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trip report s africa, victoria falls & Botswana Zambezi Queen


Jul 15th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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trip report s africa, victoria falls & Botswana Zambezi Queen

How we planned and picked the company to help us….
I started years ago talking to friend about their travels to Africa. I read many travel guides and used tripadvisor often. I decided to use a company that specialized in Africa. I narrowed the list down to 3 companies and the one I choose was The African Adventure Company. They were very prompt in responding to my initial response and the owner responded and was available for any questions throughout the entire process. The initial recommendations were very close to what I asked for….they didn’t mind the millions of questions and changes I had. They were in the same time zone and easy to contact. They came highly recommended in my travel guides and online. They have visited all the properties personally and recently. One of the most important reasons is that I had a good rapore with the agent.
The reason I didn’t choose the other two companies is….one never responded and the other responded with very little information and after a couple days after all my requests.
I am a very detailed planned and I ask a lot of questions and I have no complaints and highly recommend The African Adventure Company.

I was initially leaning toward Kenya and the migration but ended up planning in Southern Africa. We chose this area due to some safety problems in the Kenya area at the time of planning. The other reason is I felt like we were able to visit more in a shorter period of time. South Africa gave us the city and wine country and Kruger gave us the safari experience. We also wanted to visit Victoria Falls and have a water based safari which is why we choose Botswana/Namibia.

Our group has traveled around the world together. We had two families (one with teen age sons and the other with a daughter and son) and two friends…a total of 10.

I have been saving frequent flyer miles for ever so my husband and I could go first class. So we started with the international air and worked around those dates for availability.

The safari lodge was the hardest to pick and I read tons on all of them. We wanted one that welcomed children…..no more than 6 on a vehicle……on the smaller side not a large property……highly recommended guides and trackers……and most important could go off road.

We arrived in Johannesburg non-stop from ATL on Delta. The flight was 16 hours but it worked out since it gives you more time to actually sleep for a longer stretch after you eat and before they wake you up to eat again. This was our first time in the pods….it was so nice to be able to lay down flat but they are kind of narrow. We had the pods next to each other which doesn’t work too well since you can’t really see or talk to the person. I preferred the flight were we had one on the center and a row up on the window so you can see and talk to each other…..we had 4C and 3D.
The kids had premium plus economy….not sure the exact name. They were in bulkhead and had seats that are like the domestic first class seats and more leg room. This is well worth the upgrade.
We used Bidair and have to say that is the best money we have ever spent. We only had 2 hours connection time and have never been through the Joburg airport. They meet you as you walk off the plane…..walk you to a special line at customs with no wait……walk you directly to your gate area. The cost was only $15pp and the peace of mind alone was worth it for us…not waiting in line was awesome!
We had about 30 minutes until we boarded so we had some beverages and the kids had some snacks while we watched some of the World Cup. Our scheduled inter-Africa flight to Cape Town left at 7:30pm and we arrived around 9:30pm. We arranged transferred to our hotel prior so we had someone at baggage claim waiting for us.
Accommodation: More Quarters (B) – 1-bedroom apartments
The More Quarters is owned by the same people as the Lodge in Kruger we booked and they had a discount package for nights in the More Quarters in Cape Town if you book 3 nights at the Lion Sands River Lodge. The property is more like a bed and breakfast. The lobby and breakfast room decor is beautiful. They have a small sitting are when you check in with a fire going. They were very prompt and helpful when we checked in. We were not there at all during the day and had plans out every night so didn’t stay in the room much at all. The breakfast was great…..continental items (fruit, cereals, yogurts, pastries, smoked salmon with sides) are out on the table but you can order eggs and meats as well. The large honey comb that drips fresh honey is awesome. They had some very special touches like hot water bottles in your bed at night. Our room was #10 and the bath was much nicer than #8 and #6. The one and only con for our group is that our kids had a separate room and you have to go outside on the side street sidewalk to get to the other rooms.

