Review: The Call of Africa
Specialist Holiday - Safari/wildlife
The Call of Africa
Arrived at Heathrow and met our tour guide Angie Carpenter who handed out our itinerary for the Zimbabwe leg our our tour. She also informed us that our accommodation in Victoria Falls had been changed to the Stanley and Livingstone Lodge. I was slightly disappointed as our original accommodation was to have been on the banks of the mightly Zambeze River. We flew to Victoria Falls via Johannesburg and were welcomed at the small airport by a troup of local dancers – we were to see them again on our tour. Our new accommodation turned out to be 5* Victorian elegance. Our suites were rather large to say the least. The dining terrace overlooked a water hole which was visited by elephants. We saw plenty of animals on our first game drive and this was only day one.
On day two we had an early morning game drive. After breakfast a group of us took a helicopter fight over the mighty Victoria Falls. This was well worth doing. After lunch and a short rest we were transported to the banks of the Zambezie for a river trip during which we saw our first, but not last, hippos and crocs.
Day three and Victoria Falls. We all got very wet (an understatement) as we walked along the edge of the falls with our guide. camaeras could just about cope with the wet conditions. After a short coach ride we then walked across the road/rail bridge that marks the boarder between Zimbabwe and Zambia. After a short coach ride we visited a local craft market and then drove to the Victoria Falls Hotel to view the bridge and gorge from another angle. Back to the hotel to dry off. In the afternoon we visited a local elephant rescue sanctuary. My leather walking shoes took three days to dry out – flip flops would have been better.
All too soon it was time to leave Zimbabwe and go to Botswana/Namibia but not until we had had a final game drive. We left our hotel and drove for an hour or so to the border with Botswana. Stamped out of Zimbabwe and into Botswana then on to Kasane where we were stamped out of Botswana. After a short boat ride on the Chobe River we entered Namibia and boarded The Zambezi Queen, a floating hotel, which was to be our home for the next four nights. The ZQ is very elegant and the staff are excellent! This afternoon we took to the small boats for a trip along the river bank and saw loads of birds and yet more hippos and a few elephants.
Tuesday saw us out of Namibia and back into Botswana to spend the day in the Chobe National Park. Saw loads of elephants, hippos, water buffalo etc. Lunch in the park, more driving and then back through the boarder controls to the Queen. A short river trip and then dinner on the river bank. Wednesday – a visit to a local village. Lunch was a picnic on a river boat on the Chobe and then more bird/animal watching. Thursday was more of the same.
On Friday we bid farewell to the Zambezi Queen and departed from Kasane airport in small planes to our game lodges in the Okavanga delta of Botswana. It was unfortunate that our group of 18 who had got on so well had to be split. Ten of us flew to Banoka Bush camp run by Wilderness Safaris. Our very well equipped tents overlooked a waterhole occupied by a group of hippos. As the camp was unfenced we had to be escourted too and from our tents during hours of darkness – one evening there was an elephant awaiting us on the path! The next few days followed a pattern of early morning (6.00am starts) game drives followed by lunch, a rest and then a late afternoon game drive. And loads of food! We were entertained by the staff one evening with a selection of local songs and dances (do the staff audition for their jobs?)Despite the endeavours of our drivers we did not see any bigs cats but we saw loads more elephants and birds.
All too soon the adventure came to an end. The trip had been beyond our expectations. But it still had one last thrill!. Our small plane was late picking us up from our bush camp and we were too late to check in at Maun for our scheduled flight to Johburg. After a lot of disscussion a private jet was found and we flew to Johburg and did a dash through passport control, checkin and security and managed to catch our London bound flight by the skin of our teeth. So no airport ashopping.
Congratulations and many thanks go to our excellent guide Angie. Nothing was too much trouble. And well done for getting us home!
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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Noble Caledonia