We all arrived home safely yesterday.  I don’t think any of us has yet comprehended all that we’ve seen.  I think it is only in the re-telling it will sink in.  We watched 3 lions eat a zebra – who can comprehend that it was in front of your eyes, and not on a television.  Everything was truly amazing!


Let me go through the itinerary and I will give you some feedback for your information.


Cape Town:  Menzies Aviation was great.  The group felt truly spoiled having their luggage transported for them.  The Commodore Hotel was very comfortable and in a great location.  It was a great lobby for hanging out in and getting a drink and using it as a gathering place.  Mario from Paradise Touring was a wonderful guide.  He took us to some picture perfect spots and encouraged us to do group photos.  He truly wanted us to see the sights and was quite knowledgeable.  Transportation was comfortable.


The 1st day excursions worked out well.  The only negative is that there were no sharks.  Fortunately those who went took it in stride.  As divers, they know it is hit or miss on what you get to see.


Motsware Private Game Reserve:  OMG, what a fabulous place.  The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is truly a wonderful experience.  The guides from all of the resorts in the Timbavati coordinate with each other and go out on different routes hunting the wildlife.  They share over radio their finds and coordinate so each group can go and observe.  They have a method of only allowing 2 vehicles in the same area at a time as to not overcrowd the animals.  I cannot say enough fabulous things about them.


Each of the couples was blown away by the Giraffe’s Nest.  It is in a remote location and they leave you out there all alone, with only a radio for contact in case of an emergency.  To know that you are out in the bush all alone overnight just isn’t comprehensible until you experience it.  Even then it is surreal.


Accommodations were high quality and people were so wonderful.  Food quality was also quite good and plentiful.  The chef, John, was especially responsive to Katie and her food needs.  The wildlife was active in the camp, and you could not walk around after dark alone.  We had quite a few elephants roam through.  The guides and trackers knew many of the animals and had names for some of them.  They had so many interesting stories to tell us and full of knowledge.  None of us wanted to leave.


Victoria Falls:  Immigration is not fun in Zimbabwe.  They are on some kind of work slow down, and it took us 2-1/2 hours to get through.  Everything was good after then.  528 Victoria Falls Boutique Guest House was amazing.  (I don’t have enough adjectives to describe everything!)  Meredith and John were most accommodating and helpful.  They made sure we had everything we needed and made many dinner and extra reservations for us.  At my request, they even served ice cream for breakfast on our last morning.  It is my tradition as a Grandma, that I give my grandsons ice cream for breakfast at least once towards the end of of our vacations.  It was a big hit.


Private sunset cruise was very enjoyable.  We did see hippos and elephants!  It was a most unique experience being on a small private craft and so close to the water.


Chobe was a bit of a disappointment (for me) after Motswari.  But that is only because we saw so many different animals at Motswari, it was not possible to top the experience.  The highlight was the landscape of the marshland.  Truly beautiful and incredible for the eye to behold.  We felt like we were looking in a magazine.  Again, very surreal.


Pizza dinner and cake worked out perfectly for Ryan’s birthday dinner.  She was so pleased.  It was the perfect way to end the day at Chobe, lingering up on the rooftop bar at our leisure.


White Water rafting was extraordinary for those that went.  None of them believed me when I said it was Class 5 rapids.  They didn’t believe they could be more than a level 3.  Well, they were a Class 5.  Their guide is a kayak Olympian and took them on a wild ride.  It was one of those terrifying experiences, yet you love every minute of it.


Elephant Encounters was also special.  The kids (and adults) all got to hug an elephant and we learned so much about them.  I’m not sure, but they may have kept us extra long and the guides love having children to educate.


We were over an hour late for our Canopy Tour and it was quite crowded and a bit of a wait for our turn.  I left as I was not comfortable with that level of crowds.  Instead of returning for the afternoon around 1, they didn’t return until after 3.  So that threw our schedule off a little bit with planning for lunch and swims for the boys.  But not a big deal.


Phil and I went for tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel.  That was surprisingly quite a disappointment.  High tea is usually served in a formal setting.  Here is was served out on the veranda with all the tourists who were there for burger and fries and whatever else.  The volume of the other guests and the helicopters made it impossible to communicate across the table.  It is such a shame, the hotel is so grand, and the tradition seems to have gone out of the place.  The helicopter noise is definitely a huge negative.


Frances our guide was very attentive and accommodating. He was always on time and looked after us and went above and beyond.  Transportation was also comfortable. Separate flight for Emily and Justin to Jo’burg went off without a hitch.


Johannesburg:  Transportation was good and hotel was comfortable.  It was convenient having the mall right there as we were all exhausted at that point and it was easy to go downstairs to dinner.  Our tour guide T.K. and driver Tando took good care of us.  We had our luggage in a trailer with us all day and Tando stayed with the vehicle the entire time to make sure our belongings remained safe. T.K. was very thorough in explaining the Apartheid Museum to us and taking us through Soweto.  Having children with us is always useful, as you have to assume they know nothing and everything has to be carefully explained.


The most interesting thing for me was continuously be called the “Matriarch” of the family.  I had never thought of myself that way.  In the US, it is the Patriarch who is the head of the family.  I really saw myself in a new light and felt a sense of my accomplishments and how important I am.


The family/group dynamics worked out very well.  We were able to travel as separate family groups and also be together at the same time.  That was important to Phil and I as we didn’t want to have to “run” the show and didn’t want any family squabbles.  Your choices and organization worked that out perfectly for us.


What am I missing?  I am blabbing on and on here.  Is there anything else specific you would like to know?


Lastly, can you please provide me with direct links that I can send out to the group to write up reviews?  Everyone is so amazed at how seamless everything went and not a single hiccup.  They will all have wonderful things to say.


I cannot thank you enough for making our trip the best is could be!  You are amazing.


All the Best,



(Travelled July / August 2023)

 Elephant - Timbavati Game Reserve

White Water Rafting  Hot air balloon windhoek tour in Namibia