After the (long) journey from Cape Town, arriving at Mana Pools in Northern Zimbabwe was a breath of fresh air. Harare to Dandawa Airstrip was a short hop followed by a scenic game drive transfer to Kanga where we were welcomed with open arms by Richard, Sabrina and the rest of the Kanga team.
The lush greenery did an excellent job at concealing game, but our guide, Bono, still managed to keep us entertained by pointing out the smaller things. Like the colony of army ants crossing the road after they had just raided a termite mound and the millions of butterflies which were just breath taking.
The famed water hole at Kanga is something I’d love to go and experience in the dry season, with all the wildlife action that I’ve heard about it’s definitely on my personal bucket list! It’s certainly the camp’s clever factor!
The tents at Kanga remind me of an authentic safari experience, with the bathrooms positioned outside in the open air. That shower was probably the best shower out of all the properties we visited.
To Zambezi Expeditions...
The drive from Kanga to Zambezi Expeditions was incredible, watching the landscape change so dramatically from one area to the next. On arrival, we had a warm welcome from the staff that went that extra mile to make our whole stay special: from our “something show” and dinner under the stars to my fire-baked birthday cake and our scrumptious packed lunch. Every member of the staff was genuine, warm, and clearly happy to be working at the camp and that makes such a difference to a guest experience!
Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and passionate. I had the pleasure of canoeing on the mighty Zambezi with Cloud, who started in the hospitality industry as a waiter, and when times changed in Zimbabwe, he adapted too and is now an exceptionally enthusiastic and inspiring guide. The next morning I traded my paddles for hiking boots as Love, took us out on a walking safari – an educational experience indeed.
The clever factor at Zambezi Expeditions is most definitely the location - the view of the river was just magical.
I couldn’t believe how many elephants we saw from the air as we came to land in Hwange! The loop we did around Somalisa before landing allowed us to see the property from a different angle, which was great. Of course, I was so thrilled to see Calvet waiting for us at the airstrip. He was my guide when I stayed at Somalisa Acacia last year. It’s fantastic to have guides who stay on, that way when guests come back to the property they have that connection.
When we arrived at Somalisa, I was blown away. I have no words to describe how phenomenal the camp is looking and of course, the elephant welcoming committee never disappoints! Nothing beats the experience of having one of Africa’s largest mammals drinks just meters in front of you.
Hello, Botswana! I had the pleasure of having Paul as my guide at Linyanti. He was knowledgeable and forever smiling! The Linyanti area did not disappoint with game. It is definitely the area where we saw the most unique sightings including some favourites – a group of fish eagles, the huge herd of buffalo, the honey badgers, and even an (embarrassed) squirrel falling out of the tree.
The clever factor is the complimentary helicopter ride when staying at Linyanti. What an incredible surprise, thank you!
To me, this was the best introduction we got before we even left the airstrip. I loved the way Partner & Dutch introduced themselves. They were very informative, giving us the dos and don'ts on safari and also information around the location and geography of where we were positioned in Botswana.
Khwai pulled out all the stops to make our stay a memorable one. From the staff singing to us on arrival, to the chef coming out to help serve lunch, to our surprise sundowners, our delicious boma dinner and even to our very last moment with them when we were surprised with a bush breakfast at the airstrip.
Arnold & Candy, the camp managers, and the rest of the Khwai team were great! Attentive, interactive and friendly – a very polished, professional and well-run team!
The game at Khwai rivalled the exceptional service. By far the best experience was getting to see the baby wild dog! I most appreciated that our guide, Partner, took the time to chat to us and tried to ensure that we each had a good viewing angle – the way the sightings were managed by the guides deserves mention. I couldn’t believe it when he spotted the lion on the other side of the river. What an incredible sighting!
The clever factor at Khwai is everything!
To sum it all up, I would say…
I feel as though all the African Bush Camps experiences allow guests to remove themselves from their everyday attachments (whether to a hair dryer, cellphone or email access) and really immerse themselves in the experience of being on safari - getting back to nature, and connecting with people whose passion is service and guest satisfaction.
- Best Room – Somalisa
- Best Food Experience – Khwai
- Best Dining Experience – Khwai
- Best Breakfast – Khwai
- Best Wildlife Experience (here I have a best from each property)
- Kanga – The hundreds of butterflies surrounding us as we drove through the bush.
- Zambezi Expeditions – Listening to the hippos “laugh” at us as we passed by in the canoe.
- Somalisa – The majestic Elephants drinking out the pool
- Linyanti – What seemed like hundreds of Fish Eagle all in one area, flying away as we got closer to them.
- Khwai – The baby wild dog
- Best Luxury – Somalisa
- Best Good Surprise – SO many! All my birthday surprises,Helicopter Ride at Linyanti
- Best Guide – Calvet (Somalisa) & Partner (Khwai)
- Best Staff – Zambezi Expeditions & Khwai
Can’t wait to return to – Khwai to see the new camp