The Quinn family’s 19-night holiday in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique

“You gave us the most wonderful African holiday and memories to cherish for a lifetime.”

 

The trip was fantastic, we had the best time and everything ran like clockwork, really (and even if it didn’t, it had nothing to do with bad organisation!). We were so impressed with our schedule – it was spot-on in all respects. Thank you for making our trip so easy – when you’re travelling with kids that’s exactly what you hope for! 

We usually book all our travel ourselves and never use agents, but I have to say that it was very much worth our while to do it for this trip. The other thing that you did was book great accommodation – even though we quite like the five-star end of the market, you were able to find us cheaper options that still had great service and food, and we were pleased with all the options.

 

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Quinn Family safari Cape Town peninsula

Cape Point & Peninsula

 

Cape Town was great – you were right, we could have easily spent a week there. Especially during winter, when the weather is quite iffy. We ended up not getting up Table Mountain because of the weather – there was only one day when we could have done it and that was the day we went to Robben Island, so we’ll have to do Table Mountain next time. I think we might go again in the summertime.

The highlight in Cape Town was the city tour you organised. Our guide, Tim, was amazing. Honestly, we could not have wished for a better guide. He was so knowledgeable and even the kids found him really interesting. It was so cool to start our trip by spending a day with him. He then drove us up to the lovely suburb of Constantia (beautiful!), where we had lunch at La Colombe. Wow, that was a very special meal, we all loved it.

 

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Lioness with cub in mouth Quinn Family safari 2019

Mother and child on the move

 

Our flight to Zimbabwe was easy, and your tip about getting off the plane and into the building quickly to fill in the forms was gold. We were pretty much at the front of the line and even then the process took a pretty long time.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the people at the back of the queue. After getting our bags, we were met by our pilot, Giles, who took us on a very easy flight to Bomani Tented Lodge in Hwange. 

Bomani was great. We enjoyed the setting; the tents were very comfortable; the food was very good; the staff were so nice and helpful and we enjoyed visiting the local school and village. We met some really interesting people in Hwange and our guide, Pete, was wonderful. We also saw our first pride of lions with cubs here: it was very special. But it’s good that we came here first, before going to Botswana – Hwange would have felt very empty of animals after game-rich Botswana.

 

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Quinn family tsafari Victoria Falls ziplining

Fun at the Falls as a family

 

From Bomani we went to Victoria Falls. Botanka Guest Lodge was a very comfortable spot, and although at first I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t closer to the Falls, after visiting the Victoria Falls Hotel for lunch I realised how nice and quiet Batonka was, and ended up thinking that it was really the perfect spot.

The Falls themselves were overwhelmingly beautiful and, as you said, we could have easily spent another day there. It was such a fun place to be – we took a helicopter ride over the Falls (brilliant!), and then made our way to do the canopy tour, which the whole family loved. 

We also walked over the bridge to the café on Zambian side of the river, and enjoyed a lovely sunset cruise on the Zambezi.

From Victoria Falls, the trip to Botswana was easy. Our guide, Nando, was there to meet us and we had a lovely drive through paradise to the camp where Tom and Baker from our mobile camp company had set everything up. The camping part was an amazing experience. We had honey badgers breaking into our kitchen at night and a pack of wild dogs chasing an impala through the camp in the early morning. The hyenas kept me up during the night with their howling, but not it a bad way. I loved the noises of the night, which my family mostly slept through!

 

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Quinn family safari honeybadger

Honeybadger beware!

 

We did a boat tour of Xakanaxa Lagoon and went on amazing game drives – Nando was a very good guide and excellent at locating animals. One day he found a pack of wild dogs which we followed for about an half an hour until they decided to chase some lechwes [Note from EA – a lechwe is an antelope]. After that didn’t work out (for the dogs, anyway, it worked out very well for the lechwes!), we carried on following the dogs, and soon after they happened to find a leopard and its cub under some shrubs, with a kill. The alpha male dog was right by our car when he spotted the cub; he signalled the others and together they spread out to try and attack the cub. It was incredible. We all thought that was the end of the cub, but it was unbelievable how quickly it was able to shoot up the tree – the mother got up another one about 10 metres away. The dogs found the leopards’ kill and demolished it, after which the mother leopard quickly shot down, got the rest of the kill and dragged it back up her tree. We were literally right there and watched this all unfold from prime seats – it was incredible!

Botswana was awesome and I would recommend it to everyone. The Moremi Game Reserve, part of the Okavango Delta, was just magical. After the first day, we didn’t even stop for animals like giraffes, zebras and antelopes, because they were common as muck! We saw a pride of 20 lions finishing a water buffalo that they had killed a couple of days before, and white rhinos on our last day, which Nando worked very hard to find for us. So cool!

After our intensive nine days of safaris and Victoria Falls action we were so ready to head to Mozambique. We stopped on our way for the night at Johannesburg, and just as you said, could have easily stayed there longer.

We booked a dinner at Epicure (which was delicious), enjoyed driving through the streets of Johannesburg, and talked about going back.

 

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Quinn family safari leopard in grass bloody face

Leopard protecting her cubs first, the kill was later saved

 

Then it was on to Mozambique. Arriving at the airport was a bit of a nightmare for us, and it might be useful to advise travellers to Mozambique to a) Get a visa before arrival, because it will make things much easier; b) If you don’t get a visa, join the border visa queue on the left of the arrival hall (we joined the wrong queue which made the long process even longer!); and c) Be patient and be aware that some officials – as well as people posing as officials – could hit you up for bribes.

[Note from EA – You absolutely can get a visa before you arrive, but it will cost you twice as much as purchasing it from the airport. People posing as officials and porters etc is common in airports all around the world, so be wary wherever you are!]

Once we got out, we were met by a guy from the Machangulo Beach Lodge. He was great, and took us to a lovely restaurant for lunch while we waited for the tide get higher so that we could leave! Everything was great at Machangulo: the staff, service, food, drinks, rooms, beach, everything. It was very, very relaxing!

It was a great trip, with absolutely amazing memories. You guys did such an awesome job organising it all for us, and I have already recommended you to several people. Thank you, Team Encompass, you gave us the most wonderful African holiday and memories to cherish for a lifetime.

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Quinn family safari Zanzibar sunset

Sunset, island paradise