating alone as someone was always talking to me! They left me a breakfast in my refrigerator as I had such an early flight and I forgot it!! still kicking myself as I am sure it was great. as you know located outside of town, but for me was fine. Definitely set up for a romantic couples experience. still thinking about that amazing dinner…
Flights to botswana- everything went fine, no problems.
AndBeyond Xaranna– I have already told you about my thoughts about Xaranna. i dont know what it was about that place but it was magical. Compared to kenya, the wildlife was so much sparser but the overall experience was simply unforgettable. they made a HUGE fuss over my birthday and made sure as a single traveler that I was never alone unless I wanted to be. The level of service was the highest quality. I don’t know if all And Beyond camps are like this one…it is a very special place. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Botswana to Zimbabwe – my trip was flawless. It took a plane and four vehicles to get to my hotel and it was perfect.
Zimbabwe… Zambezi Crescent’s Victoria Falls River Lodge. This was a very nice lodge….my problem was I was comparing it to Xaranna and it couldn’t measure up. But without the comparison….great great rooms, nice decks, george the GM was amazing, food very good, and they really fussed over us, including making a big deal about our birthdays. It was horribly hot so that put a damper on things. Also not very much wildlife…probably because it was so hot. George was very attentive and was a good guide. Zimbabwe as you know has its issues so doubt I would go back but very glad I went and i highly recommend this lodge. the elephant safari was interesting and worth it as was the helicopter ride we took over the falls.
Kenya... our guides/drivers min nairobi were fine…not Charlie quality but just fine. El Moran Governors Camp was terrific. My only complaints were 1. it was very formal…they didnt seem to encourage mingling amongst guests at meals…this was a big complaint from those we spoke to and we finally staged a revolt and started asking for bigger tables so we could eat with other guests. 2. they wanted to charge us for a walk. a walk at Xaranna was included in the price and almost 200 extra dollars at ElMoran seems a bit much. we did splurge on the hot air balloon ride and it was worth every penny, an amazing experience. Tent and food at el moran terrific and staff was very nice and attentive. Patrick the GM was a bit of a nut. It was a stiff place…not warm like Xaranna but then maybe they want to maintain the British Colonial feel and think they need to be very formal. but we still had a great time. our guide Simon was the best…and the wildlife viewing was amazing. If I go back to kenya, i would certainly go back again. they did not celebrate our birthdays BTW but maybe that is not what they do.
Giraffe Manor (Nairobi)- what can you say about Giraffe Manor? It has all been said. an amazing experience. Food was excellent. Karen Blixen house and Sheldricks elephant orphanage fantastic.
So as i said, it was an amazing trip.
MichelleView Giraffe Manor
View Victoria and Alfred Hotel
View Majeka House
View andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp