Here's some of our feedback from guests now home from their adventures.
Southern Africa family safari – Simply brilliant
We are all still recovering from jet lag, but the trip was incredible. We were completely astonished by the level of organisation and support at every stage. It was beautifully planned and simply brilliantly executed. I think it was everything I was expecting and hoping for… and more! I'd like to thank you all, and Jonathon in particular for making this happen. Some feedback for you:
2. Waterberry Lodge in Livingstone (close to Victoria Falls) was excellent and beautiful
3. Mobile safari in Okavango was one of the best things I've ever done (and I have done a lot of travelling). I think it was really special because of our brilliant guide John and I can hardly imagine it without him (he is unfortunately studying next year and I'm not sure if Uncharted Africa will be the same without him).
4. Kalahari also excellent although not so many animals (apart from Meercats) and not such good guide or hosts in camp when we were there. Really enjoyed the quad biking, sleeping under the stars and meeting the bushmen.
All in all, I still can't believe how many incredible experiences we fitted in to just 2 weeks. Got nearly 900 photos but still trying to take it all in. My enthusiasm has even rubbed off on my parents in England who have been inspired to say they may try to do a similar trip themselves - a special thing in our family as they also left South Africa in 1977 and never went back.
Will definitely recommend you to anyone wanting to go to Africa, and would love to do another trip one day. Hopefully will not be too long a wait before we go again. Thank you! - Gavin, Helen, Joshua, Emily & Oliver October 2013
Wish I was back in Africa
Africa has well and truly stolen my heart. I am already trying to figure out when I can return.
Thank you so much for organising our stay at Machaba Camp, it was wonderful. We loved the rustic but luxurious feel of the camp. Sitting by the water watching the hippos and elephants right in front of you was great. Lying in bed at night listening to the hippos snorting and rustling around on the riverbank was amazing. We had a close encounter with an elephant as he literally wandered through the camp on his way to the water - it was dark and we could hear very load and very close crashing in the bush, stuck our torch out the front flap of the tent and there was a huge elephant, something like 10 metres away wandering down to the water. You can't ask for much better than that.
The wildlife at Machaba Camp was fantastic. We saw a leopard mum and her cub who had killed an impala and hiddden it under a tree for later as well as a lone adult male leopard lounging up a tree. We spent about an hour following a pride of lions down to a river crossing and then happily sitting watching 3 of them cross the river (so cool to watch!), only for the 3 who had crossed to realise the rest of the pride had not followed so they crossed back over! We were the only vehicle to watch it and there was only 2 of us in the vehicle with the guide so it was really special - an unforgettable moment.
Our last game drive at Machaba Camp also resulted in us witnessing 3 wild dogs take down an impala. I have to say it was very hard to watch, but everyone said you have to see a 'kill' once on safari.
The camp staff and guides at Machaba Camp made our visit very special and we really felt like we had made many new friends when we left. The small nature of the camp and the communal dining means you get to know everyone staying there - which was really nice. Would definitely recommend Machaba very highly and I plan to return myself when I can. We had a family tent and it was great. The tent was huge and very comfortable. Definitely didn't feel like any tent I've ever stayed in!
Whilst we didn't get to stay at Chobe Elephant Camp as planned (Its official opening was delayed), we loved the Chobe Game Lodge that was substituted. Again, what an amazing location. Right on the river watching the animals come down to visit and drink, evening & lunchtime cruises and morning and afternoon game drives - it was all wonderful. Whilst it was a large lodge, it still managed to feel cosy and very friendly. I have never seen so many elephants in the one place - what majestic creatures. It was amazing how unfazed they were by our presence. Several times we got very close and they would remain calm and just occassionally shake their head to let us know we were getting too close. The baby elephants were adorable, their big tough act when they would shake their head and make a short run at the vehicle to try to imitate their mums was very cute. We were also lucky enough to see some lion cubs - only from a distance as we were in the National Park, but they were still gorgeous. It's not often you can be sitting reading a book on your front patio watching the elephants down at the river with mongoose running under your chair!
The rooms at Chobe Game Lodge are beautiful. Very comfy and with everything you could ask for. The food was also fantastic!
We met your representative at Maun Airport who checked in with us to make sure everything was OK and that we had enjoyed it. This was a nice touch and contributed to the overall feeling of everything being excellently organised. We had no problems with the light aircraft flights and found Mack Air to be very professional.
Thanks to Jonothan for the recommendations, they were perfect. Thanks again for organising our trip - it exceeded our expectations and we loved every minute of it. - Mel & family, September 2013
Mana Pools & Kruger – Absolutely amazing!
The trip was absolutely amazing and I can't thank you enough. Thanks Jonathon in particular. Mana Pools was really amazing. Not what I expected, was terrific. I must admit I didn't really research much into the holiday and just went with the itinerary as something that seemed to work for me so it was a great experience to just turn up and see what happened. Think I will try and do that more often with my travels.
Kruger was amazing…. great lodge, guides, food, and saw lots of wildlife. Giraffe being eaten by lions and then vulture, leopard with an impala at the top of a tree. Black and White Rhino, and of the course all the rest… lioness and cubs at our water hole of the final night was a highlight, then again there were lots of highlights.
Mana Pools - Zambezi Lifestyles is definitely the best. Being on the river is just much more dynamic than being at Kanga, although Kanga is great too. A bit of luxury at Kanga is lovely after Zambezi which is hardly slumming it anyway. Think I prefer the camping style and the 'green' of the river. The entire continent is very dry…like a bomb hit it. Definitely hadn't thought about that. But as I learned definitely best time of year to see animals.
So thanks again guys. Much appreciated. Toni - September 2013
Most Wonderful Experience of my Life!!
Hi EA Team. Sorry I have not responded sooner, but we have been trying to get back into the swing of work and not be too depressed about coming home after such a truly amazing time in Africa.
I can honestly say it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life! Everything went according to plan thanks to Encompass Africa’s flawless planning (thanks ladies – everything was perfect and exceeded all our expectations). We also took thousands (and I mean thousands!) of photos so Roy & I will be trying to find a couple each to enter into your social media safari competition as well.
Thanks so much to everyone at Encompass Africa for helping us have such an awesome time – only highlights and definitely no negatives to report! - Nikki & Roy September 2013
Hi there team at Encompass Africa. Just a quick one to say a MASSIVE thank you for all the arrangements for our trip – we had the most amazing experience and loved every minute of it - we both agree the trip was our best vacation to date…
We have many highlights which we will come back to you on plus of course the photo entry competition, once we go through our 2000 odd photos !!!! - Nathan & Kate - September 2013
Memorable & Surreal Experience
Thank you for an amazing holiday that far exceeded our expectations, making our trip a memorable, surreal experience. The service given to us was second to none and we felt very spoilt.
The only delayed pickup was from the V&A for the Garden Route tour but the driver was very apologetic. Otherwise all transfers went swimmingly.
Quite a few highlights but Savanna because of the animals sightings and the amazing service, Blue Train, Hog Hollow, day trips in Cape Town, Victoria Falls. At Victoria Falls, we did the helicopter ride (wonderful) and enjoyed the Zambezi Sunset cruise.
We were expecting more wildlife in Botswana, maybe this was an unfair comparison to our incredible experiences at Sabi Sands.
We were extremely happy with our guide at Savanna who went the extra mile with the guests, even to giving a photographic lesson to those keen photographers. We enjoyed his company at dinner along with various staff members. Our guide at Little Vumbura was very knowledgeable and helpful but was difficult to understand at times.
The most outstanding lodge we stayed at was Savanna Lodge but we were very happy with all the accommodation. If we were to visit Cape Town again, we would perhaps stay on the waterfront just for a change. The staff at More Quarters were very attentive and helpful. Accommodation along the Garden Route was also very good. We would have enjoyed staying in the Stellenbosch/Franschhoek area for a couple of nights, however our day trip there was very enjoyable. Victoria Falls Hotel was lovely (even though the plumbing is somewhat aged). We were happy to be within walking distance of the Falls. Thanks again! - Mark & Sue Cotton - September 2013
Although I know I have emailed since our return, I did want to write and formally thank you and your team at Encompass Africa for organising such a splendid trip for us to South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls.
The whole trip unfolded seamlessly with no hassles or bother of any kind. From the initial arrival into Johannesburg where we were fast-tracked through customs everything proceeded as planned with punctual and pleasant transfer staff and guides.
Nottens was wonderful value, had a great atmosphere and from day one we had one amazing animal sighting after another - particularly leopards - it was so exciting to head off without knowing just what bird or animal might be in or behind the next bush.
Thanks for encouraging us to put some time aside for Johannesburg and Cape Town - both were fascinating destinations - if we hadn't visited we would have had a far less rich experience. Similarly, the trip to Bushman's Kloof allowed us to access a very different part of South Africa - the rugged beauty of the Cedarberg Mountains, the amazing botanic biodiversity of the fynbos and the vast fields of spring wildflowers (plus we saw Aardwolf and Bat-eared Foxes). By a stroke of good luck, the Head botanist from Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens was visiting BK so we were treated to a number of very interesting lectures at the lodge and in the field about the plants and his collecting trips.
Again, I am grateful to you for your suggestion that we visit the Kwando Camps in Botswana. They struck just the right note for us - particularly as 95 per cent of their employees were Botswanan nationals. Sitting down with both staff and guests at night led to many interesting discussions about local life. Little Kwando and Lagoon camps also yielded fantastic and extensive views of local birds, cheetah, leopard and of course the wonderful wild dogs - we spent time marvelling at their complex social life and followed them as they hunted the local impala. I have a photo of a dozen or so dogs waiting patiently for the lead dogs to signal them that an animal had been brought down - quite incredible discipline. As expected, I have come home with great memories and, of course, thousands of photos which I'm enjoying sifting through now.
Of course, I want to visit Africa again - the only things I might do differently would be to consider taking part of the trip with a photographic group and also to get a vehicle separately at times for birding. The game drives we had were always exciting and enjoyable and the staff bent over backwards to accommodate my additional interests in photography and birds but they also had to consider the possibly different interests of others in the vehicle. There were times when I would have loved to stay watching and photographing one group of animals even if it meant missing out on seeing something else. Similarly, I'm quite happy to sit and wait for some time for a tiny bird to come out from the bushes which is not everyone's cup of tea. This is however just a plan for the future - this time around I loved every drive we took.
I have already started dreaming about my next trip to Africa - possibly a trip to Botswana later in the year to see the Carmine bee-eaters and other Northern migrants breeding or a combination Madagascar/Masai Mara migration trip. Rest assured that when it comes to the planning and booking stage I will come back to Encompass Africa! - Meredith & Dom August 2013
Epic Africa – Exceeded our expectations
Thanks for great holiday. Here's a little feedback for you and the team!
DRIVERS: Our drivers, guides and meet & greet people were amazing. Everything went absolutely according to schedule and they were always so well organised and so well informed.
HIGHLIGHTS: Camp Kalahari with all its surprises, including being charged by a cranky lioness, an extraordinary number of big cat moments, the quality and variety of the various accommodations, bush bashing behind a pack of painted dogs while they hunted impala, standing 4m away from a silverback with shoulders the size of a Mack truck, being present for the wake-up calls of the chimps at Kibale, food, sundowners, lemurs and humpbacks galore in Madagascar, beautiful African people who give so much when they have so little. I could write an A4 page of highlights.
NEGATIVES: We did find it tiring that we mostly only had 2 nights in any one place, which meant only one full uninterrupted day excluding the arrival and departure days. If we do it again (or should I say, WHEN we do it again) I would plan to do less camps and extend the stays out more. The roads in Uganda and Madagascar were 'challenging' and caused a few sore back issues for a couple in our party.
GUIDES: Without exception our guides were the most wonderful, caring, well-informed, special people and we felt privileged to be looked after by these amazing people.
