An amazing trip, my first "real" experience of Africa, and I loved every second of it! Beautiful landscapes, so much wildlife, and a few "WOW" moments to last me a lifetime!
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It has to be the last day. We were a bit surprised at first, upon arrival at Victoria Falls, to see hardly any water there! But for the next day we nevertheless booked a trip to Devil's pool (which we could not have done if there had been more water in the river!) in the morning and a helicopter flight in the afternoon.
The boat ride to Livingstone Island, followed by a short walk and swim to the pool provided fantastic views of the Falls, and the experience of being at the top of them in wonderfully warm water, with little fish nibbling at our feet was extraordinary!
After that, how could the day get any better? Well, it did! The views from the helicopter are AWESOME, and you actually get a much better view of the Falls when it is the dry season. When the pilot took us down into the gorges, we knew this was going to be the experience of a lifetime! And it was....
- What did you think of your group leader?
Johan took good care of us, from one airport to the next, through customs and immigration, always patient and repeating information again... and again... and again! He was good fun around the campfire, always useful in the sticky spots, helping with the tents, the meals, and whever he was needed.
He was great at arranging our flight over the dunes from Swakopmund, making quite a few phone calls. He also helped a few people with health issues, and got us all upgraded to the lodge when the storm hit!
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I was really glad to travel from south to north, going through the desert first, then to greener lands with all the wildlife to expect. The Falls where high on my list of expectations and as I said above, they exceeded them! Also it was quite cold at night in the south, so nice to move up to the warmth. It was really hot in some places, but always manageable, as most of the hot hours were spent in the bus anyway, with "open-windows-aircon".
I loved the camping, although the tents are not very big, and I could most definitely NOT stand up in them! I shared with a friend and we left our big bags in the truck to have more room. So it's a good idea to have a small extra-bag to carry what you need for one night. Once we got ourselves organized (easy by day 2), it was fine. I am not sure I would like to share with somebody I do not know, though, so I would suggest single supplement for people travelling on their own.
I took my walking boots, but hardly wore them, so waste of space. A keen photographer, I also took my tripod, but again hardly used it. A bean bag is perfect to rest your camera on, and there is plenty of sand around to fill it upon arrival! Make sure your sleeping bag is warm, it got really cold towards morning. And a good fleece is absolutely necessary! Clothes line is really useful, we used it all the time. Have a good mosquito repellent, we did and hardly had any bites. A powerful torch is also useful.
It is really useful to read the trip notes before you go, especially the part about money. Several people needed bank stops because they had not read them, and they are not always easy to find (or the ATM is empty...) Basically, we took SA Rands and US$ and were fine.
We do spend a lot of time in the bus, but the scenery we drive through is amazing, so I really did not mind. Also, we stopped frequently for fuel, supermarkets, drinks...and Magnum ice creams! Do not miss tasting the amazing Namibian varieties!
If you can afford the extra cost, you have to take the longer helicopter flight above the Falls that takes you inside the gorges!
The night safari in Etosha was also one of our highlights, and be sure to have a good flash on your camera. The animals do not mind, and at least you can get a few photos...!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Collen drove superbly, for those thousands of miles of straight road! He reckons he was asleep most of the time, but we always felt very safe at the back.
The meals provided by Enoch were varied and plentiful. One of our group was a vegetarian (AND gluten-allergic!), but he also provided a different meal for her. Bravo Enoch, it could not have been easy!
As my first experience of Africa, this trip was amazing. I left a piece of my heart in Livingstone airport, and am currently booking a trip to the Masai Mara. I sooo want to go back to Africa!
So stop reading this, and go to the booking page!