We have been home for a week now and have just about overcome the jet lag. Thank you for all the good work you did to make the trip such a great experience.
We were very happy with the range of things we did and saw. The length was right and the five sites were the right variety.
The logistics were excellent. Everything went off almost without a hitch. The only real scare came in Maun where the Air Namibia plane arrived overbooked from Victoria Falls due to their strike. Thanks to a Botswana tourism official who took himself off the list and a pushy Namibian businessman who suggested the jump seat, Nancy rode in the cockpit to Windhoek. Instead of a big problem, we got a great story to tell.
The Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls was a great place to stay and we are glad you recommended it over the Victoria Falls Hotel, where we had a nice lunch on the lawn. The room and the food were excellent at Ilala as was the proximity to the Falls. The guided tour of the Falls was fine, but we also went the evening we arrived and the guide did not add much th4e next day. If it is an expense, I would omit it and recommend DIY on that. The river cruise was also only so-so, so I would look for something more stimulating, although neither zip line nor bungee were on our list. We might have liked to go into Zambia (we went as far as the other side of the bridge) but were scared off by the need for a yellow fever shot. You might want to recommend being prepared for that. Zimbabwe is definitely the better side to view the falls, but doing both sides should be considered.
The transfer to Savute Safari Lodge went very smoothly and we loved the camp. We had a great guide (Metal) and saw lots of animals. Great choice.
Xakanaxa Camp was also excellent and very different. We had hippos sleeping beside our tent and heard them making their way to the water at dawn. And then came the little scare at the Maun airport but a good stay in Windhoek (Olive Grove Guesthouse). Just one detail you will want to know: both camps had a guest access laptop with internet access. We had expected neither cell phone nor internet, so this was a bonus.
We also enjoyed Namibia very much. We were surprised and pleased with the air travel arrangements with the pilot (Katherine Schneider) and the three of us travelling together for the week. She was always engaged in making sure we were getting what we needed and wanted at each stop.
Our last stop—Sossusvlei Desert Lodge—was in many ways our favorite of the whole trip. The accommodations were sumptuous and the service and food excellent. Our guide (Peter) and waiter (Franz) made everything special. The only disappointment was that we did not get the balloon ride, ostensibly due to weather. The first day the weather was clearly the reason; we had a sand storm in the dunes. The second day seemed like it could have worked, but the two days had been cancelled. They offered the third morning, but we were leaving too early for that to work.
Mowani Mountain Lodge was a beautiful setting and very nice accommodations. But the service and management were not up to the standards of the other three camps. The guide was much less invested in satisfying our interests and the food and refreshment service fell short. We observed that the manager was less engaged and effective than at the other three camps. We are glad we saw Dramaraland and loved the striking setting of Mowani, so it was not disappointing, except that the other places provided much better service. Perhaps there is a better stop in that area, but it is hard to beat the Mowani location.
As you had said, Mowani had cell phone and no internet, while Sossusvlei had wi-fi, but no cell reception.
We were very happy with the trip and all the logistical arrangements. The executing of the schedule was very efficient.