27 Jun (Fri) CAPE TOWN
I booked an all day wine country tour through the wine desk. I found them on tripadvisor. They were very prompt responding to my requests and worked with our group since we had teenagers to keep busy. We planned chocolate and cheese tastings for the kids while we tasted those with wine. They had different sparkling juices for the kids. The Wine Desk subs it out and she booked the Wine Fairy and Katie. She is funny and joins you like family. We tried to go to Table Mountain but it was too cloudy. Our first winery stop was J.C LeRoux for sparkling wine.

The winery is very modern inside and our table was just stunning with all the different colors. We had sweets and sparkling tasting here with 6 different types. After the tasting we went outside and they open a bottle with a sabre…or sabrage. Our next stop was Jordan.

A very different setting……It was a glorious day and we sat outside with sweeping views. They brought 5 different wines out to taste and we had several cheese boards on the table….the table was not set here….it was more a waiter pouring as we went along. We moved to a table a little lower to The Bakery to have our lunch and wander around the property. I had the best mushroom soup I have ever had and the oxtail was devine. After lunch we met the owner Gary Jordan. Our next stop was just up the hill to DeMorgenzon or DMZ (met Carl van der Merwe, winemaker). The wine fairy used to work there so we just popped in for a quick taste. We took a quick drive by tour of Stellenbosch before we headed to Franschhoek. We were a few minutes late for our next tasting and when she called they were not being very accommodation so we decided to go another winery Haute Cabriere the home of Pierre Jourdan.
That night we ate at The Planet Restaurant (recommended by my agent) at the Mount Nelson Hotel. The adults ate at the chefs table and the kids in a private area off of the main restaurant. We had to prepay for the chef’s dinner it was $95pp for 7 courses with wine. This might be one of the top dining experiences we have ever had. We started in the lounge with champagne and nibbles. After about 30 minutes they escorted us back to the kitchen. They gave us aprons and we meet everyone in the kitchen. This was a 3 hour experience. They gave us 10 courses not 7 plus I think they would have keep bringing more if we all could have eaten one more morsel. I highly recommend this for any foodies.

28 Jun (Sat) CAPE TOWN
We enjoyed the use of a vehicle (through Wilderness Safari booked by our agent at African Adventure) and guide for a full day. We started with the Table Mountain Cable car ride to the top and explored around up there for about an hour.
View from the top
We left to explore the Cape Peninsula Coastline including Cape of Good Hope (we saw baboons, monkeys and an ostrich) and visit to the penguin colony on Boulders Beach. This was all paid for in advance except the entrance fee to get in to see the Penguins. We walked up to the lighthouse and the views are just spectacular. We had lunch at Two Oceans…great view (saw a whale off the coast) and good food…..lots of seafood….sushi, fish of the day and some meat options. Our next stop was Utig winery in Constantia. Great ending to a great day
We went back to our room and drank some of the wine and champagne that we had purchased the day before at the wineries.
Dinner was at Gold Restaurant. We booked the interactive drums before dinner. That was fun for all not just the kids. Dinner was typical African fare family style. We had plenty of courses and entertainment throughout the night. Here is the menu http://www.goldrestaurant.co.za/menu.htm

