George and Kathleen enjoyed a Botswana, South Africa, and Victoria Falls Safari, which included being charged by a black rhino, seeing wild dogs, and more. Get their travel advice and hear about their trip below.
How was your travel experience?
Wonderful trip, great diversity of camps, venues/accommodations were very good to excellent, the local staff mostly very friendly and accommodating, cuisine generally very good, birds & animals great!
What was your most memorable experience?
Being charged by an adult Black Rhino, viewing the rare wild dogs numerous times, watching a young bull elephant charge a pride if 14 lions, listening to all the amusing hippos belches’ all night, wondering what that leopard was contemplating as it growled under our tent at 3 am? Interacting with all the warm, and very friendly local staff while enjoying the fine cuisine and “Bush TV”, under the stars.
What was the biggest surprise?
Rather than surprise, visualization and comprehension first hand in the field of how interdependent and linked the plant and animal kingdom is upon each other is very real! To cite only two out of hundreds of examples, the importance of termite mound, or the power of the Hyena’s jaw, if one of these species is altered or removed the whole system suffers and or is in danger of collapse!
What advice you would give to other travelers?
Query your trip advisor in great detail about all the travel logistics, amenities, staff, local protocol, daily scheduling, variety of venue, number of tents, local game? Minimalist yet diversity of clothing really matters. Bring the best camera with more gigs, extra batteries and binoculars you can afford, it does make a difference. It can be very dusty and smoky at times, bring ample protection for your eyes, nose, lungs, and camera, etc. Your day truly revolves around game drives, they are thrilling and bumpy/ jostling, for bad backs, bush aerobics, build that core. Bring more $10’s, 20’s,100’s than you think you will need, the locals are very helpful, nice, and really appreciate the gratuity!
How would you rate your guides?
Thankfully, as luck would have it our first guide, James, at Chamilandu, on our walking safaris was the best. He was the most knowledgeable about all the different species, their habitat, interaction with other animals, as well historically important facts and stories. I strongly recommend that people do at least a few walking safaris early in their trip, it puts everything into the right context. You hear the calls, read the tracks, recognize the scat droppings, in essence learn their craft. All the other guides were good at tracking, finding, identifying animals/birds, but lacked some of the in-depth knowledge and passion for their job that James had. Sometimes it is more memorable to stay in one place and just take it all in, rather than drive like crazy to see every last animal. It would be wise for the guides to sit with their clients and ask them what type of experience do they want rather than do the normal drive over and over.
Any accommodations that you really loved? Please tell us more.
Let’s face it Zarafa Camp, is something Ralph Lauren would be proud of, definite “glamping,” and the cuisine was pretty fabulous as well! Little Mombo was pretty special too, those wood floors were gorgeous. When you add in the array of game and the beauty of the venue you understand why they have such a high return of guests! The accommodations at Chamilandu, and Old Mondoro were perfectly comfortable and adequate just not at the same level as the previously mentioned. I am very glad that we stayed in the order we did, it was a crescendo of sophistication and excellence
Who would you recommend this trip to?
This trip is all about people communing with nature who can afford and be willing to “unconnect” for a few weeks, to truly appreciate the splendor of the African animal and plant kingdom!