Great trip for us.
Cape Town was a blast and feel like we had just the right amount of time. Gillian (guide) ended up great as was More Quarters – loved the location and setup; only downside was rocking bar and some loud late sounds which were no big deal for us but could see others raising a stink. shark cage diving was amazing day — we were lucky on weather. overall saw a ton of your town but felt like we did it at a good pace.
Our view on Norman Carr Safaris – everyone we met associated with
their operation was first class and outstanding. Guide’s were awesome and wonderful teachers, lodges perfect scale for our two families, food truly tasty and the timing and amount of game drives and balance with walking was ideal. Only thing I can think of is that it might have been cool for us to try to do the walk between the two camps (Mchenja Bushcamp & Nsolo Bushcamp) – would have been a little bit of a push but I think we could have made it and would have been a great.
Chongwe River House was amazing as well. probably even more fancy than we would have desired — we probably could have survived in their adjacent camp. Though it was fun to all be together and it was great to have access to Joseph the guide and a boat and jeep to ourselves. Again, the hosts and staff and service and food was over the top amazing — even had a touch of music that was really cool. Fantastic canoe journey and cool to be out fishing and saw some spectacular game — lions and leopards and lively elephants that kept us all seasoned (by this point) safari goers on our toes.
I would say that the Thorntree River Lodge was the least desirable of 5 places our family stayed, though can’t put my finger on exact reason and not sure that there is a much better alternative in Vic Falls. Livingstone is growing and obviously much more tourist inclined and so had a different feel. I think we felt like we were getting hustled to do various tours and were suddenly forced to make decisions after ten days of just going with the flow that made it tough, coupled with it being the end of our trip and knowing that the pain of re-entry was close at hand. Nicky had a great comment that it might have been cool to have spent the last two days/nights on the Zimbabwe side and I agree that it would have been fun and different and apparently the tours are comparable yet cheaper, though again not sure if there is a cool place to stay over there.
Our flights and connections were simply flawless and amazing — thank you Jeff. I think I had visions of the inter-Zambian flights as being much smaller and possibly using dirt runways and such but they were all pretty big planes with the exception of the Lusaka to Lower Zambezi flight where we had it all to ourselves one way and with 2 others the other way. Visa getting into Zambia was a non-event and we saved some money as kids under 16 or 18 didn’t need a visa. No need for passport photos and also no one ever really checked our yellow fever certificates — except for us the South African airway folks checked it randomly between Cape Town and Joburg.
Last thing off the top of my head — weather was simply amazing and I truly believe that this is the perfect time to go. Cool at night and not crazy hot during the day. No bugs to speak of, though they were thick as thieves in early may according to folks. Also, beginning of the season and staff and guides are fresh and excited to see people! Lack of weather did not prove an impediment to us seeing game as we saw tons of everything, though I can imagine one can see even more when they need to cluster around watering holes. Again, just seemed like the ideal time to go, and we were shocked to see that some of these lodges in Zambia had some pretty big vacancy openings around our visit with folks clustering their trips in later August.
Again, thank you for an awesome trip! We felt safe throughout. The camps in Zambia were just what we wanted — rustic and reasonable without too much pampering. all in all, fantastic trip on so many levels.