Review by: Pamela Brandt

Overall Impressions

We have done a lot of traveling but this trip by far was the best. I am usually responsible for organizing our travel. This is the first trip that I have used a travel agent, primarily because a safari was involved. I am so glad I did! It was so well organized. The people you employ are the best. They are friendly, on time, and eager to help you. I was very impressed. We made 5 transfers and there wasn't one snag where we arrived at the airport and no one was waiting for us. It does take all the worry out of traveling. I have inadvertently booked the wrong date on Expedia a few times and stood at the hotel reception wondering where we would stay. Every accommodation exceeded expectation. The flow of the trip went well. Our two adult children accompanied us on the trip and they could not believe the variety of experiences you were able to plan within out time frame. Thank you for an unforgettable experience.

Countries Visited

South Africa

Now I understand why people are captivated by South Africa and make return visits. We loved the people. We had just one day in Johannesburg and took a half day private tour of Soweta and the Aparteid Museum. The guide was authentic and open about the history. Clearly, as an American, I knew very little about the history of South Africa. It was a lot to process and something I keep thinking about since I returned home. Stellenbosch was absolutely beautiful. It looks and feels very much like Napa Valley - our American winelands- but smaller and more intimate. I am very glad we stayed in the area versus doing a day trip from Capetown. We had a delicious dinner on New Year's Eve at the Terrior restaurant. I highly recommend the Le Kit Kat for dessert. Cape Town was beautiful. I lived in Hawaii for awhile and it is very similar. I would definitely like to return there. So much to do and a limited time to do it in. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened. The high winds came up and our tour of Robben Island was cancelled. Now we have to go back.

Zimbabwe

The people of Zimbabwe are so kind and friendly. The country continues to be in an upheaval and it's amazing how they get through each day. The Victoria Falls Hotel really was the highlight of our visit to Victoria Falls. The falls themselves are obviously stunning but it doesn't take too much time to visit them. It is very touristy around the falls but that is true most places you visit. We did some shopping on the main road outside the hotel and had quite the time talking and bartering with the locals. It seems like it is more of a jumping off point for safari and other activities. We thoroughly enjoyed our safari at Hwange National Park.

Accommodation Visited

The Michelangelo Hotel

Absolutely stunning hotel. We were there just two nights but it was a wonderful place to have jet lag. The breakfast was outstanding. It is attached to several malls so you do not have to go outside. It overlooks a square where we were able to watch a Christmas concert. Plenty of restaurants within just a few minutes. Airport pick-up and drop-off went smoothly. Staff were pleasant and helpful.

Little Makalolo Camp

This venue is a hidden gem. We had no idea what to expect when going on safari. The staff were warm and friendly and cater to your every need. The warm, scented towels they provide upon your return twice daily is a nice touch. The chef was creative and the food delicious. The accommodation was so much more than we expected - luxurious camping. The setting could not have been better. The camp is small and quaint and faces a watering hole where groups of elephants visit each afternoon. Our driver was very knowledgeable and experienced and an absolutely delightful person. One of our favorite things was the planned coffee/tea break in the morning and sundowner drinks at sunset. Everything is carefully planned and the food and drinks are delicious. The staff always has a smile on their faces. We were there on Christmas Day and they even had a gift waiting for us. I have to say the plane ride out there was a little more challenging than we had expected. Because it was just our family going to Little Makalolo Camp, we flew on a tiny 6 seater plane rather than the larger plane pictured in the brochure. Wow! I'm glad I did it but I wasn't expecting such a small plane. I probably should have asked a few more questions about the plane.

The Victoria Falls Hotel

We expected this hotel to be stunning and we were not disappointed. Everything about the experience was wonderful. We had two lunches and a dinner and drinks at the bar - all were excellent. It is appreciated when the travel agency has a desk at the hotel and slips sightseeing suggestions and travel reminders under your door.

Oude Werf Hotel

This hotel has so much character and is situated in a beautiful historic town. We loved the setting. Pick-up and drop-off was smoothe. Hotel staff were friendly and helpful. They arranged a car service for us on New Year's Eve to go to dinner at a winery with less than 24hrs notice. Breakfast was delicious.

Village & Life Waterfront Village

This is a very organized operation. Everything is coordinated through a central reception area. They stored our luggage and someone personally escorted us to our apartment and explained everything we needed to know. Lovely accommodations in a superb location near everything. Airport pick-up, drop-off and airport return was smoothe and the personnel were so friendly and helpful, even when they were working on a holiday.

Staff Review

I planned this trip almost two years prior to taking the trip. I was living in London at the time and Donna was recommended to me by a fellow member of the American Women's Club. The member and her family had just returned from a trip to South Africa which Donna had coordinated and she was ecstatic about the trip. That was the best travel recommendation I had during the four years I traveled extensively while living in London. Donna is knowledgeable, organized, and gets back to you promptly with answers or changes that need to be made. Absolutely the best! Thank you.