Imbabala Safari Lodge - magical Zimbabwe experience

We had the most wonderful holiday, thank you, full of magical experiences and leaving us with very special memories. We loved the locations and set-ups at both Imbabala Safari Lodge and Ivory Lodge- our accommodation was very comfortable at both and the staff were all friendly, informative and helpful. On balance I think I preferred the opportunities provided by the off -road game drives at Imbabala to the drives within Hwange Park ; we really appreciated the tracking skills of our driver Stan at Imbabala and he took us up- close to some amazing animals on the late night drives; also the boat trips- including breakfast, on the Zambezi were very special. Proximity to the animals coming to the water hole and salt licks at Ivory Lodge were fantastic too! While the day trip to Chobe allowed for some good photo opportunities, the large numbers of people catered for and the rather commercial atmosphere there didn't appeal nearly as much and I found it a little disappointing after the personal care and respect of the animals we enjoyed at Imbabala Safari Lodge. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone,but I realise it suited some people. Before we left Hwange to head back to Victoria Falls our host , Joe ,very kindly arranged for us to visit a local school and medical centre which both Maggie and I particularly valued and felt added to our experience. On the whole our transfers by Wild Horizons went smoothly and they were helpful and accommodating when arranging a helicopter trip over Victoria Falls when we got back there. Phezulu Lodge was very comfortable and suited us well at either end of the holiday. I hope this feedback is helpful Liz , and we are so grateful to you for putting together a fantastic trip for us. It certainly met our brief and came up to expectations and I hope there will be a chance to use the expertise and personalised care of Zambezi Travel when planning another visit to Africa - hopefully before not too long!

G. Hale
Zimbabwe - a truly fantastic experience!

We had an incredible trip thank you. Thank you so much for your recommendations they were perfect and just what I was after. Rhino Lodge was truly special, we were lucky enough to have the camp to ourselves and Peter was truly fantastic, particularly with Guy and getting Em and Lara back over from Kariba. There is something so special about Lake Kariba, we also loved the rustic feel, solar lights etc, fires to heat the water etc. Just fantastic, we have wowed to go back one day. The thing that stood out the most for us was the people, this I remembered from my trip in 1986, it is what makes Zim so special, at no point did we ever feel unsafe or vulnerable etc. It was a truly fantastic experience. We find it very frustrating when people here say were you safe etc. It’s just not like that. I would also like to congratulate you on the itinerary, it worked like clockwork. I know transfers etc can be tricky, however on every occasion when you said someone would be there, they were. So thank you. It was very impressive. Would you also pass on our thanks to the Natureways team who dealt with Lara so brilliantly well. It was very unfortunate that she should get ill the first night of the canoe safari (in the middle of no where!) However they were fantastic getting both Lara and Emma back to Kariba. The canoe safari was truly brilliant another special moment for Guy and I. I know Guy will never forget it and it was definitely the highlight of his holiday. Perfect for a 14 year old! He is a lucky boy! We all loved Bomani especially Lara, our tent was truly incredible, I had no idea tents existed that large. The game drives were also amazing. Very special! I can’t believe it is all over, please rest assured we will always put a good word in for you and the company it was a truly great experience and if we are lucky enough to be in a position to go again you will be the first to know. We have left feedback on Google but when we click on the links you sent us they don't work. Is there any chance you could resend them to us so we can leave the feedback. I always ask for this at work so I know how important it is. Huge THANK YOU from all of us and so hope we come back to Zimbabwe soon.

C Taylor
Zim trip was superb! Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge “one of the best”

Zimbabwe - August Hi Trish – just to say the Zim trip was superb! Chilo Gorge is up there with the best lodges I’ve stayed in and staff were top notch. View from our room unparalleled. Predators refused to show themselves but an all-round wonderful intro to a wonderful place. Thanks again for the recommendation and sincerely hope we can return there for longer.

Richard W
Cape Town & Sabi Sands

Hi Trish, Just a quick note to say "Thank you!". It was the trip of a lifetime, and we appreciate the planning and excellent itinerary. The Capetown private guide, Merwyn from Ilios Travel was fantastic, and the Thornybush staff were great too! Thanks, Charlie & Marcie

