Thursday, 28 February 2008

What a fantastic time on Kruger-Safaris - February 2008


Linda Rensen, Australia
"Heaven on earth : Best food; best people; best stories."

David and Julie Kay, England
"What a fantastic time - all the staff were great! Well done Delina - your cooking was excellent!"

Lana Carsen, London
"Fantastic holiday with amazing bush walks and great Kruger Park. Food divine and atmosphere also divine. Thank you very much to everyone, especially Cliff, our ranger"

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Friday, 22 February 2008

Skukuza in the Kruger National Park

We had a fantastic holiday in South Africa and our visit to the Kruger National Park was definately a highlight.

Unlike the many reports we've received about "you can find more wildlife in your own backyard than in Kruger", we got to see the big 5, giraffes, wild pigs, hyenas, zebra, kudu's, impala, eland, baboons, monkeys not to mention the colourful birds. I think the fact that we stayed for four nights gave us the opportunity to see these animals and there is nothing on the earth that can prepare you for the exhilaration of finding a animal in its own wild environment.

Skukuza is great camp that provides the overseas traveller with all the shopping and restaurant facilities needed.

But (and there is always a but,) there are a couple of things that as an agent, you may want to know about and want to mention to the Skukuza Camp Managers :

On arrival we wanted to pay by visa for our park fees but were told that the on-line system was down. We tried to negotiate to the staff that we do not have the cash on us and that we wanted to use our visa to gain frequent flyer points. The staff were downright infexible and unwilling to work towards a solution and we were forced to withdraw the money from an ATM (which was fortunate at such a remote location). This now incurred some added fees to our account, however small and we have no frequent flyer points. Early the next morning the on-line system was back on which made the experience with the staffs apathy and disinterest even the more upsetting.

Secondly, it would have been nice to have had kitchen facilities in the bungalow especially when it was clear to us that the option was available. As an overseas traveller you do not have the same opportunity to carry incidentals with you that are convenient like taking a portable gas stove etc. The communal kitchen was lovely and clean but the stove was slow and it took forever just to boil water for a cup of coffee let alone cooking dinner. Way too long in the travellers precious time. There is also no clear instructions to tell you if the stove is on the higher setting or lower setting. We tried both but always felt that there is no heat coming from the hotplates. The urn on the wall that was meant to provide us with hot water still took just as long to heat up on the stove as the water was definately not hot when coming out of the urn.

Apart from that the bungaloes were clean and interesting to stay in.

We will definately return to the camp as we had an overall great experience and thank you for all your help in organising the reservations in Skukuza.

L Sellek

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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

From Kruger National Park to Wild Coast

I think my friends were very impressed by the Kruger and I will ask them for their feedback for your website. Overall the experience was excellent although I should point out a few problems along the way. These are to help and are meant to be constructive.

The accommodation in the park was very good although the Electricity load shedding caused a few problems! The kombi hire proved ideal for the number of guests. However, the Kruger experience was marred when the Kombi broke down at Lower Sabie. Fortunately this only happened once we were at the camp but it did curtail our animal spotting on the last afternoon.

The car hire company could only send a replacement the following morning but we only found out that the aircon did not work once we had taken possession of it so we drove back to Nelspruit without aircon. I had filled up the original van with diesel about an hour before it had broken down (an ignition problem apparently) but even so the car hire company asked me how much petrol I’d used in the replacement kombi and wanted to charge me for the petrol from Kruger and weren’t particularly apologetic about sending as van without aircon. I am waiting to see if they will charge me for the petrol, so far they haven’t taken anything off my credit card and I would be disappointed if they did.

Our adventures at The Wild Coast Sun were traumatic – despite having booked directly with them months in advance and having confirmed with them several times we arrived to be told that there was a conference and that our 4 nights were reduced to ONE. (Probably because my sister booked and has a local address so they thought she wouldn’t mind going home.) They eventually put me and my Hong Kong guests up in a substandard hotel 10 minutes away. We are still pursuing this and I might still take further action against them as I was not happy with the way they treated us at all. I have been going there for the last 15 years and was very disappointed and it left a very bad feeling amongst my Hong Kong guests. Thank goodness you didn’t get involved in that booking!

Onto the Sandton Sun – Reception staff were a bit cold and just a seemed unprepared as check in took a long time, despite them having a record of the booking. Maybe it’s a Jo’burg thing but they could do with losing a bit of the attitude. The hotel itself was fine but the service staff were appalling – by far the worst I encountered on the trip. We had to wait for over 50 minutes for 4 coffees on the terrace and I had to complain twice to a very surly waitress who clearly did not want to be there, so I would think twice before recommending that particular hotel, especially as the price was as expensive as Hong Kong hotels so you would expect better treatment.

Despite this, overall though I think it was a successful holiday and my friends came away feeling quite positive and wanting me to plan the next safari!

Best wishes


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