A real wow trip full of fun, frolics and activity which suited the oldest and the youngest members in our group.
Been many times and it never fails to impress. One slight point to note when planning a safari, is the Kruger is 'densely' populated compared to pinda or to other countries eg tanzania namibia or botswana. The queues to view game were alarming in the kruger and I hadn't come across this circus of activity when on safari in other countries.
My impressions are based solely on benguerra island which is a beguiling, stunning archipilego of great beauty. The highlight of our trip with lots to see and do. It was great to be next to the locals fishing and to play football with the kids and to visit their homes and school. There wasn't an us and them mentality like in bigger resorts in the indian ocean which was heartwarming and good for the kids to experience.
The lodge accommodation was not up to par No 'family' suites so had to house the family in two separate lodges which wasn't ideal. The guide and the trackers were fantastic and the butler too. Front office a bit odd and standoffish. The animal wildlife was the best we've seen. The food was excellent. The children's activities were very good too. Little touches were missing at this lodge (compared to pindha mountain); rucksacks and kiddie packs for the children, customised breakfasts and trips and activities which our last ranger organised for our family at pinda. There was an enormous group of visitors at the lodge during our stay and the place felt like a SAGA bus tour!! In short, fantastic safari and experience but poor lodge accommodation and too big to be '& beyond' with uniqueness.
I wish we hadn't stopped over here. It was like a holiday camp. The only highlight was the elephant sanctuary visit next door which was superb. I would have skipped this stop over and gone directly to benguerra for a longer stay.
The remoteness and beauty of this island and the heli trip to get there were perhaps the highlights of the whole trip. We loved the casinha famiglia, private pool, and sense of space and privacy. The food was good though limited in choice at each meal. A children's option at each meal would have been greatly appreciated too. Meal planning was a daily chore and a communication challenge between us (with children) the butlers and the chef and often the manager! The butlers a little clumsy but meant well and added to the quirkiness of the place. The management was entirely absent during our stay until the bill arrived on the last day! The hotel seemed to rely entirely on Kerry- Lee the activities manager. The diving centre needs to be better staffed to accommodate daily snorkelling trips and dives. The current set up means the hotel could not offer both each day which was a challenge for us as we had snorkellers and divers in our group! On balance, I would recommend this island to friends in a flash though I might suggest checking out Azore next door.......
Nikki pulled out all the stops once again on this trip. She put together a wholly different itinerary to previous trips which was very well suited to the demands of our family with three boys. She also graciously arranged an upgrade at benguerra which made our stay on the island far more agreeable. Nikki is available to answer questions 24/7. She advised promptly on documentation required to travel and on which malaria pills to take.
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