Africa Odyssey Reviews – 2022

26th January 2022

J.Moriarty 29th October-6th November

Hiya Ted,

I just wanted to say on behalf of my mum and dad too what a fantastic trip we had in Zambia!

Thanks you for your perfect recommendations! The whole trip was planned absolutely perfectly even down to somebody meeting us on/off our pro flights all the way.

Thank you so much and we just need to get ready to plan the next one!

All the best!

S.Shamayev 26th October-7th November

Hey Sam – it was great. Thanks a lot for helping us get everything sorted and organized. Definitely a whirlwind of a trip, but definitely very enjoyable.

Glad to hear about South America and Asia – may reach out again soon!

S.Sheth 17th-23rd October

Hi Sam,

Hope you are doing well!
Thank you so much for planning the best trip for us. We had an amazing time and wished that we could have stayed longer. All the arrangements, transfers and accommodations were perfect and the full experience was super smooth. We got to see amazing wildlife including the river crossings which was surreal. I have attached a few pictures for you and will definitely tag you in our posts.
Can’t wait to start planning our next safari with you!

B.Borgdorff 14th-30th October

Hi Sam,

Thanks. We had a great time. Rest was amazing. Thanks for the great trip!

Regards,

A.Wilkinson 13th-21st October

Morning Sam

We did indeed have an amazing time! Our Gorilla tracks were particularly memorable but, in fact, we loved the whole trip. Many thanks to you and Ted for all your help and guidance throughout and particularly for sorting out our final two nights accommodation on the Nile . Wildwaters was a wonderful place to relax!

We are now back at work and we need to sort photos etc etc. I think it would be a really good idea to have a catch up with you once we are a bit more organised – we’ll get in touch again in a week or two.

Thanks again and best wishes

H.Hill 10th-7th October

Hi Sam,

We had a FABULOUS time.

I will send you details over the weekend. Excellent trip.

Thanks,

G.Jones 8th-17th October

Hi Sam,

The trip was amazing – thank you. All arrangements went perfectly and our guides, Renauts & Clemence were fantastic. The 4 days in the Serengeti were absolutely amazing. I’ve attahched a few photos from those few days. The accommodation at Kirurumu was perfect and the staff there were so friendly – I could have stayed for much, much longer! We loved Kitela Lodge and Rivertrees as well. We didn’t get a huge amount of time to enjoy the former (but the food was amazing) but Rivertrees was a great place to start – very relaxing and comfortable.

I’ll be in touch if/when we next want to venture to Africa!

J.Lamartina 7th-10th October

Hi Sam,

Everything was great! Didn’t have any issues. The gorilas were amazing. I took a lot of pics. Have to still look through some cause I am still in morocco. I can tag the company in some pics when I get back.

Have a good day

M.Payne 6th-16th October

Hello Ted

Just to let you know we are safely back from our trip to Kenya , the 6th trip you have arranged for us and all without a glitch !

We had an amazing time , Serian always comes up trumps . Our trip made especially good by George and Denis, our guide and driver.

Amazing game viewing with many exciting moments .

As a gift our guide took us to Ol Chorro to see the heavily guarded 2 white rhino ….what a sight .

Many thanks,

L.Dufresne 3rd-26th October

Hi Sam and good to hear from you.

The trip was fabulous and met/exceeded all expectations!

L.Schmitt 3rd-13th October

Hi Sam,

It was a great trip, we are glad we did it! Uganda is beautiful with velvet green hillsides and colorful animals and birds and people.

Thank you

G.Duckloe 30th September-8th October

Hi Ted

We have returned to London after a fantastic week in Zambia (making our nauseatingly tight connection in Dubai this morning!) and wanted to send you an email to say thank you for arranging everything so perfectly.

In our first call with you (back in 2020 – gulp) we said we wanted ‘remote, super authentic, characterful and wild’…. and RAS could not have hit that brief better. We loved the different characters of each of the four camps – we ended up doing a night each in Chikoko and the new Big Lagoon (which is FAB by the way) – and were so well looked after by their charming team.

When we arrived the staff asked what we wanted to see and being such safari novices we muttered something like ‘ummm whatever is around, maybe a leopard would be super special’…. safe to say we didn’t have any idea just how firmly our socks would be blown off. Leopards seemed to be everywhere in Tafika; stalking through the dark on our first game drive, draped photogenically up a tree on day 2, hiding in a gully on day 3…. we got to know them by name. And that’s just the leopards! We seemed to be tripping over lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and the rest of the Lion King cast. We were very spoiled to have our own guide whilst at Tafika and really made the most of it. We also enjoyed a visit to the nearby village and a first walking safari there. A particular highlight was a special sundowner that the staff arranged on our final night in Tafika which will be a lifelong memory.

We swiftly became walking safari converts and can now reliably differentiate hippo dung from hyena droppings…. but better not test us on the finer points! We were lucky to have some great encounters on foot and our guide, Levi, was spectacular. Big Lagoon, as mentioned, is their new(ish?) location and it’s simply gorgeous – we sat drinking Mosi watching a whole host of activity at the rather small puddle of water that was left.

Takwela was also very special and Greg was in heaven flying up with Rory in the tiny bush plane. We saw lions on every single game drive and loved the contrast with the south.