This morning we were transferred to the airport. Depart on the scheduled inter-Africa flight to
Skukuza which was about a 2 hour flight. This is the new airport that is only a few minutes away from our lodge. One in our party woke up sick….she thinks it was from the Malarone that we all took for malaria prevention. She did not feel good for 24 hours and missed our first 2 game drives. On arrival we were met and transferred by road to our Lodge by our guides in Land Rovers that had the cover on for the transfers. They take the cover off for the safaris.
*PLEASE NOTE* There is a luggage limit of 44lbs (20kg) per person on the charter flight so please prepack your luggage accordingly in a soft-sided bag…..50lbs total for non-charter commercial flights.
Upon arrival at Lion Sands River Lodge they greeted us with cool towels and escorted us to a lounge area. You walk in and there is a little office to your right and bathrooms across the hall. Straight ahead is a gift shop and on your left is the bar area…which has a big screen TV, fireplace and bar. You would go straight across from the bar to the deck where you have breakfast and lunch and to the right of that is a partially closed in area where they serve your coffee early in the morning and then some dinners are in this area. The lounge area is directly past the bar and across from the deck.They served us ice tea and went through all the information about the property and the events. We checked into our rooms (greeting welcome on bed with our names on it) and met before unpacking so we could have lunch. We had lunch on a deck outside on the river bank. They have a chalk board up with all the options. Three of four courses with at least 2 to 3 in each category…starter, main and desserts. I had the sole for lunch and it was the best sole I have ever tasted. They monkeys entertained us and the staff trying to keep them away was amusing. We enjoyed the chardonnay and champagne with our lunch. Our package included house wine and beer during meals. They did not limit it to just meals….or should I say they are serving you food the whole time so you could have drinks whenever….house beer and wine. The house wine is usually awful at most places. We really enjoyed the Chardonnay and Cabernet. A few in our group also enjoyed the Pinotage….most items in the mini bar were also included.
I was so excited about our afternoon drive. We left around 3:30pm. This has been a lifelong dream of mine. We had 2 vehicles for our group and the same 2 guides and trackers. We had Tristan and Tony in one and Michael and Josh in the other. We found that the guides can be very competitive with each other….which made it fun. We all switched the whole time and mainly we stayed a couple minutes radio call away but always came back together for our stops. Our guides were different but both great. Tristan was more adventurous and drove right in the middle of the herd and would stay in one location much longer and was extremely helpful with photography.. Michael stayed more on the edges of the herd but he found the leopard and lions first and he had a long history and stories about his father and grandparents who taught him so much about the area. They were both very conscious of the light and getting us into angles where we could get a good photo. I would say we were minutes into our safari when we came across a large herd of elephants. We saw 3 of the Big Five and some (Elephants, Rhino, Leopard and many giraffe plus too many others to list) before our sundowner. Oh my goodness the sundowners are so special. They had gin & tonics, beer, wine and Amarulo along with snack such a potato chips (homemade and fabulous) nuts, olives, beef jerky to name a few. Special note to the ladies…they have little bathroom kits that had wipes and paper bags which was a nice touch. We watched the sunset….just spectacular. Drove around for about 30 minutes more and probably 1000 pictures later we arrived back at the lodge to cool towels and smiling faces.

We had about 45 minutes to clean up and head down to dinner.
Dinner was a boma…so fun. Our guides joined us for dinner which was nice. They had a huge selection….you are sitting around a fire…..they have singing and dancing. We all headed back to the bar for beverages before heading in for the night.
*Note about the rooms #19 has a very blocked view so we changed to #15 which was much better….#18 had a good view but #20 and #21 are the best views and rooms on the property I think. The 3 teenage boys shared a room #7….it was huge and had a fabulous view the only difference is not outdoor shower.
This is #20
**Weather was zip off pant to short and rolled up sleeves in the afternoon…...dinner sweaters and coats. We got very lucky with the weather….we had a little rain the first night that we checked in Cape Town but it was clear other than that.

30 Jun + 01 Jul (Mon+Tue) PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Early morning….we had a 4:45am wake up call because I thought we were suppose to met at 5:15am….must have been anxious about being late….we were supposed to wake up at 5:45 and met at 6:15am. They have coffee, tea and hot chocolate with breakfast pastries ready before you head out. We loaded the vehicles and on each seat they had blankets and hot water bottles. This was a huge help since it was freezing cold. The wildlife is abundant. It is still amazing to me how close you get to these animals. Our morning stop we had hot chocolate with Amurelo….yum with muffin, granola bars and fruit…to name a few. This taste so much better in the bush. Our last sighting of the morning was buffalo and 4 of the big 5….plus so much more.
We headed back around 9:30am to a huge breakfast with champagne. After breakfast we went on a bush walk. I have to say I was very nervous. You really need long pants, long sleeve shirts and very good walking shoes for this. They have thorn bushes with thorns that can puncture a tire. They show you so much about the vegetation and Tristen even found one of the little 5 the ant lion to show us. The history that Michael would share added so much as well…..they both keep my mind off being attacked by lions for a few minutes. We walked for a good hour and a half. We headed back and cleaned up for our afternoon drive. The highlight of this drive was seeing Zebras and the sundowner. We rounded a corner and I saw a path of lanterns and a huge spread set up….I said oops we have come across someone’s party….and it was ours. It was over the top….they had everything you could image to drink…they made special note of what everyone was drinking the night before and made sure they had that and much much more.