Charlie & Marcie
Botswana in March

Our safari experience went well beyond our expectations! The staff and the guides were very professional and knowledgeable. All the lodges were beautiful in their own way, though Dinaka was our favourite. We were both impressed with the quality and variety of the meals and the care staff took in ensuring my meals were dairy-free. The romantic dinner surprise was a five-star experience and we couldn't be happier. We're sad we didn't get to experience the sleep-out due to weather, but Mother Nature is unpredictable. We both wish we could have divided our last four nights between Kanana and Okuti, as Moremi Reserve really impressed us with the variety and activity of wildlife. Gene wishes there was Coke Zero in all the camps. We had filled out the information forms online, but some camps didn't have any diet drinks. My only suggestion to make this an unparalleled experience in the future is to have yoga and/or massage available at the lodges. We spent so much time sitting in the vehicles during game drives and consumed so many (delicious) calories, that I wished for a good stretch and some physical exertion. Overall, we felt very pampered at the lodges and are so happy to have seen so much wildlife on the drives. The flights were an added bonus with great views and ran like clockwork. Thank you again for accommodating us on such short notice and for putting my mind at ease about the weather.  

Ned & Gene
Wonderful trip to Odzala

Odzala, Congo  - January Dear Trish and John and all at Zambezi, Thank you so much for arranging the wonderful trip to Odzala! And for organising all the ground arrangements in Brazzaville. The Odzala ground staff were fantastic and looked after us very well. Hotel Hippocampe was fine - it was a friendly pleasant place to stay with good food and the staff even spoke good English!! I would recommend it for those who want just basic safe accommodation without luxury. It was popular with ngos, aid workers and our pilots stayed there! With many thanks Sarah

Sarah W
The best canoe trip!

Canoeing the Lower Zambezi River was mind-blowing! Dear Liz, Yesterday I arrived back home in Germany, but in my mind and in my heart I am still in Africa. It was a great pleasure to meet you and your husband in Kariba, thank you so much that you took the time for a drink. I really enjoyed meeting you and talking with you. My trip through Zimbabwe was mind-blowing, it was one of the best experiences I ever had. I can’t describe my feelings and memories, it exceeded all my expectations. The one thing I know is that I want to come back to the Zambezi River as soon as possible, and then I would love to do the longest of the Canoe trips with the same guides Zera and Kenneth who were the best guides I ever had on a safari trip. Gunther

Victoria Falls and Chobe Adventure

We had an amazing time - thank you Liz A big THANK YOU LIZ from us both for all the effort you put into organising our trip we had with Josh Booyens, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. We had an amazing time in Muchenje, it was our favourite part of the trip and to be there with our friends made it so special. Being a small more private Lodge, getting to know everyone there and being able to see the animals from the lodge was beautiful. The food was fabulous and we were looked after superbly. Kevin and I are only just back from our African trip 2 days ago. What beautiful gentle people we have met on our travels in Africa, so friendly, always a smile, helpful. Kerry and Kevin