The guides at RAS were universally excellent – Cooper, Levi, Alex and Mofat were the ones we spent most time with, alongside the inimitable Jimmy who was our spotter at Tafika and village guide – and their staff were always friendly and charming. We were amazed how good the food was – bearing in mind it was all cooked in pretty tricky conditions – and will have to be hitting the gym with a vengeance now we’re home. Val, the lodge manager at Tafika, also warrants a special mention for arranging our honeymoon sundowner and generally being a complete legend.

Everything else went so seamlessly and we found ourselves losing track of all sense of normality – a real treat, particularly being able to ignore our Wifi-less phones!

Thank you, Ted, for understanding so well exactly what we wanted from our honeymoon and for being so patient with the postponements and Covid-tedium. We had been excited about this holiday basically since the minute we got engaged and it did not disappoint. Although we probably won’t be heading back on safari for a little while (only because we don’t like to repeat holidays too much!) we wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recommend you and Odyssey to any friends or family who are. We are going to have a hard time talking about anything but Zambia for the next few months.

with best wishes

P.Finelli 15th-19th September

Hi Sam,

Everything was amazing, the people at camp pampered us and we luckily saw the crossing on the first day! Still don’t know when we’ll be able to plan the next trip but be sure you will be the first choice. You made an impressive job.
I wrote a review on trustpilot, check it out.

A.Jones 6th-26th September

Hi Dave,

Vic Falls and Botswana was fantastic! All the arrangements went very smoothly and seamlessly and the Kwando camps were excellent. Great staff and guides, wonderful sightings, super service … all good!
I’ll give a more detailed report when we’re home.

We are now relaxing at the beach, catching up on all those early morning wake up calls!
Very happy with the lodge we’re at. Here’s the view from our “tent” as we enjoy morning coffee.

T.Bush 5th-14th September

Dave,

It’s taking me a few days to adjust to the time zone difference but I’m not having too much jet lag thankfully! I just had a few moments this morning to post a few snaps to Instagram from my trip and I tagged Odyssey travels. Hopefully I did it correctly because I’m not the most savvy social media user, lol! If I need to edit my post let me know because I definitely want everyone to see that you’ve done an amazing job organizing my travel and it was truly wonderful and a trip of a lifetime.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about my experiences in case it can help someone in the future. First of all, everything was so well organized and went so smoothly it was just amazing! My biggest fear was something falling through the cracks because I know my time was very limited and so it really needed to go off flawlessly which it did. All of the drivers were very professional, courteous, and on time.

I really enjoyed the stone Town walking tour and would definitely recommend Mohamed. He is so knowledgeable about the history and his English was quite flawless. It was fun to speak a bit of French with him as well since he also speaks French and Swahili!

The camps:

I actually cried when I was leaving Lake Manze because it was such a wonderful first stop and I didn’t want to leave. It was actually the perfect beginning to my Safari experience because the guides were so patient and made me feel at home right away. I was quite worried about doing this on my own but being welcomed by Malcolm and all of the Maasai protectors made me feel so comfortable and safe. The food was just amazing! I thought I was going to lose a few pounds on this trip but it was not to be. All of the meals were just delicious and I loved the baked goods and desserts of course. My room was so comfortable and so clean it was hard to imagine that I was actually sleeping in a tent and not a hotel room! I even had a veranda overlooking the water! It doesn’t get any better than this. I had no trouble sleeping at night even with all of the animals sounds. I would recommend to anyone who goes here they must do the river Safari and not skip it.

Mdonya Old River camp was a bit more rustic in terms of the outdoor setting and the animals but I would say but still very clean and comfortable. I mean how can you complain about a flush toilet, a hot shower, and a nice gin and tonic at the end of a long day? During one of my bush lunches a couple staying at another Camp was so jealous of the delicious vegetarian meal I was eating I actually felt bad for them! Not bad enough to share my meal though, lol! They took a photo of the truck and insisted they would stay there next time! I’m not a vegetarian but as you know most of the meals are what I would describe as primarily vegetarian and they were all delicious. I have no complaints, only the highest compliments. I would say the staff here are a bit more laid back than at Lake Manze but perhaps it’s because the manager wasn’t there? I actually enjoyed this and having an opportunity to speak with them more freely about their culture, the animals, everything! Even the meal servers, who are not tour guides know so much about the birds, the plants, animal behavior, everything! These people are just amazing! I cried again when leaving the Old River camp. After just a few days I was really feeling at home.

The sites:
I think I might be the luckiest person in the world because I literally saw every animal on the checklist! I knew going into this experience that it would not be possible to do, yet it happened! My goal was just to enjoy whatever I saw and not worry about what I didn’t see or didn’t experience. Perhaps this attitude helped a lot? I saw elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, hoodoo, hippos, buffaloes, impala, baboons, velvet monkeys, many many many many many many many lions, crocodiles, bush bucks, fish eagles, mongoose, bush baby, leopards, mongoose, cheetahs! That’s not even everything! I mean I saw two cheetahs and a leopard Mom with her two babies who had made a kill on the river! It was insane! Even my guides were like we can’t understand how you’ve seen all of these things…. you’re the luckiest visitor we’ve ever seen! Most animals I saw on my first day at each camp. So the rest of the days were just bonus time! I had intended to spend my last day in Ruaha “just” bird watching and that’s the day we saw the 2nd cheetah. I can’t even name all of the beautiful and amazing birds I saw.

