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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

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