Monday, 29 September 2008

Possitive comments on Kruger-Safaris - September 2008

Jennifer Lane
"Thank you so much! So relaxing, yet so busy and active. Fantastic welcome, food, staff etc. A totally perfect way to end my African adventure! Bertus and Pearl 100 %!!"

Ellen A White
"I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. Wish I could stay longer, what a fantastic experience! What an amazing adventure! Thanks Delina, Pearl, Bertus and Thulani for an unforgettable experience!"

Tom Godfrey
"Great food, very friendly hospitality – thanks to a great staff. Great safaris - Bongani a legend"

Tammi Macquine
"WOW - I have had the most amazing time here. You are so very lucky to be able to experience this every day! Thank you for welcoming me so warmly. You are all such beautiful people. I know I am leaving a part of me behind as I have fallen in love with South Africa, especially Balule Plains! I have a favour to ask: Please, please, please, remember each day how lucky you are to be at Tremisana seeing the awesomeness of God’s creation"

Benedicte Westin
"Four Norwegians had the time of our lives!!! Thanks to Delina and her staff. Bertus really did the trick: we changed our flight to stay one more day and Bertus took it home – we’ll be back"
Anna Roche"Peart, Bertus, Delina, Toby - thank you for a wonderful 5 days. We have seen all the animals and learnt a lot. But more than that, we have made some friends and shared lots of experiences, fun, laughter and wisdom. It has been like coming home – and we will be back again"

Peter Collins
"Thanks for the extra couple of kilos gained. Great game viewing. Great time "

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Saturday, 30 August 2008

Possitive comments on Kruger-Safaris - August 2008


Annabel Pacula, 8 August 08
“A great big THANK YOU to all of the staff. I traveled here alone and never once felt lonely. The food, chat and knowledge is amazing. Thank you to all the drivers and guides and to Bertus for his enthusiasm and jokes. Thank you all so much”

The Wilkinsons, 15 August 08
“We had a wonderful time. The staff are all lovely. Pearl is a real pearl! Bertus – your stories and patience are great! I shall have to come back so that Nelly can show us the leopard”

TC and Weilynn Chong, 28 August 08
“Thank you so much for your tireless efforts to make us feel so much at home. We have had a fantastic first impression of Africa and look forward to returning to Tremisana as soon as possible. Take care”

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Friday, 27 June 2008

Unbelievable time on Kruger-Safaris - June 2008


Peter Collins
"Thanks for the extra couple of kilos gained. Great game viewing. We had a great time."

Globe Students Lebanon
"We had a wonderful stay. We saw the Big Five and had a lot of fun at the lodge and on safari. This place became a home away from home. Hope to see you again"

Timothy and Ann Hunt
"Lovely stay and Pearl is an awesome hostess and 'jack of all' ".

Jim & Linda King of Georgia, Dallas:
"My husband and I were there 10-13 May 2008 and had an unbelievable time and want to go back. Pearl is truly a gem and made sure we were always on time for all our adventures. Our guides, Steve and Bertis made sure we had ample opportunities to view the surroundings and see as many of the animals as possible and their knowledge of the plants, animal habits, etc. was truly remarkable. They even kept us safe when, on our 4-hour walking safari, we were "stalked" by a mad elephant - they both kept their cool - which we all appreciated. The day in Kruger Park was more than we ever could have wished for - except it would have been nice if the lions and the leopards woke up!!! We were in South Africa for three weeks and the safari was our final adventure before returning home - we are glad it was, for everything else we did, while exciting and enjoyable, pales in comparison."

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Monday, 23 June 2008

2 Great nights in the Kruger Park

I needed last minute accomadation in Kruger Park in early January. Thanks for helping out. The 2 nights at Satara and Berg en dal were great.

Our 2 boys(5 and 9) still talk about the experience of seeing Lions in the middle of the road and a Cheetah right next to the road (we were lucky!!) We hired our own car and had no rangers, so to see this in the public park was amazing. We also saw a dead impala in the fork of a tree (a leopard had taken him up there)

Response from your company was great and all worked out smoothly - an unbelievable 2 days at a VERY reasonablre price

Thanks again

Neil from Australia

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Sunday, 22 June 2008

A Great stay in the Kruger Park

We needed last minute accomadation in kruger Park in early January.

