The trip was great! We were very happy with the itinerary, the travel arrangements and the lodging selected. With the exception of a couple of minor air charter delays (a 1+ hour delay out of Livingston and a 1 hour delay from Lunga because the air craft would only accommodate 4 passengers. All of the transfers and rendezvous went very smoothly.
I think the order of the camps was well planned and 3 days seemed the right amount for the main camps. We could have used an extra day at Lunga but 2 days at Jao was good. Our favorite camps were Selinda for accommodations and amenities (very well managed by Ella with lots of thoughtful touches). Shumba and Chitabe provided the best game viewing. I think we saw every animal available except a cheetah and while we haven’t completed our bird tally, it should be around 250 species. Everyone was friendly and helpful and good at their jobs. T
We were very pleased with Graham as our Cape Town and Garden Route driver/guide. He was personable, fun to be with and knew the area and background details. I had planned the daily activities on the garden route, including meal stops but Graham ensured everything went smoothly. He knew the local birds and some good birding spots, but by his own admission he was not a birding guide and could not help us with the rarer and hard to identify birds. He worked out very well for us because we were looking for a balance of birding and non-birding and our group was very pleased with Graham.
We loved Matt and would recommend him unconditionally for birding or game viewing. He has a tremendous store of knowledge and interesting factoids which he readily shared and which added immensely to our appreciation of what we were viewing and our overall enjoyment of the trip. He knew all the birds, most of their calls and understood the behavior of the animals well enough to anticipate their actions. Twice he positioned us for the end of a wild dog hunt. No kills but exciting to watch. We had three male lions roaring 5 meters from the Land Rover and watched a hippo confrontation by the dominant male to send off a younger rival who was being protected by his mother. We saw leopards at four separate times with a couple of very good, close looks. Matt is also a keen photographer and gave me lots of useful tips and suggestions.
So, all in all the trip exceeded our expectations and we were a very happy group. Thanks for taking such good care of us. I will be happy to use you for another trip or to highly recommend you.