ACCOMMODATION: We loved the variety and the uniqueness of all the places we stayed in. The standard was outstanding and the staff treated us like royalty. Superb! We did have one complaint about the food though...there was WAY too much of it and the standard was so high it was hard to say 'no thanks'. During the first part of the trip we did a lot of sitting in trucks etc so we weren't burning much energy but we were eating heaps. However the latter part of the trip was more active so we came home at racing weight thankfully.
Our African experience exceeded all of our expectations by heaps in almost every aspect. We have already told many of our friends to put Africa on their bucket lists and to call Encompass Africa when the time comes to plan and book if they want outstanding service. Thank you so much to all the EA team for organising such an amazing trip for us. - Sue & David - September 2013
Botswana Family Experience
There are too many highlights to recall... our first 20mins into Machaba we came across 6 wild dogs and 5 pups. In the course of evening over 2 hrs the wild dog took down impala then had it taken by croc then it was taken from croc by leopard and then the leopard had it taken from her up a tree by one of her own offspring that was now independent.. Amazing… hard to beat!
Machaba was fantastic couldn't be faulted. Except for amount of Vehicles around game which they are trying to sort out with Botswana tourist commission. Ghoha Hills was great, although a long way from game / Savuti Marsh made us realise after Machaba you can be too spoilt. Ilalla lodge was in great position to walk to falls and around town. -Hildagard Family safari, September 2013
Bush & Beach Honeymoon
Hi there and great trip thank you. As promised, some feedback. The accommodation selected were exactly what we were after. With the exception of the Ilala Lodge in Zimbabwe, all other accommodation facilities and the services provided there were great. Ilala Lodge wasn't bad, just ordinary in comparison to all the other accommodations we stayed at.
All our drivers were very professional, our only comment was regarding the transfer company that took us from Livingstone to Victoria Falls. It was the only transport that didn’t offer water on board, and Livingstone airport is under construction and you cannot really buy water easily, we got stuck at the border waiting to be processed for 2 hours. Would of appreciated some water, or even an offer to buy water with our money for us while we stood in line! Not a big issue, but compared to every other driver, it was a let down.
All parts of our holiday was a highlight and were great for different reasons. People were friendly and helpful everywhere, all tour operators and services treated us well beyond expectation. They took the stress out of the holiday.
The trip was very professionally organised by you and the team at Encompass Africa, everything from the detail in documents to the transfers and general organisation of the trip! It made it very easy for us to follow, and to have a relatively stress free trip. We enjoyed our honeymoon very much, we were just able to relax and enjoy ourselves.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Encompass to others (and already have for another honeymoon couple). Next time we travel to Africa, we will definitely use Encompass again. Sumana & Winston, honeymoon safari holiday, September 2013
Hi EA Team. Awesome is quite an appropriate word for our holiday as we had a great time. Everything went off according to plan and the safari experiences were just fantastic. So if you have a bit of time and a coffee I will give you a brief run down.
Victoria Falls was pretty full on - the hotel was very Raffles like, facilities were good, staff good but the rooms whilst comfortable and clean are a bit tired and outdated eg bathroom. That said we would stay there again as it is a in a great location versus some of the other lodges which are not really within walking distance of town. We ended doing an elephant safari and a Lion walk - actually did that with our friends who booked (independently of Encompass Africa), helicopter which was a great experience from a photo perspective but fair to say seemed to be lacking from a tourist perspective if you know what I mean - "get them in and get them out as fast as we can". The Falls were simply amazing. We had a fantastic night at the Boma - warthog steak and Mopami worms included. We must say the Wilderness Safari lady at the desk at the hotel was very helpful in arranging some of these activities for us.
We then headed to Ruckemichi Camp in Mana Pools - got used to little planes in the co pilot seat - we enjoyed the safety briefings - not quite the Qantas rigmarole but…..The camp was excellent - tents were very comfortable, food very good, guides were very amenable and on a couple of occasions were had the guide to ourselves. Saw plenty of animals including the painted dogs which had not been seen for 2 months and having spoken to many people in other parts of the trip we feel fortunate to have seen them. Missed the lions but saw a leopard as well as plenty of other animals and birds. Our guide was outstanding. The river adds a different dimension and diversity of activities versus simply game drives all the time and this was great. A G & T at sunset on the Zambezi River is certainly the go even if being watched by a very cranky elephant as we kind of invaded his space! The number of animals that just walked through the camp inc elephants added to the experience - see photo below in the camp with the swing.
Little Mokololo in Hwange was next which was just as nice in terms of the camp and accommodation but quite different with waterholes in lieu of a river. The actual number of animals (zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, eland, sable, variety of antelopes and lions etc) and diversity was much greater than in Mana Pools and watching at the waterhole outside the camp when the elephants rocked in was quite an experience - very up close and personal. Elephants everywhere! The guides were good. Both of these camps were great choices Gail and actually perfectly pitched in terms of quality etc for us. Later seeing the convoys that were going into Chobe NP we were glad we were at both these camps.
We do have to say that the staff at Wilderness Safaris/Air, from the hotel, to the pilots, to the cooks and everyone at the camps, to the people at check in at the airport were faultless in their service - very friendly, obliging, always smiling and willing to help. Actually left my mobile phone at one camp and we collected it a few days later at the Vic Falls airport.
From there we rounded off the trip on the garden route from Port Elizabeth through Plettenberg Bay and Kynsna. It was a relaxing way to round off the holiday - accommodation was good particularly at Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay. The Kynsna accommodation was comfortable and more B and B oriented - we kind of felt we were staying in someone's house even though they were not there, as opposed to other places we stayed - nothing wrong with that as we have stayed in plenty of B and B's, but with the benefit of hindsight 1 night would have been enough or alternatively we could have covered off the whole drive back to Cape Town over the 4 nights we had there.
In terms of other things the airport pick ups were great, cars very clean and drivers very friendly. The lady from Bidvest that met us at Johannesburg Airport was very nice and 54 on Bath was a great hotel - why stay anywhere else in Johannesburg. Only issue we had here was a lack of vouchers for this part of the trip which should have been rectified when the hotel rang the tour company to have them sent through for the 54 on Bath stay. We ended up ringing them ourselves in Port Elizabeth when the hotel and Europcar needed them and they were faxed through. The lady from the company was quite apologetic so it was all sorted out in the end.
So all in all we did have an awesome time!! 3000+ photos (even after nightly editing and deleting) and many memories. We had a great time with our friends when we were with them but also thoroughly enjoyed the time we had on our own. We will go back sometime down the track - we are pretty keen to do the Okavango Delta one day and see some other parts of Africa - this trip was a great introduction.
Gail, many thanks again for your suggestions, ideas and contributions to our itinerary. The camps were great, the accommodation was perfectly pitched for us - very nice and comfortable but not over the top. Everything fell into place and went smoothly so we feel very lucky.
We have attached a few photos and rest assured we are singing your praises in Adelaide to all our friends.
John and Robyn August 2013
Thank you for an AMAZING trip
Good morning Jono and the EA Team
Thank you for putting together an AMAZING trip for us and your knowledge and expertise were clearly visible. We had an outstanding time and both fell in love with Africa. The highlights were for me the Serengeti and our accommodation in Zanzibar which was ideal for us and completely in line with what we were looking for.
I appreciate your openness to feedback and had a couple of thoughts which certainly didn't take away from the experience but I think are worth sharing:
- The Rwanda experience was wonderful and accommodation was superb. Our guide did a great job and was very pleasant. At my request he took us to a money changer in Kigali after the gorilla experience and we did receive a number of counterfeit $50 US notes from the money changer which we didn't realise until we tried to change them in to SA Rand at the end of the trip. I am not suggesting guide new of this, but I wanted to ensure people are aware this can occur.
- The team at our camp at the Serengeti, Olakira Camp, was amazing and our guide was brilliant. Loved everything about the experience.
- Ngorongoro was certainly worth a day trip - but no longer. Really happy that we visited and had the day in the crater but wouldn't recommend two days. After the Serengeti it did feel like a bit of a big zoo that we were driving around. Accommodation lovely but certainly didn't have the friendliness or atmosphere of the camp.
- Our guide was certainly obliging and informative and did all that we asked.
- The drive from the crater to Arusha airport was a long haul given the roadworks in place and the total trip took us over four hours. The flight to Arusha would have been great, but then it wouldn't have allowed us to visit the Tanzanite Experience as we did. Thanks Jono for the tip and the advice with that. This was something our local guide didn't offer us, he took us to local craft/gift stores and was happy to direct us there which certainly wasn't the best for us, so it was great to be able to reach back to you and get that timely advice.
- Zanzibar was amazing the team there do an outstanding job. Loved the place and only criticism was I had to leave after two days. A week listening to the waves break whilst laying in the hammock reading my book would have been the perfect finish.
All in all, it was a trip of a lifetime and one that we will never forget. Would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending you guys to anyone that we meet/talk with and have already done so.
Again thank you for your knowledge, wisdom and care in putting this together for us. - Peter & Claire July 2013
Southern Africa Family Safari
Just wanted to say thank you to you and your team for a fantastic African Holiday. Everything went without a hitch. Having experienced "Africa Time" at the airports I am extremely grateful for your organisation skills that saw the whole holiday run like clock work. I have attached a tiny portion of our photos. The kids had control of the cameras so we have at least 1500 memories captured!!
Dominique, Carl, Jake and Nicole July 2013
Family Safari to Kenya & Zanzibar
Our holiday exceeded our expectations! The highlights are endless: Seeing a lion kill on Masai Mara with Mako, canvas bath at Cottars watching the sunset, swimming in the waterfall near Cottars, Visiting the Masai village and taking photos of them wearing MEL shirts and jackets, flying low and circumnavigating Mt Kilamanjaro, swimming with the dolphins at Unguja, Seeing the Hippos on Lake Navisha.
Hogsmead was pleasant but didn't spend much time there. Lodia was beautiful. Heather the manager was very pleasant and food was great and the guide was great as well.
Cottars Camp was excellent we loved everything about it I loved. Our guide was a lot of fun and accommodating and made the adventure.
We loved Unguja because of it's personalized service and natural environment. Room was stunning on the water.
Our only negatives was the transfer in Nairobi was late and transfer driver in Zanzibar was informative but was not on time. But I must stress it was one of the best trips we have ever had and I have done quite a lot of travel. I would not hesitate to recommend Encompass Africa to friends that plan to travel to Africa.
Melinda, Roger & Siena July 2013
Namibia Self Drive with Botswana & Cape Town
We are home safely after a wonderful trip. Once the initial hiccup of not receiving our welcome pack was out of way, every thing went to perfectly!
Our pickups & drop offs were always punctual and courteous. It is always a relief to see your name held up when you arrive in a new country
Clearly the highlights were the abundance of wild animals. We were able to get really close to them as well. The accommodation was excellent as was the food. I couldn’t fault any of the places we stayed.
All our guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful as well as courteous and friendly. We were especially impressed with our guide at Gunns camp in Botswana.
All accommodation was very clean & comfortable. The meals & breakfasts were all excellent & abundant.
I would suggest June/July was a great time to do this trip as the weather was superb & not too hot or too cold at night. It was our best trip ever
Robyn & John Christiansen July 2013
Southern Tanzania Family Safari
Thank you Encompass Africa. It really was awesome and SO much more than what we expected. Every day our 16 year old (had her birthday Stanley's Kopje in Mikumi NP, complete with beautiful custom-made birthday cake!) thanked us for taking her to Africa.
The 11-year-old (who had originally been a bit cold on the whole idea) was equally enthusiastic about every bit of it From the first day on safari we were plotting how we could manage to save up and go again as soon as possible!
Our only suggestion from our trip is that if the Udzungwa walk would have been best to do in the morning instead of the afternoon as the drive there was a long way out of the way for such a short visit (only lunchtime to breakfast) and the short time there meant we couldn't take advantage of being near the village - e.g. no time to organise to see a drumming performance.
The accommodation at Selous Maji Moto Camp, Chili Farm Cottages in Selous Game Reserve and Kilimantonge in Ruaha National Park wer very special. The exclusive wilderness camps were perfect for our needs. The Tembo Hotel in Stone Town was beautiful an in a great location, but a bit too 'touristy' for our liking (very Western-style food for example). Chumbe Island was a wonderful experience.