Thank you for everything! I truly appreciate all of your patience and your expertise and planning this trip. I really hope that I can get back to Africa again and will definitely be in touch about future travels. We are maybe planning a big trip to Japan next year but we will see how the savings go! I think you have specialist who oversees your Asia division right? It’s so lovely to not have to think about organizing anything and just show up! 😁

N.Eveleth 4th-16th September

Hi Sam,

The trip was wonderful. I loved it!

Our driver/guide, Julius, was the perfect fit for us. I teared up when we had to say goodbye to him. Everything was well organized, the lodges were lovely, the staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food was excellent. The Ishasha Wilderness Camp had my vote for the best food. The Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge room more than exceeded my expectations. I felt like a celebrity. I enjoyed riding through the villages and country side where we could see people going about their lives. Seeing other cultures is part of why I like to travel. I know it would have extended the trip, but a few extra days at some of the lodges would have been great.

There were a couple of understandable disappointments. We saw 2 or 3 lion cubs hiding in a bush, but no adult lions. The chimpanzee hike started out with a bang (lots of chimps high up in trees), but fizzled after that. None of these things changed my opinion of the trip though. One recommendation I have is to encourage folks to bring more cash for tips. We feared running out as there were folks other than the porters and waitstaff we wanted to tip. Plus we often wanted to tip more generously than the recommended amount. I would tell travelers planning on the gorilla treks that getting a porter is a must unless they are an Olympic athlete!

We were so happy with this trip that we began discussing a future one. I’d be curious about what you offer in South America. We have been to Peru so that wouldn’t be of interest. Anything in the Amazon or Brazil? Of course, returning to Africa sounds lovely. Especially if we can request Julius!

D.Vassantachart 1st-6th September

Hi Sam,

My husband, Ben and I found the savannah incredible; our guide, Ambrose, and spotter, Sola, identified over 25 mammals and 70 birds!! Hamish and the staff at Speke’s provided for all our needs and more. Our friends saw the photos and commented on how close we were to the animals and liked the picnic photo. Your answering our questions and keeping in contact with us is much appreciated. I will email you a few photos.

Wiith Kenya, Zimbabwe, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, this is one of our most memorable and awestruck trips we have experienced.

Thank you very much.

R.Vitale 30th August-10th September

Hey – you beat me to it! I was going to file my trip report (seeing as we’re still operating on Tanzania time, just back last night), so here it is in no particular order: 🙂

Kwitonda – only one word: Spectacular. With every new lodge Singita builds, they take it up three notches. Having now been to 6 of their camps, and 3 other non-Singita properties (in countries where they did not have a camp), for nearly 50 nights in the bush over 15 years, we have a decent frame of reference. And with a now-past career in building & energy, I can tell you the quality of materials & workmanship in that property is utterly amazing. Rwanda was a real eye-opener for us – a truly beautiful country with a great come-back story after the genocide (that Genocide Museum just crushed us for the rest of the day). Cleanest country we’ve been in, not only in Africa but throughout the Caribbean & Europe as well, which was very unexpected. And the people are super sincere and friendly. What’s also amazing about all the Singita camps we’ve been to is not only the quality & sincerity of the camp staff – unparallelled – but also the deep and clearly heartfelt love and pride they have working for Luke Bailes’ amazing network of properties. At every camp, the local staff told us time and time again how much they valued working for Singita and the amazing things Singita does to give back to local communities in a positive and uplifting way. It’s an odd thing to say, but paying a Singita lodging bill actually makes you feel good when you think about how much gets re-routed into the local community. You can and should feel super-confident recommending a Singita camp over any other property in the market.

Apes & Golden Monkees – I kid you not: the “medium” distance ape climb (even after two years of training on a high-incline treadmill!) was all the challenge it was made out to be. But then again, so was the resulting time with these amazing animals. Truth be told, we’re glad we did not opt for a second day of apes and instead visited the Golden Monkees – I’m not sure we had enough gas in the tank for another 5 hours of trekking at high altitude. Couple snaps attached, just for fun – I know you have many of your own. But there is so much more to do at Kwitonda (including amazing spa treatments), I’d go back for no less than 4 nights next time.

Sasakwa – still the Grand Dame of Singita properties for us. It was everything we remembered from the last visit, and so much more. The animal population growth on their concession is nothing short of astounding – and I have the photos from some 8 years ago, on our last visit, to prove it. For folks like us who are working hard to preserve the bush for future generations, we could not have been happier, and more relieved, to see what can be done to battle back after years of indiscriminate poaching. Luke was kind enough to give us a call while we were a Kwitonda to wish Janice a happy birthday (complete with a cookbook gift which Janice just adores) & we hope to work with him to further support his wonderful, wonderful conservation & community development efforts. And I don’t know where they find their kitchen staff – every single meal at all three lodges was a culinary treat.

Lamai/Mara – another great tented camp, operating under some tough restrictions, given the National Park location. But what guides they have at all the properties. Both our Sasakwa & Mara guides were just incredible and friendly experts, locating game for us seemingly on request. Our vehicle was often the first to find a cheetah, leopard or lion union meeting, with other vehicles playing catch up. We were lucky enough (as though anything at a Singita property is truly luck) to catch a crossing (about the only way to make a Wildebeest look good) and so that’s another notch in the bush belt.

All the local flights went well and the Arusha Coffee Plantation day room was great.

