Review by: Peter & Susan Ruranski

Countries Visited:
Botswana & Zimbabwe
Holiday Type:
5 27/11/2015

Overall Impressions

A well planned itinerary that suited us down to the ground. The level of luxury seemed to increase with each new lodge or hotel that we stayed at and completing our trip at the Victoria Falls Hotel where we could relax and unwind certainly worked for us.

Countries Visited

Botswana 5

A beautiful country with very friendly people. Rich in wildlife and culture. The prosperity of the place and the people was very evident.Their approach to tourism seems to be right with the obvious feeling of exclusivity at all the lodges with the exception of those in Chobe where vehicles queued up to see anything of interest.

Zimbabwe 5

Although we had a limited view of the country staying at a top class hotel it was obvious that the country was much poorer than Botswana. Nevertheless the people were very eager to please and happy to engage in conversation. Victoria Falls is, as would be expected, very cosmopolitan and typical of any popular tourist place albeit not quite so commercialised. Not surprisingly it had changed out of all recognition to the place I had last visited in 1987 and certainly not all for the worse.

Accommodation Visited

Lagoon Camp 4

The accommodation here was very good and the staff warm and friendly without being intrusive. The game viewing was exceptional and the best we experienced on the whole trip. All the guests ate together which promoted a feeling of intimacy and friendliness. The guides were good but mainly interested in the mammals which suited us for our first camp on our trip. The only thing which prevented us giving this lodge 5/5 was the food which to be honest was quite ordinary.

Sanctuary Baines Camp 5

As befits a lodge which only takes a maximum of ten guests at a time this lodge was extremely good and offered amazing facilities especially when considering its remote location. The staff from the senior management down were all extremely helpful and friendly and catered for your every need. The food here was very good. Our guide here, Lena, was born and raised in the Delta and his intimate knowledge of the flora and fauna, especially the birdlife, as well as local customs made every game drive interesting even when large game was difficult to see. Special mention must be made of Crystal, the manager who was always available with a smile and good advice and who arranged for my wife to see a doctor as soon as we arrived in Chobe after she had developed an extremely painful rash after being bitten by a blister beetle.

Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero 4

As safari lodges go this would be hard to beat for luxury and our fellow American guests loved it noting particularly it's air-conditioning and the refrigerator in each room. My wife loved it too enjoying the spa facilities and it certainly was the most comfortable lodge we stayed in. Having a fair amount of experience of African safaris I would class this as an hotel in the bush rather than a lodge. The food here was of the highest standard that we encountered in all the places that we stayed at. The rooms were very spacious with air-conditioning and facilities that would rival most luxurious hotel rooms in Europe. Staff here were particularly friendly without being intrusive. Game viewing in Chobe is limited because vehicles are restricted to the roads within the park and at times it did seem like Piccadilly Circus with vehicles crowding round interesting sightings.Similarly the boat trips on the Chobe river were crowded with boats and since many of the lodges were only half full and it was the low season I can only imagine what it would be like in high season. Not withstanding this the lodge itself is situated in a place of outstanding beauty and would be an ideal place for visitors new to the African experience.Having said all that I was quite happy to enjoy the luxury after some of the rigours of the bush.

The Victoria Falls Hotel 5

This to my wife and I was "the icing on the cake". The accommodation was splendid and the facilities exceptional. The fine dining in Livingstone's restaurant was a culinary delight and the tribal entertainment at Jungle Junction while we ate dinner was mesmerising. We had all our meals in the hotel during our stay and what really surprised me was how reasonable the prices were considering the luxuriousness of our surroundings. The hotel offers all sorts of activities in the surrounding area and your preferred supplier Wilderness Safaris has a desk in the hotel's main foyer which makes it easy to book trips. I must mention the Sundowner excursion that Nikki Hare arranged as part of our trip which took place on the most luxurious boat on the Zambesi river and which was fitted out in colonial style. A fitting way to spent the last night of our memorable trip to Africa.

Staff Review 5

Nikki provided a first class service and a trip that was an ideal blend that suited the slightly differing requirements of both my wife and me. The sequence in which we stayed at the lodges followed by the Victoria Falls Hotel was a great mix allowing us the rawness of the bush and then the relaxation of luxury. My wife and I were impressed with how smoothly our whole trip went and we would have no hesitation in recommending Mahlatini to our friends.