Our guide in Selous Game Reserve & Ruaha National Park was excellent!!! We got lucky with having him as our guide and friend for our travels. He is immensely talented and was tireless at finding exciting wildlife to show us, was always cheery and enthusiastic and never seemed to run out of patience with our endless questions and attempts at Swahili. We felt comfortable and safe with him at all times as well, which was important for the kids especially. Our great leopard sighting on the very last evening of our safari. Our time on safari in general. We all loved every minute of it.
We really did have an amazing time. It was a wonderful trip in every way - cultural, social, linguistic, relaxation, wildlife viewing, life experience.
Paul and I agreed it was the best holiday either of us have ever had - so wonderful to be so well looked after, and not having to make decisions about anything was a recipe for harmony!
It was a wonderful family holiday that has created some truly special memories for us. You'll be hearing from us again I'm sure!
Paul, Andrea, Alice & Ruby July 2013
Africa from all angles
On arrival in Johannesburg South Africa we were surprised to be met by someone within the customs area and escorted through customs to our driver. Now this is service. All the drivers were on time with the exception of our pilot in Bumi Hills which was a little stressful but we made it and as our connecting flight at Vic Falls was held for us.
Our favourite wild experience would have to be having the elephants integrate our vehicle into their herd at the water hole. They totally surrounded our vehicle as we had been parked there for so long, approx 1.5 hrs watching a leopard catching fish and eating them, that the elephants paid us no attention when they came down to drink. We of course could not move the vehicle until the elephants had moved off a little but it was the most amazing feeling. Of the leopard catching the fish was pretty spectacular. This is one of the times the other vehicles moved off and we got to remain to view a spectacular sight.
Very few negatives for our trip, the Mobile safari - 9-10 days was maybe a little too long. We were lucky and got to see most animals in the first 3 days. I lost a little bit of interest by the last 3 days but once I saw the leopards my interests sparked up again. The houseboat on Lake Kariba needs a revamp but wasn't too bad. If we had of started with the houseboat we wouldn't have found anything wrong with it as this is the standard we expected all the way through Africa and we were very surprised that we got better service and a much higher standard of living than in our own country. Africa is definitely on our return country list.
We absolutely loved all the other accommodation. The Davinci in South Africa blew us away with their professionalism of service and uniforms. Very fancy hotel. Then we loved loved loved the Victoria Falls Hotel. OMG how old and well kept is that place. We felt like we had truly stepped back in time. High tea was a nice touch on the balcony too. Gunn’s Camp was magnificent but the mobile safari in Botswana took the cake
Our guide in Botswana was magnificent. He was so nice, knowledgeable about plants, animals and stars. We made good friends with him and his staff, T-man the chef, TT the waiter and BD the assistant helper. They were all so helpful and pleasant. We loved our greeting party every morning and on returning to camp after a game drive.
Our guide on the houseboat while he was lovely and knowledgeable we felt like we could have done without him as we were ready for a break and didn't realise that he was taking us on walking safaris. This is one of the reasons we wished we had of started with him and the houseboat. That way we would have been keen for walks. All of our guides were fantastic people to deal with and all very knowledgeable. If we ever returned we would want the same guides.
Our trip exceeded all expectations. What a wonderful holiday Encompass Africa set up for us. We feel we got to see Africa from all angles, being the luxurious to camping, right down to average accommodation and service on our houseboat. All was wonderful.
Thank you so much to Encompass Africa for putting together such a wonderful trip for us. We got to see and experience so much. This trip would not have been possible without Jono.
Stephen & Patty June 2013
Southern Africa Experience
Thank you to Encompass Africa for a wonderful trip. Encompass Africa is a great company to deal with and very economical. South African Airways was also great to fly with.
All our drivers were a delight and thought our Australian sense of humour was great. The guides were all happy and very knowledgeable.
Highlights: Savanna Private Game Reserve - seeing the animals in the wild. The Elephant Camp - walking with Sylvester. Victoria Falls. Sun City. Just about everything.
Our African adventure completely met and exceeded our expectations! We thought our accommodation was mainly six star!
Congratulations on organising such a excellent holiday.
Rob & Jo August - 2013
Thanks Encompass Africa We had a great time all round. If there were any negatives I would let you know, but there were None!
All the people assisting in transfers and working at camps were great. As for highlights ,we were discussing this on the way home and couldn’t decide on any particular thing as a highlight as they were all different and all highlights.
Thanks again for all your help and organising
Jill & Brendon - July 2013
Amazing Wildlife Experiences
A fantastic holiday, full of close encounters with the wildlife and amazing experience. Our patience paid off & we witnessed the migration Mara river crossing! Sitting in the vehicle surrounded by a pride of lions at sunset & the 4 lioness started to roar was an experience we will never forget. And of course seeing a black rhino in the wild was a memorable moment.
We had two late pick ups but all the drivers were always friendly and obliging. Our private guide in Tanzania stayed with us for the next 7days & was always on time.
We were impressed with all of the tented camps in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania especially Kicheche Bush Camp in Masai Mara and the Serena hotels were wonderful.
We were very impressed with your organization of everything, from the flights to the accom, it flowed very well. We were also impressed with the professionalism of all the light aircraft pilots.
Our holiday always met our expectations. My husband overused the word amazing!!
Pam & Colin - July 2013
No glitches, just smooth!
Thank you for the good wishes, everything you organised for us went like clockwork thank you. No glitches, just smooth. Your choice of venues was excellent with our preference being Shumbalala with its restful atmosphere, excellent vista from the room, a wood fire for winter and great staff. They have a tradition of ‘high tea’ at 1500 rather than lunch and on reflection we would have preferred lunch. Nonetheless an excellent venue with very good game sightings. Some dinners were a bit overpromised in relation to the chef’s abilities but there were no bad meals. Some were exceptionally good.
Simbambilli’s room was not as nice but very fine nonetheless. Dinners were better than at Shumbalala although the venue was rotated. I am sure some guests liked the rotations but we think it would have been better to stick with the dining area because of the cold in outside venues. Not an issue, just a preference. Staff were also very helpful and attentive. Also good game sightings although some of the leopards were so well known they were almost pets.
More Apartments in Capetown was a very good location and an attractive venue with very helpful staff. A traditional room rather than an apartment would have served us equally well.
Franschoek was a spectacular venue with a wonderful room and fine food. On reflection we probably would hire a car and explore the surrounds if we did it again. The shuttle service to the village was excellent.
The private charters worked out well and as planned. The routes you selected for flying and driving were ideal. An easy flight to Thornybush rather than a long drive was ideal and the flight from Simbambilli made the long journey home that bit better. This was first for me – I have never had to curtail a take-off roll for giraffes before.
In all a wonderful trip pitched perfectly to our needs. We had some luck; our visit to Robben Island did not clash with Obama’s and the demonstrations did not clash with our travels. Looking back on the trip overall we should have overnighted in Johannesburg on the way over and visited Soweto. When we were planning the trip we thought that was something we did not want to do and did not ask for it. It would have given a bit more insight into underlying South Africa.
We are very happy to recommend Encompass and thank you for your care and attention.
Lindsay & Lyndal - June 2013
Back to Africa
A holiday full of so many highlights, the wonderful people we met, seeing serval and a Pel’s Fishing Owl in the daytime! Very close encounters with elephants, the amazingly skilled guiding of our walking guides and spotter. But just being back in Africa and experiencing just being in the bush and the real isolation and authenticity of the camps (especially the bush camps) was one of our biggest highlights.
Overall we were happy with our guides. In fact all but one were just wonderful, unfortunately one guide was quite unpleasant which was a real shame. We did have an outstanding guide at Chongwe but unfortunately only for one drive, I think our feelings about this camp would have been different if we'd had him the whole time. Our guides at Luwi, Nsolo and Tena Tena were fabulous -Wonderful people, friendly, kind, amusing, great fun to be around, but also professional and truly excellent guides.
All the camps had lovely accommodation with each being quite different, ranging from quite lux in some (especially Tena Tena) to more basic but very authentic (Luwi - but I actually loved this camp because of that!). All of them were very comfortable and had everything we needed and more. The settings were lovely (again for different reasons - Chongwe's setting on the river was just beautiful but being out in the middle of nowhere at Luwi and Nsolo was very special).
Thank you for the wonderful organisation, we trusted completely that everything would be great and seamless and it was. You made the whole process so easy and stress free and gave us excellent advice as usual.
Sarah & Mirko - June 2013
We had the most amazing time in Africa and it exceeded our expectations by far. Everything went like clockwork (not sure how in some cases!!!), all planes were either on time or early, every driver was there waiting for us and baggage followed us too! Only one complaint as you did not warn us of how much food we would be offered as we would have taken more expandable clothes!!
We cant speak highly enough of Tanzanian Safari operators, very professional, amazing guide who ensured we saw everything and despite the dust and bumpy roads managed to clean the vehicle daily and was always dressed immaculately. He drove with such care and attention and spoke with such pride about his job and his employers, he really is a credit to them and his experience and knowledge shone through. We have no hesitation in recommending them and of course yourselves.
Best accommodation: Tarangire Balloon Camp. Here we were treated like royalty. They even managed to produce a guitar for our son to play and all the staff came to the campfire to listen.
Best park: Tarangire for scenery and elephants, Serengeti for the cats.
Most amazing experience: Seeing a female cheetah and her two young catch Thomson Gazelle only for a Hyena to appear and steal it. This happened twice in the space of a few minutes right in front of us and involving 2 Hyenas. Our guide mentioned that in 14 years he had never seen the whole scenario, very rare especially as the female cheetah was catching the gazelle only to let it go for her young to chase and practise the kill.
Would we change anything? I think after going to Tarangire first, we were a bit disappointed with Lake Manyara. It was busier and smaller so felt less realistic.
Thank you for a great itinerary, you got it spot on and I know that we will be encouraging our friends to go and highly recommend that they use Encompass Africa.
Geoff, Kate & Connor - June 2013
Zimbabwe....What an Fantastic Surprise
We had an absolutely fantastic trip and we'd like to send our thanks to Jono and the team for organising it for us. We found your service to be friendly, professional and responsive. Planning the trip with Jono was a pleasure, and we really appreciate his advice to try Zimbabwe as it wasn't even on our radar before we spoke to him. The camps he chose for us were exactly what we were looking for, and we'd never have found them ourselves.
Our transfer company in Vic Falls was impressive, our driver to take us to the airport was stuck over the border in Botswana, so the company immediately arranged a private taxi to get us to the airport and we weren't inconvenienced at all. We were absolutely happy with our guides! I can see what Jono meant when he said the Zimbabwean guides were some of the best in the world. Our guide at Camp Hwange was particularly impressive, and a really nice guy to spend 4 days with. He's a photographer himself and specialises in photographic guiding, so was really knowledgeable and helpful for getting the best pictures.
We had some amazing highlights on our trip, sitting around the open air campfire at Camp Hwange, looking up at the stars and hearing the resident hippo going about their business! Getting within 10m of a lion eating a kill at Hwange, tracking black rhino on foot in Matopos and the staff at Camp Amalinda were a highlight they were some of the most welcoming people I've met anywhere.
Camp Amalinda was beautiful, unique accommodation and we loved the surrounding landscape of the Matopos. The camp host, was really excellent. We were lucky to be there in a very quiet week, which meant that they could really tailor everything for us. There isn't a huge amount of wildlife left in the park but we were lucky enough to be able to track black rhino on foot and got really close. We also really enjoyed learning about the history of the area and seeing the bushmen paintings. The camp supports a local orphanage and some of the staff we met (who were fantastic) grew up there. We really liked the fact that we were indirectly supporting the local community by staying there, and we weren't just in a tourist bubble.
