Hi Ilze,

Notten’s Bush Camp was fantastic — the game viewing was awesome (we hit the big 5 in our first 24 hours) and the staff was so nice and helpful.  We loved that there was a gym onsite and they were so accommodating about our dietary preferences.  Just lovely.  The only downside was that the internet service was VERY spotty and there was basically no cell reception.  Not a big deal, but it would have been nice to know in advance so we could warn people back home.

We also loved The David Livingstone and Victoria Falls.  We did the helicopter ride, Livingstone Express train, Livingstone Island tour (I made the mistake of sharing some photos with my colleagues at work and they now think I’m a dare-devil), and a canoe safari, in addition to just walking around the Victoria Falls national park — we loved each and every one of those activities and I don’t think we could choose a favorite.  The hotel was great, although a bit less personal than the other places we stayed.  We particularly liked the breakfasts and the beautiful setting, and the activities staff did a great job organizing everything for us (although we probably should have booked the train ride prior to arrival — it worked out just fine, but the activities staff wasn’t sure it would when we asked to book for the same-day even though they had previously advised us to wait to book until we arrived).

Walden House and Cape Town were also fantastic.  We wished there was a gym at Walden House, but we hadn’t anticipated that in advance (after the food on safari and great breakfasts in Livingstone, we were eager for some exercise when we arrived in Cape Town).  The room at Walden House was just lovely (the double shower is such a nice touch) and the staff was very helpful.

Luckily, there was a gym at the very lovely Majeka House, which we used several times.  The spa was also very nice, and the prices — at least compared to what we’re used to — were rather reasonable.  I left my Kindle e-reader behind at Majeka House and they’ve been very helpful in getting it back to me.   Of course the wine and food in the Winelands were great as well.

We weren’t thrilled with Melrose Arch — probably because it was bigger and less personal than all the other hotels we stayed at.  The internet was very unreliable and there was no gym on premises (when we asked about another gym we could use, they gave us vouchers without telling us they’d charge us for them and then didn’t warn us that we’d need photo ID to get in — in the end, we went for a run…).  Again, we hadn’t realized in advance how important the gym would be so we didn’t even think to ask before booking whether they had a gym on-site.  We also arranged for a Soweto tour through the hotel, which was expensive and not terribly informative (of course, the rest of the trip set us up for very high expectations so we were probably harsh critics at this point).  That said, the décor was very nice and modern and the breakfast was elaborate and tasty.

It was a trip of a lifetime — every day more exciting than the day before.  Thanks again for everything —