And to top off all that good news, we learned Singita is looking to open some new concessions in the coming two or so years, in countries we’re excited to visit or re-visit, which means we have two more years to stuff the piggy bank for the next trip!

We’ll post glowing reviews later this week about your organization & this trip on the usual rating sites, once I polish up a few pictures to accompany the text. Really great job Ted of booking this one – you put a huge amount of work into it, and we benefited by every minute of it. Couldn’t have been happier for the experience. Cheers & best wishes for your new King. 🙂

J.Redfern 30th August-9th September

Hi Ted

Just to let you know we are back.

We had a truly wonderful and memorable holiday, thank you so much for organising everything so efficiently – we were met at every point and informed before when we would be and no delays anywhere, like clockwork!

Vic Falls Hotel was a joy, we loved it. The Falls fantastic. Had a great supper at the Lookout Cafe and then one evening in the hotel itself. Really only had one day there so didn’t do more than walk to the falls and spend a few hours there. After a long journey was nice to have a relaxing afternoon in a beautiful setting.

Somalisa Expeditions – you nailed our brief, it was a brilliant camp, rustic enough but with sumptuous beds and bedding, much needed on the chilly mornings! Food was fab, Bheki our guide so professional but so personable and clearly passionate about the wildlife; Star and Gloria we absolutely loved and Fortunate. We were by ourselves on the first night which was very spoiling, then 2 French and 4 Americans arrived, all very nice. Whole thing worked brilliantly, the elephant in Hwange so enjoyable, we could all watch them for hours; we saw different lion each day with a story evolving we really wanted to stay and watch play out; we were lucky enough to see a leopard too. Loved this camp.

Vundu – the flight to Mana from Hwange was maybe longer than we thought – we were in the dark which was the best way to be as every day there was a new surprise and excitement! Very pro pilots and planes were great – just the four of us on a tiny one from Hwange to Mana and then a 10 seater for the other flights to and from with a few others on board, but all worked so smoothly. Vundu was totally different from Somalisa and we also totally loved it. The fact Vundu was privately owned somehow made it a bit freer maybe; the guides were great value round the lunch and supper table but incredibly professional and knowledgable. Siraaj our guide was charming, confident giving, passionate, knowledgable and an all round great bloke. We so enjoyed spending 3 days with him and both he and Bheki at Somalisa gave so much time to us, we were out for 5 hours most mornings which was incredible. We really enjoyed the walking in Mana which didn’t happen in Hwange as our guide wasn’t qualified for walking, (although he planned to be, and we did spontaneously join one group for a walk which was great); walking up to lion and with elephant was a life memory and very special. Seeing the wild dogs also very spoiling knowing there are only 6000 in the world left, they are an incredible species and we loved spending time with them. Saw lots of different lion, and three new males just after they’d killed a massive buffalo. All incredible from our perspective!

Anyway, thanks Ted, you did a great job.

V.Smith 28th August-1st September

Hi Sam,

The trip was incredible – beyond expectations! I think it was actually ideal that we had to switch lodges as they each had strengths.

Leopard Hills was a touch more luxurious. The plunge pool was gorgeous and my son loved that they had a gym. We saw the big 5 in the first two drives! And a leopard cub on the last two. It was amazing.

Narina was a touch more rustic, but the food was better! We saw less animals, but it felt much more authentic. The trackers really tracked and when we did find animals they were more active (like lions sharing a kill and wild dogs hunting for the pups!).

We really loved both.

Thanks for your guidance in arranging this. It was a trip of a lifetime and I’ve already recommended to friends & colleagues.

Best,

S.Jenkins 27th August-9th September

Good Morning Sam,

The trip was fantastic! Everything you arranged was absolutely perfect all transfers went great, all accommodations were wonderful, we really had a fabulous time.
Thank you so much for all your help!
Once I am able to go through all my pictures and post I will for sure tag odyssey travels in them.

Again, thank you so much for everything!!

B.Freeman 25th August-9th September

Thank you Sam , the trip went off without a hitch. Hard to choose a favorite but we both agree Nomad Kuro was great, maybe because it was the first camp. Tarangere was incredible with the numbers of wildlife being everywhere, tell your future clients this is a must see park. We will recommend you to any friends thinking of safari, best wishes and again thanks

C.Schuetz 24th August -5th September

Hi Sam,

Thanks for getting in touch. We had a fabulous holiday! All of our transfers went smoothly and everything felt very well organized.

I’d say our favourite activity was the Serengeti safari. The big vistas and the animals — truly magical! We loved the Nomad camp and the accommodation, service, food, etc was excellent,

Mountain Gorillas were amazing as well and we were very impressed with the Bwindi Gorilla Lodge. The level of service and accommodation were superb.

Thanks again for helping us to organize an unforgettable holiday.

I.McArthur 26th August-6th September

Hey Sam,

Indeed, the holiday just flew by! Trip was fantastic, we had an amazing time at Kichwa Tembo and a very relaxing time at Zuri (managed to do a stone town trip through Ali and did some snorkelling at Mnemba as well). We managed to see the big 5 but for the rhino, so will have to do another safari at some point! The weather was a bit hit and miss with a fair bit of rain but didn’t miss too much from a game drive perspective, which is good. No issues at all, everything went smoothly – thanks for sorting the transfer from Palacina to Wilson Airport late over the weekend.