We loved Camp Hwange! Again, we were the only guests in camp on two of the nights which meant we got a completely tailored experience. The rooms were gorgeous, situated right next to a pan with resident hippo and buffalo. Being awoken every night by the sound of them grazing outside our window was an experience! The staff and guides were really excellent and we saw a lot of wildlife, and were able to do lots of lion tracking on foot. My only comment is that the rooms were freezing overnight as they were completely open to the elements, and we were incredibly cold for the first couple of hours of game driving in the morning (and we're from the UK originally, so we know about cold!!!). Thankfully we knew to bring lots of warm layers but it might be worth emphasising this to guests going in winter, as I imagine lots of people come completely unprepared!
Ilala Lodge was pleasant accommodation and handy for everything in town, although it's looking a bit tired. Restaurant very good though - probably the best food in Vic Falls. We had a bit of trouble getting a double room as apparently only few of their rooms are doubles - the rest are twins. We had to stay in a twin for the first night and then the manager moved us to a double.
Thanks to Jono and the team for organising such a great holiday (and being so patient when we changed our minds a few times!). We hadn't even considered going to Zimbabwe before we spoke to him, and yet we had the most fantastic time there and it really ticked all the boxes for us. I'd really encourage other tourists to visit the country. It's obviously finding its feet after the troubles of a few years ago, but we never once felt unsafe or unwelcome. People who haven't really travelled in the developing world might find some aspects of the place a little confronting, such as the hawkers in Vic Falls, but we weren't too fazed and would definitely go back.
Thanks again and we hope to be able to organise another trip with Encompass Africa at some point in the future!
Paula - June 2013
In a word...AMAZING!
All of the planning from your end was perfect, our transfers were always there on time, courteous & helpful.
We saw many things we weren't expecting to see, serval cat, bat eared foxes, wildebeest crossing the Grumeti River. My wish on this trip was to see more than 4 zebra, which is all I saw when I travelled to Botswana in 2006. My wish was definitely granted, we saw more than I could have ever imagined & I still love them. The accommodation was all great, our favourite was Nasikia Camp, we would have enjoyed more camps like that. However, that was very closely followed by Nyungwe Forest Lodge at the opposite end of the spectrum, what an amazing setting. Colobus monkeys sleeping in a tree metres from our balcony was pretty special. Both Yvette & I love tea so that was a great surprise to be surrounded by all of that tea. My only negative feedback on the accommodation is regarding Escarpment Luxury Lodge & Mbalageti Camp while still good accommodation, their service didn't seem or feel genuine as it was everywhere else.
In terms of the itinerary we think we would have enjoyed Rwanda first and then Tanzania, visiting the same places. In Rwanda we spent quite a lot of time travelling in the vehicle getting from place to place, the vehicle wasn't all that comfortable so it would have been nice to do that first.
Our guide in Tanzania was excellent as was the vehicle. He was very knowledgeable but didn't speak for the sake of it, he very obviously was interested & enthusiastic about the animals & the parks we visited. There were a couple of surprises for him too, a huge herd of topi, larger than he had seen before, serval cat, bat eared foxes & the river crossing were all things he wasn't expecting. Tanzania is a very special place & I have no doubt that I will be back there at some stage, with Encompass Africa of course!!!
This was my second trip to Africa & I still absolutely love it.
Anna - June 2013
Exceeded our Expectations!
Our holiday met and exceeded our expectations in many ways. We saw and did everything we wanted to and thoroughly enjoyed the varied itinerary. The drivers were always on time and friendly and we were delighted with our guides at both Flatdogs Camp and Sango Camp. Both guides were great with my son but the Sango guide was especially attentive, informative and enjoyably tenacious in getting us into the best positions. All accommodation was wonderful, Sango Camp and Flatdogs Treehouse which was super special and a wonderful surprise, the staff at Sango was a highlight of our trip.
Our holiday was full of highlights, the evening Zambezi river cruise in Victoria Falls, at Sango the lions on our first safari and the hippos who were outside our tent at night. My son loved the warthogs, the python and the leopards and especially getting to sit in the cockpit for the flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe. While at Flatdogs our highlight was all of the animals especially the elephants crossing the river at dawn but most especially the herd of elephants and tower of giraffes who visited the treeehouse for over an hour on our last afternoon there - it was magic!
Susanne -May 2013
Encompass Africa gave us the Holiday of a Lifetime!
Well it’s a week since we got back from our African adventure and we can’t thank you enough for putting together such a perfect holiday; as they say ‘it ticked all the boxes’.
The pre-departure guide was a god-send. I think this is the first holiday when I actually used everything I took, the suggested clothes and shoes worked well. It wasn’t as cold as I’d packed for so one long sleeved tee-shirt wasn’t needed, but that’s all. The advice on tipping was really helpful and by the end of the trip we were quite adept at passing over the tips (not a skill we are familiar with in Australia!).
The various places we stayed were perfect. The accommodation was delightful and varied. The food was delicious and really a credit to the staff at the camps when they were a long way from suppliers. The game drives, water trips and walks were all enjoyable. We saw such a variety of wildlife – every day’s outing over the whole holiday brought us an animal, bird, reptile or behaviour we hadn’t seen before. You planned the itinerary really well. We enjoyed having 3 nights stay in Victoria Falls to catch our breath after 3 lots of ‘2 nights and then move on’. The Nasikia Central Camp was such a surprise! We’d asked to stay in a tent and had thought that they were all going to be the permanent ones where the tent was on a platform. So when we got to Nasikia Central Camp and found a real tent on the ground it was not at all what we’d expected. But it was very enjoyable, the food there was really good and we soon got used to ordering hot water for the shower bucket! Going from there to the Escarpment Luxury Lodge was perfect – though the road to the lodge was anything but luxurious!
All the travel arrangements worked fine. We had quite a number of arrivals and departures but were always met as planned even when one of the flights was cancelled and we had to wait in Nairobi airport for 3 hours for the next flight. I had taken up the offer from Cover-More of a global SIMcard so with the contact numbers you’d provided was able to talk to the ground operator in Tanzania and let them know in case they hadn’t sussed out there was a problem. I was really impressed with the extent of the mobile phone coverage in Africa – being able to send a text message from the middle of the Serengeti was most unexpected.
Having our own guide for the entire Tanzania safari was great. He, like all the guides, was very knowledgeable and knew where to find the animals and we could hang around one spot as long as we wished. I think one of my favourite memories is seeing a cheetah hiding in the grass at the top of a small hill. There were no other cars around and we waited and watched for 1 ½ hours. The cheetah stood up after a while and settled down again but then got up and moved a few metres and sat up on top of the hill out of the long grass surveying the land below. A great photo opportunity.
Rwanda was a revelation – we never expected it to be so hilly and so green. It was interesting (though rather hair-raising) driving out to the Volcanoes national park. The scenery was spectacular and the people, houses and fields were close enough to get an idea of how people live there. We were lucky with the weather, the only rain we had was in Rwanda and then only for in the afternoon and for a short time. As you’d told us the grass was long after the rainy season but we did see a lot of wildlife and the wildebeest and zebra migrating around the Serengeti was fascinating – I’d never imagined that they’d just follow each other in long lines.
All in all you gave us the holiday of a lifetime. I’d recommend Encompass Africa to anyone, we had a wonderful time. Everyone asks what the best part was but I’ve never been able to answer. The places we stayed in Botswana were all different as were the places in Tanzania. It was just the best 4 weeks I have ever had.
Thank you again
Anthea - May 2013
It was fabulous, I want to go back again....
Hi Laura, Yes we had a fabulous time, and I thank you once again for the seamless second African safari Encompass Africa planned for us. Encompass will always be the number one choice for me for African safari holidays in the future. Accommodation, land and flight connections were all as planned and that is purely due to the efforts of the wonderful Encompass staff here in Brisbane and also in Africa. Congratulations.
In regards to our accommodation, Mashatu Tented Camp was wonderful, the Tswanan staff were so friendly, the game viewing excellent, fabulous food, and the Tuli block location was gorgeous in its wilderness. Would highly recommend a stay here. The remoteness of the camp added to its magic.We didn't want to leave.
Kirkman's Kamp was fantastic for game viewing, and after tenting in Botswana, it seemed very civilized, would probably suit someone who wants all the comforts of home on safari. Staff and food were excellent. It is quite a large establishment and while we were there there were a couple of very large groups staying which was very different from Mashatu in Tuli.
Tanda Tula is indeed a luxury tent experience,the lodge wonderfully warm with crackling open fireplaces and welcoming staff who took care of us so well. Game viewing was very good but sometimes "crowded" with other vehicles. The African staff at the camp were real characters and made our stay special.
In all it was fabulous, I want to go back again....
Gabrielle - May 2013
Thank you very much for arranging our trip to Africa so well. Everything ran like clockwork. We met lovely people, saw so many different animals and learned so much about the countries we visited (and also about ourselves in the process).
All our guides were really professional, interesting and informative and all went out of their way to make sure we saw all that we could, while keeping in mind the welfare of the animals. Their attitude towards and love of the animals was also quite obvious. I did not really know what to expect as it was a very different trip from anything I had done before, but it would have far exceeded any expectations I may have had.
We had boat trips, morning and afternoon safaris and a trip in a canoe. We were picked up and dropped off without a hitch and you met our requirements for accommodation exactly as we would have chosen, had we been in a position to do so.
I would especially like to mention our guide in Tanzania. I was a big worried about spending twelve days, all day, with someone we had never met, but I would highly recommend his professionalism, friendliness and his obvious desire to show us all that he could of the world he knew so well.
Thank you again, Jonathon and I would have no hesitation in recommending your company to any of my friends or anyone I knew who was thinking of doing such a trip.
Gloria - May 2013
Thank you for an amazing time in Africa, everything went smoothly.
We had so many amazing experiences. Firstly on the gorilla treks we had two very different gorilla experiences in Uganda. In Botswana we were luck enough to see 4 leopard in one day! More than many see in a lifetime with amazing photo opportunities. We got to follow the whole story of the dominant lion removing two youngsters in the pride, at night it was exciting hearing lions fighting outside our tents only to see one the next day. Lastly, we had a leopard walk into our camp kitchen while the cook was making dinner!
Everywhere we stayed was great. Kampala Serena hotel was nice, we enjoyed their Italian restaurant and service everywhere was spot on. Gorilla Forest Camp was amazing with great rooms, amazing service and the location next to the rangers base was great. We had a room on top one which we loved, it was private and relaxing. The Protea hotel was good, it will be even better when the pool is finished. Misty Hills in Johannesburg was great and Carnivores restaurant was a lot of fun.
On our Botswana camping trip our guide was perfect. Amazingly knowledgable, patient and consistently happy. We LOVED the experience - Fantastic food, accommodation was great, camp staff couldn't do better. Katembo (our guide) spent hours searching for everything and anything, 5-6 hour morning game drives then back out in the afternoon. No skimping on anything.
Everything was amazing we are looking at travelling to Kenya or Tanzania next year.
Alison & family - March/April 2013
A Lifetime of Memories
We would sincerely love to thank Encompass for a wonderful holiday. We had the best time and experienced the most amazing things on our trip. We will be recommending your company to any person interested in doing a Safari in Africa. The professionalism from your office from the moment we expressed interest, to the guides, drivers and accommodation was outstanding. The memories and the photos we will always have to share with family and friends. To see these beautiful wild animals up close and personal in their natural environment is surreal. East Africa is so diverse and the natural landscape breathtaking from one park to the next. We loved our time, the people we met.
It is very difficult to say what our highlights were as each destination held a special memory. To see lions and leopards in trees in Masai Mara and lions on rocks in the Serengeti. We saw the beginning of the migration with wildebeest’s and zebra's stretching for miles on the plains and the majestic elephants in all the places. The breathtaking vastness of Ngorongoro (my god the size of the crater) to the passing villages when going from one destination to another all attributed to our experience.
The Serena Lodges were extraordinary in Kenya and Tanzania. We loved how each lodge was designed to blend into the natural beauty of the environment. The staff and service were very friendly, attentive and professional. The rooms were unique from one lodge to another and very comfortable which added to the overall ambience of the trip. The food was delicious, plentiful and there was a lot of variety to choose from.
