holiday to BotswanaCharlotte Koepke, 18th April 2023
Ilala Lodge Hotel
“Ilala Lodge is absolutely the perfect lodging within easy walking distance through a game reserve to Victoria Falls. We enjoyed a nicely presented and tasty candlelight dinner on the terrace which included those who were casually dressed. My room was perfect as was the staff from check-in to the breakfast to-go for my early shuttle.”
“Savuti! What a wonderful start to my safari experience. Because the airport (which I never saw or heard noise from) was under renovation I was given a complimentary helicopter safari nearby. I was overwhelmed by the greetings of the staff that met me on arrival which continued throughout my stay. Upon arrival, I was warned that it is a big area and animals were free to roam, so that I wouldn't be disappointed. Upon settling in I shared my deck with a jumping spider and close-up sightings one wishes for including lions feeding on an elephant and wild dogs seemingly on the trail of something. Even Kemza, my very personable and knowledgeable guide, seemed surprised when a black mamba reared over the front fender of the jeep! And the African sky and sunsets...the dancing and weaving demonstrations and way too much well-prepared food. Did I mention waking up to a baboon chorus every morning?”
“Kwara Camp, now what an exciting experience! I expected to walk to and from my thatched tented lodgings out of sight of other lodgings during the dark hours, but I certainly never expected to be escorted back on a seemingly long journey through tall grass on a zigzag course to the afternoon activity, having to slide off the side of my deck and quickly follow George as he evaded and sometimes clapped to alert 11 elephants of our presence. They were nearly close enough to rub the tent and made nearly complete chaos of trees, shrubs and the paths between other tents and the steps to my elevated lodgings. The extraordinary experience of a walking trek is complete with a huge medical bag. Wow! Tap led the makoro experience and seeing those little bell frogs added so much. A cruise to watch the sun go down, the dancing and singing and well-prepared dinners each evening. And to top it off we saw leopards - including one so lethargic after his baboon feast that he had to wait a while before hoisting the remains into a tree to keep safe from scavengers!”
Tau Pan Camp
“The Kalahari has been calling me for years. Tau Pan Camp far exceeded my expectations. Starting with my outstanding guides, Alex and Sans, and tracker, Scooper, as well as the more than adequate lodgings (gotta love that outdoor shower) and supportive staff who went above and beyond to make my adventure so memorable. Add to that the sights and sounds of the desert. From the elephant tracks overlaid by lion tracks on the feeder path from my lodging to the main lodge to the sound of roaring lions as we ate a quick breakfast around the campfire in the predawn darkness to the red reflection striping on the desert floor from the setting sun. Sitting in the safari vehicle watching a cheetah on alert, then setting out (after giving the cheetah lots of space) to try to follow it across the pan before losing sight of them as it gave chase to the fleeing duiker. A full day's trip to Deception Valley, the colors of the dry lake bed this time of year and actually sitting on the once airstrip built by Mark and Delia Owens were a special highlight. Pan Camp was the perfect ending to add to my memory bank of beautiful Botswana and its most gracious, beautiful people.”
“Steve Meinhold has to be the best travel expert in all of Africa! First of all, he paid close attention to the big picture of what I wanted to experience. Although I was pretty firm in what I wanted, overall, I was clueless about making it happen. Steve made suggestions, seemingly read my mind and put up with my endless questions until he had put together exactly what I was looking for even if I didn't know myself until it all came together.
And then the details: Flawless from the start when he made arrangements for me to split the cost between 2 credit cards, which I carry small balances for travel for added security, to putting together flight plans and camp plans so that events flowed smoothly.
Then the really fine details: Making sure I was met at airports as I went through immigration and customs and handling of a wheel-less, soft-sided bag between flights. And finally checking with me more than once to make certain that I was going to be as comfortable as could be during the only long layover (JNB). Incidentally, a short meet and greet with Claire at Savuti was nice too. A huge hug to Steve!”