Wendy, Charlie, Amy and Joe worked with Africa Adventure Consultants to craft a customized trip, one described as their “#1 trip – ever.” They visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World (Victoria Falls), Chobe National Park in Botswana to see the massive herds of elephants, South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve for incredible wildlife viewing, cosmopolitan Cape Town and the nearby Winelands and Cape Peninsula for an incredible and well-rounded Southern African safari!
The group started out at Elephant Camp, an exclusive property set on a private concession between the Zambezi and Masuwe rivers. The camp has lovely touches like private decks, private plunge pools and indoor and outdoor showers for each suite. It also overlooks a waterhole, providing for up-close animal viewing.
Wendy, Charlie, Joe & Amy toured the Falls from the Zimbabwean side – our recommended choice for those only visiting one side of the Falls. From Zimbabwe, travelers follow a network of paths where they will find the most sweeping vistas of the Falls, as well as the most classic views including of the Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Rainbow Falls. Two-thirds of the Falls lie on the Zimbabwe side.
Insider tip: Visitors to the Zambian side will get right up close to rushing water. Sturdy shoes and a poncho are a must if the Zambezi is in full flood. Travelers should be prepared to get thoroughly soaked as the spray comes from all directions. Aerial photography is best during full flood, as the spray can rise over 1,600 feet into the air!
The group also enjoyed a classic sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. It’s an activity not to be missed! Between the wildlife viewing opportunities (think crocs and hippos in the water and elephants along the shore), the delicious drinks and snacks, and the gorgeous African sunsets, it’s an unforgettable end to a day at the Falls.
From Victoria Falls, the group headed to Botswana’s Chobe National Park to see its famous elephants. Chobe is part of an ecosystem that is home to the largest concentration of elephants on earth, currently estimated at around 120,000. Wendy, Charlie, Amy and Jon enjoyed wildlife viewing both by boat along the Chobe River, as well as on a game drive through the park. The visit to Chobe was a great way to whet everyone’s appetite for big game viewing. They headed to South Africa hoping for some great big cat sightings, and they were well rewarded!
"Our guide Armand (at Chitwa Chitwa) was so knowledgeable and he made the safari experience beyond our expectations. We never anticipated seeing as many animals as we did and at such close viewing."
Based at family-owned Chitwa Chitwa Private Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, the group enjoyed five days of world-class wildlife viewing. Chitwa Chitwa is known for its excellent game and boasts some of the best opportunities to see the Big Five – buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard and lion. Their luxury suite and butler-service private retreat embraces one of the reserve’s largest perennial lakes, allowing guests game viewing opportunities even when in camp.
The group found that South African wildlife viewing not only lived up to expectations – it far exceeded them! They saw lots of plains game as well as cheetah, endangered wild dog, four leopards and lions. Perhaps their biggest highlight was getting close to a pride of lions with cubs.
"Getting so close to the animals was the most fascinating part of our safari. We saw a group of lions - 2 males, 3 females and 8 babies from 10 feet away. We got the babies on video playing with each other. SO AMAZING. This is our number one vacation!"
They then opted for for a week in South Africa’s ‘Mother City,’ and were rewarded with fantastic vistas, wonderful meals and urban adventures, including a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula (think scenery, quaint villages, penguins, baboons, rare mountain zebras and more), a shark safari (South Africa’s Western Cape is one of the best places to see great white sharks!), had a full day tour of the Winelands (wine, food and spectacular settings) and met new safari friends for dinner in the city and did lots of exploring on their own.
They loved staying in the Waterfront area. And Amy, while from Colorado with its lofty Rocky Mountains, was still very impressed with Table Mountain and the iconic Chapman’s Peak Drive further down the Cape Peninsula.
Overall, their trip ‘…was exceptional and will be hard to beat.’ We couldn’t be happier to hear it!
"We have already recommended AAC for people that have asked. The experience, professionalism and customer service was top notch and the recommendations on our safari itinerary provided the best experience for our first trip to Africa and on safari."