All our drivers were friendly, informative and always on time. We would like to give a very special mention to our Driver in Kenya and Tanzania, "JAMES". He is a BIG 10. James made our trip by sharing his story with us. He had eyes like an eagle and could spot lions and leopards and cheetahs a mile away. We gave him the task to make sure we saw the BIG 5 and within the first 2 days at Lake Nakuru we saw four of the Big 5 except for the elusive leopard. We did see the leopard but the best was left for last at Amboseli where we not only saw one but three leopards out for an afternoon stroll only about ten feet away from our car. It was an emotionally moving sight to see these beautiful cats. We called James our BIG 10.
Again, just a thank you for a wonderful trip with a lifetime of memories.
Rodney & Olga - March 2013
I was born and grew up in Botswana and this trip certainly lived up to what I remember about the best parts of Africa.
Both places we stayed were fabulous, the Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls was beautiful and we had a lovely time there. I wish we had stayed longer. Sango Camp in the Okavango Delta was great, such a lovely atmosphere and the camp was beautifully maintained The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The food was lovely and they even arranged packed lunches for us when we had a flight to catch over lunchtime.
Our guides were great, at Sango we had Joel who was very knowledgeable and made our experience at the camp fantastic.
We loved Victoria Falls and being in the Delta was spectacular, loved being out in the bush and the community feel that Sango had to offer. The dancing and singing that the staff did at Sango was a major highlight and my partner (not from Africa) was amazed by everything that we saw and experienced.
Krista & David – March 2013
Hi Gail. Our trip was sensational and I don't think there would be anything we would have changed, except maybe getting more time off work!
Dad completed the survey and it was posted yesterday. Some minor comments, but overall we were very satisfied with Encompass Africa and, certainly from my perspective, will be seeking your advice and expertise for future trips to Africa (we're already planning the next trip!).
Some highlights included reaching the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, seeing a leopard for the first time whilst in the Delta, watching two lioness take down an impala each whilst on a game drive and catching 21 tiger fish over two mornings (and we were told it wasn't the right season for tiger fish!). Thanks again for all your help, it was great!
- Luke & Phil, Feb 2013
Wow! Honestly THE best trip I have ever done.
Everything about it was amazing even more so than I expected! I've already decided I want to go back next year hopefully and for longer this time just looking for some people that want to join :) You did such an amazing job with everything I will only ever book through Encompass Africa now!
All the drivers were very friendly and always willing to help, and never late! The girls (and James) couldn't believe how well organised it was we didn't have to lift a finger!!! It was like an exclusive private tour, our drivers had so much knowledge to share it was great!
Once the others get back from egypt we are going to put all our photos together then send through some of the best and also we are making a video so will send that through too. Otherwise both me and anna have some photos on our Facebook pages now that you can check out if you'd like :)
Jetlag killed me!!!!!! The last two days were horrible but finally getting better now. Thank you so so so much for everything it was a holiday I will never ever forget and can't wait to go again!!! Jordan :)
What an adventure!
Stu and I had the most wonderful honeymoon – what an adventure! You put together the most amazing itinerary and several times while we were away I commented to Stu what a great trip you have organised for us. It was great starting at Arusha because the safari built momentum every day with the grand finale in the Serengeti which certainly delivered. We were lucky enough to see something new each day which was great because we had things to look forward to rather than seeing it all on day 1. Our private driver/guide Nickson, was terrific. He was very informative about the land, people and animals. He was always on time and very flexible with times if we made any requests. We were very comfortable in our safari vehicle however we did notice that most of the other cars had a pop up roof that provided shade while game driving. We had a roll back canvas only so we were exposed to the African sun all day every day (unless you stop and roll the canvas down).
For the most part, we felt extremely safe for the entire trip.We felt nervous was when a male lion came sniffing at our tent one night in the Serengeti. I thought it would be a good idea to leave the canvas rolled up that night so Stu and I sat in bed frozen solid while he sniffed up and down the zipper of our fly screen. This has now become one of our favourite stories to tell but we were terrified at the time!
I don’t think Stu and I really knew what to expect from a safari but we were blown away. The staff and all the campsites and lodges were very welcoming and friendly. Anything we needed, they were happy to help. We received acknowledgements from staff that it was our honeymoon and in most places, we returned from a game drive to a small gift which was just lovely. The food was exceptional everywhere we went. I couldn’t believe that we were served a minimum of three delicious courses every night for dinner. (I do have to mention however that we found dead ants throughout our food at the Tarangire camp. They were in our dinner on the first night and in our lunchboxes both days. We felt terrible because we couldn’t finish the dinner on the first night once we realised. I’m so sorry I have to bring this up and I know we were camping but it wasn’t just one, I counted over 25 ants in a small portion of food on my plate that I’d eaten the rest without knowing!). They were extremely apologetic and I don’t know what they did, but there was not one ant in our dinner the next night and we ate it all up.
I can’t single out one highlight as there were so many. Our family and friends have been so impressed at the animals we saw and how close they were. We were so impressed with all accommodation. The Sopa Lodge at the crater was awesome (views!) and it was great to break up the camping and have a proper shower too. The campsites were in excellent location, they were clean and comfortable and met all my requirements. It was wonderful to hear all the animal sounds throughout the night and wake up to giraffes and zebras.
Lastly, ZANZIBAR! Stu and I are in love with Essque Zalu and wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to other honeymooners. It is a little piece of heaven on earth and we couldn’t believe the place actually looked like the website photos. The honeymoon package was so lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed all the inclusions that came with it. We were treated like royalty the whole time we were there.
I want to thank you again so much for planning such a memorable honeymoon. So many of our family and friends want to go to Africa now and I will definitely point them your way.
Bianca & Stu, Honeymooners Oct 2012
Hi Jonathon, Made it home and recovered from the flight (it was not too bad). I have completed the feedback form and sent this but I wanted to also write to you as well. As I said the holiday was fantastic!. No problems at all with your planning and execution. Only a couple of small delays on flights (to be expected) and no lost or delayed luggage! Our friends recently did the reverse of us and he had his bag delayed/lost 3 times!
I have no doubt that the holiday was so good due to your planning and the relationships you have with your suppliers in Africa. From the first time I spoke with you I identified a person who was very knowledgeable and one who I instantly felt I could trust. Throughout the entire planning process I felt that I was dealing with a company who had excellent connections and one that I was able to trust with the not insignificant amount of money we were spending. You were able to answer all our questions promptly and provide excellent advice on the questions we raised.
Your partners in Africa provided excellent service. I cannot praise our guide, Paul, highly enough. Not only was he a great guide but also became a good friend during the 11 days with him. I am sure we have started a relationship with him that will last a long time.
As you can imagine we have lots of photos and video which I am currently working through and which will provide the inspiration to go back! I remember you saying that most people want to go back again and again, well we are in that group!
Thanks to all your team and I am happy to be contacted as a referee for your company
Paul T. Oct/Nov 2012
Top of "The Bucket List"
Danica, we cannot thank you enough for organising our "trip of a lifetime". Trekking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda has literally been top of our bucket list for years and our holiday has exceeded all expectations. Kigali was a beautiful City (probably the cleanest in all of Africa !!) and the Hotel Milles Collines an ideal base - their restaurant on the 4th floor has the most stunning views of the hills and surrounding countryside and they live up to their reputation of "best croissants in Kigali".
The drive to the Volcanoes National Park is breathtaking - but not nearly as "breathtaking" as hiking at 2700 feet ! Yes, the trek is a challenge, but it is worth every second the moment you set eyes on the first gorilla - to witness the majestic silverback and watch the babies in the family playing together was an absolute privilege and something we will never forget. Our driver / guide could not have been more helpful and the staff in all the hotels / lodges were so friendly and accommodating.
Thank you for recommending Pom Pom Camp in Botswana - we had 5 amazing nights "Glamping" in the bush !! This really is camping at its most glamorous and the "Honeymoon Tent" with the outside bath tub was the icing on the cake. The Camp Managers, Tessa & Baloo, were so welcoming - fantastic hosts and helped us create wonderful memories of our time in the Okavango Delta. Special thanks to our fabulous guides / trackers - Max & Clifford - they were genuinely keen to share their knowledge of the bush and we saw elephants / giraffes / warthogs / buffalo / and a leopard on our last night ! In fact one morning an elephant was grazing literally 4 feet from the breakfast table and the hippos were just outside our tent an night !
I will not hesitate to recommend Encompass Africa to anyone thinking of travelling and we're already saving for the next adventure !!
Sue & Kevin - Melbourne - Nov 2012
Hi Gail, Just a quick note to say that we had a fantastic time in Tanzania. We absolutely loved it and wish we were still there. David our guide was terrific and so knowledgeable about the animals and areas we drove through. We were very lucky with the animal spotting and amongst other things we got to see a leopard, a black rhino and even a group of lions take down a buffalo – all three of which we were told were rare sights. All in all a very memorable trip which we thoroughly enjoyed. The arrangements you made for us were seamless – thank you. We hope to be back in Africa again before too long. Sarah November 2012
You made our trip possible
First of all THANK YOU SO MUCH for organising our amazing African trip. All my life I had been wanting to go to Africa and had put a lot of thought and research into it. I was however beginning to despair of finding a travel consultant who could give me the accurate, impartial and helpful advice that I needed to make my choices about where to go! Then I spoke to you and your enthusiasm, knowledge, helpfulness and willingness to give impartial advice on what would be best for our specific situation made our trip possible.
I was immensely impressed by your knowledge, efficiency and helpfulness when we were organising the trip and when we were in Africa all the arrangements were flawless. Seriously the best organisation I have ever experienced in many years of extensive travels....
(Read more about the trip and individual camps and guides - click here)
It really was the trip of a lifetime but one which I cannot wait to repeat now! We are saving already and hope to go back very very soon, I miss it terribly already!
I tell everyone I meet how wonderful it was and that they should go to Africa as soon as they can! I also tell them that they should contact you at Encompass Africa because you did such a fabulous job. So hopefully you will have a few more people coming your way soon!
Thank you again and I look forward to telling you more about it and showing you some of the photos! Best wishes
Sarah, Oct 2012
To be honest...
I don't think you could improve our experience. It really went off like clockwork and everywhere we went and everyone we met was great! The whole experience was awesome, the itinerary that we came up with was a great cross section of Zambia. Highlights for us were leopard sighting at Old Mondoro, the people of Africa and Devils Pool... I cannot believe we did it! The Treehouse at Flatdogs was out of this world, watching animals from our deck was fabulous. We really enjoyed walking in South Luangwa on the Chikoko Trails. Chiawa was amazing and they accommodated our every need. For some reason we had a private vehicle at no extra charge? Did you have anything to do with that Jonathon??? And Old Mondoro... what can I say. It was a perfect way to end the holiday. Tent 4 is fabulous overlooking lagoon that is visited by many animals throughout the day. Thank you, your service and knowledge and everything in Australia and Africa was excellent. - Georgie & Peter October 2012
Excellent in every way
I was travelling with friends and went with their decision to use Encompass Africa - good choice. Everything was excellent and just working with a company who has first hand experience so you were able to get so close to the wildlife in the wild - better than any documentary! The highlight for me was an elephant right outside my tent plus then watching the interaction between a lion and hyena over a kill. All of our accommodation was excellent. There were no negatives, just perhaps it would be good to offer a trip that's inclusive of tipping... the tipping regime was confusing. Thanks for a great holiday. - Elizabeth. October 2012
Word of mouth
We found Encompass Africa through friends and family who had travelled with them. We did consider other companies on the internet in both Australia and Africa but chose Encompass Africa for their quality and personal service, knowledge and itinerary! Everything was excellent from the service in Australia, documentation to service on the ground in Africa. The holiday absolutely met our expectations!
The namibian component was exceptional and perhaps the highlight... Wolwedans, Little Sossus, the 4x4 sandwich bay tour, Doro Nawas, Etosha... too many to list.