Re photos, we are just sorting through it etc. and will definitely tag Odyssey in our posts. We’ll be in touch regarding an further travel bookings.

Thanks very much for your help with organising the trip, it certainly was a fantastic experience.

Thanks,

B.Christensen 22nd-26th August

Hi Sam!!

I wanted to thank you for all you help.

Everyone is back home now with some great memories.

We all had a fantastic time!!

P.Magrin 20th August-1st September

Hi Dave!

We are back at home this morning.
Every was really really great!

Thank your for your good job which allowed us thes unfogettable experience.

Best regards

P.Hawkins 21st August-2ndSeptember

Just landed in Denver and the trip was OUTSTANDING! The accommodations (lodges and camps), logistics, guides and staff all excellent. And of course, the gorillas of Rwanda and the animals of Tanzania performed at very high levels as well. Thankfully, we all passed the Covid test so our pre-trip worrying proved to thankfully be unnecessary. Bruce took some great photos so perhaps he will submit a few for the year-end raffle.

Thanks so much for all your advice and assistance. I believe we started working with you on this trip in Feb of 2020 so glad it all finally happened. We were high maintenance at times so also appreciate your patience and understanding. Well done!

B.Speca 21st August-2ndSeptember

Everything on the trip was perfect. Guides were tremendous and the wild life delivered. Thankful we did two gorilla days as the first day had several silverback in a family of 17 and the second day we had 6 new babies. Both hikes were about 90 minutes. Our guide did a great job getting us in a group which would not be too difficult a hike but would also offer some interesting families.

Apologies for being so persistent with many questions. You were very patient.

Thanks !

N.Jeffreys 6th-16th August

Hi Sam

Good to hear from you and you are on my list to contact so thanks for prompting me.We had the most amazing time, both camps and the safari experience definitely surpassed our expectations. Missing the bush and just sad we are back now – it went too quickly!

I’ll write in more depth over the weekend and when we have had time to trawl through our hundreds of photos!

Enjoy the weekend

R.Willis 4th-18th August

Hi Ted

We are back and what a trip.

Everywhere we stayed was perfect, the beach worked well as a starter. The two safari camps were great with the best wildlife experiences at both.

A three buffalo attack by lions at Lewa one kill and two injured buffaloes

Best predator viewings at Mara Plains – Lions, Cheetah, and Leopard and what a camp, expensive but fantastic

Simply the best and we are both looking forward to going back out next month

Best wishes

R.Karakachian 29th July-12th August

Hi Sam,

All went very well and we had a fabulous time. One of the best family vacations ever!

Best,

B.Sadler 25th July-1st August

Hi Sam,

Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, work has been pretty hectic since I got back.

The holiday was brilliant, many thanks. Girls loved Ant’s Nest, and any worry about them getting bored of riding was dispelled when every time I checked if they wanted to do a game drive or walk, all they wanted to do was ride, so we did about 5hrs a day. It was a lovely laid back place with excellent staff.

Then Makweti lodge; after the girls got over the shock of having to get up at 5.30am they had a superb time, and were delighted to get the chance to see both elephants and lions in the wild. The food and accommodation was absolutely top notch there, probably better that my honeymoon.

Thanks again for arranging this all for us.

 

D.Trice 21st July-11th August

NAMIBIA exceeded our expectations in every way. You have to experience the dunes at Sossusvlei to appreciate them as photos cannot do them justice. Same at the Skeleton Coast where you have to stand in the dunes to understand the vastness. In our opinion, Little Kulala and Hoanib Skeleton Coast should be on any must do list for a visit to Namibia. And the accommodations at both places, as well as Serra Cafema, deserve 5 star ratings. The guides, the staff, the service and the food were all outstanding.

We enjoyed Desert Rhino and did have success in tracking a rhino. This camp is more basic but comfortable and there were hot showers available at all times although it was too damn cold in the mornings to shower. Our guide, Bons, was outstanding and lots of fun to be with. We were the only ones in camp our first night and a second couple came in the next day. They were from The Netherlands and we ended up being with them, and another couple we first met at Little Kulala, at Hoanib and Serra Cafema. If I were trying to reduce the number of days and flights in this trip or manage the budget, the 2 days we spent at Desert Rhino would be the first cut.

We experienced a wind and sand storm at Little Kulala which cancelled our hot air balloon but certainly added a different visual dimension to the trip. The winds were fierce and probably gusted up to 50 mph. In one direction, the dunes would be clear for viewing and in the other direction almost totally obscured. We did not let the winds hold us back and we climbed on Dune 45 as well as Big Daddy but we did not summit either. Dune 45 would have been doable without the wind, but Big Daddy is for younger folks.
I would recommend people spend 3 nights at Little Kulala, especially if you are doing the balloon. 3 nights here and 3 nights at Hoanib would make a great trip and eliminate some flights. It would also provide time to visit Swakopmund which I think may have been worthwhile.

We did not expect to see much wildlife on the Namibia trip but our game drives around Hoanib SC and the drive to the coast were quite productive. We saw a herd of 10 elephant, a flock of 15 ostriches (including one in the distance with chicks), a CARACAL (best sighting on the trip), several oryx including 8 who greeted us upon check in, a wildcat, 6 lions, including 3 very young cubs (this is 6 more lions than we saw at Mana Pools), lots of giraffe and some nice birds. And, of course, we saw thousands of seals and a few jackals at the coast.