We all headed to our room to clean up for dinner. I was enjoying a glass of wine and looking through the gift shop when someone came to find me to tell me someone in our party had hurt themselves. It was my husband. He cut his head badly and needed stitches. He was still back in the room and we had washed out some cloths and hung them on the branches of the outdoor shower to dry. A piece fell so he went out to pick it up and his head scraped one of the branches….I know we need to come up with a much better story. The management team was there immediately tending to him. They have an on call doctor which was there in 30 minutes. They had an extensive first aid kit that we used till the doctor arrived. Ronnie the manager stayed with us the whole time…..he might be the most interesting person I have ever met. You must seek him out if you stay there and talk to him about his adventures. The doctor confirmed that he needed stitches and off we went to our room for him to stitch him up. He did a great job. They keep the kitchen open for us since we missed dinner. We went down to the bar area with the doctor and all ate a great meal at the bar.
Our next morning drive was the best of the trip. We finally saw Lions. We saw two that morning just settling in to sleep. The male was badly scared…but as the guides pointed out he had the lady. We were so close to them. The next site which was memorable was a hyena den. The mother was nursing one of her older babies while the other 3 smaller ones were eating away at a leopard tortoise….another of the little 5. They were so good at pointing out more than the big 5 to us. I was diligently trying to keep up with my check list in my African journal that The African Adventure Company sent us and the owner wrote……a great resource for anyone traveling to Africa. My favorite bird had to be the Lilac-Breasted Roller….the colors are so beautiful.
We headed back for breakfast and to freshen up. Two of us signed up for the cooking class that was offered and we paid for before our trip. It was outdoors over the fire where we had the boma. The chef taught us how to cook springbok potjie (iron pot). After our cooking class we toured the kitchen…small but efficient. We lounged by the sunny pool for a few minutes but it got really warm so we headed down to the shady pool and relaxed before our massage’s. The spa experience ranks in some of the best I have had. The message tables are outside with views of the river. I had the hot stone message and it really was fabulous.
Off for our next game drive. We headed over to see one of the tree houses. We opted not to do it since we had the kids and I tend to be chicken. It is absolutely a must if you can do it….so romantic. We had our last sundowner and headed out in search of the other lions in the pride that we didn’t see that morning. We were successful. We watched them sleep for what seemed like a long time (not complaining it was awesome and could have stayed longer) but our guide wanted us to stay so he could show us what they do when they wake up. What happened next will be something I hope to never forget. They woke up and started roaring….it brought tears to our eyes and gave us all chills. What a spectacular end to our day!

We headed down for our last dinner which was in the outdoor dining area…not the porch where you have breakfast. They had blankets in our seats. The food was great and plentiful at every meal. They actually brought out what we cooked in the cooking class for everyone to try….it was actually good.
We headed to the bar and watched some of the world cup….the US was playing but sadly lost in overtime to knock us out. The boys stayed up till the end….which was about 1:30am….made for a long day the next day.
The plan when we went to bed was to give us a 6am wake up call if they got word of something happening during the night and 6:30am if not. We packed up most everything the night before we headed to dinner.
*Note I would call butlers our dedicated servers….but this might just be what we would call them in the States
**It is very cold in the morning for the game drives. We wore hats, gloves, scarf, 3 or 4 layers, thick socks and still needed the hot water bottle and blanket. By the afternoon it was shorts and short sleeve shirts.