Thanks again for a wonderful time, you could not improve the experience we had with Encompass Africa. - Alfred & Penelope Oct 2012
Quick note to say thanks for arranging a fabulous trip, 6 weeks away was just right. We have been so impresed with your flawless arrangements. As promised, here's some feedback on individual camps we stayed in. Click here. Thanks again. Vaun & Martin, October 2012
Everything went wonderfully well - a great experience with Encompass Africa. The Botswana component and our guide, Nkosi was well beyond expectations. Nkosi's knowledge and personality made safaris a truly magic experience. Kalahari was such a great contrast and just as interesting. We always felt safe and comfortable and every driver was on time and friendly. The highlights... safari component for sure, animals, 29 different lions, leopard in a tree eating an impala, vultures arriving for a feast, rescuing a giraffe trapped in the fence at Meno A Kwena to name a few. No negatives we can think of other than it was too short! Lots of feedback on the individual lodges and accommodation in Namibia. Click to read.
So thank you Jonathon for a very satisfying itinerary, full of interest and variety with plenty of excitement. - Annabel, Helen & Meredith Oct 2012
We heard about Encompass Africa through a newspaper article and your service, knowledge, itinerary and price were fantastic. The overall experience was excellent. We always felt safe and comfortable travelling, all of the drivers were on time and friendly and the highlights had to be More Quaters in Cape Town, Nottens Bush Camp and birthday celebrations at Toka Leya and Chiawa Camp. Next time we would probably avoid camps Luwi and Old Mondoro just because they are not as well appointed as the others (some travellers may prefer this) and if we reversed it we could have done shopping in Cape Town and Stellenbosch just before flying home (although it did help get over jetlag going there first). - Debra & Christopher Sep 2012
We are back home and wanted to thank you. You were recommended by friends and your service and knowledge was the deciding factor! The trip absolutely met our expectations and the friendliness of all staff in Australia and Africa exceeded our expectations! The entire experience was amazing, our first trip and not the last. There were no negatives and to be honest, I'm not sure you could improve your service. - Les & Leanne Sep 2012
WHAT A HOLIDAY.
Now back home and reflecting on all we saw and did. We had an amazing time and when we thought we had almost seen it all, there was more. Everything went like clockwork…… everyone was so helpful and friendly. The camps were fabulous. Jonathon we could not fault a thing. It was extremely well planned and executed…….all thanks to you. WELL DONE…….. a truly memorable holiday. Many, many thanks. - Libby Aug 2012
We had an awesome time!
Loved loved loved More Quarters in Cape Town & loved loved loved Chiawa Camp. After getting off our flight at the Royal Airstrip & making our way over to the Lower Zambezi river, a huge male ele blocked our path down to the river for quite a while. Great welcome!!! Old Mondoro was a little too rustic for me, but we got on so well with Kayla & Jason (the NZ couple managing the camp), it didn't matter. All I can say is I appreciated the bathroom doors so much more when we arrived at Mashatu :-) in Botswana.
I had an awesome 50th birthday at Chiawa - lunch on the river & an amazing lantern lit dinner in Bedrock where as soon as we arrived 3 lions graced us with their presence 100 metres away. Unforgettable.
I did get to meet your mate Grant & what an inspirational man he is. I could have chatted with him for weeks! The camp managers at Chiawa, Johan & Judy were so lovely & couldn't do enough for us. We enjoyed our couple of nights back in civilisation at the Peech in Joburg & made the most of eating out & coffees in the Melrose Arch area.
Mashatu in Botswana exceeded our expectations again. We were shocked at how dry it is there, it literally hasn't rained for months. Last time we caught the cable car over to the border, this time we drove through the dry riverbed!
I spent an amazing morning in an elephant hide set near a small waterhole with a professional photographer whilst there - what an unforgettable experience. At least a 100 ele's visited the waterhole during our morning.
Now, surprise surprise - we want to go back in 2014. Thank you both again for everything & looking forward to making my next booking with you! - Karen Aug 2012
Paul, Roger and I have recently returned from the most wonderful and memorable trip to Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa. Danica, I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful trip you suggested and booked for us. This was our 9th trip to Africa – and I have to say the itinerary you put together for us absolutely exceeded our expectations and we could not have been happier. In fact we cannot wait to plan our next African adventure with you hopefully for early to mid 2013.
Everything worked like clockwork – absolutely nothing was left to chance. From the great airfares Jono managed to get for us and your suggestion to utilise the VIP Lounge in JNB airport on our 5 hour wait for our connection to Livingstone. Thanks for arranging the herd of 30+ elephant walking through the resort at Livingstone within 5 minutes of our arrival. The first of many wonderful memories and a great beginning to our 4 week holiday. All accommodation was luxurious without being pretentious. All the meals were delicious with great quality and variety.
The game drives, boat excursions, walks, fishing and canoeing were all well organised and extremely enjoyable. The South African and Swaziland self drive component was also very enjoyable and well planned. Great accommodation suggestions and destinations.
All in all, a wonderful holiday, and we can’t wait to do it again with Encompass Africa next year.
Barb, Paul & Roger
Nothing but Praise and Thanks!
We would be more than happy to recommend your services to everybody - we have nothing but praise and thanks for Encompass Africa. We had absolutely no idea where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do apart from: "let's go to Africa". From our very first contact with you (although we live in a different states) we felt you were sincerely interested in our individual likes and preferences and the trip you tailored was perfect for us in every sense.
The three hotels / lodges we stayed at exceeded our expectations especially Lion Sands - we did not think Safari could come with such luxury. The hotels themselves were an experience in history and culture and the service and genuine warmth we received were heartwarming. We have stayed in 5 star hotels around the world which were not nearly as good. Overall it was a once in a lifetime, wonderful experience and Africa is like nowhere else. Although we have seen only a very small part of the continent we now understand why people love it in the way they do.
Every day was a wonderment! We saw whales quite close for the first time; table top mountain is unique like our Uluru, Victoria Falls deserves to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world - just breathtaking - and what can top Safari? If you are not moved by being so close to these magnificent animals in the wild, you couldn't have a heart. And the people were just lovely. We can all sense real, genuine warmth and care and that is what we experienced in the hotels / lodge - they couldn't do enough for us. And then around the hotel gardens just outside our window were the monkeys, warthogs, bushbuck.
My personal highlight were the elephants and the Elephant Whisper experience. And I am not the only sentimental tourist because our ranger Ian (superb!!! as was our wonderful tracker, Million) told us the story of two American ladies who had been elephant keepers at a zoo for many years, who cried when they saw their first elephants in the wild.
We will be raving on about our trip for years to come and telling everyone we know to put a visit to Africa under your expert and caring guidance, on their bucket list.
Our grateful thanks and very best wishes,
Juli and Michael
We had THE most amazing time! It all went like clockwork and was just incredible - overwhelming, beautiful, challenging, tragic, inspiring - such an experience. We've got the African bug and will be knocking on your door again soon. Thank you so much for the way you put it together for us - it really was fabulous.
x Sue & Aileen
Thanks for a great safari. We chose Encompass Africa because of their personal service, Jonathon's knowledge, the great itinerary and price. The holiday totally met my expectations and there is not one negative. All accommodation was good and wildlife sensational. Thanks again Jono. - Solo traveller, August 2012
Thank you, Thank you..
Sorry it has taken a few days to get in touch, we have arrived home with lots to do on the farm. We cannot thank you enough for such a fantastic family safari holiday. The bags going getting lost on the international leg was only a minor misfortune, (but thank you to you all for helping sort it out and track them down.) In the end the bags were totally forgotten about when we saw all of those magnificent animals and how close you get to them. Our accommodation all the way was beautiful and the staff so very friendly and helpful. Our guide Siemon felt like a family friend by the end of the trip, his knowledge on the animals, the national parks and the Tanzanian culture was great. It was a holiday of a life time and made more memorable by doing it as a family. We all loved it, which is shown by the one thousand photos the children took. If there is anything we can do to let people know what a great job you do please let me know. Thank you, Thank you. - Johnson Family, July 2012
The Migration Safari was fantastic, staff at the Mara Camp were brilliant. The entire experience was beyond our expectations. The wildlife sightings were outstanding from lion prides, leopard and her cub to massive crocodiles awaiting a crossing and the huge herds gathering on the banks. Special mention to Jimmy our guide at Mara Camp who was so skilled, great fun and shared stories of his life with us that made it truly special. His tracker and mate Mulimba even welcomed us into his local village and home so we could learn more about Masai culture and farming life. Lion Camp was a larger camp and run by a friendly guy, Philip. We did prefer Mara Camp as it was smaller, more personal and our rapour with David was brilliant. The food throughout was incredible, so varied and they totally catered to our tastes and food intolerances. We wanted to experience the Masai Mara and its wildlife just by being there and seeing what unfolds before you. It did not disappoint. Thank you for organising such a memorable trip for me and my brother. We hope to return someday soon. - Bemrose Brothers, Dean & Michael July 2012
What a safari experience! We saw an article in the newspaper on Encompass Africa and your outstanding service was maintained all through Africa. We were met by your staff member, Judith at the Johannesburg airport immediately off the plane and she was fantastic, fast tracking us through customs and immigration. It was a nice way to start the trip. Everything was amazing from our time at The Cape Grace, Cape Town to Ngoma Safari Lodge in the Chobe region. Doreen and Girt are fantastic managers and it really is a hidden gem. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge was great in terms of service and food and drinks, just looks tired but I know they are about to renovate. We will be in touch in future for our next experience in Africa. - Honeymoon Couple, July 2012
Thank you for a fantastic safari. We were so fortunate to find you on the internet. Your knowledge and itinerary were the deciding factors! All of the lodges were excellent and we look forward to travelling with you again. - Ruth, Scott & Liam. July 2012
|Hi Danica, Just wanted to say WOW !!! We arrived back last night and all I have done is look thru photos. We had the most fantastic experience. Absolutely everything went like clockwork and the whole experience met and exceeded our expectations. Thank you for everything and I would go back in a heartbeat and take everyone I know with me! If you have any clients wanting to be put in touch with someone who has travelled Botswana, please feel free to pass on my email address. This picture was taken on our first night at Sango … just fantastic. Thanks again. - Karren & Erin, mother and daughter explore Southern Africa July 2012|
Hi Danica, this was the best trip I have been on, thank you! Everything exceeded my expectations and I was never disappointed and I am glad I chose Encompass Africa to look after me. - Jan Love, Back from Botswana July 2012 Read more on here.
Hi Jono and team. We've filled in your online survey but may not have conveyed just how great a holiday we had. Our guide on Safari was fabulous, I loved Hatari Lodge and Lemala Luxury Camp and I loved visiting Stonetown and then our lovely resort at Zanzibar which gave us plenty of time to just kick back and do some swimming and snorkeling. Then our stopover in Singapore which gave us a chance to shop! Thanks so much for organising a great holiday for us. Kathy & family, June 2012
And just getting over jet lag and busy adjusting back to work! I promise to provide some more feedback when I have time to sit down but in the meantime, thank you…
Overall the trip was of course a fantastic experience! In short, the highlight would be the Serengeti. We woke up to the wildebeest migrating 50 metres from our tent which was a once in a lifetime experience!
Matemwe beach was absolutely beautiful in Zanzibar. Admittedly Dean was a little disappointed with the diving. It seems marine life is being fished and taken from the reef in an unsustainable manner, so there was not the abundance of marine life we expected.
Other than that, it was an outstanding Africa safari holiday. - Alicja & Dean June 2012
To view photos of this trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, visit our facebook page and check out the photo album
Both Kurt and I want to express our sincere thanks...
to Danica and Jono for organising the most amazing experience for us. The trip was exhausting, overwhelming and amazing. I have to say that Namibia was the surprise highlight for me, I wasn’t expecting it to be so enjoyable – we both want to go back and are thinking of a self drive holiday to SA and Namibia in 2014. Botswana was beautiful in the Delta and Rwanda was overwhelming. The gorilla trek was lovely! We went to see the Sabinyo group which was about an hour trek. We’d been there about 10 minutes and they were being quite active when all of a sudden this big male just out of nowhere had grabbed on to me and the trackers had to pull him off of me. That was pretty scary! He was so strong my whole arm was red but luckily not too hurt. That was quite an experience, can’t imagine how Kurt felt watching it happen.