Serra Cafema was a nice change from the pure desert at the other camps. It was nice to be by the water and the camp is outstanding. We did the Himba visit (still not sure how I feel about that), rode ATVs in the dunes and a boat trip which allowed us to step foot in Angola. Glad we went here but it would be after Desert Rhino on my cut list if I were managing time or budget.

MANA POOLS was great in some respects and disappointing in others. Stretch is everything you advertised and he certainly makes things interesting. You don’t stay in vehicles much with him. If there is something to see, you hop out and walk to it; that includes some elephants and dogs. We tracked lion prints on foot; 7 km one day and 10 km the next. Some in our party believe they saw the lions through thick bush but they scampered away. No one was seeing lions in our 6 days at the park. BUT we did see a pack of 9 painted dogs on 3 occasions and spent at least one hour with them each time. 2 occasions were at twilight and one was early morning when they were finishing devouring an impala killed the evening before. We were able to see lots of interaction among the dogs at twilight before the took off running after or in search of prey. The dogs were great and in our book more than made up for the lack of other predators. After the first 3 days, the dogs also disappeared so our timing was fortunate.

Stretch also introduced us to Boswell up close and personal; 3-4 meters away. She was a bit frightened but now has a great photo to show her grandkids and friends. Boswell also did his standing trick for us on 2 occasions; quite impressive. Being with Stretch balances the basic accommodations his camp offers. We were fine with it but the older we get the more we appreciate more luxurious camps. Nyamatusi was very nice and we enjoyed our time there.

The setting at Mana Pools with the river and the Zambian escarpment is hard to beat and it assures abundant hippos and elephants in the park. We did do a canoe trip on the river at Nyamatusi and had to detour when a hippo would not leave the channel despite the best efforts of our guide.

I think 6 days at Mana Pools is on the long side. Lots of our game drives were repetitive. I think 3 days, 4 tops, would have been adequate. Of course, we saw all the really good stuff (the dogs and Boswell) in our time at Stretch’s camp during our first 3 days. Good timing.

VICTORIA FALLS was added when we thought we would need a Covid test to get back to the States. We are super glad we added these days as it was a great relaxing way to end a long trip. We dined one night at the Palm River Lodge (the new sister to the Ilala). It’s very nice but we were glad we stayed at the Ilala because it is not only nice but close to the Falls. We hiked the Falls in late afternoon/early evening one day and again early the next morning. So we got the rainbow and then a different view. A pretty good flow was coming over the Falls. We last stayed on the Zim side in 1984 so it was interesting to see how things had changed. On our last night, we dined at the Vic Falls Hotel where we had stayed in 1984. Great way to top off a grand trip.

BTW, I’m currently thinking about a trip to Uganda in January 2024. I’ll be in touch early next year to start the planning.

C.Rishworth 18th-20th July

Hi Dave,

We had an amazing time. All arrangements went smoothly. The guides, Chombo and Abu were wonderful!! The managers of the camp were wonderful as well, very welcoming and helpful and kind. We saw a ton of animal including a leopard which is a rare site. We also had monkeys and elephants hanging around our camp. It is a wonderful place. Great food and the family style dinners under the stars were amazing. Loved it!!

Thank you for all of your help!

B.Saalwaechter 7th-11th July

Hi Dave,

Thanks for reaching out – I really appreciate all of your help getting me out on two amazing trips. Both the Serengeti and Selous were unsurprisingly awesome and I loved getting to explore two very different landscapes and am already thinking about when we might be able to get back out there. I did get some awesome photos, which I can tag on IG for folks. Everything went perfectly smoothly on both trips and I enjoyed both camps that I stayed at. […] Overall though, I loved the trips and am looking forward to planning my next one sometime. Thanks again for everything.

K.Ghazi 28th June-9th July

Hi Dave,

The trip was amazing. We loved Denis. It’s super special and unique. It is Mnemba-esque (but different). I’d recommend that to all your clients interested in the Seychelles. Madikwe Hills was great too. The accommodations were lovely and we loved our driver.

Denis Island was magical. We are so glad we went.

Thanks so much for answering my bazillion questions. I know it’s not easy!

Y.Vandenberg 27th June-13th July

nature delivered in every way!!!! Was magic. We heard other chatting about their sighting etc and we saw a whole lot more. Every drive gave us a few very memorable moments. The joke became the only thing missing was actually seeing a lion being born. We saw the big 5, some rare species that even the guides were excited by snapping photos like crazy, and so close up. […] Sounded like we were the luckiest people.

It was a spectacular trip and I have already recommended you and Asilia to a few people that asked.

B.Pearson 21st June-6th July

Sam,

Thank you for your message! We had an incredible trip – thank you for all your help in organising. We were particularly impressed with Hoppoe as our guide was fantastic.

We will definitely bear you in mind if we plan a trip to Asia / South America as it was really helpful having experts that know the area who can find the best places for us to stay.

Many thanks,

A.Stratton 18th-26th June

Hi Dave,

We had an excellent trip thanks! For both stays we give 5 stars. Puku Ridge especially was excellent – lots of good animals and the room was fabulous. We loved the star bed! Kaya Mawa was also great. Great food at both locations as well 🙂

 

J.Withoff 20th-30th May

Hi Dave,

Yes, just got back yesterday. Everything went well as planned, and we had a great time as expected. Regarding the camps, I’m not sure if you are already aware that we had stayed in both Qorokwe and Chitabe/Lediba before and they are our favorite camps already, in terms of game viewing, style of the camps, location, value, etc. Both are good, 5/5 in our opinion.