We received a 6am wake up call so a few of us went running down but it was a miscommunication. This gave us time to finish packing and do some shopping in the gift shop since we had no time beforehand.
Today we transferred by road to Mpumalanga Airport which took about 2 hours. We were running a few minutes late and our driver did a great job of getting us there in time. We could not use the new airport because they didn’t have flights to Livingstone. We boarded our scheduled inter-Africa flight to Livingstone, Zambia which was about 2 hours. On arrival you will be met and transferred across the border to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and your hotel. The border transfers are just not fun. I knew this going in and warned everyone. We had to go into Zambia…out of Zambia…and into Zimbabwe. It was hot and very long lines but went through without much trouble until we entered Zimbabwe. They said we had to leave our passport. When we refused they said it would be at least a 2 hour wait. They didn’t have that many people there. I went out and got our transfer guide. We had to change buses since the Zambia driver couldn’t cross the border. Our guide came in and spoke to them and assured us that this happens all the time. He finally after much discussion convinced us to leave them….which even typing this I can’t believe we did it. Our transfer driver said he would drop us off at the hotel and go back and wait and get them and bring them to us. I had all the contact numbers of who he worked for in my packets to follow up and we got his cell number just in case. We were brought to a separate check in area at the Zimbabwe Falls Hotel for the stable rooms…..we choose this property since it was so close to the falls and we were there a very short period of time. They didn’t have our reservations correct and by the time they sorted it out….about an hour our passports were back. We had planned on having tea at 3:30pm. Our reservations were made prior to our departure….but with all the custom delays and room delays we didn’t make it down there until almost 5pm. The view from the porch (warthogs, tons of monkeys and baboons roaming around) and the treats with tea were great….but the service was soooo slow….took us over 30 minutes to get our first drink and food. Our tea was included since we were on a package….which also included a comp cocktail (found out only from a set cocktail (they use black olive juice in their dirty martinis…weird tasting) list so gave it to the kids for non-alcoholic cocktails), breakfast, separate check in area, 25 minute comp message and butler….still not sure what they mean by butler.
We had dinner at the Jungle Junction. They have entertainment and a huge buffet….which I am not a big buffet fan but they had plenty of options. It is expensive though after such deals in Cape Town. We were all tired so we turned in early.
This morning we were collected at our hotel and transferred to Elephant Camp with a welcome
briefing on how the facility trains 17 elephants. We have coffee(instant), tea and hot chocolate around a fire. At this time a selection of the elephants are brought out for us to ride….it was scary at first but so fun. Go on a 1-hour elephant ride through the preserve. You are able to feed them treats and even hug and sit on their knee for pictures.
Morning visits included a full English breakfast in camp. The breakfast was cooked over a fire…very fresh and tasty. I really liked that they would use your cameras for the pictures and not use theirs and charge a fortune. They sold pictures with your elephants print...which we had to have.
We relaxed by the pool, went to the spa for our comp spa treatment (small room…good massage for some great for others) then to the porch for lunch.
This afternoon we enjoyed a guided Tour of the Falls (park entry fee US$30 per person payable
direct). The Africa Adventure Company under special arrangement has exclusive access to one of the best
local guides in Victoria Falls, Esther Gwekwerere. She was very knowledgeable. She has been doing this 7 days a week two times a day for 27 years non-stop. The first views we had were breathtaking and by far the best….once you get closer you have too much spray to really see anything. We walked the path to the end and watched people bungee jump and then headed back. It is truly one of the wonders of the world. You do get harassed to buy old Zambezi money around the falls though…not as bad as in some countries I have visited though.
The kids had dinner at Jungle Junction again…..they love volume. The adults had dinner at Livingstons. We dressed up for our special night. The service and food was top notch. I had mushroom soup, beef wellington and crepe made table side. We enjoyed some fabulous red wines and dance to a few songs. A lovely evening all around
* I had a hard time trying to decide what to pack to wear on this since you read that you get very wet and we were leaving the next morning and didn’t want to pack wet cloths. I wore quick dry shorts and top and tennis shoes that I was planning on leaving if they got too wet…..some wore crocs which worked well since you can just wipe them dry. They give you huge ponchos
We started with a big breakfast at Jungle Junction….the only location with breakfast. The breakfast was very extensive and great…even had champagnes
The food is very expensive here….NY prices……Cape Town is so reasonable. Bottled water was $3 each
Packed and headed out for our river boat. We were transferred by road to Kasane, Botswana. After clearing customs….out of Zimbabwe….stepping on a mat….into Botswana…this was not nearly as bad as yesterday…..less crowded. We were dropped off at Chobe Marina Lodge in Chobe National Park in Botswana. We were met by a Zimbawe Queen rep and shown to an area reserved just for us….with coffee, tea and finger sandwiches. We all tried a local beer.

