Thanks for everything.
Here an excellent review of Botswana & Victoria Falls Safari!!!
I’m quite happy to give you a brief synopsis.
In summary: we had a wonderful time!
1. Meno-a-Kwena. This is a relaxed place with a very familial attitude, perched on a cliff overlooking a waterhole with a stunning rock pool, animal hide and bird bath for entertainment in the camp. It was the most casual and also the most closely connected to the bush – we had to be escorted to our tents every night and, unlike the other places, this was really necessary. There were lions roaring on the paths at night! It has permanent tents as bedrooms overlooking the valley with outdoor shower and loos with a view. Water is scarce, so you get a bucket of hot water on request for your shower.
Dabe, our San (bushman) guide was the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had (worth keeping an eye out for as he is setting up his own mobile camp in the Kalahari one day for people who want to connect even more with nature). The food was great – run by a chef who headed up 5 star restaurants on cruise liners. It’s also the most closely connected to the local population in terms of education and betterment.
We saw the migration of the zebra which was a smashing sight – thousands in one valley. Elephant came to the waterhole everyday, as did kudu. And we had an incredible day-trip to the Nxai pans where the oldest living things on earth are – a stand of massive, bulbous Baobab that dwarf everything. Awesome.
2. Kwetsani. Glamorous and luxurious tree houses connected by elevated walkways to the main lodge. There’s water everywhere so the pace is quite sedate, but the birdlife is awesome and we saw some amazing sightings of leopard (including a two week old cub), lion and elephant. An elephant slept under one of the houses and snored all night, keeping its occupants awake. There’s a lovely little pool on the edge of a plain, outdoor showers, indoor showers, and good food.
3. Savuti Lodge. Stephen’s favourite, this had a mix of savannah, woodland and even water (the dried up river bed was alive for the first time since the early 80’s). The houses were spacious and beautifully laid out and the main reception was very well planned. We got hot water bottles on the drives (early morning is chilly) and big fires on the deck. We chased wild dog on a hunt for impala, saw lions at sunset and herds of elephant. Very picturesque.
At all places the service was impeccable, the knowledge of the guides impressive and the food delicious. They all went out of their way to cater for all our needs (from making sure I had a flask of milk at all times to combat the malaria tablets to setting up private dinners on our decks as a honeymoon treat from my sisters). In a way I liked the first place the best, but it’s hard to judge. The other two places had repeat visitors quite often. The light aircraft flights between places were a great way of seeing the landscape and you flew low enough to spot elephant and antelope in the waterholes.
4. Victoria Falls Hotel. The falls are best viewed by plane/helicopter/micro light, but you cannot beat the view from the patio of the Vic Falls Hotel. It’s olde worlde charm and was a great place to wind down (although the food wasn’t amazing). Lying by the pool with warthog on the lawns and eating scones for tea were my highlights!
5. Indigo Bay. it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t sound over-the-top to say about this place. Indulgence to the core. Exclusive, attentive, delicious. Wonderful staff, gorgeous pools, incredible food and a whole lot of activities to choose from, as well as some truly fine cocktails. Eating lobster on the beach at the edge of the sea by firelight just isn’t something that happens to me every day!
And if you ever need anyone to test out any other places, be sure to let me know!