We, a group of 6 adults, have just returned from our nearly 4 week holiday in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana! All this was thoroughly organised by Jonathon Wilson, Director of Encompass Africa and his staff in both the Australia (Brisbane) and South Africa (Johannesburg) offices. We had our group meeting with him, and found out about him, his company and how he can make our trip personal. He did that and more! Jonathon divides his time between Australia and South Africa (his birthplace). So his knowledge of what is around is great, and he and most of his staff have done what he showed us we could do!
Over the next 18 months or so, we emailed quite often and changed and added and tweaked until all 6 of us were happy with what we all wanted to do and see, and not once did any of our many emails not get answered, and promptly! The prices from the quote to when we left did not change unless we added something, which we did often.
“This has been a trip of a lifetime and I still can’t stop talking about it”
Even the staff in Johannesburg helped us when we were in their country, met us at the airport, took us to our hotel in Johannesburg and generally looked after us. It felt very personable and was so very much appreciated! I would certainly recommend this company to look at making the ideal quote and trip itinerary for your next/first trip to Africa!
Our itinerary and travel documentation was so thoroughly thought out, and written down for us all in beautiful packs that contained all numbers for every person involved in helping us on our trip, drivers, guides, aeroplane companies names and numbers, all hotel and accommodation names and numbers, so very thorough. We were never left alone to do anything or to find our own way.
We had drivers for every part who took us to the reception desk of our hotels, introduced us to owners of sanctuaries or safaris, took us to pre-booked restaurants, wine tours, showed us right up to the checkin area for all airports, took us through the customs and visa areas getting into Botswana. We were never alone to worry about anything!
Our tour started in Cape Town where we stayed for 2 nights and then we started on the garden route drive, going through the wine area, stopping at 3 wineries, one of them had a chocolate tasting with the wine, one had cheese tasting and the other was Gary Player (golf player) because one of us like golf! Then lunch at a 5 star winery!
“We saw the Big 5 on our first day and to say we enjoyed ourselves was an understatement!”
I don’t drink alcohol so he made sure I was catered for with a juice or a special non alcoholic drink! What a start to a wonderful holiday! Our time on the Garden Route, about 7nights, our guide and driver showed us so much more than was on the itinerary. We stayed in 3-5 star places, and were treated like royalty in every single place! And nothing was too much trouble!
We then flew to Johannesburg and were driven for 2 nights in Sun City for our golfer to have a game of of golf and us ladies to use the spa! There is so much to do and see, we didn’t have anywhere near enough time to see 1/4 of it! Then back to Johannesburg to give our big bags to the Encompass office in Johannesburg as we only had limited luggage on the small planes between the safaris.
We caught a flight to Skukuza airport and picked up for our first safari at Nottens Bush Camp for 3 nights. Everything was included in this itinerary, as was all 3 safaris we did, all food, and drink and tours out to look at the animals! We saw the Big 5 on our first day and to say we enjoyed ourselves was an understatement! It was thrilling, and so worth seeing all these animals in the wild, the way they are supposed to be. We learnt so much about the lives of the people here and the antics of the animals! Well worth it, every second! And the camp only held 16 people so it was very personable!
We then went on to Victoria Falls for 2 nights, saw the falls, from ground and a helicopter flight. Us ladies spent time at an orphanage and thoroughly enjoyed that. We went to a Boma for dinner and that was another great experience! All the time with a guide or driver! The next 2 safaris were at Lagoon Camp and a sister place called Kwara Camp. Both for 3 nights and both were reached by a 6 seater plane! Another part of our adventure!
Both these camps were tented accommodation, on wooden floors, stairs up, full bathroom with outside shower! Very glamorous and very comfortable! And once again, we had a driver and a tracker for our group for the whole time we were there. Both very informative and both very welcoming and both happy to answer all our many questions! We saw cheetahs, lions, leopards, a kill done only one minute prior to us getting there, we saw herds of zebra, elephants, Impala, giraffes and lots of birds! All over all manners of terrain, just so we could see them (all animals) in their natural habitat!
Then back to Johannesburg for 1 night, picked up our bags from the friendly Encompass team and home to Brisbane!
The whole trip was well thought out and nothing was needed or wanted! Many many thanks to Jonathon and his team in both offices! This has been a trip of a lifetime and I still can’t stop talking about it or showing my many wonderful photos of all the animals up close and very personal! Thank you!