Around 1pm we were picked up by a boat and taken to customs to leave Botswana and then to customs to enter Namibia. The boat is registered in Namibia but we entered from Botswana….we did this several times during our stay. It is a little walk up a dirty path to the Namibia customs and no one was there so we just had to wait till the rep came and found someone….very laid back. Had a sign that said do not reach through the window and stamp yourself.

We were cruising down the Chobe River and around a bend we saw the Zambezi Queen. Our group loves to be on the water and this was just a beautiful site. We were greeted by some of the staff singing and a cool drink. We checked in….told us what staterooms we were in and headed out to the deck for some chardonnay (great wine same as at Lion Sands) and to relax.
Lunch was served and we had salad, quiche, cheese board, breads, meatballs with sauces and fruit. It was all very good.

The Zambezi Queen cruises along the banks of the Chobe River and is uniquely situated only
a few kilometers from the point where four African countries meet - Botswana, Namibia,
Zambia and Zimbabwe. Cruising along the world famous Chobe National Park we saw huge herds
of elephants, crocodiles laying on the shore, buffalo and tons of different species of birds which made this a very different wildlife safari experience. The vessel features 10 suites and 2 Master Suites each with en suite facilities and private balconies, king size beds and are furnished to the highest level. You do not cruise very far but it was just beautiful everywhere you looked
If you want luxury,pampering,less crowds and up close wildlife experience the Zambezi Queen houseboat is the way to go. We just returned from a trip of a lifetime and our last fabulous stop was an amazing experience. You can stay at a resort in Chobe but you are on the water with many other boats at a sighting. Zambezi Queen is a must for you wildlife experience on the water!! Do the 3 night cruise you will still leave wanting more

That night we enjoyed a nice dinner with 2 to 3 choices of entrée. Lights go out at 10pm and the generator turns off. We were sitting at the bar visiting with the manager Wayne and all felt like it was time to go to bed once we were sitting in the dark. You really are tired by that time. House wine and beer are supposed to be included during meals but again it was all day. Liquor drinks start at $5 and go up.

05 +06 Jul (Sat+Sun) CHOBE NATIONAL PARK on the Zambezi Queen
Our next morning was very leisurely…breakfast is from 7:30 to 9:30 and the water game drive leaves at 10am. We did start hearing footsets above by 6am and our lights came on when the generator came on since we didn’t have our lights off the night before….learned our lesson. The dads and kids went fishing earlier. They caught tiger and catfish. The rest went on a water safari in smaller boats. We got very close to hippos, buffalo and crocs….till this time we just saw them on the banks in the distance.

That afternoon we went and visited a local village. I am so glad we got to do this and meet some of the local tribes people. I am also very thankful we received a list of things to donate to the village. We brought balls, Frisbees, stickers, books and cloths. We were the only group that knew to bring something since African Adventure sent us a list and I have visited locals in other areas of the world so knew to bring something as well. I had quite a few others wish they had known about this. We toured the village and went into an area where they sang and danced for us. We then handed out our gifts and they had local crafts for sale. They preferred Ran which I was told mostly US dollars were used. The price was much higher for US$’s….but still very reasonable and the best gifts I bought by far. The kids got to play ball with some of the local kids then we headed back to the boat. We were all very honored that they invited us to visit.

We had a slow cruise back looking at wildlife.