Thanks for helping out. 2 nights at Satara and Bergendal were great. Our 2 boys(5 and 9) still talk about the experience of seeing Lions in the middle of the road and a Cheetah right next to the road(we were lucky!!).

We hired our own car and had no rangers ,so to see this in the public park was amazing.We also saw a dead impala in the fork of a tree(a leopard had taken him up there)Response from your company was great and all worked out smoothly-an unbelievable 2 days at a VERY reasonablre price

Thanks again

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Friday, 30 May 2008

Second visit on Kruger-Safaris and still really great - May 2008


Trish and Matt Keeney
"Our honeymoon! Amazing place & saw 4 of the Big 5. We'll be back to see the spotted cat! Saw loads of other game. Bertus was an amazing guide, very knowledgeable and also a good friend!Loved the family atmosphere. Thanks so much to Pearl and staff for giving us a wonderful time."

Sandy Gammon, Cape Town
"Second visit and really great. Thank you very much. Saw 4 out of 5. Rehab Centre amazing and Cultural Village interesting."

"A holiday that I will always remember! Orange sunsets; being flanked by two elephants; seeing a leopard right next to us and sharing a brief moment of universal contact - all moments that are priceless!!! Thanks Piero, Pearl and team for making it possible."

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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Excellent hostess, hospitality, food and tourist guides on the Kruger-Safari - April 2008


Rey Taylor
"Excellent hostess, hospitality, food and tourist guides . Loved it here for my nine days"

Glenn Moyle
"An amazing stay. Definitely an unforgettable experience with the safari, food, hospitality and guides. Hope to be back very soon"

Diane Pare
"Thanks for such a wonderful stay ! Everything was super : abundant food, marvelous guides and a wonderful South Africa ! I'm in love and will come back!"

Massimo Dal Corso
"One of the best times of my life ! The hospitality was great, the food excellent and the guides kind and knowledgeable. Great family feeling and rooms always clean. All excellent"

Tom and Margaret Crockford
"A fantastic time - more than we could ever have asked for ! Pearl and the staff made us feel part of the family ! Great food and excellent safaris. Steve and Chantelle were great and their enthusiasm has no bounds. Thanks to everyone."

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Thursday, 17 April 2008

Kruger Park and Bundu Country Lodge

Berg en Dal Camp in the Kruger National Park and Bundu Country Lodge

We had an AMAZING time and I must have looked at my photos a thousand times already.

We loved the Kruger Park, such a magical place and were lucky enough to see all of the Big 5.

Thank you for all your hard work, advice and patience. You certainly saved me a lot of time and stress (As you may well remember, I find booking holidays a very stressful experience!).
It is fair to say that it was one of the best holidays we have ever had - right up there with our honeymoon. We will have to find an excuse to return some day and when we do, I'll be sure you look you up again.

Thank you.
Best wishes

V Westmacott

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Monday, 31 March 2008

Kruger-Safaris, a beautiful place with the best people - March 2008


Lucy Thatcher, Australia
"Fantastic couple of days. Kruger was amazing ! Thank you to the warm staff for a friendly welcome."

Pablo and Irene, Spain
"A beautiful place with the best people. We hope to return to Africa to see you all again. Thanks for everything."

Ian, Helen and Chris, UK
"Awesome experience! Better than we imagined. We saw 4 of the Big Five on the very first day ! Staff were super - we didn't want to leave. Guides were fantastic."

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Awesome game drive in the Kruger Park

Unfortunately we had a really bad start in Kruger Park. Upon arrival to Skukuza we booked another 2 game drives. Then in the afternoon I got really sick, I got high fever and was very ill. My girlfriend got hold of the doctor who turned back to Skukuza and in the evening I was able to see him. By then I had over 40 degrees fever and was totally dehydrated. After some intravenous and other medicine I was on my feet again the next day and saw the doctor again in the morning for a checkup.