As someone who has never been to Africa I think the order of our trip was perfect – starting off in Cape Town then progressively going to less developed countries, it was a good way to ease into it.
So in all we feel really really lucky to have done this trip and visited all these amazing places and seen such wonderful things. Thanks so much for all your help in planning the trip with us, everything went perfectly smooth and it was all really easy and we had the best time. - Lindsay and Kurt, Honeymooners May 2012
Surpassed our expectations!
Danica thank you so much, this was a dream Africa experience come true. It went without a hitch, our drivers and guides were all so caring, knowledgeable, passionate and helpful and the whole trip was wonderful. Danica you are so efficient and a pleasure to work with. We really appreciated your advice and service, ideas and passion to creating an African safari holiday that was based on what we wanted... you listened! On reflection, you were right that we would prefer the smaller, more intimate and private camps and lodges where the care and attention provided is like that of a family. Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge in the Kruger and Ngoma Safari Lodge in the Chobe region were fantastic. Ngoma was marvelous as were the game drives, the boat trip and the hosts. The Peech Hotel in Johannesburg was excellent and so were the day activities here that you arranged for us! Who would have thought you could fill 5 days in Johannesburg...
Thank you Danica. It was truly amazing. - Julie & Geoffrey Heron June 2012
We heard about Encompass Africa via an internet search and considered other companies, but chose Encompass Africa for its personal service and knowledge. It was an excellent overall customer service experience in Australia and Africa and our favourite was hard to pick... perhaps flying over Victoria Falls. We stayed at Chiawa Camp which was excellent and Tent 9 has great views. It's used often as the honeymoon camp, further removed from others. (Is hot in summer as there is little shade, but great other times of year). Then Old Mondoro which was very good. Tongabezi near Livingstone and Victoria Falls was excellent, we had the Bird house. Staff and guides excellent, they just need better boats. We would travel with you guys again for sure. Thanks again Jono. - Shaun & Anne June 2012
We are home and what a fantastic holiday we had! From start to finish of you organising our holiday, it has been exceptional and we greatly appreciate all that you did for us to ensure we had the best African experience. Asante! Maisha ni safari (life is a journey). - Jenny & Michael Bannister, June 2012
A wonderful experience, long cherished dream realised
Thank you so much for arranging this fantastic trip. Your enthusiasm, knowledge, service and quality of itinerary was outstanding. From start to finish your service was totally comprehensive. Being met in Johannesburg, whisked through Immigration and escorted to the hotel by your staff was a huge relief after an arduous journey.
Our favourite part of the trip was seeing animals in their own environment at such close quarters. Being greeted and treated with affection by all who we met, respectfully referred to as Granny Jac and Grandpa! (Jacqueline and Robert are in their 80s) There are no regrets, just that this experience had to end. We were so well cared for throughout and we cannot think of any possible improvement even though I know you want us to recommend something you could do differently!
The horseriding safari with African Horseback was fantastic, excellent guides full of laughter and sunshine and knowledge that fascinated us. Beautifully satisfying foods, very comfortable lodge facilities. The bath tub was enormous and us oldies needed to use the handles supplied to get in and out! So great touches for all ages to be comfortable.
Madikwe Safari Lodge felt so grand to us at first, but soon you get used to the luxury and love the friendly staff who were polite and respectful. It was the biggest bed we have ever slept in and very comfortable.
We will certainly travel with you again... age and health permitting! - Robert & Jacqueline McCormick June 2012
Best holiday ever!
Danica thank you for such a seamless, exciting and highly enjoyable trip to Southern Africa. You and all your ground staff in Africa were fantastic, it was a dream holiday! We loved Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge in the Kruger and Ngoma Safari Lodge in the Chobe because of their beautiful locations, friendly staff, fabulous accommodation and all of the animals! 4 Rosmead was stunning in Cape Town. The only slight disappointment was Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which was a bit tired looking and impersonal staff. So Danica and staff, thank you, it was truly wonderful. We want to visit Botswana, Namibia and Johannesburg next time. - Gabrielle & Sue May 2012
It was all I dreamed of and more!
Thank you so much for your composition of such a wonderful holiday and allowing us to enjoy some of your Africa. It was all I dreamed of and more. We were pleased that everything flowed so well and that everything happened exactly as you said it would with your staff meeting us and guiding us along the way. What a great achievement because it sometimes was very complicted with about four vehicle and boat transfers! Your presentation, composition and arrangements were first class. We were so pleased to meet you both in person at the travel show as well and you can be rest assured we will thoroughly recommend your services to others. Thanks once again. Fondest regards - Pam & Kevin May 2012
Amazing, hopefully not once in a lifetime.
Overall, our safari was amazing. It has not been fun merging back into work life, especially with fresh memories of our awesome trip! Here's some feedback that may help you and other guests:
Cape Town: The Cape Grace was gorgeous, very luxurious. A nice, relaxing start to the trip. Cape Town was more modern than we had imagined and the location of the hotel made it very easy to get around. We greatly enjoyed the peninsula tour, it was a fantastic way to see the entire area and coastline in one day.
Stellenbosch and Franschoek: Our private wine guide that you arranged for us, Keith was very nice and did a great job taking us around. We especially enjoyed Rustenberg and meeting the owner for a tour. While our vineyard is much smaller than theirs, it was really cool to share common experiences. We enjoyed Stellenbosch, especially their scenic vineyards. However the wines in Franschoek were much nicer, although the scenery, while gorgeous, was not as nice. La Petit Ferme was extremely low key, relaxing and in an ideal location. It was a fancy cottage on a working farm and quiet and peaceful at night. Their winemaker Mark gave us a private outstanding tour which was a true highlight of the trip.
Safari, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve: Coming into safari, we really had no idea what to expect and were blown away. Lion Sands is a luxury safari and our room was huge and great. Everyone at the resort was attentive and extremely kind. The food was great and abundant. All of the guides and trackers were experts and it was very nice to be on a private game reserve next to a huge national park yet only see a few other vehicles each day. We saw the big 5 on the first drive and besides the big 5 the guides knew all the birds, trees and everything we encountered. The night in the treehouse was probably the best part of the entire trip. Being out in the middle of the bush by ourselves is indescribable.
Tongabezi/Victoria Falls on Zambia side: What a perfect place to relax and wind down the trip after the hectic safari. The doghouse was isolated and in a gorgeous location right on the river. Besides having to walk around a hippo on our way home each night. The resort arranged guides for a private Victoria falls tour and safari. VF was great; we would have been lost without our guide. He really showed us the best viewing spots and took us up close to the falls. The safari was completely different then Sabi sands but without any predators, so we saw tons of zebras, giraffes, buffalo and elephants- even more than Sabi sands.
Several of our friends are keen to explore Africa for upcoming honeymoons and anniversaries, so I will send them your way! Thanks again for everything. Mike & Elizabeth, USA
The trip was majestic, it was the best.
From wonderful accommodation, delicious food, kind people and of course the wildlife. Within five minutes of our first safari we were greeted by a rhino family and around the corner and throughout our stay we saw elephants, leopard, lion, hippos, giraffe, zebras, mongoose, monkey, baboon, antelopes, lilac breasted rollers, snake eagle, fish eagle, starlings, hornbills, An African Hoope and even snakes… just amazing. I guess seeing so much wildlife was our highlight. We are in love with Africa. We also learnt what is really happening to rhino and the enlightenment was valuable and sad at the same time. We will contact you again soon when we plan our second trip this time to Botswana or perhaps Kenya and Tanzania for the Great Migration. Thank you so much for connecting us with Africa. - Taku & Naoko, April 2012
We are back!
Hi Danica. We are back! Where can I begin… Thank you for the time and effort in getting mum and I to Africa, it was magical. Wilderness Safaris has fantastic camps and Duba Plains was the highlight of the trip, the landscape, the wildlife, the camp were all truly special. Blessed to see lions feeding, mating, hunting and loads of plains game. Selinda Camp takes luxury up a level. Staff were glorious, tents and dining area exceptionally lovely and our guide Mots such a cool guy. The Camps in Botswana were lovely and relaxed and most enjoyable aspect was indeed the staff. They greet you by name, engage with you and have a way of showing genuine interest in your day, activities, wants and needs. Sussi & Chuma is a lovely property but arriving into Livingstone was a stark contrast to what we had enjoyed in Botswana. We were in civilisation I guess, staff far less relaxed and engaging. The treehouses are stunning and food was excellent. Wildlife reserve very different experience with picnic tables, toilets, guards at the gates, mobile phone signal… but it was wonderful to see white rhino on foot and also get close to the falls. It is breathtaking and we were lucky enough to see them on the small plane coming in as they did a loop for us and then on our helicopter flight. Cape Town was fantastic finale with great guesthouse accommodation, beautiful views and drinks at Harbour House at the Waterfront on the upper deck was gorgeous. That's about it. All went wonderfully well and we were very happy with the trip, more than these words will encapsulate. So thank you again for your time and effort, it was nothing short of magical. Kylie & Pauline, Mother and Daughter, Mar 2012
Congratulations. You have really done a beautiful, creative and informative job on your website. This is not one of the best, but the BEST. Kind regards, Martin, Director, The Out of Africa Collection
Honeymooners, January 2012
Dear Danica, we are really keen to meet you for lunch to personally thank you for the great time we had. Honestly we had the best time ever on our honeymoon safari and climbing Kili. We look forward to telling you all about it!
Downes Family summer holiday, Dec 2011
Feedback from the Dad - We had a really great time and saw pretty much all the major animals you can see in the these locations. We had Paul has our guide and he was amazing, such an easy going guy with heaps of knowledge. We always felt safe with him. Luxury private safari is definitely the way to go, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way now. 7-8 days on the safari bit is about right I feel. By this time you have seen all the animals a few times and being bounced around for this long it starts to mount up on the body. Staying 1 or 2 days in each location was good as you get a greater variety of animals, landscapes and camp experiences. Having a few days on Zanzibar at the end was a good way to unwind after all the adventure. Sandies was one of the best beach/pool resorts we have stayed at over the years, friendly staff and great beachside location. Thanks for booking us a great holiday and I would certainly recommend Encompass Africa to anyone considering an African adventure. Now when we watch the wildlife shows we can sit back and say, (after pinching ourselves) 'been there and seen that'.
Feedback from the mum - My middle son, who lives out of home and doesn't often get overly emotional or carried away turned to me on our first game drive through Tarangire National Park and very excitedly said 'this is the best idea for a family holiday' and my 16 year old son just loved every second and particularly seemed to be fascinated with our guide Paul and his life and spent a lot of time talking with him. For kids that have travelled the world, I think they found this so truly different and remarkable. Thanks again for an amazing family experience.
Christie, horseriding safari, solo traveller
Thanks for the experience, I had so much fun and will never forget it! Here's some feedback I hope is useful. Sango Camp I highly recommend - great accommodation, good food and staff make you feel really at home and part of the family. Hippo at my front door, lions across the river, elephant, wild dogs hunting, crocs, impalas and the list goes on. Your drivers and transfer companies were really professional, polite and never once late, delayed or left me alone so as a solo traveller I felt completely at ease. Camp Kalahari had great food, staff and accommodation and the horseriding safari with David Foot was great. Horses were in good condition and well behaved. So many spring hare holes, so it was a little disappointing that we couldn't ride fast. The highlight was Xai Xai Fly camp, in the middle of nowhere, beautiful evening, camp fire and fantastic food, still thinking about that chicken pie (wish I got the recipe) and seeing Meerkats early morning was unforgettable.
Elsbeth & Ched
What a trip and what a great time we had, all the time! All went smoothly, always someone to greet us, incredible accommodation and excellent food and service. Thank you for organising this dream trip - it came true!
Lynda & David
Just wanted to drop a quick line to say thank you. Your advice and recommendations to ensure value and experience was excellent and proved correct every time. Lots of fun, great people, brilliant environments and then there were the animals!