Our dinner tonight was a boma…..we took small boats over to the river bank where they had everything set up…..singing….dancing and more food. We went back to the boat for after dinner drinks and the kids and one dad played cards. We were all convinced we were going to make it a late night but we were all too exhausted from a fabulous day again.

The next morning was another leisurely morning. We left around 9:30 for a Chobe Park safari…..we had this included on our package but some others on board had to pay $45pp. We had to clear Namibia customs (the crew on the ZQ had our forms filled out and sitting by the bed for us) and into Botswana. This safari is so different after being able to go off road. The difference was we saw very large herds here. The views along the river were gorgeous. They had coolers with waters, beer and cider on all safaris…both water and land. We had to go back through customs and back to the boat.

We had lunch onboard…salmon salad, garden salad bar with things like feta cheese and beets. The best lemon meringue pie I have ever put in my mouth….it was so fresh it was still a little warm. A couple of us will dream about that pie….and I am not even a sweets person.
That afternoon ( Wayne had to get permission) we went on a double decker boat down the river on the Botswana side…..we would not have gone if we had to do customs again….not that hard just time consuming. They just needed our names on a list which the driver dropped off. We cruised around….they set up a bar and more food. It was very….very crowded with boats on this side….you could have 10 or more boats per sighting. We all wanted to see some elephant swim across the river but too many boats…..we waited and waited and most of the boats cleared out but no luck…it was getting dark so we headed back. It really is amazing how many elephants, hippos and buffalo are along this river…..100’s if not 1,000’s. The 3 teen boys went fishing again instead….not much luck just one fish.

Enjoyed breakfast as the Zambezi Queen cruises down the river to its home base arriving at approximately 9:00 am. Disembark the vessel around 10:30 and back through Namibia and Botswana customs and dropped off at the marina hotel for our transfers to the airport in Kasane which was maybe 20 minutes drive. We had a very long line to check in at a very small airport….it probably took over an hour. Our flight was again about 2 hours and we had a 4 hour layover in Joburg
Bidair greeted us at the bottom step of the airplane and loaded us in our own van so we didn’t have to take the shuttle bus….directly through customs with no lines and to our gate. We shopped around and went to the Delta Sky lounge….or they use the Air France lounge.
Bottled waters were free and plentiful in all locations and tours. The only place they were a premium was Victoria Falls Hotel…..$3 per bottle and we needed bottled water since we used it to brush our teeth and need to stay hydrated especially taking Malarone.

I have packing lists, tip lists and donations lists available if anyone is interested.
have2seetheworld is offline  
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Jul 15th, 2014, 03:26 PM
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this is such a great trip report. And it sounds like the trip of a lifetime. thanks for sharing all the details.
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Jul 15th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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Wonderful TR, thanks for sharing it. Sounds like you really had a great trip.
xyz99 is online now  
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Jul 16th, 2014, 09:14 AM
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We did have an amazing time and it was a trip of a lifetime....glad you enjoyed
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Jul 16th, 2014, 10:59 AM
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I have to admit, I've never heard of Bidair before. What exactly do they do? Do they ease transfers in the airport (by taking care of baggage transfer, customs, etc.)? Thanks
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Jul 16th, 2014, 04:31 PM
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Thank you for the detailed report!
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Jul 18th, 2014, 10:05 PM
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Enjoyed your trip report! I have not heard of bidair either.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Enjoying your trip report. We are currently planning a trip to South Africa with a connection through JNB to Capetown. Could you tell me about Bidair? I'd be happy to pay a service fee to have someone guide us through the airport to our gate! I googled them, but don't understand how it works.
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Jul 21st, 2014, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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have2seetheworld.... really enjoyed reading this -- and thanks for so many details. was happy to read that you flew nonstop from cape town to your safari area!

if you don't mind telling the world, about what budget did you give the tour company for your safaris and airfare? we are hoping to do a very, very similar itinerary... is it unrealistic to hope for around $5,000 pp (not counting our flights to and from s. africa)??
kawh is offline  
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Jul 26th, 2014, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1
Thanks for the review. We are looking at the AMAwaterways , Stars of South Africa tour.
dmdiehl is offline  
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