Regarding style, we much prefer the traditional classic camps that provide practical comfort and quality, without trying to be trendy. Both camps are examples of this style. Both have very good camp management, friendly and efficient staff. With the exception of Covid, both offer communal dining, that provides a platform for guest (especially guests not traveling in a group) interaction, which is part of the basic safari experience. Something special at Chitabe/Lediba (and also Qorokwe this time) is the stability of management and staff. You see familiar faces when you return year after year, and they remember you as well. You feel at home.

As expected we had good game viewing. Saw lots of lions (with cubs) several cheetahs (with cubs), multiple leopards, dogs, buffalos, elephants, and all the general games. Also saw a few chases and kills, interactions etc. Saw really good interactions between lions and honey badger, which is rare.

All in all had another fantastic trip. Thanks for making the arrangements, and will contact you again should we decide to return.

D.Howell 19th-30th May

Hi Sam,

It is so nice to talk about with someone who understands. There is little that is more exciting that departing for an African country. I don’t think I will ever get enough, and my new approach to ward off the post-holiday blues is to say “see you next time” when I leave, instead of goodbye, and begin planning the next visit as soon as possible. They spoil me so thoroughly that I hardly know what to do with myself when I leave.

It was glorious to be back. My heart was pounding as we approached the Chyulu Hills airstrip and the site of those rolling hills. I told James that next time I’d like to hike those hills with him. The area has not had the expected rain in spring, so the drought is severe and, I read, even worse in the north. It is painful to witness and a helpless feeling. I’m so hoping they will receive some unseasonal rain. It was cruel irony, then, to arrive in the Mara to so much rain. The thunder and lightening storms were exciting. And even with rain, we had periods of sun, particularly in the morning. The conservancy was really beautiful, and combined with being off season, was mostly quiet and really lovely.

I had some special sitings – I haven’t yet gone through the photos. I’ll do that soon! I tried to limit my photos and just take in the experiences this time. I’ve told James that the landscapes and the antelope would be enough for me and everything else is just extra special. One of the more special sitings was a herd of 24 elephants that my guide and I had to ourselves. There were 5 tiny babies.

The only mishap was at Wilson between Chyulu Hills and the Mara. But the staff at Air Kenya and SafariLink were thoroughly professional and kind – as were all of you! The kind gesture at Mara Plains was unexpected and thoughtful. Thank you! I was at a surprise breakfast on my last day and they brought over a card from you, Ted and George.

On my last day in Nairobi, I visited the Nairobi National Museum and the snake garden and went to Kazuri Beads and Utamaduni for gifts. Sheldrick was wonderful. They do such a great job educating the public as well.

Next time, I would like to add North Kenya to my itinerary. Lewa, perhaps? I was on your website earlier checking out options. I know it sounds strange, but I do want to return to Chyulu Hills perhaps one more time. Then I can be prepared to leave Kenya for a time and go to Botwana or somewhere else.

I hope you have a wonderful week,

Very best,

 

M.Peterson 5th-11th May

Just got back from an amazing South African safari booked with Sam at Africa Odyssey. This was originally booked for April of 2020 (and we all know what happened next) and was rescheduled 3 times. Sam was able to get my trip rebooked without penalty (since my travel insurance -like most- excluded pandemics). As a former safari guide himself, he offered great advice and knowledge of the individual lodges. This wasn’t my first trip with Africa Odyssey and it won’t be my last!

R.Garg 5th-15th May

Hi Ted, Dave:

Thanks for all your help in putting together our Africa trip. Every aspect of the trip went as planned. The two camps that you recommended, Londolozi and Vumbura Plains were truly outstanding. Mombo was great as expected – it was on our bucket list. The game viewing and hospitality were superb. My wife wanted to see a leopard in the wild since we had not seen this cat in our previous Africa trip – well we saw leopards in all three camps, five in total including a cub!

We are already thinking of our next safari, this time with our adult sons and their ladies. Will be in touch!

Thanks again,

P.Lopez 14th April- 24th April

Hi Sam,

We had an absolutely exceptional trip. Everything worked super smoothly and we enjoyed every minute of it. The accommodations, the staff, the experiences were top notch and have created memories for a life time. So thank you very very much for your great suggestions and wonderful organization. I would be delighted to entrust you with future endeavors.

[…]

All my best and thank you again.

P.Scobie 12th April – 23rd April

Dear Marc & Ted,

Thanks so much for organising our wonderful trip to Egypt. I still find it amazing that such a narrow strip of land has produced so many monuments over so many centuries and we will certainly encourage friends and family to go there.

We are now being asked “where is your next trip going to be”. Any Ideas?

Best wishes,

A.Nieuwoudt 26th March – 5th April

Hi both

Wanted to say thank you for helping us organise such an amazing trip. I’m writing this from Rivertrees in the last hour before we leave for the airport and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our experience.

We had fantastic weather, about 3 drops of rain the whole time but the low season meant we were often the only people where we stayed so very personal service and on our own for most major game sightings.