It was probably something I had eaten. The doctor was really helpful.

Then we had a sunset game drive and a sunrise game drive the next day. The morning drive was really, really good. Our guide was superb, she spotted things that we never understood how she even saw and she could tell us a lot of both the animals and the plants. That was really an interesting experience. We saw 4 of the big 5 and had a great time.

Our overall impression from South Africa (which can also be confirmed from my mother and sister who are in SA right now) is that the people we met were so friendly and helpful. Also, I have been around the world, trying a lot of things but I must say that the safari actually was among the best experiences I've ever had.

I was a little afraid that the Kruger Park would feel like a "zoo", specially since I'm not really interested in animals, but I couldn't be more wrong. The excitement when we sat in the jeep in the sunset drive holding a flashlight trying to spot animals... awesome.

Besides I would like to thank you for your professional approach and service.

Best Regards
F Derkum

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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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Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Camps in the Kruger Park

Thank you for the warm, friendly and very efficient service from the point of contact right through to the follow-up after the trip.
We returned from our trip to the Kruger Park on Saturday, having booked one additional stay-over at Malelane Rest Camp so that we could enjoy Friday as our last day in the camp while the sun was out!

Armed with the confirmations all the check-ins went very smoothly and although it rained or was very overcast at least 60% while we were there and the park had lots of water, lush vegetation and thick bush - we still had some extraordinary sightings.

Leopard still escapes us of the big five, but had plenty Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Rhino sightings along with a stunning Cheetah sighting. All the grazers had lots of babies and young calves and all the animals look in superb condition. Other highlights were Hyena pups, and the birdlife was incredibly active - seeing many of the Roller and Francolins throughout the park, Fish Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Kori Bustard, Buzzard, Vultures, Saddle-billed and other Stork, Ground Hornbill, and for me the crown was a Martial Eagle that swooped across directly overhead the vehicle.

During the stay, the phone lines were down several times/days causing problems for credit card users - but we had fortunately made sure we had sufficient cash for the trip although we were concerned the last few days. We did not have Skukuza and Letaba planned in on the travel, and these are the two camps that have ATM facilities that I am aware of.

We enjoyed each of the camps we stayed in which all have their own charm, Shingwedzi, Mopani, Olifants, Talamati, Satara and Lower Sabie. Mopani got incredibly hot peaking at 43 Deg C while we were there - so we didn't mind the cloud cover at all. Not fantastic lighting for the photographers though!

One thing to remember is that the booking is actually made under SATours and Safaris and not the individuals name. It wasn't a problem, just a tip to perhaps let other clients know.

We are planning the next trip already so we will be in contact again soon. Just have to figure out my travel schedule for 2008 so we know over which period to schedule the trip.

Kind Regards,

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

Kruger Park, Swaziland and KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg

Thanks all the arrangements you made for us.

Nearly everything worked fine. I have a few comments which may be of interest.

Southern Sun O.R. Thambo
I have stayed there before (1982 and 1999) and was very satisfied. Things seem to have gone downhill, with very slow check-in/out (4 guys on the desk but only one seemingly capable of doing anything). They put us in a room next to the pool machinery which kept us awake all night. When I got home I found they had charged me R1072 directly, despite the pre-payment, but they reversed the charge two weeks later.

I shan't bother to stay there again. Also the airport site is a mess with all the construction work going on.

B&Bs (Magriets, Tamboti Ridge) were both excellent and with a lot of care and attention and good food.

Kruger National Park.
Very good at Bateleur, Tamboti Tented Camp and Berg-en-Dal, rather run-down at Punda Maria (especially) and Olifants.

Equipment seems to be a problem (minimal, cheapest, dangerous electrics, poor plumbing etc).
Wonderful animals of course.

Very poor access road at Phophonyane but excellent lodge and service.
Very good value facilities at Timbali Lodge.

