Please forgive me for not responding sooner, especially given the amount of time you spent with me finalizing the arrangements. But please know that we had a wonderful adventure, and I truly appreciate what you helped us accomplish. Admittedly, the itinerary was ambitious, but in my mind it was the right one – doing Kruger first and building up to the Delta, which along with Vic Falls were the highlights of the trip. Thanks to you and all the arrangements you made, we were able to “do it all” and it didn’t turn out to be a disaster.
Djuma Vuyatela was definitely the nicest place we stayed, and I am grateful to you for accommodating us there when labor issues prevented us from staying at Manyeleti. The staff at Djuma was great and Niki and her husband were engaged and attentive to our needs. Also, would you believe we saw 4 of the Big Five on our very first game drive the afternoon we arrived! The guide asked me what I wanted to see, and I said leopards because I hadn’t seen any on my last safari in East Africa. Well, we saw 5 different leopards in the Sabi Sand, and 3 or 4 more in the Moremi in Botswana, so I was a happy man. Actually, lions were the only thing we didn’t see at Djuma, which I know is unusual, but that is the way with safaris.
Indeed, the only thing I regret about Djuma is the distance (2 1/2 hrs) from the airport. Had I known how far it was and that we could not have breakfast or a morning game drive the day we left, I might have opted for a different arrangement. As it was, Niki had arranged with our guide to take us on an early, abbreviated game drive the morning we left in hopes of finding for Liz 4 male lions (brothers) that were reported in the area two days before. But alas, Nick (one of the managers of the transfer agency who came up himself to take us to the airport) insisted on leaving at 7 AM for our 11:35 AM flight so we were not able to have our early morning game drive. Of course, we arrived at the airport at 9:40 for our 11:35 AM flight (which turned out to be late and didn’t depart anyway until 12:15) so we had plenty of time for breakfast at the airport – and would have time for that 90 min game drive before we left!
Ironically, we managed to get in the same 3 activities during our one night stay at Elephant Valley that we had during our 2-night stay at Djuma, but that’s because the logistics were ideal. Elephant Valley is so close to Victoria Falls and only 10 mins away from the airport in Kasane where we transferred to our light plane for the delta that we didn’t waste any time with transfers. Thanks to Richard Chanters calling ahead the day before and confirming the morning schedule at Elephant Valley, we had an early breakfast in Livingstone and arrived at Elephant Valley at 9 AM in time for the morning cruise on the Chobe River. That definitely was the best part of our stay there. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with Chobe Nat’l Park itself as I was with the Sabi Sand or Moremi, but the river and the abundance of wildlife we saw along the shores of the Chobe was spectacular. Elephant Valley Lodge itself was also very nice – more so than I expected – and the food I thought was better than at Djuma.
But what fun it was to arrive at Sango Camp the next afternoon with the staff singing and dancing at the entrance to welcome us, and to head out shortly after seeing our comfortable tents on a mokoro trip and sundowners on the banks of the Khwai. Sango was just perfect, from the Eco theme (no electricity and bucket showers) to the hands-on management of one of the owners (Judge Sango, who also was our guide) and the food and relatively new Land Rovers. I couldn’t have wished for a better place to stay in the Delta to end our trip. All those reviews in Trip Advisor are “spot on” and we have you to thank for recommending it! I only regret not taking your advice and
staying there two more days instead of spending an entire day getting back to Cape Town and then flying back to New York two days later. Now you have to go and experience it for yourself….
Speaking of Trip Advisor, that is where I found Chanters Lodge in Livingstone, as well as Tintagel, where I stayed when I was in Cape Town. Tintagel is an old Victorian bungalow in the Gardens that has been beautifully and meticulously restored by its owner architect. You must check it out some day, and give my regards to Utah, the resident manager, when you do.
Yes, I am definitely ready to return, so if you have any more special trips you want to recommend – Namibia perhaps? – that include reasonable air fares, let me know!
Guests stayed at: Djuma Vuyatela, Elephant Valley Lodge and Sango Safari Camp