Everywhere we stayed was brilliant and of course especially loved the serengeti bush camps. Both had their own personalities (no big corporate sameness) and both were fantastic with really lovely personal surprises celebrating our anniversary and sundowners and Bush breakfasts. We also saw the most incredible game sightings including the start of the migration with a river crossing at Ndutu!!!

[…]

We are already researching a potential future trip to Selous, Ruaha and then Zanzibar […]

All in all these was a trip of a lifetime, worth waiting 2 years for!

Thank you

N.Mattos 2nd – 4th March

Hi Sam,

Thanks for touching base with me. The trip was wonderful. I have been to Ngorongoro between 6 and 8 times and this was by far the best experience I have ever had. Our two guides were excellent and took us to the more remote areas of the park so we had a much better experience, i.e., not the crowded experience with more cars than animals. Also we were quite lucky and saw a lot. We saw 5 rhinos in one day. That in itself was incredible. There is nothing I can complain about. They were on time, excellent food, nice facilities, good car, etc.

Thank you very much,

E. Thompson 28th February – 15th March

Hi Ted,

This has been the BEST HOLIDAY EVER

Thank you for everything and we will certainly be returning!

all the very best

M.Tolle 16th February-4th March

Hi Ted,

I meant to do this a very long time ago, so I apologize for the tardiness, but hopefully it is never too late to hear what a spectacular job you guys did. From start to finish the trip went smoothly, even with all the covid testing etc that had to be completed. The Kilimanjaro climb could not have been better. They treated us like kings. I cannot imagine a better crew than we had. Moses was exceptional. I had a moment near the summit where I thought I was done and could stop at Stellar point. Moses, Jacob, and Emmanual all convinced me to continue and explained that I had already completed the hard part. And they were right! An incomparable team! The safari trips were also just amazing. We got to see so much wildlife and the accommodations were wonderful, food delicious, and staff very helpful everywhere we stayed. In Rwanda, I have never been to a place as nice as the Sabyinyo. The food was amazing and the personalized attention felt luxurious. The gorilla trekking was unparalleled. I could not believe the intimate experience that we had with the gorilla. I am so glad we did 2 days of visiting the gorillas and am so happy that George suggested it way back at the beginning of this adventure planning. It was well worth it and I hope you suggest to everyone to do at least 2 days. Anyway, I’m not sure I know any more words that are effusive enough to thank you the way you deserve, but in summary, great job! And hope you pass this along to everyone for me.

As an aside, I would love to hike Machu Picchu in the next few years, so put me on your contact list for that adventure!
Take care and thanks again!

S.Legge 24th January – 3rd February

Hi Marc,

I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. Life has been a bit manic since we got back.
Coco island was just perfect and just what we needed. Our room was lovely and had everything we needed and was kept spotlessly clean. We loved the fact that you could walk down a few steps from our balcony at any time of the day and snorkel and the reef was just a short distance away. We swam with turtles and sharks and hundreds of different fish.
The food was so delicious with masses of choice, I loved all the local dishes.
We enjoyed having our gin and tonics on our balcony every evening watching the sun go down.
All the staff were charming and helpful.
We felt that 9 days was a perfect length of time.
A great recommendation, thank you so much.
[…]
Thank you for managing to book our holiday at such short notice, that was brilliant.
Hope we will be in touch soon, Africa beckons!

N.He, 14th-24th January 2022

Hi Sam.

Thanks for following up! We miss Tanzania so much! Enjoyed everything in the bush (even the rain), Thank you very much for the arrangement, it went smoothly. Being able to experience different camps throughout the park is definitely a huge plus, we were able to see almost everything on our list; staying with the same hotel group was also a great suggestion, we enjoyed interacting with all of the Asilia people. It was truly an amazing trip.

On the last day of our game drive, we asked our guide to help find a pregnant wildebeest so we could capture the moment of her giving birth to the baby. It was an honor to witness the baby coming to the world, he was so strong he only struggled couple minutes before mastering running. We were so excited for the baby we didn’t realize a hyena was near by, it came from behind and hunted/ate the baby right away. That was a shocking moment I think I will never forget.

I think I saw Odyssey’s instagram account mentioned you’re traveling, hope you have a great time for your trip!
We might want to go back to check out the river cross some time in the future, will definitely reach out to you when the time comes.

Thank you!

B.Chequer, 15th-20th January 2022

Hi Sam.

Thanks, we had a brilliant time at Leopard Hills. Everything went smoothly and the staff were amazing. Cal was superb along with Mo his Tracker. Cal made several fun references to you and your time training together.

We have used this amazing team of expert and knowledgeable reps a few times. We’ve always had the best experience. They have first hand experience of and relationships with many of the locations. Helpful in finding and building the most appropriate itinerary for us. Great at finding the best deals. They are patient and very non-pushy.

J&M.Greenaway, 28th December 2021 – 07th January 2022

Hi Sam

Thanks for your message and happy new year! We hope you had a lovely Christmas.

You’ve beat us to it! We were going to message you on our return to say not only thank you very much for the very kind gesture and gift of the bush walk, we loved it. Also, thank you so much for organising such a fantastic trip for us, we absolutely loved every part of it!

We didn’t think it got much better for luxury safari than Siwandu, the service could not be faulted there, and then we went to ikuka which was also brilliant, but in a very different way. We literally loved every minute and can’t wait to go back. We were learning all about the chimpanzee national park too from one of the guides and now we’re already thinking about planning a trip there…

Thanks again.