Kerry & Kevin
Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique

Hi, Liz! I do have some comments that I would l like to make regarding the trip which was overall, spectacular and amazing. I had a wonderful time!. I LOVED the Outlook Lodge and our trip to the Cheetah/Monkey/Elephant Sanctuary and I am SO glad that I went early and was able to experience that. Francois was absolutely wonderful to us!!!! I enjoyed walking to the bird sanctuary also. Swaziland was not my favorite stop but it was interesting to learn about the King and his many wives. Some of the people were much more interested in this than I was, but that is part of traveling - everyone will find something they liked. I especially enjoyed seeing the Cultural Center and learning about customs of former days. The dancing was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, especially those above-the-head kicks. I did not care for the lodge we stayed at - shower was slippery and difficult and food was so-so. The owners seemed to think the only thing we were interested in was shopping. I am a very active person and was worried that things would be slow the entire trip. I need not have worried, however, as things really picked up after that. My favorite camp was Shindzela! Loved the people there, loved the accommodations - it really felt like being on safari. I could have spent a whole trip there as you would have ended up seeing most of the animals coming to their water hole. Umkumbe was more upscale but the people were just great! I liked that it had a small gym. Shepherd's Tree was over the top for me.......did not know there was such a thing as a 5-star game lodge. On safari I prefer less luxury but that is just me. The one thing I did like about this last camp was that you were assigned to one guide/driver and stayed with him all the way through. At all three places the food was good. I preferred the buffet style of the first two rather than the three course meal offered by the third camp. It was just too much. Mozambique left me feeling a little sad. There we were, at a beautiful beach resort with all of the amenities you could possibly want until you exited the hotel's gate. Then you saw the difficult life of the people and it was a jolt! I took the horseback riding option there and it was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Mandy was wonderful - allowed several canters down the beach on her well cared for and well trained horses. WONDERFUL!!!!!!! I ordered her book, 104 Horses, to my Kindle as soon as I got home. I also got a facial there which I really really enjoyed and used the gym. I probably saw more animals than on any of my other African trips. 5 leopards will probably be a record that stands. The guides really really worked to track things we most wanted to see and I certainly appreciated their efforts to please us. All were knowledgeable and willing to share information while driving and game-spotting all at the same time. Very skilled individuals!!!!!!! I was absolutely amazed at how you were able to coordinate the pick-ups and deliveries of all of us, especially as we split up near the end. We had a small problem getting to Shindzela because the transfer guide's GPS sent him a way that we could not go. It really was not a big problem. My favorite driver was Nelson - he picked us up in JoBurg, took us to Pilanesberg , picked us up again and took us to the airport. He went above above and beyond, taking each of us to our gate and seeing that we were properly checked in before leaving. What a super guy! I certainly appreciated his extra efforts. All the transport companies provided us with water and were good about comfort stops. I thought the Michaelangelo Hotel was SO over the top; I do not need that kind of luxury on a safari trip. However, there was nothing wrong with the place but I would have been happier in less glamorous surroundings. If I had to specify one complaint, it would be about the constant tipping. I am used to traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel. They charge enough ahead of time and do most of the tipping except for the main guide. On this trip it seemed as though I were fumbling for money all the time. Thankfully I had brought $100 in one dollar bills and I used almost all of them before we were through. It was nice to be able to use credit cards at some of the camps and for what little shopping I did. I think you were amazing at coordinating all of our activities, our various comings and goings and making the trip FLOW with no major snafus. I appreciated your patience in answering questions before we left - we must have driven you crazy! The final packet you sent out was so thorough and complete! I have a granddaughter who is a freshman in high school this year; I have promised her a trip when she graduates. If she chooses Africa and you are still working, I am sure you could plan a great one for us. So....................................thanks to you and Char for all you did to prepare a wonderful adventure!!!! All we needed to do was to show up and enjoy which I think everyone did to the max. I'll be thinking of and talking about this trip for a long time. You guys are the best!!!!! Charlene

Zimbabwe & Mauritius - outstanding trip!

Hi Ang, Just want to let you know that my husband and I thought this trip was outstanding! First of all, all the flights were on time. We were a little worried about catching the flt to NY because we only had 1 hour, but it all worked out. Secondly, all the transfers were on time. When the hotels dropped us off, Wild Horizons was there to meet us with friendly drivers and visa versa. All went so smoothly! Thirdly, the hotels and lodges were wonderful. The Victoria Falls Hotel was perfect. The location to the town, Falls and the Look Out Cafe was perfect. The Hotel's art work and history was magnificent and breakfast overlooking the vastness of Africa was terrific. The Ngoma lodge was beautiful. The room was large, beds comfortable, food excellent and Jarred and Frances the managers and the rest of the staff made for a perfect visit. I used the outdoor shower nightly! The game drives were great of course. It was also a wonderful place to relax by the pool which also overlooked the great beyond! The Stanley Livingston Private Reserve was also great. The room was amazing (although we felt the place was commercial..of course after being in Ngoma. But a nice touch BEFORE we went to Camp Hwange:) There was a small tour group there, but when they left we were the only people there. That was cool. We did 1 game drive daily and they were fine! Rhinos! We also had the chance to go back into town and also to the Look Out cafe again to drink $2 beers and sit by the railing and view the gorge. We could sit there for hours looking out and also watching people ziplining. Even though going back to Zimbabwe could be viewed as redundant, it was perfectly fine and we loved it. On to Camp Hwange! A tented accommodation. Didn't really realize this. If I had I would have been worried, but as it turned out, the rooms were large and the 5 hour game drives were great! Our guide lead us on 2 hikes, 1 a few hours and the other we were with him all day..hiking and driving. Such an adventure. The community meals were great and the food presented so beautifully! We really loved it there too. The room upgrade in Johannesburg was unbelievable and a really nice surprise. Nice touch after Camp Hwange! LOL. All good. Finally The Beachcomber Resort was unbelievable. Room amazing, grotto outdoor shower, plunge pool steps away from the beach! Food in all restaurants excellent and included water sports. Loved going on the snorkel boat. We also took 2 tours while we were in Mauritius. We had no idea how large that island is. The staff was amazing! Everybody we met along the way were wonderful and all the staff couldn't do enough for us. This was truly a dream vacation! All in all we had a magical time. I love Africa, and I hope to get back there again at some point. Thank you for your patience throughout this process you really put together an outstanding trip. Best to you and Clare, Camille and Norman

Camille Globerman
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