I know all borders are irritating, but the one at Matsamo took the biscuit (all female, only one person able to make a decision, no rules, throwing her weight about etc).
Maybe because we were behind a mortuary wagon made things seem worse...

KZN Parks - as expected as we have stayed before.
Cape Vidal, Mpila Camp in the Imfolozi Game Reserve and Thendele in the Royal Natal Game Reserve are really great, and I think equipment and service is better than in Kruger.

Kulu's Cottage, Tinley Manor.
Very well equipped, fabulous views (saw a whale offshore).
Directions were wrong (coming from the north) and we ended up phoning the owner from Tinley Manor for the last mile (which was another very poor access road).
Also this was the only place we felt uneasy about just being there (told to shut the car in the garage and set the intruder alarm "as it's the pre-Christmas period".

Sani Valley Lodge
Arrived on a quite dismally wet Drakensberg day, appalling access road (the "scenic 3.5km" from the gravel main road was in fact a nightmare - and even the main road was being reconstructed!).

However, this was more than matched by the warmth of the welcome (glass of sherry and tales of waterspouts the previous day) and the quality of the lakeside lodge accommodation and service.

I cannot speak too highly of the couple of days here, despite the weather preventing us from getting up Sani Pass.

SA hospitality at its best.

Nationwide Airlines
I follow the arline industry fairly closely, and knew about the 737 incident at CPT before we set off.

So I was not surprised when I read they were grounded, but the reports were vague about the extent of the problem. Eventually I found out the 767s were flying again but not the 737s, which meant nothing from Durban on the 10th, when were due to travel back to JNB. I had already decided the simplest and safest thing was to drive back to Johannesburg from Royal Natal and forget about the flight, but of course needed to make sure the flight was indeed "off", hence the call from Harrismith that morning. Later I found out from the Nationwide web site that the only domestic CE flights on the 10th were JNB-CPT, and that DUR flights are supposed to resume on the 14th. All this means I expect a full refund of the Nationwide fare as they did not operate the flight.

Wild Card
I bought one at Punda Maria, the first Kruger night. Despite the copious web site information, it is still a baffling product. Whatever you think the price is, they will always produce a list with a higher rate (the expected R1395 became R1475).

It was accepted in Mlilwane in Swaziland, and at Mpila in KZN (who said they would refund the R80pppd conservation fee included in the accommodation rate I had paid).

However it was no use at Cape Vidal (for reasons I understand - different management) or Royal Natal (which I don't, but no bother).

Two places in Kruger provided credit for using the card to check in, but not others. And how do I spend the credit? Not very well thought out.

On conservation fees generally, I think they are rather steep. I know the old deal was hopelessly uneconomic, and I am more than prepared to pay a decent conservation fee, but R132pppd seems high to me, especially as the facilities do not seem to be improving. There is also a "foreigners/local" split which I don't like (as in ZIM).

All our national parks are free, based on the economic uplift they provide for the region.
I think the consultants got it wrong in SA.

I would say that the most serious problem we observed on our trip was the decline in the general infrastructure (roads, signs etc). I know we should not expect European standards in Africa, but I do feel the things we value most about SA are in danger because of serious decline of the infrastructure. Perhaps the worst experience was driving on the N2 from Piet Retief to Pongola, 100km or so. This road is blue on the map (ie apparently a motorway) but is in fact narrow, twisty and full of deep pot-holes. You expect some trouble on minor country roads, but this stretch was just appalling. The locals blamed the mining trucks.

Also the weather wasn't as good in this season as we have known it, and I know it has been a difficult year for floods and fires in many areas of SA.

Despite these little problems, we did have a great time and had many memorable encounters, too numerous to list.

Perhaps the nicest was watching a paradise flycatcher's nest at Tamboti Ridge survive a storm, and showing the owner our photos of it.

Thanks again for your help and knowledge in sorting out our itinerary; I expect we will be back, perhaps aiming for Namibia.

Best wishes and compliments of the season.

(listening to "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" in the Ballito Spar with the checkout girls wearing Father Christmas hats in 30C temp, is one of the surreal memories!).

R Buckley

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