Ken & Jill
Ken & I would like to thank you for the best holiday we have ever had. Everything was handled beautifully and we enjoyed every part of our trip to South Africa. From Cape Town to the Drakensburg Mountains we couldn’t fault the itinerary. The customer service, the accommodation, the food... everything was absolutely first class. Our 20th wedding anniversary was celebrated in every place we stayed, often with champagne chilling and chocolates waiting for us or a little gift, special dinners (and champagne), upgrades etc. all those things that make it very special.
The walking safari in the Kruger was unforgettable and would recommend it highly to anyone who wants to experience the most awesome game park in the World. I loved the Rhino Plains Camp, the sleep out and the lodge. Apart from the abundant game we met great people, learnt a lot and had some great laughs – terrific.
Your professionalism and attention to detail made the holiday completely worry free and we would have no hesitation in recommending Encompass Africa to friends and family.
Geoff & Sue
Thank you so very much for your honest advice and recommending Nottens. We wanted to let you know what a great time we had! The safari experience far exceeded our expectations and the manager and staff at Nottens could not have been more obliging and friendly. We would have no hesitation in recommending Nottens to anyone considering going to Africa, and that applies to recommending you as well - your assistance has been excellent and very much appreciated.
Pamela & Eric
We have to thank you for organising our trip. It was everything you said it would be and MORE!! The accommodation at Johannesburg and the Vic Falls Hotel was amazing and the camps.....superb. Just in total "denial" that the holiday is over. I have some truly great photos, videos and stories to share with you. Loved the tented accommodation and the staff were marvellous and the guides so informative. Saw everything except a rhino, but hey thats for next trip. Got close and personal with lions, elephants, leopard, buffalos, hyenas etc. etc. Have some super photos and videos on a big male lion we tracked in Little Makalolo. Oooh it was just fantastic to be sooo close. Thanks again.
Family, June 2011
You organised one of the most amazing trips.A lifetime experience for my family! The planning was fantastic down to every little detail. The camps were unbelievable. Everything in Africa was perfect. Well done.
Mother and daughter, travelled May 2011
Our favourite part of the trip was observing the animals, particularly the elephants, meeting the people and wonderful countryside. Everything worked so well and the holiday was very well organised thanks to Jono in such a short time. Little Ongava is a wonderful place and Camp Kalahari has a great location with good facilities.Thank you, we would travel with Encompass Africa again.
Couple from Western Australia, June 2011
What a great time we had!Thank you so very much for recommending Nottens, South Africa. The safari experience far exceeded our expectations and the manager and staff at Nottens could not have been more obliging and friendly.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Nottens to anyone considering going to Africa on safari, and that applies to recommending you as well - your assistance has been excellent and very much appreciated. We're currently in the internet centre at the Zambezi Sun, shortly to check out. Victoria Falls is a sight to see. This is a lovely complex although we thought the rooms a little small. Probably the only very small negative we have - the travel company this end has been very professional with greeting, transfers etc. Thanks again for everything.
Couple from Queensland, May/June 2011
Hi Jonathon, Just a very quick note to say that we have returned safely from our trip to South Africa. We have had an absolutely fabulous time. All the arrangements went like clockwork, thanks to the wonderful planning and scheduling work that you and your team put into it the organising of the trip.
Honeymoon Couple, May 2011
Hi there Jonathon,
I just wanted to echo my wife's thoughts ....we had such a brilliant time that I'm actually kicking myself we never got there sooner. Your recommendations were spot on and it's really hard to fault anything. To be honest, the trip was so damn good we'll def. be back!
Solo gentleman travelled May 2011
Fantastic time...Back home safely, and glad to report that I had a fantastic time. All the connections and transfers worked as planned, and have loads of great photos to work through; a couple of which are attached.
Your itinerary gave me a good spread of the safari locations, from the comfort and oppulance of the Exeter Lodge at Sabi, and also to Nxai Pan, to the tents along the Migrations Routes, to the off-road and up-close experiences at Sabi and the wide open grasslands down at Nxai Pan.
Honeymoon Couple travelled May 2011
Hi Jonathon, Just a quick email to let you know we had an absolutely amazing holiday – thank you for your help and guidance in organising it. Each of the places were incredibly special, it’s hard to choose between them, however if we had to Chiawa Camp would probably be the favourite – its location is stunning, the hospitality was wonderful and the guides knowledge incredibly impressive. AZURA MOZAMBIQUE WAS ALSO ABSOLUTELY STUNNING AND A FANTASTIC PLACE TO FINISH THE ADVENTURE. After a couple of days of holiday we committed ourselves to returning to Africa for every anniversary with a zero in it, that gradually decreased as the days went by and ended up at every three years! Thanks again
Minister and wife travelled through Zambia with World Vision and Encompass Africa, May 2011
Hi Jono We had an absolutely phenomenal time! We only had a brief malaria scare but one of the guides tested it and I got the all clear! Seriously - the team at Chiawa Camp in the Lower Zambezi have to be the best ever.. fantastic!
WE REALLY ENJOYED PAUL AND DANIEL AS GUIDES - BOTH SPECTACULAR! Looking forward to sending more people your way soon. Thanks again
Two ladies travelling from Brisbane, May 2011
Hi Jonathon, OMG we had the most awesome time. Where do I start.....The moment we landed in Joburg, your staff swept us to the front of the immigration queue & took us straight thru (in front of about 200 disbelieving people). D'Oreale Grant Hotel was it's usual high standard. Pondoro Game Lodge was beautiful. It's privately owned & run by Lize & Robbie & his part of the reserve has been in his family for years. Everything was of a very high standard with boutique hotel personal touches. Lize is an amazing chef so all the meals were so delicious & varied. We honestly felt as if we never stopped eating. The game drives were fabulous too. We were lucky enough to hear a lion kill & witness the poor impala being torn apart by a pride of 11 lions. Another time we followed 6 lions for over an hour as they set out to hunt at night. The only animal we didn't sight at Pondoro were cheetahs. Mashatu in Botswana was an experience too! The cable car ride across the Limpopo River was a great start where we were met by our ranger who looked after us during our stay. Botswana had a completely different & dusty landscape to South Africa. Once again we saw everything including a fresh cheetah kil & herds of over 200 elephants as well as following a pack of wild dogs for an hour. Meals were lovely & again plentiful. We had small bats in our room one night & the lodge manager couldn't be more apologetic & we ended up being given separate rooms to spread out in.Back in Joburg our stay at the Grace in Rosebank was OK. Service at times was not great but it's proximity to the mall made up for it. We absolutely loved the African Craft Market on Sunday morning.Thank you so much for arranging our holiday. Everything went so smoothly and my photos and videos are amazing.Now.....for my next trip. I'm after a few ideas. Many many thanks Jonathon.
Father and son from Brisbane, Travelled April 2011
We had a great time on our African Safari holiday to Botswana and Zambia- your organisation worked perfectly.
On nine separate internal flights not once were we delayed or have any issues.The organisation of staff and guides who met and transported us throughout the journey was excellent. I would not change much at all except take far fewer clothing and not bother with a tripod or monopod which were just excess luggage. Shinde Camp was certainly the best in Botswana. Thorntree Lodge in Zambia also great. Many thanks Jonathon.
Brisbane Couple Jan/Feb 2011 (and their son joined for the Climb)
'Thanks for an amazing holiday – it was the trip of a lifetime.' Any reservations disappeared on our first day in Africa. The ground staff there were fantastic and went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. Your recommended African safari holiday itinerary was absolutely perfect. We saw more wildlife than we ever expected. Close to cheetah and lion families. Lots of cubs playing. Even followed a group of cheetah hunting for several hours. Just missed the kill but arrived immediately after in time to see the cheetah devouring a wildebeest. The Kilimanjaro climb was amazing – definitely a challenge worth the effort.'
Sydney honeymoon couple, January 2011
'We had the most amazing holiday and it exceeded our expectations giving us so many wonderful memories for our honeymoon. Excellent, excellent, excellent! Your prompt response to every query, your unbelievable knowledge, every recommended upgrade was perfect and ensured we had the best honeymoon you could ever imagine. Our favourite had to be Serengeti Safari Camp. The Serengeti was awesome, the guides were fantastic, authentic tented accommodation (incredible) and wildlife sightings spectacular. Cape Grace in Cape Town was excellent. The complimengary chauffer service around town in a brand new 7 series BMW topped it off! Finale was Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island, Zanzibar. Excellent room and facilities, stunning location. A few of the meals were not up to the usual standard and service lacking at times. We would not do things differently though!'
Family on Safari Jan 2011
'Danica thanks for the last minute awesome gorilla trek trip in Rwanda. It was everything I could hope for. I couldn't have done it without your expertise and service!' - single female traveller, December 2010 'A quick note to thank you for organising what turned out to be an excellent family holiday. It delivered in spades all I could have hoped for.
Notten’s in particular was an inspired choice with nothing too much trouble for the friendly staff there. It was also a pleasant surprise to come back Premium economy class – the icing on the cake of a highly memorable family holiday. Many thanks for all your efforts on our behalf'.
Melbourne couple, Jan 2011
'Encompass Africa thank you...for the most awe-inspiring holiday. It was extremely well planned with nothing left to chance. The wildlife experiences were unbelievable, landscapes breathtaking and level of service second to none. I will tell all my friends about Africa and you and your service. It can not be beaten'.
Sydney Couple, travelled Dec/Jan 2011.
'Your outstanding quality of service EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF AFRICA AND THOROUGH ITINERARIES AND INFORMATION WERE JUST SOME OF THE REASONS WE CHOSE BOOKING OUR AFRICAN SAFARI HOLIDAY WITH ENCOMPASS AFRICA. Our conversations with staff made us feel more comfortable about the remote places we were going. The highlight was driving through the Eastern Cape in South Africa, amazing! We will travel with Encompass Africa again in a flash!'
Melbourne Family, December 2010
'A quick note to thank you...for organising what turned out to be an excellent family holiday which delivered in spades, all I could have hoped for. Notten’s in particular was an inspired choice with nothing too much trouble for the friendly staff there. It was also a pleasant surprise to come back Premium economy class – the icing on the cake of a highly memorable family holiday. Many thanks for all your efforts on our behalf.'
Family safari, October 2010 (Parents)
We had a wonderful Safari. It was so well organised from Australia to Africa,it was unbelievable. If they said they were going to pick us up at a time they were there waiting - everytime! I would recommend Encompass Africa without a doubt and I will be telling anyone that wants to travel to Africa to use them they were 100%. All the Safari Guides were terrific,nothing was a bother to them, they were well trained and so knowledgeable. All our lodges and camps were really nice and the people were so friendly. All in all a WONDERFUL SAFARI,and we thank all the people involved,and a big thank you to Jonno for organising our trip with such short notice.Thank you everyone, cheers!
Family safari, October 2010 (Daughter and husband)
We received the expertise of a company (Encompass Africa) that understood our travel request and created a great tailormade trip, our African Safari holiday! Every stage of our trip we were meeted and greeted by exceptional people which being away from our comfort zone in a new and different place was very reassuring. All safari accommodation was great and we liked the safari tent style the best. Our air transfers were always on time and our road transfers were good with comfortable vehicles. As for wildlife experiences - amazing!! We saw everything we wanted to see and more. Big days with big adventures. Landscape experiences - Fabulous.We didn't realise Africa was so beautiful. Finally, food and drinks - Good quality and choice. Selection of wine and beers excellent.
Honeymooners, November 2010
Just a quick note to say thank you so much for organising the honeymoon of a lifetime. I can’t even tell you the look on Shelley’s face as we passed the last little plane on the way to the helicopter at Vilanculos. She was amazed and even more astounded when we arrived at Azura Retreats, Mozambique. The service, the food, the venue, the hospitality were all international 5 star standard and simply out of this world. In a nutshell it was incredible and an African Island honeymoon both of us will look back on with fond memories for ever. Please thank the team at Encompass Africa.