Africa had been one of our dream vacations for a long time. However, we are not seasoned travelers so we decided to do it as a packaged tour. Rosalie suggested Collette, a small group tour, and it turned out very well. We were most pleasantly surprised at how friendly and compatible our 15 fellow travelers were.
South Africa is very scenic with mountains, vineyards and ocean vistas and the Cape Town area was an excellent place to start our African adventure. But the highlights of our trip were unquestionably the animals. Our first safari was a few hours east of Johannesburg and even before we reached the lodge we were treated to the sight of herds of wildebeest, zebras and impalas right alongside the road.
And around the next corner a giraffe grazing the tree tops unconcernedly right beside us. We were to see many, many more including lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos etc and all in close proximity. Of course we have hundreds of photos.
That first lodge, Hanglip Mountain Lodge (Entabeni), was unique and very comfortable as were the other accommodations in all of the game areas we visited. The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge had this warning posted inside our room, “Do not leave your patio door open or you will certainly be visited by baboons and monkeys”!
Most importantly the rangers who guided us were extremely knowledgeable and were obviously passionate about these animals in their natural habitat. And although we were in open vehicles and often only a few metres from completely wild animals we felt quite safe.
Only once did our ranger slowly back us away from a bull elephant he said was showing signs of too much belligerence. It was actually easy to be up at 5:00 in the morning to be ready for our first game drive at 6:00 am. (Breakfast was at 9:00 when we returned to the lodge.)
Altogether an unforgettable experience. Absolutely unique places to stay which we most likely would never have selected on our own, good company and of course the wonderful animals.
- Rosalie - Thank you to my dear friends Brian & Dianne of British Columbia, Canada for allowing me to help you choose the right Small Group Explorations Guided Vacation package to South Africa, Botswana and Victoria Falls.